Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Image Making

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), the state of New York must come-up with billions more in education spending in order to insure a “sound basic education”. According to an independent study financed by the CFE, a union-backed coalition of education advocates, $10 billion in additional spending is needed to secure this “sound basic education. (Should we question whether a study funded by an advocacy group could be “independent”?)

In the 2002 gubernatorial election, Dennis Rivera, the head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), secured a commitment of $3 billion more in healthcare spending in exchange for endorsing Governor George Pataki. Mr. Rivera recently proposed a new tax of $3,000 per employee on employers who do not offer health insurance to its employees. The proceeds of these would be used to fund more healthcare spending from which his SEIU members would benefit.

What does either of these groups, CFE and SEIU, have to do with anything other than a demonstration that those who advocate more and “better” education and healthcare initiatives are determinedly self-interested? Both are the natural financial backers of the Democratic Party (Yes, Gov. Pataki is a Republican, but fiscal constraint is a disqualifier for elected office in New York.)

What does this mean? It means both groups can be relied upon to spend money to get politicians elected who promise to spend more tax revenue on their particular interests. The money to do this is funded by their members’ dues whose salaries are funded via taxes upon the general population.

So in a twist worthy of chocking a President, these self-interested public advocacy groups use everyone’s taxes to lobby for an even bigger piece of everyone else’s income. (And CFE just recently filed to have the taxpayer pick-up the $20 million it spent to “win” the lawsuit.)

Whilst Republicans may never shed their image of being too close to business, I’d rather stand on that side than on the side where the Democrats reside as willing fops for those groups who seek to devour more and more tax revenue.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The 9/11 Commission hearings are calling witnesses in an attempt to understand whether or not the 9/11 attacks were preventable.

Sandy Berger’s testimony is that the CIA had the OK to kill Osama Bin Laden, and, but for bureaucratic uncertainty, it did not. Richard Clarke then asserts the Bush Administration did not place the highest priority on apprehending Osama Bin Laden. The inference is that the 9/11 was preventable.

Clearly, partisans are attempting to use the hearings to blame the Bush Administration for political gain in the upcoming Presidential election. (In other words, these partisans are politicizing 9/11, a charge leveled at the Administration whenever the Administration mentions 9/11 or the War on Terrorism.)

Never mind, that no response was yet made to the USS Cole bombing in which 17 US Servicemen were killed. A response was in the making in the final three months of the prior Administration, and that buck was passed to the new Administration. Could it be that the prior Adminstration was too worried about election year politics (Whose wife was running for the Senate in NY?) to respond to the attack on our servicemen and by extension our country?

See, if the Democrats want partisan blame gaming, they can have it. I’d also like an explanation of how 8 months of the Bush Administration in which OBL was not a high enough priority equals 8 years of the Clinton Administration in which OBL was a high priority without success is the same.

Because the Democrats cannot offer any explanations, they will try to shift political gears and accept the equal partition of culpability as a way for our country to move onwards.

Unfortunately, it only seems that time will help heal the wounds of 9/11 and allow for the disinterested search for answers.

What is 4 ounces?

It is a half a cup. The question is whether half a cup is half empty or half full. I am of the opinion that most arguments center on one side or the other of the half-empty/half-full discussion.

Each side vehemently holds its position to be true, and if their position is true, then in the zero-sum world in which we debate, the other must be false. But the “false” side of the position believes it is true, and if their position is true, then the other must be false.

Given each person believes he or she has arrived at his or her position after careful consideration, if another person argues otherwise, then that person must be wrong and, by extension, implies your position is wrong. (No! The beer glass is half-empty! I poured four ounces down the toilet trying to get your chicken wing backwash out of the glass.) Once our intellect is questioned, the line in the sand has been drawn, and then things can get nasty.

Never mind that neither side is wrong, once the line is drawn something nasty will come out and then we are really insulting each other. (Just like you should have flushed your head down the toilet with the beer!)

Double never mind that if this site were called “A Gill”, it’d still have the same rationale.

We hope you enjoy our points-of-view and tell others about it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Can We Spare a Dime?

After months and months of unanswered charges during the Democratic primaries, and the subsequent news reporting of those attacks, the Bush Administration found itself trailing in almost every poll (see http://www.pollingreport.com/wh04gen.htm). The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll had Senator John Kerry leading President George W. Bush 52% to 44%.

