Saturday, March 30, 2013
The exercise of picking winners between opposing ideological positions caused me to think about the validity of the comparisons. The only comparison that was seen by me as polar opposites was that of Openness vs. Secrecy. I consider the rest to be artificial oppositions brought about by the warping power of politics. My next musing was to think of opposites that I considered as truly trumping one another. I call them Self-evident Truths, as in "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." In my opinion, they are, to wit: Substance vs. Form, Reason vs.Ideology, Independence vs. Subservience, Love vs. Hate, Humility vs. Hubris, and Compromise vs. Contention.
If you read this, please comment and add your own truths.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
First, practical solutions that show promise to reduce the incidence of a bad thing are attacked. The reasons given for not trying promising solutions are many. Reasons include impracticality, cost, interference with personal liberties, inadequacy of the promising response, etc. The interesting thing about these criticisms is that no alternatives are presented as counter-proposals by their proponents.
Secondly, the naive solutions are targeted at specific circumstances surrounding the bad thing. The latest bad thing, a tragic shooting of school children and teachers, has prompted suggestions of putting armed guards in schools and/or arming teachers. The proponents of turning schools into fortresses have tunnel vision, omitting such venues where mass shootings have occurred such as movie theaters, supermarkets, shopping malls, work places and places of worship, from the scope of the solution. The naive solution is seen as the ultimate panacea without regard to it's own short-comings.
Thirdly, due to the emotional investment by the proponents of naive solutions, criticisms of the solution are often taken to be a personal attack on the proponent. This reaction delays others from criticizing the bad idea and suggesting practical solutions that show promise of reducing the chance of re-occurrence of the bad thing. In the meantime, in sympathy with the proponents of naive solutions, others become invested in the naive solution due to not hearing a critical analysis of its short-comings. The efficacy of the bad, naive solution becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A current example of a workable solution, realistic regulation of firearms aimed at reducing both the availability of weapons to persons who fit the profile of mass-murder shooters and the ability of weapons that can cause massive destruction of human life, is having a difficult time making traction against the simplistic idea of creating fortresses, an idea that is as old as civilization and one that is totally eclipsed by modern technology.
Let's get reasonable and find a solution to mass shootings.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I hear this reaction to bad things happening from persons interviewed by the new media, from pandering politicians, from unfortunate victims and from the family and friends of the unfortunate victims. This reaction is the display of naivete.
It is absolutely unreasonable to expect to prevent a bad thing from happening again. The most that can be expected is that the odds of a bad thing happening again may be reduced, but even this result cannot be guaranteed. There are simply too many variables involved in the occurrence of a bad thing to expect absolute control over whether or not a bad thing happens again. That being the case, then whence the urge for a permanent fix?
I attribute it to the naive belief that there are absolutes that can be obtained by force of will. More later.
Sunday, February 03, 2013
Friday, February 01, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Friday, November 16, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
One letter stated, "As a woman, I am very disappointed with the women who voted President Barack Obama back in. To me, this is demeaning to women. To the Hispanics who are Catholic, does your faith not matter?"
The other letter stated, "I am a Christian mother,wife, daughter, nurse, and friend. I won't be bullied [by a Billy Graham full-page advertisement urging biblical values to guide voting decisions] to vote with the right wing by conservative Christians. We live in America. Can't we all respect free will and our privilege to vote as we choose?
The first letter writer is a "faith voter". The second letter writer is not. My guess is that the first writer is an Evangelical, and the second writer is not. The first has probably been influenced by a preacher, the second not. The first is probably "pro-life, the second "pro-choice". The first is probably a right-wing Republican, the second not. There are probably other differences and similarities between the two, but what is the critical feature of their existence that moves them to polar opposite views? Answer this question and you have the knowledge to unlock the political grid-lock that besets America.
