Sunday, November 30, 2008

Making the case

For your perusal, the next installment in making the case against a suburban lifestyle comes from this insightful article in New York Magazine: Is Urban Loneliness a Myth?

I'm going to spoil the best line in the entire article right here, which occurs on page 5: "The presence of other human beings puts a natural limit on how freakily we can behave.". Well, it certainly hit the spot for me. Where do all those school shootings happen, and who perpetrates them? Freakishly antisocial kids in suburban schools in the middle of nowhere, or at universities in isolated locations.

The whole premise is how you live. Urbanites, whether single or married, have larger social circles, more social activity, and because of this are less likely to feel lonely, which affects physical health. Among other things, such as not driving everywhere and not sitting on your ass watching television every night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What happened to Capitalism?

What ever happened to capitalism? With all the critical remarks about socialism against Barack Obama after he made that fateful comment about "spreading the wealth", you'd assume that people in this country were staunch capitalists. Apparently that isn't the case at all. You'd assume at least the leaders of large corporations would be capitalists, after all they're the ones that scream the loudest when it comes to protecting their hard-earned cash. So why is it that the leaders of the big three automakers are suddenly groveling at the doorstep of the government asking for a handout like it's a soup kitchen? I guess that belief in the free market economy is easily set aside when the free market economy seems perched to throw you in the dumpster.

As you can tell, I'm infuriated at the hypocrisy here. I don't think those companies deserve a bailout at all. I think they need to get what's coming to them. They've been outperformed by companies that make better products and have bee unwilling to retool their product to compete. In the free market, that means you fail. What about the jobs, you say? Auto repair shops, auto parts shops, they'll all stay in business. People will still be buying cars in large numbers - they'll still need maintenance. What about the assembly line workers? Well, when Honda and Toyota suddenly feel the windfall of increased demand from the failure of these companies, they'll probably open more plants to produce more cars, and that means they'll be hiring. They already make all of those supposedly "foreign" cars right here in the United States anyway.

So let them fail. Fuck them. Bad business decisions, greedy unions, all of them should get what's coming to them. In the words of Republican senator Richard Shelby of Alabama,

“The financial straits that the Big Three find themselves in is not the product of our current economic downturn, but instead is the legacy of the uncompetitive structure of its manufacturing and labor force. The financial situation facing the Big Three is not a national problem but their problem.”

Sunday, November 2, 2008

the joy of philosophy

Kind of like the joy of cooking, but for your mind.

Alright, so the point of this is, I'm going to get back in the habit of philosophy. Definitely better than hard drugs, though some might disagree. I've been chatting with an old friend who has become interested in the sorts of thinking and writing I used to do three to five years ago, the sort of "why are things the way they are" brand of thinking. Something on the order of the ontology of everything. Though, as it relates to specific things like beauty, beer, subway cars and God.

I'm digging up some of the interesting essays I wrote before and during my stint studying philosophy, rewriting them, and we're going to have a good old fashioned blog-ring. You know, like the web rings of old. The dark ages, when web surfers wandered aimlessly without the guidance of the Great Google.

Anyways, look for some pretty wacky if not thought inspiring or rage-inducing articles in this web log soon :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain doesn't want your vote.

Apparently John McCain thinks it's highly unlikely that someone in their twenties would vote for him - so unlikely in fact that he's willing to bet that the only reason a college-age person would be at one of his rallies would be to protest. It's probably true that a larger percentage of twenty-something voters in this country are liberal-leaning and likely prefer Obama, but McCain seems to take this as fact. Here's an interesting example of profiling not based on race, but based on age - and an assumed political leaning.

Pre-emptive Ejection (Iowa State Daily)

He certainly isn't winning any young votes with this one. One person ejected from the rally even stated that she had already early-voted for McCain. It must have been quite a slap in the face.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Top-down economics

Saw this coming a mile away:

AIG Execs go on Vacation

Ever wonder how a bunch of corrupt businessmen spend your tax dollars when you bail them out? This is how they show their gratitude. I also read today that Dick Fuld, the CEO of Lehman brothers, was punched in the face at a gym and knocked out cold. To catch you up on the story, he basically implicated everyone but himself in the failure of his firm and dodged questions about the $480 mil he's raked in from the company during his tenure as chief executive with esoteric financial lingo. Frankly, I'm glad someone had the cojones to knock him out.

Now check out the article about the AIG execs and how they spent your tax dollars after they were bailed out to the tune of $85 bil. This is why the dems were so adamant about tacking on stipulations about executive compensation to the bailout bill - because of corrupt assholes like this. Did you really expect these people to graciously accept our money and not throw a big party for themselves? I can't say I'm surprised.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


When Sarah Palin is familiar with the issues she's talking about, she's an aggressive and formidable debater, it seems. Check out these excerpts from the 2006 Alaskan gubernatorial debates, she's on the ball and even acts like a jerk to the guy she's debating (sounds like McCain, eh?). Now, that says nothing about being qualified to be in a federal government position that requires much broader knowledge about world affairs, but Joe Biden might not have it so easy if she can debate like this and not come off like an idiot, as she's done in her interviews with Katie Couric. As I watched this video, I thought, Who is this? This isn't Sarah Palin!

Why Sarah Palin is a better debater than you think

Still doesn't make up for the comment about parents sending their kids off in backpacks as the only reason why someone would have visited a foreign country, though :) Or any of her other numerous crazy right-wing ideas and opinions.

Just for contrast, check out day 1 and day 2 of the CBS interviews here.

Katie Couric interviews Sarah Palin, day 1

Katie Couric interviews Sarah Palin, day 2

Monday, September 29, 2008

Terrorism in Ohio

It's not Baghdad, it's Dayton. Check this out.

Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After "Obsession" DVD Hits Ohio

I guess that goes to show that there are actually ignorant people out there who are succeptible to being manipuated by blatant propaganda. Scary thing is, they're practically my neighbors.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The road to the White House

So, John McCain decides to suspend his campaign for the time being so that he can get to the business of fixing the economy. Instead of speaking my opinion on this, I'll defer to David Letterman, who says it so much more elegantly than I would.

David Letterman Reacts to John McCain Suspending Campaign

In short, don't lie about why you're canceling your appearance on Letterman, then proceed to do an interview on the exact same network. That's like bailing on a friend then going to get a drink with that friend's best friend. You think they won't talk to one another?

I do appreciate that Letterman only hints at the idea of a publicity stunt, but dances around it enough that you get the picture while complimenting him simultaneously. I'm a much more straightforward man and I wouldn'tve put it so nicely!

And I wonder what he implies when he says "the road to the white house runs right through me". Does this mean he'll endorse Obama? Or was it a conceited attempt to imply that as a television personality, he has the ability to sway opinion :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

places not worth defending

If you're like me, a person of fervent opinions who often finds themselves at a loss for an eloquent or rational way to express them, and are an outspoken critic of suburban sprawl, you might find this speech interesting. Even if you're not a proponent of new urbanism, take a moment or twenty to listen to what this man has to say about places that are not worth caring about, and ones that are.

TED Talks: James Howard Kunstler, "The Tragedy of Suburbia"

The best part of the speech is perhaps the very last thing he says before closing:
Stop referring to yourselves as "consumers". Consumers are not the same as citizens. Consumers do not have obligations, responsibilities and duties to their fellow human beings.