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Monday, November 26, 2007

History of Marriage

There was a great article written in the Times today titled Taking Marriage Private. It discusses the history of marriage -- how its definition went from being loosely defined (ie, anyone in a relationship that resembled a marriage was considered married) to being more tightly controlled by states and government (eg, certain states prohibited interracial marriages in the 1920s).

It's interesting to note that marriage "regulation" only came into play when people were doing things that others (or those in power) deemed "unacceptable". In the beginning, if you have Christians living together as a couple, then the church basically acknowledged the couple as being married. However, when it came to interracial marriages, then it was time to regulate who could get married to whom.

More currently relevant is the topic of marriage benefits, which is what most same-sex couples are fighting for. I thought this was an interesting quote from the article that illustrates the necessity in our society for a marriage license, which applies to both opposite-sex and same-sex unmarried couples:

A woman married to a man for just nine months gets Social Security survivor’s benefits when he dies. But a woman living for 19 years with a man to whom she isn’t married is left without government support, even if her presence helped him hold down a full-time job and pay Social Security taxes. A newly married wife or husband can take leave from work to care for a spouse, or sue for a partner’s wrongful death. But unmarried couples typically cannot, no matter how long they have pooled their resources and how faithfully they have kept their commitments.

Denying citizens the right to marry based on moral values as opposed to societal and/or economic reasoning just doesn't make sense. The whole point of marriage is to create social stability and a stronger family foundation. To deny people that opportunity is to weaken and devolve our society as a whole. Why is it that so many people in this country are inclined to take steps backwards rather than forward?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Alicia Keys - "No One"

This is my new favorite song! I think it's such a pretty song and I really like the lyrics.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Our Government Always Succeeds in Failing Us

CNN published an article stating that 21,000 people who shouldn't have been allowed into the US were mistakenly let in last year. Thankfully (allegedly) none of the people wrongfully let into the country were a threat.

If our country is so hyper-paranoid about terrorist invaders, how could something like this happen? Aren't countless billions of dollars being poured into bullshit agencies like Homeland Security and the like? What is happening with this money?

The Customs and Border Protection agency is blaming insufficient training and understaffing as the two main causes of this mistake. I don't understand citing "insufficient training" as an excuse.
GAO investigators arriving at one point of entry found no border agents in the inspection booth, while at other locations, agents didn't ask for travel documents, according to the report.
To me, that doesn't seem like insufficient training and understaffing, it sounds more like utter incompetence and absenteeism / slacking off. I don't think border agents need to be "trained" to ask for travel documents when someone's crossing the border. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that kinda the whole point of their job?? Well, other than sitting in their booth watching Oprah -- oh wait, they're not even doing that!

I hope this isn't used as another excuse to provide more funding for Homeland Security issues. Rather, this incident should be used as an example of the utter incompetence of our Government, providing sub-par service to its citizens.