I support Prop 46 (Housing Bonds), albeit with some reservations.
Housing is something I know a bit about; I have a graduate degree in a related field, and some of my earliest professional jobs related to housing laws and development here in California.
The reality is that housing as a good is one that serves a variety of purposes: as shelter, as well as an investment for homeowners and landlords. The kind of housing provided has profound effects on communities, as has been noted from the beginnings of the pro-tenement movements in the 19th century (can you imagine what housing must have been like for tenement housing to have been considered a step up?). The physical nature of has real effects on the social nature of a community, and the economic effects of housing costs have real effects on regional economies as well.
Generally, the government has promoted affordable housing in three ways:
1) Through finance reform – mortgages were five to seven years until FDR came along;
2) Through direct or indirect subsidy – I get an indirect subsidy of about $1,000 a month as a homeowner; other low(er) income homeowners get down payment assistance or below-market loans. Renters get direct subsidies (the old Section 8 certificate) or landlords who will limit their rent and rent the units to low-income households get subsidies in the form of grants, below-market financing, and tax credits which they can then resell.
3) By providing entitlements and infrastructure for housing, allowing more housing to be built, and driving down the cost of the ‘permitted lot’.
2) is a relatively inefficient way to make housing more affordable; it distorts the market, and leads to the overconsumption of housing (The tract homes built after WW2 were 1,100 – 1,250 s.f., with two bedrooms, one bath, and a carport. Entry-level detached housing today is 1,500 – 1,900 s.f. with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage). It also leads to the classic SkyBox policy of creating a class of wealthy providers of housing to low-income people through grants and direct subsidy, meaning that political connections suddenly become more valuable than competence.
Prop 46 provides $2.1 Billion for the state to use in subsidizing new affordable housing through a variety of programs targeting variously, farmworkers, low-income renters, veterans, and other targeted classes.
All of them need help. I first heard of Jill Stewart almost twenty years ago, when she wrote a brilliant four-part series in the L.A. Times on the housing crisis just brewing in Los Angeles. We see it today in homelessness (although it is only one factor in a complicated problem), overcrowding (where more than one family will rent an apartment because they simply can’t afford it otherwise), and displacement (as neighborhoods become unaffordable to one economic class, another moves in).
The reality is that in California, particularly coastal California where I live, the shortage of entitlements is one of the roots of the crisis. We expect 20% more people in the Los Angeles SMSA in the next ten years, and yet we will build substantially less housing.
Until we can find the political will to deal with this problem, the best we can do is to dribble out projects and house those few lucky enough to be housed in them.
I’m not thrilled, but I’m voting ”yes” on Proposition 46.


Water is going to be one of the key issues here in California and worldwide in the next decades, as population growth collides with an aging infrastructure.
California Proposition 50 proposes a $3.44 billion general obligation bond issue to be used for a variety of water-related projects.
I support improving the California infrastructure, and believe that intelligent water projects, combined with agricultural and urban conservation are absolutely necessary to get our stare through the first part of this century.
But I oppose this bond measure.
Like Prop 51, it has been co-opted by a series of real estate developers who have contributed to it in the hopes that they will directly benefit. In this case, via the purchase of sensitive wetlands that they cannot realistically develop anyway.
From the O.C. Weekly

In fact, of the $3.44 billion raised by bond sales under the initiative (another $3.46 billion would go to interest payments over 30 years), a paltry $50 million is set aside for “Water Security.” According to the state legislative analyst, more than half of Prop. 50 would pay for land acquisition and Bay Area watershed cleaning.
Prop. 50 sports a huge list of pro-environmental endorsements, including Heal the Bay, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Audubon Society and Surfrider Foundation. This support, based on the measure’s ostensible clean-water emphasis, plays a high-profile role in the pro-Prop. 50 campaign.
But more illustrative of the reality behind Prop. 50 is the mammoth list of developer contributors. Not only is there a standard Yes on 50 campaign, but two PACs are also feeding money into the battle: the shrewdly named California Conservation Campaign and the Conservation Action Fund. Together, these PACs have already brought in about $3 million in campaign contributions from big developers. They include:
•Signal Landmark, which owns the controversial Bolsa Chica mesa, donated half a million to the various pro-Prop. 50 campaigns. In court for decades over a plan to cover the mesa with more than a thousand homes, Signal Landmark would benefit heartily from ballot language setting aside “not less than $300 million” in projects in the LA area with “priority” given “to the acquisition of not less than 100 acres” of the Bolsa Chica area.
•Playa Capital Co., which has been trying to develop the Ballona Wetlands in West LA since 1998, has donated a whopping $830,000 to the pro-Prop. 50 fight. Prop. 50 will buy up land and protect coastal wetlands throughout the LA area.
•Cargill, the huge agribusiness conglomerate that recently paid out $1 million to clean up its mess on the Missouri River, has donated $100,000 to the Conservation Action Fund. It owns salt ponds in San Francisco Bay and will benefit heavily from Prop. 50’s $825 million in appropriations for the bay.

