Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reason for the Season II

So last year, I made a post on this blog that was critical of the religious origins of Christmas. Many of us Atheists who've felt subjugated, marginalized, and in some cases, discriminated against in the past, sometimes take target with the hegemony that we're not real Americans if we don't believe in a God. After all, it says "IN GOD WE TRUST" on our currency. God is mentioned numerous times in the Constitution. Though this might not be the Christian God, Christians have certainly adopted it as so.

I didn't know there was a word for people that didn't believe in God when I was a child. Maybe I was around 8 or so when I made that choice. I was the only Atheist in my family. And although I was raised Christian, I had serious doubts from a very young age. Ultimately, I decided that I didn't agree in an invisible man in the sky that cast magic spells on the world.

High school was difficult. Some girl in one of my classes kept talking to me about God and I finally told her I was an Atheist. From then on out, the Christians in the school decided that meant I was the Anti Christ and worshipped the devil. I got told numerous times by people that I would go to hell... um, if I didn't believe in hell. Really, Christians? Do you see how dumb a threat that is to make to an Atheist?

A very common question I get is what terrible event happened in my life that made me turn away from God. This is such a bizarre question, that I'm still baffled by the frequency in which I'm asked it. It's the same as me asking a Christian what Zeus did to them to make them turn away from him. Or to ask a Christian did you turn to Christianity after the Flying Spaghetti Monster allowed a loved one to die? It's just so ridiculous. Christians, stop asking me that. It's about as insulting as assuming someone is gay because they were molested as a kid.

Anyways, Atheists continue to face discrimination. According to polls, Atheists are the least trusted by Americans. We're lower down the scale than Muslims. Not that I have a problem with Muslims, but what did us Atheists ever do to you people to make you distrust us so much?

Sometimes people mention Mao and Stalin--two Atheists that murdered millions of people. The problem with that, is they didn't kill people because they were Atheists. They killed people because they were Communists. Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto that the world would never know peace unless all societies rejected religion. Then, we'd have nothing to fight over. How many people know that Imagine by John Lennon is a song advocating Marxism? Me and my tangents.

Ok, so there was this guy named Hitler. He wanted to create a totalitarian regime just like the communists had, but he wasn't going to follow the movement created by Karl Marx, a jew, and he wasn't going to give up Christianity. Hitler, who was Catholic, believed that the world could be united under his rule if everyone followed Catholic, Aryan superiority. Those that did not, would be killed. So Nazism is essentially the exact same as Communism, but with God and racism. My point is that it was not Atheism that caused Mao and Stalin to kill people, just as it was not Catholicism that caused Hitler to kill people. I blame Liberals, but that's for another post.

I'm still struck by something Glenn Beck once said. Religious people often show hate and distrust(or contempt) for us Atheists, but Beck makes a distinction about religion of faith and religion of culture. It's not a point he belabors. But it's one I think should be made clear. Though I do not believe in God, I am culturally a Christian. I've never smoked pot before or done illegal drugs. I don't sleep around. I've never struck anyone in anger. I don't lie or deceive people for personal gain. I sometimes exaggerate about myself to try and get people to like me, and I hate that I do that, but sometimes it slips out when I'm feeling nervous around people. But otherwise, I'm an honest, moral person. That doesn't mean I think these are only Christian values. But I can make the argument that I think Atheists are in a better position to hold Christian morals than Christians are.

After all, I do good things because I want to. I feel better about who I am and how I help to further along society because of my actions. I know when I die, all that I am on this planet ends. The only way I exist passed that point, is if I've made the world a better place because of my life.

Christians do not believe as such. For you, you're not good because you want to be(although that can also be the case for some people). You're good because you fear punishment. That's not the same thing. You don't do good deeds to make the world a better place. You do them because you want a reward. After all, you think you're going to exist in some form after you die. You can trash the Earth as much as you want because you feel this isn't your permanent resting place. It's some make believe Heaven you're trying to get to, that you're focused on. This doesn't make you a good person. Though, like I said, there are Christians that have faith, and are good people. Prisons are full of the most religious people on the planet, where as Atheists are extremely rare in prisons--a much, much lower ratio than in the general population.

Ok, well, that's not what I wanted to talk about in this post. What I actually want to talk about is to be critical of Atheists and this ridiculous anti Christian movement. I think the backlash against Christianity by the Politically Correct crowd has gotten out of control. You don't need to believe you're scaring off evil spirits to celebrate Halloween. You don't have to work all day in the fields to be bringing in the harvest to celebrate Thanksgiving. You don't have to be Mexican to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Irish to wear green on Saint Patrick's Day. And you don't have to believe in the Christian God to celebrate Christmas.

So none of this "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" crap. Just say "Merry Christmas." And if Atheists out there get mad, they can suck it. It's just another holiday with a strange origin. Just enjoy it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Game Jam

So I went to my first game jam yesterday. It was a get together of about 12 people. We split up into two groups. Each had about 4 hours to come up with an idea and make it into a fully functioning game. I didn't even know it was possible to do that, that fast, but it is.

Ok, to back up a little. The site was the game studio of 5th Planet Games in Roseville. The guy hosting the event even bought us all pizza. Apparently, there was a never ending supply of soda and candy there too, though I passed on that. The two teams were pretty unbalanced. The host, who was a programmer who worked there, the guy running the event who was also a programmer and worked at a different gaming studio, and another guy(who I think teaches game design at a local community college) was there... yeah, they were all in one team. The rest of us that had never been to a game jam before, we made up the other team. There wasn't much thought involved in setting up the teams. It was the people that sat down on the left side were in Group A, the rest in B.

But putting that aside, we managed to put something together. As "the writer," I knew long before I signed up to go, that there was going to be nothing productive for me to contribute to a quickie game. But, I knew it would be interesting and hoped to maybe learn something and network a little. As it turned out, I was the only "artist," so I ended up drawing sprites for our 2D tank combat game. I mostly downloaded sprites off the internet and photoshopped them to fit what we needed--ie, the gun had to rotate separately. Well, our "programmer," wasn't all that experienced. So the best he could do is get the tank to drive around in all 4 directions.

The other team didn't have an artist at all, so they had a fairly(for 4 hours work) complex game with smoothly moving boxes and circles. The object was sort of like Pac Man. So our game has some cool sprites with limited game play and theirs--the opposite.

Not that I know much about the game industry, but it seems like Facebook and the Iphone created this revolution of simple, quick and dirty games that small teams can knock out in a week. So these little studios are popping up and making money cranking out silly games. I dunno. These aren't the kind of games I have any interest in playing or making. I only care about role playing / adventure games or puzzle/strategic games. Twitchy, fast paced games that rely on reflexes... I've never liked those. So neat revolution happening, but nothing I can really hop on. But, it is good practice to get in and brain storm with fellow gamers and work as a team.

I guess this is the dilemma on the job front. Do I diversify or intensify? I could diversify by teaching myself level design. There's a lot more companies looking for level designers than writers. A lot more. Or, do I intensify and just focus on trying to pad out my writing credentials? Maybe I can focus on some short stories, get them published professionally in some small markets, and add it to my portfolio.

In either case, I'm still plugging away at my novel. I'm pretty happy with it. The main character is also the narrator, and she's a young woman. She's still naive about the world. So there's some things here and there that she doesn't pick up, but the reader will. It's fun writing that way. I think people will really like her once I finish the book. She's a strong character with strong convictions and perseverance in a brutal and unforgiving world. But she's also very lonely despite being surrounded by people. That's probably something a lot of us can relate to. Speaking of that, I should go back to it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Chapter

I've spent my entire life in school. Sure, I've worked over the summers either doing construction or teaching since I was 14. I've had other jobs here and there to take a break from school or while I went to school. I worked as a journalist for a music magazine, was a professional musician, taught computers to 4-6th graders, booked bands at a night club, and many other less glamorous positions involving far more monotony than skill. But I always held on to going to college, despite changing majors a billion times. It was like this life line, this promise that one day I'd have the education to get into a surefire job to launch me into a brilliant career. Essentially, I've been waiting my whole life for life to happen.

So a month ago, despite acing my programming classes and Calc II, I decided I've had enough school and it was time to really go after my passion--creating. Now, being creative and having someone pay you for it, is about as hard a way to make a living as looking for a job as a breather. Everyone is creative. If literacy is the only real qualification, I'm literally competing with over a billion or two English speakers in the world. Ok, so what do I have going for me? I've sold my writing before, so I'm a published author. That narrows things down a lot... uh, to half a million people? I have a BA degree in something. About 15% of Americans do. And my BA is in something pretty useful for writing--Anthropology. Yay me. I'm starting to get somewhere. I sure play a lot of video games and know a lot about them. But as I narrow out my competition, I also narrow out my job fields. How many published writers who are game enthusiasts, native English speakers, and have a college degree in a social related field are there out there? I dunno. Maybe a few thousand. Ok, but how many game companies are there hiring full time game writers? Heh, wow, really not many. The overwhelming majority of writing done in games is done by someone who has another function in the game rather than a single person dedicated to just writing. There might be a hundred companies in the world big enough to consider a full time, dedicated writer. This is a really, really hard route to go. Not to mention, I have no experience in the game industry, and any company with a big enough project with enough overhead to support having a writer is not going to want to go with a rookie.

