Monday, June 4, 2012

Convenience of Political Opinions (Monday LINKS)

In a time of partisan gridlock and rarely equated animosity, do ideas have the power to persuade?

When the two predominant political parties suspect the other of wishing no less than the destruction of the union and the system of government we have enjoyed for the last two hundred and fifty years, is effective governance possible?

I've never considered myself a cynic and don't enjoy the proffered veil of being "practical", but the best outlook I see is to predict a breaking point at which time the Country's problems can no longer wait for partisan interests and impose themselves on the populace in ways that break through the convenience of political opinions.  One would suppose that having the Counry's credit rating downgraded, thereby accelerating the collection of debt by increasing its costs, would have been some sort of wake-up call, yet the interest rate on the debt, similar to the debt itself, is some figment far off from practical existence.  We delegate war to an all-volunteer armed service, thereby reallocating the costs of foreign conflict.  We debate the propsects of the unemployed from the comfort of our work desks.  Austerity v. stimulus spending.  Both could be horribly wrong, but compromise is impossible.

All the while, we talk about birth certificates and Bain capital, as if these things mean something.  Where are the ideas?  Are we so afraid to look stupid by talking intelligently about complex matters that we are willing to abdicate the public square to accusations of socialism and "vulture capitalism"?

Certainly seems that way.  At least for now.


I really enjoyed this op/ed by Henry Kissinger about why military intervention in Syria is wrong-headed and has a greater scope than originally presumed.  Sovereignty, as with all other constructs of public policy, has a cost.  But once breached, the presumptions and protections that sovereignty provides evaporate, undercutting the international order as it has existed for hundreds of years.

There was another editorial from Sunday's Post that I also wanted to share, although I don't have much of a comment on its substance: Still Waiting for Our First Black President.

The Howard County General Plan will emphasize development along the 11-mile "Route One strip" that has been a source of frustration for at least the past decade.  Everyone I've spoken with about this part of Howard County has told me that it has everything to do with the property owners' valuation of their land and little to do with motivation on the part of the County.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young will be presenting a competing spending plan to that proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake.  To do so, Young trims $4.8 million from city agencies, taps into a "health care rainy day fund", and projects an additional $3.5 million in speed camera revenue.  Sounds like this plan may have been an exercise in creative writing, but the pandering of Baltimore City politics compels him to do so. 

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Friend of the blog Alice Giles was on And Then There's That last Friday and did a fantastic job.  As much as I enjoy the banter of my friends Dennis and Paul, it was nice to see a guest give them a little push back on their "Why can't we have a white guys only club?"; an apparent concern of our bi-weekly hosts that has made at least three appearances on their show over the years.  Based on Alice's advocacy, and a long expired promise to do the same, I will be signing up to be a member of the League of Women Voters by the end of the month.  I suggest we form a committee within the League entitled "Leage of Extraordinary Gentlemen".

That's all for today.  Have a great Monday doing what you love!