Archive for ‘politics’

August 21, 2012

Memo to Todd Akin

by Neil Rickert

According to news reports, Akin is now saying:

The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.

No, Mr Akin, the mistake was not in the words that you said.

When I first heard reports on that speech, I immediately understood that you had misspoken, and that the work “legitimate” was a very poor choice.  And I took that into consideration as I read what you had said.  And, after factoring in that correction, what you said remained stunningly ignorant and offensively sexist.

Apologizing for your choice of words is not enough.  It is not nearly enough.  That “apology” leaves us suspecting that you yourself are deeply ignorant and offensively sexist.

August 11, 2012

Romney’s principles

by Neil Rickert

New Republican VP nominee, Paul Ryan, has praised Romney for his principles.

I’ll have to admit that he has a point.  Romney’s principles are perfect.  As a mathematician, I cannot think of anything that could be more perfect than the empty set.

June 27, 2012

I agree with a UD post

by Neil Rickert

This might be a first.  Here’s a post at Uncommon Descent with which I strongly agree.

Westboro Baptist Church, your key to improving the state is obvious: Just shut down. And shut up.

Who would not agree with that?  I guess Jack Wu, for one.  Wu, who is running for a position on the Kansas Board of Education, talks about “this evil city of Topeka and this perverse state of Kansas.”  And to that, the UD poster says:

Mr. Wu, resign your candidacy. If that is the way you feel about your city and state, you’ve no business running for office. Nor should you wish to.

Well said.

April 26, 2012

Taxing the rich

by Neil Rickert

A recent post at Confessions of a Former Conservative begins with a quote from facebook on grade sharing:

Support Grade Sharing !

This new rule will only affect students with over a 3.8 GPA.
what it will do, is take a percentage of their grade and it will be applied to the students with a lower grade .

Share this with your kids, students, and liberal friends and watch the sparks fly !!!

This apparently comes from an argument on taxation, though I don’t have a facebook account so I haven’t tried to track down the details.

read more »

October 20, 2011

Sullivan on Obama and Quaddafi

by Neil Rickert

To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.

From Andrew Sullivan: A Tale Of Two Presidents

October 16, 2011

The “occupy” movement

by Neil Rickert

A short post in support of the goals of “Occupy Wall Street” and other occupy movements.

One of our two political parties seems to be a wholly owned subsidiary of big business, while the other pays too much deference to corporate interests.  It is good to see an awakening concern that the interests of the people are too often being ignored.

July 13, 2011

Just raise the debt ceiling

by Neil Rickert

Okay, I get it.  The politicians are at an impasse.  They are unable to reach a sensible compromise.

At least they should be able to raise the debt ceiling for now.  They can then fight the 2012 election on the question of how to deal with the budget problems.  Let the voters decide.

The alternatives will be to fight the election on the great depression of 2011-2012 caused by the Republicans putting ideological purity ahead of the best interests of the nation, or to fight the election on the issue of why the Republicans caused great suffering to people who depend on social security.


March 10, 2011

Illinois politics – the death penalty

by Neil Rickert

Congratulations to governor Quinn, for signing the legislation that ends the death penalty in Illinois.

Quinn says that he struggled with the issue.  I, too, have struggled with it.  In a case such as that of  John Gacy, it is hard to find any reason not to support capital punishment.  However, it was the Jeanine Nicarico case that changed my mind.  It’s a sad case of sexual assault and murder of a child.  Rolando Cruz was convicted of murder three times in this case.  Yet, on the basis of information available to the public (I was following the radio reports of the investigation), it was already clear by the time of the first Cruz trial that he was probably innocent.  This was a horrible miscarriage of justice.

Supporters of the death penalty are arguing that, with the use of DNA evidence, there is less risk of a recurrence of such a case.  But the problem in the wrongful conviction of Cruz was not one of evidence.  The problem then, was that we had a broken justice system.  It was a system where it seemed that the main goal was to get a conviction, and truth was of secondary importance.

As best I can tell, our justice system is still based on the wrong motivations.  Perhaps that’s due to a failure of human psychology.  With a broken justice system, there will be wrongful convictions.  We cannot afford to have capital punishment is a system that can so easily result in convictions of innocent people.

February 28, 2011

On unions and government workers

by Neil Rickert

I have never been a member of a union, and I have voted against unionization a couple of times.  This is partly because university faculty have rather good working conditions anyway.

However, unions are needed for some workers.  In particular, they can protect the workers against arbitrary and unreasonable actions by management.  And it is just such arbitrary and unreasonable action that we see coming from governor Walker, in Wisconsin.  So my support is for the unions in Wisconsin and in other states where they are under similar threats.

January 7, 2011

Illinois politics

by Neil Rickert

The local news is abuzz with reports of a deal in Springfield to increase state taxes.  Apparently, the state income tax would go from its current 3% to 5.75%.  Then, after 4 years, it would revert to 3.75%.  See here and here.

Nobody likes tax increases.  However, I applaud this change.  Part of the tax would be used to reduce property taxes and to fund schools.  And part of it will be to catch up with the deficit that has been building over the last several years.  I’m not sure who gets the credit (or blame) for this deal.  And, of course, it has not yet been enacted into law.  But it is good to see some fiscal sanity returning to Springfield.