Thursday, March 29, 2007

killin' in the name of....

This isn't going to help the believers. If people are told that god condones or sanctions violence then they become more violent themselves. At least thats what this research shows.
ABC News: god is on our side
"We hypothesized that exposure to a biblical description of violence would increase aggression more than a secular description of the same violence. We also predicted that aggression would be greater when the violence was sanctioned by God than when it was not sanctioned by God."
Luckily theres no violence in the bible....

Thats all folks! I'm out of town for the weekend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mos Def and Al Gore

for President! no, just an interview, I haven't gotten to watch it yet but it sounds interesting right? See myspace isn't completely worthless.

Hmm.. the HTML isn't working just click This to see Mos Def and Al Gore.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Buy me this shirt

PLEASE!!!! you'll be my bestist friend forever, I'll even put you in my top 8. Just go to T-Shirt and buy a big ass shirt then send me an email, I'll tell you where to ship it.

UD unintelligent design

Being a semi-rational person I fully admit that I could be totally wrong about god, he might exist, and given sufficient evidence I will believe, and I would think that an omnipotent being would have no trouble creating sufficient evidence. So while I think its a lame hypothesis I'll leave it alone as it has not yet been completely discredited. How about the design aspect then, how well does that little hypothesis hold up? I'll argue that its fully possible that everything was created exactly as it is just a few thousand years ago and sneaky ass god made it look much much much much older. Its possible, the dudes omnipotent and all, anything is possible with that guy. I'll also argue that for someone so powerful, someone who has all the knowledge in the universe he would have failed out of engineering class. Ok he pulled of some neat tricks like the always popular bacteria motor flagella, pretty slick, DNA, job well done. Putting the spine of an animal that travels on all four into humans which are supposedly designed in his image while other creatures are not and therefore we should be unique. Who knows maybe he was just trying to save time, maybe he just likes us to suffer. Seriously if we were designed in his image why would we have so much in common with animals that weren't? Were monkeys designed 95% in his image? do they have 95% of a soul? The fact that they can substitute (and do) the spine of a calf to use instead of ripping the spine out of a dead person for studying flexibility should be a good indicator that we really do have a spine very similar to that of a four legged creature. it works for them, thats why my fat ass can sit on the back of a horse while it runs full speed without injuring the horse. Yet one wrong move of a human while carrying a load can cause severe and sometime permanent back problems. To me at least this seems pretty clear that we have the spine of a four legged creature and not the other way around which would be far easier for the creationist to explain.

So the truth is I hurt my back moving band equipment yesterday and it seemed like a good starting point for a little rant against creationism and ID, or if there is a god, then this is my way of saying to go take a few classes at MIT, he is god he could probably get in, and learn a thing or two about mechanics and set us of with something a bit more durable, the lower back in particular. Thanks god, for admitting you don't know everything. And in the mean time fuck you, cause this hurts.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cathartic III

This was meant to just be a little add on to the last post but Blogger wasn't going to play ball so its getting its own post.

I just felt like continuing to ramble on and it seemed silly to start another post about this situation. Theres nothing I can do, nothing I can change now. I wish I knew then what I knew now, I can't even fathom how different my life would be. I mean seriously I would have had different friends, I just realized that the other changes are matters that I don't want to discuss on the internet. I'm still very mixed up emotionally, but its all for the best. Things will work out, they always do, I do believe in natural Karma, if your a good person more than likely good things will happen to you. If your an asshole then eventually life will get you back. A great example of this is high school. The popular kids, the jocks, many of them end up depressed drug addicts while the nerds they picked on went to grad school and have great jobs and are happy. And there is some logic to it, the jock was held on a pedestal for doing something that has no value in the real world for all but a very select few. The dork was probably actually good at skills that are useful in life, plus after always being picked on they rely on themselves and have drive to do better. Thats the quick of my little theory, and because I think its a natural social rule and not a divine thing it obviously is only a very general view, its absolutely not accurate in every case.

I'm no longer mixed up at all emotionally, I'm happy. Oh sure I wish things could be different but I really think that it'll work out. Hopefully with her but if not I'm simply in a much better spot mentally for what ever comes along. I gotta play "today was a good day" again.

Oh and "C" I told "I" she has to go say goodbye to goo. BTW if your going to read this, feel free to leave comments. er maybe thats not a great plan from my end.

