Saturday, March 30, 2013

The World is a Dangerous and Unfair Place


    I woke up this morning, which is a surprise considering how dangerous the world is.  I read and watch so much news that reinforces that premise that I just am not sure how I make it through the day.  I am terribly concerned that at any moment I will find that Tempurpedic mattresses have been found to cause cancer in Canaries, which would be tragic, if I had a Canary.
     Each day we face Global Warming, which causes bigger storms, warmer oceans, droughts, floods, beach erosion, shorter ski seasons, and longer winters.  To fight this we are adding ethanol, in increasing amounts, to our gasoline so that soon our lawn mowers won't work and there will be food shortages.  Unless we use genetically modified food, that the FDA has approved as safe as can be determined, which should be pretty safe as long as the right government is in charge of the FDA, setting the right standards to help with Global Warming, which we already know, is very dangerous.
    On the other side, we are being attacked with ever increasing ferocity by aliens, both domestic and intergalactic.  Someone is hurling meteorites at us, and they are getting better at it.  Fortunately, so far, they have only hit Russia, but they are definitely getting better at it.  On the domestic side, we have aliens that are demanding equal rights with non-aliens, and if they don’t get it they will do something bad, like vote, flood the healthcare system, or maybe lobby for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state, which would mean they would then have to do all the things a State has to do.  If that happens, what would be next?  Surely Guam wouldn’t want to become number 52?  Speaking of Guam, I worry that if we put too many US Marines on Guam will it really tip over as some in Congress have voiced concern with?  Having islands tip over is both dangerous and unfair, but I am not sure if it unfair to the marine life or the non-marine life.
    I worry about guns, a curse on society, brought to us by the Chinese in an attempt to dominate the world.  If the wrong people have guns then they kill people, if the right people don’t have guns they can’t stop the wrong people who do.  It is a vicious circle started by Genghis Khan, Kubla Khan, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and ending with the birth of Ku Klux Khan.  We need to find a way to get all guns out of the hands of people who will use them for evil.  I fully support the current and ongoing efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to buy up all the bullets, because once we have used up the existing stocks of bullets the problem should go away and the world will be a safer place for those who don’t have guns.  As long as the right government is in charge of Homeland Security, setting the right protections against domestic aliens, and limits on the rights of the citizens for self protection and determination.
    Don’t even get me started on North Korea, a country that is doing its best to fight the causes of Global Warming.  If you look at a picture of the world at night you can see a country that doesn’t believe in keeping the lights on after dark.  It is limiting its use of nuclear power to strictly military applications, thereby reducing the potential for a China syndrome type accident, probably because China is a next door neighbor.  On the other hand, what good is having a nuclear weapon, and being a basketball-loving dictator, if you can’t use it (the weapon not the basketball) once in a while.  I am worried about a nuclear war, because if there is anything that does not go well with nuclear weapons it is an isolated country known to support terrorism.  Thankfully there are only a couple of those around, but if we had one of those wars, think of all the Carbon Credits Al Gore would have to sell them to zero balance out the effect of a mushroom cloud, or three, on Global Warming.
    And finally, since we are talking about dangerous and unfair, why do I have to iron my own shirts?  Just because I am the one who wears them and gets them wrinkled?  That is just wrong, and dangerous!  I don't know how I sleep at night with all this dangerous and unfair stuff out there.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Swirling Around Thoughts


Yesterday, the US Supreme Court heard the case on California’s Proposition 8 (a voter adopted law to restrict same sex marriage).  A lower federal court overturned it, and the State did not challenge that ruling, but the propositions supporters did and their lawyers argued to overturn the district courts ruling.  I thought they did a miserable job of justifying why only a man and a woman can marry, but then the respondents didn’t establish any great argument before the court as to why it was discrimination to set that as a standard.
Today the Court heard a challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act or (DOMA), a law where the Congress and the President felt they had the right to define what was a legitimate marriage, and it could only be between a man and a woman.
I will undoubtedly upset some in my family, but I think the lower court’s ruling in Prop 8 should be overturned, while at the same time I think the DOMA should be found unconstitutional.  Both choices stem from a belief that the right to define and regulate marriage is a State’s Right and not federal issue. 
In the case of Prop 8 the majority of the state voted in favor of it when the State Supreme court struck down an earlier law.  Opponents then filed for regress in Federal Court, who did by judicial fiat what the opponents could not do at the polls.   If it is true that Prop 8 would not pass today, then it should be put again to the voters to determine what the law of the state should be, and not directed by the courts.  As was noted in the questioning by the judges, at what precise point in time did the prohibition of same-sex marriage become unconstitutional?  I would go one step further and ask when did the approval of who can marry become a federal issue?  Was it 1996 with the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act?
In the case of DOMA, I think the federal government has impinged upon one of the basic rights of the states, and says to them, “if you don’t see it my way I will withhold federal funds,” and to the citizens who have met the requirements for marriage, as defined by the state, “I don’t care, you are not afforded equal protection.” 
I believe each state should have the right to determine, within its constitutional authorities, what the majority of its population believes to be right for that state as long as an individual’s right to self-determination is protected.  I know some will argue that restricting marriage to only heterosexual relations discriminates against homosexuals.  I think this argument is just as weak as the one that says marriage can only be between a man and a woman.  Marriage within a Church may carry moral requirements, and I certainly believe the Church as a right to establish those requirements since membership in the Church is an individual choice, but by the state it is purely a licensing practice that establishes a contract between the parties, who will ultimately gain financial and other security benefits from that contract.
There is one critical federal point I would like to note here.  In our constitution there is specific language to how the states must deal with the laws of other states.
Article 4, Each State to Honor all Others.  
Article. IV.
Section. 1.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Section. 2.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
While I have my doubts the founding fathers would have considered the implications of same sex marriage, I believe the provisions of this article remains a governing precept, and if a couple are legally married in one state, that marriage must be recognized in all others, and the federal government, even if the others choose not to approve of same sex marriage in their own laws and regulations. 
I believe there is adequate precedent for this, as I can recall that even in my life there was a time when people who sought a quick divorce would establish residency in NV until it was granted, then when they returned to their home states that divorce decree remained valid and in force.
But then I am not a lawyer, just an individual with an opinion.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Observations, Nothing More


