Friday, September 28, 2012

Free Speech and Religion

Crowds stampeding through the streets.  Embassies attacked and burned.  People of all races and creeds killed.  All of this because of a stupid film that seeks to portray a religious leader in a very horrible light.  These events represent the clash of the values of one group of societies against another.  Tolerance seems to always be the best approach, but the world is now being asked to implement universal "anti-blasphemy" policies to prevent insults to religion.  This might seem to be a joke but the topic was recently debated at the United Nations.  Is there ever a reason in which free speech should be restricted to protect religious sensibility?

The answer to that question is a resounding no.  Limiting expression to prevent insults to religion is a step towards tyranny.  Use of policies or laws like this would be the first step that any government could use to silent dissent.  The leader of any nation or any group could embrace religion in an effort to persecute their opponents.  Any dissent raised against a government or a group that is based upon religious principles could be turned into some from of blasphemy

Even the discussion of this issue is a bad idea.  All it does is serve to highlight the differences between free societies and those societies that are caught up in a shallow world view that revolves around a distorted perception of religion

Open societies cherish the concept of free speech.  In these societies free speech is something that is guaranteed in laws and constitutions.  The only time in which expression is penalized is when it is used to advocate violence.  In rare cases speech that purposely defames a living person can be found to be libelous and the offender ordered to pay damages.  Cases of defamation and speech inciting violence in most open societies are rare, because freedom of expression is so widely accepted that people are allowed to express just about any thought.

Freedom of expression should make religions and beliefs stronger.  If a religion is attacked in some way through use of the freedom of speech, then the believers in that religion should shrug their shoulders and laugh it off as they will become stronger in their beliefs.  If there is a need to lash out and harm those who criticize a religion then the believers must fundamentally have a weak belief in their religion.

The societies that seek to inhibit free speech must believe that people are not strong enough to deal with competing views.  If a person canot bear the thought of something that runs counter to their beliefs then fundamental they must be weak in their beliefs.

This brings another point into play - the freedom to wear what you want.  In so many societies there is a restriction on what some members of the society - particularly females can wear.  There are many explanations for these society mores.  The one explanation that seems to have the widest acceptance is that women need to cover their bodies so that they won't tempt the men.  Are the men that weak that they can't stand to see a women's calves or face without being tempted into thoughts of lust? 

Societies that seek to stop freedom of expression or seek to force one part of the society to wear clothes that cover them up are weak.  It means that the people of the society are not strong in their viewpoints and can easily be swayed by words or sights.  These societies must change.  The human spirit cannot be restrained - freedom must eventually prevail in all cases.  It will forever be in human nature to seek out the freedom to express oneself!  It is a fundamental desire of being human to express oneself and to deny it is to deny a part of what makes us human.

Personal Commentary:
This whole debate over freedom of speech and expression is ridiculous.  Granted the stupid film about Islam wasn't nice.  But really folks, if you have a strong belief in Islam, why can't you just laugh the film off as opposed to going out and rioting.  The same for the controversies that have erupted here in the United States when Christ has been portrayed in very negative ways.  If you really believe in Christianity - just laugh it off.

And there there is my personal peeve about societies that force women to cover their bodies.  Come on folks - that is just so silly!  When the temperature is near 100 degrees here in Denver and I see some women walking around totally covered up I feel so bad for them.  And the reason for it are just so ridiculous.  To the men of those religions/societies - are you really so weak that you can't stand to see a woman's thigh without having some kind of horrible sexual lust over take you?  That is just pathetic!!  Come on - man up and realize life isn't just about sex.  Really you can work and associate with women without getting pulled into doing horrible things.

Really - it is just absolutely pathetic that issues like limiting freedom of speech to protect religious sensibilities are being discussed.  Grow up people and get a life.  Remember what the founders of your religions said - because they always laughed at the criticism as opposed to going wild.

Anyway - Just my thoughts for the day as I was reading about the whole issue this evening.

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New comet might blaze brighter than the full Moon

Wow just saw this and thought it was amazing - so I had to write about it and post it!  The gist of this entire article is that a new comet has recently been discovered that is going to pass Earth in 2013.  The comet is anticipated to be so bright that it will outshine moon!

