Tag Archives: Society

Shut Up, Mr. Man!

Let me issue a trigger warning. I am about to embark on a circular argument, because I am about to explain something while being a man. This act has been labeled by the liberals as a derogatory term, since for a man to explain something is evidently a microaggression. They have lumped this microaggression into a grouping designed to address what many feminists perceive as an affront to humanity: Mansplaining, manspreading and, here’s a new one, manterrupting. These are terms that feminists are using to promote the “gender inequality” argument that has been catching traction the past few years, so much so that CBS correspondent Faith Salie did a segment on the phenomenon on CBS Sunday Morning.

Mansplaining is the tendency for a man to “talk down” to a woman by way of explaining the man’s position “in a condescending manner.” Unfortunately, a condescending manner appears to be any time a woman doesn’t want to hear the argument, which, most men who are or have been married know, is all the time. But the label doesn’t really cover the gamut of condescending explanations. My kids condescend all the time. I have had enough eye rolls and heavy sighs from my granddaughter and women friends as they try to explain something to me to know that condescending is not a gender specific trait. Men explain things to other men. As an instructor, my whole day is spent explaining things. Is this mansplaining? Or is it only mansplaining when a man explains something to a woman? So if I teach a class of both men and women, am I only committing half a crime?

Manspreading is the masculine tendency to sit with the knees far apart supposedly to expose the genitals in some sort of sexual power display. This particular faux pax is a well-earned one, but maybe misunderstood. I know I tend to spread my legs when sitting, as many men do. Unfortunately, this has less to do with sex or power than with comfort. Men have certain physical accoutrements that occupy the space between the legs and those attributes can be in a position to cause discomfort with sitting with the legs together. The only remedies are to sit with the legs slightly apart, or to manually adjust the affected parts. Neither option is socially accepted and thus men find themselves between a rock and a hard place, or more to the point, stones and timber. That is not to say that some men don’t go overboard and stretch out to an excessive point. This is not exclusively a male trait though. Many larger people of both sexes can occupy more space that is appropriate. These people are simply douchebags. Again, not sexist. Just asshats.

Manterrupting is the tendency to interrupt a woman who is talking, presumably to do some mansplaining. This is a new one, because evidently, only men interrupt. Women are far too civilized to engage in such a rude activity, and it is only when a man interrupts a woman does the crime rise to the level of manterrupting. Women interrupt other people all the time. Both of my Ex-wives were quite ready to interrupt me in any discussion. Why is it manterrupting only if I interrupt them? Faith Salie threw out some statistics that during the presidential debates, Donald Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton 55 times compared to the 11 times she interrupted him. The wonderful thing about that debate was that Donald interrupted everyone, including the moderators. It is just a Donaldism. Perhaps the term should be Donterrupting or Trumpterrupting.

One of the more tried and true rhetorical strategies that have been employed throughout the history of human interaction is that of undermining the authority of opposing views. This is no more evident that the current argument that men cannot have a voice in the abortion issue because men have no uterus. This is also evident when a feminist labels a male argument as “mansplaining.” Once the label has been applied, the man’s argument can be dismissed in its entirety with no more consideration to the content of the argument. So, when a label like mansplaining or manterrupting is thrown out in a discussion, it is merely another way for a woman to say “shut up, Mr. Man.”

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Call Me Crazy

People cannot accurately parse what is happening around them anymore. It is like the apathy that has led to the current socio-political climate in this country is continuing its effect by making people unwilling to recognize the danger or take steps to prevent the damage. When I point out the situation and indicate the likely outcomes, people tsk tsk me as though I am missing some key mental faculty needed to function in society. I have heard some fanatical ranting over the years, and my ideas are not radical by any measure, but call me crazy if you must. Just listen first.070716_1756_1.png

It has been my position since the beginning of the primary season that Donald Trump does not want or expect to be President of the United States. Trump is a long time friend and ally of the Clintons. He supported Hillary’s ’08 campaign financially as well as campaigning for her in key states. It is my belief that Hillary, knowing that the Democrats are not in the best position to keep the White House given the shellacking they took in the mid-term elections and the debacle that is Obamacare, needed a ringer in the republican race to keep conservatives from rallying around a serious candidate. Trump—a long-time democrat—entered the race as a republican to be that ringer. At best, he was expected to split the vote, thus weakening the eventual candidate, at worst, create enough infighting that the candidates would dig up enough bad press to tarnish public opinion about all of them. The plan was brilliant and it worked better than anyone could have predicted.

