I just finished pounding out 8,200 words about Gerrymandering and the evisceration of American voting power. Along the way I have depressed and scared myself. I never realized all the implications before. In fact, I am not at all sure that I do yet.
I'll test the essay here, asking you all to offer citations or examples items you think might help... or else corrections via CITOKATE.
No word from Worlchanging. Maybe I got blackballed.
Meanwhile, here's an item or two you may find interesting.
Less Political, But Historically Interesting (From the Progressive Policy Institute).
Political science classics come in two types: short aphoristic books like those by Machiavelli and Han Fei-tzu, and heavy encyclopedic tomes like those of Aristotle and his rough contemporary Kautilya, said to have served as Prime Minister for Chandragupta Maurya sometime around the year 300 B.C. Kautilya's Arthasastra exceeds 800 pages, and covers everything from the eight mental qualities of a good king to the most effective poisoning techniques and tips on elephant breeding. As a political thinker Kautilya is a "realist;" economically he seems to be on the liberal side. Ranking trade the third-most important element of state policy, Kautilya recommends:
1. Road-building and maintenance, and protection of trade routes from (in order of likelihood?) potential threats from courtiers, state officials, thieves, frontier guards, and herds of cattle.
2. Export promotion, but with national-security exceptions for grain, cattle, gems, and weapons.
3. Import promotion, for example through exemption from taxes for caravan managers -- unless the goods in question are harmful or totally useless. Kautilya recommends a 17 percent tariff on salt, but duty-free status for products intended for wedding celebrations and religious events.
4. Expert-quality officials, in particular a "Trade Minister" able to advise merchants on the profitability of export ventures.
I find this both inspiring and depressing. Depressing because it proves that wisdom can be lost and ignored... as may happen to all our bright hopes for the Modernist Era.
Also... a predictive hit for THE POSTMAN?
(Submitted by Steve McClure. From http://www.nola.com/newslogs/opinion/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_opinion/archives/2005_09_27.html)
JARVIS DEBERRY: There is honor among thieves (NoLa Times-Picayune)
“Not the New Orleans Police Department. Not the United States Army. Not the U.S. Coast Guard or the Louisiana National Guard. Not the New Orleans Fire Department or the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. And certainly not the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“When Vivian Buckner, her mother Jessie Richardson and dozens of others huddled at the Lafon Nursing Home needed relief after Hurricane Katrina, the items they needed to sustain them arrived on a mail carrier's truck. But the occupants were not affiliated with the United States Postal Service.
“They were thieves. They had stolen the postal truck and were using it not only to deliver needed supplies to people along Chef Menteur Highway, but they were also offering rides to the Superdome for those who wanted to go.
“"First when they came we were really afraid of them," Buckner told me. "We knew the Post Office wasn't open."
“But the people on the truck didn't menace them. Instead, "They said, 'Y'all need anything?' Buckner said she and the rest of the ad hoc staff could look through the open door and see what was on the truck: water, juice, potato chips, cookies, peanut butter and crackers. So that became the list of things they needed.
“The thieves promised to return, and Wednesday they brought back baby wipes and adult diapers, night gowns and Gatorade. They also brought back chicken and red beans and rice they'd taken from Popeye's. Buckner told me she didn't know how or when the food had been cooked, but the residents hadn't eaten since Monday, so they had no choice but to serve it. "Everybody ate it," she told me, "and nobody got sick."
The thieves were also good stewards of their loot. "They told us, 'Take whatever you need, but you gotta give us back the rest.' "
“She had used the word "they" so often, that I finally asked Buckner how many men were on the truck. "They weren't men," she corrected me. "They were boys."
Even during Katrina, when the professionals hammered every citizen effort.... citizen power stands up.
-- finally, everybody stop sending me clippings about supposed navy dolphins equipped with stun guns who purportedly escaped pens at a base near NoLa. even if this likely urban legend is true I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE!
Anyway, they are probably ATLANTIC bottlenose dolphins. I can't even speak Atlantic.....