Day by Day

Thursday, January 31, 2008

One of My Favorite Senators

Senator Jim DeMint, R-SC, is one of my favorite Senators. He's always been a positive force in the United States Senate, an excellent representative for South Carolina, AND has been supportive of my family.

So, it pleases me to no end to see him leading the call for Berkeley, California to shape up.

Read here:
DeMint to Berkeley: Support Our Marines or Lose Federal Funds

January 31st, 2008 - Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) released the following statement in response to the decision by the City Council of Berkeley, California to evict the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station from the city.

“This is a slap in the face to all brave service men and women and their families. The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money. If the city can’t show respect for the Marines that have fought, bled and died for their freedom, Berkeley should not be receiving special taxpayer funded handouts. I am currently drafting legislation to ensure that American taxpayers aren’t forced to pay for this insult by rescinding all of the earmarks for Berkeley in the Omnibus Appropriations bill, and to transfer the funds to the Marine Corps.”

According to news reports:

The [Berkeley] City Council has voted to tell the Marines their downtown recruiting station is not welcome and "if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome guests." The measure passed this week by a vote of 8-1. The council also voted to explore enforcing a city anti-discrimination law, focusing on the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In a separate item, the council voted, also 8-1, to give protest group Code Pink a parking space in front of the recruiting office once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week.

Kudos, Senator!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This was in the New York Post.

While the voters in Massachusetts are consistently able to forget Senator Kennedy's past, it's important to remember.

And despite persistence, Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Reaction to Press Coverage of Heath Ledger

From Michael Ramirez at Investor's Business Daily.

Says it pretty well, I think.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Credibility and Reliability in Reporting

There are many bloggers out there commenting on recent New York Times reporting that is quickly proving to be... less than accurate.

I don't want to duplicate the efforts of those who've written so well on the subject, so let me suggest one particular column that struck me as being particularly eloquent.

Please, take a look at Mark Steyn's column on the subject.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007

I'm torn.

There are two bills before Congress, a House of Representatives version and a Senate version, titled the "Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007.

Essentially, and to spare you the legalese in the bills (though I always encourage you to read the bills - unlike our actual lawmakers), it mandates that patients not be sent home from the hospital less than forty-eight hours after a mastectomy is performed.

I remember with Ellicia how happy we were that the Germans held her for quite a few days to ensure everything worked out ok... Mastectomies are MAJOR surgery.

Easy vote. Of course, patients shouldn't be sent home and it's sad that they are.

And I wish, really wish, that such a vote wasn't necessary.

Why am I torn? Because it goes against my beliefs of having the government tell the private sector (and insurance companies are private companies whom we hire to provide a service to us - namely, insurance) how their business should be run.

It's against my core beliefs.


What I feel, essentially, becomes a classic Liberal versus Conservative argument. On the Liberal side, I feel that it should be voted for. These women NEED to stay longer in the hospital to ensure their surgeries go well.

On the Conservative side, I don't want government meddling and mandating the business rules.

So, let's draw a compromise here. Attention insurance companies - here is a MARKET OPPORTUNITY. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering better mastectomy care. Customers, especially women at risk, and those who love them, will flock to your company.

Don't make government legislate the morality of good care. Do it on your own.

(Sad note - one of the House bills - HR 119 - was introduced by Rep. Jo Ann Davis, of the 1st Congressional District of Virginia. She passed away last year - from cancer.)

How Low Will We Go?

Sometimes in my job, I have to sit for hours, staring at a door, waiting on a moment's notice to spring into action.

So, it gives me time to think.

And ponder.

Recently, I started thinking about our fascination, as a culture (not necessarily a nation as it's worldwide), with reality TV. It seems that nothing is out of bounds. People will do anything for the chance of money and/or the fleeting fame of being a reality TV star.

And I heard a radio talk show host mention, in passing, that if executions were televised, they'd get great ratings.

And my twisted mind started to wonder.

Just how far we might go? Not necessarily this year, but... what's to come?

We have had committed couples go to "Temptation Island" to test their love for each other with other people.

We've had people swap relationships in the "Paradise Hotel".