The argument I get is that no one would spend the money Trump has spent just to lose an election. This argument presupposes that the goal was just to lose. No. Trump’s goal was to have a president that would favor Trump with financial rewards through government contracts or relaxed regulations or fast-tracking certain permits needed for Trump’s projects. Can I name them? No, of course not. But by his own words, Trump has said many times that he backs candidates that benefit his businesses. As President, he cannot enact any regulations that benefit his businesses. It would be a conflict of interest. As a losing candidate, he is not limited by conflict of interest, nor is Hillary. She can help him all she wants.

I also doubt that Trump spent that much of his own money. Creative financing can hide DNC and corporate campaign contributions, not to mention the Clinton Foundation is rife with graft and corruption. Trump’s personal funds have not really been used as much as the media would have us believe.

Before anyone suggests that such a deal would have been uncovered by the news, let me tell you that the major media outlets are owned by the same corporations that are funding the campaigns. The media has a part to play in this sham of an election, a huge part. Their job is to distract the public and to direct their attention to minutia rather than focus on the real issues. The news (both network and cable) have done an admirable, if insidious, job of making the public feel like Trump is a real candidate and the people are eating it up. They trot out polls that show this candidate or that candidate as being in the lead among certain voters in certain locations in certain states. This practice effectively forces people to vote for the candidate in the lead, since no one wants to vote for a loser. The media is also in charge of redirecting attention away from Clinton’s scandals. If a republican had faced similar circumstances, the fact that the FBI refused to proffer charges against a presidential candidate charged with a felony would have dominated the news cycle as all of the media outlets dug down into the evidence themselves and then castigated the candidate in the court of public opinion. With Clinton, the media celebrated the news as a vindication of their favored client.

Anyone who has studied psychology, sociology, or media relations should recognize these tactics. I have studied all of them. Look at how the Clintons managed to dodge an indictment on the email scandal. The very fact that the director of the FBI issued a press conference to publish their findings was unusual and indicative of corruption, especially in light of the meeting between Bill Clinton and the head of the Department of Justice. Obama has done everything he can to stack the deck in Clinton’s favor, including the amnesty and relaxing of immigration rules so that non-citizens can vote for Hillary. With the death of Justice Scalia, if the Supreme Court has to decide the outcome of the election, the bench is now more left-leaning, giving the edge to Clinton.

Call me crazy, but unfortunately I am predicting a Clinton win in November, and not my some small margin. If Trump is still a candidate, he will be blown away. Even if every person in the country votes for him. The fix has been in since 2008. But don’t fret for the Donald. He will come out of his loss just fine with some lucrative contracts and business deals to ease the pain of losing the presidency.

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Look For the Label

I have really been wrestling with blogging lately. It seems as though there are a million leftist blogs supporting every issue that I find either disagreeable or downright offensive, but there are also a few conservative blogs that I can find some agreement with, but they get some issue wrong, or they espouse a middle-ground mentality that appeases the left in efforts to try to please everyone. I am long past trying to make people happy, and I have come to the conclusion that no amount of logic can sway a die-hard leftist from adopting the force-fed media blitz ideology that inundates all of us. That is why I don’t blog as much anymore. That, and I am still working on my academic assignments and trying to finish my novel before the new year.

