Our Rights

Gun Control

We all deserve the right to not be shot by some crackpot with a gun.  I support the following gun control measures:

  • Red flag laws.
  • Universal background checks.
  • Closing the gun show loophole.
  • Repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits (PCLAA).  If it can't be appealed, then we should at least explicitly define selling assault weapons to the general public as "negligent entrustment" (because they have no use other than killing people).
  • I would like to require gun manufacturers to buy back and destroy all the assault weapons they sold to the general public.  With no dollar amount specified -- Let them negotiate a price with the people they sold them to.

Just as a historical note, I grew up in a rural area and shot guns when I was a teenager.  I realize that guns are a necessary part of rural life; however, we owe it to our neighbors to make sure the guns bought in the country don't end up on city streets.  None of the measures listed above will significantly impact the ability of sane people to own guns that are actually good for hunting and target practice. 

I used to think we didn't need to worry about assault weapons, because they are not good tools to use for hunting or target practice.  It was inconceivable to me that the gun industry would be so irresponsible that they would target unstable head cases with marketing campaigns for assault weapons.  Now, I think the gun industry owns this problem and they should pay to fix it (i.e. buy back the guns).

Patriot Act

I am a member of the ACLU.

I consider the Patriot Act to be pretty much a complete travesty.  The people who wrote this one seem have completely forgotten what this country is supposed to represent.  Perhaps they need to write the Pledge of Allegiance on the blackboard a hundred times or something.

The only thing I might be able to support is detention without charge for some limited time; however, if we did deprive someone of their liberty in this manner, we had better at least deliver them a little extra justice -- and pay them for their time.  I would suggest a minimum of the greater of minimum wage or time and a half over their normal salary -- with an option to pay more if they cooperate.  I don't really like this idea, but we have been willing to draft innocent young people for fight wars and this could be viewed as sort of a draft.


If it worked and we were using it on a terrorist who was absolutely guilty, I would approve of torture.  However,

  1. It usually doesn't work.
  2. As with the death penalty, there is no way take it back if we make a mistake and it turns out the person isn't guilty.

We can be smarter than that.

Civil Rights

I support affirmative action.  It's been a long time coming and we still have a way to go.  I do think we need adjust our affirmative action to look more than just race.  we also need to look at the communities and schools a person grew up in.  For example, a person of color from Newton, has more opportunities available to them than white students in many other towns in the 4th Congressional District.


I have a number of LGBTQ friends who I want to keep as friends.  This means that I support equal rights for LGBTQ persons.  That includes marriage and in the military.


My grandfather was technically an illegal immigrant; although, in those days, I don't think anybody really cared about UK citizens moving in via Canada.

Unlike most of the Republicans in Congress, I actually mean it when I say "liberty and justice for all" at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance -- I support some sort green card amnesty for undocumented immigrants; although, not free amnesty -- everyone else who immigrates has to pay.  I don't think an amnesty program should include citizenship for persons who entered the country as adults, because they did break the law.

I support dreamers.

If we really want to stop illegal immigration, we need to seriously prosecute employers who employ illegal immigrants -- after we come up with a workable mechanism for allowing legal immigrants to take jobs the employers can't fill.  The employers should pay fines totaling around twice what they would have had to pay American workers (with half going the immigrants as a reward for turning in the boss).

H1B Visa Abuse

The H1B Visa program is a great program that provides a way for educated and skilled persons to immigrate into the United States.  This is obviously good for the Immigrants, but it's also a win for the United States because these immigrants are key to creating more jobs in the United States.  For example, I really good engineer generates between 50 and 100 new support jobs.

Unfortunately, the H1B visa system has been abused by some companies to replace American jobs rather than create new jobs.  I'm not going to repeat the entire NYT article here, but there is serious abuse going on that needs to be corrected.  I think the following changes need to be made:

  • Prohibit companies caught abusing the system from sponsoring H1B visas for at least 10 years.
  • Kick all applicants currently sponsored by those companies out of the queue and make them start over again.
  • Give first preference to students with American diplomas.  Foreign education systems can produce good students, but some of the time they don't.  Bribery practices that are illegal in the United States are considered the cultural norm in certain other countries.  For example, I am personally aware of a situation were a rich privileged parent paid for another student to do all of his son's college coursework with the full blessing of the school -- it was considered a proper arrangement in that country.  Students trained in American universities are a known commodity and have already been exposed to American culture and morals; so, they just plain make better Immigrants.


I believe in a woman's right to choose.  I believe that the morality of abortion is an insolvable dilemma.  That's why people disagree so violently on the subject.  Given that the morality is impossible to determine, it must be a personal choice.

Legalization of Marijuana

On this issue I agree with Fareed Zakaria and Pat Robertson (yes, really!!).  Follow this link for further info...

If you don't have time to read Fareed Zakaria's article or it gets taken down, the short answer is that I am in favor of legalizing Marijuana.

[Update:  This is the exact text from my web-site 8 years ago.]


We do need to be more competent about looking for terrorists before they strike; however, we must do this without giving up the freedom and principles that make this country great.

The best things we have been doing to combat terrorism have been the technology we have developed for detecting explosives and inspecting goods that are being moved, but we need to get better at searching the vast quantities of goods shipped into the country. 

We also need faster and much more accurate technology for providing airport security.  The number of times airport security has mistakenly pulled a certain US Senator out of line is much worse than incompetent, it's embarrassing!  The "do not fly list" is so badly mismanaged that it needs to be scrapped and started over.  And the really scary part is the people running it don't seem to have a clue how badly they are messing up.  Don't expect this crowd to catch any terrorist with an IQ over 10.