Tuesday, May 31, 2005

How Quickly They Turn

There's a story going on for about a month now in the national news that has perked my interest. Jim West, the mayor of Spokane, WA, has been outed by The Spokesman Review. The details of this story really bother me.

Jim West is a conservative. Before being mayor he was a Senator in the Washington State legislature, and before that he was a police officer for many years. By all accounts this man was a model citizen his entire life. Then one day someone tips off The Spokesman Review that West is cruising gay chat rooms. So The Review set up a sting operation where they got someone to pose as a 17 year old (soon to be 18) gay male and see if they could trap the mayor into seducing a minor. They managed to contact West and chat with him for 2 months before talking him into meeting. It's important to note that West says he did not want to have sex with the boy until he was 18, they only met for lunch and has denied ever having sex with a minor. Once he showed up for the meeting the Spokesman was sure they had the right guy, so with total disregard for his personal life and personal business, The Spokesman-Review outed him publicly.

Shortly after being outed, allegations of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and child molestation surfaced. Mind you, none of these allegations has been proven and no charges have been brought against West, but now Jim West finds himself in a battle for his political life. The FBI has begun a preliminary probe to investigate the abuse allegations. The Spokesman-Review and the Seattle Times have both called for West's resignation.

I don't know what went on in that chat room. I don't know if Jim West sexually abused kids back in the 70's. But I think we owe it to the man to get off his back until all the details come out and the investigation is complete. He hasn't been charged with anything. Right now all we have is some allegations from a few convicted felons. If that's all it takes to remove someone from office our republic is in serious trouble.

But what really bothers me about this case is the actions of his political opponents. We've been talking on The Deep Freeze about how the left can't win elections so they have turned to other means. Most of the talk has been about trying to control the judiciary and getting activist judges to rule in their favor. There is also a plot to assassinate the character of those who disagree with them. This trend is clearly evident. Trent Lott was forced to resign his post as majority leader after he gave a few kind words to an old man which were twisted to suggest he favored segregation. Now any time a republican speaks out against minorities or gays or anything the left holds dear, they are called on to resign. It's a way of taking power from the people and overturning elections. The left has become resign happy. They want Bush to resign, they want Rumsfeld to resign, they wanted Powell to resign, they want Rice to resign. It's crazy! We can't operate a government like this.

But what really bothers me is the blatant hypocrisy of the gay community. When New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy came out of the closet, the gay community rallied and supported him. With Jim West it's another story. The gay community has turned their backs on him and joined the calls for him to resign. Their claim is the issue is his past record on gay issues. It's no secret that West has voted against issues the gay community holds dear. They say this hypocrisy is the reason he should resign, not his sexual orientation. West says he was never a leader on those issues and he was only voting the way his constituents wanted him to vote. When you think about it, isn't that his job? What's wrong with that? All through the Presidential campaign we heard John Kerry say he personally thought abortion was wrong but he wasn't going to legislate his beliefs on others. How is this any different?

So it seems to me the only crime that Jim West has committed in the eyes of those calling for his resignation is being conservative. Apparently you aren't allowed to be a republican if you are gay. This makes sense considering how the left views other minorities. If you're a black conservative they call you Uncle Tom or Aunt Jemima. They opposed Miguel Estrada for a federal judge post because he was Hispanic and could help Hispanic voters look more favorably on the GOP. John Kerry goes to black churches and tells them the republicans want to sell them back into slavery so the best you can do is vote for him and hope to keep getting your little government handouts. It's a clear pattern by the left to suppress minorities and keep them in line with the party talking points. Speak out against us and you will be outcast. You will be demonized and we will destroy you.

If Jim West is found guilty of abusing his office or molesting children, I will be the first to call for his resignation. But until then I say innocent until proven guilty. Liberals need to stay out of his personal life and stop treating everyone who comes up with some crazy charge against a conservative as if they are an unimpeachable source.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Christian Aye! Conservative Nay!

This week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill (238-194) to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

As a Christian, I must admit I'm conflicted about embryonic stem cell research. I see the side of the debate that says it's morally wrong to create life just to destroy it. I'm not sure I agree with this. I also see the possibility to cure many diseases and save lives. In wrestling with this issue, I've come to the conclusion that God created this opportunity to do something good, so maybe we should give it a chance. The intentions behind this research are good, unlike abortion where I perceive the intentions to be selfish and shallow. So Christian Mike has decided he isn't a high enough authority to be an activist on either side of this issue. I figure let God sort them out.

But Conservative Mike has a different opinion. Conservative Mike doesn't think the federal government should be funding medical research. It would be nice if the government had an unlimited supply of money to spend on whatever they want, but let's face it, our country is in serious financial trouble. Republicans and democrats alike have not been good guardians of our money. The rest of us have to live by a monthly budget, why does the government get a free pass to spend out of control? Our government needs to reign in spending before we go bankrupt. Unfortunately, that means popular programs either get cut or underfunded. But special interest groups are too close to our politicians to make that happen.

In addition to this argument, let's not forget that so far not one medical problem has been solved by embryonic stem cell research. It's all theory. Ron Reagan gave a very inspiring speech at the DNC last year, but so far it's just a vision. In taking all this in I couldn't help but wonder as I watched the speech: if this is such a great new technology, why isn't the private sector all over it? If this disease is going to cure cancer, alzheimer's, and paralysis, wouldn't the private sector be all over it like stink on a skunk to try to make a buck? Haven't we learned yet that nothing kills a program faster than government funding which usually leads to government regulation? Why would Merck research this technology if another pharmaceutical company gets a federal grant for $100 million to research it? The answer is it wouldn't because it wouldn't be competing on a level playing field. Letting the private sector research the technology would be the best thing they could do. So Christian Mike says "Aye!", but Conservative Mike says "Nay!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Beware the Snake in the Grass

On Monday evening a small group of 14 Senators (seven republicans and seven democrats) reached an agreement to avoid the “nuclear option” and pave the way for the nominations of Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers-Brown, and Bill Pryor to move to the Senate floor for a vote on confirmation which they will most likely pass. As part of this deal, the Republican Senators agreed to not allow any rules changes to the Senate throughout the duration of the 109th Congress. The Democrats promise not to block the nomination of these three judges, but withhold the right to filibuster other judicial nominations under “extraordinary circumstances.”

I heard the news on the radio in my car last night. When I got back to my hotel I tuned into Foxnews and C-Span to get the details. I watched a press conference on C-Span with 12 of these 14 Senators. They talked about what a great day this was for the Senate and the American people. They talked about trust, and honesty, and bi-partisanship. They told us this was historic and great for America. I had to hold back to keep from throwing up in my mouth. I’m convinced this is a total loss for the Republicans.