Friday, November 09, 2012
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Saturday, October 27, 2012
China buys U.S. bonds for its own financial security, not to control U.S. fiscal policy. China cannot dictate bond repayment terms and relies on the U.S.’s full faith and credit as do all bond holders. The seller of bonds is in control of the terms, including repayment terms.
Conservatives suggest it’s bad that the U.S. borrows money from China. But the conservatives are wrong about that. It is good that China buys U.S. bonds, because that increases world-wide competition for the bonds, which lowers the interest rate received.
Mr. Romney and cohorts, please stop saying that our government borrows from China. That’s a good sound bite, but it is not factual. It’s just another lie to mislead the American voter.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Sunday, July 01, 2012
The letter alleges that fluoridation started in 1945. In truth, it's older than dirt and the 1945 date is bogus. Fluoride is found naturally in some potable water supplies. The discovery was made that children and, by extension, adults who drank fluoridated water had fewer cavities than people who drank water with no or very little fluoride. Ergo, fluoride was added to water supplies to obtain its benefits, better oral health. No ill-effects were observed in populations with naturally fluoridated water. Thus, the letter writer's assertion that fluoridation is unethical and ineffective is wrong, because it promotes a public good, fewer cavities.
The writer alleges studies that have shown "levels of fluoride in most American cities is high enough to cause brain damage especially in young children". No evidence is provided to support this extreme claim, although one would expect health authorities to be cognizant of such an effect and to have taken remedial action. The writer even cites a Web site, www.fuoridealert.org, for more information. The site sponsored by a group calling itself the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), a group founded in 2000 which since 2004 has been associated with the American Environmental Health Studies Project, also a 501(c)(3) founded by activists studying radiation effects, for legitimacy. Bed fellows make strange politics.
The letter also calls fluoridation a "medication" that low-income families are forced to "ingest", because they cannot afford cleaner water. First, fluoride is not medicine. It's a mineral. Secondly, potable water, unless distilled and processed for mineral removal, contains numerous minerals, all regulated by Clean Drinking Water standards of the EPA and enforced by State health departments. The writer suggests a government conspiracy is responsible for fluoridation. Well,that does it for me. I classify this opposition to fluoride along with "Birthers" and other conspiracy finders.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
President Obama’s critics complain that he has not revived the economy from its recent recession. Unemployment hovers at 9 percent. Job creation is minimal compared to the number of new jobs needed for available workers. Never mind that the U.S. economy enjoys: good business profits, corporations with hefty cash assets, robust securities markets, building permit gains, and other positive indicators of economic health; President Obama is deemed by his critics to be personally at fault for a tepid recovery. Besides the critics, plenty of pundits, pollsters, professors, protesters, and politicians ascribe power over the economy to the President. Truth is: the President alone has no power over the nation’s economy, let alone the global one. Actually, the domestic and the global economy’s condition is the result of complex economic actions by a multiplicity of entities engaging in a multitude of behaviors, not the singular policies or practices of the “leader of the free world”. Sadly, the myth of Presidential power to rule the economy for better or worse is accepted as gospel. Let’s dispense with this falsity. Instead, we should acknowledge shared responsibility for the economy’s health and not saddle any President with an impossible burden.
