Friday, March 30, 2012

Liberal isn't a dirty word or insult, it's a badge of honor

What have liberals ever done that conservatives like Dale Wehrle find so offensive? Liberals passed the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. You do like clean water to drink don’t you? Clean air is really nice too.
Liberals made sure that African Americans have the right to vote, passed the Civil Rights Act and ended segregation. Liberals passed the 19th amendment insuring that today’s women have the right to vote.
Liberals created Medicare and complain as you will it is far better than private insurance would be for those 65 and older because insurance companies would either reject seniors outright or charge unaffordable rates because they’re just in it for the profit.

Conservatives voted against all those things.

ACLU stands for American Civil Liberties Union and it isn’t a liberal organization at least not in the way Wehrle seems to think; if it were they would never have supported neo-Nazis’ First Amendment right to demonstrate in Skokie, Ill. or Lt. Colonel Oliver North when his fifth amendment right not to incriminate himself was violated.
The ACLU is “the” organization to turn to when your civil rights are violated. You know, the first ten amendments also known as “The Bill of Rights.”

If you’re offended by liberals and our accomplishments that’s your right under the Constitution, as for me I proudly wear the label “Liberal.” I’m also proud to have been a card carrying member of the ACLU.

Monday, March 12, 2012

LTE on Sen. Inhofe using the bible to pretend that global climate change is a hoax

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) in a recent interview about his new book claimed that the bible says man can’t change the weather and therefore the notion of global climate change is a hoax. Inhofe maintained that only God can change the climate and for us to believe that our actions can alter the seasons is pure “arrogance.” He said: “…The Genesis 8:22 [verse] that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.”

I’m stunned, farmers and ranchers all over Texas have noticed for years that our weather is less predictable and rain doesn’t come at the usual time of year so crops are producing less than they used to. Our oceans are rapidly acidifying and the plant life it used to support is dying off leaving less food for other sea life, so fishing boats are less productive than ever before.

Inhofe continues “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” No climate scientist has ever claimed that we’ll stop having summer and winter. All they’re saying is that we’ll get more violent storms, more and deeper droughts in some areas as well as more and heavier rains in others.

If anyone is arrogant it’s Inhofe and those who cherry pick bible passages to support anti-science positions.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wiggins controversy and opportunity to discuss the ineffectiveness of prohibition

Much has been said here about Mike Wiggins and whether or not he should resign his position as County Judge. Situations like this are often called teachable moments, we should all take a step back and look at the larger issue of whether or not marijuana should be legalized.

Marijuana has been used for 4,000 years, nearly as long as alcohol. Alcohol is 10 times more likely than marijuana to be a factor in an auto accident. Marijuana is addictive to 9% of users as compared to alcohol at 15% and tobacco at 32% so you can’t say it should be prohibited for health and safety.

Recreational use in the US wasn’t widespread until after it prohibited in 1937. Today almost any high school student will tell you they could get it if they wanted it so you can’t say prohibition is protecting our children.

The US wastes $15 billion per year on the “War on Drugs” without reducing availability or demand for marijuana making it the poster child for ineffective government programs. It’s time we regulate it and tax it like the other recreational drugs; alcohol and tobacco.

Albert Einstein once said “…nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.” While it’s past time to legalize marijuana as long as it is illegal as an elected official Mike Wiggins should resign otherwise he reinforces disrespect for government and the law of the land.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Health insurance isn't a gift from employers, it's part of an employee's pay

Bob Shearer’s letter “President Obama has violated his oath of office” claims as others who oppose the President that businesses run by religious institutions shouldn’t have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. Shearer seems to think that health insurance provided by employers is some kind of gift when in fact it is a part of the employee’s compensation package.

The reality is that it’s the employee’s work that’s being compensated and the employer is simply a conduit for insurance premiums. The only reason we even have this convoluted system is that for profit insurance companies offer lower rates to larger pools of customers so it’s to the employee’s financial advantage to participate in the employer’s insurance program rather than buy individual coverage at a higher price.

There are two alternatives to this convoluted mess that would resolve Shearer’s concerns if he really wanted to “protect” employers from paying for medical care they found morally objectionable. Option 1 is to do what many advanced countries around the world do and offer single payer government sponsored program. Option 2 is simply require for profit companies to offer the same rates to everyone in a community so that they can’t cherry pick the healthiest people and leave the sickest with the highest bills.

Friday, March 2, 2012

LTE in response to a guy that thinks this is a "Christian" nation and always was

Dale Wehrle and other purported constitutionalists might want to revisit some of this nation’s history when claiming that this is or ever was an exclusively “Christian” nation.

Roger Williams who founded Rhode Island in 1635 after a run in with the Puritan government of Massachusetts over separation of church and state wrote a warning against opening “a gap in the hedge, or wall of separation, between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world”. That sounds a lot like Thomas Jefferson’s “building a wall of separation between Church & State” reference in his letter to the Danbury Baptists.

Perhaps most important to the constitutional argument though is our fourth president James Madison, lauded as the “Father of the Constitution” and primary author of the Bill of Rights. Madison was an ardent proponent of separation of church and state for decades who when opposing Patrick Henry’s efforts to merge them wrote in his Memorial and Remonstrance “[T]he Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”

If a man such as Madison thought it best to maintain separation of church and state where does Mr. Wehrle get the idea that the U.S. was ever a “Christian” nation?