Archive for February 13th, 2004

Dowbrigade Headlines, 2035


Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh-largest country in the world -the Republic of California

White minorities still trying to have English recognized as the third official language in the Republic of California

Baby conceived naturally – Scientists stumped

Last remaining Fundamentalist Muslim dies in the American Territory of the Middle East (formerly known as Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, Sryia and Lebanon

Castro finally dies at 112, Cuban cigars can now be legally imported, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all tobacco smoking anywhere

George Z. Bush announces he will oppose Clinton in ’36

US Postal Service raises price of First Class stamp to $18.75 and reduces mail delivery to once a week

Massachusetts executes last remaining Conservative

Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their human rights

Average height of NBA players reaches 7 feet 11 inches – average salary now $2.3 billion

Mormon’s protest FAA requirement than only transparent “Flight Jammies” be worn on commercial flights

IRS sets lowest tax rate at 73%

2036 Superbowl to be played on Mars – Halftime show to feature Nude Figure Skating on Martian Canals

(adapted form an anonymous list posted over the copy machine at work)

Breaking Out the Big Tent Movement


The Dowbrigade will not get tired of
trashing the pathetically pointless Howard Dean until our misguided friends
and colleagues who were bamboozled onto the Dean bandwagon admit they
were sold a Bill of Goods and acknowledge our superior political perspicacity. However,
we must admit it’s probably time to MoveOn.

Politics in this day and age should be about the future, and getting
ourselves back on some kind of track leading to a world we could see
our grand kids living in. Unfortunately, both of the major party camps
seem mired in the past, caught up in bizarre Vietnam flashbacks.

As we
have advised before
, the question Dean backers and others should
be asking is "Does it make any difference whether Kerry or Bush is President
for the next four years?" If the answer is "Yes", well then get your
ass in gear and give the candidate of your choice the same support and
energy you gave to poor Howard.  If not, then start thinking about
how to open up the process so that
the next "Internet candidate" goes a little deeper into the playoffs.

has suggested keeping DeanforAmerica going even after the
election, or perhaps morphing it into something else. This would be a
terrific tactical mistake, as the essential point of any ongoing organization
should be developing a network and opening up the process, rather than promoting any one individual
or viewpoint.

It seems to the Dowbrigade that there are all of the necessary elements
in place to see an effective Movement coalesce and emerge from the dashed
dreams and bruised egos of the Dean disaster. There is a large base of
people out there who are deeply dissatisfied with the direction this
country is taking, and they are gradually finding each other, and a voice,
the Blogosphere. They are motivated, educated, and ready to put their
money where their keyboards are posting.

The last time a truly popular Movement arose in this
land it was in protest over
war. Although there are certainly wellsprings of opposition to the
War in Iraq, to the manipulation of the national consciousness by Major
Media, and to any number of misguided policies of the present administration,
the Dowbrigade believes it is important that any emergent movement be
based in SUPPORT FOR something rather than OPPOSITION TO a collection
of things.

By that we mean that there will always be evil initiatives to oppose,
greedy special interest that need to be stopped, and anti-Democratic
dragons to be slain, but without a positive set of principals and firm
moral orientation, our movement would be nothing more than another Special
Interest Group.

In order to effectuate any real and long-lasting change in our society,
we have to change the rules of the game.  We have to play outside
the lines, and transcend the traditional idea of a political party or
movement. We must move to a higher level, and try to concentrate on the
way we do business rather than the business we do.

The essence of Democracy is the way it resolves differences.  It’s
beauty is in how participants can compete in an open marketplace of ideas
and those who succeed in convincing enough of their fellow-citizens
prevail in that specific instance, but then everyone moves on and works
together, without giving up the right to fight the good fight and prevail
the next time.

For the Dowbrigade the only possible Movement with enough weight and
momentum to actually turn the ship of state aside from seemingly inevitable
disaster MUST include and integrate individuals as politically diverse
as Dave Winer and Glen Reynolds. We ask the indulgence of these eminent
bloggers, whom we have chosen because although they agree on almost nothing,
and certainly not presidential politics, they both embody what is fresh
and innovative and pure about the Blogosphere. Unbridled intellects,
unbeholden and unafraid to call things the way they see them.

The only way to envision a Movement that can encompass a liberal idealist
and a die-hard conservative is by transcending politics and basing it
on principals of Human Conduct and Social Organization. It’s going to
have to be a BIIIIG tent to hold all the people we’re going to need to
really change our society.

A vast and intimidating challenge. We would never presume to be capable
of something like this, but throwing caution to the wind, let us sink
a few tent poles that might begin to support a wide enough tarp.

  • We must strive to make the political process, its operation and funding,
    more transparent
  • We must invite and facilitate widespread participation in the political

  • Technology should be used to facilitate this transparency and participation
  • To the maximum extent possible, the media has a responsibility to
    seek out and present a variety of viewpoints.

  • Government should
    exist to serve no
    interests other than the interests of the Public; not industries,
    corporations or economic
    power centers.

  • People have a right to choose from as wide a variety of news and
    opinion sources as the existing technology and infrastructure
    can deliver.

  • The government should sponsor the development and installation of
    technology and infrastructure designed to give the citizens as wide
    a a variety of
    news and opinions as possible.

  • Politicians should act more like servants and less like lords and

  • Public service should be a sacrifice, not a ticket to fame and fortune. It
    should be looked at a necessary inconvenience, like jury duty or
    a prison sentence.

  • The entire profession of career politicians should be abolished.
    Strict term limits should be enforced to return us to a model of
    "citizen leaders",
    real people who serve a turn in government and then return to private

Obviously an incomplete list, but perhaps a starting place. The Dowbrigade
believes that in the next few years a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
will play out as the American Superstate is transformed by waves of social
and technological change.  We can either be Players, or Victims.  You

60 Second Survey


Brevity is the soul of wit. It is also the key to getting
a decent return rate on any kind of survey, questionnaire or non-coerced
cooperation. So please take 60
(our crack team of tame test-takers
has run time trials to prove this is all it takes) and give us a little

Although we make no claims to scientific integrity in our sample, we hope
to collect a small snapshot of out tiny corner of the Blogosphere. Friends
and Bloggers, please point your readers to the
– any relevance it
achieves will be in direct relation to the number of participants.

Of course, the results will be shared with all in this space.

Go to the Sixty-Second Survey


Gen-Mod Animal of the Day


The Cat in the Hat has nothing on the Bat in the Cat. With genetic mix-and-match
a reality in today’s bio-labs, exciting new combinations will soon appear
in the nation’s pet stores. This one is ideal for summer homes infested
with BOTH mice and mosquitos.

from worth 1000

Just 9 Teaching Days Until the Great Experiment


The Dowbrigade is starting to get nervous. We have been securely ensconced
at Boston University for so long, we have forgotten how to do anything
else. How will be adapt to a life without students and stultifying meetings?
(We somehow suspect that wherever we end up will inevitably have its
own quota of stultifying meetings).

Is this the dreaded "Mid-Life Crisis"? Let me check. Haven’t bought
a sports car. Haven’t gone for a hair weave, or dyed it orange. Haven’t
traded in Norma Yvonne for some sexy young trophy (she’d kill me). Guess
we’re safe so far.

So what is this Great Experiment? Hopefully this weekend we’ll have
enough time and tranquility to Blog the three Phases of the Project,
the first of which starts this Feb. 27th. Stay tuned….