The Naked Emperor

25 February 2007

Election Burnout

It seems my wife actually reads this drivel, and makes intelligent comments.

Last night she mentioned something about Hillary saying Bill was "the most popular man in the world right now" , and thought I should opine on that. She also mentioned Obama, and the race so far.

But as she well knows, my brain has a mind of it's own so to speak.

I hadn't heard Hillary's comment. Something politicians just will not get is the fact that we just do not hang on their every word. Between the Emergency Room, my housecall practice, my wife, the farm, normal day-to-day problems and trying to have an occasional bit of fun, who's got the time? And we don't even have any two-legged kids.

Let's face it, it's February 2007 right now. The Presidential election isn't until November 2008, with the winner taking office in January 2009. Do these people honestly think we've got time to devote our entire attention to them for that long?

And this isn't the beginning, they've been running for months now.

Let's apply a little common sense here. Politicians spent two years or more running for President, a job that only lasts four years. Have you ever interviewed for a job that will last only twice as long as the interview?

Also I heard on the news that Hillary and Obama are each trying to raise $100 million before the primaries. Not the general election, just the primaries. This is for a job that only pays $300,000 each year, for a total of $1.2 million. Has any person with more than two brain cells ever spent over 100 times their lifetime earnings just to get a job?

In other words, this whole system is way out of control.

It gets worse. The Supreme Court decided that political dollars equal political speech. So now we have lots of interest groups on all sides raising tons of money, and throwing that into the fray as well. Billionaires use these groups to exert an inordinate amount of sway on the candidates. (i.e. Buying them). As an ordinary man, how can I compete with all this?

The short answer is that we can't. Before too long, if we can't be a part of the process, we get annoyed and just quit caring. See voter turn out numbers for proof of this.

We've got to do something about this. Now while pitchforks and torches sounds really good about now, it would probably be counterproductive. Damn.

I just happen to have a few ideas on the subject.

First, our elections take way too long. Other nations manage with much less time. Let's face it, none of these candidates has two years worth of valuable things to say. Most of them don't even have a good five minutes worth.

So we voters listen to these people saying the same thing over and over and over and over. Frankly, it's quite boring. So we hope for the occasional train wreck or cat fight.

See Hillary and Obama right now fighting over David Geffen. It's just like being back in grade school. Someone yells "Fight, Fight" and we all go over to watch until it's over. Then we go back to playing with our marbles.

So let's first limit the amount of time we spend on this.

I think that for Congress, sixty days is sufficient. Thirty days for the primary, and thirty days for the general election. Then we can all go back to our lives. For President, let's double that. Just four months. That should be enough hot air for anybody. This time limit includes campaign contributions too.

Question - Do alarmist politicians rantings contribute to global warming? Maybe we can cut down the election cycle for environmental reasons? Should they have to file an environmental impact statement for every speech?

That part was easy. Now here is where I get into deep doo-doo.

Yes, I believe strongly in free speech. I also believe that free speech has limits. After all, you are not allowed to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theatre.

As I said, the Supremes have equated money with speech. But how can we have fair elections when a billionaire can spend unlimited sums on "issue advocacy" or "I hate candidate X" ads? Their money gives them a much greater voice than I or anyone I know. My message may be better, but with him blaring his at such volume, mine will never be heard.

That, to me, fundamentally violates one man - one vote. To be honest, they spend such excessive sums so they can have the politician return their calls. But why shouldn't the average voter have as much right? We lowly voters should have as much chance to buy our politician as anyone else.

Therefore I think that the maximum given to any candidate from any source should be $500. I know politicians will say this is too little. But we're supposed to be electing you to manage our (repeat "OUR' not your ) money, to make our tax dollars go as far as they can. If they can't get elected with this amount, then they would be incapable of managing taxes well and shouldn't be elected in the first place.

Another point is where the donations to a candidate come from. Many years ago, a former Klansman got elected to the Louisiana Legislature. Amazingly, over 80% of his donations came from outside the district. No offense, but if you don't live in my district, SHUT THE HELL UP. I won't tell you how to vote in yours, and you don't tell me how to vote in mine. If you are not a legal resident, you have no right to interfere in my elections.

