2003-07-04 05:39 am (UTC)
Oh, he's never gonna win, but at leat he has the possibility of livening up the debate.
And, hey, I'd rather hear ideas talked.
2003-07-04 05:50 am (UTC)
Why is it?
..that only All American people get elected in the US - It seems that your presidents only come from Texas or Alabama, or something.
AND why is it you are only allowed two terms of office? Dammit - Clinton was good. Well, as good as politicians get.
Keith (Browsing from the Ferret's Friend list)
2003-07-04 06:11 am (UTC)
Re: Why is it?
Hi. I don't mind browsers at all!
All American people get elected because from birth we instinctively favor pretty faces. (Richard Nixon was the great exception to this - and look what we got there!) There was a fascinating series on PBS, hosted by John Cleese, called "The Face" that showed experiments they've done with tiny babies that show a preference for attractive people. The restof life reinforces that, and far more so in the age of mass media.
As to the 2-term limit, the Republicans pushed that through Congress after Roosevelt was elected for the fourth time - then regretted it when they wanted to re-elect Reagan.
Don't forget to vote for me in 2012!
Do you have a platform?
And the requisite good looks?
My illustrious senator, Russ Feingold, also voted against USA PATRIOT, thank you very much. 'Course, Russ ain't running for president anytime soon.
Still, what's with the family farm thing? I have no understanding of this issue - why support businesses that fail? We don't give subsidies to family resturants. (Though perhaps we should - to prevent the Applebee's of the world from taking over completly). And, why do we need to support farms at all? Doesn't the market do that, or have some people suddenly stopped eating? Isn't the very cause of farms going out of business the production of too much food? (And, yes, were we to export it or give it away, that would be good). Still, I haven't noticed a huge jump in the price of farm-produced stuff, as opposed to say, Oreos.
So, what's with the deal with family farms? I mean, we don't pass legislation to protect any other family-owned business (and in some situations, we stomp on family - see RICO). I, personally, see nothing romatic or interesting about living on a farm, and if you want to do that, shouldn't it be your responsibility to find a way to earn money?
The problem I have is that no one's ever explained 1)Why the family farm's so important, and 2) if it is so important, then what's happening to drive them out of business? Not that I think people losing jobs is just jim-dandy, but in every other field of endeavor, if the business fails, we don't automatically assume that the government should be supporting that particular industry. Like I said, it's not like I've noticed a shortage of food, or a sudden gouging on the part of Pick-n-Save.
Why is the family farm important. Well, for starters protecting farmers keeps them from subdividing their property and contributing to urban sprawl and the loss of that farmland to yet more ugly housing that encourages people to commute in their highly polluting cars for longer and longer distances. Limiting that kind of growth also encourages people not to abandon the nearby suburbs and helps to prevent those smaller cities from losing revenue and beginning a downward spiral into poverty and crime. It encourages a reinvestment in the inner city areas as well, since people who have money to invest in housing will look to reusing available resources if they can't buy up cheap land and build that way. It redirects and recenters living into the city, preserving the countryside.
And preserving the countryside preserves biodiversity. To make an efficient "factory farm," the clusters of woodland, breakwinds, etc., that small farms will leave standing (because it's not economical to try and farm that low, boggy area) are cut and filled. Meaning the transitional areas that encourage songbirds and wildlife and wiped out.
Also, the monoculture of large farms encourages pests to flourish and therefore requires a much larger amount of pesticides than smaller plantings.
Small farms are also necessary to preserve the genetic bank of the very fruits and vegetables that are grown. A lot of really delicious, outstanding varieties of food are not conducive to large-scale farming because they do not hold up well to "factory picking." But a lot of small farmers are moving into supplying specialty markets with these superior-tasting varieties, and that is a growing area of profitable farming.
Let's face it: there really isn't an arena in raw food production in the U.S. that isn't subsidized to one degree or another. Even for farmers who don't take those subsidies - the Amish - food production is not a profitable business anymore (they all have jobs in factories, building furniture, cabinetry, and motorhomes). But we gotta eat. And I don't think any of us would be happy paying four times as much for food as we are now. If the subsidies have to be there, then in my opinion they should be used to the greatest good, and preserving small farms has a number of environmental and gene pool preservation advantages.
Your mileage may vary.
Now, that's a good argument.
I don't necessarily buy all of it, but the argument makes a lot more sense than the line "Family farms good, factory farms bad" that I've gotten in the past.
Thanks for putting it so eloquently. I forgot about the genetic variation thing - who wants another Irish potato famine? And it seems to me that preventing another gated suburb is a valid use for my tax dollars.
Still, I read somewhere (okay, PJ O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores) that due to the nature of farm subsidies, the majority of cash ends up in the pockets of the factory farms that produce all the food. I still think the program's broken, but you've definitely changed some of my thinking.
When I am misinformed, or wrong, I promptly admit it. :)
2003-07-05 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I generally try to avoid having political opinions based on gut feelings and emotion, because you don't do your cause any good.
No subsidy system in this country is perfect, and loads of them are no good at all. But watching the rural areas around this city being eaten alive by large pseduo-oldfashioned houses when: a) There are plenty of those houses around waiting to be revived, and b) the population isn't growing, it just breaks my heart. When we were househunting I adamantly told the real estate agent not to bother showing me new construction - the quality of materials is poor, the workmanship shoddy, and the neighborhoods freakin' deserts. I am the proad owner of an almost 50-year-old house in terrific shape on a quiet street where I can walk to the movie theatre and a shopping mall, and easily bike to the grocery store. Terrific Chinese and French restaurants are at the end of my block, I have easy access to the downtown area, and the neighborhood is clean, well-cared-for, and safe. And I'm in the 'burbs already. Why anyone wants to be another 45 minutes from their job, living someplace where there are no trees and you have to drive 15 minutes minimum to buy milk, I just dont understand. People are destroying the very thing they think they are seeking.
I believe my duplex is at least 120 years old - the foundation certainly looks it, and the house next door's been owned by the same family since the 1880's.
I get all the stuff you have, and I cannot imagine living anywhere else in Milwaukee. I get all itchy if I can't get steak and eggs at three AM without driving. The thought of having to get in a car whenever I need smokes creeps me out. There are whole neighborhoods in Milwaukee where there are no sidewalks - apparently, people who live there have feet only to work the gas pedal.
Of course, I don't actually live in the 'burbs - I live on the hip and trendy east side, and were I to try to buy my current residence, it would cost me 180 K.
This is a sticking point between me and my wife. I want to save the cash to find a place 'round here, and she wants a house soonest. I love the charm of old neighborhoods, where the people look out for each other, where there's some character and the last surviving family-owned groceries. I want to live in a house that looks different from next door, where I can give directions by telling people "It's the grey house with the pillars," not by putting lawn gnomes out.
2003-07-06 05:45 am (UTC)
Oh, we are definitely in the 'burbs. Our house is a brick ranch that from the outside looks barely big enough for a kitchen and livingroom, but in reality is spacious, with a dining room and three bedrooms upstairs and a full basement, half of which is finished as a family room, down. It looks just like every other brick ranch on either side of the street, and is the kind of place I used to swear I would never live - but we walked down the street after stopping for Chinese food and fell in love with the neighborhood. Saw he house, it was in our price range, bought it the next day.
Amazingly, even though the houses are literally only a single-car driveway apart from each other, they were built to carefully preserve a sense of privacy. It's actually remarkably nice.
I agree with you about the sidewalk thing - what's up with that? People are discouraged from living in their neighborhoods- they're supposed to just consume entertainment and sleep in their homes, I guess....