Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Interracial and Gay Marriage Comparisons

Hey, remember me?

Yesterday I heard for the umpteenth time that the restrictions once placed on interracial marriage constitute a slam dunk reason why gay marriage should be allowed. I fail to see what the former has to do with the latter. Let us take a closer look.

I can think of three reasons why the "typical white male" might oppose interracial marriage. One, he is a racist and worries that interracial marriage will harm the superior white race over time. Two, his odds of finding a mate decrease when there is competition from blacks. Three, he worries that white women might actually prefer black men. For these reasons, he strongly opposes interracial marriage.

Now let us transport our racist, sexually insecure white statistician to the present day and explore his views on gay marriage.

He is racist, so he is fine with whites marrying whites and blacks marrying blacks, so from that angle, he probably would only oppose interracial gay marriage.

On the question of odds, he would be overjoyed with the idea of gay marriage between men as two competitors would be eliminated with every marriage. Not so with lesbian marriages as each marriage would eliminate two potential mates. Thus he would favor gay marriage between men and oppose it for women.

Regarding his sexual inadequacy, again I think he would favor gay marriage between men while opposing it for women. Marriage between men would if anything provide a reminder of his masculinity relative to theirs. Marriage between women on the other hand would, like interracial marriage,  provoke his feeling of sexual inadequacy and he would thus oppose marriage between two women.

As I have demonstrated, the reasons to oppose interracial marriage, if applied to the gay marriage debate, would result in support for marriage between men and opposition to marriage between women. There simply is no logical reason to compare the fully resolved interracial marriage (non) issue with the current debate over gay marriage.

Unless, that is, you find it logical to unfairly insult your debate opponents to further your political agenda.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Morals? What Morals?

I was watching a snippet on MSNBC this morning as they were discussing the morning after pill and new deregulation that allows the drug to be purchased over the counter, with no age requirement. The one man on the program began to tepidly question the consensus, first by declaring himself a social liberal, then wondering aloud about the implications of a (I am paraphrasing here) barely pubescent young girl impregnated and left to deal with the consequences and the probability that the pill will aid in the cover up of the serious crime of rape etc....

Good questions. The woman doctor on the panel answered, essentially, and, it seemed, uncomfortably, that we can't let our notions of morality enter into the calculation. The right of an eleven year old girl raped by her uncle to access a powerful drug without her parents knowledge must apparently trump silly notions about morality.

But since when do liberals, or anyone else for that matter, pass laws without moral judgements? Laws are moral judgements.

Liberals know this of course, including the aforementioned doctor. She has indeed made a moral judgement, indeed several of them. Among them are that parents have no right to know that their precious 11 year old daughter has been raped by the perv uncle. And that an 11 year old should navigate such a treacherous situation without the help of parents or a doctor but with, perhaps, her perpetrator. And that it is ok to regulate any drug except those that can terminate a pregnancy.

With disturbing moral judgements such as those, I understand full well why she would pretend that moral judgements are not part of her calculus.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ends Justify Means for Local Lib

“Over and over and over, the common thread is the Obama administration was too willing to use the government to advance their agenda, their political agenda,” Bachmann tells The Fine Print.
Duh Rep. Bachmann, isn’t that exactly why every politician from dog catcher to President runs for office???
And the rest of the idiocy in this interview is incredible…does she even think before she talks?

Ed Heizelmann at Blogging Blue takes Representative Michelle Bachmann to task for the above quote. Of course every elected official uses government to advance a political agenda. Duh!
Now a thought experiment. Suppose President George Bush had used the military to destroy abortion clinics. Hey, its just another politician using the government to advance a political goal, right Ed?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sexual Assault Confusion Month

I recently took my son to a college for a visit and, as always, was on the lookout for nonsensical leftist propaganda. I found it in the student newspaper in an article about sexual assault awareness.

The college, UW Whitewater, was participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the purpose of which is to "raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to PREVENT (my caps) sexual violence", though that purpose was perhaps obscured somewhat by event coordinator Alan Jones who says "I don't like to use the word prevention, because there is no such thing." With me so far? It gets better.

One problem, according to Jones, is that people do not know what sexual assault is. "For example, somebody cannot give consent if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, things like that some people just don't know." I didn't, that is for sure, and thank God for the statute of limitations.

