Fun With Politics, Part 2

Next set of issues, since I don’t have anything better to do.

4) Teach family values in public schools

Had a hard time figuring this out at first, so here is OntheIssues definition:

  • Strongly Support means you believe: Judeo-Christian values are American values. Belief in God is what America was founded upon, so praying in school or other public places does not violate the separation of church and state. Displaying the Ten Commandments is appropriate because they are the moral basis for Western law. The Pledge of Allegiance should continue to include the phrase “Under God.”
  • Support means you believe: We need to teach values in our schools. The more our children are exposed to prayer, the Ten Commandments, and other traditional values, the better off they are.
  • Oppose means you believe: Prayer in schools is inappropriate because it fails to recognize American pluralism and religious diversity.
  • Strongly Oppose means you believe: Separation of church and state precludes allowing school prayer. It also precludes other aspects of religion in schools, such as posting the Ten Commandments in public places. We should not violate the Constitutional principle in this case

I guess I am strongly opposed to this. Separation of church and state is very important, whether you believe in a god or not. Regardless of what pundits and others may say, this country was not founded on the idea of “God’s Country.” Granted, words like “creator” and the like appear in the Constitution and whatnot, but there wouldn’t be an amendment if it wasn’t a big deal for the Founding Fathers. They left a society, England, that was dominated by one religion, the Church of England, and they didn’t want that to happen in the new America. Though some groups did come to the good ol’ US of A for religious freedom (Puritans and their ilk), the majority of people just wanted to get away from the monarchy. That being said, “Judeo-Christian” values are not necessarily my values, and I believe that this is something that parents should handle at home. My parents raised me well, and even though the majority of their teachings were based on a religion I now dislike, I like to think that I turned out okay. On to the candidates:

Obama’s View – Couldn’t find a real match for this, though Obama has stated that he is Christian and generally lives a Christian-like life. He even gave a speech, which you can find here. It was reviewed by E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post thusly:

“(Obama’s speech on faith) may be the most important pronouncement by a Democrat on faith and politics since John F. Kennedy’s Houston speech in 1960 declaring his independence from the Vatican…Obama offers the first faith testimony I have heard from any politician that speaks honestly about the uncertainties of belief.”

McCain’s View
Thinks schools should allow, but not mandate, prayer in school. He also believes that teaching the Ten Commandments would bring virtues to our schools. Blech.

Match: While faith is not a big issue in my life, I do believe that they should be separate, so I guess I go with Obama on this one.

5) Death Penalty

My View: Not a big fan of the death penalty. Something about numerous death row convictions reversed after more evidence surfaces. It is a insignificant number in the grand scheme of things, but one innocent person being killed is one too many. That’s why life in prison is good. Don’t let them out…ever. Rehabilitate them so they don’t kill other inmates and whatnot. It isn’t that hard to figure out. For those of you that poo-poo the costs, I say, “Whatever.” The money is going to be spent anyway, so why not keep killers and rapists behind bars forever. If they try to escape, break their legs. If they kill other inmates, put them in solitary. It’s all about Darwin here. And if you think there won’t be enough room in prison for these folks, stop throwing minor drug users in prison, regardless of how many times they were caught with an ounce of weed. But we’ll get to that later.

Obama’s ViewObama pushed Illinois bill to videotape all capital interrogations. He also believes, however, that some heinous crimes justify the ultimate punishment, which I can get on board with depending on the circumstances. The death penalty should be enforced fairly and with caution and should not discriminate by gang membership.

McCain’s ViewIs very pro-death penalty and wants more prisons and increased penalties. He voted yes on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals and on limiting death penalty appeals.

Match – A little from column A and a little from column B. Apparently Mr. McCain enjoyed his torture as a P.O.W. and wants to inflict it on all criminals. I’m with Obama on this one too. I’m sensing a trend…

6) Mandatory Three Strikes Sentencing Laws

My View: As mentioned above, just because somebody does something three times doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad, depending on the circumstances, obviously. But just because someone shoplifts and goes to jail three times for it does not mean he should spend 25 to life in prison for stealing something. Prisons need to be better at rehabbing the people behind bars before they decide to put them back out on the street, usually early for “good behavior.” The better prepared felons are to re-renter the real world, the less likely they will commit another crime. I am not saying that you can’t punish someone severely on a third offense; it just shouldn’t be mandatory.

