The Gross National Debt

Friday, August 26, 2016

Where for art thou rights?

This one covers a lot of different ground. 

http://qz.com/767163/naruto-monkey-selfie-peta/

At issue is this monkey and whether or not he holds the copyright to the images. The author of this Quartz piece is "a law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He is an expert in constitutional law and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School." He also believes animals have rights.

A Constitution expert (as many people claim the current POTUS is) believes animals have rights. This scares me immensely. It scares me more than the gun grabbers. Yes huh.

Afore we get any further, let's get this clear. There is a gulf of distance between "rights" and "welfare." I happen to be bang up against animal welfare. Don't be cruel. Don't mistreat 'em. Abuse animals, and I say we rub you down with a cheese grater and roll you in salt on second offense. First offense, a good caning suffices. Hunting is not abuse, unless the same rule is applied to animals. (I 'splain, keep reading).

Rights goes (go?) much further. Rights requires the entity having the rights to be able to understand right from wrong, make decisions based on right and wrong and know that actions have consequences, even if those consequences are delayed. Self-awareness figures heavily into this. Reason is the other major part.

ASIDE - Someone is gonna bring up people with diminished mental capacity. I cover this in a moment.

So what about all this and animals? SCIENCE! once said "no way hoser boy!" In the continuing pursuit of determining how little we actually know, SCIENCE! now says "Uh yeah. Well, we've got this evidence..."

Some critters are self-aware. http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/10-animals-with-self-awareness.html

Reason? http://www.livescience.com/22178-parrots-reason-three-year-olds.html
https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Morgan/Morgan_1903/Morgan_1903_16.html

Here's a great way to put this into perspective. Are animals altruistic to other animals, especially other species? Other species is the key here. Doing it for your own family group or species doesn't fit my definition of altruistic (see people of diminshed capacity). That's self-preservation.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/26/rationing-ravens-merciful-monkeys-can-animals-be-altruistic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/humpback-whales-save-animals-killer-whales-explained/
http://www.livescience.com/19987-altruism-animals-varies-based-environment.html

Animals certainly have emotion. Recent events at Sea World shows the orcas may be able to resent their confinement. Yow.

Talk about making muddy waters even more murky!

But do animals have rights?

This Quartz author and parasite of the human condition (my affectionate term for lawyers) says yes. He writes a decision for the monkey will "...pave the way for future litigation that will afford non-human animals the fundamental rights they deserve." This scares me massively, as I stated above. He scares me too.

Here's why. The other side of having rights is understanding consequences for affecting another's rights. As humans, we execute people for murder. We jail people for rape. We detain, fine and restrict a person's rights for other offenses.

If animals have rights, then they must be held accountable for their actions.


Try these: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29237276

Remember, animals also kill each other for food. Cats come to mind. Cats must eat meat because they do not have the ability to make a protein from the food they eat. Obligate predator,, Humans and most other omnivores can. But do cats have to kill? Could they eat animals which die naturally? Carrion eaters do and are pretty successful at it. If some carnivores can make do with naturally dead critters, then every carnivore should be held to this standard.

A lot of people told me the guy who killed that collared lion in Africa committed murder. When the lion killed a warthog, was that murder? If lions have rights, then I say yes.

Someone is going to say I am being totally ridiculous. "Animals don't think that way," someone will say. Then explain the above altruism and the ability to reason and self-awareness. Explain an animal's thought process.

"Baker, you are an idiot. You won't understand."

Either I don't and probably lack the ability to understand (likely) or I understand a lot more than my critics (equally likely). Take your pick.


Bottom line. If animals have rights, then they must be held accountable for their actions. When squirrels are charged with murder for eating baby birds, then I'm willing to talk about animal rights.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Aiming to offend - caution, contains profanity

It is impossible to not cause offense. Impossible.

No matter what you do, someone will be offended. 30+ years as a word slinger have taught me that I can write "a black cat crossed the road" and someone will call me a racist.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chwoops.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cannot harm me. Harm. Not hurt. I see a real difference there.

