Advice and consent

At the end of each year, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court issues a report, a year-end report on the Federal judiciary. This year, the Chief Justice turned his report into an opportunity to answer back at what is the central limitation on the judiciary: the Federal nomination and confirmation process established in the Constitution.1

We saw this all throughout the term of President George W. Bush. The Democrat majority in the Senate used their majority power to block confirmations on Presidential nominations, most notably those of the Federal judiciary including the Supreme Court, as a means of accomplishing goals completely unrelated to the nominations themselves. Instead the Democrats seemed to turn the confirmation process into a bargaining chip.

Had the Republicans won a majority in the Senate in this last election, we could expect the same would have occurred with regard to Obama’s nominations.

Under the Constitution of the United States, the Senate has the sole authority to provide "advice and consent" to any and all nominations by the President of the United States.2 Exercising this power, the Senate interviews and grills all nominees to determine their suitability to the role in question. The Senate is not to merely "rubber stamp" confirmations, but we all know this happens regardless, unless an opportunity arises in which the Senate can use this power to get something from the President: "okay we’ll confirm this nomination as long as you agree to this…"

The question comes down to why the advice and consent power is vested only in the Senate. The answer comes down to the true role of the Senate that was lost when the Seventeenth Amendment was passed.

In an earlier article, I wrote of the true role of the Federal government, and that its proper place is subordinate to the States and the People.3 This is clear in how the members of the government were originally selected. The House of Representatives was the only part of the government directly elected by the People. The Senate and President (by way of Electors) were chosen by the State legislatures.4

This important balance, eliminated by the Seventeenth Amendment5, kept the Federal government inferior to the States. And because the State governments were deemed inferior to the People by way of the ballot, the Federal government was kept very well in check. The Federal government’s authority was in check by the States through the Senate and by the People through the States and the House of Representatives.

Vesting the power of advice and consent to the Senate was the ultimate means of keeping the Federal government inferior to the States. This means the States selected not only the President, by way of Electors who may be chosen absent a popular vote6 and have been previously, but also the President’s officers, including the Cabinet and the judiciary. The People had the say in what the Federal government would do by way of the House of Representatives, and the States had say in who would do it through the Senate.

Today the Federal government is making itself superior to the People, placing the States on the bottom and at the mercy of the Federal government.

The Senate, now directly elected by the people instead of appointed by the States, is arguably now even more politically afire than the House of Representatives ever has been. Vested in the Senate is a lot of authority in so few people, which is why its original selection was to be removed entirely from politically-charged elections. Senators were to be the representatives of the States equally in the Federal government.

The Founders knew that vesting so much authority in so few people, relatively unchecked, would result in oligarchy. We are today seeing this to be the case. The question to be answered is whether we have caught things too late.

I do not like denigrating the People, but ignorance is difficult to ignore and the People of the United States are not only ignorant, but cowardly and paranoid. It was against this the structure of the Federal government was designed to protect. By having only one half of one branch of government popularly elected on as frequent a basis as every two years, with each Representative checked by the other Representatives of not only the same State, but the entire United States, the possibility of the ignorance, cowardice and paranoia of a relative few number of people overly influencing the Federal government is significantly reduced than if, say, two people were popularly elected to represent the largest States by population (i.e. California and Texas).

Now this isn’t to say the Founders were not paranoid. They certainly were, which is why they designed a process for selecting the President of the United States, along with much of the rest of the Federal government, that is insulated from the People. The Founders lack of faith in the People when it comes to their government is difficult to ignore, hence many procedural safeguards along with the specific enumeration of powers. While the Founders did have a lot of faith in the People, for without that faith, independence from the Crown of Great Britain would not have been attained, when it came to enacting a national government to unite the States, they kept said national government focused purely on the role of the States within that government and kept as much of it as possible insulated from the People.

The people were not supposed to have a direct role in the Federal government.