Having said all of that, my wife said something to me the other evening that got my hackles up. She works for a school district and said her district is labeled “majority-minority.” This because their student demographics are diverse; so diverse that Caucasian children are outnumbered, or underrepresented, in the student body. Now let that percolate for a minute. I realize that not everyone is a writer and the nuances of the English language might escape them, but as a writer, words are important to me. I like to use the best word to effectively convey the idea I am trying to communicate. If one group of students is smaller than the other groups, that group is the minority. Think about it. Minority, according to Merriam-Webster, is the smaller in number of two groups constituting a whole. Therefore, a smaller group cannot be a majority, even if one hyphenates it with the word ‘minority’. Conversely, a minority is the smaller number. So if the smaller group is white, that group is the minority. If the larger group is Hispanic, or any other non-white race, then that group is the majority. Period.

The leftist school board, not wanting to admit that Caucasians no longer have larger numbers, need that minority label on all non-Caucasians in order to get federal funding for their programs, or promote their socialist agenda. If Hispanics or blacks outnumber whites, that means whites are now the minority and should, God-forbid, qualify for those same programs. But that cannot happen. It would fly in the face of 40 years of affirmative action and social justice programs designed to help those races held down by centuries of white-dominated society. Or so they say.

What needs to happen is the school board, and the state board of education, and the federal Department of Education all need to come to the realization that after 40+ years of civil rights, mixed race breeding, natural migration patterns, and forced bussing, the whole race issue needs to be put to bed. Stop prioritizing children based on the color of their skin. Stop assuming that just because a child’s skin is white, they are “majority” and because another child’s skin is not white they are a minority. Those labels are not accurate, not beneficial and not worthwhile, but they are demeaning, insulting and erroneous. It only serves to perpetuate and reinforce the racist ideologies that the left purports to oppose.

Far be it from me to hold up a celebrity as an example, but actress Raven Symone recently spoke in an interview with Oprah wherein she eschewed these labels, to the chagrin of Oprah and other Hollywood liberals. The Cosby Show actress told the host that she did not wish to be identified as an African-American. “I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American.”

Needless to say, this didn’t sit too well with Oprah. “You are going to get a lot of flack for saying you’re not African-American. You know that, right?”

I don’t know why she would. She’s from Georgia, not Africa. While I do not agree with everything the young actress espouses, I give her props for hitting this nail squarely on the head. Racism can only stop when everyone stops looking for it. If anyone of any race defines a person, or group of people, by the color of their skin for ANY REASON—beneficial or not—racism continues and thrives. If the left truly wants equality, they must stop lumping people together as a majority or minority and take people as one label…Human.

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Porcine Problems

As I travel the country, I am exposed to many different kinds of people. Some of these people share similar ideals and tastes as me and we get along quite well. Others have differing viewpoints and we deal with each other in a cordial manner as often as possible. Whenever people congregate, it is important to be respectful of other’s sensibilities. To that end, those in polite company try to avoid intentionally and deliberately offending others. This was a lesson I—and many of my peers—was taught growing up. It is the polite thing to do. It is not, however, mandated by law. Imagine a world where anything found to be offensive to anyone could subject one to stiff penalties including flogging or death. No one would ever interact out of fear for their life. Thankfully we live in a country that protects free speech. Or do we? The media is filled with stories of people taken to task for the crime of uttering their personal beliefs. Perhaps we will soon face the troubles plaguing other countries. A family in the UK had to deal with a particularly onerous issue when confronted on a bus by an Islamic woman wearing a hijab.

According to a story in The Daily Mail, the young couple was trying to comfort their autistic 15-month-old by singing the theme song to the popular children’s show Peppa Pig. The show is about a family of pigs and the song features snorting sounds. The Islamic woman approached the couple and expressed her offense after which the bus driver told the couple to leave the bus two miles from their stop.