You may disagree. Tellya whut monkeybutt,

You write 10+ books, contribute to 40-something history books, edit & publish a series of history books, produce a dozen or so books for other people, edit book manuscripts and have 10,000+ articles (and counting) published around the world, be physically attacked for what you write, be threatened repeatedly with lawsuits for what you write AND survive an assassination attempt (or be killed by an assassin) for what you write THEN you can come talk to me about words and hurt and harm.

I generally object to using profanity in public settings and in places where kids happen to be, but today I do not care. Some things must be said. If it causes offense, then offense needs to be caused. This world is not fair and does not care that you suffer butthurt. Get over it. Move along.

I ask, is it fair for you to lash out because of your butthurt? Is it fair for you to offend others because you were offended? If the offense was incidental, who is really at fault?

#HumanUp

Had one person, who was offended, tell me it is not the intent that matters, but the result. Monkeybutt, you're right when you are dealing with things that cause actual measurable harm. Butthurt is not a measurable harm by my standards. YMMV. Yes, tort does allow for butthurt. I can agree with that ONLY when there is measurable other damage.

Understand this world will not conform to your expectations and you have two basic choices:

Live with it.

Exit stage whatever comes next.

#HumanUp

You do have the right to express your butthurt. I will support your right to whine with everything that is within me. I will also laugh about it.

Why today's rant? I login to FB, the source of all butthurt in the world, and one of me buds has posted this.

"I am tired of trying to figure out just what the hell is going to offend people and then trying to avoid posting that shit. It's too much work. Maybe, MAYBE if I had a complete list of what's going to offend everyone...
It was an image of Elmer Fudd, a cartoon I identify with, shooting an idiotic female cartoon who was taking a selfie of herself doing that godawfully stupid duckface pose. It was an obvious play on the Elmer/Bugs/Daffy rabbit season/duck season storyline.
Judging by the 15 or so private convos that were aimed my way, this image is offensive.
I am fucking lost here. I grew up with those cartoons. They're what led to my nickname and interest in opera. But all I'm hearing is "gun violence against women isn't cool." Well no shit!
*sigh*
I need a nap..."

Not telling you who posted it as I don't have permission to reprint. However, as a journalist and in the interest of telling news, current topics and journalist commentary, I am sharing it. This is copacetic under copyright law. Further, I invoke the same First Amendment rights to reprint the offending toon.

Those taking offense saw this as violence against women. Lemme state categorically - Violence against humans is flat wrong. Period. However, those taking offense at this toon need to take a chill pill. Those taking offense will, I can guarantee this, laugh their collective ass off at things other people find offensive. 

I can find plenty of other things far more offensive. I shan't include them. Yet. – Bugger it. Here's one that offends me so much ...


The picture is not offensive. What it represents drives me into an incoherent rage. If the cartoon offends you and but what this child went through does not offend you, your priorities are seriously f'd up. If you support bombing children (past presidents, current POTUS, Trump & Clinton do), please never speak to me again.

Anyway, the people who are offended by the cartoon...

It is absolutely NOT cool for them to be offended, but entirely appropriate for them to find humor in something that offends others. Hypocrite much?

Just for the record, me bud who posted this is quite possibly the most gentle, forgiving and wonderful person I've ever met who had an IQ over 100. Well, he and Grandma are in a dead heat for that title. He goes well out of his way to avoid causing offense, but admits he can't do it anymore. He will read this. To him I say - You do you. Maybe those who suffer extreme butthurt need to be excised like a festering boil.


"To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion - that is a right. That is a freedom," he said.
"The freedom to criticise ideas - any ideas even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.
"And the law which attempts to say you can criticise or ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.
"It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended.
"The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness - and the other represents oppression."

No doubt this post is going to offend people. Excellent. If you are offended, please send me your name so I can mark it off my list. It is my goal to reach out and offend every person on the planet. (This goal does have some arcane rules, which I will not explain here.) If you'd care to tell me how you are offended, I will be glad to laugh at that as well.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

One size fits all


Artie is gone. At least from this life.

I met Artie years ago when the HandiMart didn't have gas tanks. He asked me to come take a picture of the huge holes in the ground. Michael and Courtney were barely knee high.

