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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hate your job or just the commute?

I started a new job the other day and have come to the conclusion that working for the most part is not a natural desire for man to pursue, especially within the definition currently accepted within our overworked, underpaid and severely stressed culture.  We try to raise our kids to pursue what they like so the concept of work is mitigated through the more enjoyable pursuit of happiness.

For many the two terms are mutually exclusive and for most the work they perform only serves to provide the means for external adventures that help them forget about their “work”.  Work for the most part is good but having to work at what you do not like is more akin to torture than pleasure, creating a massive gap in emotional response in relation to the two divergent motivations. 

Optimally the perfect job would be directly in line with an individual’s interests and desire’s making the occasional “work” requirements affordable in relation to the everyday gains of living a productive and interesting life.  

One major cause of concern is the amount of time spent commuting.  Especially in the larger cities those commutes can be a major problem in developing that perfect job.  Let’s take education as a general rule.  There are thousands of teachers and most do not teach within the area that they live causing them to commute.  I think it can be generally agreed upon that most teachers are pretty much the same.  The perspective of a parent or student may alter that belief but substituting one qualified teacher for another, at any point in the year will invariably create his or her detractors and supporters helping us all to realize that it really doesn’t make a lot of difference, over the long term, who teaches who.

This concept is also convertible to almost virtually every job and career choice.  One engineer may be better than another but the benefits of one over another in the grand scheme really means very little.  There are those positions that do require excellence but those are rare despite what you think of your current abilities. Even the most exclusive job in the world, the President of the United States might not make that much difference, especially when you view those individuals from an historical perspective.  Those that were truly unique stand out in glorious ways while most simply fade from memory or are hated because of what they tried to be.

Some will proclaim a great affinity for their jobs, their friends at work and even their bosses on occasion but again we can see how easily all of these things and associations could be replaced.  Are our lives so scripted that any suggestion of change becomes unthinkable with no room for new acquaintances or friends and really does the boss really matter?

The reason I bring this up is for one specific purpose, to provide the means to lower our commute times, to lighten the load on our overcrowded roads and perhaps the most important to reduce our ever increasing consumption of oil and also that I may perhaps, in some alternate universe, in some obscure galaxy be able to work closer to home, even if it is just like the one I have now, closer is so much better.

It works like this:  From an open registry interested parties check for like jobs with similar salaries and responsibilities.  In schools this would be easy, one English Teacher for another or a Math Teacher for one that drives an hour to work, they simply swap jobs and presto no drive time.

It would also be nice if employers would sign on as well being less particular about hiring their brother in law rather than hiring a qualified person who simply lives close.  The brother in law might have a harder time finding another brother in law to swap with but that might be the price we have to pay for this system to work.  If employers would buy into this scenario the transitions could be organized so that any swapping that occurred could be done with little or no down time. 

The savings to the employer would be significant as well.  With employees living closer to their work, there would be less absence, more devotion, less stress, more productivity etc…the worst that would happen is that a school district or employer would end up with a lousy replacement but I can almost guarantee that the number of marginal employees currently held would probably go down due in large measure to the happiness factor of employees saving time and saving money.  School Districts would have to soften their grip on tenure and allow for transfers that secure those earned rights but even if they restricted trades to similar experienced teachers the system would be helpful.

All I need is someone to write an app that would allow those looking to meet those that are searching and viola we have a simple solution to a major issue.  One example of how this might help is during the 1984 Olympics in LA,  Peter Ueberroth (the guy in charge, like Romney was for the 2002 Winter Olympics)  staggered work hours for all of Los Angeles County and the effects were amazing.  For the first time in years commuters had an open road, when it was their time to drive that is.  Traffic was gone, gridlock was history, but that solution only lasted the two weeks of the Olympics.   The day after, traffic was a nightmare once again.

I work in Riverside and live in Menifee, it’s really only 20 miles or so but today it took me 49 min to get home and the traffic was moderate.  I know many of you suffer more than I but we don’t have too, let’s see if we can get this EX (employment exchange) started….it might really work.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Perhaps God is the best choice

When trying to decide which road to follow, which decision to make, do we invariably choose that path of least resistance thinking that it is by far the easier way?  We have a lot of sayings that help us choose:  Follow your heart, do what feels right, or do what feels best, what pays the most or my favorite, what’s the easiest and fastest.