My blood was really boiling listening to this press conference. The person who drew my ire the most is John McCain. The mainstream media like to call Senator McCain “The Maverick.” I am going to start calling him “The Mole.” I’m almost convinced he is actually a democrat who has infiltrated the Republican ranks and is trying to sabotage the Grand Old Party. The “moderate republican” Senator from Arizona is hardly a member of the Republican Party anymore. I’m convinced this whole deal was orchestrated by McCain to serve his own selfish political ambitions. Did I mention he couldn't stay for the duration of the press conference because he had to wisk away to the premier of his new movie?

John McCain is still bitter over the 2000 primaries. He thought for sure he was on his way to the Presidency. He was the darling of the mainstream media. Chris Mathews couldn’t get enough of him and his stupid bus he called “The Straight Talk Express.” Every politician was begging for the passage of the McCain-Feingold bill which was supposed to keep big money out of the campaigns. One election cycle later we see what it did, it sprung up these 527 groups which actually infused more money into the campaign, but instead of giving it to the candidates, it gave it to the Moveon.orgs and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But back to the Primaries, in South Carolina Bush pointed out how McCain turned down veteran benefits. This drew the ire of McCain who reminded us for the 1000th time he was a POW in Vietnam. He ended up losing South Carolina. Even though he would have lost it anyway, he never forgave George W. Bush for that and has continued to hold that grudge to this day. He has been so outspoken against the administration I don’t know why he still calls himself republican? He spoke out against Bush’s tax cuts. He has been critical against the war. When Congress passed the Medicare bill he accused republicans of spending like drunken sailors. He refused to get on board with the President’s Social Security Plan. Now he set up an agreement that kills 7 out of 10 of Bush’s nominees and still gives the Democrats the right to filibuster future nominees. How is this a compromise? This is a total loss for the republicans!

I think McCain also set up this deal to position himself for the 2008 republican nomination. While this was a move meant to give Dubbya the finger, it was also a move to undermine Bill Frist. McCain knows that right now the GOP has no front runner for the nomination. He also knows that Bill Frist has hinted he may run. If Frist were successful in breaking the filibuster, he would instantly be the darling of the conservative base and immediately catapult into the lead. McCain couldn’t have this. He had to prove that he holds the power and his big ego made sure he looked out for himself first, and his party second.

But I think Senator McCain has spent too much time hanging out with the mainstream media and his liberal colleagues who tell him he’s a strong candidate. His dream of the GOP nomination is a fantasy. While McCain may do well in a national election, he will never win the primary. You can’t give the base the finger over and over and expect them to adore you come election time. Conservatives started a plan several years ago to gain power by winning elections. We packaged a message that has won voters and gained us power. It was 30 years in the making. It was a lot of hard work and tough fights. But after 30 plus years, we have gained the presidency and both houses of Congress. John McCain has completely undermined all of our work. 30 years is down the tubes. If we can’t get our judges appointed to the bench when we control the Presidency and the Senate, it isn’t going to happen.

I expect after McCain is scorned by the base and tossed to the curb he will become disenfranchised. Maybe he will come out of the closet and admit he isn’t actually a republican after all. But I suspect the mainstream media will whisper in his ear and lure him into running as an independent candidate. And the media will love him. Like Ross Perot in 1992, they will give him lots of air time. He’ll be a regular guest on Larry King and Chris Mathews. He will even get a podium at the Presidential debates. Of course, the mainstream media doesn’t give third parties the time of day when they take votes from a liberal (see Ralph Nader), but when they take votes from a republican suddenly they’re all in favor of third parties. So I think Jonny Boy has one more trick up his sleeve to stick it to Bush and the party that rejected him in 2008. And I’m sure Hillary will give him a nice cabinet post (perhaps the Secretary of Defense he so covets?) as payment for his services.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Laying Low

It may surprise some of you, but I don't have much to say right now. I think I'm just waiting out the Senate filibuster to see what happens. All of the other news in the media seems trivial to me right now. Once things start to shake up, rest assured I will have an opinion.

Let me tell you what I think is going to happen and the consequences from it. I think today the Senate will start debate once again on Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. I hear rumors they may debate all through the night tonight. Sometime tomorrow Bill Frist will ask the President of the Senate (Dick Cheney) to rule the filibuster out of order. Cheney will rule the filibuster out of order and put a motion on the table to eliminate filibusters on judicial nominees. I think the Republicans will come up with 52 votes. There has been some talk of some republicans voting against it making it a 50-50 vote, but I think once they realize they are on the losing side some republicans will opt not to jump ship.

Of course, John McCain and Lindsey Grahm are doing their best to muck this up. They are trying to build a "compromise" where 6 democrats would be willing to invoke cloture while 6 republicans would be willing to vote down Owens. This is not going to happen. It would not be a compromise at all since democrats would still be able to filibuster future Supreme Court nominees, which would in effect make this "compromise" an actual surrender. But it's nice to know which side Mr. McCain is on. Rest assured he will not be getting my vote in the 2008 primaries. But then I don't think he will even be on the ballot by the time they get to Pennsylvania. He will lose Iowa, win New Hampshire like he did last time, but he'll get slaughtered on Super Tuesday when all the christian southern states overwhelmingly reject him.

I think after the republicans invoke the so-called "nuclear option" they will pay a price. Trent Lott is an idiot for coining that term. Democrats are going to accuse the republicans of the "nuclear option" in their campaign ads in 2006 and 2008. They will pay the price just for backing anything called the "nuclear option" because most Americans won't understand what it is, but they will know they don't like anything called the "nuclear option." To overcome this the republicans can't be afraid to call out the democrats on their lies about these nominees. These nominees have all gotten favorable ratings from the American Bar Association. They are extremely qualified and they are not out of the main stream. I'm shocked at some of the debate I'm hearing from the left on these two fine women. They say Rogers-Brown is out of the mainstream because she ruled a school district had the right to fire an abusive teacher. They say Owens rules against rape victims because she ruled a rape victim could sue the vacuum cleaner salesman who raped her, and his employer, but not the company that manufactured the vacuum cleaner. Why is that out of the mainstream?

It's my hope the republicans don't invoke the "nuclear option." I would prefer to see them break the filibuster like they did in the old days. Make them hold the floor indefinitely until the public backlash is too much for one side to handle. The American people will let them know which side of the argument they prefer. If they want to change the Senate rules, do so under other circumstances. Not in the middle of a heated public debate like this. I see the necessity of this "power grap" as Ted Kennedy likes to call it, but I don't think it's the right way to go for the long term of the Grand Old Party.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Understanding Generation X

This post is meant to give the reader more understanding into the psyche of Generation X. It should be read in conjunction with my previous post on Baby Boomers. If you haven't read the baby boomer post yet please do so before reading on.