And lately, with "Moment of Truth", we have people answering potentially (ok, DEFINITELY potentially) damaging questions versus a lie detector for money. In front of the people whom their answers will hurt the most.

So, I'm curious. One day...

A new game show comes out. Two teams, say... five people each (maybe we'll make it interesting and they're all family and friends) compete for enormous sums of money. Each round could be $10 million dollars or so.

Here's the catch... As the teams advance, they collect the money... But, when your team loses a round, the team captain has to chose a team member to eliminate.

Permanently. Whom would you sacrifice to advance to another chance for extra ten million dollars? Or call it fifty million?

My point is... I don't think we're that far away. Sure, the gut reaction is... You sick $!@*!!! But, what about all the other shows that have gone before... Each one pushes the boundary, the envelope, just a little bit more. And people watch. And on some channels - MTV, for instance, has some interesting shows - things really get pushed. Remember, same old, same old, doesn't bring ratings. New and daring does.

Just a sad prediction, and I hope I'm wrong...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Are the States Obsolete?

Is it time for us to dissolve the fifty states (ok, some are commonwealths, but for ease, I'll say "states") and perhaps have just the USA (we'll keep the name for heritage purposes) with administrative districts?


Once upon a time, notably the antebellum time (pre-1861), the States were remarkably sovereign. Federalism was fully in force with the central government playing a limited role, notably in affairs that affected all the States, and the States managing the local needs.

We have transitioned to a time where the Federal government plays a much larger role in all roles of government.

  • Education: Once a province of local governments and boards, schools are now managed and ruled according to the Federal government. Often Congress, and the Department of Education, enact laws and policies that all schools which receive federal funds must follow.

  • Crime: Think of how many crimes, once thought to be a "local" event, now involve the Federal government. Whether it's through the FBI (kidnapping), BATF (guns, tobacco, alcohol), IRS (money), or just the Department of Justice (it's amazing what the US Attorney can find to prosecute someone under - remember, Michael Vick's dogfighting case was a federal one), the Federal government has their fingers in local crimes just as much as the locals do.

  • Defense: Before the War Between the States, the States had their standing Armies, and the United States Army wasn't noticeably large. Units were organized and defined by their state of origin. Now, yes, we do have the National Guard for the States, but let's be realistic... they are merely subordinate to the Federal military. Virginia and South Carolina, for example, have fighter units. Against whom within the state's borders will they be attacking? Will the Governor of South Carolina order the 169th to shoot down mischevious North Carolina aircraft? Not likely. The same can be asked of Army National Guard units that don't quite fit the bill for state duty - a big need for a state to have M1A2 Main Battle Tanks?

    So, that time, too, has passed.

  • Disasters: This would be easy, right? Local fire, local government. Local flood, local government. However, when a natural disaster occurs, is not one of the first statements that the locals have asked for Federal Disaster relief? Or, Where's FEMA? Where are the Feds? What's the President going to do?!

  • Taxes: Most of our taxes go to the Federal government. Ironically, a large sum is often then granted back to the States... to do the Federal government's bidding.

  • Infrastructure: Much of our roadway and other infrastructure funding comes from... care to guess?

  • These are just a few examples. But, when you watch the Presidential debates or stump speeches, isn't it interesting that most of it is formed on the "What can you do for ME?" or "What will you do for our local area?" basis of thinking? Not necessarily what will be best for the country as a whole...

    Laws and regulations are vastly becoming more and more local from the Federal government, eliminating the once generous difference between the varied States. Iowa equals California equals Vermont equals Tennessee...

    The time for the States has passed. Let's eliminate the middlemen, and recognize the United States as the primary, and central, government that it is.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    A Ban on Dancing

    No kidding. Twenty-three years after Footloose, this is still around.

    I understand some folks (Baptists, for one) are against dancing on religious grounds. Fine. Part of the great melting pot (a term that's fallen out of favor in lieu of "multiculturalism") that is our country.

    But to legislate against it?

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Safe Sex

    Safe Sex

    While we're all aware of how Safe Sex can protect you from disease, and even a fairly decent chance of preventing pregnancy, did you know that it could conceivably save the planet?


