Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Politics in the middle

First, a link to an interesting article on politics and voters.

Now, to the main point: It's finally time to write down something I've been mulling over since around electon time, 2004. A recent discussion with a good friend recently brought some of these things back to the surface.

I suppose I could be mistaken, but I don't think I am. Americans are tired of the incessant bickering (crying?) that makes up our current political system. Politicians spend more time and effort thinking about what it is going to take to get reelected (either themselves, or at a minimum, their party) than reviewing and trimming amendment laden, pork-filled bills that don't deserve to see the light of day. No-one that I know is happy with how things are: they aren't happy with the people in power, what they are doing, and most of all, how they are doing it. Yet we all just sit around hoping that next election will have better choices and produce better results. But it never does.

Be honest with yourself - were you really happy with your "choices" for President in 2000 and 2004? I sure wasn't. Our whole political system is stuck in a catch-22. The vast majority of voters think they are stuck because they think (know?) that everyone else is going to vote either Republican or Democrat. So they might as well vote for one of those to as well, so that they at least influence the outcome of the election rather than "throw away" their vote on a third party candidate that they are pretty certain won't win enough votes to matter. It's a cycle that will only end when there is a viable third choice. Many countries have them - why doesn't the USA? Because everyone thinks we're stuck with not having one. We're waiting for an overwhelming one to appear. It almost did with Ross Perot (not saying he was or was not a good candidate - just that he had very real traction), but he burned his bridge. How long till it happens again?

If there were a third party, and its goal is to pick up as many voters as possible, where would be the natural place for it to fall in the political spectrum? The Democratic party seems far enough to the left that you wouldn't get many voters by going even further left. Same for going to the right of the Republicans. So not only are most people moderates, but a moderate party makes the most sense in the spectrum. Lucky us!

I'm much too humble to believe that I am the first or only person to think of these things, and am certainly not the first one to write about them (here are others thinking [same topic as this link] the same types things, even if I disagree with some of their points or what they put in which categories). But maybe by putting these thoughts down, enough of us will realize that the moderate party already exists - it is us.

I don't know anything about the following groups that might be interested in a central/moderate party, and the views of some groups may be incompatible with others on the list. But that doesn't mean they might not, overall, be closer to the center than to the right or left: (Has what appears to be an active forum)

2014 update: it's sad that 8 years later, nothing has changed.  Actually, upon further reflection, that isn't completely true.  We still don't have a viable third party, so that sucks.  But unbelievably, the approval rating of congress has gone down even more.  And partisan politics has seeped into the state level to a MUCH higher degree than before.  Finally, the right has moved even further to the right, expanding the already huge number of people that would likely be happy with a moderate party.
Looks like a few newer efforts have come and gone over the past 8 years too, including this one:

2016 update: Unsurprisingly, 2 years later and the only thing that has changed is that the GOP (via idiots like Ted Cruz) has moved so far right that there is probably even room for a "right of center" party.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Martial info

There looks to be a large collection of Judo related articles worth reading at this site, including some by Kenji Tomiki.

And where do you get supplies?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Private lending

Would it be worth it financially to get involved with the new "peer-to-peer" lending that is starting to take hold with companies like Prosper and Zopa? Is not knowing the person you are lending money too a good thing, or bad thing?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Investment screening and screening investments

Would it be worth it to actually pay for some screening software or web sites, or just use free ones like the one from Zacks, Montly Fool, Invested Interests

How about an interesting stragegy on put and call options. I wonder what Suze Orman thinks of them. Funds can be evaluated at fundmojo.

Good articles:
I really can't decide what to think about Kinetics Paradigm (WWNPX).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Autoextremist tally

I think it would be worth keeping a continously updated blog entry to keep tabs on the "track record" of the auto-industry, as seen and discussed by the rants section of
  • May 2005: GM puts out some pretty aggressive statements saying that their loss of ONLY $946M (for North America market) was a sure sign things are turning around, since they were expecting a loss even larger than that. Somehow it was called, by Rick Wagoner, "an important milestone".