Tag Archives: Politics

Here’s a rational thought

I don’t want to keep harping on gun control, but I had to laugh when I heard about this proposal coming from a politician, Phillip Lowe, in South Carolina. Ever since they started the Civil War, you can always count on the good folks north or the Savannah River to promote nutty political ideas.

The new supply closet?

The new supply closet?

In response to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting last week, one senator has a solution to school shootings – arm all the teachers, janitors and cafeteria workers. There seem to be two polar opposites about what to do about rampant gun violence. One side wants to eliminate (oops, I mean “restrict”) all firearms. The other side wants to just give everyone a gun. I guess the thought is that if someone came into a school and started shooting, all those kindergarten teachers and librarians would pull out their Glocks and blow him away.

I have two thoughts on that. The first is that the idea of a bunch of arming a bunch of amateurs with deadly weapons and encouraging them to use them in a building full of children, is a real scary thought. It’s not as easy as it looks on television or in a video game. Supposedly trained professionals mess it up all the time. Just last August, a handful of NYPD cops took on a bad guy and they got their man. But they also managed to wound nine innocent bystanders in the process. And these guys were supposed to know what they were doing. Imagine if they were school nurses!

The second, and equally scary thought is this; if you let and encourage guns in schools, how are you going to ensure those weapons away from the children? What happens when some junior psychopath-wannabe knows that Mrs. English Teacher keeps her gun in her desk drawer. After a playground encounter with the bully d’ jour, he decides to show his classmates how crazy he really is. Never happen? And who would have thought a 20-year-old son of a kindergarten teacher would take an AR-15, break into a school, and shoot up a class of six year-olds?  Hmmm.

It’s all in context

Sometimes I wonder why politicians ever open their month. The last couple of weeks have been crazy.

First, you have Congressman Todd Akin choking on his own foot over the issue of rape and pregnancy. Now the guy actually thinks he still has a chance to win. That alone shows a degree of political dementia that should disqualify him from the race. And the sad thing, or good thing — depending on your political orientation, is the idiot may cost his own party the White House and control of the Senate.

If you don’t say something stupid yourself, there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to tell the world that you did. The latest involves Paul Ryan, who, a slew of liberal political bloggers would tell you, described rape as “just another method of conception.”

Shock! Horror! Won’t these Republicans ever learn?

However, when you look at the context of his entire sentence and his entire answer, you can see that his statement was not shocking, and actually wasn’t addressing rape anyway. His statement addressed the question of the “life-status” of an embryo.

 “I’m very proud of my pro-life record. I’ve always adopted the idea that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life…”

He could have just as easily have said something like “…regardless of how the insemination occurred…”

If you are “pro-choice”, there is plenty in that statement for you to contest. You may disagree with his view on the start of human life, but, in context, it’s difficult to classify that as an unbelievably offensive statement.

Being an equal opportunity critic, let me jump in on the President’s side. He has been famously taken to task for saying that “…if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

How many people who have expressed shock and dismay have actually read the entire statement and understood what he was trying to say? In context, he was saying that no one works in a vacuum, and that we need to work together to accomplish great things. Not very controversial, is it?

I don’t want to take anything away from someone who has built a successful business. They deserve acclaim. But the President has a point. How many of them benefited from the support offered by society, in general terms like infrastructure and education, but also in specific terms, like tax-breaks, low interest loans, employment services, even the generous commercial lending climate encouraged by the Federal Reserve in the pre-2007 years, and so on.

You can agree or disagree with the President, but again, in context, that is not really a totally outrageous statement.

And we still have two and a half months until the November election. Oh my!

Why do we need an amendment?

Let’s talk a little politics.

I was interested when I saw this announcement about a news conference to be held in Atlanta today to push for a balanced budget amendment. Take a look at the list of Georgia’s Republican congressmen behind this effort. I have questions for these people. If you think a balanced budget is such a good idea, why do you need a constitutional amendment to force you to do it? And if you really believe a balanced budget is such a great idea, why have you been unable to produce one since Bill Clinton left office?

