Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I think my biggest problem is that I believe in simplicity. Experience and research have taught me that, more often than not, the simple solution often lies within the simplicity of the problem. Even the complex problems tend not to be that complex once broken down to the core of the situation. When you start to rule out the negligible factors, and truly examine what is happening, often the situation is far simpler and thus a simple solution will result in a trickle down effect and resolve the greater complex problem. But now I don't see the problems we face as being able to be simplified. Or at least a simplified answer will be able to trickle down through the complexity. However, I do take some comfort in the fact that if I feel this frustrated, I might actually have some understanding of what the framers were experiencing when they came up with our constitution.
I keep trying ot look at the whoel picture, but focus on the key details... such that man is flawed. I think that beyond any other detail this is the primary issue that must be addressed in any form of society. But how does one create a society that does not find a way to constrain the flawed individual, but rather create a society that insures the flawed individual constrains him/her self? And, at the same time, provides the society a freedom to do what they want. This very concept probes into something so simple, yet more complex than anything I have ever considered before. And it is the lack of understanding that frustrates me, as I am not certain that there is an answer to these questions.
What is freedom?
Freedom is the ability for any and all members of society to do, say and be anything that want to be at any time they want to do, say or want to be it. It is a society of no constraints. As such, it allows those members of society that may be more flawed than others to think that they like another member's wife and think that sleeping with her because he wants to is acceptible. While this act would be covered under freedom... it fails at a moral conduct level, and would most definately cause a failure in such a society. So thus, a totally free society is not possible.
To most of us, we have this little voice inside ourselves that provides us with a natural form of constrain. It tells us that taking something that doesn't belong to us, and thus it is a wrong behavior. But what about the individual that does not have that little voice... or at least one that does not listen to it? Is he any less important of a member of society only because he thinks differently? And if so, at what point did he become a lesser member? The point at which he thought of taking something? The point at which he actually took the item? At what point do we draw the line in the sand and say, "This side is fine, but that side is not." And who gets to decide where that line belongs? By stating that there is a line at which too much is too much, we create a barrier from total freedom that effeects all members of society equally... and we create a possition of power over all other members of the society... a power that can be abused at any time to the advantage of those that chose to use it on their behalf. Thus, by creating 'laws' we destroy freedom. Yet, without laws, we get chaos.
And what if we enact laws to govern our society? We accept the limited freedom in exchange for the protection from those that think differently. We give the power to those that will enforce these laws and maintain them to continually adapt the laws as needed to the changing society. But what of those that don't agree with the changes? What if 40% of the society opposes the possible changes, but 60% are in favor... thus changing the laws? You now have 40% of the society obligated to follow laws they did not want, because 60% did. And what if those voting only represented 20% of the society at large? You would now have 12% of the population dictating the remaining 88% of the society as to how they must lead their lives. No... this just does not work. No 'free society' could ever survive an environment such as this.
The problem lies in this simplistic riddle:
A society can neither be completely free, nor can it survive the constraints placed upon it by a portion of its own populus. In other words... no society can survive. Why does this logically compute, but yet it simply isn't believable?
My head hurts... going to stop thinking for a while. Or at least redirrect my thoughts to something simpler... like my Statics Exam coming up.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Yes this is actually real! You can order yours now at http://www.chiaobama.com/ for $19.95 + S&H.
As for the other videos and images, I wont even give you links. If you want to see them that badly, you will have to google them yourselves.... perverts!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
If you want to check out Vexxarr for all the veiled comedy you can handle, or check out Hunter Cressall's site to see more of what the man behind the cartoon does. If you have time, check out the Vexxarr archives. I have actually gone to the beginning (originally began in B&W, shortly later became color) and worked to present and I must say... absolutely fantastic! Brava Hunter Cressall, Brava!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Kevin has told me so many stories of a particular individual that continues to follow his blog and, fortunately for Kevin and his readers, suffers from one of the worst cases of foot-in-mouth disease I have ever seen. This brave soul goes by the name Markadelphia and has his own blog 'Notes From the Front'.
In one of Kevin’s more recent posts, he brings up the subject of debate (all be it in the format of humor and a cartoon strip) that was titled ‘I WANT to Debate, But They Keep Running Away!’
As I began to scroll through the various comments, I came upon one by Kevin’s favorite nemesis… Markadelphia. Mark seems to think he knows why Kevin has issues in getting anyone to debate him…
Could it be that the reason why people don't often debate you, Kevin, is that they see there is no point? It's obvious to me that your mind is set on several concepts and simply won't let go. You have created a comfortable, pocket culture here in which this...
"Oh. You mean I might change their minds."
is eternally supported. People see this and realize that there is pretty much no point in debating you on most topics. In other words, you are simply not a very reasonable person when it comes to an issue like health care, for example. ANY government run system is bad. ANY information you put on this blog will be in support of this opinion. NO positive information regarding government run health care is allowed. You pretend it doesn't exist. If ANYONE disagrees with this they are a moron, fool, useful idiot blah blah blah and (hilariously) not grounded in the scientific methods and facts.
Yet you ignore this method and these facts in areas like health care, climate change, education, and fundamental international diplomacy. The people you invite to debate see this and realize it is a futile endeavor.
Personally, after reading this I now fully understand why Kevin loves to toy with Mark, and why Kevin’s readers also love to see Mark appear from time to time…. Much like watching a video of midget porn, it is pure comedy.
