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Corndogorama 2004:
Grand Champeen, The Dynamite Brothers, and the Forty-Fives CD release show: 
How's that for a big, greasy weinie of nightlife reporting?

We had a few other small volleys to the left/right debate spawned by the corpse of Ronald "I don't recall" Reagan. Even yours truly had a half-baked response half-done when RVI stepped up with the heavy artillery. So duck and cover!

PK said "WELFARE: I don't like going to the grocery store and having some welfare mother ahead of me with food stamps paying for a box of Cocoa Puffs and a 12 pack of Coca-Cola."
RVI: I don't like it either, but we both know that it is irrational, because illogical, to reason from too small a sampling of data. It's a logical fallacy called "arguinging from limited experience." Just because I may, oh, say, see one soldier torture and murder dozens of unarmed people in his custody, that does not mean I can rationally draw the conclusion that all soldiers do these things. Likewise, simply because you have seen a few "welfare mothers" buying things you don't like and approve of with food stamps hardly means you can rationally draw the conclusion they all do it. When is the last time you met all "welfare mothers" in the United States and examined their shopping carts every time they shopped, PK? Maybe, in your example, you caught the lady on a bad day; or, maybe, she knows nothing about nutrition because of having attended our underfunded public schools. In the end, however, the real issue is: are we a moral country if we allow poor/sick people to starve? I say no, you say yes. I say people have a responsibility to assist one another when they are in distress (when one is able); you say people don't have any responsibility to do anything for anyone else ever. I say we can and should use the government's power to force a contribution from those who are more than able to assist others in certain circumstances when those with the means to help fail to act voluntarily and sufficiently; you scream this is tyranny. I have 2500 years of Western Culture and Civilization on my side, you have a few cheap novels and poorly thought out books on pseudo-philosophy by Ayn Rand. My position is at least reasoned on the level of an adult who has to face the question of what is one's responsibility to others, regardless, perhaps, of one's emotional preferences; yours seems analogous to the demands of a spoiled child who refuses to do anything he does not want to do.

PK: "SOCIAL SAFETY: You'd rather spend money on some social safety net (whatever that is), but you disagree (probably) with Homeland Security? I see."
RVI: Changing the subject, are we? Fight me on the field I invited you to, not in some other place.

PK: "BASIC UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE: Is that like getting a tooth pulled without the Novocain? Is it quality healthcare you want, or just healthcare?"

RVI: People with no insurance or who are presently unable to afford their co-payments are not getting even basic coverage, much less "quality healthcare," whatever in hell that is. I am sure such people would be more than satisfied with having basic healthcare needs paid for collectively; basic healthcare needs would include things like regular check ups, dental, and mental health coverage, medications; it would not include extraordinary life saving measures, elective surgeries, unnecessary plastic surgeries, etc. Private insurance would still be available for that level of thing if you had the money and wanted to buy it. And, of course, you're always able to pay cash if you have it. Partially socializing medicine would not get rid of the private enterprise aspects, only limit their feild of involvement. This is the crux of the biscuit with you libertarian types: you assume and assert that in order to socialize medicine, etc., it would mean throwing out capitalism entirely; which is foolishness -- there will always be room for free enterprise outside the arena of basic coverage, basic services, just as, because a city might have a public subway it hardly means the more well-off can't own a car, hail a taxi or hire a limo.

PK: "EDUCATION: Just look at the numbers of private schools and home schools versus government schools. Is it quality education you want, or just education?"

RVI: Just look at some of the complete morons in this country and ask yourself if they are qualified to teach their children anything of lasting importance, much less motivated, and if they did teach them, what nonsense would it be? What is it, 60% of men admit they never read books now? And I'm sure when the other 40% do read one it's rarely Shakespeare or Plato, it's bad science fiction, fantasy, spy thrillers, Ayn Rand, L. Ron Hubbard, Tim LaHaye, Sean Hannity,.... The rich can always send their kids to private schools and whoever wants can always home school; the rest of us, in order to have that much vaunted "equal opportunity to succeed" in our country need a basic public education system. Parents have to be required to educate their children in one of the three ways (privately, home, or public) to keep the people in our fair land who think education is optional or of little importance from crippling the next generation of children, and people with money have to be required to fund the public system for the same reason.

