August 30, 2009

With Child

So for a number of years, whenever the notion of my having children was brought up in discussion, it was concluded that this sort of thing would portend the End of Days or some such nonsense.

With that in mind, I'd like to announce that my wife is with child. Also in that same vein, the due date is April 1, 2010. No, I'm not making that up and no, it's not a joke. Also, I failed to plan it that way... because if I were planning these things, I would have probably aimed for a date that I could turn into an offensive joke (like, say, April 20, November 5 or May 5, just off of the top of my head.)

"Make sure you put something in there nice about God, ya know" - Anna

Yes dear. To be fair, she's right... I have a wife with a pacemaker and myself have diabetes... 100 years ago, neither of us would probably still be around to be having a child, and certainly wouldn't be in the position to be HAVING children. Not to mention thanks to God for having a children on the way when so many do not (and no, that's not an invitation to twins.)

Really, I could keep rambling here for a while, I am rather pleased on the topic, even though I am also rather terrified. But let's just say I figure things will be get interesting here.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:41 PM | TrackBack

August 19, 2009

Things I Miss About East Texas

When Iowans ask me about living in Texas and what Texas is like, it's the gems like this that I pass along to them and say "yeah, that's Texas."

To quote the relevant part for posterity:

A Smith County woman told authorities she arrived home to find a man walking out of her residence, who claimed he only wanted to make her some cornbread.

According to reports from the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the woman called deputies to her home on County Road 219 after she encountered a neighbor leaving her home.

The report stated the woman also found her blankets had been removed from her bed and spread out on the floor. Charges are expected in the case.

Oh Texas, you so crazy.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:11 PM | TrackBack

August 18, 2009

No Constitutional Protection Of Innocence

According to Justice Antonin Scalia, there is no Constitutional basis for saving wrongfully convicted criminals from execution.

To quote the man himself, "This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent."

This contrasts even with conservative former Chief Justice William Rehnquist's remarks in Herrera v. Collins, where he observed, "we may assume, for the sake of argument in deciding this case, that in a capital case a truly persuasive demonstration of ‘actual innocence’ made after trial would render the execution of a defendant unconstitutional and warrant federal habeas relief.”

Unfortunately, the matter has never been settled as a case of Constitutional law. Perhaps that will change in the near future, much to Justice Scalia's chagrin. And mayhaps this time the conservative media will bemoan that Justices Scalia and Thomas are attempting to act as activist judges and ignoring the clear intent of the framers that innocent men not be executed. But I doubt it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:12 PM | TrackBack

August 14, 2009

Daily Show Exclusive: Glenn Beck Talks Healthcare

I'm pretty sure this sums up the idealogical divide quite nicely. Thank you, Glenn Beck:

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:48 PM | TrackBack

August 05, 2009

Libertarian Universal Healthcare?

I am, primarily, a Libertarian when it comes to my view of the limits imposed on the government by the Constitution. Now, I'm not quite so hardcore as some of my brethren who suggest that any power not expressly given to the government is automatically forbidden to it, but I'm also not really gleeful about the thought that the US Government spent just short of $3 trillion in FY 08, which, all told, amounts to roughly 20% of the US GDP.

Here's the problem, the status quo, for any number of reasons, simply doesn't address the health-care needs of the citizens of the US. Your average libertarian will point out that it isn't the job of the government as enumerated in the US Constitution to look after the health of its citizenry... but the counterpoint that an unhealthy citizenry leads to an unhealthy country and whatnot isn't really something that can be overlooked. Also, the fact that between entitlement programs and private expenditures, is currently at 17% of the GDP and is projected by some to rise to 20% means that it's something that the government ought to be cognizant of, at the very least.

Leaving the role of government aside, I'm always very suspicious of anything whose cost is growing at an disproportionate rate. For instance, the cost of education grows at a rate much steeper than inflation for reasons that nobody seems able to adequately explain other than by noting that external financing for education is on the decline. Likewise, I'm very suspicious that the cost of healthcare is rising at a rate disproportionate to the rate of inflation... though anecdotally, I'm told that the age distribution in the US is trending towards the older end of the bell-curve, and I suppose that makes some sort of sense up to a point.

In the end, it seems to me that the arguments presented by those who want the government to fix this problem is that any problem of the scale of double-digit percentage of the GDP needs to have some sort of government involvement. Whether that's the case or not is really a moot point, especially at this point with the extent to which the government already has its nose in this between hospital regulations, the FDA, Medicare/Medicaid and the VA medical system.

So since we already have the government inextricably involved in US healthcare, what is a Libertarian to do? Pragmatically speaking, I have to point out that there are certain functions in this system that I don't trust the private sector with. For instance, as poorly as the FDA handles the drug part of its assignment, given the impact of the relatively few bad drugs that have gotten through the system, I'm not sure anyone really wants to let the private sector handle drug screening. And much as Libertarians love to hearken back to the glorious days where there were no income taxes, I'm pretty sure nobody wants to return to the days before the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. And if you do, I'll bring you some radioactive soda, blindness-inducing makeup and a miracle diabetes cure that just might kill you to help you think it over.

In essence, my argument tends to run something to the nature of the fact that one can't trust big business any more than one can trust big government, and it's generally helpful to have them keeping an eye on one another. I'm really not sure how to make this dovetail with a Libertarian viewpoint simply because most Libertarians I know are so unswervingly fixated on the problems with a large government that they're really not providing me with realistic solutions to the actual problems that government currently addresses. At least, that's my thinking.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:28 AM | TrackBack