Since money equals speech, therefore you can not give money to any candidate not running in your district.

The same applies to corporations and non-profits as well. If your organization is not heaqduartered in the district, you cannot give. In other words the National Fredonian Society could only give money in it's home district. Any subsidiaries or related organizations, either financially of practically are covered by this. You can not give in more than one district.

I also believe that an election is the most personal and important thing we ever do in a democratic Republic.

It should be private, like sex. We don't need outsiders yelling "helpful" suggestions, or strangers in the process.

While we are near the subject of "issue advocacy" ads, I'm all in favor of them. Within reason.

First they must only be printed or aired in the district wherein they are headquartered. You can not publish an ad in my district with money raised in Fredonia. If your group is nationally headquartered in Fredonia, you may air there and only there. If there is a similar and totally independent group with similar concerns in my district, they may air here. But they must be totally, and I do mean totally independent.

And you may not air while there is an election underway. You only need to be quiet for six months out of every four years.

During that time, it is important for other voices to be quiet so we voters and the candidates may listen to each other. You can air all you want at other times, as long as the money is local and you can afford it. Let's apply a little parlimentary proceedure to this mayhem. Everybody gets to speak, let's take turn nicely children.

Before I depart, I want to bring up another thing to do with candidates and money. How they spend it.

A well known phenomenon is "walking around" money. Large sums of cash that go away on election day. The truth is that candidates use this for "get out the vote" efforts. They get as many fools as they can, give them each five or ten bucks, tell them who to vote for, and bus them to the polls.

This is common and is an attempt to buy an election, pure and simple.

From now on, all of the candidates expenditures and collections must be by check or credit/debit. And the donors and recipients must be published. The FEC will check for vote buying after each election.

One last thing. Any money left after an election must be donated to charity. No warchests. The next election we will start fresh, all candidates equal.

Well, now that I've made sure that both the Democrats and Republicans are gunning for me, my work is done for the day.

And if we did all this, maybe we could get back to our busy lives and not have to worry about what a candidate is wearing.

Until later,

The Naked Emperor

24 February 2007

Coming to America

Well after my last post, I figured I would be in for a lot of heat for being "anti-Immigrant"


There could be nothing further from the truth. One of my dearest friends is an immigrant, her parents from one nation, she's technically from another, and her brother was born here and is an American. A strange, true, and uniquely American tale.

Everybody in the Americas, and I do mean everybody, either is an immigrant or is descended from immigrants. There are no "native" Americans, their ancestors just came over a hell of a lot earlier.

I am interested in my ancestry, and really do not care about yours. This may sound cold, but it isn't.

I couldn't care less about your ethnicity. I care about who someone is. Where your people came from is your own business. If there's an interesting story, tell me over dinner. But I won't like or dislike you on that basis.

The United States is the most mixed population in the world. We're from all over the planet. And that is one of our strengths.

In science, there is something called heterosis. It is also called hybrid vigor. And we Americans are loaded with it.

What this tells us is that hybrids tend to thrive because they come from a broader genetic background. Most nations draw from a few ethnic sources. We draw from the entire planet.

Sociologically too, we have some advantage. Our immigrant ancestors had to be bold enough and daring enough to leave familiar surroundings and risk the unknown. I think that's why Americans love to explore and favor the brave.

We are the only nation that has to worry about too many people coming here, not just when a neighbor is in crisis. The communist and totalitarian nations sure don't have that problem. Hell, they had to put up fences and guard towers just to keep their people in.

With all that said, let's look at responsible and sensible immigration. First from the point of view of the American Citizen.

When someone comes here illegally, their first act on American soil is to flaunt the laws of this nation. Remember that we are a nation of laws, not of personalities.

If their first act is to violate the law for personal gain, what other laws would they be willing to violate? Drug laws? Gun Laws? Murder? Rape?

I don't know and if you're even middling honest, neither do you.

We do not defend our borders, and such people are in this country right now. Do you honestly believe that members of drug cartels applied for a Green Card?