I think the underlying flaw to Mark’s logic is that he assumes that government is good. That if government was left to its own devices it would be OK, but with a little guidance it could be something really great. So… when government says they are going to fix health care, Mark thinks that this is good. And that if the right people put in their two cents worth and legislation is done well; it could be the greatest thing to happen for the American people.
The problem with this is that government (and not just our government, but all government) is bad. It is a necessary evil to a modern society, and the goal is to allow it to only be big enough to do the things that must be done and no more. The moment we let it into other things the price tag goes up and the quality goes down.
So when Mark talks about government ran health care as a good thing as it is the government that will be making it work, and that with the right nudging it can be something great… well, I kind of equate that to walking into a gay bar backwards and my naked ass in the air; and that, with a little nudging in the right direction, someone might offer a bottle of lubricant for the evening.
If Markadelphia wants to challenge Kevin’s debating abilities, I suggest he learn a little history of how ‘great’ our government has been to it’s citizens first. There have been rare occasions in which lubricant was offered, but vary few times it was ever actually used.
Just my opinion…
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Received this from a friend and thought you might enjoy.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It also seems the New York Times picked up this story as well. However, rather than showing the photographs they chose to run a verbal "quote" of what had been etched in Liut. Co. Grigsby's tombstone. One small problem, they got it wrong! I thought a quote meant you gave the statement as you found it... not how you wanted it to be or how you felt it would least offend your readers... guess I was wrong about that too. Check out the NY Times version here. (Thanks Kevin for finding that for me.)
Friday, October 9, 2009
The article is in regard to an individual who, frankly put, is a major asshole. That being said… I also think he may be right in some aspects. It turns out the guy is self-made. Having worked for his father at a cafeteria, he put himself through law school and also served in the Marines. He now resides in a posh gated community with, as you would expect in a gated community, many other rich people.
It also turns out that he is not a fan of “poor people”, children and libraries. In all fairness, I would say he would just prefer them located where he doesn’t have to interact with them verses having them completely annihilated as a whole, but I dare not speak for the man else fall to his verbal wrath as well. In the end, I raise this question…
Is he wrong?
He has worked hard (presumably) to earn his fortune and chose a home in a location where those of equal status and mind can surround him. He has done what he can to stay away from those he prefers not to associate with, and has voiced his opinion publicly in the attempt to maintain the surrounding he has chosen. While we as a society frown on those not so tolerant, I ask again… is he wrong? Does working hard to achieve the American Dream… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness… has he earned the right to be a prick?
You see… it has been a long-standing dream of mine to free all living creatures of the planet earth from the ruthless and demoralizing enslavement this planet has persecuted upon them for so long. I shall free the fish from the sea, the birds from the air and the ground dwellers from… well… the ground. How will I accomplish such a marvelous gesture you ask? I shall destroy the planet earth so all will be free of it’s bonds upon us. We will be free to float throughout the cosmos with no more cares or concerns of a toxic atmosphere or contaminated waterways. There will be no more worries of what poisons have been placed into the soil or just how many trees still remain after the deforestation and wild fires. We the people of the former planet earth, as well as all living creatures on it, will be free for all time. Together we can achieve this dream. With hope for a free future we can make these changes a reality…
Anyone buying this yet?
If not, here are my top three quotes from “Instapundit” on the audacity of “The One” receiving the Nobel Peace Prize:
1) “It’s a peace prize, not a peace peace prize.”
2) “How do you say ‘jump the shark’ in Norwegian?”
3) “Let’s be fair…. He did pull off the Beer Summit.”
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Any who... since I don't have anything of major significance to report today, I figured I would at least provide a little eye candy. Between the post I did several weeks ago in response to a piece by Mostly Cajun and this post, some of you may think that I am all about the sexy pics... well, I am male. Need I say more?
As probably many of you are aware, China recently celebrated it's 60th Anniversary. While China has been around for thousands of years, the anniversary is marking their cultural revolution and the countries transformation into a modern and formal society. One of the many things the Chinese do to celebrate this anniversary is to have huge parades. The military, being one of the central components of the new China, often takes center stage of these parades. Here are some of the pictures I downloaded showing off the military at it's finest.
All I have to say is... if I was in a military unit and was suddenly face to face with a brigade of the gals in the pink... I would wave the white flag and beg to be interrogated by each and every one of them... personally! Talk about your POWs (ha).
Monday, September 28, 2009
"Attorney: Oklahoma City bomb tapes appear edited"
In the article, it discusses how a Salt Lake City attorney named Jesse Trentadue has been privately investigating the April 19th, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Apparently he just received security camera tapes from the FBI and feels there is a problem...
The tapes turned over by the FBI came from security cameras various companies had mounted outside office buildings near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They are blank at points before 9:02 a.m., when a truck bomb carrying a 4,000 pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the building, Trentadue said.
"Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence," Trentadue said.
Apparently Jesse feels that the US Government is not being completely forth coming with the evidence it has, and has no problem shooting his mouth off about it...
He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because "they had run out of tape" or "the tape was being replaced."
"The interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02," he said. "The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn't want anybody to see."
He's not done yet...
FBI agents did not report finding any security tapes from the federal building itself.
The FBI in the past refused to release the security camera recordings, leading Trentadue and others to contend the government was hiding evidence that others were involved in the attack.
"It's taken a lawsuit and years to get the tapes," Trentadue said.
He received the latest batch of tapes over the summer in response to an April request for video from security cameras in 11 different locations. Nothing on the tapes was unexpected.
