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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: May 2005

Friday, May 27, 2005

Free Minds Wondering (May 2005)

Repent and Vote Democrat No More
A pastor of a Haywood County, North Carolina Baptist Church told his congregation that Democrats are no longer welcome in his church. More power to him. Just one little catch…his church’s tax exempt status should be removed immediately! I will say the same thing for Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and all the rest of you who dodge paying taxes by using your ‘ministry’ to be exempt while pushing a political agenda. For that matter, all churches should pay their part of the tax burden. After all, didn’t Jesus say (I’m paraphrasing): “Pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s; pay unto God what is Gods,” Hmm? Just a thought.

The Most Dangerous Logical Fallacy
Have you ever heard advertisements that say “A million [fill in the blank]s can’t be wrong.” What a dangerous, disastrous failure of logic. What word did you think of to place in the blank? What if I filled in the blank with Nazis, Communists, Holocaust deniers, trekkies, or Elvis impersonators? In Latin, this logical fallacy is known as argumentum ad populum; translated in English it is called “Appeal to Popularity.” It seems the more that our government and our government schools teach us that our government is based on the whims of the majority of Americans (a democracy) rather than a constitutional republic based on the rule of law, the more people seem to fall for this fallacy that is as old as Western Civilization. Brad Warbiany, The Unrepentant one, has saved me the trouble of writing a long post explaining the dangers of democracy (thanks Brad). Not only can’t a majority (even a super majority lest a filibuster need to be broken) of people be wrong, it is very likely.

Fuzzy Math
Remember during one of the 2000 presidential debates when W responded to Bore’s numbers as ‘fuzzy math’ and Leftists everywhere got a good chuckle? This must be an example of what W was talking about: on, the researchers studied the claims made by Democrats that Bush’s privatized Social Security accounts would harm most investors. Here is the summary of what found

“Democrats have been using a web-based "calculator" to generate individualized answers to the question, "How much will you lose under Bush privatization plan?" For young, low-wage workers it projects cuts of up to 50% in benefits. And a $1-million TV advertising campaign is amplifying the claim, saying, "Look below the surface (of Bush's plan) and you'll find benefit checks cut almost in half."

In fact, the calculator is rigged. We find it is based on a number of false assumptions and deceptive comparisons. For one thing, it assumes that stocks will yield average returns of only 3 percent per year above inflation. The historical average is close to 7 percent.

The calculator's authors claim that they use the same assumption used by the Congressional Budget Office. Actually, CBO projects a 6.8 percent gain.”

What? Political groups lie? Say it isn’t so!

Conscience Clause
On my February 10th post you may remember I made the following comment:

“The Arizona Legislature is trying to pass a bill that would allow pharmacists to deny filling prescriptions if the pharmacist is personally opposed to a particular drug. Provisions have been made that pharmacists cannot deny birth control to customers (which is part of why this bill was presented to begin with), but the 'Plan B' and the so-called abortion pill are fair game. This is crazy! What right do you, Mr. Pharmacist have to deny an adult their drugs because of your moral issues! The choice is the individuals; this is a personal matter. Shame on you Arizona if you allow this bill to pass.”

Here’s an update. The Arizona Legislature did pass the bill but the governor vetoed it. Whew! I suppose a clarification of my position on this issue is in order. If it is the policy of the employer not to sell such a prescription, that’s the employer’s prerogative. If, however, a pharmacy’s employee refuses to fill the prescription, then the employer has every right to fire the insubordinate employee. Also, the pharmacy’s policy should be posted in plain view so the customer doesn’t waste time trying to fill a prescription which is not available. This would be no different than a convenience store employee refusing to sell customers cigarettes, beer, and porn for moral reasons.

Drumgurl A.K.A the Redneck Feminist has written a great series on this issue. I encourage everyone to check it out.

Judge Janice Brown
Finally, some details are being reported about some of Bush’s judicial nominees. So far I have researched a little bit about Judge Janice Brown. From what I am finding so far, she seems to be a fine choice (she doesn’t appear to be a Bork clone at least). My first step was to find out why Republicans favor her as a choice and why Democrats are so opposed.

First I looked at the Leftist blog Daily KOS Crystal Patterson’s May 10th article: Janice Rogers Brown - Turning Back the Clock on Decades of Social Progess. From this article, I learned just about every objection the Left has to Judge Brown. As I read her talking points against Brown, to me from my Libertarian viewpoint they read like selling points. Rather than me re-list all of her talking points, please read her article and tell me why all of those reasons should be reasons to reject Janice Brown to the Federal court.

