I don’t understand Clarence Thomas

July 2, 2011

OK, leaving aside the obvious irony of a black man embracing originalism* – Clarence Thomas has created for himself a glaring contradiction in his opinion on the California law forbidding sales of violent video games to minors. But first, you have to remember that he’s adamantly Right to Birth.

Thomas opined in the Brown video game case that the founders clearly believed that children have no first amendment rights and that parents had complete authority over their children and the ability to make all decisions for them. His opinion goes on to glorify the absolute authority of Puritan parents and notes approvingly that, in colonial Massachusetts, child “committed a capital offense if he disobeyed ‘the voice of his Father, or the voice of his Mother.’ ”

So, if it’s ok to kill your child, and according to Thomas, an embryo is a child, why isn’t abortion ok?

*Originalism: The belief that you can read the minds of dead people.

thanks!

April 11, 2011

So, I read that the IRS has 1.1 BILLION dollars of money from 2007 that should go for refunds that people haven’t applied for. Want to know why they haven’t applied? ‘Cause they are living and working here illegally. So, the next time someone complains about how much it costs America to have “illegals” living here, remind them that not only do they pay the same sales tax as everyone else, and medicare/social security tax for benefits they will NEVER GET, but they also contribute 1.1 BILLION extra dollars to the the US Treasury every year.

April 10, 2011

Politics Today

March 26, 2011

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A little question about socialism

February 1, 2011

OK, let’s take a look. Two scenarios:

First scenario – If you feel like it (and can afford it) you buy health insurance from a private company. The company applies a lifetime cap to what it’ll spend for you and it gets to decide whether it wants to pay or not. If you didn’t feel like buying insurance or if it doesn’t pay, you go to the hospital anyway and guess who pays? I do! And so do all the other taxpayers in America. The government guarantees you get medical care.

Second scenario – The government says you have to buy health insurance from a private company. When you get sick, the private company pays.

Now, tell me again – which one is socialism?

The new Stepford Wives

November 19, 2010

Yesterday morning I heard one of the new Republican women governors on the radio. You can’t tell them apart -they all have the same voice, not grizzlies-except for being vicious and unpredictable- but more like some sort of Stepford Wives.

She said “People just want a government that works for them” and I thought “aha.That’s exactly it.” She didn’t say “the people” – she said “people.” Each individual wants the government to work for him or her. As in the Republican mantra “I’ve got mine” as opposed to the Democrats’ “We’re all in this together.” Funny what a huge difference a definite article can make.

Maybe this is the root of the historic Russian inability to tell the self from the masses?

getting what you ask for

November 4, 2010

OK, then. According to the new Republican majority, government needs to get out of the way of business, allow American self-reliance, promote competition, and reduce spending. We can do that!

Let’s start with getting rid of all the farm subsidies. The farm states voted Republican, so they should get behind this. The government will quit giving the farmers money and allow them to rely on themselves without worrying about all that pesky non-competitive support from the government.

Then, let’s oblige all those Republicans who purported to speak for the small business owners. Yo, there, small business owners! Pay back those SBA loans right now – the government isn’t in the business of lending you money or guaranteeing your loans any more. Stand on your own two feet.

Let’s quit paying for basic research with our tax dollars. If pharmaceutical and technological companies want to make products people want to buy, let them rely on themselves to do the science.

Next, let’s get the government out of the business of providing roads, airports and air traffic controllers. If companies want to send their trucks out on roads, or their goods on airplanes, they can buy some roads and hire some air traffic controllers. In fact, they can compete for the cheapest air traffic controllers; if a few planes drop out of the sky over Macon or Lincoln, it’s just cost-benefit calculation.

And if all you good Republicans lose your jobs because the farm conglomerates can’t afford to pay you and the small business go bust and the pharmaceutical and technology companies all move to countries that support basic research, well, don’t count on the government for unemployment insurance. That’s your problem, not ours. We’re busy reducing spending.

