I polled Twitter on what kind of drinking game activities should happen tonight during the State of the Union. I’ve aggregated responses, along with my own thoughts, into this State of the Union Drinking Bingo.
Here in the doldrums of August, the debate around Health Care Reform spins wildly as both sides position themselves against a Trillion dollar problem that is the key point of the Obama agenda. Basically, the debate comes down to two perspectives, as it always does.
On one side, the argument is made that the health care system is broke, primary care physicians make too much money from ad hoc testing, and insurance companies collect on the loot while millions of Americans go without the insurance needed to give them peace of mind in case of an accident, injury or just preventive healthcare.
On the other side of the debate, the argument is that the proposals on the table cost too much, put too much government in the middle of personal healthcare decisions and will hurt the businesses (and the GDP produced) by an artificial price ceiling on the healthcare business ecosystem. The argument from here, as well, is that we can’t rightly identify the problem that exists.
As a fiscal conservative, I tend toward the latter but as a social progressive, I can certainly see the points made by the other side.
In software development, there is a development paradigm called Agile development. In Agile, the idea is that the quickest way to get a product to market, gain valuable insight and feedback in real user test cases, and enhance the product delivery is with a fast, iterative approach. Get the product out there and people using it. Listen to them and identify the problems. As quickly as the product is released, start turning out updates on a very fast pace. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. If you wait for the product to be “done” it will never be “done”.
The Agile approach to software development makes a lot of sense. You produce something, can very quickly get real life data, and adjust. The cost of investment and overhead are small and the footprint for total failure is reduced.
In the current Health Care Reform debate, it astounds me that both sides take an all or nothing approach. Either we throw trillion dollar spitballs and problems that no one can fully identify or wrap their heads around (individual input here is taken with a grain of salt since it is only one point of view from a limited scope of experience), or we do nothing at all, knowing that there is a problem even if we can’t identify it.
I think any startup will tell you that on the route to success, they had no idea where things would go. They may have only had a good idea that wasn’t vetted in their own minds and as they proceeded in building the product or the business, they encountered (and learned) along the way. This is the process that needs to occur. We can’t know everything right now, but we do know some things, and we do know there’s a problem.
Democrats need to stop trying to do it all right now while they have control of both houses of Congress and the White House. They are rushing things and that makes the whole deal failure prone. Republicans need to stop stonewalling and get something done. Yes, it’s going to cost money. Maybe a lot in the long run. But at the end of the day, there is an obligation of a society to take care of those who may not be able to take care of themseleves. With this in mind, iterate toward the perfect solution where society can do that, but let’s try to limit the costs and footprints and preserve the free market as well.
It won’t be perfect, but trillion dollar spitballs don’t solve anything.
There was a massive earthquake in western Mexico and 200,000 people unfortunately, and tragically, died. In the wake of the tragedy, the nations of the world banded together to provide relief.
China sent a ship with containers of goods such as tee-shirts, watches and electronic devices to help with cleanup and provide humanitarian relief.
Great Britain sent 500 palettes of drinking water and other humanitarian aid.
Beliza and Costa Rica sent hundreds of first responders and medical aid.
The United States sent 200,000 Mexicans to replace the ones that were lost.
In all seriousness, this election is important in so many ways. One of the major issues on the table that might not be getting as much attention is illegal immigration. John McCain doesn’t want to talk about it much because it was an issue made big by George W. Bush and he’s trying to keep Sarah Palin front and center. Barack Obama isn’t talking much about it because he’s fighting a guerilla war based more on propaganda and media spin, than he is on these core issues.
But, at the end of the day, both candidates have taken some kind of position on immigration. It’s not that we, as conservatives, don’t care about the plight of illegals, but that there is a process to being legal.
Obama is best suited, based on his platform, to push this issue. We need to find a way to help illegals become legal without destroying families and lives in the process. We do need to secure the borders, but what does that mean? Certainly, the immigrants that are here now are “doing the jobs Americans won’t”, but that’s not an excuse to allow a persistent state of illegality. Instead, how do we help these people become legal and at the same time, stem the wave of illegals that are coming into the country and tapping our finite resources without paying a dime into the system.
Obama is best suited to do this.
Sarah Palin, for better or worse, has been the focus of most of the GOP convention. Since her designation as the VP choice last Friday, she has been criticized by many, including myself, on her experience (or lack thereof). Others have opted to focus on the pregnancy of her 17 year old daughter, Bristol.
Let me be clear at the outset. It’s not that I don’t like Sarah Palin. How can I not like what I don’t know. Blog posts, op-ed pieces and rip-roaring by fringe internet communities does not make allegations fact. I don’t know Palin enough to not like her.
