Friday, January 14, 2005

 

Wildcat Basketball Fan Says What We Were All Thinking

Matthew Seaton, a senior at the U of A writes an excellent and hilarious letter to the editor. Why can't we beat those Stanford geeks anyway???

Unacceptable to lose to Stanford in hoops

Like most of you, I love our basketball team and understand they cannot win all of their games. Losing to Stanford, as they have made a habit of in recent years, is, however, unacceptable. Unlike their student body, most of us will not go on to prestigious law and medical schools, nor start multi-billion dollar ventures like Google Corp. Instead, all we ask is that our basketball team kicks their basketball team's ass most of the time. Really, is this so much to ask? Isn't it bad enough many of us will be working for these chumps when we graduate, if we're not gainfully employed selling cars or digging ditches. Look, I love the UA, and am thankful to be here, but we'll never be Stanford. The least we can do is get over on them athletically.

Matthew Seaton
biochemistry senior


Update:
At least we can get up on USC.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

 

Arizona Drought Far From Over

Even the harsh winters storms of late are barely helping the western drought. Arizona and many western states are in the middle of a ten year drought. It has been years since northern Arizona has seen a good snowfall. Reservoir lakes are at less than 25% capacity. While the flooding, mudslides and loss of life are huge downsides to these storms, they do bring needed water to the west.

Although the snow pack in northern Arizona is well above average for the season, it will take at least two more good snow seasons to crest nearly a decade of drought, said Larry Martinez, snow survey program manager for NRCS.

The drought has forced Arizona ranchers to sell livestock to protect grazing lands. And dry conditions in the state's forests have led to a host of wildfires, including the Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002, which burned more than 500,000 acres.

Here is the current map of the drought in the west.



 

Some Excellent Comments At The Homespun Bloggers Symposium

I just wanted to point out the excellent responses being posted to the question:
What, in your opinion, are the moral responsibilities of the individual citizen in the United States (or your own country) today and how do you believe people should act upon (or react to) those perceived responsibilities?

Comments like that from Tom at Redhunter are especially meaningful. The basis for his answer is that we all need to be responsible for our own actions and for the consequences of those actions - or inactions. Acting in such a way as to expect any more than the basics from your government is selfish and civically immoral.

 

An Insight Into French Culture

Jean-Marie Le Pen is being investigated about something he said. Apparently France has laws against certain types of speech. Even worse the laws appear to make some forms of OPINION illegal.

The Paris prosecutor's office announced a preliminary enquiry Thursday to determine if the veteran far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen broke the law when he described the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two as "not especially inhumane."


"Not especially inhumane." - that gets you investigated by the police. Yes, the opinion is stupid with hints of revisionist history but it still is just one persons opinion of events. This type of moronic rhetoric is not new either, for years fringe groups have been trying to deny the truths of the holocaust. But it is still only speech and apparently illegal in France.

The investigation was to focus on whether Le Pen's comments, which were made to the extreme right-wing magazine Rivarol, constituted "denial of crimes against humanity" or "apology for war crimes" - both of which are criminal offences.


Whether or not this guy is an idiot is not the issue - he is. The issue is that he is simply expressing his opinions through his speech. The French law here appears to be one in which the government, judge or jury determines the truths about history and anyone who disagrees with them is committing a crime. And what exactly was the horrible thing he had to say about the Nazi occupation of France, according to this Reuter's article:

"I note that if one compares the German occupation of France with the occupation in a certain number of other European countries, then proportionately, it's in France where it was the least painful," Le Pen told RTL


Clearly the standard here is political correctness run amok. European elites, headed by Chirak, are pushing their agenda right over the rights of individuals to SAY things. It is no wonder France would not support the war in Iraq - clearly in France is was politically incorrect. The problem is that political correctness rarely leads one down the difficult path to a real, long term solution to a problem. Most of the time it leads one down a path which makes the person or group feel better about THEMselves but rarely helps others for very long. Compare the war in Iraq with the goal of removal of a terrorist regime and replacing it with an elected government versus continuing soft economic sanctions, a corrupt oil for food program and seeing no violence on television (although it continued in the torture prisons under Saddam).

Denying basic rights such as freedom of speech would be seen as morally outrageous in this country. Denying these rights and allowing the government to decide what the correct interpretation of history for criminal matters is a step backward toward dictatorships and away from government by the people. This is clearly just another reason to discount France and it's political movement altogether.

UPDATE:
According to this article, Oliver Stone is running away to France after his last two movies bombed. I would warn Mr. Stone and his propensity to make revisionist history movies (ie JFK) that he may face criminal prosecution. Anyway, dont let the door hit you on the way out, Oliver.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

 

Some Thoughts On A Citizen's Moral Responsibilities

In response to the Homespun Bloggers weekly symposium:

What, in your opinion, are the moral responsibilities of the individual citizen in the United States (or your own country) today and how do you believe people should act upon (or react to) those perceived responsibilities?


Morals and their resulting responsibilities represent a very broad topic. Many of the responders have referenced religious writings, god and the Boy Scout oath which all generally fit the "do unto others..." golden rule. There is another set of morals which one derives from existing as a citizen in a society. These have less to do with how we treat other individuals and focus more on how one's actions impact society at large. While I have not fully developed a solid, succinct golden rule for moral citizenry, the basic idea is to not become a burden to society. In high school my government teacher told us we all had a right to fail and to do nothing. I found this hard to swallow since by failing and not trying to not fail, simply by existing you were taking FROM society and not giving anything back. I see examples of this daily in my medical practice. Things like smoking, over-eating, alcoholism and dangerous personal activities are all contrary to good health - and this is no secret. In my opinion, there should be a moral rule against these activities since they all cost society in one way or another. The question then becomes how do you apply the moral citizen test to any action in question. The answer becomes framed something like "is this action going to take from society without producing an, at least, equal good?" Apply this to the skydiver without health insurance. While few accidents occur, when they do they generally result in multiple surgeries, long hospital stays and protracted rehabilitation. Without any resources to back the skydiver up in case of accident, isn't there a moral imperative to not skydive? So while we should treat all other individuals the way we want to be treated, maybe we should treat our country/society the way we would want our family treated.

