Friday, December 17, 2010

Bob Corker Hates America

Recently a bill to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" passed the US House of Representatives and was then sent to the Senate for a vote. Polls show that a large majority of Americans support repealing DADT, in fact a recent poll says that 77% of Americans support repealing DADT. Obviously Bob Corker doesn't care what Americans think.

Currently thousands of men and women are bravely serving our nation who, in order to get the chance to risk their lives for us, had to lie about who they are. They have to lie every day about who they are. When they come home from Iraq or Afghanistan they don't get off the plane or the boat and look out to see the most important person in the world. They can only look out and wish they wouldn't be risking their job if they ran out and gave their partner a hug and a kiss. Bob Corker obviously doesn't care about the brave men and women in our military forces.

Bob Corker cares so little about our service men and women and what the majority of Americans want that he wants to stop the vote on the repeal. In order to stop the vote he has announced that he will try and stop the vote on the START Treaty if the DADT vote comes up. The START Treaty will reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world. Nuclear weapons that are currently aimed directly at the United States. This treaty will improve our national security and make us all safer. The START Treaty is supported by people like George Bush, Sr. and Jr. There is a long list of both Republicans and Democrats who support the passage of the START Treaty and who say that it is necessary for our national security. Bob Corker obviously doesn't care about our national security.

Bob Corker doesn't care about what the people of this country want. Bob Corker doesn't care about the brave members of our military. Bob Corker doesn't care about our national security. Bob Corker hates America and we should do everything in our power to make sure he doesn't get another term in the senate.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Approximately a year ago I posted the following blog post. I am reposting it because we now stand closer than we ever have to repealing the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, the Pentagon says it doesn't benefit the military, poll after poll show that a clear majority of Americans want DADT repealed and yet certain members of the look like they are going to fight the repeal so as to make the repeal fail or at least to delay the vote. This is not about the military, this is not about what the people of this country want, this is about politicians reaching for power and favors and trying to keep themselves in office. Make this difficult for them, write your senators, both republicans and democrats and tell them to repeal this misguided program, tell them to stand up against any plans to delay voting on the repeal and tell them that one of the biggest issues of this past election was voters feeling like their representatives aren't listening to them. The people have spoken over and over again on this issue and now our Senators need to listen to us and act accordingly.

Find out how to contact your Senators here,
and take the time to contact them, then repost this information everywhere you can so the Senate has no choice but to listen to us and to start supporting our troops, all of our troops.


Thoughts about a homecoming story.

Listening to the radio on my way home from work tonight I heard a reporter tell the stories of a few military families as they waited for their loved ones to return home from Iraq. They talked about their excitement and joy at getting to see their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, boyfriends and girlfriends again for the first time in many months. They talked about the pride they feel knowing that their loved one is sacrificing so much for their country. They talked about the sacrifices they themselves make, waiting at home, anticipating that next letter or call or email. Making sure that they take advantage of every chance to tell their sailor or marine how much they love them and how proud they are of them.

A few minutes into the story the magic moment arrived. In the background you could hear the sound of buses pulling up and a growing wave of cheers, shouts, and cries of joy. The reporter related in great detail the scene of uniformed men and women rushing from the buses and being swept up in a wall of hugs and tears and  kisses. I could easily visualize the scene the reporter talked about and could feel how powerful and joyful of a moment this had to be for everyone involved.

Well almost everyone. The reporter then turned to a family who could only stand and watch as the other families greeted their returning heroes. The father in the family explained that it had been their plan all along to be there that day, to greet his son as he stepped off the bus, to give him the kind of hug that only seems to be possible after a long separation. Sadly this wouldn't be possible as their son had been killed in Iraq, still, they wanted to share a little bit of the joy the other families were feeling. It made my heart hurt a little less for them knowing that the other families were doing everything they could to help them through this, that they were willing to take a break from their celebrations to help this family who could only celebrate their memories, to acknowledge that they were all part of a bigger family, a military family, and that like any good family they would be there for each other to lean on.

I was still sad for one other group though, this group was never mentioned in the story, and it is possible that that particular day they weren't even there. I know that this forgotten group of American heroes is often present on days like this though and it saddens me greatly.

Imagine stepping off the bus having just returned from a long deployment, risking your life every day for the country you love. Imagine looking out into that sea of people waiting for the return of you and your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines. Imagine looking out into that crowd and not seeing the person that you love the most. Worse, imagine stepping off that bus and seeing the person that you love so much but not being able to run to him or her and throw your arms around them and kiss them with the passion you feel for them deep in your heart, a passion intensified by the months you have spent apart. Imagine the distance that separated you all those months seemed even greater because you had to temper all of your letters, your emails, your phone calls so as to keep your love for each other a secret. Imagine all of this. Imagine the loneliness, imagine the empty feeling you would have knowing that you have to wait to get that welcome home kiss, that "thank God you are back" embrace, and the reason that you have to wait is because of the government of the very country you have been risking your life for.

Thanksgiving is upon us and I think we owe it to the fine men and women who serve our country and who also just happen to be gay or lesbian to be able to get that kiss, that embrace upon seeing the person they love for the first time in months. They deserve to be able to serve their country as who they are, Americans. Americans who just happen to love someone of the same gender. We should let them be as thankful for living in this great country as we are, and that means never making them question why they are giving up so much to fight for a nation that is forcing them to live a lie.


So, indulge me for a few minutes here as I break into a discussion of macroeconomics and current US economic policy.

Currently the Federal Reserve Bank is doing its best to encourage inflation. By keeping interest rates as low as they can possibly keep them they are trying to get consumers and businesses to spend money and crank up demand. The government has also pumped a lot of newly printed money into the economy which tends to lower the value of the dollar which when combined with the theoretical increase in demand created by artificially low interest rates should cause prices to rise, in other words, inflation.

Why would the Fed want to cause inflation? Simple, it is relatively easy to control inflation as you can simply raise interest rates and quell demand. So if something less than positive has to happen the Fed seems to think that inflation is the way to go, especially since the alternative, deflation, scares the guys at the Fed more than almost anything else in the world.

So let's talk about deflation for a second. Deflation is basically a way of saying that prices are falling, which of course sounds great. We all love getting a deal and walking into a store to find that everything is cheaper than it was the week before sounds like a pretty exciting prospect, especially when this happens during a bad economy and so many of us are watching our spending so closely.

