Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arizona Propositions

The elections are coming! The elections are coming! Since Tuesday is the midterm election, I thought we would break our normal routine and take the week to discuss the Propositions on the ballot. My plan is to work through them one at a time, trying to get a definitive understanding of each so you feel informed enough to vote on Tuesday. Ones with underlined links are ones we've finished discussing on the show, and the link jumps to my post on that Proposition, and the number indicates my support (0-100%, with my supported vote):

Prop 106: 90% Yes. Arizona opt-out from the Obamacare individual mandate.
Prop 107: 80% Yes. Ending public affirmative action programs.
Prop 109: 80% Yes. Make hunting, fishing, and harvesting of wildlife an Arizona Constitutional right.
Prop 110: 100% Yes. Giving Arizona the ability to exchange land in addition to selling it.
Prop 111: 40% No. Lieutenant Governor.
Prop 112: 100% Yes. Moving the deadline for initiative petitions up to May 1st from July 1st.
Prop 113: 95% Yes. Requiring secret ballots for organizing workplace unions.
Prop 203: 10% No. Permitting medical marijuana.
Prop 301: 60% Yes. Transfer funds set aside by Prop 303 in 1998 for land conservation back into the Arizona general fund.
Prop 302: 50.01% Yes. Transfers funds set aside by Prop 203 in 2006 for early childhood development and health back into the Arizona general fund but still for those purposes.

Ballot Initiatives (AZ Secretary of State)
Ballot Measures (Arizona Republic)

Prop 302: First Things First Fund Sweep

I am 50.01% supportive, I barely encourage a YES vote, holding my nose the whole time.

What it does
o Moves money from the Early Childhood Health and Development Board Fund (First Things First fund) into the general fund
o Eliminates the Early Childhood Development and Health Board as of December 1
o Permanently redirects the 80 cent tax into the general fund
o Designates that money for health and human services for children.
o Prop 203 (which I opposed) won 53.2 to 46.8 in 2006.
o $345 million in this fund currently.
o Tried to take $7 million. Lawsuit prevented it.
o Brewer wanted a loan of $300 million, which was offered, but thwarted by lawmakers.

o The programs this serves are too narrow given our current funding crisis.
o How much do these programs really accomplish anyhow?
o Everyone else is cutting, we have to as well.
o The agency hasn’t done so well anyhow, look how much excess fundage they have even only functioning for 4 years.
o Supporters
--Republican lawmakers,
--The Arizona Tax Research Association,
--The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

o Ruins First Things First
o Early brain development is essential.
o Betrays voter trust and violates the will of the people. (The will of the people changes very easily. Not obligated to keep it just because had it in the past)
o The root of our budgetary crisis isn’t the existence of this tax, so why should this tax be redirected to solve a problem it didn’t create.
o Still won’t solve the deficit entirely.
o Opponents
--Arizona chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics,
-- Children's Action Alliance,
--St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center,
--Arizona Public Service Co.,
--former governors Raul Castro and Rose Mofford,
--various United Way programs around the state.

My thoughts
o This is a permanent sweep. I’d be more likely to favor a one-time sweep.
o Casinos for education. No, casinos raise revenue which then just displaces money into something else.
o If money spent on early development is so crucial, it seems we should take some from that spent on older kids and move it down the age scale.
o This is exactly why I hate ballot propositions by mere majority vote. You can barely get them in (with a new tax) and then just a bare majority can completely change it later.
o I will never again vote for a separate funding scheme!
o The legislature should have given us three options:
--As is 302: Permanent sweep of surplus and tax, end the board.
--303: One time sweep, continue as before afterward.
--304: One time sweep, end the tax and the board.

Prop 301: Land Conservation Fund Sweep

I am 60% supportive, I encourage a YES vote.

