Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Decay of the Eco-Friendly Home"

This week, Al and Tipper Gore announced the mutual disintegration of their marriage. For some reason, most likely because such a thing hasn't heard of such a thing since Jerry and Elaine broke up (Seinfeld), people just aren't buying it and have taken to mocking Al Gore. While Al Gore has certainly been dull in the past, something he's attempted to fix by becoming a stand up comedian of sorts (Futurama) and admittedly he has said some pretty stupid things, I for one am doubtful Al's love for the environment has anything to do with the divorce. That being said, I think Al's had his time fair share of roasting this past decade so I think I'll shift some heat over to Tipper.

In 1985 Tipper along with Susan Baker setup a group called Parents Music Resource Center. According to Baker, she was inspired to start the group when her seven year old daughter was caught singing singing some Madonna. While Tipper jumped on board when she came into contact with Prince's Darling Nikki. Gore's reaction to this song and ones like it: ""The images frightened my children, they frightened me! I am frightened! Way frightened! The graphic sex and the violence were too much for us to handle." (according to an unsourced Wikipedia entry). According to Gore and the rest of the PMRC the decline of the "nuclear family" and the increase of vulgarity in Rock/Hip-hop were directly correlated. They added that families were "haven[s] of moral stability" designed to shelter children from the harsh realities of world they lived in. Yet somehow the power of music proved to powerful for families and it had managed to begin "infecting the youth of the world with messages they cannot handle".

Upon hearing this, artist such as John Denver, Dee Snyder (of Twisted Sister), Frank Zappa all testified on behalf of musicians, while Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Joey Ramone assisted from the sidelines. Zappa lead the pack stating "the PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal's design." And soon after stated he believed that this was all a cover-up for a new blank-tape tax and that "a couple of blowjobs here and there and Bingo! — you get a [bogus] hearing. Synder added that it wasn't he who was perverted, but in fact the Senate, as songs they claimed to be about sadomasochism and rape (Under The Blade) was acctually about his fear of an upcoming surgery. More importantly Synder stated "The full responsibility for defending my children falls on the shoulders of my wife and I, because there is no one else capable of making these judgments for us".
Gore and company, but mainly Senator Paula Hawkins jumped on this stating that"Much has changed since Elvis' seemingly innocent times" (Besides being the King of Rock, Eminem also dubbed Elvis one of the "First Kings of Controversy" in his song Without Me) and they weren't trying to censor anyone, but rather "take the element of surprise out of buying an album" and thus only assist parents. A nice yet non-evasive thought. However it is totally untrue, as they had the additional goal of rewriting contracts of profane artists, setting industry standards which could not be exceeded under any circumstances, and pressure stores and stations to prohibit the sales of objectionable material. Stores such as Wal-mart readily agreed. Furthermore, when the PMRC finally settled on a Parental Advisory sticker, it wasn't just applied to objectionable material. No, instead Gore applied it to political opponents in order to hurt sales. Most notably she slapped the sticker Frank Zappa's Jazz From Hell, a record that had no lyrics whatsoever and thus no reason to be considered objectionable. Luckily John Denver's famous in trial speech, "That which is denied becomes that which is most desired, and that which is hidden becomes that which is most interesting" proved true, as not only did Jazz From Hell win a Grammy but other far less appealing albums managed to become best sellers in part due to the sticker.

Although I personally do not find it immoral or wrong to separate from someone, and would in fact consider it immoral to stay with someone you no longer have feelings for, some would disagree. The point is that there is no set standard for morality on most issues and thus it is impossible to regulate. But for a person to decry Rock and Hip-hop as destroyers of the modern family and more generally the moral fabric of America yet at the same time being unable to maintain her own familial relationships is utter hypocrisy. I would love Tipper to respond to this statement, I would imagine she would embarrassingly attempt to tell me that the nature of her work kept her in constant contact with unsavory music and as a result, hero moral fiber slowly broke down over the years resulting in the eventual disintegration of her marriage. I however, agree with what Ice-T had to say in his song Freedom Of Speech

If you're too busy or to easily easily offended here are the highlights of why Ice-T thinks Tipper got divorced and why he thinks the PMRC is a failure in general.

