Thursday, March 24, 2016

Republicans: Not Automatically Better Than Democrats (I Mean, Come On, Seriously?)

Maybe read this first.  Mine is rebuttal to it.

In Thursday's guest Column, The case for John Kasich is strong in Wisconsin, the author's 'important point' is nominating a candidate who can " ... bring a Republican into the White House after eight long years of disappointment in Barack Obama."  I suppose this makes sense to someone who takes it as a given that a Republican is always better than a Democrat for president.

I was born at the end of the Eisenhower administration, the last of a certain type of Republican president.  Since then we've had eight years of Democrats, JFK and LBJ, who set us on the path to the moon and back and kicked off a technological revolution the benefits of which still redound to us today, and The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  And some questionable decisions involving Vietnam.

Following that we got eight years of one Republican who initially doubled down on Vietnam, despite having sensed the mood of the electorate and campaigned as the peace candidate, and his hand-picked successor, whose principal 'accomplishment' was to pardon his predecessor, who had resigned under threat of impeachment, for any and all crimes committed during his time as president.

Four years of a Democrat who at least tried to get us pointed in the right direction again, energy-wise and in world affairs.  Twelve years of Republicans who assured us that we had been on the right path all along and pulled out the credit card so we could have low taxes and high spending, and got too much credit for 'winning the Cold War.'  Eight years of a Democrat who, personal peccadilloes aside, oversaw a nicely growing economy and pursued a fairly non-interventionist foreign policy.  And eight years of a Republican on whose watch the economy crashed and who started an ill-defined and horribly executed global war that to this point has accomplished a lot more bad then good.

And now 'eight long years (actually still closer to seven) of disappointment' in the Democrat who has overseen a steadily improving economy and whose big 'failure' is that he hasn't single-handedly turned the world into a peaceful utopia. 

And yet still I should vote Republican, no matter what?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

They Didn't Print the Last Letter, So ...

So that means I can send another one in already.  So I did:

I would like to ask anyone who defends the idea of 'originalism' regarding the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution if they also feel that way about a fundamental American idea, expressed in America's other founding document, The Declaration of Independence.  Second paragraph, first line.  'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal ... '

Are we SURE we don't want to allow interpretation of our founding documents to evolve over time?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

About Time For ...

... a new letter to the editor, isn't it?

Two letters in Sunday's WSJ attempt to 'solve' the 'labor shortage' issue in the U.S.  One proposes to create 'private labor offices' south of the border to funnel documented workers northward.  The other calls for a 'civilian draft,' to legally require the draftees to do the less desirable jobs. 

Is there a compelling reason why we can't just allow the price to 'float' to the intersection of supply and demand?  Is that 'un-American,' or something?  If it's 'wrong' to artificially boost wages in the fast food industry, why is it OK to artificially suppress them in other fields?  Roofing work is mentioned in the second letter.  Physical labor, out in the elements, with an element of danger.  'The market' says higher wages are called for.  Who is it that's looking to game the market?  And why?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Possible Next Read

This caught my eye on 'my' Amazon page so I clicked on it to see what it was all about.

Despicable Meme: The Absurdity and Immorality of Modern Religion

Turns out it's only available on Kindle so I guess I won't be getting it. Sounds interesting though.

"Despicable Meme is D. Cameron Webb’s brief but biting assault on the wide spectrum of religiosity that dominates 21st century America, from the hateful and anti-intellectual dogma of the Christian Right to the whitewashed progressivism of religious moderates. It is also a fascinating and humbling journey into the heart of the universe's most mind-numbing wonders.

"Drawing on recent insights from cosmology and evolution, Despicable Meme paints a vivid portrait of a cosmos unlike anything ever imagined by the provincial, human-centered faiths of the past – a universe of countless worlds spread across unfathomable distances and times, and where, on at least one of those worlds, the slow march of time would combine with the purposeless mechanisms of chemistry and physics to create a being capable of believing that he alone is the reason for it all.

"With piercing intelligence and candor, Despicable Meme exposes the folly of that conceit and dispenses with the widespread but utterly improbable notion of a personal creator. But it saves its harshest criticism for the vapid accommodationism of religious liberals, those who unknowingly or uncaringly give cover to the misogynistic, racist, homophobic paranoia of the fanatics by refusing to condemn, or quietly tolerating, the outlandish and immoral doctrines that lie festering at the center of their own “moderate” faiths.

"Despicable Meme is not only a blistering condemnation of radical fundamentalism, it is an impassioned appeal to the rest of us to once and for all abandon the superstitions of the religion we were raised in and embrace the beauty of an endlessly wondrous, but godless, universe."

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year In Books

Apparently I finished nine books this year.  I started more like fifteen.  It was a funny year ...

The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy
of John F. Kennedy
, Larry Sabato

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, Robert A. Caro

One Nation Under Gods: A New American History, Peter Manseau

1453: The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West, Roger Crowley

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, Neil Sheehan

Dissent: The History of an American Idea, Ralph Young

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Letter to Editor

Here's my most recent letter to the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.  After years of getting every letter I send in published (even though they hack them up sometimes) I've had my last two not see print.  And haven't sent one in two or three months.  But anyway, here it is:

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the main point of a Thursday letter (Pitts didn't address the whole problem).  He starts by missing the point of Pitts' analogy (fix what's obviously broken, then work on other issues).  The letter's point is that unless something is done about 'black on black' crime it will do no good to address the issue of biased law enforcement.  I suppose you could argue that black perpetrators aren't treated any differently by the police than white perpetrators but you can't really argue that even if they are, nothing should be done until 'black on black' crime ceases completely, can you?  There will always be black on black crime, as there will always be white on black, black on white, white on white, male on female, female on male, dog on cat (can I stop now?).  

The statement that Pitts finds fault with, 'All Lives Matter,' isn't wrong, of course, they do.  Were it to say All Lives Matter EQUALLY I think 'both sides' could agree.  Yes?  Or how about, Black lives matter TOO?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Well Here's a New Letter to the Editor (Imagine that) ...

Among the many 'discussion points' provided by the writer of the Sunday letter, Secular Left Has No Moral Authority On Abortion, it is his final question that I will address.

"How can a secular atheist logically question my morality when their worldview does not believe objective morality even exists?"

I can't even answer the question for him, as it rests on a flawed assumption, that 'objective morality' exists.  It doesn't; it can't.  If it did it would follow that somewhere there is an object that can be consulted when we have a question on whether or not something is 'moral.'  And further that we accept that the object can't be wrong.  No, if we wish to know whether something is or is not 'moral' we can only consult our fellow subjects.  Since no one of us is recognized as an ultimate authority we do the only thing that we can do.  We discuss, we argue.  Ultimately we decide.  Collectively.  'Morality' is subjective, as is all knowledge.