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Category Archives: news/politics

I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination. You would think I’d be pretty handy with economics, seeing as that for someone with a political science degree, I am fairly skilled at math. On paper, it screams, or at minimum, shouts, economics. But no. Far from it, I always got C’s in most of my economics classes. I always felt there weren’t enough essays and too much multiple choice. But economics classes tended to be large at my school, and what professor wants to read 150 essays? (I mean, it’s only my parents’ tuition money. But I’m sure they had better things to do than, say, teach.)

So it’s with an ounce of trepidation that I put in my two cents about the economy, but I feel like I have to at least express my questions (that no one will read). The problem with doing this is that we are currently stuck in what I like to call the Age of Doctrine. To show you have principles and stand for something, your position has to be rooted in what is considered one of the two leading and competing philosophies of the moment. A strong point of view, a perspective. Or get out.

Well, what if the perspective of an observer is “I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m beginning to suspect most of you don’t, either”. Or “I’m not totally saying you’re wrong, but why the hell are you so sure you’re right?”

That’s pretty much where I stand on the issue of whether it’s time, as some think, for governments to move to austerity and deficit reduction, or as some others feel, the government better start spending to create jobs and other economic vehicles, because no else is.

While, like many, I do worry about government spending and debt, and what it means for our future long-term, the question that never quite seems to be answered, in my mind, is, why the blind faith in corporations to create jobs and innovation? If the government is not doing it, then who is going to? I’m not sold that today’s global corporations really can take up the slack, and really can be counted on to execute sound, long-term innovative thinking. Much like politicians making moves to get them through to the next campaign, most companies seem to be just trying to get from one shareholder’s meeting to the next, one CEO pay package to the next, and one product launch to the next.

All of which is fine, that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, for the most part. But should they really be burdened with this? And should we afford to hope that they’re willing to shoulder such burdens? I don’t know. (I know, I know, you’re not allowed to use such words when expressing an opinion. But this isn’t so much an opinion piece as an official declaration of doubt.) Most people who believe this never quite answer this question, because innovation and efficiency are supposed to flow from the private sector when left alone. Unfortunately, sometimes so do corruption, greed, and incompetence.

Which is what the anti-government crowd says is the problem with entrusting too much to government. Which is not entirely untrue, of course. The point is, though, are they also unaware of entrusting too much to corporations as well? Is that considered at any point? Because don’t kid yourselves, that’s, for the most part, who it’ll be on for job creation and growth.

Sorry, but I’m not really ready to buy that it’s small business. I keep hearing about small business and it’s role in driving the American economy, but I just don’t see it. At the end of day, small business seems to ebb and flow right along with the working people. A small business that comes up with a stunning innovation that revolutionizes the way business is done in America will become a big business. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If we’re counting on this, then shouldn’t the government and private capital be working to get more seed money than ever out there? There are certainly ideas, one would think. Because if there aren’t any out there, no amount of deficit spending or reduction will save your economy.

Like I said, I come not with answers, but with different questions, questions I’m not positive are being asked because of the “two and only two sides” way the debate is framed. I think they need to be asked, otherwise, this wacky global economy is just going to be spinning its wheels.

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I have to say, I read Rick Reilly’s ESPN the Magazine article and felt that I had to write something. I’ve been too busy to write stuff over here, but this one just couldn’t wait. I’ve also been too busy if someone out there has made the same point. I hope I’m not the only one.

Reilly, in his infinite wisdom, decides to right wrongs in past baseball MVP races by “taking” them from players believed to use steroids to give them to player he knows are clean.

It makes sense, unless you realize: Who the hell knows who is actually clean?!?! You really think now’s the time, Rick, to be assuming that certain players were clean? After A-Rod, who was the steroid-free hope, got exposed, Reilly’s really willing to speculate, without hard evidence, on who was clean? What the hell is wrong with him? In short, his article encapsulates everything that is wrong with the “let’s change the record books” arguments from sanctimonious, full-of-it baseball “purists’.

