Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

September 2013 Blog Posts (20)

Andrew and Miah and guns, oh my: responses to a couple of unexpected arguments.

   As I prepared for yesterday's debate with Andrew Kirch and Miah Akston, I focused on the insurance exchanges and possible rates of premiums under Obamacare, presently scheduled to take effect day after tomorrow. The reasons for the focus were selfish, to a large degree. I have a pre-existing condition, about which I have made no secrets. I blogged a series about multiple sclerosis and the Mini-Marathon last year with a reprise this year. Rates for health insurance will fall. With multiple…

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Added by Mark Small on September 29, 2013 at 6:33am — No Comments

Today's Show: Miah Akston and Andrew D. Kirch debate with me on Obamacare, 11 am to 1 pm.

   Public discourse about the Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare has sorely lacked facts. A few weeks ago, on "Civil Discourse Now," Ryan Ripley of "We Are Libertarians" and I engaged in civil and, I thought, informative debate about whether ACA/Obamacare was or is constitutional.  

   Today Miah Akston of "The Uncontrollables" and "Creating Miah" and Andrew D. Kirch will join me from 11 am to 1 pm to discuss/debate/argue generally about ACA/Obamacare.

   There are a lot of…

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Added by Mark Small on September 28, 2013 at 6:13am — No Comments

Obamacare: until October 1 companies will not offer plans for people with pre-existing conditions; what does that tell you?

   I have a pre-existing condition, multiple sclerosis. Sarah is a cancer survivor. We were soaked by health insurance premiums, of almost two grand a month. I got us switched to a PPO last year for a significantly lower premium, under $600 total. One problem is the prescription drug coverage is not nearly as good as what my policy had been. Nonetheless, that monthly number was lowered.

   Since last year, even after we obtained the PPO coverage, I have shopped for major medical…

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Added by Mark Small on September 27, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments

"Dexter": Season finale shaped into mediocrity? QUASI-SPOILER ALERT.

   Serial killers fascinate the American public. "Silence of the Lambs" is only one example of a work from Hollywood, or whatever geographical location one uses to describe film/TV, that glorifies serial killers. Fascination does not equate with cheerleading, but some parts of that fascination overlap. Jack the Ripper might have been the first serial killer to gain notoriety. More recently, when Ted Bundy was tried, he had groupies who sat in court each day and hung on his every word and…

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Added by Mark Small on September 25, 2013 at 6:13am — No Comments

Part Two: Does the State have the power to outlaw red shirts?

   Whether the color is blue, an example I used last week, or red, as I shall use today, the question still is the same. Do States, or their political subdivisions such as counties and cities, have power, under the United States Constitution, to outlaw whatever conduct they wish under so-called police powers of the States? I use the color red today as I found studies that have determined the color red can cause some people to become angry. I will address that in a moment.

   Paul…

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Added by Mark Small on September 24, 2013 at 6:01am — No Comments

Nazis and Leith, North Dakota: an exercise in civics.

   An aspiring but ultimately (at best) mediocre Austrian artist attempted to take over Germany in a Munich beer hall. Adolf Hitler learned from the experience. Later he sought to take over Germany---finally becoming a citizen along the way---by using the system. Although his National Socialist Workers Party, the nickname for which, "Nazi," derived from the acronym of German words, at first garnered few followers and not many more votes, ultimately, Hitler succeeded in his quest. Hitler's…

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Added by Mark Small on September 23, 2013 at 6:13am — No Comments

Irony is to hit the "like" on FaceBook, to show support for a friend when the friend suffers.

   Ruth Patchett Collins and I were in grade school together, maybe as far back as first grade. (I would say what elementary school that was, but since "first elementary school" is a clearance question for credit cards, I'll pass.) She was one of those kids with whom we migrated up the chain and closer to the door and graduation. I had not heard from her, nor she from me, since we left school way back when. The wonders of Face Book as they are, we friended (a noun converted to a verb) each…

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Added by Mark Small on September 22, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments

Polka, the Roman Catholic Church, local politics and guns.

   When Hoosier (by relocation, not birth) Richard Gatling developed the Gatling gun, the first rapid-fire weapon for combat, it is said he thought his invention would bring an end to war. He could not believe people would wage war in the face of such an awesome weapon. Gatling had no appreciation for human folly.

   Gun violence has been in the national and local news. People were mowed down in D.C. and in Chicago. Whether the weapon du jour, the AR 15, was used by the gunman, it…

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Added by Mark Small on September 21, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments

Pleasant Saturday evening on the deck BLASTED by a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs."

   The first I heard of Black Sabbath was as the punch line for a couple of jokes by Cheech and Chong in 1973. A short time later I had 8-track tapes of "Master of Reality" and something else. Ozzy and the boys played definitive heavy-metal. The tape-deck in the 1962 (or was it a 1961?) Ford Econoline van I drove was hooked up to big speakers in the back, the walls of which were painted flat-black. The speakers were loud, albeit not as loud as the sound systems most teenagers or early-20s…

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Added by Mark Small on September 15, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments

Does the State have the power to outlaw blue shirts?

   I like the color blue. For several years when I worked at Purdue University, then Northwestern University School of Law, then again at Purdue in those schools' libraries, I usually wore any of half-a-dozen powder-blue Oxford shirts I owned. The way in which the color blends with blue jeans never has been a consideration, although I like the blue there, too.

