Friday, June 29, 2012

And the Health Care War Continues

The immediate reaction of the Republicans to the upholding of the Affordable Health Care Act by the Supreme Court was a vow to repeal it.

Romney makes vague references to replacing it but doesn’t say with what but most Republicans simply talk about repeal.

The “victory” in the Supreme Court may well turn out to be pyrrhic in nature. The “victory” in the Supreme Court could well cost the Democrats the Senate. Almost two-thirds of Americans, including a large number of people that would significantly benefit from the act, oppose the law.


It has been my experience, communicating with people on the Internet, that most simply do not understand what the law does. The right wing propaganda machine has been very effective in painting the law to be something it’s not.

It’s actually a pretty good law.

- It allows children to stay on their parents health care until age 26
- It allows people with pre-existing conditions to get health care
- It subsidizes the cost of health care for those that can’t afford it
- It establishes “insurance exchanges” where people can shop for insurance

When the Republicans tell you it will increase federal spending, they neglect to tell you that spending is offset by new revenue through excise taxes upon the so-called Cadillac health plans that many corporate executives have access to and by expanding the number of people supporting the health care system through the individual mandate.

The CBO estimated that repealing the plan would have added $119 billion to the federal budget deficit through 2019 while keeping the law is expected to slightly reduce the deficit. You don’t hear the Republicans telling you that do you? What I don’t understand is why the Democrats aren’t telling you that.

Could it be better? Absolutely it could be better and some of the criticism is certainly justified. But rather than get into that, I’d like to go back to a basic question.

Do we, as a nation, believe that universal health care is a good thing?

How can anyone answer no to that question? If you do answer no, then there’s nothing else to talk about and we can agree to disagree.

If you answer yes, then all that’s left is to figure out a way to accomplish universal health care without breaking the bank.

The Democrats actually used a Republican model for the health care law. It was based upon a coverage plan endorsed by Richard Nixon in the 1970s and touted by Republicans in the 1990s.

But that’s all sort of irrelevant if you don’t believe universal health care is a good thing.

Look, I get the point of not wanting to fund someone else’s health care with the dollars you worked for. You’d much rather spend them on a spiffy new iPAD. So would I, but I also understand a thing called “for the common good.”

Law firms have Pro Bono programs; doctors and nurses donate time to clinics; millions volunteer their time for charity work and everyone else, hopefully, contributes what they can when they can. So most of us understand the concept of “for the common good.”

So what’s the problem?

The problem is the difference between voluntarily supporting the “common good” and having government force you to support the “common good.” A lot of people just don’t like being told what to do with what they rightfully consider their own money.

I can understand that position.

However, I also know that the story being pitched to you by the right wing demagogues is more than a tad inaccurate.

The picture of the hard working middle class supporting shiftless lazy welfare recipients is, well, to put it bluntly, total horseshit. Are there people abusing the system? Absolutely. My mother-in-law used to work for the Welfare Department in New York City and she would tell the story of the mother bringing in her daughter, who had just turned 18, to open her own welfare account. And they arrived in a taxi cab no less.

This story, and there are many others, will get anyone all bent out of shape and abuses like this need to be addressed. But the overwhelming majority of people receiving assistance aren’t cheating.

Most are working their asses off, sometimes even at multiple jobs, but just can’t make ends meet in a society where the real annual wage for 80% of the population has been essentially stagnant for the past 30 years.

While the real income (in other words adjusted for inflation) of the bottom 80% of American wage earners has increased by 19% over the past 30 years, the real income of the top 20% has increased by 88%, the top 5% by 245% and the top 1% by a whopping 345%.

Please explain to me how this is right, fair or even rational?

In contrast, in the 30 years prior to that, the real income for the lowest income quintile rose by 99.5%, the 2nd quintile by 95.4%, the 3rd quintile by 107.9% and the 4th quintile by 109.9%. At the tippy top of the income scale, the minimum income to be in the top 5% rose by 103.4%.

In other words, everyone did pretty well. No wonder so many people remember those as the good old days of economic prosperity. It wasn’t so much that there was more prosperity, the prosperity was simply shared more evenly.

