Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: January 2009 Page 2 of 10

Midweek Makeover: Peer Pressure

When we’re talking about noteworthy covers, there’s usually some some distance in time between them (unless we’re talking about Motown, and then we’re just talking about Berry Gordy’s need to make money).   When an artist is rummaging around for something to do, he or she usually looks for an older hit or the obscure.  But sometimes they find what they’re looking for right in front of them.  Tonight’s cover involves a cover recorded not even a year after the massive hit that was the original.   And there’s not even the slightest hint, in my view, that the cover was a lazy ripoff.  In fact, it’s transformative.  Both end up being classics of their time, I think.

Original artist, in 1991:

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Cover, in 1992:

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How to Write a Complaint Letter to an Airline

I have reproduced, for your education and viewing pleasure, the best airline complaint letter I’ve ever read.  I’m not really one for passing viral things around, but if you’ve not seen this yet, you really ought to give in a read. And yes, it has in fact been confirmed by Virgin Airlines as authentic.  Behold its glory after the jump.

Get Up, Stand Up

TPM and its readers are wondering the same thing I am – where are the Democrats on TV talking about the stimulus bill?  If their absence is a function of being denied by the same DC show bookers, despite their best efforts, I – as a Democrat- need to hear that.

Can’t Ride In Snow? Smartbike DC Says No

Just got this:

Due to increasingly bad weather and a concern for rider safety, we will be temporarily suspending SmartBike DC use until further notice. We will update you by email and on our website when we have resumed operation.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Your SmartBike Team
Clear Channel Outdoor

Huh.  Maybe they’ll shut down in the summer, too, when the UV Index gets too high?

Democrats Still Acting Like Losers

This is bang-my-head-against-the-wall frustrating:

House Democrats are likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income from an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, officials said late Monday, following a personal appeal from President Barack Obama at a time the administration is courting Republican critics of the legislation.

[ . . . ]

Under the provision, states no longer would be required to obtain federal permission to offer family planning services — including contraceptives — under Medicaid, the health program for the low-income.

Yes, that’s right, the Democrats will be caving to the Taliban-aping GOP.  The “controversial” idea here is that states could automatically elect to use their federal Medicaid funding to cover services that they’re presently providing with state funds.   In other words, states would no longer be the ones paying for condoms and such for low-income Medicaid recipients, thus freeing up the state to use its tax revenues to meet other needs while ensuring that contraception is still available.   Seems pretty straightforward, no?  And since it’s up to each state to make this election, it should appeal to those conservatives who are always claiming that issues like this should be decided at the state level (in theory, anyway – I’ve found that that’s more often than not still as much a cover as “states’ rights” used to be).   And yet here Democrats are, allowing something as simple as plain contraception to be treated as some divisive issue?  I’m sorry, didn’t the American public just spend two years throwing out the theocracy supporters?  And Democrats react like this?  Pathetic.

UK & Civil Liberties

More like this.

10:15/Saturday Night: If You Pick Up On It Quick

you can say you were there.

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*What Would Rudy Ray Moore Do?

What’s the Point of the Lobbyist Ban, Then?

I’ve never been a fan of holding up lobbyists as some inherently evil group.  I think running against them is mostly a stunt, and I think broad prohibitions against them entering government is a bad idea.  That said, if you’re going to make a point of adopting rules against lobbyists, you really should stick to them.

Update: While I’m not a fan of the rhetorical device of slamming lobbyists, I’m absolutely appalled by the revolving door. As such, I’m completely okay with fairly severe post-employment bans on lobbying agencies of which you were previously a part. Not a perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing. (Thought I’d made this part of my original post, but somehow bungled it.)

Take Dominion’s Money . . . and Run

I think I understand where this is coming from:

Dominion Power is a big-time corporate bad actor (with big-time money to burn) influencing government policy to its own benefit, but NOT to everyone else’s (certainly not to the environment’s benefit, that’s for sure).  [ . . .  ] Dominion Power is pretty much the worst of the worst.

[ . . . ]

That’s why I’m challenging all Virginia 2009 candidates to “just say no” to Dominion’s dirty money. Refuse it. Reject it. Return it. Just don’t take any money from Dominion Power.

Sure, except it’s completely counter-productive to the end of putting better candidates in office.  Okay, Dominion’s a bad actor that spreads lots of money around Virginia politics.   It’s also one of, if not the, biggest company in Virginia outside of the DC area.  That, right there, is the reason that you can be sure that it will always be a force in Virginia politics.   Fine, it’s nice to imagine a public sphere in which every local candidate is funded solely by thousands of small dollar donors, but when you have more people voting on American Idol than contributing to local races, I think that’s safely labeled a fantasy.    So, starting from that (rather safe) premise, my advice to candidates is to take Dominion’s money and run.  Run for office on their dime, and vote in favor of your constituent’s interests anyway.   It’s just silly for a candidate to disadvantage themselves (because Dominion money will end up in any race) by refusing contributions from Dominion.  If a candidate has the strength of conviction enough to refuse Dominion contributions, then he or she has enough strength of conviction to take the contribution and do the right thing anyway.

Go on, take the money and run.

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