What it does
o Moves money set aside in the Land Conservation Fund into the general fund.
o Prop 303 passed 52.9 to 47.1 in 1998
o Current deficit is $825 million
o Applications granted but not paid from Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Coconino County would reduce the benefit to $50 million

o $124 into the state budget at a time when we are running a massive deficit.
o Failure to do this will mean more cuts to K-12, universities, low income health care, and prisons. Or else more taxes.
o The money ($20 million per year) came out of the general fund.
o No one is offering a real plausible alternative way to solve the budget problems.
o About 1/3 of 2008 funds were lockboxed and must be brought back into general fund.
o It ends next year anyhow. How would these projects be funded from 2012 going forward?
o Supporters
--GOP lawmakers and
--the Arizona Tax Research Association

o Undoes the will of the voters in 1998.
o Rewards incompetence in government.
o Open space and conservation are important concerns.
o Opponents
--The Arizona Education Association,
--Sierra Club,
--Sonoran Institute,
--McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and
--Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection.

o Why does it cost so much money to preserve land as it is?

My thoughts
o I hate to see the original set-aside kind of funding happen, I hate to see us need money, and I hate to reward politicians for growing government then asking to rob funds we made when rich.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Prop 203: Medical Marijuana

I'm 10% supportive, I encourage a NO vote.

What it does
o This is the fourth time since 1996 that Arizonans have been asked to decriminalize marijuana as a medicine.
o In 1996, voters approved a ballot proposal that allowed the use of medical marijuana. But state lawmakers gutted the law after federal authorities threatened to revoke the licenses of doctors who prescribed marijuana.
o In 1998, voters rejected a ballot attempt that would have required Congress or federal government to OK the use of medical marijuana before doctors would prescribe it.
o In 2002, Arizona voters rejected an effort to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and make it available for free to patients who have cancer and other diseases.
o Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana, including California and New Mexico.
Observations on the law itself
o Non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries
--I couldn’t figure out why all this effort and language was put in to establish non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries…until I got to the very end: tax exempt status.
--Why should marijuana be a tax-free product?
--The entire idea of Medical Marijuana is that this is Just Like Any Other Drug! So, let pharmacists stock and dispense it as if that were true.
--This reminds me of the old story that an NBA player gets rich, sets up a foundation, and then employs his family at it.
--If the department wants to inspect, they have to give reasonable notice first. Why?

o Designated caregiver
--I really just don’t understand this part of it at all.
--Why is it limited to “helping” just five or fewer patients, except that it's got abusive potential built in?

o Miscellaneous
--There’s this really weird exception right in the beginning about it being okay to transport them in your car if you’re moving.

o What conditions
--Severe and chronic pain
--This strikes me as “health” of the mother, the sort of thing that you can't prove or quantify.

o Special exceptions
--This law doesn’t allow you to possess or use it on a bus, at school, etc.
--Why don’t other drugs have this same issue? You can’t ride home with your prescription? You can’t take your pills in a public place?

o Driving
--No specificity for driving impairment.

o Application process
--No address is necessary if homeless, but then where would you use it?
--Pledge not to divert to anyone not covered under this plan. How about to not anyone? Just like with other drugs.
--There’s a provision allowing people to be notified about marijuana studies. But this implies that we don’t already know enough about it.
--If we already know enough for it to be safely prescribed, then why doesn’t any disease call for it? If we don’t already know enough about it, then why should we be permitting people to buy it?
--Speaks about controlling dosages for under 18 (and over, presumably), but what is the dosage regimen?
--Automatically get a card after 45 days if no reply by department.

o Database
--Doesn’t tell addresses
--Tells how much marijuana from non-profit, but not from all dispensaries.

o Illegality
--Someone in possession of marijuana is presumed innocent under this statute if they also have a card. You have to show they misused the marijuana. Overused.

o Work
--You can’t be fired for testing positive, only for testing high.
--If it’s a legitimate drug, why can’t you use it at work?
--Does pain or nausea go away just because you’re on the job?
--Prop. 203 would give protections to marijuana users that other drug users don't have. Prop. 203 would prohibit employers from discriminating against registered users in hiring or termination; schools from refusing to enroll registered users; and landlords from denying leases to registered users.

o Insurance
--Does not compel insurance or doctors to cover or prescribe
--But why not? If it’s really just like any other drug.

o Location of use
--No compulsion to allow people to dose when on your property
--Why not, if just like any other drug.

o Amount
--2.5 ounces = 1-200 joints, every 14 days. 7-14 per day.