But I'm doing it anyways. One thing I have on my side, though big games take tens of millions of dollars to make, there's no shortage of people in their basement making smaller games for free. They might not be able to pay a writer(or anyone else on the team), but they certainly want one and won't turn down free help. Some of these games... well, they, of course want to be able to make enough money to pay people if the game sells or enough people donate. The reality is that 90% of these games that actually do make money, will make very little. If a game makes a couple thousand dollars in donations, and you and the other 10 guys on the team spent a year working on it... well, you see where I'm going here. Not a happy prospect. But most games won't "make it," and just fizzle out long before they ever get published. Even big companies often go broke before they're able to finish a game. As is, all companies publish their games before they want to. Everyone wants to spend just a little bit longer polishing and fixing bugs, but have to go to market to keep from going belly up. That won't stop the players from posting on your game's website about what idiots you are because there's bugs in your game like you didn't wave your magic wand over the game enough times to get all the bugs out.

So anyway, back to me. I decided I could spend the next 3 years finishing the prereqs to get into the Masters program at CSUS, then another year or two getting my Masters in Programming all to ensure a nice stable job sitting right next to the guy with my dream job. Or I can spend that same 5 years working for low to no wages as a game writer, hoping to make some contacts and build up a portfolio strong enough to get me that dream job of creating stories for games. So a month ago, I dropped out of college(hopefully) for the last time, and I'm going to go for it.

Well, it didn't take me long to get involved with several projects. The main one I'm working on, there's a small company in Canada looking to transition from software development to games. They're already programmers and game enthusiasts. They just needed to add some artists to the mix and have the start of a game company. I'm under an NDA, and although no one reads this blog, I still can't give the details. But what I can say is there's about 20 active team members--which is still small. The concept artwork for the game so far is very good. I really like it. It's quality stuff as good as anything you'd see in any top notch studio.

The project lead made a post on a game forum, looking for more artists. They weren't looking for a writer, but I contacted them anyways and talked my way in. It's sort of a Star Wars like game with lots of weird aliens and something like "The Force," so there's fantasy elements too. The concept artists draw these really bizarre looking aliens and I write about them and come up with names for them. Wow, having a degree in Anthropology(both cultural and evolutionary biology specializations) really helps here. So I look at physical adaptations they have, decide how they eat, what they hunt, how they defend themselves, etc. And I turn these concept art drawings into an entire ecosystem with highly detailed information. My background as a professional journalist helps here too. I give these highly detailed bio sheets for these little critters. This company is really happy with me and the work I'm doing. But, I mean, I'm a published author with a technical degree, and I'm working for free for a position they weren't originally looking for. The bar isn't very high. But... they are happy. I talk to them through Skype a few hours a week and we brain storm ideas about what players can do in the game--so I have a decent amount of say as well.

But I dunno. Many of the people working on the project are people that actually work on games professionally, so it's not a bunch of kids. So will the game actually get published and be big? Interestingly enough, part of that be based on me. The game's not going to go far without an investor(s) coming along and funding it. It's just not possible to make a great selling game without a big investment. Artists make $60k a year on average and programmers a little more than that. Big games have about a hundred of them working full time for a few years(bigger games have 3 or more times that). There's not much the 20 of us can do working part time to match that other than making a small, playable demo like we're doing now. But as "the writer" on the project, I'm the one that's going to be writing the pitch to investors, the dialogue that the characters in the game say, and the written content on the game's website. So it's my words investors and play testers will read.

Ok, so I have some in game quests to write.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


So I met Meg Whitman yesterday. It was a pretty small rally at a processing plant between Sacramento an Natomas. There were over a hundred people there. After the rally, lots of people were getting autographs, shaking Meg's hand, and sharing their enthusiasm. Meg was really nice, spending a good half hour just talking to people one on one and taking pictures with her. I handed Griff, Meg's husband, my camera so he could take a picture of Meg and I. Meg put her arm around me and smiled for the camera as Griff struggled to figure out how to push a single button.

I was standing there thinking, "Really? It's just a simple camera." Then he thought he had to back way up, so he did. And I was getting a little irritated. Just take the damn picture already! Other people were staring, waiting for their turn. Finally, the little red light flashes, and there... I got a picture next to Meg. She looked great. I looked really irritated and with half closed eyes. Damn it! What's wrong with me? Why couldn't I just relax and smile and be patient? Oh well. I'm a little bummed the picture didn't turn out well and a little irritated at myself for being irritated. I normally have a lot of patience, but when too many people are staring at me and I feel uncomfortable... well, anyways.

There's a lot at stake in this election. I've talked enough about Meg vs Jerry. Let's talk about the scariest thing on the California ballot - Prop 25. The spin: Prop 25 makes it so that the members of the State Legislature do not get paid their salary for each day that the budget is late. And the days of lost wages cannot be recovered. Sounds great, right? Oh, and by the way, it also makes it so the State Legislators only need a simple majority to pass the budget, instead of the 2/3rds vote. But don't you worry your pretty little heads about that part.

So the Democrats have controlled the State Legislature for the last 40 years. Regardless of what you might think of Republicans, I think all voices should be heard. The Dems are pushing Prop 25 pretty hard, because it would completely take Republicans out of the equation and mean that we, the Minority party in California, would no longer have a voice and that the Dems can do to us whatever they want. The mob should not rule. This Proposition would greatly aid in the decline of California.

Remember, we have one of the highest dollars per student education cost in the world, one of the lowest test scores of industrialized countries in the world, one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, the second highest sales tax in the country, and one of the highest state taxes in the country. Despite being one of the most resource intensive areas in the world, California is the shining, crowning achievement of failure on almost every measurable front. The central valley provides 20% of the food consumed by the rest of the country. We have redwoods and logging fields in the north, oil wells in the south, gold in the eastern mountains, and to the west, ports that trade goods from around the world.

My point is that California might be chugging along, struggling through the recession like the other states with half the resources and opportunities, but we should be leading the county. We're trailing behind. We need to radically change the direction we're on.

In either case, it's baffling that the Governor and jr Senate Seat is close at all. I don't get what there is about Boxer and Brown that there is to get excited about. This notion that Meg and Carly are only running to make their billionaire buddies rich... hmm. Rich people are going to get rich either way. If you took all the money in the world away from everyone, then gave it all back, evenly distributed: the formerly rich would be rich again, the formerly poor would be poor again, and the middle class would stay the same. This is fundamentally why I will always disagree with Moderate to Liberal Democrats. Lower expectations leads to lower results. Baby people long enough and they will eventually need to be babied. If you're so mad that rich people keep getting richer, then go to school, get a degree in business and go out and do the same. But don't sit there with your degree in something unmarketable like Philosophy or something, whining about people that have things you're too lazy to work for. Hey, I have a degree in Anthropology. I didn't do myself any favors either. But I'm not going to whine about it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Last Debate

Considering the dismal showing Meg made against Steve Poizner in the debate before the primary, she's gotten considerably better. She stumbled a few places against Jerry Brown last night, but did well over all. She was clear and articulate which contrasted against Brown who got off on tangents and bordered on incoherent a few times. I'm not going to waste time bringing up the same talking points they'd said before. When they get into "did he raise taxes according to this source or cut taxes according to this source," I just start to ignore it. I mean, a politician can do nothing except pass a bill that directly lowers taxes, but have taxes still go up due to several other factors. That's why they can both be right about his record.

Let's start with what Meg did well. She dodged the Sarah Palin question. When asked if Palin would campaign for her, Meg said she would do her own campaigning. She was careful not to offend conservatives who favor Palin, at the same time, not aligning herself with a figure that's not all that popular with many independent California swing voters that Meg needs.

Meg had a great line criticizing Brown's promise to cut the Governor's, already tiny, budget by 10%, saying if that's Brown's big plan, California is in trouble. Brown was flat out stumped by that.

Where she stumbled. Brown made the irresponsible excuse that one of his staffers referring to Whitman as a whore is the same thing as Pete Wilson calling the State Legislators a bunch of whores. It's not the same thing, which Meg pointed out. But she didn't articulate why, instead making it seem like it's ok for her "side" to do it, but not Brown's. But here's why it's different. It's like if you called me(a white person) the N word, it's a whole lot different than using that word to refer to a black person. Why? Because the word is a weapon designed to tell a minority they're not good enough to compete with a member of the majority. It's an offensive term used in an effort to "keep women in their place." I don't like it when Conservative women are called that and I don't like it when someone I strongly disagree with like Nancy Pelosi is called that. Not cool.

But let's be adults here. People say all kinds of offensive crap behind closed doors. And it's also not fair that the leaked message got out in the first place, nor does it reflect on Brown. It's childish to think that Brown should seriously fire the staffer who said it. But my point is, it's not on the same level as what Pete Wilson once said, 15 years ago, about a group of mostly men who he felt was in the pocket of unions(which is why he called them whores). The word whores, was, in this case, not used as a weapon. This is a massive difference.

Also, Meg should not have interrupted Brown when he stumbled about having the backing of sheriffs. Meg stopped him to say Brown meant to say he was in their back pocket. It wasn't funny. It came off as childish.

For being a career politician, Brown surprisingly stumbled a lot and was fairly inarticulate. I was able to follow the points he made because I've been keeping an eye on things and I know the context. But I can imagine independents who only watched this one debate would have to conclude Meg was more polished. But for the most part, I liked what Brown had to say, though you certainly have to question if it's all talk or not. By that, I mean, for all of his talk about living within our means, and being a fiscal conservative, he then went on to praise the incredibly irresponsible and wasteful government spending of Obama's "Stimulus" bill. I just took that as meaning that Brown didn't actually mean anything he said about being responsible.

