After All, We Must Have Priorities
The open air drug markets are operating at full holiday capacity.
And the waitresses at Hooters are asking for Kevlar T-shirts.
But the citizens of Knoxville can sleep easy because their City Police department is engaged in an all out effort to make sure nobody speeds on I-40 between West Hills and Papermill.
Tax Receipts up? Record Spending? Deficit Down?
For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!
Sorry for the overly messianic reference, but it's been a while since I've made a good Dune reference. In fact, I don't think I've ever made a good Dune reference.
I'd actually be more impressed with the falling deficit if war spending was included, instead of being kept off budget. Being a simple minded libertarian, I look at the yearly change in the national debt to determine the true annual deficit. This way I don't have to worry about fancy accounting tricks that make it look like we have a balanced budget when we really don't. My method is very simple: How much money did we spend compared to how much we brought in? If the cumulative debt is going up, then we aren't balanced.
I know, it lacks nuance, but it works for my household, so it should work for our nation as well.
Looking at historical data, I see that the National Debt went up every year during the Clinton administration. Clinton's first budget was for the fiscal year ending 9/30/1994 and it resulted in an increase in the national debt of $280 billion. The debt climbs every year, although for the fiscal year ending 9/30/2000, the debt rose by a relatively small $10 billion. In all, over 8 years, Clinton added $1.8 trillion to the national debt, an increase of 41%. In comparison, over 5 years, Bush has added $2.7 trillion, an increase of 46%.
And there are still three more budget years to go. To be fair, I haven't accounted for inflation, and there is a war going on, but pardon me if I don't get excited by a declining deficit that's created by cooking the books when the actual debt is still climbing by roughly a half a trillion dollars a year.
Top 5 Reasons I’m Not Offended by Kathy Griffin
4. If she was serious,then I feel sorry for her ignorance.
3. If she was just trying to draw attention to herself, I feel nothing but contempt for her arrogance.
2. Jesus doesn't need me to defend Him against Kathy Griffin.
1. Who's Kathy Griffin again?
Give It a Rest!
Playing tag is banned at school. I guess that means 'Smear the Queer' is completely out of the question.
Tapping your foot wrong in a toilet will get you arrested and cost you your job.But urinate on a Christian icon and call it art, and you'll get a government subsidy
Are we going insane?
Nope. Already there. Did you enjoy the trip?
In the first case, dress codes are for schools, and you can make a good argument that they don't even belong there. In the second case, if you want to know why our kids can't compete internationally, it's because we don't allow them to learn how to compete. In the third place, even if he was looking for love in a really wrong place, how is that the business of the police? Yeah, the thought is repulsive, but if simply being repulsive was a crime, Steve Buscemi would have been exiled decades ago.
You want to get rid of kids in saggy pants? Wear 'em yourself. The fad will die in minutes.
You want to keep kids safe? Teach them that the world is not safe, and let them learn the hard lessons while they're still cheap.
You want to keep gay men from hooking up in restrooms? Give 'em back their bath houses and bookstores.
We're outlawing behaviors that are none of our business.
Signs of the Coming Apocalypse
Quick Thought on Socialized Medicine.
Think about that for a minute folks. If you make the government the provider for health care, you give the government the right to tell you how to live.
Here's an example. The Federal government sponsored a network of highways throughout the US. They were built with the assistance of depression era works projects, but maintenance was left up to the states. The Federal government allocates money to each state that is earmarked for maintenance of the Interstate highway system.
So far,so good.
Then the Federal government decided that being old enough to vote, enter into legal contracts, and to fight and die for your country didn't mean you were old enough to drink,so they proposed a drinking age of 21. While the Constitution clearly prevent the Fed from creating a national drinking age, they blackmailed the states into going along with the increased drinking age by threatening to cut off the Federal money for maintaining the Interstates.
If the Federal government controls your access to medical care, that means they also control your life.
The only thing worse than letting big business control medical care is to let government control it.
What is Randy Embarrassed About?
Apparently, this fairly standard blogging process has offended or embarrassed Randy Neal, as he has now redirected any link from my site to go to Free Republic instead of to his site.