    Awhile back, I'd debated writing about the British woman who had herself sterilized to avoid overpopulating the planet, depleting its resources, and generally causing the destruction of the environment.

    It was dismissed as a young woman who made her decision, and while we may not agree with her reasoning, there's something to be said for standing up for your principles. Also, there was the belief that her failing to reproduce will prevent the promulgation of her genes into the gene pool.

    Did you know there's a whole movement?


    The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

    This group encourages people to not reproduce so we can stop harming the planet. Eventually, humans would die out, and the planet would recover (the assumption being that it's desperately harmed already).

    There are even some catchy cartoons on the site. There's one where storks delivering babies drop them a la bombs into nature destroying forests, fish, and even Bambi.

    One of the best, and I'm not truly sure how I managed to watch all the way to the end, was "The Wit and Wisdom of Cancer".

    I'll give you a second.

    Yep, it's the hilarity, complete with stand-up comic, of the allegory of cancer cells destroying a body, with the body of course being "Gaia" - Earth's alternative nickname.

    It's important to know what's out there. What people seriously desire. And some people think the best thing for the human race is if we all die. They see a newborn not as a miracle, but as a devastating future for the planet.

    Educate yourself. Take a look.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    Maternity Leave for High School Students

    There's an article in the Denver Post about a push by high school students to have the school district grant "maternity leave".

    Lori Casillas, executive director of the Colorado Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and PRevention, had this quote, "Schools need to say, 'This is what we do to support your learning.' That's not happening."

    The students want four weeks away from school.

    I'll ask the question. How is their learning supported... if the student is not in school?

    The School District does try. They have a school for pregnant students (the article says girls, but really, I feel pregnant and girls is redundant - pesky four weeks of extra learning might have helped there). That's pretty supportive, I think. Sadly, there's a waiting list.

    Kayla Lewis, a Senior, 18 years old, and five months pregnant, pushed for the maternity leave at a recent school board meeting. Wouldn't a month of school be hard to replace for a senior? For those who hated math, four weeks = 20 days. Most school years are 180 days. So, missing a month means missing 1/9th of the year.

    By comparison sake, from Health and Biology classes, the human gestation period is coincidentally nine months in duration. So, I ask these new mothers (and many are still children themselves), what effect do you think missing a month of gestation would have upon your baby? Let's say we just skipped the 4th month of gestation. Just didn't do it. What would happen to the baby? I'm sure it wouldn't be quite so healthily developed.

    What happens to a child's education when they miss a ninth of their school year? How do you recover from that?

    I'm not indifferent to the fact that teen pregnancies will happen. They do. Sadly, too often. However, the school is there to support education, which means, having the student in class. There are other agencies of the government which will support the teen pregnancy.

    And remember (except for cases of rape), the pregnancy was a choice. A CHOICE. (The other half of being "Pro-choice", as I like to think...)
    Sex = Risk of Pregnancy. Sex = Acceptance of Risk. Therefore, Sex = Living with the choice and decision.


    (And I must comment on the newspaper's headline "Birth leave sought for girls"... um, Biology makes that redundant. I'm curious though, if the school board encouraged Paternity leave, too (oh my!), would more of the young men step up to "finish what they started"?)

    Please Explain This to Me

    In the past four, nearly five, years... the United States military has suffered 3,911 deaths in Iraq.

    I'll save the trip to the calculator. That's a little over 800 per annum.

    This massive death toll has spawned worldwide protests, marches, changes of governments, etc.

    Less than a thousand per year. (And please, PLEASE, I am NOT attempting to lessen the deaths of any ONE of those.)

    However, according to the American Cancer Society, there were an estimated 12,332,300 NEW cancer diagnoses worldwide in 2007.

    12 1/4 million.

    New cases. Not counting the ones already existing.

    The ACS also estimates 7,214,285 DEATHS from cancer in 2007.

    Where are the protests?

    Where are the calls for government action?

    Candidates for office - What is YOUR position on this deadly disease? Everyone has a position on whether we should stay in Iraq (some have more than one - it never hurts to have a spare), but who is calling for action against cancer?

    In the 1940s, the Manhattan Project cracked the Atom.

