Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

If Amendment 1 is not supposed to be about the codification of discrimination into the state constitution, then why can two different Berean Baptist church pastors demonstrate such a remarkable disregard for the rights of others during their sermons?  Last week it was Fayetteville, this week Winston-Salem, yet according to our lawmakers in Raleigh this is a simple cut and dried protection of marriage.  Sure seems a lot like authorized hate and discrimination to me.

Ron Baity, North Carolina Pastor, Suggests Gays Should Be Prosecuted Like They Were Historically.

In honor of the four visitors from the United Kingdom that showed up on my stats today, I figured I would dedicate a little time this evening to something I was going to write about tomorrow anyway.  Our cousins across the pond will be hosting the Olympics this summer in London.  In honor of that it, was asked of the second child of Sir Paul McCartney, Stella, to design the new uniforms for the team.  It seems despite the fact she is the child of Knighted Member of the British Empire, it seems she has left a key piece of her Union Jack inspired off.  The color Red.  Red is one of the key colors on the British flag.  Take a look at the uniforms and the correct colors of the flag:

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Now, Ms. McCartney feels that the uniforms were inspired by the Union Jack and that she never intended to disrespect the national symbol.  This may well be the case, but in leaving off the color red, she left off the Cross of St. George and the St. Patrick’s Cross.  if you can imagine the flag as it is supposed to be, then you can also imagine the White St. Andrews Cross in its correct position, at least on some of the uniforms.  The Cross of St. George is the standard type cross which runs up and down and side to side.  Both the crosses of St. Patrick and St. Andrew represent Ireland and Scotland respectively.  The white and red crosses are known as Saltires and are the angled crosses to St.George.  The flag of Great Britain is a unique blend of the three countries which make up the Empire.

In my opinion, if you are going to use the flag as your inspiration, but not necessarily use the true design, then you should do so with ALL of the colors and with them having the correct proportion based on the legal description of the flag.  The other option in my non-designer humble opinion would be to use the colors and emboss a small version of the flag in an appropriate scale and prominence on the uniform.

I highly doubt Stella McCartney intended any disrespect to the flag and the Kingdom. There is however a certain expectation when an official device is unveiled (in this case the official UK uniforms) and it is designed around the most prominent symbol of the land, that it would be readily apparent that proper homage was portrayed.

I have visited the UK, England, Scotland and Ireland a few times and would love to spend more than a few days exploring the rich history of the Isles.  I have worked quite a bit with our cousins across the pond and unfortunately been to more than one memorial for lost mates.  The UK has been one of our staunchest allies since we moved past our little excursions into self-governance.  I hope they perform well in the upcoming Olympics, coming in second to us in all events of course.  I know having been to London on a couple of occasions that each and every day they play host to the world will be a party, all of this will happen regardless of what the uniforms look like.  British perfection will allow no less.

It seems Mother Nature has thrown my well timed plans out today, so I will provide a little commentary earlier than I had anticipated this morning.

I read a sporting news article yesterday about how the Senator in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, has decided he is going to but into the NFL’s business and hold hearing on the Bounty Scandal that broke from the New Orleans Saints recently.  Before I get into a little sidebar on sports entertainment and how they get paid, let me keep on track for a moment.  Considering all the other issues we have in this country, why does Congress consistently put their paws into things that have absolutely dick (Durbin) to do with the United States government, especially the sports world.  In the last 10 years they have stuck their noses into two American sports institutions, baseball with the whole steroid scandal and now it seems football has caught their eye.  As if we have enough money sitting around to hold Congressional hearings on something that the NFL has addressed, rather forcefully and pretty harshly already.  Sounds to me like a “F… You, Roger Goodell, you cannot possible take care of your house as well as the United States Government can” to me.

There are millions of people in America today not working, (either because they cannot find a job OR they are too lazy and prideful to take a job they have had the privilege of picking on an illegal immigrant for doing for the last several years) and Congress has not found a way to alleviate the issue that a naturally correcting economy is not taking care of itself.  How many people in the last several years have gone into foreclosure because Congress passed laws allowing the mortgage industry to underwrite loans on people who had either no or shit credit, simply because it is socially responsible for everyone to have a house, even if there was no system of checks and balances available to properly guide people on what they could actually afford.  The First Lady, not the agencies who Congress controls the budgets of, seems to be the only person in our government who actually cares what our children eat for lunch at school.

It is not like we have a flawless system of healthcare available to everyone in the nation given to us by this august body.  Oh, that is right Ms. Pelosi, you are now able to read the 1800 plus pages you passed and see what exactly is in there.  Accountability of how many billions to banks that should have just been allowed to fail while their CEOs took their bonuses despite leading these companies and our economy down the toilet.  Who is responsible for the closure of over 200 postal distribution centers because as the only government agency actually allowed to operate at a profit it is not allowed to re-invest those profits in itself, it has to turn them over to the USG as a “tax” and then justify its operating expenses to the body who squanders its profit in the first place?

