Saturday, September 22, 2007

The "Philosophic Divide" Between Republicans and Democrates?

Like most people, my political philosophy sort of centers on Libertarian Principles:

"To each his own"

"Live & Let live"

This was the angle I had in the original version of The New Bill of Rights, but the trouble with having a libertarian point of view is this: it assumes men are going to do the right thing without capitalizing on a person's situation. In other words, Libertarians are naive.

This is where Socialism comes into play. Take firemen for example, if your house is on fire, you don't make 3 calls to get the lowest bid for someone to come put out the fire, nor does the fireman ask, "Do you have fire insurance?" before they'll come put the fire out. You immediately call 911, and watch to see how fast they get there. And, when the fire's out, you don't cringe when the fireman hands you a bill because there isn't one. In other words, our nation's fire department is an example of Socialism in action. It's taking a life or death matter and taking MONEY out of the equation.

Some other examples of Socialism are our Public Schools, the Postal Service, and Police Officers.

I was having this discussion about Socialism, Universal Health care, and Universal College Education with a guy the other day, and he made the comment, if you socialize college education and health care the quality will decline. Then, I reminded him of the 200+ fireman who lost their lives on 9/11. And, I asked him point blank, do you think New Yorkers were getting shoddy service from these fireman who ran into the Twin Towers without regard for their personal safety to save thousands of lives? And, he said, "You make a good point."

Really, the question isn't about a "philosophic divide" between Democrats and Republicans as George Bush referred to in his lastest speech, it's really about convictions.

Do you believe every American deserves health care as a basic human right?

Do you believe every American child deserves a college education as a basic human right?

As I alluded to a moment ago, the essence of capitalism is to capitalize monetarily on a given situation, which is why we don't allow capitalists to become involved in the business of "burning houses." Based on this principle, I say the principles of socialism need to be applied to our children's education and our own well being.

Politicians started a program called, "No Child Left Behind."
Is it Universal Education? No.
Is it a bureaucratic system with a bunch of hoops and arbitrary disqualifications? Yes.
Does every American child have the opportunity to get a college education without being strapped with loads of debt? No.
Is the "No Child Left Behind" program really just a political catch phrase designed to make American people think politicians have solved the education problem in this country? Yes.

Do you think the American people deserve better?

Is this discussion about a "philosophic divide," or are we talking about convictions?

If you saw slightly less money in your paycheck, but you knew your children were going to college, and they would be taken care of if they became sick, would you really miss the money?

Actually, if congress had been looking out for the American people, they wouldn't have gone 8 years without raising the minimum wage. Workers would be getting paid a Living Wage instead of Minimum Wage? (A living wage is a wage which allows workers to meet basic financial obligations like; rent, groceries, insurance, car payments. A Living Wage is currently around $20 an hour right now; this is what the minimum wage should be, but it's not.) This is why I included a living wage in "The Worker Rights Amendment" in The New Bill of Rights.

The bottom line is, there are gaping holes in the United State's domestic policies, and it is due to a lack of rights of the American people. It is for this reason, the United States of America needs an overhaul, which is basically what The New Bill of Rights would be.

I'm not even sure if you would call Universal Health Care and Education: Socialism. Socialism has a negative connotation--really, it's human beings meeting the needs of other human beings, and supposedly that's a bad thing because stockholders and obscene profits are taken out of the equation--it doesn't make sense. There are certain industries that need to be run by the government.

France is a country that has Universal Health Care and Education. French workers also work only 35 hours a week. They get 1 month of paid vacation every year. They have 10 personal days off per year and 5 sick days per year. They call there system a Welfare State because it's a system that looks out for the welfare of all French people equally--in other words, they are proud of their Welfare System, and they should be--Frenchmen aren't treating their fellow Frenchmen like rented mules.

Truth be told, if Americans started figuring out how much better the French have it, we might see American migration to France. Sure, they pay more in taxes, but at least they have something positive to show for it.

On the other hand, social progress happens way too slow in the United States. Around 75 years passed between the time slaves were freed after the Civil War and women were given the right to vote. At this rate we'll see Universal Health Care and Education in about 200 years.