We can’t afford not to do something about water here in arid Southern California. But we certainly can’t afford a bond issue like this here in financially strapped California.
So I’m voting ”no” on Prop 50, and I’ll wait for a more public-spirited water bond to support.


Nathan Newman has a fascinating post analyzing increasing political partisanship and legislative deadlock, with a basis in a quantitative analysis (pdf file) of Congressional voting patterns by Kenneth Poole and Howard Rosenthal.
Check out the evolution in the graphic below, and read Newman’s post and the article.
Having said that, I disagree with Newman in only one area. He says:

So what has happened?
Simple– the Civil War is over. We used to have different parties in different regions, especially between the South and the North, so nominal majorities by one party did not necessarily translate into a governing majority for policy. Back in Reagan’s first two years of office, we essentially had a similar 50-50 situation, where the GOP essentially ran the House with a narrow margin, despite official Democratic majorities, because the Boll Weevil’s supported the Reagan agenda. And it switched narrowly back to control by Tip O’Neill and the Dem leadership by a small margin in 1982. So we’ve had 50-50 margins of ideological control of Congress for decades now.
Today, the difference is that ideology is dressed clearly in party dress. While some Democrats crossed over to support Bush on final passage of his tax cuts, votes on all the amendments leading up to passage were tightly partisan, as I noted in Reflections on a Partisan Year. Aside from Miller, an extraordinary number of votes in the Senate fall along strictly partisan lines, something never seen earlier last century.

I see the roots of the change as being more mechanical than that. First, in the ability of party tacticans to manage redistricting, using better demographic data and computer analysis has led to the control of election results through voter selection through redistricting and gerrymandering. This is done by the parties, whose technicians ultimately control the process. Next, in the increasing cost of campaigning which must be borne by an aggressive fundraising structure…which structures are typically controlled by the parties, or by a cluster of consultants who rely on a steady stream of work from the parties for survival.
The administrator/bureaucrats in the parties are in control of the voters and the money; that would make it unproductive for a typical candidate to get crossways with them.


[Erratum by omission: I forgot to clearly mention that Bob Morris of Politics in the Zeroes and Ross of the Bloviator had been all over these issues.]
I live in Los Angeles County, and we are for a variety of reasons at the cutting edge of the healthcare crisis. Illegal immigration, poverty, gang violence, small low-wage employers and an inept and isolated County Board of Supervisors all are combining to create a public healthcare system (as well as a public health system) that has been teetering on the brink of disaster for a decade.
By any objective measure, the system is insolvent.
And so the voters are being asked to bail it out with a $0.03/sf property tax overlay.
Now this is the fiscal equivalent of charging the mortgage on the credit cards. You can do it once, and it will buy some time, but in no way does it solve the underlying problems you are facing.
The opponent of the measure make a good argument:

Don’t let the state off the hook for its responsibility to pay for the County’s trauma/emergency care system. The State has mismanaged its budget, and Measure B is asking you to foot the bill by increasing your property taxes by at least $175 million a year. This tax will go up as the cost of living increases.