    In the 1960s, the Apollo Project reached the Moon.

    When will it become an imperative to try to reduce, or dare we dream, ELIMINATE this cause of death from the world's surface.

    How many more must die, each day, until it becomes important?

    Code*Pink - y'all have a good color... Are you with me?

    We can fight back this disease, that turns the body against itself... a different, yet familiar, form of insurgency.

    There are so many things that government does poorly... but, some things we've done well. Let's put an end to this disease. Let's bring LIFE to so many.

    We can do it.

    If it's important to us. It is to me. How about you?

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Ron Paul

    Ron Paul. IF someone recognizes the name, they tend to fall into one of two camps - those who see him as the Second Coming or those who see him as the Republican answer to Dennis Kucinich.

    For the most part... I agree with Ron Paul. He sums up many of my Libertarian leanings. I also notice how easy it is to demagogue him, primarily (no pun intended) due to his views on the Iraq Theater - of which I disagree with him.

    In order to expose him a bit to my loyal (and rare) readership, I thought I'd include some of the interviews Mr. Paul recently had with John Stossel (another Libertarian of whom I'm fond).

    Ron Paul Interview with John Stossel

    And then there's this:

    My Interview with Ron Paul

    By John Stossel

    Over the last few months, I've received hundreds of e-mails from people asking me to interview Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, so I did.

    It's refreshing to interview a politician who doesn't mince words. It's even more refreshing to interview one who understands the benefits of limited government.

    Here, then, is the first in a series of columns on my talk with Ron Paul. Some of Paul's answers are shortened.

    What should government do?

    Ron Paul: Protect our freedoms. Have a strong national defense. Look at and take care of our borders. Have a sound currency. That was the responsibility of the federal government, not to run our lives and run everything in the economy and extend the interstate-commerce clause and the general-welfare clause to do anything they want to do.

    So defense, the military, police forces enforce contracts, and that's about it?

    That's it. We would have a court system to enforce contracts, and when people do harm to others, when they take property or injure property, or pollute a neighbor's air, I think there's a role for government to protect our environment through private-property rights.

    So keep us safe, enforce contracts, run the courts, pollution rules and otherwise butt out? Leave us alone?

    Basically that, which would mean if I'm elected, I should immediately take a pay cut. You know, because I wouldn't have so much to do.

    The Department of Education. You'd get rid of it?

    Yes. We don't need it.

    How will people get educated?

    We might get better education. The evidence shows, since the 1950s, since the federal government's gotten involved, the quality of education has gone down, and the cost has gone up.

    The federal government should have no role?

    There's no authority for it, and . they've proved themselves inefficient. The one city they're totally in charge of is Washington, D.C. Thirteen thousand dollars a year per student. They have more guns, more drugs, more violence. So there's no evidence that the government can do a very good job.

    The Department of Energy.

    We don't need a Department of Energy. It serves the interests of big business.

    Other cabinet departments? Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development. You'd get rid of all of them?

    Yeah. Of course, that's not on the immediate agenda, but they're unnecessary, and we should think about what kind of a country we would have without these departments, and I think we would have a better country, and all those problems that they're supposed to solve, I think, would be lessened.

    The Commerce Department? We don't need the Commerce Department to have commerce?

    No, absolutely not.

    Homeland Security. Isn't that a role for the federal government?

    Not really, not the way that's designed. That's the biggest bureaucracy of them all. There are some parts that are OK. You know, they put the Coast Guard in there, and they put FEMA in there, and everybody's bunched together. And I think it was failure of government on 9/11, not the fact that we didn't have the Department of Homeland Security and . a national ID card, and this constant surveillance and loss of our privacy.

    Failure of government how?

    We spent $40 billion on intelligence gathering, and it didn't prevent (the 9/11 attacks) from happening. But the government was in charge of the airlines. FAA, they were supposed to inspect the people as they went on, and you weren't supposed to resist any takeovers, and (passengers and pilots) weren't allowed to have a gun. Maybe if you and I had the airlines, we might have said, "Hey, you know, we want to protect our passengers. Maybe we should have a stronger door on there, maybe we ought to give our pilots a gun." So 9/11 wouldn't have happened.

