Friday, June 27, 2003

A Question of Priorities
That is, essentially, what politics is all about. Whose priorities and agendas will be enacted into law or will dictate fiscal policy and budget expenditures. This has been the case since the dawning of the American Experiment. But today's political decisions are driven more and more by the corrupting influence of money. As a former political consultant it has been hard for me to accept this reality. Yet, being around state government and observing the federal government, I can come to no other conclusion.

However, where I may have a slightly different take than many others who decry the influence of money, is that I place blame on both parties. Many of the anti-money crowd tend to focus their scorn on the GOP, which sometimes seems more like a partisan stance than an objective one. The reality is that big money flows to both parties, and ebbs and flows based on which party is in power. Over the latter part of the 20th Century, when the Democratic Party dominated Congress, corporations pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into party coffers. To claim that either party is worse is disingenuous. (I will note that the Bush administration has been objectively worse than the Clinton administration in vacuuming up dollars for access.)

What makes the difference, for some of my more liberal peers, is the interests represented by each party's big money brokers. The GOP tends to derive its cash from big business while the Democrats tap into big labor. For many campaign finance reformers, big business dollars are more corrupting than labor's greenbacks. This is a subjective conclusion based on ideology. If one is truly concerned about democracy and the influence of money, then one must decry both parties.

It is not hyperbole to state that the interests of big labor are potentially as opposed to our common interests as are those of big business. We now have a political system that is controlled by monied interests, where public policy is driven by narrow constituencies. The common person lacks any real representation in our system. If you are not able to cough up a maximum contribution or mobilize a phone bank, you have no voice. It does not matter which party is in power, because it is the money behind the party that calls the tune.

And it is our society's apathy that allows this to continue. We are reluctant to scratch beneath the surface of news reports; unwilling to challenge our leaders to defend their positions; oblivious to the decisions made in our names. For many, the solution is public financing of campaigns, but that is as simplistic a panacea as were term limits. What is needed is a major effort to reinvigorate our public discourse. That means more voices in the media; more civics classes in our schools; more grassroots activism; more dialogue with our neighbors. For those of us who are already involved and informed, we have a responsibility to bring about this change, to make politics more accessible, to show our friends, family and neighbors the importance of being engaged. In short, we have to be the change we want to see in society.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Common Sense on the Court
While I was disappointed by the SCOTUS ruling in the Michigan cases the other day, today brings very good news. The Court has struck down the Texas anti-sodomy statute as violative of the right to privacy. In his dissent, Justice Scalia noted that this ruling may let the cat out of the bag on gay marriage, though that is not readily apparent in the narrow ruling. What the Court found was that the state cannot "control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."
While religious conservatives were strident in their support of anti-sodomy statutes, many conservatives believe that the government has no right to criminalize private sexual conduct. No matter one's opinion on homosexuality, it should be clear that this ruling is in line with contemporary jurisprudence respecting a right to privacy. No government should be able to come into your home and arrest you for having sex with another consenting adult. Religious conservatives would not wish for a government with the power to dictate how they worship in their homes and they should respect that other privte conduct is equally protected by the penumbra of privacy.

(full story here)

