Tuesday, July 30, 2013

War on Drugs Shifting Tactics

*News Flash*The Associated News Group

With over a Trillion dollars spent since 1971 the War On Drugs is shifting tactics.  Clinics are scheduled to open around the country to assist addicts with free, non-judgmental services.  Starting with the major cities and expanding to smaller markets these clinics will provide the addicted with their drug of choice in a clean and safe environment, administered by licensed nurses with counseling, if wanted at no cost and with no penalties.

The decision to fund these clinics and offer these services is a direct result of the past “war on drugs” and the disastrous changes in addiction across the country, even after years of fighting that war.  This new policy change is a direct result of a better understanding of the underlying conflict with illicit market forces and the need to mitigate those overwhelming trends for a much softer and logical approach.

Free illicit drugs will not be handed out to those in need but will be administered to those who need.  Addicts will have to visit an approved facility but will be given their drugs for free, no questions asked.  As mentioned counseling will be provided to those in need but only if wanted. (Studies show that most hard core drug users have the desire to get clean but lack the will or means)

The current cost of the War on Drugs is staggering with the numbers of drug users only marginally changing from year to year as new drugs and new methods of distribution continue to hamper the efforts toward stemming the tide.  The above plan does not decriminalize drug use but redefines those that use drugs as patients while increasing the penalties to those that pedal and distribute with increased penalties and fines for those that use outside of the prescribed locations.

By redefining drug users as patients the opportunity to help the user is increased and the stigma and the mystic of drug use will be substantially reduced.  A large reason for initial drug use is the pressure to use, the excitement and the rush and that mystery, that will be mitigated substantially as well.  As a result of making drugs available within a clinical setting the incidents of crime will be moderated noticeably.  The crime related to gangs will also be reduced as clinics buy directly from the growers or at least from the drug lords erasing the need for expensive and illicit trafficking.  Negotiations with farmers and chemist to farm and manufacture the drugs will illuminate the over the border negotiations and reduce our current federal aid to countries like Mexico and Columbia.

Another direct benefit of the clinical option is in the quality of the drugs, they will be much higher quality, with fewer incidents of death due to overdose and negative reactions due to tainted supplies.  The cost savings will be literally in the billions of dollars per year in direct cost and even more in ancillary costs resulting from past drug related crime, burglary, theft, prostitution etc…

With more than a Trillion dollars being spent since the inception of this drug war the simple idea of helping those in need directly will almost change the face of that war overnight.  No longer will the addict have to grovel or steal for their fix, all they will have to do is enter a clinic and get whatever they want, as often as they want.

The morality of the past war on drugs was a loss of countless lives and innocents trapped in the crossfire between governments and well-funded gangs that literally killed thousands to retain their tenuous market advantage.  As a trade-off government sanctioned use of previously illicit substances will be administered freely requiring 180 degree change in past policy.  But with that trade-off comes the drastic drop in crime across the board in every major city in the country. 

One disadvantage is the numbers of drug users that will be serviced.  No one really knows how many will avail themselves of the program and those numbers may be staggering at first with real costs still in the billions to assist the estimated 200 million drug users (many of these use Marijuana, a drug that is slated for legalization across the country).  That disadvantage will quickly dissolve as more addicts are helped, drug trafficking is reduced and gangs are left without funding.

The savings to the communities will be substantial as gangs are hobbled due to loss of trade and loss of customers. Prison overcrowding will be thing of the past as inmates with drug violations are reviewed and released. But perhaps most importantly is the cost of our morality and goodwill, a cost that is incalculable as those in need are helped and restored toward productivity and helped back to their families and loved ones.

Look for your local clinic and tell your friends in need that help is on the way.  Brought to you by the drug council and the logical approach consortium, in connection with common sense league and the better way of doing business group.

Monday, July 29, 2013

School Districts Demise

The question of whether our schools are failing has been at the forefront of many a discussion with most of the blame falling squarely on the teachers.  They are the ones in the classroom and they are the ones given the lion’s share of the responsibility but when you consider the reality of the situation more emphasis should be placed on the administration and the state and federal mandates for the abysmal results of education and not the teachers.

Being a teacher I should admit some bias in this area but I also hold many conservative notions that separate me from the majority of the fold.  Many teachers by nature are more liberal in attitude, voting for tax increases and continued funding for revolving programs that never worked and despite a name change will never work.  Money and education do not mix and in fact (sorry an opinion) the more money you spend the less profitable the outcome.

There is a law of diminishing returns in relation to education that no one seems to consider.  The more money you spend does not guarantee better results.  In many cases the dollars spent actually have a only a nominal benefit rather than a proportional benefit as one would surmise.  Test scores over the past 15 years have only risen by a few percentage points but the increases in dollars spent for education have more than tripled.  Teachers make more money and I’m actually happy about those increases but the majority of costs associated with education are not found within the classroom, the teacher nor with books, computers or any other direct educational function; most increases are due to pensions and facilities with other outrageous expenditures going to administration, or what I like to refer to as a gaggle of incompetents (peter principle).

