Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Six For ’06
Via Boortz: Democrats want to do the “Contract With America” thing, which I find kind of interesting. I mean, was CWA a success or was it a failure? Can you say it was both, and still be intellectually honest about it? I suppose you could if you drag the concept of time into the equation, since Republicans did use CWA to kick Democrat ass to hell-and-gone, but the staying-power of the platform wilted after awhile. Well, the strategy of the Democrats doesn’t call for any staying-power at all right now. Just the ass-kicking all by itself would be most welcome; ass groping would be most welcome. They’re so far back, they can’t even see the ass they’re supposed to do something to. People, regardless of how much Democrats ridicule them for being concerned about it, want to know about the terrorists. People have figured out “George Bush hasn’t found Osama bin Laden” is not a plan. They understand the Democrat plan to deal with Islamo-fascism, is to bully and coerce and intimidate the American voter into not thinking about it. We simply don’t trust them.
George W. Bush has screwed up a lot of stuff in the war against the Islamo-weirdos. It’s safe to say he’s gotten a lot more wrong than he’s gotten right. And yet his position in this whole conflict, is one of Marshall Wil Kane, marching through the streets of Hadleyville, while the cowardly citizens peep out at him from between the shutters. There is an element of trust involved in that, that endures unscratched throughout a devastating onslaught involving a smorgasbord of other topics, both related and unrelated; people don’t forget the tall, proud, quiet lawman marching through the streets. They understand a plan begins with this, or else, said plan has no shot at success. They don’t forget it. Even if they outwardly disagree with him, they respect him for his sense of principle in standing up for his beliefs.
It’s the quality we are supposed to think is possessed by Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn and Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan. They don’t really have it. President Bush does. He had no more to gain from going into Iraq, than Marshall Kane had to gain from facing off against Frank Miller. Cindy Sheehan had everything in the world to gain, from seeking the publicity she’s been seeking. Hollywood has everything in the world to gain, in the form of overseas ticket sales, with their pissy and petulant attitude toward their mother country. He’s got principles, the Hollywood/Sheehan crowd is missing theirs.
A lot of people pretend otherwise; a lot of people pretend the opposite. Deep down, everybody knows it to be true.
That is what Democrats need to fight if they want to win.
And so here they come with their version of CWA. Back in the day, they were opposed to the very concept. They called it “Contract On America.” So if you believe everything they tell you, but you happen to have a halfway-decent memory, I guess the Democrats want to order a hit on you. Whatever.
The version history on this critter is kind of interesting.
July 27, CNN: This is the version linked by Boortz. In this article CNN is a little to quick to say “Democrats have been pushing [the items] in various ways all year.” Well, I guess the “various ways” part might make it proper. But notice the first bullet. From whence did that come? It looks kinda new to me…I mean, when you compare it to things the Democrats have been pushing.
The document, which carries the title “A New Direction for America,” is a brief compilation of six themes Democrats have been pushing in various ways all year:
National security Jobs and wages Energy independence Affordable health care Retirement security College access for all
Got that? Six tidbits, like six slices out of a small pizza. Short and sweet. You could commit them to memory.
Okay, let’s see how this thing has evolved over the last couple of months.
Now, House Democrats web site: On the website of the House minority party, they’ve created a whole separate section for complaining about the status quo, so they can concentrate on what they’ll do to fix things. Smart move. Even smarter, the complaining is done last. Another good move. Using this intelligent structuring approach, the Democrats have managed to squeak out eleven words before falling back on the name “Bush.” Hey, that says something about attitude right there. Something good? Up to the voters to decide, I guess. Anyway, this matches what’s been listed in the CNN story…except the order is a little different. It seems in summarizing, someone at CNN, or someone responsible for providing it to them, took the college thing and moved it to the bottom. In this one, it’s Bullet #3.
REAL SECURITY AT HOME AND OVERSEAS
Reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed Bush Administration policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world. Require the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country and begin the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq in 2006. Double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. Rebuild a state-of-the-art military capable of projecting power wherever necessary. Implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America�s borders and ports and screen 100% of containers. Fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders. Honor our commitments to our veterans.
