Category Archives: Politics and culture

Trayvon Martin and the Fresh Prince

The continuing national media attention to the George Zimmerman trial is an example of America’s obsession with race.  In addition, we found out today that the Justice Department’s “Peacemakers” were deployed to Florida to “quell racial tensions” whatever that means.  Perhaps the most insightful thing I’ve heard came from Rose Tennent, guest host of the Sean Hannity show.  She said that the entire matter – the shooting through the trial – would be at most a local headline if not for the particular racial circumstances: that George Zimmerman is light-skinned and Trayvon Martin was black.

carltonHowever, there is one thing I still don’t understand.  What did Obama mean when he said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”?  I think the President’s son would look more like Carlton.

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War on Science

Consider these stories on fracking: Vermont Bans, City Council Pushes Ban, Hollywood Blowhards.  Are these examples of the Left’s “War on Science”?

Hollywood Blowhard

Hollywood Blowhard

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It’s That Guy!

Google, “Why is gas more expensive in Europe?”  I never expect a complete answer by googling, but it is a quick and dirty way to begin to answer a question.  Plus, the answers you get tend to be amusing.  Consider this, from “It’s That Guy”:

Europeans realize the real cost of gasoline is more than its cost at the pump, so they have always put heavy taxes on it. This encourages less use, smaller cars, more use of public transportation. Part of this is that no European country (except Finland) produces its own gas so it was always an imported item.

In the US we wanted to -encourage- people to use gas. Our two most powerful industries were cars and gas, and road building was up there in the top 10 at one point. And for the first 100 years or so the great majority of our oil was from right here. So we never taxed gas or energy as much. Now that we are importing most of our energy and oil is $100/barrel, we should consider raising taxes on gas to get people to consider smaller cars and more public transportation and other alternatives.

Also, when you talk about the price we pay for gas, you have to include a big expensive war in the Gulf every 10 years.

What an amazing grasp of economics and history!  I especially enjoyed the part about a big expensive war in the Gulf every ten years.  It seems it’s about time for another one.

Now, consider the last answer on the page:

Taxes

This answer is no more or less helpful than the answer given by “It’s That Guy”, but it certainly is without the smug self-righteousness.

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The Not So New Opiate of the Masses

It is remarkable how Government has replaced religion in this country for many people.  People rely upon Government for what they used to rely upon God and their churches, and Government provides!  But I want to write about how political discussions and theses have become tinged with religious overtones.

I first noticed this in a response to a discussion I was giving about lower taxes.  The response, “What Would Jesus Do?”, perturbed me.  I understood the point of the response: that Jesus commands his followers to obey the laws of the land.  I replied, “I’m not a tax cheat!”, as most people who advocate for lower taxes are not tax cheats.  Wanting higher taxes, higher government spending, and so forth does not make one a Godly person.  In fact, God rules the hearts and minds of man, and this is quite independent of the tax rate and which political party is in charge.

Recently, I read an article about how Mitt Romney had made his tax liability zero for years, using a legal loophole in the tax code.  The article was obviously written from the annoyingly simplistic “Pay Your Fair Share” viewpoint.  The author had even used the term “Tax Evasion” to criminalize Romney’s legal avoidance of taxes.  In a discussion about this article, the word “wrong” was used to describe the avoidance of taxes by a rich guy.  And then “wrong” became “unethical”.  But then “unethical” unbelievably became immoral: It is “moral” for one to sort of maximize his tax liability.  Morality is from God.  Do not confuse the morality of giving freely to those in need, as modeled by Jesus, with “giving” taxes to the Government under coercion!

There it is.  Government has replaced religion for many people, as seen in how Government and taxation is described in religious terms.  This would be a little funny if the implications and possibilities were not so frightening: generations growing up not knowing God but worshipping Government instead.  But that last part is likely an exaggeration.  Maybe it’s just sad.

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Citizen Journalist!

I had some extra time today, so I meandered over to the Oxnard Chic-fil-a.  Let me share what I saw.

