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The Change You Want To See

16 Apr

When I see the news for this bombing in Boston, it makes me feel hopeless. It makes me feel tired and lost. There is so much sadness in the world, and what do we do? I honestly have no idea. I don’t know how to fix the violence in America, or in the world. I just don’t know. The sadness we all feel when events like this occur is really indescribable. These events are what tear down our hope, and make us wonder if the things we’re trying to do are even worth it. What hurts us most when we hear about events like this is that we don’t know what to do. We realize, almost invariably, that there are parts of this that we can’t fix. And yet, tomorrow, we will wake up. Tomorrow, we will go to school, or to work. Tomorrow, and every day, we decide how we live our lives.

For some of us, it is easiest to say that we don’t know. We don’t know how to end violence. We don’t know if more gun laws is the right answer. We don’t know if it’s worth it to invest time in politics. But let’s not lose sight of the things we do know. We know that hate is only fought with love. We know that life is fragile, and that living things should be treated with respect. We make a thousand decisions each day that test whether or not we will live out these beliefs.

For others of us, it is easiest to say that we do know. We feel that if only our beliefs were put into place, and our laws were followed, the world would be a better place. And maybe it would. We know that people who fight for justice, for fairness and for safety are honorable in so many ways. But these people will never win this fight. They will keep fighting, as God knows, they should. We will still have violence, we will still have anger, we will still have hate. It’s easy to say that things would be better if we had control. Things would be better if we were in charge. It’s easy to give up, and leave it at that. But don’t we have control? Don’t we have control over how we live our lives?

It is easiest to say that we don’t know, or that we do and no one will listen. But tomorrow, what will we do? Will we rise to the sadness of the world, and bring joy? Will we match hate with forgiveness and love? Or will we resign, saying that we can’t make a difference? And for just a minute, let’s not even think about “we”. What about you? When you wake up tomorrow, what will you do?

(Fun?) With Aggregation

2 Apr

Let me explain aggregation. It’s a theory (a wondrous theory) that if 99% of people are completely ignorant of EVERYTHING (which, as you know, they are relatively close to), then 49.5% will vote for one candidate, and 49.5% will vote for the other. That leaves the decision to the 1% who are informed. 

James Surowiecki (author of A Wisdom of Crowds) documented that in a contest to guess the weight of an ox, that with the number of participants guessing, the mean of their hypotheses’ will continue to grow closer to the true weight. This means that with more participants, accuracy will continue to increase, strictly considering a single-variable ideal.

They will, but politically, there’s a fatal flaw with aggregation (got it right that time). It’s called systematic error. For instance; people tend to under-estimate the benefits of interaction with foreign countries. Frédéric Bastiat (pronounced Fray-day-reek Bos-tiy-ay, only with a French accent) wrote this really sweet book called Economic Sophisms, in which you can read up about lots more of these biases. It’s great, truly great (ALMOST as great as linear equation systems with HUNDREDS of variable, OMG).

Anyways, right now public representation is pretty screwed up ‘cuz of this other fun thing called logical ignorance, meaning no oe has the time to inform themselves anyways, especially since they are well aware that their vote is BASICALLY useless. Even someone who devotes all kinds of time to informing themselves (in my opinion) doesn’t know enough to vote, aka no one does. Here’s why; you might know exactly what your ideologies are, but at the end of the day, you don’t know if a candidate really holds the same ideologies. We have evidence that they tend to care more about getting elected than honesty. But you know…

So there are 3 options; 1.) Find a way to educate the general public so that they can find the candidate that really supports their best interest (except I already talked briefly about why we can’t, because would it even matter?) 2.) Make it simpler (except we can’t- too many representatives who want it this way; more loopholes), or 3.) Give up on democracy- whaa…? That’s heresy!

In the words of Winston Churchill: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Obama Is The Devil, But You Knew That Already

19 Mar

Thought Catalog

bible1

It should be no shocking news to you that Barack Obama is the devil. After all, “Obama”; Devil”: these words both contain vowels. Granted, not the same number of vowels, or the same vowels, but still. And in case that’s not enough for you, check this out: “Satan”; “Obama.” Again, not the same number of vowels or the same vowels, but still; getting closer.

ANY-way, we have exciting news in that Obama has been proved to be Satan once again… assuming that you were the sort of person who believed this already.

Yes! You see, The History Channel currently has a mini-series that is cleverly entitled The Bible, since it’s about the Bible. And the actor who plays Satan on the mini-series happens to sort of look like; well, we’ll let Glenn Beck do the explaining–

glennbeck- Anyone else think the Devil ...…And by saying that the devil resembles “That Guy,”…

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What Constitutes an Assassination

5 Feb

Guyz, it’s political Tuesday!! I wrote this 19,000 years ago and found it on my email. It made me laugh, because why the heck is this interesting to me? But it IS, because words are so arbitrary!