It is this vast divergence in wealth distribution, this concentration of wealth into the hands of a few that is causing economic hardships for a lot of people. A lot of hard working people. Now don’t give me any crap about Capitalism vs. Socialism, there wasn’t a more Capitalist place in the world than the United States in the 1950s through the 1970s yet the increased wealth was distributed across all income classes pretty much evenly at least by percentage.

Here’s something to think about. In 1958, the maximum federal income tax rate, for married filing jointly, was 91% for income over $400,000. That would be the equivalent of $3.2 million in 2012 dollars. The maximum tax rate in 2012 is 35% for income over $388,000.

The simple fact is that the low marginal tax rate makes unbridled greed worth the effort.

So where are you? If your household income is less than $20,000, you’re in the bottom quintile. If it’s less than $38,043 you’re in the 2nd quintile. If it’s less than $61,735 you’re in the 3rd quintile and if it’s less than $100,065 you’re in the 2nd quintile. So you need to have a household income of over $100,000 to be benefiting from the income disparity. To be in the top 5%, who are really doing well, your household income would have to exceed $180,810.

Now for the fun part. I think that most people would agree that the South is the most conservative region, followed by the Midwest, then the West and the Northeast would be the most liberal region.

So obviously the South must have the highest income and the Northeast the lowest right? The South would be protecting it’s hard earned dollars from those lazy shiftless Northeast liberals right?

The mean income in the South is $63,311 and the median income is $45,492. The mean income in the Midwest is $64,056 and the median income is $48,445. The mean income in the West is $72,367 and the median income is $53,142. The mean income in the Northeast is $74,569 and the median income is $53,383.

Democracy ceases to be a viable system when the electorate is incapable of understanding what is in its own best interest.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obama is the Man if Aliens Invade

An overwhelming 65% of Americans polled said that President Obama would be better able to handle an alien invasion than Mitt Romney.

Ok, so it’s an intellectually ridiculous question, but one has to consider the underlying emotional psychology.

This means that Americans have more confidence in Obama in the event of an unknown crisis. In other words, when the phone rings at 3 AM in the White House, they want Obama to be answering the phone and not Romney. So why the hell would you vote for Romney?

This also means that, at an emotional level, Americans feel that they would rather trust Obama with their well being than Romney. So why the hell would you vote for Romney?

Finally, it means that when the chips are down, Americans feel they can rely more on Obama to take decisive action than Romney. So why the hell would you vote for Romney?

Think about it.

Supreme Court Upholds Individual Mandate

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition! The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the Individual Mandate of the Health Care Law as a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal wing of the court in the 5-4 decision.

I suppose Roberts lost the coin toss and had to be the sacrificial lamb. Either that or he was the only conservative justice with enough courage to do what was right.

The Health Care Law is the right thing to do for the country. It doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Individual Mandate is economically necessary to insure adequate funding. It’s the old “Free Rider” problem. But even I have to admit that congressional authority on that point is very, very iffy.

Hats off to Chief Justice Roberts. Too bad he couldn’t have gotten something closer to a unanimous decision.

Exxon CEO says Fears are Overblown

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson went on record yesterday as saying that the burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet but, not to worry, we’ll adapt.

Well, so much for all those right wings demagogues and Fox News telling us that Global Warming was a hoax. To my mind Tillerson’s statement essentially acknowledges that the right wing was, at best, wrong (so what else is new) and, at worst, lying through their teeth which wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

However let’s move on to the “we’ll adapt” part.

Tillerson addressed three different issues, climate change, oil and gas drilling pollution and energy dependence. According to Tillerson, Exxon has got us covered. Tillerson blamed concerns on a “math” and “science” illiterate public, a “lazy media” and advocacy groups that “manufacture fear.”

Some opinions from the CEO with commentary.

We’ll adapt to climate change. It’s an engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution.

Yeah, but that could be a hell of an expensive solution. Better might be to take steps to try and PREVENT significant climate change rather than having to adapt after the fact. He is right that’s it’s an engineering problem and will require an engineering solution. The big question is should we be pro-active or re-active? In general, pro-active solutions are less expensive and avoid a lot of pain.

Climate change models can’t accurately predict the impact of climate change and we’ll be able to adapt as changes occur.

A lot depends here upon what you mean by “predict.” Can it provide a precise measure? Probably not, but it can give you a good idea of the directions things are heading. I suspect that we ignore climate models at our peril.

