Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wonderful book!

Folks, I finished this wonderful book called 'Nickel and Dimed' by Barbara Ehrenreich. This is an eye-opening book on the nature of low-wage work in the US. It really brings into focus the need to improve wage levels in this country. I give it two thumbs up, even if I disagree with the author on some aspects like drug testing, etc (sure, it may be a violation of your freedom, but I aint gonna here no dopey if I have a business!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's all about Reading and Riting!

Folks, I've gotten at least one reader (who I can identify!) who disagrees with my suggestion that Bush wins on education. Her credentials are far better than mine ... being an education major working with schools and the like. Nevertheless, I thought I'd present my view of why I prefer Bush's approach (the catch phrase is 'prefer' ... I don't think either candidate is a star, but I think we've given up on stars among our pols!)

FIrst, my 2 cents on the 2 candidates' approaches to problems. Bush is an action-minded man ... not super smart but action is what he thrives on. (Dennis Miller, appearing on the Jay Leno show, commented that what he likes about Bush's war on terror is that he doesn't overthink this issue ... 'I think he just wakes up every morning, lands on his 2 feet, scratches his balls and says, "Let's kill some f**king terrorists')

What that means is that Bush is gonna get a good share of his decisions wrong. Some would argue the war in Iraq is an example, as are many others. He has no patience for being caught in nitty-gritty ... he's gonna change the system, damnit! But that is precisely why he will also make some stupendous changes to our systems. He won't accept status quo, and he won't accept sitting by a flawed system.

Kerry, on the other hand, is a tweaker. He understands complexity ... is far smarter ... yadar yadar ya. I suspect he will make the 'right' decision more often ... or rather avoid wrong decisions. But he isn't the type to reform systems. He'll tweak here and there, but stand by failed systems because it's more convenient and because major reform is beyond his cautious mindset.

Then, the issue comes down to which style you think is right ... there is no right answer ... just like stock investing styles. This is part of why I have not yet supported either candidate ... because what we truly need is a blend of the two.

OK, back to education! The reality is that Bush has increased education funding dramatically, but overall funding has probably reduced due to the budget crunch in many states. This is unfortunate, but it is a recession. But the real reason why I think Bush scores over Kerry is the recognition that our education system is in need of major repair, not tweaking ... the decision to impose standards of teaching ... and the voucher program.

The voucher program? That raises your eyebrows, I'm sure. Well, the single biggest cause for bankruptcy in the US is people buying houses they can't afford to be in the "good" school district. The voucher program will eliminate that! Also, I believe when taxpayers are funding education, they should have the choice of the fabric of their school. So, for example, a family who wants to send their kid to a Catholic or a Hindu or a Muslim school should not have to spend exclusively out of pocket, while their tax dollars apparently pay for their education. Needless to say, we need to have standards of performance for these schools, but this is not an impossible task.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Debate III - Conclusion

Schieffer was the clear winner, asking good questions and keeping the candidates disciplined and not allowing them to stretch on and additional rebuttal time.

Between the candidates, I think it was close, with Kerry marginally ahead. Bush just doesn't do well in these situations - he doesn't have the command of numbers and facts that is required in these situations.

On a side note, I think Kerry's gonna sleep on the couch. GOD, couldn't he think of something to say about Theresa. He sounded like he would have wanted Laura except for Theresa's money!

Debate III - Minority Issues

OH Bush is supposed to meet with the clowns at NAACP who compared him to Hitler and Saddam?

TIE - Kerry scores for being for diversity but not quotas; Bush wins for minority home ownership

Debate III - Assault Weapons Ban

OK Kerry, you don't look like a hunter, so quit trying to show off as some machismo! Kerry still wins because of Bush's complete lack of leadership on this issue! SHAME SHAME!!

Debate III - Foreign Policy

Oh George, stop that damn "global test" nonsense! Kerry fails though because there is the lingering question why he voted against the '90 Gulf War.

Debate III - Labor

Kerry fails for talk of raising the minimum wage - just not pragmatic in a global world.

Bush wins on the issue of education, even if he didn't address the issue of underfunding NCLB convincingly.

Debate III - Immigration

Both lose. Didn't hear one ounce worth of useful stuff. Great that you talk of illegal immigrants, but what about those who are here BY THE RULES!!!

What makes you think illegal immigrants will go back when their newfound legal visas end?

Debate III - Social Security

Kerry loses because he jumped to jobs and wants to put the social security issue till later.

Bush doesn't really win because he failed to refute Kerry's contention that privatization would bankrupt SS.

Debate III - Healthcare

Healthcare: Kerry wins. One big concern for me personally was government-run healthcare, but Kerry used the Blue Cross Blue Shield example effectively. I'm still sketchy what the limits are, but certainly he's boosted my confidence.

Debate III - Early Views

OK, here's my early opinion ...

Kerry - Doing well. Dishing out facts and numbers.
Bush - Hey, enough fluff ... where's the beef?
Schieffer - Kicking butt. The best show so far from a moderator. Like the question on whether homosexuality is a choice. Staying away from the chliched questions. EARLY WINNER!!

Bashing Free on the Air

First, let me say it's wonderful to be back in action. I passed my PhD quals and am now allowed to spend many more good years in pursuit of scholarly achievement.

OK, there's been a lot of angst over these guys at Sinclair Broadcasting Corp wanting to air an anti-Kerry documentary on the airwaves. Listen, this is OUR space, and we let these bozos use them for our benefit, and any partisan nonsense like this should be illegal! If the name Sinclair rings a bell, it's cos these idiots are the ones who refused to air the pictures of our fallen soldiers. This is truckloads of CRAP! We have soldiers dying out there, and we need to respect their sacrifice, irrespective of the political consequences.

On the same note, we need to question the logic of allowing biased political opinion on the free airwaves. I mean, I like Bill Moyers, but there is no way in hell he is non-partisan. He is a liberal ... one who is articulate and clear, but a liberal nevertheless. Should it be sold as a news program?

I think we should have programs such as NOW with Bill Moyers, but we do need a disclosure clause. After the stock market scandals, every newspaper publishes a disclaimer on the vested interests the analyst has in that stock ... we need a similar clause for news reporting ... XYZ has contributed $1,500 to the RNC/DNC, and has funded causes such as yadar yadar ya. Then people can figure out for themselves if they trust the "reporting".

Also, none of this "NEWS" nonsense. When you read a newspaper, in theory, you know what is NEWS and what is OP-ED. Same should go for TV stations!