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Meditations - ta eis heauton

Location: Austin, Texas, United States

I'm a software engineer / partner working for a young company in Austin, Texas, USA. I spend most of my free time hanging out with friends and family, eating out, and partying in the Warehouse District. I should spend more time working on my house....

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Had Enough? Vote Democratic!

I totally agree with the Tim Roemer op-ed in the NY Times today.
AMERICANS have clearly had enough of the Bush administration's record: 7 in 10 say the nation is headed in the wrong direction. But with the 2006 Congressional elections fast approaching, Democrats must not get so irrationally exuberant that they lapse into old, bad habits.


In 1946, Karl Frost, an advertising executive, suggested a simple slogan to the Massachusetts Republican Committee: "Had Enough? Vote Republican!" Frost recognized that these simple words could unite his national party and blame its opponents, who controlled Congress, for causing or failing to solve the many problems facing the country, including meat shortages, economic difficulties and labor unrest. The strategy worked: in 1946, both houses of Congress flipped.

Sixty years later, Democrats would be smart to turn Karl Frost's slogan on Karl Rove's strategy.

"Had Enough? Vote Democratic!" is a slogan that spotlights the many mistakes in Iraq, the mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina and the mangling of fiscal responsibility with "bridges to nowhere."...


"Had Enough?" also pre-empts Democrats' worst habits. Too often we've made campaigns complicated and policy-heavy. We love to unveil 40-page position papers and wonky diagrams. "Had Enough?" clears a broad path through such minutiae. "Public sentiment is everything," Abraham Lincoln said 150 years ago. "With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed."

Karl Frost's simple words can serve as the cavalry charge to help win the coming electoral battles — something Democrats are in an incredibly strong position to do. But make no mistake: new ideas matter. Democrats will also need the artillery of a disciplined, focused set of core proposals to complement their criticism of Republican excesses.

As we head into the midterm elections, Democrats should finally understand, as Lincoln and Frost did before, that you must win the majority before you can make public policy.

Where do I get my t-shirt and bumper sticker?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Futurist blogging

Futurist David Houle has a new blog Evolution Shift and has some interesting preditions out there for all of us to pick through. One of his most recent "Remember When Gas Was Cheap" is an interesting look at the world from the year 2009 discussing the effects of increased oil and gas prices on the economy and politics. As I mention in my comment to the post I generally think most of the predictions for the next year are pretty accurate based on what we know at this point, but I think he gets a bit unrealistic starting in April 2007.

April 2007 Congress overwhelmingly passed an energy bill that had several key components: a gasoline tax that started at $.25 a gallon, increasing to a $1.00 over four years, new stringent guidelines on average mpg for all automotive manufacturing companies, and investment tax credits for practically any type of alternative energy ideas and companies. At the last minute, the $2.500 surcharge on all SUVs and non-commercial use pick-up trucks were taken out of the bill, as GM said that it would have no recourse but to enter bankruptcy and immediately lay-off 50,000 workers, and few politicians had stomach for the economic impact of that probability. So many Republicans, getting the message from the fall elections, voted for these bills that it was clear that a Bush veto would be easily overridden.

I just don't think the country will have moved that far politically in a year. Not without a major oil shock (like prices shooting to over $125 a barrel, gas at say $5-$6/gallon for at least a few weeks).

I would actually like to see some of his preditions come to pass since I think in the long run they would be good for the country and the planet. I just don't think they can happen with out a significant "shock" like event. A 9-11 for energy policy. Anything less will just be seen as the something political leaders shouldn't expend effort on when the results will be so hard on the economy.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bush leaking Classified information for political purposes

Articles yesterday and today in the NY Times tell us that President Bush approved the leaking of classified information to reporters for political purposes. I realize that according to executive orders the President can declassify anything he wants, but the timeline is the problem here. If I understand it correctly the President said it was ok to leak the information around July 8th, ten days before the document was officially declassified. Not to mention the fact that the only logic behind the declassification was political.

Maybe I am too much of a freedom of information fan, but it seems to me that there are only two reasonable states that a government document should be in, publically available or classified and only available to those with the appropriate authorization. In my opionion all documents should be assumed public and should have to be proven to need classification. Even at that point I feel like only the portions of the document that relate to national security (or other confidentiality requirements) should be excised and the rest should continue to be public. I will certainly grant that this would be a complex process, but it would put the situation in the right perspective. Any document produced by the goverment was produced using my tax dollars and was made by people either elected by or appointed to serve me. I should have access to their work.

Update: Apparently the judge in the Moussaoui case has similiar feelings about classified documents.