Archive for March, 2013

It is hard to miss news about, the Cyprus financial crisis. However in case somehow you have missed the story and do not want to follow and read the story behind the link, let me quickly try to explain what happened.

The island country of Cyprus does not have the most fertile land and due to the hostile land and lack of natural resources the country has since its inception depended on both finance and fishing for most of it’s GDP. The banks in Cyprsus have become somewhat of major institutions in Europe. They have spread out merging with and buying foreign banks and the island has also become a type of “tax haven” for off shore investors. One investments the banks of the island made were in the island itself. Turns out the banks investing in the island was a very bad investment. the island bonds tanked and because of said tanking the banks began to see the loss of significant funds. Cyprus is part of the Euro Zone. As part of the Euro Zone, Cyprus asked for a bailout. The bailout was granted but the stipulations of the bailout are very tough. Some may even say Draconian in nature. The title of this post was a quote taken from a women who feels as though the bailout from the Euro Zone was like being involved in a “war without guns.”

The woman who said this is an employee of one of the many banks forced as part of the bailout to close its doors. Besides the shuttering of many financial institutions which are the life blood of the ailing economy in Cyprus many investors both foreign and domestic are being forced to surrender to the country a tax of up to 40% of their deposits in the Cyrus banks.

These actions by the Euro Zone and Cyprus coupled with the womans quote made me think about the old Woody Gutherie song “Pretty Boy Floyd”

If you’ll gather ’round me, childrenA story I will tell’Bout pretty boy Floyd, an outlawOklahoma knew him well
It was in the town of Shawnee A Saturday afternoon His wife beside him in his wagon As into town they rode
There a deputy sheriff approached him In a manner rather rude Vulgar words of anger An’ his wife she overheard
Pretty boy grabbed a log chain And the deputy grabbed his gun In the fight that followed He laid that deputy down
Then he took to the trees and timber To live a life of shame Every crime in Oklahoma Was added to his name
But a many a starving farmer The same old story told How the outlaw paid their mortgage And saved their little homes
Others tell you ’bout a stranger That come to beg a meal Underneath his napkin Left a thousand dollar bill
It was in Oklahoma city It was on a Christmas day There was a whole car load of groceries Come with a note to say
“Well, you say that I’m an outlaw You say that I’m a thief Here’s a Christmas dinner For the families on relief”
Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered I’ve seen lots of funny men Some will rob you with a six-gun And some with a fountain pen
And as through your life you travel Yes, as through your life you roam You won’t never see an outlaw Drive a family from their home”
 
The lyrics celebrate the bank robber Pretty boy Floyd. A criminal because he robbed the banks but a hero because he used the money that he stole with a gun to help the people now being robbed with a pen.
peace
john3c
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This week the supreme court in the United States will hear two cases, which could make some major changes in The United States of America concerning marriage. One challenge is to the  state of California’s Prop 8 law. The prop 8 law makes it illegal for couples who are both the same-sex to get married. The law was voted in by a majority of the state however the state is not defending the law.

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What will be argued is the constitutionality of this law voted in my the majority of the state of California.  Predicting the decision of the supreme court is about as easy as predicting the weather. Predicting the weather is almost a fool’s errand, just when you think spring is here a cold snap hits and Indiana is covered in 5 – 8 inches in snow.

Because of the difficulty of predicting the supreme courts decision I will not waste our time doing that what I would like to do is take a deeper look into what is happening.  The arguments have two sides. One side which says two consenting adults should be allowed to get married no matter what their sexual preference is and if a governing body is denying them this right they are wrong.  The other side is arguing for the sovereignty of democratic decisions. “Since the majority of people do not want this to be it shall not be.”

I have never been a fan of majority rule. I agree with Mark Twain “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect.” I don’t belive laws or the denial of rights should be granted or implemented based on a majority rule.  I feel like laws should be created to protect the rights and the safety of a society, in that order too. The question often arises should you sacrifice freedom for protection, I reply right away with a no. Freedom and liberty trump safety.

Does it make our world unsafe if our society allows same-sex couples to wed? I do not see how. However same-sex marriage is as one chief justice put it yesterday “a new institute”, he points out it is more new than a cell phone.  If you answer no, than you have to ask yourself why this law? If you answer yes you have to answer how this would make society unsafe? The constitution of the United States is an amazing document written so that majority rules with respect to the rights of the minority. In this case is there a respect to the minority by the majority being shown?

