Saturday, November 07, 2009

Only One Man To Blame For Fort Hood Shootings

When this maven was a wee little boy I often watched television with my mother. I remember that when a particularly nasty crime was reported on the local news she would say, “Let him not be Jewish.” You see, this was back in the 1950s when the Holocaust was still very recent history and even here in the US of A Jews weren’t feeling too secure. It was also during the Red Scare and after the spy trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, so I guess Mom was justified in fearing that all Jews might be blamed for the criminal act of one person who happened to be Jewish.

These memories popped into my consciousness this week when it was announced that Nidal Malik Hasan, an American Muslim, was the person who went on a shooting spree, killing more than a dozen people, at Fort Hood, Texas. Soon after Hasan was identified, Muslim groups throughout the country felt the need to condemn Hasan and to make it clear to the rest of the American people that Islam did not encourage or condone such killings. In this country, after 9/11, Muslims are sort of feeling what my mom was feeling back in the 1950s. Don’t blame us for the act of one man who is Muslim. For me, it was déjà vous all over again.

I wonder what it is about us Americans that we always spread the blame. In World War II, after we were attacked by Japan, we assumed that all people of Japanese ancestry were our enemies. We placed good and loyal Americans in concentration camps just because their parents or grandparents were born in Japan. After 9/11, we just assumed that all Arabs and all Muslims were our enemies. Many good and loyal Americans were the victims of hateful acts and words because of the acts of 19 criminals who happened to be Muslims. Maybe it’s just that xenophobia is built into our genetic code. But, I wonder if we’d be blaming all Baptists if the Fort Hood shooter happened to be a Baptist named Jones.

So, to American Muslims I say that I understand how you feel. It is unfortunate that the Fort Hood shooter was a Muslim. I don’t blame you or Islam for his acts. We’ve got enough problems in this country. We cannot afford to start distrusting our neighbors.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Millions And Billions And Trillions Of Jobs

Reader, I know you’ve been waiting on the edge of your seat for the rest of Mr. Jobs Governor’s plans to flood Virginia with tons of new jobs. It would take many hours to discuss them all, so I’ll stick to the highlights. Okay, fasten your seat belts.

Small businesses: Mr. Jobs Governor will spur the growth of small businesses. How? Well if you look at the details of his plan, he will do it by streamlining the application process. Come on, Bob. This is not a plan. Do you really think that people are not opening small businesses in Virginia because the process is too burdensome? Nonsense! The fact is that nobody is going to open a small business unless s/he thinks it will make money. If they don’t believe that now is the right time to open a business because of the economy the mechanics of getting an application processed will not change their decision.

Keeping Virginia Competitive: This has nothing to do with attracting new jobs. It is just Bob McDonnell’s way of assuring voters in his political base that he is anti-union and opposes the “card check” proposal before the Congress.

Boosting Virginia’s Tourism, Hospitality and Film Industries: Bob has eight specific ways of doing this. He will “double the funding” of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and increase funding of the governor’s Motion Picture Fund by $2 million. Well, Jobs Governor, where is the money going to come from? New taxes are off the table, so what current programs will you cut to get the extra money? Other things in this category involve encouraging groups to stay in Virginia for conventions, making Virginia the center of the sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War and promoting wine tourism in Virginia. These all sound nice, Bob, but just saying things does not make them so. Bob does make two proposals in this category that I support—preserving 400,000 acres of open space and reopening rest stops on the interstates.

Making Wallops Island the top commercial spaceport in America: This one is wonderful. It immediately brings to mind Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine in the original Star Wars movie. I would just love to see all those aliens running around Wallops Island. But, let this maven be serious. There are several commercial spaceports developing in the United States and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island on the Delmarva Peninsula is one of them. But again in this proposal Mr. McDonnell is dealing with promoting, encouraging, recruiting and vague things like that. The only concrete thing he proposes is a ten-fold increase of funding “bringing them to $1 million annually” for spaceport operations. Jobs Governor, I thought you were serious. We can’t be competitive with Spaceport America in New Mexico and Space Systems International at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on one million dollars per year. This proposal will not produce any significant number of jobs in Virginia in the next few years.

The Jobs Governor has myriad other plans for creating jobs. None of them can work until the recession is over. It is clear to me that the only job Bob McDonnell will create if elected is his own.

That’s all, folks.