Friday, February 25, 2011

Political Parties Are Killing America

Name one good thing political parties in general have done for America recently. I'm not talking about something just one party has done, I mean something that as a whole the political party SYSTEM has done. 

Let's talk first about all the in-fighting among the parties. One could make the argument that all the fighting is a good thing, and I would tend to agree based on that point of view. However, look at it from the standpoint of voting. How many filibusters have there been lately? How much of that in-fighting been more about party stance than about the actual issues at hand?

Then there's the positions. I want to focus on just one right now: the minority whip. Description of the positionensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are party 'enforcers', who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. Ok, now let's focus on that last part about voting according to official party policy. Basically what they do is make sure you vote how the PARTY wants you to vote, not the people you REPRESENT want you to vote. Let that sink in for a minute. You, the voter, elect a REPRESENTATIVE to go into Congress because you believe that they have your best interests in mind. Once there, they vote differently because their party affiliation wants them to. Does this not seem wrong to you?

Along those same lines, let's look at the plebeians. How many people do you know vote for a person based solely on what political party they are attached to? My guess is a lot. "I won't vote for him! He's a Republican!" "Democrats are ruining this country! One will never get MY vote!"  People like roles and identities. Once they identify themselves as a part of one political party and incorporate that into their sense of self, there's almost no turning back. They vote for the party, not the issues. "Sure he's going to raise my taxes and take away my benefits, but at least he's not a Republican." 

And to build on top of that, let's look at how the voting has gone the past several years. As a general rule since FDR, the party of the President has always alternated between a Democrat and a Republican with every term, with few exceptions. Don't believe me? Look for yourself. By that same token, the party in power has usually been of the opposite party of the President come the first mid-term elections after the Presidential election. As I said, this is almost a general rule. Why is that do you think? Let's look at George W. Bush. He's a Republican who followed a Democrat. He was succeeded by a Democrat. He entered office with a Republican controlled Congress. He left with a Democrat controlled Congress. Look at Barak Obama. Similar outcome. Are people really voting for the candidate? Or against the political party? My guess is the latter. John McCain didn't stand a chance in the last election not because of his stance, the issues, or anything he did, but because people lumped him in with Bush, we (as a people as a whole) were tired of Bush.

Let's change the focus now to the money issue of political parties. First up: the separate primaries and caucuses. So much is involved with each one. The planning, the lights, sounds, flyers, banners, advertisings, everything. That's a huge drain on resources (read: money). Couldn't all that money be better spent elsewhere? each individual candidate's campaign? Think about it like this: Rather than having a huge caucus or primary, let the candidates raise their own money and use that. They won't have all the influence and money from their party being pumped into their campaign, so they will have to really connect with the voters and attack the issues. A side effect of this: more candidates. Think of Democrats and Republicans as Wal-Mart and Starbucks. Once they come into town, they run all the ma and pop stores (less wealthy yet equally qualified candidates) out of business. 

Yes, more candidates may seem like a bad thing. More choice is not always a good thing. There could potentially be a lower margin of victory among candidates in any election for any position. In fact, with so many people to choose from, many people may not even vote. Is that such a bad thing though? In order to choose a candidate, people will have to do a little bit of research. They would have to identify what was important to them, and vote along THOSE lines. The people who decided not to vote wouldn't matter. By not voting, they express their opinion that who represents them is unimportant and will go along with whatever happens (as do non-voters now). Said simply: If you vote, you have an interest in what happens in the future,  and you try to act in a way that is most beneficial to you. If you don't vote, you don't care who gets elected and will go along with whatever policies come up. This will make things better by weeding out the people who cast a vote just to cast a vote (more on that in a future post).

One last point about how political parties are killing America: The rhetoric. How often do we hear about RINOs (Republican In Name Only), or radical Democrats? People of one party who become associated with another party (which any other time would be called bi-partisanship) and thus do not get re-elected? Watch Fox News or CNN and see how many insults are thrown around at the parties in general.  It's disgusting if you really think about it. Elimination of parties would fix most of it.

Now, I know that we can never get rid of the party system. It's too ingrained into our government system, and no wave of a magic wand will ever fix that. The only way it could ever happen MAYBE is if we get a Supreme Court full of strict Constitutionalists (people who say that if it's not expressly stated in the Constitution, the government has now power to deal with it) say that it's unconstitutional, but that's a long shot at best. Other than that, enjoy the party system. It'll bring all of us down one day.

