Your Daily Mindjob
This is my personal blog where I'll offer up some political straight talk as well as thoughts on technology and pop culture. That should give me plenty to talk about. The world can give you one heck of a mindjob. Think like me and get your daily dose.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rick Wagoner Resignation

Before you start reading all of the spin surrounding the resignation of GM CEO, Rick Wagoner, make sure you understand what's going on.

Barack Obama did not plainly ask for Wagoner's resignation. It is part of a list of concessions GM has to make in order to receive more bail out money. The headlines and news coverage will frame this in the most simplistic terms. Watch for the words "The White House has asked for his resignation." While true, it is an incomplete statement and very misleading. Blame shitty media coverage to get people riled up. It was part of a list of concessions in exchange for money.

Some reading I've done tonight makes this out to be the government telling a company what to do. Conservative bloggers are drumming this up as some sort of Socialism or Communism threat. These bloggers are publishing FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Tell them to stop it. Writers who use FUD to get their point across are ruining journalistic integrity. Remember, his resignation is just one concession in a list in exchange for government assistance. The government isn't just going to throw money at you and expect nothing in return. Hardly Communism folks. Just accountability.

Let's look at that. GM was bailed out briefly. They were asked to clean up their act and put out some good plans for making cars to get this country back on track in that department. In case you haven't noticed, American cars are shit when compared to anything we import. The auto industry is a major player in the American economy. Whether it's steel or plastic, the auto industry feeds millions. When they fuck up, they fuck over quite a few people.

The taxpayers bailed your ass out and progress has not been made. It's called accountability. If you can't make progress, get the hell out of the way and let somebody else do it. Rick Wagoner couldn't cooperate with the unions or get a solid plan to save the industry. He's in the way and because we tried to help bail GM out, he answers to us now.

Just so we are clear, you should probably recognize how integral the auto industry is in Obama's grand plan to pull us out of this hole. It's called going green. It's called getting off of foreign oil. If you aren't on board with that plan, you're living in the past and you're part of the problem. Doesn't really surprise me that people criticize Obama for his actions. They didn't agree with Obama's energy plan to begin with. Heck, they didn't even think he had a plan.

We want progress. If that means Rick Wagoner and AIG have to answer to the taxpayers who put up the money to help, well then I'd say that's pretty damn fair.

Obama/Media Love Affair?

One question. What news have you been watching?

Consider this a continuation piece from my post about the Obama National Security Team Press Conference.

I'm up late switching between the nightly CBS and ABC news broadcasts. Andy Rooney just came on. Two people wrote him to bitch about the so called "love affair" the media has with Obama. I beg to differ.

If you watch CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, and CBS, I'd say you're watching most, if not all of the major media outlets right wingers probably consider the evil liberal media.

If you think the media has a love affair with Obama, I'd wager that you watch FOX News, listen to Rush and Savage, and subscribe to the National Review or WorldNetDaily. You probably don't watch the very media you blame for giving Obama soft pitches. Maybe you watch in passing, but not with any consistency.

So let's look at all the soft ball pitches I've seen being thrown at Obama lately.

His news conference the other night involved answering questions from 13 members of the Press. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't CNN's own Ed Henry throw a snarky question at Obama? It was one of the more memorable moments in the press conference. A recent article on the CBS News web site mentions several different views from media outlets. Politico actually wrote that Obama "did not say much."

He was criticized recently for repeatedly using the "I inherited this mess" excuse and the pundits involved asked whether or not it's time for him to move on and own it.

Obama was also criticized for essentially mocking and ducking the town hall style question about legalizing marijuana.

So at random, I was able to witness several difficult questions, negative coverage, and plenty of Obama criticism.

He's been criticized that as a Senator, he was proactive in getting the very legislation passed which eventually led to the AIG debacle. Even though Dodd fessed up to being the guy behind the mistake in the legislation, criticism has been far reaching.

He's being criticized by some for sending too many troops to Stan-Land, yet not enough by others.

Did you miss the hell he caught over the Special Olympics joke he made on Jay Leno? Did you miss the hell he caught for appearing on Jay Leno to begin with?

Just about every news outlet has had guest commentators discussing how his economic plan is going to fail. I've seen it compared to Japan's 10 year stagnant and soured economy.

So I ask again, what in the hell have you been watching? Those are only a few examples which have occurred in recent weeks. He got hit hard during the campaign season too. Obama was not given a free ride folks.

