Thursday, July 18, 2013
Posted by JamesBedell at 9:43 AM
Friday, December 7, 2012
Posted by JamesBedell at 11:08 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Students from across the county were recently in Washington in July lobbying Congress for legislation that would establish a public service academy that wold work in much the same way as the military academies. The purpose of such an institution would be to "build a more perfect union by developing leaders of character dedicated to service in the public sector."
Posted by NickTroiano at 10:31 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Posted by Raquel at 3:40 PM
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Have we allowed political discourse in this country to fall so far that we need our candidates to defend their patriotism? The answer is yes.
When not blathering on about how Kinko's should meet the same fate as old yeller, and rambling on about how man-cards are won and lost, I blog on politics and policy over at policythought.blogspot.com (see widget), of course I don't work alone. Marc V (of the list) and Mike Ruby are also policy-thinkers of great renown.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Patriotism is a funny thing it means such different things to
I won't attempt to thumb type the definition of patriotism while I
wait in an airport terminal.
But what I will say is America has its faults. But its faults lie in
policies we choose. Not in the concept of America. America is still
struggling to define itself and perfect itself after 232 years, but
the truth is our definition is in the struggle.
America to me is the most human nation on the planet.
Happy Fourth! Eat some BBQ drink a Beer and if you have any thoughts
on being a patriot, leave a comment.
Posted by JamesBedell at 10:29 AM
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Hey Policy Thinkers,
Follow the link below to see Politico's coverage of Obama's shift in
postion on Iraq. Pardon my formatting and the lack of a hyper link. I
am on the move for the holiday weekend. Keep thinking!
Posted by JamesBedell at 5:26 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The National Journal is reporting that two weeks ago Colin Powell and Barack Obama had a private meeting. What was discussed we don't know, but apparently it was just an informal chat about issues. Take a look at the report here.
There was a lot of talk over Obama's decision to forgo the public financing system. His privately raised millions will out gun McCain from now until the election. The decision was clearly tactical, but it raises the larger specter of campaign finance reform. In many ways though, the debate is centered around a dying paradigm
Against the backdrop of an unprecedented internet fundraising campaign Barack Obama hurled himself to national prominence and now is one opponent away from the White House. However, the very same viral power of the Internet to spread Obama's message especially to the young when he needed them most, is also the very power he seeks to combat today. Fightthesmears.com is the Obama campaign's response to rumors that have swept the web.
All of this stands as background to say that the battle of public relations and spin is moving from television to the internet. Barack Obama announced his decision to leave the public campaign system in a web video, Hillary Clinton announced her campaign online, John McCain is struggling to find his voice on the web, but is already making up ground.
So then the question becomes in this burgeoning internet age, when a candidate can not only fundraise, but indeed control their global message online, why do we need publicly funded campaigns at all? Moreover, why is Senator Obama raising hundreds of millions for the forthcoming fight with McCain? The answer of course is television. Paid television advertising is still the single most costly expense for any state-wide or national campaign. The cost of those 30-second spots all over the nation is what has spun campaign financing out of reach.
But is paid televised political advertising really necessary any more? I think Barack Obama and John McCain would tell you it is. That web video might be the future, but its not the present and plenty of Americans will be introduced to Barack Obama or John McCain via a 30-second spot on their screen.
I am not proposing a ban on political advertising on television it still holds a place in our media landscape. But with it's low cost of entry and global reach, plus the added benefit of having a message go "viral" the internet still offers the promise of a true market place of ideas. A place where not only well-monied candidates compete, but any candidate that can launch a website and start posting on youtube, can find a space on the web. All for far less in real dollars cost than television.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
The American auto industry reported dismal numbers as june sales figures slipped by double digits. While GM retained it's edge (barely) over Toyota, industry analysts are quick to identify a correlation between rising oil costs and the poor auto sales. These statistics speak volumes about the outdated American way of doing things. Whether we want to accept it or not, the times, they are a changin'. The American auto industry will have to creatively change the way it does business, or suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of Japanese automakers, namely Toyota and Honda. American companies are firmly planted in a paradigm that no longer works, and while Trucks and SUV's have been the American auto industry's bread and butter, with rising costs of fuel, that way of doing business will no longer work. I expect we'll be hearing rhetoric very soon about bailing out the American auto industry with federal dollars to ensure that American jobs are not sent overseas. Before we start throwing money at these companies (which I'm predicting is inevitable) why don't politicians sit down with American automakers and open a dialogue about implementing all those wonderful changes we've been hearing in McCain and Obama's platforms. This is the perfect time for America to change the way that we do business and help the environment at the same time. This is the moment for American companies to move forward and utilize technology to combat the innovation already undertaken by foreign companies. The way I see it, either we can change the way we do business, or begin to accept the idea that American industrial and economic might is a thing of the past. Let's see if Made in the USA still means something.
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Much love and happy blogging.
Posted by JamesBedell at 8:01 PM
Monday, June 30, 2008
Senator Obama once vowed to veto any FISA bill that protected the telecom companies.
