Friday, September 12, 2014

U.S. Direct Involvement in Fighting ISIS Is Flawed

This week, President Obama spoke to the American people, laying out his plan for defeating ISIS in the Middle East.
  1. U.S. airstrikes: Obama said such attacks have already been successful against al-Qaeda in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
  2. Support to foreign ground forces: He vowed to send 475 more U.S. troops to Iraq to support local security forces as well as provide military equipment and training to Syrian rebels.
  3. Counterterrorism: The U.S. will work with allies on intelligence and programs to prevent foreign fighters from joining ISIS.
  4. Humanitarian assistance: Aid will go to Muslim, Christian and religious minorities in danger of being driven out of their homes by ISIS.

Same old warmongering rhetoric -- leveraging the underlying belief that it is America's responsibility to save one group of Arabs from another.
The Iraqi government and Syrian no-government do not have the will, organization, funds or ability to defeat their fellow Arabs. ISIS is growing like a plague. The CIA has said that ISIS has 20,000-31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria. How many in Iraq and Syria will rise up an fight against them, with the same motivation?
Few people had heard of ISIS six months ago, albeit an off-shoot of Al Qaeda.
The US-based opposition will not have staying power. We will bomb -- kill terrorists and non-terrorists. America (and it anti-ISIS alliance) will lose the propaganda war in the Middle East. We always do, helped in part by western (including American) media. We will spend billions of tax-payers dollars on military actions and ordinance. We will loose American lives. But we will be told this is not a war -- not a third Iraq war. 
Killing them -- terrorist and their leaders -- will do little to moderate their efforts. The number of fighters have increased, not decreased, in Yemen and Somalia since the US attacks started there. Whether it is young ideologues or unemployed with nothing better to do, recruiting hate-America-and-the-West people is not too difficult. 
This newest foe is a continuation of decades of discontent in the Middle East. It will go on for years if not decades -- long after Obama has played his 10,000th round of golf. We have wasted billions of dollar, thousands of lives and disrupted millions of lives in our so-called war against terror. America's nation-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been for naught. Part three will go about like parts one and two.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Play Ball

Again we find ourselves at the start of another baseball season. MLB Opening Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Hope spring eternal for many teams and their fans, certainly not for Houston, Minnesota or Miami.

My two teams, Cincinnati and Cleveland, both wild card teams from last year, could do better but most likely will do worse due to pitching shortcomings, boneheaded base-running, and a weaker lot of younger players.

In preparation, I attended five games (ten teams) this month in the Cactus League. Spring training has become big business. It might be my last time attending due to high prices and mainly minor league players.

But I am excited about the season. So excited that I paid the $130 for the MLB.TV package. We'll see if Verizon and Comcast are up to the task of smooth streaming.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Self Determination In Russia

The Obama Administration and main stream media continue to babble on about Russian aggression and international law in Crimea. It is followed up by a discussion about Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border. Few actually take the time to explain the political history of Crimea, how self-determination in Crimea by the majority Russians may apply, the implications of the language and culture in eastern Ukraine, and the value of the natural  resources and roll of economics in eastern Ukraine.

Putin has clearly demonstrated he has little to worry about from the Obama Administration, the US Congress and NATO. Sanctions on a few Russians amount to little more than a scolding by an absentee parent.

However, self-determination is a two-edge sword, except in Russia. Putin clearly is showing his ideology of a greater Russia, if not a reconstituted USSR. But when it comes to self-determination in autonomous regions within current Russia, he has a different stance.

There are 22 autonomous regions in Russia. They have their borders, language and culture. Putin has no interest in allowing for greater autonomy in these Republics or any krais (territories) and oblasts (provinces). He trumps this with the supremacy of the Russian constitution.

So America and NATO ought to be turning Putin's Russian independence story for those Russians in ex-Soviet states back on him. They ought to be promoting independence and self-determination for those regions in Russia that may opt for more independence, away from Russia; e.g., Dagestan, Ingushetia, Ossetia, Tatarstan and Chechnya.

History has shown that greater autonomy for internal Russian geopolitical entities will not be tolerated and will be met with sever force.

When it comes to foreign policy and clear principles, Russia's are clear. Sadly so are America's and NATO's apologetic and do-little ones.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

The following Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington 
Most of the Founding Fathers had a belief in God. They believed in prayer. They believed in the notion that God blesses man. That America and it freedoms are a blessing from God. That a day of thanksgivings was warranted.