o Cost: Joint Legislative Budget Committee, DHS, total users
--2011--$600,000, $1.2 million, 6,600
--2012--$1.5 million, $1.5 million, 33,000
--2013--$3.1 million, $4.7 million, 66,000
--The funding doesn’t add up. 120 in the first year, at $5000 per is indeed $600,000. But in the second year, the renewal fee is $1,000, which is only $120,000. Since the funds are going to jump by 2.25 second year, how can this work?

o If I or my sons had a condition that seemed unresponsive to other treatments, I would want the freedom to try something like this.
o The ability to handle pain/nausea associated with chemotherapy.
o 14 states already have some sort of provision.
o Fixes some of the mistakes of CO and CA, such as limiting the number of dispensaries and the number of conditions to prescribe for.
o Supporters say marijuana is a natural, safe and effective substitute for painkillers, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, commonly prescribed to patients with severe illnesses. Long-term use of these medications can lead to addiction and physical dependence.
o Proponents say people can die from overdosing on prescription pills, but they can't die from overdosing on marijuana.
o Marinol, a synthetic THC pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is available by prescription to treat nausea and appetite loss for cancer and AIDS patients. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. Supporters say there are other active ingredients in the marijuana plant that could be used as medicine. If Prop. 203 passes, all parts of a marijuana plant and its seeds would be legal to use.
o Prop. 203 is often compared to medical-marijuana measures in other states. Proponents argue that Prop. 203 is written with more regulation than other states' laws, and that it has stricter limits for the diseases and symptoms that would qualify patients to receive marijuana.
o Supporters
--Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project
--Pima County Democratic Party.

o Which message do we want to send to children: marijuana is dangerous and you should just say NO or marijuana is a good thing?
--Social stigma is currently 100% negative, this would make it conflicted.

o Usefulness
--FDA doesn’t recognize marijuana as treatment for any condition.
--Marinol is already available.
--No FDA medicine is smoked.
--Pain medications already exist.
--Pain is a very difficult and subjective thing to quantify.
--American Medical Association declined to incorporate marijuana and wants to keep it illegal.
--American Academy of Pediatrics opposes this
--American Cancer Society opposes
--National Multiple Sclerosis Society rejects marijuana
--American Glaucoma Society rejects marijuana
--American Academy of Ophthalmology rejects marijuana

o Will this lead to more people using and abusing marijuana?
88% of all applicants in Montana cited severe or chronic pain.
--Use is decreasing in all 50 states, but less so in states where legal
--Teens use most pot.

o Traffic accidents
--Marijuana is already the most common illegal drug involved in crashes.

o Gateway law for the gateway drug.
--Marijuana Policy Project which wants legalization, is behind this.

o Opponents
--Arizona Department of Health Services
--Clean Adventures in Sober Living
--First Step Recovery
--Decision Point Center
--An array of County Attorneys and Sherrifs
--Center for Arizona Policy
--Keep AZ Drug Free

o Why don’t we prescribe alcohol?
o ow many people will this truly help who aren’t already being helped, and how many people will abuse this law?

Prop 113: Requires secret balloting for unionization

95% support, I encourage a YES vote. 

What it does
o Guarantees that all union votes would be by secret ballot
o Currently, if workers want to form a union they must collect signatures. If 30 percent of workers sign in favor of a union, then the National Labor Relations Board hosts a secret-ballot election. If the majority of workers vote in favor of a union, one can form.
o The secret-ballot election may be skipped when a majority of workers sign in favor of a union, and workers and their employer agree to no election.
o This is how we do other elections, why not here as well?
o Who could be against secret balloting, except those who want to bully and intimidate and punish after the fact?
o The most fair election is a secret one. Who can argue with that?
o Congress has introduced the “Employee Free Choice Act” (Card Check) which would mandate that the presentation of 50% of workers signed cards to organize would constitute ground to form a union without employer consent. Currently, the employer can consent to it but doesn’t have to. Instead, they can call for a true vote by secret ballot.
o From the National Restaurant Association
1. A card-check process increases the risk of coercion. When a union tries to organize a workplace, employees sometimes face intimidation and pressure about how they should vote, from the union, management, or both. The best way to protect employees from coercion is through the continued use of a federally supervised, private-ballot process.
2. Private ballots are a basic American right. The entire American system is based on respect for individual liberty and democracy. If Congress passes this proposal, they will strip away the protections that federally protected, democratic elections provide for American workers.
3. An employee’s decision to join a union should be made in private. Employees should not have to reveal to anyone -- employers or unions -- how they exercise their right to choose whether to organize with their co-workers in a union. Moving to a card-check process rather than a federally supervised election tramples on employee privacy. An employee’s decision to join a union should be made in private, protected from any coercion by unions, employers or co-workers.
o Secret balloting protects the weak against the powerful
--The worker against the employer
--The worker against the union
--The worker against his fellow workers.
o Under what set of conceivable circumstances would a union form under card check but not under secret balloting? Only one: when a majority of people shielded from publicity vote not to organize.
o This doesn’t make the process any more difficult than it already is.
o The best argument for this is the weak and contradictory arguments offered against it.
--It’s a publicity stunt with no real impact
--But it’s simultaneously the greatest threat against your unionization rights you can imagine, “silencing your vote at work”
o Supporters
--The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
--National Federation of Independent Business-Arizona and
--Arizona Tourism Alliance.