As I mentioned in a past post the big fish are taking over, growing districts to enormous sizes with budgets beyond the billions and waste so profound that millions can be gone without a trace and no one learns how to read.  A new pet project here, a new program there, a new campus, elaborate outings or trainings and all those taxes are washed away in a tide of illiteracy and complacency.
Teachers still try to teach but the constraints are overwhelming. 

With 30-40 or more students in a class, with pacing guides that outline their every word and with little or no support for behavior control the schools are nothing more than very large and complicated day care centers.  Many teachers are forced to patiently wait for their retirement but the incidents of heart attack, cancer and heart disease are on the rise within teaching making teachers a high risk profession, so the waiting is nothing more than an early death sentence with more and more teachers dying soon after retiring than ever before.

Gone are the days of Plato, sitting on a pastoral mound discussing the ideas of the day; attentive students, wide eared and eager listening to every word.  The classroom of today is a battle field of frayed nerves, angry students, and frustrated learners.  It’s a balancing act of epic proportions for a teacher these days to actually “teach” when in many cases the idea of learning is so foreign that getting students to stop talking to each other is a major achievement. 
 
I have a solution:  Education, learning should be the key component not the over bloated system that now takes precedents.  Districts are the problem, too many chiefs telling the warriors what to do.  The confusion in education is a direct result of too many incompetent administrators trying to find that ever so elusive magic wand that can be ceremoniously waved to “fix” the problem, when the problem is in the hands of those who wish to lead, (kinda like politics…wow).

I propose that all districts be disbanded and individual schools given the authority over the local students.  Taxes should still be used to fund education but should be proportioned by student and doled out to each school in relation to those who attend (just like ADA does now) but with one exception, students and parents can choose which school to attend, creating a natural competitive nature to the process, forcing schools to work with the community and parents to provide what is most needed.

Principals, teachers and parents in combination should lead a school, hire and fire those who do not perform with tenure rules mitigated not only by individual performance but through a combination of overall school performance as well, the two are inexorably connected and should be judged accordingly.

Curriculum is a community decision, not a state mandate.  Teacher autonomy is essential within the bounds of each school and should be encouraged.  The District and it’s overstuffed, self-worth should be disbanded and the bureaucracy that goes with it.

In truth, some schools will completely fail without the support of a “district” but most will thrive under the management of those who are better suited to handle the individual issues of a community and its learning needs.  Those student dollars can be better spent; I think we all agree on that. Let’s let the schools and the teachers to what they do best, TEACH…..

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fornicatious Fortitude

Filnerism, Filnerist: to be of such a mind that any and all fallacious, factious or fornicatious activities are falsely and forever forgotten despite the overwhelming facts that may be fortuitously favored by others but not by the perpetrator.
A stretch toward an alliterative beginning but so is the efforts of San Diego’s Mayor who insists on staying in office after multiple woman have come forth accusing Bob Filner of sexual herassment (a Democrat and the first one since Maureen O’Conner who by the way was convicted of money laundering and had a horrific gambling problem that is estimated to exceed 1 billion dollars).  Mr. Filner is apparently in very good company.

To be fair I don’t think the Republicans who ran the city were much better but with the exception of Roger Hedgecock none were accused of wrong doing while in office and even Mr. Hedgecock was vindicated after his trial and probably should have retained his office.   It’s too bad that he did not have the foresight to pull a Filner and completely ignore the calls for resignation.

Regardless of the allegations there seems to be a pattern developing in our country that exhibits a strong trend toward extreme self-interest within politics, perhaps it’s always been there but recent developments have stigmatized public service and turned it into a circus of philandering Faux pas of past and present officers grandstanding for forgiveness just so they can bask in the ever so present limelight ,a process of illumination no longer used, perhaps those who strive to be so illuminated should think twice before exposing all of us to their wicked underbelly.

Anthony Weiner (I’m not making that name up) a past congressman who actually exposed his “Weiner” by sexting now wants back in as New York’s Mayor.  And let’s not forget Elliot Spitzer who served as New York’s Governor but resigned due to a prostitution scandal, he is also running for Mayor of New York.  Spitzer and Weiner, they can’t find anyone else to run? Or is it there is no one with enough chutzpah to subject themselves to the process of an elected offices.  Maybe only those with little or no conscience are able to endure an election?

Therein lays the problem.  There are obviously more talented and more capable individuals that would be willing to serve, true service but in order to get there they literally have to sell their souls to the Master of the underworld, leaving all morality aside, compassion and sanity should also be discarded if one really wants to win.  But once those small details are out of the way running for office is easy, just look at Filner and Weiner and Spitzer.  I’m sure there are hundreds of others that fit this mold but these three seem mall adjusted enough for my point.

