Right to Fly?

November 10, 2010

As some of you may know I spend a lot of my time at airports and traveling to various part of the country. While this may sound like a glamorous occupation, I can assure you I spend many a nights in a small town where there is little entertainment and even fewer dinner options. Unless of course you are a fan of the Golden Arches. My bitching aside, there seems to be an argument brewing  over the use of a new technology. This new technology is full body scanning.

Basically you step inside these two large pillars and a 3D image is taken of your body with the hope they can find any sort of concealed illicit material. The argument put forward by the TSA is that this new method of checking passengers is less invasive than physical body searches and can find items that traditional metal detectors can’t. So on its surface this seems like a great idea, a new level of safety for one and all right? Well not so fast. There are many out there that are trying to claim that this new search method is too invasive and “violates their rights.” Now I am not quoting anyone directly but if you search many popular internet forums you can easily find this idea being thrown into the discussion. Some people are trying to claim it boarders on pornography. So before I throw in my two cents go do a quick google image search, go on I’ll wait…..

Ok now that you are back let’s get a few things straight. For some inexplicable reason there are many people out there that think everything they do in their lives is their right. Sorry but this is not the case. Things like having a drivers license and air travel are a privileged not a right. You should have all the same access as everyone else to these privileges, but if you don’t follow the rules or abuse those privileges then government is well withing their rights to take them away from you. So if you don’t want to go through the full body scanner then don’t but if they then tell you that you can’t fly or that they have to search you manually they don’t bitch. How would this be any different if a passenger got on a plan and started swearing and being rude to the attendents? Couldn’t they argue they have a right to fly and a right to free speech? Most logical people would say the person was being disruptive and should be removed from the plane. So why should people who don’t want to follow other rules be given an exception?

Furthermore, when you refuse tests like the full body scan rightly or wrongly it gives the impression that there is a reason why don’t want to submit to the test, and for most people this is extremely suspicious. Playing devils advocate if you allow passengers to bypass the scanner where does it end? Does that mean they can also refuse to be manually searched?

And let’s assume for second that you have some sort of right not to go through the scanner. Doesn’t everyone else who travels have a right to certain level of security? So whose “rights” triumph in this situation?

Normally, I am fully behind a person’s individual rights, but in this case this is not the issue. People just don’t want to have some stranger looking at them with their cloths kinda off. Sadly though this is the world we live in. I understand you might feel violated, but it is roughly 10 seconds of your day to make everyone around you potentially safer. Is this a perfect option? No. But until there is a better alternative, step into the scanner wait your ten seconds and move on with your day. If you don’t want to go through the scanner you can always catch a Greyhound.

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For many people out there is not a huge realization that racism still exists in our society. I will admit it is nowhere near as bad as it has been in our nation’s sordid past, and the new brand of racism is not as overt as it once was. You can still see it as store clerks pay just a little more attention to a customer who looks even slightest bit ethnic and if you pay attention at your local bar I am sure you will still hear some of those “harmless” jokes. But you would certainly expect more of our nations leaders.

Well if you were expecting more from your elected officials, or in this case from hopeful elected officals you will be sorely disappointed. While checking one of my new favorite sites (gawker) when I cam across this article http://gawker.com/5515426/youre-not-a-tea-partier-if-you-dont-forward-hilarious-racist-e+mails-to-your-friends?skyline=true&s=i. Not only is this is this brand of humor shockingly racist (although Paladino’s representative’s swear they are just in poor taste) it amazes me to think someone with political aspirations is stupid enough to believe that they will not be caught. In the age of technology you have to know sending and email to a secure email address is about as safe as leaving your wallet on the subway. What is almost as shocking is that his lawyers want you to believe that is news is only a smear tactic by Democrates that are afraid of Paladino. They only thing anyone should be scared of his being on this guy’s contacts list. I hope the people of NY are smart enough to see through this and his political career ends here. I know I expect more out of the people I want to lead, and so should you.

Never settle for second rate leaders

Che

So let’s face it. I fucked up. I have been gone for far far too long. While I was silent a lot happened. The country basically went to shit. Thousands lost their jobs, their homes, and many lost their lives in two wars (One of which we have supposedly won).

We even had an entire regime change. Then all the finger pointed started. Obama supporters blamed  Bush for every problem that the country had. In truth a lot of what was messed up was the fault of Bush and his regime, but at the same time there were Democrats serving in the federal government throughout the eights years that Bush was the failure-in-chief, so as fun at it is we can’t blame Bush for everything. At the same time from the moment that Obama took office Republicans have claimed that he is trying to destroy the fabric of our country, and leading us directly to socialism (or communism for those who don’t know the difference and communism sounds scarier). While I am overwhelmingly for universal health care, I am not foolish enough to think this will solve all our problems, just as the tea partiers should not be foolish enough to think that it will destroy the “American way of life”

In short I am back because I am sick of everyone bitching about how bad things are without sending any positive messages out there, or attempting to look at matters with some neutrality. Obama is not the savior of the USA and Bush is not the only reason we are in the situation we are in. Strip away all the excuses and you will realize that in large part we are to blame for these issues, we might not run the government but we have elected the people who do. So while the Republicans try to stop any form of progress just because Obama wants it we all suffer, and we only have ourselves to blame. While I can’t do much to stop any of that I can do one thing. I can let me voice be heard, hopefully a couple people will listen, and maybe together we can make a small amount of change.

