Friday, December 14, 2012

What Would Jesus Do? The uncomfortable call to Christians in light of the Newtown massacre

What would Jesus do?  It’s generally seen as a trite marketing question, yet if you are a serious Christian, it is supposed be a strong guiding principle as you move through life.  The problem for many Christians, particularly the fundamentally oriented ones, is that the real answer – at least the Scriptural answer, isn’t always what they want to hear.

Such a question confronts me now as I begin to frame my response to today’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  As I wrote earlier today, my initial reaction is grief.  And there I had planned to stay for a time, as any parent would.

Unfortunately, Governor (and former Presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee roused me from that comfortable denial late in the day.  As reported on Facebook, Governor Huckabee apparently tied this tragedy to the lack of prayer in the schools.  This on a day when pundits on both the left and right tried to convince us that we shouldn’t talk about gun control.  No, they say, we have to wait and mourn properly.  Well apparently the Governor didn’t get that message.

But still, what would Jesus do?  Were He to be walking among us, how would He respond?  And what would His lessons mean for the grieving families in Connecticut tonight?

First, I have no doubt that He would rend his clothes in grief, and that the stream of tears would be almost unending from His eyes.  Time and time again in Scripture, we hear Christ talk about both the innocence of children, and how we most all return to that open, forgiving place in our hearts to truly experience the gifts that God give us.  No doubt He would both try to hold and support the many grief stricken parents as well as the many who responded to the scene, risking their lives to protect the survivors.  Christ would echo the word of the President, that we have seen this sort of thing too often.  He would also seek to welcome the dead home to God, for there is nothing they could ever have done to merit their lives ending in this way.

Second, Christ would have begun to teach us all, as he did in every time of tragedy recorded in Scripture.  Just as He threw the money changers out of the temple to drive home a point about how we should all treat each other, He would no doubt have taken our society to ask over this.  What, He would ask, would you expect in a a society which chooses to solve it’s problems by invading and occupying foreign countries, instead of bringing those responsible for the last attack on our soil to justice and punishment.  How, He would lament, can you expect young men to learn to deal with life’s tragedies and triumphs when you take fathers from their lives and remove the rites and rituals that define the transition from childhood to manhood.  And finally, in perhaps His greatest teaching, He would ask us what we have done for the least of those among us, no doubt pointing out along the way the least of these include those who suffer mental illness and psychological damage.  If we meet this heinous event only with restrictions on gun ownership, then we miss the greater need in our society, and we miss the second highest calling from Christ to His flock in America.

Perhaps His toughest lesson, however, would be the lesson of forgiveness.  Troubling though it will be for many, Christ would no doubt instruct all of us that if He could forgive those who hung him on a cross, if He could call to God for forgiveness even as His own body weight was slowly and inextricably crushing the life from Him, then we must, as part of our own healing, reach forgiveness of all those involved.  Forgiveness of the shooter will be the most challenging part of this, of course, and many will never be able to do it.  But if we who choose to follow Christ are to be completely true to His calling, we have to embrace ALL of His teachings, not just those which are most convenient or easiest to fulfill.

What Would Jesus Do?  It’s not a trite question by any means, and in Newtown tonight, it’s a question with nothing but tough answers.

A Father's lament - more innocent children died today in Connecticut

On that now infamous September 11th, I was working in a boat on Tampa Bay trying to help restore sea grass.  We saw the fighters scream overhead that we learned (Later) were to escort Air Force One away from Sarasota.  It was only when we got back on land that we were sucked into the maelstrom of the day.  That night I hugged my oldest daughters closer and tighter then I had in the days and months before.  I cried in front of them too as I tried to explain what was happening - and that was probably the first  time they saw their dad shed tears (my earlier divorce from their mom not withstanding).

My younger kids have seen me cry before.  When my close friend from college passed away earlier this year from cancer, the two littlest ones watch their daddy break down at the dinner table, Facebook having delivered that terrible news.  Mercifully for me, they both hugged and held on, perhaps not knowing why.

Tonight they may see their dad cry again, once I get them home and safe in our living room.  No parent can see the news coming out of Newtown Connecticut today and NOT want to sweep their kids up in a bear hug that lasts an eternity.  To be sure, we want to comfort them if they are scared - but equally we want to be comforted by their little faces, warm breath, and young and naive zeal for the world around them.  That passage of energy from young to old, child to parent, is the only salve that can hang upon our open wounds today.  For no matter what the FBI or police turn up, no matter how many warnings of this were ignored, no matter how irrational our gun control laws continue to be, it is the warm th of their smiles that will save us all.

