Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Those who deserve death

Ok, yesterday I mentioned my feelings on greed and today I came across this article about a man who is far more concerned with making money than he is with human life, and to an absolutely obscene extent. What an amazingly horrible or stupid person, or both I guess, they're not really mutually exclusive.


Read it and weep, or get really angry and snap at a co-worker like I did. It's your choice, though I recommend the former option.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a brief ramble

After a weekend free of news input, it's hard for me to blog about anything in a constructive manner this morning. I feel the pull to complain about the usual grievances of course, but like I said, it would not be very constructive. I did recently have a discussion with one of my co-workers who said that while he is strongly against abortion, he doesn't think that legislation is the way to get rid of it. 'Get rid of it' is probably a poor choice of words, I mean he doesn't think that legislation is a good or effective means of ending the practice of abortion. Rather he believes that what we really need is a change in our culture. I agree with him, now its just a matter of pin-pointing what exactly is wrong with our culture and then deciding what the best way to rectify the situation would be. My interests in the matter are becoming a bit more vested as recent changes in my life are disallowing my earlier tendency towards nihilism. I would like to see our culture change for the better. I think one place where we seem to have lost our way a bit is greed. The constant drive for more and bigger is having a serious de-salutary effect on our society. But how does one eliminate greed? Answer me that internet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear Parties, I hate you. Sincerely, Aric

I don't even know where to direct my anger anymore. Agri-business? Politicians? Coal companies? Wall Street? Yes, they all deserve my enmity, but they're part of the system. They argue for what they believe or want and though I think they're wrong and occasionally stupid or evil, at least their goals are clear. Open disagreements are a natural part of the political landscape and I certainly am not so naive as to think that everyone is going to reach the same conclusions as I do. The best I can hope to do is to align myself with people of like ideas and try to argue our points to the best of our abilities and win elections so that we can send representatives to government to establish the policies we think best for the nation. That should be the raison d'ĂȘtre of political parties. But I don't think that's what we Americans are getting from our parties. I don't think we have groups of people who share similar goals and philosophies, what we seem to have instead is two gigantic corporate entities trying to keep their executives employed and rich. To meet these goals, they seem willing to say or do anything, regardless of how it affects the country.
I wish I was writing about how wrong-headed Republicans are, but that would require my party ideal to be reality. I can't bring myself to really argue against one party when I think the other is trash, and if the Democrats have proven themselves to be anything, it is just that: Trash. They are the most ineffectual, contradictory, worthless bunch of people around. They had complete control over the whitehouse and the senate and were working to pass hugely needed widely popular health care reform and they let themselves be stopped by fox news, some noisy protesters and that jerk Lieberman (are there any good Liebermans? Between Avidor and Joe I'm sick to my stomach, I'll have to search the web for a decent one). Those protesters probably wouldn't have been so much of a problem if the Dems hadn't given wall street everything it wanted as soon as they came into power, which is exactly what the republicans were doing when they were losing power. Lest this seethe on as nothing more than a rant, I'll close out the post. Here are some lyrics from Funker Vogt:

You can look to the left
You can look to the right
In the end there's no difference,
who has the power

Changing the point of view
Promising a better nation
This is nothing new
Just a cosmetic alteration

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Value of Nothing

Last night I saw Raj Patel on The Colbert Report talking about his book The Value of Nothing. I've yet to read it but I found that I strongly agreed with some of the things he was saying. What really caught my attention was his observations about how the low prices we pay for products at the store really mask the costs that we pay outside of the store. This has been the direction I've been leaning when talking about health care. There are many problems when trying to insure everyone in America (understatement?). One that jumps out at me is why should I pay for the coronary bypass of some slob who drinks 6 big gulps a day and eats nothing but taco bell. I think this part of the problem is addressed quite well by Michael Pollan who points out all the subsidies and government interference that keeps the prices of these ridiculously unhealthy foods so low. So, just because it only costs a dollar to buy a soda, doesn't mean that your finished paying once you drink it. There are many more 'hidden' costs to be considered, costs to the individual and to society as a whole. Maybe my leftists big-government leanings are wrong, perhaps what we really need is some libertarianism. It seems obvious that if we ate healthier then health care costs would fall and we wouldn't be having such a huge problem. Then again, going towards libertarianism means giving an even freer rein to other big businesses like insurance companies who seem to be motivated but nothing other than corporate greed. So, we need government to regulate some industries more, and we need them to subsidies others less. It can really shake ones faith in capitalism and democracy.


It's been a while since I've checked in. I suppose that I've waited long enough though and that its finally time to post again. This was designed to be a political blog, and I imagine that it will continue to be so, but too tell the truth I've been rather politically lazy of late. I think that part of the reason is that I have plenty to be angry about, but it hardly seems worth airing my complaints as long as I have no good solutions to suggest. Most of my ideas are too underdevelopmed for me to express them with any confidence. Perhaps part of the reason for that is a lack of writing and a lack of thinking things through. Also, some of the solutions that I feel more confident about seem to be impossibly far from any possible reality of which I can conceive. I'm rambling. Of course that's to be expected when you as out of practice as I am. So, time to practice!