We wonder why we have issues with our leaders, be they liberal or be they conservative or anywhere in between the pool of those willing to bare it all has gotten very small and only those who have already exposed it all seem to be willing to run, leaving the public with the sour taste of previously chewed gum taken from under some random stool in some seedy “c” rated eatery.

My question is why do we allow it?  Why do we put up and accept these cretin’s that continuously exhibit Neanderthal (I apologize to those hapless creatures for any association with current politicians) like behaviors and then expect, no demand our support?  Are we really that tainted and soiled that we truly cannot see the dirt through the dust in our eyes?  Not voting doesn’t help and in fact gives them (the cretins) the advantage so we have to vote but when there is only the proverbial “lesser of two evils” that motivation to participate is often far below a visit to the dentist and root canal without pain medication.

For a few moments of reading I thought perhaps it was just New York and San Diego politics but the entire country is infected with a similar disgusting and oozing malady.  Some believe its terminal and it may be but I for one sure would like to find a cure or at least a sharp enough knife to cut out the infected areas so that future infections do not continue to spread.

It’s obvious that American Politics has always been a very fractious and divisive game but in the past at least a majority believed that “their guy” was working for them.  Now it seems more like a third world coop every time it’s time to vote.  My apologies to those third world countries that change dictators like I change my socks, at least they get fresh leadership every so often.   All we get is recycled sex fiends and dysfunctional power hungry egotist.  Hmm maybe those third world countries know something we don’t?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

As time goes bye

IMG_20130724_133917.jpgJust for fun I took a picture of a clock handing on a nondescript wall.  There was nothing fancy or unusual about the clock or its setting in fact the room that houses the clock was devoid of any pictures or posters and the only other accoutrement was 8’ wide white board, cleaned and also absent of any markings.

I really don’t know what drew me to the clock, except maybe I was bored and had nothing to do and nothing to look at.  My cell phone was acting up so I couldn’t check my email or even get on Facebook or check my blog status, but when I turned around and saw the clock it was as if time stood still.  It was only for a moment but for that moment the concept of time took on a new meaning.  

A few days ago the family watched the old movie (not old like gone with the wind or Metropolis) “the Gods must be crazy” the interesting part about the movie was the way the Bushman looked at time and their perception of time as a continuous, non- linear event that stretched not by minutes or hours or even days but spanned the life of an individual and beyond.

That clock that hung solitarily on the wall is not only a reminder of our constraints and our opportunities, but a constant reminder of what we can become if we use time as it was intended. Time is a tool that is often overused or underused, misused and abused.  It’s used as an excuse when we’re late or early and it’s used to mitigate poor performance or even to advance the abilities of other, but what is time?  It has to be more than a simple clicking of the clock, the movement of the hands from one number to the next; time has to be something quantifiable beyond the simplistic ticking of each second.

For some time goes slow while for others time moves more rapidly.  Einstein suggests that time passage depends on the position and juxtaposition of events and perception making time a relative issue and nowhere near consistent.  Even with our atomic clocks that keep “time” to the millisecond the value of time differs based on individual perception and motivation, even the positioning of the clocks. 

Time is not the same for everyone and those differences in perception alter our individual awareness of time.  Think of two people at a party, one is having fun the other not so much, the perception of time for each can be very different, especially for the one who is having to endure the party, waiting and waiting for it to end.

It’s not just our perception of time however that intrigues me but the concept of understanding the nature of time, some call it the arrow of time or in other words how does time work? We know from past theories that time can be measured and used, we can see the effects of time especially on old bodies and buildings but there is a process that explains that, it’s called entropy, in short a measure of disorder.  Life is filled with examples of entropy or things going from order to disorder, why?  Why is it that life cannot move in an enthalpic manner in a way toward organization not chaos?

My theory is very simple:  Man is a created being and with that creation comes the constraints of time.  Time is a tool that is used to measure, gauge and compare and in general track our progress.  Time designates our existence and tempers our efforts throughout our existence but does so in a very curious manner.  As we age, as time takes its toll and as entropy mitigates our ordered existence into a chaotic mass of energy diffusion there is definable enthalpy taking place.  It’s almost like the omelet being converted back to the egg;  in its comparison as man ages his level of knowledge increases, his charity grows, his compassion toward others improves and in almost every case his own humanity intensifies, even in the face of a certain and inexorable mortal demise. 

When all around us entropy converts energy back to its basic and fundamental parts the human soul, the mind of man, the spirit within continues to improve and progress toward perfection.  This level of enthalpy is a derivative of our eternal nature and our innate desire to return to that level of perfection from whence we came.