Rest in peace small ones.  We can not know what you would have done in your lives, but we can be assured that your kisses, you hugs, your art projects, and your indomitable energy has already left its mark on the world around you.  Your cruel passing can not take that from you, or those who love, and now mourn, in your wake.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Approaching the Fiscal Cliff - a little panic might do us some good

In a piece today in Salon, Alex Setiz-Wald brings forth an important point about who, and how, our domestic security debate has been shaped by the psychology of fringe voices:

Psychological research has demonstrated that in times of crisis, people respond most acutely to emotionally strong voices, Bail explains. The media industry has long understood this intuitively and featured dramatic, colorful and emotional figures because they’re more compelling to readers. We’ve all seen this “fringe effect,” as Bail dubs it, from the Tea Party to the birther movement.

Yet I would humbly suggest that this observation is equally applicable to the “fiscal cliff/austerity bomb” debate currently raging in Washington.  Simply put, Republicans may be blamed in polling for causing the fiscal cliff, but their message is also likely to draw more resonance because they are using more emotional language, and actually displaying emotions, then President Obama.    The invective he raised when confronted by Republican attacks on his U.N Ambassador would be well suited to the fiscal cliff debate, yet his post-election speechmaking (and for that matter his campaign speechmaking)  is still fairly devoid of emotional content.

Does the fiscal cliff get “solved” or “fixed” if the President lets off a little steam?  No, but it does turn the narrative away from the raw emotion of the Republican position, and that may be the key to keeping both the government open, and the economy functioning after January 1st.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

so what's worse if you are a Republican - higher tax rates or increased collections for closing loopholes? Both raise more funds for government!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

REBLOG: Obama’s second term: Can liberals trust the president?

Continuing a Matt Stoller trifecta, I add this post-script: Liberals can no more trust President Obama then movement conservatives (it turned out) could trust George W. Bush. Instead, we have to vocally hold his feet to the fire to make sure that the best liberal policies of the last 60 or 70 years are not given away in a vein attempt to coerce much needed tax code changes that lead to increased revenue for the government (to fund existing program not anything really new).  So let's start the second four years with a more critical eye and open mouths.

Obama’s second term: Can liberals trust the president?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

REBLOG Why is the left defending Obama?

One of the primary reasons I posted Matt Stoller's earlier piece here is that, as a LIberal Progressive (with libertarian tendencies) I happen to agree with him - electing Barack Obama may indeed be better for America then Mitt Romney, but not because Barack Obama is a liberal progressive President.  And yet, in the public rebuttal, Stoller seems to have been subjected by so-called Liberal Commentators to the name calling, strawmen, and ad hominem attacks that we normally see reserved for use by Republicans against Democrats.  Still, the question is asked - Why is the left defending Obama?

It is remarkable to see the level to which Obama defenders have sunk. Let’s start with a basic problem – why is Obama in a tight race? Mitt Romney is more caricature than candidate, a horrifically cartoonish plutocrat whose campaign is staffed by people that allow secret tapings of obviously offensive statements. The Republican base finds Romney uninspiring, and Romney has been unable to provide one good reason to choose him except that he is not the incumbent. Yet, Barack Obama is in a dog fight with this clown. Why? It isn’t because a few critics are writing articles in places like Salon. The answer, if you look at the data, is thatBarack Obama has been a terrible President and an enemy to progressives. Unemployment is high. American household income since the recovery started in 2009 has dropped 5%. Poverty has increased substantially. Home equity – the main store of wealth for the middle class – has dropped by $5-7 trillion, in contrast to the increase in financial asset values held by Obama’s friends and donors. And this was done explicitly through Obama’s policies.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

REBLOG: The progressive case against Obama

One of the toughest parts of being a really left leaning liberal these days is my Party of Record nominated, and managed to elect a right leaning centerist the last time out.  No matter what other Progressives and Democrats say, Mr. OBama dies NOT have a record of Change We Can Believe in (unless you like extra-judicial killings).  So who do I vote for on election day - especially given my long standing policy of critique of the President both here and on Facebook?  Matt Stolle offers a series of "you really need to read these" reasons for NOT voting Democratic if you are a progressive in his piece in Salon titled " The progressive case against Obama."

