Friday, October 26, 2012

The Internet Age

In the internet age, we have never seen a time when so much information is available and yet everything must be scrutinized so much because there is a portion of the populace that will believe anything they read on the internet as long as it fits their pre-existing mindframe condition. How can we break free? Fact-checking seems to do a decent job of debunking, but it's only available to those who know it is needed; and furthermore, it's worth noting that fact-checking organizations (depending on their affiliation) could just as well be "in on the game." We must demand better.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Clinton Said It All For Me

I don't consider myself terribly liberal. I've got pretty moderate view-points on A LOT of things:

1) I am not fundamentally anti-war, though I prefer we avoid it at most costs and approach "police-actions" as an international force with other support so we're not going it alone. Since World War II, there has not been a clear-cut war where evil has been as apparent as it was then.

2) I am not fundamentally anti-business, though I do think the Glass-Steagall Act should be reincarnated. Furthermore, while I think that while profits are a great thing, I tend to believe they should not be at the expense of the quality of products/services or at the expense of workers. I am not sure how we can or if we should legislate such a belief, however. Finally, I am not sure why we still subsidize industries that are doing fine (read: corn and oil/gas). It seems we could/should invest our federal/state dollars into helping develop and get-off-the-ground future industries and technologies.

3) I am pro-smart-regulations. I am intimately involved in environmental regulations. They are a twisting, turning masses of words that are essentially beginning to regulate minute quantities of pollutants. We should re-open the Clean Air Act and give consideration to the review/revise schedule of rules. I do, however, tend to believe that regulations - while claimed by some to be stifling to profits - actually work to drive some amount of innovation and create market niches. The company that I work for is one of those addressing such a niche-market. Companies we work with to help address compliance for our clients are also in niche-markets.

4) I am pro-nuclear. I place trust in the amazing things that come from science and engineering. If scientists and engineers have done their due diligence on where and how to store nuclear waste and how to make nuclear facilities the safest they can be, nuclear is an amazing "alternative" energy.

5) I am pro-alternative-energy

6) I am pro-smart drilling for oil/gas. I tend to believe that if we have the resources, we should extract/use them. Again, this goes back to my trust in science and engineering

7) I don't begrudge success [or reasonable amounts of money]).

8) I'm open to ideas on how to best structure the tax code and to ensure SS and Medicare are around for my generation.

9) I am pro-choice AND pro-life. I don't think the two have to be diametrically opposed. I don't LIKE abortion; I'm not sure there are many who do. There are fair arguments to be had on scientific, moral, and philosophical grounds to answer the question of "when does life begin?" That said, I think a moderate compromise between interested parties should be made that would continue to keep abortion legal. It's worth noting that I am also concerned with the life of all children once they leave the womb.

I have been truly following politics since my government class in high school. I remember being aware of politics as early as freshmen year. Over those 15+ years, I have danced around the political spectrum, first more socially conservative, then recognizing the merits of socialism/communism, then more libertarian/liberal in college, then moderate/centrist once hitting graduate school and beyond (as I exist now).

But, pretty much since 9/11, the GOP has essentially deemed me and anyone to the left of them as "socialists", "lib'ruls (in a condescending tone)", or "RINOs". Last night, Bill Clinton said just about EVERYTHING I've had on my mind for a while now. You can disagree with what he did back in the day (*cough* blue dress *cough* cigar *cough*), but he was a pretty damn good President, and an amazing speaker.

I believe in individual and collective responsibility. And I believe in positive reinforcement and cooperation. The GOP has essentially blocked in the House and threatened filibuster in the Senate on a number of things the President has come to the table with (willing to compromise and work together, mind you). And I'm supposed to reward THEIR lack of responsibility, lack of cooperation, and negatively reinforce their hyper-partisanship with my vote? Sorry, THIS moderate is not going to reinforce childish and party-first behavior. I'm sure I'll have friends who disagree with my positions or perceptions and that's the beauty of America.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wah! Where's my Christ in Christmas?!

For those that get whiney about there not being enough Christ in Christmas, perhaps you ought to look in the mirror at your own consumerism before you blame "the heathens" for secularizing the holiday. There is as much Christ in Christmas as YOU put into it. Blame Wal-Mart before you blame the "lib'ruls". Blame the marketing department of your favorite retail store. Capitalism, in all it's market-driven glory, is simply doing it's job by trying to expand the market for a consumerist holiday. I couldn't care less if some store-clerk I don't know doesn't wish me "Merry Christmas" and instead wishes me "Happy Holidays".

