Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Junk for Which I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for this blog and the friends I've made since starting it.  I've met readers and participants from several different countries and about 21 states thus far...oh and Canada...whatever.

I'm thankful for my friend Kelly who landed a permanent job. (she's been doing contract work for awhile and wanted more stability)  I'm thankful that she has found faith in her life as she brings up her daughter.

I'm thankful for my buddy Eric.  He has gone through a miserable year in many ways and he has handled difficulty with grace.  I'm also thankful I've had the chance to spend more time with him this year than in any over the last decade maybe.

I'm thankful that the cause of freedom has advanced beyond my imagination over the past year.  Millions have heard the ideas of libertarian minds and have regained confidence in personal responsibility, limited government and tolerance under the banner of freedom.

I'm thankful for my son.  He's young enough that he still listens to me. 

I'm thankful for Robert the Grump who has been a good friend for many years.  I know of no other gun-toting Democrat that I trust more.

I'm thankful for The Dave and Steve Show which has really taken off nicely over the last year.  It has received some regional appeal and has an audience that is growing weekly...sometimes it's even funny.

I'm also thankful for a couple of days off of the daily routine to recharge and get ready for Christmas. 

If you all have junk you're thankful for, go ahead and comment...c'mon...go ahead.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Faith-based shelters

New York City has just ordered 22 faith-based shelters to stop housing the homeless. The city is enforcing a rule that requires shelters to provide beds to the homeless at least 5 days a week. You may wonder why or how the city of New York would do this and it all seems to boil down to a simple, fundamental problem. Public funding.

One promise I hope Barack Obama does not follow through on is his promise to expand the availability of public funds to faith-based organizations. This was a bad idea pushed by George W. Bush and an even worse idea to continue it in anyway.

The first amendment allows people of faith to practice their religion without hindrance from government. This practice would also include housing the homeless as it states in Scripture:

For I was hungry
and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me

For Christianity in particular the mandate is to care for the "least of these" in society. This is a fundamental practice for millions of Christians across denominational lines in this country. It is a practice that is protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution. So where does the city get off telling the churches they can't house the homeless? This is how.

The church or faith-based para church non-profit corporation receives public money. With public money comes regulation and with regulation comes rules. It would appear that the protections of the right to practice religion without hindrance is foggy once the government has a stake in that practice. In this case if the government is going to hand over money for shelter beds, then they want to see them open at least 5 days a week or be forced to shutdown. Is this fair? I say yes.

As I've stated before a fundamental aspect of libertarian thinking is understanding government as nothing more than an agency of force. It does not have the capability of being charitable, loving, caring, or nurturing. It uses money that it has the authority to take to govern people by enforcing laws...that's it. Libertarians don't hate government, but instead are forced to focus disgust for government because its current form governs outside of the realm of a truly free society. In a free society government would be expected to do only what it is capable of doing and people would be free to help each other in any way they saw fit as long as they don't initiate force.

What has happened in these 22 faith-based shelters is what you'd expect to see happen once they've partnered with an agency of force. They used money taken by force and are now forced to abide by rules. If they can't abide by these rules they are forced to close.

I'd love to see churches respond with underground "non-sanctioned" shelters to house the homeless. Like a speakeasy the homeless would find their way into these shelters outside of the watchful eye of a government that is bent on counting them in order to justify the need for funding. In the future I'd love to see New York City and others cities complain that because of church organizations they were unable to account for the true number of homeless because so many were being cared for outside of their jurisdiction...

...and finally the "least of these" would receive the love they deserve.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't worry, I'll never let you go.

Having a name commonly used by females has made my life interesting at times. In elementary school new teachers would take roll and after my name say, "Tracy...is she here." I played along and answered "here" in a girl's voice which helped me cope and satisfied my role as class retard. To this day I get mail targeted for women including Victoria's Secret Free Panty giveaway. To this day I've yet to claim the panty to which I'm entitled. (sheesh that sounds bad but strangely true in a lot of ways...anyway)

Perhaps no other development has disturbed me quite as much as The Cuff Links' (Ron Dante's one-man band, see also The Archies) tune invoking my name. The song is troubling enough without adding a horrible late 1960's video to it...which I share with you now.

This video is bad and rivals my all time favorite bad 60's video by People!

Have a good weekend everyone and remember...something I do bounces you off the ceiling.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friends in the 21st Century

Sites like Facebook and MySpace allow you to add friends. I have accounts on each of these sites and I have way more virtual friends than I have actual friends. I have way more friends than I've had in my entire life. Of course not all of these are people I'd make my one phone call from jail to, but they're friends just the same. It's hard to even know where to make the distinction on where someone is just too on the fringes to become a friend in one of these online community sites. Case in point:

I have a buddy I've known for about 25 years and he's been a good friend to me. He is about 10 years older than me and I've often considered him the older brother I never had...even though I had an older brother...another subject for another time perhaps.

