Slash and burn
Last week, President Bush sent Congress a federal budget that eliminates funding programs for large cities, clean water and soil conservation, health insurance for low-income families, veterans’ medical benefits, city cops and county sheriffs, child care subsidies and programs for preschool children and at-risk youth — or in other words, every American but the super wealthy.
Bush claims he’s simply ridding the budget of programs that aren’t performing. But Bush’s plan to just slash the programs is like killing the patient to cure the cold.
Since Congress controls the nation’s purse strings, they bear most of the blame for improper funding or creating new programs while ignoring the performance of the existing ones.
No doubt there are hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted on useless projects as well. Every year, the omnibus bill is loaded with pork-barreled projects that siphon money from worthy programs to pay for a museum that no one visits or to transport naturally chilled water from one lake to another or for community pools and soccer fields.
But Bush has managed to rack up the largest one-year deficit in history ($427 billion) due to his own policies. Spending isn’t the problem, revenue is. After Bush championed four tax cuts in four years, federal revenues have fallen to the lowest share of gross domestic product since the 1950s.
The deficit drags on the economy, undermines the dollar in world currency markets and will leave a burden to the next generation of American taxpayers, but at least they’ll have Social Security. Right?
It’s still too early to tell if former all-star Jose Canseco’s “tell-all” book about steroids in baseball is an honest purging of guilt or a shameless ploy to make money. And that is the problem. Every word in the book (Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big) might be fact, but a large segment of the public won’t accept it — partly because the timing is a little too convenient but also because Canseco is not the most credulous messenger.
He was not well liked by most of his teammates over the years and the image of him most fans will remember is the fly ball that bounced off his head and went over the fence for a home run.
In the book, Canseco outs his former teammates, coaches and owners, including President Bush when he owned the Texas Rangers. He broke a time-honored code of silence that what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room. So he burned that bridge.
When the late Ken Caminiti admitted to using steroids in 2002, some in the game lashed back. But Caminiti did not implicate anyone else. He took sole responsibility for his actions.
Maybe Canseco can win back some support if he promises to donate all of his earnings from the book to programs that educate young athletes about the dangers of steroids.
In the beginning…
There is a new movement to try and portray Charles Darwin as the anti-Christ. Clergy in Kansas are trying to convince the state school board to allow teaching a theory of evolution called “intelligent design” in public schools. The Dover, Pennsylvania school board has already agreed to teach it.
The theory basically states that evolution is part of a grand design and not the result of random mutations and natural selection. Proponents of the theory claim that there is more than one possibility to the origin of species.
Of course, scientists don’t have all the answers and there is nothing wrong with theories. Scientists start with theories. But then they set out to prove or disprove their theories using practices that are universally accepted.
There are organizations fighting the approval of the design theory. They claim it is a back-door way to get religion taught in public schools.
But once again in the eternal struggle between science and religion the real losers are the students. It may sound reasonable to teach competing theories in classrooms. But where do we draw the line? Allowing one scientifically-unproven theory into the curriculum opens the floodgates for every other theory no matter how unbelievable. After all, a theory is just theory.
Here’s one: an alien race that was on the brink of extinction took bits and pieces of its own DNA and traveled throughout the galaxy seeding other planets that could be hospitable to life, like Earth. Since the planets’ chemical elements varied so too did the species that evolved.
I can’t really take credit for that one. It was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A good show, but not one that I would want as part of a science curriculum.
Science teachers should be teaching science. They are not hired to be theologians or philosophers. There are other places in our society that are more appropriate for debating the complex questions about existence. But until someone comes along to scientifically prove him wrong, Darwin is still the man.
Anywho, did you hear the story about the man in south Wales who cut off his own testicles with a knife because he lost a bet over a rugby game?
The Daily Mirror reported that Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Saturday’s match against the Welsh team that he told fellow drinkers at a social club, “If Wales win I’ll cut my balls off,” the paper said.
Friends at the club thought he was joking.
But after Wales won 11-9, Huish went home, made the cut and walked 200 yards back to the bar with the “family jewels” to show the shocked drinkers that he was sincere. Huish was taken to hospital where he remained in serious condition, the paper said.
I guess the joke is on them.