But, the biggest mistake Brown made was missing the opportunity to hit Meg in the one spot she's very vulnerable--to tie her to our current Republican Governor. He brought this up, passingly, in the last debate. And it was a great point, but he wasn't all that clear about it. Ok, so this is what I'm talking about. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a political outsider too. He looked at the unions, saw the corruption and how they're bleeding the state dry, and went after them. Corrupt organizations didn't get that way by playing nice. They fought back and the idiot voters in California sided with them, and rejected Schwarzenegger's Special Election propositions which is why we're in the budget mess we're in. Many of us California Republicans are disillusioned after sending the Terminator in against the Democrat Controlled State Legislators and seeing him come back in pieces. What is it that makes us think Meg is going to be any tougher?

At least Brown speaks the same language as his fellow Democrats and can possibly work with them better. After all, politicians are more likely to compromise with their allies than with their enemies. Now Brown made this point during the debate last night, but not in comparison with how Schwarzenegger has struggled. And of course, we've seen the disaster of the Obama administration when a Socialist President has a super majority in Congress to rubber stamp whatever he wants. Although Brown talks the talk of being a fiscal conservative, we have no reason to believe that's what he'll be after the election.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


So Obama is hitting the campaign trail hard, trying to pin the bad economy on those evil Republicans who keep blocking everything he's trying to do. Let me point out something. When the Republicans lost control of Congress in the end of 2006, unemployment was at 4.6%. After a year of Democrat control of Congress, the Great Recession hit. Another year of Democrat control after that and unemployment had doubled. Now with four years of Democrat control of Congress and two years of Democrat control of the White House, and the unemployment rate has tripled. Some would say it's even quadrupled if you count in the unreported people that stopped looking for work.

Now, you might say, well, Congress doesn't really have that much control over the economy. It's all in the White House and you can't expect Obama to clean up 8 years of Bush's mess in just 2 years.

But during the last two years of Bush's presidency when the Democrats controlled Congress, you never heard Bush blaming the recession on the Democrat majority. But you do hear Obama constantly blaming the recession on the Republican minority. The Republicans have 0 power right now. How idiotic is it to blame someone that can't do anything?

I still have to laugh at all the Bush haters that wanted change, and got, in Obama, Bush 2.0. I'm amazed at the idiots that want to blame Bush for the economy, but have no idea what he did to damage it. I know I've said this before, but people always say that Bush passed unsustainable tax breaks for the rich and started two unfunded wars. Well, those two things can certainly lead to budget deficits. No question there. But aren't people smart enough to see how budget deficits have nothing to do with causing a bad economy? What difference does it make to me if our government goes broke? How could that possibly hurt the economy? Sure, sure, a broke government means higher taxes later, but until that happens, there's currently no correlation between these two things. The government is broke because the economy is bad, not the other way around. If the housing market bubble didn't burst, the economy would still be going strong, meaning more people with high paying jobs paying taxes and thus, the government wouldn't have gone broke.

Saying the economy is bad because of 8 years of Bush is just plain idiotic. Now, if you want to argue that Bush caused the housing market to crash because of deregulation, that's a better argument. Deregulation isn't something you can pin on just Bush though. Mistakes were made. Economists gave bad advice. And that's that. This childish finger pointing needs to stop.

Speaking of childish, I've been thinking about the bizarre stereo typing the mainstream media and other Hollywood elites have been doing about the Tea Party. I just don't understand the hate against the Tea Party, Palin, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc. Then it occurred to me. It's like, I finally figured out what people on the left were saying. They actually believe this is new. They actually believe all this time that they've been Moderates, and that Fox News, Beck, and Palin have whipped up a bunch of gullible, racist rednecks into hating Obama just because he's black and that these Conservatives have created the Tea Party movement out of thin air.

I went to my first large Tea Party rally a couple weeks ago. There were about a thousand people there, I guess. It wasn't terribly exciting, but I was glad I went. I was struck by how incredibly nice people were. No one bumped me or made any contact with me. Even when I stood in front of the stage, everyone was polite and respectful. It's true that there were very, very few minorities there. I only saw a couple african americans and maybe a couple hispanics. One of the speakers was an african american woman and people cheered just as much for her as any of the others.

I know racism. In college, I've taken the following classes: Ethnic America, Ethnic Minorities in America, The Psychology of Racial Discrimination, Anthropology of Women Cross Culturally, and many other culture classes on my way to getting a BA in Anthropology. I know racism. There was none of it at that Tea Party rally. Also no trash on the ground after it was over. And yes, I took tons of pictures. The grounds were spotless.

So why does this ridiculous racism charge keep coming up? CIS recently had an episode where the villain was a member of the Tea Party who killed a cop. Tonight, watching a 20/20 episode about Islamophobia, they talked about radicals in the media that spread irrational fear of Muslims and showed a clip of Glenn Beck--despite the fact Beck has strongly condemned Islamophobia and encouraged peace with Islam.

Well, us conservatives are used to the Liberal Mainstream media distorting things. The media always depicts us Republicans as villains and the Dems as the good guys. For decades, the Conservative market had been a massive, untapped group of consumers. The biggest question I have of Fox News is what took you so long? Those of us on the right that have gone so long only hearing from the left, we see Fox as something that finally represents the other side. Fox is not fair and balanced. Fox certainly caters to the Right, and that's fine as long as people who watch Fox are responsible and try and get a mix of both sides as I try and do.

But for those on the left who've grown up listening to the Liberal Mainstream media and Hollywood and thinking it represented the "moderate" side of things, Fox News is a big shock. To them, when they see Conservatives, who've been there all this time as part of the silent majority, suddenly rise up, they flat out don't understand it. They've been listening to Liberals for so long, they don't know any different, so they don't understand the Tea Party movement. I can just imagine the confusion as they think, "Well, if you're not a bunch of racists, what the hell is your problem with Obama anyways? I don't understand. He's trying! Why do you oppose him so much?"

And to be honest, if Liberals and the Liberals-who-think-they're-moderates could actually reach that point of asking us that question and listening instead of calling us names or accusing us of being mindless koolaid drinking zombies that follow around Glenn Back because we believe everything Fox tells us, that would be a miracle.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Burning

Will he or won't he? Rev Terry Jones announced he's not going to burn the 200 copies of the Quran after all. But the mere announcement that this pastor in a tiny little country church in a small Florida town was going to burn some paper and binding with the word "Quran" on it has sparked thousands of Muslims to riot in violent protests where over a hundred people have been injured so far. News media outlets are showing footage of Muslims burning the American flag and chanting in mass "Death to America!" Yet, we're told that most Muslims are moderates, that it's only the radicals that hate us. Sooo... while American leaders are condemning Rev Jones for what he *might* do, where are those moderate Muslims condemning the violence and burning of American flags?

And speaking of the Ground Zero Mosque. While everyone talks about religious freedom here in America, how would the Muslims feel about building a church or synagogue in Mecca? That's not going to happen anytime soon. Where's the tolerance there?

Newt Gengrich, recently put out a video called America At Risk about how Islam is incompatible with peace. We used to argue that building up nukes meant the world was safe. No one would ever start a war because we all fear "mutually assured destruction," which nicely makes up the acronym MAD. Remember that phrase mentioned a lot during the cold war? In the Muslim world where suicide bombers are heroes, MAD-ness isn't a deterrent, it's a bonus! With Iran building nukes, are we counting down the moments until the end of the world with madness? If Muslims will only accept everyone living under their repressive Sharia Law or the end of the human race then, like Newt says, we must end Islam out of self defense. Right?

Ok, now let me start chipping away at these arguments. First off, I really am a fan of Newt, and I was disappointed by his latest "Muslims are going to kill us, we're all going to die!" video he recently put out. I understand that fear mongering works really well and that's why it's done for tv ratings or votes. But this is over the top. We fear what we don't understand.

A big one, is we don't understand ourselves and how radical the idea of freedom of religion is. Our own culture is invisible to us because we think it's "the norm." But American culture is really, really strange. I can walk up to the leader of my country and insult him or her verbally and not go to jail for it. To a lot of people in other countries, that might mean Obama was weak rather than prove how strong the US is.

Now, let's look at American Muslims. Why are Arab Muslims coming to this country in the first place? Because they're escaping the oppression of their home countries. Consider the argument about the Ground Zero Mosque, "Why should we build one here if we can't build Churches in Mecca?" That's an incredibly stupid argument on several levels. It's Americans who want to build the Ground Zero Mosque in America, so we're talking about a completely different group of people. Americans building in America. Not people from Mecca building in America who are not letting Americans build in Mecca. If Arab Christians(and yes, they exist) living in Mecca, want to build a Church in Mecca, they will be denied because they don't have the same kind of freedom of religion there that we have here. Again, this is why many Arabs, and other foreigners, come to America in the first place.

For a counter to my counter argument, I've heard people bring up that the Mosque is a "whole 2 blocks away from ground zero." Um, no. A piece of one of the planes hit this building(that used to be a clothing store) and it's still damaged from that which is why it's not open now and doing business. That means it's not 2 blocks away from ground zero. It's in it.

Should the Mosque be built? I think we all agree they have the legal right to do so. But should they? New Yorkers should make this call. They know their neighborhood certainly better than I(or Obama) do. I don't feel like I have a good sense of things on the ground there to really form an opinion on this, so I leave this to them.

Speaking of Obama, he gave a speech the other day about Rev. Jones and the Quran burning that I thought was important. Many of our military personnel fighting in Afghanistan are American Muslims. As Obama pointed out, what kind of message are we sending to fellow Americans as we call some of them, including ones shedding blood and dying to defend our freedoms, our enemies? Picture an American Muslim soldier with his arm blown off from fighting for freedom in Afghanistan and call him our enemy simply because of his religion. I don't care what or who someone prays to, but I couldn't do that. Anyone who can should be ashamed of themselves.

