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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Weekly Muse
My humble opinion on current events

October 7, 2001

America retaliates

It's finally happened. President Bush authorized military strikes against terrorist camps, air bases, and the Taliban headquarters in Afghanistan. The attacks should last a few days, according to the Pentagon. The Taliban claims that Osama bin Laden has survived the first wave and vows revenge. 

There is not a lot of information yet as I write this, so I'll just say that I think Bush is doing the right thing. Bin Laden and anyone who cooperates with him in any way deserve death. I hope our brave men and women in the military deliver it.

Pacifist stupidity

The peaceniks are back.

They've been gone for a while, since the world has been relatively quiet. But the 9-11 terrorist attack has brought them out again, and they're quite amusing.

Take, for example, Alice Walker's offering:

In a war on Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden will either be left alive, while thousands of impoverished, frightened people are bombed into oblivion around him, or he will be killed in a bombing attack for which he seems quite prepared. But what would happen to his cool armor if he could be reminded of all the good, nonviolent things he has done? Further, what would happen to him if he could be brought to understand the preciousness of the lives he has destroyed? I firmly believe the only punishment that works is love.

Heaven help me, but I think I understand Ms. Walker's point of view. She evidently believes that all people are inherently good, but some make mistakes and do bad things, and if they could only be reasoned with, be shown that what they did was wrong but that doesn't make them bad people, they'll repent of their sin. They will "understand the preciousness" of human life, consume themselves with guilt, and forever forswear their bad deeds. 

I understand the appeal of this philosophy but it's woefully naive. Evil does exist in this world, and too many people choose to practice it. They care about other people only to the extent they can be used to achieve the evildoers' ends. Love means nothing to them, and it is certainly no punishment. Does Ms. Walker really think that bin Laden and those like him were moved or swayed by the anguish and tears of the survivors? Of course not - they thrived off it. Such people long ago forfeited whatever right to life they once possessed. That's how they should be punished.

Bush proposes tax cuts

President Bush called on Congress to pass $60 billion worth of tax cuts in an effort to stimulate the economy. Democrats, the vast majority of whom whine and wail at the thought of the American people keeping more of their own money, rejected the idea and instead called for yet more government spending, as if $2 trillion of government spending is not enough.

"Congress doesn't need to spend any more money," Bush responded. "What they need to do is cut taxes."

Amen to that. But don't count Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as part of the choir. "Unfortunately, I fear that some of the more extreme voices in Congress are now pressuring the administration to take a more divisive approach to the stimulus legislation," he quivered. 

The Democrats are now reverting back to their partisan form. Since they don't like tax cuts, a proposal to cut taxes is immediately demonized as partisan. At the same time, they push for their own pet ideas, such as raising the minimum wage, which in itself is divisive. 

That's the Democrat definition of bipartisanship. Agree with us, or else. How intolerant.

Arizona budget follies

My home state of Arizona is facing a budget crunch. Governor Jane Hull claims the government deficit could be as high as $1.6 billion by next year. The Legislature will meet in a special session starting November 13 to decide what to cut.

One thing is certain: they'll certainly be comfortable in the Capitol building. That's because the Arizona House of Representatives is shelling out $400,000 on swanky new furniture. The state Senate is spending an additional $270,000 for new desks.

The furniture is coming from an upscale furniture store. Leather sofas cost nearly $5,500 each. Desks cost over $1,200. Leather chairs rang up for nearly $700. 

Wasteful? Of course, since fine leather sofas can be had for as little as $1,000. But not everyone thinks so. "It's an investment in the future," said House Majority Whip Robert Blendu. "For once, we're not buying junk. I don't see the waste. We're going to be cutting as much as every state agency."

"I think we've been very frugal," piped in Senate President Randall Gnant.

Yet more spending on education

Congress and President Bush have reached an agreement on spending levels for next year's budget. Included is a $4 billion education hike, which will boost education spending to a whopping $48.5 billion in 2002.

We've been spending hundreds of billions on education for years and gotten little in return. So, spending more money must be the answer.

Clinton disbarred from Supreme Court

Last Monday, the Supreme Court suspended former President Clinton from practicing law before the Supreme Court. The court gave no reason for its action, but the deal Clinton signed with the independent counsel shortly before leaving office, in which he accepted a five-year suspension of his license to practice law in Arkansas, seems to have been the cause.

The move is largely symbolic, since Clinton probably never would have appeared before the Supreme Court, or even practiced law. He's busy making speeches and writing a book. 

But it is gratifying that at least one responsible party to recognized Clinton's unlawful behavior, and actually did something about it. 

Firestone recalls more tires

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is recalling up to 3.5 million more tires. 

Everyone seems to have a Firestone tire story, so here's mine.

It was May 2000. My wife and I had purchased a Ford Explorer Sport a few months before and were taking it on its first camping trip. Twenty miles on a dirt road, just four miles from the campground, both tires on the passenger side blew out. 

Since we didn't have a cell phone at the time, we had to wait until someone drove by who did. We called AAA, and they sent a tow truck from the nearest town, about two hours away.

The truck arrived, drove us to Payson, dropped the truck off at Big O Tire, and us at the local Day's Inn. 

The next day, we replaced the two blown tires. The mechanics found no puncture points. The tread had just peeled away. The big recall, unknown to us, was just a few months in the future.

So we paid for two new tires, and after the towing, the hotel, and everything else, our wonderful camping trip cost us over $500. Even worse, when the Firestone recall finally hit, our tires supposedly weren't included.

Is it too late for a refund? 

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