Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hospital Volunteers

I just visited someone in the hospital and had to deal with a hospital volunteer that didn't really speak English. His post was the information desk.

This was a tough one for me because I recognized that he was a volunteer which tells me to be patient no matter what, but at the same time it's hard to get 'information' from someone who does not have a mastery of the language of the general populace.

I had to spell the name several times and he never got it right. I finally wrote it down and he still couldn't find it. It was frustrating but I still thanked him genuinely for trying...really nothing else you can do.

If I was a hospital volunteer let's say in Brazil and I didn't speak Portugese...I would be probably mopping floors or emptying bed pans but not working the information desk. The man I dealt with today must have an incredible sense of self-confidence to volunteer for the task of giving information to people who speak an entirely different language.

As my grandmother used to say: God Bless his pointed little head.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Some thoughts on government bribes

Major League Baseball has a rule that if you bet on baseball then you're thrown out of the game completely. This rule is posted in every major league clubhouse throughout the country and Toronto. You can do lots of bad things as a baseball player and receive fines, ridicule, or suspensions but only betting on baseball will get you thrown out. Why? Because being a jerk doesn't make people think the outcome is fixed. As soon as the outcome of games are no longer seen as believable then the game is finished. (On a side note I hope Pete Rose never sees the hall of fame)

Government should have a similar rule. If you receive bribes that throw the legitimate role of government into question then you should have to receive some over-top-penalty. If you receive kick-backs as a result of 'serving the public' then you should not only face jail but receive the mark of Cain.

Additionally I might also add that the larger government becomes and the more power they hold, the greater need there is for their influence to be controlled. Taking the time to bribe a leaner and more efficient government would be less likely as they would wield less power and influence.

This isn't a libertarian issue, this is something that should disturb all citizens. No time for hanging with your party here, everyone should be calling out their own.

One more side note: I read about a study that showed that members of the United States Senate received investment dividends at a higher rate than professional investors. On average these 100 people in the Senate turned out to be the wisest investors in the nation topping all of the brokerage houses. I'm glad these wise people protect the public from people like Martha Stewart. What a bunch of jerks.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bad Holiday? You judge

Here are the highlights:

Dinner at my brother's.
Turkey wasn't done. (3rd time in a row)
The roast I brought was the backup plan. (2nd time in a row)
My sister and her soon-to-be ex-husband of several years showed up.
Family drama and outburst ensues around a photo printer device.
Stomach cramps follow dinner.
Missed my chance at pie while sitting on the toilet. (off and on for an hour and a half)
Went home and wondered why I got out of bed.

So whaddya think?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Things I'm thankful for

New house
My two cats
My wonderful mom
My relatively decent health
Everyone that makes my household tick
18 Senior Citizens that attend a class I teach
That one chick on the charter bus returning from Canada (long story)

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Samaritan's Purse

I recently have taken part in a charity gift drive sponsored by Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) which collects boxes of toys for children in third-world countries.

Here is how it works:

You take a box roughly the size of a shoe box and you fill it with items that a child may want or need. You select a tag that is age and gender graded so that you can target your gift items for their specific needs. They have a list of essential things they'd like you to give (basically toiletries and sanitary items) but you're able to fill them up with a lot of cool toys as well.

I was excited to take part in this because I received similar gifts to this when I was a child. I did not grow up in a third-world nation by any means but I did grow up in a poor household in a rural community. My mom would pick up mesh stockings from the fire department that were collected for poor families and these would be our gifts on Christmas morning. I was truly excited to have something that was meant for me. I remember having probably about three lean Christmas times but eventually our family got on our feet to some degree and we no longer relied on charity but were blessed with extra to give to others.

From this background I jumped at the chance to give to others. I was told that the dollar store would provide a great assortment of the right sized toys to cram into a shoebox and this turned out to be great advice. There was something about these toys though that turned out to be a bit ironic:

All of these toys were probably manufactured in the same third-world countries they were returning to as gifts.

This really did sort of bum me out. Talk about scraps from the table. I'm sending them items that were made in their neighborhoods after they were first made available in my marketplace. It's not like I have much of an alternative at this point. I couldn't personally make them any toys that they'd like and I'm sure they'll prefer the ones I passed along...but it still feels funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cold Medicine, Force, and Iraq

I feel well enough to write while I'm just off of a fresh dose of cold medicine.

I've been called cynical by both liberals and conservatives for the following statement:

Government is nothing more than force.

Conservatives and Liberals alike love government for different reasons. While I appreciate fully the need for government, I do not however celebrate the need for it, but instead concede that it is a necessary evil in life. I do similarly my prostate check ups at the doctor. Interesting comparison...think about it.

So why Democrats and Republicans alike assume to lecture me on how my view of government is cynical, allow me to just expand on a simple observation.

Even though the war is over in Iraq, we still have a large military presence. Iraq has an elected government and a democratically chosen constitution. So our work must be done and we can start having ticker-tape parades for our returning troops right? Well, no...but why?

