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So yesterday I saw a flurry of activity on my Facebook news feed which I thought was unusual.  The usually heavily loved and supported Susan G. Komen for the Cure was being lambasted by many people after news spread that it was pulling grant funds from Planned Parenthood that had been targeted towards cancer screenings.  Many people were sad about the development, and saying, “shame, shame on you” Komen, intimating that this was grievously putting women’s health at risk.  And not only that they were putting women’s health at risk, but they were doing it on implied orders from the VRW (vast right wing) and religious right as a means to try and defund PP – them being the largest providers of abortions in the U.S.

I proceeded to post an inquiry on my wall about whether PP was the only entity that offered cancer screening – and that this backlash against Komen seemed to be more people angry at a pro-life agenda than anger at reduced cancer screenings.  A civil discussion (seriously) ensued from both sides.

But this whole episode served to highlight a couple things that I think can be learned about people’s feelings on these related matters.

  1. Many thoughts are illogical — One of the commenters was outraged at how this affects women’s health and that it was hypocritical of a women’s health organization to remove funding.  She then proceeded to imply that she would be removing her support from Komen —- thus removing funding for women’s health.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Komen put women’s health, specifically breast cancer awareness, on the map.  According to trusted resources (wink wink, wiki!!), since its inception in 1982 Komen has raised and invested $2 billion towards research, education, and health services.  The amount of funding they pulled was $700,000, and PP’s revenue last year was over $1 billion.  So it seems illogical, and disingenuous to try and state that 1) Planned Parenthood is really going to suffer, and 2) that Komen has hurt women’s health.
  2. Abortion infects everything — Whether you are pro-abortion (I refuse to use the word choice, I consider myself being reserved for not saying pro-death) or pro-life it is impossible to deny that anytime this subject comes up it causes emotions to boil and inflated feelings to emerge from both sides.  As I said in the post above, many people want to paint this as a critique of Komen’s irresponsibility towards breast cancer screening.  But that is false I think.  In addition to the reasons above, there hasn’t even been enough time to determine if Komen reapportions that money to another organization that performs screening as well.  Let’s even suppose that Komen had simultaneously (and now I wish they had) announced just such an organization as the recipient of the money.  Do you think there would still be no uproar?  I believe there still would have been.  Because at the core of this is the fact that Komen’s actions do seem to stem from internal affiliation with the pro-life movement, or at least succumbing to pressure of pro-life groups (though I still haven’t heard what that pressure was).  So while this is ostensibly about cancer – it is actually about abortion.  The issue that infects everything.
  3. Finances don’t really matter only agendas — There are a lot of dollars floating around this story.  Grant money de-funded, annual revenue for the different organizations, money that Komen will lose from potential donor loss, and $650,000 raised by PP in the hours following the news.  But what remains true is that neither organization is going to stop doing the work they are doing.  We’ve already identified that $700,000 won’t hurt the billion-dollar Planned Parenthood, and though Komen may in fact lose some support, they will not stop trying to follow a mission of ending breast cancer.  So what has all this hoopla done?  Just added a news story for people to get worked up about, and to attack each other.  What if the pro-life gang had said, “dang, it’s just $700,000 let’s just let them have it but we won’t renew in the future”?  And what if pro-abortion folks had just shrugged and said, “stupid pro-lifers – I’m going to go donate some money to Planned Parenthood now”?  We could have avoided this – but no, agendas must be met.
  4. Both sides have idiots — As is obvious I am rabidly pro-life, but when I hear and read about people protesting at abortion clinics and telling the girls and women they are going to hell I want to punch them in the face.  No – I want to hurt them.  Not very Christian of me, I know.  But when I hear people rage against the horrible religious right, when they proclaim this is a woman’s choice and my opinion does not matter, or when Planned Parenthood staff are caught covering abuse, or encouraging teen abortions I want to punch them too.  No – I want to hurt them.

Those are my thoughts.

Oh wait – one more.  If this is not a life, then why does it need to be removed?

