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December 27, 2012

Time, Evolution & God

I am a glutton for punishment and I enjoy a good verbal debate on the Huffington Post website. It is an overtly left leaning site but I like to know what people are thinking and how they think even if it is different than my own mold. I have found that the comments section of any news story will bring out the best and the worst society has to offer- again, another post for another time. I was recently bashed on HuffPo for my thoughts on God, a topic that these people both loathe and enjoy talking about, when I made a comment about the CT shooting. The internet is a marvelous thing- it gives us an unending library of knowledge, entertainment and anonymity. Internet Courage is a great boost to one’s self esteem.

The conversation quickly fell into the classic, “Athiests are smart but Christians are stupid because they believe the Earth is only 6000 years old” routine.  I usually let these go since people are not going to be swayed by an internet Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em debate, but I went ahead and addressed this comment.

Knowing I was going into the lion’s den, I tried to appeal to intellect and reason by dusting off my statistics textbook and delving into probabilities. The probability of any event which has a known number of possible outcomes can be easily calculated – ask any card counter or craps player. The probability of rolling a 7 using two dice would be 6/36 since there are 6 ways to get a 7. This just happens to be the number that would also come up most often simply because there are 6 different combinations.  By contrast, there is only one combination to get snake eyes, a significantly harder or more infrequent number to roll. Nobody said the House was stupid.

The probability of flipping either a head or a tail, which is an event that must happen, is 1. The probability of rolling a 19 with two dice is 0- in other words, it is an impossibility. It isn't even an improbability!

How does this fit into evolution? The “average” sized protein consists of about 500 amino acids of among thousands of proteins in a living organism. Using this protein and some statistics, we can calculate how long it would take, by chance, a single building block to be created. There are 20 essential amino acids in all life on earth and they arranged in a very precise order, much like the order of letters in this sentence. If any single or group of letters is disarranged then the whole sentence structure fails. Our amino acids follow a much stricter order and while we can understand a typo, there is no room for error (called mutations) with proteins.
Here is where the fun starts: taking the 20 amino acids calculating the probability of the proper sequence among the 500 would yield simple a formula 1/20 x 1/20 x 1/20 . . . five hundred times. This number is ridiculous- it is a 1 with over 600 zeros after it. If a legion of Bill Gates supercomputers could begin the task of crunching the numbers and calculating a billion combinations of our 500 amino acids every second, it would take 300 billion years. The known universe is only ~13 billion years old.

However, a lightning bolt zapped a pool of sludge in such a way that an amino acid formed, and then happened 499 more times to get the perfect combination of proteins for our very simple organism. And life flourished from there! 

Improbable or impossible?

December 15, 2012

Enough with the shootings, already.

Seriously. The frequency and grotesqueness of these events has stepped up over the last 10 years. No longer are they isolated incidents and they continue reveal a darkness of the human soul reminiscent of the Salem witch trial torture sessions.

There is no palpable reason for these tragedies, and this one will haunt us for a very long time. In human history, never has an act been more despicable and more taboo even among the dissidents of society than that of harming a child – of course pedophiles, Baal worshipers of the Old Testament and radical Islamists would argue this point but for the most part you don’t harm kids. A deeper level of disgust and the taste of bile entered my mouth when I learned that most of the 20 children in this tragedy were between the ages of 5 and 8 years old. I have two children in that age range and it wasn't until I had time to think about this during my commute home yesterday that this latest shooting sunk in.

It didn't take long for the religious and non religious to say the exact same thing, “How can a loving and benevolent God allow this to happen?”

I got a knot in my stomach yesterday when a woman on the radio actually said that the shooting was in God’s plan. I know there are people out there who will echo this response but I don’t like it. It is a cliché, an easy way out so that we don’t have to confront or think about the evil in this world. Please explain to me how the death of dozens of small children fits into the Almighty’s plan. Is it to teach a lesson to Fred in Wisconsin that he needs to be thankful for what he has? Is it a lesson to all of us? I think there is a more subtle way to get that point across. What possible good will come to the parents of those slaughtered children and to the first responders who are already getting counseling?

