LinkedIn for Criminals

I heard some statistics on NPR today regarding California prisons and it reminded me of the ridiculousness of our justice system. While many hard working people struggle to pay rent, the state is spending half a million dollars per convict to build more prison cells.

Although I am astonished by the irony of this situation, a friend reminded me that it is important for us to maintain our moral authority even (especially) in times of great burden.

However, after watching some MSNBC specials on the prison culture, it makes me question why we can’t be more efficient with the way we manage our prison system. For example, it seems to me that prison is nothing more than a “Linkedin” for criminals. Its a place for them to meet other criminals, organize into gangs, and make connections even educated professionals like myself would be jealous of.

Perhaps this is the reason why recidivism rates are so high, and so many experts agree that prisons do not work in reforming offenders.

Some possible ways to solve this problem:

1) Do not allow prionsers with known gang affiliations to hang out as a gang on the prison yard.
2) Force prisoners to work with their known rivals and mix ethnic races.
3) Ship prisoners to other far away locations where they cannot hook up with other members of their group.
4) Rotate prison yard time to reduce chances of meeting other like minded individuals.

I don’t think any of these suggestions are unreasonable. Just ways to mitigate negative social networking.

Idiocracy becomes a reality

Last night I watched Idiocracy for the first time. The movie itself wasn’t all that funny, and it was pretty boring at some points. However, the movie touch on one subject that resembles our current state of the economy.

In the movie, the main character is tasked with figuring out why the crops are not growing. He finds out that crops are not growing because people have been watering their crops with Gatorade. He convinced them to stop using Gatorade and use water instead. But in an ironic twist of events, their switch from Gatorade to water causes the Gatorade company to go out of business, making thousands of people lose their jobs. The people got upset and rioted against the main character.

In Detroit, they are building inferior vehicles that are not selling, and the people who buys these vehicles can’t afford to drive them because of the high oil prices. The obvious solution is to stop investing in these outdated technologies and start looking into vehicles that uses alternative energy. But of course, this move could mean thousands of people will be out of a job. What do you think they will do?

Funny.

Transparencies in the government

I am not a very smart guy. So it freaks me out when I hear smart people tell me that there isn’t enough transparency in our government.

Specifically, there have been a lot of complaints about the lack of transparencies in how the bailout money will be spent.

It’s like taking your car to a mechanic. You have no idea what’s wrong with it, or how to fix it, all you know is that it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. So you pray to dear God that the mechanic doesn’t lie to your face and steal all your money.

Our government is a shady car mechanic. You pay the son of a b1tch to do his job, and all you get is him telling you there are more problems that will require more money to fix….

No on Hate

So I followed up with what I said the other day and went to volunteer for the No on 8 campaign. Sad to say, I was disappointed at how unorganized the Sacramento area seems to be. I didn’t feel like there was any real effort to enroll or maintain curious/shy volunteers like myself. Also, the task they had me do feels like a waste of time.

Well at least I got myself a No on 8 yard sign, which I will display proudly on the lawn here in West Sacramento, an area populated with Yes on ‘Hate’ signs.

That brings me to another issue. How come there are thousands of Yes on Hate signs popping up like weed, but it is so dang hard to even find a No on Hate sign? Shouldn’t there be an effort to put out more signs to show our support?

The real jewel in my volunteering experience came when I went to Jamba Juice to get my parking ticket validated on my way home. One of the JJ employee was dressed in a cheerleader’s costume ( with huge jugs ). A black guy came in, laughed, and said “Thank God, Yes on 8”.

The irony of this event kills me. Here is a black man, who’s ancestors were victims of the same hate crimes not too long ago, dishing out his own prejudice and hatred to people different than him. Oh, the circle of life is complete…

No on prop 8 – Equality for all

The more I hear about California’s Proposition 8, the more I feel compelled to help spread the “No on Prop 8” message. Here is why:

They first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up.
-Martin Niemoeller

first they came To me, this issue is even more important than the presidential election. Choosing a presidential candidate is like choosing between different flavors of ice-cream. Granted, you could end up with a really shitty flavor ( George Bush ) and get sick eating it. But defending equality for all people is equivalent to defending someone against a bully. If you don’t have the courage to do it, no one else will… And one day, it will be you who need to be defended.
So, whether you are gay, straight, or i’ll stick with my right-hand kinda person, you have to stand up for equality.
To make sure that I am not just all talk, I will contact my local field office and ask to volunteer.

What is liberal bias?

liberal bias

I often hear people refer to my sources of news ( NPR, AP, BBC, The Daily Show, and various other websites ) as having a “liberal bias”. What is “liberal bias” you ask? Well, Liberal Bias is…

1) Basing your beliefs on scientific facts instead of saying “that’s how God made it”

2) Being able to recognize hateful rhetoric, personal opinions, and crackpot mouthpieces. ( For example: Bill O’reilly )

3) Making decisions after reviewing statiscal data to ensure that the decision will have the intended outcome. Not doing whatever “feels right”, or “has been done this way forever”.

4) Gathering information from multiple sources, including those of opposing viewpoints, to establish a complete understanding of the subject matter.

