Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Katrina Debacle Entirely Homeland Security’s Fault

The debacle of the Hurricane Katrina was entirely the fault of the Department of Homeland Security. I’m not referring to the flooding of New Orleans, but to the lack of coordination and planning prior to, during, and following the disaster.

DHS was charged with helping states and cities plan for disasters and developing coordination between federal, state, and local agencies. It failed. No coordination existed in 2005 and no coordination is in place now.

Although the State and the City failed in their own planning, it was still DHS’ responsibility to make sure that the State and City had a plan. Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff did nothing to assure the states and cities of the gulf coast had planned for such disasters.

The true Rovian purpose to creating the behemoth that is DHS, after the President had originally rejected it, was to deprive almost 90,000 federal employees of their right to organize. Only a small oversight body was required to coordinate all of the departments that DHS absorbed, but instead, a monster agency was created where employees have no worker’s protections.

Due to the White House’s misplaced priorities, DHS is a failure. DHS should be turned into an oversight agency and power should be returned to the diverse agencies from which it was taken.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Children for Sale on Craigslist

I can see buying arts and crafts, sight unseen, on craiglist, but I think I would need a trial period before buying a baby.

Perhaps craigslist should adjust the wording on its site.

Any comments?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bush Iraq Comparisons to Past Wars Are Nonsense

George Bush compared the conflict in Iraq to past wars today. His comparisons were utter nonsense.

First, he made a comparison to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Following Pearl Harbor, however, we went to war with the nation that actually attacked us, not some random country. And, we had a plan for occupying the country after the war ended. Four years after the end of the war in Iraq, we still don’t have a clue.

Then, he compared a pullout from Iraq with the pullout from Vietnam, citing the re-education camps and the “killing fields” that took place after we left Vietnam. The re-education camps and the killing fields were not even in Vietnam. They were phenomena that took place in Cambodia. Its possible that we even aided the Khmer Rouge takeover with Richard Nixon’s secret bombing of the country. And, do ya know who rescued the Cambodian people from the killing fields? … The Viet Cong; the people we were fighting in Vietnam. Cambodia is now a democracy, thanks to France and the United Nations.

Finally, Bush said that because we met our commitments in Korea, South Korea is a democracy. George … You seem to have failed to notice that South Korea has been in a state of war for over fifty years now.

Perhaps, the next time you try to cite lessons from history, you should put down the Bible and learn something about history first.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Simple Solution to the Gay Marriage Debate

The real question in the gay marriage debate is not whether the government should allow gay marriage, but whether the government should be in the marriage business at all.

Marriage is a sacred religious sacrament. Only the church should be allowed to determine who can and cannot be married. The principle of ‘separation of church and state’ forbids the state from commanding the church and forbids the church from using the state to enforce its rules.

Currently, state marriage laws are written to enforce the Church’s rules. Muslims and some Mormon sects allow for polygamist marriage, but such marriages are banned by the government. The ban on marriages between same-sex couples is just another example of the state being used by the church.

The government does, however, have a compelling interest in protecting a couple’s children and resolving property distribution issues at the end of the relationship.

The government could simply get out of the marriage business. The state should not issue marriage licenses, but civil-union licenses to all couples. The civil-union license must give couples the same rights and responsibilities, regardless of who they are. Marriage should only be sanctified by a church. The church can refuse to marry anyone they please without denying anyone their civil rights.

Take the Poll.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sorry Rudy, But America is Tired of Mindless Posturing

[ok, due to 1984-like posturing, I’m getting directly political this time]

Since September 11, 2001, Rudy Giuliani has shown himself to be a master of political posturing. He has shown he can talk tough about real and imagined enemies, but he has nothing useful to add to the conversation.

Rudy is widely considered to be a hero for his handling of “9/11.” What did he do? Nothing more than a hamster could have done. Basically, he got on camera and said … this sucks, we’ll take care of the victims, and we’ll go get the bastards who did this. Any hamster could have done this. By the way, the bastards are still alive and well, thanks to President Hamster.

Now, Rudy is railing against Democrats for not adopting his worthless phrase “Islamic Terrorists.” This term has no real meaning. Rudy’s real purpose, here, is to blindly connect all Muslims to terrorism; to create an easily identifiable enemy. A refusal to use the phrase Islamic Terrorists is not political correctness, but an attempt to focus on the real issues facing America and the world.

Islam is, at its core, a peace loving religion. The principle of Jihad only allows Muslims to defend themselves, just as Americans would defend our homeland. Most Muslims are as aghast at terrorists, acting in the name of Islam, as we are.

If Rudy is really interested in dealing with the issue of terrorism, he needs to stop acting as a shill. He needs to talk about the factors that create terrorism: poverty, hopelessness, and humiliation. Yes, Bin Laden was super wealthy, but he exploited the poverty and hopelessness of many of the world’s Muslims. Without such social and economic conditions, he would have been on his own and couldn’t have led any attacks against American interests.

Rudy … Words matter. Posturing for political gain only leads to failure.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Globalisation . . . The Way It’s Meant to Be

Fortune Magazine is reporting on a globalisation success story. A small Ohio town has opened a call center for the Tata Group.

Yes, a call center; one of those facilities American companies ship to India, where everyone speaks with a Bangalore accent and seems to be named John. This time, however, Americans are answering phones for while the owner of the call center is headquartered in Mumbai, India.

The Indian Tata Group has discovered some distinct advantages to hiring Americans, even when they more cost more. The Tata Group has found American consumers can have a more enjoyable phone experience when speaking with someone more culturally fluent and without the Indian accent.

This is the idea. Globalisation that works both ways, that uses the advantages offered in each location will increase economic growth worldwide, raising all boats. Lets keep it up.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Ethanol Food Crisis

E-85 ethanol is being promoted as the solution to our energy problems. It could be, if you’re willing to sacrifice the poor.

The industrial revolution occurred partly because, for the first time in human history, we didn’t get energy and nutrition from the same sources. Now, proposals for extensive use of ethanol from corn and sugar cane are returning energy and nutrition to the same market. Adding the high demand for energy to the already high demand for nutrition is driving up food prices at an alarming rate.

In some countries the poor are already suffering from ethanol. In southern Mexico, some villages rely on corn tortillas. The price of corn has already skyrocketed, putting their nutritional source out of reach for some. And, we’re just at the beginning of ethanol production. To meet the proposed E-85 goals, many will go hungry.

The solution to our energy problems is not ethanol, it’s a little bit of every solution proposed: solar, wind, geothermal, wave, etc.