What is Randy Neal trying to hide? What doesn't he want people to see? I provided the links so that readers could see that I wasn't pulling anything out of context, and if anyone I linked believes I took their post out of context, you are welcome to state your case here. I promise you won't be marginalized, banned, redirected, or deleted.
Now, I could change the links to go to Google cache versions of Randy Neal's site, and circumvent his actions that way, but I won't. The dedicated reader can circumvent the redirects for himself if he chooses to. I prefer to let them stand as they are. Randy's actions speak far more eloquently to his flavor of progressive ideology than anything I could say.
By the way, the only reason there are no links in this post to KnoxViews is that they would be futile.
Independence Day: The Day After
Some of my friends on the left spent yesterday sharing their thoughts on America, and I was so impressed with their perspectives that I thought I'd share them with you.
- Brian Arner gives us a portrait of a real American hero. No silly soldiers or sailors standing tall for freedom for him. Nope, a kid who eats hot dogs faster than anybody else represents the true American hero.
- Randy Neal suggests we should stop wasting time and get on with the Second American Revolution.
- Elrod tells us that the military plays a relatively minor role in securing freedom, and that eugenicist Margaret Sanger and Wobbly Eugene Debs contributed far more to American freedom than did Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson or any of the other statesmen/philosophers who first codified and wrote down the principles that made America unique in the world.
- Andy Axel adds Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and Andy Warhol to the list of luminaries who are far more important to freedom than John or Sam Adams,or any other statesman for that matter. I'm sorry to see that Carrot Top didn't make the list.
- Cafkia tells us that public oaths are meaningless and serve no real purpose, since those who would keep an oath would do so even without the oath. This of course brings into question the entire idea of celebrating our independence on the 4th of July. After all, all the founders did on that day was swear an oath to an ideal they were already committed to and then make that oath public. America still would have become free without that meaningless public oath, right?
A short while ago, I wrote a post questioning whether America was still worthy of the sacrifices made by the men and women who join the military. Reading the above doesn't answer that question fully, but it does suggest that worthy or not, there are many Americans who don't even recognize the magnitude much less appreciate that sacrifice.
And that's too bad.
For myself, I honor the courage and dedication that leads our young people to serve America, even when America doesn't appreciate that service. I honor the wisdom and honor of the men who stood up and recognized our God given freedoms in the Declaration of Independence, then backed up their words with action. They fought in isolation, surrounded by the majority who preferred living in bondage to freedom; outnumbered and out-gunned, and against all odds, thes patriots won. I honor the men who codified these freshly defended freedoms into law in the form of our Constitution, a truly magnificent document that is still relevant 200+ years later, a testimony to the wisdom of those who wrote it. I honor all those who through the centuries have realized that all freedoms are precious, and under attack from within and without, and who labor ceaselessly to defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And I honor those living today who still hold to those precious truths despite the rampant cynicism of a decadent culture. You are the remnant, the last echoes of the great statesmen and patriots from two centuries past.
No matter what happens over the next two centuries,the American ideal will live on in you.
True Immigration Reform
My personal feeling is that it's because each and every one of them is full of stuff that smells bad and makes plants grow, but maybe that's just me.
Manish brings up a very good point in the comments thread here:
I still await seeing a viable plan (that doesn't involve fantasies like assuming that we can catch them all) that doesn't involve "amnesty" that has a chance of working while not ruining many sectors of the economy that rely on immigrant labor.
I'm waiting as well; the last plan certainly didn't fit the bill.
Here are the broad outlines of a plan,that should solve the problem in a way acceptable to most Americans. Feel free to discuss in comments or at your own blogs.
- Secure the borders first. That should be the strongest message that immigration reformers take from the public debate. The first order of business is not to legalize those who are here already, or to deport them. The first order of business is to stop the flood. Trying to deport those here illegally already would be like trying to save the Titanic by bailing it out with a 5 gallon bucket. Stop the leak first. Then deal with the flood waters.
