Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tornado Proofing

"Government shouldn't tell people how they can build a house."

Recent tornado destruction had me wondering why progressives can't use these events to raise building standards.  At the very least, shouldn't the government provide public storm shelters, to give those in the path some refuge.

We are spending billions each month to 'protect' Americans from terrorists.  Care to guess how much we spend on protecting us from weather?  The National Weather Service receives exactly .03% of the budget or around $800 million, while NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) operates on $5.5 billion each year or .19% of the budget.  Why is it surprising that hundreds of people die every year from 'bad storms'.

Tornados are not going away, in fact they appear to be on the rise.  As good stewards of our union, we should take steps to fix what is clearly broken in these senseless deaths and injuries.  Sirens that sound occasionally when there may, or may not be, tornado activity, is not working as adequate tornado protection.  

In my hometown, warning sirens have sounded twice this year, and we've had exactly zero tornados.  This happens so often that sirens send people outside, to see what going on for themselves.  In Tuscaloosa people did not take cover when the warning sirens sounded, as in Joplin, for the very same reason I stated here in my town.  Sirens are often sounded without cause.  When you tell citizens that warning sirens mean, "a tornado has been spotted, take cover now", then no tornado occurs, you have 'Cried Wolf'.

If we are going to protect people from bad weather, we are going to have to develop more reliable warning systems and employ them properly. We are going to have to raise building standards, and we are going to have to provide some sort of public shelter facilities, nationwide.  Tornados are no longer only inside Tornado Alley.

Friday, May 13, 2011

No Freedom From Religion (*Edited)

"The federal government has no place telling schools, municipalities, or States what religious ceremonies or monuments they can sponsor."

What the First Amendment actually says is, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  The First Amendment states that 'Congress' shall not, but it goes on to say that it can not prohibit the free exercise thereof, when it comes to religion.

The struggle here is between what the federal government can't do, and what it can't stop us from doing.  If a city wants to make Islam the official religion, so long as a majority of the citizens agree with the decision, Congress isn't supposed to be able to stop such an endeavor, according to the First Amendment.  So, suits against Nativity Scenes on a Court House lawns, that weren't placed by Congress, should be thrown out, according to the First Amendment.

If the power or authority isn't enumerated as belonging to Congress, then it falls to the States and Municipalities themselves to decide.  There is literally no separation of church and state issue to be found in the First Amendment. 

As long as Congress was not making the establishment directly, I think a State could well do so itself, and even enact a State Religion and make State Holidays.  Certainly, according to the First Amendment, no prohibition of religious statues or monuments on or in schools, court house lawns, or council halls.  These issues should be decided by locally 'elected' officials.  So long as they act as good representatives of their electorate then they should remain in office, and any such ordinances they issue upon this, stand a First Amendment Constitutional challenge.  

Within only the bounds of the First Amendment, the People, not the federal government get to decide what, if any religious monuments or ceremonies take place on publicly owned land or buildings.  If that means school prayer, religious monuments, of ANY nature anyone chooses.  The right to the "free exercise thereof" is an absolute right, meaning it is explicitly stated, as belonging to the individual not to states.  


Wherein you find that, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Hereby the Constitution clearly limits the states' ability to infringe upon citizens with anything that would deprive them of freedoms and their protected rights.  

While not found in the Bill of Rights, there ARE Constitutional protections for citizens against state sponsored religion.

So, while there is no separation of church and state claus to be found in the Bill of Rights, there are Constitutional protections that extend from the Fourteenth Amendment to those who don't wish to have state religion or religious iconography funded with their money.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

President Obama Gets Osama

"I don't care dead or alive...  I don't know if we are going to get him today, tomorrow or a year from now, but we are going to get him!" 

President G.W. Bush said that shortly after the 9-11 attacks.  Years later he would say "Bin Laden isn't important."  When faced with the opportunity to kill or capture bin Laden at Tora Bora, President Bush instead had intelligence and military planning resources transferred to begin planning the next war in Iraq.  This refocus on Iraq and Saddam Hussein allowed Osama bin Laden to escape.  So, President Bush failed to stop the attacks of 9-11, then failed to kill or capture America's #1 enemy.  In fact, President Bush failed in every way you could fail in a War on Terror.

President Obama on the other hand, took the exact opposite course.  Upon arrival into office, the President made the capture of Osama bin Laden the C.I.A.'s number one priority.  These actions led to doing in 2 years what President Bush could not do in 8.  Clearly, no one can now doubt the resolve in our President's stand on defense?

To which, I must now give due respect to one Rush Limbaugh, who said things of our President I would never have imagined possible.  Unabashed praise and even thanks unto God, for him.  Well done, sir.  I hope this event and the corresponding actions of our President give our nation the strength and courage to move forward in a bold fresh manner.  Let us now unite as Americans once again, all striving toward a single cause.

Let the days of strict partisanship be done, and have us usher in the real days of hope and change, leaving behind us the days of Conservative 'government is the problem' type of thinking.  Once America sets it mind to do something, there is nothing that can stop us.  

It would seem that the moment of unity is passing us by, and politics has taken over, as discussion of the 'bin Laden bump' fills the airways.  Some have turned this event into President Obama's re-election guarantee.  

Rather than embrace this event as a 'win' for America, some liberals have decried the event as an assassination and chastised those who have and are celebrating the action.  Our leader made the decision not to bomb the compound that could have been harboring the most wanted man on the planet, and instead chose to send in "Seal Team 6" to end THE terrorist threat against America.  Osama bin Laden is over, and for this all Americans should be thankful, and moreover appreciative to our President Barrack Obama and 'his' decision not to bomb from afar, but to use ground troops to insure there would be no escape for a man plotting daily to harm Americans.

Let there be no doubt, that President Obama is STRONG on defense.