The reason for this is because the People are more able to influence the governments that are closer to them: those of the city, county, and State in which they reside. When the people are not able to check a government they choose directly, the chance of that government becoming corrupt increases significantly.

Oddly enough the Electoral College was the one part of the Constitution least contested, as noted by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 687, yet today it is the one part of the Constitution that seems the most desirable to change, especially in the wake of President Bush’s election in 2000 wherein he won the requisite number of electoral votes (albeit with the intervention of the United States Supreme Court8) but did not win a majority of the popular vote.

The States were the best safeguard for keeping the Federal government in check. The People do not have nearly as much ability, especially given how easily we can be reduced into pesky, pestilent, squandering, argumentative and belligerent mobs, often at the mention of only a few words. In other words the People tend to act in a democratic fashion, as history has shown, and that is the fastest way to erode a republic.

The Founders knew this. This is why prior to the Seventeenth Amendment the more powerful chamber of Congress was left to the selection and safeguard of the State governments. This is why the power of advice and consent was left solely with the Senate and not with the House of Representatives. The Federal government was intended to be insulated from the People for reasons we have been witnessing since about the time of the Civil War.

In short the power of the Federal government was meant to be wielded by those appointed and confirmed by representatives of the States, not by those directly elected by the People. This was intended as the principal safeguard of that power from corruption, and those safeguards have been all but eliminated. This is why the Electoral College is under attack: it is the only safeguard left before the government becomes entirely popularly elected, with the exception of the judiciary, and subject to the kind of corruption known to democracies.

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  1. Ross, Lee. (2010, December 31. "Chief Justice Roberts Blasts Lawmakers On Judicial Nominations". []
  2. Article II, Section 2 []
  3. "Citizen Congress". Posted July 30, 2010. []
  4. Article I, Section 3: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof" []
  5. "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years" []
  6. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution: "Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress" []
  7. Federalist No. 68: "The mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents." []
  8. Bush v. Gore, 531 US 98 (2000) []

Ashamed to be American?

On YouTube, I subscribe to a user called PaulsEgo. Now on YouTube, he recently made a short series of videos that have caught quite a bit of attention because he says, in short, that he is ashamed to be an American, along with giving his reasons why.

For those who haven’t seen the videos I’ve embedded them below. I’ll be writing my response to them in a later article, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Needless to say he provides a lot of food for thought. If you have any comments to make, go to YouTube and leave them on the video instead of here. For those who come to this through Facebook, same thing applies — go to YouTube to comment.





Say "yes" or "no" to credit?

In this recession, one thing that I have come to expect is a ton of articles speaking out against debt and credit cards. And there is good reason: Americans are addicted to debt, credit cards, financing, loans and mortgages. But one thing that is common and unwarranted among most of these articles is simply this: allegations that no debt is good debt.

For example I recently saw an article saying to stay away from student loans. Others say to stay away from credit cards. One thing for which no one seems to be accounting is that, while insane amounts of debt is what turns this country belly-up and caused the recession, it is also the ability to take on debt and finance large purchases that made this country as wealthy as it has become.

So for this article, I will be responding to a recent article called "9 reasons to say no to credit", telling you why it is still okay to say "yes" to credit, along with some caveats to keep in mind.

1. Financing your purchases doesn’t teach self control.

Financing your purchases doesn’t teach anything, but the author of the article dives into territory without the proper warrants, alleging that those who finance purchases don’t exercise self control, which is a generalization that is beyond wrong, but also alleges that those who finance purchases may allow their health to be compromised.


True that financing purchases won’t teach self control. But when you finance a purchase, you must take the monthly payment on what you’re financing into account. If you’re financing something with a credit card, plan in advance of the purchase on paying off the financed amount within a certain period of time and stick with that, wavering from it only when you have a damned good excuse.

2. Financing your purchases means you aren’t sticking to your budget.

This depends on how you’re financing things and why you’re making the purchase. Are you putting it on a credit card because you want it but cannot afford the entire purchase with cash? Or is it something you need and you cannot afford it with cash?