Think political parties are actually good for America? Or do you think I overlooked a threat they pose and our doom is coming much faster? Let me know! Contact me or leave a comment! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

About The Latest Article, "Curing The Global Epidemic"

For those of you unaware, or for those of you who have not read it yet, there has been a lot of commotion about my latest blog post.

I expected a lot of people to get upset over it, but this is just getting ridiculous. I am being attacked in the comments section, on my Formspring, and via email. This wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that it seems that the biggest problem people have with the article is that they aren't reading it all they way through. Because of this, I am addressing everything here in this one place.

1) The article was supposed to highlight the violation of human rights of gays and lesbians by showing a gross violation of human rights of a FICTITIOUS plan for people with AIDS. Simply said, the idea was to compare the taking away the rights of AIDS victims (by displacing them) with the taking away of rights with the homosexual community (not letting them marry, have joint insurance, be allowed into certain museums, etc.)

2) Africa was chosen as a callback to the creation of Liberia (which was set up to get the slaves out of America before the Civil War) and the African leper colonies. NOT BECAUSE I THINK EVERYONE IN AFRICA HAS AIDS! It's stupid to think that. 

3) I was not associating gays with AIDS, nor was I saying Africa was an AIDS hub. I was comparing taking away rights of AIDS victims and homosexuals, and commenting on the PREVALENCE OF THE PROBLEM OF AIDS IN AFRICA.

4) The entire reason I chose Africa was because it was far from America and not a paradise, further highlighting the human rights issue. 

5) The entire "plan" was fictitious, and served only as a way to explain to people who do not see how restricting the rights of gays and lesbians is wrong through a simple, if shocking, comparison.

6) The article had nothing to do with AIDS, curing AIDS, or solving the AIDS problem. It was a vessel in which I presented my argument.

7) Yes, I know my blog is crap. I never said it was great or anything. It's a hobby more than anything. If you don't like it, don't read it.

8) If you want to criticize me, do it. I welcome it. Criticism has helped me improve this blog. Because of the feedback I have received, there will never be another Dead Baby post, or a post focusing on me and my experiences. But don't attack me. Don't spam me. And if you do want to do any of that, have the guts to reveal yourself and don't do it anonymously.

For more responses to some of the things going on, check the comment section of the article or check out some of the links I will provide below. For all practical purposes, I consider this issue closed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Curing the Global Epidemic

The perfect solution for solving the global epidemic lies not in the future for medicine, but in the past.
Note: Keep reading to the bottom. I swear I'm not an evil person like I'm about to come across as.

Many years ago, we had leper coloniestuberculosis colonies, and a place for just about anyone who had a disease that we couldn't cure. If someone had the disease, we put them there and let them live their life out. Why can't we do that with people with AIDS?

I've got it all planned out. First, we get a lot of land. I say Africa. It already has a lot of victims there, and many of those governments are easily overthrown, giving a lot of land to donate to the colonies. Then, as we find people with the virus, we ship them off to the colonies. At first it will be rough. There won't be much there. The people will have to build their own buildings, set up their own infrastructure, and create their own jobs. But with time and a lot of hard work, it will be a paradise colony.

In the colony, businesses and factories will be set up. Instead of shipping jobs over to India or China, we ship them to the colonies. They will need the jobs, and if nothing else the colonies can provide for another agricultural source for emerging alternative fuels. People will be screened for sickness and quarantined before they join the rest of the colony's population, so as to reduce the rate of sickness, so less people will die of complications due to AIDS, allowing them to live longer. They will have full rights and privileges just like they would have if they did not have AIDS and still lived here in the United States. They could still vote, hold jobs, make money, invest in the stock market, have access to all the latest news and technology, get health care all all the doctor's care they would ever need, everything. They would have every right except one: They could not leave the colony. They have AIDS, and for the sake of the public health and safety, they cannot be allowed to spread the disease any further.

This may be a hard pill for many people to swallow. Taking away the rights and privileges of a group of people based solely on just one characteristic that defines them seems wrong. "I have AIDS, so I should be shipped off to live a similar life, just different from what you are allowed to have?" someone in this situation may ask. "Why yes, of course," we will answer. "It has worked out wonderfully for years in similar cases."

Now, dear reader, if you have stuck around this long, I'm very sure you are mad. Infringing on a persons rights that everyone else has just because of one characteristic? Unfair! Mean! Unlawful! Exactly. If this is so wrong with people with AIDS, why are homosexuals still not allowed to marry? Why are they denied certain privileges? They're just gays and lesbians. Not much different from everyone else except for one characteristic.