Obama’s ViewSuggests that we provide ex-offender support to prevent returning to prison. Also feels that their should be no extra penalty for gang association and supports alternative sentencing and rehabilitation.

McCain’s ViewWants more death penalty and stricter sentencing. He was rated at 29% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes. Voted yes on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms and wants more penalties for gun & drug violations.

Match – Obama, though I do support stricter penalties for crimes committed with illegally obtained weapons. It’s all about the rehab, folks.

Thats it for tonight. I’ll eventually get through these all, but it is almost time for McCain’s speech. Maybe he’ll over exert himself and die or something. He is super old!

Fun with Politics, Part 1

Now that we know who’s who amongst those running for president, I have decided to begin posting my thoughts on certain issues and comparing my views with what the respective presidential candidates feel on the same issue. I will be using the questions found on the VoteMatch quiz on this website. I have used this site before to get exposure on some of the minor candidates that run for president, if only because I live in a state that will go Democrat in November by a 3 to 2 margin at least. My one vote for some minor candidate might help that party garner some support for future elections, as well as federal campaign funds that will greatly assist them. So, without further comment, we move onto some issues:

1) Abortion is a woman’s right

My view: Of course it is a woman’s right. It is her body and she should be able to make any decision with it she chooses. I often compare the decision of abortion to getting a piercing or a tattoo; if someone chooses to get a tattoo or piercing, they can do it and the government says nothing. The same should be said of abortion. No exceptions, no reason needed. That said, however, abortion should not be used as birth control. I am a proponent of full sexual education in public school, so when these hooligan kids we are raising these days decide to have sex, they know the consequences and how to prevent them.

Barack Obama’s View: “Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.”

Also: “Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.”

John McCain’s View: “John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat. However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion – the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, “At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level.”

Match: Hmm…I guess it looks like I’m with Obama on this one.

2) Require companies to hire more women & minorities

My view:
I am a supporter of business and industry, and I don’t think companies should be mandated to hire more women and minorities. If somebody is qualified, hire them. If they are not, don’t. We shouldn’t worry about the color of their skin or what they pack under their clothes. It’s all about production and capability, people. But if a person is descriminated against, they should be able to pursue some sort of restitution.

Obama’s View: “Obama will work to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that curtails racial minorities’ and women’s ability to challenge pay discrimination. Obama will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

McCain’s View: Couldn’t really find anything similar to this, though he did choose a female to be his Vice Presidential candidate.

Match: No exact match, but this isn’t really a big deal for me anyway. Affirmative action was needed once upon a time…not so much anymore.

3) Sexual Orientation Protected By Civil Rights Laws

My View: This kind of goes back to the whole abortion thing. If you want to have a different sexual orientation then what is “normal,” so be it. It is your choice. But you also shouldn’t be punished for making that choice. I feel that same-sex couples should be afforded at least equal protection under law in regards to health insurance, retirement benefits, taxes, survivor benefits, etc. Should marriage be expanded to same sex couples? That is a state issue and should not be regulated by the federal government. As with any other forms of discrimination, if you are wronged, you should be able to pursue something to fix the wrong that was done to you.

Obama’s View: Obama opposes same-sex, but believes that the decision should be left to the states and supports civil unions and gay equality. Supports “strong civil unions,” not weak ones just to meet the requirement. He also believes that employer benefits should be able to be shared among same-sex couples.

McCain’s View:The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation. As with most issues vital to the preservation and health of civil society, the basic responsibility for preserving and strengthening the family should reside at the level of government closest to the people. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers reserved for the States the authority and responsibility to protect and strengthen the vital institutions of our civil society. They did so to ensure that the voices of America’s families could not be ignored by an indifferent national government or suffocated through filibusters and clever legislative maneuvering in Congress.” So, he thinks marriage is only between a man and woman, and that it should be legislated at the state level as intended by the Consitution. So…

Match: I agree with both here, though Obama has said something that summarizes my thoughts: Marriage is not a human right, but anti-discrimination is. Tie goes to Obama.

