Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All the world's a stage, and you are not the lead role.

So, today, Comrade Obama gave a speech to the United Nations about how the world's fucked up, and why we, as a Global Community, need to collectively "unfuck" it. Continuing in the tradition of virtually every other president since Woodrow Wilson, Mr. Obama lectured the audience on  accountability and responsibility in a semi-apologetic, and highly presumptuous manner. Though I'll give him  a few bonus points for talking about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict without leaving the latter out in the rain (well, perhaps in a world where words speak louder than actions), I'm not going to be able to give him a winning score.

Why? Because Mr. Obama is falling into the same "Leader of the Free World" trap that all of our other leaders tend to fall into. I realize that America, despite our socio-economic woes, is still quite a powerful and influential country, but a simple glance at the map will reveal that we are not the only "free country" on the planet. In fact, given the utter brutalization of our civil liberties by post 9/11 legislation, we're probably one of the less free countries in the Western World (give or take). 

The problem is that our leaders have the dreadful tendency to address the world as though it was a audience (or even worse, a classroom), prattling on about global responsibilities as they were the only adults in the room. You'd think that at least Mr. Obama would realize the utter irony in such semantics, given how our "diplomacy" has been handled over the last few years, but alas, the madness continues.


But seriously .

One thing that American Leaders, and much of America for that matter, need to realize is that just because we're a major player in the game, does not mean we run it and can abuse the rules. Like it or not, this is, in fact, a Global Community, and the more we treat International Diplomacy like a game of hop-scotch, the less our allies will be willing to take us seriously. In the end, Macho-Americanism is nice for elections, but earns us very little in the global arena.

My suggestion? Let's try not attempting to run the world like a poorly coordinated football team. Before we can presume to know about accountability, let's first show what it means. Maybe we could stop selling arms to countries embroiled in combat? Maybe we could stop sending operatives to counties struggling against dictators? Maybe we could stop invading countries with no provocation?

Then, maybe we can ride a purple whale to the Cloud Kingdom! (lolidealism)

Monday, September 21, 2009

9/12 is Over

(Now that my college schedule has settled itself, and I'm not running back and forth between the Bursar's Office or Financial Aid, its time to get back to work).

Despite, how much I hold the man in almost utter contempt, Mr. Beck just seems to keep drawing attention to himself. Most recently by using his usual pro-fear propaganda to to encourage support for the Tea Party rally that happened on the 12th of September. Yet, I don't want this blog to just be about bashing Mr. Beck, otherwise I might as well just change the title to Olbermannia or something. No, I think that today I'm going to discuss something that's rather important to my own outlook, and how I think we should be handling a lot of the problems we see today.

We're going to talk about stoicism.

Personally, I don't profess to follow the tradition as it was laid down by the Hellenes; despite how much I prefer to rely on logic and reason more than emotion, that doesn't mean we should completely forget to feel. Especially since doing so would almost certainly require that we also throw out intuition. I also reject the idea of determinism that typically coincides with stoicism, because I place more trust in statistics than "cosmic powers".

So then, why cry stoicism?

I consider myself to be some amount of a stoic because I believe that in the face of hardship or suffering, we must not cling to to the time and place in which they occurred. We must certainly address the issues that lead us to that place, and hope through analysis and extrapolation that we can avoid them in the future. But, in the end, as our ancestors have since the dawn of humanity, we must move on. If we bury out heads in the sorrows of the past, then we shall never see the future that awaits us.

Perhaps this notion will seem callous to some, particularly those who have lost greatly. But all of us have experienced loss, and, yet, this is the way of things. There will almost certainly always be disasters and catastrophes, just as there always have been. What is important is not the pain we feel for those who are lost, but how we come together as a community and address the problem. We owe far too much to those we morn to cloak ourselves in despair. We must move on.

This is why I take issue with people who keep reminding us of 9/11 and the abject terror we experienced, particularly those such as "you-know-who" who keep saying we need to go back and remember how we felt the day after. Why? So we can relive the pain and shock ad infinitum? At what point in our history has fear-and -despair-mongering provided anything positive?

Never. We need to move forward. It is true that upon 9/12/2001 this country experienced perhaps the single greatest rush of patriotism in our time (in mine at least), but 9/12/2001 has passed, and short of someone "reseting the clock", its not going to happen again. Should we remember what happened on 9/11? Yes. Should we remember the feelings of unity that we felt in the days and months after? Yes. Should we dwell upon the pain we felt? NO! No amount of morning or sadness will bring those who are lost. Instead, we must cherish our time with them, and carry them in hearts and minds as we continue down the path of life. Most of all, we must not let our melancholy turn to a rage that will blind us to truth of our circumstances.