   If in the next weeks the City-County Council of Indianapolis and Marion County were to pass an ordinance, and Indy's…

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Added by Mark Small on September 13, 2013 at 6:07am — 1 Comment

NASCAR: big bucks go to a sport where the "fix" has been in.

   The image of NASCAR, a/k/a American stock car racing, in the 1960s was of people grabbing real "stock" cars---as one would buy off the showroom floor---wheeling them into garages, souping them up, and racing them on dirt tracks or the beach of Daytona (okay, that ended a while back) or on some track in the South. Compared to cars raced at the Indianapolis 500, and any tracks in a USAC circuit built to sustain races, for cars made for the Indy 500, for the rest of a "season" until the next…

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Added by Mark Small on September 12, 2013 at 5:59am — No Comments

"Never forget 9/11"---the tragedy or how government jumped on an opportunity to make bad laws and wage stupid war.

   The attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, were tragic. That is an opinion, but one held by many from nearly every political viewpoint. Deaths and massive destruction are terrible. On this day 12 years ago, we watched TV depictions of aircraft that flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon. We heard reports of the aircraft in Pennsylvania that dove from tens of thousands of feet and crashed into the countryside of Pennsylvania.

   An odd week…

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Added by Mark Small on September 11, 2013 at 6:21am — No Comments

Syria: Questions to which the American public is entitled to answers, and why the rush to fire missiles?

   In the lead-up to the United States invasion of Iraq, the George W. Bush administration gave reasons for "regime change" that resulted in tens of thousands dead, billions in national debt and significant loss of international goodwill---difficult to quantify,but from all signs after 9/11 many nations and people in the World expressed sympathy for this country. Questions about evidence of "weapons of mass destruction"---our purported reason for the invasion---should have been asked more…

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Added by Mark Small on September 9, 2013 at 6:13am — No Comments

Three "busts" of Ballard.

   Busts of four former mayors of Indianapolis---all elected since Unigov was enacted (the "whys" of Unigov are for a later blog)---stand on simple posts on the South side of the East wing hallway of the first floor of the City-County Building, not far from the elevators for the Circuit and Superior Courts. The heads of Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith and Bart Peterson are arrayed in chronological order, left-to-right, as they harmoniously face the same direction. The busts…

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Added by Mark Small on September 7, 2013 at 7:13am — No Comments

Drew Young, my first vote for a Republican, and the GOP in the House might vote "no" on Syria.

   More years ago than I care to count, Drew Young was the Republican Party candidate for Marion County Prosecutor. Jeff Modisett was the candidate for the Democratic Party. I knew members of the Young family. My roommate at the time (2nd-3rd years in law school) was a former fraternity brother of mine from DePauw and was a cousin of the Youngs. That was not the reason I voted for Drew in the election. I thought he was the better candidate. As is usually the case, the candidate for whom I…

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Added by Mark Small on September 6, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments

War is more likely as each hour passes---tell your reps "no," unless quantum computers already rule the World.

   In "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," William Shirer relates events for which he was present at Godesburg September 22-23, 1938, crucial days when the fate of Czechoslovakia was determined. Shirer related what a German companion told him:  "And he explained that Hitler had been in such a maniacal mood over the Czechs the last few days that on more than one occasion he had lost control of himself completely, hurling himself to the floor and chewing the edge of the carpet. Hence the…

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Added by Mark Small on September 5, 2013 at 6:17am — 1 Comment

Syria: Americans who will do the dying do not poll well on the idea of this military conflict.

   Four major polls released in the past few days show the American people do not favor military action in Syria. (Pew: 29% favor/48% oppose/23% undecided; Washington Post/ABC, 36/59/5; NBC 42/50/8; Huffington Post 25/41/34.) One would think the opinion of the American people to be important when the country's political leaders consider important issues. Yes, that would be in a fantasy world.

   On the other hand, the House and Senate leadership of both parties support military action…

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Added by Mark Small on September 4, 2013 at 6:24am — No Comments

Why do "we" want to bomb Syria?

   In "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," author Tom Robbins occasionally notes the International situation was desperate, as usual." The situation in Syria brought that observation to mind as I read Senator McCain's judgment. We must bomb Syria or lose credibility.

   From what I have read of international views of United States foreign policy over the last 50 years, "we" have little credibility, give or take bombs dropped on Syria. One who is "credible" is "worthy of belief or…

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Added by Mark Small on September 3, 2013 at 5:44am — No Comments

Sheila's right: so far "The Onion" has the best take on Syria.

   In her blog this weekend, Sheila Kennedy pointed out that "The Onion" might have the best commentary in regard to the current crisis in Syria. "The Onion" ran a fictional letter to the United States from Assad of Syria, basically saying the United States is screwed any way we go when it comes to Syria, a nation created by those same geniuses at the end of World War I whose efforts, in part, brought us World War II.

   A fundamental question we should consider is: are we morally…

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Added by Mark Small on September 2, 2013 at 7:02am — No Comments

Syria: a "war" we should avoid, but one we probably will not avoid because corporations jones for a war.

   In "The Guns of August," Barbara Tuchman depicts the ways in which European powers blundered into what became World War I. A plot to kill Archduke Ferdinand while he visited Sarajevo, first botched, succeeded by the weird luck of one of the assassins rounding a corner at the same time as the Archduke's open-air car. Germany wanted an opportunity to use its military to gain hegemony in Europe. Various members of royalty wanted their countries to fight, as if war were a simple game for…

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Added by Mark Small on September 1, 2013 at 5:57am — 1 Comment

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