That began a friendship that lasted for years.

Art Eld, the Voice of the Rebels. A DamnYankee for sure. But one of the good ones. A yankee is someone from north of the Mason Dixon Line. A DamnYankee is one who comes to the South and stays. Artie even admitted to be a DamnYankee and loved to joke about it. He loved to joke about his accent, about himself.

Artie loved his kids, his grandkids and of course sports. He loved the Rebels and really enjoyed being in the press box to call the games. But if you knew Artie, you knew that.

If you did not know Artie, then you did not know a truly fine man. You did not know a man who put his community first. You did not know a man who worked hard to make things better for other people. You did not know a man with a booming voice, a massive smile and a firm handshake. You did not know a man who was an immediate friend to everyone until he was given cause to be otherwise.

You don't know that your world was a little less bright for not knowing Artie Eld.

You don't know that our world, here in this little community, is a little less bright today.

Artie is gone from this realm of existence. What's left goes into one-size-fits-all container. That's makes me even more sad.

How can one simple box hold everything that Artie Eld was? How can it really reflect who Artie was and the impact he had on so many people? How can that be fair?

How can the hole left in so many lives be filled now?

We shall, as Artie insisted, continue. But it just won't be the same.

Got ghosts?

At the recent free ghost hunt tour at the Jail Museum in Ashburn, a picture was knocked off a display cabinet.

Here's the video. https://www.facebook.com/Jessie1983/videos/10208717686932886/.

The top of the pix is not visible in this clip. Could someone have knocked it off? Yes. But the nearest person was a long arm stretch away from the photo. I'm not seeing evidence in the torso and the shirt that the person's arm was moving. I could be wrong.

Here's a still taken from the vid.



The shadow does have an odd angle. Is that an arm shadow?

I can't tell.

Like a lot of video of the "things that go bump in the night" there's just enough that's not quite in frame to give full proof in either direction, at least for me. It is enough for many to say that the paranormal does exist. Others say there's too much missing or other ways in which this picture could have gone flying.

There's a telling point. It did not slip. It was struck with enough force to make it clear the display case, not just fall off.

Me? I dunno.

Here's a story about the museum.

If you'd like to tour the old jail during the day, please visit the Chamber of Commerce across the street and they'll hustle up a guide for you. $6 adults. Kids and students less. If you'd like a ghost tour led by experts, please contact Jeffery Vaughan. Ghost hunts run by Jeffery are $35 a person and go from about 8 p.m. to 2-4 a.m.

If you are part of an estbalished paranormal group and want to do your own investigation, contact me. Donations accepted, publicity requested.

Friday, August 19, 2016

They can hold back time

As the late Austin Saxon wrote, God has not made a perfect basketball referee. He hasn't had enough time.

Being a ref is tough. Very tough. You get abuse from all quarters. You are expected to watch every player on the field  all the time. You are expected to be completely impartial.

Refs are also human.

That sentence, just above, stopped me cold. This blog started as a rant on referees (and I will do that), but still.

#HumanUp.

I sit here writing this blog exhausted from too little sleep. A part of this lack of sleep was due to a Thursday night high school football game. I got home at 12:20 a.m. and was in bed around 1 a.m., back up at 6 a.m. to head to work.

The game was entirely too long. I am not certain how many penalties were thrown on my community's team, but I will also not be surprised if it set a new record. It seemed like every other play drew a flag. Several major plays were called back.

I've seen bad calls. I watched one bad call in Florida hand a victory to the opposition. The video of that game was used in Florida to teach referees what NOT to do.

Sitting on the sidelines muttering invectives, I wondered about calling Moody AFB and asking for a bombing run of yellow bandanas over the stadium to help the refs out. I seriously wondered if the players were actually breaking that many rules. Some I saw. Legit. Some I did not see and so cannot comment.

What bothered me more than the massive number of penalties was the constant delays. The refs were stopping the clock way too often and way too much and for way too long.