They all I suppose have a place, and in different circumstances each could be the “best” choice, the problems arise when we supplant one motivation for another in relation to an important choice thinking that they are all equal in measure and in consequence, we all know that they are not. 

As members of a religious community we all know as well of the power of prayer and the chance to connect to that ever-flowing, eternal stream of perfect understanding.  Our problem perhaps is in our inability to comprehend the messages that some believe are always present, our lack of faith or our incapacity to filter the sweet sounds of inspiration from the drone and constant buzz of our busy lives. 

 In Psalms 46:10 we are taught, “be still and know that I am God” giving us some directives toward quitting our lives, slowing our pace in relation to the things of the world and opening up our heart centered hearing so that those precious feelings from God can be conveyed and understood.

The often constant struggles we all face of trying to make a living, raising our children, getting good grades, making and keeping good friends and staying devoted to the one and only True God can be overwhelming and devastating to our desires to serve when we become too entrenched on activities that subtly move us away from the Spirit of God and the clarity of the pure light. 

Serving God is our primary objective but we also understand that we have to work to sustain our very lives, we have to go to school in order to prepare for life, we need recreation in order to stay healthy but balancing those needs with our primary goal should not be contradictory, even though in many cases they seem to be.  Even in the simple CTR (chose the right) we understand that choosing the right is not always an easy task. 

My CTR ring is a symbol that reminds me of that directive but it’s the spirit of God that dwells within me that prompts me to act toward that right and it’s also that spirit that we all let go from time to time that causes us to choose temporally, without the Devine inspiration making choices based on the criteria above, does it feel good, will it be faster, will it be easier. 

I am not one to give advice but since I’m the writer I can expound and use some literary superiority in trying to persuade and influence, mostly for me but that’s beside the point.  In the Scriptures it says, Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh  quickly, saith the Lord.

We all have to decide what constitutes “an holy place” but for each of us that directive is clear.  Whether we are at work, in our homes or out with friends we should constantly rely upon that glorious spirit that prompts us when we have left that “holy place”, and invariably tells us how to get back.  We are not alone, we will never be abandoned but we can separate ourselves and abandon Him who sent us.

We live in a tumultuous world with evil vying for our very souls.  The desperation of the adversary should not be taken lightly, he knows our weaknesses and our inner desires but he can do nothing, neither his evil minions to dissuade or persuade if we commit to standing with God, stand with your God as He stands with you.  Regardless of your own beliefs the mantra of “God is good” should be enough to prompt us to do good also.

I have a great fear of things to come, of the challenges that will have to be faced prior to the cleansing of the world.  I fear for my family and my grandchildren.  I fear for their salvation as I fear for my own.  But God has granted us His Son to guide and direct, to encompass us with His love that we will be protected from the constant evil that bombards us minute by minute.  His protection is available all we have to do is want it and then live it….I never said it would be easy but well worth the effort.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Money and politics

Believe it or not there is a fairly simple way to mitigate the massive amounts of money needed to participate in our current political system.  As it stands now in order to run for even the most “humble” of elected offices hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed.  If that office is more notable, like that of a Congressman or Senator or even the President, millions and billions are needed. 

During the last election cycle the average spent by members of Congress was in excess of 1.6 million.  For a United States Senator the winning amount exceeded 10 million and a whopping 1 billion was spent combined during the last Presidential race leading us to the conclusion that there has to be a better way, a more efficacious way that allows more options than just the very rich and connected the opportunity to run for office and more importantly serve.

Tell me what you think:

I call it a Political Service Degree and every potential candidate would have to pass the course in order to be eligible to apply to run.  We have to pass a driving test in order to drive.  We have to pass drug screenings in order to work.  There are tests it seems for almost everything we do except for running for political office.  In politics all you need is money. 

