Friday, January 22, 2010

American Politics Post/Post About Political Discourse in the Public Media

So I'm following this whole US health care thing. Understanding the extreme dark side of the American health care system makes me feel that they really need to fix up their system, at the very least watching their health insurance companies more closely for unfair or illegal practices.

The more I read about political issues (and especially the Obama presidency thus far), the more I see that everyone is on some kind of side when it comes to politics and no one is really interested in sitting down and examining the facts straight up. Take the health care debate for example. It's an absolute mess, and because the bill the the Democrats were attempting to pass is so complicated (as most bills in the US are) that no one is really able to get a clear read on what's going on. This leads to two types of behaviour from opponents and supporters of the bill.

Supporters are able to go through summaries of the bill and pick out pieces of it that they see as beneficial. Because the bill is so long (according to one guy who seemed to be quite angry about it, 1000 pages strangely around the same length as the controversial USA PATRIOT act), they are able to find a lot of things that they like in it, while still possibly not giving the whole picture.

Meanwhile, opponents of the bill are able to do the same thing, sifting through it to find all of its problems (angry guy from earlier stated that the bill sets up dozens of bureaucracies, a word which is immediately indicative of how much someone likes something, with too much power) and argue exclusively against those points, while also commenting on the bills length, and confusing nature (ignoring the fact that your average American probably couldn't read any of the bills that come out of congress, regardless of whether they agree with them or not).

Both sides present inherently one sided arguments without ever comparing both sides of the story. Have you ever tried to make a decision like that? Instead of coming up with a list of pros and cons about moving to a new house, you simply come up with a list of pros, ignoring all the cons and yelling at anyone who tries to bring them up to you. Meanwhile your parents decide to make a list of cons and also yell at you about them because you don't appear to be listening to any of their pros. Does it seem like this would get any useful decisions made? Politics becomes this grand argument then with little actually done. It's very frustrating.

Meanwhile people on the sidelines are confused about what's going on, as you no doubt are after reading all of that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Running Into the Ground

Disclaimer: The following post contains swearing. If you are someone who is easily offended by language, or would like to retain your squeaky clean image of me then skip the post below.

I never ended up finishing the aforementioned recording preparations list. I wasn't actually listening to a lot of stuff while recording. On that note recording went well. I'll post the results when I have results to post.

But right now I'd like to take a moment to discuss poverty. What the heck? I've recently been discovering the absolutely insane excesses of designer clothing and accessories. I don't get it. I don't get how anyone could justify spending $300 on a Burberry scarf (yes, a single, plain scarf). I don't really understand how people can spend thousands of dollars on clothes and fashion accessories, when there are so many others in the world who have so little.

Stay with me for a second hear, I'm impassioned right now and my grammar is probably going to shit but track with me. There's this thing World Vision and a couple of other foreign aid agencies do called a "Gift Catalogue". It's basically a catalogue of specific levels of donations that provide very specific necessities for people in need. It can be anything from agricultural training to farm animals to wells. The one thing that you will notice is that these things are cheap. We're talking $600 to provide a dairy cow to a family. If we stick with the Burberry scarf example, that's two scarves to pay for a dairy cow. Two "hip" fashion accessories to provide a family with something that can provide them with milk and possibly a source of income. By my standards that's pretty cheap. And like...a goat is worth $100 through the gift catalogue. That's what I spent on groceries this month...for a goat. I just cannot fathom how anyone could ever grasp the full nature of how bad poverty is in some parts of the world and go on running up $1000 credit card bills while on a weekend shopping trip. Seriously.

Thinking about this made me think of something else too. Has anyone ever gone bankrupt from giving their money away? I did a 4 second google search and came up with nothing but I was thinking about this because I was wondering, what if you went into bankruptcy because you borrowed every cent you could, and then gave it all away. It'd be financial suicide and probably bankruptcy fraud but think of the sheer amount of money you could crank out before you ran completely out. It's a crazy idea, and like I said probably illegal but it makes me wonder, if we bring ourselves to financial ruin over our selfishness then what if we did it over selflessness.