o This is a solution looking for a problem since it’s only a future development. (I like the idea that our Constitution comes before the infringements, especially if they seem imminent.)
o Opens to intimidation by employers
o Opens to delays by employers
o Makes it harder to organize because it doesn’t allow mere majority card check elections. (Notice they aren’t talking about anyone’s “right” to know how everyone else voted, nor the “right” to vote in secret)
o Opponents argue the measure could open Arizona to costly lawsuits because if approved, it may conflict with federal law if Congress passes the Employee Free Choice Act.
o Opponents
--The Arizona AFL-CIO,
--Arizona Education Association and
--Arizona Advocacy Network.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prop 112: Moving the deadline for initiative petitions up to May 1st from July 1st

I'm 100% supportive, I encourage a YES vote.

What it does
o Change the date, by moving it up two months, for filing citizen initiatives.
o Legislature unanimously referred it to the ballot.
o Failed in 1984 to make it 6 months
o Failed in 2004 to make it 7 months, 31.9% to 68.1%

o Gives the necessary time to process and verify such efforts.
o Prior ones were struck down as unverified and there wasn’t enough time to appeal.
o O’Connor house project.
o Tends to make them harder to file, which is good, since we live in a representative democracy, not a direct one.
o Total bipartisan support.
o Supporters
--State Sen. Bob Burns, R-Peoria,
--State Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix,
--Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
--Arizona Farm Bureau.
--Center for Arizona Policy

o No arguments filed against
o If it ain’t broke? (But it has been broken in the past)

Prop 111: Lieutenant Governor

I'm 40% supportive, I encourage a NO vote.

What it does
o Change SOS to Lt. Governor in 2015
o Couple Gov and Lt. Gov vote in election so that both are from same party.

o Continuity of government
o Would have prevented several cross-party successions in recent years
o Jan Brewer after Napolitano
o 100% yes on changing the name. It’s the other parts that concern me
o O'Connor house project
o Since 1987 no AZ governor has completed two full terms.
o Only five states don’t have a Lt. Gov.
o Supporters
--Gov. Jan Brewer,
--the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and
--Greater Phoenix Leadership.

o Best candidate for each individual office should be elected to that office.
o How will this impact third parties who may not field viable candidates for both offices?
o By definition, Independent has no party affiliation to satisfy this requirement.
o Will only lead to the reinstatement of a Secretary of State eventually.
o But Jan Brewer was a tremendously welcome change to Napolitano!
o Less desirable LtGov candidate gets in because you can’t split the vote.
o Concerns about being the elections chief and a beneficiary ( But this is also true now, right?)
o We need a better version of this same idea. Either the Gov. candidate picks Lt. Gov or else the top two votegetters for Gov become Gov and Lt. Gov candidates.

o Why not make it the way Presidential elections work?
o How does it work in other states?
--About half the states do it as a team, half do it individually.

Prop 110: Giving Arizona the ability to exchange land in addition to selling it.

I'm 100% supportive, I encourage a YES vote.

