"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Time, tide and formation wait for no man

07:58 Saturday, 23 May 2020

It's been a busy week here at Nice Marmot World Headquarters.

I have been persuaded to seek political office! This entails, as one might expect, a certain amount of paperwork and an unfamiliar maze of rules and regulations.

There's kind of a boot-strapping process to run for office. Since this is such a late start (last day to qualify is June 12), I have to submit a filing fee to run. Since I'm running for for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, here in district 17, that filing fee is $1800.

Once you file the paperwork to declare yourself a candidate, you may then name a campaign treasurer and identify a financial institution to handle your campaign account. As luck would have it, you can name yourself as your treasurer, because it's a fair amount of work and also a fair amount of exposure if you get it wrong.

I've been stumbling my way through all that, coached and assisted by some committed activists, so it's not like I don't have help.

There will be a campaign web site, eventually. That takes money, and a debit card. I need to get the qualifying fee first though, and I've put in $500 of my own money to get started. I hate to ask folks for cash if I'm not willing to put up my own.

Anyway, this is a marker post so that the home page isn't just a test post.

Here's a link to my DonorBox fundraising site. I will have an ActBlue account, but they take longer to get set up and that process is underway.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, and if you're so inlined, hit up the donor page and pitch in!

Maintenance check...

10:51 Sunday, 17 May 2020

Just a placeholder while I try to update a bunch of the infrastructure here.

The Republican Program

08:41 Saturday, 2 May 2020

This is a letter I sent to the Florida Times-Union a few weeks ago. It didn't get published, so I'll post it here.

COVID-19 Illustrates the Importance of Informed Policy

The world is smaller, more crowded and more interdependent than ever. A virus that emerges in China spreads around the world in a matter of weeks; and economies stagger as governments struggle mightily to save the lives of their most vulnerable citizens.

America’s stumbling response is a consequence of decades of Republican policy. Although America is the third largest nation in the world, Republicans have consistently demonized the role of "big government." Ronald Reagan famously said, "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." Anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist says he wants to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."

Republicans have had little success in shrinking the size of government. What they have succeeded in is underfunding it, and staffing it with people who have strong ideological credentials and limited subject matter expertise.

Current Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, is an attorney; and his last job before his appointment to head HHS, was as President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest division of Eli Lilly and Company, where he tripled the price of insulin, among other pharmaceutical price increases.

The incoherent and inconsistent messaging and policies emanating from Washington and Tallahassee are the result of elected leaders more accustomed to ideological battles than rallying people and resources to meet a deadly challenge confronting their citizens. We have leaders who surround themselves with fellow ideologues, not a network of knowledgeable experts who can lead their agencies and assure them of the resources necessary to be prepared to respond to foreseeable emergencies.

We are very fortunate that many professionals and experts remain in public service, as members of the so-called "deep state." Dr. Anthony Fauci is probably the one man standing between monumental Republican incompetence and a grotesquely obscene death toll among all of our most vulnerable family members.

We can no longer afford the willful ignorance of Republican politics, which puts profits before people. We are witnessing firsthand the consequences of a malignant indifference to the suffering of others that has been a hallmark of Republican policy for decades.

"We the people," are the government and, in order to "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," we must embrace knowledge, competence and expertise in the crafting of policy and the exercise of governance. We must place the needs and the security of our citizens before the profits of corporations, investment bankers and hedge fund managers.

This November, send the Republican Party a message they cannot ignore. Tell them that we reject their politics of greed and deceit. Vote for Democrats at every level of government.

A Government or a Cult?

07:55 Saturday, 2 May 2020

At times here in Florida it seems like the Republican Party, in its current Trumpist incarnation, is more like a multi-level marketing company than a political party.

With a multi-level marketing company, what's being sold isn't the product, it's the company itself and the promise of rich rewards for the truly faithful and committed, as long as they bring in more truly faithful and committed.

I guess Mayor Lenny Curry's "statement" regarding Governor DeSantis' plan for re-opening Florida didn't get the kind of audience it truly deserved. I opened this morning's Florida Times Union and found a "guest column," opinion editor Mike Clark deemed worthy of publication, giving the mayor a wider audience for his praise of Governor DeSantis.

But the mayor's opinion piece goes a little further, unsurprisingly if disappointingly, and praises Dear Leader, President Trump. He's the CEO of brand, so of course he gets praised in paragraph two before moving on to the real substance of this urgent missive.

Curry then attacks the media while heaping praise on Governor Ron DeSantis, himself a Trump acolyte and protégé.

In this time of crisis, it's important to defend the brand.

While it is true that Florida has avoided the worst potential outcome of the pandemic, DeSantis' efforts were halting and seemingly half-hearted. He spent most of the month of March hiding from the media. To his credit, he did the necessary things to prevent unnecessary loss of life, which is perhaps the least that can be expected from a state's chief executive. But he hasn't been a good leader. He's been a petulant adolescent about the whole thing.

It would have been useful had Mayor Curry used his urge to communicate to describe to the residents of Duval County what his plan is to transition to a containment strategy from our current mitigation effort. Containment calls for significant testing, isolation and contact tracing in order to identify infected individuals and their contacts to prevent widespread outbreaks that become out of control, forcing lock-down mitigation efforts to break the chains of transmission.

Contact tracing is manpower-intensive, and requires training and resources. Isolating and quarantining individuals requires follow-up and tracking, also a manpower issue. Some individuals who may be quarantined will require support for necessities. Does the city plan to require family members to quarantine with the infected member? Will infected members be moved to temporary lodging and monitored there?

What is the plan, Mayor Curry? Do you have one? What are your resource shortfalls? What actions are you taking to resolve those shortfalls?

Speaking of the media, who is asking those questions?