BETTER AMERICAN JOBS – BETTER PAY
Prohibit the Congressional pay raise until the nation�s minimum wage is raised. End tax giveaways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas.
COLLEGE ACCESS FOR ALL
Make college tuition deductible from taxes, permanently. Cut student loan interest rates. Expand Pell Grants.
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – LOWER GAS PRICES
Free America from dependence on foreign oil and create a cleaner environment with initiatives for energy-efficient technologies and domestic alternatives such as biofuels. End tax giveaways to Big Oil companies and enact tough laws to stop price gouging.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE – LIFE-SAVING SCIENCE
Fix the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices and ending wasteful giveaways to drug companies and HMOs. Promote stem cell research that offers real hope to millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.
RETIREMENT SECURITY AND DIGNITY
Stop any plan to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part. Enact real pension reform to protect employees� financial security from CEO corruption and mismanagement, including abuse of the bankruptcy laws. Expand personal savings incentives.
June 16, Newswire: In a press release, Democrats identify “A NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA”. The sequence is re-shuffled significantly between then and now, but what’s even more interesting is the language. Someone was put in a position to make key decisions about the use of words in the June 16 release, and whoever that someone was, had some very definite ideas about what to use. But they were overruled by whoever worded the ones above. The odd thing is, one would think the phrases were tested in front of focus groups between June and late July, but when you go over the details, it seems the older version has a better shot in front of the focus groups. Maybe they used more focus groups, and got different results. Maybe they found the language was a little too polished.
One other thing. No mention of national security. Zilch. Nada. In it’s place, is something that would be jettisoned somewhere along the way, “Require Fiscal Responsibility.” Obviously, someone felt their office had something to lose politically, if the official platform didn’t have fiscal responsibility. I’m going to guess whoever that someone was, had been doing a lot of bellyaching and kibitzing about all the expenditures President Bush has been approving. Maybe extending the olive branch to the Libertarians and small-government types, something the Democratic party as a whole has not been doing. Someone else, probably everybody else in the party, thought it would be politically expensive to leave “national security” out of things. The second of those two someones came out on top. Well, that was probably a good thing for them.
But CNN says Democrats have been pounding these points all year. Perhaps. But it’s obvious they need to define some priorities.
Democrats offer a New Direction, putting the common good of all Americans first for a change and will:
Make Health Care More Affordable: Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMO’s, eliminating wasteful subsidies, negotiating lower drug prices and ensuring the program works for all seniors; invest in stem cell and other medical research.
Lower Gas Prices and Achieve Energy Independence: Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.
Help Working Families: Raise the minimum wage; repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas.
Cut College Costs: Make college tuition deductible from taxes; expand Pell grants and slash student loan costs.
Ensure Dignified Retirement: Prevent the privatization of Social Security; expand savings incentives; and ensure pension fairness.
Require Fiscal Responsibility: Restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.
I got an idea why that last one got cut: They were afraid of being found out. The language makes it sound like the budget is going to get cut, until outgo is in harmony with income. I think it would be wonderful for the country if that was actually done, but Democrats have never stood for it. How embarrassing it would be to engage in a debate about such a thing, as a Democrat, and then have your opponent inquire as to what is in your personal history that has something to do with budget discipline! Obviously, one Democrat will handle it better than another Democrat, and perhaps somewhere there is a Democrat who even has the glimmerings of a decent answer. But for the party as a whole, it’s a poison pill. Out it goes. Another good move.
June 16, Press Release from Nancy Pelosi: The release from the House Minority Leader offers “A NEW DIRECTION FOR AMERICA”. It lists the bullets above, with identical wording, a little bit more concise on the detail. This is the first mention of the phrase that always sent Ayn Rand into an apoplectic fit, and for good reason.
Democrats offer a New Direction, putting the common good of all Americans first for a change and will:[emphasis mine]
Great. Any converts who once-upon-a-time read Atlas Shrugged, and eventually “came around” to voting Democrat, have just been written off. I know some former objectivist/libertarian types who became “unselfish” and started voting for Democrats. I notice this thing about all evils in public policy, coming from a misguided sense of “serving the common good” — that never goes away. The converted libertarian/objectivist holds his nose, on this particular issue, before pulling the lever for a liberal. Once you see the light there, you never forget it. It’s an empty platitude that leads to great harm. The party would be wise to drop that, I think.
