Since this post marks my return to blogging after a summer off, I plan to cover two areas in this one post.
First and foremost, a hearty thank you to Alton for planning the Bloggers United For Free Speech conference in Martinsville. For those of you who didn’t make it, your $50 got you an elegant dinner Friday night with the Lt. Governor and a delicious barbeque buffet for lunch on Saturday. Saturday was chock full of good speakers (one being the Attorney General), good presentations and good discussion. I’m a big fan of these conferences that bring us bloggers from different backgrounds and different political viewpoints together for face to face discussions. We need more civility and more thought in our political debates/deliberations and less “flaming” and name calling. From behind the protection of a keyboard, Pentium chip and/or a pseudonym it’s very easy to resort to ugliness rather than using logic and examples to substantiate one’s opinion. Doing the same thing in person, is more difficult for most people…at least in my opinion. Before I sound too terribly “holier than thou” I too have succumbed to temptation a few times and posted things that were better left unsaid. Meeting together in person at these conference is a constant reminder to me that behind the keyboard is a human being possessed of the ferocity of their convictions, and, we’re all made stronger as a result of a substantive debate devoid of name calling and meanness.
On a personal note about the conference, I had a chance to spend some time with Myron & Megan Rhodes (The Republitarian and the Republitarian’s Supreme Commander…oops…I mean Wife). The conference was a lot of fun with you guys and I enjoyed dinner Saturday night, too.
And before anyone thinks I’m turning into a big shaved head/goatee softee with all this chitter chatter about getting along….put this in your pipe and smoke it…..Greg Bouchillion has a big nose AND he wears white after Labor Day. So there.
The next topic I want to throw out was inspired by a post on Not Larry Sabato. Apparently there is a trend where high interest, low principle lenders (affectionately referred to as “loan sharks”) are setting up shop outside military installations. Allegedly their m.o. is offering their high interest loans to young servicepersons who have yet to learn fiscal discipline and need some quick cash to tide them over until payday. Obviously, critics are claiming that these lenders/loan sharks are “preying” on young, inexperienced service personnel who have yet to learn fiscal discipline.
Does the state/government have a responsibility to protect young adults from their own lack of fiscal discipline by aggressively regulating the lending industry? Do young adults have a responsibility to manage their affairs prudently? Was reducing the age of majority to 18 a mistake? Do 18 year olds have adequate judgment via life experience to be held responsible for decisions of this magnitude? Are we paying our enlisted personnel enough? Or do enlisted personnel have a responsibility to live within their means?
I’m interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on this.