In the long history of this country (and, for that matter, this species), catastrophe and panic have struck the polis, and yet we are still here. In the end, we have always achieved the most by looking forward, instead of turning back. We do a disservice to not only ourselves, but all of those who have come before us and strived for the sake of their progeny, to do otherwise.

Heads up, eyes ahead, and, in name of those who have come before, those who walk beside you, and those who shall come after: Forward.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Trial of Reason

So, according to an article on, some are beginning to speculate that the series of probes into CIA interrogation practices are a subtle hint that many of the top leaders during the Bush era, including Bush himself, may be going to trial. I'll be honest in saying that I have my doubts, since those leaders not only still have support in large numbers (literally millions), but also because those supporters and their corresponding legislators will be pouring forth complaints that such a trial would be "unpatriotic". As though you could literally skip through the streets throwing shit on everyone, but as long as you were chanting "America! America! Hooray America!" it would be alright.

The issue of patriotism in America is probably one of my favorite conundrums of our political spectrum. What am I exactly referring to? Please, correct me if I'm wrong:

Given: Our forefathers/mothers were subjects of a great empire, who grew sore of no representation in the power of the land.
Given: Our forefathers/mothers, after questioning the legitimacy of British Rule, did proceed to rebel against them.
Given: After freeing themselves, our forefathers/mothers did eventually set up a form of government that would considered quite radical alongside all of the despotisms and monarchies of the day.
Given: This system, being republican in nature, and thereby a form of pseudo-democracy, was created expecting there would be differences of opinion.
Given: This system would require the active voting population to be constantly aware of those in power, and be prepared to organize and strip them of their positions, if necessary.

Summary: Our forefathers/mothers bled and died freeing the seed of our country from an oppressive empire, and after doing so set up a system of representation that required active awareness on the part of the voting public.

Question: Why do so many of the American public refuse to challenge the actions and words of their representatives?
Question: Why do so many of the American public see questioning the policies of the government to be unpatriotic?

(The questions presume a Bush Era setting, but please feel free to apply them to any administration.)

Obviously, when the nation is under threat, there's due reason to band together, and we're never going to get anywhere if we live in a constant state of paranoia. But this does not excuse that sheer dishonesty and immorality of Bush Era policy. The country by and large rallied behind the president in the face of a highly organized, but well hidden enemy, and in return for this trust, that presidency of the time took away civil liberties, mislead the public frequently, set up torture programs, invaded the wrong country, and altogether instilled more terror into this polis than those three planes ever did!

Should Bush, Darth Cheney, and their cronies be taken to court?

By their collars.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Antioch: Reloaded

Frankly, when word came to my ear (well, eye) that the ever-determined alumni board had finally managed to wrestle control of Antioch College from the Board of Trustees, I was rather surprised. By this point, I had pretty much resolved myself to the fact that the Alumni Board might very well have been damned to eternal, legal combat with the Board of Trustees: Doomed to fight unto the end of days. Yet, apparently, documents are being signed, plans are being finalized, and an Independent Antioch College is about to rise from the ashes, like some sort of psychedelic phoenix. I guess we'll just pick right up where we left off then, eh?


Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but respect but the multitudes of alumni who have given up their jobs, and put their lives on hold over the last two odd years to work towards such an achievement. Antiochian's are, if anything, an incredibly convicted and determined lot, and certainly know a thing or two about grass roots organizing. Admittedly, there's still the arduous task of rebuilding a college, but based on what I've seen, there's little doubt in my mind that it can be accomplished.

However,  having now properly praised the efforts of the alumni, I feel obligated, if not bound by some unwritten, cosmic law, to make the following the statement: 

Fuck the Board of Trustees.

For whatever reason, whenever I heard news that the titanic clash between the AB, or the ACCC, and the BoT was still going on, I felt a compulsion to fire off a rant about accountability and basic business ethics. Believe me when I say that I'm quite over the mess, and I'm quite happy to be graduating from NYU. But, since I'm rather keen to Management Theory, I don't seem to be able to simply shrug off being dragged through the emotional mud for two semesters by a bunch careless twits who forgot that they were fucking up not only the education progression of the students involved but also that of the community of the entire village of Yellow...

Okay, so maybe I'd not quite over it yet, but should anyone? Obviously, its not good to carry a grudge, but the fact that the majority of the BoT have still yet to be truly held accountable for their actions is incredibly disheartening. I'm not saying I want blood (the utter annihilation of their professional credibility would suffice, resulting in an existence devoted to the completion of menial and unfulfilling tasks), but these people should not be given the freedom to fuck around with the educational careers of anyone else!