    So government creates too many rules, and the wrong ones?

    That basically it. Most of the time well-intentioned -- but good intentions will not solve our problems.


    Ron Paul is the only Republican presidential candidate saying we should get our troops out of Iraq -- now. Here's more of my edited interview with the congressman.

    Some people say that if we don't attack the enemy there, they'll attack us here.

    Ron Paul: I think the opposite is true. The radicals were able to use our bases in Saudi Arabia and the bombing of Iraq (from 1991 to 2001) as a reason to come over here. If China were to do the same thing to us, and they had troops in our land, We would resent it. We'd probably do some shooting.

    s this case not different? Religious fanatics hate us and want to kill us because of our culture.

    I don't think that's true. It is not Muslim fanaticism that is the culprit. The litmus test is whether we are actually occupying a territory. In the case of Saudi Arabia, that was holy land.

    Many say the surge in Iraq is succeeding, that we're at a turning point now, and we are creating a model of democracy in a part of the world that hasn't seen that.

    That's the propaganda. I don't happen to believe that.

    And if in most of Iraq, some religious fanatic comes to power and has money to buy nuclear weapons, we should just leave him alone?

    The Soviets had the technology. They were 90 miles off our shore, and they had nuclear weapons there. But we were able to talk to them. We took our missiles out of Turkey. They took the missiles out of Cuba. We should be talking to people like this. It's the lack of diplomacy that is the greatest threat, not the weapons themselves.

    You say we shouldn't be the world's policemen. Isn't it our responsibility to help others?

    It's OK for us to personally help other people. But to go around the world and spread democracy -- goodness, no -- too many unintended consequences. It usually requires force. I think we should only do those things under the prescribed conditions of the Constitution.

    Is war ever justifiable?

    Sure. If you're attacked, you have a right and an obligation to defend (your) country. I do not believe there is ever a moral justification to start the war.

    So in World War II, we were justified?


    How about going into Afghanistan after Sept. 11?

    I voted for that authority to go after those responsible for 9/11.

    The Korean War?

    Totally unjustified.


    Absolutely unjustified.


    A horror.

    The first Iraq war? Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. He might have invaded the next country, and the next.

    I bet Israel would have done something about it, and I bet Saudi Arabia maybe would have talked to Israel. I think if it would have been left to the region, they might have taken care of Saddam Hussein in 1990 and we wouldn't have the problems we have today.

    What if there's genocide and terrible suffering in a country?

    It's a tragedy, and we can have a moral statement, but you can't use force of arms to invade other countries to make them better people. Our job is to make us a better people.

    You'd pull American troops out of Korea, Germany, the Middle East, everywhere?

    I would. Under the Constitution, we don't have the authority to just put troops in foreign countries willy-nilly when we're not at war.

    If North Korea invades South Korea, we should just leave it alone?

    Sure, but it's not going to happen. South Korea's about 10 times more powerful than North Korea.

    If China invaded Taiwan?

    That's a border war, and they should deal with it.

    If Canada invades Montana?

    I think that might be a little bit different. Montana probably could take care of it, but we'd probably help them out from Washington if that happened.

    That's a role for the federal government?

    Oh, sure.

    Moving along...

    U.S. congressional representative and Republican presidential contender Ron Paul has been called "Dr. No" because he repeatedly votes against legislation he believes gives government too much power. If it's not in the Constitution, he says, the federal government has no business doing it. He even votes against appropriations to his constituents. Here's Part 3 of my edited interview with Rep. Paul.

    Your district is subject to floods, but you vote against FEMA. Why?

    Ron Paul: Because I think FEMA helps create the flood problems. (Without subsidies,) if it's risky on the Gulf Coast to build there, the insurance prices will go up. If (they're) too high, nobody will build there, or they'll build there with full risk. Flood comes, wind blows your house away, you don't get reimbursed. So there might be (only) modest building in those areas. But if the government subsidizes the insurance, saying, "If you build there, don't sweat it, we're going to bail you out," more people move into the flood-prone areas. Then who are the people that have to bail you out? Somebody that lives out in the desert. It's unfair, it's not good economics. You create more problems, more houses get flooded, and it becomes a general problem rather than an individual problem. We have undermined is the principle of measuring risk. Then people do things that they wouldn't have otherwise done.