- Assess the factors driving the immigration This is actually part of step one. No matter how strong a fence you build, if people want to cross it badly enough, they will. Look at the Berlin Wall, for example. We have to assess what drives people to cross the border, and minimize those drivers as much as possible. The biggest driver for illegal immigration is that unskilled workers cannot find work in their home countries and there's not a whole lot we can do about that. Consider Mexico. When NAFTA passed, all we heard from the opposition is that all the jobs would go south of the border, leading to a labor crisis here in America. Obviously, the "giant sucking sound" was just another figment of Ross Perot's fertile imagination. The Mexican economy is crippled by the corruption of the Mexican government, and that's something we can't do anything about.
However, there are two sides to this coin. They have too many workers and too few jobs on their side of the border while we here in America have the exact opposite problem; too few workers for too many jobs. Our immigration policy needs to reflect this reality.
- Develop a realistic visa policy Our immigration policy should first address our needs as a nation. Immigration should be targeted to fill gaps in our workforce. Jobs with below minimal manning should receive top priority. It is obvious that there is a demand for unskilled labor in the US, and our visa policy should reflect that.
First of all, let's reduce the upfront burden on the employer. As it stands now, in order to apply for unskilled visas, the employer must first prove that they have jobs to fill and nobody to fill them. Eliminate this requirement. Instead use already available statistics from the NLB to determine which industries require additional workers.
Second,the visa belongs to the worker, not the company. Why should an American company hold the visa? All it does is take power away from the worker,who is now not only dependent on the company for his livelihood, but for the very ability to earn that livelihood. Again, use the info from the NLB to determine the number of visas allowed for each industry, and issue those visas directly to the applicant. These first two steps go a long way towards reducing the abuses of immigrant labor by big business.
- Enact and enforce tough penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens We need to create an incentive to hire legal immigrants over illegals. Right now, the incentive is the other way around,since illegal aliens can be hired significantly cheaper. By creating an economic penalty for hiring illegal aliens, that incentive disappears.
- Pass a law that anyone found working in the US illegally will be deported and will never be eligible for a legal visa Why go to the expense of trying to round up millions of illegal aliens when we can create an incentive program that will encourage them to go home voluntarily? If we set up a sane visa policy that allows for unskilled immigrant labor to get visas quickly and easily, and at the same time erect stiff penalties for being caught in the US illegally, doesn't that create a strong incentive for anyone here illegally to go home and come back the right way?
Take all the steps together and you have a sane, practical policy that will encourage legal immigration to address America's needs while discouraging illegal immigration and at the same time, provides a strong incentive for those here illegally to go back home and come back the right way. Throw in a secure border, the very first item on the list, and the solution is complete.
Sure,there will be a lot of those who are here illegally who will resist going back home. At least,at first. But as they begin to lose work because employers are hiring legal immigrants, and as they see others deported and not come back within a week or two, the incentive for them to stay here illegally will begin to diminish, as will their numbers. The illegal immigrant population will go into a decline,slowly at first, but increasing over time as they are displaced by legal immigrants.
And all of this without English only legislation, or having to round up millions of people.
So Sen. Martinez (who is probably too busy throwing a tantrum to actually hear anything) I've answered your challenge. I've given you the broad outlines of an immigration policy that meets the needs of America, without amnesty, without devastating businesses,and without requiring racially charged legislation. The question is this: Do you or any of your colleagues in Washington have the balls to do anything about it?
Thoughts of a Button Man
But Kleinheider honors military service. He says so several times. He just thinks they're stupid killers for hire, not that there's anything wrong with that.
I'm a Navy vet. My son is currently enlisted in the Army. My father was a Navy vet. My uncle was a Marine vet. My maternal grandfather was a Navy vet. That's four generations of service to our nation, or as Kleinheider would say, four generations of stupid hitmen.
If you think I'm taking this personally, you're absolutely right. Kleinheider admits in the comments to his post that he has absolutely no first hand knowledge of military life, yet feels comfortable spewing out hateful nonsense about what a soldier is or isn't.
What a moron.
I'm going to address a few of his points, not because I think it'll change his mind. If he seriously thinks he can call the troops stupid and ignorant, and then refer to them as the moral equivalent to Mafia assassins, and doesn't see a contradiction between those two statements and his contention that he honors and supports them, then there's nothing that can be said to penetrate his delusions.
Instead, I'm doing it simply because his insults cannot be allowed to stand. He has offended me, denigrated my service and my family's service, and I won't let that go unchallenged.
