Sunday, October 17, 2004


My wife and I watched all the debates together, except she managed to sit through the last one.  I got bored with all the repetition and left before it was over.  She also watched Real Time with Bill Maher, which I did not, because I was off doing something else, like blogging. 

Later, sitting together, we came up with a New Rule.  Not  a funny New Rule; a serious New Rule. 

New Rule(10/8/04): Don't punish rednecks for being rednecks. This week, NASCAR fined Dale Earnhardt, Jr., for publicly saying the words, "It don't mean shit." You can't fine a redneck for that. That's not just an expression to them, it's the entire redneck philosophy! Lost your job? It don't mean shit. Wife run off with the UPS man? Don't mean shit. Entire rationale for a war proves to be false? It don't mean shit. That's the beauty of the lifestyle. If rednecks had to pretend they cared about stuff, they'd be yuppies.

What is the problem with lobbyists?  They give stuff to politicians.  They say it is not to buy access or to influence votes.  The politicians who get the stuff say it is not to buy access or influence votes.  Then we see something like what is going on in the oil industry.  They are charging record high prices, are making record profits AND they just got another tax cut.  They say the tax cut is supposed to stimulate the economy.  If you ask me, I'd say "that don't mean shit."   How many new jobs are going to be created with those tax cuts?  How many more gas station attendants will get health insurance?  How many will get a raise?

The problem with restricting lobbyists is similar to the problem with campaign finance reform.  It is hard to limit campaign contributions without violating the First Amendment right of free speech.  Apparently, the First Amendment gives all citizens the right to talk to there Congresspersons while flying a chartered Lear jet to Tahiti. 

The New Rule is that we do not try to limit what lobbyists say or do.  Except one thing.  Anytime they want to communicate with an elected or appointed official, they have to hire a stenographer from a government pool.  They have to pay for the stenographer, so there is no financial burden to the government.  But the stenographer comes out of a pool, drawn at random; neither the lobbyist nor the official has any say over who it is.  Then, every communication is recorded and transcribed, verbatim.  Any documents are labeled and copies made.  All expenses are recorded accurately.  The stenographer then prepares a report of exactly who said what, went where, spent how much, and gave what to whom.  The stenographer swears under oath that it is accurate.  Both the lobbyist and the official have to sign it.  Then it gets posted on the Internet.  All officials are to have official web sites, with a prominent link labeled "Dirty Laundry."  The link takes you to site where you can read all the reports. 

That's it.  No restrictions at all.  Just complete transparency.