Without the entropy, enthalpy would be impossible.  Without cold the wonders of warmth could not be enjoyed.  Pain and pleasure, sickness and health, love and hate, all the opposites of mortality impose on man and assist with that eternal growth toward perfection. 

Time is a gift perhaps, a gift we cannot fully comprehend but a skill that can be improved, utilized and used to our advantage toward that ultimate goal of spiritual perfection.  It is the only real thing over which we have control.  Use your time wisely…

Friday, July 19, 2013

Big Fish or Little Fish


That old saying of being a big fish in a little pond has new meaning in our superficially saturated society.  In the old days when one accused someone of being a big fish they were referring to their obvious desires toward grandeur within the very limited auspices of a small, mostly insignificant pool of participants.

Wanting to be important or even feel important is an essential aspect in relation to those hierarchies of need and the level of self-actualization as coined by Maslow. We all want to feel good about ourselves and our lives regardless of how insignificant they might really be.  No one wants to be forgotten or overlooked or even pushed aside by another in their grand rush toward their own desire for reputation or notoriety.  The very thought of being conscripted by another for their personal gain is abhorrent to most and leads many toward the support of the underdog, believing perhaps that they and most are well within the confines that designated them “small fish”.

As society grows and populations increase the logical conclusion of such changes would assume that more ponds would be created, allowing for more opportunities for small fish to become seemingly important but when we view the current state of available pools, they are not on the increase but on a surreptitious decline.

Like the family farm the corporate interests are devastating the small business farmer and destroying the past collective process and with it the basics of supply and demand, replacing it with high scale marketing and motivational media to create and enhance our individual needs to their designs.  Those big fish are truly working from a global pond and that pond is ever increasing, leaving any opportunity for the rest of us to participate, contribute and help in molding and shaping the society within which we reside, less likely.

Where I live there is a HOA (home owners association) and within that organization we currently have a big fish in a little pond scenario.  There are members of that board who want to expand their power base and start inspecting our backyards as well as mandating the level of maintenance required for the façade of our properties.  I can actually agree with wanting to keep the neighborhood at a certain level of repair and aesthetics but the ascetics sitting on the board would require so much more based on their ideals of what looks good or not, never considering the individual needs or abilities of the community.

 I am not a proponent of anachronistic options that allow anyone to do as he pleases, we are a land of laws and organization and I truly believe that logical and well thought out laws make man more free giving more opportunity to expand and express but laws that restrict unjustly, or oversee overtly will do nothing to better our lives, they will only serve to enhance the lives of those who rule.

Big fish or little fish, everyone wants to be important, everyone wants to be seen as accomplished and self-assured, but when the famous or infamous have the ear of the nation, when the only sounds to be heard are the irresponsible fog like words of power seekers and the options of the minions of minnows are minimized and mitigated the need for smaller ponds makes much more sense.

I would rather try to oust the evil machinations and maneuverings from a bloated carp like leader, floundering in an enclosed small pond than the powerful, megalomaniacs who inhabit Washington.  At least in my little corner of the world, my little muddy regime I have a chance of making a difference, slim perhaps but still a chance.

Local governments, cities and unincorporated areas, counties and even states need to start swimming away from that expansive pool of destruction and head for safe harbor among others of their kind.  It will only be through our collective efforts as millions of small ravenous fish overwhelm the powerful and dominate in order to regain possession of that cool, comfortable pool of reality.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I think, I think...

I have of late been thinking about thinking and the loss of this most basic of functions.  From before our birth (mostly in reference to our minds while in utero. 
Pre-life, pre-existence thought may be a topic for another time) we have definitive brain activity, activity that supposes thought of some kind.  But like the age old question of a falling tree making sounds when no one is around, can there be thought without context?

An example might be an old Next Generation Star Trek episode that pits the Captain (Picard for those not so inclined) against another captain who is determined to reach a communicative consensus by forcing a showdown on a planet inhabited by a gruesome and dangerous foe.

The problem was not the language, they could understand the words but it was the context of the words that mattered and the meaning of those words in relation to that unknown framework.  Not to be a spoiler for those who are rushing toward Netflix to see this episode but the captains do find that consensus and Picard does start to understand the framework that allows for understandable communication.

It was like telling a joke with the punch line referencing the use of a Disneyland “E” ticket when no prior understanding of what an “E” ticket was.  The joke would be ineffective and certainly not funny.  By the way the “E” ticket was from a pre-packaged group of tickets ranging from A- E with the E allowing access to the best rides at the park, you were only allowed 2 E tickets within the pack.

In the book “men are from Venus and Women are from Alpha Centauri, or was it Pluto, wait that’s not even a planet anymore, ooh ya, Mars, the differences in our communication techniques presupposes a similar context of understanding.  Newsflash, men and women are different and those differences create a contextual misunderstanding even when the same language and words are used.  So it is with thought.