We need to build a different model of politics, one in which people who want a different society are willing to actually bargain and back up their threats, rather than just aesthetically argue for shifts around the margin. The good news is that the changes we need to make are entirely doable. It will cost about $100 trillion over 20 years to move our world to an entirely sustainable energy system, and the net worth of the global top 1 percent is $103 trillion. We can do this. And the moments to let us make the changes we need are coming. There is endless good we can do, if enough of us are willing to show the courage that exists within every human being instead of the malevolence and desire for conformity that also exists within every heart.
Systems that can’t go on, don’t. The political elites, as much as they kick the can down the road, know this. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we?

Monday, October 22, 2012

REBLOG Six fixes for American democracy

It may be naive to think that these six fixes will ever be put forward after this election, or any other election.    That said, if we see the way forward, and choose as a nation to reject it, what does that ultimately say about our character?

Six fixes for American democracy

REBLOG - The man behind the voter fraud myth

I have been seriously, and heinously, amazed at all the work Republicans have done the last two years to disenfranchise Americans in order to get, and keep power.  But the central question I have always had is WHY? Well The man behind the voter fraud myth may well have the answers.

Monday, October 1, 2012

REBLOG: The Heart of the Matter: The Obama Effect

Anyone who has read more then one of my posts knows that I think there is NO legal framework for ANY American President to authorize torture (or extra judicial killing for that matter).  Yet many in my Party of Record dismiss the things the Incumbent does, even after spending 8 years attacking his predecessor for the exact same things.  So it's good to see author and former CIA operative Barry Eisler get to The Heart of the Matter: The Obama Effect

Thursday, September 6, 2012

REBLOG “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people”

I've long held that Elizabeth Warren is the exact kind of public servant we all need.  After her wrangling of TARP as it's oversight board chair, after taking a lot of political heat as the first appointed head of the CFPB, and now as a Senate candidate, I think Ms. Warren has done and will continue to do yeoman service for her fellow Americans.  I just wish she were running in Maryland.

While I didn't watch her speech at the DNC last night - here in the DC area it was only broadcast on PBS which is not a good TV signal at our house - I read it in Salon this morning, and I hope you will too.  Afterall, when was the last time you heard a Democrat, on national television, quoting Scripture?

“No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

REBLOG: The Five Reasons Why Romney/Ryan Must be Defeated in 2012 – And Why Conservatives Should Hope They Are.

Many of my moderate, Conservative and Republican friends (especially on Facebook) have announced that they are terminating subscriptions to certain people's feeds, mostly because they don't like all the hyper partisan posts and uncivil comments.  I share their concern about civility, but at the same time, I am more worried about what their party of record seems willing to do to get reelected - as if reelection will in and of itself solve all our problems:

Now, as I said, I have been just as likely to vote for Republicans in the past as I have been for Democrats, and just because I am focusing on the GOP doesn’t mean I couldn’t write a piece criticizing some of Obama’s policies. But that is the difference – my critique of Obama would be based on policy. I would be starting with an understanding that we begin with the same fact base, and that facts would be what drove the discussion. I would not be compelled to address fictions, lies and delusions before addressing policy differences. That is the sign of a party that wants to govern, even if I don’t always agree with the ways they want to exercise their governing authority.
Read more here: The Five Reasons Why Romney/Ryan Must be Defeated in 2012 – And Why Conservatives Should Hope They Are.

Friday, August 31, 2012

REBLOG: Ten ways Americans have lost their freedom

This is the sort of blog post I always wanted to write - but which I never get to because of time.  Like so many of you, I suffer from, and battle against these losses of freedom.  And it is those losses that drive me ever left-ward in my political views:

On issue after issue, the wishes of most Americans are ignored or marginalized by the nation’s political and media elite. Views that are held by most Republicans – and in some cases even by most Tea Party members – are dismissed as “extreme” inside the Beltway. While 75 percent of most Americans and 76 percent of Tea Party supporters opposed Social Security cuts to balance the budget, leaders in both political parties were meeting to negotiate those cuts. (They were scuttled by a fallout between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner; similar cuts were being negotiated between Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton when the Monica Lewinsky scandal erupted.)

