Political Landscape

The Colorado Springs Experiment, Part I

A recent episode of This American Life examined the difficulties and decisions made by the city government of Colorado Springs. Put briefly, the city began to run out of money and had to start shutting down basic services. Then a successful resort owner in town proposed that the city could save money by running more…

Capping Student Loans

There is an idea making the rounds that the way to keep costs for higher education down is to place a cap on student loans. If students can only borrow a set amount they will look for cheaper alternatives. Schools who want to attract these students will have to keep the price of tuition and…

Denigrating the Faculty Lounge

When did it become acceptable to publicly belittle teachers? I get that we need to have real conversations about the way in which we certify and compensate teachers for their work. But where would any of us be without their efforts? I’m sure Mitt Romney benefited from some great teachers and remembers some of them…

A Moderate Path on Same-Sex Marriage

One of the challenges of moderate politics is to find creative solutions that will appeal to (or at least resolve the concerns of) those on either end of the political spectrum. This is particularly true for those seemingly binary issues that so easily divide us. Here is what I think we should do about one…

The Tea Party’s Challenge in Toppling Romney

The Republican presidential primary is providing an excellent lesson in the distortions of big money in political races. Tea Party supporters, in many ways the most influential force in Republican politics, are having a heck of a time taking control of the nominating process. In part, this is because they have struggled to unite behind…

Christian Conservatism, Part II

Grant’s comment on my previous post reminded me of another area of disagreement with conservative Christians that is worth highlighting: I am comfortable with government as an instrument of our communal values and efforts in aiding others. If we as a group of citizenry feel a desire to help “the poor, downtrodden, sick, disadvantaged” (in…

What Separates Me From the Religious Conservatives

I am an active church-goer, a Christian believer who has spent time¬†proselyting¬†for my faith. But my politics almost never align with those conservative Republican evangelicals who get so much attention in the Republican Party. Why not? I think the answer boils down to some fundamental differences in perspective:   1. Religious Belief v. Political Belief…

Republicans, Massachusetts, and “Authenticity”

An oft-repeated truism of the current Republican primary campaign is that Mitt Romney struggles with demonstrating “authenticity.” It is easy to pin this on his past ‘flip-flops’ played up during the 2008 campaign. Some of it surely has to do with his Mormonism, making him easy to characterize as ‘different.’ But I think there’s an…

UC Davis, II

Some further thoughts on the UC Davis incident: I think the most troubling response I’ve heard to the pepper spraying is the idea that the police are totally justified in using any level of force to ensure compliance with any law. This is simply not acceptable in a democratic society like ours. Even law-breaking citizens…

What is Democracy? Arizona Edition

Some recent events in Arizona highlight the difficulty of creating, maintaining, and evaluating a democratic system: 1. Redistricting Fight: The governor (with ratification by 2/3 of the state senate) recently acted to remove the non-partisan head of the independent redistricting commission. While there were some alleged improprieties with the process, the main dispute revolves around…