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HAPPY BDAY to Bella Baggins (7/6) and the BIGS (7/13)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mourn someone who matters.

Joe Paterno passed away this past Sunday at the tender age of 85.

People will mourn his death no likely but not me. I don't care if his wife is crying. I don't care if his children are sad or if his grandchildren are wondering when Grandpa Joe is coming back from heaven to visit him. Their tears have no meaning. They have no substance.

For a man who is supposed to mold children into men he failed to do what a responsible adult would do. He failed to take care of the children. The children he possibly one day could have coached. The children who one day could have helped expand his "legacy" as the winningest football coach in NCAA history.

Like it or not that is what a coach is. A father figure to those football players he took in as young men. From the ages of 18-22 those men look to their coach for leadership, guidance, and advice. And he failed. Miserably.

He failed everyday for almost 14 years. He failed everyday to correct a mistake he made. He could have woke up one morning and decided to take more action. He could have decided that a man who raped children being put in prison was more important than saving the reputation of Penn State University. He could have told an actual person whose responsibility it was to protect and serve the people of Pennsylvania but he chose not to.

After the first incident, in 1998, he saw his friend with children around campus but did nothing. After the grad assistant came to his house in 2002 he still did nothing. Again, he still saw him walking around campus with children after 2002 and once more did nothing. Let me correct myself. After 2002 he did something. He did the absolute minimum, legally.

I wonder if he would have allowed his grandchildren to sleepover Sandusky's house? Sleep in the special rape room he had set aside downstairs? Would he have helped his grandchild when they screamed for help while Sandusky raped them? Or would he have looked the other way like Sandusky's wife did?

This was an 85 year old heavily Catholic man. A man who supposedly never heard of a man raping a boy. Remember, an 85 year old Catholic man who never heard of a man raping a boy. Didn't the Milwaukee, WI archdiocese file for bankruptcy due to all the money they've had to pay out for hmmm what was it again? Oh yeah, men raping little boys.

I am not celebrating this man's death. So spare me the Martin Luther King quotes about celebrating people's deaths. But I do not mourn his death. The tears his family shed should be shed for what he failed to do. Their father/grandfather looked the other way when his good friend was raping children. Those children deserve the tears. Their lives are ruined because a leader of men did the absolute minimum when it came to protecting this world's most cherished asset. The children.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." - MLK

Saturday, January 21, 2012

America: Land of the free, home of the entiteld

I recently read an article about how Apple (and other of America's most successful companies) outsources its manufacturing, such that few if any of the products sold to Americans are made in America.  Of course there was talk about now "nimble" and "flexible" the factories are and how "skilled" the workers are abroad, and there was definitely talk about how the labor is "cheaper."  But the article (as well as any discussion about outsourcing) failed to discuss the elephant in the room: the attitude of entitlement among Americans.

The article pointed out an example about the iPhone and how there was a design configuration change at the last minute (six weeks before the launch of the phone) and a plant in China was able to not only implement it within 24 hours, but it also began pumping out 10,000 iPhones a week.  The interesting part about the example for me was the fact the factory was able to implement the change within 24 hours because the workers are housed in dormitories at the plant, they worked 12 hour shifts, they were awakened in the middle of the night to work, and fed a biscuit and tea--as if to say "this should tide you over.  Now get to work."  There was a quote--something about no other facility in America could have done such a turn around and produced so quickly.  Well there's a reason for that, and it has nothing to do with the fact our workers demand higher wages or that they aren't trained or skilled enough to do it.

Sometime around World War II, there was a shift among the attitudes of American workers.  They demanded that their employer treat them--and pay them--with respect.  They demanded certain working conditions, refused to work over a certain amount of hours per day or week and put limits on the ages of our workers.  It was then that manufacturing in America (and the middle class it created) began to decline.

After decades of federal and state regulation setting standards in America's work places, there is definitely not a plant in America that could have done what the plant in China did for the iPhone.  Workers aren't living in rooms at the plant.  They certainly are going to want more than a biscuit and tea for breakfast, and they'll be damned if they're working 12 hour shifts for six straight weeks without getting paid overtime.

According to the article, President Obama asked Steve Jobs what it would take to bring those jobs back to the US.  Jobs said (inaudibly to the POTUS) "Those jobs are never coming back."  Damn right they aren't--especially since the workforce those jobs would employ in America would rather collect government aid than subject themselves to the same working conditions as the Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Taiwanese and others that have those jobs now.  Get on the train to elitism or die a broke muthafucka; there's no in between anymore.

The meanest, prettiest, the baddest low-down mofo around this town,

Why Hollywood should forget about SOPA and PIPA

America has long been the home of the enterprising, even to the extent it was illegal. From bootlegging liquor during prohibition to selling knock-offs or contraband in Chinatown, alternative channels to acquire what one wants is as American as apple pie and capitalism.

Which is why Hollywood and the music industry need to wake up. "Piracy" exists simply because the movie and music industry refuse to embrace alterative distribution channels. The model they've always used is antiquated and should be adjusted.  They'd rather let someone else do it for them--and then continue to complain about how much money is lost in the black/secondary markets.

