A Proper Response

June 15, 2010

Pres. Obama addressed the nation tonight regarding the oil spill in the Gulf.  He laid out some plans about repaying legitimate claims of monetary loss from the spill.  I agree.  BP screwed up and should pay.  He probably should have included that anyone who puts in a blatantly false claim will go to jail, or pay for the salary or 3 claims workers for one day.  Look at me, compassion.  This is similar to the fees that balloon boy’s dad had to pay, or McDonald’s had to pay for keeping their coffee too hot.  Not similar in amount but there is a precedent.

BP will ultimately pay a huge price for the spill.  Cost of clean up, loss of oil, opportunity costs of their employees and resources during this time.  This is a huge disaster, so it fits.  What about Lindsey Lohan?  She is a huge disaster.  Shouldn’t she have to pay?  Why not stop covering her every move in the press?  More than 3 years ago the AP did something similar with Paris Hilton.  It was great.  I didn’t have to sift through crap to get actual news.  It still was not enough.  Her celebrity was still significant enough for her to get out of jail due to stress or unhappiness.  Everyone is unhappy when they go to jail.  She should not get special treatment.  So I think Lindsay should be stricken from news coverage forever.  At least until she does something news worthy like star in a feature film, or help someone other than herself.

Not meaning to beat a dead horse, but I’ll rant a bit more about Lohan.  Her lawyer has attempted to move the hearing somewhere else because the jury pool is tainted.  Too many potential candidates would have read bad press about his client.  I have issues with this as well.  If she didn’t break laws by the minute, she wouldn’t have as much bad press.  And if we were to try to find a jury pool that hadn’t heard news about her, what kind of jury would that be?  Juries already consist of people who have not tried to get out of the duty, which creates a skewed representation.  What sort of social outliers would have no idea who Lindsey is or what she has done?

Why stop with Lohan?  Let’s extend this to a referendum on Kanye‘s music,  ban Artest from the NBA, Haynesworth and Vick (for Paul) from the NFL.  If people are going to be cruel, sadistic and attack innocent people/animals then they have no place in the public favor.  This should be extended even beyond citizens.  Countries who fail to evolve should also receive equal treatment.

North Korea played in the World Cup today for the first time in 44 years.  It was a proud moment for the citizens and leaders.  South Korea historically has broadcast international competitions to North Korea.  Given the current situation, they opted not to.  Well done.  They turned their back on the revenue in order to punish North Korea.  So here comes China to the rescue demonstrating their disdain for civil rights and freedom.  The soccer team also received a sponsorship for the World Cup.  A company called Legea has partnered with the PRK to provide uniforms.  When asked about the negative press the company’s president replied “I disagree, there is no such thing as bad press.”  He could have easily tried “North Korea has shown great strides to improve their freedoms, and we want to bring hope to that nation by sponsoring their representatives to the World Cup.”  If the president of a company can’t muster that much of a response, you know it’s bad.

So, North Korea gets uniforms, Kanye’s music gets played, Artest may win a ring (I hope not), Haynesworth got a record breaking contract, and Michael Vick gets a shot at starting quarterback.  If President Obama has the spine of the NFL, NBA, any rap station, or Legea we can all expect that BP will soon have a billboard on the Whitehouse lawn.

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An Eternal Debt

June 2, 2010

This past weekend I was able to go camping in Yosemite National Park.  It was fantastic, I encountered the world’s laziest squirrel, a billion water falls and families from across the globe.  This all proved one thing, it is some of the most prime real estate you will ever come across.  The scenic views were enough to make you forget that you smelled like campfire and were tired from hiking all day.  Why then is this not for sale?  Our government is in debt, crazy debt, so much debt that it would cost every American $44,000 and change to pay off the debt.  We could make a big chuck by carving up the park, certainly more than the $20 entry fee brings in.

It’s not for sale because it can’t be.  Someone a long time ago, a century or so, thought it would be a good idea if some places were preserved for the enjoyment of all.  I guess that someone got a hold of Teddy and he made it so.  If not for his foresight we would be unable to experience the incredible sights, sounds and smells of one of the most incredible places on earth.  It turns out that there are millions of places and things across this country that should be left for our children and their children to experience.  What would your childhood have been without being able to go to a park, or go to the beach, or seeing where our country was founded.  Maybe you didn’t do some of those things, but it think it’s great that I can still go and see where Ben Franklin fought for the turkey to represent America.