Most people know what an assassination means… generally. But have you ever wondered what exactly constitutes an assassination? Where does that fine line between murder and assassination lie?

 So I looked it up in the dictionary, and here’s what I came up with;

 –verb (used with object), -nat⋅ed, -nat⋅ing.1.to kill suddenly or secretively, esp. a politically prominent person; murder premeditatedly and treacherously.
2.to destroy or harm treacherously and viciously: to assassinate a person’s character.

We will focus first on definition 1. It obviously states that assassination  applies mostly to those of political power or influence. In other words, presidents, senators, and even judges (candidates too). So of course I asked “What about the president of the multi- million dollar corporation who influences these candidates?” So I find the distinction to be this; if the person was killed for a political reason then it’s assassination- not murder. If you’re not sure why they were killed? Well then you’re just gonna have to guess.

So now on to the second definition. Who knew you could assassinate a person’s character? What exactly does that have to do with politics? A lot, actually. Let’s look up the definition of politics (good thing you all have your dictionaries handy!). You don’t have to read it all, but just scan through the following;

–noun (used with a singular or plural verb)1.the science or art of political government.
2.the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.
3.political affairs: The advocated reforms have become embroiled in politics.
4.political methods or maneuvers: We could not approve of his politics in winning passage of the bill.
5.political principles or opinions: We avoided discussion of religion and politics. His politics are his own affair.
6.use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, as in business, university, etc.
7.(initial capital letter, italics) a treatise (4th century b.c.) by Aristotle, dealing with the structure, organization, and administration of the state, esp. the city-state as known in ancient Greece.

The last definition really caught my eye. “Dealing with the structure, organization, and administration of the state”. So if that state is, well, a person, then i guess you could assassinate someone’s character. In other words, you could use this word for the destruction pretty much anything. But it’s a long word… so people don’t.

Human Creulty

5 Feb

“I saw a photograph: Cologne in ’27, and then a postcard after the bombs in ’45. Must’ve been a world of evil clowns that let it happen, but then I recognize, dear listener, that you were there and so was I…” -Port of Morrow/The Shins

Lately I have been thinking about the extent of human cruelty. I go to a Catholic school, so the subject gets rather interesting. You see, the Catholic faith (in case you don’t know) is founded on a belief in the love of God and the love of others. Yet, as I’ve learned the Catholic faith is often not followed by many who claim to be Catholics. It’s an awful problem, and reflects terribly upon those who are very honest, loving, Catholic people.

It’s a sad truth that religion can be used to judge others, yet it can. The whole reason I’m even bringing this up is because I recently started Sociology and we’re learning about the Catholic view of gay marriage in Theology. Oh, and it’s election year. I really just want to say this; be nicer to each other, people.

On a side note, I would like to put in a general apology to gay people everywhere from me. I sympathize with the cause of trying to gain rights. I don’t always think that it is gone about in the most reasonable way, but I sympathize. The apology is for this; sometimes (okay, usually) I get really waver-y back-and-forth about issues, and gay marriage is one of them. It’s not that I ever thought gay people were horrible and awful, but there was a time when I thought “okay, yes it IS a choice if you chose to act on it” or “why not just accept civil union?”. And true, I ultimately am for gay rights, including marriage. But I get like that with things.

I even get why you could be against it. When I line up all the arguments from the U.S. Bishops, my ultimate argument really comes down to “think what you want, I personally don’t believe that it’s the government’s place to support (or not support) a specific lifestyle if said lifestyle does not directly affect others, regardless of its impact on society” I think doing so causes more harm than good. And yet, that is a philosophy. I will stick to it, but it is still only a philosophy.

I could explain to them, and yet they don’t want to listen. That’s the problem, isn’t it? I mean watch the presidential debates. Actually, don’t even bother! They’ll argue about non-issues that neither of them would really deal with anyways. Then you can hear kids who have never gotten a job tell you that only lazy bums wouldn’t have one, and they don’t deserve crap from the government. They know! Oooh, they know! That’s what drives me crazy really crazy. They don’t want to understand. They just want to win. And yet… I want them to understand, and so I get DISCOURAGED. Per usual. And yet sometimes they do understand. It makes me happy.

“How can you even think that anyone is better than anybody else? None of the things the ‘better one’ is doing are even significant. I mean, just look at the SKY, for God’s sake”- My dad

“I don’t always want to say what I believe and have to argue. But sometimes I know I have to; when it comes to morality. Because I just don’t even want to think about how [people who the issues affect] would feel if I didn’t.” -Freddy

“A person’s a person, no matter how small. Doctor Seuss said that. It’s true. A person’s a person not matter how small. Or how drug addicted”- A person named Michelle, who drove me places and is wonderfully nice

Then I said that the sad part was that the people at our school would probably put it on a t-shirt and sell it for fifteen bucks. Everyone would buy one too.

