Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Link-Up

I'll never forget the first beer I had with Wordbones at Clyde's, when he described "link dumps" as "lazy".  In the time between then and now, my link dumps have evolved from an occasional post when I had nothing better to say to a daily (and some would say primary) feature of this blog.

I'm not sure WB would still consider these posts "lazy".  It is actually quite exhausting to put together gattling impressions on the daily stories, especially if I spend too much time worrying about being consistent.  The filter on what to post and what not to post is also sometimes difficult.  You all may have noticed that I am not all that interested in crime or "neighbor" stories that don't have any policy implications.  I don't put much attention on financial news or whether the Dow went up or down.  In these times of abbreviated links, I actually don't post what I spend most of my time reading, which are long-form news analysis pieces.

That's why I'm switching things up.  I liked the suggestion of IP yesterday to have alternating days of links and posts with abbreviated links.  Friday will be a link day and I will decide from there what feels right.  I plan to go 3-2 posts to links, because I still have a lot to say and 3 seems just about right.  If you like it, good.  If you don't, let me know.

If you really want to know what a "Double Rainbow" means (and are not just recycling jokes from 2010), check out this link.  Otherwise, please bury that joke in your backyard.

I really like Major Garrett's case for "More Divisive Politics" in The Atlantic.  Particularly this last paragraph:

Division, for lack of a better word, is good. That's the Gordon Gekko side of politics. Division forces people to listen to an argument and take sides. Silly and front-loaded appeals to unity and post-partisanship fog the mind, delay action, and deepen mistrust. Over time, voters begin to understand they are being deceived. People take stands for a reason and want the politicians they send to Washington do the same (71 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats want more partisan fealty, not less). This is not inconsistent with democracy. It is democracy. That's the cynical secret of presidential leadership.

Garrett failed to note that it is often in the area of "compromise" that we see a lot of the "muck" of politics, with the Health Care Bill being a great example (i.e., Louisiana Purchase, etc.).  Admittedly, this type of politics is antithetical to base presumptions of my political philosophy, but I think any presumptions must be challenged in order to test convictions.  This new thrust in political analysis towards abandoning compromise in the middle feels more like a retreat than anything else.  These same journals have been advocating for the middle for the past decade, but now seem to be saying "Aw screw it.  Run to the fringe and see who gets there first.  Execute the hostages."  Locally, we still have the opportunity (and compulsion) for compromise, so I don't think this type of approach can be applied universally.  All the same, I think it may be good on a National level, where the detailed aspects of governance are often abused, and the large scale policy changes are inherently partisan.

If you are a Mad Men addict like me, I suggest you read Slate's weekly conversation discussing Sunday's episode.  Due to travel and other obligations, I did not get a chance to watch last week's episode until yesterday, and I am still a little haunted.  It seems like the writers have taken a sharp turn towards hurting the audience and the characters we like the most.  That is always an interesting place to see a drama go and, at least with Mad Men, has a lot of depth to it.

For as long as I've been reading newspapers, Baltimore City has had a witness problem.  Someone is shot in front of 5-10 people, no one saw anything.  Maryland passed strong witness intimidation laws, the street enforced stronger codes of silence.  One mother is trying to change that to find the murderers of her son, but that tide is unlikely to change.

Mayor SRB has swung back on City Council President Jack Young's "irresponsible budget changes."  I just have a very hard time accepting any increase in spending based on projected increases in revenue that are not supported by the folks with the calculators.  This type of false hope is worse than irresponsible.  It's politically fraudulent.

Councilmember Calvin Ball's Fourth Annual Men's Health Fair is tomorrow, 10 am to 2 pm at Howard High School.  I volunteered at this event last year and will be sitting at the front desk again come Saturday morning.  There are so many important resources available for free that there is no reason not to go.  Please encourage your husbands, brothers, uncles, fathers, and grandfathers to go.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: WB is looking for good summer reading suggestions.  I've always thought that a local book club amongst the political wonk crowd may be fun, but from most of my friends who have tried such clubs, they turn into homework.  I am about to finish the third Game of Thrones book and will be taking a sabbaticl from Mr. R.R. Martin before diving into book four this summer.  Any good non-fiction recommendations? I started The Great Divergence last night, but am concerned that it is a bit too ideological for me (which is fine, so long as it comes with supporting facts).  I'm giving it the weekend, but may start looking elsewhere.

That's all for today.  I am so incredibly happy that today is Friday.  This week has been a sprint and yesterday tested my patience in more ways than I can describe here.  Jane and I celebrated our three year anniversary on Wednesday and will be going to Volt on Saturday.  We've been together for ten years, so a three year anniversary just feels...well...understated. 

Have a fantastic Friday doing what you love.  It is impossible not to.