Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quick Hits for August 20, 2009

* Rush Limbaugh apparently indicted Barney Frank's arguments by referencing his homosexuality. Maybe it is me, but if we are looking at credibility based on behaviors alone, I will take the credibility of a homosexual over a drug addict any time. At some point, maybe he should take on Frank's arguments instead of his sexuality. And considering the argument was Frank taking on someone calling President Obama's health care reform plan as a Nazi plan implying the whole death panel garbage again, I probably side with Frank: The Nazi reference is just way over the top. Maybe she should have shouted it louder and carried a gun on her back. Or not. Bad argument is just bad argument.

* I was listening to a "best of Laura Ingram" while driving this evening and it reminded me why I think PETA has a legitimate argument to an extent, and why PETA also shows how taking yourself too far can make you look utterly idiotic. IT IS TRUE that eating less meat is better for maintaining our food chain, preserving resources, and improving our health. IT IS TRUE that abuses at slaughter houses are bad, mainly because it is unnecessary abuse, studies indicate abuse of animals may lead to violence against humans, and it shows emotional unprofessionalism that should hint at other potential problems for running a meat farm.

Having said that, expecting people to give up eating all meat eating is unrealistic and over the top. Proclaiming a protection of all living things while eating vegetables which are alive (yes, plants are alive) is contradictory and selective views of what is alive at best. Expecting people to let all the animals run wild probably gets them killed just as fast considering how domesticated they are. They take a reasonable argument about limiting meat and properly regulating facilities, and jump the shark making themselves sound like nutcases.

* I gotta give it to Chris Matthews tonight. While I don't agree with his gun views, when he was interviewing a 2nd Amendment extremist, he pulled a Laura Ingram and asked him his views on the "birther" controversy. The man's refusal to answer said it all, leaving himself left to look like a birther nutcase, and done by his own choosing. There are legitimate Second Amendment issues, but there are also limits as was written by Scalia in a majority opinion last year. The Second Amendment is not unlimited, just as the First Amendment is not. You don't have a right to own a rocket launcher.

Don't be mistaken about my gun views. I am not a gun control guy generally speaking, but I don't think they belong at a political rally because it is an attempt to intimidate people because you can't debate the argument. Things that create a "chilling effect" should not be allowed at these kinds of events. Not because it is illegal, but because event organizers choose to not let them in for being counterproductive to the purpose of the event.

* Republican pundits should be careful about their pushing of buttons and prodding their followers with views that President Obama isn't an American, that he is pushing for "Death Panels," pushing the race buttons very subtly, and the gun buttons. All it takes is for one nutcase to take it too far (which isn't a major leap at all), and we will have President Biden and his entire agenda will pass within 12 months similar to the way President Kennedy's agenda was passed. The assassination of President Obama by just one of these "nuts" would sink the right for at least a decade to come and put them back farther than FDR ever could have.

* Maybe the easiest option for the health care debate is to simply create a Medicare buy in, whereby Medicare's services are priced on the open market, then cut based on the lack of advertising and profit margin, and it creates a premium. In the workforce, an employer pays about 2/3 of the costs and the employee pays about 1/3 the cost. Create the same pricing with people being able to buy in to Medicare at a 1/3 premium and take the rest of it out of the Pelosi museums, the roads to no where, the Defense pork, etc. It is incredibly simple to create and run with the framework already there. If it is horrible, it will be a boom to private insurance. If it does well, then it is an incentive to private companies to get it in gear. But it won't happen because it is too obvious and easy; and because about 1/2 of Congress has their hand in the medical industry cookie jar.

* I keep feeling embarrassed for Republicans as I hear them saying the "stimulus failed". Whether it succeeded or failed is really yet to be determined. As any economist will tell you, that kind of stimulus will take nine to fifteen months to filter through the economy and show its ripples. To realistically evaluate it now, five months later, may be politically fun for pundits, but it shows a real lack of understanding of economics and risks their own credibility on the topic.

* I miss the days of Robert Novak, Ronald Reagan, and other intellectual Republicans that understood an underlying philosophy and how the world worked within it. They weren't simply talking points, but actually had a view of the world and could envision it. Today's conservatives can't envision their worldview, they can only recite the talking points that Rush or Hannity gave them this morning. They don't know what they are working towards like Reagan did. It makes me sad, because there actually was a sound philosophy behind it, even if I didn't agree with it all. Too bad today it is "just deny the Dems and vote Republican."

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