If this shooting was in his plan, then it is a lousy one. I believe in God, I am not judging him or his wisdom, but as his creation can’t I ask him, “What’s up with that?” Even Jesus, while hanging on the cross, asked the Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” I would bet a paycheck a few of the parents of those children are asking the same thing.

There will be no reason sufficient enough for the parents of those children and the spouses of those teachers that will satisfy. If there is a note from this cowardly shooter, it will undoubtedly point to a conveniently formulated reason we have heard a hundred times- his mother didn’t play with him enough, he didn't have enough toys to play with as a kid, voices told him to do it, et. al. Ad Nauseum. Do doubt these wack jobs have psychological issues, but we will never know the reason why- so stop asking. They are crazy assholes- that is the reason.

I do not want to know the name of this person. I don’t want to hear anything about him. I have made this claim before, the movie theater shooting not too long ago being the most recent, but the media do not care. This person, even in death, will get what he wanted- his 15 minutes. We didn't hear much about the victims in the Colorado shooting but we hear everything about that shooter.

I wonder how much of an effect a commercial like this one would have:

All the CEO’s of every major television outlet are gathered together in a room and one by one, a few of them recite a script that explains they will not give one second of media coverage to the cowardly and mentally sick people who go on rampages like this. If there is some twisted thought that comes to these people in the dark recesses in their minds that television coverage of their event will satisfy- they will not get it. The victims will be the focus of the stories.

But this will never happen. Tragedies like this are good for ratings.

You can be sure that every special interest that has a hand in this Connecticut shooting will be throwing in their lot. Gun control, anti-gun control, religious groups, anti religious groups- they all have an agenda and will try to use this event to push it. The next few months will not be pretty as fingers are pointed in every direction for someone to blame. Perhaps we have only ourselves to blame? We have become a soft, entitled and spoiled nation and maybe this is the fruit of the Great American Experiment. We are destroying ourselves from the inside out- our government has done more harm to this country than all the terrorist groups combined. The religious will certainly say that as a nation we have eliminated God as much as possible from our politics and public places so this is the price we pay. Maybe that is true, maybe it isn't.
The Connecticut shooting will be an emotionally seismic event for most of the country. It will have a ripple effect and hit the shores of our oceanic neighbors and strike at the very core of human emotion. 

December 1, 2012

Syrian Government shuts down Internet, no doubt some US lawmakers would do the same here

On Friday afternoon Syria suffered a widespread loss of Internet sans a few off shore networks. It looks like someone flipped off a switch, if there really is such a thing.
No Internet for you!

The Syrian government, well known in the world for its civil rights leaders and progressive women's rights programs, explained they had nothing to do with the black out and that it was the targeted work of terrorist organizations. Despite well documented proof of Syria's involvment with Internet surveillance and malware campaign (starting in 2011), Syria's Minister of Information explains:

"It is not true that the state cut the Internet. The terrorists targeted the Internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off,"

Forgive me if I am not convinced, especially after the comical reports from Saddam's Mininter of Information as the Iraqi army was getting bitch slapped by our troops:
"I repeat, there is no US presence in Baghdad."
Half of Syria's population is below the age of 19 so I can see why the despotic government would want to keep the Internet away from this age group. If the teenagers were to discover the vast amount of porn that is freely available, I think the frustration levels of the Syrian people would drop and perhaps they would stop joining/aiding and abetting terrorist organizations. The unemployment level among the youth of that country is above 20%. No jobs, no access to Spongebob episodes, no porn, no Hulu- what else is there to do except perpetrate terrorism? Hulu might be stretching it considering they have no broadband and Internet access is by dial up. For crying out loud, we need to get these people out of the Stone Age.

The United States enjoys a relatively open Internet thanks to our First Amendment right to free speech. However, government intervention is certain when social deviants are allowed an autonomous and anonymous reach on such a global medium. The first restrictions to free speech were deservedly aimed at protecting children though child pornography laws. It wasn't long before copyright infrignement laws followed.

There have also been proposals for the widespread limitation of Internet access as well. From Wiki:

The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 (S. 3480) is a bill introduced in the United States Senate by Joe Lieberman (Independent Democrat, Connecticut), Susan Collins (Republican Party, Maine), and Tom Carper (Democratic Party, Delaware) on June 10, 2010. The stated purpose of the bill is to increase security in cyberspace and prevent attacks which could disable infrastructure such as telecommunications or disrupt the nation's economy. The legislation would create an Office of Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. ".