President Obama’s critics complain that he has not revived the economy from its recent recession. Unemployment hovers at 9 percent. Job creation is minimal compared to the number of new jobs needed for available workers. Never mind that the U.S. economy enjoys: good business profits, corporations with hefty cash assets, robust securities markets, building permit gains, and other positive indicators of economic health; President Obama is deemed by his critics to be personally at fault for a tepid recovery. Besides the critics, plenty of pundits, pollsters, professors, protestors, and politicians ascribe power over the economy to the President. Truth is: the President alone has no power over the nation’s economy, let alone the global one. Actually, the domestic and the global economy’s condition is the result of complex economic actions by a multiplicity of entities engaging in a multitude of behaviors, not the singular policies or practices of the “leader of the free world”. Sadly, the myth of Presidential power to rule the economy for better or worse is accepted as gospel. Let’s dispense with this falsity. Instead, we should acknowledge shared responsibility for the economy’s health and not saddle any President with an impossible burden.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Cuts in funding of Kansas public schools and universities are devastating the excellence that has been the standard for decades. Reduced state funding has occurred because of reduced revenues as a result of the 2007-08 Recession. The reduction of tax rates carried out by conservatives over the past decade or more has compounded the reduction in revenues. Resistance to increasing income taxes (and thus revenue) in order to provide adequate funding for education has been expressed as “job-killing”, if done during a recession. Well, although the recovery is not over, the recession is over. Sales tax was increased temporarily in 2010 to avoid drastic cuts in educational funding. Sales tax kills sales, which in turn kills jobs. But never mind that, because the sales tax increase did not hurt the “job creators” like it did the folks who are “job fillers”. As soon as the temporary sales tax increase expires, income taxes should be raised to the extent required to fund fully the educational needs of the state. Property taxes could also stand a modest increase to fund educational needs that localities want to enhance education above minimum state standards.
In addition to providing adequate revenue, expenditures by school districts and universities should be closely monitored to insure efficient and economical operation. Particularly, district central office and higher education administration staffing and non-instructional activities such as community relations, athletics, transportation, food service and building maintenance should be scrutinized closely for any possible cost-savings. Structural reorganization of school districts and institutions of higher education should be actively pursued to eliminate duplication of services and excessive overhead. Consolidation of school districts and duplicated small enrollment major programs are examples of specific cost-saving targets. I support a stronger role for the Department of Education and Regents in oversight and assistance to educators to achieve monetary savings. Particularly troubling is the apparent duplication of the K-11 on-line instruction program that diverts scarce resources to home-schooling. Distance-learning programs that increase educational resources available to sparsely populated areas should be expanded for cost-savings.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Increasing the debt ceiling does not create new Federal spending; it simply permits payment of interest on debt already incurred, which unfortunately requires borrowing to finance. If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, U.S. Treasury obligations will be in default with serious adverse consequences for investment portfolios.
I deplore deficit spending as a standard practice and believe it should not occur. But, holding the debt ceiling hostage to change this practice is not the way to balance the budget for on-going government programs. Debt financing is only prudent for infrastructure investments which should always be considered in a cost-benefit context.
Balancing the budget can only be achieved by scaling back current spending financed by general tax revenues until they are equivalent. Spending for new programs should be authorized only when tax revenues are available through whatever means to maintain a balanced budget. To achieve this, Congress will have to make hard decisions on the viability of Federal programs and fund only the most worthy. With 435 Congresspersons and 100 Senators working in numerous committees aided by seemingly innumerable staff, line-item review of the budget should be possible.
If the debt ceiling is not approved in a timely manner and serious investment losses occur on that account, every member of Congress should be held personally responsible for the losses.
Friday, July 08, 2011
So far every Republican who has announced his or her candidacy for President has blasted President Obama by spewing out a litany of alleged faults. I suppose they do this to demonstrate to the GOP faithful that, as a candidate, they will go after President Obama with fervor. Well, despite all the patently untrue things that the likes of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are claiming President Obama has done in the past, is presently doing or will do in the future, they don’t know the half of it. So, before candidates yet to be announced invent more crap about President Obama, let’s set the record straight with the true dirt on the man.
President Obama is a vampire. He sucks blood from his victims and leaves them among the undead. President Obama provided, in the Affordable Health Care Act, that no government paid medical care will be available to a victim of a vampire, thus ensuring that the victim remain among the undead. It’s a plan to get votes, because an undead person does not have to pay taxes, but can still vote if they are registered in Chicago.
