Saturday, December 31, 2005

GM Diversity Decision

A federal court has upheld GM's decision to not allow Christians to organize in an employee group under its diversity program. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that GM's diversity program does not discriminate against Christians because it treats all religions equally.

The diversity program allows Hispanics, Blacks, Gays & Lesbians, and other groups to organize under its Affinity Groups program. The program's guidelines do not allow religious groups to organize.

OK, how about someone at GM wanting to organize an Anglo-Saxon group? Does anyone reading this blog think that would happen without someone from one of the "other" groups complaining or the Affinity Group management denying the application? Hah!

Or how about some Muslims wanting to organize under a Middle-Eastern group? Think they would be denied or disbanded if they started religious-oriented activities? I doubt it.

One of these days, I will need to write about whom diversity really serves, and what I have seen. There is so much BS and hypocrisy in this movement that is absolutely unreal.

Have a Happy & Safe New Year

This is my sincerest wish that everyone has a Happy New Year. Please be safe in your celebration - don't drink & drive, and arrange for a designated driver to take you home or get a cab. The consequences are just too great for not planning ahead.
Again -
Happy New Year

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Where Has Personal Responsibility Gone?

Had a long talk with my son the other night on personal responsibility. Without getting into the gory details, he was blaming many of his misdeeds on his mother (my ex) and the reasons for dropping the responsibility in her lap. It got me thinking again on where has personal responsibility really gone (besides to hell in a handbasket on the express train.)

Oh, there are so many places that I can point to as the culprit for this malaise!! So let us at least try to touch upon some of them.

Social engineering by the pointy heads is a good place to start. According to them, it's never the person that commits the crime or makes a mistake, it's always someone else that causes the person in question to screw up. Bad parents or no parents, growing up in a slum, drugs, peer pressure, etc... are the reasons that defense lawyers use to try to get their clients off (and sometimes they do!). And the shrinks support it and testify in court to that effect.

School is another place. No real consequences for misbehaving are meted out because corporal punishment is no longer used. "Time-outs", detentions, and suspensions are the rule now along with pacifying unruly students. And if the kid doesn't care, then the time off of school is welcome to them. I still remember the one single whack that the dean gave me for fighting, and I certainly didn't do it again (at least on school property!).

Uncaring parents, or absent parents. Yes, many of our families have both parents working, or the single parents have two jobs to make ends meet. To put it simply, there just isn't enough time or energy to spend with the child to raise them properly. And our society is now just beginning to realize that having a parent home with the children is better than daycare. For those parents who are able to juggle jobs and are able to raise good, decent children, I salute you!

Last on the list is that we do not have good examples of consequences of bad decisions. Slaps on the wrist for corporate misdeeds that leave people out of jobs and the decision makers with multimillion dollar bonuses. Killers that get off on technicalities. The ability to state that it wasn't my fault, it was the way I was raised / where I grew up / I didn't know any better / etc...

The real problem is that we, as a society, are hooked on the quick fix, and tend to blame someone else when things turn to shit. In our society, to take responsibility for actions is almost a character flaw if the actions turn out to be wrong. It's a career killer, and we look for someone or something else to blame for our screw-ups.

The bottom line is that we are responsible for our own actions, and we must weigh decisions with care, and accept the responsibility for those actions, right or wrong. I do, how about you?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas!!

Yes, it's Merry Christmas to all those "people" who are offended by this greeting. If you are offended, then kindly go back to work and ignore all the gift-giving and other festivities with friends & family.

For the rest of us, I hope that you will find peace in this season of insane shopping and hectic last minute trips to the store for that perfect gift for that hard to shop special person in your life.

Again -

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Intelligent Evolution

Now that Intelligent Design has been thrown out as a viable theory of the creation of life, then why does the Theory of Evolution hold the sole position of explaining why life is here on Earth?

Evolution is just a theory, and no one really knows if it is true or not. No one was around long enough to state absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is the way life was created and "evolved" to the present time.

Science, at best, is man's best guess on how the life, world, and universe came into being. Religion is also man's belief that there is some higher being in the universe that is responsible for life, the world, and the universe. Either one takes a certain amount of faith in what is true or what someone really wants to believe in.

So to be fair, why not pull evolution from the classrooms as well? If evolution or creationism cannot be proven to everyone's satisfaction, then neither one of them belong in a textbook or the classroom (at least public ones).

By the way, here's where I stand on the Big Bang Theory - God spoke, and BANG!!! The universe was created...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Nativity Scene or Grinch?

Tis the season in which Nativity displays and the inevitable hoopla over where they can be displayed. Can they or can't they be displayed on the courthouse lawn, or other government property?

