Monday, December 31, 2007

Primary Season and My Favorite Candidate

Note to reader(s): I intend to get seriously writing for the remainder of my Christmas break (which ends on the 7th). Primary season is coming up, and now's the time for all of us to be looking into the candidates and issues most seriously. I will be filling this blog, and the identical one over on MySpace, with posts dealing with the race for the presidency. For the first of these posts, I want to discuss my general views on the '08 presidential race, and profile the candidate who comes closest of all to getting my all-out support.

I know most people my age, and the majority of people in general, don't care about politics much, if at all. The 2008 presidential election, however, presents us with a choice that will shape American politics and foreign and domestic policy for years to come. A presidential election is never a good thing to get wrong. But with America having problems in everything from healthcare, to our civil liberties, to immigration, to the war in Iraq, the stakes are raised so high that we simply cannot afford to get it wrong this time around. For this reason, if not for any other reason whatsoever, we all ought to be very seriously considering our options.

The most significant piece of my opinion on the 2008 presidential field is a general disappointment in the choice of "top-tier" candidates; frankly, they all suck, spewing the same dressed-up rhetorical stump speeches their respective parties have been giving for years, trying to distinguish themselves from each other through the slightest of differences in opinion. This is not the political system as I imagined it when I was just starting to learn about it in the 2000 election. This is not the America I thought I was growing up in, where people have a diversity of opinions that are all (or mostly) given a proper place in the national debates and elections.

And to make matters worse, it's all too heavily influenced by rich special interests and corporate lobbyists. Mike Gravel, as I recall, was fond of suggesting in the Democratic debates earlier this year that just about everyone else on the stage was a puppet of special interests ("Follow the money!" he would say, shaking his fist, though the fist-shaking may just be my imagination). Unfortunately, though Gravel tends to seem rather nutty in just about anything he does, he's not wrong. There is something ingenuine, something plastic about them all, and I can't help but feel like they don't really have the best interests of the people at heart, and are instead obsessed with getting the support of the special interests, at any cost.

Out of this disdain for the process and its front-runners came my love of Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich. For the greater part of this year, I was in love with his campaign. He was the first politician I'd ever seen who is truly honest, intelligent, and reasonable. (generally, it seems, politicians are only one or two of those, if any at all). His ideas are all so fresh, so populist, so Democratic. Universalize healthcare. Reform trade negotiations with other nations, to reflect a pursuit of human rights and environmental protection. End the use of war as an instrument of foreign policy.

Recently, however, two things have happened that have persuaded me that he is not the best candidate in the race. Firstly, it has become quite obvious that his campaign is hopeless. He has not been treated fairly by the media, and his campaign simply hasn't come up with enough money or support to force anyone to pay attention. Secondly, I have found a candidate whose ideas make more sense than Kucinich's ever have, despite being on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

That candidate is Ron Paul.

Ron Paul is a Republican, currently serving as a U.S. Representative from Texas, a position he has held 18 of the 31 years since 1976. He is 72 years old, married (for 50 years) with 5 children. Before joining into the political arena, and during the lapses in his Congressional service, he has been an ob/gyn physician, delivering over 4,000 babies. He was also a flight surgeon in the Air Force from 1963 to 1965.

But it is his politics, not his personal life, that make this man extraordinary. In a day and age when politicians shape their views around the shifting of special interests and political parties, Ron Paul has not only stuck to his beliefs for his whole political life, but has based those beliefs on the most simple, powerful foundation imaginable: The United States Constitution.

And it is that foundation that makes his message so powerful. He's not treading new, radical ground, but urging us to go back to the old way of looking at the federal government: In the words of Thomas Paine, revolutionary and author of "Common Sense" (and who I'm possibly related to), "That government is best which governs least."

Profiling Dr. Paul's viewpoint on every issue facing America would make this blog far longer than I want it to be. But I'd like to look at a few highlights:

He is a strong believer in states' rights, prefering to leave issues like education, stem-cell research, abortion, and marriage rights completely out of the hands of the federal government.

He is a proponent of a non-interventionist foreign policy, in which the U.S. does not police the world with its military, but instead pursues, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." He says the war in Iraq is patently unconstitutional; in the days leading up to the war, he repeatedly put forth a resolution to declare war on Iraq, and it was repeatedly struck down.

He believes the civil liberties of the people are vital to the interests of the nation, and that they have been seriously undermined by the war effort. In the words of James Madison, another of our founding fathers, "The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home." He believes that the best way to be a strong nation is to be a nation of free people. Liberty from government control and regulation is central to his message, and his belief system.

He wants to abolish the IRS and all federal income taxes and repeal the 16th Amendment that allows for it, citing the fact that income taxes account for only a third of federal government revenue, and that cutting federal spending by a third would put it at 2000 levels, which obviously wouldn't be very hard to do. In addition to this, he wants to phase out government entitlement systems like social security and welfare, prefering instead to allow everyone to keep the fruits of his or her labor and use them as he or she sees fit; again, a view straight from Jefferson, who believed we ought to "prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them". Ron Paul has great confidence in the free market, and in each person's ability, right, and responsibility to take care of themselves.

Through all of this, there is a clear theme of going back to the America that the founders intended to create, the America they set forth in the Constitution. In fact, Dr. Paul has a nickname on Capitol Hill, "Dr. No", which emphasizes his extreme unwillingness to vote for any bills or resolutions that are not expressely permitted by the Constitution. He is, in short, a true conservative, holding to the beliefs that made that political mindset actually make sense before it was hijacked by social conservatives in the past few decades.

Typical "Ron Paul Revolution" banner.
Taken from

And unlike the other "long-shot" candidates in the race, Ron Paul's views have actually caught on, putting him in a position from which it is not entirely impossible for him to win the Republican nomination. His current fourth quarter fundraising total is $19.4 million, more than any other candidate in the race, including over $6 million on one day, December 16, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. And this fundraising is entirely grass-roots, spontaneously organized by people who have no official connection to the campaign. His message has found a large niche in the Internet community, a community that has, through these donations as well as all the straw polls and post-debate polls that Paul has won, proven that it has the power to make a candidate viable.

I do have my misgivings about Ron Paul. I don't have the same unquestioning faith in the free market as he has. I think the federal government needs to be involved in some things like healthcare, in order to make sure the vital needs of the people are handled properly. I have said before that universal, socialized healthcare is the way to go, and I don't think there's anything Ron Paul could say to me to change my mind on that. I also disagree with him on some of his personal social views, but he says those things should be left up to the states, so it doesn't matter anyway. All things considered, though, he is the best candidate that I see in the race right now.

Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

'Yes' to Socialized Healthcare, Part 2

Note to my faithful reader(s): I wrote part 1 of this 2-part series as a response to a debate prompt on, an online writers' community. Imagine my shock when, the very next morning, I saw a new prompt on that same site asking whether further privatization and deregulation of the healthcare system would solve the problem. I was forced to chime in on this, and the following was the result:

Many Americans believe that the solution to our healthcare dilemma is to further privatize and deregulate the system. If we free up the healthcare market, there is some reason to believe that it will behave like other free markets - costs will go down, allowing more people to get insurance, and quality will go up. This is the basis behind most Democrats' plans for what they call universal healthcare. However, this notion fails to take into consideration a few basic aspects of the healthcare system that make further privatization and deregulation a bad idea.