Born in the 60's and 70's, Generation X grew up in two decades of turmoil. The early Xer's were kids during the Vietnam war. We didn't understand much because they were too young to understand war. But we heard about people dying and not coming home on the news. We saw people protesting our government. We were told our government did bad things. As teenagers we heard about Watergate and how the highest elected official in our land was a crook and a liar. In the late 70's we experienced the energy crisis, a tanking economy, and the hostage crisis. We saw Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter leave office in shame. We were told we were locked in a Cold War that would probably never end without the complete destruction of the earth. We learned at an early age you can't count on the government.

Our parents worked hard to give us the things we needed, and even things we didn't need. Unfortunately sometimes all we wanted was their time. Mom and dad both worked and didn't have time to help us with our homework or come to the little league games. Many of our parents were divorced. We felt like orphans. We were the original "latch-key-kids". We grew up realizing we couldn't count on our parents to be there for us. We learned to cherish our friends and look out for ourselves.

In school we became disgusted with things that didn't make sense to us. If Generation X had a motto, it would be "Is this going to be on the test?" Our distrust of adults and those put in charge of us lead us to ask "why?" Save us the fluff and just give us the essentials. If we didn't see a need for math, we weren't interested. If we didn't see a need for science, no thanks. We rebelled against our parents. We rebelled against our teachers. We rebelled against any authority, a trait we would carry into the workplace as adults. All we cared about was doing things that interested us and hanging out with our friends.

Our loneliness lead us to invent new sports. We gravitated toward individual activities. Our parents started little league and pop warner football. We invented the X Games: skateboarding, freestyle biking, roller blading, skiing, and snowboarding exploded onto the public scene. Our parents invented video games for us, and we still play them to this day. And where our parents were apprehensive about computers and technology, we took to it like ducks in water.

When we started coming of age in the 80's, we were told the Japanese were soon taking over. Corporations started laying off like crazy to compete. The baby boomers muscled us out of the workplace. Layoffs were rampant. X-er's couldn't get jobs. College graduates with business and engineering degrees were working at the Gap and living with mom and dad. Those that could get jobs didn't want to work the long hours our parents worked. Our job became a means to get the money we needed to do the things we wanted. And we had no loyalty to our company. And why should we when they had no loyalty to us? Many of us changed jobs frequently working for the highest bidder. We dispised meaningless tasks. "Is this going to be on the test?" we asked ourselves. We wanted freedom from the baby boomer military style of the workplace. Working with boomers became a chore. Boomers preferred to work in teams. We preferred to work by ourselves. We detested dress codes. We didn't see the need to work 50 hours a week if we could get our work done in 35. Our new motto bacame, "Judge me on my performance, not on my appearance and how I act." Our boomer bosses valued equality, so we gave it to them. We questioned authority. It wasn't enough to know what you wanted us to do, we had to know why you wanted us to do it. And if we didn't see the need for it, we weren't motivated.

In the 90's the boomers started to realize our skills with technology. We became a wanted commodity. Some Xer's started to make it into management. Corporations started tailoring their workplace towards us. Casual dress days were instituted. Salaries went through the roof to attract technically skilled Xer's. Companies started offering flex time to appeal to Gen X (although part of this was also due to boomers burning out after 25 years of being work-a-holics.) The word "telecommuting" was invented.

In our social lives, many Xer's still haven't married. Many of us grew up with divorced parents and disfunctional families and don't see the appeal of the family life. We value our friends and have made them our defacto families. When we did get married and have kids, we swore we were going to be different from our parents. While our parents devoted their lives to their careers, we devoted our lives to our kids. We promised they wouldn't be denied anything. We signed them up for swim team, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, band, piano, ballet, and karate. We promised to protect them from the cruel world we were exposed to as kids. Since we were called failures as young adults, we were determined to boost our kids' self esteme. Nobody kept score in little league games, nobody got failing grades in school, everyone passed and everyone got a trophy just for participating. We told our kids, "It's the effort that counts."

Now in 2005 Generation X has finally established ourselves. Many of us are working hard and proving ourselves every day in society. Some of us have managed to claw up the corporate ladder. Our influence on our companies is evident. We work hard, but we're laid back. We have rewritten corporate etiquette rules and don't expect everyone to put in 50 hours per week. We still hold no political power. From our distrust of the government as youths, we had little interest in politics growing up. Now we're beginning to see how government affects us and we're becoming more active. But we hold no power. Baby boomers outnumber us and continue to elect baby boomer officials. They will continue to do so for probably the next 20 years. We're disgusted by the politics, the pompousness, the double-talk, and the ineffectiveness of government and our baby boomer officials. We still don't trust them. We wish things were different.

My hope in writing this is if you are an Xer you can read some part of this and say "Yeah, that's exactly how I feel but I never knew why." Or if you aren't an Xer, hopefully you've read this and say "Now I understand why Xer's are the way they are." If you're a Gen Xer and you can relate to this, let me know. If you're not a Gen Xer and you agree or disagree with this, I want to hear it.

Changes

I had to change my settings to no longer allow anonymous comments. Some of you may have noticed a few posts ago I came under a spam attack. I'm hoping this will eliminate it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Baby Boomers

They were brought into a world full of hope and promise. Their parents had survived the Great Depression and rid the world of an evil dictator and empire with the help of their government. The Veterans came to believe the government would always be there for them to solve all their problems. Peace and prosperity were sure to rule for generations to come. They were the chosen ones...they were the baby boomers.

Growing up their parents moved them out of the big cities and into the suburbs. The new American dream of the 3 bedroom detached house with the white picket fence, the car, dog, and 4 kids was born. Dad was always in competition with Mr. Jones to have the nicest looking lawn on the block. They left behind the hustle and bustle of the big city. They also left behind the poor and the minorities who couldn't afford to follow.

They grew up in a world divided over civil rights. The truths we hold today were not so "self-evident" back then. Even after it was determined separate wasn't equal, it was still an issue that divided a nation. They saw their parents fighting over this issue and told themselves they would be different. Equality would rule the day when they were in charge.

Their parents realized growing up that teamwork is extremely important if you're going to overcome Great Depressions and World Wars, so they organised team sports for their kids to participate in. Little league started up. Pop Warner football was organized. Boomers were taught the value and importance of teamwork.

The Sixties came along and soon the Boomers came to the realization the world wouldn't be so peachy forever. There was a new threat. A communist threat. A war with a nation where no bombs were lobbed, just a threat of those bombs and total annihilation. It was a cold war. In school they were taught to crawl under their desks in the event of a nuclear fallout. They were taught to fear a people on the other side of the world. At one point those missles were in our back yard during the Cuban Missle Crisis. They saw a president challenge his country to beat the Russians in putting a man on the moon. Then they watched the assassination of that president, but his vision lived on and came to reality as their parents managed to beat the Russians in walking on the moon.