This is where it gets tricky though, you see deflation is often times caused by a bad economy causing consumers and businesses to reduce their spending. As demand decreases manufactures reduce production and reduce their workforces, these layoffs cause an even greater reduction in demand which also leads to a reduction in prices to try and clear old merchandise off of stores shelves. This reduction in prices is of course, deflation. So prices start dropping, but they tend to drop in a rather gradual manner. Consumers knowing that prices are dropping can then enter something of a waiting game, patiently holding off on purchasing to see just how low the price might go. So even while prices are dropping consumers may still not spend at levels to raise demand to levels that would inspire companies to hire and even worse these same companies are making less money on each item sold and so they might even result to further layoffs to save money. This out of control downward trend is known as a "deflationary spiral" and there isn't much the Federal Reserve Bank can do to slow it down once it starts. Many believe the Great Depression can be explained as a deflationary spiral.

Add to this the fact that deflation hurts borrowers. When we enter a deflationary period we know that prices go down, this decrease in price is accompanied by an increase in the value of the dollar as each dollar can buy more. If you take out a loan with set monthly payments, of say $300.00, then as prices decline, but your loan payments remain the same, then you are actually paying more each month as your $300.00 has gone up in value.

Let's look at our current economic situation. Demand is low because of high unemployment and a slow economy. Savings rates are higher than they have been in years which reduces the amount of currency in circulation and would tend to increase the value of the dollar.  So it seems that we should be experiencing deflation right now. But we aren't.

Currently we are experiencing very low levels of inflation, barely over 1%, but prices are still rising when it seems that they should be dropping. Why is this? Well the Fed's effort to spur inflation is working, just not in the way it should. Instead of low interest rates increasing demand, which isn't happening to any great extent (banks are still rather hesitant to loan money and so the lower interest rates aren't allowing consumers and businesses to spend more) what they are doing is, however, having an effect on the value of the dollar on the international currency market. The dollar has been maintaining a fairly low value against other currencies because of the low interest rates set by the Fed, this means that the price of imported goods, which are much of what we buy these days, stays up and, in my opinion, is responsible for keeping us from entering a deflationary period.

But just as prices aren't dropping as we might have expected them to several decades ago before the manufacture and production of so many of the goods and items we purchase shifted to other countries so of the negative aspects of deflation might not occur as we would expect.

Lets say the Fed started promoting deflation instead of inflation. The first thing the Fed would do is raise interest rates. Currently I think this would have a very minor impact on demand in the US economy as banks won't be any less likely to loan money with high interest rates than they have been with low interest rates, in fact they might be willing to loan more cash as they would see higher possible profits once interest rates were raised. Raising interest rates would cause an increase in investor demand for US currency though as the value of our currency increased. This would cause money to be removed from circulation which would cause a further increase in the value of the dollar and a decrease in the prices consumers pay at the store.

If the value of the dollar increased quickly enough and prices fell fast enough I don't think we would see consumers waiting for even lower prices, especially if there is pent up demand that lower prices could tap into by overcoming consumer caution. We also wouldn't see major layoffs in the US as most of the manufacturing jobs negatively impacted by deflation have already moved out of the US and those jobs wouldn't be as negatively impacted because the reduction in the end prices paid by consumers would be offset by the increase in the value of the dollar being paid to these foreign manufacturers.

So we could see reduced prices, increased demand, and no real unemployment threat if we venture into deflationary territory. Yes, borrowers would still be negatively impacted, but the current economic situation is hurting them just as much. So please, if anyone reading this knows someone at the Fed tell them to reconsider their forecasting models, it seems they would have worked great 40 years ago, but they come up short in the global economy. Go Deflation!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Economic localvores

OK, I am not a fan of organic foods. Plain and simple I can't find any firm scientific evidence that organically produced foods offer any real health benefits, but I can see lots of economic reasons to not purchase foods labeled as "organic". Organic foods cost more, plain and simple, they are also very popular currently and so more and more food producers are jumping on the organic bandwagon. Do not be misled, just because food is produced in a way that allows it to be labeled as organic does not mean that it was produced on a small farm, by a farmer interested in protecting your health and the health of the environment. Much of the organic food we find in our local grocery stores is produced by large corporations and is produced in ways that mean it takes more land to produce the same amount of food. The simple use of land for agriculture is harmful to the environment because it displaces local flora and fauna if nothing else, and quite often it is produced half way around the world and comes with less shelf life than normal production methods and so it has to be shipped in ways that use more fossil fuels and harms the environment even more. Also the increase in organic food production could, if it hasn't already, cause an overall increase in the price of things like fresh produce making it harder for low income families and individuals to afford a healthy diet.

So no, I don't care for organic foods, I do, however, think that buying locally produced foods is a wonderful idea. Not only are you purchasing foods that took less energy to transport to your grocery store but you are also buying food that tends to be fresher, buying produce that had a chance to stay "on the vine" longer and that will probably taste better, and you are also supporting your local farmers and agricultural workers. Buying local, becoming a localvore, is a wonderful idea with very few drawbacks in my opinion.

Being a localvore can go way beyond food though. If you bank with a locally owned and operated bank there is a good chance that you won't be dealing with the people that pushed the high risk loans that helped to cause the current mortgage crisis. If you buy from a locally owned retailer you will be helping your local economy more than if the profits from your purchase are sent to another state or another country. If you deal with local companies the layers of bureaucracy you have to go through to get satisfaction if there is a problem with your purchase will probably be reduced.

Buying locally, locally produced goods, from retailers based in your area, from service providers who are your neighbors, makes sense for all of us. We all suffered because we allowed corporations to get "to big to fail". Lets instead start supporting companies that are small enough to care, it might be a little more expensive in the short run but in the long run it might help us save, not just money but our overall economy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Biblical Authority

This past Sunday my partner and I were in Plains, GA to see some friends of ours. One of our friends happens to be the pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains which is a small church but a remarkably well known church as well, you see Maranatha counts one of the most famous Sunday school teachers in the world as one of its members, former President Jimmy Carter.

President Carter still teaches Sunday school as often as his schedule will let him and he was in Plains and teaching so we were able to enjoy his class this past Sunday. He entered the crowded room filled with people from around the country there so they could get as close to a President of the United States as they could and he started off asking the same question he asks at the beginning of all of his classes, "Are there any visitors here today?"

