Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life on Terra

A recent episode of Life on Terra, that focused on the islands of the South China Sea, ended with a powerful statement: "If we were to lose our biodiversity, we would lose our culture. If we were to lose our culture, we would lose our identity." While it is easy enough to imagine indigenous or rural cultures losing their identity with the loss off the natural environment, its more challenging to see how these effects would affect our own identity: the American identity, which has become merely a byproduct of Capitalism.

This, of course, is the real threat to the biodiversity of such cultures as those in the South China Sea, as well as mainland China, along with other continents such as Africa and South America, which houses the majority of biodiversity on planet Earth. To Capitalism, these are merely resources to manufacture and produce vast concrete structures to nurture the Economy. As the shipping lines expand around the globe, the life which once shared the environment increasingly becomes the property of the select few who profit at the expense of our world.

To save ourselves from the ultimate wars over the finite resources of our planet, we need to learn to see ourselves as something other than Capitalists. Ultimately, the goal of exchanging goods and services is not to profit, it is to accomplish the American dream, where every man and woman is afforded equal rights: to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Struggling to survive in order to finance and endless war on Terrorism is not the American way. It is the way of the Capitalist, and it is destroying our world.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Disposable Heroes

The PBS special on Yao Ming is an inspiring tale of a Chinese man who became a legend in American Basketball. The "dramamentary" follows him from a young boy living in a world where celebrity culture has yet to become the norm, and international sport stars are paid the same as everyone else. In Ming's rise to fame in the United States, he appeared in commercials for a variety of corporations, at times, selling laptops with the aid of a midget who barely made up it to his knees. In the end, it was Yao's translator who shed the most tears as the US watched one of their brothers return to China, the land of the Communists.

So captured by the story, I searched the web for any information to learn more about the plight of this wonderful icon. The top of the search results led me directly to the NBA, where I found a wall of statistics beside another brick of advertising, but nothing about his current situation in life. So I narrowed by search to include PBS, and found an old article from The Journal Editorial Report which preceded a second article on Star Wars entitled Excessive Use of the Force. (This is a funny coincidence as the CW showed a legal drama featuring Mark Hamill directly after the Yao Ming story. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.)

The brief article on PBS.org repeated many of the same points from the show, but ended on a different note: "I'd also like to give [an award] to the reformers in the Chinese economy who, like Yao Ming, are standing for individual efforts and, even in Communist China, the free market." Who better to serve as a poster boy for the free market than a Chinese basketball star -- the antithesis of the Communist worker who could never dream of earning $14 Million dollars a year. It's that very dream which drives the heart of this economy (even though it is an absolute lie to inspire the 80% who own 1% of their country).

It is wonderful to see the promise of Mark Hamill directly afterwards, showing us that fame indeed lasts but 15 minutes -- or five minutes should you rise to Internet stardom without a representative to keep you in the know. And in the meantime, the rest of us starve for temporary iconography extolling the battle of Good vs. Evil in the stars with massive wars against the Fascist regimes such as Soviet Russia and Socialist China. We see a better promise in the man who sells his soul to the Devil of temporary fortune and elusive fame -- at the low, low cost of $19.95 a month!

Bread and Circus indeed. We're paying for Products and Circuses this time around without realizing our contribution. Instead we sit on our asses in front of the television which was crafted by these terrible Socialists for ten pennies an hour (less for the jeans we're sitting in). We would challenge ourselves to find something created in the United States that we can actually afford -- apart from the images from the NBA which earns billions of dollars annually from our Free Market economy. Tell me this Democracy works anywhere else and I'll show you the modern definition of slavery in South America, in China -- everywhere that produces the American Dream.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Today Was a Really Good Day

I'm excited to announce that I signed an offer letter today for a job that I'm really excited to do -- and nearly doubles my salary to boot! I'll be working for a medical software company which received a few million investment dollars; developing the front end for their bread-and-butter: an application that helps medical practitioners more effectively monitor their patients services "from the womb to the tomb" (so the C.E.O. sayeth).

What excites me most (apart from the salary and the opportunity) is the team that I'll be working with. I initially received the offer from an old manager of mine who had secured a position as their C.T.O. He told me that he was putting together a "Dream Team" composed of a developer I worked with in the past, along with a few other guys the developer knew. After meeting with some of them for lunch, I really felt that we clicked, and knew that the "Dream Team" would be able to knock the company's expectations out of the park.