I'm going to stop myself there, because I'm likely to go on, ad infinitum, until I run myself out of mental energy otherwise.

Rock on, Alumni.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Death of Statesman

It was my original intent pay my respects for Mr. Kennedy (via blog) on the day it was announced he passed away, but as virtually anyone can attest, sometimes the words are simply not there (even when you feel like a douche that they're not). By this point, there's very little that I can add to the cascade of postmortem adoration that Mr. Kennedy has been receiving this week. So, chances are, none of this will sound very unique.

Among many, many, things, I found Mr. Kennedy to be respectful for the means by which he conducted himself in Congress. Its not news that the bureaucracy within the Federal Government has gotten out of control, and anyone who observes or participates in politics (or virtually any other government run organization) can attest to the mind-numbing amount of time and productivity that is wasted over the simplest of things. The fact that Mr. Kennedy was able to hang in there for almost five decades certainly speaks to his endurance.

But what made Mr. Kennedy a true Statesmen was not merely his mental fortitude, but his persistence and his willingness to work for results. Let's be honest here, not everyone in congress does their job (indeed, it could be presumed that some are probably being payed not to), in fact, a lot of congressmen and congresswomen seem to be there just to cause gridlock and tension and/or make us give up hope in them (and, therein our governmental functions). In this, if there is but one thing that you must respect this man for, it must be his commitment to the American People. Not just the people of Massachusetts, or just Democrats: Everyone. If that doesn't make him a true American Statesman, I don't see how such a title could be attainable.

Whether you agreed with his politics or not, there is good reason to respect his tenacity. Anyone who's payed attention to the dynamics of an organization knows in that order for things to get done, you need what is called a doer. You need someone who can visualize the end result, and maintain the necessary ambition and confidence to see it through. You need someone who knows the process and can make it work, even when the opposing force is doing all that it can to either distract the people or halt the process in its entirely. You need someone with the fiery passion to take on dissenters, and guileful charisma to build bridges between opposing interests.

You need someone like Mr. Kennedy.

We salute you, oh Lion of the Senate.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


For all of the Athiests and non-Fundies in the crowd: God's Checklist 2.0

Monday, August 24, 2009

Glenn Beck, Racism, and other turds that just won't flush.

Surely by now, news has reached the ears of most that well over 30 corporations have pulled their advertising from the Glenn Beck Program over a little comment about the President being a racist that Glenn Beck made this week. I can't imagine that most people are surprised by the comment. Glenn Beck has been trying with an almost respectable determination to mask his hatred of the President since the inauguration (if not before it), by trying to label him as a socialist, as anti-american, as trying to enforce a double standard, etc... Yet, anyone who's familiar with Glenn's politics probably could have guessed that this day would arrive.

Will this be the end of Glenn Beck? Most likely not. He's probably too self-righteous to apologize, and I doubt there's going to be much of a backlash from his audience. Not to mention that most of his sponsors will probably come running back after the mess blows over (which the democrats will probably try to stop at all costs). Do I think that Glenn Beck should be censored or reprimanded? No. I think his commentary is typically supported more by propaganda than fact, and I typically find his approach to commentary somewhere between unnecessarily spiteful and outright pathetic. Outside of baleful precedent, I doubt we'd loose much if he were taken off the air. But, I enjoy my freedom of speech, even if it means to I have to share it with skin-heads and other close-minded morons, and have neither desire nor patience for double standards.

However, this doesn't change the fact that I found his comments to be offensive and simple-minded. The President is a racist, really? Why, because he's willing to bring up issues of racism, despite it being more convenient for people like you to try and ignore them to death, even though you'll never have to deal with them? You think there's a double standard for women, minorities... oh, fuck it! ...for non-white/male/heterosexual persons to get into places of power in this country? You betcha! You know why? Because, apparently, the experiences that they have had in life might influence the way they see the world. Because, apparently, the experiences of us white/male/heterosexual persons do not influence the way we think. After all, its not like any of Glenn Beck's personal experiences have shaped the way he views the world and makes judgement calls. Nope. People like Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly are completely objective in their world views. God Bless America. Let's all have a drink, and go watch Madmen.

Obvious satire aside, I wouldn't urge anyone to make a fuss about this. In the grand scheme of things, this will most likely be a blip on the radar. Glenn Beck will return to acting like a whiny, arrogant, puke, and America will be neither the better nor the worse for it. If you agree with me in believing that he has nothing positive to add to society, then I would urge you to simply not watch his show (if his ratings disappear, then so will he). If you agree with Glenn Beck that people like me have nothing positive to add to society, then I'm somewhat curious as to why you bothered to read this. Oh well, at least it distracted you from your agenda for a few minutes. Score.