And to all those who regularly read QR, thanks, and I'll be getting back to the problems of the world here soon, right now I'm still focused on me, which "C" will claim is usually the case anyway. Which gets me thinkin' "C" you have any interest in writing for this little site of mine. I enjoy it, you might to, if not it ain't no thang.


Ever have a day that can go from this (song is important not the video),

To this, in a matter of minutes?

Now I'm not trying to turn emo on you or anything, but I just had one of, no, the craziest week of my life. I'm not supposed to talk about it here because I know of someone who reads this site that will be very upset at my friend, despite the fact that she has absolutely no right to be angry. If she does read this then please call me, I will explain everything so long as you promise not to be the least bit angry at the other member of the party. Ya got that? you know who you are.

Anyway I'm not depressed as that second song would indicate, I was for a few minutes as my friend left today, which I think is understandable, but the reality is I'm happy. After a week of insanity so many things about me and my past have suddenly been made clear, or at least a lot clearer.

I can't think of a song that really represents where I am right now. Then again I'm not even sure where I am right now. I'm happy for having a better understanding of my own past, I'm happy that a friend and a great person now understands their past as well, and knows that things that were probably quite depressing weren't real, I'm happy for the wonderful last few days, but I'm incredibly sad knowing what could be but won't, at least not for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Military support for GOP

Lil article from Truthout about how the military was until very recently overwhelmingly republican, but for some reason those in the military and those in Iraq in particular are finally realizing that while the Repubs scream about how much they support the troops and wave yellow ribbons, at the end of the day actions speak louder than words, no matter how many times you repeat those words.

Basically I just wanted to do something that wasn't about my personal life, although I'm sure you find my little adventures riveting....

Today was a good day

I'm not much of an Ice Cube fan but this song is very fitting.... cause today was a good day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cathartic II

Well I just did a whiny little post about my love life, or complete lack thereof, and how I just found out that the girl I always wanted in High School liked me, blah blah, so I kissed her, it just happened, we had just been talking about how no one can read other peoples signs, and yet we assume they are obvious. so I gave her a hug goodbye and it lasted longer than a normal, "hey I'll see ya in a few hours" type of hug, so I held her around the waist and we huged again, and she kissed my cheek, we stared into each others eyes and I just kissed her. Just a simple peck on the lips was all that was needed to say everything I can't say in words. This is trivial to anyone besides me (and hopefully her) but its my damn site if you don't like it click on a link. I just want to say that right now at this exact moment, I'm on top of the world.

Even if it will never be, its great to know it could have been.


this isn't going to be about feminism or equal rights or anything like that, for me this is an old school cathartic post and nothing more. For the record I'm all for equality. An old friend has been back in town this week and I'm really enjoying spending time with her. We had a bit of an awkward situation for a long time but now things are as they were in the good times. But it has reminded me of just how amazingly inept I really am when it comes to the fairer sex. I say this because I find out that said friend had a crush on me and that was the reason for the awkwardness, now I was about as madly in love with this girl as anyone can be in high school (and early HS at that) and yet somehow completely failed to see that she felt at least somewhat the same. Now typically this would sound like a fairly normal high school misunderstanding, which in and of itself it is. Unfortunately its also what I have long considered the root of my devastating romantic failures. See we were really good friends. Hung out all the time, watched monty python and did what pre-driving teens do, not much. Then one day we fooled around a little, I had never kissed a girl before, at least not like that. This went on for a little while and then suddenly things were different, and not in a good way. Things were awkward and we stopped hanging out at all. Now this seems like a pretty minor thing but for me I was an immature boy who had just had his heart stomped on and lost one of his best friends in the process. This lead me to have a problem of wanting someone to date that I was as comfortable with as I was with this very close friend. Which doesn't happen. So now anyone I'm interested in as a very high hurdle to clear, but with that comes a horrible fear of losing them as a friend so if they are chill enough that I'm willing to date them then ipso facto I don't want to lose them as a friend. Its a cruel catch-22 for my heart. So now back to what I was saying before, take the moment I blame for the fact that I have never had a serious girlfriend, and suddenly find out that it was all a big misunderstanding. Why the hell am I telling this to everyone? eh why not. I could go on, maybe I will later who knows. But right now I have to go pick up the friend I was talking about so we can have lunch.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oil in the Rain Forest

If I have time to finish this it will probably cover several topics. Already in my head I have environmentalism, over population, and religion. but anyone of those can easily spin into other topics, especially over population. Seeing as the word rambling is in the name of this site, and I've warned you that it will cover several topics, lets say this could get out of hand. As a final warning, I have a lot going on in my head and this is my way to escape for a little while without moving, some people meditate, I blog.

