30 December, 2008

Good Riddance!

We all have things that we are glad to see gone. Some things we hold on to that we need to let go.

Some of the things that one person will hold on to, another says good riddance.

Recently, a group in New York City organized 'Good Riddance Day'. Organizers encouraged people to bring things to put into a giant shredder and say 'good riddance' to. One woman brought a printed email from her ex-boyfriend breaking up with her. Others brought things representing stocks, or papers that read 'cancer'. A creative Yankee fan brought a Boston Red Sox poster (despite the fact that the Rays won the division, the Sox were the wild card winners this year). Top prize went to a man who brought a sock to represent all the widowed socks that lost their mates in the wash.

A clever idea.

What sorts of things are you saying good riddance to? What is easy to dismiss? What are we holding on to, that we really should let go?

16 December, 2008

Where does it stop?

We've all heard the phrase 'slippery slope'. Basically, it means that once we get started down a path, it gets harder to change course.

It started with the Thruway. We were told that the tolls would only be there long enough to pay off the cost of building the expressway. Then, the toll road will be solely funded by the tolls collected. Now, despite toll hikes, it draws operating funds from the state budget.

The next brilliant move by the the smart people in Albany are proposing an 'obesity tax'. This proposed tax would be a 15% tax on non-diet sodas. 'Big Nutra Sweet' got it's way. They are taxing sugar sodas. It is proposed under the guise that sugar is bad for us. This is the same group that told us that saccharin is bad for us.. and then changed their mind.

What happened to letting people make their own decisions and live with the consequences of said decisions? You know the way that they do it in a free country like the United States? Not the way that the government knows whats best, the way that it is in the Peoples Republic of New York.

OK, now that they have opened the door for regular soda to be taxed, what's next? Tax Honey Nut Cheerios, but not regular Cheerios? Frosted Flakes, but not Corn Flakes? This doesn't take into account that when most people pour sugar on Cheerios and Corn Flakes before they pour the milk. What about taxing whole milk, but skim gets a pass..

My brother made this analogy when it comes to the state budget deficit. "It's like there is a big hole in the ground, and instead of filling the hole, they dig out around it, so we are all on the same level as the bottom of the hole." It is what the Democrats' plan usually involves. Let's not bring up the bottom, let's lower the top. That isn't the way to make a society successful.

** Editors note **

The proposed tax is 18% not 15% as noted.

10 December, 2008

Does it really work?

Remember a couple of years ago, in a move for solidarity, Hispanic community leaders called for a call in day. They asked for all Latinos, regardless of legal status or citizenship to call in from work on the same day.

The goal was to show how many Latinos there are, and how big of an impact they have on the economy.

The place that I was working at the time (a call center) employed a large group of people from Puerto Rico, Mexico and other Latin countries. As best as I could tell, they all disregarded the irresponsible call to skip work. Many of them were in a Spanish language queue, and primarily spoke with other Latinos. They took calls from upset callers because they went to work on the 'Lets not go to work today' day.

Well, it seems that today is another sort of "We'll show them how many of us there are" days. Today is 'Call in Gay' day. It seems that the leaders of Gay and lesbian community have called for a form of protest.

What do they expect will come of such an action (or inaction)? I think that it will cause more damage than good to their cause. There are far fewer gays than they would like us to think there are. According to a report, between 4 and 5% of Americans admit to being gay. In another report, the number is 1.3%.

Even if everyone who chooses that lifestyle called into work today, how many people would be missing from the workforce today? 5 out of 100? Is that going to cause a wave? Sure, in some cases it may cause an inconvenience to employers and customers, but in most places, it would be less than a ripple. Although, I imagine it would be tough to get your hair styled in San Francisco today.

I don't think that it will cause any broad changes in public perception, but I think the more likely change in attitude will be that there are less of them than the noise they make, and that less accommodations will be made for them. Even in California, when it was put to a public vote, more than 52% of voters supported the proposition to formally define marriage as a union of a man and a women. This is the 2nd time that it was put to a public vote in California, with the same end result.

03 December, 2008

How far is too far?

I know that a lot of people around the world and in the US are excited with the prospect of a black president.

There are baby Barack Obamas all over country and in Kenya.

But a news story that I came across today is going too far, at least this soon.

It seems that a county in Alabama has already declared the second Monday in November to be "The Barack Obama Day".

Perry County Al is this county. In the article that I read (it was an AP story that can be read here), it says the majority of the 12,000 county residents are black, but it doesn't say how big of a majority it is.

On this day, all county offices would be closed, and the employees would get the day off with pay.

Time will tell the impact that he will have on this country. There are those who say he is going to be remembered as one of the greatest president in the history of this nation. Honestly, I have no idea what they are basing it on, since he has no real experience beyond the 6 months he spent in the Senate before he started his campaign. I hope that he does a better job than what I think he will. My prediction is that he will be less remembered as the next George Washington and more as the next Jimmy Carter. As a matter of hope, just remember, it took a Carter to bring us a Regan.

But none of us can predict the future, he may end up being one of the best presidents this country has seen, but let's give him a chance to prove it before we coronate him. It took over 100 years for George Washington to be honored in such a way.