Plus sometimes things or services you need end up costing more than you can anticipate or afford. Without a backup of credit to cover that overage, you’re probably SOL. And if the overage you need to cover is the deductible on your car because you were the victim of a hit and run, then what do you do? You charge it.

3. Credit card interest rates are expensive.

And they are intentionally expensive. Credit cards are unsecured debt, meaning there is no collateral to secure the debt in case of default. This presents a higher risk on borrowing to creditors, and interest rates are directly proportional to perceived risk. Present a higher risk to lenders, and you will pay more for it.

4. Credit card interest rates increase when you can’t pay off your balance in full.

Quoting the article:

To add insult to injury, that great annual percentage rate (APR) you thought you had on your credit card might have merely been an introductory rate that was subject to increase after a certain period if the balance has not been paid in full.

And if you didn’t know this when you signed the paperwork, you have only yourself to blame. Contrary to popular belief, credit card companies don’t hide the fact that your interest rate is only introductory. It’s plainly written on the disclosures. You did read them before you signed, right?

But if your interest rate does go up and you are carrying a balance, the amount of the balance may be the factor that determined you to be a higher credit risk. The issuer likely didn’t raise your rate to get more money out of you, but as an implicit signal that you need to pay the balance down.

5. A poor credit score can affect your insurance rates, being accepted for a job or the ability to finance meaningful purchases like a home.

Quoting the article:

Insurance companies that check your credit score when considering your premium seem to assume that if you can’t pay your bills, you might be letting your car or home maintenance slide, or you might be an irresponsible person in general, all of which could make you a higher risk by increasing your odds of filing a claim.

This is incorrect. Insurance companies that check your credit report (not credit score, no one but you has access to that) may raise your rate because you’ve presented yourself as a greater risk of not paying your premium. So they may raise your premium to ensure they are the first to be paid. Your car insurance is one example.

Your credit report has little bearing on whether you let maintenance on your car or home slide. Many people with good credit may be poor at keeping up with maintenance on their car, and vice versa.

Some employers also run credit checks on potential job applicants, and an employer who is concerned enough to check your credit score will probably be concerned enough to not hire you if it’s poor.

If you will be offered a job where you will be directly responsible for cash or cash flows, expect a credit check. The reason for this is they want to determine what risk you might present that you’ll "skim the till". This is nothing new, either, and has been going on for a long time. Many employers also disclose whether they will be checking your credit, but it is not a good idea to ask an employer if they will because that might send up some red flags.

6. Poor financial habits can jeopardize your relationships.

This statement is too generalized. Many couples get into financial difficulties together, and sometimes financial difficulties are unavoidable, such as in the case of unemployment. They can jeopardize relationships, however, but that depends primarily on how you got into the difficulties to begin with.

7. Financing purchases can lead to higher spending.

Purchasing a $1,000 laptop might be easy to accept if you just sign a piece of paper. On the other hand, if you pay with cash, you can physically feel the $100 bills leaving your hand.

Major purchases should always be planned. For example my fiancée and I are planning a purchase of a new television to replace the over 5 year-old power-hogging rear-projection television we currently have with a more energy efficient LCD or plasma display of similar size to what we have. We know about what that television will cost, and we will be saving up to pay most, if not all, of the cost with cash.

Or to take advantage of a deal, we may borrow. It depends on how the math works out.

But the point is that we are planning the purchase, know what it will cost, and if we borrow, we will know before we buy that we plan to borrow and will have a payoff plan budgeted out.

But if you finance without taking into account that you are taking on debt, it’s your own damned fault. Realize you’re taking on debt, that you are borrowing money when you finance and treat it like debt.

8. In a worst-case scenario, the habit of financing your purchases can lead to bankruptcy.

If you go on enough spending sprees without a plan for paying them off, or if your plan goes awry because you lose your job, or get hit with massive medical bills, you may find yourself hopelessly in debt.

