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mw
The City
Deficit Hawk, Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal, Reagan Democrat, Disgruntled Republican, small 'l' libertarian, Bad Golfer, Fan of Da Bears.
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With all due respect, voting for divided government is not as tricky you might think. Yes, it hypothetically can be tricky, it just never actually is. This year, the divided government vote looks pretty obvious, although it could hypothetically change between now and the election. It's unlikely, but it could happen. Net net - the GOP will hold the House, control of the Senate is a crap-shoot, therefore the divided government vote is to re-elect Barack Obama. If Obama is reelected, the government will stay divided regardless of what happens in the Senate. Anyway, I was happy to stumble across your blog again. Just wanted to let you know as a courtesy that I linked your post in my latest compilation of divided government posts - this my 51st edition. Interestingly enough, I also linked you in the third edition over five years ago. That post taught me the meaning of the word "heuristic". Welcome to the United Coalition of the Divided.
My hope is that is that the mind-numbing lack of judgment and commonsense demonstrated by Avalos trying to give our park away will automatically disqualify him at any level of ranking in any vote for any political office. It should. Where else in the world could a politician run for mayor on a platform of giving away 400 acres of incredibly valuable and beautiful coastal park land that contributes millions in revenue to the city and belongs to the people of that city? Sharp Park is a unique gem that belongs to the people of San Francisco. We choose to share our park with the entire Bay Area and the world. The 80-acre golf course was designed and built by Alister MacKenzie, the game's most important architect. The 400-acre park itself was landscaped by John McLaren, the godfather of San Francisco parks. The park was a gift to the city in 1917 and represents a historic legacy entrusted to the people of San Francisco. The park and golf course are important historic landmarks by any standard. This civic jewel of a park is a treasure that is our common San Francisco heritage and is a legacy for us to leave to future generations of San Franciscans. Unless some clueless politician manages to give it away.
I had to reread it several times to be sure I was not missing some satire or sarcasm. Budowski's post completed my list of the Top Ten Democratic Delusions Since Obama was elected. http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/2010/09/top-ten-dem-delusions.html
Well Doc this is just a courtesy to let you know I'v included your post and commented in my most recent compilation of The Carnival of Divided Government "Certainly divided government is the best we can hope for out of the 2010 election, but why so dour Doctor? In point of fact, historian David Mayhew has shown empirically and convincingly that in the modern era, there is no discernible difference in legislative productivity during times of divided versus one party rule. A far more significant factor in our governments ability to solve problems is something Mayhew calls "pervasive public mood" to solve the problem. When the the public mood exists, problems are sloved regardless of whether or not it is a divided government. And when we do get solutions - a divided government will ensure a better compromise solution since all parties have a seat at the table.
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In 1946 the San Francisco garter snake (SFGS) was not considered endangered, and if a golfer did kill that snake, it would not be surprising. Not having the benefit of 60+ years of foresight, golfers--like most people of that time--would kill any snake on sight. But the interesting bit not mentioned here is that no one on the golf course killed more San Francisco garter snakes than Wade Fox, who was a virtual one-man SFGS holocaust. Since he also did not benefit from the gift of 60 years of foresight, the scientist killed 46 SFGS all by himself over a two-year period doing this study. Biologist Karen Swaim explains: http://eatarf242.blogspot.com/2009/12/biologist-karen-swaim-is-making.html "1946 is the very first year that the San Francisco Garter Snake and the California Red Leg Frog were documented. Wade Fox, the grad student, was out here on his scientific study, at that time science meant you collect things and you put them in a jar. So over a two year period Wad Fox collected 46 San Francisco Garter Snakes from Laguna Salada, which are now museum specimens. And again - just to point out - there are 46 that he gets over two years - and golf has already been here for 16 years......We fast forward to when Sean Beary is doing his work... In 1978 Sean Beary is doing his studies around this, and he observes 37 garter snakes along this area in an autumn... golf has been in place 46 years." Now, exactly how does 46 snakes collected in 1946 over two years and 37 snakes observed during one season in 1978--all while the golf course is in operation--translate to a "precipitous decline" due to golf ? Regarding the picture, since it is not dated, neither Plater nor anyone else knows whether it was taken before or after the golf course. If we could get a decent-size image of this photo, it could probably be dated by the dump truck. My guess (which is at least as good as Plater's) is that this photo was taken closer to 1941, when four of the original holes were moved and the first seawall was built. It would be interesting to try to duplicate this shot, to see if the golf course would even be visible today from this angle.
