Friday, July 31, 2009

The Gates case

I'm surprised that one unfortunate police encounter has been in the news so long. A police officer wrongfully arrested a professor who wrongfully called him a racist. The fact is that innocent people do get arrested all the time, and police are called racist all the time. I think that this case is attracting a lot of attention because of Professor Gates' social status. If this happened to an auto mechanic, we wouldn't be hearing about it.

A couple thoughts:
1. It generally doesn't serve one's interests to call a police officer a racist or otherwise insult him. If he's not racist, he might get offended. If he is in fact a racist, then you aren't telling him anything that he doesn't already know.
2. Police officers should control their own emotions when dealing with emotional people.

Both the police and the public have to meet each other halfway to get along in the streets.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What next?

Bernanke said that he had to hold his nose over the bailouts. Obama says that he doesn't want to run car companies. These are good feelings to have. Whether you supported the bailouts or not, we can still agree that we should reduce the need for them in the future. The best way to do this is to draw the line and say that no business will be bailed out again. Businesses will be more careful about taking risks in the future. Such a policy may very well slow economic growth (companies may have to pass on certain "opprotunities"), but it will reduce the risk of future recessions.

If you think that is too harsh a policy, then at least it should be firmly established under what circumstances a bailout should take place. Last year when the crisis started, it was argued that there was an understanding that these companies would be not be allowed to fail. Until TARP was passed, this was an informal understanding. If Congress is willing to provide more bailouts in the future, please let the rest of us know and pass a bill stating such. If Congress is ready to commit to quit being an enabler of poor responsibility, then a resolution should be passed stating that companies should not expect anymore bailouts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama and Congress right to kill F-22 purchase

I like the F-22. I named my cat Raptor after this plane. It is designed to defeat any plane in existence. However, Al Qaeda and the Taliban don't have any existing aircraft. Even if they somehow hijack another civilian aircraft, older model F-15's and F-16's would be more than enough to shoot down an unarmed subsonic plane.

Senator Chris Dodd, a supporter of the purchase, argued that 95,000 jobs could be put at risk. If over a trillion dollars of deficit spending isn't helping to reduce the unemployment rate, that's a big clue that government spending isn't the way to create jobs.

This is a small step in the right direction. It's nice to know that a program can be frivolous enough to get axed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40th anniversary of the first moon landing

Young people might wonder why no one has been to the moon in their lifetime. I'll explain it in terms that they can relate to. Space exploration is like dating. At first, all you are able to do is look at a heavenly body through a telescope or visit it's myspace page. You try to learn more about it by sending emails or space probes. Then when you're sure that it's safe to do so, you send a manned mission or take them out on a date.
You do all this to see what's out there. But after a while, you need to think about the long term. Why exactly should you keep spending money on rocket fuel and steak dinners? What are your intentions, anyway? Do you want a colony or a family? Do you plan to simply take advantage of her by mining her for resources?

After over half a century of exploration, if we don't have any long term plans then there is no point in continuing this relationship. If we do decide on a long term relationship, then we need to establish boundaries.

The homestead principle must be applied to space. If an individual or entity creates a useful structure on another world, then they should be allowed to own that structure and the land beneath it. It's unlikely that any corporation or eccentric billionaire would bother to set up a habitat dome on the moon or Mars unless they were assured that their claim to it would be recognized by all. If our government and governments around the world adopted this principle, then the real space race can begin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Secure ID

Next year, Indiana will require people to show a passport, birth certificate, or other documentation proving one's legal status in order to get your driver's license or state ID renewed.

SecureID might very well be a bill of attainder. If people with valid ID's cannot get them renewed, then they will not be able to vote, thus denying their rights as citizens.

I am Robert Enders. I am a US citizen. If you think the first statement is false, prove it and send me to prison for identity theft. If you think the second statement is false, prove it and deport me. Otherwise, let me renew my driver's license.

LPAC SECRETARY: The preceding text was cited and quoted by Niki Kelley's and Benjamin Lanka's weekly column THE POLITICAL NOTEBOOK in the Fort Wayne Newspapers' Journal Gazette on the 19th of July 2009 (Pg 5C 5th subtitle c3,ip9 through c4,ip4)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

City spends $400K on new facades

This is like repainting a car that's need of a new transmission. It makes things prettier but ignores what's important. With a looming budget crunch, this $400K could have been better spent on essential services.

But perhaps some of you think that there is a critical facade problem in Fort Wayne. Here is a streamlined approach to the problem:
1. If a facade presents a threat to the health and safety of the community, then the owner must be required to fix it at his own expense or be fined.
2. If the facade in question is just plain old or ugly, then it just gives the building character and there is no need for the city to take any action.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Anti Health Care Reform Rally @ Allen County Courthouse 12 Noon Thursday

LPAC SECRETARY: The following is a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT only, not an endorsement:

Thursday @ 12 Noon concerned citizens across northeast Indiana can open their mouths, and the first 150 can even deep throat a Coney Dog, at the Allen County Courthouse on South Clinton at Main Street, to protest against national health care reform that is currently making its way through Congress. The hour long rally event is hosted by Americans 4 Prosperity and Patients United Now and will include commentary from highlighted speaker, Honorable David McIntosh, former US Representative from 1995-2001 in the 2nd District, who was succeeded by the Honorable Mike Pence in the sixth District, and is currently also working with Conservative Lobbying Groups against the Sonia Sotomayor nomination/appointment to The United States Supreme Court.

LPAC SECRETARY: For my personal thoughts and commentary, please see my blog F6, thank you.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Congress takes on the BCS system

BCS is like life. It isn't fair, it cannot be made fair, but it still beats the alternative. The shear number of college football teams (more than 500) plus the amount of rest and practice that teams need between games (a week) means that a season followed by a tournament would take too long.

Some in Congress want to change the system. Should we be upset that with all the problems facing the nation that Congress wants to spend time on this? Or should we be glad that this distraction means that Congress will be spending less time screwing up on more important matters?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Indiana state government shut down averted

Everybody who follows Indiana politics already knows that the State House passed a budget.

I have but two comments on the future potential of a government shutdown:

1. This is but one more reason why the amount of responsibility assigned to government should be held to a minimum. If something is important to you, you'll find a way of accomplishing it that isn't subject to the political whims of the legislature.
2. If the BMV is ever shut down unexpectedly when you need your license renewed, that should be a valid defense for driving with an expired license. Life still goes on even when the state doesn't.

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