Saturday, October 27, 2007

10 Years for That?

Young man in consensual sex case leaves prison
Georgia court ordered Wilson released, ruled 10-year sentence was cruel

I don't condone the actions of this young man who participated in consensual sex acts in a hotel room with 15-year-old and a 17-year-old young ladies. Nor do I condone the actions of those young ladies nor anyone else participating in that party.

But, giving a 17-year-old young man a 10-year sentence for having consensual sex with another teen is outrageous. That sentence was put in place to punish adults who prey on children. That is hardly the case with this young man.

I'm glad he's been released. I pray he will be able to put his past behind him and make a fresh start.

Water Shortage - Solved!

I don't want to get into a debate about global warming - how it's caused, who's responsible and how to stop it. Global warming is most likely caused by natural events we humans can do nothing to resolve making it out of our hands to stop it.

There is no doubt the fresh water supplies in many areas of the US are down. It's easy to see and measure. So, what are we going to do about it? Sit around and wring our hands? Wish for the problem to go away? Pray for a fix? (That would be the best way to go, but we must face reality and know that people don't believe in miracles anymore).

No, we need a real and concrete solution.

Here it is: Ocean water desalination.

Atlanta, Georgia is in crisis because of the shortage of fresh water. Yet, it has a large coast on the Atlantic ocean. Why are they not pulling water out of there and using it? It seems a no-brainer to me.

California has perennially been short of fresh water. The folks there come up with all sorts of unique ideas to tap into fresh water sources; even going so far as to propose digging a canal from Lake Michigan to Los Angeles. But what about the water in the Pacific Ocean? Take out the salt and you have the biggest reservoir of water on Earth.

Desalination is more expensive than treating fresh water. But, if you need it, isn't it worth the cost? Instead of spending billions of dollars trying to fight global warming, a fight we most likely can't win, why not put that money to better use and resolve problems which are in our power to resolve? The countries in the Middle East have been using ocean water for years with great success - why don't we do it, too?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Congress Wasting Time

US to debate Turkey genocide bill
A key US congressional committee is to debate whether to classify as genocide the deaths of 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians between 1915 and 1917.

Aren't there more important things Congress could be working on other than a bill referring to something the US had nothing to do with and happened almost 100 years ago?

This is not only a waste of time, energy and money now, it was the last two times this bill was debated in 2000 and 2005 as well.

Oh, wait - this is another instance of Congress doing something other than wasting money, intruding into my life and raising my taxes ...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Freedom of Speech Versus Decency

Colorado Student Newspaper Editor Admonished But Will Keep Job in Bush F-Word Editorial Debacle

I might be a little late sounding off about this one, but here goes:

I found the remarks referred to in this story to be offensive. I don't think the "F" word is appropriate for a publication which wants to be thought of as "professional." Journalistic integrity should guide what is printed. If I lived where this publication was sold, I would refuse to purchase it.

It's the right of the editor of a newspaper to print whatever he or she thinks is appropriate for the story at hand. It's also the right of the owner of that newspaper to censure or fire that person. It's also the right of everyone to purchase or not purchase copies of that publication as they see fit.

We have the right to express whatever opinion we want about anything we want. That right is bestowed upon us by the Constitution. Should there be limits? Yes, if someone can be hurt, actually really hurt, there should be a limit imposed. If someone is merely offended by what is said, there should be no limit on it.

Think about this. If we limit speech (or press or media) for one reason, what's to stop us from limiting it for other reasons? Eventually, we slide down the proverbial slippery slope to limiting speech for any and all reasons.

I read this quote by Robert Jackson a few weeks ago and I thought it very true: "The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish." Here, here!

Let that young man have his 15 minutes of fame. Whether you agree with him or not, he has the right to express his opinion.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Great Raid

I watched "The Great Raid" yesterday evening. It told the story of a group of US Army Rangers who raided a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp in the Philippines towards the end of WWII. It was not only the story of the brave men who raided the camp and liberated those POWs, it also told some of the story of the brave men and women who were left behind when McArthur was ordered to Australia and participated in the resistance movement against the Japanese. All told it was a great story of people who demonstrated single-mindedness of working against the evil they found themselves in.

At the end of the movie, I found myself asking: "Why haven't I heard this story before?" I am, by no means, an expert on WWII. I have read enough about that era that I know quite a bit of the history and happenings. and I cannot recall ever having heard of this incident. In my opinion, it ranks up there with the other important histories of the War in the Pacific.

This story isn't important because it was about the taking of some strategic piece of ground which help turn the tide of a battle. Like the raid on Japan led by Doolittle, it was a huge symbolic victory showing the tenacity of the American soldier and the willingness to fight for those who couldn't fight for themselves.

I hope many people will view this movie and learn about the daring raid, the courage of the US and Philippine soldiers and the brave men and women who resisted the Japanese until the liberation came.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kim Jong Il - If It Wasn't So Tragic It Would Be Really Funny

Kim Jong Il: I'm an Internet expert

So, did he help Al Gore invent it?

The tragic thing about this is: Kim and his cronies in high leadership positions in the Communist North Korean Government are allowed to surf the web and use cell phones, but the "regular" people are not. This is something totalitarian regimes and dictators have been doing for years: controlling communication and the media so they can push their lies down the peoples' throats and keep them in submission.

It's also tragic because people in this country, where we take freedom of speech and free media for granted don't understand what a cruel thing full censorship is.

For instance, if Cindy Sheehan were to protest in Pynongyang about not being able to use a cell phone, she'd be arrested and put in a "reducation" camp. That is why we must take a stand and resist against those who would enslave their people and control every facet of their lives.

Kim says wiring the free industrial zone in Kaesong, North Korea is OK, but "... but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." Problems for whom? Problems for Kim and his cronies, that's who.

When people are exposed to the ideals of personal freedom, self-determination and the pursuit of happiness, they rise up against those who would keep them down. It's happened so many times in just the last decade or so - just remind yourself about the fall of the Iron Curtain and the freedom now enjoyed by those who were under the control of the Soviet-led stooge governments in Eastern Europe.

This is why I write against Hugo Chavez (here,here,here, here and here). It's also why I write against socialism in all forms in the US (here, for instance).