But what do I know.
June 10, Fired Up!: Now things get really interesting. A mere six days before the press release above, Widow Jean Carnahan, who won her congressional seat in her dead husband’s name, reported on her receipt of the platform.
I was surprised, pleased, encouraged…to read that Democrats will be coming up with a Contract-for-America-style agenda very soon. ABC correspondent Jake Tapper attributes the intel to Teddy Davis of their political unit.
The new proposal entitled “Six in ’06” is supposedly a pithy six-point program around which Democrats could rally�and perhaps even commit to memory — though, for the moment, there appears to be only five points, the sixth still being in limbo.
So here�s the Democratic version of Newt�s Manual for Reclaiming the Congress:
1. A minimum wage increase;
2. Repeal of portion of the Medicare prescription drug law that prevents Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices;
3. Implement all of the 9/11 Commission�s homeland security recommendations.
4. Reinstate pay-as-you-go-budget rules;
5. Make college more affordable, and
6. (The sixth plank, yet to be determined) [emphasis mine]
Now ain’t that a danged deal? You have more-or-less the same areas of concern that you will have six days from now; but look at the way things are worded. We don’t “help working families,” what we do, is specifically raise the minimum wage. Later, the raise in the minimum wage will be demoted to being just one dealy-bob within a whole package of stuff for the working families. There’s nothing, as of yet, about freezing congressional pay. There’s nothing about the childishly acrimonious attitude against businesses, nothing about ending “tax giveaways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas.”
National security is gone. Nobody’s even thought of it yet. But you knew that, right. Maybe it metastasized from this thingy about implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
The budget discipline is worded as “reinstate pay-as-you-go-budget rules,” which within a few weeks is going to be history. Speaking as someone who wants the Democratic party to go the way of the Dodo Bird, I couldn’t be more pleased. President Bush gave them a real shot at victory here, and they chose to canx it.
The dignified retirement is gone. Ditto for energy independence. Not sure about healthcare; I think it’s the Medicare thing.
You know what I think is really interesting, is the college deal. It is the Alan Alda within this thing, the one item staying unchanged from beginning to end.
I have spent a lifetime competing for jobs against the college-educated folks. Not intentionally, just being put in that position. I have found them to be incredibly insecure. I can feel them giving off the “vibe,” especially in setting where an orthodox education isn’t that important, but “thinking outside the box” is a little moreso. They would just as soon be working in a group with nothing but college-educated folks, lots of bright people but not too bright. What they want, is a guarantee that nobody else is going to come up with a good idea unless they’ve thought of it first.
Just something I’ve noticed throughout the years. And here comes a major political party, being given all this not-quite-merited fanfare from CNN about the agenda items it’s been pounding all year. In reality, the party has been grasping at straws just trying to get a consistent list going, across six or seven weeks.
But the one thing that stays carved in granite, is they’re going to help build a nice little ball-bearing society wherein all “working families” have received their lock-step orthodox how-to-think-like-everybody-else education, not through age eighteen, but through age twenty-two or higher. At first, it’s a platitude about making it more “affordable” — as in, more affordable to those who are truly dedicated and really want to go, like it has something to do with a career choice. Nowadays, they’ve dropped the act. It is worded as “COLLEGE ACCESS FOR ALL.”
Someone is pushing for that, and pushing hard. It’s not news, not to me anyway, that oftentimes a college education has very little to do with being creative — a lot of the time, it is antithetical to it. Not to pick on all the college-educated folk, some of them are pretty creative. But they didn’t pick it up in college.
Nor is it news, to anyone paying attention, that the Democratic party carries an inherent hostility to individual thinking. It gets in the way too much. Democrats say “Halliburton!,” and they don’t want to waste time sitting around jawing about, y’know, what the point they’re trying to make might be. They just like the buzz words.
Having dealt with the jealousy and frustration of college-folk who spent all that money out of Dad’s war-chest, and gosh darn it why am I in this crappy little telemarketing job after all that
booze hard work I did, and all those kegger classes I went to…having dealt with that attitude for a couple decades now, I find that interesting.
What’s a “working family,” anyway?
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