Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Monday, September 29, 2014

The U.S. Constitution, Void Where Prohibited

While I rarely waste my time debating strangers online about anything, but especially religion and politics; I make a point to steer completely clear from people who say things like "that can't happen, it's against the Constitution."

You hear that a lot from people who argue for more gun control when pro gun people express their concerns about confiscation, or having to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. They say stuff along the lines of "they can't confiscate your guns for no reason, it would be against the Constitution" or "the military can't be used against the US citizens, it's against the Constitution."

I always get a chuckle out of people saying they others don't need a Constitutional right or it should be infringed upon, because they will be protected by another Constitutional right instead.

Of course you see the "you have nothing to worry about, it's a against the Constitution for a host of other debates besides the 2nd Amendment. It like people think the Constitution is some magical, supernatural object. They act like if a tyrannical government or rouge military force attempted to violate it, their faces would melt like the Nazis in Raiders or the Lost Ark.

But that's not the case. As great as it is, the Constitution is just paper and words. Words that can easily be ignored or rebuked by any power that has the capabilities to back up their actions by convincing words, or brute force.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Okay to Protect Myself From Bear, From Humans Not So Much

Fall is in the air and I find myself spending more and more time in the woods and on the trails. I've been cutting firewood, scouting deer hunting spots and doing a little bird hunting. All of this with a sidearm on my hip. Not so much for protection against two legged adversaries, but for the four legged kind. Mainly black bear and gray wolves.

A run in with a black bear was the tipping point for me to get a concealed carry license in the first place. While Wisconsin is an open carry state, I liked the idea of concealing my handgun when I walk the dog, simply to avoid a glare & snide remark from some of my hippie neighbors. Helps us coexist to keep them in the dark.

But most around here are very warm to the idea of having a "woods gun" with you. Even those who frown upon someone carrying when not in the woods; which I find very odd. It's okay to protect yourself from wild animals, but not from another human who is deliberately putting your life in danger?

The animal is most likely following it's instincts to protect itself from you, do to you either surprising it, or getting too close to it's young. The human is trying to, or is threatening to harm you for more selfish and sinister reasons. Despite this some people I personally know are fine with me carrying a handgun in the woods in case I have a run in with a black bear, yet don't approve of me wanting to carry elsewhere to protect myself from a criminal.

How come there isn't the response of "you don't need to carry a gun when you go hiking, if you run into a bear call a game warden" from these people in my life?

I think it comes down to that people can justify one protecting themselves from wild animals easier because, well, we're dealing with wild animals. We hold ourselves collectively higher and don't want to believe that many out there do not hold value of life as highly as the rest of us. That some out there are truly as or more dangerous than a wild animal, and that's hard to accept.

It's hard to accept the fact that no matter how nice we have things and how well we overall treat our fellow man; the world is a dangerous place. A dangerous place with dangerous humans. It has always been that way and it will always be that way in the future, no matter how hard we deny it.

Does that mean I think everyone should carry a gun? Hell no! For starters there are plenty of people who should be near a gun, let alone own and or carry one. But the general public shouldn't look down upon those who responsibly do.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

I wish we had more politicians like the one who isn't running for reelection.

My district's Representative for State Assembly is not running for reelection and I couldn't be happier.

No, I don't despise him because he's with the wrong political party, or I think he is doing a good job. In fact, I think he's been doing a good job.

I'm happy because of why he's not running for a 3rd term. He says it's time for him to go back to private life and let some one else represent.

I wish all politicians would do that. Run for election, serve, leave office after a term or two. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

La Tee Da About the Latte Salute

So here we go again, another controversy that everyone who takes their politics seriously are talking about. The President steps out of Marine One and gives a half assed salute with a cup of coffee in his hand. Almost before Obama makes it across the tarmac, the far right is going nuts on how disrespectful he is.

Following the modern debate protocol, since the people on the far left didn't have a good response, they went with the "oh yeah, well your guy did it too" reply.

So here we all are. Arguing who's the worse President based on how they salute members of our Armed Forces. I guess there isn't anything more pressing in the world do discuss.

My view is really why are they saluting in the first place. The President is the Commander and Chief, but he's still a civilian and not required to salute back.

From what I've read online, Reagan may have been the first President to start saluting back the Servicemen. Not sure on that and I'm too lazy to research it for this blog post that nobody will read. If that's true then I guess the Presidents that followed Reagan felt that they were pretty much obligated to do so.

