. In a feeble attempt to take my mind off at least some of the ugliness of the posts I'm seeing surrounding the horrific shooting in Newtown -- I remain hopeful that one day we'll evolve beyond such filth -- I'll humbly offer a peek into my little political fantasy world, for what it's worth. Here's a plan for dealing with the major issues facing right now (or really at any given time) that is based on the fact that (1) we live in a representative republic in which our "leaders" (cough) are supposed to confront the major issues we face and make critical decisions on our behalf, and (2) our "leaders" (cough) have been an abject failure at working together like civil, mature, reasonable adults. It's a process I'd love to see for dealing with things like the budget, taxation, abortion, gun control, all the big stuff: On each issue, a small group (maybe three or five or seven) of lawmakers from each party ("leaders" just doesn't seem like an appropriate word to me) is chosen to represent that party in a select task force. The party as a whole agrees to support not only those members, but the final decisions and plans of the task force. Ground rules: A time frame is agreed to, whether it's six weeks or six months. An even number is lawmakers is chosen and there must be 75% agreement on a plan for it to continue. Members of the task force know that if a decision cannot be reached, they will longer be eligible to be on future task forces (play on their little egos) Members of the task force are sequestered, and are not allowed to communicate directly or indirectly with any media for the duration of the project - no running out to the teevee cameras, no radio interviews, nothing. Wait, it gets even more absurd: Task forces will run eight (8) hours per day, with three rooms made available to the team: One strategy room for each party, and one task force meeting room. A task force meeting must be attended by all lawmakers at least four (4) hours per day. A final plan is created, and the task force is not required to report who voted for any given part of the plan or whole thing (a little capitulation on my part to insulate task force members from party crazies and fucking donors). At the end of the term (or before, if a final agreement is reached) the task force submits its final plan and thirty (30) days is given for conversation, any revisions and public consumption. Here's the tough part: Task force members are encouraged to provide a humble message to their constituents: We did the best we could in the interests of the country. No, our side didn't get everything we wanted, and yes, we actually did work with the other side. If you feel I have failed you, I know you'll vote me out of my cushy job and I'll have to find real work. But at least I'll know I worked diligently with my peers and created something about which I'm proud and satisfied. Something crazy like that. I'd even put that fantasy above one I have involving Jennifer Aniston, mashed potatoes, a catcher's mask and a box of AA batteries. But seriously, that one's none of your fucking business. .