December 6, 2002

Dumb or arrogant?

After stopping in the neighborhood hardware store, I was unlocking my bike when I saw the following scene unfold: an inexpertly piloted minivan is backing out of a space, and visibly scrapes the car to its right, leaving a big green mark on the white polyurethane bumper. Once out, the driver stops to look at the other car (without getting out), apparently decides “oh, that’s no big deal,” and drives off.

I was amazed–despite this being a busy parking lot, the motorist either figured “nobody saw,” “nobody cares,” or “I am immune.” Sorry, buddy. I wrote down your tag number on a scrap of paper, along with my own info, and left it under the windshield wiper. Expect a call from Officer Friendly.

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Politicians for hire

Here’s an interesting project for a wealthy philanthropist with an interest in political reform:

Set up two shell organizations that claim to have opposite goals regarding some aspect of public policy. Call them “Citizens for X” and “Citizens against X”–whatever. Target one member of Congress, and have Citizens for X lobby him intensively. Get him to introduce legislation favorable to their position. Document this process internally. Then have Citizens for X withdraw support, but have Citizens against X step in. Repeat. Once the two sides have demonstrated how completely this member of Congress is willing to be the bitch of whoever will pay, publicize the whole thing.

It would be interesting to see how/whether this affected the career of the Congresscritter in question, whether it led to broader reforms, and whether the public gave a damn.

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Big Night of Comedy

The Texas Freedom Network held an annual fundraising event last night, the Big Night of Comedy. Well, not that big. There were two comedians–local Kerry Awn (of Esther’s Follies) opened, with Will Durst headlining. At one point, Durst mentioned Willie Brown, mayor of Durst’s town, San Francisco. Apparently Willie Brown is actually from Texas–“Minneola, is that right?” Durst asked. A few people called something back to the stage, and after a moment of silence, a voice that everyone instantly recognized called up “He’s from Mineral Wells.” That was Ann Richards. We all got a good laugh, and were glad to know she was there with us.

The show was pretty good, but not great. I’ve seen Kerry Awn’s schtick before. Will Durst seemed to be at a bit of a loss for material. Perhaps this isn’t surprising. It was easy to joke about Clinton. And when Bush was just a priviliged buffoon whose tongue had two left feet, he was too. But what the Bush administration is doing is so grave that it may be hard to make it funny. I saw a lot of friends at the show. In fact, a sizable fraction of the audience members were people I know. It bothers me that, at an event for progressives, I’m going to see all the usual suspects. That there aren’t enough here for my circle to get lost in the crowd.

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