Unfortunately our elected leaders either didn't listen to their oaths, or have chosen to ignore them. That silly "provide for the common defense" thing. They've also forgotten that minor bit about "securing" the blessings of liberty for us.

And I'm not picking on one side of the aisle, they both lied about this one.

Also, we citizens have a few rights too.

Look, I've been here all my life. It's my home.

And I certainly don't mind sharing.

But don't come into my home as a guest and tell me how I've got to change my home to suit you. A family member did that to me once. And only once.

If you do not want to live the American lifestyle, there are hundreds of other countries to pick from. Delta (or whatever human trafficker you choose) is ready when you are.

If your country was so bad why do you want to turn mine into a carbon copy of yours?

If we look at the Constitution from the point of view if an illegal, it is meaningless. If an illegal is too afraid of deportation to speak up about wrongs they have suffered, then the Constitution can not "establish justice" for you.

Unfortunately, we do have jerks here. And they do terrible things to illegals, knowing their silence is tantamount to permission.

Illegals tend to live in horrible conditions. And many "decent" folks will hire them only to stiff them at the end of the day. With absolutely no recriminations.

Legal immigrants can raise their voice for justice, and get it, without fear from the INS.

The moral is that legal immigration is much safer for the immigrant.

Since I am running for President, let me propose a few things to you.

First, we should make a law that the HR person and the president of the company are liable for knowingly hiring illegals. If someone has no documentation, or blatant forgeries, DON'T hire them.

If you do, the Justice Department will try you and convict you. Minimum of one year in jail. No exceptions.

And the illegal goes back to which ever country immediately.

Secondly, we need to take a hard look at the quotas for immigration in this country.

Since we've already absorbed twelve or so million illegals, as they're deported, we'll have lots of room for new immigrants. Legal ones.

And while we are on the subject, we need to have one official language.

Before you yell "racism!!", let me explain why.

After 9/11, many were surprised that the FBI couldn't talk to CIA, who couldn't talk to NSA, etc.

Some of the most surprised were in Congress, who had passed the legislation ensuring these obstacles in the first place.

We are a nation from many other nations, and many other languages.

Wouldn't it be best if we could all talk to each other?

If you want to speak Fredonian at home, that is your business. But when dealing with other Americans, we need to speak a common language, both for business and for government.

In my profession, I sometimes have to deal with those who speak another language and ONLY another language. This makes communication in the emergency room very, very difficult. I can't inform the client properly, therefore they have a hard time dealing with the life and death decisions we need to make rapidly.

I'm just one man, there is no way I can learn all of the possible languages my clients speak.

If we were all fluent in one common language, these situations would be greatly eased.

A hypothetical for government is in order.

Suppose there is a dangerous chemical spill. The police go out announcing an evacuation on the loudspeakers. But you only speak Fredonian, and can't understand what they say. You stay home. You die.

Who's fault would this be?

Would it be the police's fault since they didn't have a translator for every language on the planet? Or the Fredonian's for not learning a common tongue?

We need to be able to communicate with all our people. And do so instantly in these troubled times. Therefore we need a common language. Since English is by far the most common tongue here in America, let's make it English.

How much money does the government or business spend on written communication in unpteen languages? Let's cut these costs and make everyone safer by all mastering a common language.

In short, if you want to partake of the American lifestyle, we welcome you. All we ask is that you respect our laws, and be able to speak with us.

Until later

The Naked Emperor

23 February 2007

Dirtying Words

I love words.

As a writer, even a hack one, words just thrill me when well used.

I know that "a picture is worth a thousand words", but visual images are much better at capturing emotions, and words are better for ideas, logic and reason. I do have to admit that I wish pictures were valued so highly by an essay instructor or two of mine. That would have made college much easier.

Poe or Shakespere could take ordinary words and paint portraits with them and make them sing as well. As I age, I discover that there are many writers who can succinctly capture an idea far better than I. I regularly use their words, and deeply value them not just as tools to communicate, but as true art.

Dictionaries try to give specific meaning to words. But politics tries to blur their meanings, if not to render them totally meaningless.