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Affirmative Inaction
So the SCOTUS has spoke and found that the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies at its law school are constitutional, but that its undergraduate policy was not acceptable. And the comments from both supporters and detractors were predictable and instant. Let us look not at AA itself, but rather at the sorry state of American education. The University's data show that African Americans admitted to the law school had quantitative factors (GPA, LSAT) that were signinifcantly lower than white admittees. The data further shows that minority applicants (with the notable exception of Asians) have a much higher chance of gaining admission than their non-minority counterparts. Let us be clear that the University is not using race as a determining factor between two equally qualified individuals. In fact, it is diminshing the role of quantitative factors and substituting race for "merit".
The Court's decision yesterday will allow this practice to continue and will allow white liberals to feel good about themselves. Unfortunately it does NOTHING to address the gap in educational achievement between minority and non-minority students. We have had three decades of affirmative action and yet the average African American scores lower on standardized tests and posts a lower GPA than her white counterparts. Affirmative action is but a BandAid. The real problem with education is the broad inequity at the K-12 level.
What is especially galling is that so many liberals want to leave this alone. They would rather mouth platitudes than dig in and reform education. Maybe this is the laziness and short attention span of Americans or maybe it is the Left's unwillingness to confront entrenched interests in the K-12 educational system.
But as long as we continue to allow huge inequities in elementary and secondary education we will never bridge the gap between white and non-white student achievement. The goal of our public policy in this area should be a day when affirmative action is no longer needed, when blacks and whites have similar educational outcomes. Instead we have a self propagating system of race based admissions for which we are ALL the worse off.
Is This News?
Far be it from me to defend Doctor Strangelove (oops, Dean), but the amount of attention that is being given to his son's arrest for breaking into a country club is plain old stupid. Although there has not been a wave of stories about the incident, there certainly has been enough asides in articles on Dean's announcement and his appearance on MTP Sunday. Is it really important to know that his 17 year old kid, along with his hockey teammates decided to score some beer? Geesh.. if this is not typical teenage boy behavior I don't know what is. I don't need to know that the Bush girls like to party anymore than I need to know that Dean's son tried to steal beer or that one of the Gore girls was a pothead at Harvard.
A Club of One
Last night, Barry Bonds became the sole member of the 500/500 club. To those who are not baseball folks, that means 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases. Not only are there not any other members, but there are also not any 400/400 members and only three 300/300 guys. Bonds has been baseball's most dominant player for the past two seasons, which is remarkable because he is nearly 40 years old.
Bonds has always had his detractors, people who thought he was not quite friendly enough. And others who think that Bonds could not have accomplished his physical feats without the assistance of steroids. This is the knock on Bonds that most annoys me. I hear all these arm chair experts question how anyone could so significantly change his body over the course of several years without "performance enhancing drugs." Being a bodybuilder and having drastically transformed my own body in my late 20's to early 30's I understand that such things are possible without steroids.
When I hear some dope talking about how he goes to the gym, etc. yet does not put on muscle like Bonds has, I am torn between laughter and anger. They fail to comprehend that getting into that sort of condition requires an enormous amount of dedication- not just in the weight room, but in terms of one's diet and sleep. The average person has no clue just what it takes to build a body like Bonds. According to an excellent piece on Bonds in last month's Muscle and Fitness, he has his blood measured multiple times per year to determine levels of nutrients, hormones, etc. and then has his supplement and diet regime tailored to address any deficiencies.
If Joe Sixpack, who thinks Bonds is juicing, put down his beer and pizza and nachos and ate clean and took some basic supplements (a good anti-oxidant, multi-vitamin, creatine, essential fatty acids and protein) he just might be able to see the same drastic change in his body type as Bonds has. But one has to also remember that genetics play a huge role in one's ability to pack on muscle.
There is a possibility that Bonds has done steroids. And, if that is the case then shame on him. But the "evidence" that most arm chair experts base their allegations on is so flimsy as to be laughable. It stems more from a misunderstanding, or lack of knowledge, of human physiology than any "fact".