"Yo Tip, what`s the matter? You ain`t gettin` no dick?
You`re bitchin` about rock`n`roll, that`s censorship, dumb bitch
The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak
Censor records, TV, school books too
And who decides what`s right to hear? You?
Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin` assholes
The sticker on the record is what makes `em sell gold
Can`t you see, you alcoholic idiots
The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get
Yo, you gotta be high to believe that
You`re gonna change the world by a sticker on a record sleeve"

Although at the beginning I said I felt Al had taken enough criticism from the general public, I'm going to conclude with a great shot at Al's massive ego I heard yesterday.
If Tipper gets half the internet in the divorce, who gets facebook and who gets twitter?

As always feel free to leave comments at our Formspring
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Un-Legislated Matrimony

Over the course of 2010 we've heard of the sexual exploits of Tiger Woods and Jesse James, and now with Jame's apology and Matt Lauer's own marital misconduct it's all going to start all over again. Sadly over the course of these past few months, the inconsiderate actions of three men have gotten more coverage than topics of actual importance. So the question arises, should we even care what this men do? The answer isn't as simple as yes or no. First and foremost as said in my past two articles, we should always be concerned with where are money is going. If we find the actions of any; a celebrity, athlete, team owner, station/network owner, store owner, etc we should ensure none of our money reaches their pockets. You may have to sacrifice something to ensure that happens, i.e. not watch your favorite sports team until it fires a certain player, or a certain network until it fires an immoral anchor. However, to continue patronizing the aforementioned person would be akin to telling them that their talent is more important than human dignity and that you would be o.k. with them continuing their thoughtless ways. But based on the reactions I usually get from my sports/entertainment related opinions, I feel it's safe to assume only I would be willing to make such sacrifices.

So other than that, should we care about an affair; something that has no bearing on our own life? To answer that we first have to ask ourselves if we should care about other things people do that have no bearing on our own lives. Should we care about people's gambling habits (only if it effects their children), should we care about people's drug use (only if it effects their children), should we care about people's sexual desires (i.e. laws against prostitution), should we care how many spouses a person has (assuming they are consensual) (i.e. laws against polygamy), should we care how much salt, sugar, fat, etc someone eats (i.e. NYC soda tax). With the exception of the last, one which one might care about because 1) when everyone must own health insurance, the unhealthy habits of the few raise costs for all and 2) sugars, fat, etc leads to obesity, and we all enjoy oggling a nice fit woman (or man), I really couldn't care less what others do in the privacy of their own home (or the home of some nameless flousy).

Having said that, I fully expect smarmy comments such as "but cheating on your wife isn't illegal". However, they would be wrong. A marriage license is acctually a legally binding contract between man wife and the government (or in the case of some more enlightened states man/man/government or wife/wife/government). Thus cheating on your spouse is breaking a contract and thus breaking the law. The penalty? half your current assets and a lifetime of alimony.

Besides, who really cares about the sacrament of marriage. Almost all the effects of marriage can be achieved through other means.

1) The ability to have your child not be called a bastard.
Solution: Simple, lie about your marital status, you guys secretly eloped.
Bonus: With all the new wave celebrity have/adopting children out of wedlock, it's acctually cool to be a bastard child now!

2) Tax Breaks
Solution: Alright, this is acctually a pretty good reason to get married.
Bonus: Tax breaks were designed to encourage marriage, procreation, and stay at home moms, when moms stopped staying home, the tax break lost it's purpose. So why not abolish the tax break for couples and sub in an all around tax cut?

3) The ability to visit your spouse in the hospital as family
Solution: Create a living will which adds your significant other as an acceptable visitor, subsequently pass legislation to allow hospitals computer access to living wills.
Bonus: An increase in living wills, could decrease the number of Terri Schiavo like cases we come across.

4) Strips the ability of your spouse to testify against you in a court of law.
Solution: Plead the fifth if you get sent to court.
Bonus: Unless you and your spouse are career criminals and one of you is a Bendict Arnold or you belief that spousal abuse is acceptable, pleading the fifth will work just fine.

5) Not happy? You get to give your spouse half your assets.
Solution: You want to give money away? Contact me at I'll tell you how you can send me a check instead.
Bonus: You still get to part with that money you despise so much and you don't have to deal with a messy divorce.

