2009-09-18

This just in! Thousands of doctors in USA racist!

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=506199

Who would have thunk it? That many racist doctors in our beloved, post-racial country! Oh great racial/healthcare industry healer Obama, save us!

2009-04-28

Arlen Specter: Term Limits Posterboy

With polls showing that challenger Pat Toomey holds a crushing lead in the Republican primary, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has chosen to defect from the Republican party and will seek reelection in 2010 as a Democrat. Rather than admit his lack of judgment in voting for the so-called "stimulus" bill, Senator Specter has taken his mandate from the people of Pennsylvania and transparently twisted it into a path for furthering his own political career. If Arlen Specter thought it necessary to convert to the Whatever-it-Takes Party to further his "career", I'm sure he would. Hoping for him to understand that the power he holds was given to him in good faith with the expectation that he would put the needs of Pennsylvania and the United States of America ahead of his own ambitions for power seems like a lost cause. Hopefully the good people of Pennsylvania will be able to recall Specter and give our nation a good example of what should happen to career politicians.

The sooner we give Congress term limits, a balanced budget requirement, and demand a flat tax, the sooner our country will be able to get back on the path to prosperity.

2009-04-15

My First Protest: Silent No More

So, I attended a Tax Day Tea Party today. Did you? It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I heard congressman Jason Chaffetz speak, among others. I also held up a sign, a modern take on the Gadsden flag:



Before carrying such an interesting piece of history, I wanted to learn about it, so I did a little research on the Gadsden Flag. Wikipedia gives an admirable summary. Quoth Benjamin Franklin, speaking of the rattlesnake:
I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?
There were lots of little bags of tea, hanging from signs, from hats, etc. at the Tax Day Tea Party that I attended. I find the little bags of tea to be a perfectly appropriate symbol of our discontent, for now. It hearkens back to the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773 and reminds us that we are now being taxed without (competent) representation (did any member of Congress read the stimulus/budget bills before voting???). At some point, however, I believe the rhetoric will have to be stepped up a bit (kicked up a notch, if you will). I find the rattlesnake to be a great symbol.

It has been said that there exists a great, silent majority in our country. Are we members of this group? If so, I don't think we're silent anymore, and what better symbol to represent us than a rattlesnake. We have been content to stay camouflaged in the underbrush: we just want to live our lives, preserve our liberties and pursue our happiness, but now we feel threatened, and not accidentally so. We have just begun to move our tail in a sign of solemn, dire warning: do not tread on us.

The rattlesnake reminds us of the founders of this nation, those who signed not only the Declaration of Independence but also their own death sentences should their enterprise fail. The rattlesnake reminds us of the first marines who used the snake on their drums, and of every soldier since then that has fought, suffered, bled, and died for our nation, our freedoms, our very way of life. It reminds us of something uniquely American and not to be trifled with.

In 1751, Benjamin Franklin suggested in the Pennsylvania Gazette that, in response to Mother England's sending of criminals to inhabit the American colonies, Americans should return the favor by sending rattlers across the pond. I will send no little bag of tea to any member of congress. They may receive pictures of Gadsden's Flag, however. I hope the message is clear.

It's all fine and dandy to show up at a protest and hold up a sign and whoop and yell with the crowd, but even more important is becoming active in the preservation of our nation, our freedoms, and our way of life. I have thought about what our country needs, and I have come to the conclusion that we need three things, from a governmental perspective, anyway: a Constitutional amendment forcing a balanced budget, a flat income/payroll tax (everyone pays the same percentage), and universal term limits for all government officials, elected or otherwise. I think if we could put other issues on the backburner for awhile and focus on these three, our nation would be better off. This is where I plan to focus my political efforts from here on out, barring a worse turn of events.

In carrying Gadsden's Flag today, I marveled at what the founders of this nation were willing to sacrifice. I'm not just talking about those that signed the Declaration of Independence. I'm talking about every man, woman, and child that travailed to give birth to this nation. I hadn't planned on going to the Tax Day Tea Party, but then I thought that if I wasn't willing to give up an hour of my time to go learn about efforts to preserve my own country, I probably wasn't worthy of my own country.

This country was built on sacrifice, and it has been maintained on sacrifice. It will only be saved by sacrifice. May we be worthy of the challenge.

2008-06-30

Parenthood

So, Newsweek weighs in on the "joys" of parenthood. A valid journalistic venture? An attack by someone tired of constant criticism?

http://www.newsweek.com/id/143792/

It is my opinion that this article misses the point entirely, and draws a false conclusion. From my own personal experience, I have found parenthood to be a source of joys and sorrows so deep, so profound, so exquisite that they cannot be compared to any other joy or sorrow I have ever experienced, even within my marriage. In essence, I believe that children open up to us a whole new world of possibilities: for growth, for contentment, for true happiness. Along with these possibilities come others: to despair, feel intense shame, and significant negative stress.