Most Americans want tighter control on US banks, and that’s considered politically impossible. They want much higher taxes for millionaires, which is also dismissed. Meanwhile, the nation continues to pursue policies that benefit the most unpopular institutions in the nation, according to that Gallup poll: big corporations, HMOs, and Wall Street banks. The only thing on Gallup’s list that’s more unpopular than these three institutions? Congress.

Read more at Salon:  Ten ways Americans have lost their freedom

Monday, August 20, 2012

Talk About the South: Dayne Sherman's Blog: An Open Letter to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

As both an ex-pat Louisianian, and former fellow middle school student of the current Governor (he was a year ahead of me) I have watched in deep shame and horror what has been done to my home in the name of Republican orthodoxy.  Dayne Sherman's recent blog brings it all home . . .

Talk About the South: Dayne Sherman's Blog: An Open Letter to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: Bobby, Can You Hear Me in the Bunker? By Dayne Sherman Talk About the South Column Published in the Hammond, Louisiana, Daily Star ...

Friday, August 17, 2012

REBLOG - Five ways privatization is ruining America

Like so many myths in today's society, the full damage from privatization may be decades in coming - if a full accounting can ever be rendered.  It is a sad sad thing that we as a society so willingly underfund our public institutions, an then so easily succumb to the modern schills who have turned selling snake oil into depriving us of our public institutions.  Read more here:

Five ways privatization is ruining America

Friday, August 10, 2012

ConfirmationBias in the Republican Party - how granting the vote to all is taking it away from the military!

From the other side of the aisle, a good short look at how confirmation bias is making it harder and harder to talk about important policy issues from a factual basis.  That, as our esteemed author notes, makes ranting in order.

That, perhaps, is the most frustrating thing of all.  And why?  Because this isn’t just confirmation bias anymore.  Confirmation bias means you miss some things, that you filter what you see.  But this is different. This is willfully choosing to ignore a fact that disproves a particular belief you have. Hell, I wasn’t asking her to change her vote.  I don’t even WANT her to change her vote! I just want her—and everyone—to argue from a place of logic, to recognize that we live in a world of grey, a world filled with agenda and spin and naked attempts at persuasion, a world that is actually trying to make us ignore the facts.

- Chasing Glenn Beck - We, the Sheeple....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SALON asks: Are job creators a myth?

Job Creators are not a myth per se, but they can't do very much when there's no DEMAND for the things that those jobs would produce or the services they would provide.  

Are job creators a myth?

REBLOG: The Beltway's Destructive Obsession with the Deficit

Having been in the federal budget, let me start by saying that deficits DO VERY MUCH MATTER.  But as I have written extensively here, how you meet them - and in particular whether you raise revenue to do so - is more important then their existence.   But given that we're in a DEMAND-SIDE recession, we can't afford to focus on deficits without actually dealing with Demand first.  And we can't deal with demand unless we get more people back to work.

It would be one thing if this group were pushing for long-term debt reduction and short-term economic relief. The centerpiece of President Obama's economic plan is the American Jobs Act, which calls for hundreds of billions in new stimulus, to jumpstart the economy. This would necessarily add to the deficit, but the gains from employing people—1 million additional workers, over the next year—would more than make up for the additional debt. Different sides might disagree about the best way to accomplish the long-term goal of reducing the debt, but focusing on short-term economic improvement is clearly the right thing to do.
Instead, these self-styled masters of consensus are entirely focused on reducing the deficit now. In the current economic environment—where demand is still lagging—this is a guarantee of disaster.

Read more here :  The Beltway's Destructive Obsession with the Deficit

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Supreme Court and Government Surveillence - Whose precedent takes precedent?

So here’s one of those pesky questions of legal consistency the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to sort out regularly: Can the Obama Administration get a lawsuit quashed on, essentially, lack of standing due to lack of harm grounds, after getting enjoined from putting the NDAA indefinite detention provisions in effect for esentially the same assertion? What’s the catch you say? Well the federal judge who ruled on the NDAA case specifically cited the plaintiffs fears of indefinite detention as probable cause for success on the merits, and enjoined the NDAA until the action could proceed and be completed. Given that this action before the Supreme Court is essentially on the same question – albeit under a different piece of federal legislation – will they respect the District Court’s precedent, or will they throw more turmoil into the air to try and acquiesce to the Surveillance State?

