Category Archives: Politics

Shane Scott for President – Debt Plan

In this video, Shane explains how he would get us out of debt and improve the education status of Alabama all in one easy step.

Say “nyet” to debt and get on the Shane Train.

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Shane Scott for President

If you have decided that you won’t vote for President this year because all of the candidates are horribly bad, then I ask you to consider write-in candidate Shane Scott.  He is 100% American for 98% of America.  See what I mean here:

Find more Shane Scott for President videos on youtube under the username “shaneforamerica”.

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Everyone Gets to Have Their Own Context in Life

I had an appointment to have a lunch meeting with some friends today.  When I arrived at our chosen rendezvous point, one of the guys was nowhere to be found.  He has a tendency to occasionally be flighty and forgetful.  I found out that he just wasn’t coming to the meeting from one of the other guys.  So, I called him to ride him hard about not showing up and not calling me to cancel the meeting (We really needed all of us there for the meeting to take place).

It wasn’t until after I hung up the phone that I found out the reason he could not be there.  And without going into details (but just for context of how big a jerk I am), something seriously negative had happened in his life that was far more important than our little meeting.  I immediately called back and left a message apologizing for the first message, but the horse was already out of the chicken coop. I often forget that other people have context to their lives that does not necessarily correlate with the context of my life.

I can’t help but think about politics in connection with this thought.  People have contexts to their own lives that others may not ever be able to comprehend.  I think this is where yelling and divisive political discourse has its roots.  For example, I can’t understand how someone could cry over voting for someone, just not possible for me.  And trust me, I can get pretty weepy.  However, that person has obviously had a different experience in life that gives different context to that moment of voting.

We need to all remember that we are a vast and varied country with individually vast and varied life contexts.  We have the great privilege of voting for our leaders.  At the same time while having those disagreements of ideas, try to remember in your emails, conversations, and blog posts that we are also all neighbors and fellow citizens of a pretty great country (no matter the current circumstances) who each have our own context in life that informs our political decisions.  Those don’t make us good or bad people, they just are what they are and make us who we are.

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Filed under by DB, Politics

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 Review

Beyond the fact that there is $700 billion dollars in the hands of the Secretary of the Treasury to buy up and transform and manipulate at his whim “troubled assets”, there is a provision in this bill that should send shivers down everyone’s spine.  Mind you this is a first draft of the bill released for public view:

Section 101(c)(3):

(c) NECESSARY ACTIONS.—The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation, the following:

(3)Designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Federal Government, and such institutions shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Federal Government as may be required.

Does this sound like ‘The Godfather’ to anyone else?  “Now, I will do you this favor, but one day I will call on you to do me a favor…and you may not refuse.”  Considering what our Federal government has done under the umbrella of the Patriot Act, it concerns me that this ambiguous provision is in this proposal.  I can only imagine what “reasonable” things the Secretary can think up for my financial institution to do on behalf of the Federal government.

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Filed under by DB, Politics

Roe v. Wade and the Court That Made the Decision

One of the talking points of both Democrats and Republicans, but especially “social conservatives” which have dominated the Republican Party platform for the last 20-30 years is that the choice of President is important because of the Supreme Court Justices that the President would nominate.  This talking point inevitably points to the Roe v. Wade decision from either side as the reason this issue is so important.

For those less inclined to follow politics, the theory goes that a Republican President would be likely to nominate Supreme Court Justices in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade and the reverse is true of Democrats, that a Democratic President would be more inclined to nominate Supreme Court Justices in favor of maintaining Roe v. Wade.

All of this debate, however, ignores the original decision in the case.  Yes, we all recall whether with esteem or derision that so-called “right to privacy” that the majority decision used as a basis for the decision.  However, does anyone recall the composition of the court at the time of the decision?  Surely it was packed with steaming liberals that wanted to enforce some Berkeley morality on everyone and the conservatives were screaming “NO NO you can’t do that!” until they withered in a clump in the corner.

Not true.  Roe v. Wade was decided 7-2.  The court was comprised of six Justices nominated by Republican Presidents and three by Democratic Presidents.  The vote was 5-1 among the Republican-nominated and 2-1 among the Democratic-nominated.  See the chart at the end of the post for reference (justice name, president who nominated, how they voted on Roe v. Wade).

Now, I am no lawyer and certainly no constitutional scholar.  But, even this keenly interested observer was surprised by this revelation.  Could it be that this talking point used to keep the party faithful in line is nothing but a scare tactic?  I know people who vote exclusively on this point alone (which is disturbing in and of itself) and it would appear they have swallowed a party line that is not the truth.

Next time someone wants to use this line of argument for why they are voting a certain way, I hope you will find this helpful in illuminating the conversation with some reality rather than just another pile of political rhetoric.

Burger (Chief) Nixon For
Douglas FDR For
Brennan Eisenhower For
Stewart Eisenhower For
White Kennedy Against
Marshall LBJ For
Blackmun Nixon For
Powell Nixon For
Rehnquist Nixon Against

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What do Sarah Palin and Hamas have in common?