 

Kennedy's Progressive Agenda Neither Progressive Nor An Agenda ... Discuss

Kennedy: Democrats Need Progressive Agenda Ted Kennedy tries to rally democrats by proposing a "progressive agenda." With this lead in you might think he was going to take his party in a whole new direction, think again. If I hear one more liberal or democrat decrying why they had a hard time connecting with the American voter and then proposing to continue to do the same exact thing they have been doing for years, I'm going to ... encourage them. Here are two of the drunks new and innovative proposals:

Proposal #1:
He (Kennedy) said Medicare should be gradually expanded to cover all citizens, and the cost would be funded through payroll taxes and general revenues and offset by savings through advances in technology.
See my post regarding Tennessee and the horrible flop of TenCare as an example of government trying to provide healthcare to everyone. This also shows a fundamental misunderstanding of healthcare - advances in technology do not make health care cheaper, it make it more expensive.

Proposal #2:
Kennedy also called for greater federal support for college costs, saying every student who is admitted to college should be guaranteed the cost of earning a degree.
We already have this, it is called student loans. For the lowest income groups there are grants and scholarships. Some day I hope to send my children to college. At that time I should have plenty of money saved and be in the prime of my career as a surgeon. Should the government pay for my kids college tuition? This is just more pie in the sky. Liberals want you to believe there is a financial barrier to going to college and if the government would just pay for all college, more students, including minorities, would go to college. This simply is not true. The barrier to going to college starts in the home and is perpetuated by stereotypes and backward social values. Show me a kid accepted to a college who could not pay for it and I'll show you a student who did not fill out the FAFSA - or whatever they are calling it these days.

Kennedy wrapped up his speech with this display of oratorial skills

Kennedy also mangled the name of the Democrats' new star, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, calling him "Osama bin ... Osama ... Obama."


Have another one Ted...


Monday, January 10, 2005

 

Another Disaster Avoided By Re-Electing Bush: Kerry's Health Care Plan Used Bankrupted TenCare As Model

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES TennCare OVERHAUL As I posted before the election, free-for-all health care plans simply cost too much and do not provide good care for most. John Kerry thought that Tennessee's medicaid system was a good model for both distributing and paying for health care. In fact, it was the model for his national health care plan. Today, the program is nearly bankrupt after trying to pay for many people who can afford their own insurance. Breath a sigh of relief you didn't get suckered into this one.

Under the basic TennCare plan 323,000 adults will be cut from the plan. The remaining 396,000 individuals eligible for Medicaid will continue to receive "reasonable" but reduced benefits. The reductions do not affect the 612,000 children on the plan.

“It might not be the level of care we want to provide, but it’s the level of care we can afford without bankrupting our state,” said Bredesen. “We’re putting limits into what has been the most generous healthcare program in the nation.”

Bredesen had long maintained that many of TennCare’s problems were the result of extensive pharmacy and hospital allowances granted to attendees. Doctor visits, prescriptions, and in-patient hospital stays, which had been unlimited under the original TennCare plan, have been reduced significantly under the basic plan. Enrollees will now be limited to 12 doctor visits a year, four prescriptions a month, and 20 days of in-patient hospital care. These and other reductions are expected to save the state $575 million during the next fiscal year.



Bumper to Bumper in the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam

Sunday, January 09, 2005

 

Audits Reveal Oil-for-Food Bilking

FOXNews continues to keep close eye on the oil for food program. It appears the program was unwatched, overbilled and corrupt. In addition to the overbilling detailed in this article, another huge part of the program which was to pay Kuwait citizens reparations for the 1990 invasion was also completely without oversight. According to Tony Snow on the Sunday Factor, approximately $40 billion of the $63 billion oil-for-food program is unaccounted or at least poorly accounted for.

Far more than the actual dollars wasted, mismanaged or missing is the fact that for years the U.N. allowed Saddam to cheat the program. The lack of oversight did not just loose money, it allowed the Iraq regime to continue to build it's arsenal, promote terror and repress it's people. We are now in a war with the reminants of that government and it's allies thanks to the inept handling of the oil-for-food program by the U.N. Each and every American life lost should be blamed - at least in part - on Kofi Annan and the U.N.



Update:
This NewsMax article shows just how cluless Kofi Annan is about the oil-for-food program. Anyone who had read even a small bit of the problems with the program would know it was a disaster. Kofi, on the other hand, has his head in the clouds:

Though Saddam Hussein is reported to have siphoned off at least $23 billion in relief money that was supposed to go to the people of Iraq while U.N. sanctions were in place, Annan called the operation he oversaw "effective."

Annan said allegations of "some wrongdoing" are "being looked into," but quickly reiterated, "We should not forget that [Oil-for-Food] achieved its results."

"The sanctions were effective. Iraq was disarmed. Iraq is well-fed," the U.N. chief claimed. "In fact, the distribution system was so effective that today we use the distribution cards as the basis for voter registration for the elections."


Kofi reminds me of Bagdad Bob - "nothing to see here, everything is fine, we are winning the war, the US is retreating."


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