Archive for November, 2004

TennCare Troubles Continue

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

As you probably know, Gov. Bredesen has announced that he is planning to dismantle TennCare. Quite a courageous step, and one that certainly will not help Bredesen shore up support among his base. Nonetheless, he is making the right call, and deserves credit for it.

Unfortunately, he is facing a legal challenge from attorney Gordon Bonnyman, who represents TennCare enrollees. The matter will likely be settled in court, as U.S. District Judge John Nixon is set to hear the case. Nixon, it should be pointed out, has a history of judicial activism.

We shall see what happens….

An Open Letter to President Bush

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Dear President Bush,

Congratulations on your reelection victory. I am proud to say that you had my vote and support. You have been a strong and decisive leader. However, there are a few things, all domestic policies, that I feel threaten to harm your second term, and I wish to offer you some advice.

One of the greatest weaknesses of your administration, in my estimation, is the fact that you so seldom try to convince the American people that our side is right. Take, for example, the assault weapons ban. It was rightly allowed to expire. But you did not try to convince the American people that it was a bad policy; indeed, you openly supported it, saying that you would sign a renewal of it made it to your desk. Now, you knew perfectly well that it would never make it through Congress. But you also knew that the majority of Americans supported the ban. So you played both sides: you proclaimed support for it, while allowing it to expire.

The fact that most Americans supported the ban had more to do with slick packaging than anything else. Most people just think “assault weapons = bad,” and have no idea that the definition of “assault weapons” had more to do with cosmetics than any danger they posed. If you had informed Americans of this, you could have convinced many of them that allowing the ban to expire was the right thing to do.

Another topic on which you have made little effort to convince Americans of danger is that of the border situation. Each day, untold numbers of people illegally enter this country. Some of them undoubtedly come here to commit crimes. There are many credible reports of terrorists walking across the American border. You have done nothing to prevent this.

I am not fool; I know exactly why you don’t want to address this problem. In last week’s election, you received around 45% of the Hispanic vote, and many pundits are predicting that Hispanics could become a reliable GOP voting bloc in the not to distant future. Therefore, you fear alienating them by increasing border security. While I can understand this reasoning, I believe it is wrongheaded.

The overwhelming majority of Hispanics in our country are patriotic Americans. They hate terrorism just as much as everyone else, and want the government to take action to protect us. If you point out that the border situation is a grave threat to our national security, and must be fixed, most Hispanics will agree. You could also make immigration easier for honest people, while making it more difficult for criminals. No reasonable person opposes this.

Like many conservatives, I am worried about the massive growth in government during your administration. Every federal department has expanded under you. Liberals may complain that you are cutting funding for “essential services,” but in reality, funding levels have never been higher. This growth in government has caused many conservatives, especially those of the libertarian persuasion, to distance themselves from you.

One of the greatest disappointments in your first term is the prescription drug benefit that was added to Medicare. This was a naked political move to gain votes among senior citizens, particularly in Florida. The benefit may have gained you some allies in AARP, but what about young Americans, who probably will never see their Social Security. At least partial (and hopefully full) privatization is in everyone’s best interests. I hope that you will make that case to Americans in your second term.

Finally, one of your greatest traits is your loyalty. I honestly admire that you stand by people through thick and thin. Sadly though, it can be taken too far. Take former CIA head George Tenet. He finally resigned, but it was over a year too late. Another, more unfortunate example is Sen. Arlen Spectre (R-PA), a well known “moderate” (read: liberal). During the Republican primary, you traveled to Pennsylvania and campaigned for him against his opponent, a true conservative. Again, I understand why. Spectre could bring out the “moderate” vote, so it was believed, and those moderates, if they voted for him, might also vote for you, helping you carry Pennsylvania. Well, that plan obviously failed.

One would think that Spectre would be very grateful for your support, since you and him have a number of policy disagreements. If he is, he isn’t showing it. Instead, he has said that when he is tapped to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will actively oppose confirming judges who, gasp, think abortion is not a constitutional right. You must stop him from chairing this committee, if you value conservative principals.

Overall, I think you have been a good president. In the international realm, you have been great. Domestically, you have been fair. If you want to be a truly great president, you must address these domestic concerns I have outlined. I am certain that you will.

Ode to the Nice Guys

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Is this me??

[This rant was written for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal]

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of crying about what asses guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get the women. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical and manipulative. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

Fu-zu Jen, SEAS/WH, 2003

Via Nathan Fortner

Jihadi Rap

Friday, November 12th, 2004

This will make you sick.

Veteran’s Day

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Happy Veterans Day, and thanks to all veterans for your service, especially those currently on active duty. God bless you all!