Words like experience, ability and honesty have been used to describe our leaders, repeated endlessly in revolving sound bites, sound bites that require lots of money.  For the most part those words are worthless expressions used only within a campaign as platitudes to sway the hapless voters, purchased in large blocks to run over TV or Radio, print and mailers.  Unconnected words are often used without a foundational basis creating the illusion of a moral foundation instead of the needed clearly seen principles that are generally earned through life’s experiences and tell us the truth about who a candidate really is, things that money cannot buy.

Money has always been a part of our political system but now it’s the overriding factor in most elections.  Even though the “most money” spent does not guarantee success it does create a shift of opportunity that very few can exercise, excluding the majority of the population from the very process that is supposed to be a "Government of the people, by the people, for the people…”Lincoln   
It has instead become a government of the rich, by the rich and mostly for the rich, this needs to change.

Let me make one thing very clear, I am not trying to exclude the rich they became rich in some cases through hard work, and have every right to utilize their skills and money toward getting elected, and I for one would rather have a successful individual as my leader than a guy who is just getting by or has a track record of failure.   What I am saying is that money, on its own should not be the deciding factor in any election in the future.

Every potential candidate must be able to show competencies and earn the associated certifications of the Political Service Degree, based on real life experiences prior to the application process and just like teachers, lawyers, Doctors, health workers etc.. they would have to provide proof of continuing education.  So often we complain that our politicians are out of touch with the reality of what most of us have to deal with, so let’s change that, make them prove to us that they do understand.

Step one:  Community service, similar perhaps to the TV show Undercover Boss, the potential politicians would have to work within certain segments of our economy and be able to show competency working behind the counters of American businesses.  They would have to be able to “hold down” a job, for three months, just like the rest of us and deal with the mundane, the difficult, the dirty and the gross aspects of what the rest of us have to deal with on a daily basis.  Maybe Mike Rowe would agree to moderate the show?
Three months of complete anonymity should be enough with hidden cameras to prove that they actually did the job and with the added benefit for us to watch, after the fact of course as they bumbled and fell, screwed up and messed up, just so they can know what real life is all about.

Step two:  Each hopeful leader would have to work as a Substitute Teacher; three months in random assignments, in different grades and schools and most importantly not the schools they send their children too but the everyday schools we all attended including a one week stint in an inner city school, again incognito and recorded.

Step three: This is perhaps the hardest part; each candidate would have to live within a very strict budget, living in an apartment, preferably on the second floor while working for those six months.  They would have to do their own shopping, their own cooking and cleaning, they would have to buy furniture and pay the bills, get the cable company to work and balance their working life with the realities of having little money, less time and in an environment that is less than ideal…hmm kinda like the rest of us.

After the six months they must pass a test, maybe the CAHSEE high school exam, of understanding that outlines their ability to budget their money, live within that budget and successfully demonstrated competence toward the skills of living like those they hope to represent.
For those who have truly come from the real life the six months will be an easy reminder of where they come from, but for those who came from privilege the process may be the difference in determining whether or not they are able and capable to lead with empathy and understanding.

The TV rights and associated revenues would be equally split with those who complete the training but could only be used in the campaign toward their hopeful election.  Those who do not complete the course, decide to cheat or in any way try to subvert the process will forfeit their chances for political office and have to wait at least 5 years before trying again. 

Money is not evil but how it’s used in politics breeds contempt and disrespect for those who fail to achieve that same level of “success”.  Political leaders have for too long been too dependent on the one overriding force of money, they need to learn that in order to lead effectively service and empathy is the key. 

There are three aspects of leadership that must be demonstrated prior to certification.  1.  Ability has to be present; a candidate has to be able to do the job.  2.  Honesty and integrity must be associated with a strong leader, what good is a leader if these traits are not in evidence? 3. They must have the means toward effective communication.  They must be able to explain their vision and their methods in order to garner the support they need to lead.  

Money should not be the issue in politics…your ideas and comments are welcome.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hemet Teachers getting the Shaft....

The City of Hemet has recently raised its incentive of $5,000 to $10,000 to entice veteran police to join its ranks.  Offering an incentive usually means that you’re trying to promote an item or you’re trying to sell an item that under normal circumstances people don’t want.