Another coordinator, Whitney Henley, said that "the most common sexual assault is between a male perpetrator, a female victim and alcohol being used by one  or both people."

 Hmmmm. Anyone else see a problem here? If sobriety is a pre-requisite for consent, then all sexual encounters fueled by alcohol are, by definition, sexual assaults. But if both parties are unable to consent, how is it that the male is the perpetrator and the female the victim? Wouldn't they both be victims and perpetrators?

Suppose the male has had several drinks, the female none, they have sex, er I mean, she assaults him, and then gets pregnant? Could he insist on an abortion even if she wants to keep the child? That might be a fun issue for a feminist to grapple with.

The messages for my son are that a campus is potentially a very dangerous place for a male student, that rape is very common on campus, and that the English language and common sense are the most common victims.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dangerous Dialogue

We are told, incessantly, that we should have a dialogue about race. Indeed we should. I have been seeking just such a dialogue for years. But finding a dialogue partner of another race, particularly a black person, is exceedingly difficult.

It isn't too hard to fathom the reason. A recent article in the Philadelphia Magazine (I think) entitled "Being White in Philadelphia" is illustrative of the problem. The article explored race relations from the white perspective. It was pretty mild overall. For example, after leaving her phone in a lab, a college student e-mailed her fellow students asking if any had taken it or seen who did. Most responded that they did not, but a black student was offended as she thought she was being accused of stealing.

Granted the article was a monologue and not a dialogue, but it created quite a firestorm. Philadelphia Mayor Nutter wrote a lengthy condemnation that included a threat to curtail a constitutionally protected freedom.

More recently a white basketball analyst, (Gottlieb?) surrounded by four black analysts, quipped that he was offering the "white perspective" when it was his turn to chime in. The Twittersphere erupted and naturally called for his head. To his immense credit, Charles Barkely defended Gottlieb and said that none of the black analysts were offended by Gottlieb's joke. Even so, Gottlieb issued an apology.

So we want dialogue, do we? You first.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Arguments That I Hate

If you are a conservative willing to engage with a liberal progressive, you have probably had a conversation structured much like the following:

LP: I think we should pass a law to help the Fill In The Blank People.

C: I disagree for reasons A, B, C, and D.

LP, ignoring reasons A, B, C, and D: Why do you hate the Fill In The Blank People?

Some variation on this argument, if you can call it that, happens with such regularity that I am beginning to wonder if there is any point in discussion or debate with people who ignore your reasoning and instead focus on imagined psychological or character flaws that lead to your mean spirited point of view. Members of the political left tend to see themselves as such thoroughly decent people, yet many are able to subscribe the most vile of motives to others with no evidence whatsoever. Is there anything at all decent about such behavior?

More Bully Crap

I recently had a conversation with a local gay activist. He is actively involved with trying to help kids who are being taunted for their perceived sexual orientation or other sexual traits or differences. And then we got to talking about same sex marriage. As far as he is concerned, opponents of same sex marriage are no different morally than racists who would deny the right to marry interracially. I am not exaggerating - in his mind there is no such thing as a benign difference of opinion on the matter. Same sex marriage opponents are simply bigots, end of story.

Alert Free Racine readers will no doubt have already spotted the irony/hypocrisy. On the one hand, said activist demonstrates a remarkable sensitivity towards victims of verbal bullying, if they are gay or perceived to be gay. But if one believes that marriage is and should remain an institution between a man and a woman, then all bets are off and you are free to bully them all you like and call them bigots.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Cost of Racial Overreaction

I have been enjoying the reaction to an commentary in the New York Times called "The Good Racist People." Here is what happened: Actor Forrest Whitiker, a black man, was accused of shoplifting in a New York deli. He was not actually shoplifting. The commentary more or less took the entire New York metropolitan area to task for being racists. Instapundit has some reaction and links to more.

I had a similar incident about fifteen years ago. I was selling jewelry and I mistakenly accused a black woman of stealing. There was a miscommunication between me and the person working with me. I thought my coworker was indicating to me that the wrongly accused was holding some jewelry. When she began to walk away, I confronted her in a firm but polite manner about the jewelry. Moments later I was informed that my coworker was referring to another lady still at our display. I immediately and profusely apologized and explained that it was a miscommunication etc... I thought that was the end of that. However, the lady complained to the management of the institution that was hosting us. It was processed evidently as racial mistreatment by the lady. I explained as best I could to management that race had nothing to do with it, that it was a miscommunication, that I was not a racist etc.... In the end I agreed to submit a written apology to the woman, which I did. And despite several previous incident free jewelry sales at the institution, I was never invited back.