    You also say, "no farm subsidies."

    No, I can't quite find (the farm-subsidy program) in the Constitution.

    Don't we need farm subsidies to make sure we have food?

    It is totally unnecessary. I think (subsidies) push the prices of food up, and maybe (that) makes it more difficult for poor people to buy food. If there's a subsidy, it means the taxpayer was taxed to pay a huge corporate farmer. So it hasn't helped the people. And why should we assume that the farmers wouldn't be productive? They're hard working people. I never voted for farm subsidies, and I represent a farm district.

    They forgive you for that?

    The farmers will support me, but not the (farm lobby) organizations.

    Most crops don't have subsidies. Yet we have plenty of (unsubsidized) peaches and plums.

    When I go to the grocery store, I always marvel: Isn't it wonderful how we can see so much fresh produce there, and the prices aren't regulated? It was a fallacious argument back in the '30s that the Depression came from free markets and therefore we had to have a safety net. We gave up on believing in freedom and understanding how the market works.

    You talk about freedom and tyranny. I seldom hear politicians use those words.

    Those are our only two choices. We've had a grand experiment in this country, where we emphasize freedom. The Constitution was designed to protect individual liberty, to restrain the government. But we have forgotten that. Now we have an interpretation that means that we spy on the American people, encroach on their privacy, take care of them, run the "nanny state" -- and then we have secrecy in government. So we have it reversed. People say, "Ron, you want to go back to the dark ages of this strict interpretation of the Constitution." Well, I want to go back to the Constitution, but I don't consider it the dark ages. I think the dark ages the days were when all you had was tyranny. Freedom is new. Tyranny is old.

    The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are enough? We don't need 55,000 pages of tax code?

    Isn't that fantastic? Truth is simple. The more complex (government) is, the more leery we ought to be of what they're doing. When they say we have to solve the problems of 9/11 (by passing) the Patriot Act, that's complex. Four hundred pages, and they dump it on us an hour before we vote. You can read the Constitution and understand it, but you cannot read and understand hardly any of the legislation being passed.

    And lastly...

    You want a 700-mile fence between our border and Mexico?

    Ron Paul: Not really. There was an immigration bill that had a fence (requirement) in it, but it was to attack amnesty. I don't like amnesty. So I voted for that bill, but I didn't like the fence. I don't think the fence can solve a problem. I find it rather offensive.

    What should we do?

    Get rid of the subsidies. (If) you subsidize illegal immigration, you get more of it.

    Get rid of welfare?

    All the welfare benefits.

    Including government-paid health care?


    So what should a hospital do if an illegal immigrant shows up for treatment?

    Be charitable, but have no mandates by the federal government. Catholics want to help a lot of these people. I'm not for (punishing anyone who wants to help voluntarily). But we wouldn't have so many (illegals) if they didn't know they were going to get amnesty. If you promise them amnesty -- medical care, free education, automatic citizenship, food stamps, and Social Security -- you're going to get more (illegal immigration). I think we could be much more generous with our immigration. (But) we don't need to reward people who get in front of the line.

    We should be more generous in our legal immigration policy?

    (Without the welfare state) it would be a non-issue. Today it's a big issue because people are hurting; they can't keep up with paying their bills. They see (illegals) using food stamps, in the emergency rooms, demanding bilingual education in the schools. The costs are going up.

    So get rid of all those programs? Every one?

    I would. Get rid of the incentives and work toward a real solution.

    You oppose "birthright citizenship," which says that the child of an illegal immigrant who gives birth in America is a U.S. citizen. But that right to citizenship is in the Constitution, isn't it?

    There's confusion on interpreting the 14th Amendment. It says that if you're under the jurisdiction of the United States, you have a right to citizenship if you're born here. But it's a little bit confusing. If you step over the border and you're illegal, are you really under the jurisdiction? There's a question on that, and I want to clarify it. I don't like to reward people who sneak in for that purpose and get on the welfare rolls.

    What about the millions who are here illegally already? Should we deport them?

