Monday, September 14, 2009

How's This for Excessive Spending?

As I am sure we all heard, there was a major tea party in D.C. this past weekend. The protesters complain about taxation and spending. They hate the Stimulus Package. They hate the health care bill. They hate foreign aid. They hate progressive taxes.

They also hate excessive government bureaucracy. I have one piece of excessive spending and government bureaucracy that no one has ever mentioned.

Next time you are hanging out in Downtown D.C., walk to the Department of Agriculture, then walk to the Department of Commerce, then Labor, and continue walking around to all of the cabinet-level departments that everyone forgets. Then, to finish it off, head to the Capitol. You will notice that each bureau has its own police force. I understand that each government office should have some security, but its own police force?

First off, I am curious to know who has the jurisdiction to prosecute someone who the, say Capitol police, arrest.

I do not know why there is a need for this much bureaucracy and excessive spending. But, however, our friends on the Right have never mentioned this. They seem to care more about social spending

Here is my solution to the police force issue: The President nominates a Governmental Police Commissioner that shall be in charge of all police forces within the government (with the exception of special cases such as Military Police forces and the Secret Service) and a joint committee of the House and Senate confirm. The Police Commissioner, then, appoints police chiefs for each department (i.e. Agriculture Department Police Chief). Those Chiefs, then, manage all of the police that are stationed in that department.

My plan gives a direct chain of command and provides necessary resources to other bureaus when needed (like when other police precincts are called to a scene). If there is a fault with my plan, please comment.

Let's see what the so-dubbed 'teabaggers' have to say about this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

No Words Can Be Found: 2 New Yorkers' Stories

So, as a New Yorker, I guess I should chime in about how this day, 8 years ago, was for me.

I, at the time, was living out in Long Island. 9/11/01 was a warm, sunny day. It went on like any other day, I guess.

Throughout the day, however, students were being called out of class and told to bring their belongings. They never returned. No reason was given.

In my science class, as we always did, we opened with a prayer. The teacher made the intention to be to find a cure for all of the problems of the world. I raised a proverbial eyebrow to that. However, the day before, we were praying for young girls in Northern Ireland that were being harassed on their way to school; therefore, I thought we were praying for that (in another way).

Things really got eerie when I heard that my school's only male teacher was seen crying by a classmate. In my twelve-year-old innocence, I thought that the teachers were killing students (I must have been watching too many action movies).

Then, as my class was walking from lunch to recess, another classmate tells me that the principal wanted to see me. "Oh no! I'm next," I thought. With my legs shaking, I walked up to my principal. She told me that there was someone here to see me. I did not know who it could have been.

As it turns out, the person picking me up was, in fact, three people -a close friend, his mother (also a friend of my mother), and his little sister. My friend's mother told me that my mom had something to talk to me about. I, for some reason, thought that it was related to my asthma. I was told to gather up my belongings to leave with them. I was unsure if I would be gone for the rest or the day or not (obviously, I wished that would be the case). I went to my homeroom and got my belongings and we left.

As we walked to the parking lot, my friend told me "You know the World Trade Center?"

I instantly was reminded of when me, my brother, his wife, his two sons, and my father went to the observation deck a few years prior. "Yeah," I responded.

"Well, it's gone."

Huh? I thought to myself. I was told what happened by my friend and his mother.

We went to my house to get some clothes together just in case I would need to spend the night. I ended up staying with my friend and his family at their house, across town, for a few hours while my parents were working on getting themselves home.

When I heard about the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, I could not help but think of how eerily close this was to scenes in a video game I was playing at the time - "Red Alert 2." That video game, a few days later, was banned by some stores.

When my family finally regrouped, I went into the guest bedroom in my house and wept into bed, wishing that this was just some nightmare. I ended up falling asleep for about 45 minutes. When I awoke, I realized that the nightmare was a reality.

While this is my story of how a part of my innocence was shattered that day, the true heroism of September 11th is best told through the experience my mother went through that day.