And they are right. This crisis is a symptom of a deeper crisis at all levels of government, federal, state, and local as our elected officials seem to be unable to manage their way to performing the core functions of government. Check out today’s L.A. Times article, State Spends Its Way Into Budget Crisis: “Davis, legislators of both parties lavished windfall on programs. Analysts see years of pain ahead.”
The California leadershop spent money like a crack addict on vacation in Cali, and like the addict, the hangover is going to be a bitch and the family is really going to suffer.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but I’ll suggest two books as good primers:
Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street and the Frustration of American Politics, by Kevin Phillips and Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working, by Jonathan Rausch.
But, as Jeff Cooper pointed out, life must go on while we struggle with these deeper issues.
And the reality is that we won’t solve them for decades, if at all. And while we do, people will still get sick, be struck by cars, get stabbed and shot, and need medical care.
We can simply let them stack up in the halls of the few remaining hospitals, or we can do something. Something, in this case, involves putting the mortgage on the credit card in order to buy some time in the faint hope that we will work to try and sort our way through this mess.
So I’m urging a “yes” vote on Los Angeles County Proposition B.
Supporters of Prop B include: The L.A. Chamber of Commerce AND the AFL/CIO and a scattering of local elected officials.
The supporters are mounting a piss-poor campaign in an election guaranteed to have light turnout (not good for the spend-it-all folks), and California law requires a 66.6% “yes” vote to prevail, so I’m not hopeful.
I’ll actually be phonebanking on this one.


As noted in the post below, I believe that we are operating under the delusion that passing laws is the same as effecting change.
Today’s L.A. Times offers a low-key but effective example:

How many times have you rolled into a gas station with an overheated engine or a doughy front tire, only to find you had to pay for air and water? Or worse, the station provided no such services?
Problem solved, right?
Yeah, right.

The law took effect Jan. 1, 2000. Unlike many other bills, this law came with teeth.
The legislation required the Department of Food and Agriculture to create a hotline for motorists to report violations. In response to the complaints, the department was instructed to inspect service stations and issue fines to violators.
But, as of July 1, the money for the enforcement of the law was eliminated because of the state’s whopping $24-billion budget shortfall.

So … pass a law … get a photo op … accomplish nothing. This is worse than just ineffective. It is worse because the presence of this vast body of unenforced law both breeds contempt for the law (decline in legitimacy) and creates a kind of bureaucratic leverage over each of us, as we are caught in a web of selectively enforced laws.
The average speed on the 110 freeway (except during rush hour congestion) is over 80 miles per hour. The speed limit is 55; this means that the enforcing officer can select from a huge population of violators at will. Is he a racist? Then black drivers may get cited. Is she mad at her red-haired ex-husband? Red-haired drivers will get red lights in the mirror.
This kind of law gives incredible unlegislated discretion and power to the enforcers, and makes the average citizen into the average lawbreaker.
But our political system runs on it…


I’m going to try and blog something constructive (as opposed to my usual Davis/Simon whinging) every day about the upcoming election.
I’ll start with the low-hanging fruit, as they say in management classes; California Proposition 51.
Proposition 51 is a Frankenstein monster of a proposition, lumping a series of relatively unrelated projects together and sequestering funds from the general fund for them.
It diverts 30% of the Motor Vehicle Fund (approximately $900 million/year) from the general fund, where it is today used at the discretion of the Legislature and the Governor, to this set of designated projects.
These projects include:
Funds for the improvements of the old El Toro air base in Orange County into a ‘Great Park’;
Funds for railroad improvements from Orange County to Palm Springs;
Funds for the acquisition of wetlands in Ballona Creek;
Funds to improve transportation, including freeway offramps in Newhall, Riverside;
etc. etc. etc.
There are three immense problems with this initiative.
First, it bypasses any rational planning process whereby transportation and environmental priorities can be prioritized and set and simply locks the state into doing them all.
Second, it pulls almost a billion dollars out of the state budget at a time when the fiscal status of the state is fragile at best.
Third, and finally…well, take a look at this table, from Vote No on 51, and note the … intimate … connection between the contributors to the proposition and the beneficiaries of the projects.
Each of these projects may or may not have merit (although a whole lot of them look like direct subsidies to private enterprises who can and should be paying for things like highway interchanges that serve their real estate developments). But because of the format of the initiative, it is impossible to pick and choose, and once passed, we’ll be stuck paying for these things for thirty years.
I’m voting “no” on 51, and I strongly recommend that you do too.
[Update: Ann agrees!!]
Take a look at the editorials in the state’s newspapers:
Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News
Long Beach Press Telegram
Sacramento Bee
…and then take a look at this:
“Pay-to-Play” Matrix on Prop. 51