There is a point in a human life when one normally breaks away from one’s parents.  One is then a whole and complete person responsible for one’s own thoughts and actions no matter what one’s parents had in mind when they raised you.  I know some parents that have been completely rejected by their children.  They have been told explicitly that everything they taught their child and raised their child to believe and be was outright rejected by the child and the child hated the parents for ever trying to teach them their belief system.

In the same way, there are two examples of completely different and, I dare say, unwanted consequences in the fruits of two movements: democracy and feminism.  Hamas was elected democratically by a sweeping majority in 2006.  The election shocked the U.S. government who immediately rejected the results since Hamas was still considered a terrorist organization.  The free people of Palestine used their vote to choose Hamas.  The promotion of the democratic ideal by the U.S. government didn’t have the exact desired results.  That is rather simplistic but it illustrates the next point.

Sarah Palin is the product of the feminist movement whether the current feminist movement wants to accept her or that fact.  The same movement that gave women the right to vote, the right to obtain a bank account or credit card without a husband’s signature, the right to hold elected office, to be the CEO of Pepsi, and the right be to be a whole and complete individual in their own right also produced Sarah Palin, the “anti-woman” female candidate and potential first female Vice President of the U.S.A.

It is interesting to watch a movement that has worked so hard for so long for the advocacy of this very thing to occur and yet it is not at all right in their eyes.  It is possible that the election of Sarah Palin as VP would be both the greatest achievement and greatest setback to the feminist movement in the U.S.A..  While I am sure that most feminists that are appalled at the presence of Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket are already voting for Obama, I wonder if there will be any* that will vote against McCain only because Palin is the simply the wrong kind of woman.

*PUMAs perhaps

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Why I am not voting Republican or Democratic

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”-Ayn Rand

“…give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.  In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own.  Out of work?  Tough luck.  No health care?  The market will fix it.  Born into poverty?  Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots.  You’re on your own”-Barack Obama

“Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know”-Barack Obama

If anyone out there thinks they are not on their own, quit your job, stop paying the bills and find out what happens.  It is only by your individual effort no matter how great or small that you achieve what you are capable.  Robin Hood will not save the day.  Obama assumes that the heart and soul of America is the workings of its government.  He thinks that when government doesn’t work, people go hungry.  If I am to support 10-20 people it will be on my terms and because I choose to do so, not because my government chooses to tax me sufficiently to give it to “those less fortunate”.

“Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice…”-John McCain (hailed with raucous applause)

“I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals — to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.”-John McCain (tepid golf clap applause)

The crowd at the Republican convention really burned me up.  If they are truly a cross-section of America, I am sad.  Screaming for school vouchers like its the Super Bowl but only tepid applause for PEACE.  What is wrong with you people that you claim a “culture of life” but only for American humans?  Education is important but the lack of death inflicted by or on my country is far more important. 

“My mother’s creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you.”-Joe Biden

No Joe !!  Everyone is not equal to you and that is no American creed I know.  We bring into this world varying attributes and talents, strengths and weaknesses that we either use for or against us.  We have equality in the eyes of our government in regards to justice and the assertion of law, but not as citizens dealing with one another.  There are plenty of people better than me in lots of things…Michael Phelps, Warren Buffett, Salvador Dali, etc.  If there were not, this would be a sad country to live in.  Perhaps this is another example of the Democrats thinking that everything American begins and ends with government. 

“Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights”-Sarah Palin

I am REALLY a big fan of civil liberties.  The way the current Republican administration has all but eliminated them is evident in this quote.  That the crowd then laughed and cheered made it that much worse.

I have a lot more to say but this is already a teal deer.

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Filed under by DB, Politics, Rant

Obama is No Economist

  This article makes me want to puke. 

Never, never, never should a company be made to pay “windfall profit tax”.  That is attempting to enforce some morality of equality (I call it theft) that will kill a growth economy.  Obama is quoted in the article as saying, “we can either choose a new direction for our economy or we can keep doing what we’ve been doing”.  Sir, if those are the two choices and you want to steal from the rich to give to the poor, I vote for keep doing what we’ve been doing.  Your way leads to depression and destruction.  It sounds and feels good (especially a $1,000 check from Uncle Barack), but it is a pathway to terrible poverty for all.

The truth is something no one wants to talk about, but here it is, if some don’t have a lot, then everyone has nothing.  A dynamic economy requires it and Obama doesn’t understand it.

EDITED TO ADD: Please note that the original article that I linked to has been changed by yahoo to a different summary of the candidate’s townhall meeting.  The original article specifically stated a “windfall profit tax” on oil companies to be paid to consumers to offset high gas prices.  Also, the quote above was inthe original article.  My apologies for not grabbing more of the original before someone cleaned it up.