Well, all that nuisance stuff aside, time for me to use my limited authority as head of the Senate Judiciary Committe, and exceed it, by holding hearing because a NFL team had the audacity to offer up bounties to physically put people out of a game or end their careers.  This despite the fact that once it came to light, NFL President Roger Goodell actually took action in a timely manner, had the allegations investigated and took decisive action about it.  Hell no, the leader of a corporate entity that makes billions each year and can justify exorbitant ticket prices simply by charging them, what experience does he have to mete out the kind of punishment and investigation that only the Congress of the United States can bungle and waste money of?  It seems yet again our elected officials have decided what is in the national interest, even though the issue has been dealt with and punitive action decided and taken.

Now, I will use this forum to discuss my personal feelings on professional athletes and their careers. Firstly, they are professionals and they are there to entertain me (us).  I really do not care about their personal health, how smart they are, whether or not they cheated through school in pursuit of their dream and what their prospects are once they are no good to their sport.  If they want to take steroids, then lets set up a medically monitored program to ensure that it is done within a bounds of safely.  There was a time that no matter how good of an athlete you were, you got the same base pay as the other members of your team and it was pretty measly.  You actually made your money for, get this now, PERFORMING!  Baseball players had to hit home runs, throw strike outs, knock in RBI’s, etc.  Football players had to throw touchdowns, get sacks, etc.  The point is salaries and bonuses were performance based.  It seems today the salaries are so high and guaranteed to be paid, whether they are actually playing or not, the only way to get a higher level of performance out of athletes is to appeal to their baser sides and foster an environment where cheating and the sociopathic side of the brain get some enjoyment.  If you are already getting paid a million for just being on the field, what is you motivation to actually perform, the adulation of the fans and their hero worship that comes with it?

Once upon a time before collective bargaining agreements athletes entertained us and we paid a fare amount to see them.  Those that did not perform were unable to come back the next season because they did not make enough to carry them through the off-season and were not able to get back on a team.  50 or so years ago, we would not have had to wonder where Brett Favre would go and if he would actually be true to his word and retire, the league would have made that decision for him.  The point I am trying to make with this is, there has always been a certain amount of “legal” cheating in sports, some of it is just very specific in type to specific sports.  Fights are encouraged in hockey, spit-balls are expected in baseball, bounties should be expected in football and any number of ingenius engineering changes should be expected in NASCAR.  It does not require Congress to regulate it, especially when there is a governing body in each of these sports already in place.

Kudos to the NFL for handling this so quickly.  F… You Congress and your incessant waste of our money and constant attempts to put your individual members in the public eye by constantly reminding us how much of our money and time you waste for us.  These are the types of things we as voter to keep note of and remember when elections come around.  In my mind this is one of those undefined responsibilities we have as American taxpayers and voter; fat won’t trim itself, you got to do something about it and work it off.

Congressional flavored Kool-Aid, once again a bitter taste being forcefully fed.  We eat their shit on a daily basis, no need to wash it down with such a crappy flavored drink.

I just watched the video that unfortunately went viral recently, Kony 2012.  That is 29 minutes and 59 seconds of my life I can never get back.  For those of you into mental self-mutilation, I bring to you KONY 2012

Now, before I go too deep into a diatribe, let me state a few things.  First, Joseph Kony and people like him need to be stopped, whenever and wherever possible.  Second, the idea Invisible Children Inc. is based on has merit, I believe it is an honorable and noble goal all humans should strive for.  Third, the ideal of Invisible Children Inc. is fatally flawed and doomed for failure.

I will first entertain with a short video response from the comedic group of Action Figure Therapy as their character “Ranger” responds to the Kony 2012 video.  Ranger is the most outspoken of all the characters and he is usually the front man for response to controversial topics.

Now that I have all that out of the way, let me throw my own bit of Ranger-ness to the equation.  Joseph Kony is a blight on humanity, who takes little children from their homes, forces them to kill their parents and family members, turns little girls into sex slaves, foster an environment of death and violence among young and mentally undeveloped children that cannot be rivaled.  He is not the only user of children to build his power base and spread his violence, and he is definitely not the only one to do so in Africa.  Africa, while not having the monopoly on child warriors, do seem to be a breeding ground for the “how to” manuals of anyone with megalomaniacal aspirations of total dominion, but the inability to actually govern.  Child warriors have always been around, the difference between child warriors fighting in concert with adults to protect their homes and families and what Kony and other gutter-scum like him do is they use these children for their own sick, twisted reasons.  There is no “cause” or unified fight for survival; it is simply because he can.