"Pirates" do the same, some for profit, others for free. The problem is the actual producers of the content don't see any coin. How do we fix this? The content providers need to up their game and get with the times. Give people options.  In other words, the content providers themselves need to completely takeover distribution, instead of trying to figure out ways to make pirating harder.  Eventually the government found a way to make selling liquor work--tax the hell out of it.  The content providers need to figure out a way to make distributing their content work.  CDs and DVDs are still made and sold despite the presence of iTunes and Netflix; Apple and Netflix simply offered another distribution channel.  I'm pretty sure people would still go see movies in movie theaters, even if they could download/stream "MI:3" in their house on opening weekend.

Spare me the crap about how piracy lessens the motivation to create artistic works--just say it's really about the money because that's what it's about.  Record companies and movie studios do a lot of complaining about their own pockets, yet their actions are such as to protect the pockets of their partners.  Fact is there are two many other entities making money off the content the movie and music studios produce for this idea to ever take hold.  Apple, Amazon, Netflix, the cable providers, RedBox, AMC, Marcus Theaters, etc. etc. are all making money from the ability to distribute content from Hollywood.  But if Hollywood was so concerned about the money lost in alternative markets, they'd step their game up with regard to distribution, their partner's pockets be damned.

I'm pretty sure if the movie/album is good enough, people will still go to the secondary markets (iTunes, Amazon, buying a CD/DVD at Target) to enjoy/purchase it like they do now.  So why not open up a studio backed streaming service (similar to Hulu for TV) and count the money that comes rolling in?  There are plenty of ways to make money from this--from putting ads at the beginning of the movie (instead of trailers) to small banner ads that work similar to subtitles--money can be made.  You really want to stop piracy?  Forget SOPA--start distributing the product directly in a way that incentivizes people to pay you for it.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Big respect to the father tht saw his kid in the video (The only one not wearing a mask) and asked him:  "Why did you do this?"  When the stupid kid answered the way stupid kids do, "I don't know,"  The dad called the police and turned his kid in.  The dad is a former Cook County Sherrif, and knew that right is right.  It took a lot of courage and strength to do something like that, and in that instance, the kid is a piece of shit, and should be flushed away.  It takes strength to lock your kid up knowing that for evrey day he is in jail, he will be raped and and beaten for being a cops kid, and for showing weakness in participating in mob mentality violence.  This kid will probably get his teeth smashed out, and his ass painted red for easy oral/anal sex indentification.  This poor kid's ass will be passed around like canadian nickles, and find his untimely end in the back of some boiler room with a shiv up his bloody ass.  The other kids will be luckier, as they will spend time in Juvie, where there are less boiler rooms.      

Obama just lost the election

Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't wake me...this dream isn't over yet

Way back in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected President of these United States, some people swore that Martin Luther King Jr's "dream" was fulfilled. I'll go ahead and point out the obvious that these folk had no clue what Dr. King's dream was about. Certainly Dr. King (the spokesperson of the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s) wanted to move our country in a direction of racial equality--where Blacks (primarily) were on par with whites. Here in 2012 however our country is more diverse than ever; equality isn't just Black and white anymore. Race may not even play a factor--and in that respect perhaps Dr. King's "dream" is a reality. I for one feel we have a ways to go.

The color barrier isn't broken down, but it is admittedly cracked. The bigger picture though--equality--is still a problem. From the digital divide to income inequality, America (and western civilization generally) still suffers from gross inequality among its citizenry. It just so happens that many of the people on the "wrong" side of these inequities are not white. Centuries of racism definitely played a part in creating this "caste" system, but the issue these days isn't so much about the amount of melanin in ones skin as it is about the "haves" and "have nots."

In terms of progress, there are more wealthy people of color in 2012 than their were in 1963 when Dr. King revealed to the world his "dream." Our schools systems are integrated (technically). Public facilities are exactly that--public. Integration however has not solved the underlying problem: how do we get to a point where everyone, regardless of race or background has access to the American dream? That is, how can each generation improve on the next? It's really quite simple: Incentivize progress.

You may be saying to yourself, "what that means?" It means it should be better to change where you are but remember where you're from than to stay where you're from in order to "keep it real." It means revamping student aid. It means rewarding people who roll off the government social service programs to become greater contributors to society. The rates of recidivism for Americas social service programs suggest they aren't working; instead they create a cycle where generation after generation continues to live a government subsidized lifestyle. Making it more beneficial to be OFF government assistance than it is to continue on it would help us get closer to fulfilling the "dream". It shouldn't be cool to be "hood." Moving out of the hood shouldn't be frowned upon. Contributing to the progress of your fellow human because you remember what it was like in the hood is what we should strive for. Having a hustle is cool; turning that hustle into a legitimate business is better. Having the people on your block revere you is much better than them fearing you, so instead of shooting it up, build it up.

Once we make it cool for everyone to move forward THEN we will be closer to Dr. King's "dream." Until then, keep sleeping.