Backward

It amazes and saddens me that over these many years, the problem has only gotten worse.

Ratanu

I find it appalling that we live in a country where CEOs make millions of dollars in bonuses for driving a company into the ground.  I find it appalling that we live in a country where government leaders can’t balance the budget and/or have driven this country to ruin, but they still get a raise.  Why do we live in a country that rewards failure?  Shouldn’t we be withholding bonuses from CEOs that lead their company to failure?  Shouldn’t government leaders take a pay freeze when they can’t accomplish the most basic of their duties.  Backward!

I find it appalling that school districts release good teachers because they can’t afford them.  I find it appalling that the average teacher salary in the U.S. is around $40,000, while the NFL league minimum is around $300,000.  Think about this folks.  The person entrusted with teaching your child makes 50 times less a…

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Political Manifesto – Introduction

     I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all the political ads.  We are hearing them on the radio, watching them on the television, and receiving them in the mail.  And who the hell decided that a registered Libertarian should be getting 2 mail flyers from the Republicans daily?  Anyway, we all have heard the rhetoic from both candidates about how they are going to do X, Y, and Z.  This got me to thinking; if I were given the reigns to run this country, what would I do and why would I do it?

     That’s the idea behind this series of blog entries.  It is how I think that this country should be run.  I will not cover every possible topic, but I will touch on topics that get me fired up.  Topics such as foriegn policy, the economy, and social security will be addressed.  So I invite you to sit back and get ready for some insight into how my mind works.  If you like what I say, that’s awesome!  If you don’t; well, I’m not running for President, so who cares.  No, but seriously, I look forward to some pretty interesting conversations in the near future. 

 

-Thanks

Patrick

     It is no longer a choice between the two lesser evils.  It is time for a reality check people.  One candidate wants to bankrupt our society and the other candidate wants to legalize discrimination.  Either choice leads our country into ruin.  Mr. Obama wants gas prices equal to that of Europe.  Prices in many of the Euro zone countries is approaching $8 a gallon.  And you thought $3.90 was expensive.  Not only that, Mr. Obama would like to penalize utilities with carbon taxes raising current utility rates 300% or more.  Can you afford spending twice your current monthly budget on gas and 3 times your current monthly budget on utilities?  To use myself as an example, I would be spending $800-900 a month in gas and $800-1200 on my utilities.  That is more than my mortgage.

     Mr. Romney would like to outlaw abortion in all cases, stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood, allow healthcare to not cover birth control, and define marriage as between a man and woman.  Now, this is a popular position among Christians and is supported from the pulpits across America.  Abortions, in some cases, should be allowed.  Especially when the life of the to-be-mother is threatened by the continuation of the pregnancy.  Planned Parenthood is a popular target on the anti-abortion movement.  However, did you know that Planned Parenthood is the only health option many low-income women have for “normal” health checks?  Can you imagine denying a young mother access to see a doctor or nurse for health concerns and that leading to an early death?  Not covering birth control is just ignorant.  Birth control is used for more than letting little Jenny to sleep around with the entire town and not worry about a belly bump.  Birth control is used to treat acne, hormonal control, along with a myriad of other concerns.  And can one person show me that exact passage that defines marriage as man and woman?  This is all government guided discrimination based on ignorance.

     All is not lost.  There is an alternative.  Gary Johnson with the Libertarian Party is against both positions and has a platform to correct the egregious direction that our country has been going for decades now.  However, the two “main” parties are threatened by the party platform and the reform that would follow.  Educate yourself on what is really going on and make an informed decision.

Reality Check

Cunning or Con

I am a big fan of supporting local businesses, especially locally-owned bookstores.  However, I have come across one that has got me wondering about their business practices.  Like many of the local bookstores, they accept used books for store credit.  I have been able to clear much needed space on my bookshelves.  This store has a great selection of science fiction and fantasy, which is why I selected them versus another business.  The unfortunate part is the way in which they categorize their books.

Store credit can not be used on new books, so I can not grab the latest in the Twilight series (an attempt at humor).  This practice is questionable, but understandable.  What I can not understand is that this business lists books that are used (some of which were published decades earlier) as nearly new and do not allow store credit to be used in the purchase of said book.  For example, I came across a chemistry book (I know what you are thinking, NERD!) that was in used but very good condition.  The book is listed as near new because of the condition, though the book was published in 2001 and is grossly outdated.  Another example, a Star Wars Encyclopedia (again, NERD!).  The book is used, good condition.  The dust cover is torn in places and pages within the book are folded.  Again, this book is listed as near new condition.  All this means that I can not use my store credit for outdated books that are in good condition or collector’s books that are usable.

The part that upsets me the most is the first time that I tried to use my store credit to purchase a book.  It was a hard cover history book.  The book was obviously in used condition, so I knew that I would save a few bucks over brand new.  They told me the total and I told the clerk that I had store credit.  The clerk informed me that I was not able to use store credit since this book was near new.  I asked the clerk what the difference between used and near new.  I was told that the store categorized their used items into one of 6 or 7 categorizes.  Only the worst condition used books are eligible for the store credit.  To my horror, I have $60+ of store credit and have not been able to utilize it.  They also do not allow a cash out of store credit.

