Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! (NSFJ)

As is my tradition, I have included a pic that both objectifies women and offends Native Americans.  What can I say: I love to be efficient!

Happy Thanksgiving!
How could you not be thankful for this?!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Obamacare: The Critcal Flaw ~ by AHB

Forget the website and it's problems, forget the massive health insurance cancellations (of which I am experiencing), forget everything you know and follow my reasoning for just a few moments.

Health insurance does not provide health care, nor does medicaid or medicare. Read that statement again.... and once more. Got it?

Health insurance is an industry, and they don't do business for charity's sake. Basically, health insurance companies wheel and deal for the best prices on medical goods and services and they guarantee payment at those prices. So when you need a 2 week stay in the hospital after a car accident or some such, and the bill comes to 90k, the health insurance people have secured their status as a premium payer, and the hospital facility is all too happy to take the guaranteed funds, and their discount for bulk payment makes their cost more like 60k... for what really should cost 5-10k in any sane world.

Health insurance companies aren't in the health care business, they are in the low ball bill paying business... as well as being in bed with the actual healthcare megacorps. Just like McDonalds corporate isn't in the food business, they make their money by leasing land, franchise rights and supply pricing... so essentially McDonald's themselves is a Real Estate company with brand and purchasing power. They are closer to Chase than they are an independently owned and marketed restaurant, who is ACTUALLY in the food business.

So with that being said, "Affordable Care Act" is a bullshit misnomer, intended to confuse and misdirect. Also, it combines the worst sort of government bureaucracy (Federal) with the worst sort of false capitalism (Corporatism) further saddling my generation and the subsequent ones with crushing legacy debt of which there is no sign of yielding.

We already have a form of free healthcare in the United States, it just sucks. If you stroll up to the ER with your arm hanging on by a vein, they have to admit you and treat you, per federal law. What happens when you can't pay later? In short, nothing. You may be hounded by bill collectors and what not, but in the end you got free health care, and the hospital largely has to absorb that.

You want affordable health care? Make health care itself affordable, not the insurance. For starters, you have to severely curtail the litany of malpractice lawsuits, promote a healthier lifestyle and the prevention of problems in the first place. You are never going to get to a place where the ER and other emergency services are not required, but you can ward off the vast majority of preventable complications by simply taking personal responsibility. Don't reward doctors for loading up the shotshell of drugs and seeing which one sticks, outlaw kickbacks, and force the market to be competitive by it's own merit and not by which megacorp it has in it's network.

I am sure somehow this is all George W. Bush's fault.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Concert at Yale University this Evening

I am a big supporter of the work of my good friend, James Rubino.  He is a composer, a second year graduate student at Yale.

One of his pieces will be performed tonight at 8:00 PM EST.  I have heard a bit of it already, and in keeping with the tradition of his personal style, it is rather interesting.  His piece, This Brutal Flesh, I believe will be the final piece on the bill for the students.  The second half of the concert features guest composer Donnacha Dennehy.

Here is the link for the livestream:

Isn't technology wonderful!  Please support my friend and his work, and support the arts in general by giving it a listen!

Friday, November 8, 2013

More "Offensive" Stuff: The Coachella Valley High School Arabs

Why is it that typically, American society is only concerned about caricatures of people of color?  I don't see Yahoo! News plastered with stories about movements to change Notre Dame's mascot, the Fighting Irishman.  Surely that is an "offensive" stereotype of Irish people.  All we get are people upset over the Braves, Indians, the Chiefs, and now this . . . the Coachella Valley High School Arabs.

At first, I didn't think this was real, but apparently it is.  "The Arab," has been the school mascot since the 1930s.  Now, people are demanding that the mascot be changed because the depiction of Arabs is stereotypical and "offensive."  Consider these remarks made regarding the mascot's offensiveness.
"The image of the Coachella Valley High School mascot depicts a man with a large nose, heavy beard, and wearing a Kaffiay, or traditional Arab head covering. It has come to our attention that during sporting events and school functions, a student dressed as this figure, makes an appearance."
 Let's break this down, bit by bit, shall we?  First:

"The image of the Coachella Valley High School mascot depicts a man with a large nose . . ."

So apparently, facial features common to a particular group of people is somehow offensive to depict?  What about white men with big noses?  How about Wake Forrest's "Demon Deacon"?

This guy has a big nose.  He also has a big chin, which is something that is very common amongst caucasian-looking mascots.  Should I be offended by the stereotype that white men all have big chins?  True: not all Arabs have big hook noses, but lets face facts: a lot of them do.  It's not racist, it's just a fact.  Most white men have brown eyes.  Is that racist now?  Most black people have brown eyes.  Also racist?

Next up: "heavy beard . . ." right, because we've never seen Arabs with heavy beards.  That's just a stereotype!

