Thursday, December 23, 2004

Social Security Revisited

Yesterday, I posted a note that President Bush didn't have to run for re-election and he was going to have to deal with a Congress that did have to run. Looks like Congress is setting things up. - Some�Republicans wary of Bush's Social Security plan - Dec 22, 2004

Great Comments about the Character of Presidential Campaigns

This is an op-ed by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) about the way presidential campaigns are run today. I love the quote at the beginning, "most Americans are as likely to see a presidential candidate in the flesh as they are to see Elvis walk out of a Johnny Rockets hamburger stand." And there are very many Johnny Rockets out there.

Our 'National' Elections (

More on the Washington Governor's Race

Can it get any closer? The State Supreme Court ruled that previously uncounted, disqualified absentee ballots could be counted. Even without those ballots, Democrat Christine Gregorie has taken a 10 vote lead on the third recount in the state. Out of an estimated 2.8 million votes cast, the margin of victory, if it remains at these totals, will be 3 ten thousandths of a percent or 0.0003%. A terrifically small number. To get an idea of the size, multiply 0.000003 times your annual salary to see how much that is. For a person making $50,000 per year, that equates to 15 cents.

Pretty wild huh?

Democrat Takes Lead in Washington State (

Overcoming Political Correctness

What the hell is happening to our Nation, when a young man has to go to Court to protect his right of "free exercise of religion? Check out this story from the Washington Post earlier this week.

Evangelicals Use Courts to Fight Restrictions on Christmas Tidings (

More Feelings About De-Christmasization

More thoughts on the events that political correctness is driving out Christmas.
The Washington Dispatch

What Has Political Correctness Wrought

That's it, I have had it. I can no longer deal with the de-christmasization of Christmas. In yet another assinine step, a school district in Kirkland, Washington has taken the classicism out of Christmas. Actually, it is not the school district, but a principal who killed a showing of Charles Dickens' A Christams Carol due in part to Tiny Tim's closing line, "God Bless Us, Everyone."

The principal in Kirkland noted that the play's message and language may send the wrong idea to students about the separation of church and state. While certainly Dickens' story may have religious undertones and themes, it is not overly regligious, but rather a cautionary tale about being kind one's fellow man and community, about taking joy in the Christmas season and above all, caring for and celebrating family and friends. At least that is what I get out of it.

The trouble with this trend is that political correctness has caused us to worry so much about the celebration of Christmas that we take steps to remove any reference in our popular culture so as to avoid offending anyone--well now I am offended. I don't really consider myself a truly devout Catholic, for many reasons, but I have a daughter who is three this year and she is celebrating her first Christmas that she truly understands both the meaning and some of the mythology behind the holiday. What is she to think as she grows up about how poorly we respect both the religion behind the holiday and country in which she lives.

The Framers of our Constitution and their brethern were devoutly Christian, but no so foolish as to import the Eurpoean tradition of state sanctioned churches. The First Amendment simply means that there is no state supported or mandated church, not that there should be no religion in public life or acknowledgement of a Supreme Being. The First Amendment also says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

So fearful are we that we don't violate the "separation of church and state" that we take rediculous steps to avoid it. Denying the performance of A Christmas Carol, by a private theater group no less, at Christmas time is downright stupid. In our nation's zeal to "protect" our children from the overbearing inculcation of Judeo-Christian ethics means that we deny our children access to great works of literature, we deny our children the full knoweldge and understanding of the Founders' generation, time and beliefs--the very fundamental basis of our nation.

The Framers must be rolling over in their graves, they never could have imagined, must less intended, for our nation to deny our religious or cultural heritage. So I sing off with this wish to everyone, regardless of your religion:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
God Bless America and in Tiny Tim's Words, "God Bless Us, Everyone."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Congress Gets the News

Michigan Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has asked for release of the 2004 elections exit poll data to examine it in light of possible voting irregularities.

My first question is why will exit polls help examine voting irregularities? Second, given that we know there are voting irregularities, Congress is finally grasping the news? Voting problems are not new, we have had 1930's era machinery in the voting booth for well, 70 years, and our Congress is just now understanding the problem. Thanks for joining the 21st Century, Congressman Conyers.

