Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Well I Do

Some clear writing from Captain Erickson:
It may come as a surprise to many of you, but RedState writers do not get paid. Well, I do, and I forever remain guilty that I’m the guy getting the check living off the fine writing of others in this community.
I love how he blames "the Obama economy" for an associate not having a job for a while.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last Thing

Tap, tap. Hello?

What with my other life blogs goin', I've been neglecting this one.

But fear not, there are lots of things to quote and point out on the internet: John Cole:
I’m going to make the bold declaration that the last god damned thing we need in this country is “youth model” shotguns.
Maybe I need a Tumblr.

Sunday, March 28, 2010



I love her.

Found here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rembering Granny D

Doris Haddock, aka Granny D, passed away yesterday after a full life. At the age of 89 ten years ago she walked 3200 miles across the country in support of campaign finance controls. Let's remember her with a few quotes.

After the recent SCOTUS ruling on corporate speech
“The Supreme Court, representing a radical fringe that does not share the despair of the grand majority of Americans, has today made things considerably worse by undoing the modest reforms I walked for and went to jail for and that tens of thousand of other Americans fought very hard to see enacted. The Supreme Court now opens the floodgates to usher in a new tsunami of corporate money into politics.”
Court statement in 2000 after being arrested reading the Declaration of Independence
Your Honor, it is now your turn to be a part of this arrest. If your concern is that we might have interfered with the visitor's right to a meaningful tour of their Capitol, I tell you that we helped them have a more meaningful one. If your concern is that we might have been blocking the halls of our government, let me assure you that we stood to one side of the Rotunda where we would not be in anyone's way. But I inform you that the halls are indeed blocked over there.
In a BBC interview during her walk across the country
This country has become one in which, in order to run for office, a poor man has to sell his soul, or he has to be a multi-millionaire. That's not democracy
From a Democracy Now! interview with Amy Goodman when she ran for senate against Judd Gregg in 2004 (and got 34% of the vote!!)
My main interest is campaign finance reform, and until we get public funding in this country, we will be in the mess that we’re in today. There is no other way to save our democracy and no other way to keep it a democracy, except through public funding.

But I care about the fact that we are the only civilized nation in the world that doesn’t have national health. We are letting our schools go to pieces. On one side, you have a country club-type of school; on the other side, you have a place that our children are ashamed to go into. That’s not fair. We are supposed to be a fair nation. And we’re not being fair at all.
What an incredible woman. Hats off.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Political Capital" ... yawn.

As the health reform debate continues, the pundits are again throwing out a tired cliché. The left is saying that Obama squandered his "political capital" by not acting decisively on progressive issues. The right props up grassroots campaigns using corperate money and then says that Obama's has less "political capital" because his is further left than a few angry government skeptics.

Where the hell did this expression come from?

Well, Bush used it after the 2004 election to derscribe the strength of his mandate. "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style." he said after beating Kerry. But that was not the first time Bush used the term. As in 2004 by less than 2 percent in the popular vote
Etymologically, the word "capital" comes from the latin capitalis which means "of the head." In that sense, the political capital is the "seat of goverment." In another way, the political capital can be ascertained by an actual counting of heads, by means of an election or a census. This meaning is where the expressions "capital goods" and "capital gains" come from, because capital is the actual count of animal stock. Historically, "head" has also become synonymous with "life" thus giving way to such terms as "capital punishment".

What is surprising about how Bush entertains the idea is his emphasis on spending political capital. He probably likes the way it paints him as a CEO-presidentconnections within and: characteristics such trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperationcivil engagement, including decreased voter turnout, lower public meeting attendance, less involvement in political parties and social committees. social interaction and thus civic discussion about daily life. I, for one, am definitively guilty of bowling alone. They provide a roadmap for understanding how diversity and civics intertwine and perhaps help us understand a little better the ebb and flow of political engagement. A recent article by Thomas B. Edsall in the New Republic suggests that the Tea Party Movement is actually an example of an organization founded on some of the more negative characteristics of social capital such as protective exclusivity, distrust in institutions, and decreased altruism. Very interesting shit if you ask me.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Values of Military ≠ Values of Society as a Whole

In the United States, military voices are present in the national political debate. For issues of strategic importance, news shows continually invite military thinkers and generals to comment on the important decisions of the today. Should there be surge in Afghanistan? Should we continue to fund F-22 production despite the cost? We trust these people's judgment. No doubt it comforts us to see all the medals on General Patraeus' chest.

We listen to them because they embody the principals we hold dear. Military men are trustworthy. They are persistent, devoted, and honest. They are strong and reliable, efficient and motivated.

On the fancy Army recruitment site (, there is a list of important army values
  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage
All very impressive qualities. On the Navy site, I found a list of principles outlined by the current Deputy Secretary of Defense and previous Secretary of the Navy, Gordon R. England:
  1. Provide an environment for every person to excel
  2. Treat every person with dignity and respect — nobody is more important than anyone else
  3. Be forthright, honest and direct with every person and in every circumstance
  4. Improve effectiveness to gain efficiency
  5. Cherish your time and the time of others — it is not renewable
  6. Identify the critical problems that need solution for the organization to succeed
  7. Describe complex issues and problems simply so every person can understand
  8. Never stop learning — depth and breadth of knowledge are equally important
  9. Encourage constructive criticism
  10. Surround yourself with great people and delegate to them full authority and responsibility
  11. Make ethical standards more important than legal requirements
  12. Strive for team-based wins, not individual
  13. Emphasize capability — not organization
  14. Incorporate measures and metrics everywhere
  15. Concentrate on core functions and outsource all other
Again, very impressive qualities. Undoubtedly, these are some of the values that make our military the force which it is today.

Although grateful I am for the role the military has had in defending the freedoms we have in the country, every once and a while I am reminded that military has its own agenda which does not reflect the values of a democratic society. Back in December, a story emerged of a Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo in Iraq threatened to jail woman solders who have become pregnant and the men who impregnate them. The policy was not implemented but the fact that it was even discussed is absolutely ludicrous.

Of course, our men and women in the military give up rights that many of us citizens take for granted, but are these the values we hold dear in the rest of society. Can not another solution involving more sex education or more emphasis on the importance of duty be found? Seriously.