"The more important thing they show is what they don't show," Trentadue said. "These cameras would have shown the various roads and approaches to the Murrah Building."
The more important thing they show is what they don't show??? OK... I have had my fill of layer double talk. I realize our judicial system is a joke, but I am just not sure I can take any more. When the words "beyond a reasonable doubt" were coined, it was meant to make sure a jury was sure they were convicting the right person. And that, if they weren't certain this was the guy, they didn't convict him wrongly.
Is it just me or have the attorneys of today decided the best defense is to create reasonable doubt? Reasonable doubt was never meant to be 'created', it was simply meant to either be present or not. When did it go from, "As this man's defense attorney, I present you this evidence that my client is Innocent and could not have possibly been the man who committed the crime" to "As this man's defense attorney, here are 100 other possibilities that are meant to confuse and distract you from the fact my client committed the crime."
And now... we have this 'do gooder' lawyer in salt lake that is making the same argument about the Oklahoma City Bombing evidence. Essentially he is saying that, because I wasn't given the evidence, the evidence must be missing rather than non-existent. I will admit that he has two things going for him... 1) it is rather coincidental that 4 cameras did seem to mis-function at the worst possible moment that would have provided much needed evidence, and 2) our federal government seems to be less than forth coming with evidence to the public.
Which leads me to my second half of my rant (the first being about lawyers, the bums)... why is our government so secretive with it's own people? I understand they can not give out every detail, but all to often they seem to hide even the simplest of details. I will chose one of the most contested 'conspiracies' as my example.... JFK. Personally, I believe there was a cover-up. What all it covers, I am not certain. But from the evidence I have seen, it appears to me that there was more than a single shooter. But yet, our government emphatically denies any conspiracy and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. Why? If they have fool proof evidence that he was, then why don't they release it? Instead they have classified documents, mis-placed evidence and (in my opinion) made a joke of themselves in how obvious information has been withheld... and all in the interest of public safety. Safety from what?
Why does our government repeatedly cover up things or hide information from us? Now, I am not suggesting they start sending out mailers with the nuclear codes on them... I realize some secrets are needed and most would pertain to military. But why couldn't it simply open to the public all evidence of the JFK assassination? Who would it hurt (besides those that covered anything up to begin with)? And think of what would be achieved politically by the president that did such an act. He/She would be a god!
Picture if you will... Obama sitting at his desk in the oval office giving a public address to the nation (OK nothing new there)... "My fellow Americans, tonight I sit before you humbled as your leader and must admit that our government has been part of a massive conspiracy against it's own people. For 40 years now secrets have been kept and hidden from you the people, secrets that should have been available for all to see. As of this moment the secrecy ends. (President hold up a black binder with the presidential seal on it) This is a presidential decree in which I am lifting any withholding of information in regards to the assassination of our former president John F. Kennedy. For all those that have wanted access to the evidence, you shall now have it. (Opens binder and signs the document). I have appointed a Czar (couldn't help myself) to oversee all other 'classified' documents that should also be released to the public. By this I mean all documentation regarding Roswell NM, Big Foot, the chupacabra, etc. Provided there is no information contained within that would otherwise compromise our military or law enforcement agencies, you shall have full transparency into what your government has previously hid from you. You are the people of the United States, and you deserve to know the truth. Thank you, and God bless the United States."
If this ever happened, the man would be untouchable and go down in history of one of the greatest presidents ever! He could completely botch Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Korea, etc. The people would applaud his forth coming and honesty above any other failure. So why doesn't the government step up to the plate? Why can it not be honest... even with itself? I mean of course... why other than the fact that government and honesty are complete polar opposites. I guess my question is.... why does government feel it must be dishonest with the citizens that elected it? And why, as the citizen, do we tolerate it?
I have a theory... I think it is because uncertainty is more powerful than truth. If the government gave us truth, we the citizens probably wouldn't know what to do. Obviously those that agreed would go along, and those that disagreed would abstain. But, by keeping all of us confused and uncertain, we all just 'go along' since we don't have hard evidence one way or the other. Our suspicions are just that, suspicions. If we know a politician is lying to us, we wont vote for him. Likewise, if we think he is telling the truth... we will. But if none of us are sure what he is saying is true or not... we might assume he is lying as all politicians do, but still vote for him since we are unsure.
So... to come full circle, is it any wonder that our government it now ran by lawyers? The same people that like to confuse a jury with 'reasonable doubt' are the same people that would like to keep us in the dark and confused as citizens. We are more controllable that way. And thus why we keep electing them, and they keep hiding the truth from us.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
In response to: "36. Is it just me or do high school girls get s!uttier & s!uttier every year?"
I have a large collection of "inspirational" posters on file, but these are the only 4 I thought pertained to what Mostly Cajun was pondering.
Again my apologies to those that actually looked to my blog for a post and never found one. I had promised a post due by a week ago and here I find myself a week behind and still no post. For those that have started to read my blog (if you still come by to read), you will note that I tend to wax a bit on any subject I write about. My complains that I like to talk to much... go figure. I guess I feel I have a lot to say, and especially on a subject that I feel any sort of passion for I tend to go on more than I should. I think that I have been trying to say to much about too many things recently. I have several major posts I have been working on piece by piece, but I never seem to complete them and get them posted... mainly because I feel they are still incomplete. That being said, I think this post shall be a small taste of the various subjects I am currently researching and writing about... and will eventually complete and post. Until then, these one-paragraph highlights will leave room for comments, questions and further dialog on the development of said subjects.
