Author Archive: Thurman Hart

Are you ready to get serious yet?

Diary rescue from the start of the weekend. What do you think of what Thurman has to say? – Promoted by Rosi

I sometimes claim to know as much, or more, about the Conservative Movement than any other Progressive. There are two reasons for this: First, I believe that our political system was designed to force moderation (and that’s a good idea); and second, I admire what they have done – and wonder why Progressives can’t seem to learn from it.

In 1964, the American people rejected Mr. Conservative (Barry Goldwater) by an astounding margin (the Electoral College total was 486 to 52). Goldwater’s national image was shattered and there was no one ready to step up to the plate and lead. William Buckley made sure Conservatives didn’t disappear.

Finding the wrong answers in Sandy Hook

My MA thesis was an analysis of attempts to reduce dependence on foreign oil by increasing fuel economy. My final conclusion is that the idea doesn’t work because there is a huge disconnect between a car driving down the highway and the country of origin for the oil used to make the gasoline in its tank. While it isn’t a bad idea to have more efficient vehicles, more efficient vehicles don’t change where our refineries get their oil.

Put in those terms, it doesn’t even sound like a reasonable idea. But there are dozens of areas where we do this. For example, some people observe that the standard of living for someone on welfare is better than the standard of living for someone working a minimum wage job – and decide that we should cut back on welfare instead of boosting minimum wage.

So far, the response to Sandy Hook has been the same.

Thoughts on the end of Labor Day

As I write this, I am getting ready to trundle my kids off to bed. Labor Day is coming to its close. So I thought I would share my thoughts about this vital holiday.

First, I celebrated Labor Day by sitting in Starbucks, hunched over my laptop, doing work that I will not get paid for, but is necessary for me to complete in order to actually do work I do get paid for. That strikes me as a bit ironic. But then, since organized labor has spent the last twenty-five years of my life ignoring me, I figure the least I can do is return the favor.

I have to say this: I believe that anyone who has a job needs a union. It’s not only a vital right for workers, but it is a necessary check to the unlimited power employers wield in the work market. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell from my life, no union has cared at all about actually DOING…well, anything at all.

How not to handle a crisis

promoted by Rosi

Remember when your mom used to say, “If you can’t say something nice; then don’t say anything at all?” Apparently Michael Drewniak doesn’t.

In response to Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan and Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono’s press conference today, Governor Christie’s trained monkey mouthpiece responded with disrespectful and sexist remarks:

…Barbara Buono’s track record has been to complain and point fingers over every budget cut that had to be made, never offering any real solutions, just high-pitched partisan attacks or endorsements for more spending and taxing.”

Really? “High-pitched?” Why not “shrill?” “Shrewish?” Why not call her out for not ironing shirts, too?

Make the flip (and get your suitable-for-framing photo of the real Michael Drewniak).

What if…

promoted by Rosi

President Obama and Vice-President Biden both went on vacation at the same time and asked Speaker of the House John Boehner to fill in for them?

Brotherhood: The Values of a Progressive, Part 3

promoted by Rosi

Saint Luke tells us of a man who went to see a prophet, asking of him what is necessary to enter Paradise. The prophet simply asks the man a simple question – what were you taught you must do? The man replies, in essence, to love God and to do good to his neighbors. But the man then gets philosophical: Who, he asks, is our neighbor.

We don’t know the name of the man in the story, but the prophet is Jesus of Nazareth. His answer to this philosophical question is known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I don’t think I really have to go into a re-telling of the story. For the purpose of this post, let’s just understand that the first two people who found the man on the road, beaten and battered, adhered to a view of the world as being brutal and probably viewed their actions as a realistic response to a dangerous world. The Samaritan looked at exactly the same facts and reached a different conclusion – amid the brutality of the world, he had a chance to make one man’s life a little less brutal. At some cost to himself, he took the opportunity to make up for damage done by someone else.

You don’t have to be a Christian to understand the parable. It doesn’t matter if it was spoken by Jesus, Moses, or Mahatma Ghandi. It speaks of altering our fundamental view of the world – not by ignoring the danger of the world, but by embracing it and rejecting that brutality as a legitimate course of action. Knowing that he could not change the entire world, the Samaritan chooses a path of radical brotherhood and decides to change his small corner of the world.

I believe this view of radical brotherhood is a core value of what motivates Progressives to act.

We lose when we forget

Yeah, I think there’s going to be some disagreement on this post … – promoted by Rosi

Earlier this year, my brother provided me with a bit of wisdom that seemed to come out of nowhere and apply everywhere. I was cussing the bad drivers on Route 17 and he said, “I don’t think the problem is that there are bad drivers. The problem is that we have forgotten how to be good people. Then we get behind the wheel and use technology to be bad people to even more people than before.”

What is true for drivers in northern New Jersey is also true for political parties. The problem – the reason we stand on the brink of losing our ability to govern – is not that we are reaching for bad policies. It’s that we’ve forgotten how to be good people. Then we govern as if anyone who doesn’t agree with us does not belong in the room with us, much less at the table.

Too many Democrats decided that the only thing wrong with the way Bush/Cheney governed was that they moved policy in the wrong direction. No sooner had Democrats taken the reins of power than they tried to duplicate Bush’s governing style – claiming a mandate in the absence of consensus. Convinced of their rightness – or righteousness – they never reached out to the people on the other side.

It isn’t a question of timing

promoted by Rosi

One of the chief problems with our politicians is that they are addicted to embracing change as a tool of obfuscation rather than a tool of improvement. Chief example: The City Council of Jersey City. What do they do when faced with a deficit that has been reported to be somewhere between $40 million and $80 million (and while we’re at it – what’s with that big a range)? They move the beginning of the budget year to January 1.

Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense, because it does. And it will even save an estimated $50,000 (this year, anyway) in postage costs for estimated tax bills. But it doesn’t do a single thing to balance the budget – seeing as how the “cut” in postage amounts to 1/800th of the lowest estimate of the budget deficit. It just boots things down the road a bit in the hope that we’ll have a good Christmas and bring in stronger-than-expected tax revenues.