Our recent discussions have whirled around the general notion of how to put moderation, modernism, negotiation and pragmatism to the fore in the coming political season. I am starting to fear that the Democrats, smelling blood, may turn to partisan vengefulness (well deserved, but immature) instead of changing this vicious cycle when they get a chance.
One example I cited before was my suggestion to create the office of Inspector General of the United Stated (IGUS). Something that people like us would call a no-brainer.
Other suggestions are more subtle. The one at Honoring the Losing Majority may make you scratch your head for a bit. But it would let one candidate take the high ground simply by suggesting it. And imagine how this presidency might seem different if its present occupant lived by this principle.
While I’m at it, here are two other suggestions that never even got published as op-eds. (And believe me, I tried.)
Why Candidates Should Stipulate
The Electoral College: A Surprisingly Easy Fix
The last of these will segue into the topic I’ve long promised... my suggestion of what to do about the worst crime committed against us by the professional political caste. Democrats are almost as guilty as republicans in the egregious and foul sin of gerrymandering most americans out of any chance to vote meaningfully for Congress. It is time for citizen-amateurs to rebel.
more misc items:
Take a look at the New America Foundation. The Board is quite eclectic, comprised of onetime liberals (James Fallows) and conservatives (Francis Fukayama) who have stepped back from the brink of their respective cliffs, so to speak. Are they trying to accomplish what I recommended last year, at http://www.davidbrin.com/alliance.html ? Is this a potential locus for the Enlightenment to fight back against left-right romanticism. Too soon to tell.
(Seeing Fukayama’s name here makes me wonder. Is he possibly less of a shill and court intellectual for the neocon-kleptocrat apocalypt troika than we thought? Could it be that, like Colin Powell, he is smart enough to notice some of what he has been a part of? Perhaps even enough to (tepidly) start to stand up?)
Here’s more from the philanthropy round table. Nextbillion.net is a project to eliminate poverty through directed free enterprise. ("Eradicating Poverty Through Profit: Making Business Work for the Poor.") http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003492.html#more
And here, startling and unmentioned in the regular press: The World Rushes to Our Aid! (see: the Progressive Policy Institute.) We are recipients. This is bittersweet. Americans like to think we stand alone, generous, but never needy.
* Little Rock Air Force Base, the center for relief flights, had handled 32 international flights by last Monday -- from Belgium, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Italy, NATO, Spain, Russia, Tunisia, Thailand, and the United Kingdom -- with 1,225 tons of medicine, food, blankets, tents, and other goods. (Kind afterthought: relief donations are exempt from tariffs.)
* Financial help: Comes from countries that are aren't always flush with cash as well as wealthier ones. Afghanistan's $100,000 check has already been cashed, as has the $10,000 check from the Marshall Islands, the $25,000 from the Maldives, the $10,000 from Papua New Guinea, and the $100,000 from Kenya. Also on the way are $300,000 from Albania, $1million from Bangladesh, $6,000 from Bosnia, and donations from (among others) Cambodia, Djibouti, Iraq, Liberia, Mauritania, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Romania, Samoa, Sao Tome, Sri Lanka, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Yemen.
And how about some apolitical science!
India's Smoking Gun: Dino-killing Eruptions -- (Science Daily -- August 31, 2005)
New discoveries about the timing and speed of gigantic, 6500-foot (2-km) thick lava flows that poured out of the ground 65 million years ago could shift the blame for killing the dinosaurs. The Deccan Traps of India are one of Earth's largest lava flows ever, with the potential of having wreaked havoc with the climate of the Earth.
Is brain Still Developing? -- (Newsday -- September 12, 2005)
http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-hsbrai0909,0,6946681.story?coll=ny-health-big-pix - Scientists have discovered a gene variation, perhaps involved in brain size, that showed up only 6,000 years ago -- a mere blink of the eye in evolutionary time. This discovery, along with another brain gene that arrived about 37,000 years ago, is providing scientists with strong evidence that the human brain is still a work in process.
Finally, do keep your eyes open for news & pix from the Cassini Probe! While modernism is on the ropes, we are still accomplishing bona fide miracles, on a scale to match (almost) the Voyager Mission. It is truly biblical... “naming the beasts” as I will refer later (in theology). Water vents on Enceladus. Mehtane rain and rivers and seas on Titan. Dang. What irony to be turning inward at a time like this.