“You’ll never change them”- Thom Yorke

P.S. Now you know what I mean by “rambley” and “incoherent”… enjoy! 

Sail To The Moon

30 Dec

The other day, my driver’s ed instructor went on a tangent and talked about man’s first steps on the moon, the Apollo 11 Mission. He told this group of teenagers that he remembered seeing this first human moon landing live as it was televised. He told us that he remembered it vividly, and that he would never forget.

What he said next, however, was what really made me start thinking. What he said next was that America is a country which is truly great, unparalleled in modern times, unparalleled even in history. Did you see any other country utilizing their natural resources, human intelligence, and government funding in a way that landed a man on the moon, and returned him safely home again? I think not.

It wasn’t the first time I had heard this spaceflight talked about in this way. Even less patriotic speculators can use the Apollo mission to point to our governments ability to accomplice a given objective. If you ask the Republicans, they’ll say that the government can’t form a logical health-care plan. If you ask the Libertarians, they’ll say that government shouldn’t be trusted. Government is inherently corrupt and ineffective. But that can’t be! Dammit, we put a man on the moon!

Every time I hear the moon landing talked about this way, it surprises me. When I first learned about man landing on the moon, I never considered government. When I first learned about man landing on the moon I considered it a feat of science. It was an opportunity for exploration of the natural universe, just for the sake of exploration. I remember staring wide-eyed and full of wonder, as I wandered through the exhibits of The Kennedy Space Center in Orlando at the age of five. These incredible men went boldly where no men had gone before. To tell me then that is was because of ‘government’ would be like telling me that musicians wrote music for money!

So this is how it is, there are complex reasons for everything. Not just the lover of the subject, but the person paying too. This is how it is, with not only black and white, but also the various shades of grey. Uncertainty. For better and for worse, it’s not the world I saw at five.

Dan Carlin, How I’ve Missed You

27 Nov

For those of you who don’t know who Dan Carlin is (aka probably all of you), he’s a political podcaster. As you probably do know, getting into political podcasts and ranting about them on blogs is very normal behavior for a teenage girl. Right?

Anyways, over the past few days I have been bingeing on some these one-ish hour ‘episodes’ that have been building up by the hundreds in my iTunes arsenal over the last few years. It has made me very happy, this bingeing.

I don’t know what it is about Dan Carlin, but he is just sort of calming. He is smart, reasonable, funny (but in a clever way), and quirky too. His volume and speed both fluctuate like nobody’s business. 

After a lot of hours spent listening to him talk about a lot of things, I start to feel like I’m understand something that is special, secret almost, and worth understanding. All those hours build up to feeling like I’m a part of something, like a family, or a club. It’s sorta like all the other things in this world that I love.

Which is why your probably wondering why so many of his podcasts have built up in my iTunes library for the last few years in the first place, sitting there untouched since I left middle-school. Well, they’ve built up because I haven’t been listening to them. Which brings us to a very interesting phenomenon of mine.

Like a lot of other things I have been noticing, Dan Carlin was something that I needed a very long break from. For a long time, it upset me. I couldn’t take out of it what was meant to be taken from it (political awareness/historical knowledge/pure bliss). I was irritated by the fact that Dan’s rants always seemed the same. I was irritated that I had nobody to discuss this with. For a time, Dan Carlin made me even more of an angsty high-school girl.

Lets take a moment to appreciate the statement that a independent-minded political podcast made me more angsty. It really is an odd world. But besides sometimes being too negative for an already negative teenage girl, it made me miss how things used to be.

It’s the same a Coldplay, or marzipan, or Christmas-shopping in bookstores. Things that used to make me happy which are too associated with other things that inevitably ended. Dan Carlin was an 8th grade thing, and 8th grade ended. But of course it ended. It ends every year for a new class.

So I took a break. A very long break. And I thought about politics, and I didn’t, and took history classes, and read books, and I did all kinds of other things that slighty awkward high-schoolers like myself do.

Then one beautiful, glorious day (that is, yesterday), it occurred to me that I wanted to learn about the positions of Libertarian candidates in the last election. I know it’s over, but curiosity just hits you at the oddest times. And that led to this binge, which, 30-some hours later isn’t over. Because it all came back to me. All the good things, without any of the bad.

And all this time, Dan’s been waiting. Just waiting there patiently in iTunes. Waiting to tell me about American class aversion, and third-party alternatives, and the wrath of Khans. I’ll take it all, Dan. And I’ll try to get you that buck-a-show. Since after all, it’s all you ask.