All of this times so nicely as my current position was becoming a dreadful task. The company is securely set in their ISO-9000 ways that require every soul in their chairs for a regimented amount of time, with "Casual Fridays" and a vision that wasn't able to see past their 50 years of experience. Working to make the War Machine more effective in Iraq was a blow to my moral compass as well. It will be nice to actually help people live. Myself, included.

The greatest thing of all that made today a really good day is that I finally caught a glimpse of my future. I saw myself trapped in the same old house where the same old things happened over and over again. To change the outcome I needed to change. Within the next few months I will finally have the opportunity move down South, start working on the house to sell, and buy that little farm I've always dreamed about. Other things will change as well, but I won't tack that on at the end of the blog.

I will say this, however: Here's to a Really Good Year!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lagest National Guard Deployment Since WWII

While I watched the news last night a short story ran on Channel 2 wishing the Ohio National Guardsmen “Good Luck!” as they deployed to Kuwait. After researching the story online I found that the deployment of our National Guard is the largest since WWII, with 1,600 men and women headed to Texas for training, then on to Kuwait, with some continuing the journey to Iraq.

Here’s a link to the only report I was able to locate online.

I hope that I am merely overlooking the local news coverage of the enormous sacrifice made by so many of our local Guardsmen. For Ohio to simply send their children off to war without a single protest is lamentable. Without questioning their duty as National Guardsmen to the State of Ohio, it is doubtful that anyone has questioned the need for a record number of our own in Kuwait.

As it happens, Bush is headed over to the Middle East for another round of “Peace Talks,” because we all know Bush is a man of Peace. And just when the troops are secretly surging once more, with the President meeting with all of his Middle Eastern Allies, we learn from Reuters that Iran has made the first aggressive move towards the U.S. Navy.

Gulf of Tonkin, anyone?

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Open Party

While watching a copy of Charlie Wilson's War (brought to me by the good folks at the Pirate Bay) I wondered if it were possible for a young man to simply drive a couple car loads o' Negroes down to the voting booth and steal an election, just by telling them the other guy had killed your dog. It's a nice racist tale about how ig'nunt them collard folks can be, but today's voting population -- as disparately finite as they can be, both amongst colored folk and The Man -- think the Democrats are gonna give it all away, and the Republicans are gonna keep it for themselves.

As far as the system being rigged: I do declare that we've done it to ourselves (Or more plainly put, they've branded the two concepts and sold it to us hook, line, and sinker). The consider a third alternative is to fear the depths of Fascism or Communism, or any other ism cooked up by intellectuals that don't know a damn thing about how life really works. But you do. And that's what really counts. When it comes to hot button issues like abortion and border security, they tell us what our options are and then sort them out between the two parties. At least that's what we're told.

In reality we end up with an idealist who works on the part of the Corporations -- not matter which party they come from. Conservatives and Liberals alike will admit that the system is being rigged by big money lobbyists that buy the fat bastards anything they want to pass their legislations. It's called Corruption, and we all know it is eating our Government from within. But what we don't all know about is 'Open Source' (aside from what we've heard of Linux or Firefox, that developers can download the code and use it for free).

The 'Open Source' methodology is more than a philosophy for programmers. 'Open Source' implies a system that enables everyone to contribute. The practice of opening your system and allowing others to participate affects more than software code. For example, Wikipedia is a type of 'Open Source' which pertains to information, and allows anyone to read and revise any article, assuming you have permission from the community at large. Digg.com is another aspect of 'Open Source' that allows the user -- not to download and edit the code, but to contribute their own stories, effectively editing the front page as a community.

Imagine the practice of Open Source being applied to our Government. Instead of going to the polls every few years to vote for another criminal to steal your money, you do away with the middle man and directly represent yourself. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call Democracy. Not Representative Democracy. (That is what we call a Republic.) Real Democracy. Now that we've reached the 21st Century the concepts created by our Roman Forefathers is within our reach! But first, we must replace our Republic with a Democracy by supporting the Open Party.

At the moment, the Open Party is simply an idea held by hundreds, if not thousands of people around the globe. Attempting to explain the idea leads us back to the same hot button issues: "What do you think about border patrol? Are you gonna raise my taxes?" The process of explaining how each and every American can participate directly in their city finances or other governing principles simply bores anyone to tears. But that's all part of the process. You have an idea -- simultaneously, as it happens, with hundreds of other people you've never met -- and eventually, figure out how to tell it.

Would you?