His most egregious example is Luis Gonzalez in 2001, who lost out on his MVP to accused, not proven, but we all are pretty sure he did, steroid user Barry Bonds. Yay! Because we’re sure Luis Gonzalez isn’t a steroid user!  Sure that year, he came out of nowhere to hit 57 home runs, topping his previous year’s career high by 26, which followed 10 major league seasons in which he had never hit 30 home runs in a season. Yeah, we know Luis Gonzalez is clean. He’s gotta be. Right? Right?

That is, let me not hold back, fucking retarded.

Look, I’m not actually accusing Gonzalez, Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado, or Albert Pujols of being steroid users. Would I be surprised if any of them were, though? Sadly, the answer is no. I’d love to give them the benefit of the doubt, they are all great players. (Except Gonzalez. I’m sorry. Look at those home run numbers again. Was Reilly drinking? I’m not saying Gonzalez definitely did steroids, but you just can’t assume he’s clean off that performance. I’m sorry. Not if you put any reasonable thought into it.) And as a person who has lifted weights regularly, on and off for years, I believe that tremendous strength can be gained naturally and I do believe in the benefits a weight training regimen can give elite athletes. But to assume any baseball player is clean from the Steroid Era and start taking away trophies and changing records is just a plain foolhardy exercise.

It’s time to acknowledge the Steroid Era for what it was and leave it at that. You’re not doing anything to regain any innocence or integrity for the game by revoking trophies and making a whole new set of bullcrap assumptions that are just begging to be disproven. It makes an already sad time in the game’s history even worse by throwing a layer of hypocrisy and stupidity over it so we can feel better about ourselves for having the wool pulled over our eyes.

And I thought Bud “Steroids? What Steroids?” Selig’s head was the only one up its ass on this subject.

After a couple of days of late nights at work, I finally got home at a reasonable hour and decided not to spend the time watching the news. Mostly because it reminds me that when I’m 65, my kids will ask me where I was when Obama was inaugurated, and I will tell them, “On the toilet, because I really had to finish drafting those tax certification forms, and once I was done, I couldn’t wait. Shouldn’t have put all those raisins in my oatmeal.”

Here’s what I’ve learned watching basketball and mildly surfing the internet:

1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the number one movie in America. I don’t regard that as some sign of the apocalypse or anything, I actually thought it didn’t look bad…as a rental. Look America, I know it was cold out, but do you think Kevin James is really an A-list movie star? Because that’s what you just made him.

2. I’ve seen none of the Oscar-nominated movies. Looks like I have to get on that if I am going to anger moviegoers with contrarian blog postings. I still get the occasionally shitty email for my reaction to “There Will Be Blood.” Although I’ll say this right now: No “Benjamin Button”. I saw “Meet Joe Black” in the theater many moons ago, and Brad Pitt, “three hour movie”, and me will never go together again.

3. If you like basketball, and you think Charles Barkley can’t be replaced, check out the comedy stylings of Chris Webber and Gary Payton on TNT while they sub for him.  Here’s a look at their little-seen NBA TV work:

We may have just found the new Wayans Brothers.

4. Jim Beam has a series of ads that are kind of jaw-droppingly sexist, basically, they represent the worst of male fantasies and thoughts, and proudly associates Jim Beam with them. In the one I saw tonight, a scantily clad, hot woman speaks of how she likes slightly fat men with back hair who go to strip clubs. It then says “the girlfriend”, and Jim Beam is “the bourbon”. Yeah, okay. You gotta be drinking a bottle of Jim Beam to think that’s going to happen. When I think sexy girls, I think Jim Beam, that’s what they drink. Yeah, sure.

What’s even worse is they’re trying to mask it as “ironic” by having a video contest where you make fun of these plodding, pathetic, and obvious ads.  So you can make fun of how impossibly sexist they are. Because you know it’s not true, right? Way not to man up, Jim Beam.

1. I need to post something of significance here

2. I may need to get serious about maybe looking for a new job, since I am actually in a small industry where there are actually  jobs.