God, we are so insensitive by depicting people as they are!  But wait, it gets better, because the CVHS mascot is also seen "wearing a Kaffiay, or traditional Arab head covering"!  THE OUTRAGE!!!

Uh-oh.  This guy has a big nose, a beard
and he's wearing a kaffiya!  Someone call
the PC police!!!

Sure, the mascot is cartoonish, but that's okay.  It's not like no Arab has ever looked like that mascot.  The principal at the high school stated that until 9/11, no one called for the school to remove their mascot.  Is the mascot in bad taste?  Sure it is: but all mascots are meant to be ridiculous.  Why does the Fighting Irishman even exist?  Because the Irish are notorious for being feisty (even moreso when they're drunk).

White Americans are lampooned all the time.  We're made fun of because we are perceived as being bourgie, or even better we're often depicted as being ignorant red necks.  To other cultures in other countries, all white Americans are moonshiners, and we all live in the hollars of West Virginia.  How is that for a stereotype?  The stereotype exists because those people actually exist.  But you don't see white people getting all offended by it.

Are Turks everywhere calling for an end to the USC Trojan?  Are Greek Americans storming the gates to oust the Michigan State Spartan?  How come labor unions aren't protesting the Purdue Boilermakers for making a whimsical image of the average American working-class man of old?

The inherent problem with this is that the groups of people getting upset over mascots are the same groups that espouse the notion of "cultural equality," the idea that no culture is superior to another.  I subscribe to that idea, but the problem with their logic is that by claiming their culture should never, ever be lampooned or caricaturized, while not also calling for an end to the mockery of white American culture, they have contradicted themselves and shown their true colors.  They don't really care about other cultures: they just care about their own.

White men who only care about white American culture are often called "racists," and "bigots," and "ignorant."  So why are those same names not applied to an Arab who despises my culture and is not interesting in learning anything about me?

Maybe other cultures need to develop a sense of humor and stop taking themselves so seriously.  All I want is a world in which people can take a damn joke.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letters to a Democrat: I'm not the Bad Guy

Albert Camus serves as the inspiration of
the letter format.

It has been some time since I last wrote you, but I can see that there is still much animosity in your heart.  It saddens me that you treat me so derisively simply because we disagree on the direction our country needs to take.

Don't get me wrong: I find many of your solutions to be woefully devoid of logic, and I often make claims that your ideas are based on whim rather than factual evidence.  It can be frustrating, but I try my best to temper my frustration so that we may continue to converse in a civil fashion.  Why can you not afford the same courtesy to me?

Sometimes I call your ideas "ridiculous," but I try not to call you ridiculous.  I am guilty of "attacking" what I perceive to be the bungled logicality of your ideas, but I don't assume that you are unintelligent simply because you disagree with me.  This is because I understand what it is to be mistaken: I've bought into some really bad ideas myself; so I make every effort to avoid a chastising tone in our discourse.

Despite all of that, you constantly subject me to a barrage of personal insults.  When you buy into an idea that I find particularly ridiculous, I think to myself "well, it must be that his passions on the subject are clouding his judgment."  When I buy into an idea that you find particularly ridiculous, you seem to think "well, only an idiot would believe that, so Jack must be an idiot."

This is a problem.

The solution would be attainable if it was as simple as convincing you that opposition to your personal world-view is not the deciding criteria on what constitutes intellectual incompetence.  Surely you must see that it is unrealistic to believe that you possess all of the answers, and everyone who disagrees with you is clearly too stupid to understand anything.  But even if you cannot comprehend that fact, still you would not be a lost cause.  The problem is much more serious than intellectual myopia.

You believe that I am the enemy.  You believe that those who think like me are heartless dimwits, devoid of compassion and a sense of justice.

I am not the enemy.  I am a man who believes that every human being deserves to live a life free in a just society.  I have made a career choice to help society's most vulnerable citizens, and to help my fellow man lift himself up from the depths of despair so that I can help him achieve his highest level of independence.  While most of your cohorts simply talk about poverty and welfare on internet forums--as if solving the problem of American policy is just a matter of spending more money--I actually help people on a daily basis.

While you sit smugly in your tower believing me to be the enemy--childishly calling me names, questioning my integrity, and judging the heart of a man you have never even met--ironically you have been serving the true enemy the whole time.

Who is the real enemy?  The real enemy is whoever convinced you that your ideological opposition seeks to destroy America by turning it into some anarchic wasteland of poverty and broken dreams.  Perhaps the enemy is your party masters.  Perhaps you are your own worst enemy.  Your incessant condemnation limits your ability to think freely, and all I want to do is free your mind.

If I were the enemy, then why would I work so hard to promote your intellectual freedom?  Perhaps it's time you redefine what you think it means to be the enemy.  Be careful though, as you may not like what you discover.