Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drug Testing, more Conservative Bull

In Florida they have a “great” idea. They’re going to keep them welfare cheats from using taxpayer’s hard earned dollars for drugs. How are they going to do that you ask? By requiring welfare applicants to first take a drug test, at their own expense, before receiving any benefits. In the, according to Conservatives, “unlikely event” they’re clean, the state reimburses them for the test.

How has this worked out so far? Well, according to a Florida TV station, of the first 40 applicants tested only 2 came up positive and one of those is contesting the test. Not providing welfare benefits to the two that failed the test would save Florida $240 a month. Cost of the 40 tests? $1,140. That means it would take Florida 5 months to recoup the dollars spent on testing and the failed applicants can retest in 12 months.

And that’s not to mention what it’s going to cost to defend the policy in court as I guarantee you it will be challenged as violating the 4th Amendment.

It’s been my experience that there are two types of Conservatives. The rich ones and the poor ones. The rich ones play the poor ones like a fiddle and their objective is to get richer. The poor are uneducated, ignorant slobs that have somehow been convinced that all of their troubles are the result of their money being used to subsidize those even poorer than themselves.

In their left hand they have their bible and in their right hand they have their gun and between their ears is mostly empty space. They are kept riled up on nonsense issues like gay marriage. They’re constantly being told the government is spending their money when the fact of the matter is they’re far more likely to be beneficiaries of government spending and the cuts their rich buddies keep pushing for are most likely to land right on their own heads.

No one likes to live from pay check to pay check or be in dept but chasing boogey men isn’t going to help resolve the problem. I think government spending needs to be cut back as well but we also need to rebalance the distribution of wealth in this country and stop the constant rampant greed that has driven our economy to the brink of disaster.

As for the drug testing, I’m betting it fails the constitutional test and would lose money in the long run anyway so why bother?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This was just another example demonstrating that the media and our so-called leaders are out of touch with reality.

After days of dire warnings of doom, it turns out they weren’t even focused on the right issues. The massive storm surge never materialized but inland there was flooding and lots of it.

This turned out to be not nearly as bad as the storm in March of 2010 that knocked down trees all over the place but the amount of rain, piled on top of already swollen streams and rivers, was an absolute mess.

My power has been going off and on like a yo-yo goes up and down after being out all day yesterday and most of the night. The surges appear to have fried at least one power strip.

If half the effort spent on unrealistic predictions of doom had been spent on preparing for the inevitable flooding and power issues, this would have been a “disaster” that almost no one noticed. Of course, for some folk, it was a disaster.

That it wasn’t a total catastrophe is of course a good thing. That it was blown quite a bit out of proportion by the hype is not because, like crying wolf, the next time around people might not believe you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh That's Just Creepy

It seems Libyan rebels found a book with pictures of Condoleeza Rice in Omar Ghadafi's lair.

That's really creepy. If I was Rice I'd be really grossed out. Then again, I hear they shared a late dinner to break the Ramadan fast a few years ago so who knows?

I guess it could have been worse. It could have been a book with Dick Cheney photos.

The East Coast Earthquake

Yeah, I felt it. I could feel a slight tremor in the building and one of the table chairs in my office started to squeak as it shook back and forth.

It was sort of weird but so slight as to not be much of a big deal.

That's the second mild earthquake I've been through. The first was in California and was so slight that I slept through the whole thing.

I suspect hurricane Irene might be a tad dicier if it lands on the New Jersey coast. Maybe I'll get lucky and it will swing out to sea.

Rick Perry the Frontrunner?

According to a Gallup poll Rick Perry has overtaken Mitt Romney and has a 12 point lead. Ron Paul is third and Michelle Bachmann looks to be a fairly distant fourth.

The poll also shows that virtually all of Perry’s support comes from the extreme Right Wing of the Republican Party.

So now comes the question, can someone who is so extreme win a presidential election in the United States? The conventional wisdom used to be that neither an extreme right wing nor an extreme left wing candidate could win. But that was before Evangelical Christians organized themselves into a political power and the economy fell on its face.

Here’s the deal, some people are going to vote for Perry no matter what and some people are not going to vote for him no matter what. That leaves the so-called middle of the road moderate voters.

Obama has not done a great job. He especially has not done a great job with the deficit in particular and the economy in general. I now think that Mitt Romney could beat him. But could Rick Perry beat him?

I have my doubts unless Perry shifts toward the center in the general election and gets the electorate to buy it. The American electorate is certainly gullible enough to buy such a shift and the big business faction of the Republican Party still has enough clout to force it so you never know.

I find it utterly appalling, that in the 21st century, a man who believes that “Intelligent Design” is science and should be taught along with evolution might end up as president of the United States.

What’s with the Tim Tebow Hullabaloo?

Tim Tebow wouldn’t be the first college star to struggle in the NFL. He wouldn’t even be the first to utterly strike out in the NFL. So what if he may not be a Ben Roethlisberger ready to go almost immediately?

