Dear WHOEVER

I wrote this letter after I heard this commentary on marketplace this afternoon. This was my indignant fulfillment of my duties as a citizen. Please comment. But please limit your comments to 1500 characters or less.

Dear WHOEVER [Whoever was replaced by the salient individuals: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer. Oh, and Ashleigh. But her stuff is not for public consumption.] and staff, [because they are really the people that will read this letter. I’m sure they appreciate the salutation]

I was astounded and angered upon discovering this afternoon that the current health care legislation does not remove anti-trust exemption from health insurance providers. If this is was because of oversight, I ask as your constituent that you move to amend it. If this was intentional, may I ask why?

If every person in America is mandated to purchase health insurance, shouldn’t there be some kind of limitation on the level of collusion between health insurance providers? Why are health insurance providers allowed exemption from anti-trust legislation in the first place?

It would appear that health insurance is a profitable business. The only understandable reason to waive anti-trust legislation, as far as I am aware, is if the presence of competition prevents any kind of profitability.

I would say that I eagerly await a response, but instead I ask that you continue to work on the bill. I do have great hope for the legislation, and I hope you can work with your colleagues (I would hope that some would cross the aisle to contribute, but I understand that they have chosen their political maneuver—a position with which I am not sympathetic) to provide affordable and quality health care for all Americans. Please ensure that this is the case by arguing for anti-trust regulation of health insurance companies.

Sincerely,

John Michael Earnest

I’m Congressman Darryl Issa…

And I’m calling to invite you as my constituent to join my virtual town hall meeting concerning the health care bill currently moving through Congress. Stay on the line to learn how this bill could raise taxes, destroy small business, and cause people to lose their insurance.”

That is, almost verbatim, what Darryl Issa called to tell me this evening. I actually stayed on the line, hoping to participate in the town hall debate. But I couldn’t find my tongue. I couldn’t think, in time, of how to say this (plus, I’ve been sick):

“Mr. Issa, in your message inviting me to join this town hall debate–which I appreciate as your voting constituent–you attempted to prejudice me against the pending health care legislation by listing the possible negative effects of this legislation. I did not appreciate this. You did not list any of the possible positive effects of this legislation: decreased health care costs or improved, comprehensive, and affordable coverage. Surely there must be some benefit to this health care legislation!”

I would then wait for a response. In the event I was able to speak again:

“Mr. Issa, I did not appreciate your sense of timing. The health care legislation passed the House last weekend. Doesn’t that mean that it’s been removed from your jurisdiction, for the time being?”

After that,

“Mr. Issa, why are you holding a town hall meeting/discussion/debate on health care reform? When you received the bill, you said you would vote ‘No’ on it. I don’t know if you read it. If this was your default reaction when the legislation was introduced why do you care how we feel about it?”

Mr. Issa, no one wants to increase taxes, just for the hell of it. No one wants to destroy small business on a lark. No one wants people to lose their hard-earned health insurance. And I’m not quite sure that these were the only goals of the new health care legislation.

Mr. Issa, while I appreciate your open hand toward your constituents, perhaps you could leave your hands unadorned and unstained when doing so?

Tila Tequila v. Shawne Merriman (I)

For those of you who don’t know, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested for allegedly choking and imprisoning Tila Tequila last weekend. You can follow the story, so far, on various news outlets. This story from ESPN.com got me thinking, particularly the final paragraph, a statement by Tequila’s lawyer:

It is never justifiable to brutally assault, choke, strike and imprison a woman,” Gutman said in a statement Tuesday night. “Once the truth is fully revealed, Mr. Merriman’s fantastic story of how he was trying to keep Ms. Tequila safe will be completely discredited. No one, especially a woman, should ever have to endure what Mr. Merriman did to Tila Tequila.

At least she hired a good lawyer. It may have been better if she had better comeback than lawyerspeak for, “Nu-uh!” From what I’ve readfrom insources–like the San Diego Union-Tribune quoting San Diego Law Enforcement (whoever arrived at the scene)–Tequila was pretty drunk.

I’m too tired and too little in the know to make a good post on this subject. But it’s ridiculous to begin with. Reminds of the time my father was released from jury duty for saying that he would grab his wife roughly if she was going to fall off a cliff.

Good answer. Although my motives aren’t completely clean: I want the Chargers to win and that happens with Merriman on the team.