Yes, I do know there's a huge difference between AIDS and homosexuality, but the comparison still stands. If you are offended by one and not the other, doesn't that count as doublethink?

*NOTE* Because of the controversy this article has been causing, a follow-up article was written here. I suggest you read it before you comment on this one. 

Angry? Confused? Happy someone put it into perspective? Am I evil? Stupid? Or am I a force for good? A genius? Post a comment or contact me to let me know!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Do We Celebrate Valentine's Day?

So I had the idea for this post, but after watching this video from my college, I really got to thinking, why do we celebrate Valentine's Day?

Stop and think about it. Singles hate it. Men loathe it. Women expect too much out of it. Companies use it to sell cheap stuff marked up beyond what is reasonable. It has lost any real significance. So why does it exist still?

Money would be the first thing that comes to mind. Yes, retail outlets do mark up candy and trinkets for men to buy women, and women to pour over for about a week until they move on to other things. And yes, it helps companies boost profits after the slump after Christmas, but this is almost too simple an explanation. And it is also true that television companies have started to account for singles in their market on Valentine's Day by gearing programming towards them (how many romantic programs are there on the day as compared to programs showing the hatred of the day?). But if money was the only driving force behind the holiday, and enough people didn't like it and refused to participate, wouldn't the free market cause corporations to decide to cut down on the holiday "delights?"

The next thing to come to mind would be social pressure. Women have certain expectations from men about how they should act on the day, and men feel pressure from nowhere to live up to expectations that may or may not really be there. Singles are expected to feel bad for not being able to participate in the holiday, and, as a semi-new trend, to hate the holiday and bad mouth it. Social pressure is a huge force, and should not be underestimated, but at the same time, what healthy relationship has ever suffered from a bad Valentine's Day? If it was just about pressure, wouldn't it be stressful like Christmas or that significant other's birthday?

The simple answer would be about sex. Women act sexy and get sexy thing for men, and men do cheesy things for women to get laid. The games that are played are a kind of foreplay. The rest of the holiday is just spillover. Sounds nice, but it doesn't really stand up to too much scrutiny.

Maybe it's just about the fun of it all. The cheesiness of it, picking out gifts, the trash talk, the peudo-romantic bullcrap, the time where you can play the role of the story book lovey-dovey couple. I think this is the real heart of the matter. It encompasses all the above explanations. We want to fulfill roles from perceived pressure, retailers provide props for the show, television broadcasters provide ammo for the singles, and by the end of the day most everyone is happy with the show they just put on.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Lame? Blind to the truth? A genius? A real romantic? Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Next Big Reality Show (Now With 100% More Subtext!)

Jersey Shore. Big Brother. The Real World. Teen Mom. All these shows are fairly popular and successful. But I have the idea for the next big reality show.

Now there's a real Jersey Devil

Loving Evil
Trust me. This will be a big hit.

The Premise:
Get a bunch of people from different religious ideologies, put them in constant closed quarters for about a month or so, and have them compete for different insignificant rewards.

The Competitors:
The competitors will be separated into two teams: "Good" and "Evil." The "Good" team will be
-A Baptist (all other Christian sects are a bit too tolerant)
-A Jew
-A Muslim
-A Hindu

The "Evil" team will be:
-A Satanist
-A Wiccan
-An Atheist
-A Neo-Pagan

How the Game Will Work
The game will kind of be set up like a social experiment. The competitors will enter the house without knowing anything about the competitors, the basis of the game, or even the title of the show. They will meet and greet each other, and slowly discover their differences. Of course, there will be some idiots who don't get the differences, so the attractive female host will come in and separate them into teams based on what "religious" people find acceptable and not acceptable. Every week (in broadcasting time), the teams will compete for special house privileges or small prizes, like cooking ware, or stuff sponsors want to give away to promote their products. But here's the unique part: No one will be voted out of the house. All the contestants will remain there and be forced to coexist the entire time they are there. Midway through the game, the challenges will shift from team based to partner based, will one member of the "Good" team match up with one person of the "Evil" team, until at least every person on every team has had to work with everyone on the other team at least once. The game ends after the set time period is up (a month or so).

Why It Will Be A Huge Hit
It should be obvious: The controversy. When word gets out about the premise of the show, Fox News and all the wacko outlets will practically advertise for whatever company runs it. Then, once the show starts, the fights and drama caused by the different sects (both inter- and intra-team) will draw views by the droves.