Give the guy a break already.

Playing in the NFL is hard. Playing quarterback in the NFL is damn near impossible. Tebow is facing three problems. First the offense run at Florida wasn’t a Pro-style offense. Second, Florida had a lot more football talent than most of its opponents. In the NFL, parity is the norm and Denver isn’t threatening to roll into the Super Bowl any time soon. The third problem is simply the high expectations and the glare of being under the microscope.

There’s nothing we can do about the first two problems, they’re water under the bridge, but at least the media can lay off the kid already and give him a chance. John Fox knows what he’s doing on a football field as opposed to McDaniels who I always suspected had the wrong motives with Tebow.

I have my issues with Christian Fundamentalists but that doesn’t have anything to do with playing football. I wonder if the guy ever got laid? Maybe that’s his problem. I don’t think there’s ever been a successful virgin NFL quarterback. Hell, I don’t think there’s ever been a virgin NFL quarterback period.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rick Perry and the Constitution

Rick Perry thinks the United States Constitution needs some changes. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, but let’s examine the seven changes he would like to make.

1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.

The whole idea of lifetime tenure is to isolate the judiciary from political ramifications. If a judge really goes rogue, there is always impeachment as an option. This is a bad idea. Sometimes the court has to make politically unpopular decisions and it needs to have the freedom to do so. Perry wants to make the judiciary politically accountable which is precisely what the framers of the constitution were trying to avoid.

2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.

Congress and the states can already override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds congressional vote and the agreement of three-quarters of the state legislatures. It’s called the amendment process. The process is made difficult on purpose but it can be argued it has occurred seven times in U.S. history so when it’s necessary, it can happen. This also strikes at the independence of the judiciary and is another bad idea.

3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.

First of all one doesn’t need to repeal the sixteenth amendment in order to replace the income tax. The sixteenth amendment allows income taxes, it doesn’t require them. Second, before I can say whether eliminating the federal income tax is a good idea or not, I’d need to know what Perry intends to replace it with.

4. End the direct election of senators by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.

This would just about guarantee that senators would be owned by the big corporations and back room local politics. I don’t see any problem with direct election so why bother to change it?

5. Require the federal government to balance its budget every year.

I actually like this idea except that we all know that any such amendment would have to include escape clauses to cover times of emergency such as war or natural disaster. If it took a two-thirds majority of congress to allow deficit spending, I might go along with this proposal. We cannot continue down the road of spending more than we have.

6. The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states.

Oh well, so much for State’s Rights and Libertarianism. Aside from the fact that this doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, this would dramatically cripple the 14th Amendment by making an exception to equality under the law. If I can make an exception for Gays, then why not Muslims or Blacks? No, this isn’t a slippery slope argument because I’m not claiming this would happen, I’m simply asking how it is theoretically different. Obviously, I’m opposed to this idea.

7. Abortion should be made illegal throughout the country.

What is it that drives conservatives to want and regulate how people live? How about you mind your own business about what one does with their own body? Again, obviously, I’m opposed.

So, I sort of like one idea, need more information about a second before I can decide and oppose the other five rather vehemently. This is one reason why I wouldn’t vote for Rick Perry unless the only alternative was Michelle Bachmann.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Science and the GOP

The ignorance of the people we consider for the presidency never ceases to amaze me. Let’s go down the GOP list shall we.

Rick Perry
Perry believes the “issue of global warming has been politicized” and “there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”

Perry also says “we're seeing, almost weekly or daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

The only people that have “politicized” global warming are the Republicans. As for accusing scientists of what amounts to fraud, Perry is walking on very thin ice, but then what do you expect from a man that accepts the support of hate groups. This accusation most likely dates back to the “climate-gate” e-mail furor from 2009 which turned out to be much ado about nothing.

As for scientists daily or weekly questioning the idea of manmade global warming, this smacks of the creationist claim that scientists are abandoning evolution. Neither statement is even remotely true.

Speaking of evolution, Perry says he is a “firm believer in Intelligent Design as a matter of faith and intellect,” which gives you a pretty good idea of his lack of intellect, and he believes “it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution."

Now a lot depends upon what he means by “presented in schools.” Presenting Intelligent Design as a religious alternative to the science of evolution that some people believe, is not necessarily a problem as long as it is made clear that the scientific community rejects the notion.

Michelle Bachmann
Bachmann think global warming is based upon “manufactured science” and that carbon dioxide is a “harmless gas.” Michelle Bachmann is a moron. Ignorance is one thing but sheer stupidity is something else. As for evolution, Bachmann says “evolution has never been proven,” a statement that says volumes about her science ignorance, and she supports “putting all science on the table and then letting students decide."

Of course if we actually did what she says, nothing would change because the Theory of Evolution is the only science.

Ron Paul
Paul thinks climate change is “the greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years, if not hundreds of years" and "Pollution can be better taken care of under a private market system, under private property."