“I think, therefor I am” does help us to understand but it does not go far enough in explaining what happens to original thoughts, inceptive sparks of intuition that mark our very first notion of being.  Do we know were alive when that flicker of light crosses our eyes through the uterine wall and do we have any context to create a cogent thought surrounding that initial experience?

Some will say that context is universal and that all humans begin life with a similar contextual foundation.  Others may say that conscious thought is a series of unconnected events that eventually find meaning when external forces assist in those connections, suggesting that thought without context is not only meaningless but impossible.

All purely theoretical, especially sense we all have some level of thought processes that enable us to function but therein lays the question, are we losing our ability to think, not only objectively but critically as well, leaving us all with the idea that consensus is the ultimate criteria for thought, whatever the masses believe is the truth and whatever is advertised the most effectively is the way it should be.

In the past plutonian methods it was the process of thought that all truths were found and for generations that method endured leaving objective and scientific methods, not only unavailable but forbidden.  The thought process was held supreme but now it seems that even the archaic idea of using the mind has been forsaken for a more simple process of external infusion and regurgitation.

We are a society of soggy, mem-brains (yes I know it’s misspelled) using our minds for nothing more than information dissemination. Original thought, inspirational endeavors and any attempt to move beyond the preset, sterilized, packaged programs of political correctness and hyperbolistic smut is  a thing of the past, at least for the majority of humanity.  Most lean heavenly on the opinions of a few without taking time to consider the context of the spewed rhetoric, accepting without cause the words of the famous over any attempt to discover the reasons why, the purpose or the effects of blind acceptance.

Information without context is nothing more than trivia.  Knowledge without an established framework is like a loaded gun in the hands of an unsuspecting child, ever ready to pull the trigger, never knowing the danger behind the barrel nor the enormous consequences of such a simple act.

Our thinking needs to be re-tuned and reestablished within a logical and workable context, a structure like the classical thinkers that helped to create the beauties and freedoms we enjoy today.  It’s ok not to agree but not agreeing just because of race, religion, superstition or political motivation creates a system of power over substance, greed over compassion and thought without reason.

It’s time to start thinking, start pondering and considering the alternatives based on realities of history and the obvious outcomes of specific choices, choices that if made or ignored will inevitably result in similar if not exact duplication of past mistakes. 

It’s all about the context of whom and what we are in relation to what we think we can become, but that takes some serious thought, maybe we’re not ready for that level of commitment.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Racial Crime or Individual responsibility?

The country, the news media, the politicians and so called leaders are all engaged and actively pursuing the Zimmerman Zwing and the Travon Twist, gyrating and swaying to the newest dance craze.  Limbs are flailing, feet are tapping and gums are swinging to the rhythm of an ever changing tune.

At first it was the self-defense polka and then the first degree tap, it eventually morphed into the Harlem shake with everyone simply spazzing out, taking a stance, whirling and twirling to some marginal beat just to say their involved.

It seemed from the very beginning that everyone had their opinion; everyone knew who was guilty and who was not.  It was as if a thousand eyes were ever present over the incident, everyone completely aware of who did what and why and even more important they understood and had an intimate insight into the mental and emotional intonations at an almost molecular level, leaving no apparent doubt of who is guilty of what to whom.

These types of incidents are not uncommon.  Despite the uproarious media coverage creating a circus like frenzy of misinformation this case is only one of many that occur each and every day.  Thousands of young Blacks and Latino’s are involved in violence.  The culture clash is systematically destroying the future prospects of an entire generation.

The racial composition of the US population and crime are as follows:
Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.
When Blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-Blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.
Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the White rate.
The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is Black and Hispanic.
Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving Blacks and Whites, Blacks commit 85 percent and Whites commit 15 percent.
Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are Black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When Whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are Black.
Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a White than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.
Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.
Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.
Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs. Blacks are 15 times more likely, and Asians are nine times more likely.
Between 1980 and 2003 the US incarceration rate more than tripled, from 139 to 482 per 100,000, and the number of prisoners increased from 320,000 to 1.39 million.
Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than Whites. Hispanics are three times more likely.
http://www.colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.html


Even though the statistics are frightening the reality of the situation is multifaceted and should be the cause of great concern.  These numbers rise and fall but for the most part the ratios stay the same.  The question arises and one that needs specific answers; why are Blacks and Hispanics more prone to violence?  Can it be purely economic or situational and if you placed whites or Asians in similar situations and over generations would they react and act in a similar manner?

Is the real reason for this level of depravity directly related to the conditional existence imposed upon both races due to the overlords of Northern Europeans and American societal constraints or are their other factors that should be considered?

In both cultures Black and Hispanic the family unit is dissolving, within the Black culture it is an almost forgone conclusion of dissolution and it is the family unit that binds and protects, molds and inspires.  Without the basic family there is no reason for morality, for goodness or inspiration; without the family we are simply individuals striving to survive and survival equates to violence in many ways leading those who are disenfranchised from “family” to seek out replacements, but those replacements are never as good as the original.