The watched the first moonwalk in awe on television. They watched everything in awe on television. It captivated a nation with its nightly news reports and entertainment. It soon dominated their lives. TV dinners were invented so you didn't have to leave the television to eat. Television also brought about national trends. Everyone could see what the cool kids on tv were wearing. Boomers became very trendy. For the rest of their lives they would jump on the newest trends. From disco, to hip-hop, to clothing fashion, to SUV's. If the Jones' had it, I have to have it.

In the late 60's the boomers started to realize their potential. They were promised a world of peace and prosperity, and Vietnam was ruining that. They despised war. They used the teamwork skills their parents had taught them to organize and effect the government. They staged rallies and protests. Eventually they realized they could win. They could dominate American politics. From this point on, Baby Boomers ruled the nation.

They rebelled against their parents ideas of modesty and decency. "Free love" was the new mantra. Of course with this free love came consequences which had to be avoided. Abortion was made legal. They lobbied to have the legal drinking age lowered. Later they would raise it when their kids were teenagers.

The Boomers changed the workplace entirely when they came of age. Their senses of equality and teamwork broke down the formalities of the workplace. They believed in a military style of top-down authority, but you didn't call your boss "Mr." or "Sir" anymore. You called them by their first name. Everything was done by committee and meetings.

About this time, Boomers were searching for their great fight. Their parents had the great depression, World War II, the Cold War, they put a man on the moon. What were the boomers going to pursue? They had nothing, so they turning internally. They focused on their jobs and achieving the American dream their parents created. Except they wanted 4 bedrooms, 2 cars, the dog, 2.3 kids, 4 televisions, and a vacation home on Martha's Vineyard. To do this they had to work a lot of hours. Both parents had to work. They became "work-a-holics". In fact they invented the word "work-a-holic." It became a badge of honor to rise to the top of your company and work 80 hours a week. Their parents invented computers in the 60's and promised these things would make life easier. Boomers turned it into a tool to do more work.

Their home lives suffered. With both parents working so hard it became difficult to spend time with the 2.3 kids. Their marriages suffered. Many divorced. How would this affect the kids? As long as they had a roof and food on the table, they would turn out ok, right?

They soon found that they couldn't afford everything they wanted even with all the hours they worked. Their parents invented buying on credit, they perfected it. Credit cards sprang up and the sky was the limit. You could have anything you wanted for just a few hundred bucks a month. This eventually translated into politics with their deficit spending. Buy it now, pay for it later.

In politics the boomers didn't take control until 1992. But ironically, before the veterans walked off into the sunset, they managed to end the Cold War robbing the boomers of their one possible great victory. So Bill Clinton was the first baby boomer president. It was a coronation. A coming of age. The boomers were no longer influencing the country, they were running the country. The injustices of the past were going to be fixed. Political correctness was instituted as the law of the land. Bill Clinton's first action in office? Instituting the "Don't ask don't tell" policy in the military. As they promised as kids, equality ruled the day. Where they saw inequality, they tried to fix it. Affirmative action was instituted. Racists were singled out and punished by society.

The 90's saw the biggest boom in the history of the American economy. These were good times. But the tech bubble burst. Many boomers lost their retirement nest eggs. Their get rich quick schemes didn't pan out.

Then 9/11 hit and everything changed. Boomers were forced to look outside themselves and see how they fit into the world. They saw that people wanted to hurt us. So in typical boomer fashion they tried to make them like us. They tried to view them as equals. Treat them as equals. Instead of calling them "terrorists" they call them "insurgents" or even "freedom fighters."

Now about to enter their golden years, the boomers are beginning to realize their own mortality. They are wasting time and effort on ways to stay young. They invent wrinkle creams, and hair plugs, and plastic surgery. They dye their hair and want to look sexy well into their sixties. They look back on their lives and begin to realize maybe working themselves to death wasn't such a great idea. They are begining to retire. While their parents typically died in their sixties, boomers plan to live into their 80's or 90's. That means they will be unemployed for the next 20, 30, or maybe even 40 years. Some of them have saved accordingly to support themselves. Others have not. Many are planning on the government to support them in their old age, after all their parents taught them the government can solve all your problems. Social Security is sacred. What was meant to be a suppliment to retirement has become a necessity. As their parents begin to die and they see themselves approaching death, death related issues are beginning to be looked at. Many want to repeal the death tax. Medicare and universal healthcare was the first issue the boomers took up when they took power in the 90's. Discussion on euthanasia is heating up. I expect in the coming decade or two we will see more discussion on death rights and death related issues.

So let's review. What effect have the baby boomers had on our country? Americans today work longer hours and get less vacation than almost any nation on earth. Our government spends out of control. It makes promises to everyone it cannot keep. Our need for trends have sprouted a corporate mentality to our society that the rest of the world despises. Divorce, abortion, and sexual immorality are legal, encouraged, and rampant. We've been lead into a war with an enemy who wants to kill us, and we're worried about flushing paper down a toilet. Our political correctness has become obsessive to the point we badmouth ourselves in front of the world.

I've said it before on here, I love my baby boomer friends and family, but I will be glad when they pass the torch on to the next generation.

Reference Note: Many of the opinions expressed in this post were derived from the books Generations at Work and When Generations Collide.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Getting Tough (Finally)

I guess President Bush must have read my post last month about the threat China is becoming. They are finally starting to stand up to them. Earlier this week Washington announced that a quota would be put on Chinese textiles. Now today, the Treasury department announced they would officially accuse China of manipulating their currency to gain an unfair advantage. This will trigger a law that will impose quotas and tariffs on all Chinese goods. I'm glad to see we're starting to stand up to their unfair trade practices. Watch how quickly China runs to the WTO.

Where have you gone, Barry Goldwater?

A lonely nation turns its eyes to you...woo woo woo.

I was cruising the internet this morning and I came across an article in the Washington Times that broke my heart. Pat Buchanan has declared "the conservative movement has passed into history." This is sad for me. For regular readers of this blog, you will know that I have a special admiration for Pat Buchanan. He's one of the few people willing to speak out on conservative issues in this country. Note I didn't say one of the few conservatives, just one of the few who speaks out. There are many of us out here. We are the nation of conservatives I spoke of in the opening line to this post. We feel lost. We have no home. Although we usually vote with the republican party, we feel the party has left us and taken us for granted for the past few decades. I guess you could say Reagan was probably the last of the conservatives, but he wasn't perfect. The Bush's aren't true conservatives although they pretend to be. Bush 41 raised taxes. While Bush 43 has been an excellent spokesman in the Culture War, he has increased government spending out of control with his No Child Left Behind and Medicare initiatives. He has yet to veto a single spending bill. Not one. He has wages two wars successfully. While the rhetoric from the left has made me support the Iraq War even more, it was Pat Buchanan who made me question it.