I was happy that my conservative influences like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have condemned Rev. Jones' Quran burning plans. It upsets me to hear fellow Republicans get swept up in this ridiculous Islamaphobia trend, but glad that at least two prominent conservative pundits have not.

Ok, so why aren't moderate Muslims condemning the burning of American flags going on right now? Well, how do we know if they are or not? Are you going to their houses and asking them? I mean really, how do we know what they think unless we see it on the news or the internet or hear about it in person? And if we don't see it, it's not real? What kind of logic is that? Some Imams have been on the news opposing the Ground Zero Mosque. The father of the Underwear Bomber alerted authorities as to what was about to happen. So it at least happens on some level publicly.

Something that we need to understand about wanting Muslims to condemn acts of violence from "fellow Muslims." This seems logical to us because we're operating under the assumption that terrorists do what they do *because* of Islam. This is not so. Members of the KKK burned crosses as means of terrorist acts and they quoted the Bible when doing so, recited scripture in their ceremonies, etc. But they didn't hate black people and Republicans *because* they, the Klansmen, were Christians. They hated blacks and Republicans because they, the Klansmen, were scum. Christianity was just a backdrop. In Northern Ireland, Catholics and Protestants car bomb each other as terrorist acts but not because of religion. The Catholics in Northern Ireland do feel like they're discriminated against because they're Catholic, sure, but it's cultural difference, not a religious one.

So, if you accept this premise that Muslim extremists are not terrorists *because* of Islam then you can understand how odd it is to expect moderate Muslims who feel like they have nothing in common with terrorists to feel like they need to condemn them. As a Sacramentoan, I've never felt like I needed to come out and condemn the Uni-Bomber for killing all those people or for the band Cake who puts out such horrible music.

Maybe you don't accept this premise. After all, not since the KKK has a large group from one particular religion all conspired to attack the US with terrorism. But let's look at something else these Muslim Extremists have in common other than Islam. The Imam behind the Ground Zero Mosque said that the US is partially to blame for 9/11. This was a horribly stupid and insensitive thing to say way back when it happened, however he is right.

After all, who created Al Qaeda? We did. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, we were so eager to the break the backs of the red army, that we trained and armed the Afghani freedom fighters to fight the Russians. These freedom fighters were successful, and this was a key part of breaking the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War. Yay us, right? Those freedom fighters we trained became Al Qaeda, and the Stinger Missile launchers that they're still shooting at our troops to this day are the ones we gave them decades before.

Most Americans believe that on 9/11 "they" attacked us first. This isn't the case. Clinton had been sending predator drones into Afghanistan during his administration. 9/11 was a counter attack. Now, we were attacking military targets in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda attacked the Trade Towers--a civilian target and that makes them scum, so by no means am I saying this is tit for tat. 9/11 was a despicable act. Unjustified, but not unprovoked. So please do not misunderstand and think I'm making light of the horrible and tragic attack on the Trade Towers and Pentagon. I think Bush was justified in sending us to war in some capacity, though in hindsight, I think we all wish that would have gone differently(not used WMDs as an excuse, for example) etc, but the better course of action was to not create Al Qaeda in the first place. Right now, we are training and arming a new generation of Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban. I'll bet you we're doing the same covertly, at least on some level, in Yemen and Somalia. We are, perhaps, creating our own future enemies.

I'm not a conspiracy theory nut. I don't believe the US does this on purpose so that we always have an enemy to fear monger about. I never assume malice when simple incompetence seems likely. I'm only saying the politics of temporary fixes to today's problems can cause new problems for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beck and Call

There's a lot of interesting things to talk about with the Tea Party rally in DC over the weekend. Interesting to me, at least. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Alveda King were the most famous of speakers. I watched Beck's hour long speech, but I only saw clips of the others. None of what they said was particularly interesting to me. It was mostly about returning to the values of God and what it means to love this country. I did take note that Beck mentioned mosques along with churches and synagogues as places Americans should go to get back with God. Muslim Americans might face the most amount of discrimination lately, and are mistrusted by both major political parties.

It's easy to mistrust what you don't understand. There are some very hateful things in Islam. And two, the only terrorists we've seen in this country lately motivated by religion were Muslims. The word "terrorist" is nearly synonymous with "Muslim Extremist." But let's pick at this perception. There are hateful things in the Bible too. Deuteronomy says a woman who marries and is not a virgin shall be put to death. The Bible says the same about people that eat shell fish, approach altars while sick, or labor on the sabbath. What do preachers do for work? They preach the word of God on the Sabbath. So they're laboring on the Sabbath then... right? The Bible advocates beating your children into obedience, how to treat your slaves, that Lot did the just thing by sending his own daughters out into an angry mob to be sexually assaulted to spare his two male visitors. Horrible, vile stuff. But Christianity has changed with the times. In the recent past, the Christian group, The Klu Klux Klan burned crosses as acts of terrorism. We can easily recognize the KKK as an extremist group that doesn't represent Christianity. We can do that only because we are familiar with Christianity and American culture to know they are the exception. But since most of us do not know or understand Islam, all them Muslim folk seem the same to us.

I saw a political cartoon with an Arab American hopping on one leg. It was after some recent failed terrorist plot. And the guy next to the Arab American was saying something like, "...ok great, now condemn terrorism while hopping on one leg and touching your nose with both hands!"

I think it's sad the way Americans mistrust Muslim Americans. Yes, it's scary that there are terrorist cells. Yes, you never know if your Arab neighbors secretly hate you and want to kill you. But that's true of all neighbors. Crazy runs in all ethnicities, religions, and nationalities.

Anyway, when Beck mentioned it a couple times in his speech, it made me wonder if it was possible for the Republican party to reach out to Muslims. Muslims are mostly independents and feel rejected by both parties. I've heard a lot of disparaging comments about Muslims made from Conservatives. Rush Limbaugh had a link on his website to a ridiculous propaganda video about how the birth rates of Christian Americans and Europeans are slowing while Muslim Americans and Europeans are growing, meaning the Muslims are going to out breed us like cancer. It was a well produced propaganda video, which made it all the more unfortunate. I generally like Rush, and I think that 95% of the time when he's called a racist or hate monger is just plain wrong. But he does hint at playing on Islamaphobia.

While I'm on the subject of Rush and racism. I want to point out something I think is funny that Rush does. He loves pointing out hypocrisy of Liberals. Many Liberals are racist depending on how you define the word. Many believe that African Americans are racially inferior and thus need extra help. This is racist by my definition. But anyway, so Rush will play a clip or read a quote of a Liberal saying something racist. He'll do so in the beginning of his show. Then he'll take part of it out of context and repeat it in new context throughout the rest of his show. Like, with the Tiger Woods scandal. Some Liberal called Tiger a light skinned negro, or something like that. I don't remember exactly. So for the rest of the show, Rush referred to African Americans as light skinned negros. Rush wasn't trying to be racist. He was using the phrase to poke fun at Liberals and left minded people. But his critics, who don't listen to his whole show to hear what he's saying in context, will say, "See! Rush is using the term 'negro.' He's a racist!" not realizing that Rush is repeating what someone "on their side" said and that Rush is doing this on purpose to try and get this reaction. It does two things. The next day on his show, Rush can play reaction clips and read quotes from Liberals calling him a racist not realizing the original context that Rush was quoting someone else. Rush's fans, who do know the context, can then laugh at Liberals. Rush becomes more popular with his fans. Rush's enemies, who don't bother finding out the context, then hate Rush even more and thus perpetuate his notoriety. And when Rush's enemies look towards Rush's fans and calls them "sheepeople," it makes his fans laugh at them because they don't get "the joke." And thus, Rush becomes more popular with his fans. The worst thing Rush's enemies could do is say, "Rush isn't a racist. He just says silly things to get ratings." If Rush's enemies stopped hating him, it would be a career killer.

Wow, I'm really getting side tracked. So Beck organized this rally on the same spot and day in history that Martin Luther King, Jr gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Civil rights activists, who have incorrectly decided Beck is a racist simply because he's a conservative, decided to plan a counter rally with the purpose of stopping Beck from being able to distort and rewrite history regarding King's dream.

This was a waste of time in that respect. Beck mentioned King a couple times in his speech, but those references seemed thrown in and out of place. Like he felt obligated to mention King and edited his speech last minute to do so. Otherwise, his speech had nothing to do with race or equality. I noticed that nearly every shot of the crowd during Beck's speech had African American spectators. I wondered if the camera crew did that on purpose to make the crowd seem more diverse. The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white.

In sharp contrast, Rev. Al Sharpton's counter rally was overwhelmingly black in crowd representation. Sharpton is dead wrong about his opinion of conservatives. Many of the things Sharpton said were propaganda and unfortunate. He said that "those people" at the other rally are the same people that thought of civil rights leaders are trouble makers. That's a pretty despicable thing to say.

Working out at my gym as I do on the elliptical with 10 different tvs hanging from the ceiling in front of me and a box to switch my headphone mix to which ever one, I can see how different news organizations covered the rally. The fact that King's niece, Alveda King spoke at Beck's rally really upset Liberals who want so desperately to believe Beck is a racist and see proof of it. I watched as several news reporters asked Alveda the same question, "Do you feel like you're being used by Beck and the Tea Party movement?" As if "You're being used by the Tea Party movement and disgracing your uncle. What do you have to say for yourself?" is what they really wanted to say. Alveda was gracious about it, no matter how many different reporters asked her that. Her answer was that we need to love each other.

