A Halo for the Moderates. Maybe.

The far-right wing of the Republican Party is hopping mad, as well they should be. Just when it seemed the Republicans were on the verge of a smashing victory, one that could have changed the very nature of the Legislative Branch, they were betrayed by seven conscience-ridden members of their own party, in concert with seven moderate Democratic senators. Continue reading “A Halo for the Moderates. Maybe.”

Google Our Secrets

“How can they let us look at this stuff? This has got to be illegal.”

A constant refrain. Everyone I know has the same reaction at first. From hundreds of miles up, traveling our native land with the aspect view of the astronaut has entered the cultural mainstream. This isn’t Mapquest. They had satellite photos, too, but they didn’t work as well, and they mysteriously disappeared in 2003. What happened? Only they know, and possibly the NSA. Or so you would think from a person’s reaction when they get a glimpse of the Pentagon or Edwards Air Force Base from on high. Continue reading “Google Our Secrets”

Tired of High Gas Prices?

Tough. They are here to stay, for three simple reasons.

One, demand will not go down. In the future, high demand for gasoline will hopefully level off and eventually recede in the United States (due to a peaking of our economy, stagnation in our population growth, and maybe some tougher fuel-efficiency standards), but as we Americans so often forget, we are not the only country in the world. India and China are poised to develop such an insatiable appetite for gasoline that it will make our own petroleum gluttony pale in comparison. India and China have a combined population of over two billion, compared to the roughly 280 million who reside in the United States. If their economies continue to grow at the torrid paces that they have been for the last few years, not only will they develop economies that are greater than the United States’, they will also develop the middle class that is necessary to turn a country from a mass producer into a mass consumer. In fact, the middle class is already becoming prominent in both countries, but a middle class in Asia is different from our conception of a middle class here, in that in Asia, they still have far less purchasing power. That will change. The prospect of a billion cars rolling around southern and eastern Asia within the next thirty years should frighten anybody who is concerned about our country’s lack of an energy policy. Continue reading “Tired of High Gas Prices?”

Ethics Returns?

The answer is, ethics has seemingly returned to normal. That is, the normally toothless ethics police in the house have had their powers restored to them. But whether or not the House Ethics Committee is capable of holding representatives accountable for ethical lapses was never really the issue. Asking politicians to police themselves is such a ridiculously stupid idea that, honestly, just the thought of such a situation leaves me speechless. Continue reading “Ethics Returns?”

Less Than Human

It has been eleven years since the genocide that took place in Rwanda. Since then the western world has marked milestones and anniversaries, all with the acknowledgment that more could have been done. Our nation and others in the west have reassured ourselves over and over again, in order to assuage the guilt at our inaction, that we will not let another Rwanda happen. Continue reading “Less Than Human”

The Shining Star

These days, Afghanistan is held aloft by the Bush administration as the shining star of democracy’s inexorable spread. Truth be told, since the American-led war that ousted the Taliban three years ago, the signs of life coming out of Kabul and the wider country at large are encouraging, but Afghanistan is a test case for the difficulties inherent in the Bush administration’s foreign policy. Continue reading “The Shining Star”

Ends and Means

The election in Iraq is a success to this point. The large numbers of Iraqis that turned up at the polls shows that I was mistaken when I wrote earlier that the Iraqis may not be ready for, or even want, democracy. They turned lives that had been lived under a brutal dictator, without a nascent movement for democracy, into a clamor for democratic self-rule within a matter of months of the beginning of the American occupation. Many people were surprised at the fervor shown by so many Iraqis not just on election day, but in the months leading up to it. The political mood in Iraq can easily be characterized as one of vigorous debate. Continue reading “Ends and Means”

Don’t Be So Damned Smug

The Republicans are a pompous group of blowhards who revel in their power by smoking cigars and exhaling mirth in the direction of their vanquished foes, the Democrats. They are the perfect, unrestrained example of the sore winner. Their gloating, their absolute belief that providence has led them out of the shadows of American politics to lead this nation towards the bright future of conservatism, is an amazing contradiction for a party that professes faith above reason. The Republicans are guilty of the sin of pride. Continue reading “Don’t Be So Damned Smug”