Also, “we’ll be able to adapt as changes occur” sounds terribly re-active and could lead to lots of pain along the way.

While drilling for oil and gas will always contain risks, those risks are worth taking.

I suppose that depends upon the risks. Tillerson claims the risks are small, not life threatening nor long lasting. This sounds to me kind of subjective but I’m willing to put the data on the table and have the experts from both sides discuss it. I suspect that if you're in the path of the risk, you might have a different opinion about whether it's "worth taking."

Advocacy groups have alarmed a public that doesn’t understand drilling practices, math, science or engineering.

I have to agree with this statement. The question however is whether that alarm is justified? Again, let’s get all the data on the table and come to a conclusion based upon the evidence rather than political opinion.

“Lazy” journalists produce stories that scare the public without investigating the claims of advocacy groups.

I agree again. Journalists in this country have abdicated their responsibility to educate the public. It is journalism’s responsibility to investigate claims rather than simply report them. On the other hand, when journalists DO investigate and report that climate change is real and something to be concerned about, all we hear from the right and previous Exxon CEOs is charges of “Liberal Bias.” Now apparently Mr. Tillerson is admitting the media had a “Liberal Bias” because truth and reality had a “Liberal Bias.”

There is a distinction between energy security and energy dependence.

True, but the question is whether “energy dependence” is a major factor in “energy security.” I sort of find it hard to believe that it’s not.

Since oil is globally priced so a disruption in the Middle East, even if the U.S. only used North American oil, would increase gas prices and hurt the U.S. economy.

So, as long as the Middle East supply is secure, “drill, baby drill” is a load of horseshit? I have to admit that this surprises me more than a little. I have to believe that not depending upon foreign oil would provide a much more stable energy environment which in turn would help stabilize the economy. Are you seriously saying it doesn’t matter?

I think what Tillerson had to say is very important and could have far reaching consequences. The next to the last thing we want to do is over react to the situation and end up with a damaged economy as the result. However that’s better than not reacting to a potential civilization threatening issue until it’s too late and ending up on the list of nature’s extinct creatures.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rainbow Oreo

Kraft food made its position known by posting a Rainbow Oreo on its Facebook page with the caption "Proudly Support Love!"

A Kraft spokesman was quoted as saying “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values.”

The posting predictably brought out the wingnuts in addition to over 170,000 "likes." ABC news quoted one disgruntled poster as commenting (errors left in place) “Disgusted with oreos. Being gay is an abmonitation in GOd’s eyes i wont be buying them anymore.”

That's six grammatical and spelling errors in about a line of text. That gives you a pretty good idea of the intellectual capacity of the poster. He probably can't afford Oreos anyway.

I say good for Kraft. I'd go buy a package or two of Oreos if they weren't so damn fattening.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nessie and Evolution

In case you didn’t know it, the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution.

At least that appears to be the argument from the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) “science” textbook that is being used at the Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake Louisiana. A school that will be receiving government tax dollars under the voucher program established by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.

Carl Sagan used to say that while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, people are not entitled to their own facts. This no longer seems to be the case among conservatives in general and fundamentalist Christians in particular.

Here’s what the ACE text has to say about Nessie, with commentary.

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.”

Really? What scientists? Please cite any article in any peer reviewed science journal that makes such a claim.

“Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie,’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

Actually, Nessie appears to be a figment of the imagination. There is no viable evidence that Nessie even exists.

“Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles.”

Probably because that’s where the genetic, morphological and fossil evidence appears to point. Notice the implication that this idea is an unsubstantiated “theory” rather than a conclusion based upon evidence. Notice also the misuse of the term “theory” implying a guess or unfounded speculation.

“This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis.”

Real scientists apparently disagree with you. Allow me to introduce you to Tiktaalik, a creature halfway between a primitive fish and a tetrapod. The mixture led one of Tiktaalik’s discoverers to label it a “fishapod.”

“No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.”

See “Tiktaalik” reference above. The simple fact is that hundreds of transitional fossils exist especially above the species level. To say that no transitional fossils have ever been discovered is a flat out lie. Yes I said lie because this claim has been debunked so many times I find it impossible to accept that none of the editors of the text were aware of that.

Here are some other “highlights” from the ACE science text.

- Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior
- The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution
- Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed
- Evolution Has Been Disproved
- A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur
- Solar Fusion is a Myth

What the f**k is wrong with these people?

The competitors of ACE are A Beka and Bob Jones University press textbooks. They also tout Youth Earth Creationism and reject evolution. Here are some other doozies reportedly in A Beka and Bob Jones texts.

- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists.

- “the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross… In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”

- “God used the ‘Trail of Tears’ to bring many Indians to Christ.”

- It “cannot be shown scientifically that that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere’s ozone layer.”

- “God has provided certain ‘checks and balances’ in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists.”

- the Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.

- “Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created.”

- Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential win was due to an imaginary economic crisis created by the media.

- “The greatest struggle of all time, the Battle of Armageddon, will occur in the Middle East when Christ returns to set up his kingdom on earth.”

They can't even get what the Bible says right. Revelations 16:16 - Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. Armageddon is a transliteration of the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Har Meghid·dohn" which means the Mountain of Meggido. It's where the anti-Christ's army is assembled and not where the battle is fought.

These are also typically the texts used by Christian home schoolers. Hundreds of thousands of children are essentially being taught utter rubbish and we’re going to have deal with them as voters down the road. If we don’t do something about this, this country is going to be screwed.

Little Leaguer Sued

A woman in Manchester County N.J. is suing a 13 year old for $150,000 over an incident at a Little League game two years ago. According to the story the woman was sitting at a picnic table when an errant throw from the nearby bullpen hit her in the face.

The key allegation was that the youngster was “engaging in inappropriate physical and/or sporting activity.” I believe this claims that the youngster, a catcher warming up a pitcher, engaged in activity beyond simply throwing the ball back to the pitcher. How they’re going to demonstrate that should be interesting. The husband is also suing for the loss of his wife’s services (*ahem*).

I find the comments on these kind of stories more illuminating than the story. We have a unanimous verdict here that this is a frivolous lawsuit and that the woman and her husband should be run out of town on a rail after being tarred and feathered.

I hate to be the voice of reason (as it seems I'm always in the tiny minority) but while this sounds like a ridiculous lawsuit, and it may well be, it may not be as well. First of all, everyone appears to be assuming that the couple were spectators at the game but there is nothing in the story to justify that assumption. It could be they were simply sitting at a picnic table near the field and not paying attention to the game. If that's the case, then getting hit by an errant throw is bit more understandable. The hubby’s count appears to be a standard ploy when the wife is hurt. When my daughter was sued a few years ago due to a minor fender bender in which a woman claimed her neck was injured they threw in this count as well.

As for the delay, it could be that they weren’t looking to sue anyone until the medical bills started piling up. I don’t know what their insurance situation is and neither do any of the people leaving comments.

They’re also all overlooking the “intentional” claim. Even the dad says “if his son was horsing around” he would feel differently. Kids “horsing around” at Little League is not unheard of.

So, while this sounds like the kind of case that should get tossed, I think I will reserve judgment because I don’t know all the facts. If it turns out, as ludicrous as it may sound, that there is justification for the lawsuit, I’m betting it will be covered by their homeowners insurance and get settled out of court. Which of course means all the rest of us will take a little hit on our homeowners insurance (*sigh*).

The key point here is that so many people are coming to a hard conclusion without knowing all the facts. I seem to encounter this more and more. Maybe it was always this way, but it seems to me that’s not so. The big problem of course is that once people arrive at a conclusion, it can be very difficult to budge them away from that conclusion regardless of how unwarranted that conclusion was in the first place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bloomberg’s Large Soda Ban

Mayor Bloomberg of New York is trying to ban large sodas in an attempt to rein in the obesity epidemic being experienced by the city and the rest of the country.

Reading the New York Times article about the initiative is utterly surreal.

The poorest city borough, the Bronx, has a whopping 70% of its residents listed as obese or overweight and it was from the Bronx that the Times got its quotes.

The argument is whether community programs and education should be the weapons against obesity rather than attempting to legislate what people can and cannot access to eat and drink. Simple logic says that, based upon the quotes, voluntary stuff isn’t going to work.

I realize that it’s unfashionable to make fun of people who demonstrate their stupidity, but there comes a time when it almost becomes necessary.

