Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dave and Blarney and the Tea Parties

Blarney: Dave, did I see you coming from one of those TEA parties last week?

Dave: Yes, you did, Blarney.

Blarney: What is that all about?

Dave: Well, you know TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. It’s a play on words honoring the Boston Tea Party.

Blarney: Are you guys anti-government terrorists?

Dave: No, Blarney, that is ridiculous. We are for Constitutional government as envisioned by the founding fathers.

Blarney: Isn’t that what we have now?

Dave: Unfortunately, no. According to the Constitution, the federal government power is limited and enumerated. The real power belongs to the states and the people.

Blarney: You mean like anarchy?

Dave: No, Blarney. The founders wanted to strike a balance between statism and anarchy. They founded a representative Republic that was full of checks and balances to prevent power from accumulating at either end of the political spectrum.

Blarney: Like what?

Dave: Well, like the clear division of responsibility of the three branches of government. The legislative branch (Congress) was to create all laws. This branch would be bi-cameral with both a Senate and a House of Representatives. The house would have representation based on population. The Senate would have two Senators for every state, regardless of population. Both houses would have to agree on a bill before it was sent to the President for signature.

Blarney: Like the Health care legislation.

Dave: Well, sort of. Anyway, even if both houses of Congress agreed on a bill, the President could still veto it. And if he did, the Congress could override the veto with a super majority. The president could not make law – he could only sign the bill into law.

Blarney: What about the Executive Order that President Obama used to get the health care bill through?

Dave: That is not a law. Constitutionally, an executive order would only affect the Executive Branch. There is nothing to prevent the president from issuing an executive order cancelling the last one. He does not have a specified process to go through like the process specified for making a law. That process is a protection for the people against an arbitrary dictatorship ruled by a series of “executive orders”.

Blarney: I never thought of that.

Dave: The founders thought about a lot of things that most people today do not realize.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My friend, the first amendment

Congress shall make no law [This seems pretty straightforward to me.  This amendment is limiting the power of Congress to make a law] respecting an establishment of religion, [So Congress cannot establish a “Church of America” or some such silly thing.] or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; [On the other hand, Congress cannot prohibit me from worshipping the moon if I want to.] or abridging the freedom of speech, [I can tell the truth always about anyone or anything at any time – unless I am shouting “fire” in a theater – unless the theater were actually on fire.] or of the press, [Newspapers were the press of the day.  I would guess this extends now to radio  TV and the internet, but apparently that is debatable]  or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, [So no rioting, but peaceful protest is OK.  Or holding a meeting in a public place is OK] and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [So, I can communicate with the Congress, the Judiciary or the President.]


Here’s the amazing thing:  People don’t seem to realize that this has nothing to do with state, county, or city governments.  It does not apply to schools or individuals.  Notice also that it does not apply to executive orders (which according to the Constitution – would only apply to the President and his staff including the military).  That would be because Article I section 1 of the Constitution specifically states that NOBODY makes laws except Congress.  Wow, the amazing things one learns by reading the Constitution.  There is even an Article explaining how to make changes to the document.  (And no, it is not by judicial fiat).

Monday, April 05, 2010

Beat the Clock

How old is the earth?

That should be easy to calculate from any number of processes.  And it is.  The problem is that the different processes give different answers.  Here’s basically how to do it. Let’s say there is a process (radioactive decay) that converts one substance (call it A)into another (call it B).  All we need to know is the rate of conversion and the amount of substance B created by the process.  We can observe the current rate of conversion and assume that has been constant over time.  We can assume that all of substance B currently in existence was the product of the conversion.  Divide the quantity by the rate and you get the time.  Simple, no?

What’s that you say?  How do we know that all of B came from the conversion process?   I told you.  We assume it.  Now what?  How do we know there was no change in the conversion rate over the years?  We assume it.  For short periods of time that is not a bad assumption.  What?  You want to know how we can be sure the rate did not change over millions of years?  What kind of radical trouble maker are you anyway?  What part of ASSUME do you not understand?

Besides, the earth must be billions and billions of years old in order for evolution to have created the current array of humans and livestock form the primordial rocks.  No intelligent person doubts the extreme age of the earth.  Anybody who thinks the earth is young must be some kind of nut.

More to come . . .

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He is Risen

Perhaps is is fitting that my last post was about Christmas and this is about Easter. After all, the resurrection is the whole point of the miraculous birth. Jesus was not jus the perfect sacrifice; He has risen to execute His own last will and testament.

Don Francisco did a wonderful song from Peter's perspective called He's Alive. If you have never heard it, please listen and place yourself in Peter's situation.

Once you do that,you will feel, as Jairus did, Gotta Tell Somebody.

Have a Happy Easter, with good reason.