Thursday, October 11, 2007

Near Sighted

The dictionary says that near sighted is a visual defect in which distant objects appear blurred. That’ll do for the point I want to make.

To say it simply and directly – how can people be so stupid?

Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I don’t get it. What, you ask, am I talking about? I’m talking about people acting in ways that are clearly not in their own self-interest. To be near sighted, if not blind.

Autoworkers go on strike. Hello? What world are you living in? The US auto industry is nearly dead and you go on strike. Very near sighted.

Free trade becomes a whipping boy as people fear it means the US will lose jobs. A recent poll showed that even Republicans have turned against free trade. That was one of the few things I thought I could agree with Republicans about and now it is gone. I’ll survive the loss.

But the good ole US of A can’t survive without trade. Trade has fueled our economy. If you’re worried that your job will be outsourced, develop a new skill. To think you can stem the tide of globalization is stupidly near sighted. Geez!

Our brilliant lawmakers and some local officials are pandering to the anti-immigrant zealots. Build a wall. Send them back. Fire them. Fine the employer. Cut off services. Not smart, not necessary, certainly near sighted. One town that came down hard on immigrants three years ago has reversed itself. Why? The town went in the toilet. Businesses closed. Work didn’t get done. The place was dying.

The antidote for near sightedness is not fear or hysteria or stupidity – it is a corrective lens called common sense.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


What do Martha Stewart, OJ Simpson, Larry Craig and Warren Jeffs have in common? They have been or are being screwed by our legal system.

My, my! I can hear your screams of outrage. What am I thinking? Have I lost my mind? Have aliens wormed their way into my brain?

Nope. None of the above. So let me begin with a partial disclaimer.

The idea of smarmy Martha serving time is as delicious as one of her Thanksgiving dinners.

I have no doubt that OJ is a murderer and should have been locked up forever.

Craig the hypocrite doesn’t have the guts to come out of the closet, and the Senate is better off without him.

And Jeffs follows religious practices that are more repugnant than most other repugnant religious practices.

So why should they have been treated differently by the system?

Because having the laws enforced fairly, without discrimination, is more important than sticking it to people who we enjoy watching being stuck.

I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that had Martha Stewart been someone else, somebody the prosecutor had never heard of, she would have been charged, tried and convicted.

Regarding OJ – I can’t think of anyone more disgusting. But his latest arrest, even if it turns out he’s guilty of everything they’re charging him with, has been blown totally out of proportion. An excuse for a media feeding frenzy – including, for God’s sake, a TV helicopter following his car to the airport. Sticking him in jail overnight and an excessively high bail figure are customized to fit OJ, not your average guy.

Larry Craig screwed himself, but he has been aided and abetted by the legal system. Watching another holier-than-thou Republican dragged through the mud is a pleasurable experience, no doubt about it. But it doesn’t have anything to do with fairness. And watching his friends and colleagues rush headlong out the Exit doors to avoid being contaminated by Craig’s toilet odor, while predictable, was also a happy sight. But not ennobling.

The prosecutor went after Jeffs because of who he is not because of what he did. There is nothing about Warren Jeffs that I like or admire. But he has the right to practice his religion and control those stupid or deluded enough to be willing to be controlled. But accessory to rape? I don’t think so. He is a scapegoat for the system in Utah that is concerned about its image. They manipulated the law to their advantage and won. That doesn’t make it right.

So sayeth I.