PK: "THE ARTS: I just love spending my money on someone taking a crap on a canvas. Artists can make money if the fruits of their "labor" is in demand."
RVI: You have as much familiarity with the arts as I do with selling SCUBA equipment, i.e. none. Therefore, your likes and dislikes are hardly what we, as a country and a civilization, need to be appealing or listening to when deciding anything about supporting the arts. If the free market becomes the sole arbiter of artistic endeavor in our country, what will be left will be bad porn, religious propaganda, and American Idol, while real art and artists will go underground and art will only be seen and appreciated on a very limited, localized level.

RVI said: "> Of course, since I am a socialist, you knew what my answer would be. As for "how much," that would depend on how much you make. "
PK: "I agree. Those who earn $35,000 a year should pay the same percentage of tax as those making $135,000 a year. The "rich" will still pay more in taxes than the poor. Whattya think? Do we have a deal?"

RVI: No. Any percentage you care to name will affect a person making $35,000 more than the person making $135,000. More factors have to be taken into account, such as the cost of living, healthcare expenses, transportation, etc. And, you see, you have the bizarre idea people make what they "earn"; the fact is, people make the amount their culture decides their job is worth - hence a public school teacher makes less than a pro ball player, though the teacher is objectively of more worth. So, if most jobs are rewarded based on cultural preferences, not purely the Invisible Hand of supply and demand, the culture also has the right to decide whether any of one's earnings can be witheld and redistributed in the name of justice. If you don't like it, take it up with reality, not me.

PK: "Everyone has the same opportunity to succeed in this country. How will anyone succeed if they have no reason to better their lives?"

RVI: Everyone also has the same responsibility to see everyone has that opportunity to succeed and can exercise it fully. Hence, no one should go to bed in an alley, hungry, mentally or physically ill or addicted to a substance and not treated, ignorant and uneducated, and used as starvation wage (or less) slave labor. If this means some people, after we help them, are unmotivated or chronically have difficulty fitting into society, that is simply the price of having a humane and humanistic society. This number will not be the majority because, given a bare minimum of money, housing, nutrition, and education, most people will still want to have more or be more and will then work to gain their goals. Again, just because we might socialize one part of society, it doesn't mean we need to totally dismantle the capitalist system. Sometimes I think conservatives/libertarians fear abolishing poverty because it would mean their source of cheap, desperate labor would dry up and because, suddenly, there would be an influx of people into the system who no longer had to worry about whether they were going to eat and could, instead, turn that energy toward competing with the upper classes by becoming entreprenuers, researchers, innovators of all sorts.

RVI "> I think those with more resources have a responsibility to bear greater
> burdens than those who don't. It is the privilege
> of being strong and fortunate and,, maybe, smart."
JK: "Sounds like you justify our invasion of Iraq."
RVI: 'Hic Rhodes, hic salta.' Take your vast private school/college education and decipher that. Then come back and we'll talk.

JK: "Some people are happy to merely exist. Being a property owner is not the cause of my libertarian beliefs and actions, it's a result. Government's job is not to "alleviate suffering", its job is to govern. This country encourages a pursuit of happiness, it doesn't promise it."

RVI: So what if some people are happy to just exist? Some people are also happy to just let everyone run amok and tear apart society while calling that "liberty." Which is worse and causes a civilization more harm? Just because some people are followers and some leaders doesn't mean it's moral to write off the unmotivated as unsalvageable, unimportant, and expendable. This, too, is an irrational line of thought.

PK: "Those who are financially free are truly free."

RVI: Those who are moral are truly free. Any other goal is not worthy of a human's time and effort. Finances are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

PK: "A living wage is a wage on living."

RVI: A philosophy that can be summed up in a bumper sticker is worth about as much as a bumper sticker costs.

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