We have to setup an Iraqi security force. Is this to protect Iraq from its neighbors or to protect Iraqis from themselves? We alone could protect Iraq from its neighbors but the need for a security force is necessary for the government to be worthy of lawmaking. My point is that government by its very nature is force. To hear conservatives and liberals describe government here at home you'd think that we have government simply to solve every problem under the sun. But when trying to put together a government abroad our biggest concern is to make sure they have the skill and resources to use force against its people.

An even more elementary example was my first home owner's association meeting in my neighborhood. After a board was elected to 'govern' our 141 residences in our little neighborhood it wasn't long before someone asked, "How are we able to force people to follow the rules of the neighborhood?"

Because government is force we must always use force with temperance. This is why government should protect society from people who initiate force against others or use fraud to take property that is not lawfully theirs. These two things a government can and should do well. Once a government is in charge of public schools, medical care, and taking income by force we find that government does not only perform poorly, but it also starts to perform poorly in the basic things we should expect it to do well.

When the government passes laws outside of the boundaries of limited government, the force it uses is destructive. Don't kid yourself; when government is out of control there are two kinds of force remaining when it comes right down to it. Legal force (government) and illegal force (mafia). The difference? The government has flag poles outside of their buildings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Heavily Medicated Blog Post #2

I've been sick all week and I've been living off of soup and cold medicine.

Here are some thoughts for you:

I enjoyed being sick more when I watched television. I so rarely watch television anymore because it just annoys me. I tried to watch some television while I have been sick but it only lasted for about 5 minutes.

This time last year I was in Washington DC talking to my congressman's senior aide about Social Security. He was polite, nice, and reasonably intelligent. He was also about as dumb about Social Security as anyone I've met.

I hope the Peanuts Thanksgiving special is on soon, I could really stand to watch that. I love it when Snoopy wrestles that chair in the garage. HA!

I'm tired; I'm gonna go lay down now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Veteran's Day

Be sure to thank a veteran sometime soon.

In Great Britain and other places in the free world this is known as Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. Happy Armistice Day to all of you.

I get the day off so I'm going to thank a vet by riding my motorcycle tomorrow.

Woo hoo!

2005 Election - Good News and Bad News

After tossing my primary ballot in the trash a month ago, I was able to delay the wonderful feeling that comes from voting and then watching as the returns show that just about everything I voted for lost. Oh well, I'm used to it. There is however a good mix of good and bad news to cover in an election year that most people didn't know about.

Good News:

People get to change laws instead of courts. Even if the law is completely stupid, you got what you wanted instead of some court telling you that your constitution has really meant something else all along but no one knew it until they so wisely discovered it.

Bad News:

People still vote to limit freedom.

Thomas Paine wrote: (by the way he was a founding father for you blue state elitists and hillbilly red staters)

"Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher." My emphasis added.

When people vote to limit freedom it is generally because they've mistaken the role of society and government. Society governs a great deal without the need for a law. Remember, by passing a law you're saying that offenders, if they persist, will come up against an organized force (police with guns).

My dumb state is so mixed up that a person will have to be caught stealing a car several times before jail time is even a consideration...but if this car thief smokes indoors then he faces the wrath of our new law passed on Tuesday.

It's very easily forgotten that everytime we pass laws that are unenforceable we dilute the rule of law making the job of the police impossible. This is why the enforcement of many laws is arbitrary. (Consider that the next time you get a ticket when you're driving with the flow of traffic)

I'm sure most of you blue staters didn't read this far because I mentioned laws and a founding father and that is usually enough to shoo you away...likewise you red staters probably didn't get past the first paragraph because of the long words. If you've read this far you probably consider yourself neither.

That alone is the only good news.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Under Lock and Key

I just spent a moment in the bathroom here at work.

The toilet paper and those tissue paper seat covers are locked inside their respective dispensers. When the janitor goes to replenish our supply he apparently must unlock each dispenser with a key to complete the job.

I'm guessing that a lock and key is necessary due to an inordinate amount of toilet paper theft. This isn't excellent quality toilet paper either...feels more like you're wiping with Editorial pages of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It doesn't feel good necessarily but it's far more painless than actually reading it.

More Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter could go down in history (for wrong or right) as a president that obeyed the law, told the truth and kept the peace. The details of his administration can be glossed over easily as most Americans under 30 couldn't tell you what state he was from or even point it out on a map. (pssst...answer is Georgia...look lower right)

But no, he has to open his trap every moment he gets to talk about how the current administration is wrong. To be fair, Carter may have a point because no one in this country is more knowledgeable on the subject of being wrong as Jimmy Carter.

I've shared this story several times before but I think it deserves another go. CSPAN was broadcasting old presidential debates during the 2000 election. One night they had Reagan and Carter's 1980 debate on. With 20 years of hindsight I was absolutely amazed at how often Jimmy Carter was on the wrong side of history. You can claim that Reagan was a bad president if you want, but the fact that the former Georgia governor was the worst president in the 20th Century is barely debatable.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

An Open Letter to Jimmy Carter

Dear President Carter,

Please shut up and never talk again.

Tracy Green