Thursday, December 17, 2009

Statehood for DC and Other Issues

by Pa Rock
Ancient Mariner

I attended three presentations today and learned a variety of things. The first was a panel discussion on the economy. The members were Betsy Reed of The Nation who served as a moderator of sorts, William Greider, Robert Scheer, Christian Parenti, and Eyal Press. The panel quickly formed into a clash of generations with Greider and Scheer flogging the banks and the monetary system, while Press and Parenti tried to keep a focus on environmental factors. Ron Paul's name kept surfacing, primarily due to his desire to audit the fed, and with Paul, there was a modicum of agreement between the generations.

William Greider described the Congressman from Texas as a "nice guy, but one who is a crackpot on monetary policy." Press wanted to table all talk on Paul, noting that he has been promoting a racist screed for years, but Scheer, who is unnaturally impressed with the sound of his own voice, would not honor that request for a moratorium on talking about Dr. Paul. Unfortunately for the entire program, Scheer managed to overpower most attempts at speech by the younger members of the panel.

The second panel discussion was on the subject of the future of journalism. Narda Zacchino (Robert Scheer's wife) was the moderator. The panel included the verbose Mr. Scheer, comedian and documentarian Katie Halper, Patricia Williams, and Betsy Reed. The group discussed the concept of old media versus new media, and ways of making new media effective and profitable. Again, Mr. Scheer, the only male on the panel, tried to dominate the discussion and posit his solution to every question, but his wife was able to tactfully rein him in - a few times.

(After the discussion on journalism, I rushed back to my stateroom and pulled out my traveling DSM-IV - and, sure enough - Robert Scheer's picture was in the section on narcissism!)

The third session that I attended was a very small group on Statehood for DC. The presenter was DC resident Ann Hoffman. She explained the District of Columbia has a larger population than Wyoming, yet has little direct control over its own affairs. Residents of our nation's capital pay federal and local taxes, but any legislation passed by the city council can be overridden by Congress. Ann's mission is to spread the word beyond the confines of her city to create pressure on Congress. Our representatives may be marginal (hello, Trent Franks) but at least we are represented (kinda, sorta in my case). Citizen's of DC pay their taxes yet have absolutely no votes in Congress.

And still our boat floats...

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