Monday, March 14, 2005

More Grist for the Mill: Social Security for All

Americans for Prosperity Foundation has launched a new website, Social Security for All, to "give individuals an opportunity to become more involved in deciding the future of their Social Security" and to educate citizens on the issue, according to Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of Americans for Prosperity. Their position on Social Security reform is this:

# Permit workers to invest their payroll taxes in individually directed Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs);
# No increase in payroll taxes;
# Guarantee a "safety net" for all retirees;
# Preserve the benefits of retirees and near retirees;
# No government investment in the stock market;
# No general revenue transfers to Social Security without structural reform;
# Reform Social Security to reduce the burden it will place on future taxpayers and the federal budget.

There are some who appear to be more frightened of reform than the systemic failure of Social Security, as evidenced by the panicky retreat to the past to cling to the neck of a statue of F.D.R. The problem for us as citizens is a perennial one. For a member of the My-Political-Survival-Is-Paramount party, any problem with a time horizon that extends beyond their likely tenure is - must be - ignored. Why spend political captial on a problem for which one cannot take credit? Only political pressure from an educated citizenry can move this sort of political narcissist toward the "third rail" of American politics.
At this point in the debate, I believe I agree with the principles in the list above, but I'm not sure that phasing out Social Security altogether isn't better. I'm still thinking, still reading. I'm adding links on the subject of Social Security to the sidebar so you can do the same.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Darn Frenzied Piranha!

Today Neil Steinberg, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times offered his opinion on a CNN report on blogs, and on blog(er)s in general. Evidently the CNN report featured a blogger who was "accredited and given access to a White House press conference". Mr. Steinberg writes:

Yowza. Though they also let in a turkey at Thanksgiving, CNN found this particular entrance highly significant, perhaps some kind of turning point, and as the protracted, painful segment unfolded, the reporter tried to present the usual piranha frenzy in the so-called "blogosphere" by actually scrolling down, on air, blocks of verbiage on her computer screen.

(Piranha frenzy. Wow. I dream of being a piranha one day, But I'm still trying to fit into my "so-called blogosphere" pajamas.)
So why was CNN fooled? I know producers have time to fill, but they stumbled onto a common misperception that deserves note. Stuck as always in the jail of the present moment, we mistake White House or presidential involvement for a sign of importance or respectability.
Okay, Mr. Steinberg, we're noting. Here's the logic. Premise: A blogger is by his nature an unknown, unimportant individual (just look at me) and he cannot be respectable. Therefore, since this blogger got Whitehouse news conference access, any slob can have "White House or presidential involvement". All of us - unimportant un-respectable hoi polloi that we are - should take Neil's word for it, pop in at the Whitehouse, and have a little chat with the President. Why nobody has done this since the Lincoln administration is just beyond me. Who knew?
And blogs will, unless I am very much mistaken, be this decade's CB radio since, like CB radio, they are a cacophonous expression of the unvarnished and unedited psyche of the American people, God bless them, once again mistaking a new technology for the New Jerusalem.
There we go again. Poor "unvarnished and unedited" savages, mistaking advancement for magic, falling down to worship when the missionary strikes a match. (For a minute there, I thought this was the haughty and insulting condescension of an elitist. But having reflected on his insight for a moment, I believe I really do need to have my psyche edited. Can anyone recommend ... Oh, nevermind.)

Are Little Green Footballs and Powerline and Instapundit a CB-style fad? Time will tell. But time has told us a few things already. Dan Rather's little swim with the piranha ended well, I think, or rather (no pun, I swear) will end tonight. So did Daschle's. Will the unwashed masses, God bless us, prefer to sift our information from an unvarnished and unedited cacophony, or a pablum of whitewash and spin? If it's true that news today is entertainment, which do you think it will be? Feeding piranha or puffed-up pontificating elitist? Well, I can't tell the future any better than you - but I'm guessin'.

[Thanks to youch for the heads-up via email. Cross-posted on the Chicago Bungalow]

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Feeling Guilty?

Every once in awhile, some original thinker considers the cultural landscape, and with ray-of-light acuity, describes the view for us all. If you like that kind of stuff, 4 Mile Creek has a great post for you today.

Monday, March 07, 2005

4th Annual Tarnished Halo Awards

The Center For Consumer Freedom has announced their 4th Annual Tarnished Halo Awards. This year, "The Reverend Rooster" category went to Al Sharpton, "The 'Will Sue Your Mom for Publicity' Category" to George Washington University professor John "Sue the Bastards" Banzhaf (threatening to sue parents & doctors of overweight children. Other winners include the Center for Science in the Public Interest [hmmmpfffff - ed.], the CDC, in the "The 'Pants on Fire' Category", and New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz in "The 'Breath Lock or Brain Lock' Category". Take a look at the cartoons, too.

Friday, March 04, 2005

"Rebirth" of the Democrats

Professor Bainbridge doesn't seem to think that this new, scripture quoting, church going democratic party is as evangelical friendly as they say they are. "Actions speak louder", he says. But, even though I live in a blue state, I have a red-state heart, and as ya'll knows, us red-staters ain't too bright. But I had a go at thinkin' about this kinder, gentler democratic party. I figger there's some advantages to bein' a liberal democrat.

1. I can quit tithin', an' git the gummint and other folks to do it fer me.

2. I can start complainin'. Them folks like complainin', you know, cuz' fer them it really does somethin', but you don't have to do nothin'. So I can quit all this volunteer stuff, and jus' complain.

3. Far as I can see, feelin' right for them folks is all the same as doin' right. Now everybody knows which one o' those two's tougher.

That's what I have so far. But it sure seems like a no-brainer, don't it? I mean, I've heard 'em quote scripture an' all. You know, while I was thinkin', it came to me . . . seems like there's somthin' I wanted to remember . . .

Supreme Court Decision on the Death Penalty

Whether you are for or against the death penalty, the Supreme Court's recent decision is a genuinely frigntening development in judicial activism, unless you support the idea of exchanging constitutional rights for the edicts of nine little black-robed kings. Steve at The Black Republican has written on the issue: The new arbiter of our nation's moral standards. The frightening part? Evidently the court found more weight in international opinion and foreign law than in our own Constitution. More here and here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Suggested Reading

Classical Values has graciously added us to their link list. Click over there and read awhile - I guarantee you'll want bookmark this very outstanding and well written blog.