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User Journal

Journal Journal: And the debates roll on!

As is destined to happen now and again, my friend JHT and I have differing opinions on an important subject. This time it has to do with who is the world's best band

It is interesting to see how a live performance can change your outlook on such a thing. I had the pleasure of attending a Pearl Jam concert a few weeks back. I landed the tickets by making an agreement to help the band tranfer the files of the concert recording up to their record company. They do this for all of their shows and release CDs of them.

I have to put this show in my top 2 of all time. The other is a Prince concert that I attended back in highschool during the Purple Rain tour. That was a phenomenal thing for a 16 year old to see.

I get out quite a bit and have the chance to catch lots of live music. Regardless of the band's politics, which I do take exception to, they were absolutely the most amazing musicians I have ever seen. Different genre from the great Springsteen, but if you could have felt the show PJ put on, you would understand. The performance was nothing short of God-like. Acoustic and electric. Wow.

So I say, perhaps Mr. Springsteen has the top spot. Perhaps Pearl Jam does. And, perhaps perspective is fleeting, and the current best band in the world hasn't even been discovered.

Any way you slice it, though, I'm glad the concert was fun!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Swing, Batter!

It's opening day at Fenway today, and as is typical of the mood surrounding the Red Sox season, the first game is being rained out. So, instead we get to listen to the fellowship of the miserable on our local sports radio station and have blog wars.

Blog^4 in our liberal/conservative conversation is a well swung shot and threatens to go "Way Back!" The problem with the statement is that for each item cited, there is a good refutation.

As I said in a previous post, the liberals in our country have proven to be the biggest opponent to racial equality over the last 30 years. They have used racial quotas and discriminatory measures to give preferrences to members of certain races and to women. It could be well argued that the lefties are the ones that gave the lionshare of awareness to the issue, and we should thank them for that. The approach of legislating what has been termed "reverse discrimination" and "reverse racism" has not worked. It is not reverse anything. These policies are direct practice of racial preference.

I believe wholly and firmly that the person that has earned recognition as the top candidate to any job, position, what have you, should get that position. Race should never, ever be a factor. All racial preferrence policies do is create animosity in the people thgat are affected negatively and make sure that the most qualified person doesn't get the job.

When your house is on fire, do you want the most able people to be there to save you, or the ones that filled the quota?

As far as immigration is concerned, our own dear Senator Ted Kennedy has personally architected the majority of our immigration policy. The Immigration policies of the United States give prefference to the schleps that avoid the immigration system and come into the country illegally. It gives them benefits including housing, food, healthcare and money, all as a thanks for breaking our laws. Our immigration system is awful, awful, awful (Thanks Teddie!), and if the Libs want credit, I'll give it where credit is due!

On gays in society, and just about any other special group you can name, the conservative view is very simple. Do what you want, but please keep it to yourself. I just don't want to know, watch, or be subject to it. Is this censorship? No more than is put upon us hets with regard to our public conduct. I also don't think you should get special laws, treatment, or anything else that every american citizen is entitled to. Should gay marriage be allowed? Uh...er....um...what can I say. I am born and raised catholic and it doesn't work for me. That doesn't make me right though, and somewhere down deep the sense that it doesn't make any difference to my life is working it's way upwards. If being a conservative means that something that challenges my basic values isn't immediately welcome, I'm guilty.

To say that conservatives don't care about the environment is an absolute falsehood, but to say that the leadership of the Republican party don't have it on their priority scope is very true. Then again if I compared all liberals to the leadership of the Democratic party, I'd have mutiny on my hands!!

And that brings me to the "fringe movement" that Josh mentions. It's not a fringe movement that is way out there. It is the leadership of the democratic party, and it always has been. They get caught up in the special interest lobby and that is how we get to things like racial preferrence. They have ideas that are so radically far left of the majority of the party AND country that they are almost firmly embedded in Socialism.

As far as 'we' are concerned, the theory of trickle-down economics is concerned, there can't be a lateral economic system. There is no model for economic success that is based on redistrobution of wealth. People with wealth pay other people to work for them. It's simple and it works. What is wrong with manditory sentencing? If someone commits a particular crime and is convicted of tham crime, they deserve an appropriate sentence. The reason we have tiered charges for offenses is that when someone commits a crime, the circumstances surrounding that crime dictate the level of charge. If you fit the bill, you should certainly serve a minimum sentence.

