Monday, January 31, 2011

Tom Corbett Mum on Key Reforms

According to a post on Politics PA by Jeanette Krebs, Tom Corbett's promised reform plan says nothing about:
Banning all public officials from accepting gifts and gratuities, which 66% of PA voters favor.

A referendum in November for a Constitution convention, supported by 72% of PA voters.

Prohibiting lame-duck legislative sessions, which 82% of PA voters want to do.
My question is, in a time of strong anti-establishment conservatism, why did so many people choose Corbett over Rohrer? For many, Rohrer's plan to eliminate the property tax may have seemed too daring, but his Bill meant to do so probably would not have been ratified by the house anyway.

For more, see the Politics PA story here.

Pat Toomey Supports Tea Party Caucus but won't Join it

Pat Toomey spoke at the group's inaugural meeting, but did not officially join.

The question is whether he won't join because he thinks it will be detrimental to re-election, or because he does not go all the way with tea party values. Indeed, one tea party value Toomey has dodged speaking about is auditing the Fed. He also supported the creation of Homeland Security as a congressman, which many tea partiers don't like.

Whereas Republican primary candidate Peg Luksik surely would have joined the caucus, Toomey only supports it.

Nevertheless, for the case of liberty, it's better that Toomey be in office instead of Sestak.

As of January 2011, the Senate Tea Party Caucus has 3 members:
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Jim Demint (South Carolina)
Mike Lee (Utah)

3 out of 100 means 3% of Senators belong to the caucus.

The House's tea party caucus has 52 members, or about 12% of the members of House of Representatives.

Indeed, it may be more difficult for tea party candidates like Christine O'Donnell to make it to the Senate because Senators represent an entire state, and presumably, they on average have more moderate or liberal constituents than their colleagues in the House whose congressional districts may be composed of a smaller, more homogeneous constituencies.

Many Big Wig Republicans support the tea party at a distance because they realize that although the tea party may not be imbued with their views, tea partiers do speak for them on many issues, such as aversion to growing government debt, and therefore will vote for them. But many have complained that the GOP is trying to co-opt the tea party.

Letter to NuPo: Silence Desired in Connerton's

A King's College senior asked to the NuPo to post his complaints about the eatery called Connerton's on the King's College campus.
I hate the Magic 93 radio station they constantly pipe in through the ceiling speakers. When I complained about it to the manager, I was told there was nothing they could do to turn it off. You can't even get away from it in the bathroom. I wish they'd play no music because I don't like most radio music since most of it is trash. The fear I assume they'd have about turning off the music is that the roaring of all the fridges and heaters and everything would sound unpleasant, but in my mind those noises are far more pleasant than Magic 93 has ever been.

It really is weird and embarrassing that that radio station is played down there, and Connerton, the man, would be disgraced by it. Nothing could be more low-brow or ridiculous than forcing students who eat at Connerton's to listen to that low-value music which sonically embodies the sexual and carefree message of the songs' lyrics. It's one thing if the students choose to listen to that stuff on their own, but it's quite another if the college actually imposes it on them. King's is supposed to speak to each student's heart and mind, and if someone were to design ideal music to speak to one's heart and mind, Magic 93 and most other radio stations would never be chosen for such purpose.

Indeed, my complaint may be unique and atypical of the student body, most of whom probably could care less about piped in music, but my sensitivities, I believe, speak for the well being of those who don't have them.

Also, the dark ceiling and gray floor design down there compounded with the lack of sunlight and musical tumult just make for a dreary aesthetic combination.

All said, sorry to be vituperative, and consider the criticism constructive since I offer it because I care about the aesthetic quality of Connerton's.

-A Disgruntled Diner

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Raw Hands Applaud Obama's State of the Union Address

A Critical Overview of the Peculiarities of the State of the Union
According to ABC News, the president was "interrupted" 79 times by applause during the State of the Union Address (SOTU), but there were probably more than 79 episodes of applause since one NuPo correspondent counted about 50 in a half hour. The president usually wasn't "interrupted" by applause; he more or less paused expectantly and the audience clapped; the exchange was sort of like a dance in which Obama was the leading partner, who cued audience members as to the next move; and they in return, cued him to start speaking again as their applause died down.

Frequently, the applause lasted longer than Obama's actual statements. It was almost as if Democrat audience members thought the applause would somehow make his statements more true.

The whole ordeal seemed like a performance for those who like the romance side of politics. Indeed, political speeches are often frilly, lacy things done for ornamentation that are primarily concerned with pretty rhetoric and ideals rather than facts or reality.

Obama sounded like he was crying wolf when repeated a campaign promise that he'd remove earmarks from legislation--something he hasn't done at all his first two years in office. During the stimulus debates his defenders even suggested that earmarks were a necessary evil. Indeed, earmarks help monster bills get passed through Congress and thus help advance the progressive (agressive?) agenda.