Then he voted for one.
Senator Obama supported robust public financing of elections.
Until he opted out of the system.
Senator Obama opposed NAFTA.
Now, he seems ready to just tweak it.
Obama is doing what is pragmatic, he is moving rightward toward the center of the political spectrum so as to appeal to independent voters in the general election. Having gleaned the support of the left he clearly sees a path to center and to victory in November.
Frankly, I am a little ambivalent toward his shift in positions, possibly because they are positions I am not terribly passionate about. But it does make the practical voter wonder, if I elect Obama in November, who do I get in January? Do I get the left leaning liberal who wants to withdraw from Iraq quickly? Do I get the the Obama that opposes NAFTA as presently written?
It's a fair question and its one that Obama will have to answer as the debates draw closer.
As I sit here on vacation in Wildwood, New Jersey I can't help but revisit the topic of an archived post on Offshore drilling. For those who live near the shore, there is nothing quite like it. The constant noise of the waves hitting the sand is one of the most therapeutic sounds on earth. I can sit out on this balcony and enjoy nature's beauty forever. When we politicize a topic like environmentalism, rarely do we truly understand what is at stake. I don't believe there is any American who wouldn't like to pay less for a gallon of gasoline, but I believe Joni Mitchell said it best when she sang, "...don't it always seems as though, that you don't know what you got till it's gone...". Environmentalists get a bad wrap as people who care more for the planet than they do for people. I like to think they care for both by preserving the delicate balance between the two. Perhaps it's because they have faith in the human ability to think beyond destroying mother nature for all eternity just to save a few dollars on gasoline. Sure Americans would love to pay less to be able to drive farther on vacation, but as I previously stated, where exactly would you drive? Nobody wants to swim in an ocean that has been befouled by Petroleum. Nobody wants to eat seafood that has been tainted by chemicals. I would like to extend an invitation to supporters of offshore drilling to come and spend a week or two here at the beach and only after they have done so, ask, is it worth it? Just something I was thinking about here on the sand.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
This film makes the list purely because it transforms the President (played by Harrison Ford) into an ass-kicking terrorist fighter. I can't think of many films where the Commander and Chief interprets his title literally by donning an MP5 aboard a hijacked jumbo-jet. While there are many moments in this film where you will yell "Bull Sh&%" at the outlandish feats that are accomplished mid-air, you will certainly get a good laugh in the process. Additionally, the casting of this film will surprise you, since William H. Macy, Gary Oldman, and Glenn Close provide outstanding supporting roles in this Wolfgang Petersen cheezefest. This is yet another cinematic steal you can find in the five dollar Wal-Mart bin that isn't as heady or as preachy as the next few films.
IMDB.com joking quips that this movie should be called "Hillary and Bill: The Movie". While I have never read the novel that this film was based upon, it encapsulated many of Clinton's shortcomings that have become the basis of so many Oval Office jokes in the past eight years. This film was also beautifully cast and adds a new dimension to the myriad of roles played by fictional presidents, that being the inspirational and morally bankrupt slime-ball.
While many of the facts of this film are distorted and/or created purely for Oliver Stone to make his epic film, it does not diminish the movie's obvious brilliance. I once asked a colleague what percentage of the facts did he believe were correctly represented in Stone's film. He guesstimated about 40 percent of the events of the film have historical backing and are "irrefutable". If this percentage holds true, then Stone has made a compelling argument for conspiracy theory that will be debated until the National Archives are completely declassified in the coming years. I have always believed that JFK was more like a religious experience than a movie. I was very young when I watched this film for the first time, yet it had a profound impact on my understanding of the workings of government and its relationship with its citizenry. I'm not saying I took this film at face value, but it certainly impressed upon me the need to constantly search for the truth, something that our Founding Fathers stressed approximately two centuries ago. That's what I call a powerful film.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
David Brooks came out yesterday in something like defense of George W. Bush and the surge in Iraq.
Bush is a stubborn man. Well, without that stubbornness, that unwillingness to accept defeat on his watch, he never would have bucked the opposition to the surge.
Bush is an outrageously self-confident man. Well, without that self-confidence he never would have overruled his generals.....
Bush is also a secretive man who listens too much to Dick Cheney. Well, the uncomfortable fact is that Cheney played an essential role in promoting the surge. Many of the people who are dubbed bad guys actually got this one right.
Mad Men observes and satirizes the changes our culture underwent at the dawn of the 60's through the eyes of the Men that built the era. Outside of the larger cultural critique, Mad Men also builds a series of incredibly interesting (if not incredibly lovable) characters. Here's a profile of our lead, Don Draper.
Posted by JamesBedell at 9:00 AM
George Carlin was the beginning of counter-culture humor in the US. SNL (which he was the first host of), Kids in the Hall, The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy all owe him a debt of gratitude. As does our culture, his comedy made us uncomfortable, and in a society that is often far too comfortable with its norms, he made us question them. Unto his last he was questioning and criticizing, upon his death, I wanted to play a clip of what he had to say on the subject.