My buddy's 1st wife was psycho. I know you could be thinking that all ex-wives can be considered psycho and I'm just conveniently summarizing her persona for the sake of blogging...but you'd be wrong. She is psycho.

About a month or so before my buddy became the husband of this hose beast another buddy of mine and I went to his house to rehearse. We were both guitarist and this house was a common place to plug-in as it was often empty. It was becoming less empty all of the time as her stuff was making its way in more and more.

Since no one was home, we got the equipment together in the living room and spread out and started playing. At a break my guitar partner looked over at the dining room table and said, "Hey isn't that her purse?" I looked over and replied with, "Yeah, I guess so." (gripping dialogue eh?...stay with me)

He then said, "Let's check her purse for medication to see if she's taking anything that psycho people take. That would prove that she's officially certifiable." I laughed.

We were getting ready to play again and we heard banging around in the kitchen. The banging was the hose beast who was hiding in the pantry and was clumsily making her way out.

"SO YOU THINK I'M SOME SORT OF PSYCHO DO YOU!?" She yelled at both of us...oh while throwing things. I felt bad that she heard us but she was hiding in the pantry which makes the position of not being crazy a bit difficult to defend. She threw us out and we gladly left.

I got a call later that night from the groom-to-be and I remember him being kind of angry asking me, "So you think my fiance is a bitch huh?" and I tried to soften it some but I ended up just apologizing for making his life hell. I didn't want to be insulting but he'd find out later just how nuts she was and still can be. They're no longer married...big surprise.

Back to virtual friends. She requested to add me as a friend recently on Facebook. I was already friends with her two daughters which I've known since they were small children so once she found me she went ahead and requested to add me. What the hell, I accepted. I'll make sure I update this post if she jumps out of some virtual pantry, God forbid.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yes We Can!

I've had this quoted to me a few times by actual Obama supporters. This campaign slogan really was just the message some of you needed to hear. It means nothing but means everything. I think maybe in some ways the Ron Paul r3VOLution is a good example of a simple slogan that catches the hearts of people. If I ever run for office I'm going to need a slogan. Here are some...and we're brainstorming here so there are no bad ideas.

Freedom: Yeah, whatever.

I'm not a librarian.

Yes you can...on your own property though.

I need your help...lay it on me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The State of Freedom on November 5th

Last night was a mixed bag for the freedom movement but there were some incredible highlights that I'll cover below:

  • Medical Marijuana is now the law in Michigan
  • Massachusetts became the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of Marijuana
  • Bob Barr will climb over the half-million vote mark while on the ballot in only 46 states.  This is 18% over 2004 for the LP and within the margin of victory in two states.
  • A president was elected that has talked about bringing our troops home.  Let's hope they're not just redeployed instead.  (I believe nothing on this front will really happen but I can only watch)

Some snags along the way were:

  • California voters insist government has a role in marriage
  • Massachusetts voters keep their income tax

I was asked by a co-worker what I thought of the election and I talked about some of these issues I was following.  She looked at me with a confused look and said, "I mean, are you happy about Obama being president?"  My answer surprised her: "I care not who wins, I don't have a dog in the fight."  I talked to her a little while longer and it wasn't long before she had written down the names of some books I recommended she read. 

That lifelong Democrat and Puget Sound Progressive (her words, not mine) is enthusiastic to read What it Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray.  What I consider to be a decent primer on libertarian thinking.

The message of freedom is still a very powerful message that people want to hear.  There will never be a bigger opportunity to successfully spread this message than over the next four years.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Can you believe it? What an historic day!

I had a headache this morning so I decided to stay in bed and go in to work later. After sleeping until about 9am (which I almost never do) I felt pretty hungry. My headache had subsided to some degree but I felt like getting some breakfast would be a good idea.

I went to a Cafe just down the street and ate at the counter. I almost felt like a politician eating at a lunch counter in Iowa pretending to care about farm subsidies. I listened to the people at the counter and people working talk about the election. They all had different ideas about what would happen and some about what they'd like to see happen. It was fascinating.

Breakfast was pretty good too. I had an English Muffin and half of what they called an Irish Scramble. It was just the right size as I like to eat smaller portions these days. Turns out breakfast was just what the doctor ordered as I felt much better and was able to make it into work around 11am.

It was hamburgers for dinner and my two year old son and I watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special that I have on DVD. We had just retired the Great Pumpkin for another year. After that we played guitar for awhile and I put him to bed. It was truly an amazing day.

Oh yeah, some guy won an election too.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My election day wish for you

I hope [Insert name of candidate you're supporting] defeats [Insert name of candidate you are voting against] for the office of [Whatever race you care about] and finally restores this country to its former greatness.

I'll be around after the election to help you along as you see few things really change. Don't worry, I'll be there for you.

Next post on Guy Fawkes Day! - Remember remember the 5th of November.