Bad calls are one thing. Good calls are one thing. Stopping the clock, like those refs did in Hugh Mills Stadium, no. It was a school night. Kids got home after midnight. That is inexcusable and I put the bulk of the fault on the refs because they kept stopping the clock! For the record, I have long objected to weekday high school sports games when the players get home after 10 p.m.

Being a ref is a hard job and I salute the men and women who are willing to do this. But after events like Thursday night, it's hard to support them 100 percent.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ready. Aim. Poot.

Some years agone, I published a guest column in the newspaper I run. Me bud Ang wrote it. It was about raising boys. She used the word "poot."

Poot.

One reader was so upset by this word, she called my boss and raised hell for a while. End result, Ang was not allowed to write any more columns.

W. T. F.

Kids cartoons use the word poot. Most evening sitcoms use words a WHOLE lot more harsh. I'm standing out on a limb here (a limb big enough to park a truck on) when I say this woman who complained is a Baptist. Possibly a Methodist. Regardless, I'm willing to walk further out on the limb and say this woman has a KJV Bible in her possession.

1 Kings 16:11 - And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

She was mad enough to try to get me fired over the word "poot" but "pisseth against a wall" wouldn't cause her even a minor heart palpitation. Why? In the Bible of course!

Poot.

Had another reader call last year and vent hellfire and brimstone on me over a picture. The high school cheerleaders, for Breast Cancer Awareness, made banners. A published pix had the words "Save the TaTas."

Really? Yes, really.

Poot & TaTas then!

In this vein of offense, I am reading Lewis Grizzard's book, "I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962 and other nekkid truths." When he wrote it, the late Lewis knew it would offend people. He wrote as much in the book. He wrote that several times. He also said he didn't care.

If Grizzard tried to publish this book today, he'd be more hated that Clinton and Trump combined.

It's making me laugh out loud nearly every page. One, maybe two other books have managed to do this. Some people would demand the book be burned.

Here's the truth, as explained by Rowan "Mr. Bean" and "Black Adder" Atkinson himself. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9616750/Rowan-Atkinson-we-must-be-allowed-to-insult-each-other.html

Indeed, we absolutely MUST be allowed to offend each other. Or, at least try to. (I'm certainly trying massively hard to offend every person on the planet, but some people are making it damn near impossible).

Here's why we must be allowed to create offense: 30+ years in journalism have taught me that no matter what you or I say, someone is going to be offended. I can call a cat black and someone will say I'm being racist. Some people simply look for reasons and ways to be offended.

If we are not allowed to offend, we have no free speech.

And frankly, not having freedom of speech offends me more than you can imagine.

If that offends you, please send me your name so I can mark you off my list.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Deconstruction



One of my longtime friends posted this.

Let's take a look at this line by line. Some of this may not apply to you.

Electricity: Yes, it is a monopoly regulated by the feds, state and local. This same monopoly prohibits people from generating their own power in far too many places. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-no-solar-20140810-story.html.

Water: Flint, MI., comes to mind. There's lots more. As a reporter, I've covered plenty of municipalties with water problems. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/09/us/regulatory-gaps-leave-unsafe-lead-levels-in-water-nationwide.html

TV: Federal Communications Commission regulation of free speech, which is the First Amendment. George's list greatly expanded from his original seven but here ya go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyBH5oNQOS0

Satellites: Well, yeah, government did a lot here. But this too is shifting. http://www.sia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mktg15-SSIR-2015-FINAL-Compressed.pdf

USDA & Food Inspection: <snort> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/evaluating/supremebeef.html. Ok, argue that the fed agencies responsible for food inspection are blocked by the courts. The court system is an arm of the government. http://foodsafety.news21.com/2011/safety/inspection/. Spend some time with "food inspectors" and reach your own conclusions.

FDA: FDA approves bad drugs. http://prescriptiondrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005528. FDA blocks life-saving drugs. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm421168.htmhttp://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2010/11/FDA-Delay-of-One-Drug-Causes-Lost-Life-Years/Page-01 Most new drugs are developed by private industry. http://csdd.tufts.edu/files/uploads/PubPrivPaper2015.pdf

Time: Time is regulated by Congress. Amazing! Astounding! Can we get Congress to regulate gravity next?

