Recently an event that I would like to call “Much Ado About Nothing”, or as Bill O’Reiley preferred to call it “The War on Christmas”, took place in Talk Radio Land and the Blogosphere. It was a story about how a majority group felt persecuted because a few governmental and private corporations decided to call the tree used to celebrate the Christmas holidays a ‘Holiday Tree’ instead of a ‘Christmas Tree’. Of course, the Christmas Tree has been deemed a secular symbol for as long as I can remember so I wonder where the persecution came in. However, now it’s Christianity’ turn to do the persecuting by determining that an airing of a South Park episode is an abomination and must be silenced.
It was a scary story fulfilling the darkest fears of every one of us concerned with the far reaching spying of our government upon us. For a report, a student at the University of Massachusetts was instructed to check out the original Peking version of “The Little Red Book” by Mao Zedong. The student did as directed and was visited some time after by two agents from Homeland Security. The agents informed the student that the book was on a ‘watch list’ and that, coupled with the fact that he had spent time abroad, triggered an investigation. This information was then given to the professor at the university and he decided to make it public. The unfortunate reality? The student later broke down in tears as he admitted that the entire story was made up.
There has been mention lately in the comments on these blog pages about what the government should be doing, can do and is constitutionally allowed to do. But underneath those discussions we need to understand what makes government different from other organizations. Private organizations like the Red Cross, the NAACP, MADD, the Salvation Army, Angie’s List and the ACLU can all perform functions the citizens of a regional area need. Most things the government can do can be performed by similar privately ran organizations, so what is it that the government can do that these organizations can’t? Simply put, the government is the only body that we have legally given the power of force over its citizens.
A new theory for the creation of the universe has been developed and subsequently named ‘Unintelligent Design’. While the theory is new it is only slightly more recent than the increasingly discussed theory by the similar name ‘Intelligent Design’. Followers of the new theory are hoping to petition school boards across the country to teach this theory alongside Evolution and Intelligent Design and are hoping that the supporters of other similar origin science theories support their right to be included in our children’s educational curriculum.
Many people may feel that Irwin Schiff is an despicable man, spending decades pointing out a serious flaw in our income tax code that what individuals earn are wages, not income, and therefore not subject to current federal income tax laws. Others may feel that he is a hero for taking on the federal government in what they see as a major overstepping of federal power. Still others may not even know who Irwin Schiff is. But we should all agree that the ‘justice’ being handed down to him now by an overzealous Department of Justice is worse than anything done in Abu Grahib or Guantanamo, and it is being done to a 78 year old American Citizen.
The administration did a quick job of removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq with very little loss of life. For that, I commend them. However, the post invasion actions in Iraq have been, to put it mildly, embarrassing. Not only that, any attempt to win the hearts of the Iraqi people have failed at a high cost to the United States. If the Iraqi people supported our occupation, understanding their security would be improved by the additional security that we could provide, then perhaps it would be worth it. Helping a fledgling new democracy get their constitution and government in order. But we know the sad truth now that our approval there by the very people we are trying to help is at an all time low.
Well, my home state of Indiana is at it again. Sen. Patricia Miller has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to have children though assisted pregnancies, unless you are married. Even further, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization or other procedures must be approved by the state and those participating must register with the state and provide information such as values, hobbies and talents, personality descriptions and religious background. Not only is the proposed law blatantly unconstitutional, it steps all over the basic ideals that this country was founded upon.
For years there have been disagreements about the place of religion in the United States. Some say that religion is destructive to enlightenment and free thought. Others say that a person’s religion is their own business and should be left to them to decide how to believe as long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s right to the same. Still others are certain that only religion can keep our society from anarchy and push the bounds of the Separation of Church and State daily. Is there a way to determine which is correct?
In my previous article entitled Failure on Every Level, I detailed some of the failings in the events leading up to and during the horrific images and stories we were presented on our TV screens during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was obvious from these events that New Orleans was failed by the Mayor’s office, Governor’s office and FEMA. However, it appears that I left someone out that may have failed us all during that same time.
The hurricane Katrina passed over New Orleans last week. In it’s wake it left a city destroyed and a populous in desperate ways. For too many days the remaining survivors of the hurricane that did not make it out to safety before were left without water, security and protection from the elements and those looking to harm others. The makeshift shelters were nowhere near adequate to protect them and help did not arrive in time to save the lives of some. But where was the failure? Who is to blame?