The slow rate of change in social progress inspired me to write The New Bill of Rights. I don't believe things need to progress so slowly. So, I borrowed the idea of creating 10 Amendments from James Madison. The purpose of these new 10 Amendments is to bring about badly needed dramatic social change.

The New Bill of Rights deals with granting new rights to American people much like the original Bill of Rights granted. In effect, these new rights will act as counter measures in the way original Bill of Rights did.

For example, the 1st Amendment: Freedom of Speech acts a counter measure against an oppressive regime in Washington that might like to squash dissent by putting people in prison for voicing opposing opinions--it's happened repeatedly throughout history and continues to happen to this day in other countries.

In conclusion, if Americans adopt The New Bill of Rights, it will create a much happier United States.

How To Build A Better Lo Jack

Nothing pisses me off more than thieves.

The old saying, "There's no honor among thieves" is about as a true a statement as there ever was. This is why I believe a better Lo Jack system needs to be created.

Imagine going into your local Target or Walmart and buying a package of 20 devices the size of a quarter. Each device sends out the same signal and has the ability to be tracked via cell phone towers and has a shelf life of 5 years. You take each device and stick it to the items likely to be stolen by thieves, and if it gets know the rest.

To me, it seems like the technology is there to create something along these lines. It just has yet to be created.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sports Stories: Issue #1 "Yankees and Boston"

What happened last night in baseball?

Yankees had a big 8th inning against the Red Sox, that's what.

Yankees were down 7-2 going into the 8th last night, and then the magic happened. OK, maybe it wasn't magic, but it felt like it.

Yankees had a 6 run eigth inning to come back and win 8-7. They didn't win the World Series, nor did they surpass the Red Sox in the standings, but enough things happened to get my imaginitive juices flowing--I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

I seriously doubt the Red Sox are going to choke at this point in the season, but it wouldn't competely surprise me, if the Yankees beat them in the playoffs, and I'm not really sure how I feel about that.

I still haven't forgot about the Red Sox coming back from 3 games down in '04. Easily, Red Sox's Yankee beating in '04 was the greatest come back in sports history, hands down--I'm not sure how that factors into the current Red Sox equation. Was that victory enough Karmic Justice, or do the Yankees need to look forward to more heart crushing defeats?

I do know there will be some exciting playoff games this year, and I'm not really sure who I'd like to see win: the Red Sox or the Yankees.

Normally, I'd like to see the Yankees win because the Red Sox don't really seem like contenders, but lately, I don't know. I guess this is what makes baseball interesting to me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Something I cook that kicks ass on several levels: Crab Bisque

It sounds like it might be complicated to make, but it's actually one of these easiest things in the world to make. It involves opening 2 cans.

Actually, you buy a 1 liter box of organic tomato soup and a 1 lb. can of cooked crab meat--they sell both at Wholefoods.

I've been making this for years. You put a couple of tablespoons of butter, a little bit of cream, and spice it to your liking. You should, however, put some "Old Bay" seasoning in it on principle.

Also, if your go through the trouble doing this, you should also get a loaf of french bread and a nice bottle of wine.

I'm not even sure if this is Crab Bisque, it's just what I call it. Actually, I'm not even sure I like using the word "bisque", but I will say, it tastes pretty freakin' awsome.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Global Dimming and Global Warming

Scientists have been measuring how much sunlight makes it through our atmosphere for decades. Is it a surprise, less and less sunlight has been making it through due to pollution, thus causing missing leading conclusions regarding Global Warming?

It's sort of a double whammy--sun rays are being deflected by polution, and sun rays that do get through get trapped.

Part of this equation was solved when all the jets were grounded for 3 days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. For the 1st time in decades the skies above the U.S. were crystal clear, and scientists were able to observe and record one of the largest temperature upswings in 30 years during this 3 day period.

Most people don't aware of this, but with all the jets flying above all day every day, an artificial cloud is created from the contrails of these jets. (the clouds caused by jet exhaust) If you saw satellite images of the U.S. after a typical day of 30,000+ jets crisscrossing the U.S., you would literally see a man made cloud covering the entire country. (As soon as I figure out how to post a picture to this blog I'll upload it so you can see what I'm talking about) When you see this cloud you realize this cloud is actually deflecting 15 to 20% of the sun's rays, you might ask yourself, "What are the consequences of this?"