How far we have fallen as a nation. We live in a time where "wrong is right" and "right is wrong." Our politicians look out for their selfish interests not the interests of a nation built upon good deeds, virtue, and the rule of Constitutional law.

Thanksgiving is divinely inspired. May all of us thanks our Heavenly Father on this blessed day.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dealey Plaza and 50th Anniversery of JFK Assassination

Today (11/22/13) marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. (Interesting, C. S. Lewis died the same day.) Recently, my son and I were in Dallas and spent some time in Dealey Plaza.

Younger people consider it ancient history. I was a very young boy, remembering the day, the funeral and other events surrounding this because we had just got our first TV. With only three stations, that was all that seemed to be on.

Most of us have seen the en Abraham Zapruder video, made from his home-movie camera. It provides the graphic images of the assassination. The photos and movies do little to put it all into perspective. Being there gives one the ability to stand on the grassy knoll, see the layout of Elm Street and understand the actual travel route, and see the Texas School Book Depository from where Oswald fired the fatal shot. We did not pay the $16 to enter the Sixth Floor Museum  due to time (and cost -- a ridiculous fee).

The experience was educational for both my son and I. If you find yourself in Dallas, it is worth the visit. The historical significance on America and our Presidential institution is invaluable.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nuclear Option Means Increased Partisian Fever

Today, the 52 Democrat Senators voted to change Senate rules on confirming most presidential nominees. This "nuclear option" action has been threatened for a few years, but desperate Democrats were willing to go to extremes for their short-termed, selfish motives.
The nuclear option refers to a move by the majority party in Senate to change the Senate rules to allow most executive branch and judicial nominations to be approved with a simple majority – 51 votes — rather than the 60 votes now required. Under longstanding rules, the minority party has been able to block a nomination with just 41 votes, commonly called a filibuster.
The Democrat intent is to place more liberals on the courts, namely the DC Court of Appeals which is balanced today. Harry Reid's effort will accomplish one major thing:  increase partisan fever.

Historically the Senate, due in part to rules like this and a six year term, has been less driven by populism, compared to the House and the constant campaigning they must do. The Senate Democrats have now officially became a populous entity -- driven by biased media, Hollywood and seedier sides of our culture. Instead of looking at facts, the Constitution, the long-term impacts of decisions and laws, its decisions will be based more on emotion and short-term vision.

It is hard to believe Harry Reid is a Mormon, because he seems to do everything opposite most LDS people would do. He is one of the most despicable politicians of our era, and there are/have been some terrible human beings in public office including Obama, Pelosi, Kerry, Biden, Clinton(s). Terrible because they could care less about America and care only about power, personal prestige and wealth.

This ruling now means the minority have no voice, no power. Tyranny now rules. What role does a minority Senator now have? None. The majority can do whatever they want; the minority party can do nothing. Today, it is 54+1 Democrats and 45 Republicans. Republican votes mean zilch. All this was done just because Obama and his cronies could not get their way on a few key nominees.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Obama's Keep Your Plan Ruling Is Unconstitutional

Obama caves to Democrat pressure and now says that "the administration will allow insurance companies to keep individual customers on their existing plans for an additional year, even if the plans don't meet the law's standards." How does a Presidency get to say what law will get enforced and shich will not. This is an outrage. Congress creates the laws, the courts interrupts the laws, and the executive branch enforces them -- Constitution 101.

The "law's standards" are laughable -- made up things by a bunch of "we know better than you" bureaucrats.

The fact is the Affordable Care Law is arguably he worst law ever created by Congress, signed by the Presidency, and held constitutional by the Supreme Court. It not only impacts one-sixth of our economy, but stripes all Americans of personal freedom, spits on the Constitution that I cherish.

The president does not have a line-item veto and he certainly can't legally re-write the Obamacare statute just because public opinion dictates and Bill Clinton says so. This is a constitutional crisis of major magnitude. Obama has been acting as if he were a king since his presidential inception. Congress and the media have permitted this to fester from the beginning. All of the apologies in the world are not going to fix a terrible law, Presidency Obama's and supporting Democrat's incompetency, and the ineptitude of the American people allowing these dolts to ruin our way of life.

Congress must act. It must repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Who Are the Few Signing Up for Obamacare?