Let's take a look at what the First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The historical reason behind the "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" was that the Church of England was the official government religious faith. Many of the immigrants to the colonies were escaping religious persecution since if you did not belong or believe in the same doctrine as the Church of England, you were subject to harassment at best or imprisonment at worst. Thus, the "Separation of Church & State" clause was written into the First Amendment to protect the religious freedom of the citizens of the United States from a government-sponsored religion such as the Church of England.

Note that this Amendment did not ban God from Government! If that were the case, then why is there the phrase "In God We Trust" on our money, sessions of Congress open with a prayer from the Chaplain, public officials such as judges & the President are sworn in on the Bible, and various government declarations refer to God? So where does a Nativity display on the courthouse lawn violate the Constitution?

In my humble, nonlegal mind, it does not! Congress did not make a law or establish any religion that someone must belong to. Nor does it ban the free expression of faith, even if it is on public property.

However, the Supreme Court ruling that removed such displays was the result of a legal suit that presented the argument that such a display violates the civil rights of a non-Christian (specifically, an Atheist) because the display was offensive to him and promoted a faith that he did not believe in. By the nativity scene being on public property, the government, by default, was promoting the Christian faith.

From an intellectual standpoint, I can understand the reasoning behind this argument. But I hate to break it to him, but there are a number of religious and anti-religious demonstrations and displays held on public property that offend me and I think violate my civil rights & could hold the same argument that was presented in his case! But does the government promote those views? No, it does not, and I don't call up my local ACLU chapter to file a lawsuit.

Here's where I think the rubber should meet the road: The local community should have the final say if a Nativity (or any other) scene should be on public property. There have been precedents for this on a number of local levels. And if someone has a problem, they are just going to have to suck it up with the rest of us.

After all, if a local community like San Francisco can pass an ordinance that removes my Second Amendment right to own a firearm, they can certainly pass an ordinance which would allow a Nativity scene on public property...

Friday, December 09, 2005

ACLU for Everyone?

Is the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) really protecting everyone's rights equally? I don't think so. For instance...

I heard on the radio today that the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding that a Muslim man be allowed to swear on the Koran prior to giving testimony in court. I don't know if this is true or not, but here's my problem with the whole concept.

For years, the ACLU is wanting to remove religious objects such as the Ten Commandments from our courthouses, and even to remove the swearing in of witnesses on the Bible in court. The Pledge of Alliegience is under assault. Prayer is gone from our public schools. They do not defend the rights of the ones without a voice (namely, unborn children). Now this apparent reversal in favor of a religion that was not present in this country when it was founded.

The Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths all worship the same God that Abraham worshipped. Why is the Christian belief apparently being singled out by the ACLU? Perhaps they should change what the ACLU stands for to Anti-Christian Litigation Union.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

So A Frog Goes Into A Bank...

Just when you thought I only posted serious topics....
A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.

"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."

Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.

Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.

The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.

Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.

She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."

She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"

The bank manager looks back at her and says...

"It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

2nd Amendment

Gun Control - what it means differs from one group to another. For one group, it means regulating and/or banning the ownership of weapons (usually handguns). For another group, it means hitting what you're aiming at.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Why did the Framers of the Constitution include the Second Amendment? There were several reasons.

The first reason was that the War for Independence showed that a citizen army (the Militia) was important for the security of the country. Think about it for a second - a ragtag citizen army defeated one of the world's most powerful armies in the War for Independence. This Militia was the forerunner of the National Guard.

The second reason is that they recognized that a person had the right to defend their family, their property, and themselves. Criminals, Indians, and invading soldiers all sought to deprive the inhabitants of supplies, property, and sometimes their lives. It was a matter of survival. The Virginia Declaration of Rights (which predated the Bill of Rights and the Constitution) recognized that the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is an inherent right (VDoR, Section 1 summary).

The third reason is somewhat darker. Having gone through a rebellion, and recognizing that it may be necessary in the future that a strong and overbearing government may need to be overthrown by force, the Framers did not want to forbid this potential tool. Note that the Framers set up a government with Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, but this government was serve the People. If the Government no longer served the People, then the People had the same right to rebel against the Government as the Colonials rebelled against England.

I need to stop here and note: I am NOT advocating an armed uprising! We are far from such an occurrence, & have many other tools available to us such as voting responsibly, writing & petitioning our elected officials, and the Constitutional right of free speech. The above is presented as historical reasons for the Second Amendment that I have learned over the years.

So where does that leave us 225+ years later? Our society does not have invading armies or Indian raiding parties to fight off, but we still have robbers, murderers, and various others who would wish us harm.

To the best of my knowledge, the right to defend my family or myself has not been abolished. And I would be a fool to think that the police would camp out on my doorstep to keep harm away. Where the ownership of a weapon, whether it would be a rifle, shotgun, or pistol became a debatable item is beyond me.

