Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why I will not vote Republican in 2012 by Dan Sharp

Afternoon letter: Why I will not vote Republican

IRVINE, Dan Sharp: Open letter to the Republican National Convention; I am your demographic.

I am a white, middle-class, male, 40-something, white collar, family man, son of immigrants, former military, patriot and raised Roman Catholic. I have voted Republican in almost every primary and election since I turned 18. That means I voted for Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bob Dole and George W. Bush. Last election I was so disillusioned with Republicans that I voted for Barack Obama. This year neither one of the main candidates will get my vote, and let me tell you why.

I am a middle-class, white collar businessman and have been for 20 years. I watched through the latest crisis how the people that bankroll Republicans and you pass laws that have absolutely destroyed the economy in this country. Off-shoring, outsourcing, downsizing, rightsizing, securitization: all are doctrines used in the name of "shareholder value" that have eviscerated the middle class and eliminated entire industries. I have seen friends' careers destroyed, neighborhoods laid waste and whole communities suffer all for a little more earnings per share of stocks. These people you take your orders from are criminals and traitors and should all be behind bars, some of you included.

I am a technophile. Oil is a dead-end technology. Stop trying to squeeze a drop of blood from that stone and come up with a strategic approach to energy independence. Electric, solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear are all methods of generating domestic energy. They will create investment and jobs. Stop whipping up the uneducated against electric cars and high-speed trains. These are mature technologies that can immediately stop sending our money to overseas despots that absolutely hate us. A portion of every dollar you send overseas makes dead American soldiers.

I am former military, the son of immigrants and member of the National Rifle Association. My family came to this country for freedom and opportunity because America was the land where you could do anything you dreamed. You have corrupted that. I have been to too many military funerals and memorial ceremonies for good young men who died overseas, and for what? Why are we over there, anywhere? No one wants us there anymore, including our hosts. Bring the boys home, close the bases and defend America instead of these militaristic junkets you support so rabidly. We have a military that is larger exponentially than our nearest enemy. It is unnecessary and wasteful. Stop giving money to our adversaries in foreign aid and focus on rebuilding this country.

On that same note, I am a patriot, and the Transportation Security Administration and "Homeland Security" are an abomination. I could quote Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Washington or Hamilton here but it's pointless. You know them, but you either ignore them or twist them for your own ends. The founding fathers would be rising up themselves today if they could see how the Constitution has been indefinitely detained itself. The Patriot Act, NDAA and all of the bastard children of those laws need to stop. It actually turns my stomach now when the word "security" comes on any news report, which is about a dozen times an hour. You are making Americans fearful, which will be our downfall.

Additionally, the war on drugs is lost. Legalize, tax, regulate and provide treatment. Every country that has done this is light years ahead of us in terms of bringing this under control. Then again without a militarized police force you are unable to keep the populace in line as easily.
I am white. I have no fear of other races, cultures, creeds or nationalities. I do business with Muslims, Pakistanis, Israelis, Chinese, Mexicans, Germans, English and Japanese, and of course Americans. They are all people just like me. I have served with many of those people, had relationships with all races and cultures and am friends with anyone who is a good person. Holding any ethnic group responsible for the actions of a few is reprehensible and anytime I hear about "the Muslims" in a general negative light, you shift me further away.

I am Roman Catholic. And I don't care about abortion, contraception or gay marriage as political issues. Abortion is a lost issue (see Roe v. Wade). If you get it back in front of the Supreme Court, then talk about it. It's polarizing and no good comes from talking about it. Contraception as a political issue? Are you kidding me? And gay marriage, what's the value in even discussing that? Who cares what people do in their own homes? Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

Education costs are out of control. Health care is unattainable for many. Unemployment is sky-high. These are the issues you should be addressing. Bill Clinton, whom I detest, had one thing right for certain: "It's the economy, stupid."

Your field of candidates is functionally insane in my opinion. I voted Obama last time because the idea John McCain/ Sarah Palin in office scared me. Mitt Romney? Rick Santorum? Newt Gingrich? This is the best you can put forward? Until you take a rational position on any of the above and start focusing on what's good for the country as a whole, you have lost my vote. My only hope is that enough of my fellow citizens, both Democrat and Republican take the same stance.

Remember the Alamo!

Tapley Holland at the Alamo

Thursday is the 176th anniversary of the beginning of the siege of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution.

More than 1,000 Mexican troops under Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio on Feb. 23, 1836, and laid siege to the Alamo after Texas rebels inside answered a surrender demand with a cannon shot. During the siege, on March 2, delegates at Washingon-on-the-Brazos adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Those inside (estimates vary but generally are around 200 Texans, Tejanos and American volunteers) held out for 13 days, until March 6. All of the defenders were killed.
The fall of the Alamo was followed on March 27 by the Goliad massacre, in which more than 300 prisoners of war were slaughtered by Mexican troops, and April 21 by the Battle of San Jacinto, where Texans and Tejanos under Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna’s army and secured Texas’ independence.
Alamo commander William Barret Travis’ letter appealing for reinforcements (but vowing to not surrender) is showcased in the lobby of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin weekdays through March 30.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jack Horner Chickenosaurus

Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He's found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he's taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits — including teeth, tails, and even hands — to make a "Chickenosaurus".