 (Photo of Comet Hale-Bopp passing through the twilight sky.)

For those of us older than say 25 or so, you might remember the passage of the comet Hale-Bopp in 1997.  I so distinctly remember that comet lighting up the winter sky and I thought it was possibly the only time in my life I might see such an event as that.  However it is looking like that may not be true.  Quoting from the article "Even if C/2012 S1 (the newly discovered comet) takes on the same light curve as Kohoutek (a comet that passed the earth in the 1970's which was a viewing disappointment) it is certain to be spectacular, quite possibly a once-in-a-civilisation's-lifetime event."

I am just so thrilled to read this article and I fully anticipate spending as much time outside observing the night time sky during the comet's passage.

Anyway - It was so interesting I just felt I needed to share!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

San Francisco

This past weekend I managed to get out of town for a bit and spend some time in one of my favorite cities - San Francisco.  I had a bunch of flight credit on Southwest Airlines that was going to expire at the beginning of October and needed to be used.  In a casual conversation with Lisa we concluded that San Francisco would be a great town to visit.

San Francisco has been a town in which I have spent a lot of time.  Between September of 1999 and December of 2002, I spent almost 18 months working in the Bay Area.  Needless to say, that time had allowed me to become pretty familiar with San Francisco.  Regardless of how much time I have spent there, I always enjoy a visit to the City by the Bay.

We left on our trip on late Friday afternoon when we were both done working for the day.  As was normal the trip on Southwest Airlines was on time and went without a hitch.  We had two seats together in the middle of the airplane with Lisa at the window and me in the center.  She had never flown into San Francisco before but she had heard the approach and landing at SFO was pretty dramatic because of the proximity of runways to the bay.

I slept most of the way there but finally woke-up as we came over the last set of mountains and into the Bay Area.  Approaching SFO from the south, the airplane spent the last 5 minutes of flight over the waters of the bay.  Lisa seemed pretty surprised at how close we came to the water before we actually landed.  It's always an amazing thing to the land at SFO!

Even though San Francisco has a ton of public transportation, we rented a car as we expected to go further afield from the city than would be practical in a cab or public transportation.  Leaving the airport we were soon engulfed in rush hour traffic.  We headed north on US 101 towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

We crossed the Golden Gate and stopped at the northern vista point.  Walking out on to the bridge I experienced that sense of awe I always do when I am there.  It is just amazing to think of the complex engineering and construction methods that were used to build this bridge.  And all of it was done over 75 years ago!

Lingering on the bridge for a long time we shot tons of pictures and let our selves absorb the magnificence of the sights.  We watched a large container ship sail in from the Pacific Ocean and under the bridge.  Despite the massive size of the ship, it was dwarfed by the bridge!

Leaving the immediate area of the bridge we used the last hours of sunlight to explore the beauty of the Marin Headlands.  Parking the car at one of the many turnouts we hiked down to the path that leads to Point Bonita lighthouse.  The path to the lighthouse leads through a dramatic tunnel carved through a massive rock face.  We were stopped at that point as the door through the rock was shut and is only open during the day on weekends.

Despite the near proximity of the Marin Headlands to San Francisco, we came across a small group of dear grazing along the steep hillside.  I was utterly shocked to see such large wild animals wandering about so close to the city.

As the light began to fade we made our way back to the car and then along the winding, twisting road that would lead us back to Route 101.  Crossing back over the Golden Gate Bridge we negotiated the San Francisco city center to find our hotel - The Palace Hotel.  This hotel was originally built in 1875 but was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1906.  After the earthquake it was rebuilt and has stood at 2 Montgomery ever since.  The hotel is beautiful inside and out and made for very nice place to stay for the weekend.

After we checked into the hotel we had dinner at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in the city - the R and G Lounge.  I don't know if this place has won any awards or not, but to me it makes some of the best Chinese food I have ever had.  (This restaurant is listed in the book 1001 Things to Do Before You Die.  The reference is in the section on "Exploring the Neighborhoods of San Francisco.)  They also make an especially strong Mai Tai - which explains my difficulty in walking back to the hotel!

