Still Here

September 19, 2007

Dear readers,

Despite the dearth of activity here, I am still actively checking the site and will start making posts again soon, once school is settled out more. If you are interested in contributing, please feel free to post here under the comments section – I’ll get your e-mail from Blogger.

Happy school year,

Matt

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The Unsung Legacy

June 19, 2007

by Matt

President Bush will have a mixed legacy for many years after he has left office, if his legacy is not looked down on by most Americans. His stances on the Middle East, the environment, tax cuts, and civil liberties in wartime will be debated for decades to come, and are largely responsible for his currently dismal approval ratings. There is, however, one aspect of the Bush legacy that is likely to go overlooked, despite the fact that it is a radical break from tradition and a brilliant way to balance fiscal conservatism with providing desperately-needed services. It is the Bush Administration’s faith- and community-based grant program.

For decades, the debate over providing social services in America has come down to whether the private sector or the public sector is superior. The private sector is efficient, cost-effective, and often able to provide higher-quality services than the state could ever manage. However, the private sector lacks the sheer size, organization, and resources that the government has. The Bush Administration has found a brilliant, decentralized way to provide much-needed services by balancing the government and citizen groups.

Rather than privatizing social services, the President has sought to streamline their delivery. This streamlining came through the “third sector,” the vibrant non-profit community in America. Non-profit organizations rooted in community service and faith have been providing for people for centuries. Groups ranging from the YMCA to America’s Second Harvest are proven leaders, capable of assisting millions of needy Americans. Unlike the federal government, they are not bogged down by bureaucracy and political concerns. Unlike the private sector, they are not motivated by profit or positive awareness for a company. They are efficient, effective, and a critical part of America.

The Bush Administration has wisely sought to distribute federal welfare and aid dollars directly into communities. Rather than relying on middlemen and bureaucrats, this approach focuses on the town food banks, the church shelters, and the volunteer after-school programs to assist ordinary Americans. This system of decentralized grants authorized to tried and true organizations is one place where the Bush Administration has not received due credit. It is an innovative approach that has the ability to transcend the conventional argument about how to provide social services by combining the best of both worlds.

Despite the fact that there needs to be a strong anti-discrimination clause in the law to prevent organizations, especially faith-based organizations, from denying assistance to homosexuals or members of different faiths, the idea is brilliant. America’s strength has always been in its people, and its resources have always been with its government.

Wise Americans will ensure that this program and its radical approach do not end with the Bush Administration. If we continue to provide services in a decentralized, efficient manner, we will be able to overcome the problems in both the private and public sectors to better the quality of life for all Americans.


No Tigers in Republican Cage Fight

June 7, 2007

by Matt
Of course I’m not *sniff sniff* gonna *sniffle* hate you, Ben *wipe tear away from eye*. There are other *voice trembles* emotions that will express themselves. *Uncontrollable wailing*

That cried, the debate was really unimpressive. McCain seemed really “friendly” to everyone, my friends, although, my friends, he had a really touching moment with the sister of the man who gave his life in Iraq. Giuliani was charismatic, but his answers were not that different from anyone else, except that apparently the wrath of God descended upon him a few times. Meh. It happens.

Speaking of God, a person’s beliefs on creation and the Book of Mormon really don’t matter. As long as an individual isn’t going to drag theology into the science classroom, whatever.

Was it just me, or did the candidates freak on gays in the army? They all seemed like they had something to hide… did anyone notice Romney jump frightened into Rudy’s arms when the question came out?

The only hotly contested part of the debate, apart from some dovish comments from ex-Libertarian Ron Paul, was the immigration debate. Tancredo made some strongly xenophobic remarks that were borderline racist. If he had his way in 1620, this post would be in Algonquin, and I’d be assimilated into a stylish Mohawk warrior hair cut by now. Not that that would be a bad thing, mind you. Kudos to McCain for having the spine to answer that bigot en espanol. Me gusta el senador de Arizona.

McCain’s my favorite still, although his libertarian spark definitely conceded the night to trying to take some conservative support back. Hopefully, he’ll be able to pull through as the mainstream American candidate, with or without the social conservative vote.


Blogging the GOP Debate at OO08

June 5, 2007

Matt’s going to hate me, but I’m having trouble with BSO tonight.
I’ll still be live-blogging the GOP Debate at:

http://www.ovaloffice2008.com


Blogging the GOP Debate

June 5, 2007

Hello Everyone,

I’ll be blogging thoughts throughout tonight’s GOP debate, here at BSO. I’ll be doing it every so often, hoping to provide some commentary.

For more up-to-speed observations, I’ll be Liveblogging at http://www.ovaloffice2008.com.

Ben


Liveblogging the CNN Debate…

June 3, 2007


Hello all…

I’m going to try to live-blog tonight’s CNN debate…starting at 7!
Not all quotes from candidates are word for word.

I want to mention that here at BSO I’m blogging in the format of COMMENTS, and at OvalOffice2008.com, I’m blogging in the form of a regular updated Blog post.

Both posts are different … some pieces of the debate may have more detail than another, and some might be the exact same way.

So…feel free to check out both posts, and let me know which style you like better, so I know what to do next time.

(I’ll probably, hopefully, blog the GOP debate on Tuesday).