Working as a police officer in Hemet is a dangerous job and the city realizes that in order to attract experienced police they need to offer a bonus.  In order for qualified cops to consider the extra risk the city has increased that offering in order to mitigate those risks that will be taken each and every day while working in Hemet.

There is another group working in Hemet who has to deal with the same risky population.  Every single day they too must face these same dangers stemming from the same population that caused the City of Hemet to offer its police a $10,000 signing bonus with hopes of attracting the needed experienced police to help make the streets of Hemet safer.

This group is not being offered a bonus, they are not being offered a raise and in fact they have given up nearly 20% of their salaries and are still without a contract.  The interesting aspect of these two groups is that they deal mostly with the same population.  Crime in Hemet is considered high in relation to other cities and areas within Riverside County, only Perris a city to the west has a slightly higher crime rate and that can be explained partially due to its proximity to the freeway.  That level of crime in Hemet is the reason the City has to offer a $10,000 incentive to attract experienced police. 

Since the average age in Hemet is less than 40 years of age and the unemployment rate is nearly 20% those committing the crimes are most likely school aged and are currently enrolled in Hemet Schools and are members of one of the many gangs thriving in the Hemet valley.  The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times recently ran articles describing Hemet as having “…one of the most dangerous jobs in America, being a policeman in Hemet…”

School Teachers deal with the same kids, the same gang members and are in a similar risky profession as their brothers and sisters of the police, but within Hemet the teachers are derided, ignored and severely underpaid, they are currently nearly the lowest paid teachers in the State of California.  The teachers of Hemet, despite the inner city conditions continue to do their jobs, showing up every day, prepared and ready to teach.  Hemet teachers also have to deal with one of the highest student to teacher ratios making their jobs even harder.

As the Hemet Unified School District continues to pay its administrative staff high above the average for California, it continues to cut teachers benefits and salaries.  The Superintendent for Hemet Unified School District and staff has received raises that equal an increase of 14% over the last five years with teachers getting a 20% pay cut.

The community of Hemet is perhaps partially at fault.  They have consistently sided with the bloated administration to cut teachers pay and benefits.  But when you look at the facts and the relationship between the teachers and the police no one can deny the need to pay police for the risks they take.  In like manner no one should deny the teachers their well earned contract and the need to at least be paid near the average for all other California teacher, and especially since these teachers, the teachers of Hemet are forced to work under extreme conditions that are risky and dangerous. 

If we care about our kids we would want to pay for the best teachers to teach our kids so that in the future we won’t have to pay a premium for the police to protect them.  It’s time to increase our teacher’s salaries and restore what was taken away during the budget cutbacks.   The billions given to California schools should not be used just to line the pockets of the superintendents and their pet projects, their friends and relative, they should be used primarily in the classrooms, for supplies and teachers salaries. 

Hemet teachers need to be paid more.  They work in a war zone; they are forced to pay for pencils and paper for their students and are limited to how many copies they can make, they are expected to decorate their rooms having to pay for these supplies as well.   These are our children’s teachers, these are our children’s mentors, coaches, and inspirations, it’s time to reward them for the great job they do.  Return to them what was taken.  Restore what was promised and provide them with at least an average salary increase, they deserve it, just as the police deserve the bonus they will be paid to work in a high risk and volatile area. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

believe or not believe

How do we chose what to believe, how do we decide what’s worthy of our efforts toward devotion?  Do we, like so many simply adopt what has been presented or do we attempt to establish our own rubric of standards to live by?  Making these decisions is more often the result of some unthinking progression and subtle acceptance and not the conscious effort of deep consideration. 

For example, the laws of man or mostly societal based, measures enacted to maintain order and in some cases garner favor or influence; we are bound by many of these rules simply because of the consequences for disobedience.  They do however have their place.  Allowing drivers to drive any speed in any lane would not be beneficial for the driver or the others who simply wanted to get to work.  Living in a society demands some consideration for the safety and accessibility of others. 

Determining what to believe or what to follow necessitates a short discussion on the definitions of what “law” is and how they are derived:   
 Physical law, a scientific generalization based upon empirical observation   
 Natural law, any of a number of doctrines in moral, political and legal theory    
Scientific law, statements based on experimental observations and describe some aspect of the world, implying a causal relationship  
 Laws of science, statements that describe, and predict phenomena as they appear in nature   
 The Law of the Jungle, the idea that in nature, the only "law" is to do whatever is needed for survival

  But belief does not fall into either man made rules or laws or those understood as natural.  Attempts by some to explain beliefs do so through either subjective or objective reasoning, meaning that if you prescribe to the objective you have “proof” of your moral standing and belief.  1+1=2 is an objective statement there is no subjectivity involved.  Creating a belief system based on objectivity is inherently difficult due in part to the very subjective nature of a supposed universal standard.  Proving a belief is in itself a subjective process but many still utilize objective methods when attempting to define their “feelings” as something that everyone should be able to obtain with the mistaken premise that just because they feel it others should too.  But this does not in itself negate this process, it only makes it more difficult to quantify. Even within the laws stated above the level of objectivity depends on the conditions of the test.  In order to substantiate a law as objective it must be repeatable and quantifiable and that requires specific conditions. 

These rules or laws may be provable in the finite and within what we currently understand but if removed and altered beyond our understanding would the results be the same?  Many claim that the results would be the same but does not this require a level of Faith or belief?  This question is not meant to question the validity of scientific discovery but to illustrate the often ignorant comments of finality without the requisite complete knowledge needed to make such a statement.  Just because it works here and now does not guarantee it will work in the future or in a different universe or dimension.  At least we can take some comfort in knowing that it does currently hold “true”. 

Subjective or relativistic beliefs are much easier to explain; they have no foundational basis and are subject only to the designs and opinions, life experiences, cultural differences or the simple emotions of the observer.  Creating a belief system based on the subjective can be as easy as saying that 1+1=3.  In physics, the relativity of simultaneity is the concept that distant simultaneity – whether two spatially separated events occur at the same time – is not absolute, but depends on the observer's reference frame.  This means that a subjective belief is really nothing more than a perspective based on the time and space of an observer.  More observers may mitigate, to some extent, the level of subjectivity but in order to move from subjectivity to objectivity a more complete view of all events from all perspectives throughout time needs to be established in order to know the “truth” of that one singular event.

 Mans desire to know the truth, albeit laudable, not laughable although in some instances those attempts can fall well within the comedic range, is often clouded by his singular desire toward that truth.  If the above scenario is true and in order to get a clear picture of any given event a complete understanding of all past, present and future perspectives of that event needs to be known then the very act of seeking the truth within our finite existence is nothing more than a futile exercise in subjectivity.   Seeking the truth is important and it is a standard that needs to be pursued but in order to obtain truth objectively all subjective criteria needs to be correlated and balanced with the provable and repeatable, creating a balance of faith with knowledge. Unmistakably faith is often perceived as not having any knowledge being only a hopeful premise of what might be, but in contrast to this popular stance faith does not preclude understanding or knowledge and in fact requires a substantial amount of evidence in order to sustain itself.  When someone exhibits faith in another it is generally due in part to past experiences or understanding of who or what that individual is or what they can accomplish.  The etymology of faith comes from a French derivation and means believe or trust, confidence or making a pledge.  Logically would you pledge or have confidence in another without some prior knowledge or understanding? 

Faith has morphed into a blind obedience that has no bearing on history or reason and it still has a strong sense of subjectivity that makes objective reasoning very difficult when correlating belief into the equation. Which beliefs are more objective and which are more subjective and is it really even fair to compare the thousands of belief systems that permeate our lives?  Is my faith more real, is your faith more scientific, or like the atheist is all faith simply the empty mind mingling with inner fears to create a system to mitigate those uncertainties by projecting our hopes and dreams, our fears onto an all knowing, all encompassing being that subjugates and toys with the lives of its hapless subjects? 

There is a difference between fact and faith, between belief and knowledge but that difference is based on the comparative understanding and overall view of each and every component part.  We can make definitive statements and for the most part those “facts” hold true because of our shared level of existence.  When that existence is expanded many of our facts will retain their cohesiveness and remain factual while others will have to be altered in order to coincide with the new parameters introduced. 