On Saturday we spent the day enjoying downtown San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf.  It was a fabulously beautiful day but by the early evening a dense fog began to roll into the bay from the Pacific Ocean.  Waiting in line to catch the Powell & Hyde Line cable car back towards our hotel, we were extremely cold as a stiff, cold wind blew in the fog.

For dinner on Saturday we went to the oldest restaurant in all of California.  The Tadich Grill can trace it's lineage the whole way back to 1849.  They describe themselves and their history in this way on their website.  "Suppose you had some out-of-town visitors, and they asked you to take them to a "traditional, authentic San Francisco restaurant." You could do no better than to take them to Tadich Grill, which is not only San Francisco’s, but also California’s, oldest restaurant. But you need to warn them: Tadich Grill takes no reservations and is usually packed at lunchtime and dinnertime, Monday through Saturday."

The food was good and the setting was definitely unique.  One of the more interesting aspects of the restaurant was the bartender who served us.  He looked like he had been pulled out of the 1930's or 1940's.  His look and his mannerism were quintessential of those times.  It was pretty amazing and we had an interesting conversation with him about how many people tell him the same thing.

On Sunday morning we got moving as quickly as we could.  Our destination for the day was Chinatown.  We arrived in Chinatown to find the place mobbed as it was their annual "Autumn Moon" Festival.  The largest thorough fare through Chinatown was closed off to car traffic.  There were lots of vendor stalls set up in the street hawking everything from Chinese groceries to back massages.  Chinese dragon dancers weaved their way through the crowded streets and musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments sat on the street corners playing for tips.  It was a unique experience as the crowds were large and there was so many exotic things to see!

After spending a good bit of time in Chinatown, we drove around the city to see some sights we hadn't yet seen.  We managed to drive down Lombard Street - the famous "most curvy street in the world".  But soon it was time to head to the airport.

Dropping off the rental car we got on the sky train to the terminal.  While passing the international terminal we got the chance to see something I had never seen before.  There was a Lufthansa Airbus A380 airliner at one of the gates.  It was so freaking large!  The A380 is currently the largest airliner in the world and only entered service about 4 years ago.  It has a double deck cabin for the whole length of the airplane.  (The previous world's largest airliner - the 747 only has a double deck cabin for 1/3 of the airplanes length.)  I've always wanted to see one of these airplanes in person and I was thrilled to see it!

Our flight left SFO about 35 minute late, but the pilot did a good job making up some of the time.  By 7:00PM Sunday we were back on the ground in Denver and our short little sojourn to San Francisco was over!

Attached are a few of the photos from the trip.

(Lisa in front of the Golden Gate Bridge)

 (Me on the Golden Gate Bridge)

 (One of the towers of the GG Bridge)

 (The GG Bridge from the Marin Headlands)

(Path to Point Bonita Lighthouse)

 (Riding the Cable Car)

 (Fisherman's wharf)

(Lobster and crab on display at Fisherman's Wharf)

(Lisa with Alcatraz in the distance)

(The sea lions at Pier 39)

 (Dragon dancers on parade at the Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown.)

(Man playing a traditional Chinese instrument at the Autumn Moon Festival)

(Another group of dragon dancers making their way through the crowd.)

(A Chinese Band)

On the day-to-day life front things continue along their same normal path.  Zack has been doing a lot of after school activities and took part in his first Math League competition on Monday.  He's doing a good job with his school work and it shows in terms of his grades.  He has never had all A's and B's before in his middle school career - normally his grades would involve at least one C or D.

For me, work is the main driver of life right now.  I continue to work crazy hours as I am frequently up before 4AM for conference calls with my team in India. We had to have some major work done on our 1998 Ford Explorer and I had to do some serious consideration of whether I was going to retain it or not.  In the end run I decided to put the money into it.  It was one of those repairs that kept getting larger and larger.  It started out as a $500 repair but ended up several times larger.  It was one of those problems where once they solved the first issue another even bigger issue became apparent.  Oh well!   Zack and I call the Explorer "The Beast" and hopefully with the repairs it went through this week  it will continue to live up to it's name and work faithfully for several more years to come.