I have seen kids on the playground, at home and in the classroom. Kids can be cruel! When kids see other kids who do not fit, in dress differently, sound differently, or are just different,   the majority of kids ostracize the different ones.  When kids get older we call this ostracize action , the creation of cliques.  As the kids become adults we call the ostracize action of others class distinctions. All of these definitions are ways of dressing up the act of being a bully.  Is prop 8 a bully law? These are questions that will drive the supreme court argument.

One question that also will drive the argument is wether or not, due to how new the institute of gay marriage is, should the supreme court decide at all? Do we need more evidence to see if gay marriage does harm society? If gay marriage is deemed harmful for society what happens in states where gay marriage is legal? The children in these families could be as children often are left in the lurch.  

I am not sure about the answers to these questions, I am sure I do not want to stand in the way of someones love and their profession of love simply because I  disagree with their sexual preference.  I am also sure that if two people of the same sex love their children and do their best to provide and take care of them, they are no more or less a harm than a couple made up of two people of different sexes. Another thing I am also sure of, is that I am not a fan of allowing a court or a majority of people to decide which types of families are harmful to society. Deciding which types of families are harmful to society can prove to be a slippery slope. This idea of deciding which rights to deny based on the good of society sound a little like the controversial Chinese One Child Policy.  As you have read I have many uncertainties.  

one thing I am sure of though is, that I do not envy the justices of the supreme court. This case will be a  landmark case and even before they were started yesterday they seem to be polarizing.

Something will happen. What will it be though? No one knows? Supreme courts decision is expected in late June.

Whatever happens, if it be that gay marriage is a right, deemed unsafe for society or a privilege which states can hand out to those they feel deserve it.  I hope society will learn to be more accepting.

When thinking about the prop 8  law I am reminded of the words of John Adams “Power always thinks… it is doing Gods service, when it is violating all it’s rules”   It is important to treat the minority with respect because they are people and it is pragmatic to treat the minority with respect because tomorrow they could be the majority. 

I am not in any way weighing in on the morality of the gay or straight lifestyle, I have my own opinion about this and that drives my personal choices. I don’t think anyone has the right to judge anyone elsewhen it comes to moral matters that do  not directly affect them. When judgement is passed (sometjing is happening that is harmful to our liberty and well being)  it should be done out of necessity and with great compassion for everyone involved.

peace

john3c

imagesSo the preacher did it again. He made it onto my blog post. Sunday the Preacher brought forth the message about Palm Sunday. He read from Mark. In the Christian religion our savior was a man and also God he lived on earth and was arrested, impr=isoned and executed by the rulers. After his execution he rose from the dead. Prior to his arrest he rode into the city he was arrested in on a donkey. He rode into the city amidst fanfare as if he was a war heroe. People cheered and threw palm frams on the road in front of the donkey he rode in on. The palm part of the saviors triumphant entrance is where palm Sunday gets its name from.

The text the preacher read from, described in  detail the day before and the day of The triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  Jesus who in Christianity is also part of god, told his followers to go to a mans house in town and take the donkey. If the man asks let him know that the lord needs this. The preacher pointed out that Jesus since he was God could have simply manifested a donkey but he needed man to go get the donkey for him and today he needs man to do much.

I am not sure what religion you are, but I am sure that religion as everything else in life works best when we invest in it. God, family friends country and work need us. What do they need us to do well that all depends on, what is going on. But what remains is the need.

A secret equation exists in the universe one that if learned early in life makes life more enjoyable and it is this: “In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.”  ~Karl Reiland
peace

john3c

So I am not a fan of politics or honestly leadership. I feel that leadership is a necessary evil, emphasis on evil. I think Mark Twain had it right when he said “politicians are like diapers they need to be changed often and for the same reason”. My only complaint about Mark Twain’s quote is that, I would have it read “Leaders are like diapers they need to be changed often and for the same reason.” A good leader is one who makes himself not needed.

Because of my disdain for leaders and especially politicians I usually steer away from the talking head shows where pundits get on TV and argue for one side or the other about some fringe issue that doesn’t really matter. So yeah basically I do not watch cable TV. But because of the economic downturn the industrialized world has taken citizens of said world are looking to the leadership for answers. While I disagree with looking to the leaders for answers this action has made all news programs dedicate part of the broadcast to politics and the actions of political parties.

