Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ed Whitfield's Response

Well I had been waiting for Ed Whitfield's response to a previous enquiry and was starting to get a little miffed that he hadn't responded. It turns out my wife had just hid that snail mail in a stack to be sorted later. Here is his response, with the names changed to protect the guilty:
Dear Mr. Swamproot,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the decision by the Copyright Royalty Board(CRB) to increase royalty payments for the streaming of music offered on the Internet.

I understand your strong opposition to this decision and your concerns about the effect that it will have on Internet music sites. Several options are being pursued to address the actions of the CRB. Public radio stations have asked the CRB to rehear its decision and they intend to appeal the Board's action to the United States Court of Appeals. Also, legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress in response to the CRB's decision. Specifically, the Internet Radio Equality Act would reverse the recent CRB ruling and change the royalty rate-setting standard that applies to commercial Internet radio so that it is the same standard that applies to satellite radio. For public radio, the bill would set a royalty standard designed for noncommercial entities.

As a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this issue, I look forward to participating in any hearings we may have on the matter. Furthermore, I will continue to follow this issue and will crefully consider the points you made should any relevant legislation be considered in my Committee or voted on by the full House of Representatives.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to hearing from you on this or any other issue of importance to you.

Ed Whitfield
Member of Congress
It was typed by one 'mb'. They probably wrote it as well, and I am sure the Congress Member is a busy man. I just wanted to make my opinion known on the matter to the fellow who is supposed to represent me. Having taken the trouble of writing the guy, you might say that I might be a little ticked that his staff person didn't express an opinion one way or the other. I actually was as concerned about his position as well as mine. I guess it's not to be certain one way or another.

For example, I may be a registered Democrat (if only because the Repugs piss me off right now), but I sure do respect Melvin Henley. He isn't afraid to tell you exactly what he thinks, the way he's gonna vote, and how much he appreciates your input on the matter at hand. I can disagree and still vote for a man like that.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Do Minimum Wage Increase Consequences Match Those of Immigration Reform

The Murray Ledger and Times has a guest book that functions like a forum that they moderate People leave comments and sometimes discuss issues in a not so timely manner there. I've mentioned it before. Being that its a pretty conservative town there is a lot of the typical hyperbole that drives me crazy.

But I have no idea by what standard they allow posts to go through. There is truly no sensible rhyme or reason to it that can be ascertained from post that I've written that they excluded and those that they do let through. I know you can't talk about how bad you think the Murray Calloway County Hospital sucks, particularly Primary Care. Sometime, I need to do a post documenting some of their more egregious offenses, but I will say that they should invest some time and money either in training or hiring their staff so that they won't be known as the meanest bitches in all of the broken health care system of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Anyway, I got to try out the new "If minimum wage increases go up, so do costs" spin on the immigration debate again. Since they probably won't post it, I thought I would publish it here.

It was in response to a post by one "Socially Conscious", and here was there post in response to some previous pro-min-wage post:
"Sorry to insert my two cents here, but raising the minimum wage comes with its problems. First, if you're paying a guy more to make you a burger, you're going to pay more for the burger. The price of everything will increase, and then the guy making "more" minimum wage finds that he still can't afford anything. A higher education would go much further, and don't yell at me, I realize those obstacles. Second, if the guy is making "more" money, he is no longer eligible for social programs that benefit his/her family and children, such as WIC, food stamps, MediCaid, TANF, etc. So, just giving someone a dollar more an hour is not all that easy. It comes with its own price. I didn't learn that in my economics class . . . I learned it in my social work classes."

Here was my response:
Socially Conscious, as you point out, if the minimum wage goes up you might have to pay more for a burger. But what if we deported all of the illegal immigrants? Wouldn't that also cause the wages that companies pay to rise as well, thereby also increasing the cost of goods?

Maybe not the burgers you buy, but that dirt cheap chicken you get at the supermarket will certainly go up. The price of vegetables will go up. If the increase in the price of consumer goods is justification for not raising the minimum wage is it also justification for keeping illegal immigrants around, maybe even giving them amnesty so they can then pay taxes on the money earn or so we can recoup the expense of the social programs they utilize?