Firstly, the limited market. Let's say you're in the business of selling cars. It can reasonably be assumed that cars will never go out of style, and that, as more and more people around the world reap the benefits of industrialization, one of the things they will buy with their newfound money will be cars. Therefore, in this day and age, the automotive industry has a virtually unlimited market. This causes car companies to compete with each other for the constant stream of new customers. This is one of the prerequisites to a truly successful and beneficial free market: If there is not a growing market, a good deal of the helpful competition simply does not happen. If you've been buying Ford cars your whole life, you're less likely to go out and buy a Chevy, almost entirely regardless of the corporate competition going on. On the other hand, someone who is a first time car buyer reaps the full benefits of capitalism - Ford and Chevy both want them, so they'll both lower their prices and increase the quality of their products to win them over.

Healthcare doesn't work this way. There are a limited number of people in the United States (with a yearly population growth of less than .9%), and an even smaller number of people who are not already insured. Once all of those 40 million or so people got coverage, the burst of corporate competition that brought that about would immediately come to a halt. And after that point, there would be virtually NO market growth, and very limited competition, and corporations would be free to hike up their prices as much as they see fit. If the only two car companies in America were Ford and Chevy, and neither company had any new customers to entice, what's to stop them from both, little by little, increasing their prices?

This leads me nicely toward the second reason further deregulation of healthcare is unfeasible: the obvious greed of the conglomerates which currently have control over the system. If, as in the aforementioned scenario, they became able to raise their prices, they absolutely would. These corporations clearly do not hold themselves to very high moral standards - just watch "Sicko", or ask any of the millions of people who have struggled with their health insurance providers. Corporations that make money based on not giving people healthcare would have no qualms about raising prices, if it was a feasible business practice, which it is now and still would be under a further deregulated system. Even though the initial burst in competition would probably allow many of the currently uninsured people to become insured, eventually corporations would raise their prices again, once again excluding more and more people from the system while keeping corporate profits intact, and even growing.

Even if further deregulation and privatization of healthcare worked, and managed to permanently extend insurance coverage to all Americans, there still exist fundamental flaws in ANY privatized healthcare system. HMOs profit, and the system survives, based on how much healthcare they can deny their customers. This proposed plan would only give that same crappy coverage to everyone. That's like having an automotive industry in which Ford increases its sales and profits by building cars that break down beyond repair at 5,000 miles. And it's even worse, because we're not talking about a luxury, but a basic human right.

Clearly, this proposal is not the right way to handle the healthcare crisis. The best answer to our healthcare woes is not further "freeing up the market", but changing the entire system to a universal, single-payer, and yes, socialized plan.

Monday, October 1, 2007

'Yes' to Socialized Healthcare

When a nation's institutions are insufficient to meet the needs of the people, it is the government's responsibility to change national policy and fix those institutions. When every other industrialized nation in the world has adopted a different system, and it is clear that that system works far better than the one that we have, this makes the government's job in reforming the broken institution simple.

Such is the case with healthcare in America. The system is clearly broken - that's not even really up for debate. Insurance companies make money by not giving care. 31 cents on every dollar of healthcare spending goes to maintaining the conglomerates that have a stranglehold on it. Over 40 million Americans are uninsured, and even those who are insured must pay high premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, just to get insurance coverage that is clearly sub-par.

These same problems, or versions thereof, plagued every other industrialized nation as well. But while the American government has refused to address the issue, all these other nations have faced the problems, and fixed them. Socialized medicine has worked incredibly well for these nations - and it would work for us too.
One of the major arguments against socialized healthcare is that under such a system, it is necessary to ration care. A socialist system, in other words, would not be able to pay for everything for everyone. This is a sad truth. But it is a sad truth shared by ANY healthcare system. In the current healthcare system of the United States, over 40 MILLION people do not have insurance - that's one out of every seven Americans being "rationed" out of EVERY type of healthcare. Doesn't it make more sense to base the necessary rationing on the importance of different medicines and procedures, rather than on the patient's ability to pay?

Some people are still resistant to the concept of socialized medicine because of communism anxiety leftover from the Cold War. We cannot socialize our vital national institutions, they say, because that puts us on the path toward communism! While I agree that communism is the last thing this nation needs, the fact of the matter is that having a few socialized institutions does not make a country communist. For example: Since the beginning of the public education system in America, it has been a socialist institution - it is run and paid for by the government. Then there's our police, our firefighters, our infrastructure, and our military - all socialist. Yet no one would argue that America is a communist nation. Why, then, are we afraid of making one more of our vital institutions socialist, for the good of the people?

It's time to break free of the hold that unbridled capitalism has on the basic human right to healthcare. We consider ourselves to be the wealthiest, most advanced nation in the world, so we should work on having the best healthcare. Let's get on board the system that has worked for every other industrialized nation in the world.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Damn, now I have to uninstall iTunes

Actual quote from Apple's iTunes EULA (End User License Agreement), as found on this site:

"10. Export Control. You may not use or otherwise export or reexport the Apple Software except as authorized by United States law and the laws of the jurisdiction in which the Apple Software was obtained. In particular, but without limitation, the Apple Software may not be exported or re-exported (a) into any U.S. embargoed countries or (b) to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the U.S. Department of Commerce Denied Person�s List or Entity List. By using the Apple Software, you represent and warrant that you are not located in any such country or on any such list. You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons." (emphasis mine)

Reading this, a few different thought processes come to mind, some satirical, others very serious:

-Damn, now I have to uninstall iTunes. My hopes of one day building an iNuke are dashed.

-I wonder if the Open-Source movement will get into an arms race with Microsoft.

-Someone was either incredibly stupid or incredibly egotistical about their product when writing this.

-Actually, we live in a day and age in which putting something like this into a user agreement is probably a sound business decision. If someone were to, say, send e-books on how to make bombs over iTunes, Apple is in no way responsible - solely because of this clause.

-Where is our society going when the concept of Apple being sued over the content distributed with its software is actually plausible?

-How long will it be before individuals have to have readily-available usage agreements? (Stapled to the back of my shirt: "By engaging in conversation with Zachary Freier ("Me"), you agree to the following terms and conditions. Any and all conversation content transmitted from any labial organ ("Mouth") owned by the second party ("You") to any auditory systems ("Ears") belonging to me is automatically devoid of any claim to copyright. No repetition on my part of vocal sounds originating from your mouth can be claimed by you or any other person or party to be a violation of copyright. You also agree that you will not use anything I say for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.")

Just some food for thought. Now excuse me, I have some "projects" I have to finish on my new music library software.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Roy Zimmerman

I just wanted to share a few musical YouTube videos from an artist I have come to like very much - Roy Zimmerman. I think he's a genius. Check these out:

Like what you see? Check out his YouTube page for more.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Fitting Title

Sicko, Michael Moore's latest documentary film, is funny, sad, and maddening all at the same time. But above all, it's simply sickening.