Near the beginning of the speech, Obama said of the recently passed Healthcare Bill:
If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.
One small business owner told WILK's Sue Henry that complying with the Obamacare regulations cost him $10,000 and 100 hours. But Obama's "offering" to reduce these burdens seems a little ridiculous. It's like having someone steal your wallet and then promise to give you back some of its contents. Economist Steven Landsford in his book More Sex Is Safer Sex notes that state governors do the same thing when they support debilitating regulations, and then act like a hero when they give certain persons or companies breaks on them. It's amazing the mind games politicians play with people to make them dependent upon them.

As a point of local interest, Obama explained that it was due to the American Dream that even "a working class kid from Scranton" (Joe Biden) could become Vice President. I'm not sure whether that was more of a compliment to Biden or an indirect insult to Scranton. :-D

There was, of course, the part where Obama joked chummily about public discontentment with TSA's aggressive pat-downs:
"Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down."
The implication is that angst over TSA is overblown, which it isn't.

Finally, a refreshing point in the speech was at the closing, when he extolled Americans' can-do spirit. This was worded in a collectivist way, suggestive of a sort of hippie commune menatality, but was nonetheless refreshing.

Complete Speech

Obama Jokes about Public Angst over TSA Searches in State of Union Address

It is not known whether the following line was written by a speech writer, but suffice it to say that it reflects the callousness and insensitivity Democrat Politicians have toward personal liberty:

"Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down."

This comment even infuriated the left-wing ACLU, which despite taking dubious stances in the past, has a good track record of protecting people's rights at airport terminals.

The supposed benefits of pat-downs and body-scanners are not yet confirmed by the majority of academic security experts. Even Israel, a hotbed of conflict, has done away with body scanners. As to why America has body scanners, former Homeland Security official Michael Chertoff and Obama financier George Soros both have had significant involvement with Rapiscan--the company that manufactures the scanners.

Why shouldn't travelers like body-scanners? For one, modern technology makes it possible for a TSA worker to snap a photo of a person's rather intimate body scan image with his camera phone. Moreover, a traveler may simply not want to be seen semi-naked by a stranger. Therefore, opting for the pat-down seems preferable to many people.

But pat-downs are certainly not much better than body scans, as there are countless stories of TSA workers physically violating the private parts of travelers.

Pat-downs are performed indiscriminately on all those who refuse to be subject to the scanners. This results in bizarre ordeals, with small children and grannies being patted down, as if they're gangsters entering a prison. TSA workers must think about little kids in airport terminals the same way the character does about one little girl in the "Men in Black" movie scene below:

Guilty Until Proven Innocent
If a TSA worker had personal discretion, the only way he would pat down a little kid is if he thought "Little Suzy must be up to something; what better way for the terrorists to get us than with individuals we least suspect." However, the TSA workers have no discretion not to be suspicious of people, and function as automatons of the federal government as they follow protocol (programming?). Indeed, the TSA workers themselves have little liberty.

Whereas police are only allowed to stop people when they have probable cause to do so, TSA workers are mandated to always have probable cause to suspiciously search air travelers. In this way, TSA has more license than cops. The difference is that cops deal with offenders who are presumed innocent until proven guilty, while TSA workers deal with innocent travelers who are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Now obviously, a TSA worker cannot explain to a little child that he is being searched for a bomb which would evidently be used to blow up a plane; if a TSA worker tried to explain this, it would confuse the poor child, and would not make any sense to him. (In this regard, children may have more common sense than the Department of Homeland security.) Therefore, because TSA workers cannot be honest about what they're doing, so they often tell little kids that the upcoming frisking is a "game." According to Ken Wooden, founder of Child Lures Prevention, child molesters often say the very same thing to a child as a way of easing him into being molested. She says that if a child remembers being told by parents to comply with a TSA worker who wanted to play a touching game, he may be more willing to comply with a child molester who also says he wants to play a touching game. A more important story is whether the TSA pat-downs are molestation in and of themselves.

The US Constitution is supposed to protect US citizens form unreasonable searches. Yet, there are some regimentable people who say the searches are not unreasonable. Even if the rights of millions of travelers are routinely violated, they say, the greater good of safety necessitates being scanned or patted-down. (Incidentally, progressives use the same sorts of arguments to argue for government Health Care, again forcing those who disagree to join the collective.) Some go as far as to say that even if the chances of another hi-jacking are virtually nil, and if security procedures are not fail-safe anyway, the noble "progressive" thing to do is to mind the government's cattle prod and be herded into the scanner.

But what about people who disagree? Progressive don't seem to care about them.

