Tag Archives: Freedom

I’m Offended at Those Who Are So Easily Offended.

8 Apr

People have different beliefs regarding faith, politics, family, etc. In the United States of America they have the right to express those different beliefs without persecution from the government, at least that was the idea in decades past. Now one cannot practice those beliefs if one, just one, person is offended. I’m sorry, actually no I’m not, it’s time for people to get over it.

No where in the founding of the United States is it written people do not have a right to offend one another. Quite the contrary. By having the right to freedom of speech, being offended by something is guaranteed to happen. Someone will at some point say something to offend someone. What has gotten out of hand is the ridiculous oppression of speech by those who are so easily offended.

I’m offended on a daily basis by what I hear some people say. I have two choices, let it go or get worked up over it. Sometimes I let it go and sometimes I get worked up. What I do not do is run to some slimy lawyer and sue the person. Only the weakest, wimpiest people on this planet do something like that.

I’ve had just about every thing about me made fun of in my life. And yet, I’m still alive and breathing. I’m working and contributing to society financially (even after having the government steal money from my paycheck) and in various other ways. I cannot imagine what posses people to be so worked up they go out and get some waste of space lawyer to sue someone for being offended.

It’s time for people to get their feelings off their shoulders and “man up”. Don’t like the way someone did something? That’s fine. Have an opinion and feel free to voice it. Just don’t get offended when not everyone agrees with you. Welcome to the real world. Welcome to reality. Welcome to planet earth. Life’s tough, wear a helmet.

Name Game: Washington Redskins in Court Again for Team Name Suit

7 Mar

In the United States we have the right to free speech, with some limits. This means people have the right to speak what is on their minds and hearts. It does not mean those who are offended do not have the right to be unoffended. It’s time people who get offended by what other people say grow up and get over themselves.

Washington Redskins LogoAccording to a CBS article, the Redskins organization will go before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to defend their brand. The suit against them has been brought forth by group of Native Americans. A quick side note, every group who came to the North American continent was migrant from somewhere. Calling any group “native” is a misnomer. Back to the ridiculous lawsuit, the organization has faced issues over its name for some time. This latest suit is just another round it has faced from thin skinned babies.

According to Suzan Shown Harjo, “It’s just like a drive-by shooting, They’re trying to make money, and not caring who is injured in the process — or if anyone is injured in the process. I don’t think they wake up or go to sleep dreaming of ways to hurt Native people. I think they wake up and go to sleep thinking of ways to make money — off hurting Native people.”

Well Ms. Harjo, if the logic of the case is based upon making money hurting people, the courts are going to be over run with lawsuits very soon. Why? Well using her logic, every comedian who has ever told a joke and offended someone has made money hurting some person or group of people. Are we, as a country, going to allow case law be established outlawing comedy? One can only hope Ms. Harjo has never told any jokes in her lifetime which were recorded. She might be facing a lawsuit of her own then.

Interestingly enough, this specific case was tried before and Ms. Harjo and her group won back in 1999. Really? Fortunately it was overturned in 2003 on a technicality. Apparently Ms. Harjo and her group were now doubly offended and now a new group, playing by the rules set forth by the 2003 technicality ruling, filed another suit in 2006 to start this process (and waste tax money) again. Yes we the people are paying court costs for people being offended. Someone say sequester?

Why file another, costly, lawsuit? The answer is quite simple, according to the CBS article, “The motive is to force Redskins owner Dan Snyder into a change by weakening him financially.” That seems like a clear admission of abusing the legal system. The system was not setup so people could file lawsuit after lawsuit to bankrupt someone to get them to change. In fact, one might argue they just admitted to a form of extortion. Mr. Snyder has stated more than once a name change is not coming.

So far Ms. Harjo has been unsuccessful in her attempts to force a change in the Redskins organization. She has previously predicted a change would already have happened back in 1998, “I fully expect these names to be a thing of the past in 10 years. I think that will happen whether or not we win this suit.”. Much like the over hyped Mayan dooms day, that prediction fell flat. Hopefully this latest round will as well.

If Ms. Harjo and her thin skinned group does happen to win, what’s next? Are they going after the Atlanta Braves? Maybe some group can bring a suit against Cracker Barrel. The outlandish possibilities are endless for those so easily offended. The rest of us will look on, laugh and wonder why they don’t group up and sit with the rest of us at the adult table of life.