Adding to the negative cloud hovering over the electoral prospects of the current Administration was a prescription drug bill that was lauded only by the Administration. Fiscal conservatives believed it increased the already-unbearable future liabilities to the Baby Boomers, Democrats and their special interest groups framed it as a sop to the HMOS (those same HMOS that were integral to Hillarycare) and pharmaceutical companies. WMDs had yet to be found in Iraq. Accusations that the Administration lied about Iraq were thick on the airwaves. American troops were still subject to terrorist attacks in post-Saddam Iraq. The rich were derided as not paying enough in taxes. So on and so forth. (Hey! This sounds as if only one-side of the political discussion was being presented.)

Once Senator Kerry wrapped up the Democratic nominee for President (based on his electability. After all, he did win an election and was therefore electable.), the Bush Administration began running ads pointing to the negative aspects of Senator Kerry voting record. (This could have come out in the primaries but the lunatics who vote in primaries were only interested in hearing who could hate Bush more.)

Immediately, the media proclaimed the campaign was going negative earlier than ever with the Bush attack ads. Never mind the hate-Bush love fests the Democrats were having in the run-up to their primaries.

Something that had bothered me amidst all the pro-Democrat coverage of the primaries was the glaring inconsistency of Senator Kerry voting for GWII then against the funding of the same war he voted for. Well, I’m no more intellectually challenged than the politicos who run these campaigns. The Administration began running this exact ad.

Of course, it was now a Bush attack ad (Whether it is true or not seems irrelevant) Uncowingly, the Administration updated the same ad with Senator Kerry’s intellectually superior explanation of his vote. He said he voted for the funding before voting against it. If this is the intellectual high ground, no wonder the liberal elite only inhabits it.

And apparently voters don’t want to be there either. The almost every poll has Bush ahead of Kerry. But due to the 9/11 hearings this is no longer headline news. Tough break for Republicans but maybe some of the 9/11 myths can be disposed of over the next week or two. What will the Dems have left to run on?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Child’s Play

Looks as if the flood the zone coverage of the gay marriage debate has subsided. (Can it be a debate when only one side is covered in the press? Remember, so long ago, when it was about civil unions?)

Whilst discussing the issue with family, batting it back and forth between the squirrels whom run on the wheel in my head, and just plain wishing it would go away, my wife and son were playing Rescue Heroes. Somehow the game evolved into the Rescue Heroes getting married. It began with Billy Blazes marrying Wendy Waters and Jack Hammer marrying Ariel Flyer.

What came next was Jake Justice marrying Bob Buoy. The first reaction my wife had, and I had when the story was related to me, is to say, “No, Matthew, boys don’t marry boys. They marry girls.” Instead, what we did is what we do with many of the utterances from his mouth that we find un-reinforcable. We chose to ignore it. (Never mind the sounds from other body parts.)

But it did open a line of thinking. If we do tell him that marriage is between a boy and a girl, does he repeat that in school only to be told otherwise by another authority figure, his teacher? Would a teacher tell him otherwise? Should a teacher tell him otherwise?

And this leads me to contemplate whether it is plausible that a teacher would be forced to do so. After all, if the courts of the land legislate, I mean, rule that same-sex marriages are equal to opposite sex ones, then what will stop the same sex marriage activists from using that ruling to determine the behavior and curriculum of the entity receiving government dollars (or in other words, our taxes)? After all, this is the strategy being pursued against the Boy Scouts of America by the gay activists after the courts ruled BSA could refuse to allow gay scoutmasters.

And if my son attends a school that receives tax dollars, wouldn’t the teacher have to enforce the equality of the marriages as a result of the court ruling(s) and tell him that boys can marry boys?

Which brings me back to telling my son that marriage is between a boy and a girl (or a mommy and daddy). For simplicity sake and for sheer numbers sake (the percent of married couples who are of opposite sexes greatly out numbers those of the same sex), it is what I will tell him.

My worry is for my child to be told otherwise by different figures in authority (agents of the State?) and to be singled out for expressing this view. But what do I do, allow the same-sex activists and their subsequent proponents in the courtroom to stifle my parenting?

