Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Those Who Don't Learn History Are Doomed to Repeat It

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." -Thomas Jefferson (see full quote and context here). See modern context here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Through My Eyes

A tragic story came to a close recently about a woman who was convicted of microwaving her 1 month old child to death. The woman was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Around the country I’m sure people rejoiced over this woman’s just sentence. What saddens me is the absurdity with our culture today. I cannot see how “pro-choice” is ever a choice. Take this case for example, would this be such a heinous crime if it were committed 1 month earlier when this child was still in its mother’s womb? Perhaps if the child wasn’t microwaved but rather scrambled, suctioned, injected, or had it’s skull crushed, would that make it less heinous? Of course not.

The argument over privacy is ludicrous. Are any crimes ever attempted out in the open? If I murder someone in my house is it just because it’s on private property? No. The only argument then is on a woman’s “right” to her body. This argument too is crazy. How is it we live in a country that says we can’t put drugs in our body or take our own life but we can take the life of another who grows in us? The argument is often presented as the child is an unwanted “parasite.” The woman thus has a right to remove it. How is it we’ve come to think of humans as parasites? I guess the homeless could be thought of as parasites to society, maybe we should free ourselves of them as well?

A problem I have with the Democratic Party in general is that they tend to embrace “pro-choice” as the idea, “we know what is best for others.” (I hope you see the irony in this stance and the Democratic Party's many others). The argument goes that it would be better to not be born at all than be born unloved or unwanted… Tell that to my adopted friends.

Lastly, what about the rare but terrible circumstances of rape or incest? If we follow logic rather than our emotions the answer is obvious. Again, tell that to some of my adopted friends. I don’t know which ones may have such a horrible story but I’m sure they wouldn’t want to know either. What about the woman? Will taking the life of this unwanted child take away her memories of the horrible event? This argument is just a cop-out.

Perhaps only in the event of medical necessity should such a difficult decision ever be made but even many doctors will tell you this is an extremely rare circumstance. To me the choice is obvious. I'm saddened in knowing most abortions are due to people who have no desire to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. I see this through a moral lens instilled in me by my religious beliefs. Others may see it through their own philosophical moral view. The question now is, can we come to agree as a society if we don’t have an absolute moral reference?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Corporation's Ignorance of Their Consumer Base is Astounding

You would think my title would be something out of an Onion article but sadly it isn’t. I’m dumbfounded at how corporations don’t
understand their consumers. Take for example Business Week’s recent article on Ford. Ford comes up with a vehicle that gets 65mpg (that’s 17mpg more than the Prius) but say they won’t sell in the U.S. because A.) It uses diesel B.) It costs too much to import.

To point out the absurdities in those arguments seems too simple but apparently I need to because Ford thinks their valid. Ok, so diesel costs more than regular gas but the fact it gets that much better gas mileage makes up for it. Ford also believes consumers think diesel is too nasty for Americans. Are you kidding me? The majority of Americans buy a Prius because
their fuel efficient. They don’t care about “going green”, that’s just an added perk, not the other way around.

Lastly (and this one really gets me) they can’t IMPORT it because the engine is made in Britain and costs too much. Uh, why can’t an American company make its own engines by American laborers for American consumers? Maybe it’s the US pension plans they can’t afford… or maybe the U.S. is just living too much off of borrowed time and money all because we make such terrible mistakes.

[Update 9/8] Yea for Chevy for actually listening to their customers. Let's just hope they build a big enough gas tank to ensure motorists don't get stranded between stations.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Screw Innovation, Just Dig Deeper

If you haven't heard, ISPs are blaming bandwidth hogs for your slow internet and their solutions aren't in your best interest. Heaven forbid companies actually try to create solutions that customers actually want rather than find ways to "dig deeper into their pockets". What I don't get is why they don't just run more fiber if bandwidth is the issue. Amazingly one of the telecoms that likes to screw their customers as much as possible realizes this and is at least trying to do something but even this won't satisfy our bandwidth needs in the near future (e.g. streaming HD video & phone). I guess the other option is we just never see these "scifi" technologies. The sad thing is we continue to fall behind the rest of the world and yet we continue to take on the rest of the world like Leeroy Jenkins in thinking we've got it all together.

[Update 9/12] Perfect example. Case and point.