If you don't know already, it's a documentary about the healthcare industry. It starts off by examining a few stories about America's not-so-secret dirty little secret: The nearly 50 million of us who are uninsured. There's certainly enough there to make as much sickening film as Michael Moore could possibly dream of. But that wouldn't be ambitious. That wouldn't be Michael Moore. No, Moore's style lies in biting off what seems to be more than he can chew about the topic he's covering, and then proceeding to rip it to shreds.

So he dismisses the 50 million uninsured American's by nonchalantly saying, "But this story isn't about them." And that's when he dives head-first into the real dirty little secret: That even if you are fully insured, the healthcare industry is still a nightmare. And Moore makes that fact seem even more sickening than the fact that a sixth of us are uninsured.

Insurance companies, it turns out, have a system of denying care that one former HMO employee rightly described as "labyrinthine." There's a list of pre-existing conditions a mile long that automatically make you ineligible. If your body mass index is too low or too high (in other words, if you're too fat or too skinny) you're denied. There are mountains of paperwork for even the simplest of claims. And if they fail to weed you out with all of that and end up paying for your care, they can continue looking for ways to retroactively deny you and reverse the payment. They have teams of people that scour medical records for anything that can be used to retroactively deny care (this was done to one woman, for example, because she had once had a yeast infection and hadn't reported it as a past "serious ailment" on her application). This system is held in place because the industry has four lobbyists for every member of Congress, and they have consistently been able to pay off every politician that goes to Capitol Hill, including their old rival, Hillary Clinton, who was a crusader for universal healthcare during her husband's presidency, but who is now #2 on the Senate payroll from healthcare groups. Sickening, yes?

But still, Moore's ambition is not sated. In order to really drive the point home to Americans, he knows he must not only show them that their system is broken, but that there are others that are better. And so, throughout the film, he profiles the universal healthcare systems of Canada, England, and France, which turn out to be so much better than ours that you absolutely have to see it to believe it.

And even then, he's still not done. The last portion of the film uproots whatever is left of your conviction that America's healthcare system works. If I were to say anything about it at all, it would spoil it for you. I wouldn't do that.

Suffice it to say that every minute of the film Sicko makes you more and more deeply convinced that America's healthcare system simply sucks. But all hope, Moore says, is not lost. It's a problem that we can fix. After all, we're America. If other nations have nailed down this concept, surely the birthplace of modern democracy, the wealthiest nation on Earth, can do it. The first step, as AA might say, is admitting we have a problem - which this film doesn't simply speculate on, but proves. That's why I implore anyone who reads this to watch Sicko.

(As an aside, don't believe the mainstream Democratic candidates when they say they have a plan for "universal healthcare" because, sadly, their plans are just to make sure everyone has insurance, and don't address the real problem revealed by Sicko - that that insurance system is crap. Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate who seems to actually have a universal healthcare plan, and that's one of many reasons why I think he's the best.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CNN/YouTube Debate Question

I have submitted this video question for the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate scheduled for July 23 in Charleston, South Carolina. (For more info, check out

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reconciling with MySpace

Someone I talked to last night made me question my decision to completely give up on my MySpace blog. He assumed it must be because the new place I've been putting my blogs receives more views. However, that has not been the case. In just over a year, my MySpace blog has just short of 1800 views, something my newer Blogspot blog could probably never hope to achieve, barring the possibility of divine intervention or me actually writing something decently profound.

Long story short, from now on everything I post will appear both on my MySpace blog and on my Blogspot blog.

I'll start today by copying a few of my better entries from Blogspot onto MySpace. I may even write another blog for both sites today (and if not today, then certainly tomorrow).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Writer's Block

I haven't written a blog in 15 days. Nor have I done any creative writing of any sort. I've tried to start a few things, but I consistently fail to get very far into anything. The only things I've written in the past two weeks are e-mails (long ones, yes, but I'm always writing long e-mails so it doesn't really mean much).

At about two weeks without writing, my eyes turn red, and I start foaming at the mouth and chewing on my leg. I've been told that it's not a pretty sight. The problem is, the longer I suffer from one of my debilitating spurts of writer's block, the harder it is to get out of it. I tried very hard this last weekend to work on a story idea that sprung upon me, and I also put quite a lot of thought into an editorial-style piece for this blog about Dennis Kucinich, my personal favorite of the Democratic presidential candidates. Both of those things failed, however, and the leg I've been chewing on is almost stripped to the bone.

You see, I need writing. It's not just a hobby, or something I enjoy doing. It's also something that's necessary to my health and well-being. My mind is constantly cluttered with so many thoughts that if I don't get at least some of them on paper, I go insane...that is, more insane than I am usually. Writing is my therapy. So it really sucks when my creative juices stop flowing.

Monday, May 28, 2007

President Bush and Memorial Day Stupidity

In an earlier post on my blog, I detailed my belief that the real way to support American soldiers would be to bring them home. I denounced the idea that we must "finish the job" in order to make their sacrifices worthwhile.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking still saturates the country, as evidenced by president Bush's speech today at the Arlington National Cemetery.

In the midst of all the proper honoring of the men and women who have served our country now and in the past, Bush couldn't help but insert a political message. "Those who serve are not fatalists or cynics," he said. "They know that one day this war will end, as all wars do. Our duty is to make sure this war was worth the sacrifice."

No, Mr. Bush. Your duty, and the duty of the government that you are a part of, is to refrain from using war as an instrument of foreign policy except where it is absolutely necessary. Your duty is to make it so that the only causes that you will send the young men and women of this country to die for are ones that are inherently "worth the sacrifice."

And, Mr. Bush, your duty most certainly is not to start an invasion of a sovereign nation on false pretenses, only later changing your justification to this pursuit of freedom and democracy that so many of the people blindly rally behind you on. Your duty is to tell the full, unabridged truth when the lives of this nation's young people are on the line.

"This is our country's calling," Bush said. "It's our country's destiny."

Mr. Bush, never reduce the destiny of America, as defined by the founding fathers as well as every man, woman, and child who has ever lived here, to being a massive industrial-military machine that invades sovereign nations without international support, and pushes entire regions of the world into total chaos. Never reduce the 'great experiment' of freedom and democracy to being a monster that feeds on the spirit of the world - the very spirit that made it possible. Never reduce the land of the free and the home of the brave to being the land of the aggressor and the home of the fearful. That is not our destiny. That is not America.

Bush said that this nation's freedoms "came at a great cost and they will surive only so long as there are those who are willing to protect them." At last, Mr. Bush, you speak some truth. But you are not one who has been known to protect our freedoms, Mr. Bush. Your PATRIOT Act makes it possible for entire sections of the Bill of Rights to be tossed aside if investigators think it will help them. Of 814,073 people charged in immigration courts under your Department of Homeland Security in the past three years, only 12 faced terrorism charges, and only 114 were charged with national security violations. That means that only one and a half hundredths of a percent of those 'dangerous' people being processed through the sketchy methods of the DHS are actually a concern at all.

