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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time to Talk? [North Korea Throwdown]

: 
     
North Korea still remains skeptical of
US diplomatic attempts.
               After dominating headlines for the last month, North Korea has hinted that it may be willing to bring an end to its nuclear brinkmanship and begin a new round of talks with the United States. Pyongyang issued a detailed statement this past week outlining its terms for the dialogue, including demands that the US cease its “nuclear war practice” and annual war games with South Korea and rescind the stringent sanctions against North Korea’s economy.
               “They should take measures of retracting the U.N. Security Council’s ‘resolutions on sanctions’ cooked up under absurd pretexts,” the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission, North Korea’s highest governing body, said in a statement carried by its official Korean Central News Agency. “They should give formal assurances before the world that they would not stage again such nuclear war drills to threaten or blackmail [the North].”
                In response, a South Korean defense ministry official requesting anonymity stated “The tensions should gradually decrease from here, but we cannot lose ourselves to complacency. We do still have to be prepared for any provocations.” Nevertheless, as US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said during his recent visit to the peninsula, “...our preference would be to get to talks.”

                The only question remaining is what will the talks focus on?

Diplomatic Disasters
                World diplomacy with North Korea has a long and troubled past, plagued by the fact that US and international officials are completely unsure of the nation’s political status. Forced to use a fuzzy interpretation of state propaganda and gathered intelligence as a barometer, US diplomats have often missed key opportunities to get through to either of the Kim Jong’s. In the past, the US mantra has been to stop the North Korean nuclear program and to guarantee South Korea protection should Northern threats be actualized. However, if the US enters this new set of talks with the same mindset, the only item that will be guaranteed is a continuation of the vicious cycle of threats and provocation.
                Now that North Korea has a nuclear weapon, as well as the ability to launch such warheads globally coming in the near future, the US cannot afford to continue to treat North Korea as a misbehaving child but instead must look upon them as a viable threat. With that in mind, US diplomats need to recognize the fact that the current diplomatic stance only makes Kim Jong Un feel more threatened than reassured.

Ready for Reform
                Were Kim Jong Un reassured, the world might begin to see North Korea open up to more western thought and technology. Kim Jong Un has discussed improving North Korea’s dying economy and has hinted that the nation may move in the direction of reforms [however slight]. This fact was evidenced by the recent visit of Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Pyongyang, showing that Un may be ready to allow new development in North Korea.
                However, Charles Armstrong, Director of Korean Research at Columbia University, believes that any hope of change will be stifled by the current US approach to North Korean relations. “The dilemma, though, is that North Korea can only embark on serious reform from a condition of what it considers absolute security,” Armstrong notes in an op-ed for CNN. “Unfortunately, the quest for security and the desire for economic improvement have been in contradiction for some time. A genuine opening could unleash political and social changes...while the path of security through nuclear deterrence and missiles have led time and again to confrontation and renewed isolation.”

                The old adage states “Do not attempt to reason with a fool. He will only drag you down to his level and beat you over the head with his ignorance.” Call it nationalistic, but North Korea has been foolhardy in its recent provocation of the US. As history has shown, you cannot beat the ignorance of out of the communist political system, but instead, you can speak a language that they do understand: money. Only by providing  strong incentives instead of punishments, obtainable rewards instead of sanctions, and deliberate reassurance instead of threats in kind, will the US and the rest of the world slowly lure North Korea down the path of peace.



Sources:




-Charles Armstrong, “Why Sticks don’t work with North Korea,” January 25, 2013, http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/25/why-sticks-dont-work-with-north-korea/

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Under Pressure...

: 
Found this article online, and thought it was brilliant.

Enjoy.