So here goes. Saw an article in USNews about drilling for oil in the Amazon. So obviously as a half-assed environmentalist I need to say something about the obvious problems with this situation. There is the first order issues of oil spills and clear cutting to make way for the pipelines and the roads to service said pipelines. Imagine the Exxon Valdez in the amazon, its better not to actually. But then there is the issue of having a road deep into the amazon makes it much easier for the exploitation of areas previously protected by sheer remoteness. I'm sure there are many many other environmental problems that I won't get into. Anytime you try to move in on the most important forest in the world your going to cause many problems, some foreseen like I mentioned but also many others I can't even imagine, AKA known unknowns. Ok so environment was easy to cover.

So why don't we just say no, why not avoid ruining the rainforest? Well because we have too many people. And the world has gotten a taste of western indulgence and wants more, its sorta like heroin, or better yet cigarettes. It gives you a little buzz at first and all the cool kids are doing it, you gain popularity for a little while and it can be a great way to break the ice at the bar (or outside the bar) but then you notice that all your clothes stink, theres a gray cloud around you and you have cancer. yeah I think cigarettes are a damn good analogy for western civilization. Ok so its bad enough that the US and Europe are ruining the environment, we have decent populations. But now everyone wants in, especially China, if they start polluting anywhere near the way we do then things are really going to get out of hand. So this is all very directly related to population, we could lead extravagant lives and not care in the least about pollution, if there were a million people on earth. Or you could have a few hundred million people who are very conscious of their pollution and live great lives. But the current scenario of several billion people a few hundred million of whom lead extravagant lives without a care for pollution and the rest who pollute a bit, thats not going to work for long, considering its only been true for about 150 years out of the timespan of human history, thats a very short period of time. So we have to damn many people. I'm not saying we need genocide or anything but a little family planning is a great start.

Finally I get to religion, as I often do. But I'm not going to go where you were expecting, after covering overpopulation then saying religion the obvious jab would be about how many religious groups have tried to ban all sorts of forms of family planning, birth control, abortion, sex education. It has all been stifled by those listening to people who took a vow of celibacy. Why anyone would look to a virgin (or child molester) for advice about family planning is beyond me but we are talking about religion so looking for logic is a waste of time. But no thats not where I'm going, thats the obvious right jab, me I step on toes. No the religious part for me was this single line, "As a general rule, you have to remember the good Lord was a fine man, but he picked some godawful places to put oil." The fact that this guy refers to god as a "fine man" struck a cord with me. I have heard people say before that atheists are arrogant because they hold people up a their gods. This is a very silly argument to me as it seems obvious to me that someone who sees no gods, would not consider themselves to be god. Statements like this would probably be tossed away as simply a figure of speech, and it probably is a fine man rolls off the tongue a lot easier than a fine omnipotent being. But there is more to it than that, this was just an example that made me think of how we made god in our image because it was easier that way. The fact that he uses the phrase god awful is also ironic.

Oh I could keep going but I have things to go do. You know this wasn't nearly as rambling as I expected.


I was wondering why I saw this silly little joke on another site yesterday but didn't have time to look into it. The joke goes.

So there are these two muffins baking in an oven. One of them yells, “Wow, it’s hot in here!”
And the other muffin replies: “Holy cow! A talking muffin!”

Not the sort of thing I expected to see on a political blog. but now it makes sense as it was a part of a science experiment to learn more about where laughter really comes from. To no surprise its a social thing, which is my most people don't laugh out loud when they are alone despite how often people behind a keyboard/cell phone use LOL.
Heres the New York Times article on the scientific findings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fuck you gonzo

Sorry not you, your cool.