Or maybe, I’ll just treat the whole episode as one of child’s play.

Friday, March 19, 2004

A potentially embarrassing “scandal’ is developing over the recently enacted Medicare Prescription drug bill. In a nutshell, an actuary in Medicare administration has asserted that he was threatened with job termination if he provided cost estimates to the Democrats that were higher than those being used to pass the new legislation. (The cost was $400 billion at the time of the enactment. It has subsequently risen to $534 billion.)

Also, running concurrently is a Democrat-invigorated investigation into whether or not retiring Republican Representative Tom Smith was offered a BRIBE to switch his vote in favor of the prescription drug bill. Lawmakers told Rep. Smith that his son, running for election, would receive support if the concerned father changed his vote.

Is there anything here?

First, the Rep. Smith issue. Lawmakers horse-trading election support for votes on pending legislation seems to be business-as-usual. It is usually lauded in school texts as “compromise.” The word used by Democrats to describe this is “bribe” and its associated derivatives. However, I dismiss it as simple Democratic electioneering. (Al O’Franken and the rest of the political authors would call it “lying” if it applied to GW and could be used to hawk books.)

Onto to the more hyped allegation of scandal involving the projected price tag of the prescription drug bill. (The New York Times has run a couple handfuls of articles over the past week on this.) The accusation of wrongdoing hinges around whether or not Mr. Foster’s (not another Foster-centered White House scandal!) fears of job termination are directly related to a prior warning of termination from his boss, Thomas Scully.

According to the Democratic staffer, she asked Mr. Foster for the higher numbers (which by the way were considerably lower than the plan put forth by the Democrats at $1 trillion) and he said he’d be fired if he told her. The Democratic staffer then confronted Mr. Scully, and the Democratic staffer is then quoted as being told by Mr. Scully that if Mr. Foster tells her anything, he’ll be fired so fast his head will spin.

From this, I only see a Democratic staffer stoking the flames of partisan attacks. A little more Democratic electioneering, as the Democrats would call it. I call it “lying” and I don’t even have a book to hawk to fools who would quickly be parted with $24.95.

The ironic twist would come if this “scandal” did gain traction, and the Democrats were to topple the current Administration. Then we’d have a trillion dollar plan because the Republicans put forth a price tag of $400 billion when it should have been $534 billion.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The election of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has diverted the punditocracy from the constant examination of polling numbers (bad break for GWB as he topped Senator Kerry for the first time in what seems like ages.)

And Sr. Zapatero duly kicked off his administration by thumbing his nose at the Untied States. Sounds like a great European leader to me. So nuanced. So sophisticated. His grasp of foreign policy is something our elected leaders should aspire towards. (Imagine GWB taking office and immediately burning foreign policy bridges.)

While this is the current international news du jour, there is also an ongoing examination and exposure of corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program. This is the one put in place in the 1996, which allowed the Saddam Hussein regime to trade oil for humanitarian needs like food and medicine.

As freedom takes hold in Iraq (Boo! Hiss!), the inner workings of this humanitarian program are floating to the surface. Apparently, Saddam Hussein (the name is like a cross to a vampire for the Democrats) was being kicked back 10% of each bid. And the U.N. assessed a 2.2% commission for administering the program. The bank that handles the finances for the program is BNP Paribas, a French banking conglomerate.

To complicate matters a list of foreigners Saddam Hussein gave options on barrels of oil was discovered in January 2004. It included Benon Sevan, an assistant secretary-general, who was in charge of the program since October 1997.

Smells bad. So as Sr. Zapatero basks in his election victory and collects the plaudits of the anti-Americans (and Democrats, you’re Americans first), this little imbroglio will serve as the impetus behind our foreign policy decisions with the French and Germans.

Too bad little Zapatero can not see this.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Nation?s Direction Prompts Voters? Concern, Poll Finds

From this morning’s The New York Times:

“…Even (italics added) after two weeks in which Mr. Bush has run televised advertisements promoting himself and attacking Mr. Kerry, and in which Mr. Kerry has enjoyed the glow of favorable coverage that greeted his near-sweep of Democratic primaries…”

I find it disheartening that pollees are still not seeing the current Democratic nominee for President, Senator John F. Kerry, for the loser I think he will be.