Monday, June 23, 2003

I had not given a whole lot of consideration to John Edwards lately, but maybe that is about to change. If you have not already read the text of the speech he gave at Georgetown University last Tuesday, here is the link. It is very clearly a New Democrat speech, criticizing both the right wing GOP and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and makes reference on several occasions to the glory days of Clinton-Gore. Edwards calls for a return to the values of fairness and hard work, in short resurrecting the American Dream.
I still think the Senator may be trying to trade up a bit too early in his career, but he does make for an interesting candidate to watch. He seems to have realized that re-hashing Gore's "people versus the powerful" is not the route to the White House, though this speech does still have populist tones. It appeals more to Americans' belief in hard work and the opportunity that America is supposed to represent. If Edwards can stay on this message, and continue to point out the pitfalls of crony capitalism (which isn't even capitalism) as practiced by the Bushies, he could soon position himself as a formidable candidate in the primary of ideas.
As I ate dinner last night, I clicked on CSPAN to see a bit of whatever Democratic Cattle Call was taking place in Illinois. I was treated to the sight of Dennis Kucinich preaching about single payer, universal health care. Now, reasonable people can disagree over this issue, but what struck me was Kucinich's call for health care and prescription drugs without co-pays, without premiums and without review boards. In other words, unlimited access to whatever health care a person choses to consume. One can only imagine the cost of such a system- both in terms of dollars and in terms of wasted finite resources. Gone would be any incentive to forego unnecessary care- every little bump, bruise or sniffle could result in a doctor or emergency room visit, clogging the waiting rooms of both and delaying care for truly ill folks. I realize that Kucinich has about as much chance as being our next President as I have of being the next Pope, yet what scares me is that there are people who actually see no problem with such a policy proposal. While I have noted before that many, if not most, people do not understand health care economics or policy, surely anyone with a functioning brain would realize the peril of unlimited access to health care. But I suppose it makes for a good sales pitch for a third tier candidate.

The other interesting nugget came just a few minutes ago, while watching the local news station. It referred to Doctor Dean as the most liberal of the Democrats running for the nomination? That will probably be news to the residents of Vermont, who saw him as a centrist, pro-business budget balancer. Can someone please explain to me how Dean can be this "straight talking" non-politician when he has completely remolded himself from pragmatic centrist to liberal rabble rouser?

Lastly, the MoveOn online primary begins tomorrow, as I can gather from the flood of emails I have received from various campaigns instructing me to vote. But I am simply not going to do it. Maybe I am being vindictive, but I do not want to give this Lefty group any more credence than they deserve. I hope that Dean does win the endorsement, with enough votes to assure a fundraising pitch from MoveOn. Then, when he crashes and burns sometime during the primary season I can sit back and enjoy a hearty laugh at all those liberal dollars wasted.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Would he fly first class? I ask because my trip to St. Louis coincided with the Catholic Bishops Conference and so I flew with some of the men in collars. I was somewhat surprised to see them all fly in first class. It seems that the Church has experienced some financial difficulties, closing some smaller parishes and schools. So why is it that they still send their clergy on first class plane fares? Something about that seems sort of unholy to me.
I just got around to reading the politcal news and other people's blogs this morning. For several days I was blissfully ignorant of what was happening in the world around me, except for my apartment search and the Cardinals horrendous performance Friday night against the Royals. And I really do think there is some sort of bliss associated with being ignorant of the world around you. I can see why some people chose to avoid the sewer of politics and current events. To do so ensures one of only being affected by his or her immediate life concerns. Gone are the worries about the millions of children in our country who are growing up poor; without a parent or parents; who go hungry; who are beaten, molested or abused; who are trapped in a failing educational system. One is also able, to whatever degree possible, to avoid the disturbing reality of invidious discrimination against gays and lesbians; to be oblivious to the degradation of our ecosystem; etc.

Yet, something in my own make up does not allow me to stay ignorant for long. Maybe it is just the way I was brought up- to be concerned for others and their plight. Or it could be that my ancestors, going back to the Revolutionary War, have fought and died for this country and her great experiment with democracy. Or it could be any other number of reasons.

What I found most disturbing in my perusal of the news, was the transcript of Senator Hillary Clinton's interview on the topic of gay marriage that I found on Andrew's site. I was shocked to find out that my US Senator, the liberal Hillary Clinton, did not believe that gays and lesbians should not be permitted to marry! Now, maybe Hillary is being cautious in preparation for a White House run in 2008, but I am so disappointed in her comments, which are below.

Clinton: Well, marriage means something different. you know, marriage has a meaning that I... I think should be kept as it historically has been, but I see no reason whatsoever why people in committed relationships can't have, you know, many of the same rights and the same, you know, respect for their unions that they are seeking and I would like to see that be more accepted than it is.