My general contractor continues to put the final touches on the kitchen.  Last week they tried to replace 2 of the cabinet doors that had been damaged in shipping.  Unfortunately one of the replacement doors was also damaged!  So there is yet another couple of weeks until the new door comes in. Grrrr...  Oh well, it at least is usable and looks pretty good.  But I just want it 100% complete.

And that's about it for now.  Have a great week!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meme - And the Evolution of Language

Why do some words come into "fashion" while others seem to fade into oblivion?  How does our language change on a day-to-day basis and what is behind these changes?

In recent months the word meme has crept into the popular vocabulary of our time.  Why has this word become so popular recently?  Who or what was the driving force behind the increased usage and popularity of this word?

Through out written media and the Internet meme is being used as a word that describes a theme or a series of ideas.  The definition of the word as provided by Wikipedia is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture".  The word originated through the written works of a British evolutionary biologist by the name of Richard Dawkins.  It was first published in his 1976 book "The Selfish Gene".

The origins of the word are clear, however the wider use of the word starting in 2011 is mysterious.  The word has been captured and used by many writers and has been used to describe a variety of different things.  It has been used to describe everything from Mitt Romney's philosophy on government to the message behind the Korean rap sensation PSY's Gangnam Style music video. 

Though it may not seem possible, it would be an interesting experience to research where the roots of the meme craze originated.  Was the word first introduced into mass media by some Madison Avenue advertising executive?  Or is the origin more exotic?  Perhaps some graduate student in biology inserted into a social media post as an experiment to see how far it would spread and how quickly.  I am sure with a lot of research the roots of this craze could be determined but it is beyond my skills and time constraints to do so.  Regardless it fascinates me to see our language evolve right in front of my eyes.  And as we watch this word become ingrained in our language are we aware of the words that are fading out of use?

When watching a movie that was made in the 1930's or earlier on a channel like Turner Classic Movies it is easy to see the evolution of our language.  The formal speaking patterns used in those days are long gone along with many of the words used back then.  How often do we use the word flapper to describe a stylish young woman.  Or how about fly boy to describe a pilot.  So many words have come and gone into our vocabulary in such a short period of time - 70 years that it is obvious to see the continuous change and growth of language.

It may actually be better to describe the changes in language as "evolution" as we can see how one word is eventually morphed into another.  With the Internet, texting and the rise of social media it is easy to imagine that the speed of this evolution is increasing.  Where will our language be in 10 years or 100 years? 

So get ready to develop your own meme and get it rolling in this wonderful world of language!

Not really anything deep or significant in this blog post but it was a question that I just had to pose because the use of this word just about everywhere has shocked the hell out of me!

As for day-to-day life, it exactly that - day-to-day life.  Zack's activities are keeping me busy running him from place to place.  He is doing well in school and his grades are the best they have been since he started middle school.

I'm getting ready for a short weekend trip to San Francisco.  It should be a good weekend!  I haven't been to San Francisco in over 6 years so I am definitely looking forward to it. 

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Just A Game....

I make no bones about the fact that I am a Pittsburgh Steeler Football fan.  Teasing others about the fact that the Steelers have won more Super Bowls than other team is great fun.  However - it is just a game.  There is no purpose behind football other fun.  It isn't serious to me and I don't experience a great let down when my team loses.

On the other hand, I live in a city that seems to take it's football team very seriously.  Two weekend ago when the Broncos beat the Steelers I was amazed to read some of the posts people put on Facebook.  The one that threw me for a loop the most was made by someone who isn't even a friend of mine.  I look at his status updates for the humor of it.  (No he doesn't post funny status updates he just takes himself so seriously that his posts are humorous.)  This particular post the Monday after the Broncos won basically said that his life was so much better that day because the Broncos won on Sunday evening.  Yikes - that would be kind of depressing to me if football wins and losses effected me in that any.

My point in all of this is - don't take it so seriously folks.  Football is a game.  There is nothing intrinsically important about it.  When we put football players and coaches on a pedestal just because they can play a game well we end up with horrible things like the Penn State Football program and the coverup of crimes.  Or we end up with bad men who think they can do whatever they want.  There have been so many incidents of football players who do bad things and end up in trouble with the law.