While I'm not outraged by this little incident, I did not like seeing the nonchalant approach of President Obama's salute. I say either do it right or don't do it at all, because something in between is disrespectful. With that said, I don't see how it's newsworthy. Being he's been in office for about 6 years now, I'm guessing he's saluted thousands of times now. If this is his worst job, he's still has a good average going for him.

As I type this, looking at the two pictures, I can't help but think how much they sum up my views of the two Presidents. Obama appears to be self absorbed and not really caring about whats going on. And Bush is, well.....  I guess he's trying.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Very interesting. But irrelevant!

People tend to use very interesting, yet meaningless facts to boost an argument or statement. My favorite is "don't eat margarine, the margarine molecule is one atom different from plastic."

While, that's a cool piece of trivia, so what? Using the logic that margarine is bad for you simply because it's close on a molecular level to a plastic*; then since water is only one atom different from poisonous hydrogen peroxide, we shouldn't drink water either.

Now I'm not writing this in the defense of margarine, personally I prefer butter. But I don't base my preferences on interesting yet completely irrelevant trivia.

In case you were wondering why I prefer butter. Mainly because it tastes better, but also because it tastes better.

*there are thousands of different types of plastic, all with different molecules

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pre Pre-Game Post Show

Even though I'm a die hard Packers fan, I don't actually get to watch too many of the early games. there's just too much to do this time of year for me. With the changing seasons I'm in a mad dash to get all the projects I started in the spring, but put off due to the warm weather of summer. So for the 1st few weeks I'm typically listening to the games on the radio while I'm working on something in the garage or backyard.

Today I had the radio tuned into the local channel that covers the Packers a good hour before kickoff and I couldn't help but think what a huge industry the NFL really is. Besides the teams and league itself that generate millions of dollars each week in revenue, there is the a huge industry that covers the game.

As I listened to the radio pregame show, I thought that show employees many people. There's commentators and analysts who babble the same stuff before every game. Also there is a production staff, audio and broadcasting techs, researchers & statisticians, reporters, writers, etc.

And this is repeated on every city that has a pro team with multiple radio and television outlets. There is also the national broadcast and cable networks, satellite radio shows, blogs podcasts & other websites all focused on the NFL. Who knows how many people make their living or at least a good part of it off of the NFL, or any other pro or college sport for that matter.

It's kind of amazing when you think about it. Extremely amazing when you consider there is hours and hours of coverage both before and after the actual game when there really isn't hours and hours worth of stuff to discuss.

Seriously, why is there a three hours of pre and post game coverage? Besides current team events like whos injured or in jail, there really hasn't been an original statement, remark or topic discussed in decades. The subject never changes. They want the home team to win and to win they have to play better than the other team. Do we really need to talk about that longer than they'll actually play the game? Apparently so. Probably thousands of jobs depend on it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Starting Tomorrow, Starting Tomorrow....Starting Now.

Not trying to brag, but I am a fairly productive person. For the most part I keep up an active and busy schedule. For the most part.

While usually productive, at the core I am one of the laziest people around. With a slight lapse in motivation I can come to a crashing halt on the couch watching episode after episode of some series on Netflix, video after related video on YouTube, or just a plain old fashion nap while. I need to put a lot of effort to keep moving, or I'll set down and it's then usually all over.

On top of that, I have a great deal of procrastination wrapped around my core of laziness. Often I say at the end of a day "starting tomorrow..."

Starting tomorrow I'm getting up a half hour earlier. Starting tomorrow I'm going to spend one hour a day cleaning the house. Starting tomorrow I'm only going to watch one hour of TV. Starting tomorrow I'm going to work on this project for at least two hours a day. Sound familiar? If not, you may not be a natural procrastinator like me. 

Like so many problems and or habits we all have. The hardest step is to start addressing them and breaking the cycle of repeating them. So lately I've been making a conscious effort to better myself. What's helped me is a couple of little tricks. 

One is setting smaller, achievable "to do" list that help me stay on track. I still make and maintain a large list. I just break it down into a series of smaller ones and tackle them in smaller pieces.

Another thing is I no longer tell myself "starting tomorrow." When I tell myself "starting tomorrow" I can telling my self a lie. I am giving myself time to come up with an excuse to push it back another day. Let's face the truth, a lot of the things we tell ourselves we are doing starting tomorrow are things we don't want to do today and we want another 24 hours to put it off. 

Starting now, I am going to post something on this blog every day for at least the next 30 days. 
This is something I've seriously been neglecting and need to put more focus on. Even though this blog doesn't have many followers and it is not going to do much, I find it very therapeutic the type out posts for it. This gives me a chance to be a little creative, let off steam by getting my thoughts out on certain events & issues, and it helps me build or maintain my momentum to be productive.