My takeaway. Incidents such as the above are very empowering for the supposedly mistreated minority. In my case, an innocent mistake was transformed into a racial incident that caused me to lose a valuable business connection. She got me back and then some. Good for her. Good for her? Inflating a minor incident into a major racial mistreatment has its costs, unfortunately, for members of either race. If it is assumed that minor disputes with a member of a different race are infected with overt or unconscious racial animus, it makes interaction between members of different races a far more dangerous proposition. Or, to use econospeak, the cost of relations between members of different races is potentially greater. Easy, colorblind, less defensive interactions are made more difficult. Who does that help?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Progressiphobes Anonymous

It is hard to have a character flaw nowadays. Once upon a time, you might have been considered a jerk with a nasty temper. Now you have intermittent explosive disorder. You were a fat slob who couldn't push the plate away. Now you have the disease of obesity. You were a lazy pos who wouldn't bother to look for a job. Now you are an internet addict. And so on.

There is a long and I think accelerating trend toward the diseasification of character flaws. Whether intended or not, the trend does tend to absolve individuals of some of their responsibility for their problems. As such, it socializes the problem, ie, it demands a collective response. So naturally, I am suspicious and I suspect the left, if not the cause of the trend,  is at least supportive of it.

One notable exception to the trend. Several decades ago, psychiatrists famously removed homosexuality as a disorder from their bible of psychiatric disorders. The push has been on ever since to "normalize" the behavior and/or orientation. For the hypersensitive, I am not claiming here that that decision was wrong, only that it runs counter to the trend. But for those who think the psychiatrists were right the first time, well, congratulations, you have homophobia.

A cynic might look at the evidence and observe that the only remaining character flaws are possessed by conservatives who oppose the progressive agenda. Though they sound like psychiatric disorders, the terms homophobia and now Islamaphobia are slurs used by the left to marginalize or destroy dissenting points of view. And various slurs are attached to the opponents of the feminist, black activist, and environmentalist agendas.

I admit it. I fear the progressive agenda in all its forms. I am a progressiphobe. Perhaps their is a twelve step program for my disorder.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Transparency in Government

Transparency in government is usually a good thing. Being transparently full of crap, well..... not so much.

The City of Racine has just passed an ordinance concerning signage in businesses. "If you drive around town, you will see a lot of businesses with an inordinate amount of signs in their windows. We didn't have any regulations, so people were plastering things in their windows" says associate planner Jill Johanneck in this Journal Times article. "It is not only unsightly, it also raises some safety concerns" continues Johanneck. "If the police are called to an address and they can't see what is going on, it can cause some hazards."

But not all clutter is equally dangerous, apparently. Neon paint or paper and hand drawn lettering is apparently now a no no. But what of other clutter? My own store window is full of enticing products but is apparently exempt from the ordinance. The public safety issues, however, if there really were any, would be identical.

I would agree that some signage is ugly and unprofessional, but then again, so are some bureaucrats. Not every problem has an easy legislative solution.

On the other hand, maybe the public safety issue is legitimate. In that case, every business or home should have an unobstructed view convenient for public safety viewing. Of course from a public safety perspective the area could be rather small and be surrounded by garish blinking hand written neon signage.

Let's call it the Public Employee Examination Portal.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Specifics Cut

Yesterday I watched President Obama state his opposition to the impending automatic spending cuts. It will be disaster, in his view. Overworked prosecutors will be unable to get the bad guys in jail. Thousands of first responders will be laid off. Teachers will be laid off and your precious second grader will be getting her hugs from a rib crushing robot....

Obama is hardly the first politician to emphasize the potential harm done by spending cuts. But just once I would like to see him speak with the same passion and specificity about the things that can and should be cut. Like....We have four years worth of paper clips sitting in storage and we are ordering more....doesn't make sense... that's your money we are wasting.  Or.... We have seven departments studying the effects of global warming on the common field mouse....maybe we could cut that to four.

