Friday, April 30, 2010

Absurd logic from New York Times reporter

Charles Blow of The New York Times, makes a common but nonsensical argument in this column. He approvingly quotes a female state legislator who says (on the subject of abortion), "stand down if you don’t have ovaries.” Let's take this argument to the reductio ad absurdem. I propose that no Representative or Senator be allowed to vote on war matters if they are not eligible for military service. I also urge a revote of Prop 8 in California, the gay marriage initiative. Only gays should have been allowed to vote. If men cannot vote on abortion, surely they should not be allowed to vote on breast cancer funding, either. Also, no female legislator can vote on prostate cancer funding.

In fact, maybe only the fetus should vote on the abortion issue. They're the one most affected. OK, I'm being a little absurd now.

Second thoughts about the Arizona law

I'm suddenly agnostic on the Arizona immigration law; my last post was done without enough thought. This op-ed from a law professor makes a strong argument that the law is constitutional.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why the Arizona immigration law is a bad idea

Fred Barnes makes a strong case here against the Arizona law. The bill makes police officers into federal immigration agents, which is not their job. It will require anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce "an alien registration document," such as a green card or other proof of citizenship, such as a passport or Arizona driver's license. I make no claims to be a constitutional scholar, but this bill seems to violate the 14th Amendment's guarantee that states may not "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We distort, you decide

This video says all about Fox News we need to know. A conservative Republican Senator calls them out. Yes, MSNBC is bad, too, I know. I've picked on Keith Olbermann before, so I can't be accused of tendentiousness.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why I do not support the Tea Party movement

"Men of intemperate mind never can be free. Their passions forge their fetters."—
Edmund Burke on the French revolutionaries

There was a massive Tea Party protest April 15 near where I live, but I did not attend. It's not that I totally disagree with them, or consider them racists, or a harbor a deep love for Barack Obama (or any politician for that matter). I have two concerns, one minor and one major. The minor one is simple: where were they when a white Republican president was spending recklessly and a running up the debt? There were no demonstrators in the street, for example, after Bush signed a pork-laden highway bill costing hundreds of billions of dollars (2005). But that is not the main problem. The major issue for me is that their view of the world is simplistic and potentially dangerous.

The Tea Party movement is not a conservative movement. It is radically libertarian. Government spending is bad, taxes are bad, government regulation is bad, by some law of nature. Their view of government is similiar to Richard Dawkins' view of religion: all evil, no good. I don't share this view. Government, like many other things, is neither inherently good or inherently bad. They can do bad things (send people to jail for smoking pot) and they can do good things (kill terrorists, clean the air and water, etc..) The Tea Partiers never seem to acknowledge this distinction. I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper saying "James Madison, one of the creators of the Constitution, would be considered a liberal by the Tea Party movement if he lived today. He famously said: If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Many supporters of the Tea Party movement claim to venerate the founders, but have forgotten this statement.

Another issue debated in the media is whether the protesters are racists. I'm unsure, but here's a way we can find out: A white Republican, say Mitt Romney, wins the 2012 presidential election and continues Obama's big spending ways. If the Tea Partiers stop protesting, that's conclusive proof that race is motivating their actions. But the charge of racism right now is unfair and irrelevant. It is enough that their view of the world is wrong; their motivations are irrelevant.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Cominsky Park?

This is not something I normally post, but it's so funny. See this video of Obama at a baseball game on YouTube. Go to 1:00 for the real misstatement. If you were a real White Sox fan, Mr.President,you would know it's Comiskey Park, not Cominsky Park.

Next post will be on a serious subject, I promise.