WCBD4U: One Year Later

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Today marks the one year anniversary of this blog. You can look back in time at my first post here. Thanks to everyone for their repeated visits. I really appreciate it!

TennCare Canned

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Gov. Bredesen has announced that TennCare is being dismantled. I really don’t have to offer any analysis on this. All I can say is that Gov. Bredesen is my second favorite Democrat (after Zell Miller).

Hate Mail Hilarity

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

So I get this in response to my latest column:

Dear John Brown

I have had plenty of time this year to read your articles about our government, and I’d like to give you some advice. Please, just stop writing. I sure hope you have no plans to do something as this for your living, because you would end up on the street begging for food. Your articles are absurd,irrational, and just plain annoying. I am not bashing you because you are a conservative: I also plan to e-mail the also fascist idiot writing beneath you, Thomas Walker. You give no support for any ideas and apparently expect every other idiot that we go to school to be pleased. Your articles could only be put in the paper in 2 places, and since you’re not funny enough to be in the comics, you are dropped into the opinions.
Yours truly
Nathan [last name removed to protect the innocent]

Looks like someone needs to take Comp 101 again….

Is America Really Divided?

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

President Bush was solidly reelected last week, winning 31 states worth 286 electoral votes. Even more tellingly, he won 51% of popular vote, once and for all crushing the liberal myth that he is an illegitimate president (though it is certain that some bitter liberals will continue to console themselves with this lie).

President Bush became the first presidential candidate since his father (all the way back in 1988) to win a majority of the popular vote – a feat that Bill Clinton (allegedly a uniter) never accomplished. Given this fact, one begins to wonder if America is really so divided after all.

Obviously reasonable Americans can and do disagree on certain issues, such as gay marriage or the war in Iraq. This is just a part of the political process. Americans have always had diverse opinions on controversial issues, yet we tend to think we are more divided now than ever before. But is this really true? If we are so divided, how can President Bush, the man supposedly responsible for dividing us, be able to win a majority of the vote? Undeniably, it is hard to believe a great divider could accomplish such an achievement. Therefore, we must ask ourselves if Bush really is such a divisive figure.

What exactly does Bush divide us on? One issues his critics claim is responsible for division is the war in Iraq. When he launched the war, more than 60% of Americans supported his decision. While that support has dwindled a bit today, it is hard to deny that most Americans were united in their desire to see Saddam Hussein removed from power. Overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress voted to authorize the war. How is this divisive?

Gay marriage is another issue on which Bush supposedly divides America. Yet, if America is divided on this issue, it is hardly an even division. Amendments to state constitutions defining marriage as between one man and one woman passed easily everywhere they were voted on. The merits of gay marriage can certainly be debated, but to say it evenly divides America is misleading at best. Most Americans oppose it. What’s more, Bush has recently endorsed civil unions, which is hardly an anti-gay position.

Abortion is a topic that truly does split America, but it is also a topic that Bush has avoided. In fact, many of his supporters feel Bush has not done enough on the subject of abortion. While he did sign a bill banning partial birth abortion (a procedure 70% of Americans oppose), he has done little otherwise. He has hardly played this as a wedge issue.

So is America divided? The answer is “yes” – but not in the way most people think. In reality, it is the media elites who have divided themselves from the people of Middle America (or “flyover country” as they are sometimes disparagingly referred to), and have tried to divide America itself. The media have tried very hard to divide this nation, effectively campaigning for John Kerry. They have used such tactics as bogus documents and obviously erroneous exit polls (which showed the exact opposite of what actually happened). They have attempted to convince us that the economy is in shambles, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary. They have tried to portray the war in Iraq as another Vietnam, again, with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It is they who try to divide America, not President Bush. They do so because they wanted Bush out of office, and felt dividing the country was the best way to get him defeated. Ultimately, they failed on both counts: America is not divided, and President Bush was not defeated.

America is no more divided today than it was eight years ago when Bill Clinton was president. Back then, we had a handful of conservatives so caught up in their hatred of Clinton they lost all rationality. Today, we have a somewhat larger group of liberals (Michael Moore, George Soros, and Al Gore being prime examples) who have similarly lost their rationality due to an illogical hatred of President Bush. This is not unexpected in the partisan world we live in, but to say this means we are a “deeply divided country” is an extreme exaggeration.

Whenever you hear someone claim we live in a divided country, stop and ask if they stand to benefit from a divided America. If so, they are hardly an unbiased authority on division within our country.

Moore Stupidity

Monday, November 8th, 2004

Michael Moore has done it again.

Via Instapundit.