Faith may be viewed as a spiral of understanding that instead of starting from the center, the hypothesis, and substantiated as it expands its focal point is beyond our present understanding and experience requiring a belief that can be substantiated but through an inward cycle rather than outward process of experimentation and empirical measurement.  There are objective means and repeatable criteria but most rely upon the individuals perception not unlike the distant simultaneity  a process of perception that will eventually efforts coalesce into pure knowledge and universal perceptive, that is the theory.

What we believe may not provide the empirical data to drive us toward expansion but it does provide understandable and replicatable results that drive us introspectively toward devotion.   Do we live our lives because the facts prove to us that doing good is profitable or because we just know that it does?  Facts do not lead us to love, they do not prompt us to be charitable, we have to believe in love and know that charity works without the requisite scientific measures. 

Belief, as subjective as it is does have a substantial measure of objectivity but that impartiality depends on the focus of one’s beliefs.  There are rational beliefs and irrational with many falling somewhere in-between.  But even the more irrational should not be discounted.  Like those who believe in aliens, to many that is a purely irrational mind set but when related evidence is correlated the idea of aliens can become “believable”.  When  Carl Sagan announced that there were billions and billions of stars it presupposes that there are numberless options for at least one solar system to be just like ours.  With that statistical reality the chances of “aliens” becomes a reality based on statistical probability and not an irrational belief.

In the same sense a belief in God can be similarly rationalized.  Just because we don’t have proof of His existence does not disprove the validity of a Divine entity.  Does God exist?  Does he have a Son?  We know there was a man named Jesus and we know of his political influence.  We know there are billions of stars, we know there are questions in science that far outnumber those answered and we can even conclude perhaps that in all that we are, all that we hope to be there is a truth that circumscribes all.  We all seek the facts and the eventual never changing truth’s, it is as if we are driven toward that goal of knowing.   

Are we so egocentric that we actually believe we know it all?  I believe…. I believe that there is more, much more and that there is a God who actively and lovingly guides us toward those truths.  Believe what you will but keep in mind that whatever you believe requires you to exercise faith toward that belief…

Monday, June 2, 2014

More than a wedding cake

There used to be a fundamental right of a business owner to decide how to run his or her business.  Businesses can be run well or not so well, they can decide who their target market is and further decide how much to spend on marketing.  Business could decide where they were located and if they wanted to pay the higher price for a “good” location or save the money for a poor location.

Businesses have almost always had the right to serve or not to serve, to service or not to service who they choose but that fundamental right has changed.

Jack Phillips owns Masterpiece Cakeshop. In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig went to the shop to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. They planned to marry in Massachusetts and have a reception in Colorado.

Mr. Phillips refused them service and refused to make a cake for their upcoming nuptials.

The word nuptial means:
… of or pertaining to marriage or the marriage ceremony: the nuptial day; nuptial vows.  of, pertaining to, or characteristic of mating or the mating season of animals: nuptial behavior….however they may try to mate the outcome is assured, sterility is the outcome between two same sex couples, they therefore cannot Mate no real mating takes place)Just thought I’d through that in for fun…

This is not a cruel statement or a statement meant to dissuade or harm, it is a simple and truthful statement of fact.  But this post is really not about the rights of same sex individuals to partner, make a life or wed but more about the right of others to disagree without punishment or the so common requisite penalty and stripping away those fundamental rights of business ownership.

Most businesses look forward to serving and selling and have very few restrictions self imposed or otherwise and relish the opportunity to sell their wares.  That fundamental freedom to act as your own boss is however being replaced by the increasing court mandates that preclude free choice based on religious convictions.  Jack Phillips choice to serve or not to serve was legally taken away and his only choice at that time was to either supply the wedding cake or stop making wedding cakes. 

There are some legal impositions on some businesses.  The Gun shop cannot sell to criminals or to the mentally unstable.  Pharmacist cannot sell prescription medication without that signed prescription.  These rules generally provide for the safety of the public at large and it is generally that issue of safety that creates subdivisions in specific businesses.  Selling wedding cake does not, I think, impose safety risks on the public and therefore should not be a target of oversight by anyone except the owner of that bakery.

Is it not his shop?  Did he not put up the capital and carry the risk of his desire?  Is it not his choice what kind of cakes to make or what flavors to advertise or what styles to sell?  When two men walked into HIS bakery and asked for a wedding cake was it, or should it have been his right to refuse their request, regardless of the political leanings of the day?

 Today, Colorado's Civil Rights Commission ruled that Phillips did violate civil rights law; the Commission says he has to bake for everyone now.

So not only does he not get to choose who his customers are he is forced to bake for everyone, really, everyone?  Should he be forced to bake a commemorative cake for Hitler’s anniversary celebration by a local white supremacist group?  Should he be mandated to supply a cake for the local chapter of al Qaeda or a Quinceanera flat cake for a drug lord’s 15 year old daughter?  He might be advised to do so, on this score, since refusal may put his shop and life at risk…but if he is forced to bake a wedding cake for two gay men who want to celebrate their union what’s to prevent him from being forced to bake for other groups he does not agree with?

Another issue:  if he has to bake the cake does he have to make it taste good?  If it’s not good enough or let’s say he has a bad day and it’s just not that great of a cake, will he be held responsible for ruining their celebration?  How far will his responsibilities go? 

My position is clear, let business decide who and what to sell and who and when to sell. The markets will take care of the minor details of those who are truly outrageous in their beliefs or actions.  If a person really wants to own a bar that only allows blacks, so be it.  If a woman only wants to work out at a women’s only health club, she should have the right and if a baker only wants to make wedding cakes for heterosexual marriages, then it should be his right to do so.

With all this being said I am a bit fearful of the current trend that might someday include who you allow in your own home.  Don’t be prejudiced, don’t be discerning, you may have to allow everyone into your home or risk being labeled a racist or bigot.  Most small business owners spend more time at work than at home anyway so who really needs a nice, safe place to go home too?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day ...not just another party.

A day to Remember 
 Today is a tragedy for Veterans and all those who paid the ultimate price of sacrifice. Another holiday of truly forgotten promises is only made worse by the memory of valiant soldiers and their selfless sacrifice of life and service so that we may live to forget.  I can think of nothing more despicable than the endless parties of raucous laughter, mindless enjoyment that holds nothing in common with the memorial that should be taking place.

In memorial we look back to what was and how we became what we are.  In memory we shape our thoughts toward the future in preparation of what we can become.  It is only though the memory of what used to be that a meaningful future is possible.  But we are a forgetful nation, a people calloused to the emotional ties that used to bind us as one.  Instead of memory we have lapses, gaps in judgment that propel us, hurling headlong into the abyss of hard insensitivity and calloused forgetfulness.  We are a people without feeling and without regard to the past, living forever in the present.  

As a recently retired teacher, mostly from middle school I've learned this tragedy first hand.  The selfishness of our youth is profound, a gift of negative proportions supplied most generously from their equally egoistic parents.  These young minds are filled with smut, lust and an extreme sense of lasciviousness that shames the most hardened soul.  The very mention of selflessness draws blank stares of incomprehensible astonishment.  They have no idea how to act in a selfless manner, nor do they care to learn.

From the greatest generation to the worst generation in our counties history, this is a national disgrace.  We should all be ashamed for allowing these cretins to wallow and demand their self-induced and government supported entitlements, draining the very life from what was once the greatest union of altruistic minds and efforts ever assembled. 

The hope however, still rings clear as efforts of a few still stand as a sentinels of what used to be.  There are still those who revere the glory of goodness and repose in humility to those who sacrificed that they might be. 

Our hope is in them.  Can we recover, can we regain what was lost and rebuild this nation back to what it used to be
or are we too far gone to escape the tidal pulls
that rip us from the shore of sanity?

For those few, even the fewer leaders I pray most fervently
that their minds will be filled with the goodness and power of humility,
their hearts turned toward the memories of what used to be
and their minds focused on service and sanctity.
Our hope is in them.

Today and in every country for those who feel pride and thanks for those who died for us, take a moment to really think about the sacrifices made, the ultimate gift of life paid by so many, so that we could choose to mindlessly party and play, carrying on like there was no tomorrow.