I'm a lousy gambler but I would wager that you probably don't think so.
I think its a valid counter point. Even though I'm aware that there are other social costs in play. I have yet to use it face to face with one of the talking point repeaters.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reaction to Reaction over Creationist Museam

I normally avoid creationism vs. evolution debates but I got sucked into one on the CJ Forum. I'm very much a Faith is Faith and Science is Science and never the two shall cross kind of guy. Creationist are so unreasonable though and they always say stuff like "If you would just look at the evidence objectively...." all the while pointing fingers at the other side saying "THEY do it too". Its the whole "secular humanist fundamentalist liberal" conspiracy idea that scientist will ignore the "Truth" just because it doesn't agree with the "dogma" that is driven into them by the "ivory tower liberal elites" or if they do agree they are afraid of the repercussions for questioning "the party line".
That I find really ironic, because as a young man in a fundamentalist church, I was made to feel guilty about questioning things in the Bible, not stuff like creation or even Noah's flood, but more like why does the Bible say THIS here and THAT there. Nope, those questions come from pride or an unwillingness to accept the Holy Spirit, or even the devil himself.
I guess they were probably the source for my arguments in this debate as well.

Some Guy with the Handle of 4Him:
A crystal glass cover, springs, screws, nuts, cogs, sprockets and 100 other indiscriminate parts fall off of the table and suddenly become a man's Rolex wristwatch.


Several trillion molecules just happened to come together one by one by one over millions of years until they form a living breathing, thinking functional human life?

Which is more plausible? Which is more complex?

Use all the evolutionary science you want but some things are just inexplicable until you add the concept of Intelligent Design. Specifically, a Creator. God Almighty.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom." Isaiah 40:28

Here was my response:
I think 4Him grossly distorts the argument with the watch or trillion molecules question. Only creationist assert that the non-creationist view is one of "Several trillion molecules coming together over millions of years" or worse as a totally random process that just happened to produce all life as we know it or frame it as supposedly the results of mutations. This totally ignores how natural selection optimizes the process so that life does not evolve from random happenings but from having advantages over ones competitors.

Other creationists like to claim how there are no missing links when actually there are plenty, when one is found creationists just insist on finding the new missing link between the old missing links. The natural conditions for fossilization are actually quite rare and in certain climates and locations would be impossible to form. So gaps there are aplenty.

Still others use the old "Nobody has ever seen one species turn into another" argument, which is kind of like saying "Nobody has actually seen the exact time when a child becomes an adult". The time scale we are talking about here is staggering. A million years is 100 times longer than almost all of recorded history. Yet it is only alluded to by creationist as part of the "ridiculousnous of it all".

A dog is pretty much the same thing genetically as a wolf, but even if you used the "Young Earth" creationist age of the planet, the immense variation in dogs are the result of radically altering the selective traits the dogs would pass to their offspring in a mere few thousand years. This variation was caused by man and progressed to where dogs are today fairly quickly in historical terms. I'm pretty sure there were no dachshunds on Noah's Arc. But in a relatively few years, we get dachshunds from what genetically is a wolf, which a dachshund can even impregnate should it be so inclined and most likely assisted.

Creationist look at that and say, "See, you can't make a new species", where the nonCreationists see that and think "Look how much that animal was able to change through a couple hundred generations, in a million years it won't even be the same species". I don't see what is so crazy about thinking that over time the genes of dachshunds and wolves will drift more and more over time, and they will share less and less until one day dachshunds and wolves will no longer be able to breed. But I wouldn't expect to see it in my lifetime.

I am no atheist, but I figure if I was an omnipotent God whose chosen people were really bugging me to tell them where they came from, and the answer involves tiny things they can't see, time periods they cannot fathom, and even some scientific principles they as a people hadn't matured enough to handle, I'd probably give them the short story and let them figure out the rest on their own.

Here is a good article on the subject. Got the link from BoingBoing.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Immigration, The Illegal Variation

I have this rather outspoken conservative uncle who is of the type to forward some of the more outrageous chain-emails, I'm sure if your on the net and have more than two friends you know what I'm talking about. I have this belief that the internet places the capacity to check the "facts" that someone tells you, if you are so compelled, at your fingertips and if you are going to even pretend to care as much as hitting your forward button you should at least take the 10 seconds it might take to validate the bogusness of such an email. So convenient is this ability that I have short patience for folks who forward things that are forwarded to them.

It is almost a responsibility as a "netizen" that you would do so, if you are capable. And by capable I mean grasping enough of a concept to be able to google it, I mean as long as you are connected to the internets and all that.

