Big government II.

The governor unveiled his “plan to reinvent Michigan’s educational system” this week. I’ll give this to Rick Snyder — for a Republican, he sure does love big government.

There have been several unveilings in recent weeks, a veritable night at a strip bar, very top-down, delivered with a subtext of I hate to do this, but you’ve demonstrated you’re incapable of managing these things on your own. He’s tied state revenue-sharing with municipalities — an important source of money for cities and towns, getting more important by the minute as tax revenues continue to fall — to the municipalities’ success at instituting so-called “best practices” in their management, as defined by the state.

To some extent I’m sympathetic. So many things in the state no longer work; it’s time for some fresh thinking. I’m not even bothered by the beefed-up emergency financial manager law, currently being distorted by none other than Rachel Maddow on a regular basis. The Grosse Pointes, as I’ve told you before, are comprised of five municipalities that are home to fewer than 48,000 souls, and we have a preposterous duplication of services. Five police departments. Five street departments. Five parks departments. And so on. We share a library and school system, but any discussion of sharing the rest is tied up in a snake’s nest of status and class anxiety, mixed in with the pervasive fear of Detroit that overarches everything — I mean everything — that happens here. To whatever extent Snyder can use the current crisis to force at least some common-sense efficiencies is fine by me.

However, if this is an in-for-a-dime, in-for-a-dollar deal, my guess is the self-described tough nerd, a moderate Republican who ignores the dog-whistle social issues that inflame the rest of the party, is going to find himself at a loss for support for his latest plan. As I said before, this week’s unveiling is education. You have to go way down in the press release — past the nod to early-childhood and the anti-bullying and the “easy-to-understand dashboard” (huh?) to find this nugget:

One of the most innovative departures from the way schools are funded now is to develop what the governor calls an “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” learning model in which funding follows a student rather than being exclusively tied to a school district.

…The governor also proposed giving parents more options by ensuring every school district participate in “Schools of Choice.” Under the governor’s proposal, residents of a local district will still have the first opportunity to enroll, but schools will no longer be able to refuse out-of-district students.

In other words: Every kid is a walking voucher. In the whole state. Education funding in Michigan is already tied to enrollment; state aid to education is doled out on a per-pupil basis. I’ve mentioned before that Michigan has so-called schools of choice, open-enrollment districts, but the question of whether or not to become one has been up to local boards. Hungrier districts have voted themselves open, but districts like Grosse Pointe’s — and other generally affluent, high-achieving areas — have done anything but. In fact, the No. 1 dog-whistle issue surrounding schools here is “residency,” the belief of some parents that Grosse Pointe’s peaceful, functional schools are being invaded by usurpers with no legal right to attend. I can’t wait to cover the board meetings that will address this issue, should it come to pass. I will pack a lunch.

But what I find most interesting about all of this is: Snyder is a Republican. Republicans supposedly believe in a less top-down government, more local control. Right? That’s what they keep telling me, anyway. They certainly believe in vouchers. He’s calling their bluff. To paraphrase the great star of that party: How’s that tough-nerdy thing workin’ out for ya?

Brian Dickerson, the Freep columnist worth reading, addressed all this in an excellent piece last month:

I wonder how some of those same small-government Republicans would react if a governor with different priorities used the same tools to reward local governments who provide subsidized day care or penalize those who failed to subsidize public transportation. I hear there are federal lawmakers as confident about what makes sense in the realm of health care as Snyder is about what makes sense in the realm of employee compensation.

It’s not the size of the government that matters so much as who is pulling the levers and to what end. And if politics teaches us anything, it’s that one man’s best practice is another man’s socialism.

As they say in the editorial-board meetings: Indeed. (Puff, puff, exhales pipe smoke.)

Today is the last hard-workin’ day of my week, with tomorrow dedicated to some cultivation of future work (as well as my yard, which could use some underbrush-raking). Nevertheless, how about some fresh links?

Bad news out of the South, of course. I don’t know about you, but I doubt I could watch this hellhound bearing down on me and hold my camera steady. I’d be making for someone’s basement. That was an F4, we’re told; the scale goes up to F6, although a 6 is formally described as “inconceivable.”

Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe.

The faces of ignorance and racism: The birther hall of fame.

A few months back, I had Elif Batuman’s “The Possessed” on the nightstand, one of the year’s delights — a collection of essays about Russian literature and the lunatics people who love it. Batuman is still writing. She’s still great.

Off I go. Happy Thursday to all.

Posted at 9:54 am in Current events |

51 responses to “Big government II.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on April 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

    That is one badass tornado! Watching the leaves get sucked toward the storm,amazing.
    Pilot Joe

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  2. coozledad said on April 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Pam Geller is Menachem Begin with implants. The hateful has completely taken over her little tortoise face. Pork-faced bog alderman Sean Hannity is careening toward lipodystrophic brain disorder.
    Carl Seel looks like an Okie straight out of Steinbeck; one of those furtive mouse-strangling sexual deviants that make up about half the population of the US South. Jerome Corsi and his publishers got a shitload of books they’re going to have to eat.

    Chuck Norris has to hire someone to write his stupid crap. He can’t write that stuff himself? Is he in a goddamn coma?

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  3. Kim said on April 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Almost two weeks ago a tornado barreled through here, killing two people – very unusual, since we get hurricanes, not twisters. With hurricanes you plan for weeks, and then it fizzles out. With tornados, not so much. On Saturday we were supposed to fly to St. Louis for the see-some-family Easter whirlwind, but our flights were canceled because of the tornado that struck the St. Louis airport. Today, more cuckoo weather and I am guessing we will lose a few trees, hoping they will fall away from the house, feeling in awe of the power of wind. Hope everyone is safe, wherever they are.

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  4. Suzanne said on April 28, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Coozledad, how do you really feel?

    Indiana is, as well, in the stranglehold of the less government right wingers (led by that wild and crazy Syrian, our man Mitch) who seem to want to use the state government to dictate how the local governments are structured and what they can and cannot do; or in other words, layer on more power to the state government in the name of giving power to the people. Not less is more, but more is less, I guess. We, too, had some lawmaker try to introduce some birther type election law, but I’m not sure what happened to it. I’m burned out on even wanting to know because it’s too depressing.

    The only up side to all this voucher mania is that private schools will no longer have to offer scholarships to good athletes–the state can pay for that!

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  5. MichaelG said on April 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Interesting that gas prices seem to be going up relatively uniformly this time rather than spiking some places and only rising moderately in other places.

    How come I never hear of tornados occurring in other countries?

    The Supremes just overturned a California law allowing consumers to sue businesses like phone companies, credit card companies and so forth without going to arbitration as the business interests wanted. The result totally denies consumers access to the courts in this area. This is another direct, obvious and outrageous screw the consumer action by the Court. We really are on our way to the 19th century third world.

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  6. Mark P. said on April 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I live in Rome, Ga, in the NW corner, and work in NE Alabama (Huntsville). I’m currently working in the LA area, but my wife tells me that things are bad where we live – no power, trees down, powerlines down, not even water in some places. Certainly not at our house, since we are on a well. In Huntsville, it’s the same story – power probably out for four to five days, and emergency power for parts of their water system also is apparently not working. Ringgold, Ga, which is about 45 miles away from Rome, had fatalities. Of course other places in Alabama were hit very hard with many fatalities. I won’t know more firsthand until I get home, hopefully tomorrow.

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  7. Bob (not Greene) said on April 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

    All I can say about birther hall of famer Orly (hey, I mistakenly first typed Orky … I think I like that better) Taitz is this. How can anyone with those eyelashes get taken seriously by anyone? I mean, didn’t Tammy Faye Bakker pretty much close the book on those?

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  8. Scout said on April 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I was shocked when Gov Jan Brewer (AZ) vetoed Seel’s birther bill last week. There didn’t seem to be anything too crazy for her to endorse. Then I got to thinking; things are almost never what they seem with these people, so what’s the angle? Who is in the the pipeline that stood to suffer from unintended consequences if they allowed that law to be signed? I could be over-thinking this, but after all we’ve seen and heard from these deranged idiots in the past couple of years, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve got to try to think like they do to stay ahead of the game.

