Saturday, February 26, 2011

This Article Could Be My Life

Thank you to The Onion. I'm from Cleveland, but I'm 42.

CLEVELAND—During an unexpected moment of clarity Tuesday, open-minded man Blake Richman was suddenly struck by the grim realization that he's squandered a significant portion of his life listening to everyone's bullshit, the 38-year-old told reporters.

A visibly stunned and solemn Richman, who until this point regarded his willingness to hear out the opinions of others as a worthwhile quality, estimated that he's wasted nearly three and a half years of his existence being open to people's half-formed thoughts, asinine suggestions, and pointless, dumbfuck stories.

Oh, how I love The Onion. Great satire, and they're really on a roll lately. Check out this one on the Obama Administration's statement that it will no longer back the Defense of Marriage Act.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pretty Good Government

Whenever the legislature is in session... yeah, insert the Mark Twain quote here. But, at the beginning of each session, I try to be a bit positive and try to list things I can be hopeful might happen.

I was especially hopeful when, back during the election season, Republican governor Mitch Daniels called for a truce on social issues, urging his party to stick to economic issues. Republicans then retook the majority in the Indiana House, thereby giving them again ownership of both the Executive and Legislative branches of Indiana government.

Last time this happened, just a few years ago, I was hopeful that The Blade would work in tandem with the Republican legislature to cut the size and scope government. It didn't happen. So, my hopes were only marginal. But hey! Daniels is a presidential hopeful (possibly), so maybe his party would heed his advice? Not a chance.

I never expected to be delighted with gridlock. I hoped for it on the national scene, but thanks to the Democratic walkout, we are getting real gridlock here in Indiana.

I love it! As of now, the Democrats are the closest thing to the small government party, thanks to their flight to Illinois. And the good news rolls on. They have no intention of coming back on Monday! From the Indy Star:

Democrats have been in Urbana since leaving the Statehouse on Tuesday to shut down GOP efforts to advance several bills impacting labor unions and public schools.

“We will not be returning to the House floor session on Monday,” Bauer said. “There has been no progress in negotiations.”

Perfect! I think of all the lousy laws that might have advanced out of committees, or might have reached the floor for a vote. Going nowhere! If they continue to stay away? It might be the best legislative session in my 8.5 years here.

Of course, Daniels is promising an extended session. I wish he would recognize this as success.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Facebook Chill

I generally love Facebook. I caught up with more old friends in 2010 because of it than I had in the previous 10 years without it, and really enjoyed it. But lately, the politics has gotten way too stupid, even for me.

Part of the problem is that my friends range the political spectrum. My libertarian friends are there. My punk rock friends are almost entirely left of center, and generally far left. I have friends on the far right. Political agreement is not something I require of friends.

But lately, in this union fight, the unreason has come to dominate. The partisanship is the whole story anymore, and that's hard to take, because left and right look fairly identical to me in mechanics.
  • Grousing about the Koch Brothers funding the right? Forgetting about George Soros? Or Peter White?
  • Outraged that Republicans would go after unions? Forgetting that unions fund the Democrats?
  • Shocked (I tell you) that Democrats walked out of the Indiana Statehouse? Forgetting that Republicans have done this too? Several times?
Few are those who can acknowledge these things, on either side. So, I've tuned out for a while. I had tried to engage, to it failed. I loved the one where the claim was made that if teachers made minimum wage for every hour they put in, they would be paid $250,000/year.

$250,000 / $7.25 (min. wage) = 34,483 hours
168 hours in a week
8,736 hours in a year

The claims are outrageous. When you can't even bother to pull out a calculator to verify the most basic claims, you're killing your cause. Another claimed that public school teachers are paid less than private school ones. That's so incredibly backwards, and again, kills the cause.
In 2007–08, the average annual base salary of regular full-time public school teachers ($49,600) was higher than the average annual base salary of regular full-time private school teachers ($36,300). Source link, from the US Department of Education.
I never thought I would, as a Catholic School survivor, feel the desire to rally behind my old teachers as The Oppressed. The numbers are what they are.

So, because there is so much bullshit flying around, I'm on a sort of Facebook sabbatical. I still look here and there, because there might be an old friend out there, and because there are a million other things to share besides politics. When I get to that point, you know the stew is thick.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Big Changes Lie Ahead

(Fishers, IN)- Is this my midlife crisis? Aren't I supposed to get a sports car or something?

I've been fairly dissatisfied with my work situation over the past 2+ years. It isn't that I don't enjoy the work. I do! I just can't get enough of it in this economy to make the kind of money I want to.

But then, it isn't all about money. I like doing the work, because when I'm done, not only do I get paid (I'm not hourly), but I leave with two other parties that are pleased with my role: my client is happy I have acquired the right to use someone's land; the land owner has some money for a remote corner of the property they weren't using anyway. That's satisfaction! But, if it isn't there, it isn't there.

I have a business idea in mind that I've had in mind for 10 years or more. I know it can work, because I am watching others in other states make it happen. Being that I subscribe to the 'better to regret something you have done, than something you haven't done," I really want to get after it with the necessary research and investigation into feasibility here in Central Indiana.

One door closes, another swings open. Perhaps. We'll see. I'm being vague, but in time the story will be told.