Wednesday, July 28, 2004

this is what is happening to the more ethically minded who are feeling defeated and forced to make lemonade out of some nice awful lemons.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A Conservative's Perspective on Iraq

I was directed to this article on our actions and policy in Iraq by a friend of mine and found it thought-provoking. The logic behind it seems quite sound and reasonable although I realise there is much that we may not know and/or can't know. I am troubled that we aren't helping pacify Sudan, among other places. The US definitely should show that it doesn't go to war soley for personal profit as is often suggested (and sadly has some base).

That reminds me of something else that bothers me. I keep hearing the President and others saying that the reason these terrorists hate us so much is because of our freedom and what we stand for. Although partially true, it seems unfair not to mention the fact that our relationship with Israel is the number one reason many muslims and arabs cite for hating America. I'm not going to say whether this is right or wrong but leading americans to believe these people just hate us for our freedom or are simply jealous is not right. If they hate freedom so much why are we bringing it to them? Why aren't we just doing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid? thats something that no one can argue against if it's making a difference.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Drinking Water

I've always been raised to be a big fan of good plain water. While browsing through I came across the link to this MSNBC article on drinking water. Have a look-see.
Go drink water now.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Taiwan Dilemma and the USA's Socio-Economics

This article at caught my eye. I don't know how true this is but if it is, it is worrying.

I personally don't think getting into a military tussle with China is anywhere near a good idea, especially/at least not right now. US involvement in the Taiwan issue is a sensitive part of US/China relations with neither side wanting to budge. Taiwan wants to be independent from China for the most part but China considers Taiwan an offshore state in the People's Republic. They are basically a rogue state in China's eyes but Taiwan wants to keep it's pseudo-independence and the US likes the concept of freedom and independence even though they officially support the "One China" policy.
I would love for all countries to be democratic and free but I can't say i think exerting military force in this situation is wise. China is bigger in population and apparently is getting more investment dollars and growth nowadays. While the US system has worked well in the past, socio-economic changes have weakened out country in my view. Before we go around trying to be the defender of freedom everywhere we've got to make sure our foundation is strong and truly up to the task.
Our culture has become soft, self-serving, service-industry based, entertainment based, and cocky. That all needs to change. America grew the most when we were fighting with an true underdog mindset, when common sense was common, when we weren't dulled by the all the safety precautions, when people truly understood life and mortality. Humility, love, and hard work are key ingredients to a productive and growing society. Most of us are so addicted to convenience we would scoff at the idea of growing our own food or making our own clothes. Our pride dictates that we strive to fill ourselves with any and every luxury we can get whether we can truly afford it or not.
"Made in the USA" has become a rarity in pure form. So much of what we use daily is imported that American production and American material has dwindled. It bothers me that we are not more prepared to be self-contained or self-sufficient. I don't mind imports at all, I just think we should maintain sufficient structure to be able to replace the demand for imported goods if needed.
Living beyond our means is dangerous. That is why the national debt concerns me so much. Our whole culture is based upon an optimism that we will have enough money to repay our creditors and that it's just a matter of time. We assume things will be like they always were; we take for granted or overlook possible realities. The world has changed and is continually changing, the US needs to come back to root principles and re-evaluate our core structure both in legislature and culture.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Metallica has been what I've called my favorite band for about 8 years. It's one band that I have loyally supported even through the musical changes and napster issue. It's always been the ability to relate to the music and the lyrics and while I don't subscribe to many of their philosophies, their songs seem to resonate with me. Sometimes it's more just the actual music, sometimes it' the lyrics, sometimes it's just phrases.

According to Hetfield:
“All the 'Icon' and legend labels, I guess that’s good, but we’re not done. I don’t know what it’s like to feel done."

Now Metallica is releasing a telling movie/documentary about the inner workings of the band and the individuals that make it up.
Read the full article about the upcoming movie "Some Kind of Monster"

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Microchip Tagging Steps into Government

Having already been introduced into the supply chain industry, radio frequency identification has stepped out into new water. A rice grain sized microchip has been implanted into the arms of a number of Mexican officials to grant access to secure locations. RFID has been around but now that it's starting to be used as clearance in government security, it takes on a new life. Both the positive and negative aspects of this technology are pretty obvious. On one hand you have the convenience of not having to carry any sort of pass or commit any code to memory, data can be stored and read inside this implanted chip. On the other hand, you have the privacy concerns, inconvenience in removal, possible biological reactions, danger of having a floating foreign object inside you, and the grizzly issues that may arise if criminals start having to hack off body parts to get access to secure zones.
The more paranoid we are the more paranoid we become. Security concerns beget privacy concerns and those concerns may simply create more suspiscion and cause even tighter restrictions and security. It's the effect of a noose, the harder you struggle against it the tighter it becomes. RFID represents tracking and becomes a part of control by entities other than oneself once introduced to the human medium.