Sounds pretty harmless until the bill was given a deep dive. The Lieberman bill was widely criticized by the media as the "Kill Switch" bill because of the clause that would allow the President to enact "emergency measures" in the case of a large scale cyber attack. For once, the ACLU actually was on the side of good when it protested this bill saying that the definition of a cyber attack was too broad and what was a Critical Communications Infrastructure (CCI) and what is not. They also took issue with Preserving Free Speech in Cybersecurity Emergencies. Bravo, ACLU, bravo. You still suck overall, but thank you for coming to our aid on this one.

Amusingly enough, Lieberman cited a similar program in China as justification for our adoption. It should come to no surprise that the Democratic leadership would use a communist controlled country with a brag sheet of civil rights/liberties violations as thick as Oprah's ass to justify their position. What other countries censor the Internet? There's China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, a few states of the former Soviet Untion and Cuba. Do we really want to add the United States to this list?

There are many cases of successful censorship on the internet that mostly dealt with file sharing sites, however even personal sites can become targets if the content is disturbing enough. Facebook has come under fire numerous times for their slow response times in dealing with pedophilic members. Again, this type of behavior is neither protected, nor should it be, by the First Amendment. However, the key policy issue with an Internet Kill Switch is whether it violates our consitutional rights to restrict access to or completely block the Internet. Another consideration is if we even need this type of government control and what effect it would have on the United States if the Internet was shut down for even a day- the costs are staggering.

A new bill, the Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act of 2011, is under consideration by the U.S. Congress and was sent to the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies on March 25, 2011. It hasn't received much attention but now that the election is over and Obama has nothing to lose, I would expect this to resurface at some point in the next 4 years.

Here is what internet censorship looks like. This is a screenshot of someonie in the United Arab Emirates trying to access Flickr (yes, Flickr):

I don't like this form of government control and I don't want it.

November 13, 2012

In your own backyard

Time for a pop quiz! No, I’m not going to have you try and guess the combined tonnage of Rosie O’Donnell and Michael Moore, but it is something that will tax your brain just the same. What are the 7 Wonders of North America? And if you say, “The combined tonnage of Rosie and Moore”- you fail. How many of them have you visited?

This idea came to me as I read the back of the Tasteeos cereal box, a blatant knock off of another popular but tasteless cereal. While it was refreshing to read something other than desperate attempts to get children to keep pestering their parents for the sweet and expensive cereal, I was reminded of a story I read about the Islamofacists and their jihad to control the world with their 7th century lifestyle.

The article, in its entirety is an excellent recount of both Western and Eastern art, music, and architecture and how Muslims reject these influences. The article, found in The Brussels Journal, entitled Why Western Art is Unique, and Why Muslim Immigration Threatens It gives an excellent summation in this paragraph:

As a European, I fear for the future of the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. There is every reason to believe that they will end up the same way as the Bamiyan Buddhas. Although it may not happen today, tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow, sooner or later, pious Muslims will burn these works of art, and doubtlessly consider it their sacred duty. Muslim immigration now threatens many of the masterworks of the Western tradition of art, the most inventive and groundbreaking mankind has ever seen, with annihilation. History will never forgive us for our cowardice and stupidity if we allow these treasures to be destroyed just because we think history is boring or don't want to say anything unfashionable about other cultures.

Without further doddling…

Sequoia National Park – Home to 35 groves of Sequoia trees, this California park also houses granite mountains and deep canyons. But the biggest attraction is the General Sherman Tree. It is a sequoia, standing 272 feet high and measuring 37 feet in diamter. It is the largest and one of the oldest living things in the world… estimated to be over 3500 years old.

Garden of the Gods- Located near Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Garden of the Gods is a breathtaking collection of unusually shaped, multicolored sandstone formations. These formations have unique names such as Kissing Camels and Balanced Rock. The area of the garden known as Grey Rock serves as a naturally made amphitheater.

Natural Bridge National Monument- Two winding streams in Utah carved three natural bridges from the sandstone that once stood there. The three bridges are called Sipapu (220 feet high), Kachina (210 feet high), and Owachomo (106 feet high) and have spans ranging from 180-268 feet long.

