Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

A few thoughts before I turn in for the night...

Nothing really exciting - mostly more of the same from both the Presidents and the Democrats.

Foreign policy wise, he continues to see a progress in Iraq that is missing in the news; indeed, it may be missing from reality. However, I agree with him on the notion that we must succeed. It will just be like Taliban Afghanistan if we do not, a harbor for violence and terrorism. However, success must be measured by how quickly we can give the Iraqis their country back. He made a strong statement on Iran, and deservedly so. I'm glad to see we're working WITH the international community on this critical issue. Russia is really the key to peace with Iran. The Dems called for change in Iraq without offering any alternative.

Domestically, his arguments for the patriot act and the wiretappings were familiar; I still fail to see why he doesn't just get warrants, however, as he is allowed 72 hours...why even push the limits of the law, if not break it? As for the patriot act, with more provisions to protect civil liberties, it should be passed; some of the powers therein have indeed been important at breaking up terror domestically. The key is finding a balance and debating it thoroughly.

Economically, the traditional divisions continue. No news here. I thought Bush's head was going to explode when the Dems cheered the failure of his Social Security agenda. A highlight of the night for the loyal opposition.

Once again, Katrina seemed to be an afterthought for the president. It was a major national event, and only got a few lines.

His call for a line-item veto scares me - yet another extension of executive power, already greatly broadened under President Bush. I can't see the Congress giving Bush even more power, but the way the Republicans are wrapped around his finger, nothing would surprise me.

That's really it as far as anything I thought was interesting - we truly do need to commit to expanding renewable energy; I would hope people on both sides of the aisle agree with that.

On the whole, however, Dick Cheney came out of his hole and saw his shadow...you know what that means: another year of bitter partisanship in Washington. Moreover, as odd as it sounds, I sincerely hope no crisis great enough to again unite us comes along anytime soon.

Pre- State of the Union

First off, I offer my apologies again to anyone who still checks this site from time to time for not being more on top of things. Student teaching has kept me busy, but is going well.

I plan to post some reaction to the State of the Union speech (hopefully I'll actually get around to it) tonight after it is over.

I'll just mention this: I disagree with liberals and Democrats who refuse to watch it. I mean, come on guys and gals - isn't it better to know what the other side is up to?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Sorry the blog has been so quiet to those of you who read - started student teaching this week and have been trying to get my mind adjusted to the new hours. I'm usually up from 11am to 3 am - school starts at 7:30 am, so you can see the problem.

While my hours are extreme, I do think there is a valid argument for moving back the day a bit. There are of course problems, but the science has shown it would benefit a majority of students academically. No Child Left Behind? What about us night owls?

Ok, hopefully the weekend will bring a more serious post. Until then, I'll be trying to make as many annoying comments as possible on other people's blogs!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alito Process – Initial Reactions

He’s coming across as an extremist and an ideologue; he seems bitter, mean spirited, and is making his “side” look bad. But enough about Sen. Kennedy…

All kidding aside, I’ve always admired Ted Kennedy because he is, at the very least, consistent and clear in his views. However, in this very public forum, he is a living characature of what many Republicans have accused the Democrats of being – essentially whiny little children who will do anything to get their way.

Unfortunately, this detracts from the rest of the Democrats who have done an admirable job bringing the important issues to the forefront of the discussion. Sen. Feinstein in particular deserves credit for engaging Judge Alito concerning important issues and doing so on a layman’s level. Sen. Biden has been amusing, and though a bit aggressive he has done it much less mean-spiritedly than Sen. Kennedy.

As for Judge Alito, he has been calm and cool, clearly knowledgeable on case law and able to respond maturely to criticism. I’ve been surprised at the number of questions he has answered, though some critical issues remain open-ended. Still, I fear the saying that “in a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve” will come true; Alito is clearly a Conservative in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, just as Bush promised prior to his reelection. However, I think he’s too mild mannered and “normal” not to ultimately be confirmed.