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  9. Jolene said on April 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

    The Atlantic has a photo-essay re the storms and floods. Pretty awful all around, but most interesting were the trees that were left standing. The canopies are torn off, along with the bigger lower branches, so what’s left is a beaten-up trunk w/ a few scrawny broken limbs. They look like skinny old men who, after a hard life, are surviving in a greatly reduced form while awaiting death.

    Meanwhile, I am wondering what sort of person would spend good money to fly to England to stand in the street (likely in the rain) to watch a parade of people and horses pass by–people that you don’t know and will never meet. They’ve been interviewing apparently sensible Americans who have done this, but I don’t get it.

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  10. nancy said on April 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Jolene, thanks. That’s the former editor of the Boston Globe’s Big Picture who does the Atlantic’s photoblog now. A hedgehog with one great idea: A still photo is more effective than any video, and enough people have broadband internet that they don’t mind looking at a whole bunch of ’em.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on April 28, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Well, Mr. Jerome Corsi, who was about to publish a book, Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, has got to feel screwed on the timing of this. Poor guy.

    In his first term Indiana’s not-my-man-Mitch pushed through state takeover of school funding as a way for districts to even out spending problems. We quickly learned the downside when the economy tanked and sales tax revenues went into the toilet. Now every school district is laying off teachers and scratching for funding.

    Now he has managed to push through the most generous school vouchers ever, which should ensure the demise of public education in the state. I fear for our future.

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  12. moe99 said on April 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Remember when gays were blamed by Pat Robertson and his ilk for 9/11 in NYC, New Orleans and the Haiti disasters? Well with all this severe weather in the south, including the drought in Texas, I wonder what cause these faux Christians can ascribe to these disasters?

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  13. Suzanne said on April 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    It’s the fake birth certificate, Moe, bringin’ down the wrath…

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  14. Mark P. said on April 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    MichaelG, one of my coworkers who lives in Alabama told me his wife tried to buy gasoline in an area that was not as badly damaged, and they have raised their prices and are accepting cash only. Some people are driving up to Tennessee to get gas to avoid the gouging.

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  15. Jakash said on April 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    MichaelG, re: tornadoes in other countries. Local Chicago weather legend Tom Skilling just fielded this question in the Tribune recently. The gist is that the “unique geography of the central U.S. that provides a barrier-free collision course involving polar, tropical and desert air makes this nation home to about 75 percent world’s tornadoes.” But, “tornadoes have occurred in almost every nation of the world with only the polar regions considered to be tornado-free.” I suppose the reason we don’t hear about tornadoes in other countries is that we don’t seem to hear a lot about anything but wars in other countries these days.,0,2358067.story

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  16. Judybusy said on April 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Mark P., I’m glad your wife is unharmed and your house is still standing.

    Also, if they wished, teh crazy could still blame teh gays for all the storms:there is a high percentage of same-sex couples raising kids in the south. But then, they’d have to read the NYT. But I like Suzanne’s idea better.

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  17. Mark P. said on April 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Another coworker currently here in LA spoke to her daughter at home in Huntsville, Al. Here’s what she said: “people were fighting for groceries no one has cash the atms don’t work gas pumps don’t work and they aren’t expecting power for a while so everyone is panicking.”

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  18. Jolene said on April 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I was shocked when Gov Jan Brewer (AZ) vetoed Seel’s birther bill last week. There didn’t seem to be anything too crazy for her to endorse.

    It’s all about the bucks, Scout. Arizona lost a lot of tourist and convention money since S.B. 1070 went into effect, and, according to what I’ve read, local business leaders persuaded her that another hit to Arizona’s national reputation wasn’t going to improve its desperate fiscal situation.

    Speaking of national reputations, The Independent, a British paper, had a somewhat amusing article this AM re the birther situation. Headline: The Day America Took Leave of Its Senses.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on April 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    If you want to see redundant government, come to Illinois. It’s not unusual to have an entire park district–with an elected board, the power to levy property taxes, the whole shooting match–to administer one park.

    That said, the situation Nancy describes sounds interesting. The wealthier school districts who want to keep outsiders out form a natural GOP consistency. I hope Nancy follows up on this.

