Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama Anecdote

I am aquainted with a group of Racinians whom I thought would be slam dunk Obama voters. They are urban, mostly single, non religious. They tend to despise George Bush, want out of Iraq, favor gay marriage and are pro-choice.

So I was a bit surprised when one of them desribed himself as a McCain supporter. I was even more surprised when I learned that only one of this social group (of a dozen or so) intended to vote for Obama.

They tended to see Obama as just a slick politician and they were disgusted by the Wright assocoation.

I know the polls are showing Obama with a big lead in Wisconsin, and my observations are purely anecdotal, but I think an Obama win is not inevitable.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Strike Worries

The Journal Times reports that the 94 employees of the Belle Urban System may go on strike. I think this will cause a huge problem for the dozen or so passengers who use the system.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Moral Relativism on Display

JT letter to the editor writer Teresa Murphy-Dickert asks "What's the difference between aborting a fetus and blowing up a child in a U.S. bombing raid?" and "why is aborting a child in our country worse than killing innocent children in a different country?"

Answering her own question, Murphy-Dickert writes "I think it is because those who believe abortion is worse don't have to see those murdered children and torn bodies of women on the other side of the world. Since it is not staring us in the face every day, it's easy to decide that "being against abortion" is more important than being against an inhumane war."

I can't make heads or tails of M-D's answer to her question. Clearly she is opposed to the deaths of innocents in war, but is she also opposed to abortions? And is evidence of the 30 million or so aborted fetuses "staring us in the face every day" or have we sanitized abortion victims just as we have sanitized the war?

I would answer M-D's question quite differently. The difference between an abortion death and the death of an innocent in war is intent. With abortion, the intent to end life is purposeful. With an errant bomb, it is accidental. The moral difference is significant.

Of course if you have lost your wife and child to an errant bomb, the moral distinction may seem irrelevent. The effect is the same. You no longer have a wife and child.

Even so, we must be able to recognize moral distinctions in order to function properly as a society. Or should we make no distinctions between a murderer and a surgeon who's patient dies in surgery?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Good Deed Punished

Sorry for the lack of postings of late. I was out of town, working, and with little time to muse about the events of the day.

So I was parking my car the other day when I noticed a woman and her child apparently waiting for me to exit my vehicle. They said they were hungry and asked if I would buy them some food. I was about to buy some food for myself anyway and I will always try to honor a request for food, so I said yes. Then it started to get complicated.

I was in a hurry to get home after several days on the road and they were being very indecisive about what they wanted to eat. After some time they made a decision. They wanted enough food to feed the neighbors, or so it seemed. So I set some limits on quantity and waited until the food arrived.

And in the end, no thank you's from mom or child. Just pure entitlement. Oh, and a request for bus fare.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fair and Balanced?

In today's Journal Times: Reverend Glen Halbe, a retired United Church of Christ minister from Racine, wants more Jeremiah Wrights. More divisive hate speech. More evidence free conspiracy theories about the US government trying to exterminate blacks with viruses. More damning of America. Our pastors "only pretend to preach" as they are"too afraid" to speak out. "Let the prophets cry out!"

The Journal Times can find room for Halbe's message, but conservative writers need not apply.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

KRM, Partisanship, and Magic

The Racine Journal Times paraphrases RAMAC President Roger Caron on the KRM issue as follows: "politicians must drop partisan politics, vote to invest in transportation infrastructure and not use the excuse that constituants might object."

Interesting. So voting for a massive government transportation program is considered non-partisan while objecting to it would be partisan? The partisan objection would be conservative presumably, so wouldn't support for KRM be considered partisan and liberal?

Also, why shouldn't politicians consider the concerns and or objections of constituants? Caron obviously wants politicians to listen to his ideas.

Also in the article, it is apparent that Mayor Becker would like to take on the responsibilty for Milwaukee's transportation mess and is eager to raise the sales tax to the maximum currently allowed by law, as this is apparently the only "magic" remedy. Yes, he used the word magic. It is only politicians who can use magic to make money appear. The rest of us have to work for it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

On Correlation, Causation, and Culture

I think it is time for another discussion of the differences between correlation and causation. In Racine there is an unfortunate correlation between dark skin and poor academic achievement. And unfortunately, some have no doubt concluded that the former causes the latter. Not so.

So what is the cause of the academic failings among Racine's black students? In my view, there are two primary causes. First, there is a subculture in Racine and elsewhere that infects many in the black community. This defeatist subculture glorifies violence and misogyny, rejects academic achievement and blames the larger society for the inevitable failures. Second, there are educators, most of whom know full well that there are cultural problems that are brought into the classroom, but they can't act accordingly toward their students. Why? Because teachers are silenced by their own liberal philosophy of multiculturalism, wherein all cultures are to be equally valued and validated. Rather than challenge the harmful culture that results in failure, teachers instead join forces with said subculture and blame the larger society for all the problems.

So for a black child to succeed in Racine, he may well have to reject the culture of the neighborhood and reject the enabling attitude of his teachers. Good luck with that kids!

On Gay Marriage

I have two issues with Michael Moore's column about gay marriage that can be found in today's Racine Journal Times.

1. According to Moore, at his church, they are "advised to be nice to gay parishioners while asking them to sit quietly in the corner for life." I don't know what church Moore goes to but I believe he is Christian and possibly Catholic. I suspect that he does not understand his own church's teaching on the subject. I suspect that his church welcomes sinners but chooses not to endorse sin, and his church considers homosexual activity as sin. The church recognizes that it consists entirely of sinners but obviously stops at endorsing what it considers sinful behavior which is by no means limited to homosexual behavior. The church does not endorse pre or extramarital sex either. Do the people who engage in these activities believe that they are being asked to sit in the corner for life?

2. Moore seems somewhat ambivalent on the subject of gay marriage but he won't stand for a gay man dressing as a women. "That's the one part that honks me off, when people intentionally make a joke of something sacred" writes Moore. I am not honked off by gay people pushing for gay marriage. I am concerned that by changing the definition of marriage, we will bring harm to society. By changing marriage, legally, from one man and one women, to a orientation based system, we will have provided legal justification for people of other orientations (polygamy, bisexual multiple partner marriages, incestious unions to name a few) to also marry. As a society, we need to consider all of the ramifications of changing the definition of marriage before doing so.

I am not threatened by two lesbians skipping down Main Street dressed as lumberjacks, but I am threatened by activists seeking to undermine our system of government in order to introduce harmful changes to society.