Until then fight the good fight.

Home of the Free?

July 14, 2008

As children growing up in the United States we are taught that we live in the freest and greatest country in the world. For years many of us do not even question this fact. Yet if you ask a class of high school students to explain why the above statement is true, most of them can’t even find a place to start. While others get offended at the very nature of the question. Believe me I’ve tried it.

So if you have not already begun to question this ideology I have yet another instance of the hypocrisies of our country. A law that dates back to 1915 could soon have gay and lesbian couples from Wisconsin facing prosecution and possible jail time. As some of you may know California is now the only state in our fair Union that will issue a marriage license to out of state gay couples. For what I can only guess is hundreds if not thousands of couples from Wisconsin this would appear to be the culmination of long held dream. Yet there are now some people trying to have these seemingly law abiding citizens arrested. The aforementioned law states that any person who is a Wisconsin resident that leaves the state to get married with the intention of returning is subject to arrest.

Now this almost has to go without saying, but I seriously doubt anyone has been arrested for this offense in at least four decades if not more. I can also all but guarantee that the state is also not going to go arrest John and Jane Doe after they get back from their destination wedding. You as well I know that the only people with so called “law” will be used against is same sex couples. While you can argue the merits of gay marriage all you want, enforcing a law solely against one specific group is discrimination.

This is even more ridiculous when you consider the fact that the California marriage license on its face is worthless in Wisconsin since gay marriage is not legal in the state. Now the proponents of bigotry and ignorance will argue that letting same sex couples marry and return to the state will lay the ground work for gay marriage in Wisconsin. To this I have the prefect counter argument. Who Cares? Seriously that’s it. I mean ask yourself if John and Jane go get married how does it influence your life at all. In all reality it doesn’t. So if John and Steve or Jane and Sara go get married how does it influence your life. Again in reality it doesn’t.

People are way too concerned with how other people live their lives. Before you can go around and dictate how others should live, why don’t you first figure out how to live your own life? I am sure if we really perform an honest self evaluation most people will realize they have much more pressing issues in their life than two people they don’t even know getting married. For those of you who would argue that if states allow same sex couples to marry it would force churches to perform the ceremonies, I can tell you with a bare amount of research you will find out you are wrong. As any who has been married or has considered getting married can tell you, any church can refuse to marry any couple gay or straight. Most churches required membership to the church for a minimal amount of time along with further restrictions. When it comes down to it at most churches it is up to the discretion of the priest if the two individuals are ready to be married. But don’t be mistaken I am no whole heartedly placing my trust in the judgement of the church. I merely pointing out the idiocy of yet another hate filled and baseless argument.

Gay, straight, black, or white in the end you need to live your life and let others live theirs. Love one another, be kind, and respect others choices and we will all be better off.

Remember a Revolution does not take place overnight

Keep of the Fight

Che

Some say music will lead the revolution, and while I will have more on this issue later for now lets say music has provided inspiration. Last weekend I went so see Pearl Jam with the Redbeard and the Big Guy. As many of you already know Pearl Jam has been one of the most politically active bands over the past couple decades. In fact the Redbeard basically went just to hear what Eddie Vedder had to say. To his credit Eddie did not disappoint. If you have ever been to a Pearl Jam concert you will know that Eddie will always speak about what is going on in the country and give his point of view. Even though you may not always agree with him, you have to give him credit for being so open and honest with his viewpoints.

While Eddie did talk about the war and the impending end of the Bush regime what inspired me was one sentence. As if we were all at one giant book club Eddie recommend the crowd read a book by a local legend. The book was Howard Zinn’s “You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train,” and from what I hear it is a very good book. But then Eddie began to ponder aloud the loss of George Carlin, and the others we will soon lose like Zinn. To him these men, and men like them have led the revolution with ideas and ideals, but many of them are now gone and the rest will not be far behind. So this brings us back to the inspiration of this entry. Just before entering into the next song, almost as a second thought he said “Remember… there’s room at the top…”

While it is such a simple and somewhat obvious statement, it has been on my mind since I first heard it. I mean when you think about it many of the books, essays, and documentaries that I and many people who think like me are so passionate about are written by men and and women who are well our senior. Many of these outstanding people are even from the generation of that before our own parents. It is easy to argue that they share the same thoughts and ideas of the younger generation, the difference is they are actually doing something to spread the ideas. So what is going to happen when these men are gone? Who will take their place?

