Those questions can hopefully be answered on this page.
The Midnight Review was founded by Kevin. It was conceived as just a place to post opinions and commentary on current events, ranging from business and politics to entertainment, but since it's conception, politics have seemed to be the dominating subject, although not the only one. The website is currently evolving, taking shape with experimentation in formatting and templates, in search for a good balance making the content easily accessible. Recently, another contributing author joined The Midnight Review and hopefully more will come.
Here is an introduction to the contributing authors:
Originally, I am from Brooklyn, New York. I have an Associate in Arts in General Studies degree from Valencia College in Orlando and had been attending Rollins College in Winter Park studying international affairs and business administration. I am currently not in school because of financial pressures - I was laid off of work a couple years back and was denied severance pay due to a clerical error. I have since been working very hard to get back on track and finish school (I am only a few credits shy of a second degree), but in the meantime, I have engaged in independent studying of various subjects to keep sharp.
I had decided to create The Midnight Review because I figured I spent enough time reading the news and other people's blogs that I might as well share my own opinions. This isn't the first website I had created, either. I previously had websites promoting my desired candidacy to be my local state representative and I have numerous sites associated with my music group, The Midnight Plumbers, an experimental rock group, which has been around for almost a decade.
Since founding this blog, I have come under attack for some of the things that I write about. For the most part, such attacks focused mainly on myself rather then the content that I write. I have been called "liberal," a "lefty atheist," or most recently (and my particular favorites), a "mindless existentialist" and a "Marxist/socialist obstructionist," but it seems such accusations are just empty ramblings of those who find honest debate meaningless. Some of my views may be left-of-center, but other views I have would be considered conservative.
I belong to the Republican party - I had changed party in protest after the selection of Sarah Palin for vice-president in 2008, becoming Libertarian, but apparently my registration form was never processed, and so I have always been a Republican. I actually consider myself to be a moderate conservative, although I prefer some aspects of social liberalism. Politics are complex, and it upsets me that the Republican party has taken a simplistic approach to the party system, embracing an all or nothing philosophy. I dislike the notion of a "purity test" and am very angry at the partisan temper tantrums and the catering to the fringe elements of the party, and believe by doing so, the party is alienating the mainstream (although due to voter apathy, I do see extreme conservatism making some gains at the polls). Because of my vote for President Barack Obama and my most recent support of the health care reform bill, I have been "kicked out" of my own party, when in reality, my party has decided to change, moving further to the right.
In many ways, I see my vote for Barack Obama to be similar to my vote for President George W. Bush (the first time). Maybe a bit naive, I liked the message Bush campaigned on (compassionate conservatism), and while I may not have been as informed of all the issues as I should have been, I recall not being satisfied with Al Gore and thought governing from the middle, with a slight emphasis on conservative principles, would be a good thing. the same goes for Obama - maybe I am a bit naive, but I thought the message to be important, and compared to the alternative of the McCain/Palin ticket, I found the Obama/Biden ticket to be the best contender. In 2004, I did not like John Kerry, and I did not prefer any of the other candidates, and although I voted for President Bush a second time, I thought he was sure to lose. Locally, I have voted for a variety of candidates from either political party. While I voted for Jeb Bush both times, as well as Charlie Crist, I voted for Democrat Alan Grayson after voting for his Republican predecessor Ric Keller as well. My party registration does not dictate what party gets my vote.
Where do I stand on some of the issues?
Abortion. I am pro-life, although I am understanding of circumstances where abortion would be considered, and my opinion on this matter is not relative to my religion, but my personal beliefs. While I have heard the argument that it is the woman's right to choose what happens to her body, I do not see pregnancy to be on par with a procedure such as breast augmentation, and I believe in some instances, there are rights for the father of the child to be considered as well, and to view child birth as solely a female situation would selfish. Technically, I believe life begins at the moment of conception, but I believe humanity may begin a little later, although I cannot pinpoint when.
Same-sex Marriage. This is one issue that I seem to take a more liberal stance. I am for the elimination of restrictions regarding homosexual marriage (or other issues, such as DADT). I do not believe such restrictions to be a moral issue, and find no evidence that homosexuals being granted the right to marry to be detrimental to the fabric of society. I don't understand why Republicans have taken such a strict approach to the issue, and I am even more confused why the Log Cabin Republicans continue to caucus with the GOP. I also don't see a problem with allowing civil unions that would offer identical protections as marriage, but then I also understand the position against civil unions but for marriage. I also disagree with the religious aspect regarding the push to protect "traditional" marriage, and believe a religious interpretation of the word marriage has no place in America's law books.