Grow a pair and understand we live in a diverse country whether you like it or not. It's simply smart business to not alienate your consumers. It might be fine and dandy in a rural community of all white God-fearing Christians to wish someone "Merry Christmas" at the local Five and Dime, but to do so in a large metropolitan area (in the kind of litigious society in which we live), is just idiotic. I will celebrate Christmas no differently with my family whether or not all of the other houses around them are celebrating Christmas or not.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Health Care Chronicles: The Health Care Quandry

If the Republicans are unwilling to address the need for healthcare by all, then hospitals need to start refusing care. To the elderly. To the pregnant women. To the unfortunate. Oh and of course to blacks and "Mexicans." (After all, the subtext is that they are causing this health care problem... oh, AND the mortgage crisis.)

If those on the right who believe health care is EARNED and is not a human right, then let those who have not earned it die, right? Otherwise, we will continue to incur the wrath of unpaid medical bills in our insurance payments; that is where the costs are going.

I am frankly tired of paying increasing premiums and co-pays because other people cannot afford care. So, in essence, I am already being taxed, just by private insurance companies and hospitals. But the lack of control over how much I am charged is more or less at the same level as if it were controlled on a state or federal level by the government. Sure there's a modicum of choice on the insurance end, but not really. I either go with the insurance offered by my employer (two plans) or I go with market-rate individual health-insurance. Or I can go without.

Where is the outrage that fat-cats in the insurance agencies are pocketing our money?

Claims are often made that our health care is the best in the world; after all, why do Canadians come HERE when their health care is SO GOOD, huh?! In 2000, the World Health Organization (liberals!), ranked the US in 37th place, just behind Costa Rica in 36th. How's that for exceptionalism?! I'm playing this a little tongue-in-cheek here, but my main point is that we either need to come to terms with the fact that our country is not as great or as compassionate as we believe it to be -OR- step it up and back up our words / feelings with actions befitting of a great country. It's not all doom and gloom and I don't intend to get wrapped into the "OMG! see, America sux" of the liberal left, but I think the right needs to be a little more realistic and a little less nationalistic when it comes to health care.

Health care spending in the US: 16% of GDP and rising.
Health care spending ranking in among UN countries: 2nd (damn you, East Timor!)
Health care quality ranking by WHO: 37th (as of 2000)

Where does all the money go to?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Civil War is brewing...

People don't believe me when I say that another Civil War is brewing. These Tea Party people are really getting out of hand. Instead of rational discussion over the issues they'd rather try to take to arms... smart. Just what we need. I guess this is what I would expect out of people who's collective education is probably just shy of "High School Diploma."

Take a look here at The Moderate Voice.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bad News: Oh, the horror...

Multiple kids get gunned down in DC and all the media can talk about is a poor 15 year old girl who hung herself after being "bullied" ... and we say that preferential treatment is non existent anymore. More lives lost - and more tragically in DC - but the young white girl from Ireland gets the big story. And the whole idea that we cannot blame this young girl AT ALL for killing herself is ridiculous. People want to wonder why teachers/administrators had no clue what was going on... it's in the article! Phoebe kept to herself. She didn't really tell people what was going on. Her friends probably knew better. Where were THEY? Her parents SHOULD have known better. Where were THEY? We all want to blame someone but the obvious people, but at the end of the day she tied the noose and stepped away from the ledge. She hung herself and she didn't have to. Yes kids are cruel. And they will never stop being cruel. To think we can police this in schools will just push it out of their jurisdiction back to the parents who don't even have a clue of what's going on in the children's lives. Ridiculous. Personally, if we get choice over who to blame, I blame the Pope.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Health Care Chronicles: The Health Care Debate

If the following words/names come out of your mouth when discussing the Health Care bill, I will not be willing to debate with you the merits of the bill because I will already know where you get your news and how you feel about the bill:
1) Socialism/Communism/Marxism/Maoism
2) "Obamacare"
3) "Ramming it through" or "Ramming it down our throats"
4) "Backroom deals" (or any of the "Lousiana Purchase", "Cornhusker Kickback", etc.)
5) Tea-party (if spoken about positively)
6) [Will continue to update as I hear more talking points]

On my own personal note, I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this bill that passed last night. I don't know enough about it yet. I am looking forward to learning what it contains before I make an up or down decision on it, but I will say that I fundamentally agree something needed to be done. I will also say that I hardly believe this to be a bill containing Socialism on the level many Republicans believe - we are not going to be standing in Soviet-style bread lines, or taking our marching orders from Stalin now. I am skeptical however at the fuzzy math that suggests we may be able to pay for this over the long-term. This country is deeply in debt (thanks largely to 2-3 decades of BOTH parties spending on their favorite items - defense, social programs, etc.) and I'm interested to get a chance to read the CBO estimate as to how this will be paid-for. I'm also keen on seeing some independent review of the CBO's numbers or interpretations of the bill - as long as it's coming from NON-PARTISAN sources. Whether or not this will reign in costs will be left to be seen soon.

Oh, and to all of those who claim to be Christians in America these days, I'm hardly a church-going Christian, but I know that Jesus would not have denied health care to the working poor. If you do not believe that health care is a basic human right of a developed nation, then you need to search deep down and ask yourself just how Christian you are.