It seems to me that what is getting Crystal’s panties in a bunch is the fact that Judge Brown dares to say that much of FDR’s New Deal was (is) unconstitutional. No wonder the Dems don’t want her in the high court!

I also read Judge Brown’s speech in for the Federalist Society titled: "A Whiter Shade of Pale": Sense and Nonsense — The Pursuit of Perfection in Law and Politics. The speech gives the reader some great insight into her judicial philosophy. If these are her principles, she certainly has my support.

No Reverence for the Quran Here
Let’s suppose for a moment the Newsweek story about the Quran flushing was true. So what! We are supposed to care about the feelings of the very people who desecrate our flag, burn in effigy pictures of our leaders (Republican or Democrat, makes no difference), fly planes into our buildings, want to destroy our way of life, treat women like cattle, use children as bombs, and generally do not respect life whether ‘infidel’ or ‘non-infidel?’ The Quran is nothing more than another ‘wholly’ book of lies designed to deny the rights of the individual. Until more Muslims can demonstrate tolerance rather than terrorism, Islam is not a religion worthy of my tolerance. As far as I’m concerned, how about another flush?

Memorial Day
Don’t forget to remember those who have and are serving our country to keep us free. The American soldier not only risks his/her life for us, but also sacrifices time he or she would otherwise spend with his/her family. To all the soldiers out there who are serving this country…Thank You.
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Monday, May 23, 2005

My '5 Things'

Robert of Libertopia tagged me with this meme challenge to list five things that I don’t ‘get’, but my friends and/or family does. Following my answers, I am supposed to tag a few more bloggers who haven’t been issued this challenge (which is a challenge in itself, this thing has popped up on virtually every blog I have visited over the past couple of days). Here’s what I have come up with:

#1. Professional Wrestling. I knew this ‘sport’ was phony when I was in the 3rd grade. It is not phony in the sense that the wrestlers have to be very physically fit but it is phony as far in the way that, unlike most sports, the performers know who is supposed to win the contest beforehand. Some of my friends try to explain it to me as ‘a soap opera for guys.’ If your looking for a great soap opera (drama), watch Desperate Housewives. The storylines, acting, and writing are all excellent.

#2. Super skinny supermodels. I don’t understand why people go crazy over these women with eating disorders. What’s worse is the influence these women have on impressionable young ladies. Personally I like a little bit of meat on the bone. I’d prefer the American girl next door over these European twigs anyday. Being married, I no longer notice other women though : )

#3. Smoking. I guess I thought it was cool when I was in my late teens and early twenties but with all we know about smoking now, why is anyone in my age group still smoking? I’m not saying it should be illegal or anything like that, I just don’t get it.

#4. Celebrity worship. We have such shows as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and publications such as US and People. Some people literally spend their entire careers following celebrities to find out who he or she is dating, likes and dislikes, how much he or she makes, etc. etc. These very celebrities pretend they do not like the paparazzi following them around but you know they do. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I was part of this celebrity worship culture but somewhere along the way I outgrew it. There are only a handful of celebrities/sports stars I would care to meet. Most of them are self-important ignoramuses who don’t have a clue how the real world works.

#5. The fascination with the royal family. This one is very similar to celebrity worship. The difference here is to be in the royal family is an accident of birth. At least most celebrities have accomplished something to earn their fame. I don’t understand why the U.K. even keeps the royals around. What practical purpose do they serve?

Okay, that was my five. I can only think of two bloggers who haven’t been challenged to this point who read my blog:

Icarus Goodman

Gary Borque

Let’s hear it gentlemen!
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Isn’t it disturbing how our criminal justice system can’t seem to find enough room for the most offensive of all criminals but somehow can manage to find room for non-violent drug offenders and other’s arrested for consensual crimes? I know that as long as we decide as a country that we want to continue to fight this losing war on drugs, legalization or even decriminalization will never happen. Though this deeply disturbs me, I understand that. What I cannot understand is where our priorities lie regarding crime.

There has been story, after story, after story, about how convicted pedophiles and rapists who were released re-offended shortly after re-entering society. The majority opinion of psychologists seems to be that pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated from their sickening fetishes. So why do we continue to release these animals back into society? Where are the mandatory minimum sentences for these creeps?