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Proposed Metro Nashville Public School Changes

  This post is written in response to a post at Aunt B’s place concerning the proposed Metro Nashville Public School cluster changes.  It was originally a comment on her blog but it seemed a bit long for a comment.

I think the resegregation argument is a non-starter based on the current and proposed enrollments of Metro Nashville Public Schools.  Even only looking at high schools one can see that Pearl-Cohn is no racial exception.  Pearl-Cohn is currently 88% black and proposed to be 91% black, certainly the highest on Metro, but two other schools have black populations greater than 80% (Whites Creek and Maplewood). A total of 6 out of 11 high schools are currently a majority black population (above plus Stratford, Hunters Lane, Hillsboro) and 7 of 12* will be majority black under the proposed plan (add Antioch to above schools).

 

To evaluate economic disadvantage one can look at the statistics for the Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) program.  Currently, 7 of 11 schools have a majority of students in the FARM program including 3 greater than 70% participation (Pearl-Cohn, Stratford, Maplewood).  Under the proposed plan, 8 of 12 high schools will have a majority of students in the FARM program with ‘only’ two above 70% (Stratford and Pearl-Cohn).  All schools in the Pearl-Cohn cluster currently have greater than 70% (some near 90%) participation in the FARM program.  The proposal exacerbates that issue by increasing some of the percentages at some of the Pearl-Cohn cluster schools.  However, this is a bigger problem than just the expansion of the Pearl-Cohn cluster to include some neighborhoods that have been transported to Hillwood and Hillsboro.

 

Based on the numbers, I don’t see that switching the districts to neighborhood schools in the Pearl-Cohn cluster (and minor tweaks elsewhere) is in any sense a resegregation of schools.  We are already there.**  The population estimates for Davidson County by race are white-66%, black-28% yet the high school population in Metro Nashville Public Schools is roughly white-32%, black 53% (calculated).  Currently, only one Metro high school has a majority of white students, that is McGavock at 50% white.  The proposed changes would make Hillwood the lilliest of them all at 63% white (still under the population numbers, especially in that part of town) and make that ‘only’ the second Metro high school with a majority of white students.

 

Given the history of destruction that inner city neighborhoods have endured from the introduction of interstate highways dividing communities to the forced busing of students to the suburbs, I think it is high time that neighborhood schools are given an opportunity.  It already can’t get much worse and the added emphasis on the local community can only help…hopefully.

 

**In evaluating the data, I would say the segregation is a public school-private school segregation rather than a segregation between the various zoned public schools given the average household size being roughly the same between white and black.  I can’t find any comprehensive data on Metro nashville private schools or the Metro magnet schools which would impact any complete evaluation of segregation based on public-private school. 

 

*Cane Ridge is a new high school coming on-line with no current stats but they have projected stats.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under by DB, Nashville life, Politics

Fun Facts on Tax Day or Why I am voting Libertarian this year

The United States Federal Government spent $2,730,000,000,000 in fiscal year 2007 (October 2006 – September 2007).  That is $2.73 trillion or $2,730 billion ($2,730B).  That spending can be divided into about five (not so) equal parts. I’ll give you a minute to figure out what those five parts are…no cheating but the answers are at the end of this post.  While you are thinking, let’s talk about that $2,730B spending figure for a moment. That is about $1,000B more than the year 2000.  It took us until the year 1987 to even exceed the $1,000B amount in any year in American history. 211 years (1987) to get to one trillion in annual spending, 15 more years (2002) to two trillion, and 6-7 more years to three trillion (estimated 2008 or 2009).

Alright, did you figure out the five spending categories? I was as surprised as anyone. Makes all this hullabaloo over earmarks seem really ridiculous.  Seriously, you are talking about “wasteful spending” by earmarks in only 21% of the budget. How about the other 79%?

Anyway, to the point…Why have none of the major presidential candidates addressed the worst issues facing us over the next 10-50 years?  Social Security and Medicare will account for 60% of spending by 2020 at current projections.  We continue to spend by borrowing money to do so.  2007 saw the national debt at $8,951B and projected to go to $12,276B by 2013.  As I talked about here, that can not continue if we are to remain a free and sovereign nation. 

The mortgage “crisis”, earmarks, tax credits for college, middle class tax cuts, etc. are all inconsequential compared to the impending issues we face economically.  We can not even afford what we spend now much less even consider anything like universal healthcare.  It is time that we face these issues head-on before they become overwhelming.  We can no longer afford politicians that only have a 2 or 4-year horizon and consider nothing beyond.

So as you may be submitting your 1040 today, consider the facts and the issues we face in regards to taxes and federal spending when November comes around.  These issues are at the top of the list of reasons I am voting Libertarian this fall.  

1.Social Security – $620B – 22.7%
2.Medicare/Medicaid – $577B – 21.1%
3.Everything Else – $574B – 21.0%
4.Defense – $530B – 19.4%
5.National Debt Interest – $429B – 15.7%

Source: Fiscal Year 2009 proposed budget historical tables – Table 4.1

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