7:03 first question to Sen. Obama

Obama: Next President much “phase out the war in Iraq” and finish the battle in Afghanistan.

7:05 Edwards: “War on Terror” bumper sticker.

7:07 HRC: Not a “bumper sticker phrase.” Invokes 9/11.

7:08 Kucinich: Patriot Act Unconstitutional.

7:08 Biden: [voted to continue war funding] References vehicles anti-IED vehicles — Don Imus told Biden to bring them up on his show a while back.

Forget the times…too tough to do.

Edwards: Obama and Clinton did not speak on how were going to vote until on floor of Senate, and among last to vote. Dodd was loud.

HRC: “George Bush’s War.” — Didn’t she vote to Authorize?

7:17 PM

Richardson: (Lists Credentials) … hate to say it, but Gov. Richardson has the confused look on his face again. Says we should deauthorize the war.

Mike Gravel!

“Democrats war also…”

“Remember Vietnam…all the dominoes are gonna fall! ”

7:21

Kucinich: “This war belongs to the Democratic party because they were put in charge by the last election.”

Biden: Not funding the war, funding the safety of troops there.

HRC: Vote did what needed to do; got rid of Saddam Hussein.

Edwards: I agree with some of what ‘Hillary’ said…we disagree, I should have NEVER voted against this war. Sen. Obama deserves credit for being against war from the beginning.

Obama: voting to authorize war not a ‘disqualifier’ for President.

Gravel: “we have killed more Americans than was done on the eleventh of September…MORE AMERICANS died because of their decision that disqualified them for President.”

7:30

Richardson: doesn’t support immigration legislation that divides families

Biden: We don’t need a fence.

Gravel: believes English should be official language of the United States.

Obama: That type of question is designed to divide us.

Edwards: Obama’s plan is not universal.

Obama: The difference between Edwards and Obama’s plan is Edwards wants universal healthcare for all, the real problem is families can’t currently afford insurance.

7:45 PM

Edwards: We need a law that everyone in America needs to be covered.

Kucinich: HR 676 — MEDICARE FOR ALL.

… another question for HRC… Gravel has gotten TWO by my count.

Richardson: Pro-civil unions/domestic partnerships

GRAVEL:
would send Bill Clinton as a roving ambassador, send his wife with him.
Bill Clinton “wimped out” on gays in the military.
Wish BC had been like Harry Truman who made it possible for Colin Powell to serve by desegregating the military.

Richardson: Israel “great ally.”

I can’t stand Hillary’s laugh.

7:58 PM

Dodd: Plan would require by 2017 50 MPG standard and a Carbon Tax

Richardson: Former Sec’y Energy

New Mexico: Incentives for Clean Energy

Richardson Oil companies not involved in price gouging.

Break

Blitzer needs to tone it down.

Richardson: “Hero’s Health Care Card” – provide service ANYWHERE for Veterans.

My arms are tired…going to take a break…

DARFUR: Richardson, Edwards: US should boycott Olympics if China doesn’t use Darfur influence.

Gravel: Should be 4 years of school for 1 year of military service

rest of debate commentary at ovaloffice2008.com

sorry, guys!


Pro-life and Pro-family? I Think Not

May 28, 2007

by Matt

For eight years, President George W. Bush has courted the support of social conservatives and pro-life Christians by calling for America to embrace a “culture of life.” Specifically, the President has opposed abortion and embryonic stem cell research while in office, even going so far as to veto a bill to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

I am pro-life, and share the President’s opposition to legal abortion, although my view on embryonic stem cell research is different. There is a tragic flaw in the President’s support of the pro-life movement, however: a little-known law in Texas that Bush signed as governor, permitting hospitals to end treatment of patients, even if the family opposes the decision.

For all of his talk about family values and the right to life, Bush’s record suggests otherwise. The law became the center of a medical ethics debate in April when Catarina Gonzales’s infant son, Emilio, was born with a serious genetic disorder. He was unable to see, speak, or eat, and needs a respirator to breathe for him. He passed away after only 19 months on Earth when doctors removed his respirator, against the wishes of his mother, a devout Catholic.

The law, signed by Bush and called the Advance Directives Act, allows doctors to stop treating a patient whose ongoing care they deem to be medically futile and gives families 10 days to find another doctor or facility willing to treat their loved one, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Ms. Gonzales could not afford an alternative way to save her son, and so her right to decide whether or not he remained on a respirator was waived.

It is disturbing that a self-proclaimed “pro-life” president is willing to endorse a law allowing medical personnel to have more of a say over end-of-life decisions than a family does. It is disturbing that an individual’s right to make their own decisions regarding whether or not they continue to receive care when doctors make a diagnosis can be overridden. It is hypocritical that the same man who pressured the courts to order that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube remain in place against her husband’s wishes in order to “defend life” once enabled doctors to take precedence over personal liberties. The only non-hypocritical aspect of these two cases is that Bush opposed a family’s rights to make life and death decisions twice.

The President’s views on abortion and embryonic stem cell research may be sincere and heartfelt, but he is not pro-life in my eyes. It is disturbing that medical efficiency and saving money is more important that human life and family values. Apparently, Bush fails to see the hypocrisy in his words and decisions.