Separation Of Church And State. This is another issue that I completely support, and it upsets me to see the Republican Party move away this concept, adopting at an alarming rate the belief typically held by the fringe of America that this nation is a "christian nation." While this nation was founded by Christians, our founding fathers were wise to establish a secular republic that would protect the ability for it's citizens to practice any religion they wish without being perverted by any one religion. Over years, that "wall" of separation has been chiseled away by right-wing Christian ideologues who wish to impose their religious and moral code on every American in this nation. There are certain issues that surround this principle that I constantly see in the news, such as the pledge of allegiance, prayer in school, or the Ten Commandments found in court rooms, and I look at these issues from all angles. It is my opinion that "God" should be removed from the pledge, although I really have no preference. I don't think prayer in school is a big deal, just as long as it is not forced upon the student body or that administration employees do not partake in such events in an official capacity. I see no problem with the Ten Commandments being found at courthouses. While I see certain commandments have no place in our government, in particular the first four, I understand the historical significance of the commandments, and for that reason alone, I see no problem with them. The biggest religious issues that seem to play out are abortion and same-sex marriage, and as I wrote above, I disagree with imposing religious beliefs over others by use of the legal system. I am also for the elimination of all tax exemptions churches receive just for being a church, and believe churches should be treated like any other non-profit corporations.
Economics. I find this one to be important because of what has been heard coming from conservatives over the past couple years, with criticisms made against Democratic economic policies, or even worse, criticisms against myself! I am not a "Marxist obstructionist," and actually love the capitalist system, but, I understand the limitations of an unfettered market, and agree that some government oversight is required. Claims calling President Obama communist, socialist, Marxist, Maoist, or anything else along those lines are just plain idiotic and are not founded in reality. People who throw those words around loosely tend to not understand the difference between the varying political and economic philosophies. Over the past couple years, the GOP seems to have embraced the baseless name calling, which has it's roots in McCarthyism, and this is another instance where I will have to separate myself with my party. The embrace by the GOP of such empty jingoistic rhetoric is ridiculous and it upsets me that this has become the default attack for any policy, economic or not, that does no originate with a conservative pen.
Defense. I believe defense to be important, but I am wise to military-industrial complex as warned in President Eisenhower's farewell address. Prior to World War I, the United States maintained a small military, but now, the military is an important part of the American economy. America spends more money on the military then any other nation. It is my opinion that America has overextended the military, and I believe America should take a more isolationist approach to foreign policy. I believe it is possible to decrease spending while maintain military superiority.
Education and Health Care. I lump these two subjects together because I believe them to be treated similarly by politicians. America is revered by Americans as having the greatest education and health care systems in the world, but the fact of the matter is America has fallen behind. America throws more money into these systems then almost every other nation in the world but the outcome hasn't changed much. What are we doing wrong and other countries doing right? It's hard for this subject to be addressed because should one want to reform the system, they could be attacked as hating America's perceived superiority in these areas. For many politicians, money is the solution - throw money at the problem and it will go away. I disagree, and I think the current system needs to be changed. This is why I supported the health care reform legislation. I was tired of politicians going back and forth (but mostly, I disliked the partisan games Republicans were playing). The legislation in its current form is similar to one authored by the conservative Heritage Foundation, yet the GOP still refused to back it. I know this fact had upset many liberals out there, but to me, I considered it a start. In order to make progress and maintain American greatness, action, not inaction, needs to be taken, and I felt this legislation to be an excellent start. It starts the dialogue for new and better things, but unfortunately Republicans yet again pander to their base and look to repeal, only looking into the past, not the future.
Electoral College. I believe the electoral college should be eliminated. I believe it has outlived it's use and the direct election of our officials to be preferential.
Welfare. I think welfare is an important issue. While I understand the benefits associated with various social programs, I also see the problems as well. I believe it is in the best interest of a nation to offer some sort of protections and aid to the citizenry, but it is difficult to determine where to stop. I simply can't take a solid "for" or "against" position on something so complex, and believe detailed analysis would be required on a case by case basis. The same goes for corporate welfare, such as the bank and automotive industry bailouts and the couple stimulus packages passed by the Obama administration and the Bush administration. I was critical of the bailouts but saw the impact of the industry giants on the economy as too great for government to not get involved. I thought the government partially learned from their mistakes with the bank bailout when crafting the automotive bailout, but were not tough enough.
Property Rights. This is a matter that is very important to me, as is evident in my numerous homeowners association posts. I dislike acts that infringe on private property ownership, which is why I dislike HOAs as much as I dislike eminent domain. The maintenance of property rights is important in insuring a free society.
Gun Ownership. I support gun ownership and protection of the Second Amendment, but I also support the regulation of firearms. I am also against the ban on firearms as well and believe such restrictions cause more harm then good to society as a whole, because as the saying goes, "when you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns."
My opinions on business are simple.
I believe that in order to succeed, corporations must have principles. There must be a respsect for not only the customer, but also the employee, and once corporations only look at profits as an indicator of success, they will fail as a company. This is not to say that profit is a bad thing, but that profit is not the only determining factor in what makes a good company good. I am reminded of when I had worked for Albertsons. Albertsons had been one of the largest grocery chains in America, but began to decline when founder Joe Albertson relenquished control. While Albertson founded his company with a goal and stuck to a certain set of principles, the new management had no such connection.
I remember an old company program that would post inspirational sayings by the time clock. I could never forget one in particular - "Your attitude determines your altitude." Who originated this quote? While it is an anonymous motivational saying, then CEO Larry Johnston credited himself as the author. I found this to be extremely arrogant. At that same time, Johnston issued a new set of goals for the corporation, all of which seemed to be motivated by profit, and while I believe profit to be good, the new directives were such a departure from Albertson's vision that failure was destined.