Friday, December 3, 2010

What Is the Point of This?

The above story describes a Hayden, Idaho man's construction of a hooded Ku Klux Klansman complete with noose.

First of all, let's not make this into a statement about people from Idaho or the state itself. Every state has people living in it whose views are fairly uninformed or downright stupid. Idaho is a wonderful place filled with wonderful people.

However, the frontyard Klansman is a huge monument to at best bad taste, at the worst an evil heart. What kind of person endorses the hanging of other people simply due to race or religion? The Ku Klux Klan victimized and brutalized blacks, Jews and Catholics in their heyday. They blew up schools and churches. They were the most dangerous domestic terrorist group in American history. My grandmother used to tell stories about how they would terrorize Catholics.

Should it be removed or taken down by the town? Not at all. First of all, it advertises exactly who and what this man is. Most people will shun him for it. Second, Americans have discovered that when you do not attack this kind of speech with government force, you deny it any kind of rebellion based credibility. He's not being attacked by the system, he's just one kook. European hate speech statutes have actually encouraged the growth of neo Nazism and skinhead movements.

Hopefully this person learns some kind of respect for other people, but he probably will not. His isolation and humiliation will be punishment enough.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Judges Gone Wild

There was a time when judges and the law profession at large understood the concept of "justiciability." In other words, they understood that judges should not cross into areas better addressed by the executive or legislative branches. This tended to keep caseloads a lot smaller and also kept federal judges from making decisions better left to elected officials.
This concept went out the window a long time ago.
Judge Carrie Webster has halted the West Virginia AAA title game that was supposed to have been played this weekend. Earlier in the state playoffs a fight broke out between players of Hurricane and South Charleston High Schools. The referees ejected the players with fourteen seconds left. Judge Webster said that the officials overstepped their legal bounds. The story can be followed from the link below:
Judge Webster has worked hard to immerse herself into a high school football controversey so that she can garner a lot of headlines and attention. What she has failed to do is to remember a judge's place. This is a job best handled by the other branches of government, not by Judge Webster. She should have dismissed any appeal to the courts as non justiciable and thrown the issue back to the WVSSAC where it belongs.
Judges across the country are on a power trip, seeing themselves as arbiters of nearly any possible situation. This ultimately wastes taxpayer time and money while increasing the stress on an already overburdened justice system.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DREAM Act Dead For Now

The Senate on Monday killed a defense appropriation bill that, in the Bizarro World of Congress, means that the DREAM Act is also dead for the forseeable future.
The defense bill, for the most part, addresses the need for routine appropriations for the war. However, Democratic congressmen attached two significant "riders" that had nothing to do with appropriations. One eliminated "don't ask, don't tell." The other, the aforementioned DREAM Act, would have given citizenship to any illegal who spent two years in college or the military.
This was widely seen as a Democratic ploy to increase their voter registrations before 2012. However, many on the Democratic side also feared the national security issues that instant citizenship could create. Two years in college could legalize the status of drug cartel people or Middle Eastern terrorists.
Two Democrats joined the GOP in making sure that the numbers were there to fillibuster the bill. It is widely anticipated that the defense bill will return soon without the DREAM Act provision.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Difference Between Debt and Deficit Is Well Understood

Earlier today, Obama proposed that federal salaries be frozen in place for two years to try and address the federal deficit. While that is a good idea in itself, it ought not be seen as a major part of the solution.

For a long time, politicians have counted on the notion that the public does not differentiate between the deficit (how much more we spend every year versus how much we take in) and the debt (how much we owe in total.)

The difference between the deficit and debt is like a quadruple layer cake with only a thin layer of icing on the top. Lowering the deficit is nice, but it does not solve the problem of spending more than our country makes in revenue. We cannot simply lower the deficit and then pat ourselves on the back and say good job. The deficit needs to disappear completely and we need to put money into paying down the debt.

To accomplish real debt reduction, we need to change our expectations of government and limit what we expect from it. We cannot build every road that anyone proposes. We cannot afford every single expensive program that comes down the pike. We should always be asking, like families, "Do we need this? Is there a less expensive alternative? How can we fit this into a rational budget?" Most importantly, we can ask "can the private sector do this better?"