Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Week In Review (06/18/2012)

This Week In Review (06/18/2012)

Americans still blame Bush more than Obama for bad economy. A Gallup poll released Thursday shows that 68 percent of Americans blame former President George W. Bush for the bad economy over the 52 percent who blame President Barack Obama. And they’re mostly right. It’s hard to argue that slashing taxes while increasing spending through two wars and a Medicare extension didn’t have an effect on the economy. Though to be fair, there were other factors that led to our current economic crisis other than who was sitting in the White House. The recession was a result of several forms of bad legislation, and so the blame for it can be easily spread around, from Federal Reserve chairman Ben “I can’t name a single foreign bank that millions of our taxpayer money went to” Bernanke to House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not facing any kind of financial crisis” Frank. And even if Obama didn’t create the economic mess, he and his fellow Democrats have done little, if anything, to clean it up other than pass Keynesian schemes like the economic stimulus. To date, the Democrat-controlled Senate has yet to pass a single budget within three years, and yet it’s Republicans who are to blame for not fixing the economy? Give me a break! Anyone who honestly believes that either of the two mainstream parties cares about the economy is seriously deluding themselves. Neither party gives a crap about us. They only care about profiting from our pain and passing on those profits to their special interest cronies.

Rand Paul proposes bill to prevent warrantless drone surveillance. Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration passed a bill allowing local law enforcement to more easily fly unmanned surveillance aircraft, or “drones.” Civil liberty advocacy groups such as the ACLU have warned that this bill could allow law enforcement to infringe on the privacy of civilians without proper oversight. To prevent such a worst case, last Tuesday Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before utilizing drones. You know, I haven’t been trusting of the Good Doctor’s son, considering his many questionable decisions, from his attack against the Ground Zero mosque (which in turn was an attack against property rights and freedom of worship) to his endorsement of Mitt “Flip-Flopper” Romney. But this recent effort against the liberal use of drones, along with his campaign against the TSA, shows that, just like his father, he still cares about the civil liberties of his fellow Americans. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that law enforcement cannot perform a search or arrest without a warrant, but ever since the Patriot Act, they have been able to circumvent due process for the sake of fighting terrorism. Thing have gotten so bad that the Supreme Court seriously deliberated whether or not it was lawful for police to slap a tracking device on a vehicle without a warrant—WITHOUT A WARRANT! (Really a no-brainer there!) But hopefully, Rand Paul will succeed in passing his legislation.

New York fifth grader prohibited from giving gay marriage speech. Kameron Slade had won a class competition and was going to deliver a speech in front of his school PS 195 in Queens, but because the speech was in favor of gay marriage, not only was he barred from giving it, but the principal warned him that he would be dropped from the competition if he didn’t choose a different topic. The good news is that Slade will now be allowed to give his speech during a special school assembly this week. But the fact that he was prevented from speaking in the first place is a sad statement on our education system. If Slade had been a conservative Christian with a speech about protecting traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and the same thing had happened to him, Christians and conservatives across the country would be decrying this as secularist liberals censoring free expression; but because Slade had written a speech about marriage equality, not a stink was made that his freedom of expression was violated. True education demands the free exchange of ideas, no matter how controversial or offensive they may be. When schools start censoring speech, they prevent students from being exposed to new ideas, thereby stunting their overall educational experience. Here’s wishing Slade good luck on his speech. And for anyone who’s interested, a video of his speech can be viewed here on Think Progress. Here’ an excerpt from it: “Some people are for same-gender marriage, while others are against it. Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want. Marriage is about love, support, and commitment. So who are we to judge? If we judge people like this, this is a form of prejudice. We must learn to accept all differences.” Seriously, who other than homophobic bigots would find this offensive?

Woman sues city of Tulsa for cutting down her edible garden. Denise Morrison received a letter from the city informing her of a complaint against her front and backyard gardens, which contained over 100 different varieties of plants. According to city code, plants cannot exceed 12 inches unless they are grown for consumption. But not only were all of her plants edible, but many of them were grown to treat her arthritis, diabetes, and high-blood pressure. But despite explaining all of this to city inspectors and inviting them over for a tour of her gardens, despite bringing this up with the police, and despite going to court over this, the city sent over officials to tear down most of her plants. She has since filed a lawsuit against the city. Here’s hoping justice will be served. There was no excuse for this to have happened. Her garden was in compliance with city regulations. No one was being harmed because of her plants, but now that the city has torn it all down, they have harmed her by taking away her food supply and treatment for her many ailments. Not only is this an example of government and bureaucratic incompetence, but also a gross violation of property rights. Every human being has a right to his own body and the fruit of his labor which extends from it. If he is not entitled to that, then he is entitled to nothing.

Dumbasses of the Week

Third Place: Jennifer Nagy (Huffington Post): In a recent column, Jennifer Nagy detailed how she met her ex-husband at 19, married him at 24, and divorced him last year. Not wanting anyone else to go through her same ordeal, she suggested that young people under the age of 25 should not be allowed to marry. This would be tolerable if she was merely stating a personal preference, but she seriously believes this should be a legal age limit. In other words, because she had a bad experience marrying under the age of 25 (and really, she was 24 when she married), she wants no one to legally marry under the age of 25. She tries to defend her position by claiming that, because young people are still developing, they are unable to commit to a serious relationship: “While a person may be 100 percent certain that they love something -- or someone -- at the age of 21, by 29, they will most likely completely change their mind.” She then cited statistics about how people who marry between 20 and 25 are more likely to divorce. Even if all of this were true, so what? In a free society, people should be allowed to make their own decisions, regardless of whether or not it may be the right one. If a young couple wants to get married, as long as they are of the age of consent, there should be no reason to deny them the right to do so. I have known many college friends who graduated and married their college sweethearts, and to this day, they are enjoying happy marriages. Yes, some people may end up getting divorced, but that’s just one of the many consequences that come with getting married. This suggestion by Nagy is nothing more than someone trying to force their personal preferences on other people.

Second Place: Virginia Republicans: A few weeks ago, North Carolina banned the measuring of sea level rises; but if you thought that was stupid, Virginia managed to ban the term “sea level rise” altogether. Why? Because according to Virginia Republicans, the term is a “liberal code word.” No geniuses: it’s a scientific term for a scientific phenomenon, namely the rising of sea levels—thus the term “sea level rise”! So rather than use “sea level rise” in future bills, lawmakers will now use the term “recurrent flooding.” Seriously? Was there any real reason to change this word other than the fact that it bothered the political sensibilities of a few scientifically-illiterate politicians? This is political correctness straight up, no different than saying “mentally-challenged” instead of “retarded.” Changing the language does not change reality, not matter how much Virginia Republicans want to deny it.

First Place: Michigan House Republicans: Last Wednesday, Rep. Lisa Brown appeared before the Michigan House of Representatives to speak out against a proposed bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with the exception of saving the life of the mother. After detailing how the bill would have killed jobs and violated the religious beliefs of women like herself, she ended her speech with the following remark: “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no,'” So appalled were the House Republicans by her saying “vagina” that they barred her from voicing her opinion on a school employee retirement bill the next day. Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland justified this decision by claiming that Brown's use of the word “vagina” violated House decorum. Seriously? The word is a medical term and it was used by Brown in a medical sense. Now if she had used the term in a derogatory manner (like, oh, let’s say “If you seriously think you can get away with passing this bill, you can go and kiss my vagina!”), then she would have been breaking House decorum. But she was clearly referencing female anatomy while discussing a bill concerning female anatomy. Brown herself remarked about how ridiculous this was: "If I can't say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?" Amen, sister!