Friday, June 25, 2010

Nate the Neo-Conservative!

Don't remember if I posted the first of the Nate cartoons, but here's another one. The website has a link to the first one, so check them both out if you haven't already. Very funny!

Oh, and a hilarious, very honest political ad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Re-defining the Constitution?

And when I say "re-define", I really mean "disregard." That's exactly what Arizona is doing in their latest bid to get rid of "illegal immigrants." In this case, the "immigrants" are children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants, and "illegal" refers to....well, nothing, because these are considered U.S. citizens according to the 14th amendment. Here's the appropriate section:

"Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"

According to the article,

"John Kavanagh, a Republican state representative from Arizona who supports the proposed law aimed at so-called "anchor babies," said that the concept does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

"If you go back to the original intent of the drafters ... it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens,'"

Well, if it was never intended, why is it stated quite clearly? I know that when the 14th amendment was ratified the majority of immigrants were white Europeans. Does this mean that it should not be applied to those of Mexican descent?

If that's the case, we may as well make this point about other laws. For example, the 13th amendment pertained primarily to slavery of African-Americans. By following AZ's logic, that must mean we can still enslave Asians and Native Americans, and certainly Mexicans. Obviously, no one is going to stand up and say they support this line of thinking in reference to slavery. It's absurd. Just like AZ's laws over immigration

So why is it that AZ is going ahead with this insane idea that very plainly goes against the constitution? The precedent it sets is very dangerous, and will mean the undoing of a very important social underpinning of our country:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

If AZ is any indication of the way in which our nation is heading, we may as well scrub this from the Statue of Liberty or, better yet, replace the whole thing with a large border agent with a clipboard that says "Just Go Home."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Circle of Life

Here's a cartoon that appeared in the local paper over the weekend. It made me laugh because this is pretty much the circular progression of outrage.

It's interesting that people can be against everything and for nothing in this world, especially when they are considering the government. The cartoon is a perfect representation of this. It only takes a catastrophe to turn people's heads around. No one has steadfast beliefs anymore, just beliefs that fit the current climate. When there's a financial collapse, people blame government regulation and call for a smaller government. Then, when there's a problem due to deregulation, people blame government incompetence and call for the government to fix the problem. It astounds me that the people caught in this hypocrisy don't seem to see it.

I have my own beliefs about government involvement, and so does everybody else. I don't mind if people think the government needs to be reined in - it certainly does in some cases. I also don't have a problem with people who believe that the government should be acting in the best interests of [insert group here]. Those who believe this often are part of that group or benefit from that group's success. What really irritates me are the people who are simply oppositional, going so far as taking contradictory views on issues so that they can point all the fingers they possibly can.

A great example is the health care system. I read a letter that was posted a while back in which the author says "Oh, and before you say “but Medicare is a shambles,” just stop. It’s not. It’s just underfunded. Thank you, Bush tax cuts." Because Bush cut gov't spending to medicare, it wasn't able to keep everyone well cared for that it had on the rolls. Now, people are complaining that the health care system in this country doesn't work when they supported the tax cuts that made it so helpless. They criticize the government for its inability to care for citizen's and say that private insurance is the answer.

The problem is that private insurance doesn't work when there are no regulations to control the costs of that insurance. If people are pushed into private insurance, it means that the government is being dangerously downsized, and will no longer have the power to regulate the insurance industry. If anyone needs a reminder of what happens when deregulation in the private sector big business arena occurs, remember the housing crisis. If you want a specific example in regards to health care, watch Sicko.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Science and the Bible

My fiance recently signed up to receive a magazine that is circulated by the Institute of Creation Research (ICR). The ICR is a program that uses science-based investigation to prove the story of the Bible and disprove other recent science. The most recent magazine was wholly devoted to the theory of evolution and how many scientists no longer believe this theory. The magazine used biblical and "scientific" evidence to prove why modern evolutionary theory is not plausible.

Now, I am a Christian, and I believe in evolution. Mostly, I believe that science has a lot to offer on how the world works, its natural laws, and can help us discover the deepest secrets of our physical world. However, it can only tell us "how?", not "why?". "Why" is where religion comes in. I do not believe that the world was created in six days, or that God made all the creatures of the earth, as they are now, at the beginning some 6,000 years ago.

The laws and theories that are put forth by science serve to teach us how God created the world. It shows us that we are not the only creatures to ever inhabit this planet, and that our existence here is somewhat ephemeral when compared to the life of the Earth. Should that truth serve to break the story of the Bible? No.

Since it was put down into words, the Bible has been a source of emotional support, spiritual guidance, and religious direction and education. However, it was never meant to be taken literally. In fact, it is a much richer and deeper text when viewed in a metaphorical or metaphysical perspective. In the book God has a Dream by Desmond Tutu, the author explains that the Bible is inspired by God but written in the hand of man. As imperfect beings, we cannot be expected to perfectly express the Word of God when writing it out. If we could accurately determine the word, we would have no use for the Bible. This is the explanation for such contradictions as have lent their words to the anti-gay and anti-semitic movements. These are views that were held by those men who wrote the first words, and that were placed in the Bible to express those views and make them part of God's command.

As evidence, consider the wording in Leviticus that speaks out against homosexuality. The second phrase in this verse states "God hates that." How do the writers no this? In a portion of the Bible that lays down the more than 600 laws of the old covenant, this is the only time that God is spoken of as hating something. Other sections where people are called not to do something, it is merely written "do not do this." Here instead we see a stab at justification. After this point, any other references can be seen as a redirection to this law which seems to me to be manufactured by man.

Science is simply too young to understand that what they present is only a part of the whole. It is important to embrace the discoveries of science as evidence of an intelligent design and a natural order of the world. The first scientists (Newton, Hooke, etc.) were convinced that their work would lead them to a better understanding of God. Why can we not take the same view?

A few links for today

Here's a link for some rather funny political cartoons. The "Inconvenient Truth" one in particular made me chuckle. Enjoy!

Oh, and a brief editorial from the Huffington Post. I like this short bit since it outlines the basic problem with the neo-conservative approach to this administration, and the oil spill crisis in particular. They either don't realize or don't care that they are screaming about two contradictory views. They can't demand a smaller, less intrusive government, and then expect the government to pick up after a major corporation. Furthermore, they can't rail against the government paying for the clean up and then vote against raising the limit on how much money a company needs to dish out to fix its mistakes.