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Showing posts from 2017

Love Fictionally: Dogma Displacing Discovery

While seated at my gate at San Francisco International Airport, I couldn't possibly help but overhear the young lady seated beside me: “I want to be in a relationship, but I don’t know how to be in one. Is this how love feels? I’m just like, when I look at him, I don’t feel anything, and I feel like [sic] the more time I spend with him, the more I’ll dislike him.”  This aligns rather interestingly with an alarming monologue overheard months ago at my local Safeway grocery store: "Are my expectations too high? Perhaps I'm watching too much This is Us ." The growing accessibility of theater and technology appears to come with a tremendous downside, which has unfolded before our eyes in real time: today's human being is left to decipher between the beginnings and ends of theater and those of real life. All too often, the two appear to be conjoined, even indistinguishable. And where theater once existed as either comic relief or an artistic expression of pat

Untouchable: Eminem and the Left's Ironic Immunity to Reproach

In his latest hit Untouchable , Eminem censures the political right by invoking the " hands up " slogan and painting the portrait of a marginalized black man, as contrasted against the "untouchable" white boy. In this highly ironic gesture, Marshall Mathers only furthers the notion that there is some discernible difference between so-called whites and blacks, even advancing a false archetype by framing the black boy as a drug addict: "Probably comin' from the dope house." From the very beginning of this political diatribe, Mathers rushes immediately into the false white-black paradigm before carefully examining specific instances of implied racism. Of course, the hefty implications here point unambiguously toward extant institutional racism , believed to have been grounded in traditions woven into the fabric of the red, white and blue. However, had Mathers taken his history and statistics courses a bit more seriously, if he had even taken the

Veganism: The Moral Menu?

A recent video has gained popularity on YouTube and broadly on social media, entitled "Farmers Fail to Justify Killing Animals." The ideological assault begins by dramatically panning around trailers transporting cattle before focusing on the adventurous-appearing, hipster-looking gentleman headlining the project of interviewing the unsuspecting farmers on the subject of the morality of their business. From the very beginning, the interviewer leaps into the realm of fallacy by framing the argument around a prepared intellectual onslaught between a groomed intellectual wielding his sharpened staff and unwary workers operating out of context over the course of their regular duties. Of course, the interviewer will naturally have the upper hand as he enters into this conversation with fine-tuned verbiage against dull and largely-untested laymen whose professions rest upon their ability to perform tasks, not on their capacity to navigate the nebulous stratosphere of might

Capping Excellence: The NFL Salary Cap

The first salary cap in NFL history was imposed in 1994 at $34.608 million, the equivalent of $57.163 million today. The current salary cap in the NFL is set at $167 million per team, meaning a near tripling of the cap since its introduction. According to theory backing the artificial price ceiling, the salary cap offers two reported benefits to the NFL: controlled costs and near-parity between teams.   How successful has this proved to be, and what are some of the externalities spawning from this restriction? Well, the low-hanging fruit here appears to be the unforeseen consequences of the salary cap era, which oddly enough share a lot in common with the greater American economy: the NFL has increasingly become artificial, homogenized and even sterilized. Of course, the salary cap was originally born out of fabulous intentions, aspiring to neutralize the playing field between major and junior market teams. Whereas teams like the Detroit Lions and Buffa

Taxation is Theft

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a Facebook thread where a number of commenters had claimed that "taxation is the price we pay to live in a civilized society" and that "we don't own the land or the money, so it isn't theft." What is truly fascinating about these sorts of comments is that they are pure expressions of the efficacy of government-sponsored education, which began for most of us as early as we started standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, an oath which was, ironically enough, originally penned by a self-proclaimed socialist, Francis Bellamy, in 1892. As soon as we have begun to accept the advertising campaign of  core democratic values , institutional doublespeak  and the notions of common good , we have journeyed into what eventually proves an irreversible psychology of human herding . Psychologist Michael Price writes in his article on the subject: "Herding can be particularly destructive in market contexts, because blind faith i

The Facts on Gun Violence in the United States

According to a Pew Research Center survey , roughly 37 percent of Americans report that they or someone in their household owns a firearm. This statistic implies that roughly 47 million households in the United States own at least one firearm. According to another source, the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund , there are, on average, nearly 12,000 gun-related homicides each year. Of course, this number varies year to year, from 8,855 in 2012 to 13,286 in 2015. At the present time, roughly three thousandths of a percent of the American population is lost annually to firearm-related homicides. Put another way, this is 0.003 percent of the population each year. When comparing the number of firearm-owning households to the incidence of homicide each year, one finds that there are 3,917 of those households for every single homicide. And there are more than twenty-five thousand guns for every one of those incidents. This is hardly evidence of a causal relationship, as som