Instead the criminal justice system is satisfied with the idea of registering convicted sex offenders and putting their information on the internet. ‘There’s just no room to house them’ they say. We put signs on their yards or give them pink license plates. Yeah, I feel so much safer letting my kids play outside and go to school. I can spend all my time checking the internet to see if any of these pieces of human debris are in my neighborhood and keep them away from cars with pink plates. As offensive as that is, the ACLU steps in and says the pedophile’s civil rights are being violated. What about my kids’ rights?

I have a better idea: why not move the consensual criminals (i.e. druggies, prostitutes, gamblers etc.) to the end of the court’s docket and put the pedophiles, rapists and murderers in the very front? If we do not have enough space in the prison why not let some of the consensual criminals out and allow the worst of our society to take their place? Seems like a practical solution to me.

You tell me who deserves to do time more. Here are three actual criminal cases. The first one is the story of two young brothers who got caught in the web that is the war on drugs. The second case involves a pedophile who has been sentenced to five years in prison, and the third case deals with a rapist who re-offended after being paroled twice.

Case #1 Lamont H. Garrison
Offense: powder cocaine and crack cocaine conspiracy
Priors: None
Sentence: 19 years

Lawrence B. Garrison
Offense: powder cocaine and crack cocaine conspiracy
Priors: None
Sentence: 15 years

Tito Abea, the proprietor of an autobody shop in Maryland, was arrested as a major player in a large, 20-person powder and crack cocaine operation. In order to get a reduction from the hefty prison term he was facing, Abea was asked to implicate others in the conspiracy. Two of the people he implicated were twin brothers Lawrence and Lamont Garrison. Abea testified that he supplied the Garrisons with 1-2 kilos of cocaine every week for 10 weeks in 1996, and then again in 1997. Soon, other conspirators were following Abea's lead and testifying that they had seen some of these transactions take place...

According to Lawrence and Lamont, their contact with Abea had to do with his business; they were having extensive work done on their grandmother's car and the mechanic's phone wasn't working, so they would call Abea's adjacent autobody shop, and he would hand the phone to the mechanic. The twins' mother and uncle both say this is true since they, too, often called and inquired about the car...

There were no drugs, drug paraphernalia, or other evidence of drugs found on the Garrisons or in their house. There was never any record at all of them selling drugs, other than testimonies from the known and now-convicted drug dealers in the conspiracy. And there was no proof that like the other defendants, Lawrence or Lamont "derived money and other benefits" from two years of drug-dealing.

(Source: Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Click here to read the rest of the story)

Case #2 James Fredrick Shouldis Sr.
Offense: 1 count of sexual abuse
Priors: Not reported
Sentence: 5 years

A Loxley man was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl but will remain free while he appeals his conviction. Prosecutors alleged that James Fredrick Shouldis Sr., 57, touched the girl -- whom he knew -- in a sexual manner on at least two occasions in 2001. On March 3 of this year, a jury convicted him on one count of sexual abuse…

At trial, prosecutors played a phone conversation Shouldis had with the girl's mother. Baldwin County sheriff's deputies recorded and listened to the conversation...

Shouldis never admitted to the sexual abuse in the phone conversation, but did say he was "sorry," and "it was stupid," according to Tanya Hallford Roseony, a special prosecutor with the Baldwin County District Attorney's Office.

At least nine times during the call, however, Shouldis told the girl's mother, "It will never happen again," Roseony said.

(Source: Mobile Register. “Man gets 5 years for sex abuse”. Click here to read the rest of the story)

Case #3 Larry Sharp
Offense: Allegedly sexually assaulted an elderly woman 2005
Priors: Rape 1987 paroled in 1991, discharged from parole in 1994 Aggravated battery with a weapon 1999; 5 year sentence paroled in 2001 and discharged from parole in 2002
Sentence: Under investigation

Convicted rapist Larry Sharp recently went on the prowl again, authorities say.

The first time, his victim was six months pregnant. This time, his target was a 77-year-old woman he lived alongside at a south suburban nursing home, prosecutors say.

Sharp, 54, allegedly groped the elderly woman in her room on two occasions early Monday at Mercy Health Care Rehab Center in Homewood.

Around 4 a.m., he closed her door and started to grab her in "the crotch
area," an arrest report states. She started yelling, and he left.