3. Eric Mangini needs to fired, and can he take Mike “Vernon Gholston” Tannenbaum with him?

4. The Yankees need to be congratulated for their continuing bailout of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Who says the government has to do everything?

5. It needs to just warm up ever-so-slightly.

6. I need to start linking to the Rum and Popcorn 100, even though it’s not finished, mostly because I want no one to read that as well.

7. Gotta get my fingers ready for some Festivus grievance texting. Because you know who you are.

By now you’ve heard the news that Jay Leno and NBC have decided to give the late-night talk show format a whirl in prime time. Most articles discussing this potential major change in television programming mention the possibility of enormous profits if this idea is successful. The costs of a talk-show are relatively low in the long run, especially when compared to dramas and sitcoms. If a show that cheap can make make huge profits in late night, imagine the potential earnings of prime-time ratings.

Inspired by a desperate network’s out-of-the-box thinking, the thought came across my mind that that our government, pretty strapped right now but having to spend even more on the strapped economy, could use a little cash infusion itself. Too bad the government can’t put on a profitable, entertaining, and informative show five nights a week and make easy cash.

Wait, why not?

I mean, Barack Obama is all over the airwaves anyway these days, appointing Cabinet members, offering up plans, telling the current President what he should do while reminding everyone that he’s not President yet, and of course, going “Rod who?”

In the interest of a new, more transparent government, and tax deductions for all participating advertisers, live from Washington, D.C., it’s Government Live! With President Barack Obama! (Sometimes, when the President needs a day off, you’ll get Joe Biden. Joe Biden will make a fine David Brenner or Garry Shandling for this generation.)

“But”, the skeptics out there are asking, “what the hell is Barack Obama going to talk about for an hour?” No worries. Like every well-designed show, we have a format all set up: fast-paced, entertaining, informative, and chock-full of opportunities for the people to learn. It’ll be like a civics class every night, except more fun! Check it out:

Segment 1 — What I’m doin’: Basically his monologue, where he pretty much tells the American people what he’s doing to fix the country. About five minutes. The goal is three minutes of explanation and information and two minutes of inspiration.

Segment 2 –The People’s Briefing: The President sits down, takes a load off, and sits down with someone from the government live via satellite, from the field, whether it’s the front lines of the war on terror or restructuring of the auto industry, where people can see results. Not to mention light banter, of course.

Segment 3 — The Big Idea: The evening’s main guest, usually a Congressman or Cabinet Member, comes on to discuss the big issue of the day. It’s a free-flowing conversation, hopefully designed to stimulate thought. Not to mention of course, embarrassing stories and wildly amusing anecdotes.

Segment 4 — Media Roundtable:Everyone loves pundits, but let’s see what we get when they get to punditize in front of the President himself. Sure, it might be awkward at first, but soon, we’ll be hoping for the kind of no-holds barred discussion of the issues you get on…um.. well…uh, it’ll be like a more formal “Around The Horn“.

Segment 5 — Haterade! : In the interest of equal time, this segment is devoted to the opposition. Some Republican comes on and tells you why these aren’t good ideas and what Ronald Reagan would do if he were still alive. Then, as all good American TV does, we rip off the British. Designated Hater of the Day gets a to ask the President three questions in the style of British Parliament : “Whare is the President getting all this money for these public works projects?! Does he hope to simply print it?” It’ll be confrontational, provide the show’s dramatic climax, and lead perfectly into…

Segment 6 — Musical guest: Because you always have to have a musical guest on a talk show. Period.

Segment 7 — 42 cents: In other words, the mailbag segment, where the President talks to the people. From a safe distance deep inside the White House, of course. A nice, snappy way to wrap up the show.

With that kind of setup, you won’t even know you’re watching a government informational program! And with the high ratings you’d undoudtedly get from a nation on edge, you could easily clear about a billion dollars a year! With that kind of money rolling we could easily put, like, a light, easily repairable scratch in the deficit!

Look, we gotta start somewhere. You got anything better, hater?

