Politics and Policy on a Planner's Blog

Catching up on this and that floating about the twitterverse & blogosphere this summer.  So far on this blogging adventure I have tried to stick to policy in the realm of politics. I even cleaved my tweets into music & culture vs. politics & everything else (and work.  and Scouting).  I don’t shy away from what I believe, but I’m still working out how much politics is relevant to the policy discussion.

That said, I am intrigued with this post I found at The Planner Blog, a project of a couple guys who do zoning work Up North.  Charles highlights this video by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, of a speech he (Newt, not Charles) gave to a bi-partisan gathering at the National Press Club in June.

The topic du jour was transportation infrastructure, something I deal with often in my professional life.  Newt talked about Capital Improvement Plans at the federal level, inspirational infrastructure projects, decentralizing other projects and getting the private sector involved as much as possible.  He also advocates user fees rather than tax increases, avoiding incompetence, investing in the Smart Grid (as I wrote about here) and energy infrastructure.  It’s a pretty big recipe.

I’m intrigued by the content of the presentation, yes, but also how Charles presents the topic from a Conservative speaker on his Planning blog.

Planning, I have found, tends to attract people with liberal/progressive philosophies on life.  I expect that and try to respect it out of professional courtesy even when I believe otherwise.  Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy.  For example, earlier today I followed a link in a Tweet on growth and development in China. Massive country I really would like to know more about. The article was good and I considered linking to the blog. But most of the site was liberal progressive politics bashing people I consider honest Conservatives. So no link love (not that they will miss it) on the basic premise of not being friendly to people who aren’t friendly to my friends. Or at least civil.

On the other hand (that great equivocator), is it possible to divorce policy and politics? I subscribe to High Country News. For the most part they are civil. And I feel like they try hard not to alienate thoughtful Conservatives while remaining true to their environmentalist mission. Yet it would probably be a lot easier for them to just favor their friends and not worry about the one or two readers who care about Conservation and Conservatism.

Is it an artificial divide to leave politics out of everyday life?  It’s an everyday question, from Main Street businessmen to Hollywood airheads.  Should Steve Earle or James McMurtry self-censor their songwriting because I am offended by their lyrics?  If they did I would buy more of their albums but I doubt that would be enough that they would really notice.  They are who they are and most of the time I’d rather know where they stand.

I am still working out my purpose for this blog.  I appreciate the folks who follow by RSS and Twitter, or who happen across these entries by whim or whimsey.  I respect your varied opinions.  Mostly my idea is that jcshepard.com will inform and engage folks who are interested in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, focused on stuff I’m interested in professionally like the economy of rural communities, public policy, and the roots of Western culture.

So far so good.

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