Seems to me the NDAA injunction gives the Supreme’s an out to let the surveillance lawsuit proceed – if they have the stones to tell the DoJ enough’s enough.

In support of their motion, Plaintiffs assert that § 1021 already has impacted their associational and expressive activities–and would continue to impact them, and that § 1021 is vague to such an extent that it provokes fear that certain of their associational and expressive activities could subject them to indefinite or prolonged military detention.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Abandoning all Reason - the case of the DoS "Nipple Effect"

Lest you think we live in modern times, where prudish and puritanical thought police shush all mention of normal human anatomy from public view, consider this:

You see, as I mentioned in my last post, this blog was recently deleted from a blog roll.  Never mind the fact that its presence on that site was specifically requested well over two years ago.  The online community specialist managing the page (at the time) was eager to list it, glad for my input and seemed grateful for my participation.  I always thought it was a rather arbitrary list, but it seemed like a work in progress and names were being added, not subtracted (at first).  Recently and without warning, that inexplicably changed.  Care to guess why? 
I used the "n" word:
Read more at The Dinoia Family.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Another light dims in this world

Tonight the world is a sadder place. My friend and former dorm mate Bruce (seen above in a poster that was done during the height of his chemo) is slowly and surely loosing his battle with melanoma. He fought the good fight, but his time among us here on Earth is now drawing to a close. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. Raised a Reformed Jew, I have no doubt that God will soon welcome him home with that simple and powerful greeting "well done, good and faithful servant."

Godspeed old friend. Your rest awaits you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 2012 Presidential Race - Equal Opportunity for all?

Like so many on the Right, Jennifer Rubin over at WaPo trots out the equal opportunity line in a post today purporting to tell Mitt Romney how to proceed with his Presidential campaign:

Fifth: We need to make opportunity, not equality of results, our focus. That means supporting school choice, requiring job training for unemployment-benefit recipients, promoting English immersion and ending government subsidization of ever more expensive college tuition.

As yes, the panacea of equal opportunity. To use it means that first, you have to acknowledge that there is NOT equal opportunity in the U.S. right now - which many Republicans do not. Then second, to really give equal opportunity, you have to support a significant government infrastructure, because true, unfettered free market capitalism is all about RESTRAINING opportunity, since profit maximization by private actors is inherently diminished if EVERYONE has the same opportunity to make a buck.

Especially gauling is the required job training approach to welfare. We've actually had a requirement to get training and work in place since Bill Clinto was president, but that requirement is seriously hampered by lack of childcare that ins affordable, lack of effective transportation options in many ares of the country, and the lack of funding at the state level for the training programs themselves.

Oh, and equal opportunity won't put the economy on track, or get more people hired, or get more people educated. Only policies focused on equal outcomes do that, since outcomes mean dollars to spend in the economy. You can buy a house on opportunity.

But boy, it sure SOUNDS good!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 2012 Presidential Race - the Safety Net falls apart?

This is one of the many things that I hate about the modern political debate - the Republicans all want to eliminate government, and particularly to defund many social safety net programs at the federal level. At the same time, their purported leading Presidential candidate had this to say in an interview with CNN:

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Really - what sort of safety net will be left if and when the federal programs that make it up are descimated to preserve the upper-income tax brackets tax cuts that are now a decade old. Really?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Rise and Fall of NOAA - A Cautionary Tale

Taking Advantage of the late day Friday news cycle lull, President Obama announced the demise of the modern Commerce Department at the federal level at the end of last week. In its stead, the "core business functions" of the Commerce Department will now be combined with several other federal business related agencies - including the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Office o f the International Trade Representative, and the International Trade Administration - to form a new business agency, temporarily headed at the Cabinet level by the current Administrator of the SBA.

Receiving less press coverage - but no less important - is what will happen to the 65% of the Commerce Department budget currently known as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Like many presidents before him, Mr Obama dismissively sends them to the Interior Department, where many in the conservation community have long argued they should be. See, NOAA is in Commerce because President Nixon put it there in a spite-filled decision aimed at keeping his Interior secretary from growing more powerful. The spite was over the Secretary's stance on Vietnam. And since NOAA does not have legislative authorization (an Organic Act), the shot-gun marriage from 1970 has stuck.