I am ashamed of our country if we accept and embrace Bush's mantra. America has always been dedicated to freedom and democracy, and everyone agrees that the men and women who have died serving our nation throughout its history are noble. But now Bush, quite possibly the biggest internal threat to freedom, democracy, and our men and women in uniform in the history of America, is able to use his 'support' of those things to make himself and his war look good. What has America come to, if he can do that?

Perhaps there is still a small glimmer of hope for our country in this debacle: As Bush's motorcade passed over the Potomac River, it went by a lone man holding a sign that said "Bring our troops home." Amen. Amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Trouble With Politics

The trouble with politics is that it’s full of politicians.

You see, the official job description of a member of the United States Congress is to represent the voters of their district. In a perfect world, every person in the country would be able to vote for all the things that come before Congress, and Congress would be unnecessary. This is, however, unfortunately not a perfect world. So instead, we elect representatives to go represent us and do our voting for us in Washington.

And yet they don’t represent us. Partisan politics has become so rigid and severe, and politicians have grown such a sense of entitlement that the opinions of their constituents really only matter to the extent that they desire to be re-elected. If a U.S. Representative believes that we need to stay in Iraq, by God, it doesn’t matter if every person in his district disagrees. He has to stick to his beliefs, man!

Bullshit. No matter how dead set against something any representative personally is, in all honesty it shouldn’t matter. If you are an elected representative of the people, your job is to vote the way the people would if they were present. Thomas Paine said so in Common Sense, which was the single most important rallying point in the events leading to the Revolution. That’s what the people wanted. That’s what the founding fathers wanted. That’s what this country is. It’s a representational democracy, and the job of those representatives is to represent their constituents.

Not only do our representatives fail to represent us, but partisan politics has hijacked the system to the extent that getting any real change done is next to impossible. How is it, pray tell, that partisan ‘whips,’ whose job is to make sure their colleagues vote along party lines, are an official United States federal government office? If that doesn’t convince you that the system is fundamentally flawed, I don’t know what would. George Washington, in his farewell address, warned the fledgling nation not to slip any farther into the bog of partisan politics that was already taking hold. The party system is silly, especially when it’s entirely dominated by just two parties. Washington knew that; he saw what was happening, and he warned against it. Did we listen? Obviously not.

If we want to come closer to the dream that is America, the dream set forth in the Constitution, one of the most important steps we can take is to put Congress in line. Reform the party system, either by abolishing political parties or by splitting the two dominant parties into several smaller ones. This way, ideas from all across the spectrum will be fully entertained, and maybe some change can occur. Also, the people need to start demanding that their representatives take the opinions of their constituents much deeper into consideration.

It’s supposed to be a government by the people, of the people, for the people, after all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I officially love the ACT

I just got my ACT scores in the mail. The maximum score in any area is 36. Here are my scores:

Composite Score: 35 (99%ile)
English: 35 (99%ile)
Mathematics: 34 (99%ile)
Reading: 35 (99%ile)
Science: 35 (99%ile)

That just made my day. No, my week. No, my effing month!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Plato on Love

"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet."


Plato, the great ancient Greek philosopher, in his Symposium, offered an explanation for love and the desire to be with another person.

He described the original race of men as having four legs, four arms, two faces - double of everything that we have today. He said there were three sexes: "the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth."

Mankind was powerful - so powerful that we rebelled against the gods. The gods knew a punishment was due. But they did not want to destroy us, for that would mean they would lose all the nice sacrifices and piety we had to offer. Zeus decided that the best punishment would be to split each and every one of us into two, so that we'd be "diminished in strength and increased in numbers" and thus more profitable to the gods.

Since then, we have all been searching for our other half. The original male "children of the sun" each became two homosexual men. The original female "children of the earth" each became two homosexual women. The original adrogynous "children of the moon" each became one man and one woman.

In embracing (and, more specifically, in making love) we are attempting to bring two halves together and thus be more complete and happy. If we find that one person who is our "other half," this is an especially amazing experience, and we find ourselves constantly desiring to be in each other's presence.

A couple (love) poems

Sometimes I wonder why I write poetry. It tends to be mediocre, at best, and there are other things I can write with far more skill. Still, I have my poetic side, and every now and then it asserts itself.

musings from afar

where are you, my love?
at this moment
are you awakening
from a restful nap,
or are you strolling down
a suburban street,
rejoicing in the soft breeze
and the sounds of the birds?
are your thoughts bent on me,
or does another
demand your attention?
do you wish,
as I do,
that I was beside you?


Like a candle,
the flame of our love
melts me into liquid wax.
My head goes first,
and all my rational thought
is stripped away,
replaced only by a desire
to be one with you.
Inch by inch,
the melting progresses;
my arms go,
and I become helpless
in your embrace;
my torso joins
the liquid progression,
and my heart is released
and flows down my body
to add to the pool
growing in your arms.
The rest of my body
follows suit,
and at last the flame is spent.
My outside cools
and hardens, now,
protecting the part
closest to you,
kept warm enough
by the contact with your skin
to remain liquefied.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


There's a song by Savage Garden called "Affirmation" that I really like. It's one of those songs that actually says something. It goes something like this:

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires


I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

(Chorus X2)
I agree with just about everything they say in that song. Just about. I have a problem with two lines there, though.

Firstly, "I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness." Honestly, I'd say quite the opposite. Being able to forgive people is key to being happy. If you can't forgive people for the mistakes that they've made, then you'll constantly be bitter about them. That's no way to live your life.

Secondly, "I believe that trust is more important then monogamy." I certainly agree, taking the statement at face value. But it seems obvious, to me at least, that they're referring to the concept of "open relationships" (i.e. you're with someone and you have sex with them, but you're also allowed to have sex with other people "as long as no emotions are involved"). I guess for the most part all I can really say about "open relationships" is "to each his own," because I really don't understand how that's a workable relationship model at all. I guess I just believe that sex without emotional involvement is pointless, and something of a disgrace to your body.

But overall, it's a great song!

Monday, April 30, 2007

notice me - a poem

Well, blogspot doesn't understand concrete structure. A few dozen spaces automatically renders as one, no matter what I do. So I've been forced to put my newest stab at poetry on my MySpace blog here. Check it out! If you access it from here and want to comment on it, just comment here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Morality, As Told By...Me

If I were to collect all my thoughts on morality and the meaning of life into one piece of writing – which I may, someday, actually do (more for my own betterment than as a pulpit) – the introduction would go something like this.

I do not consider myself to be morally superior to others. Or at least I try not to, for that would be immoral.

I do, however, think it is acceptable – compulsory, even – for people to judge the world around them, and the people that make up that world. The word "judge", and all words related to it, have taken on such a negative connotation – most people will consciously and subconsciously react negatively to the word "judgmental". But judging does not have to start with huge, mind-altering preconceived notions, or lead to ideas of superiority or overbearing feelings of resentment toward others.

