Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Michele Bachmann Talks Evolution, Intelligent Design At Republican Leadership Conference 2011


“I support intelligen­t design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference­. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

I wonder if her class on the Constituti­on made it as far as the First Amendment. She simply does not believe in Separation of Church and State. This tells us, in turn, that she does not comprehend the reason for Separation – or, for that matter, the demands and limitations of democracy.

As far as scientific issues go, she’s wrong on that point too. A federal court ruled that intelligen­t design is NOT science, but religion presented as science. I guess that law degree from a faith-base­d “universit­y” isn’t really working for her. One would think that her time at William & Mary School of Law would have straightened her out on the law.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Candidates, Constitution, First Amendment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist Split On Ethanol Subsidies


I would like to throttle back the ethanol subsidies, though not eliminate them completely­. But not for the reasons the Koch brothers give.

The campaign to promote corn ethanol drove up the price of corn, which benefited the corn farmers. It also encouraged new businesses and job creation, as well as diluting our dependence on oil for transportation.

But at a price…

As demand for corn skyrocketed, the price also rose. Because the price went up, more fields were planted with corn. More corn fields meant less fields devoted to other grains, which led to low supply and high prices for other grains. That raised the price of foods derived from grains and food animals fed on grains.

In short, it drove up the price of food. Worldwide.

What would I do?

1) Cap corn ethanol at 10% mixture.
2) Keep subsidies for small “blenders”­, but greatly reduce or eliminate subsidies for the rest. (research would be required to determine a proper threshold.) Betraying the small startups would hurt the government­’s ability to lead the economy into the future instead of letting it decline in the past.
3) Bring oil speculatio­n back into regulated markets, where they belong. I would tax windfall profits of oil speculator­s by at least 50% – their pursuit of profits severely hurts the economy.
3a) If (3) is not feasible, then bypass the market entirely by having the federal government buy directly from the producer on contract and sell at a slight profit to the domestic market. This is probably the best option for the country (and the world).

And the Koch brothers? They are the evil behind the high price of oil speculation. They’ll survive:
http://thi­nkprogress­.org/repor­t/koch-oil­-speculati­on/
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Economics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

America for Sale: Is Goldman Sachs Buying Your City?


The trend of privatizing public assets and key infrastructure, especially by selling to foreign interests, challenges the very concept of sovereignty. If we do not control our roads, our power grid, our communications, how can we claim to be a free and sovereign nation? Politicians are literally selling out America.

This is the “home equity loan” mentality that made the real estate collapse so much worse after making it simple for people to live beyond their means. This is a functional admission that America is broke – and broken.

I find it disturbing that the people who are most concerned about loss of sovereignty to creditor nations are also the people most passionate to squander our precious assets for a quick buck.

Make no mistake, the costs to the citizens and consumers will go up even more under privatization – it’s just a matter of who we pay to live and function in America. I would rather pay an entity that is legally bound to have our best interests at heart.

Dylan Ratigan: America for Sale: Is Goldman Sachs Buying Your City?

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kansas law allowing blind to carry concealed guns intact


The Great Seal of the State of Kansas

Image via Wikipedia

Kansas has joined the ranks of crazyville.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has expressed concerns about changes to the concealed-carry law that prevents the state from denying gun permits to the blind and other people with serious physical disabilities.

The Legislature also has removed all requirements that people who wanted to renew their license must pass a close range accuracy test.

Kansas law allowing blind to carry concealed guns intact

I’ll start with the stupidity of letting blind people carry guns, let alone carry them concealed. These are people who, by definition, have virtually no ability to aim a gun, let alone verify a target or make sure the line of fire is clear of innocent people.

There are only two reasons to let a blind person carry a weapon:

  1. They intend for someone who cannot legally buy a gun to use it.
  2. Lawmakers care more about ideology than public safety.

Next up, people with serious physical disabilities.

  1. Putting a gun in the hands of someone who cannot physically control it is inherently dangerous, and a potential threat to the public.
  2. They intend for someone who cannot legally buy a gun to use it.
  3. Lawmakers care more about ideology than public safety.

Finally, people who have not proven their ability to hit what they aim at, even at close range.

  1. Putting a gun in the hands of someone who might shoot it wildly is inherently dangerous, and a potential threat to the public.
  2. They intend for someone who cannot legally buy a gun to use it.
  3. Lawmakers care more about ideology than public safety.

These changes to the law promote a 2nd amendment ideology while turning it’s back on the general welfare of the citizens. It is crazy bad government.

[UPDATE October 14, 2011]

I was double-checking some information before writing a comment, and discovered that the Kansas City Star has scrubbed the article this post is based on. Other articles on this subject seem to be based on a single AP article. This raises a flag for me.Further research is in order.

Dereck Schmidt is a gun rights enthusiast, which lends credence to his concerns about the law.

Personal and Family Protection Act Statutes(K.S.A. 75-7c01 et seq.) – Updated 01/14/2011

Summary of the 2010 Changes to the Concealed Carry Law after passage of SB 306

Self-Defense Statutes – Updated 2011

Kansas sends SB 306 to Govenor

Still needs more, as time allows.

June 13, 2011 Posted by | Second Amendment | , , , | Leave a comment

Gainful-Employment Rule – What Do We Think


Barnard College, 1913 (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Gainful-Employment Rule: What Do We Think?.

“Programs must fail for three years out of four before they are completely cut off from student loan or Pell Grant money. No programs will be ruled ineligible until 2015.”

I find it interesting that conservatives who want government to be run like a business reject the idea of evaluating a supplier based on return-on-investment criteria.

I don’t think there is a business in the world that would contract with a third-party supplier with such a parasitic and ineffective business model as some of these for-profit institutions embrace. Nor would I expect any business to be so lenient with failure.

“”We’re focusing on improving (for-profit programs) rather than closing them. Students would be better off if their programs were stronger rather than closed down,” said James Kvaal, a DOE official, during a conference call with reporters.”

Just the opposite of the approach republicans take toward public schools.

When it comes to funneling taxpayer money to private businesses, republicans are clearly selective about running government like a business.

“The controversy over the “gainful employment” rules highlights an important reality — mainly that the federal government is actively creating rules that will prevent many people from obtaining skilled employment or improving their job status.

The whole issue of higher education regulation is a debate worth having. There is widespread opinion that the federal government has once again overstepped its bounds. That’s why I’m looking forward to taking a close look at how we can improve higher education without selectively imposing draconian regulations that hamper innovation and job creation while reducing student choices.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.

The catch is that for-profit colleges are the only ones deliberately bilking the taxpayers and impoverishing their victims. You have to concentrate regulations on the bad actors in order to minimize unintended consequences.

And the truth is that we cannot afford the economic consequences of predatory for-profit colleges. The high cost of an honest college education already limits the disposable income of college graduates to a degree that weakens the economy. The problem becomes enormously worse when the education is worthless. The Congresswoman merely seeks to complicate and muddy the waters.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Education, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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