This article seems to make the case that having children doesn't make you happy, statistically, at least. In my opinion, the point of becoming a parent should never be for one's own happiness. There are many reasons to become a parent, including biological, social, and even economic imperatives, but having children with the selfish motive of finding happiness for yourself...well, I just find that completely unreasonable. Parenthood merely opens up to us a deeper, richer body of experiences that we must make the most of.

This article is no indictment of parenthood. It is rather a scathing commentary on how well we are raising our children in America, statistically speaking. Why weren't any children polled as part of this study? Isn't their happiness just as important? If people weren't happy, why weren't they asked if it was worth it?

Can you be miserable as a parent? Sure! Can you be happier than ever before as a parent? Most definitely. It all depends on what you make of it. I happen to believe that this is universally true.

For those that have chosen not to have children, fine. That's your prerogative. I can't tell you how to live your life, but I can tell you that I am a (not always, but most of the time) happy parent, and that I feel you are missing out on something truly special. But if you don't want to perpetuate your genes, shoot, I guess that's kind of the end of that, if you know what I mean.

2008-05-28

Two-Party Politics and Representative Democracy

So, I've been thinking about this November, and how I really cannot, at this point, vote for John McCain. Perhaps he can sway me down the road, but if I had to vote today, I would probably be voting for Bob Barr, because Wayne Allyn Root lost the Libertarian nomination to him. But the thing is, I really don't want to vote for Barack Obama, and that is essentially what a vote for anyone other than McCain is in our two-party system.

I almost wish I had two votes: one for, and one against. The negative vote would go first, and the positive vote last (a la Survivor?). Essentially, I would like to vote against Obama (and hope that a majority would do the same, knocking him out of the race) so that I can feel more comfortable voting for someone other than McCain. Would you like to do that?

I think that, come November, my vote probably won't count for much, living in the heavily Republican state that I do, so that should ease my cares a bit, and in fact, this kind of negates my whole argument. I voted Gore here in 2000, and I don't think I'll vote Republican in 2008. So, I'm screwed at both the party and state level, thanks to two-party politics and representative democracy.

C'est la vie! I just hope we can all vote our conscience this November. This, I feel, is the most important thing, no matter the result. What do you think?

2008-05-19

The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

I spent most of my Saturday in Farmington, UT this past weekend, doing a little Chief Executive Officering and selling for my wife's jewelry business. It was hot, and hardly anyone showed up, but we were able to sell 95% of our stock with 3-1/2 hours to spare. Sure, a large chunk of those sales went at a large discount to a friend/competitor who plans to resell at a festival she has next weekend, but we can't complain about business-to-business sales.

It was a pretty chill festival, focused on avian life surrounding the Great Salt Lake. The most impressive thing I saw there was a bald eagle, the great symbol of our nation. It was missing half a wing, apparently shot off by some unscrupulous hunter. The majesty of that bird, even as it just sat on the arm of the trainer that was carrying it out, was impressive. I've seen bald eagles in the wild, but I've never been within 20 feet of one before. Amazing!


photo © Marek Novotný for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

One of the best parts of the festival was Madsen's food trailer. The Madsens are vendors, like us, and they sell cool kid gifts as well as food. They were selling food at this particular festival, chili dogs and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Typical fare, right? Well, they also sold fried twinkies and fried oreos. Do yourself a favor: try each one at least once, if you get the chance. If you get hooked, try not to eat them too often. They are deadly good.

2008-05-14

Racism in Politics

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." (Source) I, too, share this dream. Some think that our upcoming presidential race has been tainted by racism.

Mr. Navarrette, Jr. insinuates that Hillary Clinton is racist for saying that she gets more votes from certain white people than Barack Obama does. The fact that Clinton does seem to get more votes from certain white people is backed up by polls. The assertion that she is racist for saying so is not supported by any evidence that Navarrette provides.

Navarrette does not waste much time with Clinton, however, and presses on to warn certain American voters: "It's going to take some time to get used to all that, especially for people who never thought they thought they'd see the day that an African-American would be elected president." My question for Mr. Navarrette is this: how many people are voting for Obama based on the color of his skin?

