Sunday, July 20, 2014

HAPPY FORTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF APOLLO 11 (JULY 20, 1969)

http://stopcontinentaldrift.blogspot.com/2010/01/upon-second-anniversary-of-apollo-11.html

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

THE WAR ON OUR SOUTHERN BORDER

Obama, the Deportation King and Deportation Commander and Chief, is accused of doing nothing about the children coming across the Mexican border into America.  Yet, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill that included 19,000 new border patrol officers and finishing the fence which the House never acted upon.  Now the administration has asked for $3.7 billion to address the problem.  It looks like he may get a third of that.  I heard this morning that a plane of mothers and children has been sent to Honduras.

Even the anti-Obama web site (http://lexingtonlibertarian.wordpress.com/tag/illegal-immigration/) says the following:
"It is true that a Bush-era law requires the border patrol to hand over child migrants from countries other than Mexico to the Department of Health and Human Services to be placed with a suitable relative. The administration is rightly calling for that law to be changed."
But congress has refused to act so far.

Perhaps Maria Cardona has said it best as quoted in CNN:( http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/09/politics/immigration-obama-distrust/)
"The issue of immigration is ripe with politics, especially in an election year. It motivates the Republican base, which is skeptical of reform and despises Obama.

But Democratic strategist Maria Cardona said Republicans are trying to have it both ways -- ask for a solution and criticize the President.

"They can't scream about the house being on fire and then cut off the water supply to put out that fire," she said.
" (bolding added)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WHEN GOVERNMENTS GET INVOLVED IN SIN, THEY PROMOTE IT

Taxes are unpopular so governments tend to do things to increase revenues (actually for things people want but won't pay for), they have to appeal to shenanigans.  A popular one is to increase appraisal of property, sometimes far beyond the sale value of the property.  But some time ago, some governments started to approve of the sin of gambling (slot machines, low stakes poker, black jack, etc.) and boast how money they take in to help supposedly gambling free schools.  And there are, of course, contractors will to set up and operate this for you for a nice fee.

More recently, states have  been legalizing marijuana to be sold for a fee and the states doing this excitedly talk about how much money they are taking in from this sin.  At first it was for" medicinal" purposes.  Well, OK, I guess.  But inevitably it is now spreading to state approval, much to their glee.  My understanding is that the whole thing is illegal under Federal law, but no matter.

As a social libertarian, I am conflicted about these matters.  Gambling can certainly be addictive and people lose what money they have and become a problem to their families and even the state.  I doubt that putting smoke of any sort into your lungs is good for you.  I suppose a habit of a joint, maybe two, per day is probably not damaging much just like a shot of booze, or perhaps a second, a day isn't, but there will be many the don't stop there and will go for oblivion.  We know that many car accidents are caused by alcohol, and soon I expect we will see the same result for abuse of marijuana.  For some reason, we human beings seem to need to escape the reality of daily living.  But problems related to addictions are not just restricted to those addicted but automobile accidents, fights, medical expenses, emergency rooms, etc. are involved.  In some additions like smoking tobacco, the person at least remains functional though the exhaled smoke can be injurious to others, but addictions like alcohol and marijuana can incapacitate a person.

An excellent article by Michael Gerson on the pitfalls of the legalization of gambling and marijuana is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-corrupting-citizens-for-fun-and-profit/2014/07/14/da321826-0b87-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions.  It is not often I agree with Michael Gerson, but this is one place I do.  The question is, how do you stop it?

ILLEGAL CHILDREN AT THE GATE


You are so lucky if you don't watch cable news.  The children coming across the border have been going on for a couple of years, but, because the president went to Texas, the news media is all over it and trying to get him to visit the border.  He does go to visit sites of natural disasters that involve American citizens, but these children are not American citizens.  Does that make a difference?  I'm inclined to think it does.

But on the one hand, Hispanics would like to have the president visit, even though I don't know what he would do there.  Somehow it might give emotional support to the Hispanic community.  But I see a lot of "political landmines" in going there.  At any rate, he didn't do it.

But what to do?  "However, under a 2008 law meant to combat child trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, children from Central America must be given a court hearing before they are deported (or allowed to stay). Given the huge backlog of cases, they may have to wait years for a hearing."  (http://www.npr.org/2014/07/09/329848538/whats-causing-the-latest-immigration-crisis-a-brief-explainer) This law was passed with a large bipartisan majority.

Many children from El Salvador and Honduras come from violent regions and therefore are refugees.  I would think they would be allowed to stay if they have families to take them.  Many of those from Guatemala and El Salvador are said to be coming for economic reasons, and I suppose they will be deported.

But our immigration code is arbitrary.  Any Cuban that can walk onto our shore is considered a refugee and allowed to stay although, if caught at sea, they are returned to Cuba.  There is no such thing as an illegal Cuban immigrant!  But we are trying to overthrow a political regime there.  We may not be happy with the regimes in the Central American states, but we don't seem to want to do things to overthrow them.

