Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This Might Be How I Know We'll Be OK

Yeah they are dirty liberal hippies... But they encourage freedom, particularly in the drug war. And they know when to put on a suit and rock the anthem. Phish are of course entertainers first and foremost, but I think they help illustrate a point I've tried to make before; we need to recognize in this country the vast difference between enemies and opposition. We have become a country with two teams who hold the other team in a place of utmost disdain. I disagree with a great many things that people think, on any side of the political spectrum. But I wonder if we have to be enemies just because I'm right and everyone else is clearly wrong... The stakes seem very high these days and I think they will for a while, I'm sure that I will fight adamantly and with deep resolve in defense of what I believe is the right course. But I hope that I have the judgment to face opposing ideas not with bitterness and anger, but with the sincerest goal that at the end of the day we see better what it is we all want and how to move towards it. I am not a moral, ethical, or political relativist. I do not believe that all ideas share equal validity, but I do believe much more in the power and value of the converted than I do in vanquishing a foe. There's a fictional conversation between McCarthy and Einstein in a play I read once, McCarthy wants Einstein to testify against communism; "we need someone who had a choice between frankfurters and hot dogs, and chose hot dogs".

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unsatisfied With First Place

California, worried that it's role as King of the Tax States might be in danger, has decided to raise taxes. Yes the people of California pay the highest income and state sales taxes in the country, and California spends more money per-capita than any other state, so of course why not make those taxes higher.

There's absolutely no way that years of tax and spend ideology helped put California in the mess that it's in now. No there's no way that taxing business and their customers to death has lead to, wait for it, a revenue problem. Nooooo.

I guess we all know what Abel Maldonado is doing for the rest of his career. Ha Ha Ha Career.

EPA and CO2

This is no surprise. When I worked in Congress in 2000 I had the privilege of sitting in on some meetings where the concept of an EPA power grab through the regulation of carbon dioxide was discussed. This may seem new to a lot of people but it has been no secret in Washington for years that this would be a step towards greater government control. The point of regulating carbon dioxide as opposed to other chemicals is that while there has been significant hoopla about it in the press, it is produced by almost every chemical or mechanical process in the world. If the EPA has the power to set the limits for regulation of C02 produciton then they have the power to regulate anything. Of course they would only use that power when the fate of the world was at stake... Right?

Saturday, February 07, 2009


The L.A. Times reports this week that under the President's recent Executive Orders he has maintained the practice of rendition. Rendition as you recall is the transfer of prisoners to other nations without a Judicial over site. Basically kidnapping people and handing them over to allies that have harsher torture techniques than we do. While there are advocates of rendition, most of them are not on the left, and Obama specifically campaigned against this kind of action. It would seem change isn't quite what we had hoped.

Print the Money

This is a perfect analysis of how the Obama administration's plan to spend for growth is ludicrous. But hey I could be wrong. I do have a very nice printer.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had surgery today to remove a cancerous tumor from her pancreas. This of course piques the interest of those either worried or excited about the Obama administration's first opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. Though doctors say this tumor was caught early and though Ginsberg vows to be back at work when the court re-convenes, there stands a good chance that it wont be for very long. I would caution against panic on either side of the aisle as the current administration would likely replace Justice Ginsberg with someone of similar ideology and political leaning. What I am more concerned about and what should be on the forefront of our national concern is not the ideological position of an Obama appointee. Rather in light of the trouble this young president is having putting together a cabinet, we have to be concerned that a nominee from this President is qualified at all. I can close my eyes and imagine a Senate confirmation hearing in which we discover that a potential Supreme never paid taxes, or perhaps worked as a lobbyist. The trouble with the possibility of an open slot so early in his Presidency (as is the likelihood with pancreatic cancer survival rates being as low as they are) is that this president has had and unprecedentedly small amount of time to learn how to select and vet people for important jobs. He and his team simply cannot get their shit together. This is a dangerous point when we talk about Secretary level posts, but it could be absolutely catastrophic in a lifetime judicial appointment.

Say what you will about Ginsberg, it would be difficult if not impossible to claim that she hasn't at least been qualified and above board. She may disagree on important constitutional matters with you, but it would be far worse if she disagreed with you and was corrupt, unable to understand tax law, or in the pocket of a special interest. Lest we too soon forget the Harriet Miers debacle with the previous President.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

37 Percent

37 Percent may seem like a particularly high popularity to the members of the United States Congress as they haven't seen numbers like that since, well since the Republicans ran things. But it should be noted that once again the public thinks overwhelmingly that Congress is trying it's damnedest to screw us like a Dupont Circle Whore. Why do they keep supporting this stuff? Right, because we let them.

Call your Senator

Steven Chu

New Energy Secretary Steven Chu is making some bold statements about global warming and it's effects on agriculture. Which is odd, since he is neither a climatologist, nor an agriculture specialist. He is, in fact, a physicist. Which as a physicist friend of mine would probably point out, makes him an expert in a great many things, but not climate or agriculture. The fact that he has a Nobel Prize in physics will likely lend credence in the public eye to his wild assertions but people need to realize that in this area he is not specifically qualified in this area. He is, however, an accomplished molecular physicist, a notable and innovative researcher in atomic physics, and an outspoken advocate for nuclear energy. As such he is a qualified administrator when it comes to the development of energy sources.

I wonder if it's not possible to advocate for better, cleaner energy without stepping outside your discipline and crying that the sky is falling?

I'm thinking of starting a campaign showing the importance of paying bloggers tons of money in order to stave off global warming. I think I can make the point that I use significantly less fossil fuels sitting at my computer than I do driving all over town to my regular job. If we do find a way to pay me way more money (which at this point would be any at all) then the whole world is going to sink into the ocean, and then the apes take over. We all know how that goes and trust me none of us wants to time warp forward into that world and end up on a beach with the remnants of the statue of liberty.

Comment with an email address for information on how to send me money.

So far

So Obama has backed off of his pledge to require the 'buy American clause' in government deals. He's lost at least three of four embattled nominees to various sundry behaviors (mostly tax evasion which incidentally is how they got Capone). He's lost a Kennedy senate appointment (which there is only a mild amount of evidence was his goal anyway). He's failed miserably in gaining the support of the Republicans in congress for his bailout plan. And as of this morning the American public (54 percent) think that the bailout sucks. He's backed away from his pledge to exclude lobbyists from his administration. He's completely ignored an ice storm that's killing a good many people. And according to interviews he, so far, is struck most by the fact that "Every decision you make counts"

CHANGE? Really?... Really?