Thursday, March 3, 2011

Paradigm Shift

I've been trying to decide how I want to work the blogging angle on things. I initially started this blog to be something of a sounding board for my insane thoughts on the state of the world but I also wanted to use it to offer some practical advice. I think just hearing how bad things have become really doesn't do much for anyone but if we offer solutions, then the terrible news isn't always so terrible.

To that end I started a column on the website Newsvine. It's pretty much just a big forum where people can comment on news stories and it's connected to so it has a much larger liberal audience. However, it allows you a space to post your own articles and voice your opinions. So from now on I'll be putting my opinion pieces there and offering up practical ideas here. That way, people who get nauseated by my rantings won't have to look at them while I give them advice.

I would have posted this and a few other things up last week but I was busy spending some much needed rest time with friends and working on a project unrelated to my writing. Then I had work and work always gets in the way of the important stuff.

So look forward to more ideas and less ranting here. And if you're still interested in hearing me yell at the void of the internet, check me at here:

And always remember, if you don't believe in something, you'll fall for anything.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No, I'm not dead so give me back my stuff...

Been awhile since I wrote anything up here. Partly due to my own laziness and also due to a rather intense work schedule brought on my the really bad weather we had for awhile.

A lot of things have gone down since I wrote and looking at my last post I realize it's only been about six weeks or so since then. Amazing how much the world can change in so short a time. We've seen brutal gun violence in Arizona, two governments in the Middle East overthrown (and not by the CIA!), and our economy has continued to improve. Ok, well, at least two of those things are true.

The Arizona shooting is old news to the media but I still feel like I need to talk about this, if just to get it off my mind. Aside from the horrible violence of this event, what really appalled me was the immediate finger pointing done by all sides of the political world. The Left pointed to a poster Sarah Palin's people put together and said "It's all the fault of the right!" Then people pointed out that the shooter was reading a lot of things from the Leftist extreme like Mein Kampf by Hitler and said "It's all the fault of the left!"

On top of this, gun control advocates decided to use this opportunity to push their agenda, which surprised no one. What did surprise me was when people who were for gun rights pushed their own agenda by implying this shooting could have been stopped if people had more guns.

I think that all three of you (including your cats) who read my blog know that I'm an advocate for gun rights. But only an idiot would truly believe that what Jared Loughner did could have been stopped if everyone had a gun. Gun's don't grant magic powers to sense danger. They don't turn you into the fucking Highlander, allowing you to sense other gun wielding people when they get nearby.

To the left, the right, the gun controllers and the gun advocates who exploited this tragedy to promote your own agendas, I say A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES! We expect the political bodies in this country to do despicable things when shit like this happens. We shouldn't stop being appalled by it.

Concerning Tunisia and Egypt. Christ. Some people saw this coming from a mile away. I wasn't one of them, however, and didn't even realize what was happening until shit was already on fire. Now that things have sort of settled down, we're starting to see repeats throughout the Middle East as some countries scramble to restructure their governments to meet the demands of protesters while others are bringing the hammer down hard on anyone who stands against them.

As Americans, this affects us in two ways. The main one is that we're seeing gas prices rise due to fears of instability in the Middle East. This is important because it isn't just about how much you're having to spend on fuel but also how much other people are having to spend on fuel. I'm not sure if anyone's told you but the entire modern world pretty much runs on petroleum. When the price of shipping products to our local Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, whatever store goes up, the cost of buying those goods go up. So as gas prices continue to rise, expect that the price of everything else we purchase to rise as well. Another reason to follow the tips I've given about saving money and getting out of debt.

The second way that these government overthrows affect us is that we could see this trend expand beyond the Middle East. The reason these people finally got fed up with their governments in the first place was mainly due to the fact that the cost of food got so out of hand that even the subsidies that the government was giving to people to buy food was no longer enough. In the U.S. we might use 13%-20% of our incoming to buy food, depending on the size of our families. In the Middle East, many of those people use 70% or more of their income to buy food. That's insane. Imagine if you had to use 70% of your paycheck each month to put food on the table? How would you keep your lights on? How would you send your kids to school? How would you pay for your medical care?

People will say that the things going on in Tunisia and Egypt can't happen here. I guarantee you that if people start spending most of their money on food, it WILL happen here. Just because we speak a different language, just because we live in a different culture, doesn't mean we aren't prone to the same fears and insecurities as those people are. People went into the streets and rioted when Martin Luther King Jr., one man, was assassinated. You really think they wouldn't take to the streets when they can't feed their children?

We live in uncertain times. Even as reports come in of the economy slowly recovering, we see evidence that the opposite is true. What this means is that we have to look after ourselves and our families, that we have to take steps to ensure our own safety and security and that we cannot afford to blind ourselves to the reality of what's going on just because it's scary or difficult to acknowledge. So do what you must because only you truly know what it is you have to do for you and yours.

And, as always, if you don't believe in something, you'll fall for anything.

Friday, January 7, 2011

News For the Week - 1/3 to 1/7

I've been focusing a lot of economics and money in my recent posts, so I wanted to try covering some other types of news. It's impossible to ignore the economy entirely but it's also only one of the things that affects our freedom.

As the TSA continues to violate us in every way they can, some airports are talking about getting rid of the TSA agents and switching to private security firms. The upside is that airports can hold private security agents accountable for their actions, unlike government agents who will do whatever they want. However, it doesn't change the fact that the same standards that the TSA uses now will still be required by law. In the end, only getting rid of body scanners and the enhanced groping will change anything but at least it's a step in shaking loose the TSA's grip on travel.

Most people know that threatening the President is a bad idea and is almost guaranteed to get you visited by the Secret Service. Literally. Sometimes, however, it just gets dumb. UFC fighter Jacob Volkmann was asked who he wanted to face in the ring next and said:

"Actually, Obama. He's not too the make a home affordable plan and his health care plan, someone needs to knock some sense into that idiot."

Fortunately, nothing came of the incident, as it was clearing to the agent investigating the matter that Volkmann had made no real threats against the President. Later, Volkmann found he had received an e-mail from someone claiming they were going to report him to the SS.

The censorship movement scored another major victory this week when it was announced that NewSouth Books is issuing a reprint of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The N-word is being replaced with "slave" and a derogatory term for Native Americans has been replaced also. Just another example of how ignorance in the name of political correctness is alive and well in this country and growing! The book, along with so many other classic works, has long been removed from reading lists at schools and libraries around the country. This, however, is probably the worst of it all. Better make it a point to get an uncensored copy while you still can.

We can't ignore the economy completely, however. Foreclosures on houses are still going on despite so many people saying the economy is showing signs of improvement. It's become such an issue that the S&P has revised their shadow inventory timeline. This is a measure of how long it will take to clear out the inventory of homes in distress or foreclosure that haven't hit the real estate market yet. The updated time table is 44 months. With so many people losing their jobs, it comes down to paying the mortgage, paying the utilities or eating.

I have more TSA news but decided to hold this one until the very end. I may now be considered a "domestic extremist" by the Department of Homeland Security. A leaked memo from a meeting with Big Sister Janet Naplitano says that the TSA and DHS are to gather the identities and any information on anyone who protests the enhanced screenings at the airport. Specifically:

It labels any person who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any person, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures.

Isn't that fantastic? Now is a perfect opportunity for you to get to know me better and be able to claim that you are associated with a true blue domestic extremist. No posturing here. The government themselves has made the declaration.

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.