To deface such artistic tools is, to me, the equivalent of drawing a crayon moustache on the Mona Lisa. It drives me crazy. OK, too late for that. It just pisses me off.

An old example is the word "gay". A good word, generally meaning "happy". The gay nineties. We had a gay old time.

But political forces have changed the standard meaning to homosexual, male gender. This too is changing to also include homosexual, female gender.

I don't understand why. It seems to me that the homosexuals I meet are no more happy nor unhappy than the heterosexuals. Every life has its joys and curses, do with it what you want.

But the debate over the meaning of the word "gay" is long over.

Let's look at a couple of more modern examples. When discussing criminals, we have always listed the most serious crime and left the other crimes be. Nobody talks about "Charles Manson, jaywalker". It's Manson, murderer.

So why do we now talk about "suicide" bombers? Was suicide their most serious offense? Or was it mass murder?

Even Michael Moore didn't label the Columbine murderers as "suicide gunmen".

These terrorists are mass murderers, nothing more. They kill innocents, usually of their own religion. You know, the ones they're dying for? Forget their agenda, they are just killers. Murderers.

Grow a set of testicles and tell the truth.

The other modern example that drives me up the wall is "undocumented worker"

That is a person who has willingly decided to violate the law for their own purposes.

Basically, it's someone who has committed Breaking and Entering on a nation instead of a home or business.

I know the standard rationale of needing people to do the things most citizens don't want to do. To respond, let me ask you something. If you came home and found a stranger lurking in your bedroom, would you care if they had made the bed?

And to the do-gooders out there, let me give you this challenge. Pick any Hollywood celebrity. Break into their house and do the dishes. Wait to ask for an autograph.

I guarantee you will not be described as an "uninvited worker". You will be arrested and charged with breaking and entering, along with stalking.

I therefore put it to you that there are no "undocumented workers". There are only illegal aliens. Alien - in a place but not a citizen, and illegal - doing so without lawful authority.

That's the plain and unvarnished truth. So when you hear some political hack taking a crayon to our precious words, please just stand up and shout.....

Remember the Dictionary!!

Until Later

The Naked Emperor

22 February 2007

Cooling on Warming

Recently, I read a column by Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe about global warming. Apparently, if you do not believe that humans are destroying the earth by global warming, you are the equivalent of a holocaust denier.

And I thought that as an American, she believed in the freedom of speech.

Unlike Ms. Goodman, I am saddled with a scientfic background. And I do not believe we should panic or take massive action about this phenomenon.

I will try to explain the science with as little math as possible for those of you without scientific education. Let’s just call this common sense science

Fact 1 - The Norsemen farmed in Greenland 700 or so years ago. This isn’t done now because it’s too cold.

Fact 2 - Wine grapes were grown in Britain 2000 years ago according to written Roman records. It got too cold to grow them for a while but written records tell of them doing well 650 years ago. Then the little ice age came, which some think also started the Dark Ages in Europe. They think they may grow them again soon.

Fact 3 - There have been many Ice Ages. For each to end, the Earth had to become warmer. And for the next to start, the planet had to undergo “Global Cooling”

Therefore we come to:

Fact 4 - The Earth has undergone repeated warming and cooling cycles long before we got here. There is no evidence that this process has stopped since we grew on the planet, or since the Industrial Age. Ergo, these cycles continue to present day.

I’m in medicine, not geology. As far as I know there is no workable or proveable theory as to the mechanism of these changes.

Which brings us to:

Theory 1 - We can not prove if any temperature fluctuation is being caused by normal cycles. When I treat a patient, I must try to rule out all possible causes of the patient’s condition. If I can not rule out a possible cause, I must consider that cause possible.

Given that the Earth’s temperature cycles have been going on for billions of years, it is likely that they continue. While other theories have been proposed, none of them have the credible data to raise their status from theoretically possible to likely.

Now let’s look at the case made for human’s causing global warming.

One of the main talking points for global warming is that the temperature has risen a degree or two in the last hundred years.

A caveat - I’ve pulled these figures from googling the web, but they should be sufficient to drive a few nails.