It looks like the Big Three automakers are not in good position to get their hands on some of this bailout money they’ve been hoping for. Too many people have expressed skepticism about handing the auto industry a blank check to continue to function in the manner that they have operating in. Others in favor of the bailout are rightly concerned that a crucial hub of American industry could not survive the damage of simply being allowed to go bankrupt. Not to mention the economic impact on Main Street of numerous job losses.

At the same time, there are concerns about how the bailout of Wall Street is going. Are they really using that money to get the credit markets liquid again, or are they just using it to continue to subsidize the exorbitant executive compensation of the same people who screwed up, and not to mention keep afloat businesses who thought they had all the answers?

Well, I am no finance expert by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m not a lawyer either.  But there has to be a way to try and keep these vital businesses afloat with federal money (because we have no choice) while not leaving it in the hands of these same doofuses who helped get us to where we are in the first place, or turning it over to a new bunch of doofuses who learned at the knees of the old doofuses. I have to admit that I was swayed a little by the Mitt Romney op-ed today, where Romney, a Michigan native whose father was once the leader of an American auto company, made the case for bankruptcy.

But as much as I agreed with many of his points, I can’t believe that at this juncture, with the economy in such a state of crisis, that you can simply afford to sit back, let the Big Three die, and see what happens. There’s no way you really want to take that chance.

But, as previously mentioned, you don’t want to give the money to the same people who messed it up. Why should you listen to them? I’m not quite sure it’s worked with the credit markets yet. Just throwing government money at the problems can’t be enough, and can’t be effective.

Hence, my unscientific, uneducated, and unresearched idea that I hope people far more qualified than I will pick up and run with. If one of you twelve to eighteen people is educated and smart enough and actually has some power.

If you’re coming to the government for money, it’s already pretty much a sign if you’re in trouble financially, right? It’s not as if it can possibly be a point of pride to go to Capitol Hill shrugging your shoulders and saying “Look, things just got messed up, okay, plese let us have this money.” And if you’re really in dire shape, what are your options? If you don’t get this money, you’ll have to what? Declare bankruptcy?

So essentially, coming to the government for bailout money is an admission of failure and financial ruin around the corner to begin with. So, instead of the Treasury simply writing checks and going “Don’t screw this up again!”, the Treasury, Congress, the President, and our leaders should say, that you’re not going to get bailed out, but we can save you using the principles of bankruptcy.

For lack of a better word, bailruptcy! I’m not quite sure how to do it, as I admit, but there has to be a way for the government to be able to keep these companies afloat yet be able to impose the market-type corrections that a bankruptcy would bring about. A federal-government managed bankruptcy (and yes, we’d be nationalizing our industries more, but this is just where we are now) could guarantee that these vital industries get to continue. Except now there’s a new entity in charge, one that’s not just looking toward the next quarterly earnings report, with long-term goals to get these vital indstries healthy again and eventually, get the American people’s money back and get the hell out of the industry.

So instead of a bankruptcy judge per se, a person with bankruptcy-judge skills backed by the government legally starts to oversee the transformation of, let’s say ,a car company into one that can be competitive. The government backing supervision, and yes, investment assures that the company won’t be liquidated, supposedly the big fear of a corporate bankruptcy. It gets the protection from creditors while also getting the bums who ran this thing into the ground out of the way to begin with.

I think I know just enough to know that this wouldn’t involve rewriting the Constitution or anything. It would be just a matter of creating a new system to allow the Federal Government to save industries without wasting valauble resources. This could be done, right? I’m even hoping  that I can’t possibly have been the first person to come up with this idea, I’ve just been too busy to read it write more coherently and eloquently by our finer finfacial and legal minds. I know there was talk of placing conditions on the Wall Street bailout, but I’m talking about far more than that here. If the government is going to intervene in the economy because it has no choice, dipping a foot in the mess isn’t going to get it done.

Bailruptcy mitigates the dangers of a bankruptcy without the lack of institutional control that appears to be a bailout. I’d end this post by declaring bailruptcy the answer, but it came from me. After being swayed by the likes of Mitt Romney. So, I implore anyone out there with some real expertise who likes it and can make it happen, I’m leaving the ball right here, run with it.