What it does
o Could sell or lease without auction or announcement to be able to guarantee compatible uses.
o Gives the State the power to trade land in the land trust.
o Arizona Supreme Court said this is necessary to do so.
o Two independent appraisals of value, two appraisals of income impact, public comment period, and a statewide vote required to make the deal.
o Legislature referred to the ballot.

o Necessary because the AZ Supreme Court said that land exchanges long practiced weren’t Constitutionally permitted.
o This just officially permits what the State always had done.
o No one is against it.
o We need to control our land to insure preservation of military uses in the future, since that’s such a great source of income to the state.
o Bipartisan support, and transparency in the process which satisfy prior opponents of land-swap empowerment.
o Supporters
--Arizona Education Association,
--Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter,
--Gov. Jan Brewer,
--Arizona Farm Bureau and the
-- League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

There isn’t much state land near Luke anyhow.

Prop 109: Make hunting, fishing, and harvesting of wildlife and Arizona Constitutional right.

I'm 80% supportive, I encourage a YES vote.

What it does
o Grants a right to hunt, fish, and trap lawfully.
o Preserves ability to restrict these things as necessary.
o Declares hunting and fishing to be the preferred means of controlling wildlife.
o Currently, the mission of the Game and Fish Department is to "conserve, enhance, and restore Arizona's diverse wildlife resources and habitats," and managing hunting and fishing is a key responsibility for the agency. Prop. 109 would limit the department's authority by making lawful hunting and fishing the preferred method of controlling and managing wildlife.
o By making this a Con right, it would take more signatures to change it as opposed to a mere law.
o Legislature referred to the ballot.
o To fight hunting restrictions, the National Rifle Association has led a campaign to include the right to hunt in state constitutions nationwide.
o The NRA created the language used to craft Prop. 109.
o No major restrictions on hunting have been approved since voters authorized a 1994 ban on the use of leg-hole traps on public lands.
o In 2000, Arizonans rejected a measure that would have made it more difficult to pass voter initiatives related to hunting.

o Do Americans have a fundamental right to hunt, trap, and fish?
o Or is it a privilege granted by other citizens?
o Animal rights activists and others are continually threatening this basic right.
o Humane Society president said he would like to shut down all sport hunting if he could.
o Hunters and fishers are entitled to more say in how state handles wildlife since their licensing fees are the primary source of funding for the Game and Fish Department
o Limits future changes to hunting and fishing activities by voter initiatives.
o It ought to be very hard to violate the right to hunt and fish.
o Supporters
--Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club,
--Gov. Jan Brewer,
--National Rifle Association,
--Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife and
--Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society.

o Too narrowly emphatic about hunting as the control mechanism for wildlife.
o Wildlife is held in trust by the state, this grants too much power to individuals who may not have best interests of the state in mind.
o Costly lawsuits against current normal restrictions.
o Vague language (unreasonable, traditional)
o Opponents
--Humane Society of the United States,
--Animal Defense League of Arizona and the
--Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter

o How dire of a threat is this, and how much of an actual change in current practice would this be?
o This would make us the 13th state to approve such a right.
o Tennessee, SC, and Ark are voting on it this year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Prop 107: Ending public affirmative action programs.

I'm 80% supportive, I encourage a YES vote.

What it does
o Ends all preferential treatment based on race, gender, color, ethnicity, national origin for public employment, public education, or public contracting
o Legislature referred this one.
o 2008 was tried, but not enough signatures

o Affirmative action is unnecessary and unfair.
o All men are created equal and should be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin.
o Aff. Action tells minorities/women that they can’t compete equally
o Stigmatizes all beneficiaries and even non-beneficiaries as less able.
o Made sense in the past, but not today.
o Look at the groups against it: American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, Urban league, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Bar. All have vested interest in maintaining racial/gender identity.
o Equality is sometimes more equal for some than for others.
o Redistribution on the basis of gender/race contrary to merit.
o Who has power now that feels threatened by this?
o The only way to get to a discrimination free society is to stop discriminating at some point.
o Supporters
--Arizona Farm Bureau Federation,
--American Civil Rights Coalition,
--Clint Bolick (director of the Goldwater Institute's legal arm),
--National Association of Scholars and
--Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

o It makes us look like racists to the rest of America
o Good Old Boys network.
o Outsider groups
o Anti-equal opportunity initiative.
o WISE—Women in science and engineering, would go away.
--Why are women underrepresented in these fields?
o Opponents
--League of Women Voters of Arizona,
--American Association of University Women Arizona,
--Arizona Education Association,
--Greater Phoenix Urban League,
--Arizona Public Health Association and
--Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.
--Hispanic chamber of commerce
--Hispanic bar

o How many other states have done this or are considering it?
--We would be the fifth state to have this.
--California, Michigan, Washington, Nebraska
--Failed in Colorado
--Failed to get signatures in Missouri, Oklahoma

o Why do we need this?
--Aff Action programs are pretty weak these days.