Lehrer: But not with the context of marriage.

Clinton: Yeah, I, I think that is, you know... First of all, I think that it is unlikely, if not impossible, to be something nationally accepted in our country, but I also think that we can realize the same results for may committed couples by urging that states and localities adopt civil union and domestic partnership laws.

To paraphrase Senator Clinton, gays and lesbians in committed relationships should be prohibited from marrying so that we can keep the traditional definition of marriage as one man-one woman. Does she also think that we should turn back the clock on heterosexual marriage and ensure that the wife is subservient to the husband? I doubt she has countenanced the thought. There are those who would point to her comments and say that what she is proposing is equal rights, but with a different name, simply denying gay unions the title of marriage. However, many years ago, the US Supreme Court dismissed the notion of separate but equal as a fallacy.

Senator Clinton should know better.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Uh Oh
I haven't posted in a couple of days. Sorry to anyone who came here looking for incisive commentary. I am off to St. Louis tomorrow for some apartment hunting and meeting some of my soon to be classmates at Washington University law school. Back in Albany on Saturday. Probably won't have anything until Sunday. I am percolating some thoughts about our society. When they are fully formed I will post them. Enjoy your week.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Rx for the Elderly
I have not touched on health care policy much on my site, even though I came close to pursuing my graduate degree in that field, because it is such a complex and often misunderstood policy area. The average person understands, to an extent, what s/he needs in terms of health, but does not quite grasp the complex economic system driven by those choices. Over the past several decades we have systematically severed the link between demand and cost, through government and private insurance. Managed care has re-established a marginal connection via co-payments, and its limits on care has made consumers somewhat more aware of cost. Still, there is massive over-consumption of health care resources.
There are a number of shortcomings with our current system, but the one receiving the most attention now is a prescription drug benefit for seniors. The Senate and House are on the verge of passing competing plans that would have to be reconciled, but they leave more than a bit to be desired. Their complex formulas for coverage are nearly as arcane as our tax code. Now, there are some advocates who favor a full drug benefit for all seniors, as a part of Medicare. The problem with such an approach is that it lacks any form of cost control and would likely have artificially low co-payments that would increase over-consumption of health care resources. Others have proposed moving seniors into managed care as a precondition for a drug benefit. But I am not sure that forcing seniors into an unfamiliar system at such a late stage in life would make sense. It runs the risk of leaving too many people confused about their health care choices.
While I don't have the solution, I do have some criteria by which to judge any plan. It should be available to all seniors, but it would be means tested and premiums would be based on ability to pay. However, premiums should not be so high as to discourage healthy seniors from joining. There should be a co-payment schedule that would discourage over-consumption and would encourage less costly drug therapies. There would need to be some sort of review board to vet new drugs as they come onto the market to determine whether or not the plan would include the drug.
The major problem with including a drug benefit in Medicare is that same as any government run health plan- it is susceptible to political pressure. We must beware that the drug plan does not become overly generous, driven by political action from the AARP and the senior lobby. The system must be designed so that it does not become a profit mill for the drug companies and a wide open entitlement for seniors.

Friday, June 13, 2003

You Make the Call
Imagine this hypothetical, if you will. A wealthy college graduate is given a medical deferment to avoid service in the Vietnam War, then goes skiing in Aspen, Colorado for 80 days shortly after graduation. He expresses his feelings to a reporter years later, "'It was a great time to be a kid and do something relatively fun."
Would you think this person was well suited to be President of the United States?
Of course, the person in the hypothetical is none other than Doctor Dean. Perhaps someone should remind the good doc that while he was off "do(ing) something relatively fun" tens of thousands of his peers were off in Vietnam dying. So maybe it was a "great time to be a kid" if you were a wealthy, white young man from Park Avenue, but for the rest of America's youth it was a dangerous and deadly time.

Contrast that with another well off man running for President- John Kerry- who ENLISTED in the Navy after graduating from Yale. And not only did Kerry not run away to Aspen to ski, but he served in Vietnam with distinction earning several medals, among them a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.