Line outside Chic-fil-a; cars waiting at the drive-thru

I spent some time simply entering the parking lot and navigating to a parking space.  At 1:40 this afternoon, there were about 100 people lined up outside the doors; 25 cars were lined up at the drive-thru.  Hand-held American flags were prominently displayed by some of the would-be patrons waiting outside.  There were no picket signs or cries of protest, just people waiting to eat and talking amongst themselves.  I did notice a “I Don’t Believe the Liberal Media,” bumper sticker, but this was the only “controversial” item I saw amongst the crowd.

There were a few curious people like myself snapping pictures, mostly with smart phones, although one fellow had a tripod.  I did engage in one editorial.  A man with a smart phone engaged me with a short statement about how Chic-fil-a has a right to their beliefs and the freedom to express them.  I agreed, but I told him that I wasn’t interested in waiting in the hour-long line to eat there today.  I had already eaten.

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Rush to Judgement

The beating death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of the Fullerton, CA, police has made national headlines.  I am generally skeptical about abuse of force claims made against law enforcement, but I judged that, in this case, the police had overstepped their bounds and murdered this man.

Then I saw a report on the local Los Angeles news about how the dad of one of the policemen charged in the death of Kelly Thomas is fighting for justice for HIS son, just as Kelly Thomas’ dad fights for justice.  This struck me: two dads, one on either side, each with something to lose, and each without anything to gain.  I believe that the policemen involved should and will be punished; even if they acted wholly within the law, they still contributed to a man’s death.  But should the policemen bear 100% of the responsibility simply because of the horrific and irreversible outcome: the death of Kelly Thomas?

Why do people rush to judgement in cases like the above?  Is it because of the contrast in the groups of people involved?  Kelly Thomas was a mentally disturbed homeless man against professional law enforcement personnel.  The fact that there is video of the beating has fueled the mob.  People have called for the heads of everyone from the mayor of Fullerton to the policemen involved in this case.  But the above report showed that there are two credible sides to this case.  Justice will be decided in this case, as in all cases, by the facts, by a jury, and by a judge, and not by the emotional outpouring of a mob.

The death of Trayvon Martin is a similar case because of the contrast in groups of people involved and the rush to judgement by many people.  This case pits the light-skinned,  Neighborhood Watch Leader George Zimmerman against the black, hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin; everyone from the president to the district attorney has rushed to judge George Zimmerman as a reckless vigilante.  George Zimmerman has given his side of the story in an hour-long interview with Sean Hannity.  However, most who have rushed to judgement will continue to believe misleading and inaccurate secondhand reports about the case, rather than Zimmerman’s own words.

If I put my hope in any of this country’s institutions, it is the justice system.  I’m comforted by the fact that justice is carried out even-handedly, rather than quickly but punitively and mercilessly.

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A Starting Point for the Gay Rights Debate

The gay rights debate, and in particular the gay marriage debate, is irritating.  The reason is that the two sides have no common starting point for their debate.

I believe that God created Adam and Eve, man and woman,  and that this is the basis for intimate relationships in society.  God created Eve specifically for Adam: this relationship was unique.  Marriage is the unique relationship between a man and a woman and between them and God.  Marriage is modeled upon the relationship between Adam and Eve and between them and God.   I do not believe that a society, under God, should condone and legitimize intimate, sexual relationships between two men or two women in the context of marriage.

Choice is a popular argument: that homosexuality is not a choice.  I accept the words of my gay friends when they say that they feel attracted to others of the same sex.  I believe the science that shows people have proclivities toward certain behaviors.  Genetics, in part, determines who we are, or maybe who we can become.  But this is a slippery argument.  Genetic science has shown that humans are prone to all sorts of behaviors, and those behaviors manifest who we are.

Those of us against gay marriage are frequently portrayed as bigots and likened to racists.  When I interact with a person, I cannot see his sexuality.  In fact, I couldn’t care less about that.  I am concerned about how I will treat him, how he will treat me, what we can learn from each other or enjoy together, etc…  In fact, often a pro-gay marriage person will point out how gay another is based upon the way he speaks or carries himself.   This IS prejudiced.

Finally, I ask why our government regulates, and sometimes encourages, marriage.  In my opinion, it is because We the People recognized that marriage as defined above, and family which derives from marriage, is a cornerstone of a thriving society.  Perhaps our government should not regulate such a thing.  But please do not tell me that my beliefs as described above are hateful, or that I do not have a right to express these beliefs through our democratic process.

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