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  20. Jolene said on April 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    My God, the death toll in the South is up to 249.

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  21. Scout said on April 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    @Jolene – of course you are right, AZ absolutely did not need another self-inflicted black eye. Sometimes the simplest explanation seems too obvious, especially in this up is down world we’re living in.

    I have been watching different videos people have taken of the tornadoes. It’s terrifying.

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  22. MichaelG said on April 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Alabama sounds horrible, Mark. Post apocalyptic. Good to hear that your family is OK.

    Numbers for Sacramento:

    Largest year over year employment decrease, 260 metro areas: Rank 1: Sacramento

    Largest year over year pctg employment decline: 36 largest metro areas: Rank 1: Sacramento

    Highest unemployment rates for the largest 49 metro areas: Rank 1: Riverside, 2 is Vegas, 3 is Sacramento.

    Pretty encouraging news.

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  23. prospero said on April 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    We know for a fact in SC that tornadoes here are a direct effect of Nikki Haley on the Appalachian Trail with her knickers down.

    Mark P. I went to a good friend’s wedding to a local girl in Rome one time. Nice town, but the drive back to Athens through summer thunderstorms that night after the reception was nerve-wracking, and seemingly interminable.

    We live on an island with two lane (three during weather emergency evacuation) egress. Evacuation is a parking lot several hours long with many people running out of fuel. The gas stations profiteer, politicians threaten, nothing is done about it when the weather clears, people sell beers out of roadside coolers for $8-10 a pop, and gas is available at $15-20 from fellow travelers. I’m aware of this only anecdotally. I’m not going anywhere in these situations. Hurricanes always veer right by here on their path to the big magnet at Myrtle Beach.

    I did see a tornado up close one time. Loudest thing I ever heard, from about 500 ft, watched the funnel follow a train trestle, flicking the ties around in every direction, as if they were pick-up stix being plucked by the fore and index fingers of God, what looked like 100 ft. in the air. The thing people say about a jaundiced cast to the sky and eerie silence immediately before the storm hits was exactly accurate in that instance. I was bartending in a joint in an old Souterhn RR baggage terminal with 36-inch thick, alternating-wythe brick walls, so I figured everyone was fairly safe. Leaving the building was not a viable nor a sensible option, anyway. Unease was palpable, so I sure as shit wasn’t using the hand crank on the register to charge for pitchers when the power went out, and the boss told me to put out a mighty deli buffet spread since the walk-in was shut down. A very good time was had by all, and we emerged to sunshine, stuffed and loaded, about half an hour later, only to be driven back inside by roaring winds and golfball hail a few minutes later. Ever since, and I know it’s crass and thoughtless, probably whistling past the graveyard, but I always associate tornadoes with partying like it’s 1999. Given the blackout conditions, I would not be at all surprised if offspring were conceived that day.

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  24. Hattie said on April 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    In Michigan, the chickens have come home to roost. As long as racism rules the roost, it will be so.

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  25. LAMary said on April 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Off topic, very expensive shoes, some weird.

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  26. mark said on April 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Well, it’s awkward responding to your questions about “what republicans believe” (or conservatives, right-wingers, libertarians or federalists believe), since it is gospel here that all such people are uniformly reprehensible to a degree where there beliefs are necessarily repugnant. See, for example, Scout’s comment about “these people.”

    But, some of us “small government types” embrace the whole federalism notion of many “laboratories of government” with people choosing what they prefer. Inherent in that notion is that the most intrusive government should be the most local, where you are best able to participate in a meaningful fashion and best able to leave if you find the practices unacceptable. That model works pretty well on non-essential issues like parks, libraries, speed limits,ball parks, etc.

    Most of us also recognize that wealth is spread unequally, both between and within states, and reluctantly join with all of you enlightened people in the notion that our very wealthy society can and should prevent this disparity from causing people to go without a minimum level of essential services- medical care, safe water, public education, etc.

