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Journal: Random upper for a downer day

Journal by swerk

I've had a crappy day. Haven't had a good night's sleep in about a week, and everybody at the office is wigged out here the impending round of layoffs, on top of the usual work-related stress. What was meant to be a fun and much-needed off-campus lunch break has come back to haunt me digestively, and I feel like I'm coming down with some sort of bug to boot.

Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?
So I dug up a random funny link out of my bookmarks:
http://www.afrotechmods.com/
How neat, a guy can smile even when he feels pretty low. Nice to take a beat like that now and again.

*sigh* Back to Earth...

United States

Journal: President's Day

Journal by swerk

Today we theoretically get a day off, in celebration of our nation's great leaders.

We've sure had some stinkers, though. The usual bumbles of inept economic policies and/or poorly led warfare are nothing new in politics, American or otherwise. Sometimes, though, we get some genuinely backwards stuff. Stuff that happens because of a bunch of powerful people, not just the president, but significant steps that get joined in memory with the commander-in-chief.

Two steps forward, one step back is fine for political progress. You can see it in the constitution. Abolish slavery... allow blacks to vote... ban alcohol. Huh? It comes down to respect, a great deal of the time. Eventually we have to come to the realization that "we" are not "better" than "them". Black people are people too. Moreover, "we" have to respect "their" choices, even if we disagree with them. If I'm on some some Puritanical high horse, fine, but that doesn't make it right for me to tell you what you can and can't drink.

We've had some interesting games happen with social security with the last few rounds of administrations. Progressives note the situation in every other post-industrial society on the planet and think Americans deserve those same benefits. Conservatives don't necessarily think the the government "owes" its citizens a damn thing, but would be more than happy to build up a private sector version of social security. As an aside, I find it really interesting that the same people who argue that government-run operations can never be as good as privately-run outfits also argue that the government should be in charge of personal life matters. You're on your own for medication, but don't you dare decide what to do with your own body!

We took some steps forward economically and environmentally during the Clinton years, but we also took a step back in terms of personal liberties with the introduction of the DMCA. Under Bush II, we've taken back those forward steps and then some, and the USA PATRIOT act puts the DMCA to shame with its civil rights-stomping powers. Drug dealers can be held now as terrorists, because the legal process is easier, oppressing their rights to a speedy trial and so on. While stepping backwards, we got attacked by a Saudi terrorist organization and invaded Iraq in retaliation. Oh, and that huge surplus we amassed during the Clinton years turned into the country's biggest deficit ever. Even worse, we re-elected the bastard in charge of all this! Not only is America taking leaps backwards, we're apparently enjoying it! 51% of us, anyway.

But, better presidents will come along. I say this with a Murphy's Law-baiting amount of confidence: The next U.S. President will be a vast improvement over the current one. The next one may be better yet. At some point we'll have a stinker again. I just hope that by that time we've taken enough steps forward that the slipping back won't hurt as much. I hope I never hate another president as much as I hate George W. Bush. I would be tickled pink if I didn't care one way or the other about the president, as was the case under Clinton. But it would be truly fantastic if we could have another George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or JFK.

United States

Journal: Gay rights

Journal by swerk

It's sad and frightening that this is a "controversial" topic. Even more frightening is the fact that there are people who would agree to that sentiment but sit on the other side of the fence.

Women should not be able to own property.
Blacks should not be able to vote.
Homosexuals should not be able to marry.

Spot the out-of place statement in the above. Take your time. ... Got it? If you said "none of the above" or "trick question", you're right. They are all saying the same thing: (Portion of our populous X) should be denied (legal opportunity Y).

Some folks think owning property and voting are different from marrying. That would be true if the church and only the church was responsible for the institution of marriage. That would mean that no law, tax system, or any other government-related entity or procedure should make any mention of marital status. No such thing as joint tax returns, no spousal privileges in hospital visits or court proceedings. Would the world be better off that way? By the way, in such a scenario, there would still be churches who would wed gay couples.

But if we accept the reality that being married affects our legal status in many ways, we see denial of same-sex marriage for what it is: discrimination. And some people want this discrimination written into the constitution, the CONSTITUTION! The document that's supposed to define the liberty and equality we are to be guaranteed as citizens of this country.

Right-wingers, let me try and meet you halfway. You can object to the morality of homosexuality all you want. I think you're wrong, and you think I'm wrong, but that's ok. People can disagree. We always have and we always will. But you cross the line when you institutionalize the treatment of a segment of our population as second-hand citizens. They're not. You are not better than them. They are not hurting you; do not hurt them.

The other argument I hear is how changing the rules for marriage would make a mockery of the entire institution. Umm, first, _your church_ doesn't have to change its ways and marry gay people, if it so chooses. _Your church_ can preach that the earth is flat and deny membership to anyone with a Norwegian-sounding last name, for all I care. Second, defining marriage as a legal union between two committed, loving people is not going to turn the world upside-down. No, people aren't going to start marrying animals or inanimate objects. Animals and things cannot enter legal contracts. They don't file taxes and don't need to visit each other in the hospital. People are not going to marry twelve other people. Oh, some Mormons already do that? Huh. It's not legal. For them it's a religious thing. Do you think religious beliefs should be made into law? Oh, only yours, not theirs? How 'bout we just keep those things separate, as was supposed to be the case from such time as this country was formed? I'm not appealing to tradition or "because it is written so", I'm saying the founders of the United States had a damn good reason to want to keep religion out of government affairs and vice-versa: it breeds discrimination; the religion of the majority could and would oppress those in the minority. ...That's all for now. It just saddens me to think this is even an issue. In fifty years people are going to look back and laugh at us, wondering how we could be so rotton to each other, just as we wonder how our ancestors could have been so rotton to blacks and to women. Not that we've quite grown out of that either, which is every bit as pathetic.

Music

Journal: The Libertines

Journal by swerk
Old-fashioned rock/punk. I like 'em. Somewhere in-between the Beatles and the Ramones, but without the rabid fans found on either end. Or I live in a cave. Either way, this ain't "pop rock".

Look 'em up if your musical tastes are like mine:
+ Punk rocks! Green Day's decay into pop physically hurts.
+ Country sucks, no matter how clever that Barenaked Ladies tune was.

...my first journal entry of many that nobody shall ever read, and rightfully so!

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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