Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All Politics, All the Time

Here are two of our ads in Tompkins Weekly. Here's today's KAZ letter in the Ithaca Journal. This morning Mike and I taped a couple of radio ads. Last night a big bunch of us labeled and assembled the final mailings.

I'm tired, and I'm not running.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Can't Tell the Players Without a Scorecard

To me, the most curious thing about last Thursday's "debate" in Dryden was that if I closed my eyes and listened, I couldn't tell the Republican town candidates from the Democrats. Everyone wants to move cautiously on gas drilling (not that the towns have much power, except when it comes to tracking aquifers, driveway access, and road repair costs). Everyone wants to control spending, offer opportunities for recreation, keep our roads in good repair, etc.

All things being equal, then, I have to support the people I know will work hardest.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Political v. Professional Models, Encore

I find myself once again stuck on a professional board, this time for BOCES. I've written often about the tension between political and professional boards, or perhaps the tension between me and professional boards. Once again, I'm the subject of an executive session on correct v. incorrect board behavior. Once again, I wonder whether this is worth the effort. Last time, things worked out. This time, I care less about the outcome, which makes me think it's time to bail. We'll see.

To some extent, I blame the New York State School Boards Association. Here are the association's thoughts about what makes a good school board member:
What makes a good school board member?
The legal requirements for board membership are few, but qualifications for effective service are many. The most effective board members possess most or all of these attributes:
Effective Communicator – Can describe what he or she wants and describe what others want; a good listener
Consensus Builder – Capable of working toward decisions that all can support and willing to compromise to achieve that goal
Community Participant – Enjoys meeting a variety of people, can identify the community’s key communicators and reaches out to the community
Decision Maker – Knows his or her own as well as others’ decision-making styles, can support group decision-making
Information Processor – Can organize priorities and schedules to handle lots of verbal and written information
Leader – Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and Community Leader – Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and community
Team Player – Helps promote the board’s vision and goals

What's missing here? Any notion of representation. I consider myself a representative of my (assigned) school district, its taxpayers, employees, and children. For that reason, the notion of rubber stamping administrative decisions is distressing to me.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this as time goes by.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh, Good, We Set a New Record

For the earliest snowfall of 1 inch or more. We got maybe 2+ on the mountain.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy

Not new, but new to me. Louis CK and Conan.

And Now It's Winter

Winter storm watch? October 15? Bah.


Friday, October 9, 2009

But Is It Art?

Thanks to Chuck, who sent this lovely print (available for purchase), which another blogger referred to as the height of garish faux patriotism. Jesus produces the Constitution a la Moses with his tablets. Various historical figures sing. Liberal reporters and Supreme Court justices cringe. Got to love it! Go to the website to see what's really happening.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Required Reading

Thanks to Cousin Jeremy for this one from the SF Chronicle.
Of all the current assaults on our noble republic, perhaps none is more dangerous than the public option - specifically, the public library option. . . .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Required Reading

Krugman on the politics of inconsistency.
Think about just how bizarre it is for Republicans to position themselves as the defenders of unrestricted Medicare spending. First of all, the modern G.O.P. considers itself the party of Ronald Reagan — and Reagan was a fierce opponent of Medicare’s creation, warning that it would destroy American freedom. (Honest.) In the 1990s, Newt Gingrich tried to force drastic cuts in Medicare financing. And in recent years, Republicans have repeatedly decried the growth in entitlement spending — growth that is largely driven by rising health care costs.

Local Politics

It's October, and the local political season is heating up. We in Dryden have some of the few contested races around--one of three real contests on the County Legislature, and a big contest for Town Board. See the Dryden Dems or Mike Lane's website for more!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Looking Up Trees

Do you know how to tell a red maple from a sugar maple? Granted, it's harder to do in winter, but it's hard now, too. I paraded around the woods today with thumbtacks to label trees we might tap, staring up 75 feet and pondering: Is that a curved sinus? Are there really five lobes, or did a caterpillar chew the side? I could look at leaves on the ground, but I'm never quite sure if leaf A derived from tree A or B or maybe blew over from C. The only tree I am pretty sure about is the one that turns scarlet earlier than any of the others. It's a red maple. I think.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Get Big Money Out of Politics

As I watch Obama and Congress flounder about on critical issues of health care and climate change, it becomes even clearer to me that until we have public financing of all elections, nothing important will ever get done. This primer by the Brennan Center lays out the facts fairly neatly. I understand the First Amendment fears, but a voluntary system just doesn't go far enough.