Friday, May 23, 2003
Posted 5:30 PM by Erik:
Congress Approves Extending Unemployment Benefits
Seems to me that extending unemployment benefits, especially by a few months, is just a bad idea all around. While I strongly agree with the new tax cuts being initiated, upping government spending in so many areas while doing so is just stupid. The government's only source of income is the money it extorts from citizens. If they steal less money, while at the same time attempting to give more out, as well as spend more, they're going to dig an even deeper whole for themselves.
Unemployment benefits are a bad idea in the first place. Unemployment, like welfare, is a way to encourage stagnation. Instead of helping people out, unemployment benefits hurt them in the sense that they become more and more reliant on government assistance as they get paid a fairly sizable amount for doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps they could be of assistance for a short period of time, say, a month or so, which would give someone a good opportunity to get a job, but allowing people to get assistance for several months isn't helping them. I'm sure someone would object that if I were unemployed, I would change my mind and think that unemployment is in fact a good idea. However, I seem to recall my mom being on unemployment for several months. It was nice that we were able to retain a pretty good standard of living without her having to work, but it doesn't mean that it's right, or ultimately beneficial.
Returning to where the money for the benefits comes from, the government has to forcibly redistribute wealth, by taking money from some people who are producing, in order to support those who aren't. While some could argue that the person recieving unemployment is only getting back some of the money that was extorted from him, this means that some people get their money back while others won't. That would, in effect, be encouraging everyone to lose their job, by offering them an incentive for doing so. It would also encourage people to remain unemployed for the maximum amount of time possible so that they could get as much of their money back as possible.
Unemployment seems like a dandy idea if it's divorced from the context of reality, which gives rise to the question "Who will pay for it?" Some people would end up getting it easy for a while at the expense of others who are forced to fund their joblessness.
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Posted 10:17 PM by Erik:
A little while ago in Target, I indulged myself in a throwback to the halcyon days of riding shopping carts. At dangerous speeds. I'd like to think that I'm inspiring the little kids of the younger generation to go out, and get their party on by riding on the back of carts in the store. As I zoomed by the checkouts, I heard a little kid saying "Whooooooooa." And yes, it was drawn out like that. Beautiful. After I stopped, he said "That was so cool!" I turned around, have him a thumbs-up, and said "It sure is!" It sure was, little guy. I feel like such a role model. I bet that kid's riding shopping carts in his dreams this very minute.
Posted 6:41 PM by Erik:
I read in the paper earlier that there's some sort of world-wide tobacco regulation being proposed by the World Health Organization. I thought that the pathetic city-wide smoking ban motion here was bad enough.
On the topic of smoking bans, my brother recently asked me why I cared so much about these things, especially considering that I don't, and probably never will smoke. Sadly, I'm sure a lot of people would ask that same question. It's unfortunate that so many people fail to see that the issue isn't about smoking, it's about a person's right to smoke (provided that he's actually purchased something to smoke). I doubt any of the smoking ban proponents ever considered the individual rights issues involved with a governmentally-enforced smoking ban. Government would be so much better if people argued on principle, instead of supporting special interests, regardless of whose rights are violated.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Posted 10:43 PM by Erik:
Testosterone is really that bad.
Yeah! Girl power forever, man! Er, girl! Anyway, this is the paradigm of one of the most annoying commonly-held viewpoints: That romance is for the ladies, and guys want to see stuff blow up. Ms. Dowd seems to forget that, make sure you're sitting down for this one- females went to see The Matrix: Reloaded, too. A lot of them, I'm sure. Down With Love made about seven million dollars over the weekend, while The Matrix: Reloaded made upwards of ninety million. I find it hard to believe that the movie-going crowd is comprised of thirteen times more females than males. And despite the fact that I'm sure a few uber nerds did, the guys didn't go and see The Matrix thirteen times over the weekend.
You don't have to be a man to appreciate explosions, violence, action, and all-around intense movies. Girls like to see things blow up, too. And not just girls that look like men, or work out way too much, but average females. Ms. Dowd seems stuck in a world where everyone strictly adheres to one of two stereotypes- frilly girls who won't go outside in fear of getting their lovely new dress a little dirty, or breaking their nails, and guys who belch, fart, scratch their asses, drink beer, and get a bit too excited over football games.
If you read what she wrote, it's obvious that she's speaking negatively of the "testosterone problem." However, she fails to explain what exactly is wrong with enjoying fight scenes, car chases, and explosions. She presents it as though you'd have to be crazy to deny that testosterone is inherently bad. Then she ends with a criticism of some Matrix quotes:
The master strategist could easily adapt a few "Matrix" lines for campaign slogans: "There is only one way to save our world: Bush." Or "We're all here to do what we're all here to do." Or "I protect that which matters most."
Testosterone as a campaign accessory. Because some things never change.
Those would be campaign slogans. It's good to recognize that there is a right way to save the world. Protecting that which matters most is what we're supposed to do. Does she favor protecting which matters least? Judging by the fact that she's still clinging desperately to irrational, worn-out stereotypes, I'd say she does.
Note: I'm a bit sick, and a bit tired, so please excuse me if the post seems incomprehensible, drawn-out, redundant, or all of the above. Now it's time for some cold medicine!
Monday, May 19, 2003
Posted 9:58 PM by Erik:
I was walking by the elementary school in the neighborhood today, and I got hassled by some little girls. Let me repeat, hassled by little girls. They kept asking me questions. Lots of questions. Somehow, my reply (something about public school being for suckers) to one of their questions prompted one of them to mention she was faster than me. So the little ten (or so I assume) year-old girl challenged me to a race. Well, I schooled her ass. I found something oddly amusing about having a footrace with a little girl who honestly thought she could beat me. I'm the meanest guy around! Well... she was the one that challenged me, but I'd like to think that I had my first taste of glorious bullydom.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
Posted 10:42 PM by Erik:
Well, it looks like the lawsuit regarding Oreos being too fatty was withdrawn. I'm honestly not sure whether to be happy that it was withdrawn, or disgusted that someone actually decided that there was a need for a publicity stunt like this to alert people of the shocking new discovery that Oreos aren't healthy food.
Posted 10:08 PM by Erik:
You would think that playing Metallica to break down a person's resistance would have the opposite effect. Isn't Metallica supposed to be encouraging rebellion and the like?
Though, it is touching to see Sesame Street and Barney tunes being put to good use. Though, now I'm wondering if they make kids watch these shows when they're young to break down their resistance, so they're more willing to accept even the craziest of ideas. It would explain why people seem to be so easily influenced by bad ideas these days. Maybe it wasn't intended to do so much damage, though. Maybe the mind-numbing songs were meant to weaken resistance so that the youngsters would be willing to accept Bert and Ernie's homosexual relationship.
Posted 12:25 AM by Erik:
I really, truly hate Billy Graham. I read his column in the paper every day precisely for that reason. The other day, I finally saw him make an incredible slip-up, which I figured I'd point out. I'm considering writing a letter to him about it.
In this reply to a reader's letter, Mr. Graham says:
After all, you had nothing to do with your birth parents' actions, and God doesn't judge us for things that are outside our control.
That's all fine and dandy by itself. However, Mr. Graham has repeatedly made it clear that he is a proponent of Original Sin. He cites Adam and Eve as the reason that we all have to suffer, which of course, totally contradicts what he said in this response. God can't hold us accountable for our parents' actions and not hold us accountable for our parents' actions at the same time. How he can get away with, or even fool himself into thinking these things is beyond me.