However, Palin is new. 60ish days before the election, the electorate is tossed the name of someone most of us have never heard of. Many on the right would point to the lack of experience of Barack Obama. And it’s true, he is inexperienced. The difference is that we have had a year and a half with Obama to get comfortable with him. We’ve had a year and a half to hear him speak with candor and and an eloquence that is disarming. We’ve had a year and a half to see him debate and hear his ideas. We’ve seen him on television and heard him on the radio.
No, Obama doesn’t have a wealth of experience but at least we have more than 60 days to get comfortable with the idea of this great man as the next President of the United States.
Palin? We are expected to buy into what the GOP says about her. That she is a great woman with family values. That she has executive experience enough to make her Vice Presidency a viable thing. We’re expected to buy into her tenacity and her ability to take on Washington in the same way she took on Alaska’s establishment.
Forgive me for being cynical, but I don’t make hasty decisions. It took me over a year to endorse Obama. I can’t just buy into Palin now. Not at this time. Not this late in the game.
But, I want to be fair. The Vice Presidential nomination acceptance speech tonight was a homerun. She started out very poorly, in my opinion, by talking way too much about herself, her family and her time as a PTA mom. It took too long to get to policy. Way too long for a VP nominee who is asking the country to make an uneducated, to be honest, gamble on her.
On pure technical merits alone, she did her job. She excited the GOP audience. She delivered some great one-liners and showed a nice command of important issues such as energy, both traditional and green. At points during the speech, she seemed coached on foreign policy issues, a fact that is slightly scary considering she could be a heartbeat away from the presidency. With John McCain’s cancer history and age, this is a very real concern and not just a piece of hyped propaganda.
Let’s be very clear. Palin is a marketing gimmick and she delivered beautifully. She is a woman with a great stage presence, and that was entirely exploited tonight. She did her job. At least the job the campaign set out for her. It’s very, very unclear if she can do the real job though and that cannot be ascertained in one speech to a willing audience.
Let’s see how she squares off with Joe Biden.
I’m not usually one to write about politics, but that might change in the coming days and months. At least here on this blog where I don’t have to worry about sticking within the confines of business and technology.
The last week has been exciting. The first African American from a major political party to receive his party nomination for President of the United States. Compounded was that yesterday was the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther Kings “I Have a Dream” speech.
It couldn’t have been planned any better.
Today, Sen. John McCain announced that he was upsetting the apple cart by picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate. Yes, only the second woman to fill the VP running mate role.
This pick deserves a post of its own. What is the “woman vote”? Can women be pigeon holed into a singular mindset? Some women might want to claim that the issues women care about are the issues that all women care about. But really, women are just like men in that there are hundreds of different sub-sets.
Regardless, it’s a different issue for a different post.
I want to talk about conservatism, because the word has been so ruined and drug through the mud by modern day conservatism.
Conservatism can be wrapped up in one word: Individuals.
Individuals are the most valuable asset of a conservative society. Individuals can make choices, decisions and reap the individual consequences. Individuals are protected from a narcissistic government, predatory corporations and rabid special interests.
Conservatism expects that western influence will not be forced on non-western cultures, and values the identity of cultural and social choice. It’s all about individuals and government should not infringe on that.
Conservatism believes that there is no better example for children than parents and that no one should insert themselves in a healthy parent-child relationship.
True conservatism believes that above all else, the Constitution is the guiding law of this land and that the balance of power exists to protect the people from the government.
Reality says that the above description describes modern day liberalism pretty well. It does not describe modern day conservatism.
Modern day conservatism insists that National Security trumps individual protections and rights. Modern day conservatism insists that in order to protect Americans at home, that we must proactively intervene in other parts of the world. Modern day conservatism says that to protect American influence in the world at a point where American influence has plateaued or even declined, we must aggressively re-assert that influence.
Modern day conservatism protects the military-industrial complex and large corporations in the name of blind and unfettered capitalism.
When I declare proudly and loudly that I am a conservative, I am holding on to the classical conservative ideals, and not to modern day conservatism which is no better than a wolf in sheep clothing.
And to Christians who blindly follow the modern day Republican party, I’d encourage you to take a step back and determine if the party and their actions accurately reflect the call of Scripture. Remember the prophecy of to Israel where, among other indictments, Amos says:
You hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth.
You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
It should be said that maybe the McCain campaign needs to go back to marketing school. This is the strangest opposition video I’ve ever seen in a campaign.