Federal officials have claimed just over 106,000 people nationally signed up for Obamacare health insurance plans in the first month of sales. Only 26,000 of those actually went through HealthCare.gov site -- the site for those residents of the 36 states not running their own health exchange. So of those who signed up, there are some questions:
  1. Have they paid? Will they all pay?
  2. What plans did they come from? Where they canceled from a previous carrier?
  3. Are these people those that had no insurance for some time prior?
  4. Why did they not have insurance at this time?
  5. What pre-existing conditions do these applicants have?
  6. Why would they spend the time to get government-backed insurance? What was their sign-up motive?
Because the absolute insanity to think the federal government can oversee a national healthcare plan with any efficiency, only truly motivated people are going to sign up. Someone with a pre-existing condition that is either medically documented or something that has been personally diagnosed and they have been waiting to get coverage before seeking treatment.

The program's solvency depends on the healthy signing up. Namely the young and healthy. Since the Obama economy has put a damper on what America could do if government were out of its way, the youth don't have the money for health insurance (something few think they need) and doubt there will be any fine that will be enforced.

The federal systems will be full of the sick, the elderly and those that pay little into the system. It will force doctors and hospitals to provide services at financial loses. It will bankrupt some, force others to quite the business, and many others to no enter into the medical profession, especially those jobs that require years of school and residency. If they federal government thinks it can get its way by saying "see, a national healthcare system is the only one that will work," it may be in for a rude awakening.

Federal governmental officials' heads, starting at the top, should roll. We are being "lead" by dishonest thieves. Many of them are people we elected and re-elected. Shame on America.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Government Role: Wealth Distribution or Economic Growth Climate?

It should be tiresome for America to continue to listen to President Obama talk year after year about the inequality he perceives in
America and how he wants to help the middle class.
For four and a half years, Mr. Obama has focused his policies on reducing inequality rather than increasing growth. The predictable result has been more inequality and less growth.
The President called his speech "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class," but no President has done worse by the middle class in modern times.
Government efforts to spread the wealth make those it intends to help worse off. Increasing government dependency is no way to run a nation. It stifles personal motivation. It thwarts one of the key things that makes America great -- self-determination. Liberals like it because it bolsters its ranks of dependents, individuals that will vote for Democrats who promise to continue if not increase the "addictive drugs" of governmental dole -- food stamps, healthcare, education and pensions.

Until Americans realize that government produce zero wealth, the perceived compassionate politicians will continue getting elected. Unfortunately, it appears this trend will continued unabated. The America of 50 years ago, even 30 years ago, is gone, never to return. Socialist policies and entitlement programs coupled with corrupting media and Hollywood culture have forever changed America for the worst. What was wrong is now right; what is right is now wrong. Obama and most of our politicians are leading us down a dark path, a path without God. This is socialism and communism at it core. Government and its leaders are the new dieties.

Obama will continue to lie to the American people, telling them of his "concerns and injustices," and how he wants to make it all better. But he has no intention of doing this. He wants massive slavery to the state and unabated control in the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Tito, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, and Kim Jong Il. If he wanted to do something to strengthen the Middle Class he could with some very simple things; e.g., massive corporate and personal tax cuts, energy openness, repeal of the Affordable Care Act to name three. Couple this will massive elimination of half of the government departments, programs and employees over a few years will shake America in the right way and spur growth unheard of -- growth that will benefit all Americans.

America is the most unique nation ever. It was founded on the need for righteousness. Prosperity is its right, provided men do not forget their God. But in a few short years, America and its leaders have become Godless. America, more-so than any other country, will suffer severely for this. We are witnessing it before our very eyes. Obama continues to lead us down this path of destruction, an anti-Christ in his own right.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Civil-Rights Leadership Gone Astray

One has to question why today's civil-rights leaders elected the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin verdict as its latest racist springboard. The case, from a rule of law perspective, was clear-cut. Any other decision would have been a disaster for justice.

Today's civil-rights leaders are irrelevant. It appears as if they think they live in the 1950s and that racism is rampant. Heroism is not to be found in the modern-day wannabes like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Inflaming comments from President Obama that he somehow shared a similar environmental prejudice as a young man was more misplaced bravado.

Traditional racism has all but been eliminated in America. The racism that does exist is more often found with blacks against whites, or black against Hispanics, Asians, or Polynesians. In these cases, it is usually associated with poor education, inner-city poverty and gang-related crime.

Trayvon Martin was not Rosa Parks. He was punk, gang-banger apprentice, societal menace; not a good-intentioned, college-bound societal contributor. He was the one in the control position over Zimmerman, leaving Zimmerman little choice but to use his his firearm, affecting both lives forever. Yet, the media-driven uproar felt is best to spend their little capital on this case.