I meant this gonzo, fuck you. If you don't know why I'm upset with him, well then I'd like to welcome you to this country. We have a pretty good thing going here and have the potential to be the greatest country the world has ever seen, unfortunately we're currently being lead by a bunch of assholes. This guy to the left being one of them. I'm not going to get into the details of what he did this time, its only the most recent of his despicable deeds anyway. He's currently the Attorney General meaning he's the top law enforcement person in our country, but it basically means he's the top government lawyer, or currently it means he's bush's parrot and lawyer all rolled into one big grinning bag of douche. Due to some rather unprecidented events of recent days many people with some influence are calling for his to be fired, he could also quit which would be prudent due to his incompetence so far, but he said he's too busy working to quit and if he needs to be replaced then its the presidents job to fire him. Which makes sense because as you know the president of the united states of America has way more free time than the AG. So if you don't know what the hell I'm rambling on about you can go here, here,or here, but not here I guess conservatives aren't to concerned. But chances are you know enough about it and just don't care what the cronies did wrong this time. I hate to say it but I'm getting to that point. They aren't even trying to hide their corruption anymore. They just do whatever they want, blatantly lying with a straight face, smirking while they silently scream "So what, what are you gunna do about it? Yeah I broke a few hundred laws, what the fuck are you gunna do about it? thats right your going to sit down and shut up." and sadly they are right. We've got dems elected, woo hoo, nothing has changed, but it can. If these presidential hopefuls want to earn their next job they will get up there and do what needs to be done to take down as much of this empire as possible before the next election.

This article needs its own paragraph just because of the uderly perfect headline. Those Responsible for Sacking the People Who Have Just Been Sacked, Have Been Sacked

Oh and one last point, "mistakes were made" is NOT a fucking apology. an apology is, "I'm SORRY, I made mistakes" its downright pathetic that some people are impressed with the humility of someone who has admitted nothing. especially because I guarantee the only thing they feel bad about is that they weren't smooth enough to fire the attorneys without causing an uproar. If they felt bad about the actual firings then they wouldn't have fired them!

job interview tomorrow

so excited/nervous/scared shitless.
I've only had one real job interview in my life. All the others I was talking to people I already knew, one of which came to me with a job offer (which is handy). Of course I got that job so I'm batting 1000 with the interviews, that the optimist view. Its also nice applying for a new job while you have one, it takes all the pressure off. I'm actually far more afraid of what will happen if they say yes than if they say no. The only draw back is the fact that its in Florida. I hate the heat, the towns going to be under water when Greenland melts, they have hurricanes, tornadoes, and no snow, and I hate the heat. Beaches can be nice though, especially at night.

Oh plus democrat in a black majority town in florida and my real last name is Coon, yeah my votes not getting counted. Damn.

I've never done a phone interview, thats the part that actually scares me. I seem to do very well with people face to face, people trust me for some reason, but I have no idea how I come across on the phone.

So wish me luck, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sacred Grounds Must Be Purified

UPDATE: heres a link to the BBC article, forgot to include this yesterday

Ok I know I make fun of religion a lot. But I have respect for the ancient indigenous cultures, sure they have religious rituals that range from silly to scary (human or animal sacrifice) actually dancing around a fire half naked might be fun, but I respect them as a culture because unlike us, those "savages" could have survived indefinitely while there is growing evidence that Western Civilization will kill itself off possibly taking the rest of our species and many others with us, could be with global warming or WMDs, we like to keep our options open. So whats this crap about purifying sacred grounds that sounds more like the religious ends that are usually insulted around here. Well thats true, but sometimes its worth it. What all this is talking about is the Mayan leaders in Guatemala who plan to purify holy grounds after they are defiled by George Bush.
The ruins of Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers
in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in
our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture,"
Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with
close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.
Come on thats funny. They need to remove the "bad spirits" left by Bush. At least they have a sense of humor about things.

Oh and I'm always interested in the affairs of Guatemala because I have been there twice with a mission group and can't wait to go back at some point. Yeah I know atheist/mission group, well so what? I don't need to believe in the big invisible guy in the sky to know that these people are doing great work, who cares if its out of a church?

Friday, March 09, 2007

awesome debate

Harris - Sullivan Debate
This is a stunning debate between Sam Harris bestselling atheist author of "End of Faith" and Andrew Sullivan who's exact qualifications I'm forgetting but you'll see them when you go read the conversation, and I hope you do go read the conversation. It's an e-mail debate which gives each person the time to really think through their statements, and because its on the internet they don't have the space limitations of a newspaper. Harris is Harris, holding nothing back and in my opinion being a bit insulting, but if your going to have a conversation like this you must accept that your core beliefs are being challenge so plan to be insulted and move on. Andrew Sullivan points out that he is a gay catholic so I'm sure he has pretty tough skin anyway.
Another link to the debate, seriously check it out.
I think Harris could have been a bit more careful not to be directly insulting, which is something I will generally criticize him for, he's a bit too confrontational so he loses people that may have been on the fence. Otherwise I think he's good. And as I said luckily he's debating someone who can take it, Sullivan even throws in a little humor in his response.

