Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paul M. Weyrich died today

This was brought to my attention by Feddie over at Southern Appeal. Weyrich was the first to lead the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. In remembering him, these words were used by the current Heritage President Ed Feulne:

Moral courage was a defining trait of Paul himself. On any policy issue that turned on a core principle, he never failed to take a public stand–regardless of how that stand might affect his professional or personal relationships. A political animal of the highest order, he always chose principle over any temporary “strategic” abandonment of principle designed to win some transitory political victory.

Having for my part taken public stands on core principles that have affected my professional and personal friendships over the years, I can recognize and appreciate others who manifested this core ethical principle whether I agreed with them positionally or not. May Mr. Weyrich rest in peace, may his labours receive a just reward, and may his example be one which gains greater currency in this age of growing incivility.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Points to Ponder:

A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence. [Jean-Francois Revel]

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Rider Reform Revisited" Dept.

I noted in the immediate aftermath of the election{1} that I was thinking of revisiting two initiative ideas I had gone over to varying degrees of depth over the years. However, I wanted to make sure I finished and published my musings on the election which were completed about a week ago{2} before addressing the initiative ideas I mentioned in passing back on November 5th of this year.{3}

As far as the aforementioned initiatives go, the second one I want to mull over a bit more before putting a sketch to but the first was sketched out in some detail almost five years ago. Here is what I wrote off the cuff in the aftermath of President Bush's 2004 State of the Union Address when I remember bristling over the lack of concern for budgetary matters that said speech contained. Without further ado...

[H]ere are my proposals for making [the rider] process accountable to the voting public.

1) Any proposed rider to a bill must have some reasonably demonstrable congruency with the subject of the main funding bill being voted on. The current practice of attaching unrelated or non-sequitur funding proposals to major funding bills would thereby be eliminated.

2) Any proposed rider should requires a separate congressional "rider attachment vote" so that those who want it and those who do not are on the record.

3) Any proposed rider should require at least two thirds concurrence by each house of Congress insuch that anything less means that the rider initiative fails to attach to the bill.

4) Any proposed rider that succeeds in getting two thirds concurrence by each house of Congress officially attaches with the provision that the president has the right to line-item veto that rider proposal.

5) If the president vetoes such rider proposal but signs the main funding bill to which it was attached, Congress can override and permanently attach said rider to the main funding bill with the concurrence of seventy-five percent of both houses of Congress. If said seventy-five percent concurrence of both houses of Congress cannot be mustered for an override, the override fails and the rider is officially declared dead.

6) And of course the rider proposals -pass or fail- must all be entered into the record for perusal of the people under the 1978 Freedom of Information Act along with (i) the names of the proposers and subsequent sponsors of said rider (ii) their party affiliation and (iii) the state which they represent.

These practices would insure that riders were proposed far less often and rarely enacted if they were because it would put our representatives on the hook and accountable for *every* proposal they voted on. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 20, 2004)]

Well obviously to the reader who knows their civics I made a small glitch in the above formulation -something that can happen when ideas are thrown together in rough draft form as that one was. The glitch was presenting it in a federal context with the idea of a presidential line item veto. So a constitutional amendment would be needed to secure that first. But in the meantime, everything noted above could apply to state legislatures and states where governors have line item veto capabilities. So that is what I hope to present to someone at the state level where I live to fashion it into the language that would withstand a court challenge should it make the ballot and pass.

I am sick and tired of seeing nothing done with growing budgets no matter which party is in power. It is evident to me that the leviathans of state and federal levels need to be starved to death of funds if they are to be shrunk in size but no political party has the balls to do anything about it. Ergo, this proposal for rider reform and the idea to follow this one which would take an even stronger weapon to government bureaucracy and which to my knowledge would work at both federal and state levels without any additional preparation being needed at the federal level as in the case of the proposal so outlined above.


{1} I may however in that interim and as time allows for it sketch out a rough draft of the second of two initiative ideas I want to get on the ballot for Washington State in the 2010 election. (The first idea was sketched out nearly five years ago on this humble weblog and may be revisited again in the interim prior to the election as well.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 5, 2008)]

{2} On How To Approach the Presidential Election Results of 2008 and Analyzing the Political Trends for 2008 and Beyond (circa December 9, 2008)

{3} Ultrabriefly on the Election Results (circa November 5, 2008)

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