|One Father For Dean|
|A Father and His Politics....||
Friday, May 30, 2003
Dr. No and the Yes Men
Per their own title, Sunday's NY Times Magazine profile on Howard Dean is on-line now.
The Best Offense Is...
...a Good Defense. New site, new look: same old tee and drivers...
The M-word (no, not massage) has popped up several times lately in this space, with respect to a prospectively re-emergent Democratic sense of social values... Here's a view from Europe... (thanks to Joe @ ThatOtherBlog)
Go Ahead. Give Back All Our Government.
A Political Parody, In Response....For Neil.
"So I'm imagining myself at my big Reunion shindig this coming weekend with largely conservative alumni -- (yes, there are a few. Quite a few, actually, despite what the college conservatives would have you believe) -- who decide to gang up on me for my support of Howard Dean’s pledge to repeal President Bush’s tax cuts when elected President in 2004.
'A blatant sop to the unions, special interests and you bleeding-heart liberals,' one said.
'Our economy (and my business) will suffer,' another railed.
When it was my turn to speak, I said simply, 'You guys look like you're doing okay. If you don't want the government, don’t take what the government gives you.'
My point would and will be this:
If you don’t want that interstate highway coming your way, don’t drive on it.
You don't want workers to have any government-funded education in their backgrounds, start hiring some others now.
You don't want more international business development dollars, or more research and development grants, or more defense contracts, give them back. Divest yourself of all stocks, bonds and mutual funds for whom government sources of revenue, tax breaks and/or incentives total more than 0.5% of gross receipts. Don’t do business with or (gasp) own small companies of a similar non-individualist character.
And certainly don’t own any healthcare company that takes Medicare or Medicaid. Or own stock in investment banks utilizing privitized Social Security funds. Or manufacture voting machines.
You think the top earners’ bank accounts and personal assets are a better place for our money, give them your own money directly and leave our federal, state and local governments out of it. Think of it as a venture capital fund – about the same returns, these days, anyway.
You think our families’ already limited government services are better used on your projects, give back the government services that secure, protect and defend those projects.
You think you have all the answers, then eschew yourself, your family and your assets of all government subsidies, every last one: the oil, timber and minerals from public lands; the military that protects your foreign subsidiaries; the computer chip development from NASA and federal labs; the Internet from DARPA; and the airwaves over which major corporations broadcast – we can share the spectrum and do just fine, thanks.
It's too late for you to lecture other people what we should do with 'our' government. Practice what you preach and return 'our' government and its littered commons.
Quite a few of you are very well off and still you say you need government. Prove it, then... or give it – all of it – back to those who do.
As for the rest of us who think we know more what to do with our government than what you want to destroy of it, may I suggest this:
Instead of a speech, write out your 2004 presidential absentee ballot or your voting intentions:
I'll even give you the address:
Dean for America
P.O. Box 1228
Burlington, Vermont 05402
You think you have all the answers? Don’t expect anything from the rest of us who want to work on solutions for this great nation.
Stop using and abusing our country and its government, and then for goodness sake – be quiet."
Thursday, May 29, 2003
Ignorance is Bliss
There is no doubt that a belief in supply-side economics requires a "fortitude" of immense proportions; the world of Voodoo Economics is not for the weak (or the trickle-ee).
Governor Dean has weighed in once again on the Bush Tax Cut, more clearly than other Democratic presidential candidates....
And $44 trillion is a lot of...well, anything...., but not so big if taken seriously with a little foresight and planning. That planning includes "putting some away for a rainy day". One such rainy day has been snidely marketed as an insolvable deluge of baby boomers, one for which we should throw away our ratty old umbrellas.
Just so happens, financial and medical umbrellas are a social morality to which most Americans subscribe.
We know that investment creates opportunity (debt for education? good; debt for a new car? not-so-good); the question is who or what is being invested in through tax cuts and deficits? Our children? Our infrastructure? Our technologies? Our common future? It doesn't look to be so....
It may be our money, Neil, but it's also our country; the conversation should be about our common priorities. It's time we realize "[Our] More Perfect Union", despite the naysayers....
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
57 Channels (And Nothin' On)
The consolidation of mass media (radio, tv, print) companies has passed other points of no return, but another important limit may be about to be unrestrained.
A rule change under closed-door consideration by the Federal Communications Commission due to an District Appeals Court ruling in 2002, is to be voted on June 2. The changes will allow for even more cross-ownership of the media most of us depend upon to be unbiased and fair.
Other interesting and pertinent figures abound..., as well as cogent analyses of the current consolidation path.
For analogy, it's the very small (but important) difference between having McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/KFC and Subway owning on average 9 of 10 instead of 6 out of every 10 restaurants in town: no matter the a la carte spinach salads, french bread pizza and curly fries, this would not be considered an acceptable diversity in food (note: I am sure that for many small cities in America, this is likely already the case).
"If voting and civic participation is the Water of Democracy(tm), then speech and media are the Bread"...and we don't need fewer Major Media Marie Antoinettes telling us to eat cake if they run all the bakeries (...ok, you can chuckle, if you'd like, at my stretching the analogy,....but you get the point).
Howard Dean is today urging a stop to the rule change and proposes public intervention on behalf of redirecting the F.C.C's public stewardship of our media commons.
Monday, May 26, 2003
I've seen this around the web before, but I think it's fun to check one's relative political rating on a two axis graph - (disclosure: I rated Economic Left/Right: -3.62; Authoritarian/Libertarian: -5.54)
Wherever There is Fear
...there is opportunity. This cuts both ways:
I hear about SARS; I buy a knock-off Gucci face mask; someone makes a mint; I never shake hands with anyone. Again.
Or, I hear about the latest Orange alert; I buy plastic, duct tape and enough inedible canned goods to last me through two winters; someone else's sales increased; I sit watching the CNN ticker bring more bad news. Again.
On the other hand....
I hear about SARS; I read about the need for public health systems; I talk to my medical friends; I write my congress-people; I push my local government to drive improvements; I sit and write the software that can interface and improve public health reporting; maybe (not so likely in this sector) I make a mint, but more likely I leave things better than when I started.
Or, I hear about the latest Orange alert; I read about people not leaving their houses for food or medicine for fear of an attack; I volunteer to educate my community on the real risks and how to handle them, something akin to backcountry or glacier preparations for skiing or hiking; I write my congresspeople; I push my local government to drive improvement in all disaster planning, including natural disasters; I invent a nifty little recyclable high-end survival pack that I sell on-line; again, maybe I make a mint, but it's not just about the dollars.
We Americans are a resourceful bunch, but altogether far too skittish these days. We are in need of reaching out to ideas and people who can make "Common Good and Common Sense for our Common Kind".
Remember: there is opportunity....Everywhere.
Sunday, May 25, 2003
Voting Paper Trails
Much has been said since Florida 2000 about ensuring that all voters are able to exercise their voting rights with no uncertainty as to their choice of candidates. Between voter purges, hanging chads, immense waiting lines, dirty tricks and the like, it's hard to say we're much closer to making this a reality.
Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey now enters the fray to push for quality assurance in electronic voting, something that many technology experts have been shouting for in their localities' rush to improve voting systems (thanks, Jon).
If we have enough money to cut taxes and rebuild Iraq, we should be ashamed we have not yet ensured that our national voting methods are above reproach. This should be a corner facet of our nation's Democratic Morality....Some others are taking this issue very seriously