In a land that celebrates free speech, who is in the wrong here? Is it the couple trying to comfort a child? Or is it the woman expressing her outrage at what she deems an offensive song? In my opinion, it is the bus driver for sticking his nose in the matter. Both parties have the right to express their opinion and they did so, but to eject a person from a public bus for inadvertently offending another is the real crime here. If the couple intentionally sang the song knowing that in doing so they would inflict emotional harm on another, then some kind of sanction might—and I stress MIGHT—be in order. But even then, free speech is protected by law, so the sanction could not be by the state or any representative of the state.

Now, as this happened in the UK and I am not up to date on British law, I cannot address the legality of speech in that country. If this happened in the US, however, I would recommend that driver be removed from his post and the Islamic woman be strapped down and forced to binge watch Peppa Pig episodes until she sings the song in her sleep. But I digress.

Lately it seems that people are so self absorbed that they cannot acknowledge others. So self absorbed that they focus only on their own sensibilities to the exclusion of everyone else. What this means is that they feel their needs supersede the needs of others, and that they are more important than anyone else. This creates a morbid sense of entitlement that threatens to shatter social decorum.

If something creates any degree of offense, no matter if it was intended or not, it is the equivalent of committing a mortal sin worthy of death. People have opinions and just as no two people are exactly alike, no two opinions are the same. A collection of opinions forms an ideal. Quite often the ideals are diametrically opposed to the point that they may cause offense. This is where the problem lay.

A lot of progressives and liberals will shout the mantra of inclusiveness and diversity from the rooftops until they encounter someone whose ideology runs afoul of theirs. They cry for society to be tolerant of Islam while they browbeat Christians. When Muslims cry out in offense, liberals demand that society accommodate them. When Christians express offense, liberals slap them with separation of church and state.

Now we face situations where one group of people is trying to dictate what the rest of the world can and cannot do. While Christian students are banned from praying in school, Muslim students are given a special room to use to pray. Students in many schools have to abide a uniform policy that dictates what they can and cannot wear; Muslim students are exempted from this. Soon, schools may be forced to remove food items from the menu that offend Muslims. We may find our entertainment dictated by the auspices of these ideologues. Peppa Pig may get cancelled by Sharia law.

If a mother cannot comfort her child by singing a song because it offends one person, then we are already on the path to the end of our society. The best that we can hope for is that liberals realize the door swings both ways. Tolerance does not apply only to Muslims. Everyone has to be able to express themselves as they see fit, even if that way is to sing a song about pigs on a bus full of Muslims.

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Patriotism or Party

The smoke has cleared and the debris has been collected and the ringing in the ears may fade in another 24-48 hours. Many people will be treating numerous mosquito bites and some may be treating burns. The nation has just finished another holiday and yet again, has shown that most people do not know the reason for the occasion. July 4th is the day that Americans celebrate their Independence. The holiday is called Independence Day and most calendar services automatically label it as such in personal devices. It is hard to find someone who doesn’t know that it is a holiday and most can accurately name the holiday. But, as one comedian pointed out, there is a surprising number of people who cannot tell the reason why, or what the holiday means.

The sad reality is that most Americans (especially those who say “‘Mericans”) don’t care why we celebrate holidays anymore. They only need an excuse to grill food, drink alcohol and party. If they get a chance to blow stuff up, so much the better. This problem is compounded by those people who feel that it makes is OK to party to excess if they post “Support our Troops” on social media as they tap they next keg.

More than 200 years ago, thousands of men fought and died on the battlefield in order to break away from England and form a new nation built on the principles of individual liberty. They fought and died to secure the freedoms we now take for granted, which made the United States the first nation on Earth to have those freedoms provided by government declaration. They fought and died to create a place where people from different backgrounds, cultures and creeds could find the opportunity to determine their own future. Their sacrifice is honored on the anniversary of the signing the Declaration of Independence.

This is Independence Day.

