28 June 2006


Okay. I get that flag burning is seen as unpatriotic and some people have a problem with it. Do we really need an amendment banning it? Aren’t there more important things that need to be debated and legislated than flag burning? Is flag burning a matter of life or death? Does flag burning limit our pursuit of life, liberty, and the American Dream? How exactly does an amendment banning flag burning affect the American people? The only flag burning I see is being done by people not in this country (e.g., Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.).

By the way, the proper way to dispose of a used and tattered United States of America flag is summarized as follows:

“There are several ways in which you may give your American flag the proper retirement without showing disgrace to this great country. If you would like to dispose of the flag yourself then the most fitting way is to hold your own, private ceremony. The U.S. Flag Code states, "The flag, when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferable by burning." After your flag has been burned, the ashes should be buried.”

This begs the question: “If I burn it for disposal purposes would I be breaking the law if the anti-flag burning amendment were passed?”

The real answer as to why the Republicans are hell bent to debate such trivial issues like flag burning is a simple one. In the run up to the fall elections, the politicians are acting like second grade school children. They figure that by “debating” such legislation as flag burning, gay marriage, and the Iraq war they will have ammo come fall. They can point to their opponent and say that he/she is an unpatriotic, pro-gay that does not support the military. In other words, it is a simple child’s game being played with our tax dollars. It galls me that people in such seats of responsibility can be that careless, inconsiderate, selfish, and moronic.

Off hand I can rattle off at least 10 things that are more important than a flag burning amendment.

1. MEDICARE REFORM – Fix the ill-conceived Medicare program before it totally cripples our economy. Any expert worth their salt has been saying for years that this is a huge looming problem. The completely ridiculous and costly prescription drug plan only makes matters worse. Thanks for mortgaging my children’s future for AARP votes.

2. SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM – Fix the ill-conceived Social Security program before it totally cripples our economy (notice a trend here?). Again, thanks for not discussing this to pander to the AARP crowd. And yes, John Kerry, saving social security includes cutting benefits. Anyone that can do math can understand that the current system is not sustainable without HUGE payroll tax increases that will result in an enormous burden on generations to come.

3. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION – Enforce the existing laws, hold employers accountable, and secure the border. This should be a simple fix but both parties are playing the numbers here. Both parties want the future Hispanic vote.

4. BALANCED BUDGET – Stop being irresponsible with our tax dollars and start being fiscally responsible. Here again, pork = reelection.

5. ENERGY POLICY – Figure out a meaningful energy policy to start eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels. The United States of America should be the leader in this field. It just makes economic sense, whether you agree with Al Gore or not. And to all those limousine and leer jet environmentalists, get off your high horses and embrace the wind farms that ruin your precious view. Don’t preach to us and then go all NIMBY.

6. HEALTH CARE – It is a crying shame that the “richest” country on the planet cannot provide adequate health care to all its citizens. (I say “richest” because we have an $8 trillion national debt and much more than that in consumer debt.)

7. REAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM – Stop giving me the bullshit line about it limiting free speech. Not much of a level playing field if I run against someone who happens to be a multi-millionaire with lots of money to spend on radio and TV adds and I being a simple civil/environmental engineer have very little money to spend on such frivolities. Personally, the ads never affect me because I happen to be able to look at the facts instead of swallowing every hook, line, and sinker on TV. Not to mention that the billions of dollars wasted on these elections is morally reprehensible.

Okay, I could only think of 7 things. At least it would be a start in the right direction.

If the waste-of-skin politicians cannot even do 1 of the 7 things I listed above, they should at least provide us with some flag burning safety legislation. I mean, a serious fire could be started by accident while waving around that burning flag. Not to mention the toxic fumes released by burning the polyester flags. EPA could get involved and do a risk analysis. NOAA could do an analysis of the proper weather conditions for flag burning. OSHA could draft some safety regulations. It would at least justify some of the fat in those governmental organizations.

Photo from http://www.theodora.com/flags/new8/flag_burning_1.html

13 June 2006

What are you offended by?

It seems lately everyone is immediately offended by something, no matter what the context is or how inconsequential that something may be. Feel free and try my little quiz below to see how you rate on the offensive meter.

1. Are you offended by a fictional book which questions the pillars on which a religion was built or a severely battered woman who clings to life in a hospital because her husband came home in a bad mood and didn't like her cooking?