I also disagree that religious moderates simply have less faith. You write:

"Religious moderation is the result of not taking scripture all that seriously."
Blogger, please. In many ways, the source of much of today's religious moderation is taking scripture more seriously than the fundamentalists.
I just liked the Blogger Please bit, come on thats funny. Oh I hope its evident that this was part of Sullivan's writing, while the indent was him quoting Harris.

I'm still reading but this is my first impression, oh and I gotta give a shout out to Daylight Atheism for showing me this conversation.
Oh why bother ending the post now I'm just going to keep reading and adding bits here and there.

Wow, I gotta hand it to Sullivan, at the end of what I'll refer to as round 2 (really round 1 the first part was mostly a hello!) he pretty well whipped Harris for claiming that all theists are liars. This is the kind of thing that Harris always gets attacked for, even by me, and I like his work.

I'm liking this Sullivan character, he's not wining me over to the faithful side but I like his style. heres another point of humor.
Thank you very much for your latest post. It was clarifying for me - and forced me to think hard about how to respond. I even communicated with my Imaginary Friend about it.
Clearly, I like it when people don't take themselves to seriously. Especially on this subject, its a debate that has been raging for thousands of years and I don't see it ending any time soon. So go ahead and talk converse argue, but be reasonable, and don't get angry with the other person, even when they insult what may be the most important thing in your life.

Now heres something you don't hear everyday in a religious debate.
that's why you've gone on retreats, explored Buddhism, experimented with psilocybin, as I have.
For those who don't know or don't feel like clicking the link, psilocybin is the chemical in 'shrooms that make you trip your nuts off.
Ok My opinion is that Sam pretty well crushed him in round three, Sullivan basically takes one line where Harris says that science doesn't know everything and tries turns that into proving that Harris also believes in a higher power. Most atheist are willing to admit that given enough evidence they would believe in a god or gods which makes perfect sense, We don't believe in god(s) because their is no evidence for them, if their was we would believe. Thats hardly a good footing for an argument against atheism.

Half-way point

Ok not so much to report on for the second half. In my opinion (which is obviously heavily biased) Harris did very well at pointing out the flaws of religion as a whole. I think Sullivan was a wonderful rival and had some excellent points, but the part in particular that ended his chances for me was when he said that there was absolutely nothing that could change his mind. Why would you bother with the conversation if you knew that there was nothing that could possible alter your views? Oh well.

So what was your opinion? because you damn well better have read the debate before you read my review. if not, go read the damn thing, I'll even give you another link to it right here so you don't have to scroll ya lazy bastard.
Ok now that everyone has read the entire thing, let me know what you thought of it.

stolen rant on chrisitanity

none of the words below are mine, I wish they were but alas they're from Daylight Atheism which I spotted here cause it was reposted here, got that?
It makes no sense whatsoever that an infinite, omnipotent god would need to incarnate himself as a human and then subject himself to an agonizing and bloody death just so he could persuade himself to forgive us and save us from the cruel fate he created for us. It makes even less sense that the all-wise creator of the universe would manifest himself in an isolated corner of the world during a primitive age of its history, teach proverbs identical to those of the other belief systems of the day, promise to return quickly to destroy the world, and then vanish utterly for a span of time now going on two thousand years, leaving behind no trace except for a few hazy memories and anonymous writings that he had ever been here at all.
Well put, thats all I can say.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

whats a soul?

We have all heard expressions like my mind said no but my heart said yes. I think we are all to the point where we accept that the thinking is in the brain, but sometimes its useful to illustrate a point by pretending that the brain is for rational thought and the heart is for emotions, and occasionally the stomach does some thinking about food, and for us guys we're often accused of thinking with something else. Again those are just terms we use to make a point. But where does a soul fit in? If you believe in the soul is it our knowledge, our personality, our experience? What is it that transcends death? The Buddhist belief (from my extremely limited knowledge, so please correct if I'm wrong) is that we are reincarnated, either for better or worse depending on how you lived your life. This obviously means that some part of you that we will call a soul must have passed on into that next life. But we have no knowledge of past lives so what is it that is actually passed on? Soul could just be another term for consciousness but it seems to carry a much heavier connotation than that, speaking of heavy there was one guy who tried to measure the weight of the soul, and he came up with an answer, but to call it suspect is an understatement. The other big problem is if the soul is what makes you who you are, and its non-physical. Oh wait better stop for a sec, I'm assuming that anyone who believes in a soul believes it is non-physical, otherwise we would notice when it leaves the body after death. Ok so back to where we were, soul is who you are, and non-physical, so why are physical things able to alter you? Why can chemicals affect how you respond to stimuli, these chemicals could be in the form of medication given to a schizophrenic, or it could be the mushrooms the hippie eats at a Phish concert. Either way those chemicals are temporarily altering that person. A happy easy going person can become violent bitter and angry under the influence of alcohol, or the exact opposite can happen (violent->happy), with other drugs like Paxil or marijuana. So chemicals can alter us but they don't change who we are, do they? First I need to point out that this is totally subjective and I don't claim otherwise. But I suppose there is no real measure for who a person is, and so its hard to prove that a chemical actually changed them as a person. But at the same time if you know someone well enough and their demeanor changes dramatically you may say that they are not the same person you knew before. They are of the same body, but that mind no longer acts the way you remember. So thats my basis for if chemicals (or physical damage) can change who some one is.

