July 2006


This is what I get for only having CNN (aka, the Communist News Network) as my television news source. It’s a peaceful Saturday afternoon and I’m trying to fold laundry while getting an update on world events. But what do I hear? Discussion about how much money the United States is going to provide in aid to help restore Lebanon. WHAT?!?

I know this happens. I know that multi-billions of dollars per year go to foreign aid. What I don’t know is why. Well, yes I do…it’s all those bleeding heart liberals who think that other people should give their money to help those who won’t help themselves (note, the bleeding hearts don’t want to give their own money – just everyone else’s). Take Lebanon, for example. We’ve poured gazillions of dollars into Lebanon for what? So they can legitimize terrorist organizations (e.g., Hezbollah) by recognizing them as political parties that will eventually do what they promised by attempting to wipe out those of us who are opposed to Islam. On our dime. Gee, it seems our dollars have been put to good use, huh? And now we’re supposed to give more!

Now, there are those who will say that aid to the Middle East is given so that we have access to their oil, which we can only get if their governments are something close to stable. Here’s a thought…take the money we’re giving to the Middle East and use it to research alternative fuels so the US can become energy independent, thus no longer having to worry about what the heck is going on in the terrorist hot-beds of the world.

Why are my tax dollars going to help people that hate me??? Didn’t these politicians’ mothers ever teach them that you can’t buy friends?

Then there are those countries who receive our aid because we’ve destroyed them in war. One, if we needed to be there (such as in WWII), then these countries need to clean themselves up (without our help) because it’s their fault we had to use our military to decimate them in the first place (Pearl Harbor, anyone?). On the other hand, if the US was sticking our nose where it doesn’t belong (which we have a tendency to do), then we need to learn from our mistakes and stop sticking our noses where they don’t belong (thus saving money by avoiding unnecessary wars and the aid that inevitably follows)!!

We in the US need to start minding our own business rather than giving out our money (and advice, and military) to those who don’t want or deserve it. Stick that in your bong and smoke it, bleeding-hearts!

This is tough for me to admit, because I love politics. And I do mean I LOVE politics. I adore an election year. Hanging out with politicians and then ripping them apart in writing is the most fun this gal could ask for. So, it would seem, I would never tire of hearing politicians blather on about nonsense. But, here goes…if I see another political commercial, I’m going to vomit.

I’ve taken to keeping the remote in my hand at all times while the TV is on so that I can quickly change the channel when yet another political ad comes on. Keep in mind, though, that the local channels show little else during their commercial breaks, so it’s best to flip to a cable channel…

The thing is, I know that name recognition plays a big role in elections, but, let’s be honest: if you’re going to vote for someone based on his/her commercial, you shouldn’t be voting. The commercials all sound the same (at least as far as the Republican candidates go), so if you’re basing your vote on a commercial, you’re not basing it on the actual candidate. It’s more like you’re voting based on his or her appearance. Not that anyone who takes the time to read this blog would actually be voting based on a commercial…

If the candidate actually faced the camera and talked about the issues or answered questions (maybe clips from the local debates would work well…), then that would be a different story. But, they all have some claim as to why they’re the real conservative and why they’ll be so much better in office than the other guy, blah, blah, blah.

The only commercial I’ve seen that I really liked was Harold Ford Jr.’s “I hate the oil companies” commercial in which he said he would fight to lower gas prices. All while standing in front of his giant SUV. It takes quite a man to pledge to fight high gas prices while driving an SUV…thanks for that personal commitment to conservation, Harold!

Look, if you’re going to vote based on a commercial, or because this guy delivered your baby, or because you went to school with that guy, or because this one’s just so darn nice…stay home. Don’t vote. Your idiocy is diluting the process.

If, on the other hand, you would like to take the time to research the candidates and the issues and then make an informed and reasoned decision, vote early and often. We need you. But, again, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here.

With the end of early voting rapidly approaching and the big election day merely a week away, I thought it was high time to list my “Last-Minute Endorsements.”

US Senate
Ed Bryant
As far as my posts have gone, Bryant and Hilleary have been running neck and neck in the race for my favorite candidate. Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of any candidate in this race, but Corker is clearly out of the question. Bryant and Hilleary have virtually identical voting records , but Bryant has the endorsements to back it up (TN Right to Life, the Home School Legal Defense Association). So, Bryant it is.

US Congress, First District
Rather unprecedented, but it’s my blog, so I do what I want: I’m going to say that there are two candidates for whom you could vote and feel OK with yourself:
David Davis
or
Dan Smith
Davis is the obvious Christian Conservative, but Smith is the tough-guy conservative who knows the law like the back of his hand.