Where Has All The Money Gone? - This particular post idea came when I started thinking further about the bailouts and when I watched a trailer for the upcoming Michael Moore film "Capitalism: A Love Story". There is a seen in which he approaches on of the major recipients of government bail-out funds with a money sack looking for them to return the 10 billion they received and commenting that they would probably need more sacks as it probably wouldn't all fit in one. Laughingly I thought to myself that obviously they would never give him the money, and definitely not in cash. If anything it would be a check and even then... it probably would most likely be a wire transfer. But then this got me thinking... how did the government give the stimulus money to these various businesses in the first place? It was doubtful there was a check of any kind... it all had to be electronic. Which made me start to thinking about where all the money had gone. And even if you had cold, hard cash... what made it worth anything to begin with? Our dollars used to follow the gold standard and were backed by a physical commodity, but that long since has gone away. Now the dollar bill is only worth what a digital computer printout says it is worth. If I had a million dollars in my local bank account, would I be able to go down and close that account and be handed cash? I doubt it... it would probably be a check. And why? Because the bank doesn't have it. I am willing to bet that the majority of actual cash is in the pockets of most Americans or in the registers and safes of many of the daily businesses we patronize. As for the banks and the financial institutions... all they own are 1's and 0's in a computer system that says they have so much. Which leads me to ask... Where has all the money gone?
Capitalism vs Communism vs Anarchy vs etc. - For this post, I have been reviewing the various government designs... and discovering they are not all that different. I know some of you would completely disagree, but in reality... well, do the research. The idea came from one of Kevin's posts in which he was talking about "Restoring the Lost Constitution". He had also references various other blogs discussing the idea as well, all of which raised two primary thoughts... 1) is it possible to restore the constitution able to be restored? and 2) was the original constitution flawed and thus the results we have are what would only repeat? The later was really my primary inspiration. I got to thinking that, while our constitution does lay out the ground work for a republic, in fact all government doctrines whether they be capitalistic or communist, are actually a form of anarchy to some degree. While anarchy would say that no organised government would rule the society and that society would rule itself... in fact, is that not what the constitution outlines? We the people... a government for the people by the people.... yes... it is an organised governing body, but one of the people. Also... one of the flaws that even I have pointed out to a former friend about anarchy is that it requires all the members of the society to think the same to a certain degree, else be cast out of that society... well, doesn't the Constitution ask the same? Does it not ask that all the people that follow that document to agree to the same common governing concept?
Former Friend Ronn Redux - As for some of you, you may have already read a posting I wrote a while back... The Price of Your Beliefs. In this post I discussed a difference of opinion between a friend of mine, Ronn, and I. I had copied both mine and his emails back and forth, all with the intent of giving Ronn a fair shake in his arguments. Well... needless to say, Ronn was less than appreciative. We have exchanged several more emails, but to no avail. He refuses to explain his stance politically and seems only intent on continuing the ridicule of my new found conservatism. He has even threatened legal action for having posted his emails. I had originally planned to post the following emails, again with the interest in giving Ronn his fair shake... wouldn't want to be accused of paraphrasing his position, but then I thought paraphrasing might actually be more fun. Hopefully, when read in conjunction with the first posting, you will understand my paraphrasing in know way diminishes his position and/or comments. As a final note, I think that Ronn and I most likely will not be seeing each other again... Ronn, old buddy... if you are out there, consider this a fond farewell. Hope you find more happiness on the other side!
AS you can see... I seem to lack the ability to keep it short. But now at least, you have a taste of what is brewing in posts to come. Hope to hear from some of you on the listed subjects, perhaps some further references and links to aid in the development of these posts would be nice. Hope to have one of them up by next weekend at the latest... but I think it safer if I not make that a promise this time. Keep reading and checking back from time to time... will try to get more up in the near future.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I hope this weekend I will get the first one up. For those that have read before, I am in the process of loosing a "friend" to the fact I have taken on a new conservative outlook on the world. We have exchanged several more emails, and it looks as if the writing is on the wall... not only is he an Anarchist, but also was never a "real friend". To the point he has even threaten legal action of having posted our emails in one of my past articles.
Also, I am working on one regarding the financial market of today. Namely, where did the money go and how is it backed? All we see now for the most part is numbers on a computer screen or a piece of paper. The cash we might actually hold means what exactly? It's value continues to decline as more and more is printed, and what gives it it's value to begin with... it used to be the gold reserves, but I am not even sure those still exist any more.
Finally, as some of you who have browsed my entire history (all be it short) will have noticed some "reviews". My initial concept for this blog was to be a shared space for both political comments and rants as well as my restaurant and film reviews. I have come to realise that these things have absolutely no business being in the same archive. I am in process of creating 2 additional blogs that will be dedicated to the other two subjects. I will be adding links to them on this sight as well, but this will become purely a political discussion sight. It may only see a posting a week until my schedule frees up a bit more, but at least it will be dedicated to the single subject. I didn't feel it fair that someone wanting to read a piece on... say... the invasion of Marxism into our schools during the middle part of the last century (see Kevin's last post) needed to sift through my local restaurant and film reviews. However, for those of you planing to travel to Tucson, AZ... the restaurant reviews may be a good thing to check out. My wife and I have pretty high standards and speak fairly about the places we go.