Let’s start with the lady that claims to never have heard of previous anti-obesity efforts. She’s 5’2” and weighs 200 lbs. That’s a BMI of 36.6 which is obese class II.

Then there’s the guy, at 5’9” and 210 lbs. for a BMI of 31.0, and his wife, who’s also obese, who claim that nothing has worked. He swears that they have sworn off fried foods, attended health fairs, used coupons for a farmers markets and walked in a park for exercise in the past year but he didn’t lose any weight and she gained 20 lbs.

After that we get the lady that says she’s “trying to lose 40 pounds,” but said a ban would no more help her stick to her diet than the calorie counts posted on menus, another anti-obesity measure that city leaders hoped would lead consumers to make healthier decisions. She still orders her Big Macs.

Here’s a suggestion for you, stop ordering Big Macs. As a matter of fact, skip Mickey D’s altogether for a while.

But my favorite was the woman that said “If I eat cheeseburgers and fries, I’m going to get dehydrated and that little cup is not enough.”

How about, don’t eat cheeseburgers and fries?

Look, I’m not a health nut, and I do realize it can be hard to stay in shape, but it’s hard to pay income tax as well. These people are clearly incapable of getting their weight under control without help and that has a negative impact on all of us. Obesity causes preventable illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure that tax an already overburdened health care system.

You can’t legislate their menu or activities but you can make unhealthy options less available and healthy ones more available. I agree with Bloomberg’s initiative.

By the way, if you’re wondering, I’m 6’1” and I weigh 190 lbs. for a BMI of 25.1, so I’m on the border of normal vs. overweight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Concerns about November

If Obama is trying to throw the election, he’s doing a pretty good job of it.

He’s starting to really get me pissed off. No matter how dysfunctional congress may appear to be, ruling about things like immigration law through executive fiat doesn’t strike me as justified.

I happen to support the DREAM act. I believe that people brought here as children and are Americans in all aspects of the name except technically, should be given a fast track to citizenship if they meet certain criteria. Now we can fight over the criteria.

I don’t have a problem with the criteria in the presidential order which requires that the individual have been brought here before they were 16, is under the age of 30, has lived in the U.S. for at least 5 consecutive years, has graduated high school or served in the military and has a “minimal” criminal record where “minimal” is defined as no felony convictions, no “significant” misdemeanors and no multiple misdemeanors. Although one has to wonder what the definition “significant misdemeanor” might be.

I just don’t think it’s up to the president to create new law by executive decree and that is essentially what this is. The last time I checked the constitution there was no “dictator” provision. The job of the president is to enforce the law and not create it.

If the Republicans didn’t have their heads so far up their asses… Bah, and that’s why Obama knows he can get away with it. The Democratic Left Wing base, of which I am an upstanding member, is sort of trapped. What’s our alternative?

People that call themselves moderates aren’t as limited. We could easily end up with President Romney. Now if Mitt wasn’t mortgaged up to this eyebrows to the radical right that might not be such a bad thing. Unfortunately he is and that concerns me. On the other hand, if this is the way King Barack operates when he has a election coming up, what’s he going to be like after winning a second term?

Hebrew National not Kosher?

I admit I’m a cynic. But even cynics like me have certain things they accept as true with limited or no evidence, and certain people they have faith in.

I always had faith in Hebrew National. I BELIEVED that they believed they answered to a “higher authority” despite my lack of belief in that authority. So imagine my dismay when I read that consumers have sued ConAgra foods claiming that hot dogs and other products sold under its Hebrew National brand were in fact not kosher.

Oh the shame of it all!

Ok, I rarely eat hot dogs because my youngest daughter won’t touch them after reading a story about some of the less than appetizing stuff that gets into them. Me, I’m not that picky since I know just about all foods have that kind of stuff in them. Still, on the rare occasions that we indulge, we always get Hebrew National because we always figured the quality was a step or two above other brands.

I feel betrayed. Another of my childhood truths appears to be on the verge of collapsing.

According to the lawsuit, a supplier for ConAgra, AER Services Inc., didn’t adhere to the stringent standards required to label meat kosher, ignored employee complaints and even threatened retaliation against those employees.

Sounds like another example of the workforce wanting to do the right thing while management focuses on the short term benefit of skimping. I say short term because if AER loses their contract with ConAgra they’ll probably be hurting big time.