State Representative, Sixth District
Patti Jarrett

State Representative, Seventh District
Matthew Hill

District Attorney General
Joe Crumley

Washington County Sheriff
Ed Graybeal
Since I haven’t blogged on this one, I’ll just point out that Joe Bush (Graybeal’s opponent) doesn’t believe that women should be involved in law enforcement and thinks that Washington County needs bomb-sniffing dogs. The last bomb episode in Washington County was more than 20 years ago, so why does Bush think we should spend the huge amount of money it takes to buy and maintain bomb dogs? Your guess is as good as mine. This info comes from an employee at the Washington County Sheriff’s department. A woman who would be none-too-pleased to have a chauvinist sheriff with bomb-sniffing dogs on hand.

General Sessions Judge
Jim Nidiffer
Active in the local Republican party, Nidiffer’s the guy I trust.

Washington County Commission, Seventh District
I think I’m going to write myself in for this one, since everyone running can eat it as far as I’m concerned. Roger Nave might be OK, as he actually took the time to go door-to-door…

Judge Retention
My cheat sheet

The City of Chicago has passed a “Living Wage Ordinance” (that’s a title with spin if I’ve ever seen one) in order to force large employers, such as Wal Mart, to pay their employers what the city officials see as a wage worthy of Chicago’s unskilled labor force.

What, you ask, is that living wage? Ten dollars and hour plus three dollars per hour in benefits. That’s it! I’m quitting my job and going to work for Wal Mart! I don’t get benefits at my current job…

There are two reasons why this ordinance is a horrendous idea. One, it has been revealed by several of Chicago’s aldermen (alderpeople?) that pressure for this ordinance came from local union officials who hate Wal Mart. So, the living wage ordinance was simply an evil ploy to get rid of “big, bad Wal Mart,” rather than for any supposed love for the poor, uneducated masses. I tend to agree with a boisterous, big hat wearing alderwomen I saw on the news: if Chicago is determined to pass a “living wage,” it needs to be for all employers, not just the big ones.

However, the unions got their way. Wal Mart has said that their one store within the city of Chicago (that is currently under construction) will be their last if the ordinance sticks. Mission accomplished, huh?

The second major problem with this ordinance is actually a plethora of problems – all the same problems that come with any minimum or “living” wage. Any idiotic 16-year-old can walk into a Wal Mart now and get a job making what it took me ten years of work experience to make. What kind of work ethic does that teach? Forget about working towards your education! Just go to Wal Mart and you can make enough to get by, thanks to the great city of Chicago! Of course, I guess it is better than the “Welfare Work Ethic,” which is something like, “sit around and eat cheetos while the taxpayers pay your rent.”

I have a college education – which, incidentally, I’m not actually using right now as far as a job is concerned – but that’s not why I haven’t made minimum wage since I was 14 years old. Why? Because I got off my butt and worked hard. It hasn’t been my education that has increased my pay (although my ability to articulate more than “Do you want fries with that?” has, I’m sure, helped); rather, the fact that I have gone from job to job, proving that I am worth more than minimum wage, has increased my pay.

However, like I said, it appears that the point of this ordinance wasn’t to help the poor, uneducated masses, but to help the unions. And it looks like it’s worked…

All that being said, though, better for the city of Chicago to pass such a law than for the state or federal governments to do so. It’s a lot easier to move out of Chicago than it is to move away from Illinois or out of the entire country. That’s what I like about localized government – if I don’t like it, I don’t have to live there.

First it was reporters giving air time to Hezbollah members. Now, Germany says they’ll only commit troops to the mideast crisis if Hezbollah says it’s OK. Have these people forgotten that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization? When was the last time our reporters were interviewing Al Qaeda members to get their perspctive on the war in Iraq? Just because Hezbollah has some seats in the elected parliament in Lebanon doesn’t erase the fact that it’s a terrorist organization. Let’s review:

Hezbollah (which means, “Party of God…” boy, do I have news for them) was formed in 1982 by followers of Ayatollah Khomeini(do we remember that guy?) and follows the strict Islamic Shia idealogy developed by Khomeini. Their stated purpose was initially to fight the Isreali occupation of Southern Lebanon which ended in 2000. Start-up funds for Hezbollah came from Iran.

As I mentioned before, Hezbollah is a recognized political party in Lebanon and has seats in the Lebanese parliament as well as in the cabinet. Hezbollah has a strong military branch, but also offers civilian aid – available to all (however, I doubt if I went to a Hezbollah-run hospital, I’d be treated too kindly), but free to Hezbollah members. How do they pay for their social programs? Why, with money from Syria and Iran, of course! It also doesn’t take a genius to figure out that, if they’re getting thier money from Syria and Iran, they’re probably getting arms from them, too. Especially considering the fact that Hezbollah’s primary goal is to eliminate Israel and the President of Iran would just love to wipe the Jews off the face of the planet.

It is suspected that Hezbollah has helped train and equip Palestinian terrorist organizations in the West Bank and Gaza, which makes sense considering the Palestinians hate the Jews, too.

It very well could be that Israel overreacted to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, but the fact remains that Hezbollah is a terrorist group committed to the destruction of Israel. So, let’s stop treating Hezbollah as a legitimate political organization and start treating them like the dirty, dirty terrorists that they are. That means no interviews, CNN!!

