31 July 2010
30 July 2010
29 July 2010
28 July 2010
27 July 2010
26 July 2010
25 July 2010
24 July 2010
23 July 2010
22 July 2010
21 July 2010
20 July 2010
19 July 2010
18 July 2010
17 July 2010
16 July 2010
Think about it -- those very souls who whine about too much government intervention into our lives, only have to take a look around to see that we are surrounded by the results of corporate excess and too little government regulation and enforcement. Examples --
~ the Gulf oil disaster.
~ the near-collapse of the banking industry.
~ the housing debacle.
~ the current recession and long-term unemployment crisis.
~ the conservative-sponsored deregulation of banking, securities, and insurance companies.
~ the average corporate CEO takes home 300 to 600 times the income of the average employee.
Yesterday a report surfaced that is astonishing even to the most jaded observer. BP, the same company which is turning the Gulf of Mexico into an oil reservoir, confirmed that it has lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner transfer deal that the Libyan government wanted to secure the release of the only person ever convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland, which killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans. BP acknowledged that "it had promoted the agreement to protect a $900 million offshore oil and gas exploration deal off Libya's Mediterranean coast. "
Free one terrorist, at the expense of 270 innocent lives, to preserve a lucrative oil deal. And the British and Scottish governments caved in. Libya's lunatic leader (and supporter of terrorists) Muammar al-Gaddafi greeted the released bomber with open celebration, and no doubt laughed all the way to the bank afterward.
I am thoroughly, militantly, and irrevocably disgusted at this obscenity. It is time for the government of the people, by the people, for the people to step in and take charge. Period.
NRA. There's a reason why I, a gun owner, am not a member of the National Rifle Association. The organization's right-wing politics aside, leadership and members alike appear blinded to the absurdities to which their extremist vision of firearms ownership lead. Here's an example -- The NRA Protects a Potential Serial Killer. The NRA's policies have the effect not of protecting individual liberty or safety, but endangering it by fostering the sale of firearms (including automatic weapons) to criminals. Have we wandered down the rabbit hole again?
15 July 2010
NEW BUSINESS. The NAACP has challenged the Tea Party movement to weed out racist elements from its ranks. Tea Party members are proudly blatant in their absurd verbal and visual vilification of President Obama (see a sample roadside billboard below -- lately removed for being "counterproductive." Gee, ya think?), and downright vicious in their racist verbal attacks on black members of Congress. Tea Party spokespersons like Sarah Palin deny the allegation, naturally. Here is a brief video clip on the controversy.
"WHAT IF?" BUSINESS. Child: "Did you ever smoke pot?" Parent: "It's complicated." A recent NYTimes article explores this quandary for parents, with humor and insight. Assuming that the parent in question did indeed smoke pot back in the day, should one say No, in order to occupy the moral high ground (at the cost of lying) -- or should one say Yes, and risk being accused of hypocrisy when cautioning youth against the use of drugs and alcohol? The article offers a satisfactory common-sense resolution.
BTW. By the way, here we are at the Ides of July, with Missoula daytime temperatures hovering in the high 80s dF, yet there remains a dusting of snow atop the highest peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains, visible from the valley -- a paradoxical result of our long, cool Spring. Montana is a land of unpredictable contrasts.
14 July 2010
13 July 2010
Under the US Constitution, an accused person is innocent until proven guilty (in contrast to France's Napoleanic Code under which an accused person is guilty until proven innocent). It is a reasonable extension of this principle to expect that an accused person should be granted anonymity from the media, until his or her guilt is established. Otherwise trial in the court of public opinion may prejudice the accused's right to a fair trial. In recent years, with the advent of DNA testing and other advanced forsenic techniques, a fair number of convicted and imprisoned men and women have been proven innocent and set free, having lost years of their lives to incarceration. Such miscarriages of justice fly in the face of the principles of fairness and individual rights which we hold dear. English jurist William Blackstone put it succinctly in the 1760s -- "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
GRAVITY. Like all good science, physics has evolved over the centuries, from Newtonian physics (which we all learned in high school) to Einsteinian relativity (at which I am still gnawing) to string theory (trying, trying). I refer the gentle reader to a mind-stretching NYTimes article, A Scientist Takes on Gravity, in which a physicist proposes that gravity may be an illusion, or a side effect of something else going on at deeper levels of reality. It is at the very least a fascinating mind experiment, and possibly much more.
I'm reminded of one of my all-time favorite novels, Richard Bach's Illusions. The narrator, an itinerant biplane pilot, meets another pilot who becomes his mentor on the nature of reality. The story is entertaining, with enough principles and reminders and pokes in the side to make one wonder, "Yeah, what if .... ?"