So I have made great sport out of responding to such "truth rogues" and like to point such people to sites like and a personal favorite of mine Let me add at this time that I think snopes sucks because of that funky anti-copying script that they use to prevent being quoted and thwarting me in my quest to disprove stuff.

So anyways today the latest outrage was some snopes "verified" email about some dumbass flying a Mexican flag over an upside down American flag. And as I typically do I responded to it (with the ReplyAll button, and as always the names have been changed to protect the guilty):

Uncle Johnny,
Maybe we should approach the immigration problem in the same manner as we approach the drug problem. Heck, we could even combine the problems and just make illegal immigrants a Schedule One narcotic. Then we could start imprisoning all of the people who use them, in the same way we lock up pot smokers and drug addicts. Look at what a wonderful success that has been.
The only problem I see with that is that, like taxing the rich, is that it punishes success, as it would mostly target the owners of small and large businesses alike. Of course, since Democrats are usually unemployed and lazy, and just sit around waiting for their government checks, this solution would unfairly penalize Republicans, so it is probably a bad idea.
It was after all the liberal labor unions, with their pinko members expecting to have rights and decent pay, that probably drove them to hiring illegal immigrants in the first place. Once again, liberals are at the root of the problem as they are with any and all problems facing America today. Just ask Sean Hannity, or Ann Coulter, or Rush Limbaugh, or Micheal Savage, or Glen Beck, or Laura Ingraham or Neal Borsch or David Horowitz or any number of pundits who make a very good living by saying so.
But if we raise the minimum wage, oops, I mean get rid of illegal immigrants, then the cost of goods and services will rise for everyone and businesses will have to employ less people because they have to pay the workers that they are able to retain more. This means poor people have less opportunities for employment and the money they do manage to earn will not go as far as it once did.
I predict nothing will happen on this issue, not because of the some diabolical liberal plot to "redistribute" all that you have worked for, but because the people who hire illegals contribute more to campaign funds than the people who get fired up by some silly stunt a high school kid pulled off that got caught on camera (as the snopes link 'verifies'). Unfortunately, the primary tool of democracy in our nation has been transfered from the voting booth to the pocket book.

But what the heck, I can still play along and be "involved". Do you want to get even more fired up about illegal immigrants? Then watch this video of police beating a man for simply flipping off a bunch of protesters and then getting his face bloodied for it. Where is the ACLU fighting for HIS right to free speech? If this ticks YOU off, THEN PASS IT ON!

Trying to be a righteous conservative and not an American hating, terrorist comforting, illegal-amnestizing Democrat,
Now I have this conservative cousin, with whom I have argued "Sure, we can just keep dumping carbon into the atmosphere forever and at an ever increasing rate and never suffer ill consequences from it, that makes sense", but whom is otherwise not a bad guy, responded to my little diatribe against his father:

I generally just sit back and laugh and the two of you going at it, and while I do agree that the power has moved from the voting booth to the pocket book, I have to point out that you only present one side of this story.

You are correct that labor costs will rise and the price of goods will rise, that will be a direct result of getting rid of illegal immigrants, but let’s not forget the costs associated with illegal immigrants in this country. Federally less than 1/2 of illegal immigrants contribute payroll taxes, this results in a cost of 10 billion dollars annually that exceeds their contribution. The largest costs are incurred by Medicaid, the treatment of uninsured, and participation in food assistance programs. Hmmmmm……wonder where the funding for these programs comes from.

Locally, and I can speak to this because North Carolina has had a 692% increase in illegal immigration in the last ten years, the largest of any state by 300%, our school system has been strained to the breaking point and our tax burden has increased. The next election will have a $642 million school bond on it and I will vote for it and pay for it because my kids go to school. Again, I wonder whose pocket this money is coming out of.