It is unfortunate that so many progressives are now trying to depict this historical event as a terrorist act and attempting to characterize the birth of our once-great nation as oppression. This portrays our history in a negative light which gives progressives an excuse to apologize to the world for our “oppression and domination” and spread hatred of our country in the liberal bastions of academia. The definition of patriotism is now being separated from nationalism in schools so that people can still say they’re patriotic yet decry nationalism as a rhetorical fallacy.

Our country’s birth should always be celebrated. Our forefather’s sacrifices should always be remembered. Patriotism should always be lauded as a term of national pride. Most importantly, however, our freedoms should always be cherished and protected. Enjoy your hot dogs and ribs. Drink your beer. Light your fireworks. Enjoy the day. As you do, remember that the holiday is not about those things. It is not about honoring veterans or service members. It is about remembering the reasons why we have the freedoms to do those things. It should shame anyone who doesn’t know that the 4th of July is called Independence Day because we fought a war for our independence from a repressive government in England in order to procure the individual liberties and freedoms we enjoy today.

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Matters of Corporate Faith

The Supreme Court, in a rare and splendid example of getting it right, affirmed a principle that most people—especially liberals—overlooked in its recent decision concerning Hobby Lobby. Justice Alito even called it out in his majority opinion: corporations are people; groups of individuals. The problem with liberals is that they do not want to recognize the individual. Liberals have long tried to marginalize the accomplishments of the individual in favor of the group. This has led to the complete bastardization of youth sports where teams no longer keep score and everyone gets to play no matter the level of their athletic ability. It also leads to open enrollment where individual academic achievement is no longer a determining factor in college admissions. Liberals want a utopia wherein every citizen gets a shot at every benefit regardless of skill, talent or initiative.court-PQBG

This stems from a skewed interpretation of the old mantra “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” This derives from the basic democratic principle of majority rules. Liberals extend this idea into the absurd by saying that individual liberties are extraneous when considering the overall good as they see it. While there exists some applications wherein the idea has merit, overall the concept is a fallacy. Mom and pop stores, big box stores, corporations and even the government itself is comprised of individual people whose rights are protected by the constitution.

Despite the cries of “war on women” and “right to choose” (all of which are blatant lies) the Court’s decision is not refusing women the ability to use birth control, not forcing them to have unwanted babies nor forcing them to convert to Christianity. It merely states that the Government cannot force employers to pay for four of the twenty means of contraception that the ACA covers, when those means are counter to their professed religious beliefs.

This country was built to protect individual freedom and specifically religious liberty. This is why the very first amendment in the Bill of Right specifies that congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof. Liberals are very quick to cite this amendment to deny religion in the public sphere crying “separation of church and state,” but hate when the faithful cite it to protect their rights to practice the tenets of their faith.

The Supreme Court, after a string of decisions that limit religion, held that publicly held for-profit corporations, just like non-profit corporations, do come under the protections of the first amendment. Liberals immediately cried out in outrage, claiming that a company is not an individual and that the owners of the corporation should not be able to “force their religious views” on their employees. They wish to treat corporations as though they had the same limitations as the federal government. This is a fallacy as the court has upheld by saying “protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them,” and “Business practices compelled or limited by the tenets of a religious doctrine fall comfortably within the understanding of the “exercise of religion” that this Court set out in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872, 877. ”

Liberals have also used the argument that if one religion is respected by law, then all religions should be which would be unsupportable and unreasonable. Alito addressed these concerns as well by saying “It is not for the Court to say that the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs are mistaken or unreasonable. ”

The most important comment in the majority view is the one defining a corporation: “A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends. An established body of law specifies the rights and obligations of the people (including shareholders, officers, and employees) who are associated with a corporation in one way or another. When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people.”

This does not mean only some of the people, like employees or shareholders, but all of the people in the corporation. No one should be forced to surrender their religious freedoms by mandate. “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

So, despite George Takei’s missive in the Huffington Post denouncing religion while asserting that businesses and governments have no place for faith and Senator Reid’s announcement that Democrats will not let the decision stop them from covering all forms of birth control, the Court did the right thing on this one.

