Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Healthcare Hawaii Style

I couldn't help but laugh recently by a pair of "unrelated" articles in the Honolulu Advertiser. One trumpeted how great it was that a Hawaiian collected over 5,000 signatures calling for the passing of the Obama healthcare bill (which has yet to be written). The other discussed how Hawaii was having to stop covering one of the tribes that had been given full healthcare because of budget issues.

So on the one hand, the paper acknowledged that budget issues can affect healthcare and that government has to make coverage decisions based upon tax revenue. On the other hand, they were espousing the virtues of the federal government providing health care to everyone (legal and illegal) in the US.

One wonders if the editors of the newspapers that do this (I see this regularly in the Seattle Times) have any perspective at all.

KP Syndrome

One of my favorite pet peeves are people that have the opinion "it doesn't affect me, so it's okay". I had a roommate a few years ago, their initials are KP, with whom I associate this opinion. Thus, I call it the KP Syndrome. So don't worry, there is no kitchen patrol involved in this piece.

At the time, California was considering banning SUVs. She didn't drive an SUV, so it didn't bother her that CA would do that. She didn't consider the effects on the environment, freedom, or any other aspect of the issue. She simply didn't drive an SUV, I suppose she wasn't considering owning a SUV, so it was okay with her. It simply didn't directly effect her.

Unfortunately, governments, large and small, take advantage of this aspect of people to reduce the amount of freedom that we have in this country. Then, once they start down this path, it's a slippery slope to greater and greater constraints. Further, they can then use this previous issue as a precedent for doing other things.

I suppose one could look at the imposition of smoking bans to see the full measure of how this happens. First, it was moved to the back of airplanes, then on flights less than 2 hours, then on all planes, now, there are smoking areas in airports and some localities are proposing banning smoking in your own residence.

Of course, this progression took a couple decades to implement. But say we go back to when it all started and say, "Hey, we're going to ban smoking in all public places and possibly your home." People would have revolted. But do it gradually, and it's amazing what you can do. A popular comparison is in boiling a frog. You can't drop it into a pot of hot water, but put it into cold water and gradually increase the temperature, then viola, dinner!

Of course, today, most people think that smoking bans are good ideas. But then, are they really? I don't smoke, I don't like being in places that have people smoking, but I vote (or specifically, I used to vote) by going to places where they constrained the smoking to areas that didn't bother me.

How do we get here, by most people not caring, not having an opinion about a limitation of freedom.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Liberal Objectivity

In talking to liberals of the political bent, I've asked them at times to be objective about issues. Curiously, it seems as though the opinion that I hear prior to their being "objective" and their opinion when being 'objective' are often the same. They also frequently believe that the government should work the same way that they believe they should live their lives (but that's another blog). So, I've developed a working theory about liberal objectivity.

Another place that you can see liberals being "objective" is your typical newspaper. While I'm sure that they would claim to be objective, a review of a number of items would indicate otherwise. When reading the paper, take notice of the pictures used and remember that they have many different pictures from which to choose. So why did they choose the ones that they did. The placement of articles in the paper is another option that they have. The number of articles about a topic in a given paper or throughout the week can show their opinions. Finally, the way that they craft the article, how do they describe the situation, which facts do they highlight. All these factors can indicate a bias.

By assuming that these people truly believe that they are being objective, I've derived the following theory. Liberals believe that they are objective because they are liberal. They conclude that by definition they are open to all ideas, so any belief or idea that they have must be objective. Thus, if they dislike a person or an idea, their perspective must be objective.

Then, since their perspective is obviously objective, they no longer have to apply self-evaluation in order to determine if they are biased or not. This belief provides immediate feedback in that they save time in that they no longer have to apply any additional filters or reviews to anything that they say, think, or do.

Unfortunately, they are neither objective nor unbiased. Neither are they open to the idea of discussing their 'bias' as this would rock their core belief of being a liberal.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Doping isn't just a cycling issue

There is no doubt that doping is a problem in cycling. Every year, we fans are disappointed to hear that yet another favorite has taken performance enhancing drugs. On the other hand, cycling is also very aggressive about having standards, testing athletes, and enforcing penalties. Apparently, this focus also leads to just about every article about cycling to include a blurb about doping issues.

However, doping is a serious issue in all sports. It's just that most sports, and I suppose, their fans, don't particularly care to make it an issue. I would argue that baseball has at least as many athletes caught using performance enhancing drugs, yet this isn't mentioned in every article about baseball, as it is with cycling. But then baseball is a sport that does a lot of talking that it's a problem and very little actionable to indicate that they really believe something has to be done about it.