Abortion and drugs are issues that it would be unproductive to get into. Suffice to say I stated my opinion earlier.

The religion bit is a bit puzzling. Because someone is religious, does that mean that they allow religion to cloud their decisions? I don't think so. I don't think religion played a part, say, in the war on Iraq. I don't think it affects decisions on national economic policy. Don't know about Rod Paige's comments, and haven't heard anything about them.

Well...it took me all afternoon to piece that together. 5 on Friday...off the the raquetball court!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Nothing like a good old political debate on a Friday!

A friend of mine, JHT has put in $.02 in regards to my response post intended for Trolling4Dollars.

In response, I would first like to note that my post was a response to something Trolling4Dollars wrote, and intended only to be that. I was not intending to create the definitive piece on liberals vs. conservatives.

That said, I must also disagree with Josh in that, while his statements regarding liberalism being inherently accepting of chage and conservatives not being accepting of change is inaccurate. While this may be a classic definition of the two concepts, it has little bearing on what it means in todays society to be either. I would challenge him to make a supported arguement on this (in a friendly way, of course), and am certain that for every instance shown in his favour I can come up with an equal and opposite instance that is disproving.

Some of what he wrote is very true. His statements regarding how the two groups view society, opportunity, and institutions are on the money with the exception of religion. I do not know many if any conservatives that do not respect the separation of church and state. You'd think that living in Massachusetts I wouldn't know many conservatives, but I manage to find a few here and there.

Once we are past this nit-picky quagmire of words, our views generally are in alignment. Josh's model of what government should provide to citizens is very similar to mine. It is always worth one shot to give someone a chance to turn things around, but if people having put themselves in a poor position refuse to make an effort to help themselves, then that is life.

And no, government should not be in the morality business. The only difference we have here is with abortion rights, and even that is somewhat semantic. The issue over abortion is quite literally whether or not abortion is an act of murder. I am not saying it is, and I am not saying it isn't, just that the two sides of the issue say either yes it is or no it isn't. Someone needs to decide that question, and I for one think the government is the best and truly only place it can be decided. Sexual behavior...do what you want (unless you belong to NAMBLA...). Drug policy should be limited to what is safe to use (like not heroine), and what isn't (like not grass). If someone is likely to jump off a building because of a substance tricking them into thinking flying would be fun, I don't have a problem with it being illegal (even is this is reverse darwinism).

P.S. Happy Birthday. Late, early, on time...it's close.

P.P.S. The 'pen scares me as well!!!

User Journal

Journal Journal: First response to Trolling4Dollars

"When I use the word harm, I speak of protecting the guarantee of a certain baseline level of the quality of life that EVERY human being is ENTITLED to. If something threatens this guarantee, that something MUST be dealt with. Whether the tool is discussion, politics, technology, medicine, etc... Some examples of threats to the individual: war, famine, greed (corporate gain at the expense of those who will never attain the wealth of the owners), corruption (the collusion of conservative politicians with big business), racism and nationalism."

I am certain that most things that liberals and conservatives believe in an debate on can be boiled down to simple fundamental concepts. This statement from Trolling4Dollars starts with the concept of entitlement. Entitlement for all is a very left/liberal concept. Entitlement based on merit is a very right/conservative concept. I am not going to say either belief is right or wrong, but I can speak to what I subscribe to and why.

I do not now, nor have I ever believed in the concept of entitlement to a quality of life. Maybe that sounds harsh, but the concept that a government has the right to take from one and give to another is something I wholeheartedly disagree with. The constitution of the United States guarantees certain rights. Education is one of these rights, and education is the great equalizer. People failing to make the most of their education, or becoming crack addicts, alcoholics, school drop-outs, drug dealers, or career welfare moms are not my problem, and I should not be forced to pay to provide them healthcare or foodstamps. They had a choice to make, and made the wrong one. I believe that there should be personal responsibility for these choices.

In my view, no government has the right to take things away from private citizens or organizations, especially in disproportionate amounts. I do not favor the redistrobution of wealth. Money is made and lost every day in this country. Companies thrive, but many more go out of business. Those who succeed should be allowed to reap the benefits of that success, for they took all the risks.