The consequences are something the PBS documentary was trying to answer. Could this "artificial cloud" actually be disguising the dramatic effects of Global Warming? Could the situation regarding Global Warming be worse than any one has previously guessed.

In other words, everyone knew Global Warming was real because we can see where all of earth's glaciers used to be, but did we really know everything that was happening?

In the past 3 years, the speed of Greenland's ice sheet melting has doubled, in actuality, the speed has accelerated so much they can longer predict how fast it's melting. Greenland's ice sheet is a 1000 miles long and 2 miles deep. (If your having trouble imagining how big that is, cut the U.S. in half, and stick a 2 mile thick slab of ice on either half; that's how big Greenland is.)

There's a lot of freshwater that's headed for our oceans.

On the bright side, there may be some Woolly Mammoths thawing out soon that will be really fun to look at.

I have a lot to think about, but nothing to worry about.

This sentence is embroidered on professional golfer Rich Beem's bag. It really is something to live by, especially, if you're prone to worry like me.

Rich Beem took the phrase from a man he met who survived cancer.

It's sort of one of those, "Don't worry, be happy" phrases.

The "I have a lot to think about, but nothing to worry about," sentence tends to make its way into my consciousness lately, and if I'm worrying about something, my sense of worry dissipates immediately when I think of this sentence, and I start thinking about what I need to get done.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wide Foot Discrimination

Johnston Murphy makes a decent pair shoes, but if I were to go into a Johnston Murphy store and look at their selection of shoes, I wouldn't find any in my size. Why?? ...because my foot is a size 10 Double E.

(No, I don't have caveman feet. There are actually 7 sizes of E. I'm still 5 sizes from the widest. So there.)

Johnston Murphy, like most shoe stores, only carry up to about a size D. If your foot doesn't conform to the norm, you are SOL. This sucks.

It's not just Johnston Murphy, it's Cole Haan, and pretty much every major department store does this.

Your Personal Nuclear Power Plant

Who's behing the big-bio-fuels push??

I'm talking about ethanol from corn, palm oil, and biodiesel. These technologies are a diversion from the simple truth--the internal combustion engine needs to be phased out.

There's an ecological and economic cost to these technologies, but that's another blog entry.

Just think about this for a second: The vast majority of drivers have less than a 40 mile commute to and from work. A fully charged battery on a plug-in hybrid can take a driver as far as 100 miles, thus, in theory, if the driver was dutiful and plugged their hybrid in every night, the internal combustion engine in a plug-in hybrid would never need to kick in. Therefore, most people can get to and from work without emitting anymore CO2 than they are exhaling.

If everyone converted to battery power, what would happen to all the oil companies??

Without getting into a multitude of conspiracy theories, the U.S. could have as many as 500 nuclear power plants right now, today. Instead of putting a trillion dollars of debt down to fight a hopeless war in an oil rich nation, money could be spent to build 500 nuclear power plants. These power plants could be built with enough redundancies to make them completely Fail Safe like the 90 or so power plants currently supplying France with 40% of France's electric power. These nuclear power plants could be supplying about 70% of the United State's electricity cheaply, without damaging our atmosphere, and without cutting down our Rain forests. The waste of these power plants could be stored in Yucca Mountain where they've already spent billions building a safe storage facility.

Dream: To be interviewed by Charlie Rose regarding my book

My favorite show on TV is Charlie Rose.

Interview & Documentary Ideas & Why

Neal Armstrong--1st man to walk on the moon. He's getting old.
Terry Bradshaw--Only quarterback to lead his team to 4 Super Bowls and win.
Colt Knost--just won U.S. Amateur and U.S. Jr. Open. He sort of has a John Daly flair only better.

I'd like to write a mini-biography of Earl Woods to better understand Tiger Woods.

Sarath--I'd like to do a documentary of him doing the Series 1-6 of Ashtanga Yoga. I believe Sarath is the only man alive currently who can do Series 6.

Hillary to Spencer: "I love your shoes, where did you get them?"

This is what America needs right now--a woman president.

Fun Fact: Did you know Buzz Aldrin was the 1st man to lose his virginity in space?

Letterman...I love that dude.