Let’s not forget that our country has a process for gaining LEGAL entry, and let’s not forget that we are speaking about ILLEGAL immigrants.
This is a perfect example of why sometimes the diatribes are worth it. To actually engage someone on the other side of the fence in a discussion. Oh, the novelty of it all. Here was my response:

This is the kind of political letter that I do like to see in my inbox, one that provides facts and information, and advances the discussion. I used the "cost of goods" argument only because I could neatly coopt it from the Minimum Wage debate that went on a few months back. Using the words of pundits against them, if you will. I also deliberately left off the "associated costs", which I was aware of, in the argument as another nod to the Fox News school of journalism, as was presenting only one side of the story.
As a matter of fact, I don't really have much sympathy for illegal aliens. As you pointed out, I do think they drain our social services and, to quote our President, "take the jobs that Americans don't want to do" only because their presence depresses the wage market for that job. It is a lie that keeps being repeated. Even in the IT industry corporate interests clamor for more more H-1B visas to bring in Russians, Indians and Chinese people, not because they can't find the workers but because they don't want to pay what the market would demand.
I just get sickened to see this framed as an "us against the evil liberal democrats" problem, when there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle. I would rather see the debate framed in the terms of a discussion such as this rather than in the inflammatory commentary to a photograph of the actions of a few misguided individuals. Much as I feel that any debate about the War in Iraq should not be centered around anything nut job Cindy Sheehan says or does.

As for North Carolina's appeal to illegal immigrants, it must just be a nicer place to be now that Jesse Helms is retired and locked up in a home.

And that was the immigration debate in my family.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Education Kinda Sucks, But It Ain't the Agendas, Part 1

One of my favorite blogs to read is Nicholasville resident Douglas Adam's Kentucky Progress. Like I've said before, I don't like to read blogs to have my beliefs affirmed, I would much rather have them challenged. Mr. Adam's is in my opinion fair, conscientious, well reasoned, and even willing to admit when he is wrong. He is usually cordial and willing to discuss an issue with anyone who wants to reasonably discuss it back. Basically, Kentucky Progress is everything I have found lacking in other conservative bloggers.
The message board lurkers run the gambit between the somewhat abused liberals, to the rabid rightists who think the the Republicans are too liberal for them. I like how its very state centric and the issues effecting the commonwealth are highlighted. The other day I was inspired to write a lengthy diatribe against the supposed "social agendas" being pushed in our schools, which seem to be a conservative tenant, but one that I just don't believe in. I thought I would fill one of my posts with what I posted over there.

"Kentucky schools are run by administrators who can choose to focus ... on promoting a social agenda."

Mr. Progress, exactly what is this social agenda that is being promoted? I know that their are some folks who read this blog who think the entire education system is run by Communist holdouts and 'secular fundamentalists' but as the husband of a teacher, I can say that, at least in Western Kentucky, the teachers and administrators are some of the most conservative people I know. Maybe it applies mostly to the "educrats in the union."

I am also aware that there are plenty of conservative writers who like to string every dumb and heavy handed action by school administrators and teachers into some atheist plot to destroy Christianity or at least go to "War ON Christmas", when most of the time it is just fear of ACLU lawsuits or the simple accomadation of people of other faiths.

Sure, you can't have school sponsored prayer, but I've said it before and I will say it again: the people who complain most about this issue are the ones who would scream bloody murder to find out that it was being led by a Catholic, Jew, Mormon, or a Jehovah's Witness.

Maybe the more populous regions of the state are awash with 'social agendas'. But down here in the Jackson Purchase, as one principal told my wife, "We cannot legally ask you this, so it is always a good idea for you to mention the name of your Sunday School if you interview with us".

But then again, we did have the former porn star teaching down this way, and it probably didn't matter what Sunday School she was in.

That being an exception among a few others, I still don't see many 'crazy liberals' pushing 'social agendas' in the halls of my wife's school.

So what are these agenda's that you are most worried about?

Also, if you were one whom the Lord has chosen not to bless with children, in your perfect world what kind of right to "remove their money from the school district they live in", would you enjoy? I believe even childless couples have a responsibility to provide for the educations of future generations, but if I had the choice, I might want my school tax dollars to go to my alma mater back in Carlise County, which the last time I checked was the second smallest county in the state, with an ever shrinking tax base, so they probably could use it. Or is it only parents that get the choice?

The point was about the supposed "social agenda" and would the whole "school choice" idea provide childless people with a right of participation in the whole process of improving schools by making them compete for school dollars. This seems to be a big issue that the school choice crowd tends to ignore, perhaps it might show the movement as either undemocratic at best and absurd at its worst. Not that there isn't room for improvement.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Education Kinda Sucks, But It Ain't the Agendas, Part 2

I didn't recieve an answer to my previous post, but I was respectfully challenged by one "nicholasville conservative":
Swamproot, that's a mouthful. The fact is, mediocrity is the norm in our public schools.