I thought about that as I watched the speeches at Beck's rally. I had read about the counter rally. Sharpton's words were divisive, but many of the other speakers gave more conservative speeches about turning to God, doing more for the community, and of individual responsibility. It occurred to me how similar the two rallies must have been in content, and what a missed opportunity that happened. Rev. Sharpton has said a lot of things that I agreed with in the past. I mostly like him and think he's a smart man. He's just dead wrong about the Tea Party and Beck. What if he had gotten over that and combined his rally with Beck's? And what better day to do so.

Then it got me thinking about the civil rights movement of today in general. The Civil rights act granted all Americans the right to vote without facing intimidation and it ended segregation. The Community Reinvestment Act of the 70's prohibited racial discrimination of bank loans. Many other court case decisions and laws have come down since then to change the practice of overt racism. What more can the Civil Rights movement do?

Then that got my thinking should the Civil Rights movement end and we, as a society, focus instead on loving each other rather than dividing each other? It's an interesting question because, after all, the Civil Rights movement can not gather steam unless it has an enemy. Does Rev Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need Beck and Limbaugh? If the racist boogiemen aren't out there commanding their sheepeople, do Civil Rights activists have any reason to rally people? And if this is so, who is the real fear monger? I'm not suggesting racism is over. Far from it. Overt racism is over. Racism has gone into hiding and many Americans think it's gone. The Civil Rights movement looks like a relic from the passed now. True or not, has that perception undermined the movement's ability to change anything?

If the Civil Rights phase is over, what's phase 2? Like I said, racism still persists. The Curious Formula is still around. African Americans live, disproportionately, in poverty. Well, you can't ignore the fact that poor people go to poor schools and rich kids go to rich schools. So poor people stay poor and have poorly educated kids that stay poor. Republicans want school vouchers and Democrats fight it. Get poor kids out of the ghettos and into good schools and let the poor schools collapse or get taken over by better management. This, I think, is the answer. It isn't a perfect solution. It isn't going to do much in the short run. But I think it's a necessary step for a long term solution.

Until then, Alveda King is right. Instead of focusing on our differences, we should focus on loving each other.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School Planning

Today was the first day of the semester. I tried to add an Econ class and there were people standing in the back of the classroom and I wasn't even on the wait list. I got confused about what time the class started and was a couple mins late. I just looked through the window and decided not to bother opening it. That's fine. I'll take micro and macro econ next semester. There are two upper division versions offered at Sac State over the summer that I'd need to take for pre-reqs for grad school.

This is "perfect" timing. I'll get another Associate's degree this semester in Physical Science. During the Spring semester, I'll be able to apply to grad school for a Masters in Economics. At the end of the Spring Semester, I'll earn my third Associate's degree, this time in Computer Science. Over the Summer, I'll be able to take intermediate level Micro and Macro Econ and hopefully get a letter of recommendation from the instructor, then, by the end of the summer, I will have completed all the requirements needed to get into grad school starting in the fall of next year. Only problem, I'll only have a few weeks into my first Econ classes to make the decision if I even want to study Econ at all, let alone go to grad school for it and make it my career. That's a lot of pressure.

What about Computer Science? I think I'd rather do CS, but because of the budget cuts, all the CSUs are closed to people seeking second Bachelor degrees. I could go for my Masters in CS, but there's a ton more pre-req classes I need to take first. Now, CSUS(and probably the others) allows you to take classes through their Open University program without actually being enrolled. It's a different price set up, but it's not radically different in costs. The problem is that they don't let you use any form of financial aid using the Open University. Since I don't have any money, this is a problem. I'll have to get a part time job to save up the money and wipe out my savings for the two Econ classes I'll take over the summer as is, and that's just two classes.

Now, once I get into grad school for Econ, I can take undergrad Computer Science classes as well to prepare myself for that. It's the same amount of work taking the undergrad pre-reqs needed to be able to start the Computer Science Masters degree program as it would be to take the graduate level classes to finish the Econ Masters degree program. There's another problem. Due to budget cuts, Sac State is hard capping grad students to only 9 units. Well, what if I'm a grad student taking under grad classes? Am I still capped? That would cut the amount of classes I could take in half and make getting a CS take twice as long.

At this point, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to just go be an economist rather than a programmer. But is that what I want to do? I guess when the time comes, I'll have a better idea. Maybe by then, Sac State will open up to second bachelor degree students or lift their unit caps. Who knows? I get really sick and tired my life plans being conditional on uncertainty.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I didn't know what to expect volunteering for Meg Whitman. I showed up to a tiny campaign head quarters in Rancho Cordova. There were about 8 people there. All of them were clean cut white guys in casual dress clothes. Something about too many clean cut whites guys in one spot creeps me out. I'm just being honest here. Like I think they're going to start telling me about Jesus and how I need to be saved.

They were actually really nice, as it turned out. I let them know I had no idea what was going on, but that I've been a registered Republican all my life and I wanted to help. They put me with another guy that's done "whatever it was we were doing" before, gave us a bunch of pamphlets, a folder full of addresses, and sent the two of us out to go walking door to door. It was called a Precinct Walk, as it turned out. I really, really hate bugging people about stuff. So going door to door to talk to people was flat out not something I wanted to do. I hate it when religious people come to my house with their talking points, completely unable to put together a logical argument or be able to follow what I say to them. Now I was about to do it to other people.

It ended up not being that bad though. We only went to the houses on our list and they were homes of registered Republicans. The guy I went with, Mike, was a pretty cool guy. We never argued with people. We just listened to what people had to say. On our list, about 4 out of 5 people weren't home or didn't answer. But the ones that did, they usually told us who they were for and who against. A few people spent some time talking to us and some of the comments they made really taught me a lot.

To give you an example. I go to the bios of candidates on their websites and they all have the same layout. They start with the city they grew up in, where they got their law degree, how many years they spent in the private sector being rich and awesome, and what they want to do in office. That sounds like common sense stuff to put in a bio to try and impress people. But it occurred to me that most voters really don't care about that stuff. They don't believe politicians in the first place, so their promises are meaningless. Their stances mean nothing. How they feel about abortion, the "ground zero mosque," and the rest is meaningless if they don't have the power at their office to affect it. A County Supervisor can't repeal Roe v Wade, so who cares if they're Pro Life or not?

A guy we talked to said he can never get a hold of any of his representatives. He got the impression candidates saw lower office as a stepping stone. They don't want to be there. They don't want to serve the people. They just want to move up the ladder and get on to bigger and better things. None of the three candidates we passed out fliers for where there today. I know Meg Whitman was in San Diego today doing a walk through a mall and talking to people. I'm sure the other two were equally busy. But it got me thinking, how great would it be to be a candidate walking door to door, listening in person to people tell you what problems, unique to that area, need to be fixed? How great would it be to tell them in real time if it's something you can fix or not, or if you have an easier solution? It would sort of be like being a legislative hero. Like, "I'll save you from rising property tax hikes!" or "I'll fix those pot holes!" Dun-da-Duuunnnn! Ok, now I'm being silly. But doesn't that sound cool, being able to help people like that? Yeah, I bet potholes take months of debate to be able to fix. Government moves incredibly slow.

Something else I was thinking. If there's a problem in my community, I don't really know who to go to amongst my elected officials. I'd bet an over whelming majority of people don't even know who their elected officials are at the local level or care, let alone who is responsible for what. It would be interesting to see a website with a message board with a list of what a candidate has power over, what are the top suggestions voters in that region have to better their community, and what the status of those ideas are(for example, looking for funding, dependent on a zoning law change, up for a vote, under review, etc). It makes sense to me that all candidates should have such discussion boards where other voters can discuss these issues and the candidate can respond. But I haven't seen too many. No doubt they get clogged with spam and topics on national politics. You'd need a moderator to clean it up. But it's doable.

It reminds me of when I got into the alpha testing for the MMO game, Champions Online from Cryptic Studios. We'd make suggestions to improve the game, and people from Cryptic would say if it was a change that made sense, why if not, or they'd ask our opinions about solutions to it.

My point is, a candidate could spend a lot more time building a fanbase with voters that way rather than going to big business conventions looking for big donors. Of course, what do I know? There has to be a reason why politicians go where the money is instead of focusing on the voters. But, I'm reminded of how much my blog helped my band years back, how many people came up to me at our shows and talked to me like they knew me. I think people would respond, especially in the Facebook age where word can get around rapidly.

In either case, if I can get into some Econ classes this semester, I'll see if I like it or not. To get into grad school for Econ, I'm going to have to pretty much ace all my classes. So assuming I can add, and that's a big if since the waiting list is long, I'll make a decision at the end of this semester if this is a good path for me, or if I should stick with Computer Science.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Arden Arcade

I think we'd all like to consider ourselves informed voters before we head out to the polls. That's not always easy. Case in point with some local politics here. I live in a neighborhood of Sacramento called Arden Arcade. For years, we've seen our neighborhood slowly decline. Businesses go under. Local services and police coverage degrade. Gangs slowly creep in.

Meanwhile, other neighborhoods that have become cities have made changes for the better. Citrus Heights neighborhood voters voted for cityhood, and the new city of Citrus Heights was able to renegotiate new contracts with police, waste management, and schools, and get more efficient services for less. Elk Grove is also a success story.

My neighborhood of Arden Arcade sees much of our property tax money leave the community to go to other areas of Sacramento county. Since we have no mayor or city council, we have no representation, no one to fight to keep money in our community. No one in power with any reason to care about improving things. This November, we have a chance to vote on Measure D, a measure that will turn my neighborhood into the city of Arden Arcade. This sounds like exactly what we need to do. Or do we?