You can end up with massive unexpected expenses or no income even if you have no debt. It is a risk of living and participating in the economy. Live with it, account for it, insure yourself against it, and just go on.

9. Avoiding financing can bring peace of mind.

Not always. While it’s great to be out of debt — my fiancée and I are going to be celebrating when we pay off a settlement that has been sapping our budget — there are times where you are paying more not taking on debt. Every decision has a cost, and as many of those costs as possible should be taken into account when deciding whether to pay cash, borrow, or not purchase at all.

The bottom line

The convenience, protection and cash-back rewards offered by credit cards make them a handy tool if you use them wisely.

The truth is if you can’t really afford it, you may be giving yourself a gift in the short term, but you’ll be giving yourself an expensive headache in the long run.

The key words here are "if you use them wisely". There is no doubt that many people don’t. They don’t see credit cards as debt, don’t treat it as debt, and that is where the problems can arise.

Keep in mind that credit cards are debt that you will have to pay back, and how soon you pay it back determines how much you will have to pay. Make a plan for every major purchase and stick with it.


Rep. Giffords, a federal judge, and a 9 year-old child

True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless!

— Cardinal Richelieu (Act II, sc. II, Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy)

One thing you will never witness me advocating here or in public, for those who do know me personally, is the threat or use of violence to enact political change. I have never believed that the best way to enact political change is with the blade of a sword or the barrel of a gun, nor is it a fit method of expressing your discontent with the government. The pen, or in this case, keyboard, is my political weapon, for the freedom of speech, the right to speak your mind freely, whatever those thoughts may be, is the most powerful right we have in a free society.

Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.

— Napoleon Bonaparte

The morning of January 8, 2011, Representative Gabrielle Giffords [D-AZ(8)] and Chief Judge John McCarthy Roll of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, among reportedly at least 17 others were shot allegedly by Jared Loughner, age 22. Judge Roll was among five persons who did not survive, and Rep. Giffords is expected to survive this apparent attempt at assassination.

Also among the dead was a 9 year-old child.

Now one can expect this story to be twisted in all kinds of different directions. Arizona is an open-carry firearm state, but the fact that Loughner allegedly shot 19 people, killing 5, with what I presume was a semi-automatic handgun tells me he was well-armed. He was either carrying several spare clips or several firearms, but likely both.

However this will not stop anti-gun advocates from trying to use this tragedy to argue against open and concealed carry laws, and the general availability of firearms.

Giffords is a Democrat, though she has described herself as a "Blue Dog" Democrat and a former Republican. The political analysis site labels Giffords as a Moderate Liberal. One can probably expect that the radically liberal zones of the Internet will be alleging links between Loughner and the tea party and conservatives.

Judge Roll was nominated for the Federal bench by former President George HW Bush in 1991 and confirmed and commissioned in November of that year. He was elevated to Chief Judge of the United States District Court in Arizona in 2006. And here’s a question: why is Judge Roll’s death in these events seeming to get only a fleeting glance by the press?

And while we’re on that question, why is the death of the 9 year-old also given only a fleeting glance?

The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.

— Muhammad, prophet of Islam

While there is plenty of room for speculation regarding Loughner’s motives, reasons, inspirations and intended targets, we should deny ourselves that speculation, including speculation into whether Loughner is actually guilty. Do remember that Loughner has a right to be presumed innocent unless he pleads guilty or his guilt is determined beyond reasonable doubt by a jury. And to best protect his right to a fair and impartial trial in light of the fact that the Chief Judge of the United States District Court in Arizona was killed in these events, he should be tried in another State, especially since he is eligible for the death penalty.

We should instead wait until the applicable law enforcement agencies have released information. As President Obama said in a statement shortly after word of the attack was released, "We do not yet have all the answers," something we should all keep in mind.


