Archive for September, 2004

‘Vols for Bush’ Controversy Continues

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

The recent controversy surrounding the confiscation of ‘Vols for Bush’ stickers during last week’s LA Tech game continues. Knoxville stations WBIR and WVLT have both picked up the story, in addition to yesterday’s editorial in the Beacon defending the administration.

I would like to state that I am not pointing a finger at the administration – They may well be in the right. I do believe that this subject merits a close look, however. It looks like it is getting just that.

UPDATE: “Vols for Bush” stickers have found their way onto Ebay.

‘Vols for Bush’ Controversy Continues

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

The recent controversy surrounding the confiscation of ‘Vols for Bush’ stickers during last week’s LA Tech game continues. Knoxville stations WBIR and WVLT have both picked up the story, in addition to yesterday’s editorial in the Beacon defending the administration.

I would like to state that I am not pointing a finger at the administration – They may well be in the right. I do believe that this subject merits a close look, however. It looks like it is getting just that.

UPDATE: “Vols for Bush” stickers have found their way onto Ebay.

Good News

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Here is some good news for Tennessee.

Good News

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Here is some good news for Tennessee.

The Case Against Socialized Medicine

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

One of the greatest dreams of American liberals is a nationalized healthcare system similar to the one in Canada. They argue in favor of such a system because they believe healthcare is a basic “right,” and because they believe the current system is flawed beyond repair. As with most problems, they advocate government solutions, not private enterprise solutions. Unfortunately, the government has an abysmal record of correcting problems, and American healthcare would be no exception.

First, let’s examine the “right to healthcare” claim. Obviously, there is no right to healthcare established in the U.S. Constitution. However, we do have a moral right to healthcare, some will argue. Unfortunately, those who make this argument do not understand what a “right” is.

A “right” is the ability and autonomy to perform a sovereign action. In a free society founded on the ideal of liberty, an individual has an absolute ability to perform such an action – so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another individual. Healthcare is not speech: in order for you to exercise a theoretical “right” to healthcare, you must infringe on someone else’s rights. If you have a “right” to healthcare, then it means you must also have the right to coerce doctors into treating you, to coerce drug companies into producing medicine, and to coerce other citizens into footing your medical bill. This is Orwellian. “Freedom” for you cannot result in slavery for others. Thus the concept of a “right” to healthcare is an oxymoron: it involves taking away the rights of other individuals.

Surely, though, we can agree that doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, and insurance companies earn excessive profits, you say. Well, that depend on what your definition of “excessive” is. Doctors literally hold the lives of their patients in their hands. How much is someone who saves lives everyday worth? The same is true of pharmaceutical companies. While it has become fashionable to condemn their profits, the fact is that these profits fund medical research, which leads to more medicines being produced, and, consequently, more lives saved. Insurance companies spread the cost of healthcare among many people who might not otherwise be able to afford it, and thus make healthcare readily available for many.

While on the topic of profits, we should examine them. The word “profit” is considered to be a dirty word by many on the political left, but why? What makes a profit bad? Nothing. On the contrary, profits are very positive. When you come to class in the morning, there is a good chance you either drive a car or ride a bus. Do you think the bus driver and the workers who built your car or the bus did so that you could get to school on time? Of course not, they did because they wanted to make money. Yet their pursuit of a profit benefited them as well as you.

Adam Smith once said, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.” As we have seen, profits and self-interest are not bad things.

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that the left gets its way, and the United States adopts a universal healthcare system. This profit motive will effectively be removed. Doctors will then be government employees, and, as such, have far less accountability, as well as lower pay. Could we still expect the best and brightest to strive to be doctors? Probably not. More than likely, they will pursue other careers where they can make more money.

Some love to bemoan the fact that the United States is one of the few industrialized nations without a government healthcare system. Yet they rarely note that the U.S. produces disproportional amounts of the new, life-saving drugs, largely because of the profits drug companies make. Will we continue to produce these drugs if we abolish the profit motive? Not likely. Chances are, they will not be produced at all, and more people will needlessly suffer and die as a result.

When we examine countries that have embraced socialized medicine, we find long waiting lists, expansive red tape, and little concern for the individual. Do you really want to be told which doctor to go to? Do you want to wait years to have necessary medical procedures performed? If so, then socialized medicine is for you.

But if you believe in individual rights, competent healthcare, and sound economic policies, we must get the government out of the doctor’s office.

Ragsdale Roundup

Monday, September 27th, 2004

Sandra Clark’s column this week deals with a juicy letter Ragsdale wrote to UT employee Cindy Ogle, who opposes his tax policies:

“I find it interesting that you work at the University of Tennessee. I suppose you were against the sales tax increase that the State proposed several years ago, so that the University could remain open and you could stay employed. Also, I suspect you were for the Governor taking State shared taxes from local government the past 2 years, so that you could get a raise.