Only after Sharp was in custody did nursing home staff learn he had served time for rape and, later, aggravated battery…

Sharp isn't on the online registry because his conviction came in 1987, well before the state required sex offenders to report their home addresses to police.

In late 1986, he lured the pregnant woman into the basement of her Chicago apartment building by turning off fuses in her unit, said Tom Stanton, a spokesman for Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine.

"He approached her from behind with a two-by-four, threatened her life and the life of her unborn child, and then sexually assaulted her," Stanton said.

(Source: Chicago Sun Times. “Convicted rapist held in sex assault”. Click here to read the rest of the story)

Who should we make room for?
These are three examples I found on the web. In all three of these examples, justice was not done. Lamont Garrison’s prison sentence is nearly 5 times longer than that of Larry Sharp, the convicted rapist. Lamont’s brother, Lawrence is doing 3 times more time than the convicted child molester, James Shouldis. Let’s not forget, the child who Shouldis molested was only 7 years old!

Those of you who read my blog who believe we should continue to fight this losing war on drugs effectively allowing rapists and child molesters to walk our streets, I want to hear from you. Before you respond, please read my post Anyone Who Believes America is Winning the War on Drugs Must be High so you can further understand my reasoning behind my admittedly radical position. The debate of the war on drugs aside, isn’t it time we took another look at our criminal justice priorities?

Related Post:
Tracking Bracelet Not the Same as Jail Cell by T.F. Stern
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Friday, May 13, 2005

What I Have Learned From Air America: Morning Sedition/Final Thoughts

Part IV

Morning Sedition
Unlike my first two critiques for Randi Rhodes and Al Franken where I listened to each show over a two week period, I only caught about an hour to an hour and a half of Morning Sedition once (I happened to be up and at work two hours earlier than usual), therefore I didn’t really get a good feel for the show’s format. From what I did hear, the best way to describe it would be Howard Stern minus the fart jokes and strippers; basically it sounded more like an ‘FM’ talk show. If you can get past some of their off-the-wall political opinions, it is an entertaining show.

The morning I was listening happened to be April 15th, tax day. The hosts had two different guests and did actually take some calls. Being April 15th Morning Sedition’s hosts Marc Maron & Mark Riley’s topic of the day was of course taxes. Listening to this program, I felt like I was in some kind of parallel universe listening to a talk show actually advocating raising taxes, especially on the ‘rich’ or what Dick Gephardt calls ‘winners of life’s lottery.’

Their first guest on the program was David Cay Johnson the author of his new book Perfectly Legal in which he explains how the Bush tax cuts are helping the rich get richer on the backs of the working poor. Being unfamiliar with the voices of the show’s hosts, I am not clear as to who made what arguments that I wish to annihilate here but if any of them disagreed on any of these points, none of them spoke up. Some of you may want to accuse me of using a straw man fallacy but I assure you, these were all serious arguments the folks at Morning Sedition made on their show. Here is their first argument:

The rich owe it to society to pay more taxes because their fortune was made in this society

Apparently they do not understand that very few people who they classify as rich received their wealth through winning it, inheriting it, marrying it (John Kerry), cheating for it, or stealing it. As Walter Williams pointed out in his recent column Only in America, in 2004 80% of the rich earned their riches themselves. It may be true that the rich made their fortune in a society compatible with upward mobility, but the vast majority of the rich had to do most (if not all) of the heavy lifting. Everyone who lives in America lives in a society where anyone who wants to do the hard work, educates themselves, invests money wisely, and generally take care of their own self interests (or selfish interest, whichever you prefer) can achieve. There are of course no guarantees that everyone who tries will be successful, but those who do put out the effort stand a greater chance of being successful than those who do not. Think of the free market economy as survival of the fittest and most ambitious. This idea that the rich owe it to society is very offensive to all of those who did the hard work, especially since most people who hold this view did not (the remainder of those who have this viewpoint have been conditioned to feel guilty for their success by socialist philosophy).

The gap between the rich and the poor is growing larger and larger; therefore the rich have an obligation to pay more taxes to help the poor through welfare programs

The gap between the rich and the poor is growing larger and larger? I sure as hell hope so! If the gap between the rich and the poor is shrinking, it isn’t because the poor are getting less poor; it is because the rich are getting less rich-not a good scenario for our economy, especially for the poor. The fact that the rich have the ability to get richer tells me that the American dream is true. The sky’s the limit.