What if our poor neighborhood can't afford 8 well paid council members and an even better paid mayor? Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson makes over 100k, and the 8 member panel over half that each. How much would property taxes have to increase to cover that? Citrus Heights has Sunrise Mall to our right. The city of Sacramento has Arden Fair Mall just across the street from us to our left. Between that, we have our Country Club Mall which has struggled for decades. Tower Records closed and is now a Good Will. A big grocery store by my house is now a $0.99 Cent Clearance Center. More and more, I see homeless people sleeping in our neighborhoods or digging through our trash for cans.

Is cityhood exactly what we need to pull out of poverty, or the last straw of financial tax burdens on the backs of businesses already struggling? I don't know. I wish I did know.

It's this kind of thing that makes me think maybe I really should work towards a Masters in Economics, get an understanding on exactly what's going on, and do something about it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to a campaigning event for Meg Whitman. I have no idea if she's even going to be there or what we're supposed to be doing. I signed up on her website to volunteer. I got a form letter telling me to show up somewhere. What's the dress code? Do I need to show up early? Can I take pictures? I have no idea. I just hope I don't have to sit in a call center calling people and giving talking points off a script. I don't mind walking down the street waving signs. Maybe I'll just stand there listening to people talk for photo ops. I have no idea. But it's a good insight into... something. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So, I tend to hop around from major to major. I spent almost 10 years in a two year college trying to decide what I wanted to do. When I transferred to a 4 year university, I still changed my major to something else almost immediately, got a degree, and decided it's not what I wanted a year before I graduated. So now I'm back at the 2 year college working on another major. Already, I've thought of several other majors I could try along with it. Is there anything I *don't* want to study? Not really. I'd stay in college forever, learning everything they can possibly teach me until they ran out of classes.

In this case, I want to finish my BS in Computer Science no matter what. I really like programming and, unlike Anthropology, would actually enjoy the work. But, I don't want to get a Masters in it. I'd like to get a Masters one day, but I've never been able to decide in what.

So the other day, I got a hold of a textbook on Economics. There are a few things I like about the subject. It's sort of about business--which I like. I've aced every business class I've ever taken. But it's also about human behavior. I love studying people as well. I think what put me off the first time I took Macroeconomics is all the terms and memorization. But, I'm older now from when I first took those classes at age 22. Nearly all those terms, I now already know, so it would be a lot different.

But I thought this textbook was really interesting. Another thing I've sort of looked down on Economics about is I know Keynesian Economics is really trendy. If you don't know what that is, one way of summarizing it is to say it's the belief that if the government taxes the living snot out of people, then uses the revenue from that to inject money directly back into communities, that will ensure a robust and stable economy. The Liberals / Socialists love Keynesian Economics because it's Big Daddy Government taking away our freedoms and telling us how to live. Obama and his economic team are all supporters of Keynesian Economics.

Now, I have no idea if the author of this textbook is representative of all economists, but he wrote that Keynesian Economics has been disproven because it's failed every place it's ever been tried. He said Economists have gone back to free market solutions and believe that Government is too inefficient to compete with a more nimble and flexible free market system in terms of ensuring a strong and stable economy.

It's interesting that this book was published in 2004. And here 5 years later, Obama passed the "Stimulus Bill" that was a huge, expensive tribute proving that Keynesian Economics doesn't work. How many real jobs would have been created had that money instead been massive tax breaks to businesses to encourage them to hire people? Obama's top Economic adviser, Christine Romer, recently stepped down, and not long after another on the economic team stepped down. She was dead wrong about the Stimulus Bill. Don't believe Biden, the Idiot, trying to say the Stimulus Bill was more successful than anticipated. Romer, and thus Obama, promised the Stimulus Bill would prevent unemployment from exceeding 8%. It went to 10%. They were dead wrong. The Stimulus Bill either far under performed, or had next to no effect at all. I would argue that Obama could have gotten better results if he piled the trillion dollars in the back of his limo, and tossed fistfuls of it out the windows as he drove around neighborhoods all over the country. A trillion dollars thrown down the toilet to test an Economic theory that's already been disproven. And people think Bush was an idiot because he stuttered in his speeches but otherwise made sound economic decisions? Some Obama is an idiot but articulates his wrong ideas better and people like him. Sad.

Anyway, I have at least a year before I'd need to decide to go for a Masters in Econ or not. I just think it's nice to know the field might not be dominated by nitwits, forcing me to learn a bunch of discredited crap. There was a woman in my Calc II class who was an Econ major. She said that California was bankrupt because people pay too little in property taxes. I just shook my head. The state with the second highest tax rate in the country, and we're bankrupt because we're not taxed enough? It's mind boggling how stupid people are. There are too many memorize / regurgitate people in the world. They can ace tests, but they can't think their way out of anything. I think most the people currently running this country are that way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You're not a Republican

I've been thinking more and more about one of those goals I mentioned--running for public office. I looked up some things. You know, in 2008, a woman won an elected office in California with only 600 votes? It was for two positions. The guy that came in second with 500 votes, also won a seat. It was a member board seat for the Arhole Unified School District. I've never even heard of that place. I'm guessing there's not many voters in that area. But still, if I wanted to start out small, there's room for that. The dinky offices in Sacramento are a few thousand votes. Still, that's doable with a lot of campaigning.

I'd want to get a more appropriate education. A BA in Anthropology is cool and all, but not all that helpful for dealing with political issues. Yeah, I know. Most the people in lower elected office only have under graduate degrees, if that, and in less useful areas. You can tell because they just list "alumni" of the college they went to, rather than their degree in their bios. Maybe that means they didn't even finish school.

Well, I looked into what it would take for me to get into a Masters degree program in Economics at Sac State. Not much, as it turns out. Let's say I worked on my Masters in Econ at the same time I worked on my BS in Computer Science. That might be pretty cool.

But here's the big problem I face. Both political parties are basically controlled by outside groups. The unions control the Dems, and the corporations control the Republicans. The unions can organize votes for lower election offices. The big corporations can back the higher offices. Maybe this is why California tends to have Republican Governors, but has had a Democrat controlled state congress for the last 40 years. As a Republican starting out small, I'd have an uphill climb. I'm certainly not pro unions and not willing to pretend that I am. I like that being a Republican makes me an underdog, though here's another issue. I'm a social moderate. I could score big points with Republicans opposing gay marriage, but I don't oppose gay marriage. This sort of puts me in the worst of both worlds in terms of support. Dems might agree with me on social issues, but won't vote for a Republican no matter what. Republicans who really care about social issues might not see me as an improvement over the Dem, so might not bother voting. But if I did run, I'd have to run as me. I like who I am, even if it doesn't make me a politically viable candidate. I'm not afraid of challenge though.

Well, speaking of gay marriage, I want to talk about Prop 8 for a while since it got repealed. I've been pretty unhappy about the comments I've seen made by other Republicans on the various Facebook pages I frequent. Most of it has been despicable. Let's go through some of these comments.

-- "This Liberal activist judge over turned the will of the people!"
There's a lot wrong with this. Judge Walker isn't a Liberal, for one. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan. His appointment was challenged by, and fought against by Nancy Pelosi who labeled him a homophobe. She didn't know he was a homosexual. Dumb ass Nancy just assumed since a Republican nominated him, he had to be an intolerant hate monger. Dumb ass hypocrite Nancy, in turn, showed who really was the hate monger, but that's beside the point.

I find it offensive that too many Republicans call him a Liberal. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue. Calling someone a Liberal because they care about civil rights is a massive insult to the very many of us non Liberals who care about civil rights. If you don't care about civil rights, then you don't belong in the Republican party.

Ok, next "the will of the people." I want to remind people that the US has never been, and hopefully will never be, a Democracy. We are a Republic. That means the masses do not rule simply because we can. We have the Bill of Rights and the mob cannot take away rights from people just by out numbering them. Polls show that most Californians favor gay marriage. Prop 8 only passed by 52%. It barely squeaked by. Let's not get all high and mighty about the will of the people when the vote is about a 50/50 chance each time it's put up for a vote and polls show younger voters tend to overwhelmingly support gay rights... aka, as the older generation passes on, the polls shift more and more. It's just a matter of time before it's legal all over the country. Prop 8 supporters are on the wrong side of history.

--"Homosexuality isn't natural"
This is an opinion based on what "natural" means. Our closest cousins in the animal kingdom are bonobos(close to chimpanzees). Homosexuality is a lot more common in bonobos than in humans. Look it up. All you people that think homosexuality doesn't happen in the animal kingdom, you're dead wrong. Dead wrong. All sorts of things can be considered unnatural. Being born infertile, birth defects, mental illness, and The Icecapades.

--"For two thousand years, marriage has been between a man and a woman."
I don't know where this "two thousand years" comes from, but I've seen and heard a lot of people quote it. Marriage is a hell of a lot older than 2k years. As far as we know, the Neanderthals might have practiced marriage. That would make it hundreds of thousands of years old. But in either case, I don't understand what this is supposed to say and why it's supposed to carry any weight. Slavery has been around a lot longer than 2k years as well. Does that mean Lincoln was wrong and we should bring it back?

--"If gays can get married, what's next? People marrying their dog?"
This is the same argument you can make against interracial marriage. This does, perhaps make it easier for the people fighting for the rights to marry their pets. But I'd bet you can fit all of those people on a single episode of Jerry Springer. This just isn't a serious issue. If people want to marry their dogs, we can cross that bridge when we come to it. No one would be able to get enough signatures to support it being on the ballot. No politician would bring it up for a vote. No law maker would slip it into a bill. It's an incredibly empty argument that has no weight.