Soldiers are just that — soldiers. They are spokes on a wheel. Many, many soldiers, save those at the very top of the pyramid, are pawns. They are button men for our civilian leadership. Is this an honorable profession? Certainly. But it is also, in the end, just that — a profession. Soldiers should be proud of their service, maybe prouder than men of any other profession, but let’s not get out of control with it.
Just another profession, right? Like doctors, lawyers, or maybe garbage collectors and journalists?
I don't think so. You see, there's a key difference between all of these professions, and a soldier. A soldier is willing to put his life on the line in order to defend an idea. That's a demand that no other profession on the planet is required to meet. A soldier is also required to give up many of the very freedoms he is fighting to protect, and he makes this sacrifice willingly. He goes where he's told, does what he's told, and does so to the best of his ability. To ACK, this makes him a pawn; a piece of little value and little power to be sacrificed as strategy demands. That may be true on a strategic level, but ask anyone who has ever commanded troops if he sees his men as pawns.
But you might want to duck after you ask that question.
Military men and women make a major sacrifice when they serve. In war, that sacrifice is obvious, but the sacrifices are still there in peacetime as well. Just as an example, for 4 months while getting ready to go to sea after an overhaul, we were on port and starboard duty rotation. That means that we spent 36 hours out of every 48 hour period on board the ship, away from our families.
For 4 months. No overtime pay. No weekends off.
Show me another profession that does the same for poverty level wages.
A military man has to be dedicated to something above and beyond himself, his family,or his community. It is that dedication that separates his profession from all others.
There are no more good soldiers than good people in this country and there are no less bad people in a position of dominion over these soldiers than in the civilian population.
I'm slightly surprised to hear this tripe coming from a supposed conservative; it sounds more like something I'd expect from Rosie O'Donnell or Bill Maher. There is a glaring logical flaw in ACK's statement,one that he will never see because of his bias against the military. ACK assumes that in the best case scenario, the members of the military will resemble the general population, resulting in a similar distribution of good guys and bad guys. The error is that the military population is not a random sample of the general population. In fact, the military has some fairly strict criteria that potential recruits have to meet before they can join. Things like no criminal records, a good record of educational achievement, and good physical health. So even if a randomly selected cross section of society went through the recruiting process, the selection criteria would result in a subset of society that was smarter, healthier, and better behaved than the general public. And yes, there are wavers for some things but not enough to make the example invalid.
But ACK actually goes further. While in this posts, he pretends to believe that soldiers are a cross section of society, in his other post, the one where he defends Kerry, he shows that he really holds a quite different view:
The grunts, the people that fight and die on the ground in Iraq, many of them are not exactly “college boys.” This is not a criticism of them. I admire men who can handle themselves and a firearm and dispense violence effectly[sic] when needed...A friend of mine who serves in the Army as an officer mentoring young enlisted men also has a brother who coaches football at a community college. The brother is constantly complaining about having to deal with the uncoachable wild young men of limited intelligence in his charge.
My friend could only respond to his brother that he was lucky because he was charged with leading and shaping young boys who couldn’t even get in to community college. It was said jokingly, but it was funny because it was true.
This is the old fallacy that the only people who enlist are those who can't do anything else. Even a cursory glance at today's military shows that this simply isn't true unless you think that guys who can't even get into community college are the ones running nuclear reactors for the Navy. Yeah, they're all enlisted folks. Oh yeah, and all the hospital corpsmen and medics? Yep, they're enlisted as well.
Computer operators and electronics techs? Enlisted.
Avionics techs and crypto operaters? Enlisted.
Plane captains and jet techs? Enlisted.
Nuclear machinists,fabricaters and welders? Enlisted.
I could go on, but anybody with a brain can see my point. The skill sets required by the modern military simply cannot be mastered by a bunch of educational rejects, no matter how much Kleinheider would like to think so. Even the lowliest infantryman is a highly specialized warrior in today's military; there really is no such thing as a grunt anymore. To be sure,there are jobs that don't require a tremendous amount of book learning, but there are a lot fewer of them in the military than there are in the civilian world.
These are not saints, they are soldiers.
