Friday, March 20, 2009

March Madness--ZZzzzzzzz

I don’t like basketball. While I’m not disparaging anyone who does, to me it’s boring. The image of seven footers loping from one end of the court to the other, dropping the ball into the net then repeating the sequence all night puts me to sleep. The yearly practice of devoting nine hours a day to basketball games for days on end, omitting the six and ten o’clock news and all programs in between, gets me riled to some degree. If you are a big basketball fan, imagine that the only thing on the sports channels was eight hours of tiddlywinks or maybe back to back biographies of noted bird watchers. You’d probably be looking for something else to do.

This annual ritual they call March Madness on CBS kicked off yesterday afternoon. I had forgotten about it until I turned to the Channel 12 news at six and found no news but a basketball game instead. That wasn’t too bad; I watched the news on Channel 10. After that I watched O’Reilly on Fox News then an old documentary about noodlin’ for catfish on PBS. I figured the ball games would have been over by eight because I wanted to watch CSI. Nope, more basketball. A check again at nine, and what do you know, more BBall.
At ten, they were still at it. I usually watch Leno at 10:30, but Obama was on and I've had about as much of his face and his speechfying as I can take. So I listened to a radio episode of Dragnet, first recorded in 1948. It was the best entertainment of the night.
Tonight promises more of the same, so it’ll either be old radio programs or one of the 8 DVDs of English murder mysteries that I got for Christmas.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Tenth Amendment movement

Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution are two of the least well-known and perhaps the two most ignored by the federal government—particularly the tenth. The reason for these amendments goes back to the beginning of our republic. The founding fathers believed in a balance between state and federal power and didn’t want a federal government that dictated to the states. James Madison, one of the driving forces behind the Constitution, wrote "The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people." Thomas Jefferson said that the states are not "subordinate" to the national government, but rather the two are "coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government." Alexander Hamilton wrote that ‘this balance between the national and state governments forms a double security to the people. If one [government] encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from over-passing their constitutional limits by [the] certain [rivalry] which will ever subsist between them.’”
To a large degree, states' sovereignty has been eroded by the federal government, particularly during and since the FDR administration. Whether by giving money with strings attached or by unfunded mandates, Washington has been calling the tune for decades. State governments are in continual need of money to fund their various projects and have mostly surrendered their sovereignty in order to get “free money.” Of course there’s no such thing. There is always a price to be paid where Washington is concerned. Some of you may recall the controversy in Texas forty something years ago over “federal aid to education.” In the end, the schools got the money and the federal government started dictating how to run the schools.

In recent years, there have been moves by several states to reassert their sovereignty and halt the expansion of federal government power. Just lately, since the inauguration of the Obama administration, a number of other states have joined in the effort; these moves are being called “The Tenth Amendment Movement.”
Dave Nalle, of The Tenth Amendment Center writes, “The founding fathers believed in a balance between state and federal power. This state sovereignty movement clearly arises from the belief that the balance of power has tilted too far and for too long in the direction of the federal government and that it’s time to restore that close balance.
The emergence of this movement is a hopeful sign of the people asserting their rights and the rights of the states and finally crying ‘enough’ to runaway government. With the threat of increasingly out of control federal spending, some of these sovereignty bills may stand a fair chance of passage in the coming year.”
As A.W.R. Hawkins wrote recently, “Our rights as citizens are under assault by an administration of leftist ideologues with an insatiable appetite for power. There is little difference between them and the appeasement-drunken, government-expanding leftists in Lyndon Baines Johnson’s administration of whom Ronald Reagan said in 1964, “Inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government…and freedom is close to slipping from our grip.”
Even if the resolutions by all the states involved are adopted, it remains to be seen what good, if any, it will do. The new administration has so far indicated that it intends to overturn the American system of government and change it into a European style welfare state. That’s Change you can believe in.