Politics


Again, despite having experience working in the Middle East I feel there are several blogs which contribute greater public discourse on the topic than I, considering I really only focus on that area a few days a week at most. One thing has recently caught my attention, however, with respect to the escalating situation with Iran.

Last week the administration couldn’t quite get its story straight with respect to the potential supply of weapons from Iranian special forces to Iraqi insurgents. Now one can look at various aspects of the media coverage over the past 6 months. One week Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is speaking about destroying Israel and the West, the next he wants diplomatic discussions. First they have a secret nuclear program, and then it is for peaceful purposes. Stories even run to the extreme on both sides of the fence from a conservative view that Iran wants to convert the world to Islam and a liberal interpretation that the US will conduct a false-flag attack on soldiers or sailors in the Gulf to justify limited bombing runs.

What I find interesting is the lack of reporting on the middle class democratic movement in Iran. Prior to the election of Ahmadinejad and the growing rhetoric on our two countries foreign policy, several stories were run discussing the US-Persian influence, via satellite on sympathetic ears inside Iran. The US government had even committed funds to support such efforts to expand the Iranian middle-class and expand the push for democracy. I have two questions: (1) where has the reporting on this situation gone and (2) have we succeeded in alienating the one constituency in Iran that may have supported us?

I have an upcoming article on the Iraq War, Shades of Thermopylae, but I wanted to go ahead and pass on the link to a blog hosting an excellent documentary and comment section.

You can find that here (graphic content warning).

If the US media could pull themselves away from astronauts in diapers, Anna Nicole Smith’s death, and Britney Spears shaving her head and getting a tattoo and going panty-less we might actually learn something about foreign policy other than “stay the course.”

Earlier this week State Farm Insurance stated it would no longer write new homeowner’s policies in the state of Mississippi given the losses they suffered during Hurricane Katrina and the lawsuits it settled. Now the state Attorney General, Jim Hood, who believes insurers are responsible for hurricane damages regardless of the cause or policy statement, is seeking legislation aimed at blocking this move by the insurance giant.

He said the plan is modeled after actions by Florida and would require any company that writes automobile insurance in Mississippi to also write homeowners policies. Hood said Friday that he had asked Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Insurance Commissioner George Dale to issue emergency orders requiring insurance companies to continue writing home policies until the state legislature can act. He said he had not had any response from either Barbour or Dale.

So now apparently the government can dictate what service offerings a company must participate in, when will they start telling us what career we must pursue? Just hold out your hand, the chip won’t hurt a bit. Besides, you gotta do what you gotta do!

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The weekend is closing in and time to work on some of my more opinionated pieces. This month has provided a great deal of outstanding material to speak on the topic of freedom. From banning Superbowl Commercials to expelling students, our country is slipping down the PC river without a padel. We seem to keep forgetting, everyone has the right to be an ass. That’s right, I said it.

Amendment I – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Just take a look at some of the stories from the past few weeks:

(Incidentally I am currently formulating the most non-offensive Superbowl ad ever made, so marketing firms FYI.)

  • Tony Long’s recent article on violent video games, particularly Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • NAACP probes Clemson college party (pictures available at The Smoking Gun)
  • Macalister College politically incorrect party under investigation
  • Find the illegal immigrant game at New York University draws protest
  • Satire of rape in Central Connecticut State University draws protests
  • San Diego skateboarder tazed after riding on sidewalk – Video here

Now because everyone has this right, doesn’t mean as a society they should be made to feel comfortable for their views, but they should not be fired, expelled, suspended, censored or forced into retirement. Despite not being a great movie, I’m reminded of the mayor of New York in the movie Ghostbusters II, “being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God given right.”

I came across this article from Pat Regnier at CNN Money. It makes several points I have been arguing for quite some time.

Old Rule: “Success required a high school diploma.”
New Rule: “Success requires a college degree.”

Old Rule: “Climbing the ladder meant rising up the ranks within a single company.”
New Rule: “Climbing the ladder means chasing opportunities with multiple employers.”

Old Rule: “Wealth was managed on behalf of workers.”
New Rule: “Workers need to manage their wealth.”

Old Rule: “Most mothers expected to stay home.”
New Rule: “Most mothers expect to work.”

Old Rule: “Competition was limited.”
New Rule: “Competition is fierce.”

Now these rules are quite controversial because they force people outside their comfort zone and into the protectionist zone where unions hold sway and the government should do something about “all these foreigners.” I am reminded of a piece of research I came across several years back discussing the shift in American manufacturing to foreign locations as well as the need for persons to continue education longer into life (given you have to learn what your parent’s did, plus everything that has been discovered since).

Some would think this research was written in the past five years since there are a large percentage of people who continue to deny the rapid increase in social and economic change, which eems to increase daily. It was in fact written in 1977. So how much longer do we need to start making fundamental change to the way we educate and train this generations workforce to cope with these ‘new’ rules?

In the event you haven’t been following my blog, I generally stick to business, marketing and human resource issues during the week and then to larger societal and humor on the weekend. Well after reading an article about teenagers taking racy photos of themselves being found guilty of child pronography, I decided to start a little earlier. It is Friday afterall.

What: Teenagers taking risque photos of themselves are prosecuted for violating child pornography laws.

When: Florida state appeals court rules on January 19.

Outcome: A 2-1 majority upholds conviction on grounds the girl produced a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child.

What happened, according to court documents:

Combine unsupervised teenagers, digital cameras, and e-mail, and, given sufficient time, you’ll end up with risque photographs on a computer somewhere.

There’s a problem with that: Technically, those images constitute child pornography. That’s what 16-year old Amber and 17-year old Jeremy, her boyfriend, both residents of the Tallahassee, Fla., area, learned firsthand.

Where does this idiocy stop?

Related Article:

Breaking News: All Americans to Be Classified as Sex Offenders

It seems the city of New York is at it again. They are on the precipice of loosing their status as the world’s center of finance to the growing threats of Hong Kong and Dubai, but they have more important things to worry about, banning iPods when you cross the street. That’s right, NY, who has banned smoking in public places, trans fats in restaurants, is now trying to ban the use of electronic devices while crossing the street. State Senator Carl Kruger commented,

“Government has an obligation to protect its citizenry. This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it’s becoming not only endemic but it’s creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand.”

He further said: “But what’s happening is when they’re tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they’re walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It’s becoming a nationwide problem.”

I can appreciate the scientific research on the effect electronic gadgets have on our ability to reason and make decisions. There is compelling evidence that cell phone use should be banned while driving, particularly among the teen and elderly populations. I am consistently amazed at people in the grocery store who can’t seem to push a cart and talk on their phone at the same time (not that they should). When does the hand-holding stop? If we continue to insist on public institutions based on the concept of free will, then people must be “free” to exercise it, that and a little common sense. Perhaps the No Child Left Behind Act cut out funding to look both ways before crossing the street.

In an earlier article on the smoke and fat issue, I commented that Dr. George Reisman’s assessment of the situation was a little too Orwellian, but perhaps he was right.

Related Articles:

NY lawmaker hopes to ban iPod use in crosswalks 

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