My hope is that Buchanan is just looking back on his life as he enters his golden years and wishes he could have done more. Maybe the conservative movement is stuck in the mud, but there are plenty of us out there to help get it moving again. Where are our conservative leaders?

I think alot of people have many misconceptions about conservatives. Many people think conservatives are anti-environment, anti-abortion, pro-corporation, pro-military, anti-education. We are linked with the religious lobby. We're called "supply-siders" and "war mongers" and "religious conservatives".

Conservatism is more than a party platform. It is a philosophy. Unfortunately, when dealing with smaller issues we tend to lose sight of the big picture. Conservatives prefer to see power held at the state and local level. While federal government has a role in our lives, we seek to limit that role to one of arbiter and protector. Deficit spending makes us sick, except when necessary to defend ourselves. We believe in free markets with partners who want to trade freely with us, but we believe in protectionism against those who seek to take advantage of us.

The Republican party today is not the conservative party anymore. Instead of fighting abortion, we should be fighting to give the states the right to decide for themselves. Instead of throwing $100 billion at education, we should be fighting to reduce taxes by $100 billion so local communities can raise the money themselves. Instead of using federal dollars to build museums and parks, let states and local communities do it. Conservatives take a serious beating on Social Security and Medicare. We're seen as being cold and heartless. That is not the case. We just think there is a better way than a government funded welfare system. If there is one thing 9/11 and the tsunami taught us, it is that when asked to give, the American people are more generous than any people on the planet. So instead of collecting money under a mandatory system and redistributing it with no guarantee of future benefits, why not give the people a 12% tax cut, do away with the system, and ask them to help out? Under the current system the way it is, nobody feels a need to give because we assume the government will take care of it. But if you take that safety net away, give the people a tax break, and ask them to now turn around and give back to the community, they would do so. And they would be doing it because they want to. True, alot of people would give nothing, but alot of people who make millions would give more than the $11,000 they give now under the current system. And I firmly believe that if the system was in jeopardy of being underfunded, all it would take would be for the president to go on television and ask for donations and the American people would step up.

I know this is a utopian view that has alot of you rolling your eyes right now. I know it's not realistic in today's society, but that is the goal. That is what conservatives want. And why shouldn't that be the goal? Wouldn't it be a better world if we relied on each other rather than the government?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste have named Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) "Porker of the Month" for May 2005. Grassley as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has managed to add an $11 billion amendment to the $284 billion transportation bill passed by the House in March. Included in this amendment was over $8 million for pet projects in his home state of Iowa.

The role of federal government in transportation is intended to be for projects that benefit all states, like interstate highways. Yet Senator Grassley managed to secure $4 million for a Riverwalk in Des Moines, $2 million to improve transportation access to Lake Belva Deer, $1 million for the construction of an interchange, and $1 million over three years to purchase 40-foot buses for Des Moines. All of these projects should be paid for with local dollars, not federal dollars. Although all this pork is atrocious, what is truly shameful is Senator Grassley has a responsibility to maintain financial discipline as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. But he failed the American taxpayer by allowing other Senators to attach their own pet projects to this bill. Shame on you, Mr. Grassley. You let us down and thus you deserve the title "Porker of the Month." Oink oink!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Out of the Frying Pan...

Over the weekend we saw images of George W. Bush shaking hands and getting chummy with Vladimir Putin as they celebrated the 60th aniversary of the end of World War II in Moscow. This was a celebration called by Putin taking place in Moscow. I must admit, I got a bad taste in my mouth, but the media generally treated it like a celebration...except for Pat Buchanan. This week Pat has written two scathing articles against this "celebration". You can read the two articles here and here.

Putin is trying to spin the end of World War II to make Russia look like a great liberator. But what were the people of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Finland liberated from? True, they were freed from the fascism of the Hitler regime. But after this "liberation" these countries endured another 40 years of tyranny under the Stalinist communism of the U.S.S.R. Millions have died under the rule of communist regimes and the earth was plunged into the threat of a nuclear holocaust for the next half century.

But I think Bush handled his European trip brilliantly. In Latvia he praised the people of eastern Europe for breaking from their Soviet oppressors, but while in Moscow he played nice and allowed Putin his moment in the sun to play the role of liberator.

The American Media gave him a hard time. They said his comments in Latvia angered and alienated the great Russian bear. I say boo-friggin'-hoo. Dubbya told the truth just like Ronald Reagan did. Forcing millions under a communist regime is no liberation. Saying so is only stating fact. If it offends millions of Russians (who have since elected for democracy themselves) then too bad. As my friend, Scott, likes to say on his blog title, "Sometimes the truth hurts." But you have to credit Bush in that while he was in Russia, he didn't try to rain on Putin's parade. He made few comments and made sure to stay on the topic for why he was invited, which was the end of WWII was a good thing. This is the mark of a great politician and a great statesman. I now have even more respect for George W. Bush.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Global Warming...No Cooling...Which is it Again?

A few posts ago Scott brought up the topic of the Kyoto Protocol. I said at the time I would get around to addressing it so here it goes. My personal view on global warming and the Kyoto Protocol.

Global warming is a debate that polarizes our society. On one side you have people saying the sky is falling and if we don't act now we're going to render ourselves extinct. They put a sense of urgency on it like every minute wasted is one minute closer to death. They even made a movie about it and called it "The Day After Tomorrow." On the other side you have people who oppose acting now. When I hear the words "Global Warming" I think of Dihydrogen Monoxide.

I think alot of people who support the Kyoto Treaty believe those of us who don't do so because we don't care. I hear rhetoric suggesting we only care about making money. We don't care about the environment. We don't care about people and animals dying. I assure you this is not the case.

For me, I haven't seen enough evidence on the topic to justify making such a drastic commitment and change that the Kyoto Protocol requires. I see reports that show increases in CO2 emmisions increasing over the past 100 years along with increases in temperature. I can see how some people are convinced by that, but I have a hard time linking the two just based on that data. It's undeniable that over the 4 billion year history of our planet we have seen drastic climate changes. To take 100 or even 1000 years worth of data is negligible in the grand scheme. I've seen data that suggests scientists can measure temperature and atmospheric from thousands of years ago by examining polar ice caps and rings on tree trunks. But there you are just looking at the history on one point on the planet. Again, not a good sample. But "scientists" use this data to form computer models that predict one day down the road the earth will warm a few degrees, all our crops will die, the polar ice caps will melt, the earth will flood, be thrown off it's axis and we'll roll into the next solar system never to be seen again. When my weatherman can accurately predict what the weather will be like seven days down the road, maybe then I'll start to listen to these "scientists".