----------------------------------------------------------

By Noah Lotte

                For the politicians on Capitol Hill, I have yet another issue to bring to the table. I realize that you are extremely busy debating immigration and soundly arguing over gun control, however, recent events beg your attention elsewhere. To my fellow Americans, I recognize that we all struggle to meet our mortgage payments, much less figure out how much in taxes we actually do owe the government, but the time has come for us to recognize the newest threat to our liberties and freedoms.
                I have been deeply saddened the last week, praying for the families of those killed and maimed by the dual explosions at the Boston Marathon.  I dearly hope that this atrocity will never be forgotten and shall never be repeated. We must do our utmost to prevent such a bombing from ever occurring in the future. Examining the sequence of events that brought about the attack, it is clear what course of action we must take.
                For the sake of our liberties and our national security, I believe that legislation must be passed to ban the use and sale of pressure cookers. It was these everyday items that were used in the bombings, and had the terrorists been unable to access the cookers, these attacks could have well been prevented.  We must remove these tools of destruction from our homes and from our society. There will always be groups opposed to such legislation, but we cannot afford to let our political opinion stand in the way of safety. At the very least, we must require extensive background checks for anyone attempting to purchase a pressure cooker. Allowing a pressure cooker to fall into the wrong hands will only have the same consequences as those in Boston. It is our added civic duty to ensure that crazy aunt Matilda cannot unrestrictedly use pressure cookers as well.  Recognize we have just as much a duty to protect that nation as the government.
                In addition to background checks, we must also work to limit the amount of atmospheres pressure cookers can withstand. Currently, the average pressure cooker allows the user to build the pressure up to dangerous levels, as evidenced by the numerous pressure cooker accidents that have occurred in the last decade. Were we to limit the amount of pressure per cooker, we will reduce the potential devastation wreaked by accidental and purposeful explosions.
                My fellow countrymen, if I were the president and I knew this legislation would save one life, I would pass it. If I knew it would save a hundred lives, I would pass it.  But simply knowing the enormous danger that the unregulated use and purchase of pressure cookers poses to our society’s safety is enough.  We cannot afford to live in the past where these so-called “useful” items are freely accessible to anyone—if we are unsafe now, we may never have a future.
                Let us all put our signatures to this legislation and with our pressure protect the nation for our children.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wanted: Mars Settlers...

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     How is that midlife crisis treating you? Highschoolers--tired of school? Well, the good news is that there might be a way to escape from it all. The bad news? It will take the rest of your life.
      Not-for-profit Netherlands organization, Mars One, sent out a casting call last Monday for any and all volunteers for a decades long trip to Mars. Participants will also star in the consequent reality tv show, "Stars on a Planet." Mars One is looking for truly anyone: no prior experience as an astronaut or a degree in science required. Simply make a video stating why you should be shipped to Mars, and send it in. Great stuff, right?
      As of so far, the organization has received over 10,000 entries, from out of which the board of directors hopes to select 24 lucky [or unlucky depending how you see it] individuals. Mars One hopes to launch the first crew of four by 2023, with subsequent launches of four man teams every two years after.
       Money could be a problem though. Sending stuff into space has never exactly been cheap, much less getting humanity to Mars. Director and co-founder Bas Landsorp says he hopes the $25 application fee will waive some of that cost, though he notes that there is still much more fundraising to do. The accounting department estimates that final costs will be upwards of $6 billion. [sounds great. I'll send in the billion I found in the gutter the other day.]
      Props to private organizations [SpaceOne included] for showing explorative initiative. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finish...

: 
Physics tonight. And a poem.

Finish.
What are you fleeing?
Running as if the Devil was right behind.
Kicking up little spurts of gravel,
In the recess of your mind.

Starburst, fireworks
Your breath comes heavy and hot.
Always looking for that finish tape
But never able to stop.

Going in circles
I can't seem to keep a straight line.
Running through the dark
Chasing the setting sun.
Twisting through the violent maze
God, when can I be done?

Colors burst, fireworks
Dead ends again and again.
The tar bubbles in the heat as I flee
My feet are black with stain.

Throw me down on the headshrink's couch
Drug me out with gin.
I'll still keep running, pounding on.
Flying forward, but I'll never win.

Blood burst, fireworks
Voices tell me to carry on
Gasping out my fleeting breath,
God, let me see the dawn.

Yes, to God I cry out my soul--
How dare He answer me not.
If He truly cared, loved at all,
He'd grant me peace to stop.

Rain burst, fireworks
Washes away the blood from my eyes
All this time, running the wrong way--
"It is finished," the dying man sighs

I take a step, and then I stop
Hope pouring into my veins.
Oh, this is peace, this is rest--
Letting go in my last death strains.

Lifeburst, fireworks
In death there's life I've found.
Not a grave but true paradise,
Now unchains me from the ground.

I began to walk, and then I run
Not from a fear but joy.
I've learned now its not a race
Not to a point, but to a grace
Not through a line, but through a grave
Now all a celebration of joy.

Starburst. Firework.
Breathe in. Love. Breathe out.
Sunrise, sunset--I see it all.
Fear? Its what I live without.

[all the times you ran away, love pursued you even more]

Friday, March 29, 2013

You say let it go...