Judgment, in and of itself, without all of the things that have attached themselves to the process as civilization has advanced, is simply another term for reason. It is the process of making a decision based upon information one's senses acquire from the surroundings. If I say, "The road is closed ahead," and you decide to take another route – or even if you decide to continue the way you are going – you have just exercised your judgment, or reason. It is a necessary process by which we make it through each day, and by which society continues to advance, for better or for worse.

The same holds true for judgments of morality. Whether a person is reasoning through choices and trying to judge which one is morally right, or that person is making judgments regarding their own character or the character of another person, the process is absolutely necessary. It provides a better understanding of the world and an individual's immediate surroundings, and it gives that individual the proper tools with which to make informed, rational, and sovereign decisions.

Reason, or judgment, is half of what makes us human. The other half is emotion. Science simply cannot and will never account for human emotion to an extent that pleases me. There are some emotions – fear and lust, for example – that are instinctual and can be explained in a Darwinian model. But then there are emotions that don't fit in any scientific explanation. Therefore, I firmly believe that most of human emotion takes place on a somewhat higher plane of existence than the physical.

If we allow our emotions to take part in the reasoning process, we open ourselves to a deeper connection to this higher plane. This connection – this emotion – binds the entire human race in a way that none of the superficial subdivisions we have created can ever possibly divide us. It's what allows us, if we open ourselves to it, to feel sympathy for someone we've never met when we hear about their dire circumstances. It allows us to wallow in sorrow or bask in happiness that no scientific theory could ever possibly justify. It allows us to love one another in all the various ways and degrees love is possible. It gives us gut feelings about some areas of morality that are more profound and moving than even the most eloquent writer and thinker could reason through them. It gave the founding fathers of the United States the "self-evident" rights that they founded the nation to promote: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These things can be rationally justified, but even without doing so our emotions make them self-evident.

It is this combination of reason and emotion that both drives us to wonder what's right and wrong, and gives us the tools to figure that out. Whether our hearts and minds agree on a judgment or disagree, the fact that they are working together to form a sound judgment is what really matters. And since this judgment is key to survival as well as to understanding the world, it is therefore necessary, in order to live a full, rich life, for a person to reason and feel through the formulation of their own personal set of moral standards. These standards can then be applied to the process of judgment, as a sort of shortcut to the process. For example, one can reason through one single time why it's wrong to kill, and then apply that standard to all of one's judgments.

I admit that at this early stage of my life, my experience level is rather low. Nevertheless, I have spent a great deal of time in reflection about morality. Through this reflection I have formed the moral standards that guide my judgments and actions. I don’t consider them to be perfect, or somehow superior to all other ways of viewing morality. But they’re the best I’ve come up with yet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

D Is for Disappointment

There was a time when I thought that a Democratic majority in Congress meant that real change was coming our way. During the election cycle, Democrats promised change in several areas, should they be elected. Social Security would be reformed; healthcare would be reformed; the Iraq war would be openly and seriously discussed and re-evaluated. The American people wanted this change, so when Election Day came, they voted Democrats into the majority seat in the Legislature for the first time in twelve years. America held its breath for the last two months that it would have to endure the Republican majority. And then, on January 4, 2007, Democrats took the reigns.

And then...nothing. Well, not nothing, but certainly not much. Some excitement over the first female Speaker of the House, a little campaign finance reform, and a bit of discussion involving the areas in which Democrats promised change. This discussion, though, has been rather disgraceful and disappointing. The Democratic majority has not pushed as strongly as they should for the things that got them elected.

Consider the Iraq debate. For the first few months of their newfound power, all the Democrats did was push for non-binding resolutions denouncing the war. These resolutions didn't really mean anything, and even if they did they were weakly worded. Overall, fewer words were used in these resolutions to denounce the war than to pledge support for the troops - a cause that, as I spoke of in an earlier blog, would best be served by bringing them home. Democrats allowed themselves to be pushed around, adding pointless sections to pointless resolutions, fearing that if their Iraq war denunciation did not include "but we support the troops," the American people would turn on them.

Even as they have attempted to take the debate more seriously, they've allowed themselves to be pushed around. Their new Iraq war budget plan includes timetables for American withdrawal - an excellent step in the right direction. But they've allowed the president and his Republican cronies to hold the moral high ground: Bush has promised to veto the bill, and every day he denounces Congress for not passing an acceptable budget. Congressional Democrats don't realize that if they shot back, saying that Bush was the one refusing to pass an acceptable budget, the American people would agree with them. So they just take the tongue lashing, and continue to push for a bill that promises an automatic veto, without applying pressure on Bush to support it.

Change in other areas has been even slower in coming. The disgrace of an Iraq war debate has occupied most of the Democrats' attention, so the other things they promised simply aren't on the docket. Where's the Social Security or healthcare reform? Where's the revocation of Bush's ignorant 2001 and 2003 tax cuts? Where are the Democrats we were promised?

It would appear that Congressional Democrats grew so used to their minority role from 1994 to 2006 that they don't realize just how powerful they can be. A stronger group of lawmakers in place of the disorderly mob we see today could really fulfill Democratic promises to the people. A stronger group of lawmakers could stand up to the president and his followers.

Congress, not the president, was set forth in the Constitution as the most powerful branch of the American government. But in recent decades, and especially with the Bush administration, presidential power has become paramount in Washington. If Democrats turned their attention to the Constitution, they could easily find support to call for a reversal of this trend. At the same time, Congressional power would be expanded. America would stop sliding farther and farther into becoming a dictatorship, and move instead closer to true Democracy. Congressional Democrats could lead this fight against expanding presidential power, and in doing so would probably gain even more support from the people.

But I no longer have very high hopes for the weaklings who hold this responsibility, as well as the other pressing demands of Congress. I am overall quite disappointed in them. The position they're in is perfect for pulling America in the right direction, but they simply don't seem capable of this.

My last hope for them lies in the attorney scandal. If they can stand up to the challenges of the Congressional vs. Presidential power struggle that this has caused and will continue to fuel, then perhaps they're not doomed. And perhaps, after all, their legacy will not be one of disappointment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Nappy Headed Hos: The Media Scandal of the Month

There has been an issue in the news over the past couple of days that has really bothered me.

Consider, for a moment, the following quote:

"There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision."

Now, what does it sound like this person is talking about? To me, it sounds like some media outlet has repeatedly and purposefully stepped outside the boundaries of decency and political correctness when it comes to race, and perhaps to gender. If this was the case, that quote would make complete sense. However, that is unfortunately not the case. It is actually something CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said regarding the following comments aired on Don Imus's morning television show and radio simulcast, Imus in the Morning:

"That's some rough girls from Rutgers, man, they got tattoos, and, some hardcore hos. That's some nappy headed hos right there, I'mma tell you that right now."

No, seriously. I kid you not. That is the media scandal of the week, and, potentially, the month.

He was talking about the Rutgers women's basketball team, in a segment about their championship loss last week to Tennessee. Now, this team happens to be mostly African American women, so right away Imus's offhand remark that the team looked like "nappy headed hos" got tossed into the mosh pit of racial relations in America.