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What’s Wrong With 15%?

Just a brief post to see if we can stir up any comments.

I’ve been struck by how much of the Republican primary has centered around Mitt Romney’s tax bill (as Mike pointed out).  It is interesting to note “conservatives” turning on one another regarding someone’s taxes being too low, which goes against the de facto party line to lower taxes in general.

But it’s the specifics surrounding the 15% rate that I want to talk about.  The President mentioned it in his State of the Union, and fan Warren Buffett has trumpeted his tax rate compared to that of his secretary for the last half year.  While the morality of this gets debated, what seems to not get mentioned as much is the economics.  15% is the number used because that is the tax rate on capital gains – or investment income for those of us who have no capital gains and may not be familiar with the term.  This is not a tax on wages earned or for work done.  This is money that was invested so someone else could start a business or to buy shares in an existing business that you think has potential for growth.  So our laws have created a separate rate to encourage people to engage in this behavior – and it has done just that.

But what could happen if the rate was 30% as the President suggests?  Well, what if Mitt Romney stops investing?  Let’s imagine he was getting dividend payments equal to one million dollars, so his tax paid at 15% was $150,000.  The government would love $300,000 so they raise the rate to 30%, only Mitt decides to stop investing in equity and buys steady ole treasury bonds.  So now, the government loses out on the $150,000 they would have gotten – gets in budget trouble because they projected $300,000 and now don’t have it, and on top of that they owe Mitt millions of dollars plus interest as part of the national debt.  Plus that entrepreneur that was starting up a little search engine called Google doesn’t have the seed money he needed to buy servers and programmers and such, and so decides to return to mother Russia and we all are left trying to browse the internet on Yahoo.  I can’t find a new job because Yahoo’s results return bogus results, so we are out on the streets and homeless with our 2-year old daughter.  Shivering and hungry.

Man… can’t we just let the people have 15%.

Fascinating!

This Republican Primary is just fascinating.

Mitt Romney fades in South Carolina because of concerns that he may be too rich and not paying enough taxes.

On the other hand, Newt Gingrich surges because of new revelations about his infidelity.

Wow. Can somebody explain the Republican platform to me? I’m just really confused right now.

Well after more than a year without posting – here goes!  As per my habit, this post is in reference to an article I just read.  And equally as usual it is from the Wall Street Journal – it is from the WSJ’s “random” section on the bottom of the front page.

The article is called, “A Youngster’s Bright Idea Is Something New Under the Sun”, and is about a 13-year old boy named Aidan Dwyer who won a science competition this past summer based on an idea he had about placing solar panels in the same array as leaves on a tree – hypothesizing that maybe there is a benefit to following nature’s design.

Aidan was a winner in the competition, showing that a leaf array of solar panels produced more energy… but what is interesting has been what happened afterward.  A minor uproar came up when it was discovered that Aidan had measured the wrong electrical output from the panels (voltage alone, rather than power which is combo of voltage and current) thus leading to suspicion of his results and the idea in general.

Two things stood out to me in this article.  First, the Journal talks about the response from the internet – “bad science” and “impossible nonsense” were some of the choice quotes the article pointed to.  Scientists – both amateur and professional seem to have a nasty streak .  He is a thirteen after all and just had an idea he was encouraged to explore, but I guess that doesn’t matter to many people.  Get something wrong and you are toast on the interweb.  But Aidan has also been praised for his thinking, and has been invited to speak at numerous conferences, so it hasn’t been all bad.

But the second, and most interesting, thing that piqued me was this quote from assistant professor Jan Kleissl from UCSD about Aidan’s plan for a revised experiment:

I’m certain that he will not find that his arrangement is better.  I think it’s a romantic ideal that nature has many lessons for us, and there are a few cases where this is true, but in the majority of cases we could teach nature, in a way, how to be better, faster.