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Social Activism or Self Promotion?

Hash tag activism is the latest buzzword forged in the wake of the geopolitical flashpoint surrounding the kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria by Muslim extremists. Social activists are claiming that creating the hash tag puts the issue before the people and could—emphasis on could—motivate the Nigerian government to do something to facilitate the release of the students. Many people, on the other hand, feel that the celebrity promotion of the hash tag is nothing more than grandstanding and ineffective in the long run of doing anything to help the victims and serves only to promote the celebrity in question.

The Nigerian government has been woefully inattentive to the plight of the kidnap victims, despite the kidnappers posting videos of the girls recanting Christianity. The media in the US did not spend a lot of time covering the issue, nor did the rest of the world. It was only once family members in Nigeria created the hash tag and saturated social media with it did it become a trending topic that garnered the attention of an ADHD world.

For the uninitiated, a hash tag is a social media tool originated by the social site Twitter and now used in almost all forms of social media. It is a way of discovering messages about a specific topic by using the keyboard pound symbol (#) in front of a simple word or phrase written together with no spaces. Some people make status updates that are nothing but a hash tag that is 140 characters long, which can be difficult to decipher.

It became fashionable to pose in a selfie with the kidnapped girls’ hash tag featured proximately in the picture, even to the point that first lady Michelle Obama had the Whitehouse photographer take a picture of her in the Whitehouse posing with a hand-scrawled sign (probably done by the Whitehouse calligrapher) touting the hash tag. Other celebrities followed suit and now the selfie itself is a trending topic. There are those who think that this is the key to motivating change in the world.

There are also those who decry this kind of promotion as pointless. A marine took a selfie with a sign saying that a military intervention is the only way to secure the release of the hostages, parodying the hash tag theme. Bill O’Rielly has spoken out against the first lady and others who promote the hash tag as being nothing more than self-serving self promotion, designed to do nothing more than make the famous seem concerned and interested in the plight of the unfortunate.

They are both right.

Those celebrities who pose with the hash tag signs are doing nothing more than bolstering their own image in the name of a “greater good,” and are no better than those who flock to disaster areas for photo ops showing their good deeds. These celebrities could keep the hash tag trending by simply retweeting it without the selfie, but they don’t. They have to photo bomb the hash tag to keep themselves prominent.

But the hash tag is doing some good. Public awareness by itself is a pointless goal, to be certain. That people know about varies issues does nothing to resolve the issues. Awareness driven action, on the other hand, can accomplish something. The Arab Spring is proof that social media can drive people to do something about social issues, even if it does not have immediate, tangible results. The Nigerian government has indicated a greater willingness (for whatever that’s worth) to take more action on the issue.

I, like many people, get frustrated having these issues drilled into my consciousness at every waking moment by both the regular and social media. My Facebook feed gets littered with cries to keep the hash tag issue of the day going (as well as way too many requests to like this cute kitten or like the poor unfortunate person who lost everything in a disaster or the long-lost soul looking for birth parents) and twitter keeps chirping and my mailbox blows up. Add the news covering these “trending issues” and my tolerance for hash tagging—never real high to begin with—drops to non-existent.

I tweet, I blog and I update Facebook. Since I am social media savvy, I not only know how to use hash tags, I actually use them quite regularly; just not to the extent of those who do nothing but hash tag. No one, however, will see me holding a sign promoting a social issue hash tag—unless it’s about me.