Until the next post...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Any who... it has finally happened. The Town Halls have come to Tucson, AZ. John McCain just recently had his run in with an angry mob in Phoenix... to the point he even ejected a woman form the crowd that seemed to only want to scream at him. If the angry crowd applauded this move. But here in Tucson we have been waiting for the moment our illustrious congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords would host her town halls. The date is almost here! She has been running scared for several months now, and doing her best to dodge the proverbial pullet in hosting these things. The last public forum at which she spoke in our community, the mob was so miffed at her recent voting habits that they nearly formed a lynch mob on her. Needless to say, she was a little nervous of facing her constituents again. And this time I plan to be in the audience and experience the wrath first hand. For those that don't know Congresswoman Giffords, here is the banner from her congressional website... it pretty much says it all:
Will do my best to put posts up over the next few days, but will be rather busy getting my schedule a little more firm with classes and such. Stay tuned and check back from time to time... I haven't gone anywhere and I still have much to say.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Now that we have returned, I felt I should get a post up ASAP. Thankfully, material seems to be flowing in from all directions. As a change of pace from my typical rant or review, I thought I would try to provide a bit of humor to this returning post.
If only it were true… I have two grandparents and two parents all over the age of 65. I could rake in a quite a bit of cash under this plan.
But seriously… is this where we are headed? I mean, just how bad can Obama’s healthcare plan really be?
During our trip to California, our first stop was at my cousin and his wife’s house. As it turns out, my cousin’s wife has worked for Keiser Permanente for the past 30 years. Needless to say she has plenty to talk about when it comes to a government plan verses a capitalistic system and the current health plans available. Her opinion is pretty simple… leave it the hell alone! It works fine as is. She admits that it has a few flaws, but… like most things in a capitalistic environment, they are working themselves out. Supply and demand regulates what is and isn’t offered and how much it will cost. She went on to explain that it had been the government’s fault that most of the current problems exist in healthcare, due to their meddling in the system to begin with. The government is the one that mandated that certain items offered in one state must also be offered in other states as well… even if no one there uses it. Thus your coverage costs increased for something you never wanted to begin with… all thanks to our own government. And now they want to take over the industry to fix their previous mistakes? Hello? Does anyone with half a brain think this sounds like a good idea? Well… neither do I…and I have a whole brain (although my friend Ronn may not agree… see my previous post for the reference).
But what can we do? We elected those that currently represent us in Washington. The only thing I see that may save us from this egregious mistake is that those currently in power want to stay in power. And they also know that if they don’t appease the masses that elected them to begin with, that the masses may elect them out of power. So I suggest we all speak up and speak loudly if we do not want this Obama-nation of a healthcare system voted into place!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Where to begin… First, my apologies for missing a day of blogging. I have been busy with a great deal of things and the post I plan to give is taking some time to develop. The reason being is that it may in fact cause the loss of a dear friend I have had for many years now. And all due to my new found views of the world.
My friend Ronn is a fantastic and brilliant individual. I first met the man when I was earning my first degree in the Arts. I was required to take a variety of art courses that would give me a full perspective of the Arts as a whole before I could proceed into my chosen specific disciplines of art. So there I was, awaiting my instructor to arrive to class when a moderate statured and lanky male boasting a cowboy hat, worn black T-shirt, jeans and cowboy boots strides to the desk at the front of the classroom. He sets a shoulder bag down and looks about the classroom briefly as he begins to unpack his satchel and prepare to start the class. I still remember how he opened the class… maybe not in the exact words, but close enough for quotes:
“Welcome to Beginning Graphic Design. My name is Ronn ______ (left out for privacy) and I am going to be working your ass of this semester. For those of you who took this class thinking it would be an easy grade, the door is over there… I suggest you leave now.” After a moment of pause and no one had left the room, he continued.
Over the course of the semester, I got to know Ronn well. Even after the semester, several of us from that Beginning Graphics class returned on a regular basis to discuss new work with Ronn, as he had proven himself to clearly be the most knowledgeable of all the instructors in the Graphics Department… despite only being an adjunct professor. Two semesters after I had taken his class, the rest of the department ousted him from the university due to this very reason.
Ronn and I had become very good friends though, neigh I say best friends. Despite a move to Dallas on my part, we stayed in touch and would visit any time I returned to Tucson to see friends and family. Often I wanted to see Ronn and my friends more than family, but if you knew my family… you would understand (for all my family that might be reading… love you all, don’t take it personally. I am talking about the rest of the family and not you specifically). Years later when I would return to Tucson, I would later move into a small group of Artists’ Lofts that would include Ronn as my across-the-courtyard neighbor. This brought on many evenings of talking over tea or the occasional venture out for a bite to eat. We became quite close friends and shared many of the same views.
I still revere Ronn as one of the most intellectual people I know. He is exceptionally well read and informed. He knows something about almost everything (intellectually speaking… he couldn’t rebuild a carburetor if he tried), and if he didn’t know he would usually try to learn by the next time it came up. But Ronn is an artist. He has always been an artist and always has felt a distain towards the rest of society. That most people out there were idiots and troglodytes not worthy of his time, as “they just didn’t get it”. This was the subject of a great deal of our debates. In particular when it came to the subject of art. Self admittedly I know very little about the history of art. I took three art history courses while in college and can’t remember much from any of them. And I never learned much about the history of Photography, one of my specific disciplines. But to this day I still hold my opinion on art… that it is a viewer's opinion that matters and not the art critic’s or even the artist’s. If an artist is intending to convey something through his work, it should be done in such a way that ANY viewer could walk up and look at the piece and understand what was intended. One should not be required to understand the nature of tribal upheaval during an African war from the 1600’s (completely fictitious for the sake of example) to get why a poorly taken photograph of an African American Man is significant. Why create art for only other artists that might or might not know what you are talking about? Art is for the world to see, not for artists to boost their egos among other artists! I doubt I will ever change this opinion.
