Monday, February 23, 2009

Barbour Managed to Find Himself a Voter

Now, all he has to do is continue (or better yet, define better) his fiscal-conservative principles and he'll be able to keep me as a voter.

But, onto the point, what has Governor Barbour managed to do which has impressed me? I mean, I am somewhat out spoken when a politico irks me, but it's rare for me to wax-eloquent about the virtues of one.

Mainly because it's so rare for a politico to have virtues, but I digress.

What Gov. Barbour has done, is this quote:
If we were to take the unemployment insurance reform package that they have, it would cause us to raise taxes on employment when the money runs out, and the money will run out in a couple of years, and then we'll have to raise the unemployment insurance tax, which is literally a tax on employment. I mean, we want more jobs. You don't get more jobs by putting an extra tax on creating jobs.
I must admit I was flabbergasted when I heard that on the television last night. Here is a politician, telling it out it really is out there.

Sure, Louisiana's and Florida's governors are also harping on some of the pork and inanity found within the Congressional Relief Action Program, as Mike Huckabee has named the spending stimulus bill.

Of course, such statements have the usual detractors and what not. A quick perusal of the Politico website reveals such gems as this:
It is incredibly self-serving for ANY governor to put party ideology ahead of pragmatism by refusing to accept federal stimulus funds that would help many thousands of unemployed and economically distressed people make ends meet until the economy begins its rebound.
Frankly, I'm still amazed at people who really do believe that it's the government's responsibility to take my money (under duress mind you) and give it to other people. Oh wait, that's not the politically correct way of describing "government aid" and "welfare checks" is it?

All that said, there is a dark tinge to this discussion, and that is that Barbour really is perfectly fine accepting this money. He has no compunctions against it, doesn't really feel a moral obligation to not accept it--outside of the riders, and requirements attached to it.

Now, if Barbour has come out and said, "Hey, this pork-laden travesty of a legislation should not be seen."

I'd be all sorts of happy. Well, happier.

But instead he's saying, "I like this money, a lot, but because there's those pesky little rules attached, I don't think I'll be taking it."

The important thing is that he's out there fighting against it though. Additionally, he's smart enough to realize that you don't create jobs by leveraging more taxes on job creation.

So, hey, it's one of those glass-half-empty kind of things I guess.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The New Legal

What is the definition of a criminal? When does someone become a part of a criminal conspiracy? These are important questions, and we need the answers today--because some of our lawmakers are flouting the edges.

For the record, a criminal is someone who commits a crime, or has been legally convicted of committing a crime.

The second part of the question, is even easier to understand. According to law, a criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to engage in a course of conduct which is itself a criminal offense.

Now, let's play a role-playing game. Say, you own two houses, and being the good steward of your property, you put up one of those houses as a rental unit. After all, you can't live in two houses, and by making the second a rental unit, you gain income, provide housing for someone, and ensure that the house does not become run down and/or decrepit.

Now, imagine said renter decides that they don't want to pay. They just want to live in your house, free of charge, while you pay the mortgage. What does one do?

Well, you evict the renter of course. Toss them out, and get a new renter. It's a standard procedure, and one should not feel bad about it. I mean, you had a contract that clearly stated that you allowed them to stay within your property for a certain sum of cash on a monthly basis. And that contract clearly had provisions for what happens when one does not pay.

Now, what would you do, if a City Commissioner told every person who decides to not pay their rent, that they should, "stay in their homes. That if anyone is being evicted, then don't leave."

And what if a "community service" organization then made plans to ignore eviction notices, and to forcefully keep an individual within the property.

At what point, do you worry that maybe, just maybe, this dead-beat renter who refuses to pay his agreed upon rental amount, intends to just keep your second house.

Would you care at all? Or would you use the Sheriff's office to enforce the law, and remain in control of the property you own?

I know what I would do.

Now, I used houses there, but in truth, the concept can be applied to any property. You have a car that you rent out, or maybe a TV or a computer. The thing is that one person is in blatant violation of the agreement, and intends to take your property for their own.

It is theft. Pure and simple, and without any other possible interpretation.

If you agree, keep reading. If you don't, I feel sorry for you that you believe it is okay that someone can take what does not belong to them by force.

Now, what would you say, if I told you that that little role-playing, was 100% real?

What would you say, if I told you that a Congressman is encouraging the American population to break the law, and in effect attempt to steal homes?