As I see it, this plan was hatched under three significant - and significantly wrong assumptions:

Equal Words Equals Waste and Inefficiency: In what can only be described as an attempt at a joke that went horribly wrong, the President presaged this move in last year's State of the Union Speech:
    "There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

    On the Surface he is correct - both NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service share jurisdiction over SOME salmon in a single region of the U.S. Atlantic Salmon - which are currently to be found primarily in Maine - are co-managed by both agencies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). But if you actually Google their respective websites, you will find that their actions are complementary, and not overlapping. You'll also find that a significant amount of the actual work is done by the state of Maine for both agencies.

    Out west, pacific salmon are regulated by NOAA alone, under both the ESA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act (which regulated U.S. Commercial Marine Fishing since pacific salmon can still be commercially harvested). Having learned how hard comanagement was, the Interior Department deferred to NOAA for the ESA, thought they still work closely with the agency on many issues relating to pacific salmon. NOAA has "sole custody" of Magnuson actions, so there is no duplication or overlap there. Bottom line - just because GAO can find the same words describing programs in similar agencies, that doesn't mean there is duplication. Often, programs that sound the same on paper are working on different parts of the same issue.

If It Looks Broken, Clearly We need a New One: The only reason there are nearly as many contracts and consultants doing federal work in the U.S. as actually federal employees is that our politicians seems to have been brainwashed into thinking that all problems can be solved by creating new and different programs and departments to address old and persistent problems. They have also been brainwashed (mostly) into thinking efficiency will bring effectiveness in delivering federal programs.

Don't believe me, then read the assessment of the Department of Homeland Security put out last year by GAO. In it, they highlight three key challenges for the organization:

GAO's work identified three themes at the foundation of DHS's challenges Leading and coordinating the homeland security enterprise; Implementing and integrating management functions for results; and Strategically managing risks and assessing homeland security efforts. This testimony contains no new recommendations.

SImply put, ten years after 9/11, and 8 years after Congress cobbled DHS together from 20 previously existing entities, efficiency and integration are NOT hallmarks of the department.

Ironically, in the case of Commerce, I happen to agree with the President that all the federal functions relating to business should probably be in one place. I actually mistakenly thought several of the players named above in the consolidation list were already in Commerce. But harkening to the advice the GAO imparts here (which I find unusually sage for them ), I have to ask - will these business functions be better managed, delivered more effectively, and thus create efficiencies and cost savings in a brand new organization? Or would it make more sense to shed the non-business parts of Commerce and fold thus stuff in? My sense having worked in federal budget formulation, as well as long-range strategic planning is that the savings and efficiencies (if there are any to be gained) would be from the later approach. Of course, I am not a well paid management consultant, so I am probably missing some important connection - or not.

Even a Decent Idea Can Get Trumped by Federal Statutes: Moving NOAA to Interior will take more then Congressional authorization and a Presidential Executive Order. It will take re-writing 92 federal statutes that tell NOAA what to do. Some of the legislation - like the Weather Bureau Organic Act - is older then NOAA itself. All of it either tells the Secretary of Commerce to do something - i.e. the ESA or Magnuson-Stevens - or tells NOAA to do something, often referencing the Commerce Department along the way. Given that NOAA is routinely sued under the ESA and MSA now, it is a virtual certainty that NOT changing any of this legislation while moving NOAA to Interior will lead to an upswing in litigation. That upswing will NOT enhance efficiency, and will be even more of a drain on the limited federal resource stat NOAA brings to bear on these issues. There's also a Law of Unintended Consequences at work here - all sorts of things could be added to these efforts at legislative rewriting that are more detrimental to the U.S. then anything currently on the books.

So what's your answer smarty pants: Simply this - if we must rearrange the deck chairs, move NOAA out of Commerce, and allow it to stand alone, like the EPA, NASA, and NSF do now. Pas a NOAA Organic Act to do this, and settle what NOAA is and Isn't once and for all. The NOAA Administrator, as Undersecretary of Commerce - is already Senate Confirmed, so there would be no change in procedure for selection of that person. Likewise, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees would still retain the same jurisdiction, which in the end may be the most significant hurdle to the plan as currently proposed. Pull the SBA and all the other business related entities into Commerce, where the management inefficiencies that still plague DHS will be few, since Commerce has been around for a hundred years or so as an executive department.

My plan is likely to never come to pass of course - it makes too much sense, and Washington D.C. is a place where common sense seems to have jumped out the window and run off screaming.