    I don't think anybody could find them. Nobody even knows how many there are. But if they come for welfare benefits and you know they're illegal, (you should) deny them the benefits. If they commit a crime, send them home. Today in many cities, you're not even allowed to ask them their immigrant status. Policemen tell me they can't ask that question to find out if they're illegal. It's politically incorrect to ask a person his immigrant status because that would (be like saying), "If you've broken the law, maybe you ought to go home."

    How do you see immigration in the future?

    If we have a healthy economy, we would probably have a lot of people coming back and forth working in this country. There was a time when (immigrants did that). That was when they didn't expect to get easy amnesty.

    So, these are some of his views. Something to think about. For more, please go to his Website. Remember, when it's your turn to vote, educate yourself... and vote for whom you believe in. It's the only way to make your beliefs truly known.

    (Many thanks to the transcripts from Real Clear Politics.)

    Sunday, January 06, 2008

    Worth Living?

    We are a risk-averse society.

    An example I often give is from when I lived in Germany. I observed how different the driving there was compared to that which I was accustomed in the States. It was safer, even if the speeds were dramatically in excess of anything in America.

    How can that be? We've lived under the theory (as seen on billboards and bumperstickers for years) that Speed Kills.

    How can autobahns replete with vehicles often cruising at 150 MPH be safer than here in the States where you "Drive 55 to arrive Alive"?

    While there are certainly many reasons... the German culture, attention to detail, safe driving habits... I believe one of them is the near certain result of what happens when a Mini loses control at 150+ MPH. No matter what safety features, there's nothing left of machine nor occupant. Period. Devastation.

    Compared to here, where we work VERY hard to ensure survivability no matter what. There are driver side airbags, passenger airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags, radar, sonar, run-flat tires, computer controlled steering, brakes, rollover protection, etc. We are determined to make all accidents survivable.

    The end result is that we do not fear a wreck. We can afford to be careless... sure we might bounce off of something, but... we'll survive. Consumer Reports and the dealership salesman both said so... not to mention all the TV commercials touting the latest crash test result.

    This expands into everything we do. Quite simply, we don't like the idea of dying. We spend gobs of money staving off Death in our last days. We put helmets on our children as they bicycle, strap them into everything, even if it's just for a short while, and curtail holiday traditions lest there be the slightest rumor of a possible chance of a risk (Trick or Treat? No... The neighbor down the street read an article on the Internet about a person who knew a friend who's nephew found a razor blade in a Mars bar.)

    Which brings me to my question... well, almost. Please, bear with me for a moment.

    I work under the Theory of Opposites. In order to define one thing, there must be an opposite. How can you define Peace - without the concept of War? Life without Death is not Life, but mere... existence? Ends must have Beginnings (and vice versa), White and Black, Wet and Dry, etc., etc.

    So, back to my question. How can we have things Worth Living For if there's nothing Worth Dying For?

    Hundreds of years ago (and in many cases thousands), people climbed into leaky, barely sea-worthy boats (ships being too generous of a term), and sailed off, never knowing if they'd return.

    One hundred years ago, men would take to the skies, often with the very real possibility of returning to the ground in a less than controlled fashion.

    Fifty years ago, we would strap people to rockets with more explosive power (as witnessed by their propensity to explode unexpectedly) and launch them into the unknown.

    No longer.

    We send robots to do our exploring. We send robots to fight our battles.

    We watch others do great things. We save risk for Reality TV.

    But risk ourselves? No.

    So, I ask. What's Worth Living for if nothing is worth Dying for? (My apologies to the grammar police.) I don't mean being reckless; that's foolish. But surely something is worth risk.

    It's one of the reasons we have trouble understanding the terrorists and islamofascists. For all we disagree with them, they DO have the courage of their convictions. They believe so strongly in their beliefs, they are willing to forego Life itself to achieve it. (Sure, the same can be said of our military, but let's admit it... our military is in no hurry to die - witness all the armor and precautions we take, and just walk up to any Soldier and say "Risk Assessment" to them and watch the eyes.)