    The reality is that simply providing money often fails to solve the problem or provide the minimum of acceptable service. How much money do you toss at the Detroit Public Schools, for instance? Sooner or later, the money comes with restrictions. These state “takeovers” are sort of a last effort to solve the problem. I don’t necessarily agree with the practice, but I don’t have much confidence in the alternatives, either. Allowing complete failure is tempting, and probably should be used more often, but when it impacts children (again, Detroit Public Schools) or others who are blameless and directly harmed by the collapse, it seems not an option.

    There are many heavily Republican municipalities that are highly regulated. Carmel, Indiana has more restrictions than I care for, and even dictates that the “cart corral” at the supermarket must be constructed of brick with decorative lighting. One or more of the “Pointes” probably have similar rules. Presumably the people there like things that way, so it doesn’t offend me. The intractable problem, I think, is how to use the state or federal government to assist with basic, necessary services without giving them the authority to dictate every minute detail.

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  27. coozledad said on April 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    In Chris Christie’s laboratory of government, they’re using tax dollars to subsidize a giant sloppy humjob for the mob:
    H/T Atrios

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  28. prospero said on April 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Chris Christie might be mobbed up? Heaven forfend? Who’da thunk to look at and listen to him? I know that’s not fair, but you know some of that guy’s dandified thuggishness is self-invention.

    Ferguson School.

    This is a real treat I just came across. Three songs performed live in an NPR studio by Steve Earle. I just got his book of short stories (well lot’s of his songs are short stories, like Copperhead Rd.) called Doghouse Roses, and he has a novel coming out soon.

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  29. LAMary said on April 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Chris Christie might be mobbed up but his accent and manner have nothing to do with it. He sounds and looks like a lot of guys from NJ who have nothing to do with the mob.

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  30. nancy said on April 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Good lord, that’s ghastly. Isn’t Christie the one who won’t build a new commuter tunnel under the Hudson River, because he says the state can’t afford it? But they can afford this. Amazing.

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  31. LAMary said on April 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    He turned down federal stimulus money to build the tunnel. Better to build a mall that can’t be open on Sundays. I’m amazed NJ still has those blue laws. When I lived there only pharmacies and milk stores could be open on Sunday.

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  32. prospero said on April 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Coozledad, That is the most nauseous building facade ever perpetrated by a nitwit architect and a dilettante owner. Hard to believe Trump’s greasy little digits aren’t all over that. Do people that choose to call hideous malls and casinos Xanadu understand the drug-cultural baggage that carries in modern English literature. This is what Coleridge wrote about his opium-induced poem:

    I should much wish, like the Indian Vishna, to float about along an infinite ocean cradled in the flower of the Lotos, & wake once in a million years for a few minutes – just to know I was going to sleep a million years more … I can at times feel strong the beauties, you describe, in themselves, & for themselves – but more frequently all things appear little – all the knowledge, that can be acquired, child’s play – the universe itself – what but an immense heap of little things? … My mind feels as if it ached to behold & know something great – something one & indivisible – and it is only in the faith of this that rocks or waterfalls, mountains or caverns give me the sense of sublimity or majesty!

    Jai guru deva om. Hippies and dopers!

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  33. nancy said on April 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, and belated thanks to mark, for weighing in with sincerity on the big-gov question. I know people here aren’t generally mark’s people, but I appreciate his participation just the same.

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  34. coozledad said on April 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    It looks like a lumberyard, or a fabrication shed. Like something you’d see heaps of I-beams rusting beside. Given its proximity to two shopping meccas, that may be its ultimate function, in addition to housing portions of Christie and his business associates’ remains.

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  35. Joe Kobiela said on April 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    At least one of us sides with Mark on occasion.
    Pilot Joe

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  36. deb said on April 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    That tornado video was terrifying. What struck me most was the noise. That’s a soundtrack from hell.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on April 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Lara Logan will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday to speak about the rapes and beatings she endured in Cairo. The details are horrifying:

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  38. prospero said on April 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    But, some of us “small government types” embrace the whole federalism notion of many “laboratories of government” with people choosing what they prefer. Inherent in that notion is that the most intrusive government should be the most local, where you are best able to participate in a meaningful fashion and best able to leave if you find the practices unacceptable. That model works pretty well on non-essential issues like parks, libraries, speed limits,ball parks, etc.