Old Faithful- The most famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is named Old Faithful because it spouts quite regularly, about every 33 to 120 minutes. When that occurs, roughly 10,000 gallons of water from the geyser shoot up an average of 150 feet high.

Niagara Falls- The falls are on the Niagara River, on the border of Ontario, Canada and New York State. The Canadian side of the falls, called Horseshoe Falls, rises up 167 feet from the river, and the American Falls, on the US side, read a height of 176 feet. The water from both falls flows into Lake Ontario.

Yosemite Valley- The valley is within Yosemite National Park in California. The valley contains sheer rock walls, cut from glaciers, Yosemite Falls- the highest in North America with a drop of 2,425 feet- and huge domes and peaks. The greatest of these is El Capitan, a granite buttress that rises 3,604 feet from the valley floor.

Mammoth Cave- Mammoth Cave Park is made up of 52,830 acres of land in south central Kentucky. Mammoth Cave is the longest recorded cave system in the world, with over 354 miles of known, mapped passages.

October 31, 2012

Dog dies, idiot parents dodge responsibility

In February of this year a dog named Nikko drank some antifreeze and died. This devastated Aaron Coash, a 9-year old boy who had grown up with Nikko since he was a puppy. Nikko apparently wandered off one day and returned home about an hour later. Three days later he died. Aaron started a crusade against anti-freeze since it was determined that it was the most likely cause of death. I cannot find the status of Nikko's Law that was going to be proposed to the Kansas State Legislature that would require bittering agents added to the antifreeze to make it less appetizing to dogs. As a responsible dog owner (at one time), this bothers me.

Nikko's death was not a result of the anti-freeze, but of irresponsible dog owners. Period. While it is tragic that so many animals are killed each year from the ingestion of antifreeze (about 10,000 according to the Humane Society), it is not the responsibility of the anti freeze manufacturers to address.

There are already pet friendly antifreeze products on the market and in a free market society people can choose or not choose those products, much like there are environmentally friendly cleaning products which also give consumers a choice (which aren't as good as the real thing, by the way). If this law is passed then it forces manufacturers to charge more money on the chemical that must be added, on new labeling etc. This will in turn cause products and services to increase their prices as well i.e. Jiffy Lube or other full service preventative car maintenance businesses. Seventeen states already demand this bittering agent.

Nikko’s death comes down to personal responsibility. The dog was unrestrained and ran amok  Instead of Aaron’s parents admitting their mistakes that led to Nikko’s death, they would rather point the finger at the anti-freeze. It is a slippery slope down a path that I don’t believe anyone who supports this law has thought out. Unfortunately, this sense of blame shifting is becoming more prevalent in our society and negligent parents are not held accountable. What kind of monster would throw a mother in jail after her child just died?!
Tiffany and Chris Hebb will likely not face charges, Hillsboro, Ore., police spokesman Michael Rouches said Monday.
In March of this year a toddler drowned in a washing machine. This is a horrible tragedy for any parent, however this was preventable. 
The boy’s mother was reading a magazine in the living room of the family’s single-story home, Rouches said. She was no more than 30 seconds away from the machine when Oliver climbed up on an adjacent tub and fell into the machine. 
This statement is what disturbs me the most:
"We have the DA's office look into it, just to make sure there wasn't a degree of negligence."
This is a cut and dried case to me. Of course there was negligence. Book 'em Dano. At least the parents are trying to get the word out about how dangerous top-loading washers are. For crying out loud, 5 children have died since 2005 from falling into them. They are starting a crusade against this epidemic.
They also want to issue a warning to parents that top- loading washing machines can be dangerous for children.
Thank you for that PSA, you dumb asses. But I digress. Let's get back to the dead dog...

Dogs like to drink antifreeze is because it tastes sweet. Ingesting even the smallest amounts, depending on the size of the dog, can be fatal in as little as 4 hours. Nikko’s Law would require manufacturers to dope the product with a bitter tasting chemical to deter the animal from drinking the anti-freeze. However, there are many other things that taste sweet to dogs that are also toxic to them. Chocolate and alcohol, for example, are very toxic and will kill a dog. They both taste sweet to dogs.  Walnuts, baby food, coffee, grapes, raisins and yeast dough are toxic as well. What if a dog eats these products and dies- do we enact laws to make these foods taste bitter to dogs? We have to apply the mentality of these people to other scenarios to see if they hold water and if the laws make sense.