If you doubt this, acquire a set of the original McGuffey readers and pass it around to a sample of teachers. See how many of them can master the contents of the 4th and 5th grade volumes that were used at the time of publication. Or, pull a typical elementary teacher aside and ask the teacher to explain how to add fractions (let alone topics you would find in a 9th grade algebra text). How many teachers can demonstrate a majority of the historical and literary knowledge in ED Hirsch's Cultural Literacy: What Every American Should Know? In fact, how many could even correctly recite the names of our 20th century US presidents?

Our Colleges of Education, those deadening certification mills, need to receive a stiff dose of competition themselves. The education professors aren't getting the job done; we need to allow "uncertified" individuals who possess quality educational and career records, to enter our schools as teachers.

The establishment is afraid of competition because it will reveal that the Educational Emperor has no clothes.
Here, for what it's worth is my answer:
Sorry, about my long screed Mr. Conservative, and here is another in answering, but I was addressing the advancement of social agendas, not the competency of the teachers that there are.

I will certainly acknowledge that plenty of elementary school teachers are, quite frankly, incompetent dweebs who became elementary teachers because they thought they only had to learn as much as a elementary school child in order to get a degree and a job and they "like children".

I will also acknowledge that the institutions responsible for education are not "getting the job done". Education undergraduates might as well be Safety majors with all the football players given the less-than-challenging curriculum they follow.

Yet for all that, there is more to teaching than standing in front of a group of kids and talking. I, personally, feel that even though I posses "quality educational and career records", I would not have any business being a teacher.

Not until I could prove somehow, (perhaps by taking a test or getting some type of document administered by a testing authority, what ever you call that), that I knew something about classroom management, disciplining kids, educational law, core curriculum among a great many other things that the education professors DID talk about.
Competition may indeed by the answer, maybe we do need vouchers. I and my very, hard working wife, ( who is better than most, in my judgment), would be more than happy to see more pay tied to performance.

But if that is the case, be prepared that teachers who will take the hit will be those "family values"-conservative types who wouldn't dream of working after 3:00 because their daughter has soccer practice, or who don't give homework on Wednesdays because of "the kids who have to go to church".

But in the end, I feel that the biggest problem with education today is the lack of buy-in from too many parents who don't thing they have a role to play in their child's learning.
I also had to use his question for a cheep shot:
As for your test or cultural literacy, I missed Harding. But I figure that's probably OK, few on this board seem to have a memory for scandal-plagued Republican administrations anyway. :-)
The question was, can you name all of the U.S. presidents of the 20th century, and for the record my answers were:

Bush 2
Bush 1
X - missed Harding
Teddy Roosevelt

Looking back, I now realize George 2 was in the wrong century. Oops. Oh well, I guess I just traded one corrupt Republican administration for another.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Education Kinda Sucks, But It Ain't the Agendas, Part 3

In the end, the final response was this from 'nicholasville conservative':
Swamproot: Sounds like you and your spouse are ahead of most.
I think one of the things KP is referring to by "a social agenda" is the elevation of "self-esteem" over tangible measurements of learning. I've noticed that type of mushy sentiment is pervasive even in the Bible belt.

nicholasville conservative may have a point with this. Take it from the spouse of a teacher woman, some kids are possibly advanced against what should be in their better interest and getting held back. Their are often political pressures associated with these choices that are not in the best interest of the children. Some of this is not due to some socialist conspiracy, but actually accountability measures that might not properly reflect the needs of the local constituency.

What I mean by this is that if schools are pressured not to have failing students who do not repeat grades, then in some demographics or locals schools might be penalized for having a more disenfranchised population and as a result "bend the rules", yet . Yet I agree with the so called conservative belief that there should be greater accountability.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Milloinare Candidates: Successfull(R) & Hypocrite(D)

Bowling Green (KY) blogger Osi Onyekwuluje asks "Do Millionare Candidates Bother You or Not"?

It struck a nerve because of something that I've been feeling for a long time and only had to listen to WNBS 1340 talk radio yesterday to be reminded that it's still a prevalent tactic with the conservo-pundits.

The only thing that bothers me about millionaire politicians is the way Faux News and its imitators always point out that when the Democratic candidate is rich, like that makes them a hypocrite. But if a Republican is rich, then it just goes to show how successful they were.