Over a week's time after being aired, these comments slowly stirred increasing amounts of anger from civil rights groups. Civil rights leaders and proponents from Al Sharpton, to Jesse Jackson, to Barack Obama, to Oprah Winfrey, began to call for Don Imus to be fired. They got their wish. First, MSNBC and CBS, the two companies which aired his program, gave him a one-week suspension. Now they've completely removed him from the air, indefinitely.

Now, there are a few incredibly ironic things about this whole situation.

Firstly, in growing publicly angry about these offhand remarks, these people have gained the comments nationwide noteriety. While a week ago, the only people who knew about these comments were the faithful viewers of Imus in the Morning, now everyone in the country knows about them. Everyone in the country has been exposed to this supposedly horrible racial slur, "nappy headed hos." They have taken something they violently disagree with, and they have given it exposure. They're worried about "the effect language like this has on our young people," but in combatting it they have exposed "our young people" to it.

Secondly, the comment itself. It's not even stereotyping. He didn't say "All African American women are nappy headed hos." In fact, he went on to say that the Tennessee team - which has just as high a percentage of African American women as the Rutgers team - "all look cute." In using the phrase "nappy headed hos," Imus was referring to the Rutgers team, and only to the Rutgers team. He wasn't sending a cruel, hateful message to African Americans or African American women. He didn't use any blatantly racist terminology. All he did was call one small group of people "nappy headed hos." While this may be somewhat tasteless and mildly offensive, it is not grounds for firing.

Thirdly, let's take a look at Don Imus himself. Sure, he has a reputation as a "shock jock" of sorts, and he's said some pretty risky things in the past. But there's another side to him. Since 1990, his Radiothons have raised over $40 million for children with diseases like cancer. And he's quite profitable, as well. He makes CBS $15 million a year, for example. Does he sound like a horrible guy? I think not. The news of his firing came down in the middle of his most recent Radiothon, at the beginning of which he quipped, "This may be our last Radiothon, so we need to raise about $100 million." He really cares about the charitable causes he raises money for. Taking him off the air will not only cost the companies which chose to do so, but it could also potentially cost these foundations millions of dollars. Is the pride of one basketball team really worth that?

The greatest lesson we as a people can learn from this media scandal of the month is that we've grown too sensitive to political correctness. When the media can be brought to a screeching halt by one morning host calling a basketball team "nappy headed hos," there are some clear priority issues in America. Why should we force our broadcasters, who spend nearly insane amounts of time gathering and presenting the news to us, to constantly watch their mouths in fear of even a minorly offensive remark? Sure, there are things that should not be said on news programs, but I'd hardly say "nappy headed hos" qualifies there.

The final message I'll leave you with is this: That cracker Imus may have said something somewhat indecent, but I highly doubt those nappy heads have lost sleep over it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Support the Troops by Bringing Them Home

Earlier today, while visiting a military base, President Bush said of the War on Terror, "We've lost some fantastic young men and women. And we honor their service and their sacrifice by completing the mission, by helping a generation of Americans grow up in a peaceful world." This echoes the same message war supporters shout at anyone who believes we should withdraw our soldiers from Iraq. Supposedly, the highest honor we can give a soldier who has died in Iraq is to get the job done; and any talk of pulling American soldiers out of Iraq shows a lack of support for those soldiers. Democrats, nervous as they have been with their newfound power in Congress during the first few months of this year, blindly accepted this mantra. Every piece of legislation Democrats have proposed that sends a message of being against the surge in Iraq has spent more time making sure to note support of the troops than to denounce the war.

But just imagine, for a moment, that you were a soldier in Iraq. You've seen more death in the last month than most people see in a lifetime. Every day, you go about your duties, without any guarantee that you'll survive the day. You might have sub-par body armor and weapons, and the vehicles you ride in are easily turned into scrap metal by IEDs. This might be the sort of life you're willing to lead, if you're fighting for a good cause, but in Iraq what noble intentions may exist are weak, at best. Now ask yourself: Would you rather people show their support by keeping you in this impossible and pointless demonstration of American folly, or by realizing that's all it is and bringing you home to your loved ones?

Oh, but we're fighting for a good cause! We've brought the fight to them so we don't have to fight them here! We're making the world a safer place! We're fighting terrorism, you un-American swine!

A good cause? Are you kidding me? Since when is invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses of a connection to a terrorist attack, killing tens of thousands of civilians, creating a political vacuum in the middle of a volatile region, and throwing the whole place into a state of chaos a good cause? World War II? Good cause. Afghanistan? Good cause. Iraq? Not so much.

But you supported the war in the beginning! You flip-flopper!

Based upon the information the American people were fed by the Bush Administration early on, yes, I thought it was a noble cause. Four years of watching the death toll rise, and the Arab world stumble toward complete chaos, and, most importantly, learning that we were deceived as to the original intent of the war have taught me otherwise. I cannot support a war that was initiated under false pretenses, and only later was tied to the advancement of freedom and democracy around the world.

Well, what about the soldiers who have died? We must honor their sacrifice by finishing what they started!

There was no reason to put them in a position to die in the first place. Attempting to finish an unfinishable job in no way honors their deaths. Honor their deaths by making sure no more of their brothers have do die for the lost cause they died for.

Come to your senses, people! Calling for a troop withdrawal is in no way contrary to supporting the soldiers. We're not talking about a mad scramble out of the country, allowing the insurgents to fire at our soldiers' backs. We're talking about a steady decrease in troop levels until all of our soldiers are out of that ridiculous hell hole and back home where they belong. Support our soldiers. Bring them home.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Teaching the Bible in School

I just read a profoundly insightful editorial-article in Time promoting the teaching of the Bible in public schools. The basic premise of this article is that:

"Simply put, the Bible is the most influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year. In a 1992 survey of English teachers to determine the top-10 required "book-length works" in high school English classes, plays by Shakespeare occupied three spots and the Bible none. And yet, let's compare the two: Beauty of language: Shakespeare, by a nose. Depth of subject matter: toss-up. Breadth of subject matter: the Bible. Numbers published, translated etc: Bible. Number of people martyred for: Bible. Number of wars attributed to: Bible. Solace and hope provided to billions: you guessed it. And Shakespeare would almost surely have agreed. According to one estimate, he alludes to Scripture some 1,300 times. As for the rest of literature, when your seventh-grader reads The Old Man and the Sea, a teacher could tick off the references to Christ's Passion--the bleeding of the old man's palms, his stumbles while carrying his mast over his shoulder, his hat cutting his head--but wouldn't the thrill of recognition have been more satisfying on their/own?"

In other words, the Bible is one of the foundations of Western culture. And even taken from a purely literary and non-religious viewpoint, its impact on the growth of the culture that we all know and (mostly) love supercedes any other single piece of literature in the world. Sure, one could attribute plenty of wars and suffering directly to the Bible or interpretations of the Bible, but its impact on society has been a mostly positive one. Shakespeare essentially started modern literature, and has remained of utmost importance for hundreds of years; but the Bible has remained at the root of most of Western culture for thousands of years. Yet it would be hard to be processed through the public education system without reading one or two Shakespearean plays, and even harder to find an educationally sound teaching of the Bible.

