Archive for August 26th, 2009|Daily archive page

I Was Punched by a Teabagger Today – UPDATED

Tuesday evening, I went to the widely attended Rep. Moran town hall in Reston to show support for meaningful health care reform and help fight back against the insidious and unruly protests of the teabagger crowd, which was also out in full force. I was unable to get into the event, but did stand right outside holding a sign and helping ensure the enemies of the American people’s business didn’t have complete control of the scene.

To be fair, most of the folks in the crowd were rather raucous and disrespectful, but still not intent on engaging in violence. Unfortunately, that did not go for everyone. Myself and a handful of other health reform supporters were basically surrounded by a group of perhaps 50 loud protesters in that immediate area, and we had some extra signs to hold for others who might join us to even the numbers out.

Then, a very large man with a Cato Institute shirt attempted to steal our extra signs and run away. Now I am generally a peaceful person, but I’m also a New Yorker at heart and not about to be steamrolled by any bullying types. So I ran after him as he was trying to escape with our signs and grabbed him by the shirt sleeve to slow him down. The corporate-funded neanderthal then turned around and socked me square in the face, just below my right eye, as hard as he could. Not cool. I tried to fight back, but the crowd quickly broke it up, followed by the cops. Ultimately, we were both forced to leave the premises for security precautions. The fat man was quite resistant to that order, but eventually he acquiesced.

A police report has been filed, and although I will probably not press charges, I do want to find out who that man is and whether he has any formal connection to the Cato Institute. Thankfully, I am a former rugby player and can deal with a punch, even a hard one thrown by a strong guy, but it’s highly unfortunate that people like him feel the need to resort to violence to get their way. After all, if you are associated with an institution as powerful as Cato, shouldn’t you be able to get your voice heard without punching people in the face? That is exactly what is wrong with the American political discourse; when one side feels okay using tactics of intimidation and physical aggression just to advance an agenda, it poisons the whole debate and good policy takes a backseat to who can yell the loudest. We can do better than that.


UPDATE: Campaign for America’s Future has picked up the story. Somebody did get a picture of the man who hit me, and here it is:

Cato Clad Man. Do you know this teabagger?

If anyone has any idea who this man is, I would love to know. Noticing the collared shirt beneath his t-shirt, the chances of his being some sort of professional conservative operative are substantial. To make clear, I am not at all interested in pursuing personal retribution, but I do want to help expose the nature of the movement standing in opposition to health care reform.


Job Creation and the Green Economy

Craig Morris does great job burrowing into the issue of green jobs and the net-effect argument. It’s pretty clear that the net-effect argument, that green job programs don’t create jobs when you look at the net-effect of the policies, will be the issue holding back support for green jobs programs.

Which is unfortunate because Morris compelling lays out the case that the critics of green jobs have been pushing questionable research. Nonetheless proponents of green jobs still need to demonstrate the potential of green jobs and promotion of energy efficiency compared to other job programs and alternative policies generally. Lots of policies create jobs. Are green job programs an especially effective way to create jobs?

The clearly beneficial economic aspect of a green jobs approach is that these jobs that can’t be outsourced. Unions have clearly gotten behind green jobs for that reason. Where you’ll see problems:
1) Regional differences will create disparate green job opportunities and;
2) Raised expectations will be hard to meet.

Green projects, like the stimulus, are going to be placed according political and policy considerations. Both of these things could cause regional imbalances.

Most troubling is the problem of expectations. Green jobs are the centerpiece of many advocacy campaigns, but it’s hard to believe we’re going to see anything resembling FDR-like spending to achieve a green economy. ACES would start a slow transition of the American economy to a more sustainable footing, but we shouldn’t be expect to be a green new deal for American workers.


Kennedy has died

On behalf of Carrots and Sticks, I would like to pay tribute to a politician who fought hard for things we believe in, including health care, fair pay, and the rights of working people.

I will miss his leadership more than I can say.

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”