I have a better idea that would satisfy both citizens who want to be scanned or groped, and those who don't. Let's assume we keep the government regulations that require an armed guard to be in front of the cockpit and, of course, background checks of travelers. Allowing for these, why not permit the airlines themselves to handle terminal screenings? Then, some airlines would cater to our "safety first" friends, and poke and peak everywhere to "ensure safety." Other airlines may only search 20-40 year old adult males since virtually no other demographic has a precedent of hijacking. Finally, other airlines may actually presume their customers to be innocent and undeserved of suspicion, and mandate no scans or pat-downs, as was the practice before the new TSA rules. Because there would be an armed guard in front of every cockpit, there would be no chances of a "negative externality" of any airplane being used kamikaze-style as a missile aimed at people in buildings or on the ground, since no hijacker would be able to get past the cockpit guard.

This way, if the airlines that didn't subject passengers to scanning, groping, or other pre-flight hazings were not attacked by terrorists, then maybe even "safety above-all" progressives may begin to start using airlines that don't grope or scan passengers. Conversely, if such airlines did experience regrettable incidents, more fliers may freely choose airlines that use heavier security, or even ones that employ body scanners. If there were no difference between safety across airlines using various security procedures, the unnecessary security measures, which I believe include body scannings, would be rooted out. These sorts of options, ladies and gentlemen, involve the dynamism of free choice, something at which the free-market trumps government.

Now some might say that the airlines which use the body scanners may cost more, leaving the poor to have to foot the bill if they want to fly with airlines that exhaustive pre-flight screenings. But realize that poor people, with all the benefits they receive, pay a de facto negative income tax. Moreover, if safety were to mean so much to them, they would certainly be capable of making the few extra bucks to cover the cost, or at least be able to obtain them from their relatives. This way, they themselves would have a fiscal stake in their own safety.

Liberty of choice is the more significant factor than totally egalitarian prices, and let's not forget that the reason we have passenger planes in the first place is thanks to free-enterprise innovation, not government price equalization.

Rather than approach the TSA problem seriously as I have, it appears certain politicians would rather just make jokes.

It seems that TSA's days are numbered. As soon as the powers-that-be get a return on their body scanner investments, I think they'll be at least made voluntary such that travelers need not face frisking as an alternative.

On a lighter note, did you ever notice that, whereas in the movies government agents are usually portrayed as FBI agents working on the X-Files, 007 fighting a supervillian, or the Men in Black (MIB), in reality, many government agents work for the TSA, IRS, and DMV...
photos from Raw Story article.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rob Gleason, PA GOP, Oblivious to their own Hypocrisy

A mass email from PA GOP chairman Rob Gleason dated Jan. 24 reads:
Let's make sure no parent is forced to send their child to a poor quality school without other choices. Let's give parents options--public, private, parochial, charter, distance learning, homeschool, and other choices... Today’s children don't have years or decades to wait for more of the same.
Yet, Gleason displayed a totally different outlook on choice in elections, when he served as a rubber stamp for the PA GOP's illogical endorsement-before-the-primary in 2010 and took measures to undermine Rohrer's campaign, while serving as a cheerleader for "endorsed" candidate Tom Corbett.

Choice in education is good, but it seems to me that it should go hand in hand with choice at the ballot box. After all, one's education often influences his choices at the ballot box. One might even say that the ballot box is a flowering of one's civic education.

Let's "give" PA voters options--real options: a chance to choose for themselves which candidate they want without being manipulated by the Party about which one they should choose.

Let's not groom and push through the political system "anointed" candidates like Tom Corbett who represent lawyers and all the usual political suspects, because there are many in politics who don't want more of the same.

Gleason was also hostile to choice in politics when he presided over the PA GOP as it used legal and financial intimidation tactics to get state-level Libertarian and other third party candidates thrown off the ballot. If Gleason advocates seemingly unlimited educational choices, shouldn't he be more friendly to choice in politics?

How is it possible that Gleason's political actions should so conflict with his political stances? In reality, Gleason is not an oblivious hypocrite since he is likely an intelligent man with political shrewdness. Gleason is a steely Machiavellian whose ends apparently justify his means, and whose ends of furthering the GOP's power seem to undermine what the GOP should stand for: freedom of choice. Clearly, the end of gaining power has become more important than values. Maybe, for Gleason, the values espoused by the GOP are only a means to the end of gaining power.

Finally, Gleason's language is very authoritarian, as he purports to "give" us our rights. On the contrary, the founding fathers, Sam Rohrer, and Peg Luksik all believe that men are born with certain inalienable rights, and we need no Rob Gleason to give them to us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pro-Life Vigil to be Held in Wilkes-Barré

King's College will host a silent vigil for life Monday, January 24th, from 11:45am to 12:45pm at Monarch Court--which used to be part of Franklin Street, and its location is depicted in the yellow circle on the map below. Attendees will gather around the cross to pray in support of life from conception onward.

The gathering will be informal, and attendees are encouraged to join any time from 11:45am to 12:45pm.

