Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Never Enough Death Penalty Opposition Department

It appears that, for the first time since Michael Dukakis' disastrous run against George H. W. Bush, the Democratic Party has removed pro-death penalty language in their platform. Gutsy? Yes. Risky? Yes. But I dare the GOP to try to use the death penalty against Kerry.

Why the dare? Because Bush's record on the death penalty while serving as Texas Governor was so heartless that there is a web site dedicated to documenting Dubya's mocking, heartless attitudes towards the condemned--many of whom, on pure statistics alone, were certainly innocent.

Americans may be overwhelmingly (still) in favor of capital punishment for egregious crimes, but even the most stringently law-and-order conservative has to admit that Dubya has shown a remarkable lack of respect for human life. Should the Republicans thus try to use Kerry's opposition to the death penalty against him, they will find themselves hoisted by their own petards. Electrocuted by their own chairs. Injected with their own needles. The metaphors, and the deaths, go on.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Never Enough Capitalist Capitalists Department

"When you lose small businesses, you lose big ideas." -- Ted Turner

The quote above is from an essay Ted Turner wrote on media consolidation. Yes, that's right, the founder of CNN and the Turner empire of cable stations--starting with the Atlanta Superstation nearly 30 years ago--dares to speak on FCC regulations and the concentration of media in few hands.

And, as you can see from the quote, he's not fond of the current landscape. He strongly prefers a landscape where small businesses can become great through their own hard work and creativity, and not through endless cannibalization of other businesses. He even points out, with a nice twist of irony, that Rupert Murdoch wouldn't have reached the point where he can cannibalize other media outlets if it weren't for FCC rules in the first few decades after WWII which encouraged television outside of major corporate control. And he mourns the loss of innovation which has resulted from the loosening of FCC rules on ownership.

If Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch were ever put into a boxing ring and made to fight to the end, I'd bet my money on Ted. He's got a soul, and that means he can fight with more on his mind than the next million-dollar deal or tax break. Bless him.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Never Enough Anti-Capitalist Capitalists Department

So Halliburton keeps getting into deep trouble for overcharging. Why this is a surprise is not clear to me. After all, Halliburton has proved its total incompetence in details such as delivering food and water to troops. In a true free market system (unlike the one we have now) incompetence on such a pervasive scale would be rewarded in short order with bankruptcy. In order to survive as a business, Halliburton is forced to step out of the realm of free enterprise; croneyism, padding invoices, and government leechery is an inevitable result of a corporation's attempts to escape the financial Grim Reaper. And they are committed to maintain the crookedness. Unlike a somewhat more legitimate business, such as Boeing--which also uses croneyism, invoice padding, and generous government contracts to stay in business--at least Boeing has a legitimate product line. It's much more difficult to see how Halliburton can afford to stay in business without relying on friends in high places and a lack of financial oversight to keep their profit margins overly inflated. Surely no energy corporation interested in longevity can afford to keep the Halliburton hog fattened. I think the time has come for some bacon. Mmmmmmmmmm. Bacon.