Well, that is as far as I have gotten on this issue.  Though Republicans don't like all this illegal immigration (child or adults), they don't seem to be able to roust themselves to do something about it.  They just criticize the President for not following the law, but, when he does follow the law, he gets it just the same.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CONTRACEPTION DEBATE

Though there are those fanatics who claim that life begins at conception, there are those who say the fertilized egg must attach to the  uterine wall.*  The attachment occurs six to 12 days after fertilization.  Day eight seems to be the most successful.

The longer it takes the egg to attach to the uterine wall, the less likely the egg will attach.**

On day 11 50% of pregnancies fail and  and on day 12 , that number jumps to over 80%.

"The risk of early loss was strongly related to the time of implantation," the authors wrote. "Early loss was least likely when implantation occurred by the ninth day (13 early losses among 102 pregnancies, or 13 percent) rising to 26 percent (14 of 53 pregnancies) when implantation occurred on the 10th day, 52 percent (12 of 23) on the 11th day and 82 percent (9 of 11) with implantation after day 11."

Three pregnancies in which the first rise in hormone occurred after day 12 ended by themselves.


Problems can occur all the way along in the pregnancy.  As for me, life begins when the fetus is out of the womb and takes a breath by itself.  Then you have a baby born.

*http://www.newsmax.com/US/mike-lee-women/2014/06/30/id/580146/?ns_mail_uid=41824151&ns_mail_job=1575534_07012014&promo_code=us4vzp4f
 ** http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/jun99/wilcox2.htm

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

IRS SCANDAL

I have to admit, I can't get excited about the so-called IRS scandal, and I am surprised at some of my conservative friend's genuine outrage over this matter. Here is what the law says about 401-C4 organizations:

(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively (bolding and underlining added) for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/501

The law goes on to denote other organizations that help people, etc., but ALL use the word exclusively.  Note the law says EXCLUSIVELY, but the IRS in its  wisdom started to accept the word PRIMARILY instead that is causing all the problem.

There was this flood (292 conservative organizations and 20 liberal organizations) of 401-C4 applications after the Supreme Court decision on Citizen's United so the IRS tried to find out how many were phony applications - mostly Republican but some Democrat too who had fewer applications.  However since Republicans are diverted from working by this supposed "scandal," I have looked into the matter some more.  As nearly as I can tell, the only organization whose application was denied was a liberal organization and that their parent had their 401-C3 status revoked as well:

An affiliate of the liberal group Emerge America had its request for tax-exempt status denied, leading to a review (and the eventual revocation) of the larger Emerge America organization's tax-exempt status.[52]

The report found that words such as "Israel", "progressive" and "Occupy" were also used as red-flags for greater scrutiny, and that screeners were still using such lists up until May 2013.

 The letter further stated that out of the 20 groups applying for tax-exempt status whose names contained "progress" or "progressive", 6 had been chosen for more scrutiny as compared to all of the 292 groups applying for tax-exempt status whose names contained "tea party", "patriot", or "9/12".


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_IRS_controversy

 Of course most applications were phony, but in the end most were getting approved.  I feel that the misuse of the 401-C4 authority has been so abused that we should suspend the category.  The funny thing is that so many wealthy people are willing to make huge donations while forgoing their right to a tax deduction.  In a 401-C4 organization, the organization is tax free but the donators do not get a tax deduction as they do with 401-43 organizations.  The key is that the people are so ashamed of their donations that they don't want their names divulged.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/irs-tea-party-targeting_n_3272849.html

 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

OZONE HOLE (Poem)


It was a colorless, odorless, nontoxic, nonexplosive gas.
At ground level it did a lot of good.  It chilled food,
Kept it fresh; cleaned electronics; made insulation foam;
A wonder compound.

But it overstayed its welcome, slowly decaying, destroying
Another compound, also colorless, high in the stratosphere
Where it concentrated, doing a lot of good; sheltering us
From Sun's rays.

Ironically, this other gas does a lot of damage to nature
At ground level: an oxidant that harms plants, hurts lungs,
Stings eyes, creates photochemical smog.  Laws were past
To regulate it.

Humanity faced a dilemma of greater good. An established
Chlorofluorocarbon industry, an important way of life,
To balance against hypothetical ills from ozone destruction;
More ultraviolet radiation.

Skin-cancer, cataracts, food-chain destruction might result
If the one good gas was permitted to destroy the other good
Gas.  So society in 1987 limited the one good compound to
Save the other.


Originally  written in 1989 and dedicated to Richard E. Benedick, chief negotiator for the U.S. Revised, Ozone Hole was  recast in 20 line format for Poetic Voices in America, Fall 1996: Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, p. 333. (Library of Congress: ISBN 0-923242-49-X)