Monthly Archives: May 2023

A 2024 Freedom Agenda (ver. 0.1)

FDR Memorial Copyright © 2002. Some rights reserved CC BY-SA 3.0.

President Biden has trailed the idea of a Freedom Agenda as the central theme of his re-election campaign. (“The freedom for women to make their own health-care decisions, the freedom for our children to be safe from gun violence, the freedom to vote and have your vote counted. For seniors to live with dignity, and to give every American the freedom that comes with a fair shot at building a good life.”) It of course harkens back to FDR’s Four Freedoms (“the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear”).

What would a Bidenish Freedom Agenda look like if I were designing it for the 2024 campaign? Here’s my first very tentative stab at a draft.  It’s not as pithy as FDRs!

Political Freedom

  • Freedom to vote. End political gerrymanders. Require states to enact policies that provide sufficient polling places and times to ensure fair geographic access, allocate resources designed to cut waiting times at polls, and set times to vote that fall outside working hours. Stronger rules, at least for ballots with federal elections, designed to minimize partisan meddling with vote counting and reporting.
  • Freedom from tyranny. Protection against tyrants foreign and domestic. We need to be vigilant against domestic militias and other insurrectionists. We should continue our support for Ukraine and Taiwan lest we embolden their neighboring tyrants. Meanwhile, we should reduce our support for autocrats who abuse their people, and support pro-democracy movements, whenever strategically possible.

Personal Autonomy and Empowerment

  • Freedom to control your own body. National legislation to overturn state laws telling people what they can do with their bodies, notably most forced birth legislation, and also most limits on what parents can do in directing their children’s care.
  • Freedom to breathe. A strong clean air and clean water environmental agenda.  Seek to remove the vast majority of man-made toxic–and especially carcinogenic and hazards to reproduction–out of our air, water, and food. Revisie our public health system to prepare for the next pandemic, so we don’t have to be afraid of each other’s breath.
  • Freedom to learn. Public college should return to its history of being very low cost, or maybe even free.  We could start with community college and the first two years of a four-year degree in state college. Plus,
    • Freedom to read. Stop  book-banning in schools based on parental vetoes that extend beyond their own children, while still leaving space for educators to select age-appropriate books for curricula and school libraries.
    • Freedom to know. Stop textbook censors who are blocking mention of historical facts such as race discrimination, civil rights, and the Holocaust.
  • Freedom to age in dignity. Solve the social security funding crisis even if it means new revenue source including removing the cap on social security taxes. Do  not require people to work until they are older to retire, nor to survive on less when they do.

Economic Freedom

  • Freedom to compete. Revive strong anti-trust enforcement, and re-tool it for new digital markets. Market power is too concentrated in a large number of industries. Part of this is the rise of network industries, and the so-called ‘winner-take-all’ economy but a lot of it is just due to lax anti-trust enforcement. When competition falls to monopolies, capitalism looses its dynamism, and owners and managers of dominant firms accrete more wealth and power than is healthy for society along with the ability to acquire (and sometimes choke off) innovative potential competitors.  At its worst we get ‘too big to fail’ firms that can extort government support with insufficient consequences for management and shareholders when the firms make bad decisions.
  • Freedom to organize. Revise state and federal laws to remove anti-union bias, including so-called right-to-work laws. It’s clear that unions do more for wage equity than any other single thing.

Missing from the above is something about global warming.  “Freedom from roasting” doesn’t sound quite right….but “Freedom from climate change” or “Freedom from Carbon” sounds like a pipe dream.

Not on ver 0.1 of the list but maybe belongs on it: Freedom to travel   Gun control. Better policing, which protects the innocent while not committing violence on them; probably this will require setting up new kinds of paramedics and social workers to take on dealing with people whose primary issues are due to illness and other factors.

Important issues that may not lend themselves to this treatment.

  1. Taxation/deficit issues in the shadow of inflation.
  2. Immigration reform.
  3. Basic structural reform of the national government:
    1. Ethics rules and term limits for the Supreme Court;
    2. Restructuring the Senate so it more closely reflects the national population — currently most states have smaller populations than LA County alone, but they each have two Senators.  Something is wrong there. but ‘freedom from the dead hand of the past’ is not a good slogan…..
Posted in 2024 Election | 6 Comments

Elections Have Consequences Dept.