Source –

Fight On: Battle Over Redskins Name Goes Before Federal Board – CBS

Bad Reasons for Laws: If It Saves One Life

23 Jan

Life happens all around us and sometimes it isn’t very good. News of someone losing their life is almost daily occurrence for most people. We all process this in our own ways. Politicians and pundits however take death and spin it to advance their ideology. After all we the people don’t want people to die, or at the worst die in vain do we? No we don’t and if the law they propose saves just one life then it’s worth it. Is it really?

One of the more recent local examples of this reasoning was when “conservative” Texas Governor Rick Perry tried to force women to take a vaccination for the  Human papillomavirus (HPV)[1]. Back in 2007, Governor Perry decided to by-step the Texas legislature and issue an executive order making it mandatory for girls starting int the sixth grade to get the HPV vaccine Gardasil, made by Merck & Co.

Perry’s reasoning was based on “if it saves one life”. Durring the 2012 US Presidential Republican Primary debate, Perry said the following:

“Did we do it right? Should we have talked to the legislature?” he asked. “Probably so, but at the end of the day, I will always err on the side of saving lives.”[3]

Fortunately the outcry of the public prompted the Texas legislature to create and pass a bill overridding his executive order. Perry did not veto the bill knowing his veto would be overturned by the legislature. While Perry might have had the best interest of the girls and women of Texas in mind, the execution of that interest was almost as poor as his reasoning.

If people used this type of reasoning to create legislation and laws in order to make the world a “safer” place then we would all live in some type of self contained “safe” bubble. People would survive but no one would thrive. Federal, state or other local legislation, laws or even dictatorial type executive orders should never, ever be created or enforced by either political party just to “save one life”. While the emotional outcry for one life lost in some tragic manner seems to demand an emotional response, wiser people know a knee-jerk creation of legislation, laws or executive orders doesn’t bring about real solutions. More often than not it creates more problems than it solves.

 

Resources

  1. Human papillomavirus – Wikipedia
  2. Texas Gov. Orders Anti-Cancer Vaccine – Washington Post
  3. Perry in first GOP debate: ‘I kind of feel like a piñata here at the party’ – KHOU

Bad Reasons for Laws: Have to do Something

22 Jan

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Sir Isaac Newton was referring to physics when he created his three laws of motion [1]. However, the idea of his third law is seen in many different areas outside of the bounds of physics. Politicians have used this basic concept when they start saying, “we have to do something” to create new legislation in response to an event.

The action of the politicians clamoring to creating new legislation is in direct response to an action from an outside source. The greater the action, the louder the cry to do something. It is an emotional plea to a logical situation. The obvious and most recent example is hearing politicians reaction to the tragedy at Sandy Hook demanding more gun regulations.

There are other examples though of politicians using the “we have to do something” reasoning for creating and getting laws passed. At the same time America was learning about Sandy Hook it was also learning about the “fiscal cliff”[2]. This was the hyped up financial disaster looming over the country due to previous “have to do something” legislation. Ironic isn’t it? In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union, Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma said the following:

“You have to do something, and doing something requires the cooperation of the Senate, which the Democrats run, and the signature of the president,”

And there it is, “have to do something”. But just by doing something lawmakers, politicians and pundits all fail to remember another law most people know all to well by experience. The “law” of unintended consequences[4], or when talked about in a humorous manner Murphy’s law. No matter who well intended some new piece of legislation my seem, there are always caveats which are not addressed and cause problems later down the road. There are a vast number of laws which are examples of this. One such law was actually an amendment to the United States Constitution, it was the 18th Amendment[5] which created the prohibition of alcohol in the United States.

While the idea behind prohibition was well intended by those of the temperance movement [6], the unintended consequences of creating and passing the 18th Amendment proved detrimental to the nation. The article in Wikipedia notes:

“The police, courts and prisons were overwhelmed with new cases; organized crime increased in power, and corruption extended among law enforcement officials.”

In fact the results of the amendment were so bad it was repealed by the 21st Amendment. It was the only time in US history a Constitutional amendment was repealed. While the thought of some people was “having to do something”, the result in that course of action usually result in having to do something again later to fix the emotionally charged legislation. There is a reason the framers made the process of passing laws a time consuming process instead of streamlined one. Calmer and more rational heads will hopefully prevail against the emotionally charged feelings of “having to do something”.