When you think about it, probably 99.99999% of the earth's energy comes from the sun (my rough estimate, not a real statistic). When you start a little camp fire in Pennsylvania, it doesn't get warmer in France. The fire is insignificant in the great heat sink we call Earth. Maybe if you put a blanket of CO2 over the planet it would trap in the sun's rays, but CO2 only makes up about 350 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. Are you telling me raising the ppm level to 400 is going to melt the polar ice caps and flood the earth? I have a hard time believing that. Actually, water vapor has a much higher effect on local weather and climate. It is more concentrated and has a much higher capacity to hold heat than carbon dioxide. Low level clouds deflect the suns rays, but high level clouds trap in ultraviolet light. Shouldn't cloud control be a high priority based on this fact? But I checked the Kyoto Treaty and it doesn't say anything about water vapor being a greenhouse gas.

So given the fact almost all of our energy comes from the sun, doesn't it seem reasonable that activity from the sun could be the leading cause for climate changes? Scientists have noticed that increased solar activity correlates with warmer temperatures on earth. Shouldn't we be looking there first?

So that is my argument against global warming in general. Let me explain in more detail why I oppose the Kyoto Treaty. First and foremost I oppose the Kyoto treaty because many nations on our earth are either not a party to the treaty or they are not willing to sign it. The treaty will give an unfair trade advantage to those countries who aren't part of it. They will be under no commitment to put limits on their economies. I just think if we have to do it, everyone should do it to create a level playing field.

My other big objection is the effect the Kyoto Treaty will have on the earth's climate. I found a few studies that have differing opinions on the effects of Kyoto, but all I've found agree the effects will be minimal. Even scientists who support the global warming theory concede that Kyoto will have little effect. A study by the American Security Council Foundation, who drafted the report on the Kyoto Treaty for Congress, reports even if the Kyoto Treaty went into effect, it would only prevent the earth from warming 0.13 degrees celcius by 2100. As a tradeoff for this, the ASCF report states 2.4 million americans would lose their jobs raising the unemployment rate to 10.5%, the national GDP would decrease by 3.2% annually, and average household income would decrease by $2700 in 2010. It also says consumer prices would rise as much as 11% in the food industry, 14% in medicine, 7% in housing, and 65 cents per gallon in gasoline. So I ask you, is all this worth keeping the earth 0.13 C cooler? I have a hard time justifying it.

Now again, I don't want to give the impression I don't care about the environment. I like walking through the park and fishing and enjoying the outdoors as much as anyone. I don't like seeing trash all over and smog blanketing our cities. I just think there is a better way than the Kyoto treaty. We have to look at things on a smaller scale. Local governments monitoring what their local industries put into the water, ground, and air and policing it. I think federal government should provide guidelines for local authorities to follow. But I don't think a group of bureaucrats sitting in Japan is capable of telling us what's best in your home town.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My Name is...

There has been some interesting discussion here involving someone's right to privacy. I thank all those who have contributed. I've decided to keep the debate going and add some more fuel to the fire.

In 2002 Larry Hiibel was stopped for questioning by Nevada police who were responding to a domestic dispute claim. Larry was legally parked and walking along the road next to his pickup truck when the police pulled up behind him. The officer approached Larry and asked him for identification. Larry refused and asked what the problem was. The officer said he was doing an investigation and again asked for ID. Larry refused and again asked if he was being charged with anything. The officer did not note anything Larry was charged with, but again asked for identification. Eleven times the officer asked Larry for identification and eleven times Larry refused. Finally, the officer arrested and charged Larry for resisting a police officer and obstructing an investigation for refusing to give his name. Larry was never charged with domestic violence, but he was found guilty of the charges I described and was fined $250. You can read all about this case and even see the video of the stop and questioning at www.papersplease.org.

Larry fought these charges all the way to the Supreme Court. He claimed his Fourth and Fifth Ammendment rights were violated. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against Larry and ordered him to pay the $250. The court ruled that asking for identification did not constitute an unnecessary search or seizure and it did not force someone to incriminate themselves.

There have been cases like this from time to time that come before the Supreme Court. A notable one was Terry vs. Ohio which ruled the police could stop citizens just for looking suspicious. But cases like this go on every day without the public knowing. Sometimes they are high profile, but most times they aren't. Even a common DWI roadblock could be seen as an unwarranted stop. I have a friend in law enforcement who commonly works on these DWI roadblocks. He says they usually don't get many drunk drivers. Typically they nail people for license, registration, and inspection violations, but what they are really looking for is drugs and people with warrants out for their arrest. But the problem is they cannot just stop you and search your vehicle without probable cause unless you give them consent to search your vehicle. He confided in me that police officers go to training to learn how to talk their way into getting consent to search your vehicle. There are something like 15 questions they can ask. Although some of them are shady, they hold up in court.

So what we have is police setting up a phony roadblock under the pretense of it being for DWI checks when they actually are looking for drugs and other offenses. And on top of that they are learning tricks to work around the law and gain access to your personal property. Is anyone else concerned about this? Unfortunately, we put up with this as a society rather than debate it. You hear the success stories in the paper about drunk drivers and drug dealers getting caught at these stops. Many times people are quoted saying they don't mind the stops and that it helps them feel safer. But if we give the state all the power it wants, who will protect us from the state? If you want an interesting read, check out what to do if you're stopped at a roadblock.

Like many things we're dealing with a grey area. Obviously we want the police to have the tools to get bad guys off the streets, but we don't want to become a police state where we can be detained and questioned without probably cause. So where do we draw the line? I don't know the answer. I don't know if our friend Larry did the right thing or not. I don't know if there is any harm in telling the police your name. But I think we have to look at every case like this and question when our rights are being infringed upon. Or before you know it police will be setting up roadblocks at the Holland Tunnel to detain people on their way to political rallies.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Censorship vs. Decency

I guess you can call this a "When blogging goes bad" post. I had to do something this morning I didn't want to do. I had to ask somebody to not post on my blog anymore. I came to the conclusion this person wasn't interested in debating the issues. They were only interested trying to bring me down in my faith and destroy my self worth. The debate he and I had going was getting personal, and that is where I had to end it. I think I have to address this publicly because I don't want to give people the wrong impression about what The Deep Freeze is all about. The Deep Freeze Mission Statement goes something like this:

The Deep Freeze is owned and operated at the will and pleasure of Mike and Mike alone. It is a place where Mike and others can come to share their thoughts on life, politics, and whatever else they want. Since Mike is a conservative, the posts on this blog will have a conservative slant, but any and all comments are welcome as long as they are respectful and intelligent. Mike reserves the right to deny anyone's right to post here if they cannot treat other people with dignity and respect.

I just made that up. Not bad, huh? Can you tell I've been working in the corporate environment for too long? Maybe later we'll mix up a batch of synergy. But moving on...

I'm not going to hide the fact I'm a conservative, and I'm also not going to deny people the right to differ with my opinions. But I'm not going to tolerate people coming here with an antagonistic attitude using derogatory comments toward myself or others who comment here. To those who would call this censorship, I say I am not the federal government. If someone came in your living room and started berating you, you have every right to throw them out. As such I have every right to do so here. That is not censorship, that is common decency.