With the caveat that I am generally skeptical of polls and polling in general, I tell this tale of seeing what you want to see when it comes to political news, or really anything in general once your mind is made up and you’re fully invested.

So my Republican pal tells me that he got a new app on his iPhone from pollster.com that gives him up to the minute tracking numbers on the Presidential race. Having a crappy phone that can barely text message, I was impressed. I don’t think I need to see a tracking poll whenever the mood strikes me, but maybe I’m the one missing out.

Anyway, he then tells me that “I’m telling you, McCain’s making a comeback.” Which I expect him to say, and could possibly be true. I was more interested in watching the World Series, and told him , “Well, everybody expects the race to tighten, you know, that’s how these things are.” In other words, the kind of bland general-speak that will telegraph my disinterest from spending the next six hours trying to challenge him. So we we just moved on to why Philadelphia cannot get a hit with a runner in scoring position.

The next day, looking at a couple of news sites, I wondered about the site my friend was using and where he got such hopeful information. After all, while McCain makes gains here or there, he also has losses here or there. In other words, of course the poll numbers change, but there’s nothing out there at this point to indicate that things have fundamentally changed in this race: Obama appears to be leading nationally and appears to have a more flexible path to winning in the Electoral College, giving him a much better chance at the Presidency.

Curious, I then decided to check out pollster.com myself to see what they were saying and see what, exactly was giving my buddy hope.

After looking at their information, their analysis, and their numbers…uh, I gotta say, I still don’t know. It looked like McCain had made some inroads in a few polls, but took a few losses in others, and the picture Pollster presents is basically Obama appears to be leading nationally and appears to have a more flexible path to winning in the Electoral College, giving him a much better chance at the Presidency.

Don’t call it a comeback, because it’s not quite.

But my friend sees comeback. Maybe he’s enthused with the bold Pennslyvania strategywhich has Obama’s lead down to ten points.

I admit, I just don’t get what he’s seeing. He’s the kind of guy who who go down with the ship, I guess. And maybe I’m kind of jealous of that being able to believe in what your team is doing no matter what the odds, the polls, or basic mathematics says. To always see the positive in the most negative of situations. To be able to spin reality into something else entirely that makes you feel better about the choices you make and the organizations that define you.

Nah, I enjoy being a cynical loner skeptic. Which is why if he’s vindicated on Election Day, well, I’ll be able to tell him, “You always kept the faith, man.” It’s the inherent beauty in thinking that way: for the twenty times you’re wrong, I guess the one time you’re right is always much, much sweeter and a sign that that those other nineteen times sucked, but keeping the faith was so worth it, and therefore it must be true.

How can you argue that?

Well, with all the focus on the Presidential election going on, I kind of forgot that I didn’t vote in my current district in the last election. It’s well enough, I guess that it’s time for a clean break after pulling the lever for the man who was going to clean up New York State, then celebrate by getting his dirty on with the likes of ‘Kristen’. Not to mention the fact that I’m a little ashamed that I pulled the lever for his lieutenant governor, not fully aware that he was (legally) blind. (Aside from outbursts of Ray Charles-meets-Benson jokes, it likely wouldn’t have made a difference.)

As much as I have been following this year’s presidential campaign, I have to admit, that I haven’t paid a lick of attention to any of the other races I’m voting on less than two weeks from now. Well, armed with a little free time and incentive to post something, anything to this website for the first time in ages, Well Whiskey Friday presents his first ever voting guide!

Not so fast, (some) Manhattanites, Queenspeople, Staten Islanders, Californians, denizens of the Planet Vrog, and really, anyone outside of my immediate voting place at PS 17 on North 5th Street and Roebling Avenue. I only have so many hours in a day. So, I’m just going to give you the lowdown on my ballot. Maybe this will inspire you to do some actual research into your ballots, wherever you vote.

Congress: I live in the State of New York’s 12th district. (The Fightin’ 12th, as Stephen Colbert would say.)