You can blame a lot on President Obama, but not all. Republicans were in control of the White House and the Congress for much of the 2000s, when the deficit exploded.

Here is what no one is saying. You don’t need a constitutional amendment to have a balanced budget. You just need some congressmen with some guts (or other anatomical parts.)

Most of the time I think a balanced budget is a wonderful idea, but not ALL of the time. Such a constitutional provision would prevent the government from responding to many emergencies, from wars to recessions. It has been observed that we could not have fought World War II, for instance, with a balanced budget amendment in place.

As it relates to our elected representatives, the Congress has lived up the saying:

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

Our Congressmen and women are like shopaholics who just can’t miss the next sale. They are addicted to spending the public’s money. Now they are apparently admitting they can’t control themselves, so they are asking for a constitutional amendment to control their impulses.  To continue the analogy a little further, they are saying they can’t help themselves and need someone to tear up their VISA card so they won’t be able to go shopping any longer.

These folks are supposed to be smart and capable of running a government. At least that is what they tell us every time they come up from election. Why do they need an artificial restraint to keep them from doing what they are supposed to do in the first place?

I have an idea; why don’t we just elect some representatives who can do the right thing without being forced to do so?

Here are two more links on the balanced budget amendment question.

From Business Week

From The Washington Post.

French burkas, racial profiling and the Tebow-Super Bowl flap

Listening to the news on the radio while I drive to work is a great source of inspiration for blog material.

As a sign I saw in a gift shop recently said, “Everyone is entitled to my own opinion.”

They are fighting over burkas in France these days. Those are the robes for Muslim women that cover their entire body including their face. France is considering banning them in public buildings, citing subjugation of women and security as the reasons. Naturally, those on the other sides are yelling about freedom of religion and France’s national identity. It’s interesting how Muslim leaders will cry for religious freedom when they are in the minority. However, try to wear a tee-shirt with “What would Jesus do?” written on it and see how far you get in the streets of Saudi Arabia or Iran. I suspect the mullahs would be singing another tune.

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A bill is scheduled to be introduced into the Georgia General Assembly today that would outlaw racial profiling. I am ambivalent about this issue.

On one hand, I don’t think someone should be arrested or harassed because of the color of their skin. ie: driving while black, etc.

On the other hand, crime is a serious issue in Savannah. Even out in our little suburban enclave, it is something to be concerned with. And at least here in Savannah, the vast, overwhelming majority of street crimes (assault, robbery, burglary, etc.) are committed by African Americans, primarily young, male African Americans. A story in yesterday’s local newspaper described arrest activity from the weekend and showed the mugs of the 12 people arrested. Ten of the twelve were black men. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly. This brings me back to the initial question:  Do I want to take away from the police one tool that might help them keep myself, my home and my family safe?  I don’t know.

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Our favorite-son quarterback, Tim Tebow, is taking hits this week, and not just at the Senior Bowl practice in Mobile. He and his mom are going to appear in a anti-abortion Super Bowl commercial paid for by the Christian advocacy group “Focus on the Family.” Supposedly, the ad will have Tim and his mom talking about her experience when pregnant with Tim. As the story goes, she had a difficult pregnancy and was advised to terminate the pregnancy for her health. She refused to do so, and the end result is Tim, a remarkable young man by any standard.

I am not a big fan of Focus on the Family, for what little I know about them. Nor have I seen the TV spot, but then again, neither had anyone else.

Nonetheless, the Women’s Media Center, with backing from the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups, are throwing the penalty flags in Tim’s and CBS’s direction.

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year – an event designed to bring American’s together,” said Jemhu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center.

“…an event designed to bring American’s together”??? I thought it was an event designed to determine the champion of the National Football League, provide an excuse for some Sunday afternoon parties and to make a lot of money for a bunch of people. I never knew it was supposed to be some kind of national unity event. Silly me.