But I digress… So recently (after several days of my initial blog posting), I sent an email to my friends Ronn. In my email I apologized for having not asked first, but mentioned I had added links to his and his girlfriend’s art websites to my blog page. And, that if they would like, they could have me leave them up or take them down after they had seen the blog. This was the first response:
“I'd prefer you take the links down ASAP. We're revamping our site and have asked everyone who has linked to it to drop the connection.We don't want people coming to the site right now. When we're done we'll give you a heads up. Got to deal with (for sake of privacy the name has been removed) right now. More later...”
A reasonable request… and as I mentioned I had failed to ask permission first. An error I have most definitely learned from. However, Ronn’s comments did not end there. He continued to send several more emails, each more heated than the next. The next came with the subject line “take us off!”, and the attack had just begun:
“Oh, sweet Jesus. I just read part of your rant and some snippets of Kevin's. I DEFINITELY don't want to be associated with anything that perpetuates this asinine, narrow-minded right vs. left malarkey. I think Kevin is nuts and you're both woefully misinformed. PLEASE take our names off this jive. Blake (Ronn’s girlfriend) and I are trying to stay out of the coming civil war and watch you teabaggers and jelly-wristed liberals SLAUGHTER each other. The less I hear from either side, the better off we'll be. Tribalism, received opinion and skewed versions of American history do NOT interest me.”
Frankly, I was a little shocked by this as Ronn has always been anti-government and more for the individual rights. He despised Bush for the choices he made as a president, but felt Obama was no better. He felt Obama was a sell-out the moment he threw his friend Rev. Wright under the bus for his ill timed comments during the campaign and would not support him from that point forward. And, for the most part, he agreed with Rev. Wright and what he had said. And he felt Obama should have stood tall with his friend verses doing the politically wise thing and distancing himself.
But the attack had not come to an end. It came again in the form of a third email. This one had a subject line of simply “NO!”. It read as follows:
“Mother of God. I read even more of both blogs. PLEASE TAKE OUR NAMES DOWN ASAP. This ignorant, incendiary, illiterate, piggish Know-Nothing codswallop is the very thing I've spent my entire life refuting. Even if the political stuff wasn't preposterous and vapid enough, the attention to bad movies and crap culture would be enough to make me run screaming into the night. REMOVE OUR NAMES”
At this point, I was beginning to think that my friend was taking this blogging thing as if it was intentionally aimed at him. It wasn’t (until now)! I had received these three emails over the course of a single night and before I had the chance to remove the links or respond to the emails. Upon reading all three, I promptly removed the links as requested, but also responded to the emails directly as well. My response:
“As requested, I have taken the links to both websites down. Sorry you feel that this is something you wish to not be associated with.
If you could, please explain your views and why they are so opposed to someone like myself (or Kevin) for holding the views we do? Since we have begun having these discussions, you have always taken a stance of towards-the-middle and of lesser government. I understand your dislike for the film reviews, but it was something I have wanted to do for some time... this gave me an outlet for it. However, the political commentaries are the direction in which I find myself heading. Isn't our government running away without its citizens? Are they not abusing the powers that were given to them, and even executing powers never granted to them?
" Blake and I are trying to stay out of the coming civil war " - this is something that even Kevin agrees is coming... as do most of his readers. I have always thought there was something that could be done... all I have done is come to the conclusion the only place I thought that could do it was actually the one causing most of the problems.
You seem to be taking the stance of the innocent bystander... however, I believe you were the one that said there are no innocents. We all play our roll. I would agree that some (and maybe many) of the teabaggers may be the radical right, but a good portion of them are citizens that have finally had enough of big government and fear that the recent and future actions may actually be the nails in the coffin of our country. If they can do something to stop it, they will.
Frankly, I do not feel I am promoting any such "codswallop". Rather, I am freely expressing my new found insight of where I feel this country is headed. I have not posted anything I have not researched first. I link references to the things I discuss. And frankly... one of my few remaining rights as a US citizen is free speech... whether it be accurate or not. I have not entered this un-informed or light-hearted. I have seen things in a new light and this IS how I feel, and this IS how I have chosen to express it.
For the first time my friend, I am taking a firm stance against your opinion. For the first time I am going to flat out state that you are wrong on your judgment. You are entitled to your opinion, but I feel that you have thrown an unfair accusation at this. I can understand that someone of your age and health would not want to get involved, but I cannot help to think that these movements are quite similar to the reactions that took place during the 60's (that he had taken part in). The only difference is that the right is leading the charge this time. The 60's did amazing damage to this country, both educationally and politically. It also produced some good at the time. But for every bit of good that came from the movements of your time... we now face the damage left behind and are trying to navigate the ripples left behind by many of those actions. But then, I cannot truly blame everything on the 60's. The problems had started much earlier... about the turn of the century. At least in terms of education. We were no longer educating the public to keep them informed of what government was and was not allowed to do... mainly because government had decided that this country needed more drones for their factories. They did not need thinkers on the assembly lines that were being developed. The 60's was simply the complete and utter take-over of the educational system by the liberals. Peace and harmony became the status quo. Is this starting to sound familiar?
