Monthly Archives: November 2010

Pence endorses flat tax

Politico reports today that Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) endorsed the flat tax in an address to the Detroit Economic Club.  This could well be a sign that Pence is indeed positioning himself for a run at the presidency. The policy enjoys the support of an activist core that could be particularly helpful in the GOP primary.

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election

On the GOP side in 2012…

Chris Cillizza writes in The Washington Post about four potential dark horse candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. It’s early, but of course the official season started in earnest the day after the midterms. His mentions, and my comments:

Rick Santorum – Yes, Santorum might very well run, and surely wants to. I don’t think he would win, however, and he would not be the right nominee. He’s too narrowly focused on social issues, and lacks resonance with voters beyond his natural constituency.

Mike Pence – Pence could decide to run as well, and certainly if not this time then at some point in the future. It could be the year for a guy like Pence, however, if 2012 proves to be another change cycle. He could legitimately run as an outsider, while still presenting the substance and style desired in a presidential candidate by the electorate.

Scott Brown – No way. Fun to think about – if for nothing else but the novelty of the idea – but only for about one second. There’s no way he’d do it, and no way he’d win. He simply doesn’t have the experience, the network, or anything else to make that even a realistic possibility to consider.

Marco Rubio – Again, no way. He’s an attractive figure within the party and his star is rising to be sure, but it’s simply not his time, and he’s smart enough to understand that. The only caveat I’d add is that many potential GOP nominees would certainly take a look at him for the VP slot.

Personally, I still like Mitt Romney, both as my personal choice of those who have all but declared, and as the odds-on favorite to take the nomination. If Pence jumps in the field, I’d be compelled of course to take a very serious look at him. As you know, I’ve long been a fan of the Congressman from Indiana. He starts behind Romney in name ID and money, but projects a personal authenticity and warmth that could compensate for that in a race to attract the attention and support of primary voters.

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Republican Party

TSA strip searches little boy

I’m not traveling by plane this week, but if I was, I would consider taking part in Wednesday’s nation-wide resistance to the new, intrusive airport security measures now in place. The plan is to “opt-out” of the full body scans and clog the system by requiring screeners to perform the more time-consuming “enhanced pat-down.” Such plans have the flavor of civil disobedience.

Here’s video of the TSA performing at least a partial strip-search on a little boy, a scene that would surely upset many reasonable citizen bystanders. One man heard on camera observes that what is happening is “ridiculous” and “unbelievable.” While the video clip does not make clear the full set of circumstances surrounding the event, it is certainly disconcerting at first glance.

And in case you haven’t seen it already, here’s the famous footage of one John Tyner who warned a TSA agent not to “touch my junk.” Charles Krauthammer celebrates Junk Man in his latest column for the Washington Post. Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. Food for thought: what do you think the reaction – in the media and from partisans on either side of the aisle – would be if the previous presidential administration had instituted these new security measures?

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Filed under Civil Liberties, General & Miscellaneous, National Security

Information overlaod

My mom has always been one to clip newspaper articles and set them aside until everybody she thinks would – or should – be interested has had a chance to read them. This started at the dinner table growing up and continues to present day. When visiting Lincoln, Nebraska this weekend I happened upon a small stack of such clippings. My curiosity got the better of me and I dug into the stack to see what was to be found.

At least one article dated back to April 2, 2009. That was when Kathleen Parker humorously lamented information overload, both its risks and results.  (Ironic that my mom clipped this particular article, isn’t it?).  Parker notes that we suffer from chronic TMI, or too much information, at an individual and societal level. We’re distracting ourselves to death and need to “turn off, tune out and drop in.”

The columnist wasn’t the first to make that case and won’t be the last. This is a discussion that will continue to develop as the volume of information and the technologies that deliver it continue to multiply. The scenario applies not only in our personal consumption of daily news or social input, for example, but also in scholarly research. There’s simply so much out there that it’s becoming impossible to wade through it all, and locating and identifying what is most relevant or of the highest quality becomes a challenge in and of itself.

Establishing efficient ways to do that is one of the most important challenges facing the world’s great information entrepreneurs today. We each do that in our own way on a small scale, and simply “turning off, tuning out and dropping in” is a vital part of that.

Note: I couldn’t find a link to the article,” Perhaps information overload is the real crisis,” though here is a link to Parker’s more recent columns.

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Filed under Personal Living

Waiting for Superman

A few days ago I saw the movie Waiting for Superman, a much-hyped movie among folks following education reform, and itself well worth the wait.

It was produced modern-documentary style, with a good amount of information and statistics weaved into a story about the nation’s lackluster education system. Bringing the film to life were the personal stories of several families and their efforts to salvage an educational future for their children. Education reform has long been a ripe subject for this kind of treatment, and on the whole this film succeeds in its dual mission of informing and entertaining viewers.

Created by Davis Guggenheim – who also directed An Inconvenient Truth – Waiting for Superman is acutely aware of the politics surrounding education. While AFT president Randi Weingarten makes an appearance in the film, selfish and abusive practices of teachers unions within the public policy process are exposed to the light of day. The practice of storing defective teachers in “rubbers rooms” in New York City, at a cost of many millions to the taxpayer, will surely surprise and upset many viewers, for example.

The movie is a welcome contribution to the dialogue surrounding educational improvement in America. It does not portray the entire range of problems and potential solutions (public charter schools receive the most focus here), but it does put a spotlight on the overall problem and the need to do something about it. I definitely give Waiting for Superman two thumbs up.

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Filed under Education

Results

Missouri Results.

Kansas Results.

It’s a good day for America.

 

 

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Filed under 2010 House Elections, 2010 Senate Elections, Kansas, Missouri Politics