Copyright 2017, All rights reserved.
Friday, April 07, 2017
Copyright 2017, All rights reserved.
Saturday, April 01, 2017
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.