T.P.

September 25, 2010

How on earth did the Tea Party ever convince America that they are conservative? Named for an act of terrorism in which the merchandise of private businesses was destroyed, they remain true to the heritage of radical destruction. The TP calls itself patriotic and conservative, but if you listen to what they say, you quickly understand that they are actually radical anarchists, bent on destruction of the United States. They talk about “taking back” our democratically elected government. And they’re proud of having the guns to do it.

The US tax rate is as low as it has ever been since World War II, yet they complain about taxation. Guess what? Those taxes build and maintain the highways used to carry the merchandise of their much-loved private enterprise. The government also maintains the air traffic system for their precious private-enterprise airlines. Without the government bailout – soon to be completely repaid – we’d have no private-enterprise auto industry left in this country. And the free-market drug companies? They would go out of business without federal funding for basic research – which those drug companies use without paying back the taxpayers a dollar. The TP radical anti-social agenda, if carried out, would actually mean the destruction of the private enterprise system in the United States.

Who do they imagine is going to test drugs to see that they are not harmful and food to see that it isn’t contaminated? Who is going to respond if there’s a fire in one of their free-market offices or factories? And who, exactly, do they intend to pay for the private-practice doctor and the for-profit hospital when they have a child born with a genetic disease and have repealed the health care reform that requires the private-industry insurance company they’ve been paying for years to cover their child? Oh, yes, the public and non-profit hospitals that are required to treat everyone for free – except without the government to require that and to pay for it, they won’t be available, either. And, without the good jobs that are available because our government supports our infrastructure, they won’t be able to pay for it, themselves, either.

The TP wants good roads and fire departments, but doesn’t want to pay a cent for them. There’s a word for taking something you don’t pay for – it’s stealing. Oh, but who cares? Without government, after all, there are no laws and courts. That’s not conservatism. That’s radical anarchism and that’s what the Tea Party stands for.

Appalling

June 26, 2010

Peter Norvig is a pig. I realize this is an old-fashioned epithet, but the behavior was positively Neanderthal, and you can’t get much more old-fashioned than that.

Last Wednesday evening I attended an event at the Commonwealth Club. First, a man who had written a book about Facebook was interviewed by a tech blogger Michael Arrington. They had an interesting conversation followed by audience questions that had been written on cards and brought to the stage.

Then a man who had written a book about how the way we use the internet may be changing our brains was “interviewed” by Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google and Plenty Proud of Himself. The 45 minute conversation was dominated by Norvig, who talked, I estimate, about twice as much as the author, Nicholas Carr, putting forth and defending his own ideas, telling anecdotes (admittedly, one was actually amusing) and generally aggrandizing himself. I was fidgeting in my seat already and checking the clock when it was finally time for the question and answer session.

This time, two microphones had been set up, and, as is usual, men immediately came to line up. Four men on one microphone and three at the other. They were followed, more slowly, by four women and another man.
Most of the questioners spent a little too much time setting up their questions, or maybe they were just rambling while they thought up what they wanted to ask. Norvig answered almost all the questions himself, at great length, before turning to Carr, who was left with little to say at that point. Just over five minutes before the scheduled end of the session, the first women was finally up at the microphone. Norvig made some random and by-then expectedly pompous and self-congratulatory wrap-up statements, thanked Carr and the audience, and ended the evening.

It was appalling. I am rethinking my fondness for Google.

Delicious Irony

June 25, 2010

The Supreme Court has ruled that the names on initiative petitions are public. Whoever had the idea they shouldn’t be? Why, opponents of equal rights, of course.

What were they afraid of? The plaintiffs, who were trying to repeal Washington state’s domestic partner law, claimed that the signers of California Prop. 8 initiative petition to outlaw same-sex marriage were subjected to “scorn and verbal abuse” and that signers of the Washington petition faced possible harassment, intimidation and even death threats.

In other words, they were afraid of being treated as if they were gay.