My ultra-conservative (not Republican), really smart, economics/political science major, friend, Jordan posted this a while ago and I thought it was worth putting on my blog. See, this is why I like Jordan so darn much…
By the way…his is the “If I am a stranger now to you” blog, in my list of links.

Stop! Before we go any further let me make it perfectly clear, an increase in the minium wage would not help low income workers. In fact it would actually hurt them. Let me explain…

To look at this picture accurately, we need to take a look at some basic economics. Just like the market for a good or service, there is a supply of labor (individuals) and a demand for labor (firms), in a specific field, in this case unskilled workers.

And just like the market for a good or service, there is an equilibrium wage at which the demand for workers and the supply intersect. This is determined by natural market forces. In the current situation, with the minimum wage at $5.15, it is a price floor, because the equilibirum wage is higher than the minimum wage, thus it has almost no effect on the market for labor other than it prevents (ideally) exploitation of workers.

Now here comes the tricky part, the Democrats in the Senate tried to raise the minimum wage again, one of their pet causes for a long time. They proposed an increase to $7.25. There are several reasons why this is a bad idea. First and foremost, it’s none of the government’s business what firms pay their workers. But more importantly are the economic effects of such a change.

An increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 would, in several parts of the country, raise the wage above its equilibrium point. Let me also say that most states have minimum wage laws in addition to that of the federal government to compensate for the discrepency in living costs. But back to the point, the federal government would have raised the wage above its equilibrium point, what would be the effects?

It’s difficult to illustrate without the aid of a suppy and demand chart, but I’ll try my best to describe the effects. First, as a result of the higher wage, demand for labor will decrease, and supply will increase. The higher wage will bring in more workers, but firms will want to employ less of them. Since firms decide how many to employ, ultimately employment will decrease.

And since the minimum wage is in effect for those in unskilled labor, people with the lowest income will have less employment. A ripple effect will thus ensue. The higher amount of unemployment will drive up the cost of unemployment compensation. Furthermore, the unskilled workers who remain employed will have less incentive to gain skills and pursue better employment.

Firms will find their costs increasing and will turn to alternative sources of labor, such as migrant, and illegal workers who will work for less than the minimum wage. There will also be a spur to mechanize work, all of this adding up to higher unemployment. Prices will also absorb a much of the increase in costs, since firms have to pay their workers more than what is at the equilibrium wage.

In short that’s why an increase in the minimum wage is a bad idea. Let me also point out, the minimum wage is not a living wage. Government has no business dictating such a wage or perhaps even a minimum wage. It is set to prevent the exploitation of unskilled workers, it is not meant to be a something people are suppose to stay at their entire lives and expect to get by. There is a reasonable expectation that workers will gain skills and move up in the job market thus increasing their wage.

With the Embryonic Stem Cell debate still looming over our heads, this brings us to the age-old abortion question that keeps many people from even arguing about the same thing. Those who say that it’s ok to abort a fetus or to use an embryo for research clearly don’t believe that life begins at conception. Those who believe that abortion is murder and embryonic research is wrong believe that life does begin at conception.

My question is, if not conception, then when?

Gary (Melvin – a regular commentator on this blog) has mentioned that maybe, at least from a legal standpoint, life should begin at “quickening” (the point in pregnancy when the mother can feel the baby move.) I see a few problems with this.

First, quickening occurs at different times for different women – even at different times in different pregnancies. Some women feel movement as early as 10 or 12 weeks, while others don’t feel a thing until sometime between 20 and 25 weeks. There is a HUGE developmental difference between 10 weeks and 25 weeks. At 10 weeks a growing fetus is barely the size of a walnut, almost all major organs are formed (heart, lungs, brain, liver, intestines, etc.) and has begun growing finger and toe nails and swallowing. At this early stage, the baby moves, flails his/her arms, and kicks (I got to see my own baby doing this a mere 5 weeks ago!). By 25 weeks the fetus is over a foot long, weighs at least a pound and a half, the sex organs have long since formed, taste buds have formed, blood vessels in the lungs have developed, and the baby startles at loud noises outside the womb. Babies even younger than 25 weeks gestation have survived outside the womb (i.e., babies born 11 weeks premature can – and do – survive.)

An additional problem with Gary’s suggestion is that women can lie and/or be mistaken. The only person who knows when she has felt the baby move is the pregnant mother. Women could say that they haven’t felt the baby move when they really have, or she may think she has felt “quickening,” when what she really felt was gas (this is a common mistake).

So, quickening isn’t a reliable way to determine when life begins, and again I ask: if not conception, then when?

When the baby can survive on his/her own? Not only does medical technology make survival outside the womb possible earlier and earlier, but some babies are able to survive outside the womb earlier than others. My niece, who was born 8 weeks premature in 1988, would not have survived had she been a boy, according to doctors.

If not conception, when?

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