The lessons it teaches are mostly good ones, too. After all, what completely sane secular philosopher would disagree with “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal”? John Locke’s Social Contract, arguably the philosophical basis of the American government, said that the rights to life, liberty, and property – two of which (life and property) are central to the Bible – are self-evident and inalienable. Even Ayn Rand, Mrs. Objectivism and Selfishness, said people were not means to ends (in other words, although it’s important to be selfish, you shouldn’t take it to the extent that it harms other people). The Bible is the single greatest philosophy and morality handbook ever written, and, whether you like it or not, has at least an indirect influence on the vast majority of laws in the Western world. If Locke and Rand are crucial to a good education in philosophy, then why aren’t Matthew and Paul?

The Bible is also quite historically accurate. In many cases, it’s the most reliable historical source that exists about an event. It documents the entire history of a people – the Israelites – who rank up with the Greeks and Romans in terms of influence on our culture. If some form of ancient world history is a curriculum requirement, then shouldn’t the Bible be part of that? I know for a fact from my own experience that ancient history is the 6th grade Social Studies class in my school district, and is therefore required. As I recall, there was one section (a few pages) on Christianity, while there were whole chapters on cultures so distant to us as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. There is clearly a problem here.

This Time article suggests that Biblical literacy classes ought to be offered in every school district’s high schools. It says that this can be done without trampling on the separation of church and state. After all, as the article says, in the Supreme Court decision that removed prayer and explicit religious teaching from schools (the 1963 Abington Township School District v. Shempp decision):

“[T]he exemption for secular study of Scripture was explicit and in the majority opinion: "Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment," wrote Justice Tom C. Clark. Justice Arthur Goldberg contributed a helpful distinction between "the teaching of religion" (bad) and "teaching about religion" (good).”

It is, therefore, possible to teach the Bible in school without going against the establishment clause. This same conclusion has always been accepted for other religions – schools teach about ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Eastern religions in Mythology courses.

But I see a lot of potential danger in creating a class that teaches about the Bible. Even if the class’s course outline dictates that it must be taught neutrally and without any preaching, I can imagine some difficulty in finding a teacher at every high school in the nation willing to do so. There would undoubtedly be cases in which a teacher would go too far in the “teaching about religion” and lapse into the “teaching of religion.” That is simply unacceptable – every student has the right to be in any class without being preached to.

The Bible also would also be out of place in a Mythology class. To be sure, the Bible, for the most part, would fit. It is a historical account with religious overtones, just like the vast majority of mythology. But there are two crucial distinctions: Firstly, the Bible is more historically accurate than most mythology. Secondly, the Bible is still believed in by a lot of people. While there aren’t many people in the world who would object to something like the Iliad being called a myth, there are billions of people in the world who would object to Genesis being called a myth. So the Bible can’t be taught as mythology.

The answer, I think, is to incorporate elements of the Bible where they fit into the established curriculum. Literature teachers should teach about the Bible’s literary significance. History teachers should teach about its historical significance. Philosophy teachers can teach about its moral and philosophical teachings. Mythology teachers, even, can incorporate it into their classes – as long as they’re careful not to explicitly call it a myth – and show students how similar the myths that they’re learning are to the Bible. This would all put the Bible into a proper educational context, whereas teaching it as a standalone class would not. It would also make it less likely for a teacher to turn their classroom into a Sunday school, as they would only be teaching the Bible in the context of their chosen area of expertise.

I am not a Christian. I do not consider the Bible to be a holy book, and it is not my moral compass. I would, therefore, be one of the first people to denounce something that goes against the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Secular teaching of the most important piece of literature in Western culture, however, does not do so. There is a thin line between teaching and preaching, to be sure, but I have faith in a teacher’s ability to secularly present the Bible as part of a course they’re teaching. Students would benefit form a greater understanding of the religious and social debates of the day, and if it led indirectly to more conversions to Christianity, then so what? The First Amendment, after all, says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” So let’s shape up, and get the Bible on that list of the top ten required readings in high school.

The Time article can be found here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Announcement: I'm running for president!

My fellow Americans:

I come before you today to announce that I have formed a Presidential Exploratory Committee, and that I am looking into the possibility of running for the office of president of the United States. Many of you may not know who I am, but I promise, in the coming weeks and months, to make myself known to all of you.

If elected president, I promise to lead the American people with strength and determination. I will not stand down from what I believe. I promise that I will make my judgments without any consideration for such things as "reason" and "public opinion," but rather that I will stick to my beliefs no matter what. Washington is full of people who change their minds for reasons so trivial as evidence to the contrary and experience and being convinced by the other side's arguments. These flip-floppers have no place in American politics.

I promise to take the reins in the War on Terror. That is not a promise to go after Osama bin Laden and other top members of Al Qaeda, but rather to lead America deeper into the Middle Eastern quagmire, and closer to causing the entire region to burst into flames. To solve the Iraq dilemma, I propose we send at least 100,000 more American soldiers to the war zone. With these troops, as well as those already stationed there, we will annex the country, and claim it as a territory of the United States. It will be run under martial law by generals answering directly to me, until such time as we can quell the insurgency and convert all Iraqis to Christianity, the only true faith. It can then be a shining beacon of Democracy and Christianity in the midst of the evil Arab world. To this end, I will immediately more than double the annual budget of the Department of Defense to just under $1 trillion.

To ensure that our struggle against terrorism is a united front, and therefore easier, I promise to further reduce civil liberties in favor of security. I will push for legislation making it illegal to speak out against the war effort, or anyone with direct ties to the military, including the president. We will bolster our espionage and sedition laws. This noble fight may also require revocation of the First Amendment, so I will propose an amendment which overturns it. We must all remember that our lives, as well as the safety of our nation, are at stake.

I promise to follow in the footsteps of President Bush in strengthening the power of the Executive Branch. I will seek to amend the Constitution so that presidential vetoes cannot be overturned. Another amendment I will push for will allow the president to directly remove Supreme Court justices and appoint new ones, without any Congressional oversight. In appointing cabinet members and other positions in the government that are chosen by the president, I will not consider aptitude or experience, but rather how closely each person agrees with my opinions and my way of thinking. With these changes, I will create a unified and strong Executive Branch, impervious to the shifting winds of Congress and the Supreme Court, and immune to Constitutional considerations.

On social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and stem-cell research, I will stand strongly Conservative. We cannot allow these sinners to get their way. I will propose yet another amendment to the Constitution, establishing Christianity as the state religion. In this way, all we shall have to do to make something illegal will be to prove that it goes against the Bible - an easy task. We can outlaw gay marriage, abortion, and stem-cell research now and for all time. Special care will have to be taken so that our rivals do not mockingly propose a law such as one that makes it illegal to wear two types of cloth at the same time; but since I will be able to veto anything without any chance of my veto being overturned, this shouldn't be a problem.

