Archive for August, 2008

DNC (The Defeatists National Convention)

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by raingeg

So Sen. Obama’s VP pick is Joe Biden. I’m one of those young voters out there, but surprisingly I am not going to vote for the most popular guy among my young friends. I suppose that’s how I’ve always been, I mean my favorite things to listen to are Sinatra and Dylan, I guess I’m just an old soul, so the old guy isn’t all that bad to me.

To elaborate on Sen. Obama’s choice, I have to say that I honestly don’t know that much about the guy. Thankfully in the internet age it doesn’t take much Youtube searching to find out that much of what he believes counters what I believe.

If you watch the news at all, your going to hear that Biden is the best choice for Obama because of his foreign policy expertise. Just as I heard another reveal, that this is an admission by the Obama team that he is weak on foreign policy. Well, if Biden is a guy with such a great foreign policy record, why did he, along with Obama, continually call for Vietnam era foreign policy when it comes to the surge strategy in Iraq? A policy that says if your getting beat, we (Washington politicians who are not on the ground) know what is better than the generals who are actually guiding and fighting the war. So Biden’s alleged strength in the foreign policy area remains about as weak as Obama’s, because of their lack of good judgment in regard to the troop surge in Iraq. They were not willing to even give it a chance before they called it a failure. Here is video of Biden, only a year ago, give it about 30 seconds before you hear the defeatist mentality.

(I had a video of Biden talking about the surge)

All of this is coming on the heels of this week, nearly a year after the Petraeus hearings in September of 2007, a week that produced a much different story in regards to Iraq than that of a year ago. When I go back and watch the Petraeus hearings last September and I see Biden questioning the general on military operations in Iraq, I can tell that Biden is completely banking on the surge being a failure, and the U.S. running into the same problems that we ran into through out the whole beginning of the Iraq war. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we screwed up for the first half of the operation and the surge was a way to fix what we screwed up and win. And what happened when they were wrong? Well Obama still won’t admit that he got it wrong, but nonetheless, they get a chance to become president and vice president. And now for the next week, during the Democratic convention, we get to hear praises of Biden’s foreign policy, when he and Obama continue to have the same opinion on the surge. The surge that now might have made it possible to start bringing our troops home in victory and not defeat.

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SUV’s Status Symbols? What About Hybrids?

Posted in Humanity, Politics, Top Posts with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2008 by raingeg

If you read much of the publics opinion, or should I say the opinionated public, when it comes to SUV’s and large Trucks you’ll find that there is no shortage of just that, opinions, both in favor and against. On the dissenting side of the argument there is one angle that I find repulsive, it’s the idea that people drive SUV’s solely because they are status symbols.

These people generally think of a person driving an SUV as a person that has a lot of money. Why is this assumption made? First off, SUV’s are not the most fuel efficient vehicles out there, so one assumes that if a person is driving an SUV they can afford to pay the price at the pump. Second, some people mod their SUV’s with lifts and such that make them stand out more than the usual vehicle. This too, often takes a toll on fuel. Thus, in the eyes of some, the SUV becomes a status symbol. Yet, I ponder if that is not the case on both sides, both the hybrid driver and the regular fuel driver.

Please allow me explain my premise a little better. Generally speaking, within society there are different types of people. Different types of people have different objectives in life. A good way to examine a generality is to compare two extremes. In this case, the two extremes would be, people that seek the appearance of having money and those that do not, they actually seek the appearance of having very little money.

In 96s Swingers the term money is often used to describe these guys.

In 96's "Swingers" the term "money" is often used to describe these guys.

But why would anyone want to appear poor? Good question. First we have to remember that the given examples are “extremes” and are not to be taken too seriously. But I would suggest that there are people that do not mind appearing poor. That might spur from a humble attitude or an attitude that seeks to fight “commercialism”. I’m somewhere in the middle and just want to appear normal and I would not be keen on siding with any of the two extreme examples I provided. But I am not here to defend or decry commercialism or its antithesis.

For those that desire to appear wealthy, the car they drive, the clothes they wear, and their personal hygiene are all factors. All of those things could be used to make ones own self into a status symbol, because after all, when we use things in that way we’re not trying to give the car a pride boost, we are trying to give it to ourselves. On the opposite end if the spectrum, a person that does not love the “money look” might use the same factors as a status symbol within his or her own societal circle or clique. But in this case, ones status is not determined by how good ones car, clothes and hygiene are, but rather the complete opposite. In order to understand how this works we have to look at the priorities of the individual and what is really of worth to that person and that persons societal clique.

