October 13, 2007
Suddenly cool Al Gore looks like a good choice.
Al Gore could become the only man to win an Oscar, a Nobel Prize and his party's presidential nomination.
He already has collected an Oscar for his global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." (Actually, that's two Oscars, if you count best song.) He's Won the Nobel Peace Prize.
We hope he goes for it.
Gore has said repeatedly that he's happy doing what he's doing, while not irrevocably ruling out a run. Friends and former aides are hedging bets.
The first President Bush mocked him as "ozone man." Now, corporations seek his counsel on global warming.
"An Inconvenient Truth" has made environmental activism - and Gore, in all his woodenness - cool again. Thousands flock to his lectures on campuses. Rock stars go gaga over him.
But more important, international leaders, who turned against America when Bush scoffed at treaties and rejected diplomacy, respect and admire Gore.
However much he has achieved in the past seven years, President Gore could achieve what citizen Gore cannot. So bide your time, Al Gore, as Bobby Kennedy did in 68. But don't waver when the moment comes.
July 04, 2007
Allen Campbell kisses his wife, Cynthia, Tuesday in a hallway of the state Capitol, where she testified in favor of Senate Bill 840, which would mandate universal health care in California. Cynthia Campbell, diagnosed with two forms of aggressive cancer and left bald by chemotherapy, will see her insurance coverage lapse on July 20.
I'm too young for Medicare, and I make too much money for Medi-Cal, Campbell, 53, told the panel. But one eligibility worker told me how I could get Medi-Cal: 'Get pregnant, get the Medi-Cal card, abort the baby, and keep the card.' This is my only option.
May 31, 2007
The danger arises because there is, in most markets, a very small number of broadband network operators. These operators have the structural capacity to determine the way in which information is transmitted over the Internet and the speed with which it is delivered. And the present Internet network operators—principally large telephone and cable companies—have an economic incentive to extend their control over the physical infrastructure of the network to leverage control of Internet content. If they went about it in the wrong way, these companies could institute changes that have the effect of limiting the free flow of information over the Internet in a number of troubling ways.
The democratization of knowledge by the print medium brought the Enlightenment. Now, broadband interconnection is supporting decentralized processes that reinvigorate democracy. We can see it happening before our eyes: As a society, we are getting smarter. Networked democracy is taking hold. You can feel it. We the people—as Lincoln put it, "even we here"—are collectively still the key to the survival of America's democracy.
~ Al Gore: The Assault on Reason
Edited by WestTexasBliss
November 14, 2006
November 13, 2006
October 15, 2006
She posted a picture of the president, scrawled "Kill Bush" across the top and drew a dagger stabbing his outstretched hand. She replaced the page last spring after learning in her eighth-grade history class that such threats are a federal offense.
Federal authorities had found the page and placed her on their checklist. They finally reached her this week in her molecular biology class.
The 14-year-old freshman at Sacramento's McClatchy High School was taken out of class Wednesday and questioned for about 15 minutes by two Secret Service agents.
"I think they did completely overreact. I'm just a kid. I don't think I'm much of a threat," Wilson said.
The incident has upset her parents, who said the agents should have included them when they questioned their daughter.
"It was an interrogation," said Kirstie Wilson, the teen's mother.
On Friday, the teenager said the agents' questioning over her page on the popular teenage Internet gathering spot led her to tears.
"I wasn't dangerous. I mean, look at what's (stenciled) on my backpack -- it's a heart. I'm a very peace-loving person," said Wilson, an honor student who describes herself as politically passionate. "I'm against the war in Iraq. I'm not going to kill the president."
August 20, 2006
August 11, 2006
When I was 8 years old a hornet's nest began to take shape in the back of our yard. I went out and watched with a combination of fascination and fear as it grew day by day.
Finally, unable to stand the suspense, I took a big brick and threw it at the nest, breaking off the bottom half and sending the hornets into a swarming frenzy. I ran away as fast as I could as the angry bees swirled behind.
When I think of the relationship of the United States to the Middle Eastern Muslim countries, my experience as an 8-year-old comes to mind. "Why do they hate us?" Americans ask. Well, we've thrown a brick at their hive.
Forget the rhetoric about World War III. Choose the rhetoric of the Middle Eastern prophet Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Frank O'Hara is vice president of Planning Decisions in Hallowell.
By Frank O'Hara
August 04, 2006
Yet, scrutinize word for word the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and you will not find the word "fair." The First Amendment does not protect the "fair" exercise of religion, but the "free" exercise thereof; it does not restrain Congress from abridging the "fairness" of speech or of the press, but the "freedom" of speech or of the press.
The modern tendency to substitute "fair" for "free" reveals how far we have moved from the initial conception of the Founding Fathers. They viewed government as policeman and umpire. They sought to establish a framework within which individuals could pursue their own objectives in their own way, separately or through voluntary cooperation, provided only that they did not interfere with the freedom of others to do likewise.
The modern conception is very different. Government has become Big Brother. Its function has become to protect the citizen, not merely from his fellows, but from himself, whether he wants to be protected or not. Government is not simply an umpire but an active participant, entering into every nook and cranny of social and economic activity. All this, in order to promote the high-minded goals of "fairness," "justice," "equality."
Does this not constitute progress? A move toward a more humane society? Quite the contrary. When "fairness" replaces "freedom," all our liberties are in danger. In Walden, Thoreau says: "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life." That is the way I feel when I hear my "servants" in Washington assuring me of the "fairness" of their edicts.
There is no objective standard of "fairness." "Fairness" is strictly in the eye of the beholder. If speech must be fair, then it cannot also be free; someone must decide what is fair. A radio station is not free to transmit unfair speech — as judged by the bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission. If the printed press were subject to a comparable "fairness doctrine," it would have to be controlled by a government bureau and our vaunted free press would soon become a historical curiosity.
What is true for speech — where the conflict is perhaps clearest — is equally true for every other area. To a producer or seller, a "fair" price is a high price. To the buyer or consumer, a "fair" price is a low price. How is the conflict to be adjudicated? By competition in a free market? Or by government bureaucrats in a "fair" market?
Businessmen who sing the glories of free enterprise and then demand "fair" competition are enemies, not friends, of free markets. To them, "fair" competition is a euphemism for a price-fixing agreement. They are exemplifying Adam Smith's remark that "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." For consumers, the more "unfair" the competition, the better. That assures lowest prices and highest quality.
Is then the search for "fairness" all a mistake? Not at all. There is a real role for fairness, but that role is in constructing general rules and adjudicating disputes about the rules, not in determining the outcome of our separate activities. That is the sense in which we speak of a "fair" game and "fair" umpire. If we applied the present doctrine of "fairness" to a football game, the referee would be required after each play to move the ball backward or forward enough to make sure that the game ended in a draw!
Our Founding Fathers designed a fair Constitution to protect human freedom. In Thomas Jefferson's ringing phrases from the Declaration of Independence, "Governments are instituted among Men ... to secure ... certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Milton Friedman, the winner of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, is the author of Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose . This piece originally appeared in the July 4, 1977 issue of Newsweek and was reprinted in Bright Promises, Dismal Performances: An Economist's Protest, a collection of his articles. Copyright 1983 by Thomas Horton and Daughters, 26662 South New Town Drive, Sun Lakes, AZ 85224.
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