Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The FRC on Internet Gambling

The hits just keep on coming. Here's the latest from the FRC:

Putting the Bite on Internet Gambling

In an important victory for families, the House of
Representatives yesterday passed the Internet Gambling
Prohibition and Enforcement Act (H.R. 4411). The vote was
a lopsided 317-93.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this, was a quote from the Christian author, C.S. Lewis:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. "

I truly believe that this legislation is yet another brick in the wall, stealing what precious liberty we have left. It shouldn't be a matter of allowing or disallowing someone from gambling. It should be about empowering individuals and local municipalities to make that decision for themselves. Places like Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada have decided that gambling is ok for them and have arranged their society around it in an organized fashion. Don't like it? Then get away. Go somewhere else. Trust me, there are a lot of people that think like you do and they'd be more than happy to get together and create "gambling free" zones.

Let's put it another way, Jesus saves souls through a willing heart. Legislating morality does not lead to a willing heart anymore than the Inquisition or the crusades lead to widespread furtherance of Christianity. If anything, those events set back the spread of Christianity, and continue to do so to this day. A good Christian speaks the word and leads by example. The FRC, and groups like them, think they can short circuit the process by leveraging legislation rather than trying to leverage The Word.

One of those who voted against it was liberal Rep. Barney
Frank (D-MA) who said: "If you don't like internet gambling,
don't do it." Fortunately, Frank's callous attitude was not
shared by the majority of his own party.

Callous attitude? It's more like the "liberal" Rep. Barney Frank should be praised for attempting to keep the rights with the people where they belong. I'm not arguing whether gambling is right or wrong. Personally, I think you're an idiot if you want to spend more than about $20 a year at a Casino, but it's your right if you want to do it. Why? Because you cannot stop people from being self destructive. If you stop one vice, they'll find another. If the FRC really cared about people destroying their lives with gambling they'd be in the Casinos and anywhere else that vice can be found trying to reach the people with The Word.

When I was learning to be a new father, my own Dad put it this way, "Kids are like balloons. Everytime you squeeze one end, the air just shoots into the other end. Pay attention to your Son and don't let the pressure build up because you cannot simply expect that by suppressing one behavior that it won't come out in some other way."

There's broader recognition of the harms of
gambling to families and communities. I was happy to see
Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the
National Basketball Association, the National Hockey
League, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association
all backing this bill. Forty-eight of 50 state attorneys
general back the bill. I especially want to thank
Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Leach (R-IA) for
their tireless efforts in behalf of honesty in government
and security for families.

Call me cynical, but I believe that this much agreement, especially among politicians, is unnatural. If everyone agrees, very few people are thinking, and that's dangerous. I'll bet that if you interview each and every one of them, you'd be surprised at the amount of reservation you'd find.

This measure will help block the $12 billion off-shore
gambling industry.

No it won't, and if you believe it will, you show a profound ignorance of how the Internet works.

It should be noted that Jack Abramoff is no longer at
large to stalk the halls of Congress lobbying for the
gambling interests. That surely made a difference.

Oh and don't forget Republican Tom Delay is gone too, one of Jack Abramoff's good buddies.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another one from the FRC...

Another doozy from our friends at the FRC (Family Research Council).

Taxes Cut, Deficit--not Sky--Falls

Liberals wrung their hands when President Bush first
proposed tax cuts back in 2001. It would ruin the economy
and balloon the deficit, they wailed. Now, we are seeing
the deficit falling rapidly. This year's deficit of $296
billion is 30 percent lower than projected just last
February. That's a $127 billion decline from that February
forecast. Revenues have increased, accounting for 90
percent of the deficit reduction. This is an historic
moment and President Bush is right to call attention to the
success of his pro-growth economic policies.

WOW! This is an amazing example of newspeak. Where do I begin...

First, this nutjob is assigning causality to a taxcut. There's no evidence whatsoever that a taxcut is what stimulated the economy. Big hint, taxcuts do not reduce deficits, tax revenue reduces deficits. It's the same as when you use your credit card less because you have more cash in the bank. The only causal factor that you can possibly imply (and it's still not proven in this case) is that taxcuts stimulate the economy which might lead to increased tax revenue.

Second, perhaps it would be inconvenient to remind the FRC that the Clinton administration managed to eradicate the deficit and had us on the way to paying off the national debt in 14-ish years. Unfortunately, we (once again) have a ballooning national debt that (according to the FRC) is growing slightly slower than projections. Big whoopy, it's still growing and would have stopped growing and would have reversed if it hadn't been for this taxcut.

Third, perhaps the FRC doesn't realize that they are a strong supporter of communism and regimes that do all they can to quash independent religious expression. Just who do they think is buying up all of our debt? If they had half a clue they'd realize that foreign governments like the Chinese are buying it up. The national debit is a lever other governments can use to manipulate the US. Don't believe it? Debt maintenance is now the 3rd highest budgetary priority. At the rate we're going, it won't be long until debt maintenance equals the tax income and we have to start going into debt to pay the debt maintenance. At that point, we're going to have to bow down to a lot of nations in order to get some debt relief.

FRC supported those tax cuts, especially the pro-family
portions of the tax package. Now we see that they are
working to the benefit of all Americans.

Huh? Pro-family? Perhaps this guy failed to see that the taxcut benefited the rich disporportionately. George Bush himself got a taxcut equal to the entire average income of a middle class family, while said average middle class family barely got enough taxcut to cover a few tanks of gas.

Oh but I digress. You say that "we see that they are working to the benefit of all Americans", but you never show us how. You just threw out that goofy statement and unfortunately a lot of your readers are simply going to lap it up like the religious automatons that they are (And yes, I am a Christian. I believe the lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I do not, however, use that belief as a cudgel to manipulate others. Jesus said to "Spread the good news", he did not say to manipulate and deceive.).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Water Skiing

I went water skiing for the first time today. I was up and skiing on two skis my first try. After a while I was even swinging back and forth behind the boat and jumping the wake. It got a little dicey when I tried wakeboarding. After 5 tries I simply could not get up on the darn thing. It was even worse when I tried skiing on one ski. The only wipeout I had was when I was on two skis and tried dropping one of them. *BLAM* I hit the water hard :) Aside from drinking more than my fair share of Puget Sound, it was fun. I'd definitely do it again.