So I've asked this person to leave. I hope he will respect that this is my space and respect my wishes. I've already told him I plan to delete any comments he makes here without responding. So if you see some deleted comments, that is why. I'm going to do my best to ignore this individual. I think that's the best thing I can do. As always I'm interested in hearing anyone's feedback.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Taxing Freedom

Ronald Reagan once said:

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

Today's post will deal with the first aspect of this quote. If it moves, tax it.

The government, federal, state and local, has been taxing gasoline for years. It's an easy way to profit off of the economy. There isn't much backlash against elected officials because it's a hidden tax. When you fill up your car you don't see how much you're being taxed. They don't break it down for you on the receipt. Now, state governments are worried with these new hybrid cars gaining in popularity and with talk of alternative fuels like hydrogen and ethanol, their cash cow called the "gas tax" may potentially dry up if people start using less gasoline. I did some research on the gas tax and I was shocked at what I found. The link I provided is to an article written a year ago so some of the data on the current average price isn't accurate, but I think it's safe to assume the information on taxes hasn't changed much. Go ahead and look at how much you pay in taxes in your state on a gallon of gasoline. Here in Pennsylvania we pay about 45.7 cents per gallon.

I was breezing through the Philadelphia Inquirer a few weeks ago on a Sunday morning. I try to avoid the political sections since I rarely agree with the editing. Mostly I get it for the coupons, but I do read the sports and business sections. Well this particular Sunday I stumbled upon this article about a proposed mileage tax. This is a pilot program starting up in Oregon. If you want to read more about it you can go here, but I'm going to explain it here in more detail.

Basically, the state of Oregon is proposing equiping every registered vehicle with a GPS system that will track how many miles you travel. You will then be taxed 1.25 cents per mile. I'm seriously sceptical of this. First of all, let's talk about the whole issue of the government being able to track your every move. That's scary. Of course supporters of this plan say "Oh it would only be used to taxing purposes only. Nobody is going to monitor your movements." That's how these plans start out. I'm sure the people in charge of this have only good intentions, but some day someone will be in charge of this who does not have good intentions. Before you know it they will be taxing and fining you for attending political rallies. For the amount of screaming we heard when John Ashcroft wanted the right to look at your library card, the ACLU should be beside themselves on this one.

Now let's look at the cost of this system. First off, right off the bat every car is going to have to have a GPS installed. The Oregon article quoted $100 for the price of this. That is going to fall directly on you, ladies and gentlemen. Maybe the government will offer to install it for free, but it will come out of your tax dollars. And keep in mind in all of this, nobody has suggested doing away with the current gas tax. So most likely you will just be paying both taxes now. Now let's do some math and play with the numbers. Suppose you drive a car today that gets a reasonable 25 mile per gallon (mpg). We'll take the state of Pennsylvania as an example. If you drive 300 miles a week to and from work you use 12 gallons of fuel. With the gas tax that would cost you $5.48 in taxes. Add on the mileage tax and you're looking at $9.23. Now suppose you decided your next vehicle will be a hybrid. Let's say your hybrid gets 50 mpg. That will still come out to $6.49 for the week with the mileage and gas tax. That's a dollar more than you paid on your original car before the mileage tax. So this is really just a sneaky way of raising your taxes.

But what about the fairness in all this? Suppose my neighbor drives a busy highway that gets all backup up during rush hour. He's probably getting 7 or 8 mpg during his commute. If I take back roads during the off peak traffic hours, why should I pay the same mileage rate as him? And how long will it be before states learn to tax out of state people more than in state people? Or maybe they start a "progressive" tax system taxing heavy drivers at a higher rate than occasional drivers. There is a whole can of worms we're opening here.

So in short, I hope this idea gets killed quickly. The Federal Department of Transportation is watching with interest. Hopefully it dies before the government has to regulate and maybe someday subsidize our travel, as Ronald Reagan suggests.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Right to Privacy?

I'm very saddened by what's going on in Florida this week. If you don't know what I'm talking about, the Palm Beach State Court ruled a 13 year old girl could have an abortion against the wishes of her legal guardian. The girl was under the legal custody of The Department of Children & Families whose written policy is "In no case shall the department consent to sterilization, abortion or termination of life support." The state ruled this policy is in conflict with state law protecting a minor's right to have an abortion without parental consent. And of course, the liberal Florida court system which killed Terri Schiavo and almost stole the 2000 election sided on the pro-abortion side.

Courts are more and more citing a right to privacy that every citizen has, but Ben Shapiro is correct in what we are really seeing is them establishing a constitutional right to liberal socialism. Sometimes a right to privacy is a good thing. Your employer shouldn't have the right to review your medical records and fire you if you've had back problems in the past. The State shouldn't be allowed to police what goes on between consenting adults in the bedroom behind closed doors. But a blanket "right to privacy" creates a slippery slope that can be used to justify any deviant behavior.

In the case of the 13 year old girl, the deviant behavior is more than the abortion. Put the whole abortion debate aside for a minute. (Don't worry, we'll get to that today before the end of this post) What is being justified is her right to have sex and not have to deal with the consequences of raising a baby. Of course, she wouldn't have to raise the baby. It's obvious she doesn't want the baby. But she is in the custody of the state. So it would be no problem for her to hand the baby over to the state. The waiting list to adopt children is years long. There are literally tens of thousands of adults out there eager to adopt a baby. So that brings us to the real underlying issue here. She just doesn't want to deal with the pregnancy. She doesn't want the morning sickness (which she's probably already experiencing if she's 14 weeks along). She doesn't want the swollen ankles and the stretch marks. So for that she is willing to kill her baby. It's quite a shallow view. A childish view, if you will, fitting of a 13 year old.

It really angers me when I hear people say "It's her body. It's her choice. It's just a fetus. etc." What about the rights of the unborn child? Besides Biblical arguments against abortion, there are also medical and legal arguments supporting the fact it is a living person inside the mother's womb. But there was another time in our country when people were considered property of another man and the courts looked the other way when the owner chose to "terminate his property." I thought we had moved beyond the thought of people as property back in the days of slavery. Abortion is just that. One person saying my external looks are more important than your life. It's a shame this barbaric practice is allowed in this country when most of the world has outlawed abortion on demand.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Social Security Debate

Last week I was away from the news cycle for a few days due to a death in the family. I was looking forward to watching the President's press conference on Thursday night, but unfortunately I wasn't able to watch it. But all weekend I tried to tune in to the news to catch reviews of the press conference. Nothing. So Monday morning when things got back to normal I sat down to my computer eager to catch up on what was said and the silence was deafening. Nobody is talking about the press conference. There doesn't seem to be as much of a push for social security reform as the president hoped there would be. So we're going to take some time here on The Deep Freeze to talk about it.