From your message, it appears you work in the IT department. If Knox County’s budget had not been approved, I would have had to fire 4 IT employees. I guess this doesn’t concern you, since you have your government job. The commissioners you praise did not propose a single budget cut. In other words, they liked the budget, they just didn’t want to pay for it!

As a final note, my wife and I contribute gladly to the University every year because we believe in its mission. Your message makes me think that we have the wrong type of people working there. You were very candid about your feelings, so I hope you don’t mind me doing the same thing.”

I’m not suprised to see Ragsdale try to strong arm people like this, but it is disapointing nonetheless. It takes a lot of guts for Ragsdale to intimidate a UT employee like this, but hey, do we expect any better from our county mayor?

Ragsdale Roundup

Monday, September 27th, 2004

Sandra Clark’s column this week deals with a juicy letter Ragsdale wrote to UT employee Cindy Ogle, who opposes his tax policies:

“I find it interesting that you work at the University of Tennessee. I suppose you were against the sales tax increase that the State proposed several years ago, so that the University could remain open and you could stay employed. Also, I suspect you were for the Governor taking State shared taxes from local government the past 2 years, so that you could get a raise.

From your message, it appears you work in the IT department. If Knox County’s budget had not been approved, I would have had to fire 4 IT employees. I guess this doesn’t concern you, since you have your government job. The commissioners you praise did not propose a single budget cut. In other words, they liked the budget, they just didn’t want to pay for it!

As a final note, my wife and I contribute gladly to the University every year because we believe in its mission. Your message makes me think that we have the wrong type of people working there. You were very candid about your feelings, so I hope you don’t mind me doing the same thing.”

I’m not suprised to see Ragsdale try to strong arm people like this, but it is disapointing nonetheless. It takes a lot of guts for Ragsdale to intimidate a UT employee like this, but hey, do we expect any better from our county mayor?

‘Vols for Bush’ Stickers Confiscated at UT

Sunday, September 26th, 2004

Prior to the Louisiana Tech game Saturday, UT students and community members were passing out stickers that read “Vols for Bush.” Among the groups involved in this were the UT College Republicans, UT Vols for Bush, UT Students for Bush, and the Knox County Republican Party.

Apparently, these stickers posed a problem for the UT administration, who claim the stickers were produced illegally. Mike Young, from the Office of Trademark Licensing, approached CRs Jerod Hollyfield, Nathan Fortner, and myself, and confiscated our stickers. They then met with Knox GOP officials at the tailgate party near Neyland Stadium, and informed them that the stickers could not be passed out. Stacey Campfield, candidate for state house, was likewise stopped, and had his stickers taken away.

Political stickers have long used the term “Vols,” and, to my knowledge, no administration official has ever complained. The legal bounds seem somewhat sketchy to most everyone I have spoken with. Whether or not this is suppression of free speech is an interesting legal question that merits thorough investigation.

UPDATE: Matt Bible, a UT junior, has a letter-to-the-editor in today’s Beacon, arguing that the confiscation was politically motivated.

‘Vols for Bush’ Stickers Confiscated at UT

Sunday, September 26th, 2004

Prior to the Louisiana Tech game Saturday, UT students and community members were passing out stickers that read “Vols for Bush.” Among the groups involved in this were the UT College Republicans, UT Vols for Bush, UT Students for Bush, and the Knox County Republican Party.

Apparently, these stickers posed a problem for the UT administration, who claim the stickers were produced illegally. Mike Young, from the Office of Trademark Licensing, approached CRs Jerod Hollyfield, Nathan Fortner, and myself, and confiscated our stickers. They then met with Knox GOP officials at the tailgate party near Neyland Stadium, and informed them that the stickers could not be passed out. Stacey Campfield, candidate for state house, was likewise stopped, and had his stickers taken away.

Political stickers have long used the term “Vols,” and, to my knowledge, no administration official has ever complained. The legal bounds seem somewhat sketchy to most everyone I have spoken with. Whether or not this is suppression of free speech is an interesting legal question that merits thorough investigation.

UPDATE: Matt Bible, a UT junior, has a letter-to-the-editor in today’s Beacon, arguing that the confiscation was politically motivated.

A Horse is a Horse, of Course, of Course, and Judges aren’t infallible, of Course, of Course…

Saturday, September 25th, 2004

As a bigtime Mister Ed fan, I got a big kick out of this. Please, President Bush… Nominate Justice Michael Eakin for the next vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court!