According to data I’ve seen the Earth’s average temperature has risen between 0.5 to 1.0 degree Fahrenheit over the last hundred years to 58.1 degrees. Remember that this is F not centigrade.

Is this signignificant? I doubt it, either in the statistical or scientific meaning.

“But why not” I hear you cry.

At best this change is less than two percent over a very short period of time. It may not seem short to us but we aren’t talking about us. We are talking about the Earth, and it’s life span is, well, geologic.

The Earth is believed to be 4.5 billion years old. That’s billion with a capital B. The data is for a hundred years. We are looking at just 1/450,000,000 of the Earth’s life to date.

If we equate that data to a human life span of eighty years, we would be looking at less than 6 seconds of data.

The average human heart rate is 72 beats per minute. A two percent increase would bring it to 74.

I can’t imagine any cardiologist making any decisions about a patient’s care with such a small increase in rate over such a short time, let alone push for any radical change.

If that cardiologist did, those actions would be scientifically, medically, legally, ethically, and morally indefensible.

The other argument I hear lately is consensus. But consensus is often wrong. Only recently has most of civilization decided that slavery is wrong. And so was the consensus on that issue for thousands of years.

And scientific consensus has been just as wrong, repeatedly. The consensus thought the Sun revolved around the Earth for thousands of years, or that the Earth was flat. More recently, the same Time magazine that Ms. Goodman quoted told us about the coming Ice Age only thirty or so years ago. And back then there was consensus, and again it was all caused by human activity. Logically, we cannot have consensus about global cooling and global warming. Either one or both is wrong.

Anyone remenber Thalidimide? Or the Planet Pluto? How about the low risks of hormone replacement therapy for women?

Consensus has absolutely no place in science, only facts based on good experimentation and reason.

To argue consensus defies science by it’s very definition.

Science is a search for truth using experimentation and logic to prove fact, and basing fact on repeatable results. Consensus building has never and will never, by definition, be a part of science. Consensus building is by definition “politics”.

To determine policy on scientific matters based on consensus is as nonsensical as allowing makers of fad diet drugs to run the CDC. After all, those drugs are hugely popular and have a “consensus” with consumers.

With these thoughts in mind, I reject the popular conception of “global warming”.

The data does not show a show a geologically significant change. And even if one assumes such a change, we can not prove that it is not natural, therefore we can not prove human causality. And if the best proponents can offer is “consensus”, then we are not talking about a scientific phenomenon, but a political cause.

Look, I want a clean place to live. We shouldn’t make messes, and if we do, we should clean them up. I support reasonable, repeat reasonable environmental policy and spending. And I mean reasonable in the literal sense of the word. Any policy or spending, environmental or not, should be backed by reason, logic, and fact.

To try to decide such important questions based on hysteria is extremely dangerous. How bad would global warming be now if we had taken radical actions thirty years ago to prevent the “coming ice age”? Rash actions serve no one well.

Now the hysteria has gotten to the point of name calling by Ms. Goodman. I fully support her right to call me and others who share my views whatever she wants. It is her right under our Constitution, a privelege purchased for her by the blood of patriots. But I would hope that she would believe in that same first amendment, and also in my right to free speech. And as I last read it, it supports free speech for all, not just those who believe in the “consensus” view. The first amendment was put in place to support the minority’s right to speak out, to protect them from name calling and worse from the “consensus”. Her article makes it evident that she does not believe in rights for the minority. How sad.

As far a being compared to a holocaust denier, quite frankly I’m proud. Newton, Darwin, and especially Galileo suffered great criticism, but stuck with what the science told them. And I choose to follow their lead. I will never compare myself to such greats of science, but to merely understand what they went through a little better is a great honor indeed.

Until Later,

The Naked Emperor

11 February 2007

We're Back and We're Running

Well, I’m back.

Yes, I know that a two and a half year leayoff is a bit much. I offer no apologies, but maybe a bit of an explanation.

I guess after the election, I was a bit burned out. We got busy with other things. I remember reading once that someone said “I allow the world to live as it chooses, and I allow me to live as I choose.”

So I started ignoring the world at large, just paying attention to my little piece of it. Living at the farm made hiding out easy.