AER apparently is not a party to the lawsuit which sets up an easy out for ConAgra; they can simply promise to dump AER if the charges appear to be true.

Of course AER says that the allegations against them are utterly false.

We shall see what we shall see here. It wouldn’t be the first time a disgruntled employee made up stuff about their employer either. Still, certain people and companies are supposed to stay up on their pedestal and the Hebrew National brand is one of those. When they fall off a cry of dismay is appropriate.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pacquiao and Bradley

Leave it up to boxing to generate controversy.

I used to be a boxing fan, but I sort of lost interest about 10 years ago. I can’t remember the last time I actually watched a live fight on TV and I’ve never been to a boxing match. Still, I’m pretty familiar with the basics and with the somewhat sordid history of the game.

Timothy Bradley was not supposed to beat Manny Pacquiao. The fight was supposed to be a minor stopover on the way to a Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight. That may still happen but now that big payday has at least been delayed until Pacquiao settles some unfinished business with Bradley.

Pacquiao was supposed to make short work of Bradley but Bradley just didn’t co-operate, or, perhaps more accurately, the judges didn’t co-operate and Bradley won a split decision. Two judges scored the fight 115-113 for Bradley and the other scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao. Most of the press and the HBO commentators seem to have had the fight for Pacquiao by margins as high as 119-109.

So was Manny robbed? I doubt it. Even the judge that scored in favor of Pacquiao had it very close and boxing is a very subjective thing. If judges do their job right, they score round by round without considering the overall result.

Unfortunately, at least one of the judges, Cynthia Ross, has been here before and has a list of controversial decisions. The fact that she is apparently, based upon her Facebook page, bisexual, just confuses the issue given Manny’s recent comments on Gay Marriage.

The other judge that scored for Bradley, Duane Ford, is 74 years old but appears to have pretty much a spotless record and, based upon recent comments, appears comfortable with his decision.

I didn’t see the fight so I can’t comment on the scoring. Besides, I never claimed to be capable of judging a boxing match. If HBO puts it on On-Demand, I might watch it to see what all the hulabaloo is about but I’ve already been a bit tainted.

The bottom line is, given the subjectivity of the scoring, going to the judges is always a bit of a risk and it’s just about a crap shoot in a close fight.

So my personal opinion is it was just one of those things and all this screaming about investigations is a waste of time. Even if the WBO reviews the fight, watching on video tape is not the same thing as being there surrounded by the smells and sounds. We notice thousands of little things in person that don’t transfer to the video tape.

Let the decision stand and move on to the rematch. Maybe that will give enough time to set up the fight with Mayweather.

As I understand it, the big issue with Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is Manny wants a 50-50 split and Mayweather is insisting he should get the Lion’s share of the gate. I can solve that one, sign a contract that ties the split to who wins the fight.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Now for the General Election

Now that Romney is, pretty much, the official nominee, we can get on with the general election.

Things have tightened considerable, as expected, and Romney actually out raised Obama in May. I suspect things will stay at pretty much a dead heat until close to the election. Hopefully Obama will make mincemeat out of Romney in the debates, but you never know.

Like many people I’m disappointed in Obama. I had so many high hopes and most of them ended up crushed on the floor of congress. I had to learn all over again that while the Republicans are competent but dishonest, the Democrats are honest but incompetent.

Like Will Rodgers used to say, I don’t belong to any organized political party, I’m a Democrat.

So would I vote for Romney? Not a snow ball’s chance in hell.

If he was a Democrat I might think about it but I can’t vote for the representative of a party that has people like Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann in places of influence and that has again nominated Roy Moore for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

To say that the Republican Party, or at least certain wings of the Republican Party, are stepping all over traditional American principles would be an understatement. And they call themselves Patriots.

Let’s talk about Roy Moore for a second. This is the yo-yo that, while Chief Justice, erected a stone monument with the Ten Commandments on it at the Alabama Supreme Court. When a federal judge ordered it removed since it violated the U.S. Constitution, Moore refused and was subsequently removed from office.

After two abortive attempts at governor, Moore has again won the Republican nomination for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The Alabama Republican Party says “The Alabama Republican Party stands firmly behind Judge Roy Moore to serve as the next Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.”