Hundreds of years? Earth to Paul, earth to Paul, come in Paul. That may well be the dumbest statement of the lot. As for pollution being better taken care of under a private market system, then why hasn’t it been? Why has it always required government regulations?

Paul says “nobody has concrete proof” for evolution which also speaks volumes about Paul’s science ignorance. He then goes on to mumble something about how it only matters in government schools whether you’re “fair in teaching that the earth could have been created by a creator or it came out of a pop, out of nowhere?”

Clearly Paul doesn’t even understand the question.

Mitt Romney
Romney is actually pretty rational for a Republican.

On global warming Romney has said "I believe, based on what I read, that the world is getting warmer" and "I believe that humans contribute to that."

On evolution, Romney takes the theistic evolution position. He says he believes "God designed the universe" and that he believes God "used the process of evolution to create the human body." He opposed the teaching of intelligent design in public-school science classes when he was governor of Massachusetts. "The science class is where to teach evolution, or if there are any other scientific thoughts that need to be discussed," he told The New York Times. "If we're going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that's for the religion class or philosophy class or social studies class."

I can live with the theistic evolution position. I think it’s wrong, but I can live with it. The positions of the other three fools are totally unacceptable.

I wouldn’t be caught dead voting for a Republican but I could support Mitt Romney as president. If any of the other three get elected I’m moving to the South Seas.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Bert and Ernie Wedding?

There are those pushing PBS to have Bert and Ernie, of Sesame Street fame, tie the knot as a gay couple.

Personally I think this is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard.

First of all, Bert and Ernie, despite conjecture, are not officially gay. They're simply roommates. If PBS had previously made it clear they were a gay couple, then maybe. But, given the current situation, the idea makes no sense.

This is also introducing a cultural outlook that is (1) outside the pre-school educational mandate of the show, (2) way beyond the understanding of the audience and (3) violently opposed by the parents of many of the kids watching the show.

We wouldn't want the little ones to think mommy and daddy are bigoted assholes would we?

Ok, I couldn't resist that last jab. Seriously, this is an issue to be ironed out by adults in adult forums. I'm all for teaching tolerance, but this goes beyond simple tolerance. This is indoctrination.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Hasa Diga Eebowai

I went to see "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway last night and my favorite number had to be "Hasa Diga Eebowai." I'll leave it to the reader to find out the translation.

The play had kind of an interesting approach to the topic of religion. While making it clear that blind faith and accepting things that don't make any sense amount to intellectual suicide, the play also acknowledges that religion can often provide solice and guidance when life throws bad things your way. Something that it will do sooner or later.

I guess it's the old question of do you prefer a harsh and depressing reality or would you prefer a comforting lie. I'd rather have the reality, regardless of how harsh, then fool myself.

No more AAA Rating for the U.S.

Well, S&P has done it. They’ve downgraded the U.S. credit rating. The administration fired back with criticism of S&P claiming it made a $2 trillion dollar error. S&P fired back calling the whole “debt ceiling” process a debacle and warned of other downgrades to follow.

While they sort that out markets around the world tumbled and in Europe the central bank initiated a bond buying program to heads off a default by Italy or Spain.

Talk about an impending economic catastrophe.

Allow me to quote myself from February of 2010 “…not taking steps to correct the deficit will lead to, not only a new recession, but a potential economic catastrophe that would make the upheaval of the Great Depression look like boom times.”

We are in serious trouble and I don’t honestly see us making any progress to out of the morass we’re in. Balancing the budget has to happen and it can’t happen only with budget cuts. A tax increase is not only inevitable, but necessary, so let’s get working on it already.

Obama has not done a good job here and neither has the congress. The problem is the two parties have totally opposite objectives and answer to two totally different electoral bases. I say we kick the southern states out of the union and let them go elect their Tea Party and see how well that works out.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Christie Slams Sharia Law Fearmongers

Will wonders never cease. I not only agree with Governor Chris Christie on something but I'm sending him an "Atta Boy" e-mail.

The governor of New Jersey defended his decision to nominate a Muslin to the New Jersey Superior courts against conservative nut cases claiming the appointee would implement Sharia Law by calling the idea "crazy" and "crap."

Allow me to quote Chris, "Sharia law has nothing to do with this at all. It's crazy. It's crazy. The guy's an American citizen who has been an admitted lawyer to practice in the state of New Jersey, swearing an oath to uphold the laws of New Jersey, the constitution of the state of New Jersey, and the Constitution of the United States of America . . . .This Sharia law business is crap. It's just crazy. And I'm tired of dealing with the crazies."

A lot of us are tired of dealing with crazies but Rush Limbaugh still has a radio show, Ann Coulter still appears on Faux News, Creationists still try to undermine evolutionary science and Michelle Bachmann is still running for President.

When do we exceed our quota for crazies and shut the damn door on these morons?