That the president is specific about the damage caused by cuts while vague on what could be cut, suggests to me his priorities. He doesn't want to cut anything.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Progressivism Explained

Recently I had an lengthy conversation on the subject of gay marriage. Upon further reflection, I realize that a good portion of the pro gay marriage argument rests on the assumption that it is somehow unfair or illegitimate or discriminatory for government to favor one group or behavioral preference over others. In other words, government should not favor the relationships that produce children and nurture them over relationships that biologically can't reproduce - because, well, it just seems wrong. As an aside, I am naturally sympathetic to such arguments insofar as I think the government should be much smaller and whenever possible allow free people to create and maintain the relationships that they want and in the manner that they want, provided we are talking about consensual relationships of course. The irony is that the advocates of gay marriage tend to be the same folks who want an activist government that clearly demonstrates a preference for certain kinds of relations/behaviors over others. For example, gay marriage advocates would also tend to want an activist government to support racial preferences, or to punish businesses that don't provide health insurance, or to become involved in salary decisions, or to determine the size of the carbonated beverage you are allowed to purchase, and so on.

In a nutshell, the progressive position is that it is illegitimate for government to favor one group or behavior over others, unless it is the group or behavior favored by the progressives.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Great News Sean!!

One down, several million to go! A local hot dog vendor - and oppressor and health care denier no doubt - is closing up shop. Read all about it.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Good Regulation?

Yesterday I spoke with an owner of a resale shop, both to remain anonymous. Said owner indicates that the city is requiring them to purchase a $500 permit to sell used jewelry. All purchased jewelry would need to be held for ninety days before it could be sold in the store and the owner would have to obtain a copy of the sellers identification. As an aside, this discriminates against black people who might like to sell their unwanted jewelry, as they apparently are incapable of obtaining free identification, per the prevailing view on the left about black people.

I get the need for this regulation, to a point. People are breaking into homes, stealing valuable gold jewelry, then selling it to a store for some quick cash. It is a good idea to make the quick sale of precious metals and jewelry - for suspiciously low prices - a bit more difficult.

However, there is jewelry and there is jewelry. The items being bought and sold in the case before us are costume jewelry. They might be sold and resold for a few dollars. People don't break into other peoples homes for costume jewelry.

The enforcers at the city would have none of it. You get the license or you can't sell used jewelry. No exceptions. No appeals.

I am not one for growing government, but perhaps we need a Department of Common Sense. Staffing might be a problem.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On The Progressive Mind

Want insight into the progressive mind?  Consider the following exchange between Sean Cranley and myself concerning my employees and health insurance.

ME: Regarding my employees. My business does not generate enough money to pay for the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, nor does Obamacare drive the costs down per his claims. Where do you propose I get the money to pay for their health insurance? I especially would like you to take a shot at answering that question please Sean. Thanks.

SEAN: As for your business I'd say your employees are subsidizing your lifestyle because they are not being compensated in a manner that allows them to meet their basic needs. That may be worthwhile to you, but it isn't doing society a great deal of good in sanctioning your corporate body, especially if we have to pick up the tab for their shortfalls in the form of assistance.

And more SEAN: OR as FDR said it better: "No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level -- I mean the wages of decent living."

Note that Sean doesn't actually get around to finding the money in my account or shoe box to pay for employee health insurance. He of course has no idea concerning the state of my finances. He just assumes, like most progressives, that business owners have a stash of cash available for whatever is the current cause de jour for the left. 

And yes, my employees are subsidizing my lifestyle, and I theirs. They offer their labor, I offer money. It is a voluntary exchange that Sean would like to make illegal. It is true that I am unable, or, from Sean's perspective, unwilling to offer health benefits, not to mention company cars, six figure salaries etc... It is for this reason that I encourage employees to seek the best possible employment situation available to them. In the mean time, please note that of the several billion people on earth who could potentially offer them a better deal than I have, none have done so, including Sean Cranley. But I am the bad guy, while Sean is the savior of exploited workers. 

Sean, and apparently FDR, have difficulty coming to grips with some basic economic facts. Some businesses just don't generate enough profits to compensate employees to the standards demanded by progressives. Many in fact fail entirely. And some employees don't add enough value to a business operation to justify the compensation packages demanded by leftists. Rather than confront these plain and obvious realities, Sean opts instead to have a temper tantrum and threaten to deprive me of the right, granted by government in his view, to earn an honest living. He would shut down my business in a huff, deprive my employees of their employment, my customers of my product and services, and the government of their sizable and increasing cut. Who exactly would benefit from your philosophy in action?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Health Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy

I just changed my health insurance plan today. I will in all likelihood be changing again in about a year.