In the meantime “Judge” Moore and his Foundation for Moral Law are defending an Alabama Town that wants to use a Bible verse on its welcoming signs.

Moore says he doesn’t regret what he did because the federal judge had no right to tell him to remove the monument and the federal judge had “violated not only our Constitution but the case law of the United States Supreme Court which says our religious freedom comes from God.”

How the f--k did this bozo get through law school? Please cite WHERE in the Constitution or SCOTUS case law that it says our “religious freedom comes from God.”

The Anniston Star editorial board has argued that a candidate for the position of Chief Justice should not “promote his own particular brand of religion and tie it to questionable constitutional interpretations.”

I agree with that, but apparently the morons that live in Alabama don’t have a problem with Moore’s “brand of religion” or “questionable constitutional interpretations.”

How can you vote for a party that nominates such a man for such a position of responsibility?

The CNN/ORC Poll on Gay Marriage

A new poll commissioned by CNN and conducted by ORC International provides additional evidence that American opinion on Gay Marriage has swung to the “In Favor” position.

In a poll of 1,009 adults, 756 via landline and 253 via cell phone, CNN/ORC found 54% in favor of recognizing gay marriages as valid and 42% opposed. This is a swing of 10 points since 2008 when 44% were in favor and 53% opposed.

More interesting is the breakdown by age group. Those in the 18-34 age group were in favor by 73%-24% and those in the 35-49 age group were in favor 55%-43%. Those in the 50-64 age group were slightly opposed 50%-46% and those 65 or over were strongly opposed 62%-34%. It’s unfortunate that older Americans are more likely to vote.

Education appears to matter as well. Those with a college degree were in favor by 60%-37%. Those with no college were opposed 50%-47%.

As for political affiliation, no surprise there, Democrats were in favor 70%-28%, Independents were in favor 60%-37% and Republicans were opposed 72%-23%. And they wonder why Democrats and Republicans can’t work together.

As for region of the country, the West was most in favor 65%-32%, followed by the Northeast 63%-32%, then the Midwest 50%-47%. Only the South was opposed (duh, ya think?) 52%-44%.

Urban and suburban dwellers were in favor by an almost identical 58%-39% and 57%-39% respectively. Rural dwellers were opposed by 56%-40%.

Another question I found interesting was whether someone thought sexual orientation can be changed. Even groups opposed seem to be coming around to the realization that sexual orientation is fixed and that’s the first step to acceptance.

So how come Gay Marriage can’t win at the polls?

Part of that is probably that the people most likely to vote are also those mostly likely to be opposed. Most votes have also taken place in more conservative states.

Maine may be the first state to approve Gay Marriage by popular vote this fall. It’s going to be close despite recent polls showing 58%-40% in favor because the anti-gay marriage crowd hasn’t started its dirty tricks campaign yet. Oregon and Maryland may also have votes trying to repeal the Gay Marriage laws passed by the legislatures. These are not traditionally conservative states so we shall see.

I believe (hope?) that’s once the people of a single state stand up and say “AYE,” the floodgates will open because it will be hard for other Americans not to follow. When that happens one of the last bastions of overt discrimination will topple and that will deal a severe blow to religion.

That blow won’t be fatal of course but hopefully it will further weaken an already teetering Catholic Church and drive folks, especially young folks, away from fundamentalist sects.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda Hirshman

Ms. Hirshman’s book apparently declares 2011 the year of victory for the gay rights movement. The book further appears to declare that the reason for the victory was the LGBT adoption of the moral high ground. In other words, homosexuality should not simply be tolerated, but homosexuality is normal and good.

Personally I think Ms. Hirshman is declaring victory a bit too soon. It’s sort of like George Bush’s declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq.

While a don’t doubt that victory is inevitable, I wouldn’t say it’s been achieved quite yet. Hirshman’s book does raise an interesting question for those of us that support the movement though. Do we actually accept homosexuality as normal or are we just tolerating it?

To my surprise I realized that I’m not sure. As a pure heterosexual attraction to your own sex puzzles me and, I have to admit, there is a definite “yuck factor” associated with homosexual acts. I suppose homosexuals feel the same way about heterosexual acts.

So does that mean I merely tolerate rather than accept? I honestly don’t know.