--"If gays can marry, I don't want to have to let my children be taught that homosexuality is ok."
Part of this is the incorrect idea that homosexuality is a choice. It isn't. No one would chose to be gay if it was. So if your kid is taught that homosexuals exist, it doesn't make your kids more or less likely to be gay themselves. You can't be recruited into being gay. Second, by saying this, you're not only condemning an entire group, but you're passing on your hate and ignorance to your children. I'd much rather my children know that some people are gay than be taught hurtful stereotyping and intolerance.

--"The point of marriage is to procreate."
One, says who? And two, not a damn person would tell an infertile couple they can't get married. This is the dumbest of the excuses.

Well, that's all the arguments I can remember seeing. As a side note, let me remind people that we Republicans are the party of Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves because it was the right thing to do. The Democrats are the party that fought to maintain slavery, that fought for segregation and that founded the KKK.

Republicans are the party of Teddy Roosevelt that fought for the 8 hour work day and to end child labor exploitation. Democrats are the party that fight to take freedoms away from us like if we have the right to pay for health care or not.

Republicans are the party that overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights Acts of 1966 and 68 and President Lyndon Johnson could only get luke warm support from his own party on it--and ultimately lost any chance of re-election from his base because of it.

Republicans are the party that have fought for school vouchers to get poor kids out of the ghettos and crumbling schools and let the parents chose to send them anywhere they want to. Democrats are the party that exploits the poor and keeps them in endless cycles of poverty to keep them as reliable voters while convincing them it's the Republicans' fault.

Never forget that Republicans have had a very long history of fighting for the little guy. Homosexuals are the little guys. Fighting for their rights should be a Republican cause. You can't call yourself a Republican if you disagree.

If you don't think Republicans are the party that fights for the rights and freedoms of all Americans, then you're not a Republican.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I've never really written out all my life long aspirations of career goals. But I thought it might be fun. This list doesn't include things I've already done, like years of working in the construction industry. That was never by choice.

Long term goals:
1. Robotics Engineer - to rest
2. Fantasy Fiction Author - active
3. Computer Game Designer - active
4. Computer Programmer - active
5. Professional Musician - to rest
6. Marriage Counselor - to rest
7. Ethnographer - to rest
8. Politician - possible
9. Business Tycoon - possible
10. Model - not likely
11. Comedian - not likely

Short term goals:
12. Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf - to rest
13. Night Club Owner - to rest
14. Journalist - possible
15. Teacher - active
16. Webpage Designer - possible
17. Night Club / Concert Promoter - to rest

Let's go through these.

When I was a little kid, I wanted to build robots that could do... well, what robots in cartoons do. In high school, I took electronics classes. But being able to solder broken wires is about the extent of my education on that front. I did retro fit non motorized toy cars with small engines to make them go. It was something I had a lot of fun doing, but without any other bigger applications for me to move on to, my interest fizzled out. There was a computer game called Robot Odyssey that came out when I was a kid. In it, you use your cursor as a soldering gun to change the wiring of robots to perform different tasks. I loved that game. I've heard of electrical engineers that credit playing that game as kids that got them started. I've put this interest to rest. If I work with anything robotic, it will probably be computer / virtual related over mechanical.

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was 12. I had reading learning disabilities. My parents thought that would be a good way to get me to read, so they got it for me. It sparked in me my interest in the Fantasy, sword and sorcery genre. I don't have a natural talent for writing. If I'm good at writing at all, it's because I've worked very, very hard at it. Maintaining things like this blog is good practice. I'm constantly thinking about how to make my sentences clear and easy to understand. I still have a long ways to go. This is still a very viable goal for me, though one that will be a hard route to go.

Game Designer
My learning disabilities made socializing hard for me as a kid. I became pretty introverted, but not necessarily purely from shyness. As such, I turned to computer games a lot, especially the adventure ones where you communicate with characters in the game. This is a perfect career for me. It combines my creative side, with my drive for communicating through art and story. This is the career I'm currently working towards.

I like programming. I've done is since the mid 80's in BASIC on my first computer--an Apple IIC. This is more of a short term goal... a stepping stone towards becoming a Game Designer. Though being a computer programmer for the rest of my life wouldn't be bad, as long as I got to eventually oversee large projects. I don't want to retire as a lowly code monkey.

Of everything I've done, I've spent maybe the most amount of my time trying to accomplish this goal. The most joy I've ever had in my life is creating art and communicating it to others. I remember playing in new cities for the first time, and seeing people in the crowd singing lyrics I wrote along with me. The lyrics I write are very emotional and personal. And to see perfect strangers connect with me in that way, it always made me feel like I wasn't alone. But, being a musician is a hard life. There's no money in it unless you get signed. And then there's money in it, but non of it goes to the artists... just enough to keep them alive. Michael Jackson was in debt $50 million dollars to his record company. Doesn't that say it all? Ultimately, I gave up on this dream as a career goal. Though, I still teach music and I cherish the memories, good and bad, during this time in my life. I'll will still pursue this goal, but not as a career.

When I transferred to a 4 year university, I did so as a Psych major to pursue this goal. My personality type of INTJ makes me the perfect candidate for a Therapist. I'm excellent at listening to people and understanding things from multiple perspectives. I didn't get very far before I decided that it's not as easy as simply caring about people and "curing them," after months of therapy and that's that. There's no cure for any mental illnesses. I like helping people. That's why I love teaching. But there are so many people that will never get better from counseling. There are some that will in extreme cases. Suicidal teens, some non violent felons, drug and alcohol addicts, I think these people can be helped. My brother is following this path, and I think he'd be really good at it. I can relate to teens pretty well. Still, I put this goal to rest. I don't like the idea of spending the rest of my life doing the same thing especially if I know a lot of the people I try and help will not improve.

This is a type of Anthropologist that lives with a group of primitive people in the jungle somewhere and writes down how they live. Sounds great and interesting. The problem is that every "primitive tribe" in the world has already been studied many, many times over. I've thought about joining the Peace Corps. I sent in for their information and they sent me a huge packet of forms and what not. I love the field of Anthropology. I just sort of feel like it's mission accomplished and we(as in the greater scientific community) pretty much understand every culture in the world. No one person knows it all, but everything there is to know, some Anthropologist somewhere knows it. Now, for cultures no longer in existence, that's a different story. There are more fossils and artifacts to be found to learn about people and cultures in the past. To be an Archaeologist, you pick a site, spend the next 20 years excavating it and hope you find a chip of bone or something that adds a tiny piece of some puzzle. Most Archaelolgists dig for years and find close to nothing. I don't see myself doing that. But back to the modern day side of Anthropology, I no longer want to go live in a mud hunt to study a people that I can just learn about in the library or off the internet.

This is a real possibility for me. I could start off running for the Sacramento City Council. Maybe run for State Assembly after that. Doris Matsui is the House Representative here in Sacramento. I'd love to run against her one day in the distant future if she was still around by the time I was ready. I think Congressman is a decent, long term goal for me, one I'd have to work very hard for. Senator is too unlikely. I don't have the ivy league school connections, a mass of wealth, or celebrity status in anything(nor will I ever). I know I talk about politics on this blog site like I think I have the answers. This blog site is mostly for me to practice my writing. The more you study something, the more you realize how little you know about it. I know very little about politics. I've gotten an A in every college Business class I've taken. I love business. I know human nature pretty well. I have the basics down... the gut, common sense intuition about how policy should go down. But I still have a heck of a lot to learn about economics before I would seriously tackle running for office. I've eyed getting a Masters in Economics. I've completed all the lower division, pre-reqs for it. I'd just have to take a couple upper division classes at Sac State, then I could apply for the Graduate program. Again, this is a real possibility for me and something I think about.

Business Tycoon
Possible, but I don't know. I have the fiscal discipline to be wealthy. I'm good at coordinating things. I'd be good at running a business. The funny thing is I really don't care for money much. It's an odd quirk of mine, I suppose. I live pretty modestly. I'm fine without the fancy cars and house. Becoming rich takes a lot of hard work--something I don't have a problem with. But it boils down to me working my butt off for something I don't care about. Now, if I found another motivation other than money, running a business or cluster of them, would be something I'd consider working towards. The challenge of it, would certainly motivate me. Plus, not being motivated by material things would be a plus. I'd use the money I made to re-invest, rather than waste on cars. This is a goal I should think about working towards.

Yeah, I feel pretty egotistical mentioning this. I'm a decent looking guy. Or at least I could be. I'd have to work really, really hard on reshaping my body and I have a very long way to go for that. I'm in the process of doing that--not to become a model, but because of the challenge of it. Even if I could be a successful model, it's not anything that would satisfy me by itself. I have friends that are not what society would consider attractive that model, but what they do is more like work as extras. Being an extra might be fun.

I'm not naturally funny. I can bust out with some one liners here and there. I can make my mom laugh. I've taught a lot, and I can make my students laugh. I once gave a presentation on use of blood in Mayan purification rituals, and I got laughs. But I can make people laugh because I do something random or unexpected. But to walk on stage where the audience expects me to be funny from the beginning, it's a completely different vibe--one I've never even felt first hand. This is something I'd have to spend several years working really hard to be decent at. Could I handle being awful on stage in the beginning and still keep going? Though I don't have a natural talent for comedy, it's something that's really challenging, and that intrigues me. It's not just about telling jokes. It's a mastery of human communications and psychology. Still, I stopped being a musician because there was no money in it. Being a comedian starting out would be the same.