This is a man who is 86 years old and still quick as can be and completely on top of his game. Not only is he still well respected around the world but he also has the ability to stir things up in his own home town. In his lesson he read Romans 13:1-3, verses in which the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome. Let me quote the verses for you from the New International Version Bible;

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.

This is an interesting bit of text, you see Paul is telling the church in Rome that they should not stand up to the Roman government because the Roman government only exists because God allows them to exist and going against the government is to go against God. Of course this forces us to ask some rather unpleasant questions, if we had lived in Nazi Germany would we have been wrong to stand up against Hitler's government? Were the Vietnam war protesters in the US wrong in the eyes of God? Must Christians sit back and say nothing against their government and simply follow all of the laws and regulations the government establishes? 

I commend President Carter for raising these questions and turning an event that for most is simply a formality they must sit through in order to get their photo made with President Carter into a moment in which all of us were forced to stop and think about what it is that we actually believe.

Many individuals in the Tea Party movement would consider themselves Biblical literalists, taking every word in the Bible as the word of God, but if this is what they believe how can they rail against our government so strongly? How can any of us follow a God that would command us to accept a regime like the Nazis, could God be responsible for putting monsters like this in power?

President Carter offered a very reasonable answer, although I must admit it was a bit surprising to hear from a Southern Baptist in a church in rural Southern Georgia. President Carter reminded us all that the church in Rome was very small when Paul wrote to them, very small and very vulnerable. The Roman government could have easily have crushed the Christian Church in Rome with little effort and President Carter argued that Paul was advising the church in Rome to not make waves, to lay low, to avoid attracting attention. Paul according to President Carter was advising the church in Rome that to stand up against the Roman Government would be the end of the church in Rome and so the best way to serve God was in fact to respect the authority of the Roman government in this case. He then added that this information was specifically for the church in Rome and that it probably didn't apply today.

President Carter was saying that not every word in the Bible applies to us today and that if we were ever in doubt we should compare the passage we are having doubts about to the teachings of Jesus Christ himself and if the two are in conflict to rely on Christ's teachings. This would be considered by many Christians to be a rather radical statement as they believe that the Bible is the word of God and to go against any of it (even though it does seem very self contradictory in many places) is to go against God. Of course this means that the Tea Partiers were sinning with all of their calls to stand up to the US government and it means that anti-abortion protesters should stand down and accept the right of a woman to have an abortion as this right came from a government which Paul tells us was established and endorsed by God.

So maybe these verses from Romans will be what causes many Biblical literalists and Christian fundamentalists to decided that not every word of the Bible was intended for them or for our time. Maybe they will start to see the Bible as more of a living document that has to be read with the perspective that comes from living in the 21st century. Of course this would make it hard for them to defend the stance that most Christian Churches have taken against gay marriage, it would make it hard for them to not fight as hard as they can for things like universal health care, support for the poor, help for the disabled, and to fight for the equality of all man-kind.

You raise an interesting question President Carter, do we listen to Paul and simply let the government do as it will as it is an extension of God's power? Or do we follow the example set by Christ and focus on the needs of the poor and marginalized in our society who Jesus always stood up for? This is an easy one for me to answer, I just wish we could get an answer to this question out of all of the major religious leaders in our country. And I bet they will be talking about this in Plains for a few days to come.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The 2 party system must end.

In 2008 the economy was in terrible shape and Americans were angry with how George Bush and the Republicans had been running the country. So what did the voters do? They did the only thing they could, they voted in a bunch of Democrats.

Now in 2010 the economy is in terrible shape and Americans are unhappy with how Barrack Obama and the Democrats are running the country. So what did the voters do? They expressed their anger in the only way they can, they voted in a bunch of Republicans, you know, members of the party that they were so angry with two years earlier that they replaced many of the Republicans in Congress and many Republican governors with Democrats. They took the party that was seen as being responsible for the severe economic down turn and put them back in power because they really didn't see any other way of punishing the Democrats who they were not happy with.

Imagine if there had been other choices besides the Democrats and Republicans in this elections. Imagine if there had not just been a viable third party but a viable 4th and 5th and 6th parties as well. Some people will imagine this and think it sounds like chaos, but to me it sounds like a way to make government work.

With just 2 parties there is little incentive for either party to try and govern effectively. They realize that it is easier, far easier, to win elections by making the other party look bad than it is to win elections by governing effectively. This is why between 2008 and 2010 the Republicans became the party of "No" and offered steadfast resistance to any policies promoted by the Democrats no matter what the policies were. Now that the Republicans control the house I would be willing to bet money that Democrats in the House will take on a much more obstructionist stance as they see it as the easiest way to stand out in voter's minds. In other words we have institutionalized grid lock and a nearly complete inability to deal with the problems facing our nation.

But if you had five parties in Congress with similar numbers of representatives things would change considerably. Any two of these parties could join up (and since the divisions between the parties would probably be diluted with the inclusion of more parties the likelihood that two parties would join up should increase) and get a considerable amount of legislation passed. This means that all the parties would be encouraged to start working together to make themselves look good instead of just trying to make one other party look bad. Additional parties would also help spread out the money being donated by large corporations and other special interest groups and reduce their over all influence.

So what do we do? Continue swapping out the 2 parties every few years or do we eliminate the 2 party system and make our government work again?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Christine O'Donnell is a Marxist?

In a recent debate with her opponent, Chris Coons for the Delaware Senate seat once held by Vice President Biden, Christine O'Donnell accused Mr. Coons of supporting tenets of Marxism like raising taxes and bigger government. Of course Ms. O'Donnell is a supporter of reducing taxes and smaller government. This brings up an interesting question.

You see Marxist ideology teaches that a revolution will lead, in the end, to a stateless society, in other words governments will go away as there will be no need for them as all they currently exist to do is, directly or indirectly, protect private property. Under Marxism there is no private property and therefore no need for government. So under Marxism there would be a great reduction in taxes, down to zero, and a huge reduction in the size of government, down to non-existent. No taxes, no government, sounds like Christine O'Donnell's perfect world.

Christine O'Donnell supports lowering taxes and reducing the size of government, both tenets of Marxism. She has recently stated in a TV ad that she isn't a witch, can we now assume that she is a Marxist?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Where are the marchers?

