Monthly Archives: April 2007

What I Believe: Public Policy

Its been brought to my attention that some might automatically assume that I’m a Republican because I typically have negative commentary on Democrats. Hopefully this post will clear that up.

If I were a politician, these would be my policy points

Pro Free Markets – I believe the absolute best way to bring a massive number of people out of poverty is to have free markets. The fewer restrictions and taxes there are on businesses, the faster companies and wages grow, and good become cheaper. This doesn’t mean I can support this and not give to charity or help a person when I run into someone in need, but socialist markets curb job growth, making life tolerable for the wealthy, but making upward mobility for the poor nearly impossible.

Pro Legalization of Minor Drug Offenses – Most of the crime in our inner cities can be traced to the fact that drugs that are very cheap to produce are illegal, making the profit margin huge. This is a major culprit of gang crime. We legalize minor offenses (possesion and use of small amounts) and sell it in stores, it will eliminate the black market, and also much gang violence.

Pro Choice Until the Fetus is Viable or unless the mother’s health is in jeopardy – In my own life, I would never support any family member having an abortion unless it was early and there were health risks. And even then, it wouldn’t be a cakewalk. But I think that the option needs to be available, albeit, rare. And partial birth abortion is disgustin, and in my opinion, murder.

Anti Death Penalty – Its cheaper to keep someone in prison for life. Why do you want to kill them? Its not a deterrant, either. Most guys on death row have been on the streets where the death penalty comes without due process of law, and are a little more messy. These guys aren’t scared of the chair. They are scared of being jumped in an alley and gunned down.

Anti War – I’m a “non violent resister”. I would go to jail before I went to war for this country or any other country. I believe its wrong to kill in any circumstance. However, the government is part of the fallen principalities and powers of this world, and they exist so that the Kingdom of God can be preached, so I’m not gonna rail on the government for going to war unless it gets Hitleresque.

Fair Tax – I am for the fair tax (which is a national sales tax). Vouchers would be given to those in poverty for their basic needs so that they aren’t getting screwed for buying things to stay alive. A consumption tax also encourages earning and saving whereas an income tax discourages production. Besides that, no matter how tight they make the tax code, the wealthy can still get out of paying their taxes. With a national sales tax, that won’t happen.

Education – I would be for a private education system. Tution would be government funded (instead of spending the enormous amount of money per student that school systems do, vouchers would be given to each student for that amount, and private schools would spring up everywhere. The demand for the best education for the best price would create competition between schools, lowering cost and creating a better environment for teachers and students to accomplish what they need to.

So after reading that, would you peg me as a liberal or a conservative?

Advertisements

Uh Oh

Once again, I’ll let an article speak for itself so that people don’t think I’m crusading against one person in particular.

Industry caught in carbon ‘smokescreen’

By Fiona Harvey and Stephen Fidler in London

Published: April 25 2007 22:07 | Last updated: April 25 2007 22:07

Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on “carbon credit” projects that yield few if any environmental benefits.

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.

Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

The growing political salience of environmental politics has sparked a “green gold rush”, which has seen a dramatic expansion in the number of businesses offering both companies and individuals the chance to go “carbon neutral”, offsetting their own energy use by buying carbon credits that cancel out their contribution to global warming.

The burgeoning regulated market for carbon credits is expected to more than double in size to about $68.2bn by 2010, with the unregulated voluntary sector rising to $4bn in the same period.

The FT investigation found:

■ Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.

■ Industrial companies profiting from doing very little – or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.

■ Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.

■ A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.

■ Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.

Francis Sullivan, environment adviser at HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank that went carbon-neutral in 2005, said he found “serious credibility concerns” in the offsetting market after evaluating it for several months.

“The police, the fraud squad and trading standards need to be looking into this. Otherwise people will lose faith in it,” he said.

These concerns led the bank to ignore the market and fund its own carbon reduction projects directly.

Some companies are benefiting by asking “green” consumers to pay them for cleaning up their own pollution. For instance, DuPont, the chemicals company, invites consumers to pay $4 to eliminate a tonne of carbon dioxide from its plant in Kentucky that produces a potent greenhouse gas called HFC-23. But the equipment required to reduce such gases is relatively cheap. DuPont refused to comment and declined to specify its earnings from the project, saying it was at too early a stage to discuss.

The FT has also found examples of companies setting up as carbon offsetters without appearing to have a clear idea of how the markets operate. In response to FT inquiries about its sourcing of carbon credits, one company, carbonvoucher.com, said it had not taken payments for offsets.

Blue Source, a US offsetting company, invites consumers to offset carbon emissions by investing in enhanced oil recovery, which pumps carbon dioxide into depleted oil wells to bring up the remaining oil. However, Blue Source said that because of the high price of oil, this process was often profitable in itself, meaning operators were making extra revenues from selling “carbon credits” for burying the carbon.

There is nothing illegal in these practices. However, some companies that are offsetting their emissions have avoided such projects because customers may find them controversial.

BP said it would not buy credits resulting from improvements in industrial efficiency or from most renewable energy projects in developed countries.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Bream

Coyote Ugly

All right, I emailed Coyote Ugly, and have yet to get a response, so here comes a blog post.