Should we have a universal healthcare program in the U.S.? I don't know is the true answer. I can say that based on our current system we have the best medical doctors and facilities in the world. Should we change that? Should Congress change it? I say no. They do not have the right. Would I vote for it if a referendum were called? Perhaps. I would certainly respect it if it were approved in such a manner, even if I didn't agree with the concept.

Should everyone in the country be entitled to eat? Hell no. Go and get a job and stop putting your hand out. McDonald's is hiring and you probably qualify to work the mayo gun. They'll even feed you. Join the military. They are ALWAYS hiring, pay pretty well, and will help you learn valuable skills.

As for clothes, housing, and anything else you can think of, see the above paragraph.

On to threats to the individual. The statement that discussion that could threaten someone's quality of life, that I do not believe they are entitled to in the first place, should be dealt with is ludicrous in my eyes. This is exactly what the free speech amendment protects, and if you would threaten free speech I think you would find yourself standing quite alone.

You mention corporate greed as a threat to the individual. I would argue, and ask any to cogently present an opposing view, that businesses are in business to make money. They are not in business to cater to individuals unless those individuals are paying customers. If a business were unethical in it's practices, customers would stop paying and the business would become no more. Lest ye forget, businesses are the reason that most of us have jobs and can afford to eat, wear clothes, and post on Slashdot. Without them, we would have no model under which to survive. What would be our basis for trade?

You mention corruption and collusion. I can't even give this the time of day. I am not saying it doesn't happen or that it is good or right, but did you pay attention to just how corrupt the Clinton Administration was? Clinton could have been tried just over his dealings with the Chinese. Corruption in politics is a plague to all and needs to be eradicated. Do not fool yourself into believing it exists only on one side of the spectrum.

Now here's the funny part. The racist, special interest party is accusing the other side of racism. Racism is defined in 2 ways. Firstly it is defined as a belief in racial superiority, and secondly it is defined as racial prejudice or discrimination. The democrat party of the United States has been the largest practitioner of racism in the country over the last 30+ years. Every policy that has been advocated by the left regarding racial preferences and quotas regarding state jobs or practice in private institutions is pure, basic racism. Giving someone 10 points on a civil service exam because of their race or gender is discrimination in its purest form. Top qualified candidates get overlooked because someone else is given preference based on characteristics that have nothing to do with the qualifications for the job. Conservative views have held that people should be hired and awarded based on merit alone. Discrimination occurs when any other factor is taken into account.

Lastly on nationalism, it is my belief that we in the U.S. suffer from a lack of nationalism. There are too many people in this country that are not here to be Americans. Perhaps someone doesn't like that concept, but I believe that any society is better off if it's members are focused on making a positive contribution towards the success of that society. Nationalism occurs when the members of a country are given or make something to be proud of. People in America don't even claim to be Americans. They are Italian or Irish or African-American, or whatever they are. Fooey. Be an American, drop the border that you put between yourself and someone else by claiming you are something else and come contribute to the betterment of the society.

Trolling4Dollars statements regardin Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy are too much to handle today. I will only say that even if a Socialist society could work and be economically viable, it will never become so unless everyone in that society wants to contribute solely to make the society a better place. That requires Nationalism, so special preference for anyone based on race, gender, religion, or anything else, no corruption in politics, no greed, and that everyone accept personal responsibility for themselves. Hell could freeze over first.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Repost of something Trolling4Dollars had in his journal 1

I am reposting this because I thought it was a great post, but I was unable to comment because comments were disabled.

I disagree with this post almost in it's entirety, but it is a helluva rant and deserves a chance to be discussed.

Trolling4Dollars, if you make it over here, I think the ongoing debate over political worthiness when it comes to philosophy is an interesting one. I will respond to the post with comments later.