Let me tell you a dirty little secret about trying to force the rich to pay more taxes: the rich know how the system works and can find ways around it. According to Robert T. Kiyosaki in his New York Times best selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the rich tend not to pay more taxes because they know how to use the tax code to their advantage.

Kiyosaki writes:

It is the knowledge of the power of the legal structure of the corporation that really gives the rich a vast advantage over the poor and middle class. Having two fathers teaching me, one a socialist and the other a capitalist, I quickly began to realize that the philosophy of the capitalist made more financial sense to me. It seemed to me that the socialists ultimately penalized themselves, due to their lack of financial education. No matter what the “take from the rich” crowd came up with, the rich always found a way to outsmart them. That is how taxes were eventually levied on the middle class. The rich outsmarted the intellectuals, solely because they understood the power of money, a subject not taught in schools. (p. 98)
There you have it, by attempting to raise taxes on the rich; the middle class is the group that really gets hit hard. The poor pay hidden taxes in the goods and services they buy from these rich corporations (as I mentioned in my post on The Fair Tax). Apparently the rich are rich for a reason.

The Morning Sedition hosts praised a wealthy woman named Elizabeth Letzler who is part of an organization called Responsible Wealth. The purpose of the organization is to donate the money they got back from the Bush tax cuts to charity. Letzler donated all of her $100,000 rebate to charity. Maron and Riley call Letzler a ‘true American’ for making this pledge

Isn’t this one of the points that us supply siders have been trying to make from the beginning? If the rich have more disposable income that would have otherwise been taken by the IRS this extra money can be used to create more jobs or given to charity. Mrs. Letzler really knows how to stick it to the Bush administration doesn’t she! Mrs. Letzler even made the point that she would rather give her money to charity than have the government under President Bush to spend her money on silly things such as national defense. I am not making this up. Mrs. Letzler actually said that the Department of Defense should basically be abolished and use the savings for other social welfare programs. The very idea that we want these types of people back in power!

What is with this notion of responsible wealth? Is this organization trying to say that if you are wealthy you should feel guilty for it and spend your money a certain way so that you can be considered responsible? The bottom line here is that how a person spends his or her money is nobody else’s damn business. Furthermore, unless the irresponsibly wealthy burns their money in the fireplace, the economy will benefit. The rich are the ones who provide jobs and buy things such as yachts, planes and other grown-up toys. Where do these toys come from? Ordinary people who are employed to design, build, and sell them.

The Fair Tax benefits the rich too much

A caller asked Morning Sedition’s guest David Cay Johnson what he thought of the Fair Tax. Mr. Johnson pretty much dismissed the idea out of hand. He couldn’t tell the caller that The Fair Tax would benefit the poor the most, he chose instead to complain that the rich benefit too much under such a tax system. Either Mr. Johnson has not read the bill or his hatred for the rich is more important than advocating a tax system that is infinitely more fair to everyone than the system of thievery we have now that we call income tax.

Final Thoughts on Air America

As much as I disagree with much of what Air America stands for, I am glad the alternative view is now on the radio waves. All too often we seek out only those who agree with our opinions. I would like to see much more political diversity on talk radio than currently exists. One of the main things that occurred to me while doing this project is that the views of the population are much more diverse than anywhere on the radio. Take a look at the blogosphere for example. Nearly every opinion one can imagine is advocated in this new media. I hope someday that talk radio will reflect this as well. The pundits and politicians on the Left and the Right do not want people to think for themselves, they prefer to do the thinking for us. This is the herd mentality we must try to overcome. Don’t believe it just because I said it. Do your homework; think for yourself and do your own research. Ask yourself ‘Does this make sense to me?’ Will I listen to Air America again sense finishing this experiment? I probably will from time-to-time when the talk radio of the Right becomes too predictable and unchallenging. After all, we should never be afraid to challenge our beliefs.


Kiyosaki, R.T. & Lechter, S. (1997).Rich dad, poor dad. New York: Warner Books

The rest of the What I Have Learned From Air America series: Part I, Part II, and Part III
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

April/May Blogroll Additions

I've added quite a few bloggers to my blogroll in the past couple of months. These additions run the philosophical gamut; most had at least one post considered for Fearless Philosophy Blog Post of the Month. Go ahead and pay them a visit; tell them I sent you.