For now... I have found my new opinion. I have found my own voice, and I have found my platform from which to speak. It is no longer for you or me to judge whether it is right or wrong, but that of the public that reads it and gives it merit. You once told me that art unseen was not really art, as art is intended for an audience. Well... this is going before an audience. We will see what they have to say from here.”
Naturally, this did not end here. Ronn felt the obligation to respond. His attacks became more critical and poignant. While I admit to having a week “writer’s touch” at the moment, I am just getting warmed up. Give me time and I am sure my eloquence will begin to bloom. Ronn’s email came under the subject line “Retitle your blog ‘Me Like, Me Don’t Like’”. He writes:
“Let me make it simple for you:
You can't write. At all. You have no facility for it. Your prose is like reading the INGREDIENTS list on a tube of toothpaste--but less engaging and infinitely less informative.
At best you come across as a simpleton. Most of the time you sound like a a bloviating, egomaniacal twit. There are so many oxymoronic inconsistencies, tautologies, half-truths and appalling misrepresentations of history in your screed it would take 24 skilled linguists 6 months to decode it. But why bother? No serious person would waste their time and I won't, either. Not any more. I don't want to interfere with your "transformation" into a full-blown jerk.
It's excruciatingly painful to see somebody, like yourself, so willing to humiliate himself in a public forum. Your ignorance, your lack of empathy and compassion, your greed, your insufficient education and your embarrassingly bad taste are no longer just a few people's little secret. Now the whole world knows you're a pompous lummox. Congratulations.
Concerning your opinions--they are not an inalienable right. You earn them. Sitting on your couch watching TV for 30-odd years doesn't qualify you to have more than one--"Cheetos or Doritos?"
You remain, your own worst enemy. At least you're as consistent as you are ridiculous."
I might note that, despite my request for his “views and why they are so opposed to someone like myself (or Kevin)…” he did not respond. I since have replied once more requesting his stance on his views and opinions, but feel I will not get a response.
I regret that a friend that was so close to me would react in such a hostile manner to my changing views. Even if we find ourselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I would have hoped that our friendship would have been able to withstand such differences. In the end, perhaps he was not the friend I thought he was… I hope I am wrong. But do I not have the right to express myself in this manner? To post my opinions to the digital ether and see what responses result? How is this in any way being a “bloviating, egomaniacal twit”?
What I find interesting as a result of all this is that I feel more confident in what I have come to believe and understand. Before, as a liberal, I was always easily swayed from one liberal opinion to another… but not I feel more cemented in this ideal. I feel less discouraged but such criticism. Possibly as I came to this realization on my own and was not handed the opinions from which to choose to believe in, as I was when I was a liberal. My views now make more practical sense to me, and they seem more tangible and real.
It is an interesting and new time for me. As for my friend (I hope) Ronn… only time will tell. I would hate to loose a friend over a difference in ideology, but I think that I have to follow my beliefs and not the drivels of a person unable to define his position.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
But now I find myself in this very strange place of conversion. I still hold some of my more liberal thoughts, but now find myself reviewing them from a firmer stance in reality. As my dear friend Kevin would probably phrase it, “You must have gotten tired of sniffing the Unicorn Farts!”
With this newfound light to the world, I also have a new view of where this illustrious country of ours is headed… and frankly it scares the crap out of me. I used to blind myself by saying, “We can make it better, we just need to try harder and come up with better solutions.” Something that I now have found out is very closely related to the Democratic motto when a plan of theirs goes wrong, “The philosophy can’t be wrong, the idea is sound… we just have to do it again, only harder!” Ah… to be free of the shackles of delusion.
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe what ever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland.” “Remember, all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.” – The Matrix, 1999
Well… I have taken the red pill and am seeing the world through new eyes. I now find myself in a country that no longer truly represents me. A country that is slowly dismantling the very core of what I have come to believe in as my inalienable rights. A country that has systematically stolen the power from the people in return for “more bread and circuses.” (Thank you Kevin, for all your wonderful colloquialisms.)
Kevin also turned me onto an interesting piece by Peggy Noonan from a WSJ Archives titled “A Separate Piece” in which she quotes Christopher Lawford:
Do people fear the wheels are coming off the trolley? Is this fear widespread? A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "
Mr. Lawford continued, "The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on."
Lawford thought his uncle might be referring to their family--that it might "fall apart." But reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.
And--forgive me--I thought: If even Teddy knows . . .
If even Ted Kennedy accepts this as truth, how much more proof do we need that we are all screwed?!?!