Invisible Children Inc has a lot of merit in their ideology and to a point some of their approach would work well in conjunction with other means.  The fatal flaw in the approach and ideology is they want to bring Kony and others like him to justice, i.e., arrest and try and convict him.  According to the video I watched, they would stop at nothing to make it happen.  The problem I see with that overarching statement is, they only see what is in front of them, they do not realize what the ramifications of simply arresting Kony would be, that the only children who could possibly returned to their families and live some sort of a normal life are only those who are recent captures and have not been indoctrinated to the life yet.  They fail to see that the 30,000 number they quote as abducted members of the Lords resistance Army, have moved beyond normal human thinking and feeling.  The other problem I see with their blanket statement is, they really are not prepared to do “anything” to get it done, they are not willing to pull the trigger, they are not willing to become even part of the animal required to hunt down and end Kony’s reign of terror, nor are they smart enough to realize that since the LRA is no longer in Uganda proper, the Ugandan government would have to invade sovereign countries or at least violate their borders in order to “capture” Kony at this point.

You see there are multiple things that go into a “cause”, especially a just one.   You need to inform, something Invisible Children is doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things.  You also need to make the effort a priority in order to dedicate the assets required to it; something President Obama has done by dedicating some military “advisers” to aid in the cause.  You need to provide clear guidance on what the end objective is to be to those charged with the disposition of events.  Those who are to carry out the deed need to be dedicated, professional, relentless, ruthless, and at certain points compassionate.  Finally, you need to provide support and understanding to those who complete the objective; chances are they will have to transform themselves into something or someone else in order to bring things to fruition.  You see someone like Kony, who has no country to speak of, is not in charge of a great rebel force fighting for their country, they are monsters.  Monsters do not care about being prosecuted in the International Criminal Court.  Monsters ruin and use, right up until they get a bullet in the head, blown up, or they have grown so beyond their own power they are replaced by someone else will to take the reigns and move things to the next level.

The problem with Central African warlords is there never seems to be a shortage.  Just like the head of the Hydra, you chop one off and there stands double ready to take the place of the last.  It is not simply a matter of removing the head in case like this.  The body unfortunately is poisoned as well and you must cut it down to a level where the cancer can no longer spread.  Simply removing Kony will not stop what is happening.  That is the sad part these young idealists do not realize, nor will they understand.  More than likely they will change focus from the horrors perpetrated by the LRA to focusing their misspent rage and tons of their parents monies on the people who have the fortitude and aptitude to carry out what needs to be done.

Having been to Africa, I can attest to the beauty, the danger and to a certain extent the draw of the place.  This is even before you get to the people.  When 9/11 happened I was preparing to go help train Nigerian soldiers to perform peace keeping duties in Sierra Leone.  Another country whose civil war included genocide, child soldiers, blood diamonds and countless other atrocities.   While in Nigeria, I was part of a convoy chased out of a town by several hundred Islamist teens, got to witness the aftermath of tribal and religious warfare perpetrated on villages and I got to meet some pretty amazing people who celebrate their life and their families.  A very fundamental part of me can and appreciate the allure that is Africa.

As an American and a soldier and a family man, one of the problems I have with Invisible Children, George Clooney, and all these other do-gooders is they fail to look at the issues within our own borders and focus their energies on fixing them.  Do they think America is beyond repair or are they so ignorant to the issues here that they cannot muster the same level of outrage as they do for Africa.  They seem to not care that America is one of the biggest purveyors of human traffic and sexual slavery in the world.  They do not seem to care about the hidden layers of violence along the U.S./Mexico border.  There does not seem to be the same level of effort into making sure there are quality foods provided our children in their school lunches, that many Americans have bought so far into the misinterpretation of the American Dream that they have buried themselves so far in debt their children and in some case grandchildren will feel the effects of it.  They fail to see the merits of fixing our own house before we try and help other people to live in our image.  Forty some odd years ago, Elvis Presley sang a song called “In the Ghetto”, and in it he used some pretty descriptive lyrics to describe the life of the poor in urban centers.  The unfortunate part is, the song is still just as, if not more relevant today than it was back then.

I agree with Invisible Children that it will take famous people to spread the cause.  I in a way admire George Clooney for his work in the Sudan.  At least he has the integrity and balls to go there himself and do the work he has shown in documentaries and in the political realm.  Where someone such as old George loses his effectiveness and integrity is when he has the ability to invite folks back to his Italian Villa and sip champagne with him and Stacy Keebler on the heels of another successful sneaking into Darfur and back out again. My fellow service members and I have spent untold time away from home during our careers policing up the ills of the world and trying to make it a better place, we are just happy to make it back in one piece, kiss and hug our family and maybe have a little celebratory cookout on the deck of one of our Fayetteville homes.