Enter the Indoctrinator

Obama Out of Line With School Speech

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, everyone’s Favorite Democrat/Socialist (that’s Nazi, if you can’t read between the lines) Barack Hussein (that’s right, his middle name is the same as Saddam’s last!) Obama (that’s right, it sounds like Osama!) will make a speech to our students. Did you follow that? No? Good.

This speech will be dangerous:

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune Obama’s “15- to 20-minute message will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.” The bastard!

Prominent voices on the right have identified the real motivation behind Obama’s fifteen minute, back-to-school special: Glenn Beck, in his fight with Rush Limbaugh to become the voice of American Conservatism, called the speech “a part of the administration’s ‘indoctrination’ of you youth, adding that “they are capturing your kids!”

Not to be outdone by the party spokesman, “Jim Greer, chairman of Florida’s Republican Party, said he is ‘absolutely appalled that tax-payer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.’”

One of Grossmont School District’s Trustees spoke on behalf of San Diego Republicans when he called the fuhr— I mean, the president’s speech and subsequent follow-up (like writing a letter to yourself to internalize the speech) something akin to a cult of personality.

The Union-Tribune, despite putting Glenn Beck on the front page, a Colbertian zinger when it added, fortunately at the end of the article, that Obama is not the first president to try to spread his insidious political agenda in the classroom. Apparently the previous indoctrinator, one George H.W. Bush, made a similar speech in 1991, asking “students to demand more of themselves.”

In reaction, Democrats saw through this neoconservative sham and “attacked the speech as political advertising and” . wasting taxpayer money.

As weird as it is that Obama wants to talk to classroom children, his message, which has yet to be delivered, seems innocuous or even good.  Perhaps this is because I was an Obamaniac on election night. But if I were a child, and the president told me to own up about my education, I stand to attention, salute, and begin taking responsibility for my education. Apparently, that’s what we’re afraid of…

The fact that parents are taking their children out of school is ridiculous. But this is American politics, it’s to be expected.

But seriously, watch out what you write on those signed notes to excuse your children from this indoctrinating speech. Guess what Obama will use to consign his detainees next September? To protect yourself from this dangerous, big government (that is so incompetent that it can never, ever run any kind of healthcare, expect that it does for veterans), please sign all your notes, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Obama will be thrilled to get the notes from his friend, the secret muslim he is.

Sources: Union-Tribune, New York Times

Scotland Endorses Mercy, Compassion

I am thrilled with the justification Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill gave for the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. Announcing extremely unpopular decision for the release of Megrahi, convicted as responsible for destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, MacAskill made this justification:

[Megrahi] now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It is one that no court, in any jurisdiction, in any land, could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die. (New York Times Link)

and

[Megrahi] did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them […] But, that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days […] Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown. Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people – no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated […] (New York Times Link)

Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown.”


Maybe I’m a sap. Maybe I’m just too compassionate. Maybe I’m just too merciful. But that statement is the kind of justice I would like to live under: Justice, tempered by mercy and compassion. In fact, it reminds me an awful lot of the Justice of God: Justice, tempered with mercy and compassion. Megrahi faces that. He is dying. I hope he’s able to repent of all his crimes, in time. Who knows? I might even pray for his repentance.


The thing that makes this situation more complex is that Megrahi steadfastly proclaims his innocence. According to NPR this morning (when I first learned of their situation), many Britons believe this. So, we have a convicted terrorist who claims his innocence, released by the convicting power for reasons of compassion.


For balance’s sake, most of the victims’ families are outraged (this is according to the CNN headline, as well as the body of their article). It is not difficult to understand why they are. But I am not a victim, nor a family member of a victim. I cannot pretend to argue for them, nor do I think I should pretend to. It doesn’t seem particularly respectful or soothing to their pain.


I’m not arrogant enough to pronounce that Justice or Mercy or Compassion has been served/abused in this case. But I am confident enough in myself to say that I am encouraged by Scotland’s language, if not by their actual motivation (which is politically murky and probably very corrupt, which is probably why they dressed it up so nice).


It is an awfully brave thing to do, to affirm mercy, when no one would fault you for saying, “No.” When your best friend in the entire world (played by America) is saying, “No.”


So I applaud Scotland for their decision today. To show compassion and mercy is to display godliness. I hope that was MacAskill’s goal today. If not, I do not greatly care. Mercy and compassion were shown. Glory to God, who has mercy on whom He has mercy, and compassion on whom He has compassion. Pray that you are one of them. Pray for me. Pray for Megrahi.