Just look at how everyone talked about John Kerry in 2004 as some kind of elitist, which I will grant you he most certainly is, but no mention was hardly ever made of his opponent being from a long line of Yale-attending elites.

For some reason having money seems to be a sin that conservatives like to paint their opponents with while considering it a virtue within themselves.

I would imagine the first Democrat who tries attacking a conservative for having money will get hit with "Of course, I'm rich. I don't sit around the house waiting to draw a welfare check. I work hard. I've invested wisely. I spent frugally". But Democrats must have done something crooked to have money, if you listen to conservative pundits.

My guess is that they consider them ingrates for not belonging to the party that "allowed them to keep more of the money they have earned" and passing our current fiscal responsibilities off on our children down the road.
Osi's response: "LOL".

I take that to mean he either agrees or he thinks I'm a puddin' headed liberal.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Very Long Rant About Republicans - WIP, but its late

I like to read a lot of conservative bloggers. I really do. Though I might be classified by some as left of center, I tend to avoid the "leftist" sites, the Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, Air America. You know, none of those really appeal to me because, I guess as a reformed fundamentalist, I don't like the choir getting preached at. Nope, I actually want and like my ideas challenged, unlike some conservatives. As one so succinctly put: "if there is one thing a conservative can't stand is to be disagreed with". Of course that guy doesn't really count, but I have found in some blogs this attitude about Barack Obama that he was always talking about his black heritage and was somehow ashamed of his white heritage.

This surprises me. Much in the same way some weird sect of Republicans like to bring up that it was Democrats who blocked a lot of civil rights legislation in the 40s and 50s and how that Senator Byrd from West Virginia was a Klansmen at one time. They conveniently forget THOSE Democrats were only Democrats because Lincoln freed the slaves, and who, like STROM THURMAN, left the party for the Republicans once the "judicial activist" were "legislating from the bench" when the "liberal intellectuals" thrust the horror of "racial integration and mongrelization" upon us.

"They" wanted then to "tear down the natural order of things" by letting black kids ride the same busses and use the same bathrooms as white kids. They seem to keep using the same arguments. Maybe its just convenient, and the Democrat's continual assumption of Black voter loyalty leaves them ripe for conversion should the Republican message be put in some kind of light that might actually serve the average African American.

The other day I learned about how someone I know from Alabama, now living in Kentucky, didn't think they were in "the South" anymore. But as far as I am concerned, my daddy went to Whites-Only bathrooms, drank from the Whites-Only water fountains and sat in Whites-Only seats below the balcony. Kentuckians have the guilt, they should have the label if they want it. Even I remember, but didn't think anything at the time, that the place my mom was a waitress at had that curious window in the back of the kitchen, like a concession stand. I'm not too sure that those windows weren't entirely closed even within my lifetime (though I was REALLY young then).

That logic, thank God, was alien in my family's house. I might guess that my dad's family suffered too much as Catholics among the 'anti-papist' Protestants to have put too much stock in the 'established place' of a person as might have been set by the majority of folks around.

But it is in that light that I know Mr. Obama is entitled call himself as black as he wants to be. Because in my father's lifetime, there was a time and a place in America, where it didn't matter a damn bit how white he was. People younger than I(37) just don't seem to realize just how close that time was it seems.

But getting back to Republicans, it just seems that a consistent message that I seem to get from the Republican party or at least the conservative movement is this: My civil liberties, my expectations of fairness, my rights as a stakeholder in all things public are subservient to the interests of big business. I have this perception, fair or not, and probably influenced by the "biased liberal media", that Republicans are for anything that Big Business is for, and that's ok they say, because they provide jobs and the free market is the answer for all ills great and small and don't EVER forget that rich people pay the most taxes. But I say they also pay more campaign contributions and as a consequence get better representation but that is something that should be counted as "intangible" I guess for the purposes of, well pretty much any discussion if you let them lead it.

I just don't buy that the free market is the answer to every problem. I might concede that it probably is a good solution ninety percent of the time. But some things just don't make economic sense. Take health insurance for the uninsurable. Take the totally unsupported fact that college tuition is growing at the rate of 7 percent while inflation grows at four and if that continues college will soon again be out priced for some of the poorest Americans or even the lower middle class. Take having the largest military expenditure of any country in the world even before we went to Iraq, that is definitely not a free market sustaining thing. These are things that seem to need a taxpayer supported solution. I will concede that these should include contracting private enterprise to provide support services where such contracting can be quantifiably more efficient, if it provides the taxpayers with more bang for their buck.

