29.7.20

My first 100 days

Dear Vice President Biden, 

I'm not running for President of the United States, and I'm not a paid political consultant (nor do I play one on tv).  I am a voter, and a concern citizen.  I'd like to offer you some suggestions for what would be an amazingly accomplished first 100 days:

  • Tighten up the Hatch Act.  Currently, supervisors are expected to set out consequences for violations and we've seen how well that works.  Make it a law, punishable by a stiff fine.  
  • Enact legislation that ensures that everyone working in the West Wing put their investments in a blind trust or divests completely.  Up until now that's been "best practice" but not enforcable.
  • Ensure that anyone who cannot pass security clearance tests does not get it; the president should be able to override it for an issue or a document, but not so that someone can get a job without it.
  • Work with the DOJ to craft legislation that puts a pause on any criminal action that cannot be prosecuted due to the statue of limitations running out.  If someone flees the jurisdiction or gets elected to office, the clock stops ticking until they can be prosecuted.
  • Rejoin the WHO and other organizations; re-sign the Paris Climate Accord.
  • Spend time - a lot of time - reassuring our allies and alliances that we're still America and we're still reliable.
  • Begin the process of examining the regulations that have been recently discarded.  Maybe some of them don't need to be reenacted, but some probably do.
  • Have a robust hiring office looking for qualified people to restaff the various departments that have seen a huge brain drain.  
  • While you're at it, don't reward large donors or political allies with positions unless they have real world qualifications (for example, the Secretary of Labor should have worked in the corporate world; the Secretary of Education should have been a classroom teacher at some point)
Try working with the leadership of both parties.  Getting bipartisan support for any of this is critical for its success.  

Oh, and another thing.  Don't engage the other campaign.  They're looking for you to make mistakes and to use them in their campaign.  Far more effective would be just ignoring the slings and arrows (and it will drive them nuts).

Good luck,

A Lazy voter

13.7.20

Notable Quotes

According to him, it was not a question of liking or not liking to read, but of finding the book that was meant for you.  Everybody could love reading, as long as they had the right book in their hands, a book that spoke to them, a book they could not bear to part with...

They asked her what those novels were about, and Delphine confessed that, most of the time, she was incapable of summarizing them.  She had not read anything memorable.  Yet she continued to feel excited at the start of each new book.  Because what if it was good?

David Foenkinos, The Mystery of Henri Pick

12.7.20

Too many causes

As at most schools, students at MPOW were quite upset by the George Floyd murder (and the other murders, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubery) that led up to the current Black Lives Matters protests.  Because of COVID there was a feeling of disconnect and distance from the school forming an official response, and students felt that.  They also felt as though the school had a lotquite a lot—of work to do to be anti-racist and fully accepting of BIPOC in our community.  Yes, they've also started one of those Black@ Instagram accounts.

One of their suggestions/requirements to show that this work was being done was virtually demanding that the school and individual faculty donate to BLM causes (defense funds, etc.).  Now, I'm not against that but... there are a lot of worthy causes out there and I have limited discretionary funds to donate.  

For example, I've donated to organizations that are working to ensure that all students who used to rely on public schools for free meals can get those meals while schools are closed.  I've donated to help artists get funding for basic life things (like food and rent) while they are out of work because theatres and concert stages and other venues are now closed.  Some people may feel donating to medical institutions is critical.  Others may believe that the best way to help is to donate to political organizations and candidates.  

That's not to see these causes are more worth than those causes, or whatever causes you feel are important. It is to say that requiring donations to a specific cause or concern as a token that you care about that case (or "donate or be cancelled") isn't fair.