On Sunday, March 7th, 1965 a group of civil rights marchers set out on U.S. Highway 80, heading East from the town of Selma Alabama. They were attempting to draw attention to the system of segregation and institutionalized disenfranchisement that prevented African Americans from being able to register to vote and to actually vote. Between 500 and 600 marchers peacefully walked from Selma headed towards Montgomery, peacefully until they reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

On the far side of the bridge a group of state troopers were waiting for the protesters and when they arrived the protesters were told to go home. When one of the organizers of the march, the Reverend Hosea Williams, tried to talk to the troopers he was told there was nothing to discuss. Moments later the state troopers started to attack the protesters with night sticks and tear gas. This day became known as "Bloody Sunday"

On March 9th, two days after the violent attack on the protesters 2500 people marched to the same bridge. On March 21st around 8000 people marched, on March 25th around 25,000 people marched. 25,000 people from around the country responded to the violence against a minority group in a small Southern town and traveled there to show their support for what the marchers had originally set out to do and to show their support for their fellow Americans.

In Murfreesboro Tennessee the sign for a proposed Islamic community center has been vandalized twice and more recently construction equipment at the site has been set on fire by arsonists. What will it take to bring busloads of people to this small, Southern, town to show their support for their fellow Americans? I hope it doesn't require the kind of violence that occurred on Bloody Sunday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

God and gays

My partner and I met in a most, unusual way. I won't go into exactly how we met but suffice it to say that we met online and it is somewhat surprising that we met at all. When we first met we really weren't interested in each other and neither of us was interested in being in a relationship at all. Somehow we wound up meeting offline, in person, and somehow we wound up falling in love.

Somehow we figured out that we were pretty much perfect for each other. Somehow we wound up having all of this happen a few months before 2 of my good friends, who also became good friends of my partner, got married and invited us to their wedding. The wedding where we met the man who married them. This will become important a little later on.

Somehow Prop 8 in California passed the same night that Barrack Obama was elected President of the United States. Somehow my partner and I wound up helping to organize, in less than a week, one of the largest gay-rights protests in the history of Tennessee in response to the passage of Prop 8.

Somehow My partner and I wound up being able to buy a home and build a wonderful life together that included planning a vacation in San Francisco. Somehow this vacation wound up being just a couple of weeks after Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. A week later Judge Walker decided that the temporary stay he had issued should be lifted on August 18th, 2010, the day after we are to arrive in San Francisco for our vacation. San Francisco which is a short drive from Santa Cruz where the minister who performed my friend's wedding lives.

So we met, "by chance", we organized a protest of Prop 8 and now "by chance" we are going to be in California on the day Prop 8 is revoked and all people in California can marry the persons they love. "By Chance" we know a minister who lives near San Francisco who will be willing to marry to gay, punk, men.

"Chance"? I think none of this was really chance, and if you think God hates fags, well I think he brought me and my partner together and arranged for things to work out perfectly for us to get married (barring an emergency stay being granted to same sex marriage opponents). Yep, God loves fags, I have no doubt about that after experiencing my life.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A week or so ago news came out that Target donated $150,000.00 to a group supporting a conservative candidate for Governor in Minnesota. Target claims it supported this candidate because he is "business friendly" but many people were upset at the news because of the anti-gay stances this candidate has taken over the years. If Wal-Mart had supported the same candidate I doubt anyone would have noticed but Target has always promoted itself as a company that supports gay rights and so the donation the company made to support an anti-gay political candidate upset many.

The groups and individuals that have been calling for protests and boycotts of Target's stores across the country see this as a moral issue, someone should let them know that businesses aren't moral entities. Businesses exist to make a profit, plain and simple. The only businesses that care about gay rights are the companies that think support gay rights causes will help them increase their profits. They don't do it because it is the right thing to do or the moral thing to do, they do it because they hope it will put more money in their registers.

Nothing matters in the US anymore other than money. Target is doing exactly what any other large business would do, Yay capitalism.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Conservatives hate religious freedom

Conservatives love to talk about how we should strictly interpret the US Constitution and seem to think that it is some sort of infallible document created with a heavy dose of divine intervention. Then why is it that so many of them seem to hate the concept of religious freedom?

Here in Middle Tennessee there is a major battle brewing over the construction of a mosque. Muslims in the city of Mufreesboro have out grown their current facilities and are planning on building a new Islamic Center that would not only serve as a mosque but that would be open to everyone in the community who could use its planned meeting and exercise facilities. The public hearings for zoning approval have sounded like a modern version of the Salem Witch Trials.

The proponents of the mosque have been accused of wanting to build a terrorist training center here in Middle Tennessee. Sweeping claims of Muslims hating America have been made. Christian "pastors" have stood up to denounce Islam stating that the Quaran is a book that encourages racism and violence (have they not read the Old Testament lately). All of this has led to doubts that the mosque would ever get approval from the local government, but there is hope.

Today an article was published in the local Murfreesboro paper, The Daily News Journal that discusses the legal ramifications of the local government not allowing the mosque to be built. It seems that a law was passed by the overwhelmingly conservative Tennessee Legislature in 2009 that makes it almost impossible for a local government to deny approval for the construction of a church or any other religious institution. This means that more than likely the mosque will be approved and hopefully will be built so it can show people, over the years to come, how misguided their hatred and bigotry has been. But in the mean time we will have to listen to people complain. The attorney who brought the law mentioned above to the attention of the regional planning commission is quoted at the end of the article;

"I'm not very happy with this law," Dean said. "It just seems to me it goes way overboard. It seems to me that the local government should have more power to regulate religious institutions."

Conservatives want to give government, local or otherwise, more control over something? Especially control over religion? I guess this just shows that religious freedom is something that conservatives don't cherish.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The consequences of bigoted laws...

One of the great things about living in Nashville is the series of "greenways" that dot our city. These are wonderful places to walk or ride your bike and my partner and myself have been taking advantage of several of them recently to get a bit of exercise. The paved trails tend to be rather lightly used this time of year as the heat keeps most people inside, but we normally run across a few brave souls willing to put up with the heat and humidity and even the occasional down pour as they enjoy some of the more scenic areas of our city.