Whose fault is it really?  Is it the government’s fault, in some large degree I believe it is.  Their policies, their involvement and their motivations created the problem.  Like the American Indian without casino’s theirs was a dying culture, barely surviving, addicted and impoverished both physically and spiritually.

Trayvon Martin may have come from a good family; George Zimmerman may also have been reared to understand right from wrong but in that situation that ensued the two the cultures of both got in the way.  George wanted more than to be just a neighborhood watchman and Trayvon wanted more than the skittles and hooded persona, but in those moments when false dreams and perceptions collided the visions and fears of both exploded with devastating consequences.

Who’s to blame? That is a question that may never be fully answered. Neither individual should be held completely responsible nor blameless for the tragedy of that night that ended in fear and anger with the young Trayvon Martin dead as a result.

We can make all the excuses we want, try to mitigate and rationalize but in the end this is simply a case of two troubled individuals who wanted to be more than they were.  Both wanted to stand on that slippery slope of personal identity rather than find that sure footing of humility and meekness (not weakness) upholding that inner strength to choose a less violent path.  They both chose to act out on who they thought they wanted to be rather than what they should have been at the time.

This is a tragic lesson for all of us to learn.  This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Hamlet Act 1, scene 3

Both Trayvon and George were victims of their own internal lies. They both decided to dance when both had the chance to simply say no.  Let us all hope that we can be true, not only to ourselves but to those around us as well.  We are not Black or white, Brown or Yellow but Man in common, living together with the similar dreams of love, security and happiness.  Only when we all decide to drop the pretense will we be able to call ourselves a world family.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The pursuit of Happiness, a simple choice.

There are times in your life when you simply don’t have a clue.  You don’t know if you should go right or left or even go back to where you started.  These indecisive incidents are problematic and often create problems that can stretch out for years and involve more than just you, creating problems for your children, your spouse, friends and co-workers. 

Indecision in itself is not that bad but the consequences of not deciding can be disastrous. It’s kinda like not being afraid of heights but having a fear of falling, indecision for many is a way of life, letting those important choices being decided by other factors totally external to one’s desire to decide.

The problem with deciding is that we very rarely have enough information to make an informed decision; making any decision more like a crap shoot rather than a mathematical certainty, there is no such thing.  No matter how much planning, forethought or preparation into the variables of choice there will always be a level of uncertainty.  
 
Does that mean we should not plan or prepare, no of course not, planning and preparing at least gives us a fighting chance of mitigating the almost inevitable happenstance of mishap that will assuredly come and like murphy’s law, “if something can go wrong, it will”, tells us that no matter how much we plan it’s very unlikely that those plans will go as planned.

I seem to be following a simple theme of late, a subject of despair towards the idea that we have control when all around us the spinning, whirling mass of incalculable miscellanies compound our daily lives with such severity and randomness that even crossing a street on a green light is filled with horror and risk.  The resent plane crash in San Francisco is a great example of that randomness and how choices created the opportunity for everything to go wrong, except in this case it didn’t. 

It was a disaster in the making and whether pilot error or mechanical failure or a combination of both the circumstances surrounding that incident should have secured the death of at least half of the passengers.   Our choices do make a difference but in some cases like the San Francisco crash the wrong choices did not play out like one would expect.  Perhaps staying at home in bed is the only safe way of staying safe.

Regardless of the overpowering and overwhelming obstacles that are strewn across and throughout our lives we continue to try to decide.  We attempt to master our domains and muster the courage to believe that deciding means something, and in many cases it does.  Deciding whom to marry, how many kids to have, career choices and a million other areas of choice that make a difference in our lives, at least within our limited functional mentality we believe they make a difference and it’s that difference that perhaps gives us that level of joy that we so ardently pursue.
 
Choice, whether we think we know or only randomly choose, gives us all the perception that it really is our life, ours to succeed or to screw up, ours to be happy about or ours to be despondent over.  It is within that perception that we individually create our reality.  Not the real reality of facts based on a full and complete perspective but a reality of feelings, emotions, state of mind, that balance of ying and yang, in other words either joy or misery.  Not based on the outcome of the choices we made but despite the choices we made and the irrevocable consequences that are eternally attached to each and every decision decided.

How we feel has nothing to do with what we have, what we’ve done or who we are.  That statement in itself may be harder to achieve than it is to say but it has to be so in order to explain the ever present disparity between those who have so much and feel so bad and those who have so little and exhibit great joy and happiness.  Feelings therefor are an innate and self-replicating non-mechanistic process of choice.  We can simply choose to feel good, happy, fulfilled and content with life or we can simply chose to feel sad, despair, anger and anxious.