It's enjoyable to sit down and watch a football game, I will not deny that.  But does it make sense for us for the owners and players to be paid the crazy salaries that they are paid?  Football is strictly an American sport - so does it make sense to have these kinds of salaries for a sport that no other country in the world understands?

Obviously I have an opinion on the questions that I have put out there, even if you don't agree with all my viewpoints, hopefully you can at least understand that it is just a game and it shouldn't sway your opinion of whether life is good or not.

As for me the Steelers lost the first game and then won their second game.  Frankly I didn't feel a whit of difference.  For me life is good and football doesn't play too much of a factor in it.

On a not good note, here is something that has made me feel not so good.  Bob - one of the family friends who visited us 2 weeks ago has taken ill and is currently in the hospital.  I don't have all the details of what is going on, but please keep him in your thoughts and prayers!

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Evening Thoughts

It's been a little over a week since I last added a post to the blog.  It's not that I don't have a lot of things to write about, it has been more that I just haven't had the urge to write.  Through out each day there are many ideas which spark thoughts of potential blog entries, but I haven't had the desire to actual spend the time writing.

One reason for this lack of desire could be that life has just kept me so freaking busy of late.  Now that Zack has gone back to school, it seems that hardly a day passes without me running to and fro getting him to school or from school for some event or other.  He is participating in two after school activities this quarter - Track and Math League.  Most days he can take the "late" bus home after his activity, but if he has a track met or is done before the late bus runs I will come to school and pick him.

Even more so that Zack's activities, I believe my work schedule is heavily influencing me.  Never in my life have a been a morning person.  The idea time for me to go to bed each day is sometime between midnight and 2AM.  This means the ideal time for me to get up is normally around 8AM.  Due to the demands of my work schedule, I am now normally up and about between 5 and 5:30AM.  This leaves me desperate for sleep.  As soon as I am done working in the afternoon, I normally take a 2 hour nap.  When I don't nap, I find myself so tired that my desire to do much of anything is greatly diminished. 

The sad thing is that I really want to write.  My interest in the work that I am doing on a day-to-day basis for my employer is pretty low.  The position that I am in now has some very high visibility and offers me the ability to get promoted to the next pay grade - it's called a Band D executive.  However - I do feel excited to get out of bed in the morning and tackle my work.  Instead I would really like to start thinking and planning for what my next career is going to be.  But I feel tied to my current employer and position because of the financial rewards that it brings me.  Ultimately that financial reward doesn't seem to be enough to bring a lot of excitement or joy.  So I fully my day-to-day job functions because it is expected of me and because I do not want to disappoint those above me who have put so much trust in me.  No matter what I will continue to execute my job function with the highest level of professionalism and determination, but it doesn't mean that I am excited about it.

I guess the bottom line is that I must find the time to write and do the things that interest me from a career perspective.  And that means I need to find the time write and achieve the goals in that area that I desire.

That is enough said about that whole subject.  I am sure I am like so many other people who do what they have to do to bring home a paycheck but would much rather spend their time doing something else!

The weekend has been pretty good!  Friday night we hit a new pizza place in the Southlands Shopping Mall called "Top That Pizza".  It is kind of like the Subway sandwich shop of pizza.  You go in, pick the type of crust you want, select the type of sauce and then your toppings.  They pizza is then baked and presented back to you in about 3 minutes.  It was awesome!  We'll definitely be making a return trip there.

Saturday was all about work around the house.  I've done everything I can to get the kitchen back in shape so I spent all day Saturday working on my closet.  I have numerous bags of clothes to give away and I have gotten everything well organized.  There is still a little bit of work to do, but for the most part it's in great shape.  Saturday night was all about fun as Lisa and I went to the Adam's Mystery Playhouse in Denver.  It was a great show!  We laughed our asses off and really enjoyed the evening.  For anyone interested, I did a big write up on it on Facebook for "365 Things To Do In and Around Denver".  I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fun night out in Denver.

Today was about football and food.  I love cooking in the new kitchen, so I made a big vat of pulled pork BBQ and had my brother and his family over for dinner.  It was a nice, calm relaxing day!  Watching football on the flat screen TV mounted in the family room while cooking is fantastic.