Contribution: $830,000(given to PCL’s Conservation Action Fund) by Playa Capital Company, LLC
Project: Money given to Los Angeles County for the acquisition of coastal wetlands in the Ballona Creek watershed. Playa Vista owns land in the watershed that it can’t develop. The land would be sold to the state at inflated prices.
Project Cost: $55 million
Contribution: $300,000 by the University of Southern California
Project: A tunnel under Exposition Blvd. to accommodate rail, buses and other motor vehicles traveling to Exposition Park, home of USC’s Memorial Coliseum. A USC spokeswoman told the LA Times that USC President Steven B. Sample decided to donate the money after the PCL amended the Proposition to guarantee that the transit line would go underground as it entered Exposition Park.
Project Cost: $75 million
Contribution: $500,000 by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Project: New rail line starting in LA, stopping in Palm Springs and ending in Indio near the Spa Resort Casino operated by the Indian Tribe, according to the LA times article. The tribe is also allowed to help with the design of the stations.
Project Cost: $120 million
Contribution: $500,000 by Pardee Construction Company and Pardee Homes
Project: Pardee would be able to build 3,000 more homes in the area if direct connectors are built between I-5 and Route 56. Caltrans is preparing to connect Route 56’s two ends, paving the way for Pardee’s home construction in the area. The plan does not include the direct connection of I-5 and Route 56 because it is not a wise investment of taxpayer money, according to Caltrans officials. Under the Caltrans plan, motorists would still have to exit the freeway and use surface streets to bridge the I-5/Route 56 gap. Prop. 51 would fund the direct connection, allowing Pardee to maximize the development potential of the area at no extra cost to the company.
Project Cost: $137 million
Contribution: $190,000 by Sun Ridge, LLC
Project: Sun Ridge is owned by Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos. Prop. 51 locks in money for the extension of light rail service from downtown Sacramento to Sacramento International Airport. Tsakopoulos owns land he wants to develop between downtown and the airport. In the absence of Prop. 51 funding the extension would not have for some years.
Project Cost: $100 million
Contribution: $150,000 by Hillwood Development Corp.
Project: Four rail grade crossings to serve company’s proposed cargo center near San Bernardino International Airport. The San Bernardino Area Governments said the project is a low priority that the $30 million would only cover a portion of the cost, according to the LA Times article. “We would have to come up with the money from higher priority projects to get the crossings done,” said Norm King, executive director of the agency, according to the Times.
Project Cost: $30 million
Contribution: $150,000 by Newhall Land and Farming Co.
Project: Road widening and interchange expansion at California 126 and I-5 to feed company’s proposed 21,000-home construction project along the Santa Clarita River, according to the LA Times article. Santa Clarita City transportation officials were not consulted and do not think the project is a good idea. (Note: improvements include two projects under the congestion bottleneck program, Section 2,ix and x)
Project Cost: $21 million
Contribution: $60,000 by Music Concourse Community Partnership MCCP
Project: Construction and improvements to the music concourse area of Golden Gate Park.
Project Cost: $40 million
Contributions: $80,000, $40,000, $30,000 respectively by the Golden Gate National Parks Association, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Friends of Recreation and Parks McLaren Lodge
Project: Annual grant money to improve the Golden Gate National Recreation area. (Note: includes two $800,000 grants) Academy of Sciences would benefit both from the music concourse improvements and grant money available to non-profit organizations to improve Golden Gate Park. The organization operates a museum, aquarium and planetarium in Golden Gate Park. Annual grant money to improve Golden Gate park.
Project Cost: $1.6 million in grants every year
Contribution: $65,000 by the Tejon Ranch Company
Project: Improve interchange on I-5 at Lavel Road, including seismic repairs and lane additions to support a trucking distribution center. The improvements are not in the taxpayers’ interest and are normally paid for in part by the developer. The $5 million would cover Tejon’s share of the improvements. Carpool lanes on I-5 between SR 14 and SR 126, to ease traffic concerns in an area proposed for development. Tejon Ranch Co. owns some 27,000 arces of land in the Grapevine that it plans to develop.
Project Cost: $5 million for the interchange improvements, $6 million for the carpool lane.
Contribution: $75,000 by the California State Railroad Museum Foundation
Project: Grant to the non-profit to construct a Railroad Technology Museum. An annual grant to the nonprofit to operate both the new museum and existing museum.
Project Cost: $7 million for construction of the museum, plus $1 million every year
Contributions: $37,500, $5,000 (respectively) by the Fort Mason Foundation and the SF-based Market Street Railway Company
Project: Grant to non-profit to improve and maintain the historic For Mason in SF, for improvements to vintage rail line which could include extension to SF Maritime National Historic Park, money can be used for project administration and management.
Project Cost: $3 million one-time and $800,000 every year
Contribution: $250,000 by the Riverside Land Conservancy
Project: Money for implementation of Western Riverside County Habitat Conservation Plan Implementation program including the acquisition and maintenance of wildlife habitat; Money for land acquisition and maintenance of the San Timoteo Park project including San Timoteo Creek and Canyon and adjacent lands; Money for acquisition of land for a habitat and wildlife corridor connection to the Santa Ana River and adjacent Santa Ana River trail
Project Cost: $6 million every year for the Habitat Conservation Plan; $3 million every year for the San Timoteo Park project; $1 million every year for the Santa Ana River project.
Contribution: $25,000 by the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, Inc.
Project: Money spent at the direction of the conservancy, at least 25 percent must be given each year to nonprofit organizations in Fresno and Madera Counties
Project Cost: $500,000 every year
Contribution: $5,000 and $10,000 (respectively) by the San Diego River Park Foundation and the San Diego River Park Lakeside Conservancy
Project: Grant to nonprofit to restore the San Diego River
Project Cost: $3.5 million
Contributions: $5,500; $5,500; $5,000 (respectively) by Sloughhouse rancher Jay Schneider; Rancho Murieta-based Van Vleck Ranching and Resources, Inc.; Sloughhouse rancher Alva Barton,
Project: Money to Sacramento every year to pay landowners in a specified area to maintain their land as open space
Project Cost: $1.5 million
Contribution: $6,000 by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy
Project: Grant to a nonprofit to preserve the San Dieguito River
Project Cost: $1 million