The Unique Aspect of It All
The competitors will have to change how they think and act. This is kind of a social experiment after all. Do they play out their stereotype? Or should they play to win? Should the "Goods" be tolerant, intolerant, try to convert the "Evils," or be passive about it all? Should the "Evils" take on their role and lie, cheat, back stab, and sabotage, or should they show that being an atheist or a Wiccan makes them no different from anyone else?

The Overall Social Experiment
Like I kind of touched on before, there are a lot of social experiments going on here. Tolerance for others, stereotypes, roles and expectations, competition with others, and cohabitation with different people and groups. All these things will be tested and observed under the ruse of a game show/reality show.

Wrapping It All Up
So, in a nut shell, my idea is a reality show with a social experiment worked into it. Get two groups of people with different religious ideas, make them live together, compete, and work together, and see what happens. Some prizes will be given out along the way, a lot of promotion will be done by wackos and advertisers, and rating should soar through the roof.

Think I'm a genius? Or a moron? Want to put in your two cents? Good or bad, let me know what you think by commenting or contacting me! 

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Perfect Solution for Animal Shelters

Animal shelters everywhere are overcrowded, costly, and always having to put animals down. It's sad, yes, but more than anything, wasteful. But I have a great way to fix it. Shoot the animals and eat them.

It's that simple. And I'm not joking around. Think about it this way: bullets don't cost as much as any of the chemicals used to euthanize the dogs and cats, it's not poison so it's environmentally friendly, and if you sell the meat, you make a profit, so while the animals are in the shelter, they can eat and live better.

Now, I know there are some people out there saying, "But that's just mean and cruel! How can you do that? It's unclean!" We deer hunt, we hunt turkey, we eat cow, we eat pork, why not shoot and eat dogs and cats? If lead bullets still allow wild game to be eaten, they should allow domestic animals to be eaten. If we eat cows that are knee deep in their own feces and chickens that get no sunlight for their entire lives, why not dogs and cats that are in at least decently cleaned cages and get to go outside and play for a little while eat day?

And of course, others are saying to themselves, "They're pets! You want me to eat my dog/cat [insert name here]?!" No, no I do not. I want you to eat the strays, cast outs, and other unwanted animals. They sit in a cage for a long time, then get put down. It's a miserable life. Yes, there's a slim chance at adoption, and I still think that they should be adopted, but at least it's not a waste of meat and a drain on the funds of the shelter. You're not eating a pet. You're eating an animal that no one else wants. There is a distinct difference. You're not killing Fluffy or Snookums, you're eating their cousin that is about to be euthanized.

It works out for everyone. The animal shelter kills the animal for almost nothing, and then butchers them into the different cuts of meat. The meat is then sold cheaply (because there are so many animals in the shelter, law of supply and demand dictates there will be low prices) to consumers, who through their purchases support the shelter, allowing them to increase the quality of living conditions for the animals and help more of them find homes. With the cheapness of the meat, more low income homes can afford meat, allowing them to have a better diet and thus live at least a little better.

An additional benefit: less stray animals on the streets. In order to keep up with demand for the meat, efforts will be improved to catch more animals, reducing animal attacks and the spread of diseases (We must euthanize the sick ones as normal, of course. With increases in animal captures, more sick ones will be caught, and that's how disease will be reduced). Also, more jobs will be created to capture, maintain, butcher, and distribute the meat.

This is not a new or unique idea. Asian and Middle Eastern countries eat dogs and cats all the time. I'm just advocating importing that custom over here to America. What harm can possibly come because of it?

Agree? Disagree? Got a critique? Leave a comment or contact me to let me know.

*Edit 1* I am not saying that we should stop trying to adopt out animals. I think they should be given the chance for adoption still. Most of my pets we rescued from a pound or on their way to a pound. I'm just saying quit wasting the meat.

*Edit 2* Not to be confused with puppy mills (though those could be raided for more meat), puppy farms could be created to keep up for demand should it get to that point. But I think the effort should start in the shelters and pounds.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hourly Comics 2011

It's Hourly Comics Day! For those of you who don't know about it, you make a comic every hour you are awake and post them. No artistic skill needed! I've never done it before and figured I'd give it a try. I have absolutely no artistic skill at all, so along with seeing how boring my days are, you get to see why I'm not an art major! YAY!!!!!

*I will be updating this throughout the day, so come back and check it out every so often. It'll be done around midnight, assuming I stay up that late.*

For the record, no, I'm not stoned. Just very tired.

(Link to the Hourly Comics forum for this page is here. Also, check out the hourly comics of KK Skipper who runs Pink Parts [NSFW] and Dante Shepherd who runs Surviving the World [safe for anyone and anything])