Yahoo! News - Michigan Congressman Seeks Exit Poll Data

Washington Governor's Race--the energizer bunny

For more on the Govenbor's Race in Washington.In the Northwest: A governor's race full of partisan sound and fury

Wal-Mart Sued for Federal-State Failure

Although Wal-Mart may not be the paragon of virtue when it comes to following all the rules, it does follow some and when it does it gets sued.

This time, the giant corporation is being sued not for failing to do its job, but for failing to figure out if someone lied to them. The story, while tragic, points to another issue--the habit of America to turn to the courts to assuage their grief. Granted, the family involved suffered a severe tragedy, but that does not entitle them to a windfall payday from a company that followed the rules.

I don't know what to do for families who have lost a loved one, but I will say this, the courts are not necessarily the place to find the answer. Should people and companies be held liable for their negligence and their failings--absolutely. But the families of victims should also be accountable for their actions. This family who had a severly mentally ill member did nothing to monitor her movements, to keep tabs on her. How could they have allowed such a woman to go to a store to buy a weapon.

Here, Wal-Mart did right and they should not be punished for the negligence of the family. My heart goes out to the family, but beyond that they need to find another way to deal with their grief.

Related article from

Never-ending Governor's Race

Everyone talked about a nail-biter for President, but Washington state has the nail-biter of nail-biters. At this point, I don't know how many times the case has gone to the state Supreme Court, but the battle for the Governor's mansion in Washington is headed back again.

Its not abortion, but politics

It is no great secret that President Bush is likely to be able to appoint at least one and as many as four Justices of the Supreme Court. Of course, such a scenario is a nightmare for the Left, but it doesn't have to be. Everyone is worried about abortion and whether that issue will be a litmus test, but given that the divide in the nation is pretty entrenched, each side may have to settle for a middle of the road candidate--a concern given that the GOP just named conservative Sam Brownback (R-KS) and arch-conservative Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

but abortion is not the real issue that should be of concern to the the country. The real issue is the legitimacy of the elected government going forward. In the last year, the Supreme Court has addressed several issues related to the issue of redistricting of Congressional and state legislative districts. The Court issued a confusing decision in the case of Vieth v. Jubelirer (see an opinion on the case) earlier this year. See some additional commentary, here, a little bit here, and here.

Right now the court is split 4-1-4 along fairly ideological grounds, with Justice Anthony Kennedy occupying the middle. The Court will have to face the issues related to redistricting soon, since the very nature of the issue affects the fundamental nature of our republican form of government. The current manner in which most states draw their lines is extraordinarily partisan and likely to become more so in the next round of districting. The Court will have to determine how to handle such issues because the way the lines are drawn can greatly effect the nature of the representatives that are elected, just ask former U.S. Congressmen in Texas, four of whom lost their seats in 2004 due to the harshly partisan gerrymandering in Texas.

The fact of the matter is that abortion positions have not changed in the 30 years since Roe v. Wade and the Court isn't likely to alter it without extraordinary cause. But the Court will have to address the manner in which our representatives are elected.

Social Security Fix

ABC News/Washington Post has a new Poll out asking questions about Social Security. The related article talks about the Democratic response to President Bush's plan to alter the program a little. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi had this to say, "Social Security faces a long-term challenge, but it is a manageable challenge that can be addressed without jeopardizing a system that has provided retirement security for millions of Americans."

Perhaps Pelosi ought to take a look at the polling numbers. Even her own party things she has it wrong. 28% of Democrats think the program is in crisis, compared to 17% of Republicans and 29% of Independents. If over 1/4 of the people of her own party think the plan is in crisis, what's next for the Pelosi/Democratic game plan, bury their head in the sand.

The fact is that Social Security is a relic of the past. Admittedly, the program is one of the greatest success stories of all time in the realm of government programs. However, the mindset of "it ain't broke so don't fix it" is long gone. My fraternity has a saying, "merely because a practice is prevelant may be the poorest reason for continuing it." I think President Bush and most Americans are no longer considering Social Security the third rail of politics. Of course having been re-elected, President Bush can tackle these tough issues without fear. The Problem is, whehter Congress, who does want to get re-elected will work with the President or out of fear, will they shy away from the problem.

We shall see.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Why this Blog

Welcome to Going to the Matt, my blog on all that interests me. Over time, you will see posting on various topics, ranging from politics, music, movies, news, my humble opinion and related topics. While my interest does revolve around politics and the law, I didn't feel like limiting myself to any one topic. So sit back, read and enjoy.