Civil-rights leaders ought change jobs and focus on the real problems of black America. The main one being that 72% of children born to black mothers who are not marriage to the fathers. Young black men have poor role models. Black women sell themselves short, limiting their ambitions to whatever might be in vogue in their neighborhood or town. The African-American family comprised of a husband and wife is non-existent. The result of this is black-on-black killings in every major city in America.

As long as America's black leaders focus on their relevancy, they will never solve what is core to equality in America.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Obama's "Middle Class" is Code for Sucker

Obama's message the past few years is structured around using phrases that include "middle class." He panders knowing they make up the bulk of the voting public and that most are politically dead, members of the less-informed masses. He says one thing but robs them blind -- stealing freedom, money and dignity.

He stands for one thing and one thing only: bigger government. As government grows we have less freedom, higher taxes and become content with mediocrity. Whether it is gun control, immigration, food stamps, healthcare, minimum wage, pre-school, or any big-government program, he wants Americans to be kept equal by hatchet, ax and saw. He will use  propagandistic phrases like "it's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government..."

He has no interest in building up the middle class rather cutting it down. His programs and actions are clear. So whenever you hear him try to appeal to the middle class, don't be a sucker and fall for this spin-doctor.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sociolinguistics Is Code for Politically Correct

Sociolinguistics is defined as the study of language and linguistic behavior as influenced by social and cultural factors. But in practice, it is the scholastic canonization of "politically correct."

On Saturday while listening to Car Talk on my local PBS radio station, some gal called in stating she was a grad student in Washington DC studying sociolinguistics. Even Tom and Ray had to double-take on that field. It came about when they were questioning her about her car story that remotely involved her "partner." We find out later that her partner was her husband. She did not like the word spouse, claiming it was to restriction and non-inclusive. Wow.

It seems amazing that one would spend any money on a graduate degree in sociolinguistics. The scary thing about this is that these graduates will be "qualified" to find employment writing speeches or creating postures for political candidates or parties.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"By No Fault of Their Own"

Anytime in social or political speech one hears "by no fault of their own," a liberal flag should arise.

Listening to various groups complaining about cuts in government services, this phrase has become the calling card of the sympathy gatherers. It is usually followed by "Republicans are taking away things we are entitled to," or "Republicans are cutting services to the poor and giving tax breaks to the rich."

A large portion of the American population have no understanding of civics. Most think civics are multiple Honda-brand cars. The whole concept of how taxation works is lacking. Too many think of the government as a very large business and cannot grasp the concept that government services are only possible by taxing companies and people that actually producing something.

"By no fault of their own"should be the exception, not the new world rule. Many people are poor because of their decisions. People elect not to finish school, learn a trade or graduate from college. People elect to to be immoral and deal with disease and unwanted pregnancy. People elect to drink-and-drive. People elect to drink to much, smoke, and abuse drugs. People elect to eat unhealthy and not exercise. Being "down on your luck" or "going through a tough time" is a temporary status.

The Democrat Party knows its base. It knows that using the "by no fault of their own" calling card, it appeals emotionally to those that have no intent to make significant improvements to their lives.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Enforce Existing Gun Laws, New Laws Are Not Required

Those that favor more restrictive gun laws strongly believe that fewer guns will mean fewer crimes committed with firearms. They must believe that criminals will still commit their crimes but will use fewer guns.

The real motivation behind new gun laws is more government control. It is clear that they like new laws for political gains because they have no interest in directing the efforts at enforcing the existing laws. Consider the recent words of Wayne LaPierre:
A simple look at the law answers that question. Everything real violent criminals do to acquire a firearm is already a serious federal felony. Under federal law, lying to a licensed dealer, lying on the form 4473, and straw sales are all federal felonies that are almost never prosecuted. Holder’s Justice Department calls them “paper violations.”  Yet those are the very crimes that they say demand a “universal background check”—a national registration scheme—for all of us.
He goes on to reference some existing laws that if enforced would have a greater impact on crimes committed with firearms than any new politically motivates new legislation favored by Democrats.
• 10 years—18 U.S.C. § 922(j)—for possession of a stolen firearm.

• 10 years—18 U.S.C. § 922(i)—for shipment or transport of a stolen firearm across state lines.

• 10 years—18 U.S.C. § 924(b)—for shipping, transporting or receipt of a firearm across state lines with intent to commit a felony.