I wonder if Ms. Greene has ever been to a viewing party or a football game where there were decent percentages of fans of both team? (Super Bowl, Florida-Georgia, Texas-Oklahoma, a BCS championship game, etc.)  I suspect she has not. If she had ever actually been to one of those games, she would know that unity is not a concept that comes to mind.

I don’t believe the women’s advocacy group really have much to complain about except that the Tebows’ message will probably be something they will disagree with.

The funniest shot comes from SI.com’s Greg Doyel.

“If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year,” he wrote. “It’s not a day to discuss abortion. For it, against it, I don’t care what you are. On Super Sunday, I don’t care what I am. Feb. 7 is simply not the day to have that discussion.”

The irony is just pure honey. According to Doyel, Super Bowl Sun“Thou shalt keep holy the Lord’s…” day is too holy to be despoiled by any talk of morals, ethics, or, God forbid, religion. No further comment is necessary.

For myself, it just gives me something to look forward to watching the game.

So long, farewell Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight!

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin officially stepped down from the Alaska governorship to return to private life. If only it were so. 2012 is just around the corner, and you know she’ll be back.

Until we meet again?

Until we meet again?

I have nothing against Sarah Palin’s political ideas. I agree with some of them and disagree with others. For that matter, I agree with most of my friend Craig’s political ideas, and Lord knows, he is outspoken. However, as much as I like Craig, I would never suggest he should be President of the United States, no matter how much I like what he has to say. The same goes for Sarah Palin. My problem with Ms. Palin is simply this; she is totally unqualified to be President of the United States. She doesn’t seem to understand that and neither do legions of her followers. Ms. Palin has spent too much time reading her own press releases and has started to believe them.

The job of President of the United States is probably the most difficult in the entire world with stakes higher than any other. Along with the obvious, and current issues of the economy, Supreme Court, health care, Iran and Korea’s nuclear programs, Israel and all its neighbors, immigration policy, taxation, defense and so on, there is that other gigantic elephant in the room. Nuke ExplosionThe President is one of maybe two people in the entire world who have the power at their fingertip to destroy all civilization on the planet. I’m not trying to be an alarmist. I’m just using that as an example to demonstrate how huge the responsibilities of the job are. This isn’t like hiring someone to manage a fast food restaurant. Agreeable ideas and a cute pair of glasses aren’t enough. The person who undertakes this job should have a strong intellect and a depth of knowledge and experience.

Famous for being famous?

Famous for being famous?

Ms. Palin’s rise to stardom reminds me of “celebrities” like Paris Hilton –famous for being famous. It is an unfortunate symptom we can see so often in today’s society. Celebrity means everything; substance so much less. They look good and they talk well. What else do you need?

When the Republican Party reached down (FAR down) to pull Palin out of the obscurity of the Alaska governor’s office to run for vice president, I thought maybe they had placed the names of every state-wide Republican office holder in the country in a big jar and pulled out a name. Whatever her political ideas, then-Governor Palin had absolutely no qualifications to be President. She was a relatively recently elected first-term governor of one of the smallest (population-wise) states. Prior to that, she was mayor of a town the size of Pooler, Georgia. Her total hands-on experience with any of the pressing national and international issues was then and continues now to be zero. The thought of someone only two years removed from being a small town mayor in position to be the most powerful and responsible person in the world, scared the heck out of me. As the campaign ran on, it became obvious that my initial concerns were correct.

I know many people who might have voted for John McCain, but they couldn’t stomach the idea of Sarah Palin being just one blood clot away from the Oval Office.

The argument could be made that George W. Bush’s only political experience was also as a governor. However, he was a two-term governor of a state large enough to be a country of its own. And besides, would you hold him up as a success story?

Sarah will be back. You can count on that. I can see the press releases now – “the feisty, outspoken hockey mom who is ready to take on the Washington establishment.”

We’re still three years away. Maybe that is enough time for some other Republican to emerge who has both the personality to contend for the office and the ability to do the job if elected.