Prop 106: AZ opt-out for Obamacare's individual mandate

I'm 90% supportive, I encourage a YES vote.

What it does
o Preserves Arizonans’ right to not buy health care insurance and to pay directly for insurance.
o Prohibit compulsory health insurance by anyone.
o Allow to buy/sell health treatment directly
o We can buy or sell health insurance freely.
o Doesn’t change laws in place prior to 1/1/9

o Four sorts of people
1. I dislike Obamacare—Vote Yes.
2. I like Obamacare generally, but I don’t think it’s my right to force people to do what I like. Pro-Choice—Vote yes
3. I like Obamacrae, but I don’t think it’s constitutional—Vote Yes.
4. I like Obamacare so much that I think it’s right to force it upon everyone—Vote No.

o Medical freedom. The right to make my own choices about my body.
o “Keep your Obamacare off my body.”
o This sort of response to an invasive federal program should be a last resort, and it is.
o Obamacare is unconstitutional, and this just reinforces the fact.
o Prop 101 failed in 2008 50.2% to 49.8%
o Everything that was said in 2008 now looks prophetically true.

o Wouldn’t hold up to a court challenge.
o Puts us at war with the federal government
o Would prohibit a statewide medical program or an expansion of something like AHCCCS
o It’s not necessary since there’s no public option in the current Obamacare.
o Individual mandate doesn’t take place until 2014. (That’s why it’s necessary now.)

o Impact on current programs?
--The lanuage in D5 seems to prohibit medicare withholding.
--Medicaid/Medicare/AHCCCS—resolved by the 1/1/9 grandfather clause
o How many other states are doing this?
--Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Utah, and Virginia have passed similar
--OK and FL will decide this year.

Notes from Prop 101 in 2008
~Prop 101 would establish a Constitutional right to medical choices and would prevent the government from restricting access to any private pay plans or doctors or treatments and would also prevent any law passing that would penalize anyone for obtaining or declining to obtain any sort of medical coverage.
~Advocates say that government imposed medical plans are possibly the greatest threat to our quality of medical care and freedom to choose.
~They also note that freedom means being able to pick a plan or type of care that is right for you based on your own individual choices.
~Opponents say that this protects the for-profit medical industry against government trying to help the situation and that it might be used to undo any restrictions on abortion.
~80% support. I encourage a YES vote.
~The idea here is to protect people in their ability to seek medical solutions for themselves and prevent any government program or approach to health care which would require or restrict particular choices in health care. It's almost hard to see why people would be opposed to this, since it seems like such a simple individual liberty. Nobody should be forcing you into health care or into a certain type of health care.
~This is a perfect thing to put in the Constitution since it deals with fundamental human rights. Also, this is a right which Benjamin Rush had wanted to include in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.
~Health care in the US isn't perfect, but it is very good in my opinion. I don't want to live anywhere else. Government is not the solution to whatever problems do exist because whatever government touches generally seems to become more expensive and less productive, the basic problem of interfering with markets and competition.
~So many of the arguments made against this proposition are disingenuous or fraudulent that this alone pushes me in favor of it to a degree.
~If anything gives me pause here, it's the names of some of the groups that oppose the proposition: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Association of Community Health Centers, AARP, and virtually every chamber of commerce in the Valley. But they haven't made arguments which persuade me, and I'm not going to side with them just because there are many of them.
~The basic issues here seem to be freedom and options, but with incompatible kinds of freedom and options. Advocates want to keep freedom and options open for individuals, while opponents want to keep freedom and options open for governments. But all Constitutional rights protect people and restrict governments, so the idea that this will limit the government's options isn't so much an argument as it is a restatement of the definition of terms. As a conservative, I say it's okay to protect people's right to medical care against government intrusion.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Marijuana Should Be Legal