This is true, but incomplete, particularly on Memorial Day. You see, Memorial Day is set aside to honor specifically those soldiers,sailors,airmen,and marines who died in the line of duty. They paid the ultimate price,made the highest sacrifice possible for a man or woman to make, and in doing so, they transcended their imperfections; they exceeded their limitations. You either get this,or you don't.
A man who gives his life to defend his country is a hero, regardless of whether or not he was an ass in his regular life. Robert Heinlein tells the story of a hobo in Missouri who died trying to save a woman from an oncoming train. The guy was a bum, a derelict; he was most likely a petty thief, and possibly a drunk as well. But he gave his life trying to save the life of a stranger, and that makes him a hero, worthy of remembrance.
So how much more remembrance should we give those who died to save not just a stranger, but an entire country? No, they weren't saints, but the very fact that they were flawed human beings makes their sacrifice that much more heroic. Is it too much to ask to set aside one day to honor their sacrifice, to put aside politics and snide carping and just say thank you?
Sadly, for some people like Kleinheider, the answer is yes.
Ironically, even though Kleinheider cannot appreciate the sacrifices that the heroes of the past and present have made and are making for him, they'll keep doing it anyway.
That's what makes them heroes.
The Obligatory Alec Baldwin Post
It's very simple; the man should be taken out and horsewhipped.
I've got a daughter who can drive me up the wall without breaking a sweat, and she's done so several times. I would never leave a message like that for her to find,and she's15, not 11.
If you haven't done so already, listen to the whole thing, not just excerpts. Listen to his voice as his threats escalate.
I don't care how badly he's gotten screwed in the divorce and custody litigation. I don't care what lies Kim has told about him. I don't care how many phone calls he's missed. He has no right to speak to an 11 year old child that way, particularly the way he threatens her at the end of the call. I sure as heck wouldn't let him near her after hearing that.
UPDATE: As Cathy pointed out during the BlogFest, if it turns out that Kim Basinger released this tape, then she also should be horsewhipped.
Ms. Basinger, that is,not Cathy.
I like Cathy.
A SImple Dichotomy
I'm unhappy about it.
Which Way do we go from Here?
In my opinion, if we have mentally unstable students who have made threats, have behavioral problems, etc. in universities and schools who do not hold themselves or the student accountable for their behavior, there is no other alternative than to extend the civil right to concealed carry to the potential innocent staff and students who may encounter the wrath of such a person. If universities and schools won't take responsibility -- and they won't -- then someone has to.
From the comments section, mindsteps has this to say:
Based upon this horrible, tragic, and very rare event, you are calling for all colleges and universities to loosen up their gun controls and invite students and staff to bring firearms on campus. Instead of encouraging our country to develop, at the local, state, and national level a greater understanding of the mental, physical, social, cultural, and economic issues that may be in play and developing and strengthening an infrastructure for early identification, prevention, and intervention you are emphasizing the need to arm our campuses.
Dr. Helen's point is clear. Right now, society in general, and schools and universities in specific are either unable or unwilling to take the steps necessary to protect their students from potential walking time bombs. Mindsteps believes that we should look for ways to intervene before the tragedy occurs. This is a noble sentiment, but it assumes that our schools and universities aren't intervening because of ignorance or apathy, and that just doesn't ring true to me. There is another factor at play here, and it's one that's very hard to bypass. Not everyone who exhibits the behaviors listed in Dr. Helen's post goes on a shooting spree.
From 2nd grade on through college, I could have been Cho. I was the kid everyone bullied and made fun of all throughout grade school. At home, I lived with an alcoholic father, who loved us with every breath in his body, while abusing us physically and emotionally, and worse. I was a loner, with discipline problems in school. I lived in a world of fear, pain, and anger and escaped into a world of fantasy and science fiction. I would walk out of class as soon as the teacher's back was turned and head to the library. For whatever reason, the librarian would let me stay and read for a couple of hours before she would get the principal, Sister Mary Bernadella, to bring me back to class. I never got into trouble for these excursions, and in my youthful arrogance (which has since changed into a mature arrogance) I never questioned why. Much later in life, I found out that a psych student who came to observe our school for his dissertation, had recommended to the school that I be given counseling and therapy. Obviously, my dad wasn't about to let that happen.