Read this Article

I found this article on the website electoral-vote.com. Check it out:

How American Health Care Killed My Father

It’s good enough for the capitalist in all of us…

The article argues two major and compelling points (well, more than that, but these were the ones that struck me):

That we abuse health insurance: he makes the analogy of using auto insurance to pay for gas, or homeowner’s insurance to pay for groceries. He argues that if we paid for the minor maintenance ourselves (like check-ups and dental cleanings and stitches and x-rays), we would beget competition that would lower prices, because we, the informed consumer, would shop around for the cheapest care. He argues that we should use insurance for its express purpose in other areas; that is, to cover catastrophic expenses.

Okay, so that was one thing. But so incredibly eye-opening.

Love yourself. Love your neighbor?

Stephen Colbert’s guest on August 12 was Mark Johnson. He’s from a group, or the organizer of the group, called Playing for Change. The basic gist of the organization is to create peace through music—showing its power to unite people regardless of difference. Religion, politics, status, color—the organization tries to show that none of this really matters. What matters is the basic dignity of humanity.

This is my understanding of this group’s music (it’s actually a globe-trotting web series). For what it’s worth, I think it’s a good goal. Understanding the basic dignity of all humanity IS a good and valuable goal. Humanity is created in God’s image; somewhere in the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan makes a statement to this effect. It’s something like, “Every man is a Son of Adam and every woman a Daughter of Eve. That is enough to cow the proudest king, and lift the head of the meanest beggar.” Or something like that.

Like I said: It’s a good goal.

What I take issue with was Mr. Johnson’s statement that the purpose of the music was to allow each individual to love themselves. In turn, after loving ourselves, we can turn that love toward others.

I am hesitant to disagree vehemently with this simply because I do not know Mr. Johnson and I am taking the words out of his mouth and I didn’t record them or anything. But, even if that’s not his exact meaning, I disagree with that premise: that by loving ourselves first, we can love others.

My reasons for disagreeing are rather simple. Like most good things that are simple, it is also quite complex. Or I’d like to think so. For me, complex equals good.

I think it’s the other way around: only by loving others can we learn to love ourselves.

My belief is Christan, of course:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

For me, there’s not much argument with this. I have trouble justifying anything beyond Christ. I have trouble justifying anything beyond what Christ has said here.

Rereading the above paragraph, and the one before it, I realize I should explain more—previously, I had left off arguing here.

The above statement is one made by Jesus in response to a stumper of a question by certain unfriendly elements. (That is, they were unfriendly toward him; they were likely friendly to their friends). He’s supposed to pick the best command in the whole Bible.

So he chooses one, appropriately about loving God. That’s expected. Then he leans more radical, and quotes a rather obscure verse from Leviticus—okay, it’s not that obscure, since he knows it and so does everyone else ambushing him—which says something about how people are to treat one another.

When this verse would occur in bible study (which, for those of you unchurched, happens quite frequently), Hal Hays would just as frequently perform the hermeneutical equivalent of waggling his eyebrows: he’d inquire about the context in an arcane way. I think it was supposed to make me reach a conclusion. What that conclusion is, I am not aware. End footnote.

So, this verse… it’s apparently rather important. One could argue from it Mr. Johnson’s principle, but one who does that is fairly dumb, in my humble opinion. That is a syndrome with which I am intimately familiar called: “Missing the Forest for the Trees.”

Christ’s basic assumption in quoting Leviticus 19:18 (the verse that says “love your neighbor” etc.) is that people love themselves. It is not something that people need to learn. We feed and clothe ourselves—or attempt to do so—and do not regularly commit suicide. To argue that one must love themselves to love their neighbor is to belabor the obvious. People already love themselves.

There’s a famous teaching philosophy states that teaching something to someone else is the ultimate display of mastery. I think that applies to this case.

If there’s interest, I may continue this. But for now, I think I’ve thoroughly pulverized a dead horse.

Beer Solves Racism

Obama invites Gates and Crowley to White House for Cold Ones

When, oh when, will copy editors learn good headlines. The caption writers at CNN have it down:

“President Obama has invited police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for beer.” (CNN.com Link)

Anyway, what I really want to know is what they are drinking? Blue Moon? Sam Adams? Stone? Pabst Blue Ribbon? Coors Light? What happens when Crowley wants to spend the night? Whose going to be the DD? What if there’s a terrorist attack during the beer session? What if the phone rings at three a.m. and Barack’s still sleeping it off?

These are the questions that should be asked.

This… is Earnest Words.