As is probably no surprise to the regular readers, I'm all in favor of personal accounts. As a Gen X'er I just have a natural lack of trust in the government. As such I don't have any confidence the government is going to fund my retirement. So I'm relying on myself to make sure my wife and I have a comfortable retirement by saving as much as I can now in my company 401k and a Roth IRA. I'm not counting on a dime from Social Security. I think alot of people my age feel the same way. I don't think I've met anyone who expects to use Social Security as their entire means of retirement support.

The statistics back up my fears. We've all seen the reports that state the progam will start running a deficit in 2017. In other words, it will be paying out more benefits than it takes in. And sometime around 2042 the so-called social security "trust fund" will be empty and the entire system will go bankrupt. Of course this "trust fund" is a sham. There is no "trust fund". There is no pile of money out there that has been collecting for years. The politicians spend the money as it comes in and the put an I.O.U. where the money was supposed to go. So starting in 2017 when the program starts to run a deficit, they will have to start taking tax dollars out of the general tax fund to keep the program solvent. So what programs are going to get cut out so the Baby Boomers can fund their expensive tropic vacations and buy their summer homes? How about defense? Maybe agriculture funding. My guess is probably education since their kids will be grown and out of school by then. Screw the grandkids. Grandad and Grandmom will buy them a new bike with their social security check to make up for it.

So the question becomes, what are our elected officials doing to stop this inevitable train wreck? First lets review what the Republicans suggest. President Bush has suggested personal accounts that workers can invest on their own to get a better return than their money currently gets in the social security system. He has also left the door open to remove the $90k limit on taxable wages for social security. And he has suggested reducing benefits as a possible option. Ok, all seem like reasonable suggestions. Now, what have the democrats offered. Anyone? Can anyone think of anything? No? Seems the democrats have no ideas at all, other than anything President Bush suggests would be bad. The democratic position was summed up perfectly on FOX News Live this weekend in an exchange between Chris Wallace and Senator Pat Leahy(D). Wallace asked him repeatedly what his solution was to fix the social security problem and all Leahy could offer was "My solution is to have President Bush negotiate with us." In other words, we as a party will not be part of any solution we cannot take credit for. Very nice attitute. FDR would be proud.

I especially like when Democrats call personal accouts, or private accounts as they like to call them, a radical new idea. Turns out they are not new at all. In fact they were almost instituted by Sen. Bennet Clark in 1935. But the rhetoric the democrats use in this battle is childish and irresponsible. Has anyone else seen the AARP commercials where they suggest personal accounts would be like gambling your retirement funding in a slot machine or a roulette wheel? Come on. Millions of Americans are investing in the stock market for their retirement these days. Even the AARP offers special mutual funds to its members to invest in. And these mutual funds contain lots of stocks with different risk levels. Are the AARP suggesting they are gambling their members' money in these mutual funds? I'm having a tough time seeing the difference. All we're asking for is the same opportunity to invest as John Kerry, who was just named Investor of the Week by Americans for Prosperity. He seems to be doing pretty well for himself.

The democrats say the American people can't be expected to make wise choices with their money. They will squander it and the government will be left funding their retirement anyway. Translation: We're too stupid to know how to invest. I would suggest, that given the power to control their money, the American people will educate themselves. Maybe people just don't know much about the stock market because they've never had an opportunity to invest in the stock market before.

The democrats say it will cost too much to set up the accounts. To that I say let's talk about it. But the Harry Reid and the democrats have made it perfectly clear they will not agree to negotiate until personal accounts are taken off the table. But what's funny is they say they won't talk and then they try to spin it around and say President Bush is being unreasonable. Who do they think they're kidding, and why don't the Republican's nail them on this? If I were a republican senator I would go on tv and spend 3o seconds talking about social security and the next 4 and a half minutes talking about how the democrats don't even want to talk about the problem. I guess the democrats' solution is to let the train run off the tracks before we figure out how we're going to stop it.

Many people say personal accounts would hurt minorities and the less fortunate. To that I'm just going to refer you to Star Parker. She does a much better job of addressing that than I ever could.

My honest to God wish is that the government would just give me the option to opt out of social security all together and keep my money. I know I could do a whole lot better investing 12% of my income than the government can. And at least the money would be mine so I could pass it on to my family when I die. Today's system is just a welfare program that isn't working.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Happy P-Day!

So I'm surfing around during my lunch hour wondering what to blog about when I come across this little article by Christina Hoff Sommers. It's about these college students who decided to put together a Penis Monologues to counter the Vagina Monologues that are overrunning college campuses these days.

Personally, I've never seen the Vagina Monologues. Even if I wanted to see them I'm not sure they would let me in, being a man and all. And even if I could get it, I'm not sure I would want to be there. From what I've heard they are crude and explicit in talking about vaginas. I've also heard that there is alot of man-bashing that goes on. I believe what I've heard based on what I've seen from other feminists in action.

Have any of you guys ever been on a college campus during one of those "Take Back the Night" rallies? They are these little parades that a bunch of women put on after dark to bring awareness to violence against females. I experienced a few during my days at Penn State. I would be walking home from the library after dark when this angry mob of women would come storming up behind me yelling how they weren't scared anymore and they were taking back the night. As they came up behind me I didn't want to start running cuz I figured that would look bad. I didn't want to keep walking in front of them because I didn't want to give anyone the impression these women were chasing me for something I did. So I politely moved off to the side of the sidewalk and watched as they went by. As they went by these women made a point to make eye contact with me and yell in my direction. It was clear they were trying to make me uncomfortable. They could have just marched and kept looking forward, but they chose, and were probable instructed, to look at me. At that point I was offended. I've never committed an act of violence against any woman, let alone any of those marching that night. I can understand wanting to make a statement and feeling empowered and all. That's great. Go ahead and march. Women who are victims of violence need a support group like that. But don't go and take out your anger on innocent men like me. Channel that anger in a good way. Lobby your congressman to get tougher punishments for sex offenders and physical abusers.

But back to the Vagina Monologues. Whether you like them or hate them, you have to admit these women are setting themselves up for mockery due to their outrageous behavior. The article I linked talked about a group of students who decided to organize the Penis Monologues. Regardless of the political statement, I think it's hilarious and I commend these students creativity. Unfortunately, the administrators of the college in Rhode Island where this took place did not think it was funny and shut the whole thing down. Now it gets serious. Now you're taking away the right of people to express themselves and I have a real problem with that.

So we'll see where this goes. Unknowingly, these college administrators may have started a new movement. I expect the Penis Monologues will really take off now. And what's wrong with that? If women can get together and compare what their vaginas smell like, why can't a group of men get together and ask, "If your penis could say two words, what would it say?"