Get rid of the pledge of allegiance

With the new year, I think it’s time to lead a different kind of attack on the Pledge of Allegiance, a topic on which I’ve already twice written. I know what you’re thinking: “Another atheist is attacking the pledge of allegiance! Bring on the torches and pitchforks!”

The Pledge of Allegiance is a nearly 120 year-old product of a Christian socialist that should not even be recited by any well-meaning American. Everyone knows the pledge:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

Currently the pledge is part of the United States Code, namely it is provided in 4 USC 4. It is time for it to be repealed from the United States Code and banished from our society. No American should be pledging allegiance to anything except the Constitution of the United States.

This is the oath taken by commissioned military officers:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

with the last statement being optional by the person taking the oath, as required by Article VI of the Constitution of the United States. The oath taken by enlisted personnel is similar, also affirming allegiance to the Constitution and not any flag, idol, person, or even State.

Yet we have a pledge of allegiance wherein people pledge their allegiance to an idol (a flag) and the State, not the Constitution. If people are placing their allegiance behind a government and the State, instead of the Constitution, it becomes easier for the government to subvert the Constitution because it loses its strength with the People.

Instead I propose the People take this oath, if you feel the need to do so, as I feel it provides the proper emphasis:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and any Laws enacted properly under its Authority, from all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and Allegiance to the same; that I will assert and defend the Rights of all as protected by the same; that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties and responsibilities as a Citizen of the United States of America. So help me God.

again with that last statement being optional by those who take the oath as there is no religious test to acquire or retain citizenship, contrary to alleged words of former President George H.W. Bush.

I wonder if I might succeed in getting Ron Paul to back this idea.

Again, no person should be declaring or pledging allegiance to the flag or the republic. Every American should be declaring or pledging their allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. We require it for nationalization of immigrants, and so too it should be required of all Citizens, natural born or naturalized.

More: Read my other articles on the Pledge of Allegiance.


Reporting on science

According to the Associated Press, a new “theory” has been devised to explain Saturn’s rings.1 The rings have baffled science for centuries, and I don’t believe we have any concrete idea on how they were formed. We know what they are, being composed of about 95% ice, with the remainder being mostly rock. But how they were formed is an interesting mystery unto itself, kind of like why Venus is spinning “backward”.

But my concern with the article isn’t with the idea being presented, it’s the word choice. When reporting on scientific findings, journalists need to be discriminating in their word use. This means they need to avoid using the word “theory” in its conversational connotative sense as it is the improper word to use.

The proper word to use in reporting new findings is always “hypothesis”. This is a new idea that has stood up to some criticism and peer review, and it’s only been recently published in a scientific journal. It’s bound to generate a lot of discussion within the science community as well. The question is how well this hypothesis will hold up to future observations and discussion.

A “theory” in science, such as the theories of gravity and evolution, are well-supported explanations that encompass facts, hypotheses and laws. They have withstood challenge from many angles, make testable predictions on what we should expect from future observations and experiments, and provide a new level of understanding of the world around us. In many cases, a theory is also a field of study: evolutionary biology, music theory, and economic theory, for example.

A single hypothesis, however, will not become a theory. A hypothesis explains a small set of observations. Hypotheses give rise to new hypotheses, and if a consistent pattern is observed, it may give rise to a scientific law – something that is always true given a set of circumstances. Theories encompass many hypotheses and laws.

So a note to the Associated Press and other press organizations, please watch your terminology. It’s not only with science I’ve seen the issue, as misuses of terms seem to be very common in journalism. After all, how many times have journalists misreported that “cookies”, in the realm of computers, are “programs”? (Google “cookies are programs” and you’ll see the extent of this nonsense.)

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  1. Borenstein, Seth. (2010, December 12.) “Saturn’s rings: Leftovers from a cosmic murder?”. Associated Press. []

Kent Schaible’s parents found guilty

The right to practice religion freely does not include the right to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death…

Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves.

