If someone says, “bless you,” but you don’t believe in their god, does it still work?
If someone says, “bless you,” but you don’t believe in their god, does it still work?
I’m completely awestruck by what Warren Buffett is doing. He’s giving away over eighty percent of his ginormous fortune to charities. It’s not all at once and will be spread out over time, but nonetheless, it’s an amazing gesture. The bulk of the money will be going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, into which Bill Gates recently announced he will be directing his time and energy as he steps down from day-to-day operations at Microsoft.
The utter greed and callousness displayed by even just the wealthy, not even the super-wealthy, as long been a matter of consternation for me (and not just because I have no money). I can guarantee it’ll be the subject of many posts in the Diatribe. But the actions of Buffett, and Gates to a slightly lesser degree, are truly inspiring. At least I certainly hope they are inspiring to break the hording mentality that seems to dominate the wealthy.
There are many, many problems with this country, with this world, with people in general. But every once in a while, something happens which allows a bit of light to break through. And that, more than just giving the actual money, is what Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have done.
Now, there’s yet another example of Moron Boy and his cronies invading Americans’ privacy. They’re gonna stop the terrorists by searching through “mostly international” bank transactions. I don’t know about anyone else, but the word “mostly” is a giant red flag to me. Just like the phone and e-mail programs that started out as “mostly international” contacts, it probably won’t be long before it’s revealed that all bank records are being mined.
Being mined for what is what we don’t know since there’s not a bit of oversight. The administration claims that everything is a state secret and therefore can’t be divulged to even the secret courts that are supposed to rubberstamp these sorts of witch hunts. Not only can the details of these supposedly terrorist-hunting programs not be verified by courts or Congress, but they also should never be revealed to the public.
The administration rails against the media for “leaking” the existence of these programs, claiming that irresponsible media are putting America in danger by letting the terrorists know that the government is checking financial records, listening to phone calls, reading e-mails, and whatever other invasions they haven’t leaked yet. (Of course, considering the abysmal coverage the media has done since Moron Boy took over, it kind of makes you wonder if the administration is really upset and didn’t arrange to have the stories “leaked” for some nefarious reason.)
I would like to know the logic behind America being in danger because of public knowledge of these programs. Does the administration really believe that the terrorists don’t think their phone calls, e-mails, financial information would be monitored? Granted, because of the constitution, I’m sure that they, like all Americans, didn’t think that every civil liberty would go out the window and all privacy would be converted to a fishing hole. But, if through (what used to be) normal investigation, someone was added to a suspect list, they would be investigated.
Instead, the administration wants to prosecute the media for revealing the programs. By this reasoning, shouldn’t we ban all crime shows/movies/books? After all, aren’t we putting people in danger by letting the criminals know that the police check for fingerprints and then compare them against a national database? Aren’t innocent people thrown into the line of fire because Jerry Bruckheimer has let criminals know that tool marks can be traced? Don’t serial killers get a leg-up because Dayle Hinman explains the process of forensic profiling every week?
Obviously not, and yet that’s the cover the administration uses whenever they’re caught with their hands in the cookie jar. The worst thing is, people buy it. There was never anything more than a nominal inquiry into the phone tapping, which is still going strong. The media plays it off as if they stopped once it was reported, but it hasn’t. At what point are we going to wake up and realize that catching all terrorists is not worth giving up our freedom and privacy, much less the paltry number of actual terrorists the administration has caught even with the massive fishing expedition they’ve been doing through our lives.
There are some very serious issues currently confronting our country. No matter which party supplies people with their opinions, everyone knows that the problems need to be addressed. It’s especially important since there’s an election coming up.
At this point, I’m sure all informed readers know exactly what these issues are. That’s right, no other problems are bigger than these. Nothing else carries the weight and importance. We must resolve these issues or everything else will be for naught. We must protect the sanctity of both marriage and the flag.
Wait. What? Gay marriage and flag burning? Apparently so. Forget the war. Forget AIDS. Forget stem cell research. Forget poverty. Forget Social Security. Forget the economy. Forget oil dependence. Forget Net Neutrality. Forget repairing America’s image with the rest of the world. Forget everything else.
At least that’s what politicians, especially Republicans, would like the public to believe. And why not? Deflecting interest from real issues (and possible election fraud) is what has enabled them to maintain control of Congress. Distract the sheep with shiny, meaningless objects and they can continue to pillage the country.