I’ve always believed that one of the key problems in our system of government is that we all confuse passing laws with making changes.
As anyone who’s ever managed people knows, there’s a world of difference between sending memos (or policy and procedures documents) and changing employee behavior.
It looks like the Beltway shooter’s gun was never really sold (requires registration)…

TACOMA, Wash. – Three days into the search of a Tacoma gun store, federal agents on Saturday were still trying to figure out how a rifle used in the Washington, D.C.-area sniper shootings got into the hands of suspect John Allen Muhammad.
The .223-caliber Bushmaster arrived at Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply in June, but no record has been found indicating it was sold, said Richard Van Loan, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent involved in the search. Gun dealers are required to keep such records.

No kidding.
Here we have what appears to be a major breakdown in the existing systems designed to keep guns out of the hands of proven violent nutjobs.
I kinda hate to echo the NRA (except when I think they’re correct), but maybe we should spend some effort on figuring out how to enforce the laws we have before we burn a lot of midnight oil figuring out new ones?
Just a thought.
(Link thanks to QuasiPundit)


[Update: All fixed. I didn’t have the rights to do everything I tried to do…another annoying user-caused problem.]
Well, my comments are FUBAR’ed at the moment…let me explain: Blogger got hacked, and they may have gotten the ftp logins and passwords (including mine) – if you use Blogger and are publishing elsewhere, make sure to change yours!
So I did…and in so doing somehow disabled comments. I have a fix request in, and it should be fixed Real Soon. I’ll let everyone know…


