Obama Says ‘I Could Win’ 3rd Term as President

No, he isn’t attempting to run for a third term, he was just trying to make a point to African leaders, but I believe him.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” Mr. Obama said, departing from his prepared text in a speech at the African Union. “I think if I ran, I could win.”

Source: Obama Says ‘I Could Win’ 3rd Term as President – The New York Times

And looking around at the current batch of declared candidates among both the Democrats and Republicans I could probably support his third term.

Rick Perry vs. Bernie Sanders: Both are Wrong

Rick Perry makes the statement I expected and he’s wrong. I have no problem with legal gun owners with carry permits taking their guns into a movie theater. However, I don’t care how many people had guns to fire back in LaFayette this past week, those two women and the gunman would still be dead. Maybe fewer people would have been wounded, maybe more, but those dead would still be dead.

What disappoints me is Senator Sanders new stance on gun control.

Senator Sanders might once have agreed with Perry that taking guns away is not the solution. Coming from a rural state where hunting is common and gun rights have popular support, Sanders has opposed some of Democrats’ gun control measures. But on Sunday he told NBC’s Meet the Press that he supported a nationwide ban on guns other than those used for hunting.

Source: Rick Perry vs. Bernie Sanders: More guns in movie theaters? – CSMonitor.com

I could understand Bernie changing his position to supporting expanded background checks but his change to ban all guns except for those used for hunting is just bizarre. I thought he had more integrity than to move away from his long held core principles just to pick up support from a demographic of voters.

In Good Faith

Apparently some Georgia state senators have come to the conclusion that personal liberties and rights preserved by the constitution don’t really matter is law enforcement is working “in good faith.” SB-94 reportedly will make way for law enforcement to obtain secret search warrants, secretly retain seized property remove presumption of innocence by allowing search warrants to be obtained with probable cause that a crime is about to be committed, allow for anyone, whether certified as a law enforcement officer or not, to apply for issue of search warrants even if they have no duty of enforcing the law, and allow law enforcement to engage in illegal surveillance as long as they are doing so in good faith.

At a time when our jails are busting at the seams, when the U.S. has imprisoned a greater percentage of its population than any other civilized country in the world, including China, when various law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions are under scrutiny for abuse of power the state of Georgia wants to make it more difficult to hold law enforcement accountable? I’m seriously not believing this.

Supposedly, there were “good intentions” when the Habersham County sheriff deputies busted in a house and threw a flash-bang that injured an 18-month old. There were “good intentions”, supposedly, of sheriff deputies descending upon a house in Laurens County on the basis of the word of a known thief that there was “meth” in that house…and killing a good man who had no drugs in the house, or anywhere else

The answer to “bad results” is not to enable more people to be able to engage in acts to cause more bad results to happen, and then to give immunity to the results of their actions, all on the basis of “well, we acted in good faith.”

Source: The Political Vine, » Blog Archive » The Road to Hell (in Georgia) – Part 1

Don’t take my lack of support for GA SB-94 as a lack of support of good law enforcement. I fully support the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are out there to protect and serve a community. I want to protect these fine men and women wearing blue by eliminating the little tin-star tyrants that tarnish the reputation of the good officers out there. SB-94 will make reigning in bad police just that much harder. It can’t be allowed to pass in the form it has taken.

NAACP wants removal of Confederate generals from Stone Mountain; Taliban Removes Buddhas from Bamiyan Valley

The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP officially called for the elimination of all symbols of the Confederacy from Stone Mountain.

Source: NAACP wants removal of Confederate generals from Stone Mountain | www.wsbtv.com

Mullah Wakil insisted that the edict was an internal matter for Afghanistan and had been “excessively exagerrated in the outside world and the media”. He said the Taliban had no intention to disrespect any other religion. “We do admit the relics were the cultural heritage of Afghanistan, but the part that contradicts our Islamic beliefs we would not like to have them any more.”

Source: After 1,700 years, Buddhas fall to Taliban dynamite – Telegraph

 

Stumbling Blocks

I get frustrated from watching the news fairly often these days. Most of my frustration comes from people taking event A and using it to promote their policy agenda on issues Y and Z when event A only tangentially approaches issue Y, slightly grazes issue Z but smacks right into the heart of issue B.