Highway Safety Admin: Well yeah. If you want to sell a car in the US you must meet the federal regulations. Help yourself to the regshttp://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/FMVSS/. While we're on this subject, ever heard of Right to Repair? The same gummint that lays all the regs on car makers also prohibits you from doing some work on your car. http://ifixit.org/right.

Road building: Dunno about you, but around here the roads are built by private companies. http://www.dot.ga.gov/PS/Business/Contractors. Yeah, tax dollars pay for it, the work is still done by private companies. In my county if a developer puts in a road, it must be brought to DOT paving standards before it can be deeded to the county or one of the cities.

Government regulated fuel: http://www.fuel-testers.com/list_e10_engine_damage.html http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/hybrid-electric/a6244/e15-gasoline-damage-engine/

Money: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/legal-tender.asp. "There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services." https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Currency/Pages/legal-tender.aspx. Bitcoin anyone?

USPS: Talk to the National Newspaper Association about the Post Office. Talk to the Mayor of Sycamore about the Post Office. http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-postal-service-s-problems-20151001-column.html. The PO pays $1,856  a month for a building in my county that would rent for $400 a month on the open market. https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/foia/leased-facilities/report.htm

Public schools: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/public-money-private-school_n_3721250.htmlhttp://www.southerneducation.org/Our-Strategies/Research-and-Publications/Publications/Georgia%E2%80%99s-Tax-Dollars-Help-Finance-Private-Schools.aspxhttp://oklahomawatch.org/2016/04/17/a-small-but-growing-diversion-of-public-funds-to-private-schools/

Building codes: This includes flood maps. S. Carolina, some years back, lowered the flood zone on the Augusta River to allow home construction on the river's banks. A state legislature took a vote and lowered the flood zone. http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/08/15920/.  Enforcement is also an issue: http://www.eesi.org/papers/view/the-value-and-impact-of-building-codes. I can provide only anecdotal information from four states on the rampant corruption in building inspections. And some newspaper stories. My opinion is corruption and sheer lack of enforcement is worse in building codes than anything else. Was not aware fire marshals had to inspect a home. New one on me.

Burglaries: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/property-crime/burglarymain?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffer517d4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.comhttps://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-deterrents-to-potential-burglars. As the survivor of an assassination attempt I tell you LEO advised me to get a gun and a dog.

Internet: Yep. http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/who-invented-the-internet

Overall efficiency: Government can be efficient, when it has to compete. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/when-government-competes-against-the-private-sector-everybody-wins/387460/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/jwebb/2015/11/30/dont-just-blame-the-government-private-companies-also-struggle-with-it-technologies/#160bca001ebdhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/reese-schonfeld/is-the-private-sector-mor_b_2839566.html. Annnnnd https://hbr.org/1991/11/does-privatization-serve-the-public-interest

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some questions that will be totally ignored

Help me out here.

Take this statement:

If the only reason you do good things is because you are afraid of going to hell, you are not really a good person.

I can accept that. If the only reason you do anything good is to avoid being punished, well yeah, you are not good person. You are a bad person held in check by threats of violence against your person.

Take a slightly different look at that axiom.

If the only reason you do good things is because someone is holding a gun to your head, then you are not a good person.

Pretty much identical, yes?

No.

The first axiom sort of supposes a supernatural being who will pass judgment on humans when we exit this life.

The second posits Person B forces Person A to do good things. A very real threat. If Person A does not do good things, Person B is going to deliver Person A to the afterlife.

If you hold a gun to someone's head to make them do good things, you are not a good person.

Well, maybe you are a good person by your definition. May your definition of good and moral behavior means forcing people to do something against their will.

Does it make a difference if two people are holding guns? Three? A dozen? 10,000? A million?

Where is the breaking point?

I am truly confused. I have close friends who have no problem slinging the first axiom around like it is a scythe. But bring up axiom No. 2 with real life examples and they are not so eager to start a harvest. After the examples, bring up Point 3 and all hell breaks loose with tangents exploding faster than a ton of Tannerite on a redneck 4th of July.