This proposal is asinine and takes the responsibility of an animal’s death away from the real culprits- the owners. What will Aaron and his parents crusade for when his next dog escapes and is run over by a car? Or is tortured by neighborhood thug kids? 

Where does it end? I don't see an ending because our society and culture are becoming more and more dim as the years go on and the sense of self responsibility fades. We make everyone a victim and hold no one accountable.

Aaron’s homepage has the statement, “Animals and children are accidentally poisoned each year by anti-freeze.” It is no accident. It is the result of irresponsible parents and pet owners. This would be an unfair law proposed by parents who refuse to teach their son that it was their fault his dog is dead.

October 20, 2012

Nothing is fair and balanced in the media

Nothing is fair and balanced in the media. This shouldn't come as a shock, but for most will not want to believe it. I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum and some can have a rational discussion while others cannot. I get it- politics is an emotional subject and people are charged with their own ideologies of how the world should be- and that includes media outlets.

A lighthearted example can be seen when contrasting The Daily Show with The Colbert Report. Jon Stewart is a left leaning correspondent and rarely takes jabs at the Democratic president. When he does, they are cream puffs like his interview with Obama the other night when the issue of Libya came up. Had George Bush been on that stage and made an asinine comment about 4 dead Americans being "not optimal" Stewart would have ripped his ass. But Obama got a pass because that is what fits the show's agenda. I get it and I don't get pissed about it.

The Colbert Report is pitted against Stewart's show as the antithesis but it really isn't. Colbert jabs GOP just as much as Stewart. Every FB update I get from Colbert has him poking Romney or another dumb ass GOP who got caught doing something stupid. Regardless of what people think, I believe Colbert's show is an extension of TDS using a different twist. Sure, self deprecating humor is appreciated and honorable, but his show fits Comedy Central's agenda. No biggie to me- they are both funny shows. One other point, concerning these "news" shows- if this is the only outlet for your news, please hang yourself in your mother's basement.

I do lean right on some issues and left on others, which I think most people in the US do as well. There are some who are one issue voters and others who take the whole of what the constituents stand for and make a decision based on some, all or none of those factors. For me, the economy and jobs are my main focus for this election. It is beyond me how someone can be stuck on one issue like gay marriage- there are much bigger things at stake on November 6. But that is their choice and it is their right to vote how they feel, and it is my choice to think they are idiots.

There was a recent article about a GOP senator who made a statement about abortion and that it shouldn't be allowed to save the life of the mother since modern medicine has made that point obsolete. The GOP needs to weed people like this out because they are hurting the bigger picture. This guy needs to hold a press conference, go up to the mic and say, "I'm a dumbass" and walk off the stage. The GOP will never win on social issues and it is a suicide agenda, except when appealing to their base, of course. Democrats do the same thing.

Blacks and Hispanics tend to vote Democrat and the Dems do a good job at keeping people on government assistance after the GOP gets them on it. There are more people on government assistance programs now than at any other time in our nation's history- the numbers started creeping up under Bush and Obama not only kept it going but made it worse. "The Democrats care about us" one Hispanic woman said on a CNN segment about food stamps. They do, huh? The national unemployment rate is 7.8%- thank goodness it dipped below 8% a month before the election- while the unemployment rate for Hispanics is almost 10% and the unemployment for Blacks is almost 14%. How can they say the government takes care of them other than to just keep them on government assistance and unemployed? I don't get it, but they seem to think they do.

Unemployment is one of those topics where the numbers are skewed in favor or against the the political party who is addressing the issue. If you take the number of people who aren't even looking for jobs (which this administration doesn't) the number is around 13-14%. Of course Fox News trumpets this because it fits their agenda. Fox news is all over Benghazi while CNN, CSNBC et al don't seem to know where it is on a map. Benghazi makes Obama looks bad so the FNN picks it up while the others don't.