A few months later, we lost our beloved Pomeranian Icarus. We called him “Icky”, and it fit. I’ve never been so affected by a pet nor more devastated by one’s loss.

So we withdrew a little further into the farm life.

Sadly, we had a visitor just a few months later. Her name was Katrina, and the world got turned upside down. We got only cosmetic damage at the farm, but our world’s changed forever.

She taught me how little I understand about some things. I thought I understood some things in history, but I was wrong. I thought I understood the Depression, World War II and other times. But to me it was just an intellectual exercise. I didn’t live it every hour of every day. I can comprehend, or sympathize, or empathize. But I’ll never understand.

And neither can those who haven’t been here this last year and a half.

For us, it’s been a roller coaster ride. We’ve had a few decent ups, and some of the deepest downs of our lives.

With all that going on, I’d love to have stayed in hiding. But sadly, the world finds its way in.

There’s now a house being built on the property across the road, our road got paved, and there’s a new subdivision going in up at the highway. There’s even a new Wal-Mart in town as of last July.

They said if you built a better mousetrap, the world would beat a path to your door. I tried building the worst one, but they still came. So I’ve got to deal with the world, I can’t just run away from it.

So I’ve been listening to the news more, reading more. And the old problems came back.

The reason I write is because the world doesn’t make sense. Everybody up in arms about Anna Nicole Smith’s death. Does this make sense? I didn’t know her personally, never saw her movies, or layouts, and only saw her TV show (reluctantly) with the wife once.

There are so many important things to cover, and our society fixates on such drivel. This is just one small example.

Politics is just loaded with nonsense. And it just makes me want to stand up and shout “Does anyone actually believe this tripe?”

But standing and shouting is likely to get you arrested as a nut job. So I wrote instead.

The world won’t let me live as I choose. So now I return to write once again, and blog.

II’ll probably not change the world. Or even change a mind. But If it won’t leave me alone, I’ll just stand and tilt at the windmills. At least I’ll have stood for something, and I’ll go down swinging.

So what will we discuss? There are so many things weighing on my mind. Immigration. Iraq. Taxes. Global warming. Katrina response. Election Reform. Racial issues. Leaving the Republican party

These sounded like planks in a political platform when I thought about them. Since I need to write about them anyway, why not make them a platform for real.

So I’ve decided to run for President of these United States in 2008.

But why?

Once there was a movie called “Network”. The main character had a meltdown and got everyone to shout out their window “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore”.

In one MASH episode, Alan Alda described a hero as being too tired/cold/hungry to care anymore.

These days, I’m just mad at the senselessness of modern society and politics, and tired enough of it to not care about the consequences.

And Away We Go.....

I ‘m not going to be your traditional candidate. No conventions, I won’t kiss babies, no private jet.

Instead I’m going to run from blogosphere. I’ll be (with no research to back this up) the first to mount a candidacy purely from cyberspace. So basically I’ll write my ideas as they dribble from my head.

To start things off, any candidacy must make campaign promises.

I promise to be as articulate as George Bush 43. I’ll be less aloof than Kerry. I promise to have worse hair and a smaller house than John Edwards. I’ll try to keep my Flip-Flops on my feet and not in my mouth. I promise to never jump on Oprah’s couch.

I promise to have fewer affairs than Kennedy or Clinton. And If I break that, I promise they’ll at least be as attractive as Kennedy’s. If I break the affairs promise, I promise to have a nice sedate state funeral, and to leave a signed Presidential pardon for my wife.

I promise to not try to look cool in a silly looking suit. I promise to annoy France. Hell, just speaking English does that, so I’ve fulfilled my first promise!!

I promise to never read polls and decide an issue with that basis. I promise to have Air Force One do a buzz job on the farm. (sorry neighbors, but that would be SO cool.!!)

But above all, I promise to speak my mind and speak plainly. No legalese, no spin, no parsing. I won’t debate what the meaning if “is” is. With no offense to American agriculture, we have an overabundance of bullshit here. I won’t speak it and I won’t tolerate it. And that, I promise you, will piss off Washinton something fierce.

The Naked Emperor