Thursday, March 8, 2012

News of the Day

Once again, there's a lot going on, and I don't feel like writing a full post for each of these, so here's a list of the interesting bits of news floating around this morning.

1) A new report shows that the number of hate groups in the US has risen sharply over last year. These are not just organizations that speak out against particular groups, but organizations that plan and attempt to carry out more direct operations, such as rallies, handing out fliers, and/or violent acts. It's concerning to think that our nation is growing in the number of groups of militaristic extremists. These are groups on both the Left and Right that have a profound hatred of government or of particular groups of people. Unfortunately, it seems to be a historical trend in America to attract and foster people who view the world with distrust and hate.

2) Continuing their march towards a state of complete insanity, the Arizona state legislature recently passed a bill that would allow gun owners to carry loaded firearms onto school property. Proponents of the bill say that this is for convenience, since gun owners currently have to leave their firearms in their cars and park off school grounds when going to school functions or dropping their children off. Of course, a better solution might just be to leave their guns at home, but that thought never seemed to cross the mind of legislators as they drove this bill through the House. The bill would allow anyone to carry loaded weapons on school grounds, which is a surprising move considering the recent gun violence that seems to be escalating around America. While this bill is said to protect people's Second Amendment rights, I would like to know where those rights end. After all, Rights must have reasonable restrictions, otherwise they are the instigators of chaos. We don't allow the mentally ill or certain convicts to purchase and own guns. We don't allow people of a certain age to have gun permits. Common sense and safety need to be considered, but neither seems to have a place in the AZ bill.

3) Recently, once again, Paul Ryan has criticized a plan put forth help balance the budget because it calls for tax hikes. However, this is an interesting case because the business lobby in Washington has put its support behind this bill. While Ryan likes to say that tax hikes would harm job creation and the economy, business owners themselves are debunking this myth by endorsing a plan that would raise their taxes. While the bill proposed is not likely to pass, and has a lot of things in it that are not popular on either side, the fact that the GOP mouthpiece still attacks it in the name of businesses that endorse it should be telling.

4) Also in the realm of education, ignorance has won out over common sense in Utah. the Utah state legislature has passed a bill that cuts sex education classes in public schools and restricts teacher's from discussing homosexuality even if they are asked about it by a student. The proponents of the bill say that this is to ensure that sexual information meets the ethical and moral standards of each student's family, and that the public school should have no place in teaching anything except abstinence-only programs. While statistics and history have shown that abstinence-only education leads to higher rates of teen pregnancy, this fact was conveniently ignored by the legislature.

5) Just to prove how crazy investors on Wall St. have become, this is what they did just the other day in response to a story that wasn't a story at all. It amazes me that our financial institutions are so mindless that they would heed three disjointed words as truth and simply jump at the chance to start investing.

6) Finally, more proof that young college grads are in a very bad position at the moment. With few exceptions, most recent grads have found they're making less, if anything, and now have the additional burden of loans to pay off. The whole economy is suffering, and these guys are in the unfortunate position of having the least experience in their fields. It's really too bad that a college education doesn't open any doors anymore. Hopefully, things will get better and we'll see stronger job growth going into construction season, and the elections.

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