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If It Ain’t Broke…

Reform is a word that has long been the bitter pill of society and politics.  It has three forms: verb, noun and adjective and how it is used makes a bit of difference.  In its verb form, it means to “make changes in something (typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.”  The very concept is based on the need to change something, which is predicated upon the idea that something is substandard or needs to be improved.  There are two camps in the change debate: those who think that everything can be and should be constantly improved and those who subscribe to the maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Given these competing notions, the real question seems to be how one decides what needs to be reformed, what would constitute improvement and more importantly how should the improvements be implemented.
In the health care debate, people from across the political spectrum uniformly acknowledged that the system was far from perfect and that improvement was necessary.  The debate ignited over what the reformed system would look like.  Unfortunately for most Americans, the democrats put forth a plan that was impractical and based on the incorrect assumption that health care is a right afforded by the constitution.  They refused to enter into discussions of any plan that did not provide coverage for every person regardless of ability to pay.  This is indicative of the real problem with reform.  The democrats had a different idea of reform than the republicans.
In the immigration debate, again the democrats and republicans are looking at the issue for different perspectives.  Both parties acknowledge that the current system is ineffective and inefficient and needs to be overhauled.  The difference is that democrats seem to think that anyone who wishes to live in our great nation should be able to do so with no barriers or borders while republicans want to maintain border security.
In the great Cohen brothers’ film “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Charles Durning is running for reelection and bemoaning the success of his opponent’s reform platform.  One of his campaign managers suggests that he “get some of that reform too.”  The media loves reform.  Society screams for reform, particularly when the incumbent administration is unpopular.  But as we learned with Obama’s “Hope and Change” reform platform in ’08, reform only works when there is a logical and well-considered plan for what needs to be changed and how it should be changed.  Without specific steps in an organized plan, reform may only serve to make matters worse, or possibly bring things to a grinding halt as we have seen in this administration.
These are not novel ideas.  They are an integral part of project management, one of the most besought careers today.  Problem analysis is supposed to lead to a project roadmap that leads to specific outcomes that can be measured.  The plan is supposed to be considered, tested and approved before implementation.  Unfortunately, nothing that has come out of the current administration or the senate has passed these simple steps.  When the house tries to slow things down in order to test the plans and consider them, they are accused of stone-walling and being obstructionists.
Why the rush?  Obama wants his legacy.  He wants to go down in the history books not only as the first black president, but also as the one who made universal health care and immigration reform realities and the democrat-controlled senate is lock-step behind him.  What we should see in government is open public discourse of the issues before they are enacted.  Whatever plans the house or senate develop should be published for public review before voting.  We cannot tolerate “we have to pass this bill in order to see what’s in it” rhetoric.
When we change things without due and proper consideration, we risk creating a whole slew of new problems that could be worse that the problem they were expected to fix.  Imagine dealing with the problem of icy bridges and overpasses.  The ice is slippery and creates a lack of traction for cars that drive over.  The fix?  Put down something that creates traction.  Gravel.  Gravel would be good.  But suppose that no one considered what size gravel to use.  Or how much.  Now there is the new problem of oversized gravel being flung by the tires and breaking windshields.
Change for the sake of change is not a good thing and should be avoided like the plague.  While I am solidly in the “if it ain’t broke” camp, I do admit that health care and immigration are two broken systems.  But I advocate for a slower more thoughtful consideration of both problems before rushing to implement “fixes” that can cause more harm than good as we are seeing with the healthcare law.