2. Are you offended by the nativity scene in a public square at Christmas or a homeless person shivering to death in the cold of December?

3. Are you offended by little girls and boys dressed up as witches and devils and cowboys and hobos at Halloween or a known child molester set free to rape, molest, and possibly kill children?

4. Are you offended by a football locker room in pink or politicians deciding that it is too difficult to implement HIV/AIDS programs in Africa so why bother?

5. Are you offended by Bill Cosby telling the truth or a man fathering several children by several different women and not supporting any of them?

6. Are you offended by a sports team with a native Indian mascot or a mother holding her dying child with no hope because she cannot get the medicine or clean water she needs to care for her child?

7. Are you offended by cartoons questioning the violent nature of a religion or the religion itself being used to justify violence?

8. Are you offended by God on our money and in the pledge of allegiance or that one of the richest countries in the world cannot provide adequate healthcare to all its citizens?

9. Are you offended by teaching safe sex in any context to stop the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies or insisting that only abstinence be taught because of religious reasons?

10. Are you offended by providing a cervical cancer vaccine on the grounds that it may or may not increase the likelihood of kids having sex or NOT providing a life saving cervical cancer vaccine that will save thousands of women every year?

11. Are you offended by two loving and committed gay people joining in holy matrimony or the 50 percent divorce rate among heterosexual marriages (not to mention the fly-by-night marriages of the Hollywood elite)?

Yes, these examples are extreme opposites. But they drive home the point of what is important and what really is not. If you thought the first example was more offensive than the second in all of the above, your priorities are really screwed up. I recommend getting out more and looking beyond Survivor, 700 Club, Lost, or American Idol. Take the earbuds out, turn off the ipod and smell the roses.

If you thought the first example was more offensive than the second in some of the above, there is still hope for you. Try to understand what is important and what really does not amount to a hill of beans in the greater scheme of things.

If you thought the second example was more offensive than the first in all of the above, I commend you. You have opened yours eyes and see that there is more to life than the meaningless and ridiculous crap we seem to put up with everyday. But let me ask you one more thing, what are you doing about it?

Photo by KCThinker, Waterfall, Catskills, New York

01 June 2006

The Ruling (Dullard) Elite

I shook my head when I heard Representative Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) denouncing the recent FBI search and seizure of documents from Representative William Jefferson’s (D-Louisiana) office. The fact that the FBI had a warrant made no difference to Mr. Hastert. The fact that Mr. Jefferson had hid $90,000 in his freezer made no difference. The fact that a judge had issued the warrant to the FBI to conduct a search of Mr. Jefferson’s office made no difference. The gall of Mr. Hastert to say there needs to be separation of powers and that the FBI could not conduct a warranted search of a U.S. representative’s office shows us average Americans, yet again, just how out of touch our government officials are with the real people. Let me get this straight, warrantless wiretaps can be conducted in the name of national security, but warranted searches in support of a bribery investigation of a U.S. representative is off limits. Oh, I see, it is okay if our rights are trampled on, but lord forbid you investigate a U.S. representative because heaven help you Dennis Hastert will get all over you.

They have no clue. The only time these morons seem to listen to us is when they think they can easily garner our favor by enacting some worthless legislation such as the $100 gas tax holiday that was recently proposed. I am insulted that these representatives and senators think I am that dense that I do not see through their political pandering. I am insulted that these cretins think they know better what is best for this country and me. All they know how to do is spend the future away through self-serving pork barrel projects and unaffordable entitlement programs.

We need to throw the bums out – democrats and republicans. We need to form a Common Sense party. We need term limits to fire the career politicians. (Think how long some of these guys have been in there. Is that good? I say no.) We need real campaign finance reform. (Sorry McCain, your reform sucks.) We need elected officials that will put the interests of the American people as a whole above the lobbyists. We need elected officials that will think beyond their re-election cycle and consider the impact their legislation has on future generations of Americans.

I rue the day I have to tell my daughter that we knew we could not afford Medicare and Social Security long before she was born and we did NOTHING about it.

Side bar: Did you know that more than $4 BILLION was spent overall on the 2004 election cycle? You can provide a lot of poor people with clean drinking water for that amount of money.

Photo by KCThinker. Perennial Garden, Powell Gardens, Kingsville, Missouri.