    A reasonable point Mark, but when a deregulated financial industry has stolen a good half of the nation’s combined wealth from those that held it before AD 2000, people no longer even have the ability to vote with their feet, and this idea breaks down. Unfortunately, it breaks down these days along lines of disposable income and net worth.

    Edit: He who has the gold makes the rules.

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  39. Jeff Borden said on April 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Well, some of the mad scientists in the laboratories of government are a little madder than others. The new governor in Pennsylvania, who is slashing state aid to higher education by 50%, notes that six of the state’s universities are located over shale fields and thus can make some good money by “fracking” it.

    We’re going to hell in a handbasket and the loons are behind the wheel. Yippee!

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  40. Suzanne said on April 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Amen, Prospero. I was a total trickle downer for years, but that system doesn’t work anymore. Those making the money are not using it to spur commerce and create jobs. They are using it to pad their bank accounts and elect the officials that make the rules that allow them to keep more and more of it.

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  41. Rana said on April 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I think, mark, that one of the problems that’s developed is that “conservative” and “Republican” are no longer synonymous. There was an editorial a couple of days ago (I can dig for it if you’re interested) that made the point that a lot of Obama’s supposedly “left of center” policies are actually in line with the Republican platform of a few decades ago. (Heck, in the area of environmentalism, Nixon outstrips most Democrats today, including Obama.)

    The Republicans* I remember my dad supporting (before he left the party in disgust and became an independent) and the sort of conservatives I see writing in publications like The Economist are the sort of people I can disagree with but respect, and who I feel can be persuaded to at least consider my opinion and concerns if I do my homework and make an effort to lay out my case in their frameworks. I’d like to consider you among that group.

    The majority of the current crop of R-labeled politicians? Radical, racist, sexist, Bible-thumpin’, money-worshiping loons. I’d laugh at them if I didn’t find their power to affect other peoples’ lives terrifying.

    *When I write “Republicans” I’m talking about the leadership and the politicians who belong to that party; I’m not talking about the voters (who really have very little power, these days, to challenge or change anything the party leadership does or doesn’t do, if they doesn’t want to).

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I am more of a Republican than a Prosperoan, but I’d say the biggest problem with a purely free-market laissez-faire approach is exactly that whole “mobility” issue. “Creative destruction” and migratory labor chasing wages & opportunity are phenomena that make a mockery of much of the rest of what conservatism claims to value . . . just as much of the actual operation of labor union leadership makes a mockery of worker’s rights and liberal values. Anyhow, continuous dislocation of managers and families leads to . . . well, it’s not good.

    Which makes me mostly more of a Chestertonian distributist subsidiarist, and congratulations to anyone to whom that makes sense. Republicans even politically I don’t think are as corporately abhorrent as they’re often portrayed here, and I’m not interested in debating the finer points of “so’s yer momma,” but I just can’t go with “independent” — it feels more like a non-choice choice, not a principled stand. So I continue to default to Republican because I really don’t agree with every third story on NPR building to a pivot point of “the problem is that there’s no federal standard for [blank].”

    As Mark nicely outlined, there’s still a place in the national conversation for federalism, even if you have to explain more than you do to argue for a national baseline for everything.

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  43. Linda said on April 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    It’s all about the bucks, Scout. Arizona lost a lot of tourist and convention money since S.B. 1070 went into effect, and, according to what I’ve read, local business leaders persuaded her that another hit to Arizona’s national reputation wasn’t going to improve its desperate fiscal situation.

    LOL. How true. Brewer also vetoed a law that would have put the screws down hard on illegal immigrant workers, which pissed off the crazy right no end. Commentators at freerepublic, which is where I go to get my morning cup o’ crazy, said that she was under the influence of teh evil CHAMBER OF COMMERCE! The national C of C will climb any mountain to keep businesses from spending/losing a buck, which usually means they piss of the left, so much so that some local C of C’s are disavowing their actions.