If free markets and unbridled capitalism were all Republicans were about, that would be OK, but they have co-opted all of these social causes and melded them into some kind of righteous front, so that they can co-opt a whole segment of the population that they have no interest in serving. Call me paranoid, but I think there is a portion of the conservative movement that hopes Roe is never overturned because it is one issue, like guns, that some people will not compromise on. And regardless of my opinion on the subject, I don't think they should. That is what being American is all about. But if abortion was illegal tomorrow, would the GOP be as appealing to some of its members who do not have significant investments that might be subjected to capitol gains tax? "Some people say" they wouldn't.

The sad thing is I agree with so much of what they say when I know its not a nod to corporate interests that, through sheer depth of their pocketbook alone, do not need the depth of "'republican' representation" in the small 'r' sense of the word that the ordinary citizen needs.

I believe that the best thing a person can do is learn to be self sufficient and independent and responsible for the things they do in life, the decisions they make, and even that they may be judged in a life to come for the things they do right now. I believe that the government needs to be smaller and we should keep more of the money we earn. I even believe that consumption, rather than income, should be the main thing from which our government's income is derived so that thrift and saving and conservation become incentivised by our tax system instead of being depressed by it.

I believe that a little capitalism goes a long way. Economics is a great way of working out inefficiencies, which ironically the faith in which is derived from Darwin. But I never was bothered by shoe factories going overseas because there was no reason someone in Indonesia couldn't be contracted to work on building shoes. One hundred dollar Nikes notwithstanding, shoe technology doesn't really change by leaps and bounds. I actually thought that given the depth of our schooling, Americans shouldn't be making shoes, we should be leading the frontiers of science and industry. I have started to back away from such "exuberance" now that IT jobs are being outsourced overseas.

That might have influenced my anti-corporate biasness tho'. I thought here you have the unsung IT worker, who suddenly becomes valuable, whose country's math and science investment was paying dividends in the form of higher pay and a larger and wealthier middle class, which should lead more of that country's workers to careers in IT. But corporations seem to abhor increasing the pay of anyone not a CPA or MBA or a lawyer so they go to the extreme of unloading substantial business interests on people who don't even speak the same native language! Not that there isn't sometimes a business case for it sometimes but it hardly seems a stroke of genius: Lets take something we can barely understand and have people we can hardly understand take care of it for us!!!

I'm starting to sound xenophobic, but really I'm just frustrated. I have nothing but respect for the Indians, Russians, Chinese, and, being involved with Agriculture, the Brazilians, who are my competitors and fellow IT compatriots but I don't like it when the local talent isn't utilized when it could be. Tech companies in the Bay area used to bitch about not being able to fill jobs with qualified applicants so the H-1 visa limits could be increased, yet plenty of IT people went extended periods not getting work. Did they suck? Were they acting all "entitled"? Did corporations exert some influence to get more H-1 visas allowed so that wages would be depressed?

In that vein I feel like the local Chicken processing plant might be able to get by without illegal immigrants if they actually paid more and chicken didn't cost the same thing my mother paid for it when I was a kid. You know Republicans always bitch that the price of goods is gonna go up and life will suck if the minimum wage goes up, but they don't give a damn that the inneffectual CEO who performed lousy gets a golden parachute that would have kept hundreds of people on the payroll who do provide shareholders with value-added services while working and paying to provide for their families. Shareholders should have some rights with regard to their companies handing out millions to people who already earned millions for losing their company millions.

I believe there is a balance of injustice in the world, and that it leans heavier on the poor side of humanity. Yet I read all the time that there is some horrible conspiracy that has filled the ranks of scientists with secular fundamentalist atheists, our journalists and reporters with liberals and our schools with communists who all are motivated to advance this humanist agenda for what I can only imagine is a higher rank in hell.

If there are actually any vast conspiracies out there, my money would be that they were not composed within the walls of any government, but rather within the walls of corporate board rooms, and their motivations will not include a love of the proletariat, but rather a love of the almighty dollar. Or Euro. Or Yen. Or whatever the case may be.