Let's make this personal. If you hold a gun to my head to make me do good things, what does that say about you?

I am genuinely curious.

Monday, August 8, 2016

You want Dr. Moreau's Island?

Because this is how you get Dr. Moreau's Island.

Or, has it already happened?

For those who wonder who Dr. Moreau is.

Should we allow mixing of genetic material? In the interest of preserving some dignity here, I won't go into interspecies relationships with one side being human.

The kind of mixing taking place here is done in labs under controlled conditions. If this goes through, the created whatever won't make it to maturity. Maybe. The NIH proposed guidelines call for destruction at 14 days.

This story is not getting a lot of traction with the public. It is covered, pretty well, by the media so complaints that the story is being buried are nonsense.

I suspect the reason the public is not paying attention is because this is a complicated issue, it is done in a lab and the public at large is more concerned with who the Karcrashians are presently bonking. Should one of TV's first family decide to swing in another tree entirely, maybe that would get some attention.

This is a major matter. This is as important as North Korea's nukes, who will be reviled by the nation for the next four years, Russia, the $400 million bribe the POTUS just paid out and a bunch of other things. It is as important as gene splicing to create RoundUp-immune pigweed. Maybe moreso.

Add this. China is already doing it.

The metaphorical cat is out of the bag. It is running loose. I predict it won't be long until CatWoman is a reality and not some sexy woman dressed in leather or vinyl.

Then what? I'm not sure I can wrap my brain around it.

In the Island of Dr. Moreau, the mad scientist du jour was kicked out of everywhere on the planet. Mr. Wells' novel envisioned a kind of utopia where such research had to be done out of sight, out of mind.

This reality says, t'ain't so. China has already proven it will do whatever it wants to regardless of international pressure. The US government has a long history of ignoring the law and pressing ahead with often vile experiments.

Technology, once discovered, is going to be used. If history teaches us anything, that technology will be used for what I have to call evil.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Things I wonder about

SCIENCE! tells us there are now 5 states of matter. The usual suspects:

solid, liquid, gas, and plasma

Now, SCIENCE! has come up with yet another state of matter, the "quantum spin liquid."

I seriously doubt that I'm the only person who believes SCIENCE! is missing a few entries in the "States of Matter" entry in Wikipedia.

Here are my top contenders.

E=MC2. If this is true, the matter exists in another state, a state of energy. In my mind this goes a long way to explaining "potential" energy. I have long viewed "potential" energy as a crock of fertilizer that SCIENCE! made up to explain away something the scientists can't otherwise explain.

Neutron star. I suppose this qualifies as a solid, but does it really? From what SCIENCE! says, it is not matter as we understand it.

Black Hole. We now know (coughcough) that things can escape a black hole. But what about the stuff that does not. What happens to it? What state is the matter in a black hole?

Light. Light is a wave and a particle. Light also does a lot more stuff that boggles science. If it is a particle, then it is a substance. Being a substance, what state of matter is it?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The pursuit of glory at all costs

You are 20 years old, give or take.

You are about to do something that is your goal in life. You have a choice.

1) You can go for the goal, maybe get there, maybe not. You have 3, maybe 4, chances to reach that goal.

2) You can take a substance that guarantees you reach that goal, but the substance kills you within five years.

What would you pick?

About half the world's top athletes would opt to die in five years, if taking that substance meant they could win a gold medal. Yes, huhn.

As the world watches the economic fiasco that is the Olympics, athletes from around the world are competing in all kinds of events, including race walking.

This year, a bunch of Russians got booted out of the world games because of allegations of illegal doping.

As with just about everything I come across in life, there's an easy answer to this.

Two sets of games.

Set one: Athletes can jack themselves on whatever chemical cocktail they want to use. If their heart explodes at the finish line, no worries. Death is part of the original Olympics.

Set two: Athletes who refuse all performance-enhancing drugs.

As the survey linked at the top shows, the super athletes are willing to die to achieve their goal. If they are willing to die, then cheating to get to that goal is going to happen. Cheating is easier than dying.

Those who want to cheat will. All of them can't be stopped. Chemists will come up with new stuff an use it before the tests can find it and the governing boards ban it.