As a customer, it upsets me that a local business would employ such deceptive practices.  I go to the store on occasion to see if I can find a hot item that I can then resell on eBay.  I would love to get my hands on a first edition book that they have stored away on their private shelves, but they have refused to entertain the idea of selling them.  I highly doubt that I would be able to utilize my store credit anyway. On the other hand, I applaud them for their shrewd business policies.  Employing such policies have obviously allowed them to survive during a time when so many mom and pop shops, along with national chains, have folded like a sack of potatoes.  So I am torn as to my approach with this situation.

It drives me insane to hear “quote unquote” professionals say that we are responsible for making others happy.  Evidently by being nice, doing stuff or buying things for others we make them happy.  I hate to point out that people in our society, and humanity in general, are “what have you done for me lately” types.  The happiness lasts only briefly before they require more stuff.  Instead, let us focus on ourselves.  You are responsible for your own happiness and no one else.  Sure, being nice to others is a necessity in life and buying stuff for others on occasion is a nice surprise, but leave it at that.  Otherwise you will be unnecessarily miserable.  The saying is misery loves company, but I think happiness loves company too.  Ever notice that happy people tend to hang around other happy people?  No one wants to be dragged down into the dark, deep pit of despair because someone is unhappy.  Do what makes you happy and be nice to others to help enable them to do the things that make them happy.  Peace!

I am not a trained Psychologist, nor do I play one on t.v.  I am just a regular guy making observations on what I’ve seen in my life.

Happiness

Pervasive Self-Pity

A few definitions before we start.  Pervasive (per dictionary.com) means present everywhere.  Self (according to Wikipedia) is the individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness.  Pity (according to dictionary.com) is sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another.

     I was listening to a radio program on my way home from work.  The host mentioned the idea of pervasive self-pity and it got me to thinking.  There seems to be a sense of malaise that has gripped this nation.  The citizenry is cautious about every little detail of their life.  This caution comes from the lessons learned from our neighbors, friends, or family who suffered through consequences of living an out-of-control lifestyle.  I am not going to get into the blame game, since there are too many players to properly point the fingers (that and I do not have that many fingers).  However, let us talk about the outcome from this “financial disaster” and subsequent fallout.

     You know that feeling you get when you get reprimanded for doing something wrong?  It causes some unwanted tension in our lives and we find ourselves walking around on eggshells when dealing with others.  Another symptom is being overly cautious because we do not want to mess up again.  We decrease the amount of risk we take, and in some cases, eliminate risk all together.  It is a mechanism of our self to rebuild our self-esteem after a mistake, error, fuck up, etc.   Many would call this self-pity.  We sit around feeling sorry for themselves, withdraw from many of the activities that we once enjoyed, and in some cases, quit the activity all together to avoid such a negative outcome from occurring again. 

     Think about the stock market.  Millions of people lost trillions of dollars.  What took people decades to build was lost in the matter of months if not days.  The first reaction to the events was shock.  After the initial shock wore off, people became angry and demanded answers.  After the reality of the events began to sink in and the realization that there would be little to no recourse, the self-pity began to set in.  In the past, Americans and the economy would bounce back.  Unfortunately, that has not happened this time.  Sure, we could blame the President for this.  He is an easy target and just happened to be the person behind the wheel of this big ship.  We can blame the corporations for their greed.  It is all too easy to blame a name with no face.  However, there is a problem with all this finger-pointing.  It does not solve the issue. 

     In my honest opinion, I think that it has made matters worse.  Instead of picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off, we instead have decided to live in the past and wallow around in our sorrow.  Instead of trying to solve the issues, we have gone from one pity party to another.  Instead of removing dead weight from the system, we have injected it with a serum of imaginary money in hopes to prop up a dead system.  We have encouraged a pervasive self-pity mentality to blanket this nation.  We can feel it in the air.  We see it when we drive the main streets of whatever town we happen to be in and look at all the open storefronts.  We hear about it on the news daily.  It is depressing and there seems nowhere to go.  What is the solution to this issue? 

     I think that it is time to get very real.  I do not pretend to have all the answers, but what I offer is a bit of insight into what I think America can and should be.  I do not care if you are Democrat or Republican.  I do not care if you are Black, White, Purple or have polka-dots.  I do not care about who or what or if you have a God.  What I care about is that you are an American.  That is the only “label” that matters to me.  We need to work together to get ourselves out of this mess.  It is amazing to me the amount of pride Americans take when we help each other and get things done.  We can not rely on the government to get us out of this mess.  We need to help our neighbors.  That is what I see is missing.  That is what I see as the first step into solving this issue.  Then, and only then, do I think this sense of pervasive self-pity will go away.