I’m sorry

"I'm sorry you suck at eating."

  • A phrase I never thought I'd utter. I said this to my cat as she threw up her dinner (as she sometimes does) because she eats too fast.

... the joy of living with cats.

A cycle of violence

Because it's all over the news lately, for good reason, I wanted to explore the controversial topic of gun regulation.

First of all, I want to say how disturbed I am that we've had yet another mass shooting. According to http://www.gunviolencearchive.org, there have been 34 mass shootings in 2018 - we haven't even made it through February yet. All of these are distressing, but that this was another school shooting too makes it worse. CNN claims that there have been eight school shootings so far this year (an average of one per week).  I am truly saddened and angered by this tragedy and feel for the families and friends of the victims.  But the fact is 'thoughts and prayers' will do nothing to end these shootings.  Only action will do that.

I also need to point out that anyone who stands by or says we can't do anything to prevent this from happening in the future (these people tend to cluster on the conservative side of the spectrum ... the same as the anti-abortion and pro military/pro-war camps) or that now is not the time to talk about gun regulations, are lying out their asses - about that as well as their general pro-life stance.  If they were pro-life, they would try to protect all lives; if now isn't the time, then right after terrorist attacks isn't the right time to talk about anti-terrorist actions.  When is the time, if not now?

I believe that something needs to be done to help curb this problem.

Continue reading

Pulling weeds

Often in life, we focus on what's directly in front of us without taking into account the larger picture. There's too often more importance placed on treating the symptom of a problem than on creating a solution for the symptom's cause. Over time, these patches become standard, routine, policy.

I think that the previous paragraph could easily apply to a number of areas in society. Drugs and addiction, crime, poverty, homelessness, injury, disease, etc.

I recently re-watched Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and one line stood out to me. "Criminals are like weeds; pull one up, another grows in its place. This is about the future of the world." Continue reading

What do Democrats stand for?

There was a Washington Post/ABC News poll last week (the Post has an article about it here, including chars for some of the findings) which I thought was interesting and warranted a bit of discussion.

The last chart, in particular, is of interest at the moment (Included here): "More say Democrats stand against Trump than for their own agenda".

Obviously, I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I thing the truth is a bit more nuanced than that. I am in the independent group of the chart, however I think that the majority of democrats both "stand for something" (their agenda) and "just stands against Trump"; I do not find the two options to be mutually exclusive at the current time.

The Democratic agenda, those policies that matter most, tend to include items which aim to improve the lives of the people (arguments can be had about the actual outcomes of the policies, but the intent is there). These include equal rights, the advancement of fair practices, regulations and oversight of unethical business practices, providing education and health care among other things.

In the current political environment, the Republicans, the party in power, seems to only have one agenda: to undo the policies of the last administration. They were vocal about this for much of Obama's presidency, and now that they've got control of the three branches they've got a clear path to do that (were it not for the in-fighting).

So, to advance the Democratic agenda currently requires the direct opposition of Trump and the Republicans. At this stage they way to do that is simply to try to preserve the advances that have been made, to minimize the damage that is done. Honestly, at this exact moment, there seems to be no hope for pursuing additional gains - there is a ruling party which is largely dogmatic about rolling back "the opposition's" policies (they've been promising for years that they'd repeal Obamacare, they have to keep that promise (if that's the only one they do keep), consequences be damned!).

One should view this as a change in priority based on the current climate. Ideally, politics shouldn't be viewed as a battle between opposing sides; the sides should have a mutual goal, and should only differ on the details of how to get there and be willing to work together along the journey. That being said, I'm going to use war as an analogy for the change in priority. The end goal of an advancing army is to reach a target (a goal); sometimes they can make progress and move towards that goal; other times they must protect the gains they've made, and resist falling-back. The agenda, the target, the goal is still the same; it is simply a change of immediate priority and tactics that are dictated by the environment - we are simply in protect-mode currently.

I do still believe that, overall, the democrats are largely about advancing the causes mentioned above. There are likely some who would be anti-republican in the absence of Trump. Sadly, I cannot say the same for the other side though. After eight years of opposition and grandstanding against Democratic policies, I have come to believe that the Republican party has moved firmly into the no-compromise, 'my way or the highway', mentality and they've demonstrated this time and again.

I have always been a registered independent. However, once upon a time, I might have considered myself more closely aligned with republicans. I still consider myself libertarian; now I include the additional label 'rational' to that. I am a rational libertarian: in an ideal world, the libertarian ideal could work - unencumbered trade, no regulation, free market economies, etc. ... let me live my life as I see fit, and I'll return the favor. But I know, rationally, that this is not an ideal world. Protections are needed, industries have proven themselves to be incapable of acting ethically without regulations, people deserve to be treated equally, and deserve to have equal opportunities in life. I find myself more closely aligned with Democratic policies than in the past. Given the actions of the Republicans of late, I find this a very good thing.