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      "I'm sorry. How could you ever forgive me?"
      Its a phrase that is always hard to say to a friend, and even harder to hear from one. Its a statement of complete remorse that painfully stitches up the wounds of a wrong.
       Forgiveness.
       Its tough to ask for and sometimes an enormous challenge to give to someone. We often hold on so tightly to our grudges against our siblings, against the world, stewing in the anger or frustration that we believe to be so righteous.

      But let it go.

     Oftentimes we focus so much on Easter Sunday, but we sometimes fail to recognize the magnitude of what happened today almost 2,000 years ago. See, today was the day that Christ died, the day that His blood poured out of His body satisfying God's demand for a righteous sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The price of man's sin had to be paid--and that price was death.
       A death that Christ gave Himself to willingly.
       Because of that death, the cost of every sin of the world--past, present, future--was fully paid. The ledgers of debt were cleared, the negative balance was erased. And every sin--past, present, and future--was forgiven.
       This is a fact that we so often overlook--that everyone has been fully and completely forgiven. You don't have to belong to a megachurch; you don't have to sing in the choir; you don't have to be the perfect father, mother, or sibling; you don't have to have a clean record; you don't have to be straight.
        It has all been forgiven.
       When I step out my front door, I sometimes can't help but look at the world with a skeptical eye, writing it off in my mind as a total, decadent, twisted loss. I turn and look into the mirror of my circle of friends and family, and see us as so much better than the world, those very special few who have a message of righteousness and love to bestow to those we choose. But I forget that Christians all were forgiven just as much as the rest of the world. We've just chosen to recognize the fact. But the fact that we ignore was that Good Friday wasn't about creating elitists, but about destroying the barrier between us and God's love.
      When Christ walked the earth, He didn't selectively pick and choose the righteous rulers to become His comrades; He spent His time and ate His meals with fishermen, with tax collectors, with prostitutes. His love was for the scum of society, the people that the righteous looked upon with repugnance. And when He died, He forgave them all. Even against the soldiers who provided His cruel and painful death, He refused to hold a grudge. "Father, forgive them."

      I firmly believe that you cannot be a Christian if you do not accept Christ's love for you. I firmly believe that you cannot be a Christian and refuse to share Christ's love for the entire world. Yes, God is just; consequences will come for where we all have abandoned Christ in our lives; but we get hung up on proclaiming God's great wrath and justice and forget to explain that every single one of us has been forgiven. We can't selectively choose to discriminate against people just because their sins stand out more or smell worse than the sins of the person next to them. We cannot shut the doors to the Church simply because someone has tried to find love in drugs, alcohol, pornography, or homosexuality.
       We so often urge unbelievers to not waste the gift of forgiveness that Christ's death provides, but I think it is often we who waste this gift by forgetting that every person is loved and is forgiven by Christ. We write the person off as a total loss, failing to see the forgiven soul under the sinful flesh.

        Friends, do not forget the reason for Christ's sacrifice.

       It is hard to forgive someone, yes. My brother? Its hard. Myself? Doubly hard. The world? The challenge of a lifetime.
     
But it all has been forgiven by Christ. Shall we do the same?

[You say let it go]

When you feel like you're damaged goods, broken by your past or by your life, remember: every fiber of your being is loved, and every wrong deed in your history was washed away by the crimson sacrifice of Christ today.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

DEFCON 1: Teddy Bears

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        A military court in Belarus has sentenced one of its border guards to two years in prison for failing to protect the country from an invasion by foreign teddy bears last July.
            No guys, it’s not April yet.

The invading teddies parachuted into the capital city of Minsk and other outlying areas, carrying placards protesting Belarusian human rights abuses.
While initially a publicity campaign carried out by a Swedish advertisement agency seeking to show solidarity for pro-democracy groups, the stunt has morphed into an all-out diplomatic war between Sweden and Belarus. In response to the plane drop, Belarus withdrew its ambassador from Sweden, and president Alexander Lukashenko issued a state memo declaring that any further “teddy-planes” would be shot down.
And in the midst of all of this, the border guard who failed to report the plane in a timely manner has become a scapegoat.