Again and I doubt it needs to be repeated but for the sake of those who need it, let’s reiterate the obvious that the above is easy to espouse but maybe very difficult to obtain, as evidenced by the level and numbers of those who chose not to be happy.

Perhaps another discussion for another day is the complex and multidimensional effects of external influences on an individual psyche and why some are less prone to those influences while others seem to be affected more profoundly by even minimal influences.   For now the basic thesis of happiness is a choice and therefore so is its opposite and with that choice comes the chance to live a life filled with joy or one of misery, not because of the choices one makes or the circumstances of our lives but in large measure due primarily to our ability to simply say to ourselves “don’t worry, Be happy….”, Thank you Bobby  McFerrin.

If it were as easy as I’ve suggested would not everyone choose to be happy?  Probably not;  I think I want to be happy but I often find myself brooding, and complaining about this or that and my actions tell of differing motivations and altering mindsets that inevitably move me away from that happy place.  Can it be done; can we all just simply be happy?  It’s worth a try don’t you think?  My problem is I want everyone else to act happy first then maybe I’ll give it a try….

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Marriage Wars

Let me get right to the point, Marriage is really only a word and the theft of that word from those who claim a singular connection to its meaning  is nothing more than an evolution of the lexicon and phraseology, a progression that has been taking place sense Adam named the first object he beheld.

Even though the word marriage has had a long standing run within that lexis, its endurance does not guarantee its continued longevity, everything changes, literally everything, nothing remains the same, at least nothing that we can perceive with our natural senses or with our finite minds. 

The English language has changed considerably over the past 1000 or so years with common words being completely different than they used to be.  The word abduct used to be forwgan, you can pronounce it anyway you like.  The word battle evolving from beadu, at least it starts with a “B”.  If you’re interested look up the old English see the progression or lack of change over the years.

There are some words that have only changed slightly: Beacon, beacen, Beam remained Beam, and gay, the word has stayed the same but the meaning has been totally transformed into another meaning as many other words have done.

None of us would be able to understand our forefathers speaking “English” if we were somehow transported back in time.   Just as I suspect none of our posterity will understand our “modern” English 1000 years from now.  There are changes in my life time that exemplify the ever changing condition of communication, those changes are inevitable as life changes, expressions change, new technologies develop and the overall circumstance  of man is unalterably, inexorable.

The battle over one word, the fight over marriage has much more to do with the meaning of what that word means rather than the word itself.  Let the word go the way of the gay or should I say Homosexual, let it be co-opted and integrated into a new meaning of life, let the word change but let us not change the underlying motivations of what it used to mean. 

Perhaps it’s time to let the word wither and die and replace it with another term that more succinctly underscores the true nature of a religious ceremony that defines a union between a man and a woman exclusively; that’s what the word marriage used to mean and to many it still does but like the way of the horse and buggy, it is no longer the primary expression of transportation nor is marriage the expression of commitment between a man and woman, the transplantation of buggy is now a car and the word marriage means anything that is joined under the law.

The word wīfung is the old English for wedding (giefta meaning marriage), it’s a bit of a change but if you look real hard and use your imagination perhaps you can see the evolution of the word over the ions of time.    I’m not sure if I’m ready to be referred to as being giefta’d or wifunged, I’m not even sure how to properly pronounce it.  I still like to refer to myself as being married but I also think it’s time to pick our battles and rethink our strategies. 

Sun Tzu said “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.  Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak…in other words (not really a pun) change the word, change the battle field, move our troops, relocate our objectives and rethink our ultimate goal.  A simple change of phrase could be adopted by those who have a preference for a religious ceremony designed exclusively for heterosexual couples, a marriage between a man and a woman but not called marriage.

Let’s redefine what we believe and give it a place in our modern lexicon.  For thousands of years the word marriage was assumed to mean between a man and a woman, nothing else was accepted so marriage became the established norm, but that is changing and therefore those who want a singular expression of commitment between a man and a woman need to redefine the communicative language that defines that expression.

Wifung, Giefta, maybe, I think we can do better than that, any ideas?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

hot dogs and fireworks

July 4, 2013   

Number of hotdogs consumed on July 4th each year 150 million 313,000,000 people in the US or one of every two people will consume a hotdog.  I like an occasional hotdog but 150,000,000 over the summer months might be considered a bit excessive.

Amount of chicken purchased in the week leading up to July 4th ,700 million pounds, ooh those poor defenseless chickens, but put then on the BBQ and ooh my gosh what a great way to thin the poultry herds.

Amount of red meat / pork purchased in the week leading up to July 4th 190 million pounds.  I used to watch at my grandfather’s slaughter house, that’s a lot of cattle being skinned and processed, but like the chicken above it sure tastes good in the end.

