Saturday, May 17, 2014

Prisons – Another Government Failure

The latest news of the day is about Immigration and Customs Enforcement releasing 36,000 convicted criminals who are in the country, illegally and legally. This information is being presented as an anti Obama campaign. No matter how bad Obama is made to look, he will continue to be president for 3 more years. What's important, is this narrative distracts us from the real message contained in those numbers.

To fully understand the numbers we must know that the initial report listed 87,818 immigrants who were released, 36,007 were slated for deportation. All of my numbers will come from the complete list of 87,818. Of this huge number of criminals, most were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs , of which many were slated for deportation.

When we break the numbers down, less than half of the 87,000 or 36,000 were violent criminals. When it came to rape and murder we find the numbers are much lower. Now this has been reduced to the worst case, let's look into who is at fault.

Homicide ------------------------------- 184
Kidnapping ------------------------------ 228
Voluntary—manslaughter ------------ 14
Sex offenses ----------------------------- 727
Sexual assault --------------------------- 426

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blogging – The new bully?

I have been wanting to write about the Benham brothers, but facts seem to be elusive. I was also at odds as to what approach to take. As of today it's only the brothers speaking. So far HGTV has been silent on the matter. It is for this reason I can only use the brother's words to base my writing. Now to start at the beginning.

This week it came to light that two brothers were suppose to have a house flipping show on HGTV. The show never aired because of statements made by the brothers. As with Phil Robinson, it came down to their comments about homosexuals. Even though they try to make it about traditional marriage, it's much more. David and Jason Benham have often quoted bible verses as they crusaded against same sex marriage. For this reason they have been saying they were bullied off the air by the homosexual agenda because they are Christians.

I have been looking for evidence of that bullying. Usually some group or organizations is named as the culprit. It was not until last night I learned who these bullies were. Benham said that after the show was announced in New York, “that's when the blogging began.” then referring to HGTV Benham said: “They got bullied.” This made me sit up, take notice, and ask myself, “How can bloggers bully?”

As a blogger, albeit small time, I have spent a decade spilling my thoughts and facts – that I feel are well researched – onto the web. I'm sure I have spoken negatively about many people or groups for something they said or did. Could anything I ever wrote be considered bullying? Of course not.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nineteen Minutes to a Book Banning

Not often do I give a book or movie review, but the novel Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult became news when Becky Ortin complained to the teacher this book had been assigned to her 15-year-old daughter. The teacher quickly assigned an alternative. All was well until a few days later when William Baer blasted the school board for giving pornography to students – including his 14 year daughter.

Becky Ortin said she had read several of Picoult's books and thought them not age appropriate for her daughter. I can understand her feelings. It's only when that book is asked to be banned from school you must first read that particular book. In the beginning I was standing behind the father of a 14 year old girl, William Baer, but once I researched the facts I found him to be completely wrong. The father was escorted out by an officer after he refused to follow the 2 minute speaking rule at a school board meeting. Most news outlets are not labeling this event as a book banning. They seem to be making it about Common Core standards forcing students to read pornography.

Since the book is the basis for the above mentioned incident, let's discuss that for a moment. I received this book for Christmas and was dubious because I wasn't very familiar with the author. It turned out to be one of the most compelling books I've ever read. The book is about a nerd-ish boy who is bullied, while his beautiful childhood friend became popular. She often had to make the choice of being a friend with the bullied boy, or hanging with the popular crowd. She often made the wrong choice. As time goes on he can take no more, walks into the school, and begins shooting those who had made his life unbearable. The total time of the spree was Nineteen Minutes, a period that change many people's lives forever. I'll stop there because it would be a literary crime for me to give away the ending.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Reply to a Salon Progressive

It's been a long time since I read something that demanded answering in detail. I just read, Piketty shrugged: How the French economist dashed libertarians’ Ayn Randian fantasies. The first thing that stood out was that despite referring frequently to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, it's obvious he never read the book. It's also clear he doesn't understand libertarians.

Parramore wrote:

To understand the libertarian view of inequality, let’s turn to Milton Friedman, one of America’s most famous and influential makers of free market mythology. Friedman decreed that economic policy should focus on freedom, and not equality.

Right off I have to address the fact he called the free market a mythology. Friedman and libertarians believe the focus is on liberty as well as freedom. Also freedom doesn't mean you get to harm your neighbor. The progressive's focus on equality is a waste of time because it's unachievable. No matter how hard government tries it can never make us equal. The best government can do is give us equal opportunity to be the best we can and treat us equally under the law.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mob Rule versus Free Speech

I doubt few today do not know who Donald Sterling is and why the NBA just announced that they would force him to sell the LA Clippers basketball team. Everyone is cheering this decision except for a small minority that believes we are watching what amounts to mob lynching. It's possible Sterling is a racist, but for sure a bigot.

I remember watching old Frankenstein movies where they peer from the castle tower to see towns people marching toward them with torches. This same scene has been repeated many times in real life and too often with deadly results. In the short history of the USA, we have had too many instances of mob rule.

The world has changed greatly. Today, instead of towns people carrying torches, they, now, carry pens and microphones. It seems almost daily someone is being tried and convicted by those with the loudest voices and the mightiest pens. There is always a call for swift justice against those who might say the wrong thing, or simply disagree with what was spoken.

In the recent case of Donald Sterling, the 81 year old man who some say has problems with senility, and also has a 30 year old black-Latino girlfriend, has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. Within a day of the release of a recording from a private conversation, the race masters were out calling for the NBA to take away his team. In quick response they have essentially done just that.