Choice is Freedom

I was having a conversation with a former colleague of mine about my recent flag burning post. While he thinks the proposed amendment is not a great idea, he thinks that burning the flag is disrespectful and, if you don’t like living in the US, you should leave. I, personally, think you should be able to do whatever you like with the flag – it is YOUR flag after all.

Remy also owns a bunch of guns. He thinks guns are cool. I’ve never had the need or desire to own a weapon. Again, we’re at odds, but I don’t argue with the fact that it’s totally his right to own as many guns as he wants.

You see the freedom in these two scenarios? Choice. He chooses to own guns and not burn flags, while others are free to not own guns and burn flags. Those are tangible examples of freedoms that both Republicans and Democrats are trying to take away from you. Freedoms we’ve had for 200 years.

What makes this country great isn’t some piece of cloth, the fact that you can buys as many guns as you want or the fact that you can abort your unborn child. What makes this country so great is that you have the choice to do those things.

If Democrats and Republicans get their way people will start losing their ability to make their own choices. It’s already illegal for adults to make lots of choices. Here are a few things that you no longer have a choice on how to act.

  1. Wearing a seat belt
  2. Consuming narcotics
  3. Wearing a helmet
  4. Marry people of the same sex

Here are four choices that you are no longer allowed to make. You know what strikes me is that these choices are my choice to make. They don’t affect anyone else, with the exception of number four, which shouldn’t matter either if the other person agrees as well.

Look around people. Two men or women getting married shouldn’t anger you. Abortion shouldn’t anger you. The fact that you have or are losing the right to make those choices is what should make you angry. Top Headlines Review

Two of’s top headlines right now are “Boy loses leg after shark attack” and “Soldiers land roles in ‘War of the Worlds'”. These are the top headlines that appear “above the fold” on one of the most popular news sites on the web. Yup, you read that right; some kid losing his leg and a bunch of soldiers getting parts as extras in some movie have been designated important enough to be prominently displayed above the fold on

I believe there have been two shark attacks this year in Florida. Two. Did you hear me? Two. In fact, there have only been 38 deaths from shark attacks in the US since 1580. 1580! Someone please tell me how some kid being attacked by a shark is worthy of national attention.

And then we have Spc. Kenneth Wright. He had the following to say about his part as an extra in a Tom Cruise movie.

It’s been a whirlwind to be part of it. My mom didn’t believe me at first when I told her I met Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg and Dakota Fanning. Now she’s stoked about it. Everybody in my family is going to go see me … I mean the movie.

Now, I’m not taking anything away from this soldier’s experience. I’d have been more than happy to help blow up martian airships in a movie with Tom Cruise as well, but is this really national news? Besides, just look at the picture. The pure look of utter “gosh shucks” on this guys face tells you that you’re showering way to much attention on his 15 minutes seconds.

These are just two perfect examples of how crappy the media outlets in this country are. You are sorely under-informed or, worse yet, misinformed if you are still watching your local news channel to find today’s stories. The cable channels aren’t much better either.

Actually, I’m not sure we aren’t seeing a chicken/egg problem with the public demanding such “news” and the various news outlets sensationalizing such “stories”.

Ignorance is bliss I guess.

Celebrate the First Amendment! Burn a Flag!

What’s on your representatives’ minds? Iraq? Social Security? Maybe they are giving our current dependency on foreign oil some thought? Nope, they’re worried about people burning the US flag. So worried, in fact, the House of Representatives have taken the drastic step of approving a Constitutional amendment. To make matters worse the proposed amendment is absurdly vague.

The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

The funny part is that the the US Flag Code specifically states that the flag should be disposed of by burning it.

The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Also, what does desecration mean, exactly? According to Wiktionary it means the following.

An act of disrespect or impiety towards something considered sacred; blasphemy, sacrilege or profanation.

First of all I have problems with the country’s near religious worshipping of a piece of cloth. Why is it so sacred? The ideals it represents should be held in higher esteem. At any rate, what constitutes desecration? The amendment is worded in such a way that anything could be construed as desecration. Can I still wear my hammer pants with the flag on them? What if I leave the flag out in the rain because I’m forgetful? Am I breaking the law?

Never mind the fact that 95% of all the flag burning you see on TV takes place in a foreign country. Idiots.

UPDATE: It appears that it is already illegal to desecrate the flag, which makes this proposed amendment even more confusing to me.

Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles,
burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag
of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
for not more than one year, or both.

BoingBoing Black Listed

Welcome to the “I almost care” category, which my second category in as many weeks. The other new category being “Libertarianism”. Now, on to something I almost care about. was blacklisted by some “censorware” site. Sites get blacklisted by being offensive, of an adult nature or “inappropriate” for some reason or another.

I’m not shocked that BoingBoing was blacklisted. They have, after all, ran advertising prominently on their site for Suicide Girls, which is an adult website features naked women. Not to mention the plethora of other links and articles they post that, in some way or another, feature the naked human form, drug paraphernalia, etc. What shocks me is that BoingBoing was surprised they were blacklisted.