Today my partner and myself went for a long walk on one of the more popular greenways and along the way we enjoyed wonderful views of the Cumberland River, a refreshing rainshower, and one of the most beautiful things we have seen in Nashville. We were passed by several cyclists as we walked but one will always stand out in my memory. This particular cyclist was a woman, not terribly young and she didn't have the body of a super model, but she was propelling herself along the rolling hills along the banks of the Cumberland in a truly wonderful way. In an obvious attempt to be as comfortable as possible this woman had shed her shirt, and her bra, and was enjoying the heat and the sun and the rain in a way that many of us guys get to enjoy very regularly but that most women, at least in Tennessee, aren't allowed to. Yes, this woman was out in public and she was completely barebreasted, in Tennessee it is against the law for a woman to show her breasts in public unless she is nursing a child but this woman wasn't breaking any laws. You see this woman was transgendered.

In my home state, unlike most states, a transgendered person is not allowed to change the gender listed on their birth certificates and other state issued documents like driver's licenses. This is terribly wrong. The medical community and most of the world has come to terms with the simple fact that our genitals do not always represent who we are and that sometimes individuals need to correct mistakes that nature made. In Tennessee however our legislators have decided that we must all be forced to live with the gender the doctor wrote down on our birth certificates minutes after we were born, no matter what we discover about ourselves in the years to come. So if you are born male in this state you will always be male no matter what.

This creates an interesting quandary. You see the woman we encountered on our walk was born a man and so the state says that she is still a man even though anyone who sees her today will immediately recognize her as a woman. State law also says that it is perfectly legal for a man to cycle in a park without wearing a shirt and having his chest fully exposed, of course a woman has to keep her breasts covered or she risks being arrested. The woman we saw today though is considered to be a man by the state however and so if she was stopped by a police officer all she would have to do is show her drivers license to the officer and the officer would have to let her, and her uncovered breasts, go on about their business.

Transgendered men and women have been fighting for years to change Tennessee law so that they can correct the gender on their birth certificates and other documents. I realized today that the women of our state who are male to female transgendered persons should take advantage of our states stupidity and feel free to walk around with their breasts exposed whenever they feel like it. Maybe they could organize a large group of women who could meet and lay out in the sun on the grounds of the state capitol. This might finally make our legislators realize how ridiculous their stance is on this issue, then maybe we could find ways of showing them how ridiculous their stances are on many other issues as well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I know more people who don't go to church than who do. I'm gay, my job is bartending in a place frequented by punks, skinheads, hipsters, artists and musicians, I write a blog so liberal it makes my gay, punk, skinhead, hipster,artist and musician friends shake their heads in disbelief some times. Let's just say I'm not around a lot of church going type people, except of course when I am at church. Interestingly enough a lot of the people mentioned above would call themselves, if forced to come up with some sort of label, "Christian". The quotation marks aren't there because I don't believe them, they are there because most of these people would want to qualify their use of the word "Christian".

You see these people are aware of the Jesus Christ in the Bible. You know, the one who spent a lot of time with prostitutes and adulturers and tax collectors. The Jesus Christ who looked at everyone as being equal, the Jesus Christ who said it was harder for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. The Jesus Christ who told us not to judge and to cast the first stone only if we were free of sin. The Jesus Christ who said that salvation was available to everyone and who told us to love one another. They would use the word "Christian" and then want to explain that the Jesus Christ referred to in their use of the word "Christian" is the Jesus Christ mentioned in the Bible and referred to above. They would want to make very clear that they are not "Christian" in the sense of what they see in churches today.

To many, myself included, Christian churches have become places where people go to place blame as much if not more than places they go to help others. Churches have become places where they talk about how those "other" people are going to hell. Churches are places where you go to be around people who are, more or less, just like yourself. Churches are places that are run like businesses, where they almost worship at the alter of capitalism as much as they worship God. Why do churches need to spend so much money on having their own gyms and coffee shops and giant screens massive sound systems. They will say it is so they can bring more people to Christ, I think they just bring more people to the gym and the coffee shop. I bet they could bring more people to Christ by handing out blankets and sandwiches, by offering a shoulder to cry on to a stranger who needs nothing more desperately, by working to make sure the poor in this country have places to live and food to eat and can get health care and an education. Why is it that, decades after the Civil Rights movement, Sunday morning still marks the most racially segregated time in our country? Why are so many churches going out of their way to help people on the other side of the world and not sharing some of that help with hungry, homeless, and sick persons in their own towns and cities? Why do so many preachers spend so much time spreading hate when Jesus told us to love?

When Jesus came to Earth he found a church that was worried more about laws and tradition than it was people. He found a church wrapped up in money and politics. He found a church that was spending too much time telling people why they didn't belong instead of telling them that everyone belonged. What did Jesus do when he found his church in this state? He turned over the tables of the money changers, he accused the Pharisees of hypocrisy and pretentiousness, he worked to take his Church back from those who had turned it into... well, into what the church has become today.

Jesus wasn't alone in his desire to change the church, his disciples, the Pharisee Nicodemus, the people of Capernaum. Today those who hope that the church can reflect the Christ we see in the Bible aren't alone either. There are countless groups and congregations working within and outside of the mainstream denominations of the Christian church to make it that place for all, the place offering help to those who need it, not just to those we want to give it to, that place that exists to share the gift Christ gave us, love, with everyone and by everyone, we mean everyone. Take the time and look around your community for the churches that represent the Christ in the Bible instead of just assuming they don't exist because they aren't what you see on TV every week. Many of these churches may seem to be hidden away just because of their small size, but if we search them out, if we don't turn them away when they come to us, if we work to change the churches we already are a part of into these churches their numbers will swell and the light will overcome the darkness.

I know this to be true because of my church. The people at the church I attend span the rainbow of skin colors, we are from all economic classes, we are well educated and high school drop outs, we live in nice homes, run down public housing, and in shelters or on the streets. We are teetotalers and drug addicts. We are gay and straight. We are, in other words, the people Christ came to Earth to give his life for. We are intentionally diverse and we struggle with that sometimes, but we are always glad for the struggle and to be allowed to be part of it. It isn't always easy, but it is always worth it.

Think that was just a bunch of nice talk? Here's what our worship guide/ church bulletin looked like this morning. We aren't the only church like this, go out and find one for yourself.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How much does your employer expect out of you?

You go to work, do your job and go home. That should be all your employer expects out of you, right? It seems like companies are expecting more and more out of their employers all the time. Many people find themselves working more hours or being expected to be on call via cell phone or email almost 24 hours a day. We do more work to make up for the work that had been done by our co-workers before they were laid off, not because the company had no other choice but because the company simply wanted to increase their profits.

