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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mix Tape For My Wake

I think you guys know that I want to be cremated. You can donate my ass to science if it'll save you some bucks. Here is the playlist for my party/wake. Feel free to add others:
My Way, Frank Sinatra (yeah, really)
Freebird, Lynrd Skynrd
Simple Man, Lynrd Skynrd
Knockin' On Heaven's Door, GNR
Tears In Heaven, Eric Clapton
Stairway To Heaven, Led Zeppelin
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
I'm The Only One, Melissa Etheridge
Some Irish trad music, you pick

Friday, March 11, 2011

On A More Personal Note (To My Children)


Mea culpa for my part in your sorrows.
Please forgive me that I caused you so much pain.
Know my heart is bereft,
And I know there's nothing left
But a shell of you out standing in the rain.

Please remember that I always did love you,
'Though I know it wasn't easy to see.
I was hiding in myself,
Put my own heart on a shelf.
Please forgive me so your own heart can be free.

Mea culpa that I didn't protect you
And keep all of you safe from harm and hate.
I wanted to be good
Just like a mama should.
But somehow I was always just too late.


The Free Market Is Not Your Friend

There's been a lot of talk lately about how unions and governments are destroying the economy, and salvation can only come from emasculating government and killing the unions. The free market and corporate America will then be free to ride in on their respective white horses and save us. These folks have it exactly backwards.
Consider, for example the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March 25, 1911, when 146 workers died. They were locked in the building by their heroic employer. The fire led to legislation improving safety standards, and helped fuel the growth of the I.L.G.W.
The National Labor Union lobbied Congress for an 8 hour workday beginning August 20, 1866. Over the next 80 years, unions worked and fought to obtain it. Governments passed laws requiring it. In 1938 The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed, which established the minimum wage and other improvements for workers. The business class, those arbiters of all things economic, opposed the minimum wage, using the same arguments they still use every time Congress debates an increase.
The difficulty with this free market fantasy? The mighty steed on which the intrepid corporation rides is, in fact, a one-trick pony. Profits matter. Employees don't. Workers are just another cost of doing business, an expense to be trimmed at every oportunity, whether by outsourcing jobs or importing illegal immigrants, ignoring Federal law or busting unions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Hell In A Handbasket

Tell me how you like this living in theocracy?
Jesus doesn't like it when you want to be free.
Too bad you're broke, or blind, or old.
We can't spare a cent,
'Cause Jesus wants the widow's mite
To pay the bankers' rent.

Tell me how you like this living in plutocracy?
You pay and pay and then they say
"Give some more to me."
Holy shills for corporate greed
Since humans haven't any need
To live, to love, to laugh, to feed.
Who cares if workers starve and bleed?
'Cause now we all are living in the pluto-theocracy.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Some trolls you meet on the internet

There are several types of trolls who post on public internet forums. Some posters are genuinely interested in helping others find solutions to their problems, meaningful dialogue and deep philosophical discussions. This is not about them There are other posters whose sole reason for existing appears to be to stir up trouble and controversy. Some of these types include: the know-it-all; the busybody; the one-trick pony; the insanely partisan; and the one-upper. These folks can be found on any internet discussion board or forum, inclduding this one.

The busybody is the nosy lady next door, always peering out her virtual window to make sure no one is doing anything of which she does not approve. She is appalled by the topics other people write about, and takes great pains to read, and comment, on them. Her gentlewomanly senses are offended by the stench of others' opinions and activities, yet she insists on dwelling on the blogs where these other odiferous posters post. Her notions of propriety are much more advanced than those of we mere mortals, and she lurks on every topic that might be considered the least bit scandalous to remnd us of our own inferior morals and values. She is prude, and a bore.

The know-it-all is a self-proclaimed expert on everything. No matter the subject, this fellow has seen more, and knows more, than anyone else ever He will go the distance arguing with anyone who has actual expertise in any given subject. He always has anecdotes and plausible facts to back his anecdotes, as long as you dont verify those facts with an independent source.

A closely related specimen to the know-it-all is the one-upper. No matter how bizarre, no matter how unique an experience you post about, the one-upper has a more outrageous tale to tell. Your experiences are mere appetizers to hisa adventures. You were attacked by a lion? He ws set on by a lion and a pack of hyenas. You once shook hands with a movie star? He dated one. We all know the type.

The one trick pony and the insanely partisan are kissing cousins. No matter the topic, one-trick manages to shoehorn in comments on his cause celebre. A thread on Model T Fords somehow morphs to abortion. Discussions on saving money while grocery shopping are interrupted with an important announcement about gay rights. Likewise, the partisan finds comfort in blaming everything wrong with the world on the other side. His party is not responsible for the terrorist attack that happened during their watch; the guy who used to be president is responsible. Truman's "The buck stops here" is only applicable if the guy in the Oval Office is from the other party.

Well, there you have it, a brief review of some of the trolls you find online.

My “Covenant” Marriage

In spite of a serious budget crisis, deteriorating schools and roads, and an economy teetering on the edge of disaster, our intrepid Kansas legislators forge ahead, valiantly focused on the important issues. These noble guardians of our morals keep their eyes firmly focused on the big picture. They toil endlessly on banning fake reefer and perfecting the definition of marriage. How blessed we are in Kansas to have these dedicated protectors of our honor. Consider, for example, the covenant marriage amendment. I was in a sacramental marriage. We were wed in one of those major churches, the one whose ministers can't seem to keep their hands to themselves. The accoustics must have been bad in the church that day. I thought we vowed before God and everyone to "forsake all others." He heard "date all others." After twenty years, I'd had enough and got a divorce, the real kind, from a court. I've no idea if he's gotten his church divorce; if he has, I wasn't informed. Our marriage was both civil and religious. The religious aspect was irrelevant to the legal aspects, such as division of property and child custody. There was no need to drag our dirty laundry into court in order to remove myself from this dreadful situation. After all, to the state, marriage is nothing more than a contract. No fault divorce allowed me to break that contract after the marriage itself had broken. Unlike my marriage, divorce was a godsend.
If religious organisms wish to make rules regulating marriage for their members, by all means they should do so. However, the covenant marriage amendment is nothing more than a blatant attempt to impose a religious obligation on civil marriage. It is an affront to common sense and the protection that no fault divorce offers to those caught in untenable wedlock. If our legislators wish to preach, perhaps they should get out of the statehouse and into the pulpit.

Facts and Opinion Are Not Interchangeable

How did we become a nation that behaves as if facts and opinions are interchangeable? All too often, in this age of instant comunication and access to facts, our policies and beliefs are governed not by hard, empirical evidence, but by what we feel to be true. A good example of this phenomenon occurred on this siterecently in a thread about a footpath being built through the wetlands. One poster wrote that code-talkers were used in World War I. Another poster disputed this because he/she felt the first poster was incorrect. Rather than doing a simple search, which any child capable of spelling now can do, the second poster implied that the first poster was lying. This type of interaction is repeated daily on internet forums and discussion programs. Our "leaders" from both parties formulate laws and policy based on opinion polls and cold hard cash, rather than what is good for the country. Are greed and unenlightened self-interest truly foundations on which to build a stable and secure nation? Or are we blithely running, eyes gleefully closed, towards our own demise?