 

References:

  1. Newton’s Laws of Motion – Wikipedia
  2. United States fiscal cliff – Wikipedia
  3. Obama, Boehner try to talk their way down from fiscal cliff – CNN
  4. Unintended Consequences – Wikipedia
  5. Eighteenth Amendment – Wikipedia
  6. Temperance Movement – Wikipedia

Bad Reasons for Laws: Think of the Children

21 Jan

Starting off this series on bad reasons for laws is one most of  us have heard plenty of lately: think of the children! The idea of course is to strike at many people’s inherit desire to protect innocent children. Most people want no harm to come to their children or any others. Children possess the hopeful potential to make this world better than it is and we try to protect and nurture that hope. However, there is a fine line between showing a child as an example for a law and exploiting them for it.

With the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary politicians and pundits began their crusade for or against new laws by pulling on the emotions of Americans. Those against gun rights and those against gun control both have used children to pull people toward their side. However, the most egregious displays has to be when President Obama had children surround him when signing, not a law, but toothless executive orders for more government intrusion on gun ownership.

Children exploited by President Obama for more government gun restrictions.

Agree or not with more restrictive gun laws or rules, using children in this manner is down right deplorable. Later the White House released the videos of these same children reading letters to the President on the issue. I honestly don’t know which is worse.

On the other side the NRA used the President’s children in a video about the President’s hypocrisy for more gun rights restrictions by the federal government. While not quite as bad as President Obama’s use of children, the NRA could have make their point without using directly using the President’s children in their video.

Both sides think trotting out children is a useful strategy in swaying public opinion. Even on more local issues, like seat belt laws. Who would ever be against requiring children to be safe on today’s roads with all the horrible drivers? Apparently in Texas even those who say they are conservative like to use kids. Case in point, Texas State Senator Dan Patrick. While Dan has been conservative in the past before becoming a State Senator, his credentials have become tarnished more and more. In 2010 Dan backed a new law which added three years and over a foot and a half to the requirements for mandatory booster seats for children.

Senator Patrick told on air how lobbyists spoke with him about the “need” to increase the height and age requirements and he backed it “for the children”. This was disturbing to hear coming from someone who champions less government in our lives as their campaign platform.

So the next time anyone comes out and uses the reason, no the excuse for creating or voting for a new law is they were trying to “think of the children” do some research. Odds are it was very likely a bad piece of legislation if they have to resort to stooping that low.

Super Nova: Movie Star Jackie Chan Accuses US of Being the Most Corrupt Nation

14 Jan

Has anyone ever changed their mind on an issue based on what a movie star, music artist or other celebrity has said? If so I highly doubt those people did any research into the topic of discussion. Most people listen to celebrities speak on a subject and have their beliefs reinforced for or against the issue. What I never understand is why someone who makes their money of the general public speaks about a controversial topic only to alienate a large percentage of those who pay their paycheck.

Yet day in and day out the media is more than willing find the latest “star” who wants to tell the world what he or she thinks on a topic. The latest to get his turn is Jackie Chan. I have enjoyed his movies for years and years. From the Rush Hour series to his work prior to doing US based movies, Chan has made some good, enjoyable movies. However, going forward I will now think twice before paying to see any new movies or buying any movies on DVD/Blu-ray.

During article at the Washington Post [1], Jackie Chan gave his view of corruption of China, the United States and the world. He made a valid point of the corruption in all nations. Mr. Chan could have stopped there, had many people agree with him and actually gained supporters. His point would have been accepted and people supported the idea of ending as much government corruption as possible.

No nation is 100% free from corruption. From a federal to a local level some corruption exists in governments world wide. Unfortuately, like most people when they are on a roll, they don’t know when to stop.  Chan pushed his luck and attacked the United States specifically when he said it was “the most corrupt in the world”. Really Jackie? The US is the most corrupt? I think Mr. Chan needs to get out a bit more. Perhaps a trip to the Middle East or some Central American countries would open his eyes to some real nasty corruption of the government. I doubt he would make the journeys though.

Chan did acknoledge there was corruption in China. At least he’s honest about it being there though he is fooling himself to the degree which it exists. Ironically, he is opposed to revealing the corruption in his own country to the rest of the world. During the interview Chan stated the following:

“We know our country has many problems. We [can] talk about it when the door is closed. To outsiders, [we should say] “our country is the best.”

