Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Blog Reflections...

So this little experiment is coming to a close... I have worked on blogging, and I am not even sure anyone is really even reading this thing. But the truth is I have learned a few lessons, and as I close my blog I thought I would go ahead and post them. This has nothing to do with politics - but who cares...

1. Blogging ain't easy - I had a very different image of blogging before I actually got involved in one myself. I figured it was just a place for people to rant, and I would easily be able to post everyday. In reality - the really good blogs - require alot of thought and work. Research is extensive - and if one plans to post everyday it can be very time consuming. I have struggled simply to post once a week. Hats off to those of you political junkies out there who do post everyday - its quite a feat to find something "intelligent" to say and support it with enough evidence. I certainly don't think I have been able to do that.

2. I'm not very good at the blog thing - Honestly, I don't want my thoughts in writing for other people to read. If you learn anything through watching politics or studying law its that you never put anything in writing. I can be anonymous - but then who really is going to read this thing. Nobody reads it as it is, and I have my name on it.

3. If done right, blogging is an awesome venue for free speech and the free-sharing of ideas. Its the ultimate form of democracy - an open forum where a discussion is held and ideas are shared. But there is one caveat - not everyone's opinion is heard equally. If your blog does not get any traffic - then you are just talking to the wind. Your words are unheard and nobody cares. But to get traffic it requires alot of work - and sometimes people just don't have the time or energy to dedicate to that. Democracy comes with a cost - and that is time.

4. To the company out there looking to post on a blog - buyer beware. This is open season - no limts, no restrictions on content. Engage the blogosphere at your own risk - and be willing to take criticism when it arises. If you handle it appropriately - you stand a chance of improving your corporate image. If handled poorly - you are in some deep crap. Good Luck.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Nuclear Dilemma...

The American nuclear arsenal is reaching a turning point. Cold War era bombs are beginning to age and become outdated. As technology advances, these bombs are qucikly becoming obsolete, and are certainly not applicable toa post-9/11, post-cold war environment. The questions is, do we update our nuclear arsenal with new nuclear bombs or do we simply allow these bombs to expire and begin the process of dismantling our nuclear weapons cache? The Bush Administration has decided that we should modernize our nuclear arsenal through a program called Reliable Replacement Warheads (RRW), but a report released Tuesday by a panel of nuclear weapons experts displays a great deal of skepticism to the Bush plan.

Nuclear policy is always a touchy subject for the United States. As teh first to develop the bomb and the only to ever actually use it in a time of war, we hold a unique position in the international community - one that many see as hypocritical. The real issue here is not whether or not we need to modernize our nuclear arsenal - thats simply not a question worth debating. The fact is that our warheads are aging, they were designed specifically for an era of warfare that was targeted at Russia, and are relatively useless as a deterrent in the modern era of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. The fact is that strategic weapons designed for state based warfare are not useful in the modern battlefield. Our military is revolutionizing its structure - and it is becoming more flexible in how it responds to crisis situations. Our nuclear arsenal currently does not reflect that flexibility. So the question is not do we need to modernize - because at some point we do.

The real question is whether or not we need to do it right now? If it will save us money in the long term? And, more importantly, if we can use this opportunity to reduce the size of our arsenal to legal disarmament requirement as established by the United Nations. In the past, the United States has been criticized as being a hypocrit - working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons while continuing to test, develop, and build a large stockpile of the very same weapons. States like India and Pakistan, now a part of the nuclear club, refused to sign onto international nonproliferation treaties - like the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) - because they discriminated against non-nuclear states, preserving the nuclear authority of those privileged states who had alreaddy developed the technology. Our unwillingness to disarm continually undermines our stance abroad as we criticize countries like Iran and North korea for developing nuclear weapons.

The chance to modernize our arsenal certainly presents us with a chance to change this image abroad. While it is a costly endeavor - a multibillion dollar project that will take at least a decade. I believe that pursuing RRW's is a way for the United States to change its position on nuclear weapons use. As a member of the NPT it is time we start honoring our commitments to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal. Many fear the the RRW program will spark an international arms race, but if it is prefaced with a statement of disarmament I believe we could avoid this unlikely scenario. The common misconception is that disarming means completely eliminating the nations nuclear detterent. This simply is not the case. Disarmament as defined by the UN is reducing your arsenal to a minimal deterrent level - 270 nuclear warheads. The makeup of those warheads - be it in silos, subs, or bombers - is up to the country to choose. The number still provides a credible deterrent, and enough firepower to destroy the world several times over. Yet, a country gains credibility in the disarmament regime and international community.