Maintaining my momentum is the biggest reason. Taking a break from my tasks at hand by writing a blog post may not be super productive, but it's better than spending what was meant to be a few minutes on YouTube that turns into hours of wasted time.

So here begins my personal 30 day challenge. To write & post something here at least once a day until October 20th, 2014. Should be interesting for me to see how this little challenge impacts me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Say "I'm Sorry"

This morning I read this outstanding post on Seth Godin's blog, "Two elements of an apology." If you don't follow his blog, you may want to check it out, it's one of my favorites.

The post reminded me of how bad we've gotten at saying "I'm sorry" when we screw things up. Most apologies today are without meaning, or even worse. All too often they are the "non-apology apology" that used to be the domain of children, but most politicians and others are fluent in it today.

The "non-apology apology" was first brought to my attention by a local talk radio show. It was an eye opening experience when I first heard it defined and I realized how rampant it is. You hear it all the time with phrases like "I'm sorry my actions offended you." In other words, "I'm not actually sorry for what I did, I'm sorry you're upset" or more specifically, "I'm sorry I got caught." Being able to deliver the "non-apology apology" in a convincing way is a requirement for the career politician.

What I like most about Seth's blog post is that the apology is not only meant to make the person or group you are apologizing to feel better, it is to express that you are taking responsibility for your actions or failures that are causing you to apologies in the first place. That's something we all should work on, not only genuinely owning up to our mistakes, but expressing a plan to not repeat our error.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Facebook is Making Us Stupid: Pretty Wolf Edition

This is a perfect example of way I am starting to really hate Facebook. It is truly making us stupid. People no longer think for themselves or even research what is presented to them. Take the above image for example.

A majestic image of a wolf and the profound quote of:
“Our wolf management is becoming so unscientific and unregulated, it’s putting Wisconsin wolves at risk of being returned to a threatened status.” Attorney Jodi Habush-Sinykin of Midwest Environmental Advocates. 
Did you notice who said it? Not a wildlife biologist, noted wolf habitat expert, or WDNR insider blowing the whistle; but a lawyer for a environmental advocacy group. Think there just might be a little bias? Somebody who does not work in the actual field with the wolves; but files lawsuits for an advocacy group who gets it's funding and support from well meaning people who base their decisions to support them on emotions. Those emotions are played upon by images like the one above. A majestic image of a wolf and a profound quote.

In the above image there is no mention to how or why wolf management is becoming unscientific. No mention of exactly why the Wisconsin wolves are at a risk of returning to a threatened status. No numbers or data supporting anything. Just a majestic image of a wolf and a profound quote. A profound quote from a lawyer at that.

We used to use facts to back up our arguments, values, discussions, etc. But now days we just build our opinion up on pictures shared on Facebook that we already agree with emotionally. We don't have time for facts, unless of course they are cherry picked and taken out of context.  

Here's a link to the Facebook page that has the above image.

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Mixed Feelings on NFL Player Punishments

With Adrian Peterson making and (unfortunately) staying in the headlines, I've been thinking about my mixed emotions on the subject of penalizing professional athletes for off the field actions. Peterson, of course, is just the latest pro athlete to be in the spotlight of for their actions (or accusations) in their personal lives.

If the charges he has been indicted on are true, I hope he gets the book thrown at him by the criminal court system. But I'm not so sure about being punished by the NFL. Don't get me wrong, if he is found guilty, I won't lose sleep if he's banned from the NFL. I just don't think being punished at work for something done in a person's private life is justified.

It's not applied elsewhere. Know anyone who was fired because they got an OWI, beat someone up, was caught shoplifting? Should an employer be allowed to fine someone or reduce their pay if they commit a crime outside of the workplace?

Some may argue that professional athletes are role models for children, and they need to be held to a higher standard. Fine. Aren't parents more of an influence on a child than a pro athelete? It should be fair to say that all parents are role models to their children. So with that logic, if I'm an employer, I should be able to fire, suspend or reduce the salary of any parent who commits anything I deem inappropriate in their private life. Yeah, that wouldn't fly.

The problem is, being a pro athlete is not a typical job. They have a celebrity status and their very names represent the teams, league and sponsors, lots of sponsors. Both sponsors for the league, team sponsors, advertisers on TV, at stadiums, etc. They sell jerseys, hats, shirts, jackets & shoes. They make sponsor a lot of money and when they screw up, they can cost them a lot of money.