You make the choice...
Cheap Start
Congress appears ready to reform Head Start, which is long overdue. However, much like NCLB, they seem intent on mandating improvements without providing the resources. The current plan would require all Head Start teachers to have a bachelor's degree by 2008, a big improvement over the current requirement of a high school diploma. However, given that there is already a shortage of teachers in some areas it is folly to assume that newly minted college grads are going to jump at the lowly wages paid by most Head Start programs.
But I do think this is a step in the right direction. We need to address the learning gap between poor children and their peers, and a focus on academics in Head Start programs will go a long way in giving poor children a hand up. Too many poor children grow up in homes lacking in resources for enrichment, like books, and often times parents who are less educated than their non-poor peers. There is an abundance of research pointing to the benefits of early education and the only roadblock to making Head Start a high quality academic enrichment program is the lack of funds from the Feds and the opposition of entrenched Head Start lobbyists.

(NYT story)

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Comic Relief
UNC Wilmington professor Mike Adams has another open letter, this time it's to a women's studies professor. This guy is really too funny for academia. Read it here.
David Brinkley, RIP
Long time NBC and ABC newsman David Brinkley died last night. I grew up watching This Week with David Brinkley on Sunday mornings. He was a paragon of journalism excellence, treating all of his guests in the same manner, showing bias towards none. And while Brinkley has been retired since 1997, it is nevertheless a sad day for television journalism.

(CNN story)

P2004 Thoughts
I still cannot decide on a candidate for 2004, which would not be a problem for your average voter, I suppose. But I am a former political consultant and office holder, so I am supposed to be more driven and decisive than an average voter (whatever that is). Yet, none of the gang has inspired any great feeling in my heart or mind.
Dean is the candidate who, in some ways, has the most appeal. But, he seems to be doing everything he can to alienate moderate Democrats like myself. He compiled a very moderate record in Vermont, yet he has made the choice to run from the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party", which is a line he stole from Paul Wellstone. So, does this mean that Dean has been a closet lefty all these years, or is it a campaign trail conversion? Is his sky high NRA rating an anomoly? How does he plan to jibe his fiscal responsibility with his liberal followers belief in Big Government?
Two years ago, I was intrigued by Dean, but now I am dismayed. His campaign resembles some sort of cult of personality. His staff seems paranoid and accuses his opponents of stealing his ideas at every turn. And when you read the comments of his supporters there is a Hare Krishna mantra feel to it. So I guess I missed my turn at the Kool Aid, because I don't buy the Dean shtick.
A few weeks ago, I was flirting with the Kerry campaign. Maybe I have a soft spot as a Massachusetts native or maybe it was his ability to quote Andre Gide. I still think Kerry is a compelling candidate, based on his resume and experience. But what bothers me is the way he backed away from his support for the Iraq War. Within a month of voting to authorize the use of force he was distancing himself from the vote. And now that there is a question about the presence of WMD, Kerry has claimed that Senators who supported the use of force should not be held accountable. This smacks of a lack of courage on the Senator's part. If Iraq did not have WMD, then those who supported the use of force should accept some of the responsibility. The public will trust someone who can admit their errors more than they will trust someone who slithers away like a snake.
In 2000, John Edwards was one of the folks who I would have liked to see on the ticket as VP. Despite my one time affinity for Edwards, he has so far failed to impress. I think perhaps he jumped too quickly and should instead have focused on 2008 or 2012. But there is still a long way to go and maybe he will change my mind. But he needs to lose the whole fixation with the rural areas and his constant reminders about his mom and dad's jobs and where he grew up. Voters care about what he is going to do for them and their country not what town he grew up in or that his mom worked for the post office.
In my mind, these are the candidates who are noteworthy. I think that Gephardt is way too cozy with the unions; Graham is sounding too conspirational; and, Lieberman won't stop sermonizing.
If only my preferred candidate had decided to run.. maybe he will in 2008 (by the way, it's Evan Bayh).