President Obama cheats at sports like basketball and golf. When keeping his score, he conveniently forgets a third putt, does not count a mulligan for a shot that landed deep in the rough or out of bounds and ignores duffs. By shaving points, President Obama alleges to shoot in the low 80s, a respectable showing for someone who plays infrequently. Except President Obama is actually a frequent golfer, using his position as President for free golf at military golf courses, the Army/Navy Country Club and other private links around the USA. In basketball, his height is an unfair advantage that he exploits by also being able to jump
President Obama is a wife beater. Michelle Obama is the frequent target of outrageous physical attacks that leave her body bruised and swollen. Fortunately, she is nearly the same size as President Obama and is able to return his onslaughts, blow for blow. Because Michelle has amazing powers of regeneration and healing, the bruises and swelling that his beatings inflict are invisible after an overnight rest. This regenerative power as a vampire victim also qualifies Michelle as one of the X-squad.
President Obama is an alcoholic. He has a pint flask of quadruple distilled vodka hidden in his inside suit coat pocket. From the container a clear plastic tube leads to his lips, so he can take a swig any time he pleases. The tube is disguised as a microphone lead wire that he could plug into a podium amplifier. That’s why he makes so many speeches. The amount of alcohol consumed during a speech depends on how many teleprompters are in front of the podium to hide his sucking motions.
President Obama’s feet stink. The foul odor is produced by copious feet sweating. He refuses to put odor eaters in his shoes, because he believes they interfere with his ability to side-step questions with the agility that a frequent liar requires. Rather than abate the odor, he chooses to perpetuate the myth that he walks on water, a myth spawned by the constant wetness of his shoes and the squishing sound he makes. The first thing Obama does when he goes to the family quarters is wash his feet like in a Muslim ritual.
President Obama misuses Air Force One for his personal pleasure. He is notorious for donning his Air Force One jacket to flaunt his position as President of the United States. He could just as easily tell the pilot to turn up the heat so he would be comfortable in his shirt sleeves. He has even purchased monogrammed bath robes, pajamas, sweaters, socks, slippers, underwear, slacks, sleeping caps, and hoodies for himself, his family and his staff, at a cost of $500 million.
President Obama talks too much. Instead of just listening to the persons whom he contacts during his work day and nodding to confirm his understanding of their communications, he actually replies aloud to them. He feigns courtesy and interest by sharing his ideas on the subjects being discussed. Because of his high intelligence and broad vocabulary, he contributes to conversations extensively. He patiently receives their feedback just as he gives others feedback on their ideas.
If you hear or read of these faults of Obama, remember you saw it here first. I'm going to keep my ear to the ground to learn of other faults of Obama that are as baseless as these. Stay tuned.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
I’m tired of Republicans who think they can reduce the deficit and the nation’s indebtedness through spending cuts alone. I believe that the federal government is too big. I believe it has too many employees. I believe its standards and regulations create unnecessary and excessive costs. I believe its programs are ill-designed and thus encourage fraud, waste and abuse. I believe it spends federal dollars on things that are the responsibility of state and local governments. I believe it spends American tax dollars on things that other countries should pay for themselves. I believe that social security payments should be means tested. I believe that Medicare and Medicaid costs should be reduced through greater competition in medical services. I believe that the prescription drug benefit is too generous for both pharmaceutical companies and beneficiaries. I am pretty much open to a lot of ways to reduce federal spending. But, when the money to pay the interest on the federal debt has to be borrowed, which increases the debt; when the country’s population is growing by leaps and bounds from a robust birth rate, lower death rate, and immigration of whatever legality, which requires more government services and thus spending; when our politicians are loath to alienate special constituencies by sharply cutting sacred cows like farm or other business subsidies, which frustrates the idea of reduced government spending; and when many other things can happen or conditions exist that are too many too enumerate or even identify in advance of their occurring, which never-the-less can affect the ability of well-intentioned spending cuts to reduce the annual budget deficit or the national debt, how can anyone with even a smidgen of intelligence maintain that spending cuts alone can solve the federal fiscal problem. We need to ask our conservative congressmen and political powers to get real, Grover Norquist to the contrary not withstanding, and raise taxes. It's time to pay the piper before the piper does his thing.