The area: Covers Bushwick to the east, Greenpoint/Long Island City to the north, then inexplicably spreads all the way to parts of the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan to the West, then somehow snakes its way down to Sunset Park (without touching Bed-Stuy, Caroll Gardens, Red Hook, Park Slope, and Downtown Brooklyn). I’m sure there was no gerrymandering going on here at all. Just a diverse group of Latino neighborhoods, hipsters, artists, skaters, yuppies, Eastern European immigrants, and more Latino neighborhoods. I’m sure you won’t notice a common thread with the candidates mentioned at all.

The battle: Incumbent Nydia M. Velasquez (Democrat, Working Families Party) v. challenger Allan E. Romaguera (Republican, Conservative).

Who are these people?: The Republican challenger, Romaguera, says you can call him Al. He’s married, with two kids, is the same age as my mother, Catholic, and has worked as a letter of credit specialist the past ten years. So who would know more about the bailout, right? As you can see, he’s  consistent in the stands he takes.

(Really, it wouldn’t have killed him to fill that out? I mean, it’s free, right? He sure as hell hasn’t spent any money advertising. Lord help this fool if I see him actually campaigning any where in my neighborhood.)

The incumbent has been representing since 1992 and was the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress. And it looks like she isn’t going anywhere. (Even though she didn’t really fill out that form either, except about immigration. But then again, she has a Congressional record.)

Analysis: A veteran Congresswoman who looks poised to be something of a (minor) leader in the majority party (if polls hold steady), or some dude who apparently runs for office in his spare time? Velazquez will win easily, but I might just vote for Al so he can be stunned during November 5th’s breakfast to hear that he got a vote. Give the man hope for 2010, when the Republican Party goes, “Really? You want to do this again? Sure, what the hell, we need somebody.”

State Senate/Assembly/City Council: Because of my move, I guess I am cut out of these races entirely, many of these take place in off years However, your district may have a race going on, you can check here. Not that the the New York State Legislature or City Council are useful anyway. But I found out that my Assemblyperson is a dude named Vito Lopez, and my State Senator is some guy named  Martin Malave Dilan. My councilperson is a lady named Diana Reyna, the first Dominican woman to be elected to a citywide office. Also, disappointingly, I have no civil court judge to research, Brooklyn seems all set in that department as well.

Ballot proposals: Just one. Some bullshit about whether or not veterans need to be collecting disability checks form the government in order to get points on civil service exams for being disabled. Huh? What? A doctor’s note or your military record isn’t enough, you have to be collecting a check? I don’t get this, and I’d like to know who the hell wasted my time and yours getting this on the ballot. I’m voting no, although I should be able to write in, “Aren’t people getting paid lots of dollars to figure this the fuck out themselves?” What’s next? A referendum on what kind of bulbs and wattage we should use on our traffic lights ? Honestly? No on 1!

Wow.

Guess I’ve learned that there’s a reason the Presidential race is getting all the coverage. No local races and token opposition to a veteran Congresswoman (I’d bet even money ‘Al’ doesn’t even know he’s running for Congress, or has at least forgotten). Easily one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had for a post on any of my sites. Hope you had as much fun reading it as I didn’t have researching it. Maybe there’s a lesson in here somewhere about our electoral system, but the apathy is already beginning to set in. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go to YouTube to hear Sarah Palin say that small-town America is the real America to fire me up again.

First, there were the Articles of Confederation, where America tried act more like a block association with an army, but that didn’t really work out. Then came the Constitution, a simple elegant document that built the framework upon which the laws of this land were established.

These laws could be as few or as many as possible. And ever since the rise of the conservative movement, there has been a grand debate on the role of government in our lives. It’s a worthy debate about what makes a nation great, and what people can expect from their government. The role of the individual versus the collective good. Incentive for the best and brightest versus safety for all our citizens regardless of their status. The wisdom of the markets versus the watchfulness of the government.

In theory.

