Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

I find it both hilarious and severely disconcerting how the same people who harangued George Bush about his foreign policy and civil liberties records are giving Obama a free pass, even though he exceeds anything Bush did. Now everything’s about the economy, where they offer tenuous evidence at best of how Obama lowered the deficit.

That’s a pretty good misdirection, but there should be an important distinction. Even if he’s lowered the deficit (which is impossible for him to do without the assistance of congress, more importantly the House, where all budgetary matters originate), economic freedom has declined, small businesses have been stifled due to an overburden of regulations that big businesses approve of because they scare off competition, and taxes on the majority of citizens have increased.That’s his economic legacy, along with Bush.

His foreign policy is abysmal. Drone strikes in countries we’re allied with. War or the threat of war with countries who pose no threat to us. Indefinite detention of enemy combatants (a term loosely defined by the administration). Sound familiar?

His domestic policy doesn’t fare any better. Illegal wiretapping of citizens. Illegal GPS surveillance. Indefinite detention of citizens without due process. Raiding legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Deporting more immigrants than Bush ever dreamed of.

And now, thanks to a Glenn Beck tweet, there’s a controversy over the casting of Mendhi Ouazanni as Satan in the Bible miniseries because he bears a passing resemblance to Obama. You know, if he was older, darker, Moroccan, and looked like Emperor Palpatine.

But hey, the economy’s getting better.

Ever since I joined Facebook in 2008 my news feed has seen probably hundreds of posts about how the world would be a better place if only kids could read the bible in school or if God was allowed in school. Or that they need God in order to be good citizens.

To address the points about religion in school: kids are in school for approximately seven hours a day for 5 days a week. Assuming they sleep 8 – 9 hours a day, that leaves ~9 hours a day for homework, chores, family time, etc. Somewhere in there could be bible reading time. If you feel your kids need to read the bible, schedule some time for that at home. And as far as allowing God in school, if you keep Him in your heart (like you’re supposed to), no walls and no laws can separate you.

To the last point: does a person need God, or any deity, to be a good person? To say that’s true is the same as saying all Christians are good citizens and everyone else is bad. If you truly are a Christian you wouldn’t judge someone, let alone billions of people, just because they may have a different view than you.

So, after months of reading (been working A LOT of overtime lately), I’ve finally finished Corey Taylor’s Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good. I’ve gotta say, even after being a fan of Corey’s music for years, I’m stilled awed by his talent…musically and, now, as an author.

He takes on everyone in this book: God, religious fanatics, politicians, bad musicians, etc., in trying to undo the millinia of brainwashing making us believe natural human behavior is a sin. And while I disagree with some of his musings (a diatribe near the end of the book against Republicans deregulating industries while they’re in power is, in my opinion, misguided), he makes you rethink what “sins” really are.

He uses personal experiences- some good, some bad- and his ability to overcome them to prove his point. And while I’ve been leery of the validity of “deadly sins” for years, I now have more ammo in my arsenal while discussing the matter.

If you’re a deeply religious person who is closed-minded to anything athiest related, move along. You won’t find a safe harbor for your beliefs here. If you’re like me, however, and have a thirst to strengthen your knowledge base, no matter the source, you should read this book.

Nothing he wrote shook my faith. For years, I’ve held the belief that since man is fallible and man transcribed the Bible (or whichever religious faith you ascribe to), there’s a good chance much was omitted from the final version, or much was written down incorrectly, so all we really have to go by are our gut feelings and life experiences. I still believe in a Creator. I just don’t believe he wants us to live our lives sheltered from life.

So Corey, I commend your effort to open the minds of the masses. I’ll do my part to help you get your message across.

Dear HP,

I loved everything I read about during your Feb 9 Think Beyond event. I’m not even disappointed that I won’t be getting webOS 2.0 on my Verizon Pre Plus. I’ve been through that with BlackBerry & wasn’t surprised.

However, I am concerned about how you’re going to “make things right” for the current webOS community. Especially those of us with over a year left on our contracts. I’m not asking for answers now. I’m just asking that you don’t forget about those of us who were late in coming to webOS.

Currently, I plan on buying a Touchpad (really wish you kept the name Topaz) & most likely a Pre 3, unless you release something better by the time I upgrade.

As for Verizon:

While no carriers have been announced for HP’s upcoming devices, I hope you jump on the bandwagon as I plan on upgrading to the next webOS device. Also, I hope you continue to include the mobile hotspot at no charge as I plan on buying a Wifi only HP Touchpad (if they include a Wifi only model) & using the mobile hotspot to connect as I can’t afford another data plan.

As of now, you are the only viable carrier choice for me as you’re the only one with service in my area that offers an unlimited data plan. However, if there are no webOS devices available through you, I’ll likely jump ship if they’re available on AT&T (the only other carrier with service in my area). 

Thanks for taking the time to read my rant (if it in fact makes its way to you). I hope to have my concerns aleviated “in the coming months” :p

Signed,

Mike (a loyal Palm, now HP, user & long-time Verizon customer)

On Twitter today, white house press secretary Robert Gibbs (@PressSec) answered some questions from the twitterverse. One question was raised about the recent Bush-era tax cut extension congress recently passed. The question: “Why does your admin continue to lie that tax cuts cost $$$? You can’t spend money you don’t have.”

The tax cut extension recently passed by congress, which also contained an extension of unemployment benefits, is expected to add over $800 billion to the deficit, which is what Secretary Gibbs refers to in his reply: “Regardless of your views, you have to admit extending tax cuts above $250k adds to the deficit”.

Actually extending cuts above $250k is only a small piece of the $800+B pie. And, Mr. Secretary, if the government wouldn’t spend more than it takes in, the cuts wouldn’t add one red cent to the deficit. 

Consider your household budget. When planning your budget for the next month, do you plan to spend more than you earn? Or, if you see that you’re on track to do just that, do you cut unnecessary spending? Well, from personal experience, I cut unnecessary spending.

So what could government stop/cut funding for in order to “pay” for these tax cuts? First, stop funding the war on drugs. Criminalizing an activity that harms only the user puts all the power in the hands of gangs & drug lords. Am I saying it’s ok to do drugs? Of course not. But I do believe each individual should be allowed to decide what to put into his/her own body.

We could also close many of the military bases we have in over 160 countries. Why do we task ourselves with the responsibility of defending nations that can defend themselves? Countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany, just to name a few. 

There are many other cuts that could be made, but you get my drift. The fact is, thanks to the tax cut extension, there will be over $800B that will be able to be spent/invested/saved which will better help to jump start the economy more than the ill-advised trio of stimuli (which started with Bush 43).

Any questions? Class dismissed.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The very first words of the very first amendment to the US Constitution. These words are very important. The founders understood over 200 years ago that the freedom to practice your religion, whatever it may be, or no religion, is essential to securing all other freedoms.

This is just as true today as it was then. That’s why it bothers me when people from all sides of the political spectrum are calling for the community center (which is mistakenly referred to as a mosque) to not be allowed to be built two blocks away from the former WTC site. These supposed lovers of freedom are calling for two of the most basic freedoms, freedom of religion & the right to private property, to be denied to a select group of people based on what happened nine years ago (yes, it was a tragedy) perpetrated by a small group of terrorists from a country not even remotely like ours.

And it’s not just happening in NYC. Just an hour or so from my house, a community center (also referred to as a mosque) is finding opposition to a planned expansion in Murfreesboro. The kicker? The group has had a community center in the county since 1997. The reason for the epansion is because they’ve outgrown their current facility. Luckily, despite the opposition, the expansion will be allowed.

This battle is being fought all over the country. Newt Gingrich says that we shouldn’t allow mosques in this country until Christian churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia (or something along those lines). Howard Dean says it’s an affront. He also says those doing the project in NYC are doing it in good faith (that’s a little contradictory).

The fact is that none of these projects are in violation of any zoning laws, they’re being built on private property, and are run by those who have proven to be good citizens. Why should we deny them their constitutional right to practice their religion, especially on private property?

Do you disagree with Islam as a religion? If so, why? Are you aware that Islam, Judaism, & Christianity share many of the same tenets? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, & the angel Gabriel all appear in the 3 religions, among other figures.

But Muslims stone people to death, right? Well, it’s allowed under their laws, but the majority of Islamic nations have ceased this practice. And don’t forget, stoning was an acceptable punishment in early Christianity & Judaism. 

Look, we all have our differences. But the fact is they have the right to practice their religion, especially on their own property. We have no right to take that away. And when you insult their religion, you most likely insult your own (unless you’re an atheist).

Isn’t funny how people can figure out what kind of person you are, how you grew up, etc just from one political comment? It’s uncanny how accurate they are!

For example: during the 2008 presidential campaign I made a comment on a blog on Myspace that I didn’t support Obama because I don’t agree with his stance on several issues (for the record I supported Ron Paul. When he didn’t get the nomination, I voted McCain *ugh*). Well this one reader of the blog took it upon herself to call me out. And rightfully so. I never would have seen the light if not for her.

Turns out it wasn’t because I believed in a different political/economic ideology because of all the research I had done up to that point. No, it was because I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’m rich, have had everything handed to me on a silver platter, and I don’t care about the little people or those that are suffering.

How very accurate! At that point, I dropped to my knees & prayed for the Lord to forgive me for my sins!

Ok, if you’re not getting the sarcasm by now, seek help. Also, read on to learn about my childhood.

I was born in 1979. If I remember the story correctly, I was 2 or 3 weeks premature (got my picture taken with Miss Tennessee, though, so it was worth it). I spent a couple weeks in an incubator because my lungs were underdeveloped & I would forget to breathe.

My dad, albeit jokingly (I hope), has credited my hospital stay as part of the reason my parents filed bankruptcy (also, the economy sucked back then, too). I vaguely remember living in a trailer in the middle of town, briefly. When I was 4, we (me, Mom, Dad, & my brother) moved in with my grandparents, who lived in a very, very small house. 

There was a living room, kitchen, (I think) 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom…for 6 people (was used for several more when Dad was raised there. Big family). I didn’t care how big it was or the condition it was in (the uneven floor made roller skating, in one room, easy). 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mom & Dad took out loans for a Christmas or two, just so me & my brother would enjoy it (I miss my little yellow 4-wheeler). We never wanted for anything. We had clothes, a roof, loving parents, food…but we were far from well-off.

I made friends at school & little league. I fought with my brother. Got in trouble. Blah blah blah.

Am I leaving some stuff out? Yeah. But you won’t get my life story here.

My point is: don’t think you know someone from one comment they make about anything. I have friends who make racist jokes. Are they racist? No. Insensitive, maybe, but not racist. I have friends/family who are Democrats. Are they facist, socialist, commie pigs? Of course not. Though we disagree politically (which makes for great conversations), we know we are both good people. We’ve just had different life experiences that led to different conclusions.

So obviously I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Things aren’t handed to me on a silver platter. I’m most definitely not rich (I’ve been unemployed for 11 months now). I do care about the poor, which I am, and those that are suffering. I just believe a truly free market is the way to promote income mobility & alleviate suffering. Will there be assholes who take advantage of the disadvantaged in a free economy? Of course. But the market, IMO, would deal with them. 

Yes, Ayn Rand is the source of my main belief that “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” (from The Ayn Rand Institute). This belief fuels my other beliefs.

In conclusion: I am not a Godless heathen who cares only about himself. I am a God-fearing man who believes rational selfishness and adherance to the truth benefits everyone, not just the one. For future personal attacks on me, please refer to this post before being an anonymous hit-and-run commenter.Haters