While I do not believe in class warfare or anything of the like, I cannot deny that people belong to chosen societal cliques. The thing that separates me from my communist counterparts is the fact that I believe that people have the ability to choose where they want to be in life, both monetarily and socially. They, on the other hand, believe that people are born into a certain class and will never escape that class, therefore government has to coddle or appease those that are not part of the upper class in society. The desired result of that would be taking out the upper class and having an equal society with no class. I, however, will not deny reality and I’ll say that people are born into poor and rich families, I just cannot believe that those people, especially in America, don’t have a choice as to who or what they want to be in society.

So, if we examine an individuals priorities in life we can see what exactly is of worth to them. In the money appearance vs. the poor appearance example above we can see that it is not so much the factors that are in play but how those factors are used. So for the person that likes the appearance money, having a nice new car matters to them because it makes them look wealthier, therefore giving them a higher status within the wealthy parts of society. The desire of the one who seeks a poor appearance is exactly the opposite of the person trying to look wealthy, possibly even as an attempt to counter that person or that societal clique. For example, its possible that if they drove a new SUV they could be castigated and shunned from the environmental clique that they chose to be a part of, because they went to the more commercial and less “green” friendly side. So in contrast a wealthy appearance, its not how much money it appears they have, but rather how much money it appears they don’t have. So in all actuality everything that I am explaining has nothing to do with what really exists monetarily, but rather what appears to exist.

The Fortwo vehicle.

The Fortwo vehicle.

So if we take the same formula and apply it to the case of the hybrid driver and the SUV driver both vehicles can be used as status symbols. Because the hybrid driver is of higher stature and has a better status within the environmental community than the regular gas driver. And it works out the same way within the regular vehicle world, except they answer to a different clique. A good example of this would be a scene in The Day After Tomorrow when the main character is driving down the highway in his bright green hybrid surrounded by cars that look different than his. Do you honestly think that hybrid manufacturers are not selling that difference? I guarantee you that in the early day’s of hybrid cars, which might be wearing off now with the entrance of hybrid SUV’s and large trucks, the shape, color, and overall style of the hybrid was different, mostly to appease the environmentally sound individuals’ desire to stand out from crowd. Another example would be the Smart Fortwo vehicle, which looks and probably drives different than any car on the road, but within the “green” clique it is probably a hit and a sign of the drivers care for the environment.

The Rules of the Pool

Posted in Life with tags , on August 4, 2008 by raingeg

The game of Eight Ball is a game that I greatly enjoy. For most of my childhood I had a pool table. I’d play against my parents and relatives, especially around Christmas and Thanksgiving. In fact, right about the time the holidays came around, I would start to practice, trying to up my game so I would have the upper hand when my relatives came over to play. I actually got fairly good at the game, but for some reason I stopped for a while and my parents got rid of the pool table, so I didn’t play that much.

These day’s, I’ve been playing at some places around town, I think I have a long way to go before I am at the top of my game, nonetheless I am quite fond of the game again. There is one problem when you play pool and that problem is the rules. Even though there is a certain set of rules, everyone has their own set of rules, mostly because of where they learned to play the game. I am going to show you three nonexistent rules that are wrongfully imposed. This might make things a little clearer when you are playing Eight Ball with your friends.

1. You don’t loose if you scratch on a legal break.

I must say that I didn’t even know this rule existed. I thought you lost if you scratched on the break, apparently that is not the case. “If a player scratches on a legal break shot, (1) all balls pocketed remain pocketed (exception, the 8-ball: see rule 4.8), (2) it is a foul, (3) the table is open.” Isn’t that an interesting one.

A legal break shot is “(Defined) To execute a legal break, the breaker (with the cue ball behind the head string) must either (1) pocket a ball, or (2) drive at least four numbered balls to the rail.”

So what do you do if someone doesn’t legally break? “When the breaker fails to make a legal break, it is a foul, and the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position and shooting, or (2) having the balls re-racked and having the option of shooting the opening break or allowing the offending player to re-break.”

2. No spotting!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to pool. If a player scratches while simultaneously making another ball in, the made ball is NOT spotted or taken out of the pocket, it remains in the pocket.

In order to understand this rule you first have to look at foul rules. A scratch is considered a foul and nothing more.

Now you should observe the rules for illegally pocked balls. “An object ball is considered to be illegally pocketed when (1) that object ball is pocketed on the same shot a foul is committed, or (2) the called ball did not go in the designated pocket, or (3) a safety is called prior to the shot. Illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed and are scored in favor of the shooter controlling that specific group of balls, solids or stripes.” The words “remained pocketed” are key here, you do not spot the object ball if pocketed on a scratch.