I saw some bumper stickers today, posted at Legal Insurrection, that reflect a misguided belief that Jesus of Nazareth was a Liberal.  I can find no indication in the bible that Jesus held any political belief other than to convey the word of God, and point out where the Pharisees and Sadducees had moved away from it.  The closest political statement I find is with regard to Roman taxes.
I suspect Ms. Palin will get some pointed attention from the political pundits, especially on the left, for her accusation the President is a liar for promising transparent government and delivering the opposite.
 Phil, the groundhog from Punxsutawney, predicted an early spring.  It has arrived at the same time it did last year when he predicted a longer winter.
Mr. Torre, the former manager of the NY Yankees, should probably consider retirement. 
There is something magical about an early morning fog, unless you want to go somewhere, and then it is just a pain in the butt.
If Mayor Bloomberg has decided to set his salary at $1 a year, is it based on his value to the city or some other standard?
How do you set a value for life?  Is it based on how the individual feels, or how the government feels about the individual?
If killing children is wrong, then why do so many feminists endorse it?
It seems a lot easier to pontificate if you are a politician than if you are a Pope.
Union’s serve a useful purpose, but I am not sure what purpose union leadership serves other than to feather their own nest.
It is easier to point out the faults of others, than it is to quietly accept them.
In baseball, being right 30% of the time is pretty good; in politics it would be spectacular.
Economists should be seen, not heard, political economists shouldn’t even be seen.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Problem with Squirrels


As we pursue our dreams, we are taught to stay focused, to keep our eye on the ball, our nose to the grindstone, and a sharp lookout for the ship of opportunity on the horizon… Well, you get my drift.  We are informed to be successful we must set goals, and to pursue excellence.
As Scott Adam so wonderfully observes in his Dilbert Comic, those who rise to the position of Chief Executive may not follow the same path as those who try and live by the axioms our parents passed along.  These are people who see a grander vision, who steer the ship to a star that others may not yet see, at least until a squirrel comes along to distract them.
Then, when they look to the heavens to find the invisible star by which they chart theirs and their company’s course, it never seems to be in the same place.  The best that the oarsmen can hope for is that it’s not directly opposite of the direction they have been rowing.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Taxes


As a fiscal conservative I guess I am a heretic.  I am not fundamentally opposed to new taxes.  The problem with new taxes is there is nothing in our history, that I am aware of, where new taxes have solved the problem of deficit spending.  All new taxes do is allow the government to grow more, which means they borrow more, which leads to new deficits, and the call for more new taxes.
If, on the other hand, the Federal government was required to operate like 41 of our states and the President and Legislature were obligated to submit and pass a balanced budget, and could not carry over a deficit I might favor a tax or two to make ends meet.  But the federal government does not operate like most states, the President can submit any budget the executive wants and the legislature will usually inflate it for their own pet projects.
So let's say we raise taxes to close the deficit?  I think only the most na├»ve among us would think that money will go to help those in need.  Clearly our experience shows it will go to growing the government to make it bigger, more commanding, and more invasive. It will add regulations, oversight, bridges to nowhere, tunnels to nowhere else, and surveillance in areas where we don’t already have surveillance.  It will not fix infrastructure, unless your Senator and Congressman is in a key position, or someone needs a favor, and it will not improve the lives of the ordinary taxpayer.  But most of all it will not reduce the deficit, lower the debt, or bring fiscal realism to the realm for anything more then the briefest of times.
So I say, until we have a Constitutional amendment requiring the President and the Congress to balance the books if they want to be paid, I am not in favor of new taxes, even the sneaky ones like the affordable health care act that wasn’t a tax, but the Supreme Court seems to think is okay because it is.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Slippery Slope


I agree with Rand Paul, period, dot.  When we begin to rationalize why it may, hypothetically, kind of maybe, sometimes, be okay to violate the safeguards of our constitution we begin the rationalization why it is okay for government to do whatever it thinks is necessary to ensure safety, protect us from ourselves, fulfill a political agenda, or keep a politician in power as long as they want.
The reason we have a constitution is to stop that last potential.  The people who are critical of him have, perhaps, been in power too long themselves and have lost sight of the fact the constitution is intended to limit government, not expand it.
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