Right now this is just a repost of a post I made in Twirlip of the Mists journal. I will (if I ever care to) try and expand on it. Since I don't care about politics all that much, it will probably take time. But, hopefully this document will be useful when going up against some particularly unpleasant anti-libs:
At this point it's just a personal thing I have against Twirlip and his fans. I'm not here for debate, I'm here to taunt and jeer. I highly dislike anyone who believes the following:
-Liberals are bad or misguided people
-Open source is bad because it's "bad for business" (at least the way you define business which is really more chicanery with smoke and mirrors)
-Socialism is bad because it hurts business ...and I also dislike anyone who believes these lies:
-Capitalism is good because it makes everyone wealthy
-The United States the greatest nation on the planet
-The war in Iraq is an anti-terrorism campaign
-President Bushboi is a good and honest man
It is my right to defend what I believe in, just as you defend what you believe in. In general conservatives are so arrogant that they actually believe there is only one way to do things: their way. Trollip subscribes to this because he believes in the concept that there is only one "truth", one way: his way. I am only being as arrogant about my beliefs as he is, yet somehow, conservatives seem to think this is a bad thing. I don't unsderstand why since I am only aping EXACTLY how you behave towards liberals.
If someone wants to debate these things with me, they have come barking up the wrong tree. There is no debate. I have no plans to be persuaded. Just as there really is no civil or logical debating with any of you. You are incapable of this. You have no plans to open your minds to any other way of thinking. Your sole goal is to persuade everyone else that you are right. I've never once seen any of you change your mind on something and swing from the right to even just the center, no matter how wrong you may be. This is because you never will. You hold to your stubborn idea that there is only one way, one answer. In general, it's capitalist imperialism that you believe in.
I have my beliefs and they will never change, just as many of you have your strong beliefs too. However, since mine directly oppose yours, they must clearly be "wrong". In your view, I need to be "educated". And if I don't change my mind to your way of thinking, then I am "arrogant", "ignorant" or at worst, "an asshole". it works both ways baby... I could easily apply the same terms to you.
Even though we (liberals) have opposing beliefs to yours, we are going to just as stubbornly hold to them no matter what we are told. Simply because, as human beings, we have our own best interests at heart and the left is much better at protecting me than the right will ever be. I'm willing to admit that I am thinking of what benefits me. How about you?
On another note:
Here's my answer to Trollip about a "challenge" he posted a long time ago. He claimed that liberals have no idea what their beliefs are. Well here's my answer, more or less in my own inimitable fashion:
Liberals accept the fact that many systems and concepts are constantly changing in the world on all fronts. We believe that in order to cope with those changes, it is necessary to tolerate even the most incompatible concepts as long as they don't bring any harm to bear on individuals.
When I use the word harm, I speak of protecting the guarantee of a certain baseline level of the quality of life that EVERY human being is ENTITLED to. If something threatens this guarantee, that something MUST be dealt with. Whether the tool is discussion, politics, technology, medicine, etc... Some examples of threats to the individual: war, famine, greed (corporate gain at the expense of those who will never attain the wealth of the owners), corruption (the collusion of conservative politicians with big business), racism and nationalism. These are only a few examples of what I stand against as a liberal. This means that I am FOR peaceful negotiation when applicable and a hands off approach when peaceful negotion fails. I am FOR providing foreign aid to countries that are in need and ask for help, with the aim of leading them to independence. I am FOR regulations that place the average citizen's needs above that of the corporate greed. I am FOR the in depth investigation and dissolution of the ties between politicians and business on all sides (left, center and right). I am FOR the counselling and imprisonment (if counselling fails) of racists who believe that their race is superior to others. I am FOR the destruction of the concepts that one country is better than another and the replacement of those ideas with the concept that we are all the same. We all come from the same place: planet Earth. The world is full of so many other problems, that this barely even scratches the surface. While conservatives pay lip service to their opposition of these same things (and seeming support of some of the things I said I was FOR), their actions betray the true core values of conservatism: every man for himself at the expense of all others. That's what we're doing now in Iraq.
This is by no means an exhaustive definition of what it is to be a liberal simply because being a liberal is a BIG JOB. To be a liberal means to strive for an unachievable goal: Complete and total fairness, equality and an equal baseline standard of living for every human being on the planet. This is a difficult task because we ourselves are battling our own inner flaws to try and squash down our own tendencies to greed, fear, anger and selfishness. But that IS the human condition and what I state here IS the road to betterment. I could write for days about what it means to be liberal...
Some basics:
-It means being honest with yourself and realizing that mankind is YOUR business.
-It means that YOU are responsible for everyone around you.
-It is YOUR responsibility to make sure that people less fortunate than you get their fair share of what you have, no matter how little you can afford (not out of greed, but out of ability) to give of yourself.
-It is YOUR responsibility to take people to task when they are not willing to do their fair share for the betterment of others.
-And especially, it is YOUR responsibility to tear down and stand in the way of the systems that would try and take these guarantees away.
Claim all you want that the US is a great country and that capitalism is the best economic system in the world. You still can't claim to have eliminated all the ills that exist in this country and you haven't even touched the world yet. You also can't claim that conservative thought isn't what is responsible for many of the problems that the less fortunate experience. You can't claim that all of your efforts to stand in the way of gun control AREN'T the reason that we have the most violent crime perpetrated with guns in the world. You can't claim that the conservative penchant for aggression (whether in discourse or on the battlefield) isn't responsible for giving our society an uglier and more selfish demeanor.
One last aspect that I will mention of what it means to be a liberal is that we try to clean up after the messes you conservatives make when you are making a grab for yet more profit... Like what's going down in Iraq right this minute. We'll be apologizing to the world for the terrible actions of our government for decades.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How's your conflict resolution?