• 5 to 30 years consecutive mandatory minimum sentences—18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A)—for carrying, using, or possessing a firearm in connection with a federal crime of violence or drug trafficking.

• The death penalty or up to life imprisonment—18 U.S.C. § 924(j)—for committing murder while possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence or drug trafficking.

• 15 years mandatory minimum—18 U.S.C. § 924(e)—for a “prohibited person” who has three prior convictions for drug offenses or violent felonies.

• 10 years—18 U.S.C. § 924(g)—for interstate travel to acquire or transfer a firearm to commit crimes.
When it comes to the latest discussion on "assault rifles" and "limiting on the size of a magazine," the assault weapons are not military weapons and no one knows what the right sized magazine is.

Rifles of any type are used in 2.5% of the murders, murders are twice as likely to be committed with bare hands.

The latest gun debate and the failure of recent Democrat-sponsored legislation is a win for Americans, which cherish their Constitutional rights.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Balanced Deficit Reduction: Code for Higher Taxes, Bigger Government

Like all politician and magnified by our current White House, they attempt to place a positive spin on any potentially negative news. The news of the day is that 663,000 new people bowed out of the national labor force bringing us to a total of 90 million people not working. Many of these people find it easier to try their luck in the welfare state. And the welfare state complies more than ignores.

The Obama administration talks about adding jobs, the unemployment rate going down to 7.6% from 7.7%, and blaming the Republicans and the sequester for any negatives. They then delve into their balanced deficit reduction diatribe. They talk of building roads and bridges and promoting American manufacturing. They conveniently avoid any mention the impact that the recent tax increase may have had in thwarting investment, increasing spending and creating any reason for optimistic growth behavior. Likewise, no mention is made that government employment is strong.

Balanced deficit reduction is nothing more than what the liberal Democrats have tossed around for decades:  higher taxes, greater spending and more government services. Simple things like the National Head Start program continuing to get money (and hoping to get more) with no proof it is anything other than an expensive babysitting programming. If it is social, it gets funded. Never will they admit to a failed social program, rather stating it needs more money and time. They never ask the question:  what empirical proof exists for continuing this program? In the business world products fail and are abandoned; not in the government.

The Obama Administration has failed America. It has created more dependents. It has discouraged entrepreneurism, business investment and higher education. (Why go into debt if the job potential return is questionable?) It has created a culture of entitlement and sloth. It has spurned the American dream of hard work and reward.

Obama and his cronies have done more damage to America than all the other prior administrations combined. They have three more years. Hard telling what additional harm they will bring.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Pope and Meaningless Commentary

When the Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina was elected Pope Francis this past week, it was interesting to hear both Catholic and non-Catholic comment about its "meaning."

There was hope that a new Pope would "change" some doctrine -- soften the church's stance on gays/lesbians, allow women into the Priesthood, or moderate on abortion. Others made statements as if the Pope would make life easier or better for the millions of the world's Catholics.

A Cardinal becomes Pope because he understand the doctrine and purpose of the Catholic Church. It is not primarily a social institute that will modernize because of the changing times. The leaders are not political figures that are apt to listen and respond to public sentiment.

Thankfully, it does appear that this Pope or other recent Popes have played the populists. The Catholic Church will continue to thrive is its leaders and members abide by its precepts and practice its teachings. In that sense, its leaders will make for a better global society as it emphasizes Christian principles and it members follow suit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Immigration: The Unmentionable Issue

On the topic of immigration, politicians, regardless of political affiliation, spout one of two positions.

On one side, it is anything goes:  free healthcare, education (even in-state tuition), police, fire, food stamps, citizenship, etc. Those that prefer this angle want all illegals to be dependent upon the state. These are liberal Democrats.

On the other side, we have the apologists that want a path to citizenship. These are RINOs.

Ever single illegal that is in the USA is a citizen of some other country. Few sneak into the USA with a goal to become an American citizen. Their main motivation of coming to America is economical.

A path to citizenship should not be the primary part of any new immigration law. It is a reward that does not need to be there. Any immigration law should not reward any illegal entrance. Green card? Sure, but not citizenship.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

World Baseball Classic Is For Real

Despite the critics, I thoroughly enjoyed attending a World Baseball Classic game -- Italy vs USA -- in Phoenix on Saturday, 9 March 2013.