So make it acceptable.

Let those athletes who are willing to die in a few years do so. Let them compete against other suicide athletes. Give the winners their medals and a promise of enough pain killers to let them go gently into that good night in a few years.

Is this willingness to die to get a gold medal stupid? About half the super athletes don't think so. I am willing to let them go and destroy their lives if that's what they want to do.

Here's the kicker. Since these enhanced athletes have to compete against other drugged athletes, they have the same chance of winning gold as they would competing without drugs in the regular series.

Yes, this eliminates the guarantee of winning gold. Maybe, just maybe, these athletes willing to get jacked on supersteroids will think twice about it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

More'n you axed for

Ever want something a lot? Then, you got what you wanted only to discover it was most emphatically not what you wanted. You tried to get rid of like it was radioactive beagle poop.

This violent rejection happens when we don't think things through. We WANT! NOW! Damn the consequences, full self-gratification ahead!

You want negative consequences? Because this is how you get negative consequences!

Down here in The Bible Belt you can step out on the street and yell "PRAYER IN SCHOOLS!" and be met with a chorus of "amens!" But, I have to ask, whose prayer?

How about the Satanic Temple?

And now, the sounds of splodey heads.

Yes, they can do this. Yes, they will try to do this. They may succeed.

Darn that pesky First Amendment! Don't like that? How about a Biblical 2x4 upside yo haid? These passages demand that we obey those in authority over us.

"But but but but this is about God and obeying Him!" say Bible believers.

Yes? And?

"Allowing satanists into schools is just wrong."

May be. But as long as it is voluntary, the Bible says believers cannot stop it. Even if it is mandatory they cannot stop it.

Furthermore, if God really wanted to stop it, He'd do it.

Sometimes, God lets us plow right ahead and lets us get smacked in the face with the consequences of our decisions. The Old Testament is full of times when Israel walked away from God and got clobbered. Sometimes, that's the only way we will learn. Sometimes, even that doesn't work. Israel kept getting clobbered.

How many times must we be pounded into subatomic particles before we learn to think before acting?

Think.

Monday, August 1, 2016

So tell me what you want, what you really want

I'll tell you what you want, what you really really want.

You want invective, rhetoric and insults. As long as you're doing the hurling at other people.

If it's aimed at you, different story.

This survey from 16 years ago rings true today. It's most common in the political campaigns we're seeing, but it's found everywhere. An extremely scientific poll of myself and what I see in my FB feed shows this survey is accurate. A bit more than half the stuff I see in my feed about the campaigns is attacks. Insults. Profanity and obscenities.

Stay in a thread long enough about a hot topic and it will degenerate into name calling, insults and profanities.

Issues? Nah. Gets in the way of ripping insults, one liners and reducing the candidates to sub-human entities.

Calling someone the illegitimate offspring of a hamster and a woman with the scent of elderberries is far more fun than trying to understand a policy position. One takes brains (well, in this particular insult, both take brains) and one takes the mental ability to find humor in someone slipping on a bananananana (then you spell it) peel.

It's far easier to insult someone than to understand them. You can insult and dismiss someone in a few seconds. May take you a while to understand what they are really trying to do. Understanding why takes longer. Understanding how, yeah, pack a lunch.

This post was sparked by a TV personality (I do not know which one and I do not intend look it up again) in a meme. The personality was directing a question to a candidate. The personality wanted to know what flesh tasted like. The inference here is the candidate engaged in a sexual act with someone other than the candidate's spouse.

Way to keep it classy. Way to keep this on the issues. Way to drive voters to the polls. Way to ... yeah well.

If these things were said about you, what would you do? How would you react?

And you wonder why really good and very qualified people will not run for office.

Debate is awesome. Get to the issue. Hash it out.

Other people have given me information that made me change my mind. Yes huhn.

Insults? Just reinforces what I already think. Dig that trench deeper.

Insults, invectives, ad hominem. As I've said before, we attack what we fear. That kind of behavior is an attack, make no doubt. Sometimes, that fear may be justified. Most often, not.

