Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the News...

Politics:
Senator Obama was not my pick for the Democratic nomination but I'm happy now that the race is over to have a strong candidate representing the Democrats---its been a long time since I've felt their leaders were electable (terribly sorry, Mr. Gore; you're just not a strong enough personality for the Office). It has annoyed me in no small manner that so many people have been clamoring for Senator Clinton to withdraw from the Primary run until it was all over. To my mind, Sen. Clinton was not treated fairly in the settlement of the Florida and Michigan "elections". What's more, in such a tight race with uncommitted delegates poised to make the call, she still had reason to believe there was a race to be won. By the way, The Washington Post ran a very interesting account of one superdelegate's experience; its quite surprising.

The Veep selection will be interesting; I think the Obama-Clinton pairing would serve us all well but I'm not certain Sen. Obama will go that way---she's light on National Security. I think a nice Cabinet slot would be appropriate and I think Secretary of Health and Human Services (Sec. Clinton, oh, Mrs. Secretary?) would be perfect. Although health policy is an issue to which she brings a lot of expertise, I can't see her going to a position that is more wonk than leader. So what will happen? I think the DNC needs to offer something to her in acknowledgment of her standing in the party---she obviously has a lot of support. From what I've read, she remains too junior to take on leadership of major Senate committees, soooo.... needs to be something else.

I don't like to make posts without a photo and since I can't think of a relevant one, here's this:

That's Haley winding up to kick all-hell out of the ball.

Economic and Resource Usage Policy
Rob and I are kind of low-level community-development geeks. In particular, we are huge fans of the New Urbanism movement (in point of fact, our first out of town date was to visit Seaside, Florida) and one of our biggest marital conundrums to date was whether to buy the house in which we now live or to buy a smaller one (for the same cost) in the Duany-designed Kentlands community that is just 4 miles from here.

Being green requires more than recycling plastics and walking instead of driving when possible. We have to begin to move backward to self-sustaining communities---we all need to be able to work, shop, live and play in our communities. Our present way of living in this country, with cities for working and bedroom communities for living, is very much to blame for our oil dependence and many of our environmental challenges. I think it is sheer arrogance to do otherwise. But without many viable options (existing cities in decay, suburban sprawl rampant..) how are American individuals ever to find such living situations?

These things being of keen interest to me, imagine how geeked I was this weekend to find that Tyson's Corner, VA (our near neighbors) is very far along in an assessment of the relative merits of an urbanism retrofit. Tyson's is essentially suburb although it is one of the largest employment centers in the region, second only to the District proper---odd, isn't that? In terms of land usage, this from the Washington Post story recently:

.. it is a place with more parking (40 million square feet) than offices (28 million square feet); more workers who drive in (120,000) than residents who sleep in (17,000); highways that divide (Route 7, Route 123, the Dulles Toll Road, the Capital Beltway); and too few ways in and out.
Got that? That's about 60% land use dedicated to parking. Not to be too obvious---but doesn't that mean there's perhaps too much driving involved? 17,000 residents but a mid-day census of 120,000? Folks driving two blocks to lunch because to walk would be to take your life in your hands? Take a peek at what Fairfax County Planners and developers have in mind:


Is that cool or what? Maybe you'd have to have visited Tyson's to understand how necessary this is, the very huge impact it could have on traffic congestion and... the environment. And increase quality of life. Wow. I wish I had some spare change to invest---this is the right way to go; its smart policy and I expect it will make huge amounts of money. Done right, there might even be a new home for our family in it...I'd love for my girls to qualify for in-state tuition at UVa....

Sorry to be so wikidemic today; it was definitely taking the easy way out...

9 comments:

Special K said...

I don't know that Tyson's place, but it looks like a cool plan. I think cities just HAVE to make these hard choices - sure, maybe they have to tear out all the roads and rebuild and the town's a mess for a few years, but it's easier now than later, right??? I mean, they redesigned all of Paris in the late 19th century because they were thinking ahead, and, for the most part, it's a city plan (a livable city!) that works great!

Chloe said...

This has nothing to do with your post, but I wanted to let you know how much we LOVE the cd's that you sent us. We listen to them all the time in the car. Chloe is slowing starting to learn the funny/silly songs. It is a lot of fun! Thanks again Kathy!

Love,
The Barnett's

utopian-camorra said...

Hey, no offense meant here, but I guess I don't understand why you thought Sen. Clinton wasn't treated fairly in Florida & Michigan. Granted, I get my information from fairly mainstream Democratic sources, and I voted for Obama, so maybe you've come across some convincing arguments that I haven't.
As I understand it, Sen. Clinton's name was the only one on the ballot, making it not a truly representative contest. And many Democratic voters knew it was a meaningless contest, and either stayed home or voted in the Republican primary. The only fair thing to do would be to have a re-vote. If that doesn't happen, then I have a hard time seeing how anyone could draw legitimate conclusions from those contests about the will of the people. Again, I mean no offense, I just think there's something I must be missing.

Kathy said...

No offense taken, D. Welcome to my comments!

Actually, I've been rather surprised at the dearth of commentary on the DNC Rules Committee's decision. I've not read a thing anywhere that would indicate a single other human feels as I do in the matter.

Essentially, it is not that Sen. Clinton was treated badly so much as that the voters of Florida and Michigan were stripped of their full voices by their party leaders. In my opinion, the only true remedy would have been a do-over, costs to be borne by the party in each of those states.

Failing that, I think Senator Clinton should have been awarded all of the delegates her voters awarded her in Florida. Michigan is more complicated but either awarding her the delegates she won or not seating those delegates at all seems more palatable to me. It seems to me Sen. Obama made a strategic error and Sen. Clinton is paying the price for it... In the end, I don't know if these strategies would have influenced her standing a bit...

And don't get me wrong: I'm totally cool with Obama. I like him, I'll vote for him, I'll be happy for his Presidency.

utopian-camorra said...

Cool.
I think we basically agree, there was only way to fairly find out the will of the people of these states, and that was to have a re-vote. Failing that, there's probably not a compromise available that will seem fair to everyone.

I think one really good thing that has come out of this extended primary season is that everyone has really gotten a chance to look at, if not totally understand, the nominating process. The resulting pressure for actual democracy I think will only serve us better in the long-run.

I do hope Sen. Clinton really steps up a voice for healthcare and for the working class in the coming years, in whatever role she serves in DC.

Kathy said...

Absolutely---and Sen. Ted Kennedy is a great model out there for outstanding advocacy and legislation from the Senate. She could really do some great things and despite the nay-sayers who think she loves power for its own sake, I actually believe she is very committed to making meaningful contributions through her service.

Special K said...

Yeah, the people of Fla and Mich. really got screwed. What happens to them really legitimizes the idea (that I hate) that voting doesn't matter (that "my vote" doesn't count).

In other news, is it too late for you to change your decision about Switzerland? Geneva was voted the top third city in the world to live according to this article:
1. Zurich
2. Vienna
2. Geneva
4. Vancouver
5. Auckland
6. Dusseldorf
7. Munich
7. Frankfurt
9. Bern
10. Sydney

Kathy said...

Ha! Escaping the current US craziness was indeed at the top of the "pro" list we made. About a week ago, though, we read that when foreigners are being considered for Swiss citizenship that they local residents hold a "secret ballot" where they vote yea or nay based on the kind of neighbor you are. The Swiss are notorious busybodys---everything from putting out your trash to the time of day you shower is held to community standards... verrrry picky stuff--really anti-individual...

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