Archive for the ‘Politics’ category

“Super” Cows Threaten The World

January 10, 2007


Okay, so it’s not that bad…No 200 foot cow is going to walk off of the plains of West Texas, take a stink on Dallas, and suffocate an entire metro population.  However, news of “super cows” in Britain showed up in the Daily Mail today and are being seen by some as a threat to the nation’s food supply.  These cows promise to deliver 70 pints of milk per day and could lead to a source of cheaper food.

 The Problem?  The cows are second generation clones…embryos from a cow that is a clone of a champion dairy Holstein.  Only one has been born so far, but it has four “brothers” rumored to be on the way.  As one can imagine, this development has raised quite a stir in Britain; a country that has been fearful of even accepting genetically engineered U.S. grain products in the past.

Concerns raised vary from quality of life of the animal to “purity” (if that’s the correct word) of the food product itself.  Clones have shown to have shorter life spans than traditionally bread animals and seem to suffer from imperfections that lead to early arthritis and other ailments.  Although adverse effects on human populations eating food that is cloned (or genetically engineered) have not been proven, there are those who are concerned about the possibility.  The positive effect of allowing cloned or genetically engineered food to be used for human consumption is simple:  cheaper food.

Higher food supply will lower the cost of food on the world market.  This could allow countries to feed their own populations and have some left over to help feed other populations that are starving.  More supply on the world market would lead to a reduced cost in the effort of doing so.  If the food continues to prove benign, why wouldn’t we allow it to be used to help feed those who don’t have enough?  It seems to make perfect sense to continue along this path and see if it leads us to a larger food supply for a growing world population.


The First 100

January 4, 2007

As the clock ticks down to January 4th, when Democrats take control of the House and Senate, they are reminded of their “First 100 Hours” promises.  Those that may stand in the way of accomplishing Pelosi’s promises are not only Republicans, but anti-war Democrats as well.  Protesters lead by Cindy Sheehan, demanding that the Democrats cut funding for the war and bring the troops home beforedoing anything else, showed up during the Democrats press conference on lobby reform today.  They were so disruptive, that the intended speaker actually gave up and left the room. 

Pelosi has made many promises for the Democrats first 100 hours in control, but cutting funding and bringing the troops home was not one of them.  Will the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party keep the party from acting on the things they actually promised in the First 100 Hours?  Probably not.  Will they be very, very unhappy when they see that bringing the troops home is not the Democrats first priority?  Absolutely.  Will the American people see that the Democrats may be rendered ineffective by extremist elements they happily embrace during campaign fund raisers?  Time will tell.

 Let’s examine what Pelosi has promised for the First 100 Hours of the Democratically controlled Congress.  The first two are what would be considered the minimum.  The rest have been labeled as “if we have time”.

  1. Put new rules into place to break the link between lobbyists and legislation
  2. Enact ALL the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001
  3. Raise the Minimum Wage
  4. Cut Interest Rates on Student Loans in Half
  5. Allow government to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to get a better price for medicare recipients
  6. Broaden stem cell research
  7. Pay as you go spending policy – no deficit increase

It will be interesting to watch the effectiveness of the Democrats over the next 100 hours, stay tuned for results.

Gay Sheep Are People Too?

January 1, 2007


According to the Times Online, Scientists at Oregon State University are conducting experiments to genetically remove traits in sheep that may cause them to be born with homosexual tendencies.  It has raised fears of one day being able to reverse homosexual tendencies in humans prior to birth.  This research, of course, raises many ethical and Constitutional questions. 

The ethical questions are numerous, but the primary issues can be summarized into two categories.  The first, animal rights involving genetic research.  Testing on animals has always contained a controversial element, and animal rights activists have fought hard to protect them against harm.  Genetically altering animals to eliminate certain traits would fall under the same category of genetically enhancing animals to possess certain desirable traits.  This practice has been going on for years involving livestock used in the agricultural industry.  It has been labeled by animal rights activists as cruelty, particularly when the desirable trait that may improve marketability leads to a decrease in the quality of life for the animal.  The second ethical category involves the assumption that the supposed homosexuality trait is bad.

When researchers begin studying how to remove homosexual tendencies genetically, it must be assumed that the researchers’ premise contains the idea that homosexual behavior is undesirable.  Some would agree with this statement.  Others would argue that homosexual behavior is benign in its effects on society as a whole.  Should researchers be able to make this “undesirable” determination unchecked?  If the research yields results, should mothers be able to have the option of removing the gene from unborn babies?  One possible result of this practice could potentially breed homosexuals out of existence. 

Constitutional issues must also be considered.  For example, if homosexuality is genetic, it would be assumed that the condition must be treated much like race as far as civil rights are concerned.  Therefore marriage, and all the benefits associated with it, are certainly in play. Homosexuals would have a much stronger Constitutional case under the Bill of Rights.Whether you view the issue as an ethical or Constitutional one, the consequences of genetic research on animals with homosexual tendencies could be dramatic.

The Name Game

December 21, 2006

Labeling certain people or certain types of groups negatively seems to be on the increase in society.  For example, it’s easy to call someone with a different point of view a “left wing cook” or a right wing wacko”.  We often hear these and other terms used by the talking heads on television; and we read them every day in the blogoshpere.  The labeling and wording used in posts (such as “track record of dishonesty”) only serve to inflame, rather than inspire, analytical debate.

Labeling someone in this manner is simply taking the lazy, easy, way out.  It is much easier to do this than, for instance, examine someone’s point of view and challenge it in the realm of political thought when it disagrees with your own.  Currently, the most popular form of labeling seems to be against the President of the United States.

Words like dumb, moron, imbecile, and stupid are used daily on a wide variety of blogs to describe Mr. Bush.  When these words are used to describe anyone, particularly the President, I usually stop reading a post at that point.  So what has the person posting achieved?  He certainly hasn’t changed my mind on any issue and has (to me) described with the use of one word or phrase exactly the type of person he is.  If one is looking to change the mind of someone else, usually the best method is not to resort to name calling of any kind.  Rather, challenge the ideas with counter points of your own in a clear, concise manner.

Too many talking heads and bloggers use the name calling, “hit and run”, method to try and express their points of view.  Following are some examples of posts, articles, and people that use labeling to try and bolster their own beliefs by tearing down others.  Are they contributing anything to the public debate?  Do they care? / Canadian official called Bush ‘a moron’ / Another Idiot in Congress / Another Virginia Congressional Whack Job / The Outrageous Silence of Dumb & Dumber

Some of these sites even have some interesting ideas, but most are simply full of hate.  For those that actually do have good content, it’s too bad that all but other’s who already have similar points of view have turned a deaf ear once the name calling begins.  For no one with an opposing point of view is going to sift through the trash to find a coherent argument.  If the objective of the writter is to change the opinions of those who do not agree, he has not acheived his goal.

Thanks to Stephen for his comments on my post “Should We Stay or Should We Go?“.  His contributions assisted me in shaping my point of view on this issue.

Dems’ Grade Updated

December 20, 2006

The first update of The Dems’ Grade is complete.  The grade rose a bit from it’s original B- to a B.  Although the national unemployment rating slipped a tenth of a percentage point, the rise is negligible.  Additionally, the rise in the 30 year fixed mortgage standard was offset by a climbing Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ Composite Index, and S&P 500 Index.

 You may remember that The Report Card began grading the Democrats just after the election.  This was done because, although they are not yet in power, the 2006 election put Democrats in a position to take some of the credit for government’s successes and failures.  As future events unfold, other categories may be monitored as well as the one’s currently displayed on the page.  As always, you are welcome to suggest categories that should be added for future grading.

Clinton / Obama Ticket May Spell Dem Disaster

December 19, 2006

With the buzz beginning regarding the 2008 Presidential Campaign, certain candidates are already starting to stand out as “front runners”.  Recently, some liberal talking heads have seemed almost giddy over the prospect of a ticket containing both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Even some Republicans admit that the prospect of this ticket has them fearful of Democrats taking the White House in 2008.  But before Democrats parade their anointed ones to the stage at the Democratic Convention, they may want to consult the history books.

 Since practically anything can happen between now and the primaries (character assassination, scandal, insufficient funds to continue), it is virtually impossible to know who will come out ahead after Super Tuesday.  However, recent history shows us that an electable ticket must have a Southern name on it.  Only one ticket since 1929 has succeeded in winning the White House without one.  The exception was Republican Richard Nixon (California) when he ran successfully with Spiro Agnew (Maryland) in 1968 and 1972.  Does this spell doom for a Clinton / Obama ticket in 2008?  Possibly, but arguments can be made for this ticket eluding the history books as well.

Some will argue that Hillary Clinton is from the South.  After all, Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas before earning his ticket to the White House.  However, Hillary has solidified herself as a New York politician with her Senatorial victories; and has primarily been backed by northeast liberal donations.  Others will argue that this ticket will be about breaking more than just one historical norm; as the first Presidential ticket with an African American and a woman on it.  Will the novelty of the ticket be enough to override the influence Southern States seem to have on our electoral process?  Only time will tell.

Should the Democrats decide (due to history or other factors) that a Clinton / Obama ticket is not the best option for 2008, then what would the alternatives be?  Although it seems a bit ridiculous to begin seriously discussing candidates with the election more than 22 months away, the last few elections have shown that those who can get a jump start on fund raising often have the advantage going into Iowa and New Hampshire.  Of course a lot can happen in 22 months, but just for fun let’s use the historical formula depicted above to see who may have good potential for a 2008 victory.  This list was obtained from Wikipedia, and can be found here.

John Cox – Illinois
Michael Smith – Oregon
Sam Brownback – Kansas
Duncan Hunter – California
Rudy Giuliani – New York
John McCain – Arizona
Tommy Thompson – Wisconsin
Jim Gilmore – Virginia
Newt Gingrich – Georgia
Chuck Hagel – Nebraska
Mike Huckabee – Arkansas
Frank Keating – Oklahoma
George Pataki – New York
Mitt Romney – Massachusetts
Tom Tancredo – Colorado
Mike Gravel – Alaska
Dennis Kucinich – Ohio
Tom Vilsack – Iowa
Joe Biden – Delaware
Wesley Clark – Arkansas
Hillary Clinton – New York
Christopher Dodd – Connecticut
John Edwards – North Carolina
John Kerry – Massachusetts
Barack Obama – Illinois
Bill Richardson – New Mexico
Al Sharpton – New York

This may get a bit controversial, but let’s pair this list down to those that I consider to actually have a shot at making it to Super Tuesday.  Based on lack of national name recognition (i.e. lack of funding), we’ll eliminate the following candidates: Cox, Smith, Hunter, Gilmore, Hagel, Keating, Tancredo, and Gravel. Based on idealistic beliefs (i.e. too far right or left), we’ll eliminate the following candidates: Brownback, Gingrich, Kucinich, Clark, and Sharpton. We will also eliminate those candidates who have successfully obtained their party’s nomination before and lost, as very few are nominated again: Kerry, Edwards. Anyone’s blood boiling yet, I told you it would get controversial.

Rudy Giuliani – New York
John McCain – Arizona
Tommy Thompson – Wisconsin
Mike Huckabee – Arkansas
George Pataki – New York
Mitt Romney – Massachusetts
Tom Vilsack – Iowa
Joe Biden – Delaware
Hillary Clinton – New York
Christopher Dodd – Connecticut
Barack Obama – Illinois
Bill Richardson – New Mexico

From the list above, something interesting develops:  there are no candidates from the South remaining on the Democratic side of the list.  If the assumptions made above regarding who will make it to Super Tuesday prove accurate, history would indicate that the Democratic ticket may have some electability problems come election day.  To be fair, this assumes that Republicans have someone from the South on their ticket (Mike Huckabee).  Should the Republicans come away from their National Convention without a southern candidate on the ticket, the election would seem to be a toss up, historically speaking.

Although any of the assumptions made above may become moot as we get closer to the primaries and election day, they are no more unrealistic than those political pundants who are already overjoyed by the prospect of a Clinton / Obama Presidential ticket.  Personally, assuming the Republicans have a Southern politician on the ticket, I would love to see a Clinton / Obama Democratic ticket.  After all, historical data is very rarely wrong when predicting who will win the Presidency.

The War on Terror…Next Stop, Climate Change

November 17, 2006

Wednesday, U.N. cheif Kofi Annan demanded that world leaders give the same priority to Climate Change that they have given to the spread of WMD’s in the past.  In reaction to Annan’s comments, the Bush administration has been working around the clock to come up with a strategy for tackling the problem.  The Report Card has obtained exclusive, never before seen, details on the emerging plan.

Although specifics are unclear, sources that have heard rumors from staffers, that claim to be close to top officials, who claim to have seen a draft memo issued by the undersecretary to the secretary of the President leaked the following plan to The Report Card.  Please be aware that this plan is top secret, so don’t tell anyone.  If you are Climate Change, please stop reading now.  We would not want you to know what the plan for attacking you is.

The Bush administration first plans to provide the U.S. population with information linking Climate Change to terrorist organizations.  This, among other things, will provoke an already aggressive news media to begin discrediting the information.  After the news media misrepresents the information given by the administration, and twists the story into one of how there is no link between Climate Change and the 9/11 terror attacks, President Bush will schedule a time to address Congress.

 In his Congressional address, the President will add Climate Change to his list of members included in the axis of evil.  He will then justify this addition by telling Congress that there is substantial evidence from reliable intelligence sources showing that Climate Change exists.  He will underscore the point by assuring Congress that their is as much evidence present for Climate Change being a real threat as there was for Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 

President Bush will then call on Democrats to refrain from repealing the Patriot act, explaining that the continuance of the legislation would allow the government to hold Climate Change as an enemy combatant (should it be captured) for an undetermined amount of time in an undetermined location.  Additionally, the government can then begin wire taps on all those assisting Climate Change.  He will conclude his speech by urging the U.N. Security Council to expedite a meeting, for discussion on a resolution that would demand Climate Change to reveal it’s harmful effects.

The next phase of the plan involves waiting on the U.N. Security Council to draft 17 non-binding resolutions insisting that Climate Change stop it’s harmful effects…or else.  Climate Change will ignore all of these resolutions.  This will, of course, prompt a circus of investigations conducted by Hans Blix.  Each time Blix will come back and report that there is no clear evidence that Climate Change has harmful effects, and that he needs more time to conduct further investigations.  After the 17th resolution is drafted, President Bush will grow tired of waiting on the U.N. Security Council and begin assembling a coalition of the willing to remove Climate Change from power and seize it’s harmful effects.  France and Russia will object to this.

Once the coalition has militarily removed Climate Change as a threat, U.S. teams of scientists will go searching for it’s harmful effects.  After months of searching, the scientists will find that Climate Change actually had no harmful effects.  The Bush administration will then claim that the war was still justified because the U.S. took power away from an entity that was threatening the world in order to make it a safer place.

This time, military strategists will expect an insurgency.  It will most likely be launched by supporters of Climate Change (those living in colder than average climates), and will eventually be reinforced by environmental fundamentalists who insist that Climate Change sill exists.  Their leader will be Al Gore…

That’s the plan given to The Report Card by White House insiders.  Being the responsible news outlet that we are, The Report Card has verified all information stated above with no less than two White House parking attendants and the head of security at the White House Visitors Center.  It should be noted that no exit strategy was given to us by our sources…We’re sure they have one, our sources probably just didn’t know what it was.