Not So Cuddly
            You may ask yourself, what kind of nation would so blatantly show hate for teddy bears? Unfortunately for the teddies, Belarus is a prime suspect. For the last few years, Belarus has been ranked by Amnesty International as one of the most dangerous nations with respect to human rights. As the CIA World Factbook notes, Belarus “while a republic in name is in fact an authoritarian dictatorship” ruthlessly ruled by Alexander Lukashenko.
 In recent years, the regime’s human rights violations have steadily increased, from the unwarranted arrest of more than 600 political activists and presidential candidates at a rally to strict sanctions against Jewish and LBGT communities. The US State Department classifies Belarus as a rogue nation, detailing the government as “a brutal, authoritarian dictatorship that blatantly ignores human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Surprisingly, Belarus is often left off the list as one of the most restrictive nations in the world. However, these teddy bears may have just saved the day—bringing the plight of Belarusians back into the spotlight.
  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dear Money...

: 
     Should the government spend more money to stimulate the economy? Should the government spend less and let the private sector be the stimulus? The debate in the US rages back and forth.

     And then I found this article. Its from my macroeconomic class [so it may refer to "last chapter"], but I think it provides some good points against increasing government spending.

     Feel free to debate it.
-------------------------------------
(from Gwartney & Stroup Macroeconomics 5th Edition)

Fiscal Policy 

What do we mean by the term fiscal? Merriam-Webster says that it comes from the Latin word fiscus, which means “basket” or “treasury.” It has come to mean anything pertaining to government financial matters. This can include government taxation, spending, and borrowing. All three of these areas of fiscal policy will affect the economy. Basically, changes in the government’s budget affect the overall economy. How so?

When the government spends more than it receives as revenue, there is a budget deficit. Assuming a constant money supply, the deficit is funded by borrowing. Typically, the US Treasury borrows by offering bonds.

When government revenues exceed government spending, there is a budget surplus. The surplus will reduce the government’s debt burden.

What causes the government’s budget to change? General changes in the economy affect both taxes and spending. Also, there may be intentional changes in government spending or taxation. This is called discretionary fiscal policy.

Last week we began our discussion of attempts to correct economic instability. This week our focus will be on attempts to use fiscal policy to affect the economy. You have already been introduced to Keynesian theory In general. Keynesian theory led the government away from the desire to balance the budget. Why would we want to balance the budget when we could simply change our spending habits to fix the economy?

The Keynesian view of fiscal policy is that the government can influence the economy by changing its budget. When we are in a recessionary period, a Keynesian would suggest that we should either increase government spending or reduce taxes. In other words, running deficits will help move us towards potential output and full employment. If inflation is becoming a problem, a Keynesian would suggest that reducing government spending or increasing taxes would put downward pressure on prices. So, running a surplus should help curb inflation.

If we have the tools to make it so, why isn’t our economic world perfect?

Crowding Out: reality sets in and spoils our noble ambitions…

This sounds like a nice simple idea, but there is a significant problem associated with borrowing to finance a government deficit. Do you remember our discussion a couple of weeks ago about how resource markets are interrelated with the overall market for goods and services? Government borrowing affects the demand for loanable funds. When the government needs to borrow funds to cover a deficit, it increases the overall demand for loanable funds. Other things constant, this pushes the price of loanable funds (the interest rate) upward. The higher interest rates will dissuade private spending. This scenario is referred to as crowding out. Thus the increased borrowing of the government crowds out the private sector from borrowing and spending. This makes the deficit-running fiscal policy less effective.

There is even more to this situation. Remember that higher interest rates will draw interest from foreigners who want to invest in dollar-denominated financial assets, thus making the US dollar relatively more valuable (appreciating against other currencies) and leading to a decline in net exports. (It will be more expensive to purchase goods with dollars.) So, the crowding out effect pretty much wipes out the intended effect of the policy. Whew! And we just thought we could run a little deficit and fix the economy… Oh boy, what a mess we have gotten ourselves into!


But wait, it appears there may be even more going on…

What if people realize that someone is going to have to pay for that new government spending? After all, we are no dummies. The New Classical view of fiscal policy argues that people will anticipate having to pay more future taxes due to current government spending and borrowing. This awareness will cause them to save more and spend less. The reduction in spending caused by increased savings will offset the deficit’s affect on the interest rate as well. Thus, the fiscal policy is really of no use. 


Even more discouraging news for those who would perfect the market via fiscal policy…

Do you remember how President G.W. Bush sent out checks to help stimulate the economy? Did you notice the time lag between reading about his intentions in the news and actually holding a check in your hand? That time lag is also a classic problem with discretionary fiscal policy. In fact, if it takes too long for a fiscal policy to actually be carried through, the result may be all wrong.