That's about it for the day.  In the coming days I will be working much harder to write.  It's something that I want to do, I just need to find the time to make it happen.

Have a great week ahead!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First of the Season - Autumn Color in Colorado's High Country

It's the time of year when the foliage of the aspen trees in Colorado's high country begin to change from brilliant green to golden yellow.  Traveling through the mountains reveal landscapes that have changed overnight from plain and ordinary to dramatic and spectacular.

This fall I have plans to travel many of the back roads to capture the glory of the changing landscape in photos.  The weekend has already provided me with an opportunity to experience this yearly beauty.  As a birthday gift to Nancy, I flew her best friends from Pittsburgh - Millie and Bob out to Colorado to visit her.  During these periodic visits I always try and take them out to experience some special part of Colorado.  To fulfill this goal on their current trip I drove them up and over Guanella Pass and into the historic town of Georgetown.

Guanella Pass is traversed by the Guanella Pass Scenic Highway that serves as a connection between US 285 to the south and I-70 to the north.  Much of the land through which the roadway travels is made up of the Pike National Forest.  There are many trail heads off the roadway that lead into remote areas of the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area and other areas of the Pike National Forest.

For those curious about history - the pass was named for Byron Guanella who was a road supervisor and county commissioner in Colorado's Clear Creek County for over 50 years.  The pass was named in his honor in 1953.

At the top of the pass there is access to trails that lead to the summit of Mt. Bierstadt, one of the most climbed 14ers in the entire state of Colorado.

As we climbed through the steep switch backs that make up the southern approach to the pass, we were surprised to find that a large number of the aspen trees were already at the height of their color.  Luckily I had brought my landscape photography camera with me and was ready to capture this great display of natural beauty.

The attached photos are a few of the pictures that I took on this trip.  Over the next month or two I will be certain to post other photos of the changes colors on the blog.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

(The highest peak in this photo is Mt. Bierstadt named for the famous painter - Albert Bierstadt.  This is the most frequently climbed 14er in the entire state.  I've personally climbed this mountain 5 times.  The last time I climbed this mountain was in 2009.  It was Zack's first summit of a 14er!)

 (This area in the photo is known as "The Willows" and prior to 2000 was one of the most difficult areas to pass through on the way to Mt. Bierstadt.  It is called The Willow's due to the fact that it is covered in scrub willow bushes.  In 2000 a series of boardwalks were built that allow hikers to traverse The Willows without having to claw and push their way through the sharp scratch bushes.)

(This stand of aspens were on the northern side of Guanella Pass on the way into Georgetown.)


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things I Don't Understand: Middle Class Electoral Decisions

Why would someone who is in the shrinking middle class of America decide to vote for a candidate of the Republican party for any elected post?  The platform of this political party so overtly favors the wealthy that it doesn’t make logical sense for someone from the middle class to vote Republican.  

Reading the actual Republican Party 2012 platform is a harrowing process.  There are so many fundamental contradictions in the document that you wonder if it was written by a compulsive liar.  In one section the document talks about changes to the tax codes which will in effect give a precipitous tax decrease to the wealthiest Americans and let the middle class bear a wider share of the tax burden while in another section it talks about rebuilding home ownership.  What does it mean by rebuilding home ownership – giving multi-millionaires the incentive to buy 2nd and 3rd homes?

Why can people not understand that the Republican economic policy is based upon allowing the wealthiest members of our society to keep more of their money?  The whole policy is based upon the idea that giving tax breaks to the rich will allow the money to trickle down to the rest of us.  Isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with this approach?  This belief is based upon the assumption that the rich will take the money and “invest” it or spend it.  Basically those of us who aren’t rich should live off the crumbs that trickle down from the wealthy.  This assumption built into the Republican platform should be repugnant and offensive to everyone who considers themselves to be middle class.

Another example of the damage the Republican agenda would cause is seen in the effort to switch Medicare to a voucher system.  This plan would essentially gut the guarantee of healthcare for the senior citizens of our society.  By switching to a voucher system the cost of Medicare would essentially be capped and senior citizens would have to bear any increase in costs of healthcare premiums.  

