Monday, October 18, 2010

Do NOT Vote for Jerry Walker

Normally I tell people who I support and encourage them to make their own choices on voting but, when it comes to the upcoming election for the Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD) Governing Board, all I can say is DO NOT VOTE FOR JERRY WALKER!!!!!  This is the first time that I've ever taken a stance where anybody is better than a specific person but this time I have to.

I have yet to hear a single positive thing about him or his actions on the Governing Board.  While in office he has:

  • Berated students for their political views
  • Made several offensive comments
  • Supported policies that could have lost MCCCD their accreditation (meaning that any degree from MCCCD would be worthless and no credits would transfer to any other university)
You can find even more at the Arizona Republic.  Unless everything that I've heard about him is wrong, he is an embarrassment to MCCCD and an embarrassment to good conservatives everywhere.

On the other hand, I've heard good things about Dana Saar who is running against him.  He has experience in the education field and seems to be taking the long view on the future of the community colleges.  He's the one I'll be voting for.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Can We Trust: Business or Government?

I was reading an article today that asked how much freedom we're willing to trade for Google convenience.  That, in and of itself wasn't a big deal (although and interesting question), however, in the comments a poster made a very interesting observation:

This idea that government is benevolent and business inherently evil is one of the most destructively successful pieces of government propaganda in recent history.

Well that made me stop and think.

So, is the poster correct?  Let's look at politics.  What are some of the "evils" we hear about a lot in campaigns and from our elected representatives?  How about "Big Oil", "Big Healthcare", "Big Insurance", etc.  The assumption seems to be that any large company and/or industry is inherently evil.  And who will protect us from those huge, evil companies?  Why our benevolent, helpful government of course!

This is the liberal slant you usually hear from the left.  It doesn't help that there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to illustrate their case.  So are they right?

The conservatives, on the other hand, will talk about government waste, inefficiencies, bad policies (usually blamed on left-leaning politicians), and sometimes even talk about "Big Government" but it's always with the "vote for me and I'll make it good again" line.  So, are they right?

My opinion is this:  Neither business nor government is inherently good or evil.  Their actions are merely reflections of the people running them.  Both institutions want to succeed/protect their territory.  Businesses compete with other businesses, sue for patent infringement, and will try almost anything (where they draw the line is once again determined by the folks running the business) to get ahead and stay ahead.  This may lead to layoffs, outsourcing, cutting corners, and all those things that people hate about "Big Business".  It may also lead to raises, increased hiring, innovations that benefit us, and all those things we love about our standard of living.

Government is actually quite similar to business.  Certain departments seem to stop at nothing to get what they want, whether it's questionable tactics used in going after terrorists, the IRS going after suspected tax evaders, etc.  Others seem more interested in red tape than actually helping, whether it's Unemployment, the DMV, Social Security, etc.  At the same time our government fights wars (whether that's good or bad depends on the person), builds roads, protects the people (military, police, firefighters, etc.), regulates businesses, etc.

I guess, at the end of the day, I have to say that there are no absolutes.  Both business and government have their positive and negative aspects.  Our job is to watch them and, if they get out of line, take the necessary steps to fix the problem (stop buying their products, elect new representatives, petition, etc.)  We have great freedoms and more power most people think, but with that comes a lot of responsibility.  Let's all do our part.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Obama Surprises on Immigration

The rhetoric going around is that President Obama is lax on immigration and very pro amnesty. That's what I always thought anyway. It seems, though, that I may have misjudged him.

The New York Times just ran an article about what the Obama Administration is doing with regards to immigration enforcement. I must say that I'm impressed. It's not the high profile raids on companies with illegals, it's low profile auditing. It doesn't sound very exciting but an auditor comes in, examines employee records and, if illegals are found, the company is fined and there is the possibility of legal action. The effect? The companies that get caught are firing all of their illegal employees and starting to verify new employees. Also, other companies are seeing the writing on the wall and starting to verify more strictly as well. The effect is that the US may very well be slowly becoming a dead end for illegal workers.

Here's how I see it working: As more and more companies get audited it will get harder and harder to find job and, hopefully, word gets out that if you sneak across the border, you're not going to find a job. At this point, the immigration issue starts self-regulating. Why come if you're not going to be able to work?

So, as much as the conservatives may be loathe to admit it, it looks like President Obama is enforcing immigration using a methodology that is not only more cost effective (using one agent for audits instead of many for raids) but more effective overall (businesses are not going to risk multiple fines - it's cheaper to find legal workers).

It doesn't solve all the issues and I believe that immigration reform is necessary, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. While I don't like most of President Obama's policies, I have to give him kudos for this one.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Another Electric Car

Here's another less than stellar electric car. True, it's better than the first one but it's not quite what you'd actually want to drive home. I'd rather have the table.