Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Jump" to Conclusions

1984 has come and gone so long ago I have only vague memories of the time. Partying like its 1999 brings thoughts of long ago fraternity parties (yes I went to a couple after graduating). In the year 2000, is a phrase usually used to indicate the beginning of a nostalgic tale. 2001 may have been a space odyssey, but it is now so long ago. The only possible conclusion after analyzing all of this evidence? We are living in the future.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Death Toll Rises In SC District One Primary

The body count has continued to rise today in South Carolina as the deadly primary race between Carol Campbell III, Paul Thurmond, and seven other irrelevant candidates rages onward into the night.
Reports vary, but so far between 200 and 300 lifeless bodies have been pulled out of voting machines throughout SC District One, where the election is taking place. Ambulances have also been in constant use carrying survivors suffering from embolisms, strokes, and cardiac arrest.
"We have found several voters whose heads have literally exploded - the carnage is gruesome beyond measure," stated Charleston county coroner Jack Trevanian.
The cause of these grisly scenes is still being debated, but prominent sociologist and Coastal Carolina professor Peter Wellington-Brown believes he knows the root cause of the mayhem.
According to Wellington-Brown, "South Carolinians are used to having one household name to pick during an election - say a Thurmond or a Hollings, a Campbell, or even until recently a Ravenel. When faced without one of these names they tend to just pull the "All Republican" lever and walk out, job done."
The problem in this case, Wellington-Brown argues, is that the primary involves only Republicans and has two names nearly everyone recognizes. When faced with choosing between the Campbell and Thurmond dynasties, the brains of many voters have gone on lock down, leading to the catastrophic events.
Awendaw's Ellis Walter agrees with the professor's assessment. "I got into the booth and when I saw the two names I reckon I just started sweating and shaking uncontrollably - I just pushed a random button and got the hell out of there before it was too late."
A 1991 survey, wherein 78% of South Carolinians admitted to being unaware that long-time Senator Ernest Fritz Hollings was a Democrat, also seems to back up Welllington-Brown's theory.
There have been occasional fatalities in the past due to confusion over who to vote for in water commissioner and agricultural secretary races where there is no party affiliation, but a battle between two heavyweight brands for a major state office is a first in recent South Carolina history. Also, the aforementioned positions are viewed as being so astoundingly boring that they draw little interest from the electorate.
Long-time U.S. Congressman Henry Brown vacated the seat earlier this year, creating a vacuum filled by the two serious candidates, as well as several other random people no one has ever heard of before.
Governor Sanford is staying strong amidst the chaos and is encouraging citizens to continue to participate in the democratic process. Sanford is also staunchly defending the state, which he believes has been unfairly targeted by mass media in the past. "The dynasty is a deeply-rooted tradition in American politics," Sanford argued, "just look at the Bush, Clinton, and Kennedy families. Clearly there are idiots all over the country who make these hugely important decisions based on names rather than policies."

For similar insanity check out the

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Run For the Border

After spending a week in a vinegar bath (see below) I am ready to attack an issue of relevance to millions of U.S. citizens, as well as our brethren to the south. I am, of course, not alluding to the terrible state of Mexican-American cuisine brought about by Taco Bell, but rather the immigration debate, which has come to a head after the draconian law (IMHO) passed in Arizona recently.
Arizonans, feeling the pain of the recent recession and fearing the loss of jobs to cheaper labor coming from south of the border, have decided to subject their residents to carrying their documents with them wherever they go or face the consequences of deportation if they are found to not be citizens.
The fear is that the law (click here to read the legislation) will lead police to pull over anyone they want and check for documents based on a mere suspicion of being illegal - causing many to believe there will racially profile - anyone of brown skin, legal or illegal, Latino or simply Latino-looking will be persecuted as a result.
Obviously, this law is an over-reaction - and although it will probably achieve the desired effect of ridding the state of illegals, it goes about things in the wrong way, likely hurting thousands of innocent Arizonans and the state economy to boot. Many people believe our constitutional liberties may even be at stake if such legislation is allowed to take effect. Superman is mega-pissed, stating that "this law has nothing to do with truth, justice, or the American way."
Opposition to the law isn't confined to usual hippie suspects like the ACLU. Even typically conservative organizations like the baseball and basketball players' associations have come out against the law. A movement to move the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game out of Phoenix has been gaining traction. Prominent conservative and Arizona Senator John McCain's daughter Megan called the law, "a license to discriminate."
Rarely do I claim to have the answers for such complicated issues, but to me the immigration question comes down to a simple matter of economics. We have a supply of jobs here and the countries to our south have a demand for jobs and a huge supply of labor. My grandfather came to this country legally shortly after WWII looking for a job because there weren't any available in Scotland at the time. He had three children and a wife who needed to be fed and looked after - he had a responsibility and he took care of it. I imagine if he had needed to enter the USA or another country illegally to take care of his family he would have done so. I understand the mentality of the people coming here and doing what they feel they have to do to look after their loved ones.
On the other hand, as great as our economy is, there are only so many jobs available, the whole world can't move in next door quite yet. The American government has a responsibility to look after its own citizens and protect their jobs. So far they have done so by trying to close the border with fences, wires, sensors, and manpower.
A similar game plan in our "War on Drugs" has led to profound failure. They can cut the supply of labor/drugs in this way, but as long as there are jobs available, people looking to support their family will try to find a way of reaching those jobs. Money not spent on electric fences, policing, etc. could be used for job creation as well or to cut our massive deficit, whatever your personal political priority may be.
Shakespearian Aside: The drug war effort is even more insane from an economic standpoint - the more drugs you cut off, the more cost to the consumer is driven up and the more lucrative the economic gains for those who get drugs through the defenses, making producers even more likely to continue with their illicit business.
The only sensible solution is to cut off the supply of jobs at the source, by fining companies such a significant amount for using illegal labor that they will think more than twice about doing so. The economic penalty must trump the economic gain of using cheap labor. Current fines of between $100 to $1000 dollars are so puny as to discourage very few employers. If job providers are threatened with fines that attack their livelihood they will change their policies. With no supply of jobs, their is no reason for the aliens to be here. Superman excepted of course - he is one illegal alien we can always use.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lies, Damnable Lies, and Politics

I have been taking a break from writing about the political world of late to cleanse myself from the filth that one inevitably picks up from swimming in that particular cesspool. In the purported words of 19th century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the British politician uses the word statistics instead of politics, but the sentiment still applies. Disraeli, if he even spoke the attributed quote (it is ascribed to him by Mark Twain but their is no written evidence of the utterance) was trying not to paint himself with the same brush, but the statement most likely applies to him and a majority of the people associated with the tawdry world of politics.
What do we believe in a world with so much information and so much doubt about what is fact and what is damnable? On most issues there at two sides (or more) each espousing contradictory positions and characterizing their opponents beliefs as untrue or unsound. I won't pick a side unless I feel like I understand the underlying issues, I do try to educate myself.
Once I do pick a side I always have a nagging feeling. There is so many newsites, articles, editorials, blogs, opinions, etc. to absorb and my brain is only so much sponge to soak up a biblical flood of facts and figures. Have I decided to believe the lies of the liars are true - do I view the truth as a lie and a lie as the truth? Am I caught up in the Matrix believing an upside down view?
Things were so much simpler when Cheney was around. Without the pervading stench of evil it can be hard to tell which way the path leads. I guess I could always listen to what Rush Limbaugh says and believe the opposite.
Clearly I would then need a bath.