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.