Monthly Archives: July 2015

How to win elections

Professional politicians know that just spending money on TV ads before the election is only one part of a successful strategy to win elections. The other is organization at the grass-roots level. Now an article in the Daily Kos shows that the Koch brothers are well aware of that too and now rival the Republican National Committee in that role.  It confirms my belief that the oligarchs have bought the Republican party wholesale. The Democrats they buy on an individual, retail basis.

We see the same thing in the spectacle of the oligarchs and their business buddies inviting the Republican candidates to special meetings where they can show their stuff and get financial backing for their campaigns. Just like the fraternities and sororities with their pledging. Makes you wonder whether the political candidates are subject to initiation rituals too.

Small Steps

A fascinating article in the NY Times tells how a small government  program in Colorado had a major impact in an area of concern to conservatives and liberals alike.

“Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?

“They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”

The Big One

We’re just back from a visit to friends in Oregon. It’s beautiful there and culturally alive. Now The New Yorker has come out with an article predicting a monstrous earthquake/tsunami disaster for the Pacific Northwest.

When? No one knows, of course, but they apparently they occur at 240 year intervals on average and the last one was 315 years ago.

The article describes the likely impact in some detail, from coast to Cascades. it’s truly horrifying, and no one seems to be prepared or preparing for it. In fact it’s hard to visualize how one could intelligently prepare for it except by evacuating everyone from much of several states in the area in advance.

Even the most painstaking survivalists aren’t ready for this  one.

Teen Pregnancy and Abortion

An excerpt from the NY Times:

Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?

They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.

“Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, ‘Greta, look at this, we’ve never seen this before,’ ” said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. “The numbers were plummeting.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rebel Flag

An interesting point of view in a blog written by a white native of the deep south. His contention is that the display of the Confederate flag is not a relic of the old lies about the south and the Civil War. It’s wide display dates to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and was deliberatey shown as a testimonial to racism which stilled gripped the south and much of the nation then. Moreover he assigns the moaning about southern heritage by the flag defenders to a cover-up to hide that history now that racism of that kind has become non-politic.

There’s more. It’s a good discussion and I recommend it.

Scott Walker?

I would never suggest thoroughly studying the entire array of (16!) candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016, but it’s worth taking a look at what seem to be the front runners. I recommend an article on Scott Walker in the current Washington Monthly by Donald F. Kettl,  a professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, where he served as dean from 2009 to 2014. Earlier he was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin.

The article has a good analysis of Walker’s battle with the unions in Wisconsin and some interesting statistics on public unions at the state, local, and federal level. He notes that state and local workers as a whole are not paid as much as workers in the private sector with the discrepancy primarily with workers who have higher educational requirements, like teachers. On the other hand police and fireman are treated more generously.