Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just a thought

Politics and froth aside... has anyone considered that Hillary is running simply to get back at Bill. Some stories over the past few days have me wondering.

Before anyone leaps in with the 'sexist' crap... I'd happily vote for anyone, male/female/gender challenged, or whatever, with little reservations if I agreed with their positions. So skip that and move on.

See this.
"I think he would play the role that spouses have always played for presidents," said Clinton, in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "He will not have a formal, official role, but just as presidents rely on wives, husbands, fathers, friends of long years, he will be my close confidante and adviser as I was with him."
In earlier stories it has been pointed out that she was NOT invited to sit in on those sorts of things.

C'mon now, doesn't anyone else spot some sour grapes in the mix?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A new, and pivotal, year ahead?

What direction will we choose? That amounts to the signal issue for many. It's the essential basis for the Blue/Red divide.

We can waste time trying to filter the various candidates stated positions through myopics lenses or simply cut to the chase. Which candidates look to 'The Government' to provide solutions and which sees government as the antithesis of real solutions involving individual needs?

Uncle Karl describes one ideal: “From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need”. Wrapped in an anti-capitalist cloak that premise demands that those that are productive provide for those who are not.

In practical terms this means that government is used to redistribute wealth. The most obvious flaw is that as the number of government administrators needed grows the actual returns diminish.

It's been pointed out (by the oddest group of selective supporters) that the early Christians practiced a form of communal living that would seem to suggest a precursor of sorts, however the distinction between voluntary and mandatory seems to be ignored when making such a comparison.

One highly touted example of the direction some suggest are the various programs instituted by FDR during the depression. Others are examining that time with new eyes. See this article.
Is a public-sector job really as good as a job created in the private sector? I've been wondering about this a lot lately, in part because I just finished a book about the period of the first great American experiment in public job creation, the New Deal. Critics have written that I failed to appreciate the value of New Deal emergency jobs. But the quality of government-paid jobs is also relevant because of the Democratic presidential candidates' interest in that 1930s experiment.

To hear the candidates talk, a repeat of 1930s-scale government job creation is dangerously overdue. John Edwards has proposed that government take the lead in creating types of jobs--"green collar" and "stepping stone"--to serve the two goals of protecting the environment and giving lower earners new skills. Dennis Kucinich is calling for a new green version of FDR's Works Progress Administration.

The relevant points for today are simple. The famous "multiplier effect" of public spending may exist. U.S. cities do indeed need new highways, new buildings and new roads, maybe even from government. But these needs should be weighed against damage that comes when officials create projects and jobs for political reasons.
When 'pork barrel' spending, earmarks, and worse, are a constant reminder that reality and common sense are in short supply among our elected officials we'd better pay close attention in self defense.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Seasons Greetings

The last phrase from Luke 2:14 captures something appropriate for any time of year: and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The cynic will note that differing translations exist. The pessimist will note that there are those to whom peace is defined so loosely as to be a meaningless noise. The intellectual arrogantly seek to turn the whole phrase into the babble of the ignorant.

All that matters little... This time of year, and if only for a few minutes, across the metaphorical 'no man's land' many people are actually thinking about peace and good will towards man. That can 't be a bad thing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Breaking the Law is Tough

Stumbled across this piece on Drudge.
The students had a role-play project: assume a Latino identity, build an imaginary life in your home country and develop a workable plan to immigrate to the United States.

Try it legally, Erica Vieyra told her 40 senior Spanish students at Olentangy Liberty High School. Fill out the correct documents, follow the proper steps. And then, after they spent days completing the actual paperwork from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, she took out her red ink pad and stamped a big, fat DENIED across every request.

Now, she told the students, come illegally. Forge your documents, find a way across the border. Then, research real ads and find a place to live in Columbus. Figure out what it would cost, how to get food. Plan how to survive.

Certainly an interesting project, but perhaps somewhat misleading. From the information in the article there didn't seem to be any effort to get CITIZENS involved in changing what may be an unjust set of laws. The only effort was to bypass them!

Think about it... Just what lesson is the teacher attempting to instill in her students?
But she cautions that the point isn't to sway the students, only to teach them a little empathy.
Empathy for whom? Every English speaking American that must pay for multi-lingual documents? Every immigrant that went the legal route?

I don't see any other lesson besides this: Empathy (feelings) supersedes common sense, or said with more clarity - criminals are victims first. It's too easy to extend that to other lawbreakers. A drug dealer has a hard life, but he's only a victim? A drunk kills someone with a car, but he's only a victim?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Heinous Crime or...

To be clear: If this happened and the perpetrators are convicted no penalty is too harsh.

See this.
A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.
Ms. Jones has a website here.
The Jamie Leigh Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping United States citizens and legal residents who are victims of sexual harassment, rape and sexual abuse while working abroad for federal contractors, corporations, or government entities.
Conservative blogs and websites have said similar to what I offered with my opening sentence. Left leaning sites have already convicted Bush and Cheney.

The reasoning seems to be that some of Bush's Executive Orders are aiding and abetting corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater in breaking several laws.

One of the EOs can be found here. Some discussion of this and several other related EOs by Jerry Corsi and others can be found here.

So we have several EOs that were in place when this particular incident is alleged to have occurred in 2005.

So, for two years Ms. Jones kept quiet and next month there will be an interview with her on ABCs 20/20 to promote her foundation.

There is one assailant named in court records and 6 John Does.

That most of the current information available.

I'm continuity fascinated by those that will take limited information, a hatred of Bush and Cheney, weave a complex (befuddled?) scenario, and then started hunting for the first lynch mob they can join.

Many who would be outraged by such a rush to judgment in other contexts seem to develop an almost maniacal glee over stuff like this.

Monday, December 03, 2007

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
The Walrus and The Carpenter
Lewis Carroll

One of my favorite tales.

I empathize with the oysters, the primrose path is so easy to follow.

Shakespeare in Hamlet offers us all a warning as well:
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.
My point, humbled in such company... The easy way is rarely the best. Having a goal is laudable, seeking that goal expediently is a risky business.

Finally there is an old saw I remind myself of regularly: "Lie down with dogs - wake up with fleas."
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