December 19, 2008

Rick Warren's Comparisons

The current hullabaloo over Pastor Rick Warren delivering the invocation at Obama's inauguration is -- unlike a lot of the hullabaloos of late -- warranted. In a recent interview with NBC's Ann Curry, Pastor Warren compared homosexuals with pedophiles. Such a comparison is outside the bounds of decency. The utterer of such a comparison has no business being accorded such a position of privilege at such a historic event. No ifs. No ands. No buts. End of story.

Someone who cannot make a moral distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia -- whatever they may think of homosexuality -- does not deserve a position of trust in our society. How can one who is supposed to lead us spiritually, but doesn't see that one of these is a consensual act between adults and the other is the sexual abuse of a child by an adult, provide effective spiritual leadership?

Barack Obama should revoke his invitation to Pastor Warren.

December 10, 2008

The Tragedy of Zimbabwe

The ongoing saga of the descent of Zimbabwe from prosperous to impoverished continues. CNN reports that a massive cholera epidemic is occurring on top of the massive hunger and the massive inflation. All of this began when Mugabe took a ham-fisted approach towards rectifying the injustices of colonialism and seized the arable land from mostly white farmers and gave it to his supporters, few of whom had any farming experience. There were many more ways that he could have distributed the wealth of his country more fairly without losing this intellectual capital.

I believe that Barack Obama, in his first few months in office, should offer his services to broker the peaceful transfer of power between Mugabe and, by most accounts, the rightful president of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai. As long as the incompetent and despotic demagogue Mugabe remains in any position of national power in that pitiful country, it will only continue its decline.

December 09, 2008

Despotism Due North?

Our great neighbor to the north is in the midst of a rather interesting political situation. To avoid a vote of no confidence in his minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament -- and she has assented.

Having a parliamentary system of government instead of a presidential system like ours, Canadians vote for a Parliament, which then selects a government. There are sad and dangerous examples in the last few centuries where a despot has seized power by dissolving the legislature that placed him in power, thereby remaining perpetually in power.

I certainly do not believe that such a fate awaits Canada, but after seeing our great nation turn to torture, suspend civil liberties, and institute an alarming increase in presidential power, I believe we should all see democracy as a fragile thing that must be guarded jealously.

I hope the voters of Canada offer a swift and unabiguous repudiation to Harper for this move, because Canada is an example of democracy to the world that we can't afford to lose.

December 07, 2008

Medicare for Everyone (...Who Wants It)

Barack Obama has indicated that he will be encouraging people to host house parties where the subject of health care would be discussed. The consensus of these house parties would then be reported back to the government and would then presumably be used by Obama as a basis for (or at least input into) a new health care policy. I doubt if I would be able to host or attend one of these parties, so I will communicate my opinions via this blog.

I believe that the most effective approach to covering everyone in our country would be to open Medicare anyone who wants to opt into the system. The premiums and reasonable co-payments should be the only out-of-pocket costs for a patient. For example, a person with no insurance coverage who shows up at an emergency room should be provided whatever medical care they require and then be billed only for some back premiums (Obama has advocated this) and the co-payment -- never for the entire cost of their medical care. Most importantly, no one should ever be denied coverage by Medicare. Finally, I think that members of Congress and Federal employees should be switched to Medicare themselves so that they are in the same boat with those whose healthcare they will be regulating.

This would not inhibit people from purchasing private insurance -- either instead of Medicare or to supplement Medicare for a more gold-plated coverage.