Saturday, December 15, 2012


There's been a lot of questions raised about the shooters last week.  I do hope that despite the deaths of the perpetrators that more answers can be found.  However, I don't believe that any answers are simple.  I do agree that today isn't the day to make changes.  I know that some people want to use the wave of horror to obtain the political will to push forth legislation, but I don't think the best legislation is derived when we are at our most emotional (see Patriot Act).

The most obvious reaction are gun laws need to be tightened.  Now, I don't personally disagree that high powered assault weapons should be banned or made much more difficult to obtain, but to say that would prevent all such incidences, such as these, is somewhat simplistic.  At best, maybe the number of deaths or number of incidences could be reduced, but similar to the issues with drugs, the problem isn't the supply, it's the demand.  Now I don't think cocaine should be available in Walgreens nor do I think assault weapons should be as easy to obtain as Super Soakers.  However, instead I ask why do we want these items so badly? I think that might give us more of a clue.

The other "answer" I've seen is the lack of God in our schools/lives.  Because no one has ever killed in the name of God.  Again, very simplistic.  I do think people feel a need to be a part of something larger than themselves, and religion, for some, has something to offer, but it's not a complete solution, and when used badly, it can be the root of the problem.  How often are people marginalized because of religion?  How often is murder committed in the name of someone's religion?

We need to look at our society.  Why does this seem to happen more in the U.S. than other countries that are relatively similar to us culturally (Western Europe and Canada)?  The Canadians love their hunting weapons, but they seem to turn them on each other less than we do.  These other countries are also, for the most part, a lot less religious than we are as a whole, so that doesn't explain it either.

Now, this is not to make excuses for a crazed lunatic that does terrible things.  There will always be people who commit atrocities no matter what we do.  I'm not sure that we can ever eradicate that truth about humanity.  But I do fear that a culture that doesn't stand against violence, a culture where more and more people feel marginalized either because jobs are scarce, or resources to get help with mental health issues or life's troubles are being eradicated, or teachers are being laid off and those kids who need that extra help or support aren't getting it - that is a culture where such occurrences are more likely to occur.

As often is the case, this is a complex situation that requires complex solutions looking at multiple areas of our society.  We need to pull together to find those answers instead of doing what we normally do: point fingers at each other and blaming the political agenda of "the other guys".  That is not problem solving - that's opportunism.  Perhaps, it's our inability to come together, see everyone as part of the whole, that is the root of the problem?

In the meantime, hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, and if you see someone falling through the cracks, maybe do something to offer them a hand.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blame Isn't Going To Fix This One

Today we had a customer service nightmare with Sears. It's too long and boring to get into here, but they failed in multiple ways to get us what we wanted, when we wanted it, and in what should have been an easy to complete transaction. Later today, after getting candy applied to only one side of my TCBY yogurt, I thought, something isn't adding up.

The economy is in a slump. I guess I had always idealistically imagined that at times like this, we Americans get innovative. What can I do to save costs? What can I do to bring in more revenue? What new products can I produce? How can I help my neighbor and my community and myself get out of a hole.

I'm not tapped into the entire country, but in my experience, I'm not seeing that kind of spirit. Instead it's those bankers or those politicians or those terrorists. They did this. I take no responsibility for this slump at all, so it's business as usual for my part.

Well, there are certainly people more at fault than others, but we all played a part, didn't we? I mean, we made investments we didn't understand. We took out loans we couldn't afford. We voted for politicians we didn't truly research. We punish politicians who think outside the box of their party or ideology. We buy oil that creates an economic, political, and military climate that involves us with and has us giving aid to those in a part of the world where many believe we are the devil.

Fine. Be angry with the bankers who are to blame and got bailed out with bonus money. Hate the politicians who sent us to war or didn't see the economic collapse coming. Call the oil companies greedy bastards. But at some point we have to move on and take on the real work of recovery, and that takes all of us.

So, put candy on both sides of my yogurt. If you do that, maybe I'll get a large next time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Needs Terrorists When We Have Ourselves?

I'll admit it. I have a lot of prejudices against Muslims. Much of it is my perception of how they feel about and treat women and gays. Their perception of Israel's lack of right to exist doesn't give me warm fuzzies either. However, I know that doesn't describe all Muslims, and I've read many stories of Muslims engaging with other religious groups in the name of tolerance and understanding. There's a lot to be said for America's melting pot. Quite frankly, we all have a lot to learn about peace and understanding each other.

However, marginalizing a population does the opposite. If we treat Muslims like "other" then improvement in relations only deteriorates and yes, it can be worse than it is. The protest against the cultural center near Ground Zero are once again giving our enemies "I told you so" moments.

I could get into the stupid things that have been said in the name of "protecting America", but that's all been said before. But I would think we would all agree that protecting America and protecting what we stand for, such as religious freedom, would be the best way to "win" any war on terror. Lowering ourselves to their level of hate, misinformation, xenophobia, and lack of freedom would give them our destruction on a plate without any need for violence on their part.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tea partiers proved that I was right

Leonard Pitts, saying it better than I ever could:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let's all agree!

Democracy would be so much easier if we all just agreed with each other. And disagreeing is too difficult - it's much easier if I just vilify you. You are evil which means I must be right!

This is the new discourse isn't it?