So far, the major consequence of electing two new somewhat anti-establishment commissioners to the five-person Coral Gables Commission is that the Mayor of Coral Gables, their chief target, is acting kinda grumpy (or worse).  A motion to fire the City Manager (we have a weak-Mayor system, so the City Manager is the most powerful official in the City) failed 3-2.

I lost confidence in the manager when I read about the secret attempt to put a Wawa and gas station across from Carver Elementary, and his intervention in a zoning application by a private developer.  After a long period of thinking he was great, I’ve also started to wonder about the Chief of Police.  But don’t expect any movement on either front until someone peels off a third vote on the Commission.  Of course, the next Mayoral election is now less than two years away.

Is there an anti-establishment candidate in the wings?

Posted in Coral Gables | Comments Off on Elections Have Consequences Dept.

.new TLD Looks Handy

At least, I thought so….

As described in How to open blank documents/instances of many common programs from your browser, google is rolling out the .new TLD exclusively for shortcuts that “[t]ake the user directly into the action generation or content creation flow”.  E.g.,

  • for a new google doc
  • for a new google calc sheet
  • for a blank M$ Doc file
  • for a new Excel sheet
  • for a new powerpoint presentation

Many, many other shortcuts too.

The nice thing about this — besides noticeably reducing the time to open blank documents in Word or Sheets — is that because this is a DNS hack, it works in all browsers–it’s not just a Chrome thing.

Google is opening the .new TLD to all comers, subject to mild restrictions:

All .new domain names are required to comply with the .new Registration Policy, which features a usage-based restriction to ensure that all domains are being used for new actions. That means that all .new domains registrations must:

  • Be used for action generation or online content creation;
  • Take the user directly into the action generation or content creation flow;
  • Resolve to the action within 100 days of registration;* and
  • Allow Google Registry to verify compliance at no cost.

While anyone can register, domains that don’t comply with this usage policy may be suspended or deleted by Google Registry without refund. So be sure you review the full .new Registration Policy before you register your .new domain to ensure that it meets our policy requirements.

Posted in Internet, Software | Comments Off on .new TLD Looks Handy

Tripit Three

I sent in my form, and that seems to have done the trick.


Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Internet, Software | Comments Off on Tripit Three

Tripit Two

Next act in, Does Tripit Think I’m on a Watch List or Financial Sanctions List?

After I wrote in asking why my account was suspended, the Tripit help desk promptly sent me a form to fill out attesting that I’m me, and asking where I live and what my birth date is; they promised not to share it with any third parties. Top of Tripit form requesting ID confirmationThe form didn’t ask for any proof, other than my signature, but I’m sure it’s a trivial thing to validate the information against many commercially available data bases.

I sent in the form last night, and we’ll see how long it takes them to chew on it. Worst case, I suppose I can always open a new free account with a different email address. I’ve got several…

Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Internet, Software | Comments Off on Tripit Two

Does Tripit Think I’m on a Watch List or Financial Sanctions List?

Admittedly, its been a long time since I tried to use Tripit, the handy travel itinerary planner site. Today I noticed that my Tripit widget on my phone wanted me to re-login, so I tried to do that. Didn’t work.

OK, maybe I have the wrong password, let’s try the web version. Password manager confirms I have the right password, but still no dice:

OK, maybe the link to the help page will explain this?

Well, that’s odd.

Seems to me there are four possibilities:

  1. Tripit is having a bad day.
  2. For some weird reason (unlikely to be my VPN since that’s set to a domestic location), Tripit wrongly thinks I’m located abroad or on a watch list / Treasury sanctions list.
  3. Tripit has decided that Florida is a foreign country they will no longer serve.
  4. I am on a watch list or a Treasury asset control list. (Would be news to me.)

I’m betting on #2, but we’ll see.  I opened a ticket with Tripit, and will report back if I hear anything.  Then again, if they think I’m on some list, maybe they don’t even answer help requests.

Other possibilities?


Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Internet, Software | 2 Comments