we took over the world
as per usual, our elected federal officials are having a flaccid slap-fight over the budget.  rather than talking about things like adults, democrat and republican leadership are threatening to demand votes on budget proposals to inflict maximum political damage.

these are the same people who all ran on a platform of fixing the mess in washington.

nevermind the childish behavior that prevents legislation of substance and citizens best interests from often being passed, there are some who (pretend to?) believe in economical philosophies that have been proven to be catastrophic in practice.
house speaker John Boehner (R) made a concession that goes against standard republican protocol when he said big oil shares some of the blame for gas prices.  he even seemed open to ending the government subsidies that go to one of the most profitable industries in the world.

it seems foolish that the government hands out billions to an industry that posts record profits at the expense of american citizens, but the republican change of heart seems odd.

perhaps there are reasons that are more malicious than it seems in an interview.
the right to bear arms is one of the most vigorously defended pieces of the american constitution.  advocates argue that americans need to be able to protect themselves from criminals and potentially the government.

unfortunately, the statistics of gun ownership in america don't back up those arguments.

too often, gun deaths are completely unrelated to self-defense.

the tennessee state senate passed a bill that allows students to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to choose which school they would like to attend.  initially, the bill is designed to only allow vouchers for students in families who meet certain low-income requirements.

on the surface, allowing parents and students to determine where they want to go to school is a great idea.  there are students who strive to be exceptional, yet are trapped in an unproductive environment because of their geography.

unfortunately, there are problems with the legislation, and they are substantial.

the Tennessee House has passed a proposal that ensures teachers won't be punished for allowing students to critique scientific fact.  on paper, that's exactly how education should work.  interactive learning where students are encouraged to critically think about the information they are presented and do research on subjects in order to create their own deliberate, structured theories open for peer review would be the type of environment that would take american education to the next level.

the problem, unfortunately, is reality doesn't always allow things that look good on paper to be properly executed.
the state of arizona wants more proof of the President's citizenship before allowing him on the next ballot.  regardless of what the President has done in conjunction with the state of Hawaii to show the racists of the world he is, indeed, an american citizen, arizona has decided it's not enough.

in addition to his birth certificate, arizona wants presidential candidates to provide things like birth records and baptismal certificates.
our government recently avoided shutting itself down by making a deal on the US budget.  because of all the posturing and vitriol common in the recent mid-term elections, it was important for elected officials to do their job and continue trying to fix our economic mess.

the shutdown was averted when hot-button issues were removed from the budget equation.  however, true to their form, our government was sure to do damage to the people in making the deal.
everybody has to have car insurance.  it's probably a good idea to substantiate a driver's ability to honor financial liabilities in the event of an accident, vehicle theft, etc. driving can be dangerous and the consequences of doing it poorly can carry a heavy price tag.

wouldn't it follow, then, that all the things we own that are dangerous, with costly consequences, should require an insurance policy?

this is old news. but, very soon, it's going to matter that corporations now enjoy that ability to spend on elections as they see fit. american politics has always been tainted by lobbyists, it's true. for as ethically uncomfortable as lobbyist spending is (by circumventing that idea of "for the people"), it at least maintains a (malleable/futile/useless?) barrier between elected government officials and outright bribery.

by ruling that corporations deserve the same freedoms (but not the same tax burdens?) as individuals, the supreme court removed that admittedly flaccid barrier.

that should piss us off.
the Christian Science Monitor recently did a piece on a House vote geared toward neutering the Environmental Protection Agency.  in spite of a Presidential promise to veto the legislation and a looming government shutdown that might enjoy some energy and attention, our House of "Representatives" moved forward with an already-doomed piece of legislation under the guise of creating jobs.

that argument relies entirely on the premise energy producers must pollute in order to employ people.  there are several problems with that theory and the proposed legislation.