As a country we need to continue to aid other, less fortunate countries, however, we need to do quite a bit of housekeeping and some renovation in our own house before we invest too deeply in others.  It is hard in my mind to provide any more than the 100 advisers we have in central Africa right now to chase a madman who will probably be replaced before his corpse is cold, when we are doing nothing at home to stop the violence along our southern border, or the wanton sexual slavery readily available on Craigslist or Backpage.  It would also be a pretty good idea that if you are using your child as a demonstration point for your how to solve the world’s ills video, that you not get caught running around in your underwear, vandalizing cars and “spanking your Kony” in public.

Something I have never been able to wrap my mind around is the public swell of emotion when a famous person dies.  I particularly am unable to grasp the public empathy when they live a lifestyle of various personal abuses and act in a manner that if it were anyone we knew personally would not surprise us at all if we had found out they suddenly died as a result of said behavior.  I do not mean to diminish the sense of loss experienced by their family and close friends, it is expected and completely understandable they would go through that.  When you live a life in the public eye and allow you demons to be on display, why is it then the public in general is shocked and draw together in memorium when just a few days before they were so critical of the most recent display of dysfunction splashed across the tabloids?

There have been numerous musicians in my lifetime that have met a bitter end due to their inability to control their demons.  While still in diapers in a very short span the world lost Jimmy Hendrix, Janice Joplin, and Jim Morrison to some side effect of their drug and alcohol abuse.  Flash forward to the 1980’s and there were numerous musicians, actors and models who fell prey to the early days of the A.I.D.S epidemic.  In the 1990’s we saw Curt Cobain eat a shotgun as his final display of his inability to reconcile his fame, fortune, family and addictions.  In the last year alone there was the death of Amy Winehouse and just this weekend the death of Whitney Houston.  It is too early to tell what caused the death of Whitney Houston, but how much would you like to bet that in some way, shape, or form it will be attributed to the very demons she shared with her ex-husband Bobby Brown and put on public display both in the tabloids and their television show.

Americans both worship and vilify the cultural icons we put up on a pedestal.  They are fodder for the tabloids with their exploits no matter how personal they may be.  Somehow, we also manage to be surprised and saddened when those same actions lead to their death.  Michael Jackson is probably the most famous case of this.  All the debts he racked up while he was alive to help foster his eccentricities is now being paid off as he continues to make as much money in death as he did during life.  Somehow his true and deadly addictions managed to be kept out of public eye until after his death, we just got to witness the great talent he had alongside his completely eccentric and often disturbing life.

We witness famous people enter our popular culture and the vast tabloid battlefield each and every day.  Many are mourned and we speak of the loss for the world with their passing, yet each and everyday a child or children are killed in senseless acts of violence that could have been prevented.  They die through no fault of their own, victims of their genealogy or placement in an unforgiving system.  Their losses may make national headlines due to the heinousness of the crime which killed them, yet we as a country pay more attention to the trial of a doctor who in a display of unethical practice allowed someone who knew to be an addict self-medicate with a powerful anesthetic he prescribed him.  I wonder if the judge on that particular case would show the same level of loss and acrimony to the killers of Zahra Baker or Shaniya Davis.

The system each and every day fails children and more continue to die because among the first programs to get cut on state and federal budgets is social services.  Famous people undress to show their love of animals and protest cruelty towards them.  How about they keep their clothes on and dedicate some time and money towards protecting our youth or helping provide much needed services that would prevent them from becoming just another statistic.

Whitney Houston delivered one of the most memorable performances of our national anthem ever back in 1991.  The thing about that is, it was recorded and now will long outlast her.  There is a whole community out in Washington state that wonders how the system could have failed two little boys, burned to death along with their father, who allegedly could not live without them.  As they were snatched away from the social worker who was supposed to take them to a SUPERVISED visit with their father, a person of interest in the disappearance of their mother, the smell of fuel was evident from the front door as it was slammed in the social workers face.  This social worker called 911 and waited as the police responded to something else and the house became immolated by fire. Despite the pleas of the social worker to 911, her suspicions were not enough to raise the priority as there was a known emergency elsewhere at the time.

“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be”

These words were sung by a woman with an amazing voice and a haunted personal life.  Many people watched her dysfunctional life play out on a weekly tv show and read with shock, awe, and morbid fascination her every foible in the weekly tabloids.  Even someone with a life such as hers can bring words to life with their voice, that is their gift.  I would like to think that in their passing they would rather see the world focus on the words they have sung and find the meaning in them rather than be placed upon a pedestal strictly for the gifts they were given.  Magic is all about illusion, in this case as in most, the magician is the public as we willingly fool ourselves into seeing only the bright spots and not recognizing the picture for what it is.  We pull the wool over our own eyes and draw our focus to our icons rather than aligning our empathy to those who truly need it.