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

You may have noticed the spiffy new button on the left- Boot Bush. The link will take you to the DNC donation page. Every donation you make will help.
Also, my comments are being very weird. Sometimes they display, sometimes they do not. Still trying to figure out why.
Are You a Geek?
Take the test and see.
I scored very low- Geekish Tendencies, which sounds about right.
Another Record Broken
According to the CBO, this year's federal budget deficit will exceed $400 billion. That would be the largest since 1992, when Bush pere ran up $290 billion worth of red ink. After years of balanced budgets and surpluses, the Bush administration has given us two consecutive years of deficits. You are free to question the President's intelligence, but you cannot question his ability to bankrupt the country.

(full story)
That Depends on How You Define Courage
TNR's Primary reports on what it sees as the political courage of John Edwards for standing up to an angry constituent. The questioner was demanding an investigation into the administration over the Iraq War and the intelligence that was used to support it. Edwards responded by saying, "The premise of your question is that you have these views and you want me to stand up for them. ... But that's not my job. You disagree with me on Iraq. I believe it was the right thing to do. I will listen to you and respect what you say, but ultimately, my responsibility is to do what I believe is right."
Now it certainly takes some spine to respond to any constituent in such a manner, but let's look at the bigger picture. Support for the Iraq War was strong across the country, but even more so in the South. If Edwards had agreed with his interlocutor then he would have run the risk of alienating the majority of North Carolinians who supported the war. However, I will give Edwards some credit, as he had to know that his response would be widely covered and read by the more liberal than average Democratic primary voters, a group that has been energized by the angry Dr. Dean and his anti-war stance. The political price for Edwards' comment will probably be paid more in New Hampshire and Iowa, than in North Carolina.

Monday, June 09, 2003

As someone who supported the President on the Iraq War I am growing ever more suspicious over the supposed intelligence indicating the presence of WMD. Now, I supported toppling Saddam Hussein for human rights reasons more than WMD, but this President sold the American people, and our allies, on the threat posed by Saddam. If no weapons of mass destruction are found, Bush will be a goner in 2004. But, absent some credible evidence that the intelligence community is to blame, the President should resign. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but the evidence seems to indicate that whatever intelligence there was had been misrepresented by the administration. If so, this rises above the level of Watergate. This administration may have risked American lives on false premises, lied to the American people and to Congress and our allies. All from the man who claimed he would restore the dignity to the White House. What a sham!
Big Day
Hillary's book hits the stores today and I am still not sure if I should run over and get it now, or if I'll do the usual and wait for it to come out as a trade paperback. I hate spending the extra $15 for a hardcover book. But this is one of the rare books that I may not be able to wait for. I did not catch the Barbara Walters special, but I have heard just about every commentator on earth talk about the book and what it means. I wonder if too much is already out there, if I will be disappointed by the book for not surprising me.
Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Rested and Ready
Will be back to posting regularly again this week, I hope. Things are hectic with preparations for the move and my stack of books has been far more attractive than my computer lately. Back on Monday.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Stupid Is as Stupid Does
With the economy still in the tank, states bleeding red ink and millions of people unemployed, Congress has taken up the oh so important task of banning flag burning. (story here) This seems to have become an almost annual rite since the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning was Constitutionally protected speech back in 1989. As someone who has had countless ancestors fight under the flag, I am more than a bit offended by Congress' attempt to stifle speech it finds offensive and by their legislative priorities. (It was bad enough that they did their annual partial birth dance the other day, too.) In this climate of almost reflexive patriotism, this is an amendment that just might pass. How sad that a country founded on liberty finds itself in the position where the burning or desecration of the symbol of liberty should become a crime.