I tend to blog along two tracks: immediate, real time responses to something I hear about or read, and things that I intend to write about (I actually carry the list onto my ‘to-do’ list in Outlook). And I’ve been pretty busy over the last day or so, getting some proposals out for new projects (the consultant’s never-ending, shark-like search for new work), working to finish up documenting the project I’ve been working on, helping the Middle Guy with his two deadline crises caused by a) a team member on one of his projects turning in an obviously-plagiarized-from-the-web analysis of ‘Hamlet’ (he asked me what to do, I told him he couldn’t turn it in because as the guy in charge, he was responsible if one of his team did something wrong and he knew about it); and b) the last-minute rush – caused by the delay in the Hamlet project – to get his presentation boards done in time for his forensics tournament today.
I am always ready to help my kids do their work, but I always refuse to do the work for them, unless what they ask me to do is basically clerical…I’ll proofread or do layout, or help with Word, but I won’t edit or write (I will comment and criticize, but I won’t do line-by-line editing)…so I was given six small JPEG images and had the job of Photoshopping them into something that could be printed at 11 x 17 down at the neighborhood Kinko’s and not be seen as abstract expressionist art.
I have three good graphic artists who sometimes do work for me; one does major work now for an entertainment company, one is a product designer for a musical instrument company, and one a successful freelance web designer and teacher of web designers.
I can’t tell you how amused they were to be getting IM’ed by me late into the night with dumb-ass Photoshop questions. I’ll be hearing about this for years.
It all got done, and I dropped him at the bus at 0700, wearing a suit, with a pillow and a lunch and a stack of foamcore boards…isn’t parenthood fun??
So two blog posts I’ve meant to do have gotten stacked up, and while I’ve wrestled with both in the back of my head, neither one has been pinned to the mat yet.
William Burton is on track to become the first North Korean Warblogger, and I owe him a more detailed explanation of why I think it’s not the same level of crisis that Iraq and the Islamists are.
My sketchy points:
First, North Korea is a client state of China, and always has been. This a) limits our freedom of action vis a vis NoKo (if we were to rename it like a trendy Manhattan neighborhood), because at some point the Chinese begin to get upset, and we have to deal with them…which we’d rather not do for a few hundred million obvious reasons (plus where would be get our cheap TV sets?); and b) gives us a better path to limit the NoKo actions, by getting the Chinese to do it for us. And I’ll bet the phone lines between us are just burning up these days.
Next, because while the NoKo government is run by a loon, he’s a relatively ineffectual loon, and their depredations have been limited pretty much to machine-gunning South Korean patrol boats, attacking U.S. soldiers who are pruning trees, and a bunch of other ineffective, meaningless ways they can rattle their sabers and demonstrate their well-known Korean equanimity (just a joke there – I studied martial arts with a number of Koreans, and did business with some Koreans, and I can tell you that equanimity is a word that just flat got left out of their dictionary).
There’s more geopolitical stuff as well, which goes to the fact that NoKo is, like East Germany a refuge for simpleminded tyranny, poverty, and ignorance in a region that is working it’s way out of those things, while the problem of Iraq is one that has ramifications for the whole Islamist conflict that seems to be brewing right about now.
I’ll do better later, honest.
And I owe Jeff Cooper a response to his thoughtful reply to my stepping on Tom Spencer’s toes. Again: notes:
First, I really appreciate Jeff’s calm effort to impose equanimity…he’s right about much of what he says, not right about some other stuff (which I’ll explore more), but the ‘role’ he takes on in his post is genuine, humane, acknowledged and appreciated.
He takes my comments to be a general criticism of the political climate, and then explains that for now, we need to stay on the reservation because: At this point, I’m much more concerned with keeping control of the Senate than I am with reforming the Democratic Party; as far as I’m concerned, we can return to that long-term project two weeks from today. That’s a legitimate position, and I’ll agree that my partisan geography (A Republican will get elected to the Senate from California when monkeys fly out of Brett Gurewitz’s butt – an inside joke for all you Bad Religion fans out there) doubtless effects my views.
But…I’ll hold Jeff to that. Let’s get through the election, and then we’ll talk about this some more. And my interest isn’t in reforming the Democratic Party, it is in figuring out how to reform politics as it is practiced here; it’s not in specific policies, but in the way that policies are created.
And as to Tom; no matter how much I step away and then come back, his replies remain simply annoying. No, Tom, I wasn’t criticizing the points made in the post that I clipped, I was criticizing your whole blog, or the three or four pages I read of it before I gave up.
Yes, I’m glad you think that bitter sarcasm will keep the embattled home team fired up, but my experience (in helping run campaigns and winning a few) is that it drives away the people you need to try pull over to your side and become less embattled, and leaves you with a core group of embittered, sarcastic outsiders. I was always under the impression that the point was to broaden the base and convert the heathen – that way you get to try and implement the ideas you espouse.
And I’m thrilled as punch that you are a loving parent and have an intellectually satisfying job, as opposed to my lonely, alienated drudgery rinsing sludge here in the fishmeal plant. Sometimes I try and sit and talk with my betters but the reality of class just keeps us apart. Or maybe the smell of fishmeal. It’s sad, really.
But I’ll leave everyone with one serious thought: Tom doesn’t think this matters, that the effect of this whole process is limited to the ten thousand or so who care about political blogs. He’s wrong. I’m not doing this to create or sell policy. I’m doing this because it forces me to express and defend my ideas; to sharpen and fact-check them. The blog isn’t how I use my ideas and isn’t my outlet for my ‘political’ urges – my life is. This is a dojo where I get to learn and practice things that I can take out into the world and use to be a better citizen and help build a better future for my kids.
I may do a fuller response, but it probably won’t be useful.