And how's it helping you deal with the current conflict?

People that know me know I am relatively conservative in my political views, especially my outlook on economic and social issues. This doesn't make me a bad guy, it means that I have inherrent issues with a system that invites freeloaders to take advantage of free money that is only free because it was taken from people that actually have jobs and contribute to society. And here I digress before I even begin my point.

That point would be whether or not I support our war on Iraq. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of "The Fellowship of the Sheep". I don't care what your political outlook is. I do care if you just take in the information that is spoon-fed to you by your medium of choice because you decided that those were your views and that information substantiates you in some way. All that said, I _have_ to support my country in this effort.

Before the war started I had many conversations with friends, both liberals and conservatives, regarding the prospect of attacking Iraq. I maintained that it can almost never be justified to attack another nation. I hold the act of making war on another country similar to punching someone in a bar because they looked at your lady. There is always room for more discussion as long as you are vigilant in reaching your goals with that dialogue and yet preparing for any eventuality in the background while you try and achieve your goals. In this, I think my government has failed.

And there is nothing I can do about it today. Perhaps during the next election, but not today.

So Today I chose to support our troops. They are there getting shot at, risking their lives in our defense. Whether you agree that there needs to be a defense or not, that does not change the sacrifice of our soldiers. I know one guy that is in the reserves. He was married 3 years ago, but because of the reserves he has spent 2.5 years away from his new wife. They can't start a family because he is serving his country. And getting shot at. He deserves my respect, as does every other soldier on our side right now.

Protestors tick me off. Not because they don't have the right to their own opinions and to express those opinions, but because they are protesting the people that make sure they have that right. It's almost like having your parents send you to school for a great education and then telling them to f-off while you are there and not talking to them for the 4 years.

Please, no matter what your political views are, save them for the next election. Show respect to our men and women that are DYING for you. I certainly agree with the premise for the war, but I could dissent on the poorly practiced diplomacy by our administration. And I will. When Allied soldiers are no longer dying for us.

User Journal

Journal Journal: First Post

I have never really been one to write in a journal. It never appealed to me, and I consider myself to be a fairly private person.

Still, here I am. Boring as it may be, I guess I have to start somewhere.

I am a thirty-something male geek. I don't al;ways come off as a geek, but once you get to know me it's tough to hide. I enjoy tech stuff somewhat. I am a professional techie with out any real specializion except perhaps postscript workflow. I think my ME degree gave me good tools to use in keeping the flow of information and the ability to access that information efficient.

Outside of work I don't deal much with computers. The last video game I was addicted to was Civ III (I beat emperor once, monarch 5-6 times, but never mastered diety) and Starcraft before that. I love sports, bars (beer...mmmmm), eating out (no this isn't a personal ad...so don't be looking for moonlit walks on the beach) and games. Most of my geekiness comes from my love of games like chess, D&D, Warhammer 40k, Axis & Allies, etc..

I recently got engaged to a wonderful woman. How she managed to pick me, I'll never be sure, but I have to give 2 thumbs up to the whole internet personal thing because of it. I met bunches of people, some nice and some not so nice, but in the end it brought me my lady.

I guess that's a start. Go Pats, Go Sox, Yankees Suck, Raiders Suck, and all that jazz :)

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky