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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ron Paul Quote Contradicts His Normal Self

Ron Paul is generally seen as the spokesperson for getting government out of our lives. He is seen as the person who wants bloated rules and regulations removed, allowing businesses to operate with more freedom.

But then you have this next quote, Paul referencing President Obama in respect to the War Powers Act.

"You could say, 'Well, we have a good president, he'll do the right thing.' Well, someday you may have a president who does the wrong thing, and that's why you have rules, because you can never count on people being good people,"

Ah, yes. You cannot count on people being good people. Well, sir, we cannot count on businesses being good businesses, nor can we count on business owners being good people. Profit is a strong motivator for doing unscrupulous things. This reasoning is the whole point behind imposing restrictions on certain things. We do not live in an ideal world and when people are allowed to do as they please, there is no guarantee that they will do the right thing and innocent people often suffer for those bad choices.

Legalize heroin and in an ideal world, no, people won't run out and do heroin. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. People love their vices. People love mental escapism. People do partake. People will go out and do heroin because there is no legal accountability. People do it even with legal consequences in place, after all.

So I agree that the War Powers Act should be followed. I don't like that Obama and Congress let this get dragged out as long as it has. If Congress supports our actions in Libya, then suppor should have been issued days, if not weeks ago. The 60 day mark was hit, so the way I see it, our actions in Libya must come to a close. Of course, Harry Reid has officially said in an interview that the War Powers Act is confusing and needs revision. Maybe this is one of those instances where a revision would clarify things, but the simple take on the current situation is that 60 days is 60 days, regardless.

In other words, I'm trying to be consistent here, unlike Ron Paul. There should not be exceptions placed on States' rights vs Federal power. Government is government, local or national. People are people, State or Federal. Crooked State officials are just as bad as Federal abuses of power.

Because people are not always good people, we have the Civil Rights Act. We have Medicare. We have Social Security. We have Welfare. We have taxes. We have laws. We are trying to avoid not only unfair practices, but anarchy itself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Atheism validated by recent storms

In the many discussions I've taken part in with believers from various flavors of Christianity, a very sad revelation comes to light when they are confronted with the notion that there is no God. They told me that if there is no God, then we are hurtling through space without any rhyme or reason. They then told me that they cannot live a life where that is the case. For them, there has to be something beyond our comprehension. There has to be a reason for all we have endured.

The obvious gap such an absence leaves has to do with morality, but as someone who can appreciate philosophy, morality can exist without God or the influence of religion. While religious people derive moral practices by way of Faith and the individual teachings of their religion, fans of elaborate philosophical debate realize the absurdity of such an assertion.

The connection between morality and God, I feel, is what keeps people latched on to this notion that we cannot simply be hurtling through space without any hand guiding us.

To me, the recent disastrous storms which hit Missouri and Alabama represent the randomness that is hurtling through space. Many people survived. Some died. If you were left asking why it was you survived a tornado, don't turn to God. Others died around you. That's randomness. That's chance. The reason you survived was complex and should take into account the structural integrity of your house, the location of that house, your physical stature, the tornado itself, and many other things that should seem obvious. The hand that protected you did not protect others and the notion that God took lives because it was their time is ludicrous, but it will be the answer your pastor tells you if asked. The dead, while living in their final moments, were likely huddled together, praying for safety, praying to make it out of the storm alive. Their prayers were not answered.

It takes a lot of nerve to explain a random event in that way, suggesting that people were taken by a god. It takes even more gall to suggest that these tornadoes are somehow representative of God's wrath. That's comforting, isn't it? I'd say the spite is in the human tongue, not in the hand of any god. Religion makes people think very strange things and as a man of science, I simply cannot believe my ears lately.

There is no hand protecting us. We are on our own. I think we'd be a better people if we realized no higher power is out there to be our crutch. We only have each other.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Legalization: Tell me why

One of the hottest debates out there in the US is whether or not marijuana should be legalized. Among the links and rants I find online in support of legalization, I find lunatics, belligerence, stereotypical stoners, and tangents which lack a cohesiveness that I can digest. Among those people, I find a pronounced disgust with authority, skepticism (if not demonization) of the medical community, and an overall lack of organized rationality.

So with this post, I am going to throw out some of the reasons I've been given for legalizing marijuana. Then, I'll follow each point with a brief criticism of those individual points.

I will not entertain rants from the likes of the same people I described above. You have to convince me why it is I should support legalization and my counterpoints must be addressed, not ignored by way of restating the original claim I am questioning.

I will not discuss marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I support its use for medicinal purposes if prescribed by your physician. While the method of administration is still in question, I cannot object to its use if no other pharmacological alternatives exist.

1. Marijuana as a substance vs Alcohol as a substance

The first, and often frequent point proponents use to advance their cause is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, yet we allow everyone to drink. It is the anti-prohibition stance. For some, it is the lunacy which coincides with the anti-pharmaceutical industry stance.

My rebuttal to this point is not to question the effects of marijuana. As someone in the medical field, I know the effects and as a member of the scientific community and as a reasonable person, I must hold fast to the peer reviewed evidence, not the propaganda out there often produced as evidence by potheads. I will not entertain arguments related to those studies. Even potheads know smoking marijuana carries similar risks to smoking anything. Leave this one alone. There is another very important point to make regarding the effects of this substance that has nothing to do with the studies for or against marijuana use. We respectfully disagree with each other on that subject, so I cannot reasonably have that discussion.

What I have to do is take this discussion to the next level and I urge you to come along if you're still with me. If you're not, I'll wait for your mental preparedness to catch up.

Ready? Thank you to those of you who opt to continue reading with some sense of decency.

One of the main reasons people drink alcohol is for the effect it has on our bodies. The disinhibition and the "liquid courage" reputation alcohol has is one of the biggest influences for its use. The burn of a whiskey shot or a cherry soaked in Everclear is by no means a responsible method for ingesting alcohol. While it remains a legal form of use, it is by no means a responsible act, right?

In other words, lots of people drink to get sloshed. Getting drunk, last I checked, is a behavior we frown upon. Glorified intoxication is not at all entertaining, but sad. You should not drink to get drunk. By the same token, you should not use other substances to get high for the same reason you should not want to get drunk.

Among the stoner community, getting fucked up seems to be a priority. To me, this qualifies as a form of mental escapism which equates to getting drunk. You are using a substance to alter your mental and physical state not sanctioned by the supervision of a physician. These features make it a substance of abuse, not merely an enjoyable experience.

If it isn't, then tell me what your goal is when you take this substance? If the goal is no different than the college kid at the bar on the week end, then I cannot support legalization of mental escapism. Getting stoned is just as ridiculous a notion as getting piss drunk. The problem is, marijuana really doesn't have an in-between phase. A glass of wine at dinner does not have the same marijuana-equivalent. Stoned is stoned.

In addition, alcohol is a beverage. As a beverage, it has a certain appeal to our taste buds. Wine enthusiasts and many beer fans drink because they enjoy the taste of their favorite drink. The qualities of individual liquors are savored. Marijuana does not offer this culinary feature. When you eat brownies supplemented with THC, you aren't getting any additional flavor. You eat the laced brownie for the intoxicating effects. Because your aim is not the appreciation of flavor, but rather the effect the drug has on your body, I will refer you to the previous paragraphs and end there.

If, after this, your goal is still to get fucked up, make sure you read #3 below. Intoxication will come with regulations just like alcohol intoxication.

2. Marijuana as a cash crop

In the last few years, given the major budget issues present in both local government and within the Federal Government, supporters of legalization have argued that, if legalized, marijuana will generate tax revenue.

How exactly will it do this? In order to be taxed, it has to be sold just like cigarettes and alcohol. Marijuana will have to be produced and distributed by companies in order for profits to be taxed. There are problems within that system, including corporate loopholes for avoiding paying taxes altogether, but as a cash crop, a corporate solution seems to be the only option, whether it be through a large or small business.

If it does not go through a company-based system, then we are talking about individual growers and consumption. So you're telling me that if you grow it in the basement, you're going to charge for it? You will report this revenue to the IRS? If everyone can grow the stuff, once legal, then why would anyone pay for it? My point is, a personal system of distribution will not generate revenue.

On top of this, potheads really never thought through the notion of weed becoming a cash crop. Let's assume we were able to institute a system where companies produce marijuana for mass consumption by the public. Let's assume it becomes a source of tax revenue as you claim it should. How much will you pay for your weed then compared to now? More? Less? You can't expect me to believe that your local corner dealer who is holding will charge more than some company with an added tax on top of the base price. Just like cigarettes, you'll be paying more. A tax will mean you will be paying more for your weed.

If your personal preference is to guard your wallet, I would highly recommend keeping the current system we have. Marijuana can't be a cash crop, so unless you want to pay more, you might rethink this point and live life accepting the drug as an illegal product. Continue with the status quo.

3. Decriminalization

This is the only argument that has any validity to it, but with decriminalization comes responsibility and other forms of regulation. Like the cash crop idea, it is apparent that potheads have not fully thought through this step either.

Do I think possession and intent to sell should be a crime punishable by imprisonment? Probably not. Our prisons should not be holding places for stoners.

What I cannot tolerate, however, is public intoxication. We punish people who are in public, drunk. We require that you do not drive under the influence. Marijuana most definitely impairs your reaction time and perception of reality. We cannot allow you to be in public under the influence. Marijuana use must strictly be limited to your home or in bars designed to distribute the substance. If you get in a car, high, you should still be held accountable under the law, subject to harsh punishment just as someone who drives drunk.

If you opt for decriminalization, the laws must still be modified to moderate public domain. You can do whatever you want in your own home or on your own property, but the second you step into the public domain, you will be held accountable. Your personal freedoms cannot extend into the public domain if your impairment poses a risk to the general public.

With that, I leave you to advance the conversation. Any comments which cling to old ideas and tired arguments I could read via a Google search will be deleted without any consideration.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bobby Jindal's damn name

I just read an article over at about how Bobby Jindal released his long form birth certificate. In this article, Timothy Teepell, the governor's chief of staff, claimed that "Opponents have referred to Gov. Jindal as Piyush 'Amit' Jindal for years to insinuate that someone with a foreign-sounding name is less American than you or I." The spin machine that is the chief of staff wants Republican voters to think Democrats are attacking Jindal for having a foreign sounding name. This is not the case.

What critics of Jindal have always tried to highlight is how Bobby Jindal has turned his back on his culture in order to appease the white voters in the southern state of Louisiana. Without the name, white voters with racist tendencies would be less likely to vote for him simply for having a different name.

In essence, what opponents claim is that Republicans know Republican voters will see "Piyush Amrit Jindal" as a foreign-sounding name and by making the change, Jindal is manipulating an electorate with racist tendencies and a profound distaste for anything foreign. "Bobby" is just a friendly sounding name that is more palatable in Cajun country.

However, I've long argued that Republicans would vote for the Devil if his competition were a Democrat. All you need to do as a Conservative is have an (R) next to your name. Doesn't matter what you look like. A Democrat is subhuman compared to anything else to a Republican. "Anything but a Liberal" is the modern Conservative slogan.

But I mean, come on. Jindal has not only changed his name to put his heritage behind him, but he also changed his Faith along the way too. Opponents aren't after Jindal for sounding foreign. Opponents are simply pointing out the obvious pandering going on.

Good grief. Someone has his head up his ass and his name is Timothy Teepell.

The methodology here goes like this.






Friday, May 6, 2011

Flood/Drought solution

We have thousands of miles of pipe funneling a valuable resource into a system that feeds our hunger. These pipes don't funnel precious water. No. These pipes were designed for oil. We have similar pipes running natural gas across our cities. Why is it, then, that we cannot do the same with water?

There likely isn't any money in it. That's the reason for everything, right?

We are looking at disastrous flooding in the Midwest right now, but at the same time, Texas is facing a severe drought. Either way you cut it, entire crops are being lost. Our food supply suffers at the hand of Mother Nature.

Why can't we manipulate Mother Nature a little?

While it would involve a major undertaking across state lines, millions of dollars, and a lot of faith, ever since I've lived in the Midwest, I thought the idea that we could run pipes from that region to the South and Southwest to fill reservoirs and water crops was within our capabilities.

We have an excess of water in one part of the country and a shortage of this valuable resource in others. In the past, before many of our major cities were even in existence, we accomplished this feat using long canals. This concept is not a new one, so why we haven't implemented something on this grand of a scale baffles me. I realize there are some restrictions related to diverting water, but a state could easily allow an exception for when certain bodies of water rise above flood stage, for example. Sounds pretty simple.

The problem is money. For those who argue the government should not fund this, state or federal, I'm all for some private company installing these systems. Oil is a private venture and the same concepts can be applied. All it would take is some leadership. There is money to be made in a crop shortage, so I suspect the supply and demand system prevents us from advancing this far, but when water is admittedly becoming a valuable natural resource, there is certainly money to be made in this idea.

Do it. Try it. Help farmers. Help large cities. Help America.

Monday, May 2, 2011

There will be two kinds of Deathers

At a minimum, after the death of Osama bin Laden, the conspiracy theorists will come up with at least two rants that are rooted by the same mentality.

One will be fairly straightforward. They will question whether or not Osama is really dead. Look on Twitter for the hashtag, Deathers. The conspiracy has already begun.

The second batch of Deathers simply question the motive behind the killing. They will purport that President Obama, when faced with a relatively apathetic public and opinion polls which aren't the least bit flattering, politicized the event, making him more of a political opportunist than a successful leader.

Both, sadly, hinge on the idea that President Obama is not at all trustworthy. Both rely on a general distaste for Obama that resembles not that of a partisan slant, but more of a SEC football fan. Lunacy is the only name for such assertions. From here on out, it is how I view any conspiracy theorist. No lunatic has a voice on my stage unless I am poking fun at their insanity.