Posts belonging to Category Politics

Not Seeing The Advantage of Waiting

So it appears that the digital TV transition will move to June 12th from February 17th.  The primary reason given is that millions of people aren’t ready and will lose their TV service if the switch is made on the original schedule.  Frankly, I’m not sure what, if any, difference waiting will make.  If people haven’t arsed themselves to get ready by now they most likely won’t do anything between now and June 12th, either.  Even if we were to delay another year there will be a large number of people who aren’t ready. 

If we have to switch, then let’s just get it done and let the chips fall where they may.  Loss of signal is the only thing that will actually get the procrastinators motivated.  Those of us who paid attention have been ready for a while*.

* Most of my TV programming is delivered via Verizon FiOS, which handles everything for me.  I have one OTA TV in the kitchen, for which I bought a converter when they first became available.

Eminent Domain

There’s a good opinion piece in today’s Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on the subject of eminent domain.  I’ve written a little about this topic before.  First, when the Cowboys and the City of Arlington grabbed private land for the new stadium, and again when the City of Keller took land from a developer for flood control (after apparently creating the problem by directing the water onto the developer’s land!).

As some of you may know, Governor Perry has come out in favor of a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of Texas property owners in eminent domain cases.  But, given his past support for the Trans-Texas Corridor (supposedly dead now, but probably really just awaiting a name change), I wonder just how far he’s willing to go in protecting our rights.  The law he signed during the last session didn’t really protect much. 

Given that, I have to agree with Roy Shockey on what a constitutional amendment should address:

An amendment to the Texas Constitution should plug loopholes, answer questions and protect the rights of Texas property owners. But if we’re going to amend the constitution, let’s get it right.

Let’s clearly define what is meant by the term public use and spell it out in writing.

Let’s eliminate the “blight” exception that enables the wealthiest to prey on those who have the least.

Let’s establish guidelines for compensation whenever property is seized for legitimate public use under the new statute.

Let’s address the issue of diminished access so our retained property values and access will be protected.

Let’s put the burden of proof in “public use and necessity” disputes on the back of government instead of where it is now — on the shoulders of private citizens whose property is being targeted.

The only thing I would add is a provision for punishment of any local or state official who participates in any type of scheme to deprive any citizen of his or her land for a private interest.  I think hanging them from lamp posts by their own entrails should be sufficient, but then I’m not know for being subtle or sympathetic towards thieves.

Just for the record I should inform you that I know Roy Shockey from the Keller Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association (KCPAAA). 

Opposition You Can Believe In

I saw coverage of Obama on TV last night at a rally saying that it’s time to move past the election and for everyone to come together (or at least that’s what I came away with; I couldn’t give you his remarks verbatim).  Aside from being enraged that he thinks he’s won this thing already, I was grimly amused about his naive optimism.

Has he been smoking those unicorn farts again?  Does he really think that people like me are going to support a Marxist like him?  Does he have no memory of the Clinton years?

First, I am gravely concerned about the legitimacy of this election, given the antics of ACORN and their enablers.  And I’m not alone.

But more importantly, I cannot in good conscience support his proposed policies. In fact, they are diametrically opposed to my core beliefs.

Should he win, I haven’t figured out exactly how I will go about opposing Obama, his policies, and his administration.  But you can take it to the bank that I’m not going to ‘join together’ with a dammed socialist or anyone aligned with one.

Early Voting

I went to Keller Town Hall to vote early the other day.  I got there about 5:15 and there was a short line to get into the room.  But the line moved quickly and once I was in it didn’t take long.  But I should note that they had two stations set up for registering people and giving them access codes to the voting machines and they had about 20 voting machines.

I generally don’t like voting on the Etch-a-sketch, but I thought I’d get it out of the way early this year.

Bad Form

Despite the Do Not Call registry, I’ve noticed a significant rise in telemarketing calls of late.  I’m also seeing spoofed Caller ID info and lots of drive-by robo-calls.  Because of all this it’s reached the point where I rarely answer the phone anymore.  If I don’t recognize the number I generally don’t answer. 

However, for a subset of the more annoyingly persistent callers, I sometimes answer just to see who the heck they are and to tell them to get lost.  Today’s contestant was someone who had been calling two to three times a day for the past three or four days with obviously faked caller ID data (it showed “SUN LOAN COMPAN” 1-999-999-9999).  So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a call from the McCain campaign!

I told the caller that it looks bad for the campaign to be using fraudulent caller ID data and the lady got kind of defensive and wanted to argue about it.  Rather than argue I just told her that while I supported the campaign (hell, I just gave money this morning!) she should put me on the do not call list.

Truly bad form all around.

The Obligatory Presidential Election Post

After weighing my choices as to whether to sit out the presidential vote or not, I’ve decided that for the first time since 1992 I am going to vote for the Democrat on the ticket.

Some of you may be gasping right now.  That’s OK.  It took me a while to come around to the decision to vote for McCain.  Oh…. you thought I was talking about Obama?  Heh.  He never had even a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d vote for him.  Now I’m not being completely facetious when I call McCain a Democrat.  He sounds a lot like the Democrat party of 20 or 30 years ago.  Not the quasi-socialist fringe leftists we are faced with today.  So it’s not so much that I fully support McCain but that I cannot sit by and allow Obama to gain access to the Presidency.  That way lies madness.