So honesty apparently is not the best policy according to Jackie Chan. I understand someone wanting to support their “home” country. It’s a somewhat natural instinct for a person to defend what they hold dear. But to do so and be dishonest to people about how bad things are is flat out wrong. Admitting how bad things are is one way to help bring about changing those things.

But perhaps Mr. Chan knows this and the change he wants isn’t what he would get if he were honest about the corruption in China. According to the article in the Washington Post, he has been critical of the more democratic governments of Hong Kong and Taiwan. He has noted those governments give the people there  “too much freedom.” It seems Jackie likes to have government run the lives people when he sees fit. According an article at the shanghaiist.com [2] Chan stated:

“People scold China’s leaders, or anything else they like, and protest against everything. The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed.”

Ah yes, nothing like some government sanctioned protests to really get things changed huh Jackie? Perhaps he would like to give back all the money he has made from the movie industry here in the United States back, return fully to China and let the Chinese government tell him what movies he can and cannot make. I’m pretty certain he would object to THAT much government control of his life. But then again, hypocrisy is nothing new to celebrities. In fact it’s almost as rampant as misinformed rantings or cheating spouses. But Jackie would never cheat on his spouse. Oops. Spoke too soon.

 

References –

  1. The anti-Americanism of Jackie Chan – The Washington Post
  2. Hong Kong has ‘become a city of protest’ and America is the ‘most corrupt in the world’ – shanghaiist

Feeling Peppy: Prison Entrepreneurship Program

3 Jan

The United States, being a nation of laws, must enforce them to keep our relative peace. By doing so prisons were created to house the varying degree of law breakers. Some of them are there for “small” crimes others for things much, much worse. Over half of those who are released commit a crime and go back to prison. As noted in Wikipedia, “A 2002 study survey showed that among nearly 275,000 prisoners released in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years, and 51.8% were back in prison.” [1]

The cycle habitual return to crime (ie. recidivism), is a problem for society as a whole. People who go to prison are rarely rehabilitated. This is a key to breaking the cycle of recidivism. Is there anything being done to creating the key? Enter the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, PEP.

PEP is a entrepreneurship program focused on refocusing the minds and hearts of men in prison. It takes the same basic business concepts they were using for their illegal businesses and refocuses them into creating legitimate business which actually contribute to their communities. From the About Us page on the PEP website [2]:

“… Former Wall Street investor Catherine Rohr founded PEP in May of 2004 when she toured a prison and noticed that executives and inmates had more in common than most would think. They know how to manage others to get things done. Even the most unsophisticated drug dealers inherently understand business concepts such as competition, profitability, risk management and proprietary sales channels. For both executives and inmates, passion is instinctive. …”

There is, of course, some initial and understandable skepticism of any program which claims to reform those who have been in prison. The Prison Entrepreneurship Program has the results to prove it is a legitimate and successful model. Some statistics from the Results page on the PEP site [3]:

3-Year Recidivism
Texas: Around 25%
PEP: Less than 5%

Employment
Within 30 days of release: 70%
Within 90 days of release: 100%
Average Starting Wage: $9.51/hour
Average Time to Find Job: 26 days

Entrepreneurship
# PEP Graduate Businesses: At least 106

Housing
# PEP Transition Homes in Houston: 2
# PEP Transition Homes in Dallas: 1
Total Capacity of Homes: 41 beds
% Grads Released to PEP Housing: 65%

Outreach in 2011
Family Members Visiting Prison: Nearly 400
Executive Volunteers in Prison: Over 400
Business Plan Advisors: Over 200

Where prisons are failing, PEP is succeeding. The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is setting a model for others to use and implement. It is also raising the standard for real rehabilitation of those in prison. The net results are more than financial. The healing of families and raising children with solid morals and values makes society better and stronger.

Not every person in prison is able to get into the PEP program. There will always be those in the prison system who are beyond rehabilitation and need to stay behind bars for the safety of society and themselves. But for those who truly want to change, who have the potential to give something back to a society they were harming, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program is a key to changing the game of repeat offenders.

I highly encourage everyone to look into the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and spread the word. If we, as a people, want to see real changes to those who have violated the laws of the land more programs like PEP are a very good place to start.

References –

  1. Incarceration – Wikipedia
  2. About Us – PEP Website
  3. Results – PEP Website