Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Craziness is Coming

There are a lot of stories coming up today, so instead of posting a full note on each, I'm condensing to one long post, and entrusting you can read the articles for more info.

1) According to a new report, America will need to spend about $1 trillion over the next 25 years to improve and repair our water system. That's a pretty hefty chunk of change, even if it's spread out over the course of decade or two. Like most infrastructure investment, it's been placed on the back burner by the GOP as Washington tries to handle it's "debt crisis." But like most infrastructure jobs, repairing water mains and lines could be a huge boon to the economy through job creation. And the great thing about it is, it's needed just about everywhere. The government could easily funnel money into projects that are targeted to high-unemployment areas to alleviate the economic pressures there. Jobs would go to where they were most needed, it would get people up and working again, and start the economy going in the right direction. And it's not just water, but roads, bridges, and especially the power grid.

But as I had a friend point out, our utilities are largely owned by private, for-profit companies. These companies have allowed their systems to fall apart while continuing to jack up prices on their services. In my home state, an out-of-area company recently purchased one of our main power supply companies. Immediately, they attempted to sell it since the companies power station was about to lose it's license. The fact that businesses like this will play financial games with people's power, water, and other services is very distressing to me. Either utilities for the public should be owned by the public (i.e. government), or the government should have more direct control over how they're run.

2) The Dems are attempting to trap the GOP in the senate with their own policies by agreeing to vote on a transportation bill that has an added amendment to allow any employer to deny health coverage on moral grounds. This idea has been thrown around ever since Obama's mandate required all employers (even religious ones) to cover contraception for their employees. Neglecting to point out that over 25 states already have legislation that requires this, the GOP started attacking the position, and then tried to go a step further by saying that any employer, religious or secular, should have the ability to deny a health care service if it went against their morals. There are, of course, a lot of problems with this surrounding reasonable restrictions to the law. For example, what's to stop an employer from covering any procedure they want in order to save money, simply by saying it goes against their personal beliefs? The issue that arises is that there is no way to legislate or dictate a person's morality. There is no way to prove or disprove a person's convictions, and so it becomes a legal nightmare to prove that someone acted out of fiscal concern rather than moral concern. And there's no limit to what can be denied, either. It could be extended to cover anything that is normally guaranteed under a companies health plan.

3) The birther movement may be a bad joke to most Americans, but one man is redefining the debate in a decidedly discriminatory light. According to the article, Mr. Warren seems to think that any person that is not a white male can be in public office. This is based on his literal interpretation of the original constitution without all those pesky amendments that came later and guaranteed rights for millions in the female and minority categories. And unfortunately, he's not alone in his thinking. Racism is not dead in this country, unfortunately, and it seems to me that a politician, regardless of race, should be able to stand on their principles and not their pigmentation.

4) And now for the irony/hypocrisy stories. There are a few. First of all, Republicans are lambasting a proposed energy source that they used to support because Obama now supports it. Big surprise. Since fossil fuels will not be around forever, I thought it would make sense to invest in new, renewable energy now, mostly so we could be at the forefront of future technology and bring ourselves a huge economic boom by selling that technology to other nations. Oh well.

National Review Online has a post that attacks Liberals for a tactic that was not only used by the GOP in the 2008 election, but was originally proposed by Limbaugh. The post tries desperately to make a distinction between the two ideas, which is futile since they're exactly the same. It concludes that the liberal plan is bad because it was orchestrated by liberals, a clearly unbiased notion.

The CEO of JPMorgan Chase has complained that members of the media make too much money. This coming from a man who made about $23 million last year, gives millions of dollars in bonuses to his employees anually, and targeting a group who's average income is 40K a year. It's an astounding assertion for Mr. Dimon to make, and one I'm sure many Americans would disagree with him on. After all, reporters didn't cause a financial crisis, receive a bailout, or trade in risky securities that caused financial ruin for millions. No, I think most people are on the side of the media for this one.

And finally, Mr. Glenn Beck is continuing his campaign against ESPN for firing two employees who made vaguely racist remarks about Jeremy Lin, the newest hotshot for the Knicks. I'm not a basketball fan, and have not taken part in the "lin-sanity" that has apparently been going around, so I wouldn't have picked this story as being interesting. But something caught my eye, and I couldn't figure out if it was purposeful or accidentally hypocritical. The premise of Mr. Beck's argument is that ESPN acted too rashly to comments that were made out of innocence and that were not intended to be racist. While he is complaining about how we should be less sympathetic to minorities, he is sitting in front of a screen depicting the head of a Native American in full headdress. Not sure if this is hypocritical, or merely ironic, but the fact that Glenn picked that particular image for his screensaver I think symbolizes his inability to understand why people would find such images and phrases offensive in their context.

Wait, just found another one. This one speaks for itself.

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