Monday, June 02, 2003

If You're Not Angry...
Then you're not paying attention, right? While my anger may take a different form of expression than some of my more left-leaning peers it is still present. With the exception of my posts on the issues surrounding gay rights and the Religious Right, I try to be level headed and not to resort to name calling or simple invective. I do not believe that there is anything inherently wrong with being rich, white or Republican, but to many Leftists there is something evil about all three. I prefer to take on people of the Right over policy matters and try to avoid demagoguery, when possible.
However, my reluctance to bash should not be viewed as some sort of tepid endorsement or quiet acquiesence to the present administration. I am mad as hell with the Bushies. This administration has lied almost pathologically to the American people from matters involving Iraq and weapons of mass destruction to the true cost of the tax cuts. It is an administration which has put forth some of the most radical Right wing candidates for the Federal bench, in order to provide some red meat for the Wingnuts. At the same time it claims to listen to the gay community it says that Senator "Man on Dog" Santorum is an inclusive person. Huh?
It has sheperded through the most drastic restriction of civil liberties ever seen in the Patriot Act and wants to take away even more with Patriot 2. The Bush administration operates like some sort of secretive star chamber, refusing to release documents pertaining to its energy task force and to the investigation of 9-11.
Conservatives like to ridicule liberal social programs as "nanny-state", but what we have with the Bush administration is the "poppy-state" where citizens are not told the truth because the government knows best and are stripped of their civil liberties in what has become something straight out of 1984 replete with Big Brother monitoring your emails.
It's no wonder that so many people are so angry. And my anger only grows at how willing some of my fellow Americans are to blindly follow the Bushies off the cliff (after drinking the Kool Aid). There was a time when I considered sitting out the 2004 election if the Dem nominee was not to my liking. But how can one sit idly by as this administration ruins this country, its economy, its fiscal solvency and its international standing for generations to come?
Civil Disobedience?
The WaPo has a story in Saturday's paper about the increasing number of college applicants who refuse to answer the race question. Despite admissions officers claims that such an action makes the process neutral, the reality is that it becomes anything but, as noted by John. Applicants receive preferences based on their race, so if race is an unknown then one would have to assume that the "race-anonymous" person would be treated the same as a white applicant. In other words, s/he would not be eligible for an admissions boost, while those who disclose minority status would still get such a preference.
It should be apparent that the only people who would engage in such behavior would be protesting white or Asian students or particularly anti-affirmative action minorities. What would make much more sense is for people to lie about their race and claim to be an under-represented minority. Using the anthropological fact that we ALL descended from Africans, we could all claim to be African American/black. There is no proof of race required on applications, but I do think that you swear to the accuracy of the information. A potential consequence could be that an offer of admission would be rescinded once you got to campus and were not the colour you claimed to be. But boy, wouldn't it be fun to play this game and show the silliness of the system.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Whatcha Been Up To?
The posting is still on the light side as I am devoting more of my free time to other pursuits. Some of these are optional, recreational pursuits- reading, listening to music- while the other part of my time is being taken up with getting everything arranged for my move to St. Louis later this summer. I have been getting estimates from movers, going online to look at apartment resources and gyms, and booking my trip there in two and a half weeks. The whole Law Student Loan process has eaten up too much of my time, simply because of an old bankruptcy and loan default. But that seems to be all cleared up now and I am well on my way to begin at Washington University in the fall. Or, I should say begin again, seeing how that was the law school I attended on the first go 'round when I was still young and dumb (nine years ago).
Though this blog will still focus on current affairs and politics, I hope to introduce a bit more on music and books over the coming weeks. Also, once school starts there may be a bit about my travails as a 30 something law student. I want this blog to be a bit more broad in its scope because all the focus on politics was getting a bit monotonous even to me, someone with politics in his blood. Also, it was causing me a bit of tunnel vision and time that should have been spent enjoying life was instead spent in front of a computer, being bombarded with words and images of our sometimes cruel and stupid world.
I decided that it was time to lighten up and enjoy my life. Not just because I have three difficult years ahead of me, but because sometimes intensity takes its toll on your psyche and you become distant from others, especially those whom you love. I am also reminded that I am supposed to be the change I want to see in the world, and the more I lament, in words, what the world is, the less engaged I am in being that change.