This president has done a horrible job leading this country. Our economy  is in the toilet, our foreign policies alienate our allies and millions are out of work. He inherited a mess - and made it worse. Bush increased our debt $5T in 8 years (won't hear about that on Fox) but Obama has amassed the same amount of debt in only 1 term. Joblessness was on the rise starting in 2000 and continues upwards today. Wall Street continues to be bailed out at our expense and this administration seems to think it needs to control the private sector.

The government is like a Bizzaro Midas except that instead of gold the object turns to a pile of shit. How can anyone look at a government run program and think that would be a great model for private industry? Now this administration wants to take more control of Social Security?! I remember quite vividly back when Bush wanted to revamp SS and he was booed. He was booed and now the Dems are thinking, "Hey, maybe we should do something about SS." You could have done something about it 8 years ago, you morons. Won't hear much about this on CNN et al.

The presidential comedy show was awesome. Both did a good job in NY but Romney killed it. CNN spun it as Obama bagged only 3 times on Romney but there were 8 bags on Obama. Go fact check "humor" and get back to me. A good friend of mine shared a link on his Facebook page of Ryan's phony soup kitchen photo op and while disgraceful, is not exclusive to one party or politician. News outlets, and people sympathetic to Obama, will share those stories that make the GOP look like tools. I thought about digging up some stories showing Dems doing the same thing but what's the point?

In conclusion, they all suck. We gravitate towards the outlets that share our views and base our opinions on those stories. Some people are irrational idiots but I think most are in the middle on most issues. We have more in common than we think, but the forces that be keep us pitted against one other on the smaller, more divisive issues. They know all too well that if we realize this fact, we won't need them anymore.

July 26, 2012

Thoughts on Aurora

It has been almost a week since the Aurora, CO massacre. What else is there to say, really, that hasn’t already been covered? It was a despicable, calculated and act by a hateful coward. The whole gamut of emotion and blame has been shamelessly presented by the media and pundits alike.  Special interest groups are ambitiously capitalizing on this shooting to further their cause.

Americans like to assign blame to horrific acts because we just don’t want to believe that an insane, hateful person can succumb to his own psychosis and open fire in a movie theater. No, that will not do. The easiest targets are gun control, video games, Hollywood and over medication. It didn’t take long for the media to try and politicize the event by trying to tie in the Aurora shooter with the Tea Party. Someone at ABC should be horsewhipped for that display of overt irresponsible reporting. But they won’t. The worst thing that will happen is an astute verbal bitch slap by Jon Stewart.

I never fully subscribed to the influence that violence in video games and our movies has on a person’s actions, especially when they become a meme for irresponsible behavior. How many video games did Ted Bundy play? How many violent movies did Hitler watch? I take a more old fashioned approach and apply a little personal responsibility. People that are so close to the edge of reality who would crack after watching a violent movie or playing a violent video game were doomed to commit their heinous acts regardless of the convenient triggers we have pushed on our society.

 I find it interesting how often drugs are mentioned in the wake of these events- specifically anti-depressants. What a cruel joke on us when the medication that is supposed to bring people out of a depressive state will cause them to go crazy and kill. Columbine is a noteworthy example- the pusillanimous behavior of these high school seniors was traced back to mind altering drugs. Imagine that- high school students on anti-depressants. That is a sad commentary on our nation’s social status.

Many will disagree with me, because the animals who commit these atrocities against their fellow man also don’t want to believe they have no control over their lives, so they blame movies, music, video games. It is much more convenient than facing the reality of much deeper seeded issues. Parents are especially guilty of this behavior as the alternative might appear to be a reflection of their own inadequacies of being a parent. For example, Tiffany and Chris Hebb are spreading the word about how dangerous washing machines can be after their toddler fell inside one when Tiffany was doing laundry. The 2-eyar old climbed up and fell into the top loading machine after opening the lid. The mother, like most parents, had a suspicion something was wrong when it was too quiet for too long. Yes, blame the washing machine, not their lack of parenting. No charges were filed and now a national campaign is being stages to put tighter controls on washing machines- costs that manufacturers will now incur and pass along to us.