Of course this just scratches the surface. We now live in a system seemingly based on the idea that the average person is just a resource to be used up and then discarded. When you are hired, or maybe rented is a better term these days, who do you go through? The human resources department. In economics resources are defined as the total means available to a company for increasing production or profit, including plant, labor, and raw material; assets. If you drive a truck for work you are looked at in the same way as your truck. Work on a computer? Run a cash register? Do you pack boxes in a warehouse? The company you work for thinks of you in the same way it thinks of that computer, the cash register, and the boxes. Once the computer is no longer of use to the company they might sell it to someone else. Maybe they can lower their costs by recycling damaged boxes, well guess what, they have also figured out a way to make money on you even after you are gone... dead and gone. documents the practice of businesses purchasing life insurance on their employees that pays out to the company when they die. If you click on the link above you can see a list of well known companies known to or suspected of buying life insurance on their employees. When the employee dies the insurance policy doesn't pay out to the employee's family, it pays out to the employer. From what I understand the employer can still collect on a policy even if the employee doesn't work for the company any longer, even if the employee was fired by the employer. I don't think I will be patronizing any of the companies on this list and the companies I no longer deal with will be receiving emails letting them know exactly why. I can't cause them any real damage with a personal boycott but maybe my emails will alert an employee to just what kind of company they are working for. We need to make it clear that we will no longer be happy just surviving while the companies we work for and our friends and family members work for grow and prosper and this is one easy way to get the ball rolling. The time has come to recognize the value of people in this country once again. We have to recognize that no one should be able to feast if it causes others to starve. There are many more of us than there are CEOs and Wall Street Bankers and our nations and its laws should work for all of us and not just a lucky few. Surely some of you agree.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's not about race...

"It's not about race..." seems like we here those words spoken more and more often. It could be that we are becoming more sensitive about race relations in the US and might be jumping the gun on seeing race as the source of some of the more problematic issues we are facing today even if they aren't really racially based. Then again it could be that "It's not about race..." is simply an excuse we hope will be taken at face value and allow us to avoid facing up to the fact that we are racists.

I truly believe that most people do not see themselves as racists. They really believe that they don't have any problem with people of other races and colors. Their actions don't support their beliefs however. Could it be that African Americans really don't care about government getting to big or having to much influence over our lives or about big government bail outs and our massive national debt? Could this be why you see so few blacks at tea party rallies?

Is it possible that the tea party rallies are completely free of individuals who doubt President Obama's legitimacy based on the color of his skin? Could it be that the far right is devoid of individuals who would spit on African American Congressmen, but not any other members of Congress were not acting in a racist manner? Could it be that the other members of the far right who defended the individuals who spat upon the members of Congress and said that their actions weren't racist were right?

We are afraid of race in this country. No one wants to admit to being a racist, in this country there are very few adjectives considered more offensive to have used against you. Here in the South we are quick to defend ourselves against claims of racism, not by denying the racism, but by offering up examples of how racism is just as prevalent in other parts of the country. The number of self declared racists in the US is amazingly low and yet racism seems so common.

We seem to only talk about race relations with other members of our own race and then no matter what we say we tend to give each other a pass. White people don't tend to call other white people racist. If you are white and see a black person call a white person racist then the claim can be tossed away as reflecting only how sensitive the African American is or worse reflecting the racism of the African American.

We have avoided having the topic of racism come up when it is really important, when members of different racists are having the conversation, to such an extent that none of us can see our own racism any more. We define racism in the narrowest of terms when discussing the actions of individuals or groups of people who look like us but see racist behavior running rampant amongst those with whom we don't share a skin color. We need to start calling out our friends and family members, our neighbors, our pastors and priests, calling out anyone who thinks less of someone just because of their skin color. Just because someone says "I'm not a racist" doesn't mean we then allow them to say terribly racist things without bringing it up. Do not tell me "I'm not against Mexicans, I'm just for the United States" and then go on to talk about Hispanics in nothing but stereotypical terms and not expect me to call you a racist. I can't make you stop being a racist, we live in a country where you are free to be an idiot, but you should just own up to who and what you are. Then we will see if you can live with yourself.

If there is any doubt that racism is still a problem in our country check out this article, racism exists in every facet of our society but I bet if you asked the well educated judges and lawyers this article is about they would say "It's not about race..."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rand Paul and why the Civil Rights Act still matters

Last week Rand Paul won Kentucky's Republican primary for the seat in the US Senate up for grabs this November. Being the candidate widely supported in this race by members of the tea party movement and because he handily beat his opponent the news media gave quite a bit of time to his win as it might signal a shift even further to the right in the Republican Party.

NPR scored an interview with Rand Paul the day after the election and the interviewer brought up a comment he had made in a interview a few weeks earlier to a Kentucky newspaper. In this interview Mr. Paul stated that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was something that he couldn't have supported as it was passed. He said that he agrees with the law in that it ended discrimination by the government but he couldn't agree with a law that forced businesses and private groups to stop discriminating on the basis of race and skin color. His argument, one that is actually not unusual amongst libertarians, is that the government does not have the right to regulate the activities of private groups and businesses. Even though he says he finds racism and racial discrimination deplorable he still believes that in America it is the right of businesses to discriminate if they want to and that we should let the market straighten things out for us.

Since this interview Mr. Paul has given a few others in which he basically repeated what he had said in the NPR and newspaper article, he has given other interviews where he has tried to distance himself from his earlier comments while still not stating they were wrong, and he has done a complete turn around and said that he would have in fact voted for the Civil Rights Act as it was. The interesting thing to me is how many times he has said he was surprised by the uproar his statements created as he didn't think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was all that important any more. How could one person be so wrong in so many ways.

