Sunday, May 27, 2012

What's in a name?

I'm generally opposed to privatizing government services because companies looking out for their bottom line have less incentive to protect the public's interest and welfare.

Nevertheless, this does not bother me:

The possibilities abound, Cook County officials say, as they look to sell everything from naming rights to advertising at most of its real estate holdings — from the hospitals to forest preserve paths and nature centers to even public areas of the city and suburban courthouses as a means of generating new revenue streams.
This is the privatization of bullshit, not essential services. If Portillos wants to throw a few coins in Toni Preckwinkle's direction to name a dirt path the "Italian Beef walkway," who cares?

Privatization is troublesome because it often entails corporations getting the upper hand on government (and the citizenry by extension). The reverse seems to be happening here. The County is offering up something inconsequential and pocketing the cash. This is privatization I can live with.

Hey Mancari family, I have some space on my refrigerator, would you like to buy an ad?

Monday, May 14, 2012

He Went Galt!

Renouncing your American citizenship is apparently the most patriotic thing you can ever do. As long as you're protesting taxes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Long time Virginia resident Richard Lugar is about to lose his GOP primary race for an unimaginable 7th term as Indiana's U.S. Senator.

Certainly, the usual suspects will howl and wail about the unwashed rabble chasing Very Serious People out of government. If the Lieberman, Bennet, Specter, and Murkowski overthrows are any indication, these "centrist" pundits will probably say something along the lines of  "the voters were mean to Dick Lugar by voting him out of office."

While I'm no teabagging Mourdock supporter, I find a sense of electoral entitlement to be one of the most detestable traits a public figure can exhibit. Senate seats are not life peerages in the House of Lords. Senators are democratically accountable, much as "centrists" might hate that. Lugar is not entitled to the seat just because he's kept it warm since 1977. And he's certainly not entitled to it just because elite newspaper columnists fawn over him.

Political parties are collective organizations of people who share common values and want to see specific policies enacted that advance those values. It's entirely reasonable for Indiana's Republicans to not want as their standard bearer a Virginia resident who occasionally sides with the president. I disagree with their underlying values and policy objectives, but I think it's entirely appropriate for them to nominate someone who more closely shares their beliefs.

Lugar is essentially complaining that his party does not want him anymore. Unfortunately for Lugar, voters get to decide who represents them.

I don't like the prospect of another teabagger in the Senate. I like even less having to listen to pundits cry about mean voters robbing Dick Lugar of a Senate Seat as if it was Lugar's personal property.  To make such an assertion is to basically admit one hates democracy and prefers aristocracy. Though, considering the crowd I'm talking about, this is entirely possible.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I'll make a prediction right now that absent significant economic improvement, Barack Obama will not win reelection.

Four years ago during the primaries I had this to say while discussing the Democratic Party's general spinelessness:
In this context, I find it difficult to get excited about Barack Obama’s campaign to end division and partisanship in Washington. At best, I see him trying to bring Republicans around to Democratic ideas, but failing miserably in the face of GOP opposition because he fundamentally misunderstands the political environment we live in. At worst, I see him adopting Republican proposals and talking points, and brow beating Democrats into compromise yet again
This is basically what happened. Obama's bragging that he passed the healthcare plan of his presumptive opponent, and he's still hated by the intransigent opposition. They are out to burn the house down while he keeps trying to reason with them.

The dynamic is set in stone and there's no changing now even if they want to. When you boil it down, Obama has made himself weak, and he will pay for it. A rising economy would likely lift all boats, but absent that, Democrats need to realize what they're in for. They need to realize they've been far too passive over the last 12 years. When will they finally fight back?

Limited Options

With Britain dipping back into recession, the two main options for president seem wholly inadequate. Romney will enact brutal austerity, and Obama will enact slightly less brutal austerity. The choice isn't between drinking medicine or poison, the choice is between what dosage of poison to take.

The dynamics of the economic mess are frighteningly similar to what existed during the run up to the Iraq war. Evidence flies out the window, and the Very Serious People who were wrong about everything continue to guide discourse and kick the hippies. Time for grandma to eat cat food. Suck on that.