A Plan

w and his administration are not well known for providing comprehensive public policy plans for public discussion and possible action. For instance, regarding the economy the bush buzzward is ownership. See here and here. There is not much depth and from a planning perspective these appear to be more like action items without any overall strategy direction. And looking deeper on the bush campaign site finds more of the same kind of thing.
Tyler Cowan proposes a somewhat expanded plan for bush (I presume he’d like kerry to adopt it as well)and does include at least a bit of overarching vision in his 12th point:

Get on TV and tell the nation that a free economy is a critical source of our strength. Tell them you mean it, and then mean it. Economic growth is the greatest long-run gift we can give to the world.
The rest of the list is incomplete but, for the most part, a great start toward implementing the proposed vision.
To all of this Ideablog says:
Big problem: it’s politically impossible.
To which I say, well, that’s ok. What is impossible today happens tomorrow but only if you start talking about it.
This is why, whether you ultimately agree point by point, you should go read Cowan’s proposal, think about it, talk about it, discuss your alternatives, refine it, and go at it again, and again, until we get it closer to right.

If They Want You….

They can probabably get you!
The US Federal Government at work.
With nearly 4000 federal criminal statutes on the books the chance of you knowing when and what law you broke is probably nil.
The constitution called out three federal criminal offenses: treason, piracy and counterfeiting. As a glossy overgeneralization I suggest that any additional ones are inappropriate and relate to things that should be beyond the business of federal busybodies.
Via Freespace.

Senatorial Quality

Rick from Radically Inept had a bit of time to watch the marriage amendment debates on C-SPAN today. It was an educational experience:

Oh, I can’t resist this observation from C-SPAN today. I caught a few minutes of the senate debate on the ‘our government should define marraige in our contitution’ act. I got to see U.S. Senator Rick Santorum-Pennsylvania say that the `Federal Marriage Amendment’ had bi-partisan sponsorship because, get this, Senator Zell Miller, Democrat from Georgia is a co-sponsor. Which, as we all know, is the truth on the surface, but look at how his voting pattern rates.
Oh, then Santorum made the idoitic statement “marriage as defined in the constitution.” I would have hoped that a senator, especially a republican senator, would have read the Constitution by now.
And santorum has actually sworn to uphold the Constitution. Yeccchh.
Update (7/13): Norbizness has some more examples of the high quality of this debate.

Texas Redistricting

Stephen Green notes:

The reason the court didn’t rule on the wisdom of the Republican plan, is because the plan didn’t have any.

While it had no wisdom the plan’s gerrymandering goals were clear. But these goals have been shared by Democratic majorities in the past and James Joyner reminds us that the process is not inconsistent with current practice:

So, while unusual, the 2003 re-redistricting was the first legislatively created one ratified by the courts.

Steven Taylor has it right on redistricting:

Having said all of that, I am increasingly of the opinion that an entirely different system of districting needs to be developed that would do away with conscious partisan districtcraft, and would lead to more competitive elections.
There is no doubt that across the country whichever party is in charge has drawn the lines to their advantage to the detriment of seriously competitive electoral contests in many, many districts. The only good news is that voters don’t always cooperate with the best laid plans of mice and legislature, and vote the way they want.

Stephen Bainbridge also wants to see an end to redistricting partisanship:

My own hope is that eventually we will say “enough is enough” and get rid of all this partisan gerrymandering in favor of a nation-wide system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of competitive seats. But I’m not holding my breath.

We would probably pay much less attention to this type of thing if our representatives (at all levels) did not dabble in this kind of stuff (link via Zombyboy).

w Funds Effective Reading

In today’s weekly radio address w tells us about his admin’s record in supporting the No Child Left Behind Act. Next year’s budget proposes a cool $1.1 billion for effective reading programs. That seem like a pretty large sum at first glance but then reality sets in.
In 2001 there were 46,906,607 students in public schools. So that $1.1 billion works out to a little over $23/student. Perhaps enough to buy 1/3 of a textbook each. I’ll bet, though, that the money comes with the usual federal hooks: do it this way or you will not get the money.