Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Expensive Politicians


Dawn left a comment asking for my thoughts on the millions and millions spent on election campaigns in this country.

Are They Worth It?
First of all, I'm not that well-versed in campaign financing, but having little or no understanding of something, rarely stops me from commenting.

As an overall statement, I agree with Dawn, and think the amounts of money raised for campaigns is obscene, and that that it would be great to see that money go towards more charitable or social causes.

From a more pragmatic standpoint, the reality of this country's election process almost always favors the candidates with the most money. We could have the most perfect candidate campaigning for an office, and if the opponent decided to launch an advertising smear campaign, the perfect candidate would need to be able to have the monetary resources to defend against it.

What do I see are possible solutions? This is the area where I am extremely unqualified to give an opinion. Do you just put a maximum limit on campaign spending? Do you disallow television advertisement, or any electronic advertising? The loopholes that get created whenever campaign financing rules are brought up, seem to be overwhelming. Limit a candidate's spending, and the party spends on behalf of their candidate. Limit the candidate and the party's spending, and special interest groups spend on behalf of their candidates (many recall the Swiftboat group that sideswiped Kerry).

I don't think many people like the way campaigns are run in this country, but I also don't think many folks have a lot of answers to address it...including me.

Current Knitting
I've almost completed the first sleeve (I'm about halfway through the sleeve-top shaping. I'm expecting to finish the sleeve this evening, and start the second one. I'll post a progress picture

Current Spinning
I finished the last hank of the multi-color merino.



I now have about 1,300 yards of bulky yarn that knits up beautifully on a US9 needle. I started swatching a new garment using this handspun, but I messed up the stitch pattern and had to start over. I'll keep you posted.

New Magazine
I always love seeing friends succeed, so I'm happy that Kathy Merrick has the cover design on the most recent issue of Interweave Crochet.



Friends have always called Kathy the queen of crochet. She understands how to make fine crochet garments that don't rely on vintage looking granny squares. Kathy also has an exquisite scarf design in this issue. Although I need to warn readers that there are a couple of dreadful garments in this magazine, it is definitely worth buying.

Hit Counting
I just realized that this site has almost had 1,000,000 hits.

I never could have guessed three and half years ago that anyone would care to read about my political leanings and my knitting and spinning. It has been an incredible experience that has allowed me to grow and learn in ways I never could have without it.

A million thanks.

11 comments:

Carol said...

Are you going to give a prize to the 1,000,000th hitter?

Or how about a new banner, just like Mickey D's: Over 1,000,000 served.

I'm glad you're here.
xoxo

Lucy said...

That handspun is just gorgeous. Just had to say so!

k said...

I'll go buy the crochet thing, and poosibly even learn how. If she's your friend, that's good enough for me.
But I'd rather learn to spin. The years it would take to get as good as you are somewhat daunting, though. That, and the lack of space and funds.

Cynthia said...

I think that it is good the money spent on elections in this country. Honestly, we regularly spend far more on McDonald's food, flip-flops, yarn, and many other items. While I would love to see more money go to charitable and social issues, I think it can and should come from somewhere else.

My problem is not the amount of money spent, but the inability of any candidate who is not personally wealthy to run. Even with the amount raised, it costs candidates millions of their own money to try and run.

That said, I do have a semi-solution to the problem of funds. Most are spent on TV ads. I say, give each candidate X hours of free television time on the major networks. The networks--which makes millions and donate big bucks to candidates--have been given the airwaves free of charge and must provide public service (the main reason nightly news still exists at all...they have to do some public good programing). So give away time to candidates. It will significantly reduce the amounts they will need to spend.

M-H said...

Congratulations on your 1,000,000th hit Joe. Hoping you have many more of them!

Emma in France said...

I notice that it's also Kathy's Boteh scarf pattern that seems to be popping up frequently in the knitblogs I read.

Do you (and possibly Kathy) think that the new editor of IC (Kim Werker) is going cause a change for the better?

I also notice that several magazines are getting new editors - IC, IK of course but also Vogue Knitting. Perhaps the trend might spread to Knitters? One can but hope...

I'm not sure yet how things work here in France (and the presidential election is imminent here) but in the UK there is some attempt at transparency where party funding is concerned. Declarations have to made etc. Limits are also placed on election spending. Also, all parties have to be given equal balance in television reporting and party political broadcasts, at least on the five main channels.

Cara said...

Joe, I really enjoy visiting your site, it is thoughful and thought-provoking, and it includes yarn. I like seeing your progress on your projects, though (or maybe because) they are quite different from the kind of thing I make. Thank you for your blog.

Kathy Merrick said...

Thanks, mon coup de foudre, for the compliments. You are my biggest fan.
Thanks also, Emma. Kim Werker is bright and funny and I think doing a great job. I have confidence that Interweave Crochet will continue to be a worthy magazine.

Marilyn said...

I have read your blog since Day 1. Congrats! I'm honored to be your friend and you are my true gay brother. (If I hadn't had to reset my counter several years ago, I suppose I'd be up to 1M too but then, I don't care particularly.)

I wouldn't think of crocheting anybody else's designs. Kathy is the only one. That scarf is so funky, I can't decide whether I want to irritate my CTS with that or with the jacket. Maybe both.

And K, you can learn how to spin as well as Meester Jose. It just takes practice and determination, like anything else. I saw that yarn. It be gorge, as Lisa would say.

Matthew said...

have you seen posters from the french presidential campaign? the rows are so neat and clean. maybe one could, say, absorb information in the absence of sensationalism. in my utopia everyone would get a government-issued packet of text on each candidate. no pictures or gloss.

back one post-- the sad part is that the poor child probably hates ballet now. you know, it's ok to tranquelize cats if you're transporting them by vehicle, so why not do the same for kids at ballets/the symphony/plays. cats are noble and beautiful. kids are sticky.

i'm lovin the colorblock cardigan.

Dawn said...

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your thoughts on the cost of elections in the US. As Emma said there are party limits in the UK and probably in most EU countries.

Here there is less attention for individuals and more for the party, although there are signs that this may be changing here in the Netherlands.

The problem with getting money on a personal basis is the issue of where your loyalties lie. Lobbying is such a strong part of the American political scene that buying support must be going on all the time.

Anyway, this money thing is obviously not an issue for most Americans, so we Europeans will just continue to look on and boggle at amounts that could feed a small country.

Congrats on your million hits. Your blog topic mix seems to work!
Dawn