Socialism: Survival of the Least Fit

Any mechanism which artificially suppresses the cost of living for any person, or class of persons, is bound to inadvertently yield a measure of undesirables, in the form of unaccountable, deluded takers and psychological, behavioral traits which are thereby increasingly likely to be passed on to the subsequent generation of growing expectants. Any shortfall thereto will then be characterized as oppressive or evil while the mechanism which caused this outcome eludes scrutiny to instead increase in size, reach and power.  The most insidious of these effects is the distortion over the organic cost of living, which alone proves a powerful distiller, or filter, for non-viable human qualities, those which are unfit for any given environment at any given time. This is planet earth's way of communicating what works and what doesn't.  It's not a moral play, nor an ethical appeal; it's purely the ante to play on this planet. And though this may at times appear unfair

Envy and Animus: The Loser's Language

In the wake of today's Ohio State Buckeyes loss to the unranked Iowa Hawkeyes, fans across the Big Ten Conference, particularly those of the University of Michigan, joined in the celebration to add emphasis to this stunning defeat of the number six team in the nation. This form of fandom was also present during this year's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, which saw even casual baseball fans in the San Francisco Bay Area saddling up in support of the Astros, despite the absence of any real connection to either team. This revealed only that the animosity between the two bays remains alive and well. But what end does this sort of fandom actually serve? Well, as it turns out, it suggests a lot more about the fan than he or she would comfortably admit. Ultimately, sports fans who root against teams, in the way that Michigan fans have derided Ohio State after the Buckeyes' loss today, are analogous to the public's thoughtless e

"Anti-Establishment" Trump Appoints "Establishment" Fed Chairman

Donald Trump has appointed monetary dove Jerome H. Powell as next Fed chairman.  There is possibly no one more "establishment" than Powell, who was originally nominated to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors by Barack Obama after a stint with the US Treasury.  Powell is likely the closest Republican-labeled surrogate to Janet Yellen, whose shared support for Dodd-Frank and QE3 stands at odds with the anti-establishment attitude advertised by Trump during his campaign.  What's more, the Trump campaign justifiably focused upon the phoniness of the US economy during the 2016 bid, while Powell has even recently celebrated a "strong" US economy and labor market, in addition to condemning current lending standards for being "too rigid."  This appears to be business as usual rather than "draining the swamp." In response to his appointment, Jerome Powell began his acceptance speech by alluding to the Federal Reserve's so-called d

The Dynamism of Thought

One of the most tremendous errors within the realm of debate has been the failure of individuals to examine the principles which guide their opponent's or proponent's expressed opinions. What's more, there is often a cloud of ignorance cast upon the unstated, oft-undiscovered and -untouched capacity for individuals to hold steadfastly to principle in a consistent, universal sense or otherwise in manners which operate to his usually-unexplained advantage. In this sense then, one is capable of entertaining his theoretical ideals while living out, or according to, another set altogether. Beyond this, there is seemingly a dynamism of belief whereby individuals may adjust their rules, as a function of philosophical maturity, receipt of new information, or a change of circumstances. Therefore, one's speech is often translated too literally, too rigidly, with the false assumption of complete rationality, or rather the assumption of knowledge, experience or exposure whi

War of the Worlds: Coming to a City Near You

A panicked driver moved through an angry mob of protesters yesterday in Brea, California, an Orange County city just outside of Los Angeles. Those hundreds of protesters stormed the streets on Thursday to plea for GOP Representative Ed Royce's sympathy on the matter of their temporary protected immigration status. The video  shows 56-year-old Daniel Wenzek of Brea pressing slowly through the crowd of enraged protesters who wielded drumsticks and fists, slapping his vehicle as he gradually rolled through the intersection.  One woman even leapt upon his vehicle in an attempt to prevent the driver from continuing through the intersection.  Video coverage of this event shows increasing numbers of protesters surrounding this man's vehicle as it became clear that he intended to make his way through the crowd. The woman who leapt upon his vehicle recounts the experience: “My only thought is that I just want him to stop. I’m like, if I just jump on the car, he’s going