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Poll Dancing

With the election just around the proverbial corner, the media and the blogosphere are filled to overflowing with analysis of the candidates’ positions in the polls.  Charges of bias flow from both camps at the differing poll results.  Polls sponsored by conservatives show Romney in the lead, while network polls give the edge to Obama.  No matter who is to be believed, the thrust of these poll data is that this is shaping up to be a close race.  In any contest, only the strongest participant can win, and this is usually determined by process of elimination.  The elimination is supposed to be decided by voters, but these days, the elimination is determined by the party’s conference and the media before all the votes are even counted, based on nothing more than data gleaned from public polls.  Candidates and networks alike throw money at these polls to twist the data in their favor.
In the early days of our country, the election process was set up so that candidates could campaign in swing states prior to ballots being cast.  Since communication  was so slow and travel even slower, the elections were staggered to facilitate the travel needed.  In today’s world of instant communication and supersonic transportation where one can spend an hour in New York, Chicago and LA in the same day, there is no need for the elections to be so staggered.
The way a lot of people think these days, elections are not about choosing the right person for the job, but rather it is about guessing who will be the winner.  An election is almost like the betting window at a horserace track.  No one wants to cast a vote for the losing candidate, even if they think that candidate is the better choice.  People want to think their vote helped pick the winner.
To that end, these people watch the polls, waiting for the media to tell them for whom to vote.  The media loves this.  They love having that much sway in the public’s lives.  They love shaping the nation into their image of what America should be, and the average citizen is complicit in this.
During the primary season, the republican party fielded several candidates to represent the party in the general election.  Before many states were able to hold their primary election, however, the party announced a winner.  Texas and several other states never had a choice.  This announcement was determined by polling data from the first several states’ primaries held days apart.  The primary elections should all be held on the same day, to ensure that all American voices are represented in the results, not the wishes of those states who get to cast their ballots first.
Also, the media spends all day on election day posting polling results as they come in, even while the polls are still open.  This needs to stop.  Reporting the results of an election should only happen after ALL polling locations are closed in the country.  Those voters who wait to see which candidate is in the lead would be forced to vote their conscience rather that try to pick the winner, or at least try to pick the winner with no handicap.
The polls can be useful information, but all too often they are misused to sway the result by candidates and media companies dancing around them for dollars.  Cast your vote your way, regardless of what the polls say.

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Just Sign The *@^#! Check

Thousands of human beings have died and more have had their lives irrevocably altered by horrific events in Haiti. That this is a tragedy of global proportions is undeniable. No caring human being can deny the suffering or stare unflinching at the devastation. The survivors of Haiti have a decade of recovery and rebuilding ahead of them and most of them are so impoverished that recovery may be beyond their reach without some kind of help. An article on Yahoo pointed out that many celebrities are calling on the administration and the American people to help out.

Fortunately there are international humanitarian organizations in place to offer that aid. The American Red Cross has already mobilized a relief effort and has calculated that more than 1 million people will be affected by the quake. Various Christian missions will render aid as well as the inevitable federal aid that will be offered by the administration and other countries. These efforts always are provided in times of catastrophe where human suffering affects so many and can be counted upon when needed. And you know what? They don’t need the likes of Brad Pitt, Opera Winfrey or Paris Hilton to tell them to do it.

Celebrities have developed a habit of championing causes in recent years to help their image in the media. This is not a bad thing since they do accomplish many good things in many areas of human endeavor. Image consultants started making the celebs do this to offset the media coverage of their indulgences in partying and living to excess with extravagant spending that distanced them from their public. Now the first thing many new, young celebs do is jump on a social issue as a cause to make them seem more socially conscious and less self-centered.

But in reality, it is entirely self-centered. They don’t do it for the altruistic feeling of giving, but for the self-aggrandizement of publicity. They stand on the soap box and call attention to the issue by saying “look at me! I’m important and I think you need to help with this effort.” Now, these celebrities are urging everyone to help with Haiti, as if no one would have thought to do it without their insistence.

These people are artists. They are entertainers. They are performers. They are not officials. They are not politicians. They are not social workers. They have a job they do that gives them the ability to earn more money than the average person could ever spend. But does that qualify them to tell governments and agencies how to do their jobs? How does the act of recording a song, starring in a TV show or movie or getting drunk and partying without panties qualify anyone to issue directives to society as a whole?

Some celebrities even take it upon themselves to approach foreign heads of state as if they had diplomatic status and they actually make demands of these leaders. Being a celebrity is not a title that equates to that of senior statesmen. These celebrities should leave the running of governments and agencies to those who hold those jobs and concentrate on creating their art.

If they want to help in Haiti or support any other social issue by writing a check or giving out meals, then more power to them. They should, however, do so without getting on a soapbox in a spotlight saying “look at what I’m doing. I’m a compassionate millionaire. You should do this too.”

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Filed under Media, Society