At the same time that Operation Puerto implicated a number of cyclists, whom were all suspended for a period of time, Operation Puerto also implicated soccer players while the World Cup was going on. However, soccer, just like baseball, appears to be uninterested in actually doing anything about it. While names of cyclists were published all around the world, no soccer players names were mentioned.

The "media" again chooses whom to support, whom to attack, and whom to ignore. There is no good reason why the media would be aggressive to determine cycling names, yet do nothing to determine names from other sports.

Bankruptcy - Oh My!

So Eddie Bauer is going into bankruptcy. But amazingly, they have said that they are going to keep their stores open. So, let me get this straight. They are in bankruptcy, but they are still going to be open. They are in bankruptcy, but they are still in business.

Wow! After all the hubbub about the auto manufacturers, you would have thought that bankruptcy meant that the business would be shut down. Oh wait, haven't a number of airlines gone through bankruptcy and kept operating?

So if it's possible to enter and exit bankruptcy while operating as a business, why did the government bail out the auto industries? It wasn't so that they would then be able to take them over would it? No, that couldn't be it. Oh wait, didn't they do that with the banks???

Wow, history is really interesting now, isn't it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Afghan civilians - Obama responsible

On May 4th, an attack in Afganistan regrettably killed a number of civilians. There is some dispute as to the number of civilians killed, somewhere between 26 and 86. The latest news report on this situation was buried on page 6 (of 14) in the front page of the Seattle Times. Other news reports on this situation were equally buried.

Had this situation happened during the administration of President Bush, it would have been front page news. The Seattle Times would run any article with any small fragment of truth in a prominent position if they could run a title which would be negative towards President Bush.

During his presidential campaign, President Obama frequently stated that he thought that more emphasis should be made of Afganistan. Since he's taken office, more civilians have been killed in Afganistan than during any similar length of time during the Bush administration. Yet, even though President Obama has stated many times that the "real" war should be in Afganistan, he has not been the target of any negative press regarding any of the problems occuring there.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

President George W Bush Legacy

One of the longest lasting, currently most frustrating legacies of the presidency of George W Bush is the characterization of him as being a conservative. The press constantly tried to characterize him as being a right-wing extremist. With such overwhelming, coordinated messaging, the press convinced many people that the center was really left. How else could someone like McCain be considered a moderate or now President Obama only be considered left leaning.

President Bush had many conservative ideals, but he was / is a big government republican. No self-respecting conservative believes in big government. Big government is the opposite of individual liberty. For those whose eyes gloss over when hearing the term 'liberty', 'freedom', big government means that you can't do what you want to. Big government means that someone else will tell you whether you can smoke, can eat, can do.

So with the press' full-court press on redefining the political spectrum, we wind up with the most liberal member of Congress being considered left-leaning. During his ever-so-brief tenure in Congress, President Obama didn't find a spending bill he didn't like. He also voted at every opportunity to reduce the freedom of the American people. This 'tendency' has been continued at a fervent pace as president. He's on the way to socializing three industries and yet there's no cry of fowl from the press. President Chavez of Argentina has even recently commented that he believes that he and Fidel Castro are right of President Obama.

President Bush isn't at fault in this matter. He isn't a conservative, it's not his responsibility to carry the conservative mantle. His behaviour actually reinforces the belief that 'moderates' have no true believes as he didn't feel the need to clarify what or who he is. So whether the press marked him as a conservative or liberal, that didn't matter.

3 Strikes - Maybe you're out

Thursday's Seattle Times' (June 11, 2009) headline trumpets the release of a 3-strikes offender. He was convicted of three felonies, thus enacting the 3-strikes law. But recently a number of people, including "tough on crime" Governor Gregoire have been pressuring to have him released. Whom they were pressuring isn't mentioned in the article. But apparently drug possession and battery aren't severe enough for some people to believe he should be locked up for life.

In a completely unrelated story, also in the Seattle Times on Thursday, page B5, a rapist gets another life sentence. In this case, this man was released early from prison in 2003 because a jury believed that he no longer posed a threat to society. So, this man whom a jury decided to release because he was 'no longer a threat to society' then raped four more women, killing one.

The hypocracy of it all just seems overwhelming. Gregoire is supposed to be 'tough on crime' yet every chance she gets, she's releasing murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals. The Seattle Times trumpets one person getting released and buries an article on a previously released person getting sentenced for even more violent crimes. Finally, once again, we're selectively enforcing laws. This person doesn't warrant this penalty, that person does, don't worry we'll tell you which category you fall into.