That’s enough for now. I’ll add more next time. Stay tuned.

Stupid, Idiotic Things from Work

So, here’s the thing. Every day is another day that something happens at my job that is ridiculous and can’t happen in the private sector, at least it seems so stupid that it must be only an Army thing. The past couple of days, however, have been something that I have not experienced in my four years of working for the Army Reserve. A few instances stand out, so I will start with the one that happened first and how everything else has just spiraled out of control since then.

1) I am sick of the assumption by the powers that be that we will stay in our jobs no matter what. Everyone seems to think that we are going to be around for ever, hence them not caring much when awards get returned due to “administrative errors” and not resubmitting them. Or telling us that we can’t deploy because we are too valuable but not fighting to keep us around with said bonuses and other awards. I have informed those above me that I would like to deploy; I have an opportunity with a sister unit and it would really be beneficial for me, both financially and for my military career. The response I get is “You can’t deploy with a unit that you don’t work for without a waiver.” I understand that; just fill out the damn waiver and let somebody more important than you make that decision. I have already decided that if I am not allowed to deploy, I am quitting my job to do so. They can’t say anything then. Either way, they are losing me for a year or more, but at least if they let me go on my terms, I may come back afterward. That doesn’t look so likely in either case now. I may just move back to Utah as planned and really leave them in a lurch.

2) Integrity. It is one of the Army values that is instilled from day one of Basic Training. But when you are called out for doing something you are not supposed to do, you don’t lie and say you are not doing it. Admit your “mistake,” take the punishment and move on. One of our full-timers has apparently been moonlighting as a mechanic for the local transit authority, outside of duty hours, but it has been affecting his performance at work. I know this because his other supervisor called me to confirm some stuff…not really my place, so I passed it on to his unit. When his unit tries to take care of it, he denies that he is working this second job. Whatever, loser. I hope that they have no qualms about separating you and your deadbeat wife from the program.

3) Power-hungry c**** (for lack of a better word): Just because you finally get paid what you think you are worth doesn’t suddenly make you the person in charge. It doesn’t really work that way, sweetheart, but thanks for playing. Apparently when you attend conferences and other training, you don’t pay attention. I make more than you, but I never claim to be your boss, but maybe I should. Or do you think you make more than me too? I don’t think so. I don’t care that you went to Baylor or that you studied abroad in Europe, or that you may have worked for USARSO. Just shut up and work your 40 hours a week, and actually work them, not just some bullshit numbers on a fraudulent time card. If you want to be an officer, get your fat ass off the couch and lose some weight so you can stop wearing that girdle everywhere. Maybe pass a PT test too and get DMOSQ. I know I want to be an officer too and that I am not ready to do it, but I don’t walk around saying that people are going to be sorry when I am because then I’ll really be in charge. I cry bullshit yet again.

Grr…I hate my job! Most (90%) of the people that I work with and interact on a daily basis are fine and I don’t mind them. It’s the other 10% or so that really irritate the shit out of me. I want them to go away. One has left; only four more or so to go.

Can’t we all just get along?

I’ve seen a lot of stuff around lately, mostly from conservative-types out West. Apparently, with the big presidential election coming in November, the Christian Right is again pressing more states to adopt the so-called “Marriage Amendment,” an amendment to state constitutions that defines marriage only as a union between man and woman. To me, this is ridiculous. I fail to see what the point is.

Sure, people like to focus on the families and everything, but why can’t people focus on happiness? Who cares what the gender of the one you decide to spend your life with? Is is anybody else’s business what you decide to do in your own life? No. Fifty percent of marriage ends in divorce anyway. Why not focus on the 50% of marriages ending in divorce instead of focusing on the one’s that might actually have a chance? There are more problems in this country, too many to really mention, and we are concerned that Ellen and Portia can get married, legally, in another state that we don’t live in? Big deal!

There was a time in this country where it was illegal, in some parts of the country, for an African-American to marry a Caucasian. These same “Red States” that once thought this was illegal are now trying to do the same thing to Same-Sex Marriage. Find something else to worry about, please?