Posts from October 11, 2004

Now for the Y Prize and the Z Prize…

Now for the Y Prize and the Z Prize…

: Now that the $10 million X Prize has motivated private geniuses and daredevils to go into space, wouldn’t it be great to use some rich guy’s money to motivate similar free-enterprise development in other areas that matter to our lives. Y not a $10 million Z Prize for:

: An AIDS vaccine.

: The first fuel-cel car driven across the U.S. (or any safe non-fossil-fuel alternative).

: The first city completely covered in broadband access for $25 per month or less.

: The head of Osama bin Laden.

: What else?


The Dark Campaign III: Out of the mouths of…

The Dark Campaign III: Out of the mouths of…

: My 12-year-old son was watching news coverage of the debate and campaign this weekend when he said:

It’s all about them making fun of each other.

The wisdom of youth.

The Dark Campaign II: Double negative

The Dark Campaign II: Double negative

: In the comments below, Laura Hagan delivers a fascinating analysis of my electoral paralysis. It’s about the DOs vs the DON’Ts:

Jeff, I sympathize….

Your fears about Bush are (for the most part) about what he would DO that would be wrong. He would appoint right-wing judges; he would work to reverse Roe; he will, and has, worked to pass a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Stupid, divisive, wrongheaded moves all to pander to his Evangelical base.

By contrast, you are afraid of what Kerry would NOT do. You fear he would NOT act against our enemies without the imprimatur of the French. That he would dither….

For the most part, what you fear from Bush cannot be implemented by the President alone. But what you fear from Kerry CAN be.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Everything you fear from a Bush II administration, I do too. But he won’t be able to do it — for the most part — without significant help from Congress. Right-wing judges? They would have to be confirmed. The Dems aren’t even in the majority and they’re managing to block the judges they want to block. The gay marriage amendment Bush wanted? DOA in Congress. I don’t expect that to change under Bush II. What Bush wants that I don’t like isn’t going to be completely under his control.

By contrast, there is no power on Earth that can force a Kerry administration to bypass the UN when it’s necessary. There is no provision for Congress to sidestep the President and send troops. What you fear from a Kerry administration CAN be, and WILL be, implemented by the President alone. It will be solely up to John Kerry….

It’s ever-more fascinating to me how everything in this campaign is analyzed in the negative. We vote to keep the other guy out of office. We vote to stop something from happening. We don’t vote because we’re enthusiastic. We don’t vote because we want to accomplish something but just prevent something.

: UPDATE: Fred Wilson adds:

If this is the way the American electorate is viewing this election then the negative campaigning has taken over and people are losing their good judgement. We need to vote for what a President will do and not against what he might do. We need to realize that Congress will provide its required system of checks and balances over whomever gets elected. We need to pick a direction we want to go in and vote for it, not against it.

The Dark Campaign I: Mudmen

The Dark Campaign I: Mudmen

: Sinclair Broadcasting — the real right-wing TV — has ordered its stations to preempt programming before the election to run an anti-Kerry show. To get around all that’s right and holy and legal, the company is inviting Kerry to appear — with full expectation that he won’t, of course.

Jay Rosen says Kerry should show up anyway for a final confrontation with the right wing: “America will watch. And if he can’t win that broadcast, he does not deserve to win the prize.”

Jay expects me to disagree and I’m not going to disappoint him. I suspect that Jay thinks the nuts will expose themselves as nuts and Kerry will reveal himself to be above it all.

But I don’t think we should keep pandering to the fringes, the nuts, the nasties, the mudmen. They are like bratty children off their meds: They do it for the attention. Give them attention and they’ll never behave. They deserve to be ignored and, in due course, they will go overboard and burn up like the latest trend in reality TV.

I think that Jay wishes for a Joseph-McCarthy-“Have-you-no-shame” moment. I wish for that, too. But I fear it will backfire. Attention to these guys is like more plutonium to a chain reaction.

So how do we stop the nuts? How do we hose down the mudmen? By ignoring the lunatic fringes and paying attention instead to the wisdom of the crowd — the essence of democracy.