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~The Bible doesn’t mention it, let alone prohibit it.
~It’s far more similar to tobacco/nicotine or alcohol than to heroin or methamphetamines.
~It has medical benefits.
~People spend money on it, why not tax it and get a share?
~Nobody ever died of a marijuana overdose.
~People should be allowed to live their lives as they see fit.
~Where in the Constitution do you see the power to regulate drugs?
~Many religions use drugs to help achieve transcendent states.
~Cops, courts, and jails could be used for more important things.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~Interview with Steve Browning about the 4th Annual Faith Summit this Thursday at the Capitol.
~Parables of Jesus 11: The Unjust Judge and the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18)
~Is success a Christian value?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ethics: Should firefighters respond even if the owner hasn’t paid his fee?

In Tennessee two weeks ago, a distraught rural homeowner called the fire department to come out to his property and was promptly told that he had not paid his annual $75 fee and so the firemen would not be coming. He offered to pay whatever fee they named, but they refused. Over the course of the next two hours, the fire spread and the owner kept calling. Eventually, the firemen came only to watch the fire consume his home and eventually step in when it spread to a neighboring vacant field whose owner had paid. Who is responsible in this case, and did the firemen or the city manager (who defended the decision) do anything wrong here? Are firemen obligated to stop fires even for people who haven’t paid?

Firefighters let home burn (MSNBC)
Why firemen let that house burn down (NYT)
TN firefighters watch home burn (with video) (NYT)
Glenn Beck on the fire (Examiner)
Is this event crazy capitalism? (CSM)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--We shouldn’t care what others think of us.

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Jesus repeatedly warns us that we will suffer hardship for Him.
~Jesus did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
~Only those who aren’t really Christians care whether people like them.
~If our identity in Christ is secure, we are completely indifferent to what others think of us.
~Caring about other people is idolatry.
~If Jesus suffered persecution, who are you to try to avoid it?
~All who live Godly in Jesus will get persecution.
~If you really know who you are, you won’t care what others think
~If other people have trouble with you, that’s their problem.
~My only job is to be the me that God made me to be, and if other people don’t like it, well they should take it up with God.
~How many people in history have been damaged or destroyed because they tried to fit into some ill-fitting set of social expectations?
~We’re supposed to get our identity and approval only from God, not from other people.
~There’s really no difference between doing something for social approval and doing something for money. Both are just reward schemes designed to get us to compromise on who we really are.
~How many people become slaves to the opinions of others?
~History isn’t made by people who try to fit in and get approval but by people who stood out and did their own thing.
~Conformity is just another word for destroying who you really are.

It's a false dilemma
There’s a vast spectrum of midpoints between placing a high or even an ultimate value on the opinions of others and placing no value on it at all.
We should care about people liking us, but we should not be defined by it.

Sometimes we shouldn’t care, but most of the time we should care.
As long as our care is a something and not an ultimate thing.
Productive social units require mutual consideration and compassion and forbearance
The council at Jerusalem was about bearing with each other’s weaknesses.

The person who says we shouldn’t care is fighting nature
And you see it in how much he tries to convince you that he doesn’t
We are hard-wired to crave the acceptance of other people.
This isn’t a defect, it’s a design feature.
We know that neglectful parents fail to give kids the acceptance and approval they crave in their souls by nature

The message to the popular is: don’t think too highly of yourself
The message to the unpopular is: don’t think too lowly of yourself.

Consider the Westboro folks as the ultimate example of “We don’t care what other people think.”

There’s something very strange about a person who doesn’t care what others think.
We care because we respect their judgment.
Being indifferent to their view of us is another way of saying they don’t matter. But how can we say that someone made in the image of God doesn’t matter?
God is about more than just individual salvation, but about restoring community, which presupposes relationship built on mutual concern and submission.

Caring about what God thinks is far more important than caring what men think.
But part of loving people is caring about them and what they think.

We care to gain and preserve influence.
The Bible talks about having a good reputation with those outside the Church for this reason.
Isn’t it interesting that the most apathetic, individualistic, selfish culture would tell us to not care about what others think and that some religious people would think this is also correct?

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love and care seem tightly interconnected.

Conformity can be good.
It can be authentic
Rebellion can’t be universalized
Although traditional cultures are properly criticized for stifling the individual, our culture is properly criticized for worshipping the individual.

