Saturday, April 30, 2005

Private Accounts w/Social Security

Well, it seems that Bush has really taken on a huge challenge. Most people I know, hate change. Especially when it comes to our money or our future.

I agree with his plan, however, to add the option of private accounts in conjunction with Social Security. I think the idea of no longer referring to it as a Social Security bill but as a "Retirement" bill is perfect.

I had a conversation with a friend who thought that it wouldn't be a good idea because he didn't think that young people would be responsible enough to do it. I htink that since this has never been an issue, it hasn't been a part of our culture to think otherwise. I believe that "personal finance" classes would have to be added to our highschool and college curriculum. It would have to be mandatory. And, of course, the idea that participation in the program is solely voluntary, is perfect.

Why are the Democrats resisting this? I guess the answer is obvious. The polls are not supporting the idea. So, I guess they are doing the "political thing", waiting for the polls to support it then get with the program. I guess if it goes through, Democratic Presidential candidates for 2008 will claim that they "voted against it before they voted for it."

Bush definitely works hard. I think his job is thankless sometimes. I'm not sure most Americans realize how hard he works to get these things done. Granted, I don't support everything he does, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see he works his butt off.

I hope America appreciates this.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Dean on target about Schiavo case

I recently read a report on (link below) where Howard Dean stated that the Schiavo case " going to be an issue in 2006, and its going to be an issue in 2008 because we're going to have an ad with a picture of (House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?"

I am very concerned about how invasive the Republican party was with that issue and it was a clear indication to me that they really believe it is their place to interfere in private lives.

What was most disappointing to me was Tracey Schmitt's response: "It's disturbing that Howard Dean would plot to use the life of Terri Schiavo for political gain. This demonstrates a troubling lack of sensitivity and one would hope that Democrat leaders in Congress would reject such a strategy" I think that she is wrong and that Dean is showing a really good example of the distance the GOP is willing to go to control our private lives. It's very very important. And what's worse, is that by getting involved as they did, they made the Schiavo a case a hot potato that no judge wanted to touch. They doomed it to failure by getting involved.

But here it gets a little worse when she says: "The American people expect their leaders to provide solutions and principled leadership rather than overt partisan politicking." I think that their involvement in the Schiavo case was very much politically driven to satisfy the Religious Right. So, I think that the pot is calling the kettle black, here.

The Republicans are now in the position of having to prove that they know where the line is and that they won't try to violate the boundary, because from here, it doesn't look like they get it just yet.

I'm a swing voter that traditionally votes Republican but even this is enough to drive me to vote for a Democrat.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Michael Jackson - Continuing Saga

My exposure to the Michael Jackson trial has been limited to the bits and pieces I read from CNN and other online news reports. I'm really of the opinion that in this case he is innocent. I think that Michael Jackson has used bad judgement in the way that he has portrayed himself and his interaction with young people, but I do not believe that he sexually violated this boy.

First of all, it's all too bizarre. The thing about pedaphiles is that they blend. They don't stand out like a sore thumb for the entire world to see. They are the very people in one's life that one would least suspect of thier actions.

The prosecution is banking on the "freaky" image that Michael Jackson has to propell thier case. They are hoping that people will equate "freaky" with "child molester".

I'm not buying it.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Joseph Cambpell

Wow! What a discovery.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I am an atheist. Up until this point, I couldn't put my finger on what impact this had on my life as opposed to others who believe in a god or gods. Some would say that I lack a meaning to my life; but that isn't it. I don't ask myself the meaning of life.

I am only beginning to read this book, The Importance of Mythology. The ideas are sinking in, the light is going off in my head, I see the importance of his message. I just haven't been able to bring it home yet. I want to bring it home.

An important aspect he brings out, at least that I am picking up, is hero worship. This is something Ayn Rand touched on as well. We need and love hero's and they don't have to be real life heros. Even a real life "hero" becomes agrandized (is that a word?) to become more than the heroic person they really are. They give us something to aspire to become. They add color and excitement to our lives. If I am an atheist, who is my hero? To a Christian, the hero is Christ, To Muslims....Muhammad......The Jews, well they're still waiting for theirs to arrive. Who becomes an atheist's hero?

Something else he touches on is how outdated the mythology is. The bible dates back for centuries and doesn't even belong to the west. How do we take so much of today's technology and discoveries and establish a new myth to generate our imaginations. Perhaps he answers this question later in the book. ... or in another book. I'm only just beginning to grasp his ideas.

I'm inspired.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Promoting change in the GOP

I recently came across an excellent article written by John Danforth in the New York Times titled: In the Name of Politics. He hit the nail on the head for me in terms of how I have been feeling about the GOP.

The one thing I like so much about the Republican Party is that it has direction; something the previous administration lacked. Bush, I think, is a strong and effective leader. And I agree with the importance of a principal orientated agenda.

But I have to agree with John's article in that the Republican Party is now being manipulated and pushed by the religious right. It has gone beyond rhetoric. I never really thought the party would cross the line and interfere with private matters until the issue of Terri Schiavo surfaced. I do not share these extreme ideas that seem to be permeating the party and the only result can be that the party is validating the invasion of the religious right and encouraging them to push the envelope with their agenda. How long 'till they get the idea that they can begin taking matters into their own hands.

So feeling the way that I do only alienates me from the party. I can't possibly be the only one that feels this way; there must be many of us that are very concerned by the measures the party took to interfere in the Schiavo case and that perhaps this is a clear indication just where this party is willing to take it's religious agenda.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Quality of Life

What an interesting couple of weeks for current events. Several issues seem to be competing for time on the airwaves. Schiavo, Jackson and the Pope.

I went over to Le Monde to see if the French's version of this story was going to have bias. Interestingly, it didn't. However, at the very end of the editorial I read the writer brought up a very interesting story. Apparently, there was a family who had an 8 year old on life support similar to Ms. Schiavo's and the family could not afford to continue the support. During this same time period, the family had to make the same painful decision to stop the treatment. The Religious Right had no interest in getting involved. What I don't understand about the religious right is first their constant obsession and reminder that there is this wonder afterlife and then, when someone like Ms. Schiavo is in such as horrible state, they want to delay as long as possible her passing into that wonderful life. Where is the protection of quality of life? Ah, yes, according to the religious zelots, we are not to value our life here. We are to sacrifice our life; except for Terry. She was supposed to keep her vegitative state of mind and her husband was expected to actually uphold that as legitimate "living" and protect it as such.

How ironic that while this is happening the Pope is passing away. Anyone keeping him on life support?

And then there's the Michael Jackson trial. My position on this is that MJ is innocent; at least in this particular case. I can't speak for his character as a whole. I don't know him. But I do believe, wholeheartedly, that he is a victim of extortion. I hope that the jury sees this as well and acquits him of this allegation. I realize I am the minority here on this issue. But then I also agreed with the O.J. verdict. I don't think that OJ is innocent, I just don't believe that the prosecution EARNED a "guilty" verdict. The prosecution and judge on this trial turnd the whole thing into an opportunity to promote themselves and their agendas. OJ's life was on the line and I would much rather have him back on the streets than allow a guilty verdict be won in such a manner.