As a human, you have the ability to stick to the issues and leave personality out of it. You can rip an argument to pieces without resorting to name calling.

Will you?

Me? Yeah, I do the same bloody thing. I have GOT to do better.

#HumanUp.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mining your wallet for treasure

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

This is not a religious column, but that's a great place to start.

Or as Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers put it, "First, I look at the purse."

Another good place to start.

To splain':


Hillary Clinton recently said she favors a protectionist trade system for the US because she is tired of other countries sending products to the US and selling them for less than US workers can produce 'em.

"I am sick and tired of us having an open market where everybody gets to sell to us and they often do it at lower costs undercutting our workers, our businesses. That's not fair and it's not and it's not right," she said at a recent campaign stop.

In other words, her sphincter is torqued because a Bangladesh-made shirt (looked at the label in one of my shirts) can sell for $5 here (mine were $12 each) while an American-made shirt sells for $10. She's irked because Americans are buying the cheaper shirts. This is just an example and the specifics may be wrong.

Anyone else upset about this? Anyone else PO'd that other countries can sell their products here for less than Americans can make them?

Trump says much the same thing. He's got a twisted backside over the same issue.

Anyone mad? Anyone want to demand foreign products have to be sold for about the same price as American products?

Lemme ask a better question.

When you buy something and you have a choice between a higher-priced American made product and a less expensive foreign-made product, which do you buy?

Where is your treasure? When you open your wallet and lay down the money, where is it going?

If you are truly upset that other countries can sell their products cheaper than US makers, then quit buying stuff made in other countries.

I've pointed this out to many, many people. I've pointed out these cheap foreign goods mean no jobs for Americans making the same item. A reaction I got from a woman in Turner County nails this one.

"I don't care. I can afford it (the foreign-made products)."

The problem is not with free trade deals. The problem is not with low tariffs on imported goods.

The problem is people who refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions.

If you want American jobs and American manufacturing and more American goods in the stores, then buy American made.

Say whatever you want to. Where and how you spend your money tells the truth.

If the truth hurts, yer not living right.

Maybe it's time to make your actions meet your words. Now there's a radical concept you won't hear Trump or Clinton say and really mean it.

#HumanUp

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Looking for the greatest

On the way back from CWOT, Dusty V. asked "What is the greatest American rock band of all time."

Qualified. The Beatles and the Stones, right out.

Hrm

I replied Lynyrd Skynyrd. He came back with The Eagles.

I could make a case for either one, except the case for The Eagles would be a bit weaker in my mind. I doubt this is because I live in the South and Skynyrd is Southern Rock, but it could be.

As I write this, still siding with Skynyrd, but I decided to take a look at some numbers. Used Wikipedia for this, so take it however you like. I'm not so invested in this that Imma do detailed research.

The Eagles have 9 albums. They actually have more but I ain't considering compilations in this. All went Platinum and all but the first release went multi-Platinum. Hotel California went Diamond, or Platinum level 16 times. To go Platinum, an album has to sell 1 million copies. What with file sharing, and evening copying years ago, I'd not be surprised to learn the actual numbers are double what is listed.

Skynyrd has 21 albums, using the same metric applied to The Eagles. Only 5 went Platinum.

The Eagles had the #1 album in the US 5 times. All their albums make it into the top 100 chart.

Skynyrd never had an album hit #1 and had several that never broke into the chart.

The Eagles had 5 No. 1 singles. Skynyrd had none.

If this comparison is run straight by numbers on sales of music, it's a slam dunk for The Eagles.

If you run the numbers by the releases, Skynyrd takes the same kind of lead here that The Eagles have in sales.

On one hand, there is a volume of work. On the other hand, there is commercial success.

Which measurement deserves the greater weight? Remember these are iconic, legendary bands who put out a lot of material. The volume of work has to be considered. This is why Nirvana is not a contender. Kurt Cobain's genius on the work he generated while alive is obvious, but could he sustain that over a period of time? The Eagles and Skynyrd did.

I admit this brief research has done little to settle the issue in my mind. Still siding with Skynyrd because I prefer the blues influence that is in Southern Roc,