Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This was brought to my attention by my mom and by Francine in the comments. I had to repost it. David Horowitz is a hero.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who took a two-week class. In that class, she and her group picked a topic, worked together, and presented their topic to the class. This girl and her group chose Net Neutrality as their topic, and as part of their presentation they created a blog and a PowerPoint slideshow. No big deal, right?
What if I told you that this class project was leaked to the super-lefties of the world and that they are FREAKING OUT? You would think that they would have more sense than that, right?
If you can't tell by now, this is a true story. My friend Kristin put together a PowerPoint about Net Neutrality and how to fight it. Someone leaked her class assignment to Think Progress and other civilized and tolerant left-wingers, and they are indeed freaking out. I know you think I am exaggerating, but I am not. They are acting as though they have found the documents that prove JFK was not killed by a lone gunman. Seriously.
They have taken over the Facebook page, the blog, and are dragging Kristin's good name through the mud. She is getting death threats and obscene messages, and it is unacceptable. They are lying through their teeth and frothing at the mouth, asserting that the PowerPoint was financed by some shady uber-coalition of free-market think tanks and activist groups (which they call "corporate") and that Kristin is just a tool for "the man."
I find this to be pretty funny because a conservative activist organization that has millions of contributors and donors as well as a wealthy benefactor, is somehow corporate, but a progressive activist organization that has millions of contributors and donors AND a wealthy benefactor (paging George Soros) is somehow grassroots.
Enough is enough. If you have a few extra minutes today, please consider dropping by the Facebook page and the blog and leaving supportive comments for Kristin, and for the argument against Net Neutrality.
And honestly, I've just been making fun of them because these groups and people have become caricatures of themselves and everyday they seem to fling themselves further and further away from reality.
"No Net Brutality": Facebook page
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tom Daxon, a former Okalahoma state auditor, was listening to Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and was inspired - not to break up with someone - but rather to construct a list of 50 ideas to tackle Oklahoma's budget shortfall. Not surprisingly, many of his ideas could be applied to all state budget shortfalls. He points out that part of the problem in Oklahoma is the heavy reliance on federal money, which is also a major problem in almost every other state.
In 1981, Oklahoma funded 28 percent of state expenditures with federal dollars. By 2009, that had increased to 40 percent and is doubtless higher in the current year due to added federal stimulus money.
The obvious issue here is that the federal government is broke too, so this ever-increasing dependence on federal dollars is only going to make the eventual corrections more painful. It's a shame that politicians do not, or will not, understand this. Daxon's solutions range from requiring public employees to contribute small amounts to their own health care costs (as we in the private sector must) to eliminating funding for the public television station and the Arts Council (suggesting funds come from donations instead) to using private veterinarians to certify that cattle are healthy enough for sale.
He acknowledges that even implementing all 50 ideas will not be enough. Our state governments will have to fundamentally change their understanding of funding and budgeting.
Government budgeting is often referred to as "cutting up the pie," and agencies tend to think of having their own share of that pie. We must relentlessly challenge that mentality. Each agency should get as much as it needs to achieve the goals the governor and legislature set before it-and no more.
He is referring to Reality Based Budgeting, something that Stage Budget Solutions supports fully. Daxon also touches on a possible reason underlying the failure of both state governments and the federal government to operate within realistic budgets, and how we, not the politicians, are really to blame.
Perhaps we ourselves have become overly fond of socialist programs. We travel on government roads and occasionally government trains. We send our kids to government schools and attend government colleges. More of us are getting our health care through government-funded programs and even at government-run facilities from government employees.
Are we getting too comfortable in a potentially destructive relationship?
Daxon is correct in the assertion that most Americans have become accustomed to government providing too many services. This high level of comfortability then breeds a complacency that results in a lack of knowledge and understanding about how those services are provided and how much they cost. The majority of Americans are naturally very concerned with national affairs, but to the detriment of state issues, and specifically state budget issues.
However, that tide can change, and Daxon's list of 50 ways to leave the debt behind is a great place to start.