The issue that bothers me most about Senator Kerry is his vote on the Iraq War (or more positively spun, the liberation of 23 million people from oppression.). In the lead-up to the November 2002 elections, he voted for the resolution for war. At the time the President was riding high in the polls

In the lead-up to the Democratic primaries in October 2003, Senator Kerry voted against funding the Iraqi reconstruction. (Democrats voting against Reconstruction? Who’d a thunk?)

At the time of his anti-funding vote (which is only bad because he wasn’t voting against funding for the arts or abortion clinics, um, I mean, Planned Parenthood.), the former governor of the state that sells its junk to out-of-staters as “antiques” was leading all the polls for the Democratic nomination for the chance to lose to 43 in November 2004. His fervent support coalesced around a rabid opposition to the liberation of 23 mil-, I mean, the Iraq War.

In October 2003, the junior Senator from Massachussets was not only trailing the former governor of the state that sells its junk to out-of-staters as “antiques”, he was trailing Gen. Wesley Clark.

The questions I can not seem to resolve is which of Senator Kerry’s votes was the opportunistic one and why aren’t other people asking the same thing?

Oh, hold on, there was that ellipsis at the beginning of the piece. Let’s see what the remainder of The New York Times quote said.

“… the two men are effectively tied, with 46 percent of voters saying they supported Mr. Bush and 43 percent backing Mr. Kerry.”

Monday, March 15, 2004

New Spanish Prime Minister Pledges to Withdraw Troops

Looks like the bully may have found a new way to take your lunch money.

Al Qeada is taking credit for the Madrid train explosions that killed 200 last Thursday in the run-up to Spains Sunday elections.

The press is reporting this event as the one that precipitated the loss of U.S. ally Jose Maria Aznar's Polpular Party. (Never mind a country that would elect a Socialist Party, but that is for another day.)

Upon election, the Socialist leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez, has announced he is pulling Spain's 1300 troops from Iraq on June 30.

It will not only be the supporters of Sr. Rodriguez who the AP can describe as "jubilant". Al Qaeda and any other terrorist factions can also gleefully rub their hands together.

The message is they can kill innocent people in the final days of the election and get their foes voted out of office. (Are John Kerry's unnamed foreign leaders thrilled with the loss of a Bush ally?)

Who said this year's October surprise will be the capture of Osama Bin Laden? It will be the death of tens upon score upon hundreds of innocent Americans.

We'll wish for the days of drunk driving convictions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Yesterday, there was much hay made of Lipitor's statisitically significant better results than Pravachol.

The measurement of Serious events following treatment with Pravachol was 26.4%. it was 24.3% with Lipitor. A 16%! improvement.

But Lipitor had a 3.3% occurence of liver enzymes that are precursors to liver problems. Pravachol only had a 1.1%. A 66% reduction.

Stats translated into percentages sure make things more dramatic.

The signs are there for history to quickly rewrite itself when John Kerry loses in November.

The Bush Administration has be stumping solely on John Kerry's voting record which bears a striking resemblance to that of a flip-flopper. What is going to happen once things get nasty?

The watershed moment will be JFKS' flip on the Iraq War. Not GWI but on GWII and the subsequent vote not to fund it.

Which vote was the opportunistic one?

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Schools, Facing Tight Budgets, Leave Gifted Programs Behind

There are 34,570,000 people below the poverty line. If we gave each one $10,000 every year, it would cost $3,457,000,000 each year.

$3.4 trillion dollars. The federal budget is $2.2 trillion. I think the idea of the gov't getting people out of poverty wouldonly put everyone into poverty.

In the Times article, gifted programs (that is programs for children considered gifted not programs funded by benevalent donors) are being cut.

The blame is being placed at the feet of NCLB. Seems to be a bogeyman.

The blame has to be placed at the feet of the system itself. As the poverty example shows, when you have to do something for everyone, it will take a tremendous amount of funding to make everyone equally happy. The reality is making the majority happy.

And the gifted student is left to his or her own initiative to explore.

But can he or she when we are delegating our child's entire education to the education system which can not possibly do it?

But, hey, if the education system can offer up claims of being able to do so, we'll feed it more cash.

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