Here in the United States of America, there arephoto14 primarily two political parties one is the Democratic party and the other is the Republican party. Last presidential election the Republican party lost the vote for the Executive position in the United States Government. Every four years there is a new vote for executive leadership. On the news there are now stories about how the Republican party is looking at its core values and trying to make some changes so that they may regain control of the executive branch.

The idea is to strip away all the issues that really shouldn’t matter. I am skeptical of this happening, mostly because, I think both parties only exist because of the furor they generate in people over issues that really shouldn’t matter. However if a political party were to strip away all the issues that don’t matter and make themselves not necessary I may become one of the sycophants at a political rally. Well if the party was to strip away all issues that shouldn’t matter one may ask. Would there be a need for a rally at all?

So I would love to see the political parties get smaller and less powerful and the people be free and this could happen but only if there is real change.

peace

john3c

My grand father would come home from work, change out of his uniform, do whatever chores he had watch some tv, help out my dad, uncle and aunt with their homework, get washed up for dinner. His home and work life had no business mingling together. My grandmother, dad, uncle and aunt had a glimpse of grandpa’s work life on bring the family to work day but other than that there was a hard boundary and distinct difference you had home and work. My dad works still in the repair business. My dad would come home from work change out of his uniform help me and my sisters with homework, do some chores wash up for dinner and sometimes there would be a call on his cellphone. Dad would leave dinner change back into work clothes and go fix the broken devices. Dad wasn’t always on call the company would rotate the on call shift, but the boundary was a little blurred dad drove home a van with his tools in it and the company he worked for name plastered all over the side of it. When I first started working for the company I am currently working for they gave me a company cell phone and lap top. I can read and send e-mails from my work cell phone and I can log into the company’s network from any internet connections using the work lap top. For me as with many modern-day employees there is almost no boundary at all between work and home life.

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I am not sure if there was a moment when the culture shifted or if it was a good or bad thing but I am sure it has shifted. Since this shift has taken place I have an important piece of advice for anyone entering the work place. Learn to do something you love. It is a lot easier to work at home during your leisure time when you love to do something.

If you read todays post title and knew what it was you probably also know what I am going to write about today. Todays post title “just setting up my twttr” was the first tweet ever posted on Twitter. On March 21st, 2006 Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter made history. Today Twitter has over 200 million active monthly users. Twitter is used and envisioned by Dorsey as a town square. You can read and Tweet about what you are eating or drinking or as in the case of the “Arab Spring” you can update the world about your city, country and cultures climb to democracy and freedom.

I remember first siging up for Twitter. Some mocked me. “Why sign up and use that when you have Facebook and can post your status there”? I let them know that I loved the 140 character limit. If you have read any of my blogs you know that I have a tendency to ramble on and a limit on text likes that keep my posts succint and pointed. If I want to have deeper conversations my followers will have to click the link and the simple message of “hey this is what is up”, becomes a more intimate affair. Almost like, stopping someone who just shouted out a headline in a towns square and asking him or her for more information.  

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Jack Dorsey,  founder of Twitter, was a dispatch programmer who co-founded Obvious which then spun off Twitter, created a social network which made it easy for individuals to share ideas, pictures, new stories. While Facebook was adding interfaces, Twitter was taking away the interfaces embracing the “less is more” approach and succeeding. I like to think that the reason Twitter is so popular is that it is merely a facet for interactions, unlike other social medias, Twitter enables and then gets out-of-the-way of its users. I am not sure if you can tell but I am a huge fan of Twitter! Do you use Twitter? If not you should.

 

Happy birthday Twitter

peace

john3c

I throw an aluminum can into a trash bin and I respond to my co workers reprimand about recycling with the quip “everything is recycled eventually.”  I usually try to find the recycling bin at the office and place refuse which belongs there in it but on the current day the bin was missing and I couldn’t find it. However when you think about it recycling does take place eventually.

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I guess the question is when would you like this item to be reused or recycled. A lot of things happen with or without or actions. I am not sure about you but I like to believe we are to certain degree “masters of our fate” I am not so sure sometimes though when I see things happen despite precautions I have taken it is almost as though the universe has decided something would happen. So what do I do about things that will happen eventually? Do I fight and flee, embrace and nurture the changes or maybe a little bit of both?

What do you do about things that happen eventually? How much do you fight it? How much do you embrace it? I guess the answer depends on two questions which really shape your entire being. What is happening to you and who are you?

peace

john3c