Friday, May 25, 2007

on being tough on Iran

Heard the President make some comments on CBS news tonight that scared the beejeesus out of me. He's talking the same way about Iran flouting the U.N. resolutions as he did about Iraq in the months leading up to the invasion of the latter. Is he about to do the same to Iran in an effort to try to cure his problems at home by opening a new front? It seems to me that we need to be a little concerned about all this. His rhetoric seems to me to be "been there, done that, let's do it again for the same ill-advised reasons.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

on immigration laws

It seems to me that we have got the whole immigration issue wrong. Instead of building walls to keep people out, let's let them in. It seems to me that if we are going to let Mexicans build our cars and toasters that can come over our borders with no barriers, then the people who make them should be able to come across as well. It may seem that we are opening ourselves up to invasion, but that invasion will continue to come one way or another, unless we seal our borders so tight that nothing comes in (goodbye Wal-Mart deals) and nothing goes out including trips to Stonehenge, Jerusalem and the Vatican. It seems unfair that we can buy cheaply made products from outside our borders and gain no government (read that tariffs) from the goods coming in and live well, while others who want to come to this country to live better are walled out. This seems to me to be a real oxymoron concerning immigration law. In addition, if we allowed people to come across the border freely, but with constraints such as the old European Economic Union had where you came across at checkpoints, we would be better able to control the prospect of terrorists getting into this country. Of course, the argument that illegal immigration fuels the possibility of criminals coming in and bombing another site such as the Twin Towers (9/11) is preposterous. All of the bandits on the planes that went down that day were in this country legally, at least to start.

Of course, there is also another possible answer. Let's have a plebiscite in Mexico as to joining the United States. We could add a whole bunch of new states to tax and end the argument about fencing a long border. If we still wanted to put up a fence the southern border of Mexico is much shorter. I can't take credit for this idea, but it sounds as if it might work better than a $5000 fine, going home for a year and taking a chance on being let back in.

on limiting scholarships

At coffee yesterday, the subject of the firing of the MSU football coach came up, and one of the members present brought up a great solution: have the Montana Board of Regents limit sports scholarships at all state-supported schools to Montana residents. Out-of-state players would have to come into the state and establish residence for at least a year before they they would become Montana residents and eligible for sports scholarships. That certainly will not sit well with the sports fans in Montana, although there are indications that out-of-state recruiting may have cut into support for the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets in previous years.

More importantly, it might bring a better level of understanding about the role sports plays in academia. Right now, at many schools, the tail is wagging the dog. Athletics is what gets the boost from alumni. Even at the high school level, the big play is getting money from Wendy's or some other big business for a new field, but we don't hear that many of those companies are donating for new textbooks, or supporting science studies in the schools. Somehow there is a problem here.

We can also say that there has been a tremendous emphasis in recent years on celebrity. Are so many of our lives so dull that we have to live vicariously on the lives of athletes or movie/TV stars? What is the matter with us that we cannot enjoy our own lives without having to drool over Julia Roberts having a baby or Anna Nicole Smith's affairs that led to her leaving a baby behind? Is this our equivalent of the Roman bread and circuses?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

on the end of the Legislature...

The Gazoo reported on its website that the Legislature finished the budget and adjourned. They did not pass the small business equipment tax cut, which is a relief for the rest of us. But they did give us the $400 one time cut. Wonder how that will come down. Also decided on a way to trim taxes for future surpluses. And they did pass a budget which may give relief to Montanans who need state help. Of course, the Republicans of the idiot persuasion such as Mendenhall from Billings and Tom Mcgillvray and Roy Brown, who supposedly represent me, voted against it. My two are a pair of the biggest light weights and know nothings in the two houses. Mcgillvray proudly says he doesn't take time to read blogs, he's too busy trying to come up with a "compromise" in the Legislature. From the way he voted during the special session, he might as well have stayed home and read blogs. He certain made no efforts at compromise. After adjourning, the Republican members of the House voted to dump Michael Lange as Majority Leader and replace him with Himmelberger. It might have been a good choice if Himmelberger wasn't worse than Lange and if they'd done it for the right reason. But they dumped Lange because he did compromise with the Democrats despite his snortin' agin the gov. (Wrong name called to my attention, so I fixed it.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

on economic sustainability...

Last night, CBS news reported that Russia is encouraging women to have two children in order to provide enough inhabitants to keep its economy sustainable. That made me wonder if an economy that is sustainable only because of an increase in population, no matter how caused, is really sustainable at all. Especially considering that the world would be a better place if the population was smaller.

And a conundrum: How come depictions of the 10 Commandment plaques supposedly handed down to Moses sometime about 1000 BCE, usually show Roman numerals from I to X?

Friday, May 11, 2007

on Patriotism

With the battle over funding the effort to put down the Iraqi insurgency in full throttle in DC, it seems as if we're hearing a lot more about people aiding the enemy and not supporting the troops. So far, the idea that such people are not patriots seems to be about, but muted. But lets examine patriotism. What is it besides standing for what your country stands for. i suggest the truest patriot is, again, one who examines what his country is doing and takes issue with it when it is not following its own ideals. We keep saying about the U.S., that we are a country founded on ideals, not just because a bunch of people were living in the same area, but people who founded a government based on certain principles. Essentially those principles come down to the idea that people should be free and that the people are the government. What we call the government is made up of people we elect and appoint to make sure the engine of government runs properly. It is a combined effort by all of us to ensure that we get the life that we want. A person who follows those ideals is the true U.S. patriot, not those who blindly follow a blind man into the future of war and of limiting our Constitution which is the source of our ideals along with the Declaration of Independence. (I would suggest that if someone were to stand on a street corner and start reading the Declaration of Independence out loud, he might find himself carted off in a paddy wagon as a subversive.) So, as to our current situation, I suggest that the actions to take on Al Quaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan were within these parameters since they had either attacked us or aided and abetted the attackers. But I would suggest that we were not told the truth, and were fed lies for some unknown reasons on Iraq. It was evident from the U.N. searches and from our spy flights that Saddam had neither weapons of mass destruction nor the means of delivering them if had had small amounts. So who is the patriot? The person who opposed and opposes that war or the one who insists on curbing our liberties to fight it?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

on the war in Iraq

I think Bush is finally getting it. Today, CBS News and perhaps others announced that he is willing to begin accepting benchmarks for the Iraqi government to step up to the plate. As this was his solution several months ago in, I believe, his State of the Union speech or something similar, it's about time he went public with a willingness to accept it. The fact of the matter is that although we keep referring to the Iraq "war" we have no war there. The war ended back when he said the Mission was Accomplished. We won the war. What we've been doing since then is creating a mess that may not be stabilized during the lifetimes of most of us living in the U.S. today. We forgot what we were there for (if anybody ever knew) and abandoned Afghanistan to its warlords when we should have finished that job. Papa Bush knew enough about the Middle East to know to leave Saddam on his throne as long as his own people could stomach him. The idiot now in the White House went in with head held high and empty of anything but his own desires and those of the neo-cons who elected him. We need to support the troops by getting them out of a hot spot we had no business in. And we don't have a war on terror going on in the world, we have a battle with organized bandits with no sense of human empathy. Let's quit acting as if they are something special and treat them as the criminals they are. And that means getting those who are terrorists out of Gitmo and putting them on public trial, then throwing them in a secure penitentiary if they are found guilty.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

on the school levy passing

The Billings school levies passed for the first time since 2002. Absolutely great. It means the know nothings who inhabit our city took it on the chin again. It also means that I can vote yes again on some levies I support but wouldn't vote for until a school levy passed. One thing that always gets me is that the anti-school levy anti-taxers always say it goes for the teachers. Well, it seems to me that we can't have anything good happen for the kids until we have good, well-qualified teachers and we can't have them if we can't compete with other states. If we read the article a few days ago in the Gazoo about the job fair at Eastern (ooops, MSUB), we know that other states pay more and may offer some other, more exciting surroundings. And what are new textbooks if not for the kids? Some of these people apparently have not bought a hard cover book in more than 20 years because of what they want to pay for new texts. I can't figure them. Always putting the lie to people who go out on a limb to help keep our system alive and well. They are the people we shouldn't trust.

Monday, May 07, 2007

on more of Denny's votes

Let's see...last week Denny voted against overturning the Bush veto of the so-called Iraq war. Guess he wants to turn our victory into defeat since we won the war and are now afraid of turning the insurgency over to the Iraqis. But then Denny Rehberg has been the tail on the Bush dog since the beginning. He also voted for two forms of discrimination. In the first he voted against a bill to make crimes against gays a federal civil rights hate crime. In the other he voted to allow church-run Head Start programs to discriminate on the basis of religion. In other words, even though they are publicly funded and open to children of all faiths, he voted to allow the religious bigots to hire only their own to force their faith into young minds. And we keep electing him.

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