— Supreme Court of the United States1

Yesterday, in a quiet Philadelphia courtroom, Herbert and Catherine Schaible were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of their 2 year-old son Kent. Kent died on January 24, 2009, from bacterial pneumonia after suffering for about two weeks, according to court testimony.

The Schaibles belonged to the First Century Gospel Church of Juniata Park, a church whose pastor, Nelson A. Clark, preaches against the use of medicine but allows for dental care, seeming to forget that dental medicine is a form of medical care. After the trial, Clark said this:

We are hurting now. That should not have been. That was not what we wanted to hear. Not involuntary manslaughter.

Well, Clark, perhaps you should stop telling your congregation to eschew medical care and be more open to it, especially when a child has a fever and is coughing for more than several days. According to the press, this also isn’t the first time you’ve been at odds with civil authorities. Remember 1991, the measles epidemic that hit Philadelphia that was exacerbated not only by your church but also the Faith Tabernacle of Nicetown? (Nicetown?)

Let’s get one thing straight: true miracles never happen. If you believe that God will miraculously heal you or your child by just “asking for it”, then not only do you need to seek medical attention for your children, but a psychiatric evaluation certainly would not be out of order for you either.

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Schaibles called an expert witness to assist in their defense: forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, allegedly best known for outspoken criticism of the Warren Commission’s findings regarding the assassination of JFK. Until today, however, I’d never heard the name. But anyway…

Wecht testified in the trial that what killed Kent was a fast-moving strain of pneumonia that developed between 12 and 24 hours before Kent’s death and that Kent would likely still not have survived even if given medical care. This is at odds with other medical testimony, including the statements of the parents, which provide a timeline of approximately two weeks. The parents themselves said they had been praying for Kent for 10 days.

But let’s humor Dr Wecht’s conclusion that this was a “fast-moving” strain of pneumonia. First, we can’t know if Kent would have died even with medical care. Perhaps medical procedures have become so advanced that we still could have helped Kent. He had bacterial pneumonia, meaning it’s possible he would still have responded to powerful antibiotics, but we will never know.

Modern medicine was never given the chance to save him.

However, there’s one important question that needs to be asked of Dr Wecht and his testimony: are there any fast-moving strains of pneumonia that manifest 12 to 24 hours before killing a person? The only thing I’ve found that comes close to this description is MRSA, which can develop into a pneumonia that can kill a person in under 24 hours if it infects an open wound. Somehow I doubt something like that would escape notice of the medical examiner.

“We tried to fight the devil, but in the end the devil won”, Herbert Schaible is alleged to have said.

A lot of people have very, very naive and arrogant thoughts about the devil, Satan, or whatever name you want to give him. According to folklore, Satan has been at a near stalemate with God since before Creation, which implies that Satan is about equally matched with God. Why would he want to see one two year-old child die rather slowly? It seems to me that he would prefer massive destruction on the order of, say, an apocalypse.

And somehow I doubt that God, in the various incarnations I’ve heard of him, would send an innocent 2 year-old child to Hell. So how has Satan won with the death of this child?

In the end we have brainwashed parents who think that prayer is better than medical attention. Time and again, this has been shown to not be true. Too many names have been written into history as deaths caused by the stupidity, arrogance, and naivety of brainwashed pious parents. Some of those deaths were painful and horrific. And preachers leading these congregations teach these parents that they know better than medicine, that God always heals, and if God doesn’t heal then, well, you just didn’t have enough faith or pray hard enough.

Spare me your bullshit, Reverend, and start telling parents you’ve been wrong about this and that parents should seek medical attention for their sick children. As Common Pleas Judge Carolyn Engel Temin said at the end of the trial:

The law is what it is. You have to take care of your children. It’s not enough to pray for them. It’s not enough to feed them and clothe them. You also have to give them care when they need it.

The parents are to be formally sentenced in February and are, in the mean time, out on $150,000 bail.