    What would You die for? All that we've put into living... what would you chuck it all for? Parents will likely say their children... but, is there anything else? If someone said, you walk into that room, and you're dead... what would you consider to be worth that choice?

    Because, if there's nothing worth dying for... then what are we living for?

    Have We Lost Our Imagination?

    (Crossposted from A Storm In Afghanistan.)

    When was the last time we had an endeavor that captured our attention?

    Truthfully, less than a month ago. The New England Patriots (a professional football team in the NFL, for those not familiar) had the first undefeated season in NFL history.

    Ok, it wasn't the first. It was the second. The first being the 1972 Miami Dolphins (who coincidentally came very close to having an unvictorious season this year). The Patriots were notable because this was the first sixteen game undefeated season. The 1972 Dolphins having not played sixteen games in their regular season, but fourteen. Of course, there were also two playoff games, and the Super Bowl... giving them seventeen winning games. Which, as you can see, is different than the sixteen games... or something like that.

    Anywho, it was a big deal. The game was broadcast on three different networks. This was to ensure that everyone in America would have the opportunity to witness history being made.

    So... before that?


    World Cup?

    America's Cup?

    Presidential Elections? Nah, those sadly define apathy.

    Surely there's been something...


    Perhaps it's our quest to cure Cancer. AIDS? World Hunger? (Nope, those concerts quickly came and went in the eighties.)

    Would you believe that what seems to capture our attention these days isn't success? It's failure.

    Britney Spears is losing her mind, career, kids... tune in now to watch the latest. Baseball's steroid scandal. The failing of our schools. The salivating of the continuous death count of the Iraq Theater. Murders. Abductions. Virginia Tech. Even the fallacy (yes, I wrote fallacy) of Global
    Warming predicates itself upon the humans failure by destroying the world, environment, children's self-esteem, and ________ insert your own item there.

    What do we have to enlighten and motivate our youth?

    What can we do to excite them?

    Where can we find Hope for their future?

    Something... um... dare I dream... positive?

    In the 1960s, there was the Space Race. Space has now become a mundanity that excites few. And who can blame them? The Space Shuttle, which we are risk averse to launch after two losses over a seventeen year period, has the perception of being no more than a high-tech pick-up truck. We have the International Space Station, where a continuous human presence has been maintained for over seven years, is quickly becoming an irrelavancy to be checked off of the checklist than to be exalted. We'd once dreamed of it having seven (or more) scientists living and working aboard it using many different laboratories. It's reduced to three with fewer labs, and having taken forever to complete. It's final assembly will be the satisfaction of just finally finishing the race, not by trying to win it.

    Our space program is quickly stalling out... the Shuttle is already doomed to no more flights after 2010, whether the replacement program - Constellation - is ready or not. And that continues to be scaled back, redesigned, and set up for failure much in the way the Shuttle was prior to its launch in 1981 (yes, folks, twenty-SIX years ago).

    This nation... we need to find a focus. A Positive focus.

    Yes, personally, I would like it to be a space focus. A new, fruitful expedition of meaningfulness.

    However, we need something. Something that will light the fire of the mind of our next generations.

    What do you suggest?

    And just a thought, but what do our leaders suggest? Or, our potential future leaders?

    Don't know? Let's ask them. And not take a shrug, or a nice form letter, as an answer.

    There is more to LIFE than just marking time and waiting for the next event to come to us. It's to be savored, and to be created - We can do it. If we want to, that is.

    It's time to lead us to our future, it's waiting for us.

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Change... For the Sake of Change?

    This is the observation of a good friend of mine, M*A:

    (I'll paraphrase.)

    After the Iowa Caucus, it dawned on her. There were Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards... all of them proclaiming their desire to change America. To transform it into what it should be, because there is something wrong with it.

    A woman.

    A black man.

    And a man who's house is 28,000 square feet.

    What's wrong with this picture? One hundred and fifty years ago, one of those would have been a slave. Ninety years ago, one couldn't have voted, much less been a United States Senator and run for President of the United States of America. And the latter, to have risen through his career to have the wherewithal to live in a house so immense that it boggles the imagination of most Americans...

    Yes, something must be wrong with America.

    What's wrong with celebrating who we are and the promise we hold for our future?