Original article from the AP. Click here or on the title to view the site.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Spiderman 2

Spiderman 2 was a worthwhile movie to go see because it had a full spectrum of emotion and entertainment. It brought real life to the comic book movie genre and to the super-hero in a way that is relatable to most. The depictions of inner conflict equalled or bettered the action scenes and physical conflict. I appreciate this movie espeicially because it brought real-life wisdom and presented a higher standard of responsible living. An example would be living in a self-sacrificing way to serve others to the best of your own abilities, do the right thing, and don't let revenge or selfish ambition guide you. These are all valuable lessons and are presented in a way that can be absorbed positively. I would write more but that's all i've got for right now. Go see for yourself, at the very least you'll have something to do for almost 2 hours.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Bill Cosby is a smart man

Cosby may have been a comic genious but now he's a very respectable activist. The concept of taking responsibility for people's own actions is very important. Popular black culture has tended to give the impression of blaming hardship and poverty on the white's suppression and racism. IT is true that racism is a problem but it has been so significantly reduced that the continued level of complaints about it have been more self-perpetuated. Just click the link and read the article.. it's interesting.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Interesting perspective on Iraq

I saw this on CNN tonight/this morning, it was very interesting to see video literally from the soldier's perspective, the transcript will have to do for now to communicate. I was just struck that there was actual perspective given about the many and multi-faceted duties our solidiers face in Iraq.


Aired June 30, 2004 - 22:00   ET

BROWN: In the early days of the Iraq war, the world watched as embedded reporters and U.S. troops scrambled across the desert side by side. War and those who fought it seemed that close.
As the mission shifted, the troops slipped into fuzzier focus, death tolls and casualty figures becoming the frame. For filmmaker Mike Tucker, it was important to fill in the frame. So he spent several weeks living with the 23 Battalion of the Army's 1st Armored Division and has made a remarkable documentary about them, war as seen through the soldier's eyes.
MICHAEL TUCKER, FILMMAKER: All of us have watched the war on the news, but I think you're seeing it with a really long lens. I wanted to get as close as I could to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear that?
TUCKER: To maybe almost stand a little bit in their shoes, feel what they're feeling, fear what they're fearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep your eyes open, because if it's anything like last night, it is going to be ugly.
TUCKER: And almost get beyond they, where I could say we.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Gunner Palace. This palace was built after the first Gulf War for Saddam Hussein's first wife. And later, it was given to his son Uday.
TUCKER: The unit is 23 Field Artillery. And their nickname is the Gunners. They're based in Giessen, Germany. They're part of the 1st Armored Division.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like, hey, give me 18 Whoppers. He's like, what?
TUCKER: I was more interested in these people as personalities and talking to them. I wanted to know who are these soldiers that are fighting in this war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got us out here in Baghdad. Life is hard.
TUCKER: When I arrived, there were a lot of weapons being captured. And I would say the insurgency was just starting to rise up then, where the IED attacks were started.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear the road. Possible IED!
TUCKER: Mortar attacks were starting. And it was becoming a very dangerous place to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Part of our $87 billion budget provided for us to have some secondary armor to put on top of our thin-skinned Humvees. This armor was made in Iraq. It is high-quality metal. And it will probably slow down the shrapnel so that it stays in your body instead of going clean through.
TUCKER: They really were acting like everything from policemen to social workers to politicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have come so far so fast. Please, let's not digress. I'm sure we can get the same discussion done without screaming across the table.
TUCKER: And then, at night, they would go out and raid houses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up. Coming in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three RPG launchers. You know how many years in jail that is? That's 30 years in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): I don't need...
TUCKER: Every few weeks, they'd have something called Gunnerpalooza. And one thing they did at these, they would have freestyle competitions where the soldiers would spit out freestyle raps. And so I approached some of the corps soldiers and said, if I can't interview, let's do a freestyle about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ain't fact. It's only theory in my statements about the struggle, stress and pain every day we're facing. Trials and tribulations daily we do and not always is life's pains washed away in our (UNINTELLIGIBLE) When we take a dip, we try to stick to the script, but when those guns start blazing and our friends get hit, that's when our hearts start racing and our stomachs get woozy, because you all, this is just a show, but we're living this movie.
TUCKER: Some of the stories that they tell in the raps are more on target than any report.
When I left the first time, I thought I was done. Three, four weeks later, the first soldier in the unit, Ben Colgan, was killed. He was the best soldier in the unit. It turned out later that Ben was not just special forces, that he'd been in Delta Force.
I had hoped to somehow find an ending where I could respectfully tell what happened to him. Once I was done cutting that, I found that there was so much more to tell, I just didn't want to leave it hanging there. And then I decided to go back.
When I went back, immediately, upon arrival, you could sense that it was different. Soldiers just kind of gave off a feeling that they were exhausted. They were ready to go home. And you felt like they didn't really feel like they could do anything more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lose-lose situation we're facing, anticipation. They're hating. No need to like this, but please respect it. This is life. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all talk about how when we're going to go home, how proud we're going to be to be combat vets. How many people can say that they're combat veterans? Nineteen years old, I fought in a war.
TUCKER: These soldiers are us wearing uniforms. They come from every walk of American life. I would hope that people would listen to what they have to say and not what we think they would say, because often what they say is pretty surprising.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care what anybody says. There's peaceful places in Iraq, but to say -- know that anybody who has been here has lived it, seen it and done it, and they've done their job.
BROWN: Morning papers after the break.

Pasted from