My mom was a partner in a law firm. Her office was a few blocks away from Grand Central Terminal. On 9/11, she had court in Brooklyn. While she was leaving her office, a lawyer from another firm located on that floor told her that a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center. My mother's father's best friend was the Executive Director of Catholic Relief Services and his office was hit when a plane crashed into the Empire State Building 50 years prior; so, my mom thought nothing of it.

She got on the Lexington Avenue Line (4/5/6) subway and took it downtown and under the East River to Borough Hall in Brooklyn. The Lexington Avenue Line, it should be noted, travels under the World Trade Center. Right as the second plane hit, my mom was only feet below.

She got to Brooklyn Supreme Court and saw her co-counsel and opposing-counsel by the court steps. She was told that another plane hit. She did not need to be told anything else.

Now, the question was where she would go. Mass transit was suspended. She couldn't get a cab. She had family in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, so she headed that way -a seven mile walk. She realized that she would need water. She went to a bodega and bought a bottle.

Her walk, to this day, is the time she was most proud to be a New Yorker. New Yorkers are thought to be mean-hearted; truly, we're anything but. In 2006, New York was named the most polite city in the world. We may not say "good morning" to everyone we pass, but if someone needs directions or drops something, we help. People were lending cell phones so people could call loved ones, people comforted each other. My mom, in fact, gave away about half of her water.

Eventually, my mom got to her cousin's house and was able to get a taxi to the city line, where my father (who merely walked and then waited at Penn Station for mass transit to restart in order to pick me up and head home) picked her up.

One of my favorite movies is Spider-Man. My favorite scene is when Spider-Man is trying to save a Roosevelt Island tram filled with kids from the Green Goblin. People crowed onto the Queensboro Bridge, which runs parallel to the tram and began to throw debris at the Green Goblin in order to hinder him attacking Spider-Man as he saved the kids. One man says that they are all New Yorkers and "when you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us." That is what 9/11 meant to every New Yorker. At first, it did not seem like an attack on America, but on New York. But, every New Yorker, then, joined together for the good of all. We all knew in our hearts: "United we stand, divided we fall.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yet Another 'Scandal?'

Oh boy! Here we go again with the Cardinal Newman Society. Their latest 'scandal' is how Georgetown University giving an honorary doctorate to the President of the AFL-CIO (whom is for gay marriage

What I am going to say is my interpretation and by no means am I speaking for any University.

When a school has a speaker come, it is not always an endorsement of the speaker. Go google "define: school" and you will see that the top hit is "an educational institution." Schools have speakers come to inform pupils on a subject or way of thinking. When schools give some honor to a speaker, again it may not be an endorsement, but more an endorsement of the role the person plays in society and/or the education of others.

A teacher would be failing if he or she never presented other ways to attack a problem or other schools of thought. Think of this math problem:

2x + 4 = 4
(2x)/2 + (4/2) = 4/22x + 4 - 4 = 4 - 4
x + 2 = 22x = 0
x + 2 - 2 = 2 - 22x = 0 / 2
x = 0x = 0

Was either solution better than the other? No, they were the same. The only difference was the approach made to finding the solution.

Has it ever occurred to groups like the Cardinal Newman Society that, perhaps, by taking a different education route, it will come to the same result? Perhaps, taking the "wrong" route will lead people who do not adhere to take a route that, when properly traversed, will get the person to the same place. You can look at a road map right now and see that there are more than one way to get from point A to point B; one may be a longer and more difficult route, but, the rewards are the same in the end.

Let me give you an example from my life: I, like most people, at one point, doubted God's existence. However, I had (and still have) an interest in the paranormal (which is spoken poorly upon in the Old Testament). During some free research, years ago, I found confirmed reports of demonic possessions by impartial parties. I realized that if there was an evil force, then there would have to be a good force because, unless there was some type of competition, the evil force would have no reason to posses others. That good force must be God.

Even if a person does not make it to the end of the path and nothing changes, there was no harm nor foul based upon the preliminary education.

Notice how I did not bring up how the Catholic Church happens to be vehemently pro-labor union nor the response from Georgetown?