Like many individuals and businesses, I am trying to sort out the changes that are coming as Obamacare  will be implemented at about this time next year. So I spent a bit of time grilling my insurance agent today.

The following is my best guess as to my options come next year. I can stick with my plan, which has an $11,000 deductible and costs us (wife and kid too) about $450 per month, though that amount might rise. Or, I can scrap my plan entirely and pay a $750 penalty/tax. That amount is less than two months worth of premiums. Now if I or any family member were to get seriously ill or have an accident such that we needed expensive care, we can sign up for insurance at that time. It would certainly cost more than my current plan, but I could then scrap the plan again once I have received my medical care.

As a math question this is rather easy. It makes no sense to buy insurance for $450 per month when I essentially already have insurance, insofar as I can buy it despite any pre-existing condition. Instead, I merely pay a $750 tax which amounts to less than 2 months worth of worthless insurance coverage. So, from a dollars and good sense perspective, I should drop my coverage and  thereafter buy and scrap insurance as needed.

But is there a moral element that I am missing? Do I have an obligation as a citizen to contribute to the general welfare of others via my participation in an insurance program? Is it OK to be a free rider?

At this point, my answers are no, no and yes, respectively. The government has passed a law which creates huge incentives for me to drop my health insurance, coupled with disincentives, in the form of huge premium increases, for keeping my insurance.  I don't feel a moral obligation to try to prop up a poorly designed system via my participation in a health plan. The system will certainly collapse and I hope that what replaces it is not, as I fear, even worse.

Monday, January 21, 2013

CAR25 - Public Access or Propaganda?

After reading Mayor Dickert's commentary concerning CAR25, Racine's public access cable channel, I have decided to weigh in.

Starting with the commentary's title - CAR25 needs to spread positive news about Racine - Mayor Dickert repeatedly emphasizes the importance of relaying positive news concerning Racine. "I believe we have to provide a great message that demonstrates the positive things going on in Racine" and "I have also worked to steer CAR25 in the direction of positive messaging" and so on.

But all this positivity is being undermined as "some of the programming currently defeats the very purpose of a positive message for our city." And "Unfortunately, the very producers that are opposing change are the ones currently providing programs that speak negatively about Racine."

So no more negativity, right? Here is where the message gets a bit muddled. The mayor then assures the opponents of the proposed changes to CAR25 that "they will still have their access to production equipment and the free broadcast of their content."

Either the city will control content or producers will, but not both. The city will either proceed with an all-positive propaganda program or dissenters will continue to dissent, but not both.

I can't imagine that the Mayor would go to all this trouble just to continue allowing negative programming, so I must conclude that the CAR25 changes are designed to reign in the dissenters. The channel will be "public access" in name only while the mayor will control the information disseminated about Racine.

As a frequent dissenter about Racine politics and an infrequent dissenter on CAR25, I understand that dissenters can be a pain in the buttocks. But we serve a critical role in a free society. We keep or at least attempt to keep elected officials on their toes and honest. We inspire debate. We annoy. We rally. We complain. And sometimes, our insistence prevents elected officials from going too far.

And silencing opposing points of views is going too far.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Services

Budget time is coming in Racine and other locals, so naturally our "representatives" will stress the importance of the services they generously extend to us with our money.

Lately I have noticed that our "representatives" seem to think that government is the only entity that offers services to people. Of course every business in Racine provides services to its customers. I suppose that since they charge money while seeking profits makes them less important, expendable, perhaps even a bit evil.

It would be nice if, during budget negotiations, just one representative would note the existence of Racine's other service providers, and perhaps wonder aloud the effect that city services and their costs have on our private service providers.

The way I see it, every vacant storefront is evidence that the city hasn't given much thought to the health of our private service providers.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Celebrating Diversity?

Lately I have been exploring college web sites as my son is getting to be about that age. One thing I have noticed is that colleges love diversity. As such, I can't help but wonder whether these colleges and universities celebrate students who disagree with their diversity agenda.