Saturday night, Carrie (my fiancee) went to a bachelorette  party with a girl that we are friends with. They had dinner at someone’s house, and then took cabs out to go hit a couple of bars downtown. However, when they arrived at Coyote Ugly, some events transpired that made her more than uncomfortable.

I will say, in the interest of full disclosure, that this is her perception of the events that transpired.

As the entered the bar, and went to order drinks, the employees were informed that it was a bachelorette party. It was then that a large man, presumably a bouncer, began lifting girls from the party up onto tables. Some of these girls seemed very hesitant, but he lifted them up regardless.

Carrie and another girl began to move away from what was happening, because neither of them wanted to be up on a table. Not saying there is anything wrong with someone wanting to dance on a table, just not an activity she would be willing to participate in. When the bouncer saw them moving away, he began to follow them (chase is the word Carrie used, but I’m not sure the exact speed at which it occurred, so I’m going will follow) around the bar. They went back and forth across the bar 4 times after which he finally gave up.

Is it just me, or is this highly inappropriate? I emailed Coyote Ugly, merely asking for someone to contact me so that I could get them to contact her and apologize. I haven’t received a response. I’m not going to threaten a lawsuit, and she wouldn’t want me to, but I imagine that this isn’t the only case of something like this happening. I realize that Coyote Ugly is a rowdy establishment, but when you walk through those doors, you don’t relinquish your right to not be harassed.

Coyote Ugly… Carrie would appreciate an apology. And I will use my blog to get the message out about the harassment of my fiancee by your employees.

And readers, if you go to any of the above links to the bar, you can send them an email. I’d appreciate it if you’d let them know that sexual harassment is NEVER ok. And if you’d write something about this on your blog, I’d appreciate it as well.

I know I haven’t posted in a while

And I promise I’ve got a post coming for tonight. I’ve just been kind of busy. And stressed. I’m getting married in 38 days. Wow.

Anyway, Brittany at Nashville is Talking posted this little video, and it was the most ridiculous piece of tripe I’d ever seen form the Religious Right. So I thought I’d post it.

Weird Google Search

21 people today have searched google for “bubba sparks wikipedia”

This is Bubba Sparks

What exactly are you people doing searching for his wikipedia page? Surely you must have something better to do.

Virginia Tech and Gun Control

I just was doing my daily perusal of blogs in my bloglines feed aggregator, when I came across Mark Elrod’s blog on yesterday’s events in Virginia.

I was reading and I came along to this line and I stopped

 Unfortunately, tragedies like VTU bring out the worst cynic in me. I’m afraid that as long as we make it relatively easy for virtually anyone in American to buy a gun, things like this are going to continue to happen.

I’m not gonna beat around the bush about my feelings on gun control. I think its stupid. Any human being who breaks multiple laws in the process of killing upwards of 32 people, is not going to be deterred from purchasing a firearm because its against the law, or because he has to go to a shady area of town to purchase one on the black market. And even if there were no guns available anywhere, anything can be used as a weapon. Just look in iraq. All i have to do is strap a pipe bomb to my chest and walk into a crowded room, or drive a vehicle full of explosives into a crowded restaurant.

Its stupid to think that the availibility of guns is what causes crime. Deranged people cause crime.

The Plank In My Own Eye

In the circle of blogs that I frequent, there are frequent calls for social justice, from calls to redeem the structures that hold people in poverty to calls for vast government redistribution of wealth, as well as fingers of blame pointed at everyone from Republicans and racists (you mean they aren’t the same?) to Fundamentalist Christians and Capitalists.

And I will admit, while I don’t normally blame the same folks as many of my fellow bloggers, I often extend my index finger and open my mouth to criticize those who I believe desire to harm those they intend to help. We all do it. We love to pass the buck because it eases our guilt. When I see the homeless family walk by my apartment with their grocery cart filled with aluminum cans, I immediately think about how socialist policies end up hurting these people the most because they quelch job growth, leaving folks unemployed. Others may see the same homeless family and think to themselves, “if those awful rich people would just give more money away, or pay better wages, we wouldn’t have people walking the streets collecting aluminum cans in order to feed themselves.

But, when it really comes down to it, neither me, nor the unnamed liberal/socialist/democrat blaming others helps put food in the mouths of those people. When I sit down at the computer and write a blog post about how raising the minimum wage hurts the poorest of the poor, or when someone else posts about how these people just need the government to buy them a home, neither one of those options puts a roof over those peoples head, or tends to their wounds, or treats the disease that they have.

I think its time for us, and by us I mean Christian bloggers who have heard the call for social justice and peace, to stop talking and start doing.

Its easy to point the finger at someone else. Its easy to say that if they just changed the law, or if the greedy “rich” people (we’re all pretty rich in America, but we like to think that our household earnings are ok, while the guy making more is rich) just gave more money, that things would change.

We need to stop looking for blame and start doing. We need to stop spending other peoples money and give whatever we can as often as we can. If we really have faith in Christ, if we really believe that our mission is to bring good news to the poor, why the hell are we sitting on our asses when the least of these are walking right in front of us? What if we stopped wasting our time trying to find out whose fault it is that people are poor, and used that time to, you know, actually help them?

Maybe the prayer “thy kingdom come…” would become reality a little faster.