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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Polyarchy by Robert Dahl
The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
On a relatively more local note, I like possibilities of the Chicago Cubs under the new management of Bruce Kimm. However, if mutual greed from both baseball owners and players causes a strike this summer, I will not shed a tear.
The last time baseball self-destructed and the Yankees or Braves or whoever was on top then had their World Series taken away from them, the American conscience took a beating and baseball suffered as a result. Luckily for Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, their petty, millionaire voracity for attention and profits got overshadowed a year after the strike by the amazing season of home runs. With Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire each pushing each other to break Roger Maris’ record of 61 home runs in a season, and ultimately shattering it, America was able to heal the wounds that the egotistic players had begotten on it. Fans were forgiving and relieved that the pastime had returned in full glory. They were able to look past the sins of their ball diamond heroes and embrace the game they love. Back then Major League Baseball was lucky. Next time may be the last straw for the American sports fan.
Last time it took an amazing 70 home run season by McGuire to bring the public’s heart back to the ballpark. Another blow to the American psyche and baseball will need a solid 100 home run season to jump start confidence again. And despite the ramped steroid use among today’s ballplayers, 100 home runs will be at least as many years away. Baseball cannot afford to disregard the fans. Another strike will be the end of baseball. It is as simple as that.
Here's the best Bushism yet. In reference to the current sluggish economy and the recent bear market which saw the DOW lose over 600 points just in the past week, President Bush made an analogy that must have really invoked memories of his glory days as a gentlemen's "C" student at Yale.
"America must get rid of the hangover we all have because of the economic binge we just went through."
Amy Smithson has a firm grasp of the problems with Homeland Security. Similar to my previous post, she questions why this department is even needed. She focuses on the dangers that a new department such as this one would create during the first years of its existance.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, the Department of Defense took more than a decade to find its identity when it was changed from the War Department. Luckily for those who were around in the late 1940's, this transformation was carried out after the war was won and peace was a reality. Unfortunately for us this "war on terror" will never be fully won and its battles will always be unexpected. That is why such a disabling restructuring of the federal government at this time is a risky proposition. The department will do nothing more than create more bureaucracy and put the U.S. in greater danger from the ongoing and never-ending battle with terrorism.
Does anyone else think that this Department of Homeland Security is completely unnecessary? Contrary to Bush's grand plans for reducing the size of the federal government, he is creating yet another cabinet level department for the paperwork to get lost in. The bureaucracy that made the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other institutions fail to communicate will not go away by taking bits and pieces of each existing department and throwing them aimlessly, without oversight or real power, into a new, poorly named Department of Homeland Security. The problem does not lie with a lack of existing institutions but with the failure of these institutions to properly communicate information that already is out there. For example, the NSA intercepted messages on September 10 which alluded to something big. Those messages were not translated from Arabic for another few days. That type of problem will not be solved by creating a new department. What's worse is that many of the agencies which one would think would be the first to be included in such a department have insisted on independence and will not be a part of it. Where is the sense in that? If such a needless department were to be created, the muscle of intelligence and crime-fighting should be the basis for it. Instead this useless department is to be a conglomeration of the weakest parts of the Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, Health and Human Services, Justice and others. Without the power to do any good, this new department will only create more bureaucracy for crucial information to get lost in.
Also, this new department would be assuming powers that it should have no business having. One example is Bush's plan to put INS in the new department. This is something that I would think would be at the heart of the State Department. Issuing visas? How is that not the responsibility of State? Everything that has been proposed for the new department is something that current departments can take care of. The new department will only create more confusion and more delays in information processing.
Dump the big plan for new bureaucracy and the assumed patriotic duty to make governmental changes. It will only make things worse. Oh, and could Bush have thought of a lamer name? The Department of Homeland Security? I'm sure my friends and I could think of a better name than that, i.e. Ministry of Conformity or Ministry of Vice. Boo to Homeland Security.