Because, guess what, it's real.

Representative Marcy Kaptur, on the floor of the House, said this:
What I am telling people right now is, stay in your homes. If the American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed, don't leave, because I will tell you what. If you had a smart lawyer like those banks up there on Wall Street can get, they would take you into court and they couldn't find the mortgage. They couldn't find the mortgage.
So why should any American citizen be kicked out of their homes in this cold weather? In Ohio it is going to be 10 or 20 below zero. Don't leave your home.

Because you know what? When those companies say they have your mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his or her finger on that mortgage, you don't have that mortgage, and you are going to find they can't find the paper up there on Wall Street.

So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes. Don't you leave. In Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Illinois and all these other places our people are being treated like chattel, and this Congress is stymied. We have the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and our committees are muzzled. Power is given to one chairman or one person.

...

So I say to the American people, stay in your homes. You have earned them. And don't you get out until you get a really good lawyer who can find your mortgage up there on Wall Street. Because, you know what? They won't be able to find it, and therefore they can't prove you should be evicted.
Think about it. Sure, it's a sad thing that all these folks are facing foreclosure, but whose fault is it? Who signed the loan--which is a legally binding contract? And it's not like they couldn't declare bankruptcy.

But instead, we have this Congressman who is encouraging the populace to break the law, and ignore the legal rights of the mortgage holder. Because let's not forget the simple fact that a person does NOT own their house until all the liens are satisfied--the lien holders do.

No amount of claiming that American's have a "right" to home ownership, or a "right" to not face foreclosure, does not mean that those rights actually exist.

That said, Home Ownership is a right, and along side that right is a responsibility to actually pay for the home.

Otherwise, you're just stealing.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Journalism or Creative Writing?

You know, it's usually easy to tell the difference between journalism and creative writing. There is just a certain... feel that creative writing has that really has no place in a news article. Sure, some of the concepts found in creative writing can be in an EDITORIAL, but in a news article? No.

Case in point, this first sentence from a recent news report in the The News Courier (Athens, Alabama's newspaper):
The ominous sound of sliding metal and the 9 mm semi-automatic pistol was cocked and ready to deliver death to two Athens cousins out for a night of drinks and dinner at T.G.I. Friday’s Dec. 17, 2006.
That's not a sentence that one expects to find in a news article. First off, there are the descriptive adjectives both create a bias in the reader's mind and reveal a bias on the part of the article's author. The "ominous sound" is a specific turn of a phrase and one which creates a certain attitude throughout the reading of the article as a whole.

And it's poor bad journalism.

The reason I say that it's such, is because the article is about the events which lead up to a man shooting 4 (killing 2, wounding 2) people in an Athen's TGI Friday's.

Yet, the article reads like either a murder mystery or a attack on gun owners. In fact, the way the text is written, it makes it seem like the GUN is the evil thing that killed two people and wounded two others, rather than the man, who was a drug dealer, who pulled the trigger multiple times.

How many times must this be repeated: guns do not kill.

Now, consider this sentence:
The Board of Medicine has revoked the license of a Florida doctor accused of medical malpractice in a botched abortion case in which a live baby was delivered, but ended up dead in a cardboard box.
That sentence is from an article in The Buffalo News (and as an AP story) detailing what has happened to a Florida doctor. Reading that sentence, you know the fundamentals of the entire article. Go read the The News Courier sentence I quoted at the top again, what can you tell me about the article it came from? Both sentences were the first sentence from their respective news articles, but the latter works while the former falters for the reasons I've described.

Additional, The Buffalo News sentence you don't get any sense of a bias from the reporter. One can't tell from that sentence what the author's stance is on abortion, medical malpractice or just doctors in general.

While the author of that The News Courier article wears her anti-gun bias proudly on her sleeve and in her journalism.

Is it any wonder that news papers are a fast dying breed? After all, if this is the level of staff writers for a standard small-town newspaper, I'm not surprised that no one wants to buy it.

I know that an obvious bias on things is the reason that I had never subscribed to the Pensacola News Journal while living in Pensacola. As a digression, by the time I moved here to Madison, I had become so used to receiving my news and other information from online sources (I love Google Reader) that the local papers here never had a chance.

Unfortunately, the using Internet for news also means that I get to read more of these piss-poor staff reporters.

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