* * * * *


Dean, Mensah. (2010, December 11). “Rhawnhurst couple guilty in son’s faith-case death”. Philadelphia Daily News.

Sample, Ian. (2007, January 19). “Bacteria tests reveal how MRSA strain can kill in 24 hours”. The Guardian (UK).

Slobodzian, Joseph. (2010, December 11). “Couple who believed in faith healing sentenced in son’s death”. The Philadelphia Inquirer.

United Press International. (2010, December 9). “Devil blamed in faith-healing trial”.

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  1. Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 US 158 (1944) []

Marriage = Commitment?

I’m a guy who is of the belief that when you read stuff intended for women, you learn more and best about what women want and how women think. As such I find myself reading sites like Yahoo! Shine, which has a section on Love and Sex. In that section today was an interesting article about commitment, wherein a woman who had been with her boyfriend for nine – that’s right, nine (9) – years was wondering why he won’t “commit”.

Let me put it this way, if you are a woman, and you think that a ring worth… oh… 1/4th his annual salary, given to you on bended knee, with tears rolling down his eyes as he pops the question is the only way he can truly show sign of commitment, you are basically little more than any guy’s worst nightmare.

For some reason, many, many women have it in the back of their minds that

Marriage = Commitment

Even if you’ve been together for years, living together for most of that time, both of you are faithful to each other and talking about your future together, without the marriage certificate and the wedding rings, somehow the guy is not or has not committed? Somehow I find that very, very hard to believe, and downright insulting to say the least.

So does that mean I’m not committed to my fiancée? Granted we are engaged, and we are planning to get married, albeit three years after our first intention – hey we ran into difficulties. Anyone who tries to tell me I’m not committed to my fiancée until we are married has earned themselves 32 missing teeth.

Our relationship has been built up to the point that when we do get married, nothing about our relationship should change. And that, I feel, is the best way to do things. Now “studies” show that couples who have lived together before getting married are statistically more likely to get divorced. My question is what happened in those individual relationships prior to the marriage. Did they prepare their relationship for marriage by living and acting like they are married?

The question that you need to ask yourself is how important the word “married” is to you. Is it really that important you be able to refer to the man in your life as “my husband”? And if so, why? What are you hoping to gain from getting or being married that you cannot have without the marriage certificate? In actuality, from what research I’ve done, there is virtually no difference – if you build your relationship properly.

In the company that employs me, one aspect of a promotion to the next pay grade is that you have already started doing work applicable to that pay grade. You do the work, then you get the title, not vice versa. Relationships really should be the same thing. After all you wouldn’t call a guy your boyfriend unless he actually acted like a boyfriend right? So why jump for “commitment” into marriage if he’s not acting like a husband? Do you think getting married will make him a husband? Fat chance.


Alleviating deadweight

You know, there’s one very simple way the government can reallocate billions of dollars in revenue that quite literally does nothing because it is nothing but virtually permanently labeled tax money, and I’m surprised no one has discussed this at all.

So what’s the solution? It’s quite easy, I promise.

Make all salaries of Federal employees exempt from Federal income taxes and proportionally reduce every Federal employee’s salary to an amount comparable to their current take-home pay.

Okay the accounting and math could be complicated, but when Federal salary disbursements are subject to Federal taxes, it basically becomes virtual money that never leaves the Treasury. This is why income taxes were not intended by the Founders, and why in economics taxes, especially income taxes, are considered a deadweight loss on a market or economy.

And when a government is taxing what it spends, it creates a near permanent deadweight loss that only grows as the size of government grows and more money is disbursed. Hmm… perhaps this is something to be studied further.

Eventually all Federal disbursements should be exempt from Federal income taxes. Actually, all government disbursements from any level of government should be exempt from all income taxes, whether State, Federal, or local. I wonder how much money would actually be freed up in not only the economy but the Federal budget doing this, and it’ll be a real economic stimulus, not a false stimulus paid for with borrowed funds.

Again, perhaps something to study further?