Please don't misinterpret my message, with the exception of what I said I still don't think any of us should care about what James, Woods, or Lauer does or doesn't do. In fact the only reason I wrote this article was because it's a hot button issue likely to attract readers, give me a chance to expound my various political ideals , and because I was able to write it with little to no mention of the actual men in question.

As always feel free to leave comments at our Formspring
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Immigrants in the Material World: A Free-Market Solution to the Immigration Debate

As the implementation date of the Arizona immigration bill creeps nearer and nearer the debate on what to do with migrant workers continues to heat up. Just as was true when the debate was a hot button issues in the early 2000’s, I am always surprised by the reaction such debates receive from the average American. We hear claims that immigrants are stealing jobs from hardworking Americans and that they are lowering wages for law abiding citizens. While this may sound logical to some, when you realize the group of people making such claims buy nearly all their manufactured goods from factories overseas and even manage to get some of their services from foreign countries , the assertion than loses all validity.

According to Jeffrey Nallinger’s “The New Free-Trade Heel”, America lost roughly 65,000 footwear related jobs between 1982 and 1989 after Nike closed their last United States factory in Saco, Maine in order to establish factories sin South Korea. In doing so the wage went from roughly $6.94 an hour to $1.03 a day per worker. Feel free to check out pages 145-147 in Before the Law

Aren’t the aforementioned wages “stealing” jobs from hard working Americans? If Nike, an American based company actually located its factory in the United States wouldn’t Americans be willing to make the shows provided they were paid minimum wage? The answer is of course yes Americans would do the job. But of course, you never hear the Americans opposed to “illegal immigration” arguing in favor of Nike replacing their workers with Americans. No, the only time you hear such claims are with companies such as Dell who outsource customer service. And even these complaints have nothing to do with loss of jobs for Americans, but rather the frustration of communicating with an ESL employee (English as a Second Language). So why are American’s opposed to having American companies hiring foreign employees on American soil, but not American companies hiring foreign employees on foreign soil? The answer has nothing to do with jobs, but I’ll let the readers answer that one for themselves.

So how do we deal with this problem, or rather perceived problem? The answer as is the answer for most things, is the free market. While ideally this would include repealing minimum wage laws, thus increasing total employment, decreasing the cost of goods across the board, and invalidating the argument of immigrants lowering the national wage. However, repealing the minimum wage law would be politically unpopular and thus highly unlikely. Yet a non-government solution to immigration is still possible; consumer sovereignty. This is entirely economics 101, all based upon supply and demand. According to consumer sovereignty, consumers can vote on a company’s policy by how many dollar votes they choose to give it. In terms of the current debate, those who oppose immigration would have three options to exercise this consumer sovereignty.

1) Research: Before you buy a product do research, discover if the company you are buying from either hires illegal immigrants, has lax hiring standards, or politically supports those support who the right of illegal immigrants to work in the United States. If you discover it does move on to step two.

2) Dollar Votes: Stop buying from a business whose practices you disagree with. Besides using your own dollars votes, you have the ability to influence the dollar votes of others. If you disagree with the hiring polices of companies, disseminate the information. Make it known that this company isn’t acting in a manner you find acceptable, call headquarters, email newspapers, send the information to news stations.

3) Hiring: The simplest solution. If you own your own company or even small business simply don’t hire illegal immigrants.

If the vast majority of Americans find illegal immigration so unacceptable and then choose to undertake the aforementioned steps, profits will shrink and businesses will be forced to stop hiring illegal immigrants.

Returning to reality, we know this will not happen, and not because businesses are unresponsive to the demands of it’s consumers. When given the choice (which they already are), Americans nearly always choice affordability over what they think is right. In fact some U.S. cities, such as Oakland California have vowed not to enforce federal immigration laws. Said cities cite they enjoyment of cheap labor that allows for revitalization of run down structures that would normally go unfixed due to prohibitively high cost of “legal” construction companies.

That being said, until Americans opposed to illegal immigration adopt a policy of buying only goods manufactured in the United States and manufacturing products not made in the United States themselves, until they admit that the problem of illegal immigration (if it really is a problem) is one created almost entirely by the American public, until they stop demanding low wage workers and low priced goods, and until they are willing to take a hit in the wallet for what they believe their claims of will go ignored by me.

*Even if these conditions are meet, I will continue to support the right of an individual to enter any employment market they so choose, without interference form the government, so long as said employment does not violate anothers right to life and liberty.

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