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Showing posts from 2018

The Label/Tag Culture War

Hi there. I’m a Label. My entire political and social philosophy is built upon Label principles. My friends are all Labels, too, because I only like people who think like me. I agree with everything our Leading Labels say. I never publicly disagree with another Label even if I disagree in private, which almost never happens, because Labels always have the best ideas. I get my news from Label news sources only, because the others only tell lies. Labels are the true American patriots. I always vote for fellow Labels, and I don’t really care what they say or do as long as they promote Label philosophy. I avoid having any conversations with a Tag. Tags are not like labels in any way. They think completely different than Labels, and Tags all believe the same things. They slavishly listen to Tag Leaders even though those leaders are always wrong. They only watch Tag news, which is always wrong or deliberately false. Tags don’t love America the way Labels do, and some of them are actually evi…

A Wall Of Drones

Donald Trump wants to build a wall along the full 2,000 miles of our southern border with Mexico, because he promised he would. Trump also promised Mexico would pay for it, but he doesn't say that anymore. What is currently planned is actually more of a fence, but "wall" is a much stronger word, so Trump uses that instead. Plan A for the wall called for it to be 30 feet high and extend six feet underground, made of solid concrete. That's not gonna happen. Plan B is a fence at least 18 feet high that can't be cut with common tools, but no requirement for underground security. The price of doing such an unlikely thing is quite clear – $25 billion is today's estimate, plus whatever costs come later for regular maintenance. There's one major complication. Much of the Texas-Mexico border is actually the Rio Grande River, which wanders through a wide desert valley in different places at different times. We'll need to acquire a lot of private land on our si…
Fake News and a Free Press
On Aug. 11, the Boston Globe editorial board called on newspapers across the nation to speak out against President Trump'sdescription of the American news reporting industry as "...enemies of the people". Here's a contribution from one former newspaper editor...
Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, "I have spent half my life trying to get away from journalism ... a low trade and a strange, seedy world full of misfits and drunkards and failures." After more than two decades working in and around the newspaper business, I pretty much agree with Thompson. That's one reason why I'm no longer an editor. But journalism is also a world populated with truth-seekers and idealists and patriots and believers in our Constitutional right to speak freely. They get stories right more often than wrong. They seldom tell the whole story because they are rarely given enough time or space to do so under the assumption that only a few people care enoug…

Us vs Them

Politics is not a sport. Good governance is not a game of winners and losers. People's lives are at stake when politicians make decisions. Far too many of those we elected have forgotten that truth – if they ever realized it at all. But it may not be their fault, really. We elected them, after all, so if they focus on making life a little better for a chosen few instead of for everyone, We the People deserve at least half the blame. We've embraced a false division between Us and Them, and we blindly support those of Us who choose to demonize Them. America once was deeply divided by skin color and ancestry, and those divisions have not yet been healed. We share that history with the Romans, by the way, and we haven't learned the lessons their experience offers. Today, political differences and material wealth represent the two most obvious divisions that we handle badly. In a multitude of ways those differences ignore our common humanity and encourage groups of people to demo…

The Secure Elections Act

Scrap electronic voting systems and get back to paper ballots

A bipartisan group of six Senators just introduced legislation called the Secure Elections Act that seeks to eliminate paperless voting machines from American elections. Led by Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the senators have focused on two major changes that have broad support from voting security experts. The first objective is to get rid of paperless electronic voting machines. Computer scientists have warned for two decades that these machines are vulnerable to hacking and can’t be meaningfully audited. States have begun moving away from paperless systems, but budget constraints force some to continue relying on insecure paperless equipment. The Secure Elections Act would help fund a return to more secure systems that use voter-verified paper ballots. The law’s second goal is to encourage states to perform routine post-election audits based on modern statistical techniques. Many states today only recount in the event o…