Thursday, January 19, 2006

Reforming Reform

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced what they call the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act". This is supposedly reduce lobbyists influence on Senate and House commitees. If you read the article you will notice it is quite heavily slated against the GOP. Not a surprise since most of the quotes come from democrats as if corruption is exclusive to republicans. But, there are some good points brought up that should have been no brainers to begin with.

"When a prescription drug bill puts pharmaceutical companies first, senior citizens pay the price for their prescription drugs," Pelosi said. "When an energy bill gives tax breaks to oil companies already making historic and obscene profits, Americans pay the price at the pump and with record bills for their home heating oil."

Many bills get passed which are beneficial to corporations more so than "the people". It also goes back to the wastes of pork in the budget. Farmers get money from the government. Why? So they don't have to sell the farm? Let's say they did. then they would have to get a job somewhere else and the cost of whatever crop they grew would go up. So we would have to pay more. and a little further down the road, remaining farmers would get paid more for the same yield. Airliners get money from the government, too. Why? So they don't go out of business? Run the business to make a profit and you'll be fine. I know I'm oversimplifying it but, come on. Seriously!

Congress has been passing bills for decades that helped corporations get richer by giving them tax breaks. It really isn't anything new. But, it does seem to have picked up quite a bit over the last 20 years so, I guess it is finally getting so out of control that we need reform. Reform? Didn't we have reform back in the 90's? It doesn't look like it worked. Ever since then it has only gotten worse! So I guess we need a reform reform.

"Like a Republican plan laid out Tuesday, the one advanced by Democrats would stiffen disclosure requirements for lobbyists, ban privately funded trips and extend the "cooling-off period" that prevents lawmakers and senior staff from lobbying their old colleagues from one year to two."

Is one year really going to make a difference? No, because it take a lot longer to get a politician's hand out of your pocket.

"Some of it is outrageous," Lott said. "I mean, now we're going to say you can't have a meal for more than 20 bucks. Where you going to -- to McDonalds?"

Personally, it is very rare that I ever spend over $15 on a meal. They don't have to go to the most expensive restaurant in the county. If they want a $50 dinner, then they can pay for it out of their own pocket.

In the end, nothing will change. Sure, maybe a bill will pass. But, just like the last time, once the elections are over this year, the new one will be just as ignored.

It comes down to politicians who want power. The way they get power is by getting elected/re-elected. How dod you do that? With money for your campaign. Where do you get it? The voters? No, the lobbyists and private corporations. How do you get money from them? By promissing them you will help them out. What if you break those promisses? Then they wont give you money for your next re-election. What about the voters? What if the promisses you make to the voters conflict with the promisses you made to the lobbyists? Well, then just blame it on the other party or somebody else. As long as it looks like you tried, enough of the voters will believe you. It works for any office and any party. Prime examples: GWB himself and none other than our waste of space Mayor here in Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

State Removal of Life Support

You can read the story here.

Basically, an 11 year old was beaten by her adopted mother (which is also her aunt) and stepfather with a baseball bat leaving her in a coma.
The state has ordered the removal of life support and her feeding tube. The stepfather is trying to block the state from doing so because he then be charged with murder. The girl has been on life support since September. The doctors say she is in a permanent vegatative state.

OK, first of all he is not her father, he never adopted her, and he obviously didn't give a shit about her otherwise, he wouldn't have beat her with a bat. So his attempts to block the removal should be denied. If you read the story, she has no family left, so, at that point it is left up to the state (after reviewing the doctors' prognosis).

What a decision to make! This is a bit like the Terry Schiavo case. It was easy for me to decide that one. I had seen the CAT scans. She had been pretty much brain dead for well over a decade.

Tough call! But I'm going to have to go with keeping this one alive a bit longer, maybe a year. The stepfather should be charged with no less then attempted murder and get 15 years. If the girl shows no sign of brain activity after say 6months to a year, then let her go. No sense keeping alive a mindless body!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dover Down!

On December 20, U.S. District Judge John Jones ruled against the Dover Area School Board stating intelligent design inserted into the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation between church and state. Yes, I know that was two weeks ago but, somebody happened to bring that topic up this morning and what she expressed was quite baffling to me. More on that later.
I have spent a lot of time reading news articles following the topics of evolution versus ID and creationism. Along with that, I have also read other opinions. I have come to the conclusion that most people (Americans specifically) know almost nothing about evolution and what they do know is incorrect. Case in point: the affore mentioned female told me she couldn't see how we (humans) could have come from monkeys. She told me that that was what she was taught in school years ago. Come to find out she went to catholic school. What a surprise.
The first thing I would like to clear up about that is apes and monkeys are not the same. Monkeys have tails for starters. In addition to that, evolution does not teach us that we came from apes(that is non-human apes). Using evolution to connect humans to other apes, or other species for that matter, is like playing "Six Degrees of Separation". I'm not going to get into the whole explanation, that would take up too much space.
Now on to intelligent design.
Intelligent design suggests that because the universe is too complex and evolution cannot fully explain the complexity of living organisms, there must be an intelligent designer. The ID'ers claim that the supernatural intelligent designer is not neccesarily God. That's fine. So my question is, what is it? If it isn't God, and it isn't any lifeform on earth, then it must be an alien. Under that supposition, that must mean there is intelligent life somewhere other than earth. But, isn't that the opposite of what different religious sects teach, that we are the only life in the universe?
I actually did quite a bit of research on intelligent design when I first heard of it. Mainly because what I heard at the time sounded hoaky. The only information I really found was some Dr. Behe guy arguing that there are gaps in the fossil record, something about irreducible machines, and that certain biological systems cannot be explained by evolution. This guy is a Roman Catholic that belives the "designer" actually is God. I don't know how this guy can get away with calling himself a scientist when he uses the supernatural to explain that which he doesn't understand. Maybe he's a witch-doctor?
OK. What about the whole "Evolution is a theory, not a fact" thing? Well, What about the theory of relativity? Come on, now! E=Mc^2? Ummmm... Yes, it does! If it didn't, then the U.S. would have a very large, nonfunctioning, nuclear arsenal! Nagasaki and Hiroshima would have been a hoax. Nuclear power would be impossible therefore, stars would never ignite and begin nuclear fussion.
I could go on and on (not that I haven't already). I think what the debate is really about is the fear religious folk have that evolutionists are trying to prove the nonexistence of God. Evolution does't even attempt to explore who or what created the universe and everything in it, including us. Evolution only teaches us how everything came to be without inquiring as to who or what was behind it. To use the supernatural to explanation things in this day and age is much like using greek mythology to explain things. In fact, its identical to using Gods to explain everything from the wind to the motion of the sun.
Perhaps, ID'ers just aren't intelligent enough to satisfy their need for religion by believing that evolution is how God works his magic.