Latest American Issues Project Column: “It’s The Government’s Money, You Just Earn It”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Are we in a new America where the state runs the show and the citizens are bit players or are we still a government of, by and for the people? Judging by economic policy, I’d say we’re all servants of the state now. Here’s a snippet from my latest American Issues Project column where I elaborate:

Not to pick around the edges, but the most illustrative point of the Joe Biden interview, came for me when the subject of health care and paying for it came up. The Vice President crowed that the Medicare drug supplement only cost $40 Billion as opposed to the $72 Billion predicted.


That’s thinking like a politician, though. Taking money from the the taxpayer and feeling free to throw around terms like “only forty billion” is classic. It’s their money, you just earn it.

The last eight years reinforced one key point: politicians from both sides of the political sphere believe the government is a force for good. That is, both Democrats and Republicans are statists now. The question is how the government should be used not whether it should be involved at all.

Rather than setting up a right-left dichotomy, the real dichotomy is between those who value liberty, freedom and being left alone by the nanny state, and those within the government who like to nanny and the recipients of government largesse who like being cared for by the nannies. It’s this latter group that is concerning.

In a blog post before the election in November, I wondered how many people rely on the government for survival either as welfare recipients or as a government employee. And the next question is whether there can ever be a conservative, non-statist candidate win national election.

I’m not sure about the answer and that worries me.

Cross-posted at

Koala Bears And Time Flying

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

I’m recovered, mostly, from New Years. I know. I know. I’ve been a lazy blogger. I’m still on vacation and don’t expect to lose the vacation state of mind for at least a week after getting back home. I get on the plane tomorrow and am struggling to decide how to handle the trans-Pacific flight. Before I was flying during the night so I took drugs, knocked myself out and woke up with an hour or two to spare–just enough time to pull myself together, turn down hideous (and I mean hideous) food, and read a bit before getting off the plane. This time, I’ll be flying during the day Sydney time. Should I knock myself out anyway? Should I go to sleep halfway through the flight? I don’t know. And what will the kids want to do? I don’t know that either.

I touched a Koala Bear. Yes. I. Did. It was soft and gray and relatively tame. Koalas are as easy going as they look, I learned, unless one male is around another male and then they get vicious. They’re territorial. I like territorial males. They sleep most of the time and wake up briefly to eat. And they rarely leave the tree they perch in unless they get hungry again or want to have sex (the euphemistic “find a mate”). No wonder Koalas have been my favorite animal. They’re cuter than sloths but not much more active.

We also fed Wallabees, but the kids thought they were kangaroos and don’t you dare tell them any different. I have pictures. There were dingos and ostriches and and crocodiles and strangely, cows, at the nature center.

Our last hurrah in Sydney will be to go to the Sydney Opera House to watch Madame Butterfly. The Botanical Gardens are across the street and I hope to get some good pictures. My memory card is full and I’ll have to spend some time fooling with my camera. I wish I just had another memory card, but then I’d be afraid I’d lose it. Gah. It’s a pain being in my head.

Being so far away and disconnected to time has been nice. I know bad things are happening. Life marches on no matter if you’re sidelined by bliss or misery. Time changes and melds to our experiences. That can make it rush by too fast and too fleeting when blissed. It can make it crawl by when miserable. Either way, time ticks away. And life is too short.

I have more pictures to bore you with, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to put them up. Maybe when I get back, then a whole bunch of other real life things like work and school crash back in. Of course, there are the New Years resolutions. Mine are utterly predictable so I won’t list them. I’ll put everything on a dream board when I get back, so I can visualize what I want. I think I’ll make a goal list again. I do it every few years, stumble across them later and am often surprised at how many are fulfilled. Lots to accomplish in 2009. If this year is any indication, the year will be gone in a blink.

“Resilience Vs. Anticipation”

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

“Resilience Vs. Anticipation”
Via Jay Rosen on Twitter