My example though is a friend from college, after the first summer he had changed, he was less violent, less aggressive and a bit more concerned about others but also not quite as sharp intellectually. this could be atributed simply to maturing, or it could be attributed to the obscene amount of drugs, particularly ecstasy he indulged in that summer. I personally attribute it to the latter. He was obviously the same body, but the personality had been somewhat altered by chemicals. To me this along with what happens to stroke victims, and other forms of physical harm to the brain seem to be sufficient to make me believe that who we are is determined by physical characteristics, so where does the soul fit in? What does it do, whats is purpose, is its inside us or watching over, I guess it doesn't really mater because its not physical anyway. So for anyone who believes in the soul, what the hell is a soul, cause I don't get it.

Oh and looking up Soul on Wikipedia didn't help much, actually it lead to another question when they said spirit and soul were different. Oh and the soul exists before the body, what? So theres just a bunch of souls floating around in space or somewhere waiting for a body to go occupy, then wouldn't we have life experience as soon as we're born. Ok weird, as I'm reading the wiki entry about the soul I find out that in the time of Jesus the term didn't exist. Wha? Its sort of an important piece of going to heaven and the idea wasn't around yet? Was the bible talking about physical ascension for everyone? And some religions do think the soul is physical, thats just silly.
Ok I can accept Aristotle's view of the soul, he was a smart dude, I guess thats why we still know who he was, but Socrates made it into Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure proving once and for all who was the best student of Plato.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

hr800/ union rant ( I put effort into this so read it)

I'm a bit late with this seeing as it has already passed in the house but there is still the senate.
Here is the first of what will probably be many articles that I read on the subject.

This is the one "issue" where I completely disagree with most of my fellow liberals and with the democratic party. I'll admit that I have a personal grievance against the unions. So you could look at what I say as being biased from the start, or it could be the views of someone who has a fairly unique perspective of unions in general. I'm a proud liberal, I want people to at least be close to equal and for everyone to have their basic needs meet, basic needs meaning food, clothing, shelter, education and if your country can afford it health care (BTW the USA Can afford it). So whats this rant about specifically. Well the Dems are moving forward they are pushing through some legislation that they had promised, which is good at least they aren't sitting on their asses anymore. Unfortunately from the limited information I have on this bill it seems like they have stood up and pushed through a heavily flawed bill. So lets more on to specifics.

The biggest and most blatant flaw is the removal of the secret ballot. Theres a good reason we use secret ballots for every thing, how you vote is your business and the total is the only thing that matters to the group as a whole. If both the employees and the the employers know how each individual voted it makes it possible for the company to try to force people to vote against the union, but the bill has provisions for severe penalties if they do that. But what penalties are their if the union tries to pressure workers to vote union? What repercussions are there in that very very plausible case? Unions are corporations with a different title, the only difference is that they don't produce a product. They protect the jobs of those who should be fired and hold back those able to earn more without them. They have been a part of why it is no longer viable to manufacture anything in this country, so by protecting the jobs of a few, they have destroyed the jobs for many. Sorry thats a side topic, this post is not simply about why unions are relic of a former age that do provide a service, but a service that could be provided in more economically viable ways. No thats not what I am here to talk about, I am here to talk about HR 800.

As with anything today you cannot find a moderate response, I hear the typical liberal democrat stance saying how this will save the middle class and bring about social equality and the typical conservative republican stance of how this will ruin businesses and how only godless commies could be for it. Of course the fact that I seem to be finding only opinion pieces on it does tend to lead to that situation.

Here was one that at least had a good quote in it so here's this.

On August 29, 2001, sixteen Democratic members of Congress (led by Miller, but joined by Barney Frank, Pete Stark, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, and others) wrote to the Mexican government about private-ballot rights for Mexican workers. In the letter, they state, “We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union that they might not otherwise choose.” In other words, a federally supervised, private ballot election is needed to make sure that workers can make a free choice. Opening up worker choices to public card-check campaigns doesn’t “ensure that workers are not intimidated.”

Those of us opposed to H.R. 800 could not agree more. We just wish that George Miller wanted to preserve American workers’ private-ballot rights as much as he wants to preserve it for Mexican workers.

This is an important issue, I am NOT at all in favor of large corporations, I hate the fact that this country is controlled by money. I hate that corporations have far more influence over our government than the people. But unions are just another corporation that has no right to influence my, or anyone else's, political will. This law just seems ill conceived. I'm not a socialist, I'm not a capitalist, there needs to be a system in between the two that allows those who are willing to work hard to succeed and gain advantages for their efforts, but no one should be without anything, and even those who work hard do not deserve hundreds of times what the average person get. If they work twice as hard they get twice the money, or maybe even quadruple the money, but not 400 times, thats simply obscene. Which is why Im going to include this segment of an atricle that I could hardly read because the entire beginning is some religious mumbo jumbo and I really wasn't concerned with how Hammurabi's code dealt with this issue.

The average salary of CEO's has gone from 25 times the average of employee salaries (at which it remains in much of Europe and Asia) to up to 550 times the average employee salary. That is a shameful drain on employees, especially in light of recent "give-Backs" which have further eroded the income, health and welfare of America's working classes. Moreover, the multi-million dollar executive compensation packages, exorbitant Executive retirement plans and "Golden Parachutes" for executives have short-changed investors and taxpayers, as well.

This may have something to do with why European countries that may have similar GDP per capita have higher quality of life than the US. If the sum is the same and the top .01% are making that kind of money then the people in the middle of the bell curve have less, which lowers the quality of life, of course for the extreme minority the quality of life is a bit better, but at some point the exact number in your bank account is irrelevant when you can buy anything you see. I want social justice not social equality, I think I actually mean not economic equality, justice means that if you work harder you you get more, you work less you get less, but everyone has an equal chance. The wealth of your parents should not determine what you are able to achieve. It is not possible to have an elite hereditary ruling class and call yourself a democracy at the same time.

I could go on but you get the point, I love my liberals but this is one place where I draw the line. Unions cannot save this country, they are large corporations just like wal-mart and should be vilified to a fitting degree.

School uniforms

My local school board is deciding on mandatory school uniforms. I really can't decide where I stand on the issue, it's a great idea from a equality stand point but it sucks from a freedom view. I'm sure they would do things to subsidize those students who can't afford the clothes which is also good, oh actually I'm wrong about that, the school has announced that it will not pay for uniforms. Thats where those parents who need the subsidy should step up and go look for grants, or at least look for people who know how to do grants.
Ok I started this like a week ago and never came back so I'll do a quick round up. I talked with numerous people about this including people my own age with children who would be affected, as well as other people who have had children in catholics schools with uniforms. I'm not sure if I spoke with any one who actually had to wear a uniform themselves. Basically there was only one person who was strongly opposed and it was my friend who plays in a punk band (elmira punk division) and has a green mohawk at the moment. As you might guess he was against the restriction of freedom. This was my original opinion too, but looking at him as he said this I finally decided that its a weak argument. He's going to be a punk rocker whether hes wearing his black jacket with a huge Punks Not Dead logo on the back or if he was wearing a school uniform. Its just clothes, if your clothes are the only thing that define you as a person then your pathetic and I have nothing but pity for you. So after a bit of thought and time away due to outside circumstances I must say that I am for school uniforms, maybe even nationally, although a pervasive enough argument could still change my mind.

Peace, have a great weekend and if you happen to be near Binghamton, NY tonight stop over to the Downtown Quarterback for a great punk rock show. I'll be the fat guy in the mosh pit. Often the only one not wearing black (goes with the whole clothes shouldn't be the only thing that defines you) but I think my one black shirt is clean. So look for the fat guy in the mosh pit with a collared shirt. If you call me Kilgore Trout I'll laugh and tell yo my real name, then we'll have a beer.