5) Having enough self-control to keep your personal opinion out the news you are reporting.

On a more serious note… The reality is: Truth has a liberal bias.

Let gay people get married

Being a devout ( church going ) Catholic, I am perplexed by why so many of us Christians are against the idea of gay marriage. What’s wrong with gay people getting married?

1) It ruins the sanctity of marriage – The sanctity of marriage? Does that even exist? How about we protect the sanctity of marriage by reducing our divorce rates first. Or better yet, protect the sanctity of marriage by being good, financially responsible, and loving parents. Obviously as a country we are not doing that with all the foreclosures, childhood obesity, and school shooting we are living with everyday. Sorry, but gay people can’t ruin the sanctity of marriage anymore than straight people already have.

2) Marriage is a commitment between a man and woman – I think being a man, or a woman is about a lot more than having a penis or breasts. It’s about committing to the responsibility of either bringing home the bacon, nurturing the family, or both. In today’s society, there are numerous examples of role reversals in nuclear-type families. The “man” stays at home to take care of the kids, and the “woman” goes to work. So in practice, the definition of “man” and “woman” has been greatly redefined. Should we stop people from living happy, fulfilling lives because we are unable to update our vocabulary?

3) It’s a sin – Not washing your hands before dinner is a sin. Please……….. “Let those who have NOT sinned throw the first rock”. Jesus taught us to show love and compassion to a prostitute, a tax collector, and a thief. Gay people are not prostitutes, tax collectors, or thieves, yet so many of us are ready to stone them to death. I don’t know what version of the bible you are reading, but God has always taught me to have compassion for everyone.

To sum it all up, the simple fact is, this is a matter of Church and State. Religion, of any flavor, should not enforce rules and edicts on people of the State.

If your religion, like mine, doesn’t favor homosexuality, then you have the responsibility to your faith of choosing the right path. But don’t go around forcing your fellow neighbors to adopt your beliefs. If you want to live in a society where religion tells the government what to do, move to the Middle East.

Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Marriage, outside of a church, is a property of the State. If gay people want to force you to let them marry inside your Church, then you can get mad all you want, but that’s not what they are asking. Most gay people are just asking for some respect.

California cutting education funding

Ok, this just does not make any sense to me…

The economy is going down the tubes and kids are stupid… The solution… Cut education funding? Lay off teachers?

It’s like patching a leaking damn with bubble gum. Sure it seems like a great idea now, but how will we secure our future in the long run?

How does this make any sense??

The two faces of American Health Care

I am a pretty dumb guy, so when politicians or smart people on TV starts blabbling off about important issues, I never really understand what they are saying. So here I will try to dissect this “health care” issue, so that anyone who is like me, can understand it too.

Laundry List:

Universal Health Care

  1. Everyone deserves equal health care regardless of age or income
  2. We cannot trust companies to be fair and just when our lives are at stakes
  3. Corporations serve the stock holders first, the patient second

Privatized Health Care

  1. Lazy people who do not work are bankrupting our health care system by getting care they do not deserve or need
  2. Corporations can provide better health coverage than a government run bureaucracy
  3. Competition among corporations can lead to faster advance in medical technology, cheaper prices, and better health institutions.

Typical Stories:

Universal Health Care: Shannon was a healthy, constitution loving, non-smoking, hardworking American who recently got cancer. Her health insurance company found a “t” on her paperwork that was not crossed, so they denied her health coverage. Now Shannon has to sell her house and first born to get treatment.

Privatized Health Care: Jane is a mother of four, but she does not know who any of the fathers are. She smokes three packs a day, lives on welfare, and has never paid a penny in tax. Yet she has a car, cable television, cellphones for her and each of her babies, and a brand new Coach purse. One day she ate too much french-fries from McDonalds and got a heart attack. She got taken to the hospital, put in ICU for weeks, and when she left the hospital, she also left her bill for you to pay.

If I am being honest, I have no idea what is the right thing to do. Universal Health Care seems to work very well in other countries, but regardless if it works or not, is it really fair for us to be paying for people like Jane to sit on their a$$? But we also can’t let the insurance companies weasel their way out of providing care to people like our friend Shannon.

However, there are probably many things that we CAN agree on, and should definitely become part of our thought process about health care. ( I got these ideas from other websites )

1) Give incentives to people for loosing/maintaining a healthy weight. Reward good BMI? – We all know that obesity is a “big” problem. If we can reverse the obesity trends, we could potential save “tons” of money. Not to mention, countless lives.

2) Control Tobacco use – I read somewhere that 30% of the cost of our health care system is because of people smoking. If you want to smoke, pay for it yourself!

3) Eliminate unnecessary procedures – In fear of being sued, many hospitals and doctors make you do a lot of frivolous things to make sure they covered all their bases. Who do you think is paying for this?

4) Hold the insurance companies accountable – This is debatable, so I put it last on my list. But the point is, there are TOO MANY stories about people being screwed by their insurance company. I live with this fear everyday of my life. Why do I have to live in fear and I pay my insurance every month and on time?