The United States' decision to modernize its aresenal, if prefaced by a call for and action towards disarmament, would certainly be respected in the international community. By reducing our arsenal we are taking steps to strengthen the NPT regime, and by modernizing it we are ensuring that it still functions as a credible deterrent in the post-cold war era.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Vigilante justice Mississippi style...

Mississippi mayor is acquitted from all charges after he reportedly took a sledgehammer to a duplex which he thought was a "crack house."

I usually don't post twice, but this was just too good. I hadn't heard about this, but my roommate is from Jackson and filled me in. Apparently the mayor of Jackson walked up to this house, which he just "knew" was a "crack house," and with his bodyguards started demolishing the place with sledgehammers. Nuts. They arrest him and charge him with everything from burglary to conspiracy, and now he is acquitted of all charges. What does that say about Mississippt justice?

I mean, the image of a vigilante mayor wreaking havoc in the criminal underworld of Jackson, Mississippi is a little bit "wild west" for me. I can just see him walking up to a house, sledge hammer in hand, saying "the law has come back to town, boys." Like something out of Tombstone. Or better yet, why doesn't he just put on a batman mask and cape. As mayor is it not his duty to "uphold the rule of law" in his city. How does this sort of justice uphold that rule of law? If the mayor can take a sledgehammer to any house he thinks is a "crack house" what prevents him from instituting a terror-like rule and targeting innocent citizens to keep them under his control? It's extreme, but its the logical extension of allowing such behavior.

Apparently a Mississippi jury isn't afraid of that. Lets see what happens.

Burnout 2008...

Democrats had their first political debate last night... and guess what, I didn't watch it.

I normally really enjoy watching debates between candidates, regardless of political affiliation. I enjoy the tact of the responses, and trying to figure out what they are "really" saying, and not jsut the political bullshit they expect most Americans to believe. It is a test of wits, and really shows the measure of a candidate.

But, honestly, I am just burnt out on this election. Election day 2008 is so far away... and yet the media hype and buzz over candidates has already killed any desire for me to learn anything about what is going on. I am sick and tired of hearing all the talkign heads debating the candidates pros, cons, and missteps. Everytime I turn on the TV or read the paper, it is right there, like an incessant buzzing in my ear.

Candidates need to just stop... stop spending money, stop camapaigning, and wait. Go back to your JOBS in Washington... vote like you are supposed to and get some stuff done. Come back in a year and maybe I won't be so tired of hearing what you have to say. Hell, you might even have something to say and some real solutions!

Blah... for those of you who did watch the debate, congratulations. Let me know how it went... or better yet, just let me know when you get burnt out on the election too. We can have a party.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Please don't dance Mr. President...

Found this on The Drudge Report and it made me laugh... Bush dancing.

At least he is trying... Although, when he tried to play the Djembe is when I lost it. He really has absolutely no rhythm, and should not be anywhere near that drum.

On the other hand, I like the beat - maybe I can learn it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A little something called parenting...

A Knoxville father decided to take an interesting measure to punish his middle-school aged child who he found was involved in drug use.

The father, who found on his child's MySpace page that his son had been using and selling marijuana and Oxycontin, forced his child to stand outside of his middle school with a sandwich board sign that said "I abused and sold drugs." Some called it an extreme measure... I say the punishment fits the crime.

Drug abuse is a serious crime, and as a parent you have a duty to make sure your child learns the lesson. Grounding them, taking away their television, or doing something more mundane doesn't carry the same threat level as forcing your child to stand in front of his school and embarass himself. At least the father didn't make the kid sit in jail.

Another thing, what the hell was the kid putting this on his MySpace for? I think the kid was screaming for attention... Beyond that, why does a middle school kid have a MySpace page in the first place? Internet sites like MySpace and Facebook are dangerous places for young children who don't quite understand the social ramifications of what they post. Thank god the father was monitoring it.

Parents should take a lesson from this Knoxville father though. Watch your kids. Don't let them watch TV or get ont he internet unoomnitored. And if you find them doing something extremely harmful, take extreme steps to stop it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Too little too late?

Al Gore has finally decided to try to change his energy-guzzling mansion into something that sort of resembles the environmentally friendly houses he tells people to live in. He has requested for a permit to install solar panels on his house.

Gore, the self-made poster child for global warming awareness, caught a lot of flack when someone looked at the power bill for his gigantic Belle Meade mansion. Lets just say it is less than efficient. The man just looked like a hypocrit.

Gore claims that he purchases "carbon offsets" so that his environmental footprint is technically zero. Honestly, I am not buying this, nor his recent attempt to install solar panels. If he really walked the walk he would give up the big mansion, and move into a space that suits his needs. While he encourages reducing and living with less, he is living the life of excess that contributes to the environmental problem he so avidly fights to cure.

Some might think Gore is truly green, but I'm not buying it.