My frustration is my own problem, though. As much as I look at the issue being unrelated to the actual problem the issues are still issues for these people and I have to be careful that my annoyance and frustration with the way agendas get pushed don’t cause me to be a stumbling block to resolution of those issues.

For example, Dylann Roof walks into a Bible Study in Charleston’s historic Emmanuel AME Church and kills nine people with his gun. This sets off a huge protest about the Confederate battle emblem flying on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol. A Confederate battle flag did not cause Roof to become a racist or put murder in his heart. Pulling down the Confederate flag will not reduce racism in America one bit and, on the surface, that bothers me. Energy is being expelled and political capital is being spent in a way that will not solve the problem of our young people becoming racists with hate in their hearts.

However, that flag needs to come down for many other very good reasons so I need to be careful in venting my frustrations that I don’t become a stumbling block. The Apostle Paul talked about this:

1 Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.[a]4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. 5 There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But for us,

There is one God, the Father,
    by whom all things were created,
    and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    through whom all things were created,
    and through whom we live.

However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer[b] for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers[c] by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

Source: 1 Corinthians 8 – Food Sacrificed to Idols – New Living Translation – Bible Gateway

Voicing my frustration over misplaced cause and effect could become a stumbling block for some who might take me as saying that the Confederate flag is acceptable to display. It isn’t. People say it is heritage, not hate but even if you want to call it heritage it is a heritage of hate and racism.

I’m saying that as a son of the South, born and raised in Tennessee and living the last thirteen years in Georgia.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my heritage, just not the part that includes the Confederate States of America. While the Southern States may have been well within their rights to secede from the Union their reasons for doing so was to perpetuate slavery and that was wrong.

So while I can see the historical context that the Confederate flag is being flown, while I understand the organizations like the Sons of Confederate Soldiers simply want to remember their ancestors I won’t be a stumbling block by arguing for the historical context by which the flag on the South Carolina Capitol grounds is being flown.

We need to heal much, much more than we need to stand on technicalities.

It’s Time

“It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” the governor said, speaking to reporters at the Capitol in Columbia.

Source: Haley of South Carolina Calls for Removal of Confederate Battle Flag – The New York Times

Finally a politician who actually has a legitimate voice in the debate has stepped forward to push for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the lawn of South Carolina’s capitol. Out of every politician who has spoken out or side stepped speaking out on this matter she is the only one who has the legitimate power to do something about it. Until the people of South Carolina agree to the removal of the flag it’s going to stay there and she is leading them to that end.

I’ve learned to hate RussiansMuslims
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

Trickle down economics is wrong — After a point.

The IMF has released a report hailed to be the coffin nail for Reaganomics. Basically Reagan claimed that if you put more money in the hands of the rich they will spend that money and it will fall into the pockets of the middle class. The IMF has found that rich people tend to just put what excess money they have into their investments.

I can understand this. After a certain point you are spending all the money you can and you get no substantial return on your lifestyle by spending any more.

With that in mind I’d like to suggest that maybe up to a certain level of affluence you can improve the economy by easing up on the tax burden but above that level of affluence it no longer works.

Maybe we do need to look at personal wealth along with income to determine the upper end tax bracket. Maybe if a person has a net worth of under $10 million we use the current tax brackets for taxing income. If a person’s net worth is between $10 million and $20 million then any income over $400k is taxed at 45%. For those with a net worth of more than $20 million but less than a $1 billion then any income over $400k is taxed at 75%. For those worth $1 billion or more then any income over $400k is taxed at 95%.

Note that I am saying “any income” here. Why treat earned and unearned income any different for those who are worth more tha $10 million?

 

 ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’

A progressive consumption tax would go a long way toward enforcing limits in water usage.

In April, after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for a 25 percent reduction in water use, consumption in Rancho Santa Fe went up by 9 percent.

Source: Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’ – The Washington Post

Carry this out through the entire economy with a progressive consumption (sales) tax and you would solve a lot of problems.

Ga. Supreme Court to hear tuition case for undocumented…

The Georgia Supreme Court agreed this week agreed to hear oral arguments in a case involving in-state tuition at Georgia’s public colleges for immigrant students with legal status.