Could they be more holy? If you want to be taken seriously as a “journalist” or whatever the hell bloggers want to be called these days, then quit posting pictures of pierced and tattooed naked women on your site. And, for the love of God, please don’t act surprised when you find out someone doesn’t want their kid browsing said site.

Back to School

Lauren and I have both been looking into going back to school. I’ve thought about a ton of different options. I’ve thought about a law degree, an MBA and a Master’s in Computer Science, but I think I’ve finally figured out which program would suit me best. The University of Washington has a Technology Management MBA, which is a regular MBA geared towards professionals (I use “professionals” here lightly as I still work in shorts and flip-flops).

Better yet, if you choose to focus on Information Systems you can continue for two more quarters and get another Master’s; a Master of Science in Information Systems. So, in just two years, I can have two master’s degrees.

This also opens up the possibilities of getting one of two doctorates. I could get one in either business or information systems. Of course, I’d only do that if I decided to get tenure at some college or something like that. At any rate I’ll know more in a few days when I go check out the information sessions.

Libertarian Environmentalism

Are you a douche bag driving a huge SUV and feeling guilty about all the smog you produce?

If so, then you can, of course, buy yourself some comfort on the open market. The idea is that you can purchase emission credits from the open emissions exchange from a smog producing company. By reducing the number of credits a company has it reduces the amount of crap they can spew into the air.

This is exactly the type of idea a Libertarian tree hugger would come up with. The idea is that if enough people purchased credits and didn’t use them, then companies would be forced to upgrade their emission systems because they wouldn’t have the extra credits they normally would have purchased on the open emissions exchange.

Interesting to say the least.

Food workers with AIDS

This post is going to make me sound like a complete asshole, but I’m OK with that. I was reading a story about a man with AIDS suing McDonald’s over wrongful termination. The man says he was forced to resign from his corporate management position when McD’s found out about him having AIDS. However, I was struck by the last few paragraphs at the end of the article.

Ann Fisher, the executive director of the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, estimates that there are 100,000 U.S. food service workers with the illness.

“If everybody with HIV who works in the food service industry didn’t show up for work tomorrow, America would starve,” she said.

You ready for me to sound like an ass? I don’t want anyone with a terminal disease that is contagious through the sharing of bodily fluids to be preparing my food. There, I said it. However, I feel justified in saying this because AIDS is spread through bodily fluids, usually blood via sexual contact. Anyone else reading this ever prepare food? If you have then you know that sharp objects are plentiful in any resturant.

Before you post a comment about how big of an ass I am ask yourself this: Would you allow an HIV infected doctor to operate on you? A dentist?

  1. AIDS myths and urban legends
  2. AIDS and HIV information.

Cingular Doesn't want Cell Phones on Planes

It appears I’m not the only one that thinks cell phones on airplanes is a bad idea. What struck me in this article is the FAA‘s stance on cell phones.

An FAA spokesman told the paper that when it comes to calls on planes, the agency is looking at issues involving aircraft safety, not the social interaction of passengers.

They best worry about the “social interaction” of passengers if they let the various loud mouthed ass clowns make cell phone calls on flights I’m on. That is if “social interaction” involves me punching some asshat in the face for talking loudly on his cell phone in the seat next to me. Looks like it’s time to pony up the money for some noise canceling headphones.

On Apple moving to Intel

A lot of people on the Internet are pissed about Apple moving to Intel processors. A lot of people could care less. Most are shocked this even happened. I, personally, don’t really care. At first it confused me that they would leave the 64-bit PPC platform in favor of a 32-bit x86 architecture, but I have since seen that they are planning on using 64-bit chips that Intel has yet to release. So here are my only concerns with the fact that Apple is moving Intel.

  1. Apple must continue to ship their machines with the OSX goodness I have grown to love.
  2. Any computer running OSX on Intel chips must be designed by Apple.

I could care less about everything else. As long as I get faster, cheaper and better performing computers that are designed by Apple and run OSX I could care less about what chip they run on. Though I would have been bummed out if they switched back to 32-bit CPU’s.

Another cute, rich, blonde girl abducted

Unless you have been living under a rock you probably have heard about some girl from Alabama going missing in Aruba. Another awesome example of mainstream media’s horrific slide into oblivion. Have you noticed the media has been telling us for about the last five years that unless you’re pretty, white and rich they could care less if you’re missing, unless of course rape, incest or molestation is involved.

I had a conversation with my mother about this girl a few days ago and I told her I could care less about this. I know, it’s horrible of me to say that, but the way I see it the girl brought whatever her fate ends up being on herself. Here are the facts of the story.

  1. She went to a foreign country with 100 of her school friends on an unsanctioned “Senior Trip” with seven chaperones.
  2. She went to a bar with a few of her friends and met three guys.
  3. She left the bar at 1:30AM with three total strangers in a foreign country.
  4. Nobody there, her friends or the “chaperones”, apparently thought this might be a bad idea.

How does this make this girl sympathetic? Personally, it looks like Darwin is thinning the herd on this one. If you’re a pretty American girl in a foreign country and you leave a bar, possibly intoxicated, with three total strangers who are all men, then you’re just asking for trouble. Especially when you’re only 5’4” and 110lbs. From where I’m standing this girl had every chance in the world to avoid her fate, but didn’t.