3. No need to keep it in the kitchen!

The “Kitchen” is not the place where you cook your food, in the game of pool the kitchen is the space between the headstring and the back rail on the breaking side of the table. Many people think that when a foul is committed, most notably a scratch, one must place the cue ball in the kitchen, or behind the headstring, when it is your turn to take a shot. That is actually false.

If your opponent commits a foul you shouldn’t be punished for your opponents foul, you should have an advantage over your opponent. You get an advantage by gaining the ability to place the cue ball anywhere on the table. When a foul is committed “Opposing player gets cue ball in hand. This means that the player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table (does not have to be behind the headstring except on opening break). This rule prevents a player from making intentional fouls which would put an opponent at a disadvantage. With cue ball in hand, the player may use a hand or any part of a cue (including the tip) to position the cue ball. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward stroke motion contacting the cue ball will be a foul, if not a legal shot.”

There you have it, some pool tips that might help end some arguments when you are playing pool with your buddies.

Laissez Faire, Irony?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , on August 1, 2008 by raingeg

I was reading an article in the AP about Paris’s new plan to help curb climate change and provide those who can‘t afford a car, with the option of a short term rental of one of the governments vehicles. Not to mention government control of part of the car market.

The plan is to have “a fleet of 4,000 electric cars — 2,000 within Paris and 2,000 in the city’s suburbs.” It is dubbed “Autolib’“ and it is expected to launch in “late 2009 or early 2010.” How does this work you ask? There would be more than 700 different lots spread around the Paris area. You can pick up a car at any of those lots then return it to any one of those lots when you are finished using it and pay for the time you used it. Though its not the plan that’s the problem, more like who Paris has put in charge of the program.

The article says that a company, Zipcar, has already created a system that operates in a similar fashion, in both the U.S. and in other countries. The only real difference between Autolib’ and Zipcar, is that while Zipcar is a private company, the Autolib’ program will be “run by the city of Paris.”

That’s right folks, in Paris the government is going to purchase 4,000 cars for its people to drive. Some people are just outraged about this program, though its not the people you might think. The Green party in Paris does not like the program, they don’t only want environmentally friendly cars, they want to “reduce car use, period.”

This program comes on the heels of Paris’s 2007 government program called Velib’, it has provided the people of Paris with 16,000 silver bikes and parking spaces for them in the city.

And for the best part of the article, are you ready? The Capitol’s Mayor Bertrand Delanoe is hoping that his Autolib’ program is a success, all to boost his popularity, so he can be the leader of France’s Socialist Party. Wow, what a big surprise! The article says that the Mayor “has made fighting traffic and pollution a top goal in his seven years in office.”

Right about now you might be thinking, how does this impact me, I live in America? It impacts you because I am sure that there are many people out there, in this country, that would have no problem with this type of program. This is ludicrous, people, please understand that the Government does not give you your rights. You are born with your rights and you are in charge of the Government. This perfectly spells out the difference between America and Europe. It also shows why I constantly hope and pray that we don’t adopt these Socialist ideas.

When we have politicians telling us we can’t drive our SUV’s and keep our house at a certain degree mark, without being laughed off the stage, we know that people in America are starting to buy into the same bill of goods that the people of Europe have already bought. It is not a matter of Climate change, it is a matter of liberty. If liberty does not exist within America, America is nothing. There would be no reason for any country to take the country that pledges “liberty and justice for all” seriously, whether it be about the environment or any other topic, if we do not keep liberty the number one priority in this country. If the government, for any reason, tells you that you have to disregard your ability to live freely within the country, that action is far worse than providing the world with a good environmental example. I am convinced that if America fails to provide liberty and freedom to its people, we are sure to parish before climate change (if it exists) can take us out. And even then, I would rather live free and die from environmental problems, than die under the hand of an oppressive government. The only thing that I can say about a socialist government is that it is oppressive, if you succeed in a socialist government, you will be put into place by that government.

One of the stated goals of the program is the hope of deterring first time car buyers from “ever buying a polluting car.” This really is a travesty because it allows the government to sway how the market operates, until the day comes that they need not sway it any longer. What they really want to do, is control all of the traffic and vehicles in the city. If more and more people that live in Paris follow through with this, they will be allowing the government to do just that. In America government stay’s out of the free market and the peoples lives, and it needs to stay that way, no politician has the ability, let alone the right, at least in this country, to tell you, what you can drive or set your thermostat at.

Please remember that you are in charge of the Government and the Government should never be in charge of you! Whether they try to take your guns, money or freedom and even try sway your buying habits, you need to know that you are in charge of them.