I don’t know if the Dems will decide to filibuster or not – I think if they do it is a great political risk. A much better tact for blocking his confirmation would be to launch a massive public relations campaign in order pressure enough moderate (particularly pro-choice) Republicans to block him on an up or down vote. I do not think this will happen. It is too early to make a prediction as to the final Senate vote, but I expect it to be much closer than the Roberts vote, as Dems position themselves to maintain or increase their appeal to Americans who support Roe v. Wade, a group that remains a clear majority nationwide.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Remember When...

I borrowed this from Ryan over at JokersTotheRight and thought it was interesting enough to complete on my own. Basically a “where were you when…” type of thing.

You found out about 9/11: World Geography class with Mr. Maroon, an older teacher who was a retired Air Force intelligence officer. A messenger from the office had brought a message and said a plane had hit, then a Vice Principle, knowing his background, stopped by to tell us the second plane had hit. Mr. Maroon turned around and wrote “Osama Bin Laden” on the board, then started trying to get the horrific images on the TV. I changed classes at 9:20 am, but it didn’t take much to convince my chemistry teacher that this was a whole lot more important than that day’s lesson, esp. as events unfolded.

The start of the FIRST Gulf War - When we began combat operations: The “Big G” grocery store (now Farm Fresh) just outside of Camden, DE. I was shopping with my family, and we were checking out when they came over the intercom. It was the first major combat since Vietnam, and people were on edge. I remember the whole store going silent as the announcement was made.

The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded: I think I was sitting in a high-chair eating, but I really don’t remember.

The Space Shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry: I was sleeping – my mom came in and told me to turn on the TV. We thought initially it might have been a terrorist attack because of the Israeli astronaut, though even later that day that seemed unreasonable.

Berlin Wall came down: Nope, no idea, too young.

President Clinton was acquitted of impeachment: I was getting ready for jazz band when the vote was taken – they had TV’s in the band room, and our teacher left us watch it as the practice began, realizing that it wasn’t something you see every day.

Election night 2000: Watching at home on TV, finally going to bed around 1am because of school the next day. I was in a government class at school that semester, so we followed all of the developments closely, including when the Supreme Court decided votes didn’t matter....hmm, I think I’m still a little bitter about that one.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Delaware SB 80 Deserves Support

Delaware’s SB 80 has stirred passions on both sides of the stem cell research debate here in the First State. Senate Bill 80, the Delaware Regenerative Medicine Act, will be up for vote in the House this month after already passing the Senate. This Wednesday, 01/04, there will be a public hearing at legislative hall from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. I find the whole debate fairly interesting, and the fact that there is a town hall meeting at legislative hall makes me realize why I like Delaware so much: where else could the people of a state gather to discuss policy in the place where it will actually be decided?

My two cents? I support this measure whole heartedly. Its primary purpose is not an expansion of embryonic stem cell research, but to create oversight and standards regarding various aspects of research surrounding regenerative medicine. This is particularly important in Delaware, a state where much private research takes place. The controversy is about several other provisions of the bill which “will permit couples whose cells created the embryos to donate them for legitimate medical and scientific research, if they so choose. A couple’s decision to donate their embryos, instead of having them destroyed, would be strictly voluntary. This legislation would permit scientific researchers to use donated human embryos created during in vitro fertilization procedures for legitimate research projects, subject to restrictions. The restrictions would include the following: a) a determination that the embryos would never be implanted in the female donor; b) a requirement that the embryos would otherwise be discarded; c) a requirement that the embryos are donated for the purpose of stem cell research by the individuals seeking fertility treatment; d) a requirement that written informed consent would have to be obtained from the individuals donating the embryos; and e) a prohibition that prevents the individuals who are making the donation from receiving any financial or other inducements for the donation.”

These embryos will be destroyed anyway; to me, this is indeed a moral issue. Allowing the research to take place does not destroy life any more than discarding the embryos. Instead, it works towards the creation of solutions that alleviate suffering and SAVES lives. To ignore a science that has the potential to save lives in order to “protect” embryos that will be destroyed anyway is both immoral and illogical. SB 80 deserves full support and should serve as a model for similar legislation at the national level.