Short term

Interpreter for the Deaf
I had to take 2 years of a foreign language for the Anthropology major. My learning disabilities made this really, really tough. I struggled until I finally decided to try sign language where I didn't have to use my ears. Turns out, I was pretty good at it. I never did get good enough that I could sign fast enough to keep up with someone speaking. I have trouble understanding people finger spelling quickly. Still, with a lot more practice, I could get good at this. Finding people to practice with isn't all that easy. With Spanish, I can watch tv in Spanish or hear lots of people speaking it. Deaf people don't like people watching them sign a private conversation, nor do they really want to sit around signing with students. I considered using my ASL skills to study the culture of Deaf people. That would be a nice way of combining Sign Language and Anthropology. But yeah, I gave up. I'm really rusty at signing now.

Night Club Owner
Working first hand as a booker at a night club, I got to see how little money they actually bring in and what a pain in the butt it was. Live music, at least. Clubs with DJs make tons of money. I started off booking bands to make connections to get my own band booked. Playing politics with the other bookers at the club I booked at, quickly made me see the advantages of running my own club. Then I figured out how expensive it was. This goal is "at rest" for me, though the idea of being rich one day and opening up a club just for the fun of it is still something I'd think about. I always loved the movies where the villains have their conference table on the second floor and it's over looking the stage of a night club and some really cool metal / punk / industrial band is playing to a packed crowd. Not that villains in real life have conference tables, nor do I even know anyone remotely villain like in person anyway that I could have a conference with. But it's still really cool.

I've worked as a paid staff writer for a magazine before. I've also sold my political op ed pieces professionally. Don't google them. They were poorly written and I'm fairly embarrassed I didn't put a lot more effort into them. But being a journalist is something I was / would be again, good at. I just don't like it. There's a huge difference between creative, poetic writing and journalism. There's nothing artistic in journalism. It's just dry statements. I like reading journalistic pieces on subjects I want to know more about. But I don't like writing it. Still, this goal is a possible future one if I need money on the side. I'm more likely to do this if I get other benefits. Like, when I used to write for a music magazine I used to make a lot of contacts with other bands and promoters. The site I wrote for got 9 million hits a month and I was one of the main people writing articles. That made it pretty easy for me to meet people.

I like teaching. I like it a lot. It's hard and challenging because no two students are alike. You're communicating a lot of ideas trying to pack the most amount of meaning with the least words. In person, you can use real time and alter your meaning on the fly if it's not received as intended. You know how many times I write something and think, "Is the reader going to know what I mean by this?" But teaching in person, you get feedback instantly. I teach music now, but only during the summers. This is a part time goal for me. I like doing it for now, but it's a little too stable for me. I want to end up doing something big.

Webpage Designer
I do this now on rare occasion. I don't really like it. I like the programming part, but it's the graphic design part that I get stuck on. I'm great at all the parts of graphic design other than the actual free hand drawing part. I can't do that. I can photoshop the hell out of stuff. I can manipulate, retexture, and animate 3d figures, but not create them. I'd be ok with this if I was part of a team that just did the layout and programming. Still, I'd only want to do this as a means to an ends with some greater project on the horizon.

Concert Promoter
I liked doing this. I liked giving bands a chance and seeing their fans enjoying a show I put together. I liked seeing hundreds of people in one place and knowing I put it together. I like promoting too, although I was one of the few promoters in town that actually promoted. Most promoters put together a show and expect the bands to do all the promotion and they just take a cut. I worked my butt off promoting and never took a cut, not even to cover the expenses of the fliers I printed out. I did it for free. It gave me a reason to walk up to people hanging outside a club and talk to them about bands and why they might want to come out. Again, another thing I don't see myself doing forever unless it's a means to something big. I could see myself working for a big company and putting together a big company party--something cooler than a lame company picnic with a boring band.

Well, that's that. What about combining some of these? I'd love to own a computer game company that made educational software and fantasy adventure games. Maybe use political connections to get more educational software into classrooms. I think a hybrid of teachers and virtual software will become the new educational model one day. And I know I'll still keep writing, whatever I do.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The 4th Trusted Name in News

So, as I do about 2 hours of cardio a day at my gym, I spend those 2 hours watching CNN since that's the only 24 hour news station they have. I have to say, I thought their coverage of the Sherrod case was despicably one sided.

Ok, let's start at the beginning. The whole incident happened because the NAACP passed a resolution condemning the Tea Party for being racist, sparked over a racist post from a guy that wasn't even a member of the Tea Party. This, at around the same time mainstream journalists are caught through something like leaked emails(JournoList-gate), admitting that they falsely accuse Conservatives of being racists to try and protect Obama. I have to say that again. Mainstream journalists admitted to blatantly advocating lying about Conservatives... these are professional journalists admitting to lying about Conservatives and calling them racists without any justification.

So this one Conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, gets a tape sent to him by an unknown source of a woman, Shirley Sherrod, giving a speech at an NAACP event in which she justifies racially discriminating against white people. Breitbart posts the video on his website citing hypocrisy--ie, members of the NACCP shouldn't be calling others racist when people like Sherrod admit to racism at NAACP events. Did Breitbart take a clip out of context or did he trust his source and just pass on the video as it was sent to him assuming it was a fair summery of the event? We don't know. If Breitbart had the whole clip and edited it down to make it appear like something it wasn't, than he's an idiot. He should have known the full tape would get out and it would backfire. So he's either an idiot, or he was set up.

But the bottom line is, all the guy did was take a video recording of a publicly given speech and put it up on his website. Youtube has thousands of political videos where people have done the same thing. There's videos taken out of contexts of Obama "admitting he's a Muslim." Obama misspoke. Another video has Mrs Obama "admitting" Barack was born in Kenya. Again, those are taken out of context by people purposely trying to make these people look like they're saying something else. People, on both sides, do it to be cute, funny, idiots, who knows. But it's common.

The difference here is the Sherrod video went viral and the White House, NAACP, and Department of Agriculture of Georgia all reacted to the clip and made a bad decision based on it. Sherrod was forced to resign before the story even made it on the news. I realise some idiots are blaming Fox here, but let's not forget the facts here. She was asked to resign and had resigned *before* Fox ever aired the story.

Now, keep in mind, the NAACP had the full tape all along. The speech, after all, was given at their event and they, instead of retrieving that tape from their archives first, decided to throw Sherrod under the bus, THEN look at the full tape the next day.

So Sherrod got forced out, and has since been made into a hero of sorts by all the news networks trying to get a human interest story out of it. Obama and the NAACP screwed up. They wanted to kill the story before it even hit the news and they did so without all the facts. Mistakes happen, and they've since apologized in their own ways and tried to make things right. Cool. If Obama makes a mistake, and fixes it right after, I'm totally cool with that. So I have nothing bad to say about that part of it.

But this is not the story that CNN is running with. CNN is turning this into a story of Andrew Breitbart ruining the life of a good person and using lies and deception to do it. Over the passed several days on watching CNN coverage over this story--and they've been covering it non stop--not once have I seen them mention a single time that this was a result of a tit for tat war between the NAACP and the Tea Party. Don't you think that's kind of important? Don't you think painting this story as some crazy right wing conservative nut job that "randomly" targeted some poor innocent, saintly women who just wanted to help people, is pretty dishonest if you're not going to at least mention why it started? It gets worse.

Then they had on this guest author, Andrew Keen, talk about what legislative actions should be taken against conservatives that spread lies on the internet. At this point, the host, Kyra Phillips, should have reminded him that it's only in totalitarianist regimes that the governments crack down against people that speak out. That crap doesn't fly in America. We have something called freedom here. Tell 'em, Kyra! But no, that's not what she says. She went along with everything that nut job was saying. Then after this horribly one sides piece portraying Sherrod as this innocent, saintly woman who was victimized by some evil, malicious right wing conservative liar for no other reason than pure evil reasons, went on to say that it's only honest news stations like CNN and the mainstream media that present the truth and that the others lie(implying that Fox only tells lies). I'm thinking, ok, she's going to say something about what a ridiculous, childish statement that was. I mean, anyone that honestly thinks there are news stations that are unbiased or that it's even possible to be unbiased is an idiot. But no, she was completely onboard with everything the guy said. Then after she actually advocated the government should censor the internet(an incredibly frightening thought) because of those slanderous Republicans that slander the good name of our fine President(not the words she used, but you know she was blaming the Right), they actually had the gall to transition to the next story about Netroots. She actually had a smile on her face as she talked about the fine, good honest Liberal bloggers(the kind that invent lies about how the Tea Party is racist) that make up the Netroots community and their convention in Las Vegas.

Well, I was stunned. I can't believe all the crap I hear about Fox News not really being news when CNN pulls such irresponsible, one sided crap pieces like that steaming pile. Atleast when Fox News first covered the story, before the full tape came out, they had several panelists give opposing views like "maybe the tape is out of context." It was balanced. And that's a big reason why Fox has the highest ratings now.

I read an article on the Huffington Post recently that said that CNN has to stop using the slogan "The most trusted name in news," when their ratings have caused them to slip to 4th place among cable news. Ouch, 4th place. Uh, how many cable news stations are there anyways? Not that many.

In either case, this whole story is silly on all angles and it made everyone look bad. No one "won" this fight. Personally, we need to stop throwing around the racism insult. It gets misused and abused so much that it's beginning to not mean anything anymore. There generally are racist people, and they're in every political party and organization. Singling out the racists in "the other guys" is silly and leads us nowhere. Singling people out for being racists, is fine. But don't drag their organization into it if there's no link.