A coup by inches

Waiting until the last possible day, Gov. Schweiker signed legislation yesterday granting the suburbs more power than Philadelphia in running the Convention Center – and Mayor Street immediately responded by saying the city might no longer support financing half of the center’s much-coveted expansion.

Read the rest in in today’s Inquirer.

I tell ya, I find it ironic that the party whose central theme is the principal of local governance has been taking so much power away from it. The Convention Center and The Parking Authority. I’m making a bet your town has stories as well. City rights being transfered to the state. State rights being trumped by the federal government. All three threatened by corporate rights. Hamilton over Jefferson?

Just ironic.

Year In Review

Some sites for your browsing pleasure…

CNN: Year in ReviewNo one can compete with CNN. See reports on previous years as well.

CSMonitor: Monitor Milestones: 2002 Year in ReviewCulling their coverage of the big stories this year. The only year end review that mentions the horror and progress simultaneously occuring in Africa.

Popular Science: The Best of What’s NewGadgets and other consumer goodies.

NewScientist.com: The year in technology. A little less high tech and closer to home is CNET’s Best of the Buzz.

Wired: The Year In PrivacyCitizens lose.

Google: Year-End ZeitgeistCheck out what people searched for at Google. Looks like a mixed bag.

Lycos: Top 50Some human analysis on what people searched for – Example: Boy bands out, talent in.

Yahoo!: Year in ReviewLots here but why don’t they have music?

Time: Persons of the YearThey made the right choices.

Space.com: Top 10 Space Science Images of 2002.

NewsWeek: The Year of Living Dangerously.

WashPost: Dave Barry: Poking cautiously through the wreckage of 2002.

Alternet: The Good, The Bad, The Worst and Townhall.com’s Diana West: Questions for reflectionFrom the Left and Right respectively.

NYTimes: James Traub: Osama, Dead or Alive.

Inquirer: Joseph N. DiStefano: The Year of Corporate Scandal.

Inquirer: Tom Moon: Music: Cynicism was out, replaced by sincerity. Meaningless pop is dead – or at least wounded. Britney and Christina bombed this year. Pink didn’t. Think about it. “Ironic/Angst Ridden/My Life Sucks and I’m just gonna cry in my room or hit your face” meaningless crap – gone. No more Limp Bizkit. It was a prime time for some lyrical music. Shame Metallica wasn’t back in their best mid-80s form. Woulda kicked some ass.

NYTimes: Chuck Klosterman: The Ratt Trap: Dee Dee Ramone, B. 1952; Robbin Crosby, B. 1959the demise of Ramone completely overshadowed the demise of Crosby – why? – what does it say about you?

Inquirer: Clea Benson: Small steps take hold for a Philadelphia on the riseMost Philadelphians don’t realize how well it’s been dealing with the recession in comparison to the rest of the country. We had crime drop here. Change has been slow, but it’s happening. Things set in motion years ago are making a positive effect in the here and now.

Shorter careers than athletes

CSMonitor: Faced with foreign competition and an ever-faster pace, many engineers are dropping out of a once-safe field.

In 2000, near the end of the high-tech boom, industry CEOs convinced Congress to nearly double the number of H-1B visas, allowing up to 195,000 skilled workers from India and elsewhere into the US. Some engineers contend that those CEOs kept many of those H-1B workers while cutting higher-paid US citizens.

“About 80,0000 engineers were unemployed a few months ago. If you take out the H-1Bs who came in, you’d have jobs for all of them,” the IEEE-USA’s Bryant says. The organization is lobbying Congress to lower the number of H-1B issued.

Connecting The Dots…

The Philadelphia Inquirer: New woe as jobless aid ends.

The NYTimes: Dividend Tax Cut: Winners and Losers. via Garret.

CommonDreams.org: Corporate Personhood Is Doomed (boy that title is a little too optimistic…). via Garret. via a great MetaFilter thread.

Democracy Unlimited: First Local Government in the United States Refuses to Recognize Corporate Claims to Civil Rights. via Garret.

The Founding Brothers struggled with where to draw the line between Federal and State governance. They probably couldn’t foresee the rise of Corporations competing with the Federal government and States for rights. It’s an evolution that’s been slow and subtle over the last 100 years or so. Probably due from our transformation from a farming to an industrial economy. Simple generalizations slamming Republicans won’t do. But if the Dems want a platform – I’m with Garret – this is it. They won’t go for it however. No one bites the hand that feeds them.

And hey – if you didn’t catch the drift – go check out Garret’s site. He’s knocking on a door I’d like to see opened up by other webloggers. Common you Dem webloggers… this is what you should be talking about.

Founding Brothers

To understand the news of today, you gotta have an appreciation for the history of the past. Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis is a terrific book for just that. You get what feels like genuine insight into the politics and relationships of the revolutionary generation. By sharing the conflicts that occured between Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, Burr, Madison, Jefferson and Adams, Ellis sheds light on their characters and principals. It’s not the fairy tale they teach in school. It’s a drama with the weight of the world on their shoulders. The book simultaneously brings the founding fathers down to earth and at the same time grows your respect for them. No longer semi-deities they are people who knew their actions would and could have consequences far reaching beyond their time. An educational and fun read.

Merry Christmas Everybody

Wanted to wish you all a safe and happy holiday. I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned – this is my true thanksgiving holiday.

Garret shares the following wishes, that I gotta repeat…

no more lives torn apart,
that wars would never start,
and time would heal all hearts.
every one would have a friend,
and right would always win,
and love would never end.
this is my grown-up christmas list.

Go to Garret’s for the rest of the lyrics. Says it all doesn’t it?

Founding Brothers Is Timely

I’ve been reading Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis and can’t believe how timely it is. The book focuses on six moments in the early history of the nation and the main actors in them. You get a real sense of who the Founding Fathers were, what they cared about, their characters, their principals. It’s a fun read. Really it is.

One thing they cared passionately about was the balance of power. Their views ranged widely. Paint them in the widesest strokes and you have those that believed in strong federal government with emphasis on economic and foreign policy and those that believed in strong local (state) government.

It’s that tension that has more or less defined American politics for the past two hundred years.

Consider that dynamic when you read the next two stories:

At the NYTimes – Cities Urge Restraint in Fight Against Terror.

And in a bill that will probably be overturned (make your bets), a local government in the United States to eliminate corporate claims to civil and constitutional privileges. via dangerousmeta.