Wednesday, October 7, 2015

YASM: Why I hate politics

YASM = Yet another sports metaphor

Imagine this: every year you get excited when the sports season starts and you get to watch your favorite team.  However, something is a little different this year.  Teams are responsible for getting their own officiators.  Suddenly teams start winning more games at home...and losing away games.  At first the bias is subtle; but then it gets blatant.  The officiators are calling everything one sided: ignoring infractions of the home team and penalizing the visitors with invented calls.  You stop watching away games.  What's the point?  You know the outcome.  You like the home games; for a while.  Then you get bored of home games too.  It gets so bad, that teams stop traveling to away games.  The home teams start holding press conferences to complain about their opponents.  The forfeiting team holds their own press conference for the same reason.

Who are the losers?  The teams, the players, the fans.  The game is completely changed!

How does this relate to politics?  Each "team" or political party attempts to stack the deck in their favor and spends more and more time blaming the other party.   Somehow, they think they win by doing this.  In reality, they forget their "fans" (the voters) and the "game" (securing the rights of citizens: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness).

That's why I hate politics.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mother Teresa: Terrorist?

Of course I believe that Mother Teresa was a true model of charity, but the following shows how one can edit anything to look bad.

Her organization was a cult[1].  Her works of charity were just a front for recruiting people to her ideology. [2]  And what was her ideology?  She refused funding offers from U.S. President Ronald Reagan [3] yet she accepted funding from criminals [4].  These funds were assuredly stolen money.  

She was a very dark soul.  In her own words:

"...Even deep down ... there is nothing but emptiness and darkness ... If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul ... How painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith. Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal, ... What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true." [5]
Did I convince you that Mother Teresa could have been a terrorist?  Maybe?  Just a tiny bit?

Of course I'm neglecting quotes like this (and about 1,000 others like them):

  • Peace begins with a smile. 
  • If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
  • The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread
  • If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
  • If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
My point is, first "see the good".  If all you hear, read or learn about something is negative, yet is still has an abundance of supporters, it deserves a fair investigation.  Politics and religion come to mind.  So do neighbors, coworkers, family members, and anyone not like us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Parable of Donating Blood: Are We Bleeding to Death?

I donate blood regularly, about 2 to 4 times a year.  Someone in need gets my blood in a potentially life saving procedure and I get the satisfaction of helping out.  Recently our local donation center has been calling more often asking for more frequent donations as there is a shortage of my blood type.  The limit is once every 8 weeks, enough time for the body to replenish the blood supply.

Imagine if the need for blood increased so that voluntary donations weren't enough.  All healthy people were required to give their blood.  At first it was only once a year.  Due to the abundance of blood, new cures are discovered requiring blood.  The increase in demand results in the need for two mandatory blood "donations" a year.  Then 3 a year. Then 4 a year.   Soon, every healthy person has to give blood every 8 weeks to keep up with demand.

The experts realize that we can actually give blood every 7 weeks and still be healthy.  Demand increases.  So they change it to every 6 weeks, then 5 weeks, 4, 3, 2...

The whole system becomes unsustainable as more and more donors become too sick to donate.

Does this sound unrealistic?

Yesterday, the headlines read "CBO report forecasts unsustainable debt in long term"

What does that mean?

Debt is like taking someone's blood.  You can't just keep doing it.

Our country used to sustain itself financially without an income tax (before the 16th Amendment in 1913).  The income tax was small at first (just 1%), but it has continually increased.  Then the revenues weren't enough for the demands of the nation, so we started going into debt.  Like the example of the blood donations, the amount of money being pulled out of our economy to pay for our debt will exceed the sustainable levels required for a healthy recovery.  In my opinion, this is the biggest threat that our country faces (more than climate change, immigration, terrorism, healthcare, etc.).  Are we bleeding to death?  We will if things don't change.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm for Late Term Abortions

Recently Planned Parenthood was in the news for allegedly selling parts of aborted fetuses.  I decided to take the reemergence of this issue as an opportunity to express my views on abortion.

I'm pro-choice and I'm for late term abortions.  Actually, I think that late term abortions should be extended to 18 years.  Let me explain.

If a parent can decide if they don't want their child before they've even met him or her, then they should be allowed to make that decision after they've met the child removing all doubt that they don't want them (I know that's a run on sentence, but if you read it again, you'll get my point).  Some children are just difficult and not very likeable.  They're too much trouble.  Even into their teens.  Especially in their teens.  As long as a parent is legally responsible for the child, they should be able to abort them.

Before you object, consider the practical advantages to these later term abortions.  Parents would now have extra leverage when trying to discipline their children.  Imagine, these scenarios:

"Johnny, get your homework done or else we'll abort you!"

"You know why you don't see Sheila anymore?  It's because his parents aborted her.  That's right.  So eat your vegetables!"

Regarding both parents needing to give consent, I'll leave that to the abortion experts.  That's a controversial subject I just don't feel comfortable addressing since it is so sensitive.

If you think the idea of later term abortions is harsh, we could have a cooling off period before parents could act on it.  For example, if a parent wants to abort their child, they have to count to 10 before they can actually do it.

Just think about it, all these people probably would've been aborted, saving us much grief:
  • The person that cut you off on the road or took your parking place.
  • Those people that post those annoying "repost this or else" posts.
  • Bloggers (or at least anyone who started blogging after I did).
  • Greedy hedge fund, derivative trading, Wall Street tycoons (Or at least we could hope so!)
I'm sure there might be some potentially good children that get aborted, but that's a small cost at making the world a better place.  Any way you look at it, I'm just glad I'm over 18.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An Antidote for Intolerance

Intolerance unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own 

I'm intolerant and I don't plan on changing.  There are some views, beliefs and behavior that I'm unwilling to accept, for example:

  • The view that America is NOT great (I think America is GREAT!)
  • The belief that you can continuously spend more than you make (I believe we must live within our means)
  • Behavior like abusing children (I love children and see our future in them).
My intolerance is usually directed at views/beliefs/behaviors that I deem to be harmful to our "general welfare" or way of life, therefore I feel justified in my intolerance.  "Save the Whales!!!" or whatever I feel passionate about.

The problem with "intolerance" is that being intolerant can drive you a little nuts.  We get heated, angry, mean, desperate when we express our intolerance.   Intolerance is more like a disease than a cure.

 I don't like the symptoms, so after some soul-searching, I think I found an "antidote". I'm not giving up intolerance, just trying to treat the side effects.

a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison. 

The antidote is partially inspired by a story from  "The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass".  As a slave, he was treated worse than a dog.  Frederick was very intolerant of slavery (unwilling to accept).  Then he got a new master.  The mistress was kind and began to teach him to read.  When the master found out, he immediately put a stop to the "learning".  Frederick's response was surprisingly: gratitude!  He was beginning to tolerate slavery, but this "set back" reminded him of his resolve to be a free man.  He then focused his attention on striving to be free.

The antidote is simple.  Whenever I feel the negative emotions associated with intolerance, I think "What behaviors of my own can I change?"  Am I spending too much time on the computer?  Am I eating the right things?  Am I treating those I interact with kindness and respect?  My intolerance of others will never change them or make the world a better place.  My intolerance of myself has a better chance of change for good.  This antidote takes the following quote to the next level: 
"He who is without sin... let him cast the first stone"
Let other's "sins" remind us of our own sins, so that we can take action to change, improve our own station and "be free men".
"Be the change you want to see in the World"  - Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Unsinkable Ship: When Things Go Right

I learned something interesting this last week. In 1911, a ship launched on its maiden voyage to much fanfare. It was much larger than any ship before her; the largest luxury ship in the world with a swimming pool, gymnasium, fine dining, a grand staircase and luxurious cabins for the first class passengers.  What was it?  No fair peaking at the photo on the right.

Did you say Titanic?  Sorry, that's wrong.  It's the Titanic's identical twin sister the Olympic[1].  What surprised me was that the Olympic's maiden voyage was nearly a year before the Titanic's maiden voyage.  She also had a career for 24 years!

How come I had never heard this before?  The answer is simple: when things go right, we don't pay attention to them.  Next time you feel overwhelmed by everything that goes wrong, stop and ponder on everything that goes right.  You'll be surprised.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dear Ben & Jerry's

Dear Ben & Jerry's,

We've had a lot of fun together with your cute names and crazy mix-in's.  Unfortunately, I never felt like I was getting enough.  Before you, I'd never bought just a pint of ice cream yet you cost as much as the larger sizes.  Still, you were just too good to say "no" to.  Until now.

I've met someone new. It was just last night, but I'm pretty sure I've found what was missing. I'm reminded of the rich, creamy ice cream I once had at a dairy. And even better, the container is half a gallon (twice as much!).

They don't have cute names for themselves and the brand name is kind of weird: Tillamook (Where did that come from?).  But I'm sorry to say that I think this is the kind of love that will last forever.