Click on map for a larger view

Full Campus Map of King's College (Click for larger view)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Left-Wing Media Guilty of Exploitation, Brain-Washing, Hypocrisy in Reporting Arizona Shooting

It has been difficult to ignore the story of the Arizona shooting because the national media has plastered it everywhere unendingly. Although indeed an alarming tragedy, the national media has given the Arizona shooting an unnatural level of attention. This is because the national media's outlook is very government-centered. The federal government is one thing all Americans have in common, afterall. These things aside, some in left-wing media are guilty of exploitation, brainwashing, and hypocrisy.

1. Exploitation
Both Liberal and Conservative National Media are exploiting the tragic incident and are reaping profits from high viewer/listener ratings. But let's not forget that the Left first politicized the event by trying to scapegoat the right. Indeed, it was leftists who started the ongoing fight over the incident. In the end, the losers are (1) the shooting victims whose deaths have been politicized (2) the viewer at home who could have spent his time learning about a news item more relevant to his own well-being.

Video from Reason TV

2. Mind Control
Any reasonable person knows that political rhetoric does not necessarily cause someone to take drugs, become insane, and to shoot people as Jared Loughner did. Nevetheless, some leftwingers have continually tried to insinuate that talk radio, the Tea Party, etc., somehow indirectly caused Loughner to do what he did. I believe certain members of the Left are consciously trying to get their media audience to associate the shooting with Palin, Arizona's immigration policies, etcetera by mentioning them together--over and over. Thus, they are trying to create a psychological negative association in the minds of audience members between conservative things and the shooting; and I believe this is a form of deceit, if not brainwashing. So for instance, when conservatives or independents think about Arizona, they'll also remember being blamed for a shooting they had nothing to do with, and this may induce them to avoid discussion of Arizona's immigration policies, the tea party, etcetera.

For many progressive radicals, when it comes to political tactics, the ends justify the means. For them, although slandering one's political opponents may be wrong, it serves the greater purpose of squelching opposition to the glorious progressive agenda. Moreover, certain leftist media outlets have repeated their suggestion that the right is indirectly responsible for the shooting incident--in effect repeating a lie often enough so that people will believe it.

Even if Loughner had been an avid tea partier, it would still be obvious that few, if any tea partiers take hallucinogens, become insane, and want to shoot people. It's not exactly part of the tea party way of life. Moreover, innocent advocates for liberty or for regulation of immigration should not have to answer for the actions of every single person who may share some of their beliefs. Furthermore, one would not say that all followers of the Mohamed ought to answer for the deeds of a few members jihadist tribal sects--the ones typically responsible for honor killings and suicide bombings. Left-wing outlets would never try to smear Mohammedans--probably because most of them vote Democrat.

Chump conservatives will be affected by the Left's baseless accusations and psychological intimidation, and such chumps will become more timid in their rhetoric. They will not realize that when progressives say "the rhetoric needs to be toned down on both sides", they really mean to say "people should be more docile as the progressive agenda is advanced." "Civility" is a code-word for "Docililty". Many media progressives will no doubt want "Obamalot" to be remembered as a time of peace and harmony.

I must concede that not all of the leftward media has played the blame game. To my knowledge Anderson Cooper did not indulge in it.

Finally, some conservative women believe the reason certain leftists smeared Palin (regarding the Loughner incident) is that the Left is "afraid of her." I do not believe that the Left has any reason to fear Palin because she is unelectable, since she is unpopular with Moderates and Independents. Thus, if Republicans nominate Palin for president in 2012, it would bode well for Progressives. Conservatives ought to be the ones who're afraid of Palin.

3. Hypocrisy
One liberal pundit said frugal fiscal conservatives are reason Loughner was not institutionalized, insinuating that there's some lack of funding for mental hospitals. But according to Mona Charen in her book Do-Gooders, it was liberal psychologists of the 1960s who weakened the ability of the government to commit mentally ill people to institutions. Because of liberal policies, she says, the number of institutionalized people dropped from about 550,000 in the 50's to 70,000* in the early 90's--and this doesn't even take into account population growth. Moreover, there's tons of dough being thrown around by the government, but the funds allocated for mental health are going toward more temporary, halfway house type places rather than toward long-term asylums. I'm do not claim to know whether Loughner would have been institutionalized before he could hurt anyone if laws were the same as they were in the 50's, but if so, I still wouldn't blame liberal psychologists from the sixties for the deaths of Loughner's victims, since they obviously would not have intended for their policies to free up the criminally insane to harm others. In this way I am charitable, unlike some left-wing media.

In the end, the story is about one man plummiting into insanity and doing something bad--nothing more. The media shouldn't publish the views of these stupid liberal smear artists even if it brings higher ratings.

In closing, the video below seems informative.

*This is a rounded number.