Practically, here’s how it seems to work: America is in some sort of crisis. Nobody else can manage such problems on a grand scale so the government steps up and does the best it can. The government gets really large and bloated. Long after the problem is solved, or the crisis is averted, a scandal goes down involving corrupt government officials, and suddenly people are wondering, “What the hell do we need all this government for?” and “Who the hell is FICA?”

So the siren song of tax cuts and small government starts to sound good. Deregulation and corporate welfare begin to sound awesome. Before you know it, America is chugging along as a lean, mean, shareholder-benefiting machine. Sure, not everybody makes it, But you know what? That’s life. There are winners, and there are losers. If you don’t get it done, you’re just a loser. But you can keep believing that maybe some of the bounty of the winners will trickle down to you. And that someday, you’ll get off your ass and you’ll be a winner.

But then things aren’t so good, as you find out some of the winners didn’t get that way through hard work and innovation, but got there through the steroids of debt, unusual accounting practices, fleecing the public a little, and gaming the system. and enough of these so-called “winners” find that their shell game is getting less and less effective.

Then a crisis happens. Then, everybody is all like, “Where the hell is the government?”

I’m not a believer in big government or small government. What the nation needs to believe in is effective government up to meeting the needs of its people. And quite frankly, right now and for a while, that’s going to mean bigger government. And personally, I hope things get better to the point someday that we can start talking reasonably about reducing government again.

Practicality is a principle. Right now, it’s not practical to have a government sit on its hands and do nothing while a great nation sinks under the weight of a financial crisis, two wars, Social Security and health care problems.

Let’s not kid ourselves anyway: how small was the government, really? Isn’t what we currently have just a different kind of bloated government that actually doesn’t solve anything, but still manages to bleed money and ring up debt anyway? If we’re going to have big government, let’s accept it, deal with it, and make it work. Lets get all these rich “patriots” to pony up their fair share to keep up and fix the country that gave them the conditions to benefit financially. Drop the completely-for-show flag pins and lose the offshore assets and tax shelters as real sign of their commitment to this country. Same thing for alleged Great American companies who continue to blackmail the government wth “we’ll move to India or Ireland”.

Enough of this jabber about small government that never was, and never will be.  It’s time to talk about practical government.

I had, for many years, been a believer in the wisdom of the free markets (up to a point). For example, I’m not surprised that corporations are figuring out that there’s money in going green. As consumers continued to grow  more and more environmentally aware, what quicker way for most of them to make an actual impact than changing their consumer habits? So it makes sense that companies be aware of this, recognize the market for this and make money off of this while hopefully actually helping the environment.

But somehow, after all these years, how come no one’s stepped up with the next energy source that’s going to power our transportation, our cities, and our economies? I understand it’s not easy, and I’m sure peopleare out there working on it, especially now. (When they’re not pushing for more drilling.) I guess waiting for the explosion in gas prices is the invisible hand’s way of saying, “You can’t keep relying on this oil, people.”

The problem with waiting for the markets to correct themselves, I guess, is that when the correction comes, people actually end up getting hurt and the correction becomes a crisis. But can the government step in and avert a crisis, or prepare for it? I mean certainly, someone should have stepped up by now and said, “Long term, if worldwide petroleum production drops, our economy’s going to get wrecked. We should make some preparations.” But it appears we didn’t, so we had to wait until a crisis to get in gear (hopefully).

This brings me to the, and I’m not going to be kind and mince words here, doofuses, who think drilling for more oil will solve anything. Both candidates are simply pandering to you fools because they believe you’re too dumb to understand things about basic petroleum production and too shortsighted to think in a long-term way about energy policy. Which apparently, you are. It’ll take years to get the drilling up and running, and who knows how much oil is actually out there? And do you realize that the oil’s going to run out and we’d have to tackle these problems anyway?  Well, probably not.

The country that takes the lead on these strategies and technologies will probably have a big hand in driving the global economy. The next Bill Gates is very likely going to be the guy or gal who figures out how to create energy without fossil fuels, or maybe with less of it. This seems pretty obvious, right?

But maybe not to the market yet. But just because the market sometimes doesn’t listen and see what’s in front of it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.