“Keep It Simple Stupid” is the first rule of sales. Of course this president has never been in business or sales. He is a lawyer and he thinks like a lawyer who is trying a case. Good luck with that. If I were to guess what the American people really want with health care reform, it would be something that can be articulated pretty simply and emerges from some basic American values of fairness and common sense: 1. Every American gets a baseline level of solid health care. No one is left behind. 2. No American need be at risk of financial ruin or bankruptcy because they get sick. 3. The program is manageable and fiscally responsible. Americans want to feel reasonably certain we won’t see mushrooming costs like with Medicare and the prescription drug plan. A problem with the ObamaCare HR 3200 hairball is that it at best accomplishes one of the three. Interestingly, the Wyden-Bennett Healthy Americans Act (S 391) actually does accomplish all three. Simple. http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/2009/08/obamacare-sales-101-lesson-2-kiss.html
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2009 on one more push at Marbury
“Keep It Simple Stupid” is the first rule of sales. Of course this president has never been in business or sales. He is a lawyer and he thinks like a lawyer who is trying a case. Good luck with that. If I were to guess what the American people really want with health care reform, it would be something that can be articulated pretty simply and emerges from some basic American values of fairness and common sense: 1. Every American gets a baseline level of solid health care. No one is left behind. 2. No American need be at risk of financial ruin or bankruptcy because they get sick. 3. The program is manageable and fiscally responsible. Americans want to feel reasonably certain we won’t see mushrooming costs like with Medicare and the prescription drug plan. A problem with the ObamaCare HR 3200 hairball is that it at best accomplishes one of the three. Interestingly, the Wyden-Bennett Healthy Americans Act (S 391) actually does accomplish all three. Simple.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2009 on Cutting "Costs" at Obsidian Wings
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ERIC SAID: "He proved three previously held political certainties to be false. 1. The freedom coalition is small. Although he failed in his run as a presidential candidate he showed that not only Libertarians care about freedom. The supporters are broad and diverse." Not really. He proved that the freedom coaliton is more effective and bigger than the Libertarian Party, which never gets above 2-3% in major elections, but it is still small and with a lot of money and a lot of press is capable of getting around 12% of the vote in a Republican Primary. 18% if you count the protest vote against a nominee that has already won the election. There is no opportunity for "quick victory" as Eric suggests. The real question, is how can this ~8-12% organize to wield actual political power? My answer, which is 100% in concert with Laura's argument, is for this block to "Vote By Objective". The objectives I vote for: Federal government should be limited in scope, provide for common defense, protect and respect individual rights, spend and tax in a fiscally responsible manner, provide effective oversight of elected and appointed representatives, legislate carefully and slowly, and pass only laws that are tempered in the fire of partisan debate. I vote in the hope and expectation of moving our government and country toward these objectives. Many would recognize these objectives as a centrist, moderate and/or small "l" libertarian perspective. While political parties and candidates pay lip service to these goals and objectives, there is no empirical evidence that these objectives can be accomplished by voting for a specific party or candidate. Neither Republicans or Democrats can be relied on to move our government toward these objectives. After decades of trying, there is no evidence that voting for a 3rd party like the Libertarians does anything to move the country toward these objectives. Yet, there is a way to vote that has been historically documented to accomplish exactly these goals. If you want to vote for those objectives, there is a way to vote that has been shown as documented historical fact*, to deliver exactly what you are voting for, 100% of the time. These objectives can be accomplished at the ballot box. Not by voting exclusively Republican, Democratic or 3rd party, but by voting consistently for divided government. Divided government as a voting heuristic may not always work, but it works now. When there is an obvious divided government vote (as in '06 and '08), voting for divided government is the best way to accomplish the objectives outlined above. It may not alway be that way, and accomplishing these objectives may not always require a divided government vote. After all, it is the objectives and not the divided government state that matters. One could speculate that if this meme were to evolve into a tightly organized and highly sophisticated voting block, it could become very granular and work to maintain a divided congress at all times, so the presidential vote would always be "free-agent," "best-man," lesser-of-two-evils," most libertarian, whatever. But that is getting pretty far-fetched, even for me. Ultimately, I see this voting tactic as effective, but short-term and self-limiting. Maintaining divided government has real benefits in terms of governance, and the primary benefit of successfully implementing this voting tactic is to move the country toward these objectives. But as a side benefit, it could serve to establish the moderate libertarian center as a self-aware, broadly recognized and organized voting block. Objectively, divided government only slows the growth of the state, with no evidence that it can actually begin to reduce it. One way to describe the situation is that the "Divided Government vote" stands down when the "Moderate/Centrist/Libertarian/Freedom vote" stands up. Ultimately, if the divided government constituency is co-opted and eroded because Democrats and/or Republicans are wrestling with each other to prove who are the better, more effective moderate/libertarians, and can prove this to a skeptical, rational, empirical moderate/libertarian swing vote ... well then our job here is done. *The referenced historical documentation for the benefits of divided government can be found at my blog, on the post from which much of this comment is cribbed: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/2006/05/vbo-voting-by-objective.html
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Bravo. I knew I liked you Laura. I've linked to you before, when I drafted one of your posts into an early edition of the Carnival of Divided Government - a more or less monthly compilation of writers and bloggers thinking along these lines. I'll include your article and this post in the upcoming 4th of July edition. Its a great article, succinctly summarizing the issues that we face in this election. I've been flogging the divided government meme for over two years now. Your article echoes many of my views and we even cite some similar sources. In particular - James Madison is also a favorite of mine - particularly when writing in Federalist #51 - "ambition must be made to counteract ambition." I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on the subject as the political season progresses, and count you as an ally in the Sisyphean task of promoting the idea.
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Very close, but no cigar. The actual Final Score: Bears 41 Colts 13 This is not really a prediction, since earlier in the week I was visited by the Ghosts of the Chicago Bears Past, Present, and Future in a dream. I peeked at the final scoreboard while the Spirit of the Chicago Bears Future was dragging me around Miami. That was a mistake - no real suspense in watching the game for me now. Anyway, the whole Dickensian tale is linked below, which will probably only be understood and appreciated by Bears fans: "Da Bears Song in Prose - Being a Ghost Story of the Superbowl"
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