Wow – how nice of Dr. Kleissl to offer nature the benefit of a “few cases” where it is better than our scientists.  I’d be very curious to hear Kleissl discuss these areas.  Have we improved upon the speed and power of lightning?  Have we developed a self-contained ecosystem on the scale of say… the ocean?   Have we developed a robot with five senses as acute as a human?  Holy shite balls this seems ludicrous.

Is it just me?

P.S.  Feels good to be back.  Sorry for the layoff, and hope I can continue to post from time to time.

Why I like Tim Tebow

The day after the Broncos lost to the Patriots and ended their winning streak, one of my Facebook friends posted the following on his status update:

“Can we shut up about Tebow now. One of the most overrated a-holes in the NFL.”

I definitely take issue with this post. It clearly shows that my friend in no way understands the Tim Tebow excitement.

First of all, Tim Tebow is not overrated. On the contrary, I have heard almost nothing but criticism for his skills as a quarterback, especially his throwing skills. He, himself, is probably his own harshest critique. What we like about him is that he’s over-achieving.

Secondly, — he’s not an a-hole. I find him to be the complete antithesis of such a character. He has carried himself with far more dignity and class than we’ve become accustomed to expect from professional athletes. So far, I’ve heard of no DUIs, wife-beatings, womanizing, dog fighting, tax evasion, or anything else that cause me to put him into an “a-hole” category.  Instead, we see exemplary sportsmanship, positive personality, humble interviews, and unprecedented determination.

Well, then there’s the Christian thing. I will concede that I’ve always had cognitive dissonance over the role God plays in professional sports. It’s kind of troublesome — while God gives one team a victory, the other gets a defeat, so is it divine intervention? Does prayer or faith really play into it? Or is it really just that one team is better than the other? Furthermore, I would venture to guess that God has much more important endeavors than the outcome of a Bronco game. But that’s just not the point when it comes to Tebow.

The Tebow point is this: He has turned his talents, successes, and celebrity over to Christ. Tebow’s success and subsequent attributions to God inspires all Christians to give God the glory in our lives. I certainly don’t know the guy personally, so I certainly can’t question his true heart. Does he give God the glory because he believes that it will help him win football games? Or does he win football games so he can inspire people to follow Christ? I don’t know. I do know that I’ll take his antics over Randy Moss’s any day.

I was disappointed by the loss to the Patriots, and I hope it doesn’t spoil the momentum, but it’s not going to make me shut up about Tebow. I will shut up about Tebow, however, if he’s unable to display the same quality of character in defeat as he does in victory.

Nobody has posted anything on this blog in a long time. I’m wondering why that is. Are all the writers too busy? Have past discussions gotten too divisive? Do we have different blogs that we like better? Hmmm? Or is it possibly because of the ridiculous state of politics in America right now?

Whatever the reasons, I miss our fights, so I’ve written a few jabs, just to remind everyone of how fun it was to spar over that which we cannot change and, in truth, don’t completely understand:

1. Obama should be very beatable in 2012, but the group of republican candidates are so weak that he still might win.

2. Right now the essential difference between those of us who vote Democrat and those who vote Republican is which lies we choose to believe.

3. The Democrats plan to fund payroll tax cuts was wealth re-distribution — take some tax money from the rich to give it to the middle class and poor. Bad idea. The republicans plan was also wealth re-distribution — take jobs away from middle class people and give that money to other middle class and poor people. Worse idea. I understand that they’ve reached a compromise, and I don’t know what it looks like, but I’m pretty sure it will amount to the worst combination of the two ideas…and a controversial pipeline from Alaska.

4. Just a reminder: Newt Gingrich had his own affair at the same time he tried to impeach Bill Clinton for having an affair.

5. He also opposes child labor laws.

6. My pick of the Republican candidates: Newt Gingrich.

7. My prediction: Tim Tebow will become the next John Elway. And then he’ll run for president. And I’ll vote for him regardless of his opinions.

I would imagine that conservatives should be very happy about the increase in unemployment announced last week. For one, they can blame the Obama administration for it, and two, because the increase is the result of a half a million reduction in public sector jobs, and they want that, too.

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