Apparently, the irony of these issues is also lost to everyone. Regulating marriage to enforce close-minded, homophobic beliefs keeps a party in power whose central tenant is the reduction of government control. Limiting the first amendment helps a party that holds blind allegiance to the second amendment.
As long as we continue to accept what the lapdogs in the press tell us what we should think, as long as we continue to give away our freedoms in the name of false fears, this country will continue its downfall. But as long as two women aren’t allowed to get married and as long as no symbolic piece of cloth is burned, the public will remain happy, completely ignorant, but happy.
If Heaven is so great, why is it that the more religious a person is, the more they fear dying?
I’m not a fan of small talk with strangers. Surprise! If I don’t know someone, why should I feign interest in the minutiae of their existence? I do try, though, to appear tolerant as they prattle on endlessly. At least, it’s saves me from one of the few things worse than listening to a stranger make small talk: making small talk about myself.
The other day things got outta hand. I’m listening to this woman ramble on and on. She told me about her family, about her pets, about her friends. When she started talking about her high school, I just snapped. So I yelled into the speaker, “I just want a number five!”
People in positions of authority tend to be highly insecure, especially around someone that’s smarter than they are (not that I’m claiming to be smarter, just that they are almost always dumber - haha). It’s bad enough when it’s between two adults, but it’s infinitely worse when it’s between an adult and a third grader. In hindsight, I can understand how frustrating it must be to have a third grader correct the teacher. But that does not excuse abusing power and lashing out instead of trying to deal with the problem. Not to mention that if someone’s constantly bested by an eight year old, teaching might not be their calling.
One day, I’m sitting in class. The kid next to me starts talking to me about whatever it is that eight year olds discuss, probably cooties or something. Before I could even respond, the teacher starts yelling at me. She then takes me to the principal’s office so she can give me a detention and call my mother. As we’re walking to the office, I ask her why I’m in trouble. I should also mention that the kid that was talking to me not only wasn’t going to the office, but he also wasn’t even mentioned in the teacher’s tirade in the classroom. She looks at me with complete disdain and proceeds to tell me that I’m getting a detention for listening. Listening?!?!?! That’s right. Listening. She actually said that if I hadn’t been listening, he wouldn’t have been talking. So it was completely my fault and I was responsible for this other kid disturbing the class.
Of course, that’s just one example of many times she abused her power in an attempt to punish me for making her look stupid by pointing out her mistakes. Is it any wonder that an eight year old witnessing such blatant abuse of power and misdirected hostility, would grow up with an (almost) inherent distrust of authority figures? Although, for the record, I don’t automatically distrust those in authority. But it’s pretty much a certain guarantee that I will clash with them. Not because I disregard their authority, but because I don’t want to take a chance getting in trouble again for listening.
If there’s too much advertising, why do people keep the license plate frame, advertising the car dealer, on their cars?
Put a little bit of violence on television, and people throw their arms up in the air. Put a little gore in a car accident, and people slam on their brakes. I’ve tried to reconcile this dichotomy and I just can’t do it. Pretend violence and gore is bad and shouldn’t be allowed. Real violence and gore is fascinating.
Pop ”True Romance” in a DVD player at the store and watch how quickly people run crying to the manager. Throw a blanket over a gunshot victim on the street and watch how quickly people jostle through the constantly expanding crowd to get a glimpse. So, it’s okay to gawk at some bloody victim sitting on the curb, but Wily E. Coyote desensitizes children to violence.
It doesn’t matter how much censorship is imposed to “sanitize” art and entertainment. Anybody who is so easily influenced and gets pushed over the edge by a video game, had major problems that would more than likely lead to the same result with or without seeing Ed Norton kick his own ass in “Fight Club.” There’s certainly nothing a ratings board can do.
Actually, there is something they can do. At every movie theater, music store, arcade, bookstore, and every place where these “influential” items are sold, a team of psychologists sets up a room. Before anyone can purchase an item deemed too violent, too sexy, too anything, they have to go through a battery of tests to determine if they have any psychological problems that could lead to detrimental actions if they watch Buffy staking a vampire or listen to Ice Cube rapping about his hood.
Then again, maybe if parents would stop gaping at car accidents and just go home and be a parent, kids wouldn’t look to actors and musicians for role models. Parents’ jobs are to raise their children and instill values and morals. Actors’ jobs are to entertain. The two are definitely not the same and not the least bit interchangeable.