Source: Ga. Supreme Court to hear tuition case for undocumented…

Kids go where their parents take them. A couple from Columbia who sneaks into this country illegally bringing their six year old kid with them has put their child into a legal situation beyond the child’s control. If that child remains in this country throughout his or her school years then that child needs to be considered a full member of the community and state of residence. It is wrong to deny them any benefit from the state that the child that is born in that state is entitled to.

You can talk all you want about stopping the flow of illegal immigration or denying services to illegal immigrants because we can’t afford it and as long as we are talking adults who consciously broke the law to enter this country you will get at least a sympathetic ear from me.

Once you start talking about punishing kids who know no other home but the U.S. and the state they live in you will get push back from me because you are wrong. No discussion, you are wrong and you should know it.

Who are you?

I really feel for this woman. I do. She has some issues with her identity, that’s for sure, but she actually seemed to be dealing with them in some positive fashion. She certainly didn’t need to be confronted with her issues in front of the whole country, being put on the spot as she was, to confront who she really is in contrast to who she has been presenting herself as being.

Dolezal did not directly challenge any accusation made regarding her race in the post but mentioned in passing that the national “dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.”

Source: Embattled NAACP Chapter President Rachel Dolezal Steps Down – ABC News

Honestly, I don’t see where the problem is. She seems genuinely concerned with race relations and in equality. She has worked hard to educate herself to where she appears to be a competent lecturer on African studies. And no one has made any allegations about her abilities in administering her chapter of the NAACP as its president. If we really are looking for equal opportunities across the board then how does race constitute a requirement to be a chapter president of the NAACP. The NAACP doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

Actually race and ethnicity have such fluid boundaries I really can’t see why we use them any more. At some point in the near future I predict that race and ethnicity will be irrelevent taxonomies. We will all be mutts, as if we weren’t already.

Free speech, grand juries and asshats

There are right ways and wrong ways to spout off about government officials. You can say:

I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman.

Or you can say:

Metaphorically speaking, I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible public official on whom I am entitled to comment, purely as hyperbole, on a matter of public concern under my First Amendment rights to free speech and to petition the Government for redress of grievances. Cf: The Screwtape Letters, an allegorical series of essays in which C. S. Lewis used Hell as a literary device for comment upon matters of spiritual and political concern.

Source: Department Of Justice Uses Grand Jury Subpoena To Identify Anonymous Commenters on a Silk Road Post at Reason.com | Popehat

The first might get you summoned to appear before a grand jury costing you thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees along with untold hours of lost wages. The last will make you look like a moron with no backbone but at least you’ve had your say and you’ve kept your bank account intact.

Can a Robot Writer Have Journalistic Integrity or Be Ethical?

Robots don’t threaten human journalist jobs because automated content is typically used to expand coverage, not replace existing coverage.

Source: Robots write thousands of news stories a year, but not this one – Jun. 11, 2015

HA! That’s the same line we used when we automated all the factory jobs.  We didn’t replace any existing jobs but we sure made it easy to justify not hiring replacement workers for those that left through natural attrition.

So there’s one less unpaid intern getting experience that will allow them to ease into the shoes of the reporter with two years experience that is replacing the old guy that moved on up or retired. A few years later the editors are bemoaning the lack of experience in those candidates for the entry level journalism jobs. The publishers see this as justification for trying to expand the role of these robot reporters into creating more complex pieces.

I saw the same thing happening in manufacturing as I was automating more and more tasks. We said way back then that this automation stuff would zoom through every industry out there including health care, journalism insurance and the legal industry.

All rise for the court, the Honorable Judge Tin Man presiding.

IMF Warns Underpricing Water Is Fostering Shortages

Remember that video that went around a few months back about the CEO of Nestles declaring water is not a human right? He was probably correct. How can I have a right to something that may not be available?

The IMF is now chiming in with a decree that water is underpriced and that underpricing of water is causing shortages.

Governments should be charging consumers higher prices to encourage more sustainable water use and improve access for the poor, the IMF says in its latest staff discussion note.

Source: IMF Warns Underpricing Water Is Fostering Shortages – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Right pricing water is going to be critical to sustaining our potable water supply.