It should also be noted that there are some automatic fiscal stabilizers already in place. Unemployment compensation, corporate tax profit, and progressive income taxes work in opposition to the direction of the economy. When national output and income rise, unemployment compensation declines, corporate tax revenues increase and progressive tax revenues increases. On the other hand, when national output and income decline, unemployment compensation expenditures increase, corporate tax revenues decline and progressive tax revenues decline. So, these items tend to increase the budget deficit automatically during times of recessions and increase the surplus (or decrease the deficit) during expansions.


Could things get worse?

If you thought that you could fix the economy by implementing fiscal policies, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I must add this one last downside to the whole concept. I could sum it up in one word – politics. Politicians are motivated, as everyone else, by self-interest. For that reason, they will be much more likely to vote for expansionary policies than restrictionary policies. Politicians who vote for more spending are generally more popular than those who vote for restricting spending. This naturally makes deficit spending more likely, even when inflation is high.


Let’s sum it all up.

Here is the modern-day wisdom regarding fiscal policy:

· Timing is difficult and critical.

· Automatic stabilizers tend to move us towards potential output and full employment.

· Fiscal policy is not really that productive.

· All the demand-side policies we have discussed thus far will have differing results based upon all sorts of variables.


So, as time has passed, the potency of fiscal policy has come into question. Please be sure to pause a moment to review actual government budget figures which are presented in Exhibit 8. You may continue the graph in your own mind to include the massive spending of the recent years and imagine what sort of long-term effects may emerge from the current administration’s policies.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mali: A Defeat Waiting to Happen...

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French soldiers prepare for a patrol in Mali (AP/Reuters)
The joke goes that if you Google “French Victories,” the search engine will snarkily ask you if you meant to search for “French Losses.” While this sort of comment rankles many French patriots (I'm part French myself), the truth is that ever since the 17th century, France’s track record of winning wars has been extremely poor. And once again, it appears that France has involved itself in a war that it simply cannot win, this time in the North African nation of Mali.

Into Mali
On Wednesday, January 16, French soldiers launched an extensive air and ground campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali. The Guardian reported on the 16th that France launched air strikes against Islamist camps and mobile forces in Mali, its former colony, to stop a rebel offensive and "safeguard" Mali's existence. Troops from Nigeria and other regional powers will join about 1,700 French troops involved in the operation, part of a contingent expected to reach 2,500 soldiers. President Fran├žois Hollande said France intended to "destroy" the Islamists or take them captive if possible.

These Islamists are al-Qaeda linked fighters that took control of the northern deserts of Mali early last year. The militants are well armed and well trained: Reuters notes that many are coming directly from the US conflicts in the Middle East. Determined to hold onto their gains in the country, the Islamists have warned that French troops will become bogged down for years.
The people of Mali are welcoming the French soldiers with open arms: the Islamists have imposed harsh Sharia law upon the region, cutting off hands and feet for minor crimes in addition to desecrating the sacred religious shrines in the fabled city of Timbuktu (yes, it does actually exist). The citizens have feared for their lives, worried of the potential damage the volatile terror groups might wreak. Mahamadou Abdoulaye, 35, a truck driver who fled from the northern Gao region of Mali into Niger, said the Islamists new recruits were both armed and inexperienced: a dangerous combination.
"We were all afraid. Many young fighters have enrolled with them recently. They are newly arrived, they cannot manage their weapons properly. There's fear on everybody's face," he said.

Nuclear Concerns
Unfortunately, there is more at stake here than meets the eye. Although Mali was originally a French colony, this invasion is not merely a “mother nation looking out for her children.”  As Mark Tran of The Guardian notes, the West and Mali's neighbours fear that the Islamists, who took over northern Mali, an area the size of France of desert and rugged mountains, will use the country to destabilise the rest of west Africa, including neighbouring Niger, France's main source of uranium for its nuclear industry.If the Islamists gain complete control of Mali, turning the nation into a stronghold, the potential that terror groups such as al-Qaeda In the Maghreb (AQIM) will use the area as a base for launching international attacks is huge. The potential that AQIM will use the area as a foundation for a takeover of Niger’s vast supplies of uranium is even greater. As J.G. Gilmour explains, the AQIM has direct ties to the Nigerian terror group, Boko Haram. Both groups have sworn to “expel all westerners in the Sahel and establish an Islamic theocracy with poor countries which have limited resources and weak military forces to react to their insurgency operations.”  The AQIM is hoping that terrorism activities will destabilize such countries by recruiting extremists to their networks and cells. Ultimately, this destabilization puts France’s almost unending supply of uranium at risk. This uranium, as activist Adam Cooper reports, is much of the reason for initiating this offensive in Mali.

Without an End
If France has not learned from the US example in nations like Afghanistan or Iraq, then they will learn soon enough that fighting terror groups is utterly different from fighting a conventional war. As the US realized in Iraq, enemy soldiers may be anywhere, and they have no qualms about hiding among the civilian population.

French Army chief Edouard Guillaud said France's air strikes, involving Rafale and Mirage jet fighters, were being hampered because militants were using the civilian population as a shield.
"We categorically refuse to make the civilian population take a risk. If in doubt, we will not shoot," he said.
This honor of the division between militant and civilian is the great weakness of Western nations attempting to eradicate a terror group from a region. Nations such as the US, Britain, and France come to the conflict with rules of war and the terrorists capitalize upon those restrictions. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian acknowledges the difficulties facing France. "It's tough. We were aware from the beginning it would be a very difficult operation.”


Any five year old will tell you that it is almost impossible to play with someone who refuses to respect the rules of the game. If the experiences of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan are any indication, this holds true not only for Candyland as it does for war. France may maintain the moral high ground in this conflict, but will receive a defeat in return.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grace...

: 
Physics tonight. And a poem.

Grace

The drops spatter at the windowpane
Nose to glass, I watch the rain.
Water mixed with Autumn mold
A world for me that's bitter and cold.

A robin flits by, shaking its beak,
Escaping the frost that has left it weak.
A thought escapes as I dry my eyes,
An added cloud in my misery gray skies.

A wounded heart sits silently here.
No answer to this soul's shouted prayer.
Please; a way to run, to hide.
I can't handle this grief, I tried.

A bit of red in the now falling snow,
This broken heart bleeds out below.
A bit of coal amongst all the white,
Mars the beauty in the fading light.

The snow has stopped, and so have my tears.
The cold remains, and so do my fears.
Anger; tell me why did this happen?
The argument circle I'm still trapped in.

Tell me I'll be alright, that I'll be ok.
No, leave me alone--keep your cliches.
I can't do this myself--please let me be strong.
Something make my life right, its now so wrong.

The orange lines of sun split through the clouds
Warm on my face, the sunset glow astounds.
A ray pierces my heart, through the painful dark hue,
And I hear a whisper, "I painted this all for you."

[when I wiped the tears from your face / I called it all, Grace]


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Divorce Notice...

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A friend sent this to me. Its snarky, but sometimes I think a bit of humor is needed in politics. A good idea? I'll leave that to you to decide.
(note: this is not my own work)
_________________________

DIVORCE AGREEMENT


Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters,et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950's for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is a our separation agreement:

--Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

--We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
--You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
--Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.
--We'll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and the coal mines, and you can go with wind, solar and biodiesel.
--You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.
--We'll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.
--You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, homeboys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.
--We'll keep the Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks.
--We'll keep Bill O'Reilly, and Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .
--You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.
--You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.
--We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Leaf you can find.
--You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors.
--We'll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right.
--We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The National Anthem."
--I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", "Kumbaya" or "We Are the World".
--We'll practice trickle-down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.
--Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Sincerely,

John J. Wall
Law Student and an American

P.S. Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin & Charlie Sheen, Barbara Streisand, & ( Hanoi ) Jane Fonda with you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rasa, Rasa...

: 
Physics tonight. And a poem.

Rasa, Rasa

My heart beats,
As a man, as a drum.
Hear the lifeline of this earth
Dominion and destruction

Return to this paradise
Respite of the fallen
Roll the dice, pass the cup
Revel in this pleasure den.

If you fly higher
You shall fall all the more
Ten graves deeper down
Looking only to travel lower.

Fall away, call away
What are you looking for?
Famed in the darkness
But starbright at the core.

Raise up, rise up.
Rasa, rasa, tabula rasa.
Rewrite your story,
Reclaim those you lost.

A man once paid ransom for you,
Heaven met Earth for your soul.
Death brought life: Ni kumaliza
Let your debt be paid in full.

See your deeds, failures, your scars
He sees them, knows where you've been
Where you've lived up, down, tried to let go
But calls you Saint, no more condemned.

Child, child, child
Why do you weep?
When Hope seems gone,
Joy destroyed,
Love has left,
Life at dead end.
Remember: you're the one I chose to keep.

[never stop living]