The Bible is full of praise for getting along with others
Blessed are the peacemakers
So far as it’s possible, be at peace with all men
Elders should have a good reputation in the community
Jesus was well loved by sinners, a fact we know but don’t dwell on quite as much as the fact that He offended religious folks

Comparing ourselves to Christ
He was sinless
We are sinners. We tend to look at His examples that encourage our flaws and to overlook His examples that expose our weaknesses.
As sinners, we are prone to twisting good things into bad things, such as the proclamation of God’s truth.
If I’m offending people, I start from the premise that it’s probably a result of my own sinfulness rather than from the premise that I’m doing everything so properly that the real flaw must be in them and they’re just reacting against the pure, undefiled message of God I think I’m presenting.

Love that isn’t truthful isn’t really even love. Truth that isn’t loving isn’t really even true.
A person who has no one in his life who cares enough about him to care about his plight is a very terrible and pathetic person.
Self-inflicted lack of popularity. People may dislike you because you’re a Christian or just because you’re obnoxious.

Social skills are a wide-ranging set of human competencies that are like the rules of music. You might sometimes violate them for effect, but you can’t just ignore them and hope to make anything beautiful.
Two defects in the person who can’t sing on tune in society
Don’t recognize good pitch
Don’t know how to produce it.
Paul Foote and social ineptitude. Can a person be healthy and also be socially weird, or does personality unhealthy always show up as social awkwardness? Are we defining them as the same thing?

People who tend to be on the side that doesn’t care enough about people say it’s a virtue to not care. People who tend to be on the side of caring too much about people say it’s a virtue to care. The truth is that for both natural dispositions, Christ gives the ability to not have to be that way but to be His way for His purposes.

If you get killed for doing the will of the Holy Spirit, that’s one thing. But if you get killed for being a jerk about it, that’s not glorifying to God in any way.

Fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Boy people hate people like this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~Parables of Jesus 10: The Unjust Judge (Luke 18) and The Friend At Midnight (Luke 11)
~Is success a Christian value?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--It’s Sinful To Declare Bankruptcy

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~We are supposed to keep our word.
~We are supposed to honor our obligations.
~We freely took the money in the first place.
~It violates the Golden Rule. Would you want someone to declare bankruptcy on you if he owes you money?
~It’s bad theology, as though you can just escape your debts magically by invoking this bizarre little word.
~If everyone did it, what would happen to our economy and our system of banking?
~People need to learn to solve their problems and work their way out of debt, not just have it waived away.
~Anyone can work out of debt if they’ll only be smart.
~Declaring bankruptcy doesn’t solve the bad behaviors and thinking that produced your financial problems in the first place, so it’s only a temporary fix that actually robs stupidity of its educationally beneficial sting.
~How does this develop for us a good reputation with our secular community or our neighbors? It’s a terrible testimony.
~It affects your credit rating, which is society’s official way of saying you are an unreliable person who can’t be trusted with money.
~If you hadn’t been a poor steward, you wouldn’t even be in this position. How likely is it that an easy escape from prior bad behavior isn’t itself also bad behavior?
~It feels like theft, right? Why do you think that is?
~If it’s not a sin, why do you feel so guilty?
~This is a worldly way of solving a problem by taking the easy way out.
~If people believe they can just skip out on their debts, no one will repay and lending will dry up.

Bible references: Exodus 22:25-27, Lev 25, Deut 15:1-11, Deut 24:19, Neh 5:1-11, Psalm 37:7,12, 21, Prov 22:7, Eccl 5:4-5, Ezekiel 22:12, Matt 5:36-37, Matt 6:12, Luke 11:4

Bankruptcy in the Bible
What does the Bible say about bankruptcy?
What does the Bible teach about debt and bankruptcy?
Is it a sin for a Christian to file bankruptcy?
12 myths about bankruptcy (MSN)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~Parables of Jesus 9: The Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18)
~Is success a Christian value?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ethics: Is Ethics Always Objective?

We live in a culture that has been heavily influenced by relativism, the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth because everything depends on the individual or culture. One of the reactions against this has been to say that all of ethics is objective or absolute to the point where there is no meaningful difference between people or any individuality to ethics. So the question is to what degree ethics is objective and to what degree, if any, it’s not.