First of all we should look at his libertarian belief that the government's power should be so limited as to not allow the government to force businesses and private groups that serve the public to serve all persons regardless of race or color. He has stated, and many others share his belief, that the market would favor businesses who didn't discriminate and would bring an end to racial discrimination. There is a small town in Western North Carolina that I visit on a fairly regular basis. It has a population of around 400 people and has only one gas station and one grocery store. If we lived by Mr. Paul's beliefs and the grocery store or the gas station in this town decided to serve whites only then the few minorities that live in this small village would have to drive 30 miles or so to find another gas station or grocery store. Minorities on vacation would have to cross this town off their list, not just as a destination but as a place to pass through as they couldn't purchase gas there and if their son or daughter had to use the bathroom they would have to tell them to just wait, for another hour or so. This town couldn't support another gas station or grocery store, it is just too small. The number of minorities living in this town or passing through are also small enough that not serving these individuals wouldn't create a burden on the businesses great enough to cause them to change their policies. The market wouldn't end discrimination in this case, the market would probably support it. This equation doesn't just hold true in small, remote, towns. Most larger cities are racially segregated to some extent by neighborhoods. What if the African American or Hispanic neighborhoods in your areas started being filled with "No Whites" signs just as the white neighborhoods started filling up with "Whites Only" signs. Can we not all see the return to violence, intolerance, and hatred this would bring? The market is incapable of being an arbitrator of moral issues. The market only understands money, if it understands anything at all. Our recent economic collapse should have shaken our collective faith in the market to the point that we wouldn't have to listen to drivel like Mr. Paul is spewing but the fact that it hasn't shows just one of the reasons the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is still important today, it is important because we, as a society, have a very short memory and could easily fall back into our old practices.

Another reason why the Civil Rights Act is still important became clear to me this week. I was at the main building of the Nashville Public Library looking at photos and documents they have on display as part of an exhibit called "Visions & Voices: The Civil Rights Movement in Nashville and Tennessee, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Nashville Sit-in Movement". The exhibit was very powerful, but one photograph in particular jumped out at me. It showed a young African American woman, Grace McKinley, escorting her daughter, Linda Gail McKinley, to elementary school through an angry crowd who0 appeared to be screaming at the woman and her daughter while holding signs showing their opposition to school desegregation. One of the signs read "God is the author of segregation, Genesis 9: 25-27". The verses quoted had been used many times in the history of our country to justify the keeping of slaves. Apparently the man holding this sign thought that if they were a justification for slavery they would work just as well to justify segregation. This photo, the sign in the photo, they show just how wrong Rand Paul is. If the government hadn't stepped in the school Linda Gail McKinley went to would still be segregated, Mr. Paul says he supports the government taking action to end segregation in that school, but he thinks Linda Gail McKinley didn't have the right, as a human being, to eat at the same lunch counter as the man holding the sign? She didn't have the right as a human being to shop at the same stores as the man holding the sign? She didn't have the right to attend the same church as the man holding the sign? You see, when Rand Paul says that businesses, as a matter of principle, should have the right to discriminate, he is saying that those they discriminate against are lesser people. Statements like the ones made by Mr. Paul make me think he might be a lesser person. He certainly isn't worthy of serving in the US Senate.

One last reason why the Civil Rights Act still matters. Rand Paul may think the Civil Rights Act went to far, but the photo I mentioned above shows that it didn't go far enough. Today individuals are still being discriminated against. They are being discriminated against by businesses, private groups, and even our government. Further more this discrimination is still being wrongly justified by using verses from the Bible just as the man with the sign was trying to do. The Civil Rights Act still matters because America is still a place where discrimination is rampant, people still face discrimination based on their skin color, based on disability, and based on their sexual orientation. The Civil Rights Act matters because it is still a work in progress and until we are all seen and treated as being created equal it will continue to matter.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The state of my State

So, How is Tennessee doing? Well we have just been ranked in a couple of lists and we now know that Tennessee is the 5th most dangerous state in the country according to CQ Press' annual Crime State Rankings for 2010. I suppose we can take some pride we didn't wind up as number one on that list... like we did on The Daily Beast's list of the most corrupt states.

So, if you come to Tennessee you stand a better chance of getting robbed, raped, assaulted, or killed than you do in all but 4 other of the 50 states and the person who attacks you stands a better chance of not paying for their crime because they are more likely to be able to buy their way out of jail time if they have enough cash? Heck, they might even be able to get the state legislature to step in and take action to protect them. If not some local politician is probably related to them and will be able to help.

Why are things so bad in Tennessee? Well our state government and many of our local governments have been taken over by tea party/birther types who seem to not have a speck of common sense bouncing around in their otherwise empty heads like a marble in a vacant warehouse. There might be some sort of connection there. I am willing to vote all of those people out of office and replace them with progressives to see if it solves any of our problems. All in the name of science of course... not that any of the people currently in power think that science is anything more than just a plot to keep prayer out of school, but you know what I mean.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You oppose health care reform?

I keep getting into... I don't know what to call them, they aren't discussions because normally the other people wind up trying to insult me or screaming at me, they aren't arguments because the other people speaking can't find a way to defend their ideas, so I am not quite sure how to refer to the silly little verbal jousting matches I have found myself in lately over health care reform. I think I know how to avoid getting into any more of these confrontations though.

To those of you who oppose health care, I have found that the vast majority of you already have insurance through either a private health insurer or through a program like Medicare. The few of you who don't have health insurance are such a small minority that you are statistically unimportant, so to the uninsured opponents of health care, ignore the rest of this blog. All of you are free to continue yelling at me. You still won't make any sense, but feel free.

To those of you who have health coverage through a plan like Medicare and who oppose health care reform and I can say is, what the hell are you thinking? You are being served by a program that is guilty of anything you could accuse the new health care reform plan of being, actually it is guilty of much more, and yet you are complaining about the new plan? OK, there is no reason to take you seriously so shut up, put your Obama is a socialist signs away and go home. You have nothing to add to this debate.

To the rest of you. Those of you who have insurance might have an actual argument to make against health care reform and so I beg of you, please make it.

Please tell me how the new law impacts your health care in any way, shape, form or fashion. Don't tell me what you heard so fat guy on the radio say or what you heard some blubbering guy on TV say as he wiped the tears away from his eyes, no, tell me what the final version of the law says. Tell me how the actual law effects your health care. Show me exactly in the law where it says you won't be able to keep your doctor or current insurance plan. Show me where in the law it sets up the death panels you talked about so much a few months ago. Show me just how it effects you negatively.