I promise to reform the economy. America must adjust to an increasingly global market, and the key to this is a strong stock market. The American stock market must grow steadily, and to this end my first economic proposal is a plan to increase investment. We should do away with all taxes to the top 10%, by income, of Americans. These people will surely invest this extra money into the economy. In order to offset the loss in tax revenue, we will increase taxes to all other Americans. If tax revenues gained from these increases are more than revenues lost from the first part of this plan, the leftover money will be split in two. Half will go to the Defense Department, and the other half will go to reimburse the wealthy for their contributions to the economy. In this way, our stock market can be strengthened.

Outsourcing is also a danger to the American economy, and must be solved. My second proposal for the economy is, therefore, a reinstitution of slavery. This will be possible once Christianity is the state religion, as slavery is sanctioned in the Bible. We will go to overpopulated Third World countries, and take custody of a few thousand people, every few months or so. Then, every American citizen who loses their job to outsourcing will be freely given two of these people as slaves. We will then subsidize plantation farming and manufacturing, and encourage people to either sell their slaves to plantations, or join group plantations with other victims of outsourcing. Those who lose their jobs to outsourcing, therefore, will be reimbursed for their troubles. Any leftover slaves will be sold to the highest bidder, invigorating the American economy. Third World countries will also benefit from the decrease in population.

We can strengthen America. We can make it a beacon of justice and morality. We can solidify our place as the richest nation on Earth. We can win the War on Terror. Stand with me, and I promise you all of these things. Thank you.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some thoughts on life

Whenever I really get to thinking about it, one person's life isn't really all that significant in the grand scheme of things. The city/town I live in has around 100,000 people altogether. That's 100,000 individuals, each with their own personalities, aspirations, and actions. 100,000 people each at the center of their own universe. And even the whole city is only a tiny speck on a map of the world. The world itself, even, revolves around the sun, which itself is a tiny speck of light in our galaxy, which itself borders on insignificance in the vastness of the space around it. All of the actions and interactions and personality traits and thoughts and emotions of any single person could be brought together and added up, and in the context of all that is, it would be so infintesimally small that it may as well not exist at all.

You could easily consider this in a very grim and opportunistic light. If my life doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, then what's the use in living it well? Why shouldn't I just work to serve my own interests, my own desires, my own entertainment? After all, no matter how horrible a deed I commit, when weighed in the context of the universe, it basically didn't happen. Chaos theory would say that that action can have consequences that have their own consequences, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, until the end product is something much more significant. But if every action starts a similar chain of events, then there are so many actions going on all the time and starting such chains that a single one of them is still insignificant. You could justify just about anything you do in this way.

The problem is that it's irrational in the first place to consider your life in the context of all that is. The human mind cannot truly imagine the vastness of even something so simple as the number of people on earth: 6.5 billion. That's 6,500, a thousand times over, a thousand times over, people. In the broader picture of the universe, scientists can only explain distances in light years, which are just under 6 trillion miles. The human brain is simply not capable of comprehending these numbers; that's why we have to break them down into units we can easily calculate and talk about: thousands, millions, billions, trillions. The simple fact that the units in all that is are so vastly different from the units involved in day-to-day life shows that you cannot consider the two together. You can either consider the whole universe, and not even think about each individual person (including yourself) at all because they're so insignificant; or you can consider each individual person, and not think about the universe as a whole because it so hugely dwarfs the individuals that you cannot clearly look at them. An individual cannot be thought of in the context of the universe any more than the universe can be thought of in context of individuals.

So we can only really think of ourselves in a context we can more clearly comprehend: Our immediate environment, and all the people we come into contact with. In such a context, I think it's worth it to try to live a good life. Who cares that all the good I could possibly do in my life isn't significant in the grand scheme of things? It's significant to my world, and it's significant to the world of each person who is affected by it.

If I impact a single person in a positive way, no matter how small it is, it's significant. The same holds true for negative impacts. And you really can't avoid having negative impacts on some people. I know I've hurt people in the past, and I know I'll hurt people in the future. That's just the way life is. But I'd really like, when I'm old and see death approaching, to be able to look back and see that I've left an overall positive impact on this world. I'd like to know I've helped people far more than I've hurt them.

My life will be significant, even if not in the context of the universe. I'd like it to be significant in a good way.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some Poetry

Yeah, I'm really not all that terribly good at poetry, but from time to time I try. Here's some of my better attempts.

Just Ask

Just ask,
And I'll open my door.
My home is yours, if you want it,
And you can always sleep warm, next to me.
Just ask, and you can stay.

Just ask,
And I'll open my arms,
And give you a place you can go,
Whenever your life seems too much to bear.
Just ask, and I'll be there for you.

Just ask,
And I'll open my mind
To the thought of us together;
A future with you always by my side.
Just ask, and I'll think about it.

Just ask,
And I'll open my heart,
And let you into that deep place,
Where all my joys and sorrows congregate.
Just ask, and I'll fall in love with you.

Just ask,
And I'll open my soul,
And help you knit it to your own,
So no matter where you are, I'm with you.
Just ask, and I'm yours.

All you have to do is ask.

Will you forgive me?

Will you forgive me for loving you?
For thinking that you're beautiful?
Will you forgive me for wanting to be with you,
Or thinking you'd be worth the wait?
Will you forgive me for giving you my heart?
For pouring my soul out,
And praying for your approval?
Will you forgive me for knowing how impossible it was
For us to ever be together--
And still believing?
Will you forgive me for all my prayers,
Or every night I sat up thinking of you?
Will you forgive me for the warmth I felt
Everytime I thought of you,
And everytime you said you loved me?
Will you forgive me for feeling weak,
Yet stronger than I've ever felt,
Everytime you said something sweet to me?
Will you forgive me for wanting you to be happy
And wanting to be the reason?
Will you forgive me for wanting to fall asleep in your arms,
Knowing you'd still be there when I woke up?
Will you forgive me for my weakness?
For clinging onto you so desperately,
When any fool could tell you didn't want me anymore?
Will you forgive me for loving you,
And wishing you felt the same?

Just Like That

and just like that
my world is turned upside down
over and over
until i cant tell
which way is up
or down
or right
because it all seems so wrong
theres no lack of things
to worry about
will my life turn out
how i want it to
do i even know
how i want it to
no lack of things
to pick myself apart for
saying one thing
and doing another
thinking im better
than i really am
no lack of things
to despise the world for
the intollerance
the insensitivity
the "independence"
no lack of reasons to feel

My new blog

Well, if you're on here at this point, you obviously know I have a blog. You may not know, however, that it's a brand new blog as of today. You may also have no idea who I am.

So now you know it's a new blog. As for the knowing who I am... that's not something I feel up to writing about right now. If you really must know for some reason, go to my MySpace profile to find out.

This blog will eventually replace my MySpace blog that has hosted my writing for almost a year now. I feel like my writing needs a more professional and permanent home. I'll start by posting some of my writing that's currently on my MySpace blog...perhaps later tonight. Then I'll start writing more often like I've been meaning to do for months, and it'll all (or mostly) go up here.

Some of my writing will be about my life. Some will be creative writing (some poetry, and a novel I need to get back to...). The majority, though, will probably be editorial-type stuff: observations, opinions, commentary. I'll try not to be preachy, but it may sneak into it every now and then.