About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Charlie Sheen on GMA

I watched Charlie Sheen's interview on GMA this morning (and I am sure that this is old news by now)...It was hard to take.  As someone who has personal experience with addiction, I have tried to resist commenting on what appears to be a serious spiraling out of control.  Moreover, I am also troubled that  most discussions about Sheen have been from a perspective of sensationalism instead of using this as an opportunity to discuss addiction.  This isn't all that surprising given our the tabloid nature of most "news" (I guess they are just giving the public what it wants...) 

With all of that said, it is clear that Sheen is in need of serious help.  What's unfortunate (and I have to attribute this statement to someone else, I just can't remember the person's name) is that most addicts (alcoholics, drug addicts, etc.) don't have a multi-million source of income when they hit rock bottom...Unfortnately, for many addicts/alcoholics, "bottom" can mean a loss of job, housing, loved ones...I just hope that Sheen gets some real help very soon.

Just for the record (and I don't know if this is relevant), but I never watched that show "Two and a Half Men" (well, actually, I think it came on my television for about 15 mins one day and I thought that I was going to jump out of the window...I don't know what shocks me more, the fact that the show is popular as it is or that he earns as much as he does (I guess the 2 go hand-in-hand and just confirms that we should never equate quality and monetary success, but that is probably a separate issue...)



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Crazy Isn't Limited to North America


Wow---so the son of this country's dictator was considering buying a yacht costing around $380 million (nevermind that the father---the actual dictator, has an estimated net worth of $600 million...Meanwhile, it is estimated that the cost of the contemplated yacht is nearly 3 times more than this oil rich nation spends yearly on education and health.  Call me crazy, but, this seems like a problem to me...Just as problematic as Bey, Mariah Carey and Usher allegedly receiving $1 million each to perform at private parties by one of Gadhafi's sons (Carey allegedly performed at New Year's 2009; Bey and Usher allegedly performed at the same New Year's 2010 party). 

I certainly understand the need for material comfort.  But, I think that all of these examples go beyond basic necessities and even a few splurges.  I don't understand how in good conscious a country's leader (and this fool isn't along in his crazy) could spend the resources of a struggling country (and I don't care what the government's spokespersons say are the sources of the funds....) on something so frivolous...After reading about the experiences of The Lost Boys following the 2nd Sudanese Civil War (yes, I know its a different country, but the principle---greed, remains the same), I am just amazed at how barbaric humans continue to be to one another.  And to Bey, Mariah and Usher...If these reports are true, you literally have blood on your hands (don't your handlers investigate the people who hire you to perform or do you just sell yourself out to the highest bidder?).

The Truth Knows No Political Party

Gov. Christie and Huckabee agree with Mrs. Obama on desert...

Well, we can all sleep well tonight knowing that Gov. Christie and Mike Huckabee have gone against Sarah Palin and sided with Mrs. Obama in the fight against childhood obesity.  This an example of the major issue with American politics...Instead of using common sense and reasoning, everything is wrapped up in ridiculous political ideology, the truth be damned!  Of course Mrs. Obama is doing a great things by bringing attention to the issue of obesity in kids. The fact that 2 members of the opposite political party from her husband happen to agree shouldn't be a big deal...Again, its the right thing.  (Note:  I am a staunch opponent of Sarah Palin.  I think that she is self serving, xenophobic, sophomoric and in general, not qualified to be the dog catcher in my Brooklyn neighborhood, if we had one, but that really is beside the point...).

The whole issue of excess is part of the problems with Americans---we have too much, expect too much and are rarely appreciative of anything.  Dessert isn't a "right" and there are serious health consequences of our gluttonous eating habits.  By bringing attention to this matter, Mrs. Obama has never said that the federal government should tell people what to eat (this is part of the boogie man scenario that the crazies on the other side like to use).  Unfortunately, since we can't count on the fast food restaurants and/or food manufacturers to be honest about the ingredients our food, its up to each of one of us to be aware of what we put in our bodies, and that includes skipping desert (or, substituting sugar with fresh fruit).  What's so crazy about that?

Is the Check in the Mail?

Large Corporations Not Paying Taxes

Allegedly the deficit hawks who were recently voted into Congress were brought into to focus on government spending.  I ask where is the focus on corporate tax evasion?  Many large multi-billion corporations have constructed very complex structures to avoid paying taxes (is that patriotic? is it legal?  is it fair?).  There is a great deal of focus on programs that effectively account for rounding errors in the federal budget and other programs that provide a minimum of a social safety net for the society's most vulnerable members.  Yet, very few, if any, has said anything about the number of large companies that contribute none of their enormous earnings to the running of the country (nevermind that they benefit, like the rest of us, from the multitude of services provided by the government).

Unfortunately, the "tea parties" that have been formed to rally for the "people" (in a limited sense) have been co-opted and manipulated by astro-turf organizations such that they can't see the forest for the damn trees.  But, no one should be surprised.  (American) history is replete with examples of the manipulation of the working class (whites) who have been convinced to take action against their own self interests (or, who are convinced to pursue a red herring of a target instead of focusing on the real reason(s) for their economic predicament).

I am not convinced that government deficits are the Armageddon that everyone makes it out to be (yes, it is a problem...and, it was a problem during the Bush Administration  when the govt spent like a bunch of drunken sailors on leave in order to benefit cronies of the Administration...I am still asking, "where was the outrage?").  My gut also tells me that there are also considerable efficiency improvements that are necessary across government agencies (but, that is not unique to the government; inefficiency is the hallmark of bureaucracy).  I also do not believe that the government is the enemy (and President Obama is certainly not the boogie man!).  Again, our country's current economic problems are much larger than de minims spending on a different social services program or even the raising of the debt ceiling. 

I am not advocating class warfare, but until there is discussion and analysis (starting with requiring corporations to share their fair share of the country's financial obligation), our economic problems won't be going any where soon.

Guns On Campus? Is that Not Crazy?????

Article from NYT re Guns on Campus

This just sounds crazy to me...I remember a few weeks ago when I heard that the Texas Legislature was considering a bill to allow concealed hand guns on public college campuses (sounds like the perfect mix:  intoxicated and emotionally developing college students with deadly weapons).  I thought, this can't be real.  I was surprised to learn a number of states already allow concealed hand guns.  The given rationale is that professors and students are sitting ducks for the next attack from a crazed gun man (a la the shooting at Va Tech).  This is a sorry rationale---if protection from a crazed gun man is the purported goal, why limit the right only to students who are older than 21?  Are students who are younger than 21 not entitled to protection? (I don't believe that, I just throw that argument out to show the weakness in the argument).  A law allowing concealed handguns on campus can only do more harm than good.

I know what the US Supreme Court has said about the right to "bear arms" (that its not necessarily related to or connected to service in the militia), but I think that the our policy makers should consider why the US has the highest level of deaths with from guns then any other industrialized nation?  Proponents of the right to carry guns always speak to their Constitutional Rights, but those rights are not absolute and do not exist in a vacuum.  The rights of the individual must always be balanced against those of the larger society (for example, an often cited example is that the First Amendment doesn't give anyone the right to shout fire in a crowded movie theater).

I just hope cooler (and more rationale minds prevail), but I doubt it.