Archive of Articles for September, 2007
But this week, other than condemning Rush Limbaugh, the most important thing for Democrats to talk about is health care, so all the talking points this week will be on the subject of the SCHIP legislation, which will soon be on President Bush's desk, and which he has promised to veto.
It's pretty obvious that this one has actually been designed to be offensive. And today, no team in America would consider using such a disrespectful logo or team name about, say, African Americans. Can you imagine the Cleveland logo in blackface to go with a team named the "Cleveland Negroes" in today's America?
Which means there is a double standard at work here. Native Americans are still OK to ridicule, while other ethnic groups are not.
I admit that this is a radical idea, and an honestly singular new way of thinking. Connolly knows this as well, and has prepared for skepticism. The Institute's site has a list of common objections to the Public Talks concept, complete with plausible answers for each. He makes a convincing case that he's not just tilting at windmills, but that his idea could actually and effectively work. The biggest argument he's got going for him is that the whole idea wouldn't even begin until after normal diplomatic negotiations had collapsed. At that point, what is there really left to lose for either side?
John Connolly is putting this idea into the vaunted "marketplace of ideas" for consideration by one and all. While this marketplace can be brutal to those espousing abhorrent ideas (like President Ahmadinejad of Iran recently), it should also remain open to creative original thinking when it (so rarely) happens.
The public -- the "shoppers" in the marketplace -- are the ones who ultimately will decide the merits of the idea. But they can't decide if they don't even hear it in the first place. Which is why I present it here, to give it the wider audience I think it deserves.
Luckily, I don't have to compose an article on why this is a silly idea. Frank Zappa already did it for me, so I will rely on his testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation from 9/19/85 -- almost exactly 22 years ago.
A little background is necessary for those who don't know the history of this testimony. This hearing was pushed by a group calling themselves the "Parents' Music Resource Council," (PMRC) which was comprised of four wives of Washington politicians. One of the most prominent was Senator Al Gore's wife Tipper. Al Gore himself sat on this committee and questioned Zappa. This is why she occasionally (even today) gets booed at any event which has music-lovers in the audience.
She has earned those boos, in my opinion. The PMRC was trying to get legislation passed to put warning stickers on albums (yes, actual "albums" -- this was pre-CD) so parents could see what their children were buying. They really didn't want legislation as much as they wanted the music industry to institute its own ratings system, much like the MPAA does for movies (the people who decide whether a movie is "R" or "PG"). They were basically Senators' wives with too much time on their hands (they also were upset over Satanic lyrics supposedly recorded backwards on Led Zeppelin albums).
We need a Senate Majority Leader who will believe in something, say so in a telegenic and charismatic fashion on television, and then back it up by fighting for it in the Senate. It's all about that intangible quality called leadership. A strong leader might lead us off a cliff, or into the wasteland of permanent minority status -- but they could also lead us back to being a party people can believe would stand up and fight for what is right.
The question remains: Is Harry Reid the right person to do so, right now? Or is it time for Harry to go?
I'd like to thank B. Driscoll for publicly making these photos available, and allowing me to post them here. I am always open to consideration for photos of other events which the mainstream media largely ignores as well.
The first photo is of the "die-in" where most of the arrests were made. The black and white photo of a speaker is Eton Thomas from the Washington Wizards basketball team.
Why are Democrats so lame on basic PR?
Someone asked me that question on my blog the other day, and I didn't really have an answer. Why are Democrats so incredibly weak on framing their message correctly? Many books have been written exploring this subject and offering sound advice on how to make it better across the board, and yet it still continues.