I’m not sure there’s a single policy of Obama’s that I agree with (or that doesn’t have me yelling expletives whenever I hear it), but of all his quasi-socialist baggage, it’s his anti-freedom, anti-gun stance that I find the most offensive.  Of course, Obama has been careful to try to work around his history on this, with weaselly statements about how he’s not going to take your ‘hunting guns.’  Which is double-speak for the fact that he is coming after everything else. 

I’ve noticed that both he and his supporters are quick to change the subject when guns come up.  I’ve been particularly fond of their tactic of insinuating that it’s stupid to care about guns when the economy is in such bad shape (Oh, but Obama supports the Second Amendment…. hey look… it’s a bank collapsing!).  But I use the issue of the right to keep and bear arms as the primary test of how a candidate views his fellow citizens, and whether he thinks them capable of any semblance of self-governance.  Only after he or she passes that test do I then consider all of the other issues. 

When anyone asks why I place so much emphasis on the right to keep and bear arms, I always end up referring back to an old essay by L. Neil Smith, entitled Why Did it Have to be … Guns?:

Over the past 30 years, I’ve been paid to write almost two million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, I’ve thought about the issue a lot, and it has always determined the way I vote.

People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single- issue thinker, and a single- issue voter, but it isn’t true. What I’ve chosen, in a world where there’s never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician—or political philosophy—is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.

Make no mistake: all politicians—even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership—hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because it’s an X-ray machine. It’s a Vulcan mind-meld. It’s the ultimate test to which any politician—or political philosophy—can be put.  (Emphasis added)

So, of the choices available to me, I’ve decided to take Mr. Squishy Loophole over Mr. Evil Ban-it-all.  It was really the only choice someone like me could make.  So, given that, I will make my one and only political call-to-action of the season:  If you’re a gun owner, or you believe in freedom, and you vote for Obama, you are essentially cutting your own throat.  Don’t come crying to me in the middle of an Obama administration when he gets another AWB passed, or finds a way to hamper or encumber concealed carry across the country to the point where it’s practically useless.  I’m not going to exhort you to go join a campaign or to join a party or to do canvassing or phone banking.  I’m not a joiner and I’m not going there.  But whatever you do, don’t vote for evil.  No matter how smooth, slick, and enticing it may be.

2008 Election Rundown

I’m going to revive something I did for the 2006 general election and list all the candidates running in the current election along with links to their websites (if available). This list is based on the Tarrant County generic sample ballot, customized for my own districts and leaving out all uncontested races.

My method for finding websites was to enter the candidate’s name in Google and scan the first page for a result. If nothing looked likely (i.e. the candidate has a very common name), I added the title of the office being sought to the query and tried again. For incumbents without a campaign page I linked to their “official” bio, if one was available.

To find your own districts, look on your Voter Registration card that you should have received in the mail. If you registered recently and don’t have a card, you can look up your registration online via the Tarrant County Voter Lookup application.

A Bit of Common Sense

It’s good to see someone finally come out and say that setting the drinking age at 21 is a bad idea that’s causing more harm than good.  The Amethyst Initiative is hoping to stir up some real discussion on the topic:

Launched in July 2008, the Amethyst Initiative is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States.  These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the 21 year-old drinking age is not working, and, specifically, that it has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking on their campuses.

For one thing, it seems silly to me to have different ages of ‘majority’ for different things, and I think that the majority of 18-21 year olds would probably agree.  And since they think this way, the majority of them seem intent on circumventing the law and drinking anyway.  So what we end up with is generations of young people who think little of ignoring a law.  Ultimately this corrodes the public’s respect for all laws. 

Of course, just lowering the age to 18 isn’t going to completely stop binge drinking and other stupid behaviors.  What we also need to do is to exercise some common sense and remind parents to teach their children how to drink responsibly.  The idea that children should never touch a drop of alcohol until they reach a ‘magical age’ is silly.  You wouldn’t give a car to an untrained teenager just because he or she turned 16, and likewise we shouldn’t just be sending 18 or 21 year olds out into the world without any experience with responsible alcohol consumption.  In this one instance I am willing to concede that Europe does this better than we do.  A beer shandy or a small glass of wine isn’t going to stunt the growth of a young teenager and it lets the child take part in an adult activity in a responsible way.

Anyhow, I must admit that I’m not perfectly partial when it comes to the drinking age.  I was about 16 when the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21.  While I wasn’t that interested in drinking per-se, I was furious that I’d followed all the rules and was being punished for the transgressions of others.  It left me with nothing but contempt for all involved, and I immediately set about disobeying the new law.  In fact, I drank more between 18 and 21 than I did after I turned 21.  I suspect this isn’t what the idiots at MADD had in mind when they pushed the higher drinking age. 

A Note To Advocates of Illegal Immigration

You should carefully consider the implications of your associations, which means you might not want to plan your protests for “May Day,” since it’s one of the primary holidays of communism.

I despise communism and anyone who believes in it.  It’s an evil ideology which claimed over 100-million victims in the 20th century.  There is nothing noble or good about communism.

Completely Unsuitable

It’s this sort of thing that tells me that John McCain is unsuitable to be President of the United States.  It’s something I’d expect from Clinton or Obama, but not from a supposed Republican. 

Perhaps the LawDog has the right idea.  Forget the “lesser” evil and go for broke: