Post November 2014: The Era of Unconstitutinality

Politics, politics politics…

Here we are again, nudging up to the upcoming election cycle for the Congress, and yet again, we are noticing that the President is putting politics before policy. He has threatened promised that he will act on his own using executive action to handle the immigration crisis in his own way and the way he thinks “is best for the American people” and best for the immigrants, and yet he has put politics before policy and has decided to postpone his action until after the November elections.

How can anyone possibly not see right through this?

Mr. President, if you think you are doing what is right, why wait until after the elections to do it? A crisis needs action right away, so postponing it seems like a very poor decision. What reason do you have to postpone it, except that you know that it would be a very unpopular action and that the Democratic party which you represent would suffer in the elections for the unfavorable new policy.

Whether you support the President or not, whether you are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc., you should not be too blind to see that politics are more important than policy to this administration. Even if you support the President’s proposed executive action, you should be outraged that he has decided to wait instead of act on it. For those who would oppose it, you should be even more concerned now that this executive order will be unfavorable to the American people.

What you really need to be concerned about is this:

After the November 2014 elections, the President will have nearly two full years of no-consequence executive orders that he will be signing out as quickly as he swings his driver. The November elections matter because Congress matters, believe it or not, and whether the President believes it or not. Sometimes the only way to balance power is to counterbalance it.

Your vote matters. You need to make sure you are getting to the polls in November and voting along the lines of what matters to you. Do not be a sheep and vote the same way your parents do, or your neighbor, or your girlfriend, etc. Stop voting with a certain party. They are not all the same. Listen to them, but realize that anyone can manipulate words. Look at their track records. Make sure the candidate you support supports you back!

We are not yet finished as a nation. Even these November elections won’t have the effect of ending our great nation if things go wrong at the polls. However, laws, policies and life in general in this great nation of ours will be dictated by the results of these November elections.

Listen, I was not a fan of President Obama going into his reelection campaign, but I also wasn’t a big fan of Romney. I found him to be very generic as a candidate, and somewhat boring, but then, is a president supposed to not be boring? Maybe boring is a good thing when it comes to the man at the wheel of an entire nation.

The bottom line is this:

You may have thought President Obama did better in the debates (save for the first one of course) than Romney did, using catchy phrases (by the way Mr. President, the 90’s called and asked if they could have their “the 80’s called” reference joke back) and somewhat snarky grins and one liners to zing the “old man” Romney, but you know what, go back and listen to what Romney was really saying at that time; How right has he been proven so far?

Who knows what kind of position we would all be in today if Romney had won, well, no one knows. The only thing we do know is it does seem like he may have been a bit more prepared for some of the current events lately, since he was all but predicting them during the debates and throughout his campaign. Are we prepared to be saying “what if” a year after the November elections this year? I can’t say Romney would be any better or any worse, but can you? He did seem to be more correct about a lot of things even though he was made fun of them at the time. Maybe a boring wise old man who likes to read and keep up on current events would have been a better choice in the white house than a youthful young man who finds out most happenings around the world from watching the “same news you do”.

Let’s make our votes count in November. Have a voice. Stop making excuses. Vote.

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Airstrikes: The New “Neutral”?

The Administration has authorized airstrikes against the ISIS militants in an attempt to help the region, but remain neutral, but is that really neutral?

It has become all but obvious in the past few years that the Obama Administration feels that America has been the target of extreme terrorist organizations as a direct result of our “occupation” of areas throughout the world and the middle east especially. President Obama himself has made reference to this in numerous speeches and has essentially established his mindset that when we, as a nation, send “boots on the ground” to an area to help out militarily in situations such as the current ISIS movement, we are inviting repercussions by the terrorist organizations. He feels, it appears, that the United States should not provide troops because it incites hatred by these groups and will lead to retaliation, even possibly on our own ground.

However, at the same time the Obama Administration has been authorizing large numbers of drone strikes and has now even authorized airstrikes against ISIS. The latest news reports are saying that a head member of ISIS may have been killed in the recent drone strike on that area, but it is not yet confirmed. In the meantime, another video has surfaced of the beheading of another U.S. journalist, this time Steven Sotloff. The man doing the beheading reportedly says in the video, “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings … and on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warnings,” the executioner said, according to the transcript. “You, Obama, have but to gain from your actions but another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike out people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”

My question to you the reader is: Are we really remaining neutral by authorizing airstrikes and drone strikes?

I am not suggesting that we should be doing nothing. I am not even saying that boots on the ground is a better or worse idea than airstrikes and drone strikes. However, is it? Think about the logic here: we do not want the terrorist to think America is intruding on their lands and their “jihad”. We want them to believe that America is willing to let other nations live their way (or in these cases, kill their way) without America acting as the “World Police” and forcing the “western ways” into other regions. But do we really think that they are going to sit back and “forgive” these airstrikes and drone strikes against their militants?

Is it really better if we strike them without combat in their eyes? Or is this whole policy flawed? Is it politics governing policy? If you ask me, you are either in or you are out. You can’t expect an extreme, hate-filled militant organization like ISIS to say, “Well, now that we have taken over the middle east and we run things now, good ol’ America didn’t put any of their soldiers’ ‘boots on the ground’ here to stop us, and although they killed a bunch of our soldiers with drone strikes and airstrikes, since they didn’t actually have troops fighting against us we can leave them alone”?

It is obvious when you look at things through the common sense spectrum that these types of angry militant groups are out to kill anyone who does not conform, including Americans. Airstrikes will not dampen their hatred.

 

See the story at:

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/09/02/new-isis-video-purports-to-show-beheading-of-another-us-journalist/

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Baby, Cuz I’m a Thug: Consequences of the “Thug” Image

Pit bulls have a bad rap. It’s a stereotype, really, and stereotyping is wrong, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are walking down the street in your neighborhood and you see two Yorkies strolling towards you on the sidewalk, you probably won’t think twice about continuing on your way past them, unless you are afraid of a couple of nips at your ankles. However, if you saw a pair of pit bulls unattended strutting their muscles in your direction, you would probably try to get away as quickly as possible without attracting their attention.
Think about the correlation between that and the Michael Brown situation: your image matters. If you have spent your whole young life trying to present yourself as a “thug” or “hard”, then how could you possibly expect the people of authority not to expect that you will cause trouble when confronted? How can you realistically say that you are being wrongfully stereotyped? The entire appeal of the “thug” image is to represent a “hardened” criminal who has no respect for authority, no regard for the law, and whose is willing to do anything, including criminally to increase their “street cred”.
“Baby, cuz I’m a thug”. Listen, if you want to wear “thug life” on your forehead as a badge of honor, then you are also going to need to accept that you are going to be stereotyped as a “thug” as well. Authorities will assume you are up to no good. Shopkeepers will assume you are a potential thief or robber. People in general will assume that you are a criminal. It is, after all the look you are going for and the attitude you intentionally carry on your shoulders.

Listen, I like the “thug” rap. One of my favorite songs in this world is “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta”, 2Pac was one of the most talented and irreplaceable rappers of all time and I still harken back to the days I was kickin’ NWA on my walkman. But that’s where it ends for me… I don’t idolize these rappers for anything other than their talent with words, rhythms and beats. They are artists. Entertainers. They entertain me. They pump me up when I am working out at the gym. They hype me up on a Friday night on the town. They make me move when I’m in the club. But that is where it ends.

There is nothing glorious about having an life expectancy of just 20 years and five months. I didn’t even know what it meant to be a man until twenty-five, and most of these “thugs” are dying before they are legally the drinking age? Let me ask you thugs something: why is it that all of these “OG’s” when they have reached around the age of 40 or so (you know, the whole dozen or so people who make it that far in a decade) and actually given their brains a chance to mature and their testosterone a chance to level out, why is it that nearly every one of them tells the stories of how “hard” they were and the stuff they did, and then follows it up with “I was a stupid kid…That’s all I knew and it’s all I wanted…If I could go back now…blah blah blah” looking spiffy in their orange jump suits. Why? Because that kind of stuff is for idiots only. They were swept up in the thug life because they bought into the rap songs and the street cred crap. They had not given themselves a chance at any other life (and don’t even start with that “they weren’t GIVEN a chance… the whole thug mentality is if you want something, take it. Imagine if they applied that mentality to academic achievements, or cleaning up their neighborhood, or starting a business).

The problem is that black people are holding back black people. We are encouraging one another when it comes to being “gangsta” and we are chastising the ones (the few) who manage to get out of the hood and make something of themselves as being “Uncle Toms” and “Cosbys”. You know what, Cosby is right. The shame of it all is that the black community jumps all over another member of the black community like Bill Cosby or Juan Williams when they point out the FACT that we as black people will never be able to rise up in society unless we expect more from ourselves. At what point do you have to stop blaming “the man” for holding you back when you have given up even trying anymore?

As a black man, I am ashamed of the disgusting way people have reacted in Ferguson. I am not saying that the cop did nothing wrong, not by a long shot. I don’t have all of the facts in the case and I refuse to make an opinion on that. What I will tell you my opinion on is the fact that my fellow black men and women take to the streets of Ferguson acting like just plain criminals and the trash of society looting, and throwing rocks at cops. Al takes to the mic and condemns the cops and incites riots and uprisings without even knowing the whole story? Spike Lee says he “hopes” that there is an uprising if the cop is acquitted or not charged without even seeing a photo of the cop’s reportedly beaten face or reading the police report? What pure ignorance.

Let me say this: Ferguson, Travon Martin, etc., these are all examples of “Black Terrorism”. We as a people have regressed into a hate-filled, unorganized yet ready to organize at the slightest excuse, un-unified racially motivated undomesticated domestic terror organization. Without knowing all of the facts we jump to protest. Without knowing any details we assume a side and we protest. When the details come out and prove maybe there wasn’t quite as innocent a victim as we were led to believe, we going even further into denial. Then we threaten looting and riots? We destroy our own towns? We ship in other hate filled people of all colors to help us burn the very stores we patronize? We have we become? When does it end? When are we going to wake up and admit that we kill more of our own people in a weekend than any corrupt cops or mentally challenged neighborhood watchmen could kill in a decade?

We are our own plague. The “thugs” we strive to be are the rats which carry the fleas and we are simply disposing of our dead in our own reservoirs to perpetuate our own failings and inevitably to keep us down. We made so many strides over the mid 1900’s till today, and look at us now? Dr. King would be ashamed of us all watching the chaos in Ferguson. Rev. Al and Director Spike are bathing in it and turning on the tap to keep it flowing.
Call me a Cosby. Uncle this, Uncle that, whatever hateful slurs you want to throw at me because I don’t buy into your automatic hatred and excuses for acting like a criminal and rioting when you are treated like one. Black people, we have to evolve. When are we going to realize that WE are our own worst enemy? The “man” holding us down stopped being the white man years ago, it’s us. Grow up.

 

Image credited to: http://www.stltoday.com/gallery/news/multimedia/scenes-from-looting-in-ferguson/collection_be35e468-a67c-5b30-84ba-50a7384dfd62.html#4

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The Republicans Aren’t Getting the Message…Across

I received a phone call from the Republican National Committee today asking me to make a “small donation” to the committee to help support the Republicans’ push to take back the Senate, help assure that the Governorships up for grabs are given to Republicans instead of independents or “Liberals” [sic]. I decided to take that opportunity to voice my opinion on the matter at hand.

I quickly informed the caller, a very well-spoken, enthusiastic and obviously well rehearsed and limited in time young man who seems very intent on collecting every snatch-able penny for his cause, that I am disenfranchised by the current message of the Republican party, and I do not feel that I am alone. I informed the very committed committee caller that I feel that the current message of the Republicans seems to be very simply and very arrogantly: “Things are going badly, get us in there and then we will figure out a way to make things go not so badly!”

Without missing a beat the caller simply said, “well I sure can appreciate how you feel, but let me assure you, any amount you donate today will be directly used to….blah blah blah..followed by rhetoric…followed by well rehearsed talking points…followed by “let’s just reduce your donation to a more manageable figure, how about…blah blah”.

I sighed, realizing that this was a waste of his time as well as mine, and realizing that I want my voice to be heard, recognized and relevant and this was not the correct venue. In essence of trying to prove my own gut wrong, I did follow-up by asking a question, a simple question that I expected no truthful response, and in that was not at all disappointed: “Can you please summarize for me what the current plan is that the Republican party has gotten behind with regards to a viable replacement for the current Obamacare Law?”

I suppose part of me expected crickets but instead this very well-trained young man immediately responded with a very off-the-shelf comment about how the Republicans are very eager to work with the Democrats (this time not Liberals) on coming up with solutions for not just this {Obamacare} but all of the most major issues the nation is facing at this moment, including healthcare, immigration reform, as well as coming together to find a way to balance the budget..blah blah blah.

I suppose the talking points memo and pre-packaged responses irked me a bit because I responded by saying:

“Listen, this nation is in trouble. Obamacare was good in theory, but is not viable and should be replaced. The Democrats in power have seen their share of political scandals and abuse of power, and the attitudes of both parties towards one another is like watching a high school cheerleading competition: each group performs essentially the same well rehearsed routine trying to make it look like it is a completely original and unique idea while smiling at the people wearing the same uniforms they are and sneering at those whose uniforms are different. But the Republicans have found a way to continue to paint themselves as the obstructionists. The anti-obamas whose primary focus is dedicated to erasing the legacy on the nation’s 44th president.”

…Silence (I’m not sure he was aware I was finished with my rant yet…)

“Well I would like to thank you graciously for your time…” the caller politely brushed me off and then told me of the website and the Washington address where I can contact the RNC if I have any questions. Deaf ears. A young man passionate about what he believes in, but unable to tell me exactly what they in turn have as a plan. It isn’t his fault. And he is doing a good thing. The problem is I’m not so sure these days that the party he is representing is, well, any longer valid representative of the true feeling of the people.

The nation is headed in the wrong direction, and every day it does appear that the majority of the populi is feeling that way as well, however all the Republicans seem to keep shouting is that they are not going to go in that same direction. The Republicans seem so focused on telling us what the Democrats are doing wrong that they have forgotten that they need to tell us how they would do it right and WHY their way would work better.

The bottom line is: We the people, the actual people of this nation may agree with the Republicans in the polls that the nation is struggling and we want the nation to be brought back up to success and to being the land of plenty, but telling us ‘Just elect us, the Republicans, and when we get in there, we can start coming up with a plan’ is a sure way to ensure that the Democrats retain at least some of the power they currently have. We the people are starting to see both parties for what they really are, nothing more than idealistic braggarts who like to blame the one another for the problems they are both guilty of causing. Republicans, the majority of them anyway, may not have voted in Obamacare, but you sure did not say ‘Hey that’s a great concept guys, let’s build it together’, no you stood firmly on your crumbling foundations (most of you are in complete denial that your foundation is in fact crumbling) and you griped and moaned and pointed your fingers telling us, the people how we were being abused by the powerful Democrats but you took no responsibility for at least being a limb or two of the man behind the curtain.  Well we have been paying attention to the man behind the curtain this time, Scarecrow, and we see all of the smoke and the flashing lights, but we also realize that you keeping telling us we can go home anytime we want, but you aren’t telling us how.

If the Republicans want to be the party that will provide true constructive reform for this nation, then they had better start being very detailed about their plans. We are tired of you telling us “just elect us, we’ll fix it!” Give us your plan. Lay it out for us. We aren’t all as ignorant as you might believe. Try us. Let us know what you intend to really do. Otherwise, we have no enthusiasm to take our time to go to the polls just so the same blame game can be played next year, the only difference would be the Republicans would have the majority, but the rhetoric would remain the same. If you don’t change your approach and soon, you will be the only ones who share the November Blame.

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Seth Rogan to Maclemore: “@macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?”

I read a report online in the Speakeasy section of the Wall Street Journal today which bothered me a bit.

apparently, and I am summarizing, Maclemore, the unsigned, unlabeled grammy-winning (not that any of that is really relevant to this story) showed up at a surprise show in his hometown of Seattle wearing a..well…odd looking, to say the least, “costume”.  Apparently he had no ill-intent (according to his responses on his website), but some people viewed the outfit as inappropriate and as depicting a hurtful and mal-intended jewish stereotype.

 

Seth Rogan, to me, a very funny, very well crafted joke-deliverer, stated his opinion pretty clearly in a couple of tweets which are, as taken from the Wall Street Journal story, as follows:

 “@macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?”

Followed up by tweeting  that the fake witch’s nose, beard, and wig are items similar to the shopping list for an “anti-Semitic Jew costume.”

First of all I do think that Maclemore is a very, very talented “rapper”. Whatever you label him as, I think he is a talented artist who has a great understanding in meanings, usage and timing in word delivery. That being said, I posted the following comment in response to the tweet by Seth Rogan on the Wall Street Journal story:

“Listen… Seth, man, I’m saying this as both a fan of yours and someone who is anti-segregation and anti racism from my heart..at some point, you have to let go of the hatred associated with things you deem to be representative of hate. Simply ask yourself these three questions before you associate something with hatred: 1) Did they perpetrator/artist clearly state their intent to be demeaning or hurtful 2) Is there any chance that no harm is meant by the words/actions/situation and finally, and most importantly 3) Would a child, one whom is not raised to view everything through a prism of racism and bigotry, just a normal, everyday, life-loving child view this as anything hurtful if they are not trained to see it that way. The reason I say this is the most important of the three is because it exemplifies the point: Something can not hurt you unless you let it. If you are offended by something it is because YOU find it offensive. I have no hatred or stereotypical views of jewish people or their culture, so never, not for a second would I have looked at this costume and thought “wow, this is obviously hateful toward jewish people”. I would have looked at it and said, “man, what a goofball” or “what an odd choice for a costume” but never, and I MEAN NEVER would I have immediately thought “wow, what a BIGOT. You, Mr. Rogan (again, still a big fan!) were the one who assigned hate to the costume for me. It was your words, your observations, and ultimately YOUR VIEWS which introduced any sense of bigotry to the otherwise, in my view anyway, simply silly costume. Let go of your own sense of hatred, and the hatred you associate with words/actions/situations can again become simply what they are :playful and innocent and most of all…harmless.”

It’s true. I really do feel that way. Yes. You can argue all you want to, but…I truly do think Seth Rogan is VERY funny! I just watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno for the first time like two weeks ago and I loved it, as I do pretty much every film I have seen that he has been in/a part of (I really don’t get the people who hate him and or think he isn’t funny, I guess they just don’t get his style, BUT I DO!!) Back to the subject at hand…

I really believe in what I said to Seth above; If we stop allowing things to automatically be associated with hatred and bigotry, we take the hatred away from them. They can go back to being what they really are: just words, or just actions, or just clothes, etc.

Want some proof than I am right, alright you “Clover”, try this on:

 Let’s harken back to the old “NINA” days when a young healthy bog-jumper used to roam the streets of a young New York in search of work only to be ridiculed and taunted, beaten and refused work all together anyway just for being a harpie. Most mackrel-snappers were lucky to be coal-crackers, if they were given the back-breaking opportunity to be one in the first place, and struggled to make ends meet. A lot of the female frotches were put to work in the streets to provide for their narrow-backs, if they had any, and were spit on by the same shunful society which forced them and their families into that position in the first place. These were hard times indeed for many of our ancestors, but they muscled through it, and most of all those days of pure hatred towards them and their race is well behind all of us.

 

Now, if you had any trouble understanding what or whom I was talking about there, it is because you are a helping me prove my point: hatred and the hatred associated with certain words or people or things will eventually die and permanently dissolve if we let it. I am not going to tell you what I was talking about.  It is very good that you don’t know (if you do, that is amazing and you have either lived a very, very, very long life or you have managed to travel through time and miraculously also how to use the internet which may be even more impressive given your birth year and I would like for you to please leave a comment so I can send you a gift for being the miracle that you are). However, if you’d really like to know, you can translate for yourself by using this site (I hate perpetuating hatred, but it is only fair that I give credit to my resources).

All of that being said, please people understand that our children only know of hatred because they are taught it, either by home environment or social environment, and they are not born with hatred or bigotry. If we stop perpetuating the hate, it will eventually go away, because it will eventually stop meaning something hateful. If you refuse to be hurt by something said, than it can not hurt you. You are offended only because YOU are offended. It does not offend me when you say the “F” word Seth, not one bit, in fact sometimes it adds to the humor of the situation for me; my grandfather however, would say you are a despicable and humorless person who doesn’t deserve a single dollar you have earned by being “filthy”. I have de-valuated that word, while he would still find it very offensive. There are limits, my eight year old did not watch Zack and Miri Make a Porno with me, but one day, she will and we will both laugh at it…together, but not today.

I welcome your comments, arguments, and insights on this topic. Please feel free to post as a guest or leave your own comments below.

You can view the Wall Street Journal story by Lyneka Little here and find the response to Seth and the others who though Maclemore was being a “bigot” at his website: http://macklemore.com/

 

Image borrowed from http://www.breathecast.com/articles/macklemore-anti-semitic-controversy-rapper-says-random-costume-15829/ and credited there by to Screen Grab/Twitter

 

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Here comes the Mac: The Trend of Mac Owning College Students

Being the “IT guy” for the small-medium sized company with whom I have been employed as an independent contractor for these past 4+ years, I have noticed a steady trend when setting up our network for newly hired contractors over the years: the younger they are, the more likely they are to be plopping a dreaded “macbook” on my desk. It became a running joke in the office: someone would say there is a new guy/girl I need you to set up and I would ask them “How old?” and if they responded early to mid twenties I would say “Here comes the Mac”, and sure enough, I was generally unpleasantly not surprised.

I began to question this phenomenon after some time and eventually the answer was very clear and obvious: nearly every one of these “kids” was a recent college graduate. It eventually came to be that I was hearing the same reasoning from almost every one of them “Yea, in class they really all but required that we get a mac for day-to-day use and to use the software and programs they were using to teach us, so you pretty much had no choice.”

It was that last part of the statement that particularly stuck with me: “no choice”. Soon I realized, they were right. These young, anti-conformist, anti-capitalist students were being led by the collar by their institutions into purchasing a product that they could have gotten cheaper had they been “allowed” to buy the competitor’s product, which any of us who went through college will tell you, the more money we save, the more likely we aren’t skipping a meal or two or dozen. The professors were locking the students into buying a product they might not necessarily want by using software which was particular to that operating system and then adding spoons full of the “everybody else is” type of socialist mentality and peer-pressure.

These kids were being forced to either conform or be shunned and possibly fall behind their fellow classmates. I personally find the limiting of choice in one’s life to be a bit disturbing, especially when it is done by someone you are paying! These kids pay for the education they are provided and then are told that they must participate in only one portion of a capitalist market to “fit in” with the professor’s (generally ill-informed) views of the tech market.

What I also found to be very common were the responses the young adults would give me after I asked them “why a mac” and they told me their “pretty much had to…” response when I followed up with “Well, now that you are out of college, do you still like it?”  Most of them responded with an unenthusiastic “yes” or “for some things, yes I still love it”.

Then I asked, “Do you find it as useful as you did when you were in college?” and nearly every single one has answered a resounding “No!” Most people have responded to that question by telling me how unaware they weree that the mac was so limited in software and overall usefulness in the “real world”. That’s right. The overwhelming majority of the young mac users that I have spoken with have explained to me that they have found that the mac hinders their usefulness as an employee and that if they had it all to do again, they would have chosen a pc.

The bottom line is that outside of art and sound related careers, the mac really falls short in the real world workplace. It much more expensive, less capable and less usefull in day-to-day tasks. The mac still is and for years will probably remain the artists’ friend when it comes to portable computing systems, but when it comes to everyday computing tasks, research and analysis, and software availability the pc blows the mac out of the market. The theory that a mac is less susceptible to hackers and malware has been all-but dissolved in the modern-day as well. What that theory was based on was the fact that it was slightly more difficult to develop hacks for macs than it was for pc, but that relied on the fact that hackers were unwilling to put the few extra hours in to their code because fewer people had macs so they would be able to essentially hack fewer people for the time it took them to develop the hack. Now with more and more unwitting kids have macs, you can bet your selfies on the fact that hackers are finding it more worth their time to develop a mac hack.

In the end, I would say 85-90% of the contractors who end up being hired who initially bring in a mac will come to me within a month with a brand new, 1/4 of the price of a mac pc laptop or notebook and I never see them go the other way around. There are a small percentage of the indoctrinated mac users who still swear by their over-priced “toys”, but in the end, a large majority of them finally come over to the “force” and see the light and the utility of owning a pc.

These are simply my observations based on true situations and people I encounter being a tech guy at my office. Every bit of this is my own personal opinion. If you disagree or agree, I’d love to hear your side. I am still trying to figure out why anyone aside from a Pavlovian college student would be interested in owning an overpriced and under-useful mac. By all means, respond and let me know.

About the author:

“Jim”

IT Guy/Head of Research for an independent research and resources company

Unaffiliated with either mac or pc

Uses a computer: About 9-12 hours a day

 

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School Shootings: 15 Minutes of Shame (Part 1)

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech. Very few of you, if any, who are reading these names of these schools do not immediately know the terror and carnage associated with them. They, and many, many other schools have one main thing in common: school shootings. Each one of these incidents involved one or more sociopathic and psychopathic personality-laden individuals killing and injuring innocent and defenseless people. Each one of them also, made the headlines of every major news organization nationwide for a ridiculous amount of time and essentially were forced down the throat of the American populace for as long as the networks could pad their ratings with them. But the same questions linger in all cases: Why did this happen? Why are more and more people prone to gun violence against defenceless people? Why are more shootings occurring in schools and public places like movie theaters? What is causing the increase in massacres and the spilling of innocent blood?

While there are many reasons and many answers which can be applied to these questions and concurrently many answers which apply to each case individually and not the others, at least one thing seems to be common in all of them: mass media coverage. Each and every one of the most notorious cases of public massacres in recent years have been publicised to an alarming extent. Novels have spun out of the printing press, movies have been written, directed, filmed and sold exploiting the massacres in either a documentary format or in a horror/thriller film genre. Profits have soared and the dollars have piled up each and every time these disgusting tragedy befall our society, and we, the consumer, are eating them up like Stephen King novels.

We watch the train wreck as it unfolds, generally tuning in at the first mention of “shots fired” as it streams across the top of the page. We gorge ourselves on the carnage, feast on the feelings of the loved ones gathered in mass outside of the building fearful for those still inside, and drink up every drop of the tears shed. It fills us. It sustains us. All the while packing in the profits for the blood-thirsty media who, honestly, could not hope for a more rewarding story. We give infamy to the otherwise nobodies who perpetrate these horrendous crimes. We indulge and reward in their fantasies of gaining instant stardom. We reward them. We give them exactly what they were looking for: recognition, substantiality, and meaning.

Though you might not remember the names of the criminals now, you knew them well for two to four weeks of constant air time. You knew their faces. You knew their parents faces, their friends, their neighbors, and their hobbies. You read their journals and studied their habits. They were important to you. And, at the end of the day, you provided them, and the ones who follow, their reason for doing such a horrible thing.

Before I go on, I don’t want you to think that I am blaming you and you alone, there are some serious psychological issues going on with these disgusting excuses for people who perpetrate these types of inhumane and monstrous acts of violence. Also, there were warning signs in each and every one of these cases that were often willfully ignored and unreported which (if the right thing had been done) could have saved the lives of everyone killed. I, am also to blame, as I too was right there with you absorbing the chaos and padding the bottom line for the networks and Hollywood.  I bathed in the blood each day until i was drowning in it and, honestly and disgustingly, finally bore of it.

Do not think for one second that the hypocrisy of my writing here about how the media callously profits from these horrible tragedies and in-turn popularizes them to the point where it encourages more to follow has escaped; it hasn’t. I am fully aware of the mountain I have climbed and the pedestal on which I am now standing as I shout these words for you all to hear. However, my intent is not the same as theirs. Yes, the readers of my blog afford me certain income as my fan base builds and my readers indulge themselves on my tastefully typed telegraph, but I am also sounding the horn. Stop watching this disgusting play the networks are forcing into your homes before they help write the second act.

The unfortunate truth is that the media could not hope for a more profitable story, save for the occasional savory “Bill & Monica” style scandal. People tune in to see what has developed in the latest school shooting the way they tune in to see what happened last night on American Idol. And that is the problem: we are creating the incentive for the sociopath to execute such heinous acts against innocent people. We, the viewers, the ones who tune in and watch; we have blood on the tips of our channel-surfing fingers, and it is time we step up and start doing the responsible thing: tune out.

(Continued in Part 2, which discusses more about the history of school massacres and psychology behind the executors of these types of crimes)

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Resource Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States

http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/data_stats.html

Who’s head will roll?

Why is it that no one is fired by the president for the IRS scandal? Why was no one fired after the Black Panthers were not arrested for voter intimidation?

At least Chris Christie fired people for this scandal! If he is found to have known more about the issue and he gave the order, then that should be pursued further. Why should he be held to a higher standard than the president of the United States?

We need to stop caring what party a politician belongs to and judge them by their actions.

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The Era of Rudeness

There was a time, a time not too long ago, when people who were habitually rude were shunned and ostracized from polite society, a time when mothers told their children to show respect to other people, especially those in authority.  A time when fathers reminded their children, sometimes with corporal force, that rudeness was a quality not tolerated in the household.  This was a time when even shows on the television were sometimes booted off the air or never broadcast because the level of rude behavior was considered too much.  This time is for most, like a home cooked meal, a thing of the past. We are now the rude society, and we wallow in it. Our politicians wallow in it, our schools wallow in it, and our entertainers wallow in it.  When did this change occur and more importantly, why did this change occur?

As with most societal changes, clear beginnings are difficult to pinpoint.  Sometime in the great cultural revolution of the 1960’s a seed was sown.  Surely this seed was planted accidentally. No person or group of persons desired the outcome.  Just like nobody desired the housing market crash of 2008, it was just a consequence of certain forces set into play.  Do not mistake me.  There were many great ideas that came out of the 1960’s.  Vietnam really was a bad idea; other races should be treated fairly, we probably should not wreck the only planet we have been given, and others of that ilk are noble and honorable.  However, the same generation that gave us these benefits, gave us the shortcomings that are now manifesting themselves so viciously.

I hate to be cliché, but the baby and the bath water is highly applicable in this situation.  Instead of moderating the excesses of the time, the culture leapt to the opposite extreme.  Blind allegiance to authority is stupidity; Failure to respect any authority is anarchy.  This leads to people smashing in Starbucks windows in Oakland California and five-year old children speaking like Tony Soprano.  Finding your own way is important.  Thinking that your way is the only way, especially when you are operating on a worldview you developed in the eighth grade is preposterous. The fifties gave us McCarthy, but the sixties paved the way for people like Snooky believing they have a legitimate worldview.

Of course the 60’s was just the murky origin of this disastrous age.  You cannot hold the origin completely to blame for the eventual outcome.  At any point along the line, culture could have chosen to learn the valuable things the 1960s had to teach us, learn from the mistakes made, and move on.  Instead the circus continues.  Looking back you can see the pattern. It begins in the elite, on the fringe, people in controversial movies or in the lyrics of controversial music making statements that most people find distasteful, people treating each other in ways that would be completely out-of-place in the normal world.  Soon it finds its way to television and the radio.  Not very long after that it is in the office, and then on Capitol Hill, and then at your dinner table.  It wasn’t so long ago that people would have marched in an angry mob on the producers of some of the most popular shows on television.  It wasn’t that long ago, that people were actually insulted by music that constantly refers to women as “bitches” or advocates mindless slaughter of large groups of people.  It wasn’t that long ago that Miley Cyrus would now be out on the street trying to figure out where things went wrong. (just an example)

In the end our society, and most of us bear part of the collective guilt, decided not to stop this progression.  Maybe we are okay with the way things turned out…somehow, I doubt it.

-Red Eagle

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Wasteful and wanting?

We have all been told that the government wastes our tax dollars with irresponsible spending, right? I mean, no matter which wing of the political eagle you tend to side with (if for some reason you still choose to side with one over the other) there are things in the federal budget you feel passionately about and you deem to be wasteful and you think the funds could be better “invested” elsewhere.

Well, my educated friends, I can promise you there are things our government has spent money on, I mean real money on, which no matter which wing your feather rests on you will be shocked and appalled to find out about.

For example:

1) In 2012 $325,000 was spent on a robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel.” This National Science Foundation grant was used to create a realistic-looking robotic squirrel for the purpose of studying how a rattlesnake would react to it.

2) As part of a four-year, $27 million plan by the U.S. Agency for International Development to improve the economic competitiveness of Morocco involved training Moroccans to design and make pottery to sell, both locally and in international markets, Coburn’s report says.

But the translator hired was not fluent in English, and some of the materials used in the sessions were not regularly available in Morocco. Oops.

3) Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, a company with $140 million in revenue, received a Community Development Block Grant ($505,000) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for capital improvements, with which the company wanted to buy machinery to make pet toothpaste and shampoo.

4) According to the Daily Treasury Statementand first reported by CNS News, the administration dished out $445 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) on the first day of the government spending “slimdown,” which means funds for the likes of PBS Newshour, NPR and “Sesame Street” are being spent before cancer research.

A high ranking official for PBS has gone on the record dating that PBS would exist fine without any government grants, so why are they still taking them? Remember Mitt Romney’s ridicule for saying her would “stop funding Big Bird”? $445 million would help out quite a few people who “can’t afford insurance” wouldn’t it?

Obviously there are lot of examples of wasteful spending by the government. After all, that’s what the government does.

But when your healthcare bill goes up by over $600 a month so that they can “afford” to put people with existing conditions on a plan (again, a very good thing that I agree with just not the way it is being done), and you find out Big Bird got $445 million and Robosquirrel got $325,000, at some point don’t you stop to think “you know, if they had instead put those same funds towards the funding of plans for people with existing conditions, maybe It wouldn’t have been necessary to take from my family the $600 a month that I was hoping to try to save up to put my child in a private school to ensure they have a bright future”.

“If it doesn’t make sense, then you probably shouldn’t subsidize it with dollars”- Vox Populi Clarus

Resources:

1) http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/16/top-10-examples-of-wasteful-federal-spending-in-2012/

2) http://money.msn.com/investing/12-examples-of-government-waste

4) http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/10/08/government-gives-445-million-to-corporation-for-public-broadcasting-on-first/

If you would like to read more about this, check out these links:

http://reed.house.gov/waste-fraud-and-abuse

http://www.dw.de/wasted-taxpayers-money/g-17165286

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/10/17/the-10-dumbest-ways-the-government-wasted-taxpayer.aspx

Investing in bad science.(wasteful government spending and research funding)(Essay): An article from: Policy Review

The bottom line is the government does not spend money on anything without having first taken the money from something, or usually someone else. When our government is spending money without logic on “investments” which aren’t of the utmost importance for the nation, then the money is being misappropriated. There needs to be more accountability (and preferably more public control) of the federal spending. Imagine having the ability to vote, even if it is just once or twice a year, to fund or de-fund programs we the people find to be wasteful. This is the drawback of having a republic instead of a democracy.

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