Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Summary of Important San Diego Politics

Via Meadia has an interesting cocktail-napkin summary of the most important issue in San Diego right now, poignant because it's the same issue that faces the state and the country:
The Battle of San Diego is now in full swing. Last summer, voters there approved Prop. B, a ballot measure to reform a pension system whose cost had quintupled in 12 years, eating up revenue for other activities. As politicians struggled to pay off the pension obligations, libraries closed their doors and roads deteriorated. Voters had enough. No longer would they accept service cuts (or tax hikes) to pay to keep unionized public employees in the lifestyle to which they had grown accustomed.
The biggest threat to democracies around the world is the inability of the electorate to accept higher taxes and/or decreased services, and the inability of their politicians to communicate to said electorates that we can't keep going into debt forever. The greatest threat is not China (who is loaning us the money to allow us Western democracies to keep running!) and certainly not Al Qaeda. Sustainability is certainly an important term to consider here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fixing the Clinical Trial System

This is cross-posted at my cognitive science blog.

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has released a report stating that our current clinical trials system is inefficient at producing new medicines for patients. No kidding! But it's at least a step forward for such a body to officially recognize that this innovation bottleneck exists. Here is one proposal for amending the system; it's not the only one, but this is a conversation that needs to be more prevalent.

First Law Making Drones Illegal for Individuals, Okay For Government

This is also posted at my technology blog, Speculative Nonfiction.

A Senator in New Hampshire - a Republican (more on this below) has proposed a law that would make all aerial photography but government aerial photography illegal.

Francis Fukuyama warned that governments would soon become threatened by this technology, and outlaw it except for their own use in enforcement.

Regarding the New Hampshire Senator's party afiliation: I would like a party that safeguards individual rights, but the GOP is clearly not it at the moment.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Are Special Interest Groups Weakening?

Are special interests now weakening? Here's a Jonathan Rauch review of a new book by Gunnar Trumbull about exactly that. Previous I'd written about the problem of increasing specialization for commerce and individual decision-making; really that's just Manicur Olson's special interest sclerosis problem, as it directly affects the lives and commerce of individuals rather than specifically the political process.

Cross-posted at my church-state separation blog.