And to add my own criticism, I'd just like to mention that Obama needs to learn that before words that begin with a vowel, you use "an" and not "a" as he did in his latest press conference. Bush may have butchered the language, but Obama isn't exempt from making a few of his own mistakes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thoughts on Legalizing Pot

Although I'm a big fan of Bill Maher, there is one issue I am in opposition with him on. That issue is the legalization of marijuana. Whenever he starts discussing anything medical, well, let's just say Bill gets a little ranty and extreme. In light of the present economic downturn, many have been suggesting we should legalize marijuana as a source of monetary gain. Let's explore that idea, shall we?

In my view, there are two schools of thought in favor of legalizing this substance. The first, and more legitimate proposal in my opinion, involves using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The second and more troubling proposal is legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Unfortunately, one group uses the other to advance their cause. I think you know which one.

Although marijuana when thought of as a pharmaceutical product has shown benefits in medical practice, smoking the drug does not come without its pitfalls. Some of the unwanted effects include short-term memory loss, impaired lung function comparable to that of cigarette smokers, cancer, decreased sperm count and motility, interference with ovulation and prenatal development, altered immune response, and may cause detrimental effects on heart function. The well known amotivational syndrome has become the source of humor and represents the common image of the run of the mill stoner. This syndrome is a rather serious consequence of substance abuse and is not entirely desirable, nor funny. Let's not forget the association this drug has with schizophrenia.

So given that background information, smoking this particular product does not appear to be the ideal method of administration. These effects alone are enough to convince physicians that its use as a recreational drug is simply not a good idea. In the world of medicine, physicians will be geared towards getting you to quit whether the drug is legal or not.

Let's look at marijuana as a cash crop at this point in time. It is grown in foreign countries and smuggled across borders. Anyone with seeds can start up their own crop. The number of varieties out there resemble coffee and tea selections.

Now let's legalize it and examine the market as a recreational drug.

What are the proposed benefits?
Monetary gain
Stimulation of the economy
Decriminalization and reduced strain on the judicial system
Reduced border security issues
Reduced funding of criminals abroad

Let's look at the problems from a business perspective.

It will have to become centralized through a company here in the US. Why? A better infrastructure for growing and handling this crop is already in place in other countries. Smuggling will turn into importing and that money will go abroad, not stay at home. Remind me again where the "good stuff" comes from. Why wouldn't a centralized company work? Anyone can grow the stuff. A licensing system will have to be put into place. Consider it similar to having a liquor license. What company would want to grow a crop easily grown by regular people?
There's just no money in it once you legalize the stuff, unless of course, you're the government taxing it.

Ah taxes. That is your proposal, isn't it? The current proposal for economic growth does stem from government taxation. Proponents preach how pot will help reduce the national debt, etc, etc. Yep. Let's tax the substance. You already know how well taxes have gone with tobacco smokers. How much are you paying for a carton these days because of taxes? Do you really want to start paying more for your pot? I didn't think so. Dealers won't like the idea either. They'll have to start paying the IRS for the money they make. Keep it illegal, and all that money stays under the table.

The proposal to legalize marijuana as a recreational drug is nothing more than a notion that if major drug companies are allowed to push their substances, we ought to be able to have our pot too. The problem is, it's not a viable business proposal.

You think it will result in decriminalization? If you do anything under the influence, you will still be treated as a criminal. Possessing it will not be criminal, but daily activities performed under the influence most certainly will. I doubt you'll be able to have the stuff out in the open in your car. Underage possession will still be criminal as well. Places of employment are still going to piss test you. They still don't have to hire you if you test positive. Could be a bigger bureaucratic nightmare than it already is.

So if you want to legalize marijuana for recreational use, show me a business model that works. If anyone can grow it, I'm not sure how profitable marijuana will be as a crop. I just don't see it guys.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alabama Shootings, Conceal Carry Didn't Help

An argument in favor of concealed carry gun rights has long been a topic of discussion in the scope of massacre shootings. The argument goes like this. If people are allowed to carry a concealed weapon, someone else will be less likely to pull out a gun in fear of being shot themselves. Someone carrying could stop the crime from happening. Proponents typically go on to say concealed carry offers a form of defense in situations where an attacker starts shooting.

It is my understanding that Alabama does permit concealed carry of handguns.

Nobody fired back. So in a state where concealed carry is permitted, not one person was packing that day. The tragedy continued to unfold with disastrous consequences.

So for "pro-gun" concealed carry supporters, this should not sit well. If anything, this tragedy will fuel the argument against semi-automatics.

If you recall, the shooting at the Unitarian church in Tennessee only ended when people tackled the guy. In that instance, nobody shot back. People stopped him with their own physical effort. The notion that more guns equates to a safer society has not shown to be true. Those who argue an armed society is a polite society should visit some southern states and tell me how many times someone is rude to them. By all means, visit East Texas. You might actually get shot. They're nuts over there.

The gun debate is a tiresome one, but the facts are on our side, not theirs.