So what is the connection, or the point, I am trying to make? Eventually, the media will turn the Aurora shooter into a victim- he didn’t have enough toys to play with, his coach fondled him during gym class, he was addicted to prescription medication, he smoked pot, his girlfriend dumped him, et al. It will come and people will agree. In unison with these frivulous and asinine excuses, will be the equally asinine demands of tighter gun controls, tighter video game ratings, and tighter controls over Hollywood. Of the three, I will bet the gun control wins out. Liberals hate guns and this gives plenty of ammo for their cause- pun intended. Opponents of gun control argue that had even one person in that theater had a concealed weapon permit, perhaps the death toll would not have been so severe. Is that premise valid? If evil doers do not have knowledge of the hidden guns in a room, will they be as likely to commit their crimes? There is some merit to that line of reasoning.

Eventually, the religious start to ask the age old question- how can a just God allow something like this to happen? How can he allow a school bus of children to fly off the road and explode into flames? What about the Holocaust? You tell me and we’ll both know. These questions bother people who believe God is omniscient, who believe God controls every movement of every creature, the soft footsteps of every ant on this planet. If he does have this much control, then where does free will come in? I suppose it depends on the accepted definition of omniscience. I believe He is everywhere, knows all things and sees all things, even the blackness of our hearts. But I not believe he pulled the trigger in that Aurora movie theater. I will let the philosophers debate this one.

So what are we to do? People want answers and guns, video games, drugs, etc. just have to be the answer. We want to feel safe, even if it is a false sense of security- which is why we like TSA. There will be some who will never go to another midnight movie viewing just as there are some that will never eat raw cookie dough because 77 people, in a population of 300 million, got sick from eating it. I make no apologies when I say that I will take my chances- living in fear is not my style. The reality is that we cannot be truly safe in a free society and people must come to grips with that. Unless people want their rights taken away and allow this nation to become a nanny state, we will always live in a degree of danger. Sadly, there are people (some in high places) who would rather us live in a government controlled nation. In fact, they will try reelect their champion in November.
As soft as he is on the bumbling Obama, Romney hit a home run with his comments on Aurora. He made it about the victims, their families. The antithesis of the spirit of Romney's speech was found in President Obama's politicking. The Aurora shooter needs to fade into oblivion, his name mitigated as much as possible in the impending Wikipedia entry. I do not wish capital punishment as that would be too easy on him. Death row is just too costly on our fragile economy. Send him to jail for life, although he definitely won't make it to a fraction of that. He will suffer the same fate as Jeffrey Dahmer- succumbing to injuries from a jailhouse beating. If there is any justice in this world, this will come to pass and the honor among thieves will be upheld.

January 29, 2012

Putting the Nation's Budget and Debt Ceiling into perspective

Here is a lesson on cutting through the financial doublespeak from our politicians and getting down to the nitty gritty of our financial crisis by substituting the obscenely large numbers into something more tangible and relevant.

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Total budget cuts: $385

If there is no hope for this family budget, then how can there be any hope for our nation's? We need new leadership in the White House. Obama had his chance for 2 years, with both the House and the Senate controlled by the Democrats, to get this economy rolling again and he failed. Cash for Clunkers, really? This is the best you can do, Mr. President?

The bail outs were a bad idea. Bush started them and Obama maintained them. Why should the American taxpayer bail out institutions that engage in bad decisions with other people's money or that cannot manage or lead a company into the black? The banks and the auto industry bailouts should not have happened and we should have let the market taken care of itself.

GM was bailed out and instead of cutting back, becoming leaner and more competitive with the other auto manufacturers- they made the Chevy Volt. This was going to be the car of the future and get us one step closer to foreign oil independence. The Volt is more aligned with the  Ford Edsel and has now become even more of a joke as the electric cars have now been launched into the realm of luxury. Seriously, cut the crap and make an affordable electric car that doesn't spontaneously combust.

So the $20,000 question is (Google that one, kids): Who will dig us out of this mess? Certainly not big government Obama and his new health care plan that will eventually turn us into a European State with people dying from easily treated conditions because the doctors will no want to spend money on tests. I could post links but just Google that too- there are hundreds of examples. If socialized medicine is so good, why are the rich people with ailment who need hospitalization and/or surgery coming to the U.S.?

The GOP is giving us some slim pickins for November. I guess if Obama wins we are supposed to hope for more hope?