Monday, June 29, 2009

Some Ideas I've Been Having Lately

A few random thoughts on the passing scene. They are in no particular order and they aren't exactly Claremont related, but I'm working on them in my head and figure that I would share them with you.

We'll do the shameless self-promotion first.
  • I was contacted last week about being on NPR to talk about the future of the Republican Party. I don't know what qualifications I have per se to talk about this, but I said yes. Do you have any ideas about where the Republican Party is going? I want to speak in sound bites, but also appear original and witty and to offer solid advice. Feel free to let me know via email or in the comment section. I've heard from enough people that the Republican Party needs to split. I'm not convinced that that would be a good idea. Also, I think the point about Sanford has been belabored too much. Allow me to be the first registered Republican to admit this: who cares that he's sleeping with some hot Argentinian woman? I'm ticked that he used taxpayer money and that should be paid back, but at the end of the day, he's been a great governor for South Carolina. And on the plus side, it helps my man Mitt in 2012.
  • I attended FIRE's conference in Philadelphia a weekend ago. I met some very interesting and insightful people of all different ideological stripes that were committed to ending the abuses of liberty on America's campuses. I spoke at the conference on how Ilan Wurman, Sam Corcos, and others and I use the blog to promote freedom of speech and conscience on the Claremont Colleges when newspapers like The Forum and The Student Life were missing in action. I mentioned how we've been able with the help of others to score key victories against would be censors on our campus, including the White Party fiasco and David and Kyle's ordeal with Pomona College. I would have liked more time for questions (and indeed I kept my remarks short as a result) but alas, we didn't have the time for them as my co-panelist talked in a little too much detail about using video. (Fascinating presentation, but an argument for effective use of PowerPoint if ever there were one...) If anyone has a question related to starting a blog, etc., I'd be more than willing to talk your ear off.
Ideas that I've been wrestling with.
  • I've been at work thinking of ways to encourage more people to donate blood. The more I research, the more fascinated I get with it. Did you know that the WHO doesn't believe in compensated blood donations, but wants to set an international standard of unpaid, voluntary blood donation? I can't figure out why this might be. To me, anything that can be done to increase the flow of blood is a net positive. I should have a Forum blog post about this in the near future, with particular relevance for Claremont McKenna. I'm sure it will ruffle a few feathers, but alas, some feathers need ruffling. If I wanted to be liked, I'd join a monastery or get a puppy.
  • I'm currently at work building a company with a older friend/mentor that will deal with individual expenditures and McCain-Feingold. It's really heating up. If you want to read our business plan, the email address is I'd love to get your feedback. I'm sure CMCers and others will have intriguing ideas for how I can make the business plan more effective. Thanks already to the CMC alums I have spoken to about this idea. The group is growing rapidly and I'm very thankful to all who have weighed in.
  • For work, I'm doing a project reading books about all of the new philanthropists that been joining the scene as of late. I just finished two great books on the subject. One is Dan Pallotta's Uncharitable (about how charity is adversely affected by needless regulations) and the other is Matthew Green's book, Philanthrocapitalism. I read another marverlous book titled Imagining India earlier in the summer by Nandan Nilekani, the founder of Infosys. Vishnu N. CMC '12 informs me that Nilekani's going to be joining the Indian cabinet as the head of their national ID program, in what would be first time an Indian business leader leaves the private sector to help India's government. I think such moves portend well for the future of India, even if I'm skeptical of such an undertaking as a national ID card.