I arrived at Chase Field around 4:30 on Saturday afternoon after watching the Reds beat the Brewers at Goodyear Ballpark. The previous game -- Mexico v Canada -- had just ended. There were lots of Mexicans and Canadians all over the place. Country colors and flags were ion abundance. Surprising, there was no ticket line (I had not planned on attending, my scheduled changed and allowed me to be in town for the weekend. I had no idea how many people would be attending. I bought the cheapest ticket ($15).

With one game letting out, another one getting ready to start and the NBA Suns hosting the Rockets, downtown Phoenix was hoping. Restaurant waits were long. It had the slight feel of Olympics or World Cup. After eating, I went into the stadium.

Batting practice was a ball -- literally, I camped out in left field. In 45 minutes, there were 25-30 balls launched into the left field seats, half by Ryan Braun. I did not get a ball and if I did would have given it to some kid. but it was fun seeing idiots try to catch the bombs with their bare hands and others who brought their gloves make great catches.

Having lose the day before to Mexico, the USA needed to beat Italy and beat Canada the following day to make it to the second round. They did both, winning 6-2 on Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday

The critics of the WBC are primarily MLB people who, rightly so, are fearful of injuries. It occurs in March, in the middle of Spring Training. Most players are just getting into game share. And the pitchers are further behind and may be tempted to overdo it too early. With pitch limit rules, some of that is mitigated but I think 65 pitches are still to many (I'd rather see a limit at 50 in the first round). Playing for your country in a global competition is a thrill in whatever sport (even thought only few play serious baseball).

The "world cup of baseball" seems more appealing to the Asians and Latin Americans. Americans are less sold. The stadium was half full (same on Sunday). Team USA is a great team, so are many of the other teams, especially those from Latin America. Many are MLB All-Stars. With Team USA making it into Round Two, hopefully the interest will increase. (It is doubtful as most of the country is still recovering from winter and March Madness NCAA rules the better part of March and early April.) But for us baseball fans, we love it. We get to see some of the game's best in March. USA! USA! USA!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Fear, Uncertainly & Doubt: A Political Recipe

When it comes to the solvency of America, there is almost nothing negative about the sequester. It is questionable about how the decrease the rate of growth is a bad thing.

Government and those entities that manage it always want more money and will always find ways to spend it. Most bureaucrats work for the government because they believe in its programs and feel that more of the same is better. When they fail to get the money they desire or anticipate, their response is always negative. The justification of their livelihoods is diminished. They will inform the politicians and their constituencies that bad things will result.

Put any politician in front of a camera and ask them about the ramifications of less money (more than the previous year but less than what was anticipated), and you will get a diatribe of fear, uncertainly and doubt.

We had Bush's Troubled Asset Relief Program, later perfected by Obama. Then Obama's fiscal cliff and sequester deal designed to raise the taxes in 2012 and then cut spending in 2013. Except Obama and few politicians can pull the plug on reducing spending. Their counter was more taxes.
The $44 billion in sequester cuts for this fiscal year amount to what the government borrows every two weeks. (The sequester actually requires about $85 billion in cuts this year, but about half can be rolled into subsequent years.) This is chump change that any fiscally responsible president could shake out of his back pocket.
When a politician stands up and delves into climactic lies, distortions, misinformation, and overheated rhetoric, the casual Americas (that'd be most) will react with empathy when they "hear children will not be able to go to school, seniors will go hungry, cancer screenings and immunizations will cease, criminals will be released from prison, fires will not be put out, and airport lines will be longer.

Every time a politician uses fear, uncertainly and doubt as his motivation behind his proposed action, we will always be better off long-term by doing the opposite.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mentally Ill and Gun Ownership

Consider the following statement running through state and federal politician offices and hallways:
If there’s one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on, it’s that mentally ill people should not have access to firearms.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.” Most states have similar statues.

But what constitutes mentally ill? It is a clear-cut thing? Is anyone that has been to professional therapy one that should be considered a mentally ill candidate? Is a soldier that has been involved in any "explosive" conflict and visits a therapist afterwards a person that should be unable to own a gun? Is a soldier suffering from PTSD or TBI one that should be flagged?

We can assume that psychology professionals have decent education and knowledge as to what constitutes mentally incompetent. Even within the mental health profession there are those individuals that fall into the grey area and might be analyzed differently by different therapists. What what happens to one that is deemed mentally incompetent but is later deemed competent?

Gun ownership should not be allowed for the truly mentally ill. However, the concern we should have with any gun restriction laws is if a mentally incompetent assessment is permanent. If not, will gun ownership laws full suite?