As Eddie said there is room at the top. More people of our generation need to get out there and do some of the work ourselves. Reading and studying is all well and good, but if all you ever do is read cookbooks but never actually cook eventually you will starve. To clarify I am not delusional enough to think that my writing this is making a huge impact toward this goal, if anything it is only a drop in the bucket. We all need to do our part. We should not be afraid to voice our ideas or even to be brave enough to actually act on them. We all need to do more to improve our society. I mean having one conversation with a person on the bus, or the guy standing next to you in the bookstore could lead them or you to think and act in new ways. Not everyone will change the world or write a book, but if we all try to make a small impact eventually we could cause a tidal wave. Remember there is room at the top.

Keep up the Fight

Che

Well boys and girls its been a while, but I am back. While there is no excuse for my long absence it does not mean I have not been planning my writing. So look forward to a couple more posts within a couple days (I hope). With the obligatory apologies aside I can get into why we are here today.

As all of one of you may know I was a Catholic school kid for about eight years. And seeing how the Church works still never ceases to amaze me. For a religion that claims to preach acceptance and compassion they seem to not be listening to their own teachings. A clear case of do what I say not what I do. Here is just the latest example. While attempting to avoid doing actual work I came across this article http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/05/30/vatican.women.priests/index.html?iref=mpstoryview. If you don’t care to read the entire piece I will give you the gist. Essentially the Vatican in its infinite wisdom has decided that anyone who attempts to ordain a woman priest will be excommunicated, along with the woman herself. For those of you not down with the lingo it means they will be thrown out of the Church, a long time ago it could mean banishment from your community as well. Now it just means you neighbors will not talk to you and give you dirty looks when you bring out the trash.

Besides the obvious ridiculousnesses of this outdated and sexist thinking lays another issue. The church is actually hurting for new and young priests. With all the bad press, the celibacy, and the general fucked up nature of our world the number of young men entering the priesthood has been on the decline for years. As the remaining priests get older and are forced to retire there are fewer young priests to take their place. Some people have even questioned if the demand will soon exceed the supply. Yet even with all the current rules and regulations that force you to alter the natural course of your life, there are some young women who want to take that step forward. However, do to years of a sexist tradition and the fact that they have a vagina the Vatican has deemed all women unfit to lead the flock.

I am not claiming to be a religious person. While I do believe in a higher power my faith in organized religion was lost long ago. This does not mean I cannot respect those who still believe. I just assume that if there are people willing and able to lead the next generation of believers you might want to let them. When it comes down to it the Church is still living by rules that have outlived their original purpose and usefulness by hundreds of years. In the end the image and influence of the church on the next generation will never improve if they keep pushing away those who want to believe because of their sex or sexuality. Remember if you believe in religion Jesus said “Love thy neighbor”. Not “Love thy neighbor, unless they are gay, a woman, black, a Muslim, or an atheist” Read your own book sometime, there is actually some good ideas in there.

Remember we all have to live here

Keep up the Fight

Che

Life is a Competiton?

March 26, 2008

So I told you this blog would not be solely about politics but about life in general. So here it goes, my first non-political entry. But don’t worry the politics will return just as soon as I can find the time to do a little research. I once heard a saying that I am sure many of you are familiar with. The gist of saying goes “Life is a competition.” While I do agree that competition is healthy part of every day life, does it mean that everything is one large competition?

At work you are forced to compete in order to advance, so will gladly concede that point. However, for the majority of us work is not everything. Now I know most of you would immediately then jump to the realm of sports to disprove my argument, but surprisingly this is where my argument really beings. I like most of you enjoy being able to compete against my friends in athletic events, and enjoy it even more when I can beat my best friends and enjoy the victory. But when I started to work out with the Big Guy something donned on me. Life is a competition but its not against other people its really against yourself.

When we started to lift together I kinda wanted to prove to my brother that he is not mat much stronger than me. Unfortunately reality did not really meet my expectations. Because not only is the Big Guy stronger than, but he is much stronger than me and knows a lot more about lifting. The idea of self competition is reaffirmed everyday when I get on the treadmill . And it turns out I would quite literally die if I tried to keep up with cute girl who usually runs beside me. She is about 3 inches shorter than me, runs considerably faster than me, and for a much longer distance. So if life is really a competition shouldn’t I try to beat her everyday. I mean she is a girl after all.

What I have come to realize is that the competition is with yourself. Everyday I try to run a little faster or lift a little more than the day before. Without realizing it many other people do the exact same thing. This is because most logical people have come to realize that they do no have the same physical abilities as some other people are luck enough to have. So why then do we insist on making the rest of life a competitive event, only to feel bad about ourselves if we don’t win and therefor “fail”. I mean if we have limits to our physical abilities wouldn’t simple logic tell us we have limits in other areas of our lives.

This is not to say you should just give up because you will never be as strong as your friend, as smart your brother or sister, or as fast as the cute girl at the gym. No far from it. You should try to beat yourself everyday. Run faster, work harder, and love stronger. Just realize if you always try to compete against everyone else instead of trying to improve yourself in the end you will always come in last place.

Remember
No Revolution Takes Place Over Night
Keep up the Fight

Che