I would contend that someone voting against Obama on the basis of his race is a fool and a racist. I would also contend that someone voting for Obama on the basis of his race is a fool and a racist. A vote for president should be based on issues and character, not skin color, whether you vote yea or nay. Perhaps Mr. Navarrette should warn his readers that no one should vote for Obama on the basis of his race, not just typical, racist white people.

Voting merely on the basis of gender, race, or even religion is inherently foolish. Although religion can give you an idea of a candidate's stands on issues and character, I give an example of how using religion as a basis for voting can lead to wildly differing candidates: anyone that voted a straight Mormon ticket would have to vote for Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Harry Reid. Talk about polar opposites...

Is there racism in this presidential contest? Of course! How pervasive it is, and what are its forms are the real concerns. Mr. Navarrette does his readers a great disservice in addressing merely one side of the issue, and not establishing the size and level of threat from that one side of the issue.

Many conservative voices have predicted that if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee for President, anyone that votes against him will be labeled racist. Looks like that's not too far away.

2008-05-09

A Mother's Worth

Interesting story. As Mother's Day rapidly approaches, this story makes me wonder if I was worth the effort. I hope so. It's interesting to see the work of a mother quantified this way, but what if you took the product of a mother's most important work (raising children) and factored that into the calculation? I hope I've been a net gain.

Happy Mother's Day, mom!

Now, interestingly enough, I make less than half of that yearly figure, so honey, if you read this, Happy Mother's Day to you as well. I always knew you were worth more than me ;-) While I'm off at work, you're at home, holding down the fort and preparing the next generation. Thank you so much for all you do for our little family.

And now, a global greeting to every mother that has ever loved her children: Happy Mother's Day!

2008-05-07

The Angry Moderate

So, I'm somewhat conservative, but I'd like to think of myself as being at least somewhat moderate. What about you?

I dislike extremes on all sides of the political spectrum, but I understand why they are so vocal: it is easy to get angry/bothered/unsettled when you're an extremist. What is difficult (for me) is getting agitated on something where I am moderate.

Is it the "distance" between points of view (take abortion, as an example) that cause extremists to get so annoyed by opposing viewpoints? Does being in "the middle" mean you might be less prone to vociferous defense of your own position? Why don't moderates scream at the top of their lungs, "WHY CAN'T WE ALL SIT DOWN AND REACH A MIDDLE GROUND ON THIS?!"

I think moderates are used to compromising, used to listening to other viewpoints, and are sure that their own viewpoint is debatable and not set in stone. I think this can lead to a lack of "volume" and this might be one reason why extremists tend to dominate the media.

Then again, maybe we just like to simplify things, try to get things down to a simple binary system: black/white, good/bad, etc. Maybe we're just lazy :-) What do you think?

2008-05-02

Global Standards

So I got an email from a good friend of mine the other day. He's in the US Navy and he told me a little about his visit to Rio de Janeiro. He wrote, "...as we were there in Autumn, we were up in the clouds and couldn’t see any of the city. In fact, we couldn’t see more than about 100 yards (or meters since I was in a place that is smart enough to use metric, which is a gripe about our culture for another time)." Funny enough, I actually gripe with him on this one, not against him like on so many other issues. I think it would be great for business and education and government for the whole world to use one system of measurement, and a decimal one at that.

So, I got to thinking (oh no!) about yards vs. meters, and I think both are equally at home in Brazil, and most of Europe, and Japan, too. Even Australia uses the yard every now and then. "Really?" you might ask. Sure, they use metric units all day: liters of gas, kilometers of distance, kilograms of "weight", etc., but the world's sport, that beautiful game called football (not to be confused with throwball), or soccer for us poor, uncultured Yanks, uses yards to define the size of and lines on the field (interestingly enough, a Rugby field is measured in meters! The things you learn...).

So there is a place for at least one imperial unit in almost all the world, at least where football is played. Now, being that the United States is one of the last countries using lots of Imperial units, you might think that the metric system might have no place here. On the contrary, the "communist", "leftist" public and private education system in the United States teaches students about the metric system. I am currently enrolled in a physics course at a local private university (decidedly NOT leftist even) and we do most every calculation in metrics.

So why don't we just get it over with and switch to the metric system already? I have a better question: why don't the English and Japanese drive on the proper side of the road? The answer is infrastructure. Just how much would it cost to change the entire United States over to the metric system? How much more would it cost to switch England and Japan to left-hand drive?

Then again, what's the cost of not using the metric system? $125 million?

Would it be worth it? In the long run, obviously. It would take at least half a generation to effect either change, and a lot of time, effort and money. I just wish the Brits and Japanese would get on it already. There are some hot right-hand drive cars in this world, and I can't be bothered to shift gears with my left hand.