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  44. Linda said on April 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I’m not sure it’s a hummer for the mob, but a pocket-liner for private enterprise. Conservatives are happy to spend government money, as long as govt agencies and public (especially unionized) workers don’t get any. Look at Kasich in Ohio: he is fine with the Dept of Development that doles out lots of public money to business, as long as a bunch of handpicked appointees who are suspended from the Sunshine and Open Meeting law dole it out. Some Cato Institute egghead w/ a blog was aghast at this, as if Kasich were a libertarian. Ha!

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  45. Deborah said on April 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    May I say that Rana at #41, what you said just makes so much sense to me.

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  46. brian stouder said on April 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    As Mark nicely outlined, there’s still a place in the national conversation for federalism, even if you have to explain more than you do to argue for a national baseline for everything.

    I am still pondering this; I think I agree, but it is a densely packed statement, and not easily unpacked.

    When the real-live teabaggers were still alive (think – 1790’s and early 1800’s), a Federalist was the opposite of a Democratic Republican (calling someone a “Democrat” was equivalent of calling them an anarchist/mob-rule advocate; a Francophile and a Jacobin); a Federalist was a national government/national money person (and a monarchist and a slobbering Anglophile, if not a Tory, outright). If you cared about the prergatives of your state’s government, then you were most emphatically NOT a Federalist; whereas in my lifetime, when President Reagan talked about Federalism it was shorthand for “let the states decide”.

    That book Too Big to Fail is crowding my brain, lately. The feints and homages directed toward the largely mythical “free market”* always precede the inevitable (and indispensible) major governmental intervention – without which everything melts down into nothing. I recall the old truism that the market is alternately driven by fear and greed; and I think a third major human impulse that drives markets is anger/spite.

    I would like to dispense with attacking party labels (as opposed to specific chuckleheads); hell, I was a Republican right up until the party bounced me off the island and left me in the flood waters of Katrina, back in 2006 (and we’ll skip the digression). Sometimes, my fine young 15 year old son expresses a particularly strident opinion (where the hell does he GET that from, eh?) and it makes me cringe and then try and counterbalance his exuberance with a reminder to allow for other, opposing opinions. (those darned inquisitive kids often keep a person on a tightrope).

    Still, I confess that it is particularly difficult to respect anyone who willing calls themself a “tea partier”; not impossible, mind you – but difficult.

    *try and define “free market”; it cannot be done. Does it mean “free from government”? That won’t work. Does it mean that “the market” is rational in how things are valued, or devalued? If that were true, why would be have “bubbles” (aka “booms” or “irrational exuberance”) and “busts” (aka “corrections” or liquidity crises, or genuine panics). That whole “mark to market” conundrum captures the problem…if nobody wants to buy a thing on a given day, its value = 0; so that unless you’re actually selling something, any valuation is really just arbitrary – and open to all sorts of manipulation (not to say fraud); what “market force” governs how such an asset gets valued?

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  47. Dexter said on April 29, 2011 at 3:12 am

    At noon on Thursday local gasoline jumped eighteen cents. We’re in the big leagues now, at $4.15, with the predicted summertime $4.55 seemingly a shoo-in.
    TY Jolene for The Atlantic pictures. Over the years I worked with many African Americans who had moved to Indiana from the Birmingham, Alabama area. We’re all retired now, and many of them had returned to Alabama in the past ten years.
    Of course no one retains contact with retired co-workers , except closest friends.
    I wonder how they made it through this, and I wonder why people don’t keep track better regarding casual friends.
    Oh well, I do have a few grade school classmates , a couple high school pals, and one army buddy and one old co-worker in my email contacts.

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  48. Linda said on April 29, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Entirely off topic: pic of the headgear of Fergie’s daughters at the wedding. As my sis-in-law noted, they look like they belong in Whoville.

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  49. prospero said on April 29, 2011 at 8:24 am

    How about a pool on how long it takes for some mad Moldovan dentist (nudge, nudge), mail-order lawyer, Dr.Frankenfurter manque to claim Hawai’i wasn’t really a state when Obama was born there?

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  50. coozledad said on April 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Linda: My first thought was Beatrice had one of those nubby bedroom slippers on her head. Then I thought, Profit!!

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  51. Rana said on April 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Linda – those are astonishing. I wonder how they keep them from falling off!

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