As people look to what would be achieved by a Republican administration you have to wonder do they really understand that they would be limiting their access to healthcare at a point in life when they would be most vulnerable.  This would fulfill a fundamental objective of conservatives to take away the social safety that has been built in this country in the last 70 years.  Why would anyone vote for a candidate who supports this line of thought?  

Controlling the federal deficit is one reason that voters will frequently mention as why they would vote for a candidate who would support the gutting of Medicare.  There is no doubt that at some point the federal deficit must be managed.  However, managing the federal deficit on the backs of our nation’s senior citizens is extremely cruel.  There are many other ways in which the situation can be handled.  For example, the amount of money spent on the military could be substantially reduced.  This would save hundreds of billions of dollars per year.  Another great way to control the deficit is to open up legal immigration and let hundreds of thousands of new immigrants into the country – just as things were done throughout the 1800’s and up to the middle 1920’s.  Specific demographics could be enforced as to whom we let in the country.  Instead of anyone, spell out that we will only admit able body workers between the ages of 18 and 35.  The taxes that would be paid by these legal immigrants would bring in billions of dollars.  So there are many ways to skin the cat that is the budget deficit, but they don’t all require that we gut Medicare.

Adding hundreds of thousands or millions of new immigrants to Federal Tax basis would eliminate the fundamental problem that plagues Medicare (and Social Security for that matter).  That problem is the huge bulge in the population of the baby boomers who are now reaching retirement age.  There is no proportionally sized younger group to pay the taxes that will support the baby boomers in retirement.  Let’s solve the problem by growing the number of tax payers who are much young who will help offset the spending that will take place to support the baby boomers in their retirement.

There seemed to be only a few reasons why someone would support a Republican candidate.  All of those reasons have to do with social issues – abortion, gay marriage, equality of men and women, etc.  If a person believes that abortion should be outlawed no matter what, or that gay people shouldn’t marry or that women aren’t fundamentally equal to men then yes – those people should support Republican candidates.  These reasons seem to fundamentally limit the liberty that Republicans are so eager to protect.  However, these may be the issues that drive an individual’s voting process.  There is no arguing with these positions as they are black and white.

Hopefully middle class Americans will realize what the 2012 election is about.  It is a an election between 2 very different thought processes.  On the first hand you have the Democratic position in which the middle class is the true guiding force behind the American economy and hence everything should be done to promote the success of the middle class.  On the other hand you have the Republican position in which the wealthy drive our economy and every opportunity should be given to them to grow richer.

Think about it and consider what vision you prefer for America for the next 4 years.  The answer seems clear as we are a democracy that has been built on the backs of the working class generation after generation.  Hopefully as a nation we will get it right.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

PS - Once again - if you want to comment, you must include your name in the comment as I will NOT publish any anonymous comments anymore.  Additionally, to any of my long time readers I have pissed off by this post - what can I say.  We all hold specific opinions regarding things like politics, religion, football, etc.  You can tell me what you think and I promise I won't get pissed off.  Please keep reading as you might find that I have some things to say with which you agree.

Things I Don't Understand

*** I’ve been writing this and the next post for the last several days and I wanted to get them out there as soon as possible.  Some of my writing has been rushed as I have been doing this late at night and at odd hours because my work schedule is insane!  For example I have to be up at 3:00AM tomorrow for a conference call.  Talk about nuts!  Anyway – please forgive the typos and grammatical errors as I wanted to get these posted in the midst of the US political convention season.*****

I am planning on writing a series of posts over the next several months call “Things I Don’t Understand”.  These posts will ask a series of questions that ask “Why do people think this way, because I just don’t understand it?”  My point in writing these posts is to call out things that are absurd, hypocritical or just logically flawed.  There is so much craziness going on in this world and so much of it is caused by individuals taking stands that run absolutely counter to what is good for them or what is good for the nation or the world at large.  Many of these posts are going to generate controversy as they will espouse specific viewpoints on the problems that plague the world today.  

If you have a problem with what I write – please post a comment.  I appreciate the dialog.  However don’t hide behind a label of being anonymous.  That is just being a scaredy-cat.  My name is attached to every blog post that I write, so please comment but attach your name to it – let the world know your views.  

My next post will cover the first topic I don’t understand