So you obviously can’t preserve thousands of acres of pristine wilderness or donate Harry Truman’s bowling pins, but you can do something.  America has a rash.  Namely, that rash is Starbucks.  Well, Starbucks, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.  Those who know me may be surprised to read that statement, given my propensity for all things chicken quesadilla.  But it really is an issue.  There is nothing wrong with any of these stores inherently, except Starbucks.  They are really just places to go and pick up a quick snack, or a familiar meal that you know will be the same in Juneau or Jacksonville.  The problem is that there are millions of restaurants and bars that produce far superior food and promote a sense of community.  My hometown has a restaurant called the Flying Pig.  It’s quickly become a a favorite place for food and spirits.  A recent trip created encounters with more than half of the city council, the mayor, countless high school friends, neighbors, business men etc.  I don’t come from a big town, so this is to be expected somewhat, but there are other places in town that someone can grab a beverage and appetizer.  Something is lost in those other places.  They are chain restaurants and provide plenty of atmosphere and quality. But they will be there in 50 years and will only represent the corporate change that has occurred over time.  The Flying Pig is a place that draws friends and family together and will only continue because people have made a conscious effort to preserve a truly remarkable place that goes far beyond being just an eatery.  Please don’t let me fool you, it’s no Yosemite, but it is a place that people can share with their friends or even children recalling the good times that were had by all.

To recap, we were given a gift by generations who have come before us.  Whether a national park or a cathedral more than 500 years old.  Go visit them.  In the mean time, patronize a local spot.  A place that isn’t backed by a corporation that opens a new restaurant every 4 hours. These are the places that could be gone in a generation, leaving you to explain what made them so special.  Become a regular, bring a friend, and make sure that it’s here for years to come.

Community

May 20, 2010

“Do you try to evolve or do you try to know what you are?”   This was a question posed on tonight’s episode of NBC’s “Community”.  This is a real question, even if it was delivered in a Full House-esque manner.  You know, we all laugh when DJ and Kimmy get drunk and fall but then we cry when Danny reveals the seriousness of the issue and the real life people make a PSA after the episode.  It really boils down to whether or not we do what we should or what we are comfortable with.

Skipping the crap, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS ILLEGAL.  Arizona’s new has created a rift not seen since the Team Jacob/Edward thing.  Tonight on NPR a lady claimed that this law illustrated “America’s fear of people with brown skin”.  You have to be kidding me.  Somehow, the enforcement of law indicated something wrong with America.  Maybe she is unaware of the former all caps statement.  The law simply indicates that if someone is stopped by police, the police have the authority to ensure they have proper documentation to be in the country.  This is barely different than when you are pulled over for speeding and the cops make sure you don’t have a warrant.  Should we stop that?

Let’s not worry about any laws because it makes us uncomfortable.  If people want to illegally come into a country let them, they are only trying to improve their situation.  So are people who steal.

I was once told “if you want sympathy, you can find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.  This may be funny and quippy but sympathy isn’t a bad thing.  I get it.  People want to improve their situation.  Good.  It’s human nature to want to improve but not at the expense of the law.

The mayor and city of Los Angeles have decided, because of the Arizona law, to boycott the state.  As wrong as they may be I applaud their sense of duty.  The city has banned all travel to Arizona for business and will not consider any future contracts with companies based in that state.  Good for them.  This generated a response from the Arizona Department of Energy.  Not the whole department but a member.  He offered to help LA with their new boycott.  You see, 20-25% of LA’s electricity is provided by two power plants located in Arizona.  The ADE rep offered to divert that power somewhere else in order for LA to not rely on Arizona for any services.  LA declined the offer.

This brings us back to our original question.  Arizona, has enacted a law, right or wrong, they have stood by their decision.  LA has started a boycott, right or wrong, and they are picking and choosing the bits that help them the most.  I am choosing to leave this slightly open ended to encourage some discussion.  I am not sure who reads this blog, but I would value your comment.  Which community is right?