This is where it starts to make sense to me. Companies that advertise with a team and the league or have athelete indorse their products can be greatly affected by off the field actions of pro athletes. The league and teams can then be financially affected when they lose advertisers and sponsors. So if I did something in my private life that caused the company I work for to lose money, I guess it does make sense for me to be punished at work too.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Problem is Not the President, It's Us.

I saw this Facebook meme a few days ago and had to share it. I also felt compelled to make a post about it here.

For my lifetime anyway, it seems all blame for the problems of our country fall squarely on the President. While I have not been a fan or really impressed by any President since I've been of voting age, I can blame everything on them. Lots of things yes, but not everything.

I'm also very sure things for this country won't improve in two years regardless of who we elect as our next President.

For starters, the type of people who could fix things are rarely the type of person who will or feasible can run for elected office.

The type of people who run for office are typically, but not always; politically well connected, well off financially, are pros at saying what people want to hear, and are completely narcissistic and run for office primary for the power of the office. I say typically, I'm sure the people in office you like and continually vote for are completely different.

While the President is the lightning rod for our political angst, not much that he does can be done without Congress. You know, that branch of our Federal government that maintains about a 20% approval rating. The stat that 80% of the people don't approve of Congress amazes me for several reasons.

First off, this very low rating isn't a recent spike. Congress has pretty much maintains a below 50% approval rating. People who we picked to go to Washington, DC as a whole do not meet our approval.

Not only do we send duds to DC, we keep sending the same ones back!
Per Congressional Research Service Report RL32648:
"The average years of service for Members of the 110th Congress, as of January
3, 2007, when the Congress convened was 10.0 years for the House and 12.82 years
for the Senate. This is a record for the Senate. House Members who took their seats
at the beginning of the 102nd Congress (1991-1993) represent the high point of
Representatives’ average tenure (10.4 years)."
We are sending the same people back to DC for an average period of time that is longer than the average person holds a job. The same people that only 20% of us think is doing a good job.

Why do we do this? Simple, we refuse to accept the fact that we vote for career politicians who only say what we want to hear so they can hold on to their seats of power. Like I said above, I'm sure the people in office you like and continually vote for are completely different. And that's the problem. We refuse to admit we vote for people who should not voted for.

We, the American People fit the often said definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We complain about career politicians like Boehner, Feinsten, Hatch, McCain, Pelosi, and Reid yet we are the same fools who keep sending them back.

Why do we do this? Two reason I can think of. We vote along party lines regardless of the person representing the party, and the "I hate Congress but love my Congressman" syndrome we all seem to have. "He's been serving my District for 15 terms, he know Washington" is a common excuse to keep sending some one back. Yep, he know Washington, mainly how to keep himself there while having a 20% approval rating.

Let's think about that. Would you go to a Doctor that had a 20% approval rating? Would you buy a house from a Relator that had a 20% approval rating? Would you eat at a restaurant that had a 20% approval rating? Would you send your kids to a daycare that had a 20% approval rating?

But you're okay sending your Senators and Representative back to a Congress that has a 20% approval rating. A Congress that is pivotal in running our Country.

We could easily fix this in two election cycles. But of course it would involve some work and changes on our end. We would actually have to research the candidates and not vote based on name recognition, celebrity endorsement or party line. Yes, we will actually have to put some thought into it. We will actually have to vote at primary elections too.

Most importantly, we need to pick the candidate we feel is the best. Not who the union endorses, or paper endorses, or who has the most yard signs in your neighborhood, or the political party Grandpa was active in.

Sadly this is something that vast majority of us can not and will not do; and our  20% Congressional approval rating proves it.

Is Islam really a violent religion, or is it simply the dominant religion of a violent part of the world?

With the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks fast approaching, there is the annual talk about possible upcoming attacks on that date. Which I always think is a bunch of hype over nothing. I think terror attacks would work best when the victims are not expecting it, so attacking on an anniversary date doesn't seem like the best time. But since I'm not a terrorist planner, what do I know.

Anyway, right now there is a bunch of talk about ISIS launching an attack on US soil. And with it, comes the what's become to be expected comments about how Islam is a violent religion.

I woke up this morning with a thought. Well, more of a rhetorical question. Is Islam really a violent religion, or is it simply the dominant religion of a violent part of the world?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bed Making

I've never been much of a bed maker. I get up and kind of throw the sheets back somewhat in place. Just never seen a need for a nice looking bed. Like the comedian Jim Gaffigan said "it's like tieing your shoes after you took them off."

But for the last week or so, I make my bed right away in the morning. Kind of a motivation thing. Right away I complete a simple task and I see immediate results and I start the day with a small victory.

Weird as it is, it seems to be working for me. One quick small accomplishment gets my day going.