Saturday, January 23, 2010

Christian Murderers in Oregon

Religion: Faith healing in Oregon on trial. The first week in the trial of Jeff and Marci Beagley for the negligent homicide of their son Neil concluded on Friday with a doctor's testimony that signs of Neil Beagley's failing health gave his parents ample warning that the teenager needed immediate medical treatment.

Neil Beagley of Oregon City was only 16 when he died in June 2008 of complications from a urinary tract blockage that doctors said could have been easily treated. Neil and his parents refused to seek medical treatment in favor of prayer. The decision proved fatal.

The Beagleys are also the parents of Raylene Worthington, whose 15-month-old daughter, the Beagleys' granddaughter, died in 2008 of pneumonia and a blood infection.

Jeff and Marci Beagley are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which rejects doctors and medical treatment in favor of faith healing. The church has become notorious in Oregon for allowing children to die rather than seek routine medical care.

The Beagley's defense hangs on the claim that Neil, being 16 years of age, had the legal right to refuse medical attention under Oregon law. Yet poor Neil never had a chance. Home schooled and isolated, surrounded and raised by religious zealots lacking any moral compass, Neil was brainwashed from birth.

In addition to the negligent homicide charges, Jeff and Marci Beagley should be charged with 16 years of child abuse. What else can we call parents who isolate their children and feed them a diet of nothing but religious mumbo jumbo and biblical non-sense?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Modest Proposal: Let Corporations Vote

As published in Umair Haque's Harvard Business Review blog:

Dear Supreme Court,

I'm highly impressed with your recent decision to vaporize limits on corporate political spending. It's the kind of campaign finance reform our ailing res publica needs. In fact, I found it so inspirational, here's an even better idea.

Let's give corporations the right to vote. One share, one vote. The logic? It's simple. Corporations are people; all people are created equal; ergo, corporations must have equal rights — and no right is more important than the right to vote. (Well, maybe the right to buy fully automatic machine guns, but that's another story).

Goldman Sachs, for example, has 514,080,000 shares outstanding — so they'd get 514 millon votes (in fact, maybe we should give them more, because they're so smart). Ford has 3.31 billion shares outstanding, so they'd get approximately 2.8 billion more votes than Goldman.

I've discussed this with several other economists, and we all agree: it's the most efficient solution. Why, it should save hundreds of millions in lobbying alone. Who needs K Street when corporations can simply, quickly, easily vote in the candidate of their choice? As a bonus, political scientists agree that the increasing polarization between left and right would quickly disappear, too. Human people — with their perpetual squabbling — would be simply outvoted by corporate people, who know what's good for everyone.

But the most lucrative upside is this. The money that's saved can then be invested in the high-value products and services which our publicly traded corporations, the Goliaths of the global economy, excel at — like toxic CDOs, bigger burgers, and mega bonuses. And if we've learned anything over the last 30 years, it's this: everyone's better off when the benefits of more mass-produced stuff trickle down to the average (lazy, shiftless) Joe.

It's time to save our democracy, Justices — through a better kind of democracy. I call it "corpocracy": power to the people who matter most, corporations. Democracy 2.0: it's the next stage in the evolution of the American Dream.

It's not just humans who are people. We've been discriminating against corporate people for too long, and it's unethical. Are you with me, Justices? Its time to liberate corporations from human oppression. Here's hoping it's your legacy.