Yes, I understand that the normal, law-abiding citizen would not need a fully automatic machine gun. But why is there such a movement to remove or restrict the option of owning a firearm? You don't have to own a firearm, but don't you think it would be nice to have the power of deciding on your own if you want one or not?

According to the Second Amendment, that right is protected. The argument that if we, the law-abiding public, are forced to turn in our firearms, only the criminals will have firearms is absolutely true. Remember, criminals do not operate under the same social norms as the rest of society.

In talking to a friend from Canada, the problem of armed robbery and other gun-related offenses are on the rise. The same is true for Great Britain and other "enlightened" countries. These countries have outlawed firearm ownership by the citizens of the country.

Proponents of severely restricting or banning gun ownership point to the high rate of gun-related crimes in the United States. This is a fact that cannot be denied. My question to them is this: How can outlawing guns stop this type of crime? Again, criminals do not operate under the same social norms as the rest of society. They will always find ways to get a firearm and commit the crime because they do not obey the law, and will do almost anything to achieve their goal, i.e. illicit material gain or harm to another person. Disarming the law-abiding citizen, in my mind, will encourage the criminal to expand the list of potential crimes and victims. And this violates the intent of the Second Amendment.

Note: Owning a weapon carries responsibilities. Quite frankly, there are people who should not even be near one because they are not responsible or mentally mature enough. Owning a weapon does not mean you should be able to strap one on & go out and play policeman. This is where careful licensing through education and the demonstration of qualifications is necessary. Training classes are a must in many states for permits to carry or own firearms.

There are several communities such as San Francisco that have recently voted for the ban of private firearm ownership within the city limits. Will they have a run on criminal activity? Time will tell, and I'm happy I don't live in a politically correct "gun-free" zone. I want that option to defend my family. To not be able to legally have the option to defend them with a firearm is the real crime that everyone will overlook until it hits home.

Remember, guns don't kill people. It's people who use guns that kill people. A gun is an inanimate object just like a knife, hammer, or screwdriver. It's how it's used and the person using it that makes the difference. And that is called personal responsibility.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chinese Golden Parachutes

Lots of attention has been heaped on the "golden parachutes" that executives of failing or bankrupt companies receive. These people are doing such a bad job that the company that they are supposedly guiding lays off the workers or asks the Union (if the workers have one) for huge concessions, files bankruptcy, and they still line their pockets with millions of dollars in bonuses and other compensation. Is there something wrong here, or am I missing something?

The following story has been floating around for a number of years, and perhaps it's true. If so, then perhaps the executives that give themselves these huge bonuses while the company that they are supposedly managing falls apart around them should be happy they don't live in China...

As the story goes, there is a refrigerator plant in China that was producing defective refrigerators. The workers on the line told the managers that the refrigerators that they were making were bad because of the parts that were being supplied to build them and the directions of the managers to build them in a certain way. The managers responded that they were to make so many refrigerators a day, and that's what they were going to do, no matter what. So do what you're told.

This went on for several months, the factory cranking out one bad refrigerator after another. That is, until one day, a high-ranking Party official got one of those refrigerators. The next day, the Party official shows up with his escort and takes a tour of the factory. He asked & listened to the workers on the line, and ignored the managers until…the managers were escorted to the rice paddy behind the factory, lined up, and were shot by the Party official's escort (which included several soldiers of the official's bodyguard detail).

Instead of golden parachutes, these managers got the golden fertilizer award, and for once, the workers didn't get screwed over by management's bad decisions...

Sometimes, there is justice in the world, but who would have thought that it would come from a Communist country?

Unfortunately, in this country (and some others), the workers pay for the bad decisions by the company's management. Pensions gone, health care gone, jobs gone, just because some idiot makes the wrong decision for the company but a good one for him (i.e., money in the pocket). It's no wonder that the loyalty to companies is gone and everyone is in it for themselves. Examples of leadership fall through to the workers, and the examples they provide are anything but inspiring.

What is worse is that the legal system that we have for the handling of corporate cases is not protecting the promises and contracts that the companies make with their employees. "Whoops! We made a mistake! We need to cut your pension and health benefits so we can stay in business and get our bonuses!" The day that allowed pensions not to be fully funded was the day that set up the current situation. And that, readers, is no parachute for the people who work hard for a living and try to build up something for their families and themselves.

What is needed is for these executives to be forced to give up these "golden parachutes" and roll those funds back into the pensions of the people who really earned it - the employees who have literally given their lives to the company with the promise that there would be something at the end for them to live on when they retire. It's time to reward loyalty and punish excessive greed.

Ranting is over - signing off (for now).