Don't try and say you dislike this law because it takes away some amorphous freedom you think you used to have because none of you were carrying signs and spitting on congressmen when President Obama renewed the Patriot Act, a law that actually does take away rights and freedoms from the citizens of this country and involves the government in our lives in ways that should concern all of us. No, none of you said a word about that. But for some reason you think that health care reform is going to turn us into a North American version of the Soviet Union. Well here is your chance, show us unbelievers exactly where in the law it does this. Show us where it says that if you don't have health insurance the government will lock you away. Show us where the law has the government taking over anything. Show us. There is a convenient comment section below. Use it to show us where the actual law proves us wrong. I dare you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It is time to pay up

Ever since Ronald Reagan became President of the United States the word "tax" has become almost obscene. No politician wants to raise taxes, none wants to propose a new tax. If they do have the guts to say that we need to increase taxes they always claim that the increase will only effect the "wealthy" whatever "wealthy" means.

This has to change, we have decided as a country that we don't want our government to spend more than it takes in. We also don't want our government to increase taxes. Of course we also don't want to give up any of the things that our government provides. Well this is complete and total idiocy and if you think a country can operate this way then you are a moron.

We can not balance the budget of the US with spending cuts. Let me rephrase that, we can not balance the budget of the US without eliminating Social Security and Medicare while at the same time not reducing the amount of money the government takes in. So you will still be paying for Social Security and Medicare but you, and your kids and your parents and everyone else won't actually be able to take advantage of the Medicare and Social Security systems because they will no longer exist. Happy balanced budget!

So what do we do? Simple, we raise taxes. In 1952 and 1953, considered by many to be a period of time when the US was at its best, the top federal income tax bracket was 92%. Yep, you read right, 92%. But don't apply that to your salary, apply it to a wealthy bank CEO's taxable income. Lets say he made $50,000,000.00 last year. At a 92% tax rate he would still make $4,000,000.00 and if you can't live on four million dollars then you have much bigger problems than your tax rate. Of course today the top tax rate is only 35% or slightly over 1/3rd of what the top tax rate was in 1953. Starting to see why "wasteful spending" alone isn't responsible for our budget problems?

Personally I think we should all pay more in taxes but I also understand that it would be political suicide in this day and age. So let's start off with something we have seen some politicians get away with. Let's call for an increase on the tax rates applied to the wealthy. I think the top tax brackets (by the way, in recent years because of where his income is derived, Bill Gates, the wealthiest person in the US has only paid a 15% tax rate. In 2007 Warren Buffet discovered that he was paying a tax rate lower than the rate paid by his receptionist and called for wealthy Americans to pay more) should be raised so that the top bracket is at least 50% and so that every household earning $500k or more a year will see an increase in their taxes. Starting off with the wealthy with make this tax increase much more palatable to the electorate over all and allow candidates who support the common sense measure of raising taxes to stand a chance of getting elected or re-elected. Later on work can begin on raising taxes across the board, after all, if you love this country you should be willing to use your wallet to show how much you love it.

To make this happen though we must be willing to stand up and make it known that we support raising taxes. This November we should refuse to support any candidate for federal office that will not publicly call for a tax increase on households making $500k or more a year. Of course we will probably fail this year, but we should repeat the same call in 2012, and 2014, and every year afterwards until we break the hold that the conservatives who have turned any and all taxes into the greatest evil we face. We need a backbone in this country and the conservative movement seems to be suffering from intellectual osteoporosis.

Time and time again we hear calls for our federal government to be run like a business. Well businesses raise their prices all the time, it is time the US government does as well. It is our children and grandchildren who will be paying our bills. How will you answer them when they ask why we didn't have to pay our fair share.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Single issue madness, ignorant apathy, and the end of the United States.

Recently I have had a couple of friends express support, in a very general way, for politicians that they are in agreement with, on only one issue that I am aware of. In fact one of them told me they she didn't really agree with a particular politician on most issues but that she supported her because they did agree on one issue. Please forgive me, but how can anyone see this as anything but insane? Dick Cheney supports same sex marriage but I could never support him because his views overall are in direct conflict with my views overall. If a senator or representative supported universal health care while at the same time promoting further financial industry deregulation I could never vote for them as their election would be bad for our country. If a politician is pro-gun or anti-abortion would that allow you to ignore the fact that they might also be a rapist or a serial killer? If someone knocks on your door and says that they support working against climate change could you look past the white robe and hood they are wearing? Many people apparently can and do.

The problem is that the crazy, single issue people who wear blinders when they walk into a voting booth are pretty much the better of two evils right now. It seems that people either care only about one issue or they care about nothing at all. They reject politics as being boring or pointless. They have given up on our government because they see it as corrupt and incapable of doing anything to benefit people like themselves. Well they may be right, but if they are they must also understand the only reason our government is as corrupt and incompetent as it is, the only reason it was able to get to this point is because we allowed it to be. We were so busy being either completely apathetic or so worked up over only one thing that we forgot about every other issue and those other issues have come back to haunt us.

Well congrats America, you are on the verge of getting exactly what you want. A government so far out of your control that all of your ideas about it will be proven true. It will be completely incapable of working for the majority of people in his country and it will be beyond our control so that we can do nothing about it. After years of working towards this goal we finally managed to get a set of Supreme Court justices just bad enough that they can overturn Supreme Court ruling after ruling, overturn a century of political practice in this country and decide that corporations, corporations that can't vote, corporations that might be controlled by individuals from other countries, heck, that might be controlled by the governments of other countries, can now put as much money into supporting or working against any candidate that they want, in other words any corporation, any government, any enemy of the United States can now buy an election here and put into power the people who will make the laws in this country. "This message brought to you by your friends at Al Qaeda." Sound scary? It is scary, no one, conservative, liberal, Democrat or Republican should rest easy knowing that we may have just given China the ability to decide the future of our country. We may have just given Wal-Mart the power to pick our next president, we may have just given our country away to the highest bidder.

So now what do we do? Well we will probably wind up doing nothing until it is too late, I really doubt we will do anything then, we have become to fat and lazy to care any more. If, however, by some strange chance we decide to do anything then we must first decide to take action, even if we think it might not help, even if this isn't "our issue", we must make those calls and send those emails, we must get out and carry signs, we must show, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this is completely unacceptable and that our law makers must now work to come up with a way from keeping this from happening. Some have already started working on this problem but as we have seen partisanship means it will be almost impossible for a bill to actually get passed. So call your senators, send your representative a letter and let them know that you don't care if they are as fat and wrinkled as an elephant or smell like an ass, they must get this done if our nation has any hope of remaining a place to have pride in.