Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Campaign finance reform

I get a lot of emails from groups frantic about the Citizens United decision. My solution is fairly simple, an amendment that only registered voters can contribute to political campaigns, and then, can only contribute to campaigns that they can vote for. That might need a little cleaning up, but the core idea seems both valid and doable. If you can't vote for a candidate, why should you be able to give him money that he/she can use to buy votes? In essence, contributing is a lot like voting, and should be under many of the same restrictions.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Are you as tired of the steady stream of BS, and complete lack of actual workable solutions that we get from both major political parties as I am? The whining for more money, the fear-mongering, the outright lies?

Want to send them a message?

Try something that might actually get their attention. Write me (Roger J. Henn) in as your vote for multiple offices this November. If I get enough votes as a late write-in candidate, it'll get some attention from the party leadership, and they might start to realize that they need to change.

I live in Iowa House District 33, Iowa Senate District 17 and the 3rd Congressional district of Iowa, but that doesn't necessarily limit the offices you could write me in for.

If you're interested in my actual positions (not necessary for this purpose), look around here (I don't think much has actually changed since the last time I made an entry here, yet another reason for a protest vote) or ask the question here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Oldie but a Goodie

Some rules kids won't learn in school
Text By Charles J. Sykes

Printed in San Diego Union Tribune
September 19, 1996

Unfortunately, there are some things that children should be learning in school, but don't. Not all of them have to do with academics. As a modest back-to-school offering, here are some basic rules that may not have found their way into the standard curriculum.

Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teenager uses the phrase, "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school.  And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grand-parents had a different word of burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.

You're welcome.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Too Big Bills

And once again we're seeing another debacle in Congress, where pretty much everybody agrees on the basic idea of a bill, but they're fighting over details and amendments that are mostly irrelevant to the supposed core purpose of the bill.  Maybe we should change the rules. Too many legislative bills turn into monsters, with thousands of pages, most of which have little or nothing to do with the supposed purpose of the bill. Maybe bills should be limited to 100 8½ x 11 pages of double-spaced 10-point Arial with 1 inch margins.  The exact number of pages may be arguable, but how about the basic concept?
What do you think?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Practical Solutions, Not Ideology

I'm liking the Modern Whig Party more and more. Here's a fairly simple explanation of what they stand for from one of their blogs:
Imagine changing your spark plugs every time you had a problem with your car. This may work if you had an issue with your engine BUT would changing your spark plugs fix a blown tire or a brake problem? When we use ideologies, we believe that there is only one solution to a problem. This line of thinking does not work for fixing your car and it also does not work for fixing America. Modern cars are very complex and need modern thinking to repair them. Whigs solve problems by finding the best solutions. That solution maybe to change the “spark plugs” or it maybe to “change the tires”. When a “car” is broken we must have the right solutions to fix that “car”. This requires a new line of thinking which is free-flowing and able to adapt to new problems. Whigs use modern thinking to solve modern problems. Modern solutions for modern problems.
Now, that's a far cry from either the Democrats or the Republicans, with their one-size-fits-all-as-long-as-it-conforms-to-our-ideology solutions.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?

One of the better pieces I've seen lately. Some excerpts:
Some of the smartest and most sophisticated people I know—canny investors, erudite authors—sincerely and passionately believe that President Barack Obama has gone far beyond conventional American liberalism and is willfully and relentlessly driving the United States down the road to socialism. No counterevidence will dissuade them from this belief: not record-high corporate profits, not almost 500,000 job losses in the public sector, not the lowest tax rates since the Truman administration. It is not easy to fit this belief alongside the equally strongly held belief that the president is a pitiful, bumbling amateur, dazed and overwhelmed by a job too big for him—and yet that is done too.

For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn.

Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics. Outside this alternative reality, the United States is a country dominated by a strong Christian religiosity. Within it, Christians are a persecuted minority. Outside the system, President Obama—whatever his policy ­errors—is a figure of imposing intellect and dignity. Within the system, he’s a pitiful nothing, unable to speak without a teleprompter, an affirmative-action ­phony doomed to inevitable defeat. Outside the system, social scientists worry that the U.S. is hardening into one of the most rigid class societies in the Western world, in which the children of the poor have less chance of escape than in France, Germany, or even England. Inside the system, the U.S. remains (to borrow the words of Senator Marco Rubio) “the only place in the world where it doesn’t matter who your parents were or where you came from.”

We can debate when the slide began. But what seems beyond argument is that the U.S. political system becomes more polarized and more dysfunctional every cycle, at greater and greater human cost. The next Republican president will surely find himself or herself at least as stymied by this dysfunction as President Obama, as will the people the political system supposedly serves, who must feel they have been subjected to a psychological experiment gone horribly wrong, pressing the red button in 2004 and getting a zap, pressing blue in 2008 for another zap, and now agonizing whether there is any choice that won’t zap them again in 2012.
Of course, the Democrats are almost as bad.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Got this from a friend who stayed in Germany after his enlistment:
"...on the flight back to Germany, next to me was an army sergeant who had just finished his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. His ideas about the "War"? Well, he said he wasn´t there for the USA or to protect freedom, he was there because he was a soldier. He also said most men like him over there knew that back home they had little or no chance to get a job. Over there his "job" was to be as good a soldier as he could be, to help his men and his unit so that as few as possible got killed. Most of the men over there had about the same kind of thoughts as he has, they know that only 10% of the American people know where Afghanistan is on the map, and that when they leave it will be less than 3 years before it is just like it was before the US went in."
Your thoughts?