When I went to high school, I made a conscious decision to change everything. I wasn't going to be that kid anymore. I wasn't going to live in that world anymore. I even got a date for the first dance of the year.
After the dance,she wouldn't go out with me again.
I can honestly say that as hurt and angry and frustrated as I was at that moment, the thought of killing anyone, including myself, never even entered my mind as a consideration. I went through another major bout of depression in college, again, triggered by rejection, and again, exhibited all the signs Dr. Helen lists. Again, the thought of killing somebody never crossed my mind, though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the people who knew me back then had concerns.
Eventually, I did go through counseling to deal with these issues. Up until that point, I was arrogant enough to believe that my childhood had no effect on me, that I was strong enough to get through it unscathed. That lie finally collapsed, taking my marriage with it, but I came out on the other side with a much better knowledge of myself.
I'm sharing all of this stuff with you for one reason, to show you that while I looked exactly like Cho, I wasn't Cho, and while I certainly needed help to deal with the issues troubling me, an involuntary committal would not have done it. And that's really what Mindsteps is talking about, involuntary committal and therapy. Think about the incredible invasion of privacy that represents. Think about how many people like me there are out there and how few like Cho there are. How do you tell the difference between someone who is miserable,and someone who is a threat? Yeah, the warning signs are there, but they are there in a lot of cases where a massacre never occurs. Do we have the right to forcibly intervene in somebody's life just because they might go berserk?
Would you arrest a man for murder because you think he might commit one?
Say he fits a profile that makes him 10 times as likely to commit a murder than the average man. Do you arrest him? What about 100 times? Or 1000 times? How about 10,000 times? Let's go with that. Let's say you have a psychological profile that can select a group of men that are 10,000 times more likely to commit a murder than the average man. Then let's say that we lock these men up in psychiatric institutions to treat them, against their will. Homicide statistics tell us that for every 100 men you lock up, only 3 would have committed a murder.
You just violated the rights of 97 men to stop 3 murderers. The ACLU would probably like to have a word with you.
That's the reality that schools, universities, and police are dealing with. That's why they can't take extraordinary actions without basis. It's not that they don't care, or they don't see the problem. It's that the diagnostic tools to tell who is going to go off when simply do not exist.
So, getting back to the discussion between Dr. Helen and Mindsteps, it is clear that Dr. Helen is right in suggesting that schools are not going to be able to react to a threat before it materializes. Their choice then is clear. Either schools will have to beef up their security forces to a level capable of dealing with the next Cho, or they will have to allow their students and faculty the ability to protect themselves as they see fit.
As a libertarian, I'm on the side of allowing a citizen to take charge of his own security.
[Chorus 2X: Shug - singing] + (Djay)
You know it's hard out here for a pimp (you ain't knowin)
When he tryin to get this money for the rent (you ain't knowin)
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent (you ain't knowin)
 Because a whole lot of bitches talkin shit (you ain't knowin)
 Will have a whole lot of bitches talkin shit (you ain't knowin)
In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs in the streets
Gotta couple hoes workin on the changes for me
But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night
Like takin from a ho don't know no better, I know that ain't right
Done seen people killed, done seen people deal
Done seen people live in poverty with no meals
It's fucked up where I live, but that's just how it is
It might be new to you, but it's been like this for years
It's blood sweat and tears when it come down to this shit
I'm tryin to get rich 'fore I leave up out this bitch
I'm tryin to have thangs but it's hard fo' a pimp
But I'm prayin and I'm hopin to God I don't slip, yeah
Man it seems like I'm duckin dodgin bullets everyday
Niggaz hatin on me cause I got, hoes on the tray
But I gotta stay paid, gotta stay above water
Couldn't keep up with my hoes, that's when shit got harder
North Memphis where I'm from, I'm 7th Street bound
Where niggaz all the time end up lost and never found
Man these girls think we prove thangs, leave a big head
They come hopin every night, they don't end up bein dead
Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they'll both do you
That's the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah
Remark that got Imus fired:
"...nappy headed hos..."
Maybe Imus thought he'd win a Pulitzer?