Cafe Hayek

Daniel Sanchez



Redneck Feminist

Scott Scheule

The AnarchAngel

The Cranky Liberal Pages

The Enlightened Caveman

The Flights of Icarus Goodman
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Friday, May 06, 2005

Fearless Philosophy Blog Post of the Month (April 2005)

In April’s selection for Fearless Philosophy Blog Post of the Month, I cast my net even wider to bloggers both on and off my blogroll. I started with 13 posts from 11 different bloggers. In the last week of April, I thought I had my three selections chosen until I read what I determined would be the #1 and #2 post (for those of you who are new to my site and this award, here is the criteria). With no further adieu, here are the results for April 2005…

Third Place goes to The Cranky Liberal’s post Just-Us Sunday on his blog The Cranky Liberal Pages. Cranky echoes my concerns about the Christian Right’s attempt to tell Christians that anyone who objects to certain judicial nominations who are Christians, is somehow anti-Christian etc. Cranky explains:

“It’s not about having people “of faith” in office - it’s about getting rid of judiciary independence. Listen to his [Dr. James Dobson's] criticism carefully - unelected and unaccountable. That attacks at the very nature of why the judiciary is so effective (this is the same reason The Fed Chief is independent of political interference). The Founders recognized this when they designed the Constitution so that a judge could do his job impartially. Without that protection, there would be no way for them to rule on the Constitutionality of an issue without fear of a reprisal. How could they defend minority rights if they were suddenly held “accountable” to the tyranny of the majority?”

Second Place goes to Gary Borque of Both Worlds. Those of you who read FPFM often probably know Gary for his many debates he’s had with yours’ truly. I always enjoy debating him on various issues. Gary wrote this post in response to a critique on one of his other posts dealing with ‘a right to not live in poverty.’ Gary titled his post What Are Genuine Rights? Here is his answer to his rhetorical question:

“Only individuals have rights. There are actually no such things as group rights. Thus gay rights, women’s rights and even Christian rights do not exist. Only the rights of the individual exist, and they are the same for all of us. These are sometimes called “hard rights.”

Some great points Gary! He goes on to say:

“For example, a right to freedom of speech requires only that others don’t hinder you from speaking, it doesn’t require they give you a forum. Freedom of religion means others shouldn’t hinder you from worshiping the way you like, it doesn’t mean they must build you a church. A right to bears arms means you can own a gun, it doesn’t mean someone is obligated to buy you one.”

Finally, he answers this notion of ‘a right to not live in poverty’:

“This brings us back to our reader’s claim to a right to be free from poverty. Right violations must be corrected. So if there is a right to be free from poverty then society must make such victims whole by, essentially, giving them money and/or property. So a right to be free from poverty essentially means a right to the money and property of others. Otherwise, how can people be made whole when this “right” is violated? There is no other way.”

And the Winner is…
The Fearless Philosophy Blog Post of the Month of April
goes to Icarus Goodman’s post A Letter to Christians on his blog The Flights Of Icarus Goodman. This post is precisely what I think of when I’m looking for a fearless post. Icarus pulls no punches and asks all the hard questions regarding religion generally and Christianity vs. Islam specifically. Icarus was hoping to get a response from Christians and respond they did. So far this post has generated an amazing 35 comments in response for daring to ask the questions so many people are afraid to ask. Here is just one example:

“Now from some preliminary research I have conducted, I learned that your knowledge of "God" and his ways comes from a collection of books called the Bible. This Bible you claim to be the word of god, as it was revealed to men who then wrote it down for the rest of us. Please answer me this, Why do you believe this? Why do you believe the Bible to be the word of God?”

I must warn you, this post is not for the easily offended. His questions seem to be genuine to me, however. If you are in the mood for a thought provoking theological discussion whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Athiest, Agnostic, or whatever you’re belief system, you are in for a treat. There are some great (and not so great) responses to his questions as well.

Once again, congradulations to all of April’s winners!

Past Winners:
March 2005
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Monday, May 02, 2005

What I Have Learned From Air America: The Al Franken Show

Part III

The Al Franken Show

After listening to Randi Rhodes on Air America, Al Franken is a lightweight by comparison. I wouldn’t even go as far to call his show a political talk show; it would probably be better described as political satire. In the two weeks I listened to his show, he did not take a single call from the listeners. In the second week, Franken did make a comment that he usually doesn’t take calls. Is he afraid of being challenged? How difficult would it be to go on the air for three hours unchallenged? Even with my blog that reaches a small number of readers I gladly accept criticism and encourage the readers to challenge my opinions.