Peggy continues on in her article about the elites and their reaction to the problems this country is facing, but towards the end she writes:
I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
This got me to thinking about one of the issues I have always struggled with, which are the uber-rich. As a liberal I admit to having thoughts of they should pay more to help “balance” society, but I now see that taxing a person more simply because they make more is no more reasonable than a poor man telling a rich man he must buy him a house while doing nothing to earn it. It was much easier to rationalize these thoughts when I had a big federal government that was a buffer between the two entities and would solve all the details of who was entitled to what. But now I realize that was simply utter insanity. Since when has our government done anything well. “Government does two things really well… Nothing and over-react!” (Thanks again Kevin, great T-shirt btw)
So where does this leave us? And by us, I am referring to the normal every day individuals that don’t have millions in the bank. I finally get it! I now understand the position of the uber-rich! THEY SIMPLY DON’T CARE! It is all a game to them because, in the end, they can go anywhere they want to at any time. Who got affected the most by the recent housing collapse? Who suffers the most due to the Wall Street’s debacles? Is it the wealthy CEOs and businessmen and women that make ridiculous salaries? Of course not! They can make all the bad decisions they want to because it isn’t their money at risk. It isn’t their homes on the line. It isn’t their lives that will be destroyed by failures on the part of the businesses they run. Their job is much more self-motivated. Make as much as you can… as fast as you can… and move on to the next position that will make you even more. These people are going beyond Capitalism… at least capitalism is private enterprise, but not here… this is corporate. And if this country fails, the uber-rich will simply take their money and move to the next place of business. Or maybe they will retire on their private islands in which they have to answer to no one. Not that they are answering to anyone now…
So what am I saying… frankly, I don’t know. I don’t have a solution… I only see a problem. I know that things cannot continue the way they are, but I don’t know the better method of how things should be done. In discussion with Kevin, we talked about how this country was founded. And that, when George Washington was preparing to step down after his second term as president, the King of England said that if he went through with it, he would be the greatest man on earth. To have the power of a country at his disposal, George did indeed step down. This means the system worked. So why is it now failing? I am lead to two thoughts on the matter… the original design was flawed and/or we found ways to fuck it up! How do we fix it? I am not sure there is a way. Kevin refers to it as entropy, while I look at it as more of a one-way street. I think my choice is a bit more hopeful; at least a one-way street can change direction. If it doesn’t soon, we will most definitely hit the brick wall we are speeding towards.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Any way, the new topic of the day is... Does Size Matter? And no, we are not going to be talking about the male anatomy. Nor will we be discussing the weight of those of us that fall into the fluffy category. Follow me with this and I will explain...
For those of you who read my first posting "The Hypocrisy of Good Finance" you might remember that my wife and I bought our first home back in December of 2008. Well, not sure if it was a good thing or not, but the home does belong to a HOA. It is this very fact that truly thrusted me down the path of conservatism.... much to the joy and amusement of my friend and co-worker Kevin. You see, I now found myself in a community of about 3600 homes all governed by a Board of Directors, various committees and a management team. What more could one ask for in terms of a working demonstration of how government works. I quickly learned that the dues paid each month were the taxes, and that these committees, board members and management were spending my money on things that I either was not going to use or had no interest in. The example I have come to use so often to illustrate my new understanding is as follows: If I purchase a home in this HOA that has a personal pool in it's back yard, I must still pay dues to the management team to cover the costs of maintaining two community pools that I do not use. My money pays for someone else to use a pool that I have no intention of using... as I pay ore out of my own pocket to maintain my own pool as well. Why is this fair to me? Why should I pay for someone else's pool? Why shouldn't those that want a community pool pay for it and those that don't are not obligated to do so. And we all know the answer to this... "because it wouldn't be fair"... I can almost here one of those whiny little bastards complaining. They probably aren't even paying their dues... but manage to still get in and use the pool. So worse off I am now paying for someone else to use a pool I pay for and they don't.
Needless to say, it was this small scale version of government that really began to open my eyes to the hypocrisy of a liberal society. I used to be of the mind set that taxes should be sloped so that the uber-wealthy payed 50% in tax while the guy making $20k only paid 2%. The reason being I thought was because the wealthy could afford it. After all, what can you do with 100 million you can't do with 50 mil. I now realize that, just because you have the millions doesn't mean you should have to give up half your income simply because you can. And especially you should not have to just to pay for all the things our government now spends on that benefit those that do not pay at all. When is the last time you say a millionaire collecting a welfare check or food stamps? Why should he/she be allowed to do so? After all, they paid for it... didn't they? The government took the rich man's money and gave it to the poor man... gee... sounds a lot like socialism. Again... I didn't get it until I was the guy paying for a pool that others that had not were now using. it really chapped my ass! And let me tell you... that's a lot of real estate to chap!
But yet... I look at my 3600 strong HOA and then I compare it to our federal government and the 300 million (give or take) they have to manage. Like the HOA they have a covenant... the constitution. They have committees and such... and they determine how to solve the problems our country faces. I realize that the HOA has problems, but nothing in comparison to the run away government we now seem to be saddled with. If the HOA board tried to pull half the things the federal government has pulled, they would have literally been tarred and feathered in public. In fact, this HOA was so bad that just over a year ago, the people joined together and unanimously voted out the entire board. Why can't we do this with our federally elected officials?
So I raise the question.... Does size matter? For the HOA there are clear and simple solutions that, once reached, make sense to most everyone discussing the matter. So... should it be this simple for our federal government? If not, then why not? What makes running 300 million so much more complicated than running 3600. Why can't things simply be scaled and still work?
Personally, i think that one could scale things larger and make it work on a federal level... the only problem is that our federal government has become so large that it can not even govern itself, let alone the people it is supposed to be working for. How often have we heard of one group not knowing anything about what the other group had done... when they were supposed to be working on the same thing.
I used to believe the reason government had to be as big as it was, was in order to handle the larger problems this country faces on a daily basis. But now I think they are just there to confuse the public in regards to an issue just to cover the fact they have no idea how to SOLVE the issue. I think that our elected officials have now become so concerned with maintaining the power of their position, that they forget what they are there to do in the first place.
So.... does size matter? Are the problems of the country so big that it requires big government to solve them? Or can the simple solutions good enough for 3600 be good enough, if scaled, for 300 million? I am curious to hear from all of you. Please let me know your opinions.