Percent of Americans households with outdoor grills is approximately 87 %. We have a grill but it’s often too windy to use.  Most of the time we are forced to return to the protection of the inner kitchen and pretend to be eating flame broiled burgers or hot dogs or even the coveted chicken or steak…

The Number of Americans who will spend the holiday at someone else’s home is nearly 41 million.  While this lets us know that most of us stay home nearly 10% take to the highways, clogging the freeways and letting the rest of us who simply need to go to the store for milk wonder where everyone is going?

Amount of fireworks sold to cities for public celebrations 25 million pounds; I think this figure is all wrong; it seems that everyone has at least some form of explosive devise saved for that festive blastoff.  With more cities or counties banning the use of personal fireworks the numbers of black market stock is most defiantly on the rise or it would seem from my perspective as blasts and whistles and explosions could be heard throughout the night, last night.

The dollar amount of American flags imported into the US from China $5 million.  That’s just wrong.  We can’t even make our own flags.  Does China make its own flags, or are they made in Mexico?  Is there some international law prohibiting a country from producing its own flags?
Not necessarily strange, a little glutinous perhaps and sometimes over the top but let’s not let these statistics move us away from the reason for the celebration. 

Like most countries Independence Day is a day of memory and freedom from what was once tyrannical or oppressive to one of less oversight and more freedom.  It may seem that we are moving back to what our forefathers lived and died for but we still, despite the current trends toward liberalism the conservative foundations of freedom and self-worth still exist and should still be celebrated.

Just remember, hold those roman candles away from your face, don’t let your kids play with M80 and if the firework does not work, please don’t hover over the top trying to peer into the inner workings to see if you can figure out why…Happy 4th everyone…

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Independence day, You choose the day...



Most around the world will say, “It’s just another day” but to many it is so much more.  There are signs of its importance being compromised and marginalized but still to some no matter what the changes the memories and challenges wrought through the sacrifices of hundreds and thousands will never be completely forgotten.

In my humble part of the world those signs of conciliation are well on their way.  The traditional fireworks display, reserved for the day of memory and celebration took place in June, in JUNE, not even in July, and not even close to the day we call  Independence Day.  



 I can understand some wanting to have the festivities on a weekend but to forsake the holiday for the convenience of scheduling only greases that slippery slope of complacency, sending us all down the slide to oblivion.

Perhaps a little harsh but when you put into perspective the great civilizations that have come and gone the record of destruction is a perfect 100% and every single organized society had its beginning demise with the small, seemingly insignificant oversights, those forgotten standards that provided the ever so important glue that held the foundations of their beliefs.

No one really noticed, not generally speaking they don’t, most simply want the convenience and the opportunity to have their cake and eat it too, but the truth is, especially for you theorist who espouse the need for an ever changing situation, a constitution that is fluid and variable to the winds and whims of individual wants regardless of general consequences.  What I want, I want and I don’t care who gets hurt or what happens, I want what I want and I want it now!

Our fair city got what it wanted.  It had its celebration, the fireworks went off and lit the sky and all was pretty and spectacular from our bedroom window, except it had no meaning, no basis or significance, it was only a shell, a plastic covering of what used to be, a specter perhaps, unknowing to most but to those few a harbinger of the eventual expiration of a passing greatness, replaced with an expediency rather than the sacrifice it might have taken to actually celebrate on the prescribed day.

America is not alone with this attitude, virtually every country has its excuses to alter, exchange and minimize the memories of what made that country great.   It is the relativistic attitudes of those who truly don’t care or those who are hell bent on changing, slowly shifting what is important to the marginal areas of “does it really matter”.  

There was a country western song by Aaron Tippon, “you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything ...” beliefs matter, traditions matter and when and how we do things matter, even if it’s something simple like when we celebrate the 4th of July.

We need to take a stand, make a statement, stick to our beliefs and be unmoving in our devotion so that when tomorrow comes we will still have something to believe in.  When we make a stand, hunker down and decide to live a certain way we are telling ourselves that we believe in ourselves, we believe in God and that what we’ve done and what we’re doing is important.  

Our beliefs are under attack, our faith is threatened and our freedoms are being forfeit for the conveniences of others who do not share the same level of commitment or who have never understood the need for sacrifice.  It is only though sacrifice that we can truly learn.  Don’t let them take that away from us! 

I watched some of the fireworks but there was no context, no perspective, no reason for the show of lights in the evening sky, it was nothing more than a lack luster attempt to make everyone happy but in the end it did nothing, created nothing and in fact only accomplished a level of sorrow, a distracted level of patriotism and devotion to what used to be a hallowed day reserved for memories and pride with the all-important shedding of a few private tears of gratitude for the freedoms we had, freedoms hard fought with sacrifice and ultimate loss.

For now it was just a few dollars spent to appease the crowds.  A few token lights of fire to satisfy the need for a holiday, but not on the designated day, that would be too much of a sacrifice.  At least we still have Halloween, they never change that day.