In the course of the two weeks I listened, in the first week him and his co-host went on several remote appearances. Even on location, he took no questions from the audience. In the second week, Franken was back in the studio and I got a better idea of how he normally does his show. In both weeks, he had a long list of guests, none of which seemed to be ideologically opposed to Franken’s positions. The only time Franken allows his listeners to hear the other side is when he plays sound bites of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and others. Franken plays a short audio clip and attempts to debunk the arguments in the clip, and does so poorly. Based on how he performs against an audio clip which cannot respond, it is no wonder why he doesn’t have guests or even callers to challenge him. He would absolutely be torn to shreds!

Now, let me get back to the arguments he made that I listed in Part I:

The government should set café standards for automobiles to 40 to 50 mpg

I suppose Franken assumes that the auto industry is in bed with the oil industry; therefore the auto industry, wanting to keep the oil companies happy, is purposely keeping the café standards to guzzle as much gasoline as possible. Here’s my problem with that: wouldn’t at least one auto maker want to increase café standards on their own if they could given the high gas prices and a market that wants better, more fuel efficient vehicles? Does the government need to impose this standard before automakers will make an attempt to reach this goal? If such technology is not available, how would the automakers be able to conform to the government standard? These are important questions that should be asked before demanding this lofty standard.

We should stop using oil as an energy source within 10 years.

I honestly don’t know if he was serious when he made this statement. I suppose I should give him the benefit of the doubt, but let me answer this argument anyway. Assuming we could stop using oil as an energy source within 10 years, what impact would that have on the economy? Consider the fact that the U.S. now has more cars than people. What is to happen to all of the existing cars on the road? Should the government demand that all petroleum powered vehicles be retrofitted to this energy source alternative? It seems to me that there are a number of people such as Franken who hate the oil industry and all they perceive it stands for. We hear a lot of talk from people on the Left about BIG OIL. The picture they want us to see is greedy oil executives raking in millions of dollars at the price of the consumers and the environment. Something you almost never hear about is the number of ‘working class people’ (for lack of a better term) who are employed by the oil industry such as my father. If Washington took Franken’s absurd advice, thousands of people like my father would become unemployed within that time period. The small Texas town where I grew up would blow away along with many other small towns across the country. I suppose Franken and his ilk would blame this economic hardship on greedy Republicans too.

Franken encouraged listeners to call their congressmen to stop the bill that would permanently eliminate the inheritance tax (death tax). This legislation was to thank the rich donors to the Republican Party.

The fact that Republicans and Libertarians support repealing the Death Tax couldn’t possibly have to do with principle could it? Believe it or not Mr. Franken, there are some of us out there who believe in principles regardless of if we personally benefit from the principle or not. Forcing people to pay extra taxes on the property they inherited is wrong regardless of how rich the deceased was and how badly you despise them for their wealth. In a free society, we should be allowed to die without the federal government stealing our worldy property from our families.

Those who want to end illegal immigration are racists.

I have just about had it with people making such charges that if you support such things as stopping illegal immigration, ending race-based preferences (affirmative action), or oppose the idea of ‘hate crimes’ you are somehow a racist. This argumentum ad hominem fallacy is used by the Left anytime a minority is involved regardless of what the actual issue is. The situation with the border is very complex. We should not look at illegal immigration as a single issue; there is a subset of issues that need to be looked at. Such issues as whether or not immigration laws are too strict, economic concerns, moral concerns, the impact on the welfare state, and of course national security. Each of these in themselves are very complex and need to be debated fairly. When people such as Franken make this charge, the debate is not advanced and a rational discussion cannot take place. I suspect that most everyone who wants the borders to be more secure are not racist and do care about those who want to enter the U.S. both legally and illegally.

So what do I think about The Al Franken Show? Not too much really. His inexperience in radio is very apparent. He should have stayed with comedy. I found him to be much more entertaining as Stewart Smalley. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonitt, people like me.” I’m not so sure Al, have you seen your ratings lately?

In the final part of this series (I promise) What I Have Learned From Air America: Morning Sedition (Part IV), I will critique Morning Sedition with Marc Maron & Mark Riley and deal with their class warfare arguments. Trust me, it will be fun.
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