I truly believe that if you do not like the new health care bill, you should be more angry with the Republicans than with the Democrats. The Republicans overreached with their name calling and ended up being so hateful that on the last day they resorted to racial and anti-gay slurs. If I wasn't in favor of the health care bill before this I wouldn't have wanted it to pass just because of it. Maybe that would make me a bad legislator, but it's tough to not want more closely associated with the nice guys and not the hate crowd.

Despite being generally supportive of the health care reform bill, now law, I've actually agreed with some very well rationed reasons why this health care reform bill (even if you only look at its basic principals) may be a bad idea. Too bad that too few of those reasons didn't follow or proceed name calling and accusations. Maybe our diplomats should spend less time overseas and start hanging out in the halls of Congress.

One of the theories (and it is just a theory) of democracy is that different opinions can come together and reach a better solution, and not just a bloated, contradictory one. I believe that doesn't happen very often because of lack of trust. I believe this lack of discourse and trust is truly hurting our country.

Can't we at least agree on that?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Almost One Year of Obama

Let me start off by saying I haven't been more pleased with the presidency in a long time. I say this despite being disappointed that Obama had to start his presidency with weights tied around his neck due to our being already mired in two wars and a horrendous recession.

In such a short time, I've heard so much negativity about this president, that it sinks my heart. It's not that people disagree with him, but the way their disagreements are characterized makes me want to throw my hands in the air and say is there anyone realistically that can actually make everyone not want to run for the borders? Probably not. But here are some of what I've heard and why I disagree:

He's making this a socialist country or worse, a third world country: I do appreciate that the deficit is horrible and getting worse but where was that anger when it was happening over the past eight years. I find it disingenuous to suddenly be upset about it now. Socialist or not, I'd rather see us spend our money on health care of than foreign nation building. Most of our closest allies have some form of health care reform. Is it socialist? Socialist is a name that is inflammatory. Instead why not argue on the merits of doing this versus not doing this. By saying it's socialism and vilifying the democrats trying to pass this, you remove yourself from any meaningful dialog. Health care in this country needs help. Is this bill the answer? Probably not entirely, but by vilifying those working on it Republicans probably allowed the bill to be worse than it could have been if they had been a constructive part of the process.

He's not doing enough to help main street or stopping those fat cats from getting bonuses: I find it funny that the same president can be called a socialist while not doing the socialistic thing to help individuals or telling businesses how to run their businesses. Quite frankly, the fact that the right says he's doing too much and the left says he's not doing enough says that he's striking some sort of balance both in regard to what is right and what is politically feasible.

He's supposed to be the peace president, what's with the Afghanistan resurgence: He said in his campaign that he would focus more on Afghanistan. I do not understand why this is a surprise. I'm not thrilled with the escalation, but he did change the mission (which was needed) and I hope it will work out OK.

He hasn't done enough for gay rights: I too wish he'd do more, but I voted for Clinton in the primary because I felt she was better on gay issues. I never thought he'd make gay rights a top priority, but he has signed the hate crimes bill, told off Uganda about their nasty anti-gay legislature (although this may be more to do with Clinton), and has started some research into removing don't ask, don't tell. While I do accept that there is a lot else going on, I would prefer he do more for gay rights, but I still feel that with this president we are playing on the offense rather than defending against a marriage amendment!

He's the same as Bush: I really don't get this one. First of all, presidents cannot change everything in five minutes. He has a legislative process to face and a huge bureaucracy to deal with. Less than a year and we don't have rainbows flying out of our asses yet, so, he's at fault. I just don't get it. How he has re-engaged the world and his adament stand against torture alone puts him a world apart in my opinion.

Obama is a man. Those who expected him to be a deity are surely disappointed. Those who thought he'd be Stalin are making up crap to make their arguments seem true. I do not think Obama is a corrupt politician as some have claimed. I think the partisanship is tougher to overcome than he had thought. I think he's been asked to do more under worse conditions than most anyone should have to face. With that he's surpassed my expectations. Again, I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I don't understand the vilification at all. At the very least, let me enjoy "my" president for a few minutes. I haven't gotten to appreciate our president in far too long. Disagree with his policies, actions, decisions, etc. If you think he's a Socialist, in bed with corporations, racist, lying Hitler-esque devil, then a little more evidence would be appreciated.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wassup 2008

If you haven't seen this update to the old Wassup ad, it's worth checking out.

Wassup 2008

By the way, a happy return to sanity (except for Prop 8 in CA, but I'm hoping the courts will stop it from going through - you should not get to vote to take rights away from people).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This Isn't Right

I felt like Guinan (Goldberg) after the 2000 election. Hopefully, things will soon be turned around (although much work will need to be done to fix the most disastrous presidency in history).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jesse Helms Finally Crokes

The 80's gay axis of evil is now all gone: Helms, Thurmond, and Falwell. Too bad they didn't leave us before they could commit so much damage. Helms was the best argument for allowing abortion up through the 270th trimester!

Helms was personally responsible for many evils, but what I most blame him for is allowing AIDS to blossom into a huge epidemic by preventing the government from giving information to those who needed it most because he so hated them.

His death is reason to celebrate. For those who are uncomfortable speaking badly of the dead, as Kate Clinton is surely saying: He's dead - good!

The people of hell are surely saying: there goes the neighborhood.