Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winning the Future

"President Obama only talked about more spending in the State of the Union."

This is what Republicans heard and hear, when Democrats call for government to fulfill its purpose, by collecting taxes and providing services.  "This is just more tax and spend liberalism."  Republicans simply don't get that taxes = services.

Our infrastructure is crumbling beneath our economy.  Roads and bridges in disrepair cost drivers $290 billion every year to person and property.  The American Association of Engineers gave our transportation system a "D", and it is costing us daily.  We need here and now to spend money, to repair and upgrade our roads and railways, and in doing so we will save both time and money. With more  roads in better condition, we will all spend much less time in traffic and less money on fuel, and more time actually working.

The President called this our "Sputnick moment", an opportunity to build the future that times now demand.  This is the time for us to show our kids that science fairs are as important as sports championships.  This is our time to out build, out teach, and out innovate the rest of the world.  The time is now for us to create and embrace those better ways, to lead us all into better days.  We have to invest in a world better than this one.

To pay for this, instead of proposing tax increases, the President asked that we eliminate tax loopholes, that allow far too many to avoid paying their fair share.  He said that by eliminating these loopholes, we will be able to cut corporate taxes, and yet Conservative Talk World flatly called the State of the Union- "a call for more spending."

They missed, or outrightly ignored his call to re-organize and make government more efficient, by eliminating bureaucracy and waste.  The President said, "Let's do away with the programs we can honestly do without."  Before that he started with, "We have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in."  He even froze federal salaries and offered multiple cuts, even to his beloved community outreach programs, but Republicans heard none of it.

What I heard, is that we are wasting money, and that we can and must do better..."We can't win the future with a government of the past."

Mr. President, I agree.  We will not see better days without employing better ways.

The problem is that Republicans don't understand this, and have no faith in government to fulfill its purpose.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Civil Discourse

"Rhetoric about guns, second amendment remedies, encroaching tyranny, and Obama Care had nothing to do with the Tuscan shooting."

Given that our entire political environment has been awash with 'inflamed rhetoric' since President Obama took office, I would argue that it had 'something' to do with shooting at a Democratic Congresswoman.  This is true, because commercials sell products.  If you hear how great hamburgers are, and see people smiling while eating them 24/7, there is an increased likelihood that you are going to hit a burger joint on the way home from work.  Microsoft didn't spend $12 billion dollars last year because commercial programming doesn't work.

Now, while there are no commentators outwardly saying point blank, "We should shoot people we don't agree with, politically."  Sharon Angle said, "You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years."  Besides butchering Thomas Jefferson's words, she thinks you can keep the tyranny of a Democratic Republic at bay with personal arms.  Rather than encourage people to become more democratically active, she thinks you'd be better off arming yourself against your government.  Thankfully, she lost her bid for the senate.

The point here is that we are all shaped, at least somewhat, by our environment and everything in it.  If you hear 50 times a day, from sources you trust, that President Obama is fundamentally changing your country, and leading the U.S. into communism or socialism, you'll begin to believe it.  We hear Sarah Palin every time she opens her mouth say, "Don't retreat, reload."  Talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck all literally make a living using inflamed rhetoric to drive their ratings higher.  The more outlandish or overtop the more attention they garner, driving their behavior to even worse extremes.  

Glenn Beck has said on Fox News, that he believes President Obama has a deep seated hatred for white people, and if you'll tune into his show, it will only be a matter before you hear how America is under direct attack from the left.  This is to say nothing about Ann Coulter, who's antics make me weep for America.

The most interesting thing about this latest shooting tragedy, is that the Congresswoman said she felt targeted by Sarah Palin's placing crosshairs over her district.  Then Congresswoman Giffords gets shot, and Sarah Palin acts like SHE is the victim in all this.  Only Sarah Palin could wrap herself in gun metaphors and hunting euphemisms, while placing a sniper scope over someone's congressional district WHO GETS SHOT, and then play the unwitting victim.  She has since taken the crosshairs map down, but has admitted no wrong doing, and offered no apology to Congresswoman Giffords for the targeting she felt or the actual shooting that occurred.  

The real victim in this whole thing is civility.  The Republicans see and have spoken about Democrats as their literal enemy, and an actual attacker of America, Freedom, and Liberty.  When you tell your constituents that the other party is the enemy that is currently attacking your America, they diminish their ability to compromise with them, without looking like a turncoat to voters.  

When Republicans or Democrats refer to the other side as the enemy, America loses.   

Thursday, January 13, 2011


"Mass bird and fish deaths occur regularly."

So, to you people who've just witness thousands of birds fall from the sky, hundreds of thousand of fish wash up on your river bank, or hundreds of tons of fish or crabs wash ashore...ignore it.  This stuff happens all the time, we are just so connected and aware thanks to the Internet, that all this seems abnormal.  While that statement seems palatable, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth upon consumption.

I have never heard of 150 tons of fish washing ashore in my lifetime.  Nor have I heard of an event where 5,000 birds fall dead out of the sky, due to fireworks, but that is what the experts claim caused the initial mass bird death.  So far this year almost 1,000 buzzards have died, in Florida.  Do you have any idea what it takes to kill a turkey vulture?  They eat every manner of road kill imaginable, for a living.  These it would seem took a wrong turn over water.  

40,000 crabs washed ashore in Britain, possibly from colder than expected water.  2 million fish washed ashore in the Chesapeake Bay.  4,300 ducks died in Minnesota.  2,000 bats died in Texas.  So far there have been around 30 such mass death events, click here for the Google map, showing each event and its location.  There's a good message board discussion here

I think it possible that our planet's magnetic field is beginning to weaken, as all of these animals use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate.  Fluctuations in this field lead to disorientation, fish running aground, birds falling to the ground, or dolphins beaching themselves.  Sadly, I fear that more of these events are coming, followed by food shortage related deaths as these loses represent very large holes in the food chain, now.  Whatever feeds off of these things is or will be missing several meals soon.  

This is to say nothing about the recent disappearance of honey bees, nature's little pollinators, whom our agricultural livelihood depends upon.  Some states have seen as much as 90% bee loss.  

Less food being produced by plants, and fewer critters to munch on, means lean times are right around the corner for everyone.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Building Green

"We need to create incentive for the private sector to invest in the economy."

I am not sure we can do such a thing, nothing we have tried has worked yet.  What we can do is chart a path to a new future, one less dependent upon fossil fuels, with a focus on sustainability as its mainstay virtue.  We can say that the status quo is simply unacceptable, and that we need to build a better system.  This too will spur economic growth.

Our country's current rail system is operating on 100 year old technology.  Most railways now are designed to handle traffic not to exceed 90 mph.  Current high speed rail systems operate at rates more than double our fastest rail capabilities.

Imagine a rail system that could get you and your car across the country in a day.  The railway itself is covered with solar panels and wind turbines, so that the entire system is fueled by renewable energy.  Once built, it would offer inexpensive fast travel of both you and your vehicle to anywhere in the U.S.

I think this would spur all kinds of economic growth.  We'd need to hire people to build the structure here, and if we used an American company, we could put our citizens to work building the railcars and tracks.

Let's build a high speed rail system, by and for the American economy, in a completely green manner.

The hitch is that you can't pay for this with tax cuts.