The Constitution of the United States of Goldfish


If you started your own nation, what would be in your constitution?

Ah, I’ve always wanted my own country. I’ve claimed several times on this blog that, if I did, my country wouldn’t be so damn bureaucratic. My constitution would be very similar to the constitution of The United States of America with some minor changes.


New rules:

Everyone pays taxes.
I do mean everyone – from fry cooks at McDonald’s to multinational corporations like General Electric (who didn’t pay a plug nickel in taxes last year). I know a lot of citizens are grumbling right about now, but it’s only fair. If you take from the system, you must pay into the system. By taking from the system, I mean using roads and infrastructure, utilities and garbage collection, the police, firefighters and paramedics, public services like the Post Office, libraries and education, etc. If you live in my country, you use these things, therefore, everyone has to pay for them, everyone. However, because everyone will be putting in their fair share, that means that some people will be paying less than they are now, namely, the working poor. If you make $10,000 a year, you might have to put in $50.

Church and state are separate.
I mean really separate, not this half-assed separation we’ve got going now. I’ve written about the separation of church and state before and how I would change that part of the Constitution in the post New & Improved First Amendment Part 2, so I’ll just quote myself:

“The government of the United States of [Goldfish] shall not endorse, propagate or even acknowledge a religion, god, or lack thereof. Citizens of the United States have the rights to both freedom of and freedom from religion. The government cannot financially support nor otherwise endorse any religion or god over any other, or lack thereof. Public officials of the government shall not be required nor allowed to divulge their religious beliefs in order to seek a public office or to work in a public capacity of any kind. All religions will be administered solely by the public without government financial support, unless the religious group is willing to provide social services to all comers, even to those of different or no religious beliefs and customs, without judgment and without proselytizing those who seek services. All references to god or religion shall remain outside of the government unless such references are germane to a legal proceeding such as a civil or criminal case. There shall be no endorsement or recognition of a god of any kind on currency, in The Pledge of Allegiance, in public schools or in any other government forum or building. If those rules are followed, the government shall not prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

Free speech is really free.
That said, free speech has a price. When you have the right to voice your opinion, everyone else does, too. That means that you’ll have to hear a lot of nonsense with which you don’t agree. That is the price of free speech. From now on, no one opinion will be any more meaningful than any other, at least, from a government perspective. Government is a collaborative effort, and as such, not every opinion will be heard while some opinions are heard louder than others. Unfortunately, that’s not really going to change. However, in my constitution, everyone will at least have the right to speak. The majority is not the only opinion.

The two-party system is now a multi-party system.
It’s ridiculous and unrealistic to think that only two political parties could represent the entire country. In the spirit of free speech, everyone will get a shot at running for office if they so choose. You won’t have to be rich nor famous to get elected. If one candidate in an election chooses public funding, all candidates are bound by the same campaign dollar amount so there is a level playing field. You can no longer buy your way into office.

Equality for everyone.
Regardless of gender, race, handicap, sexual preference or belief, everyone has the same inalienable rights as a citizen unless they do something worthy of having those rights taken away, such as being convicted of a violent crime. All consenting adult humans can get married. The glass ceiling is hereby broken and discrimination will be severely punished to the extent of the law. We’ll be checking.

Citizens are responsible for their own actions.
This part of the constitution speaks to rule #1 of the universe: Handle your shit. If you make a mess, clean it up. This applies to everything from public facilities to financial catastrophes and oil spills. If you need help, ask for it, but you have to make an effort to clean up your mess on your own. You can’t just walk away, expecting us, the taxpayers, the clean it up. We’re all in this together. Think about your fellow humans who have to inhabit the same space, breathe the same air and live on the same planet as you. Be responsible for your own actions.

New & Improved First Amendment Part 2


If you could enact one new law, what would it be?

Just one? That’s not fair. There are so many from which to choose. I’ve already written the converse of this question in One Law I’d Abolish, but I suppose this is different. This new law could be anything.

I could enact legislation that requires all people born on a Tuesday to wear pointy hats with ten inch feathers on the first of the month. I could outlaw the phrase OMG in speech and send anyone who utters it aloud to the hoosegow. I could require all people to greet each other with the phrase “Hoopdiddy flarben!! Greeb not, me dainzy prangstens, we smiggen the yingblat at groon.” just because I’d find it funny.

While I do a lot of silly things in the interest of funny, I think I’d like to enact a law that might do the public some good. I’d like to level the playing field. I’d like to see a world, or at least a country, where everyone is free to do as they please within the law.

I’ve already written about how I’d change the First Amendment if I had the chance in the post New & Improved First Amendment.  As a refresher, here’s what the First Amendment looks like now:

Here’s how I changed it:

The government of the United States of America shall not endorse, propagate or even acknowledge a religion, god, or lack thereof. Citizens of the United States have the rights to both freedom of and freedom from religion. The government cannot financially support nor otherwise endorse any religion or god over any other, or lack thereof. Public officials of the government shall not be required nor allowed to divulge their religious beliefs in order to seek a public office or to work in a public capacity of any kind. All religions will be administered solely by the public without government financial support, unless the religious group is willing to provide social services to all comers, even to those of different or no religious beliefs and customs, without judgment and without proselytizing those who seek services. All references to god or religion shall remain outside of the government unless such references are germane to a legal proceeding such as a civil or criminal case. There shall be no endorsement or recognition of a god of any kind on currency, in The Pledge of Allegiance, in public schools or in any other government forum or building. If those rules are followed, the government shall not prohibit the free exercise thereof.

I’d keep the parts of the First Amendment about freedom of assembly, speech, press and redressing grievances, but I’d change “Congress shall make no law” to simply “the government”:

The government shall not abridge freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Then, since Congress has a long and sordid history of tacking fine print conditions onto bills that have nothing at all to do with the legislation at hand, I’d do the same and add the following:

Irrefutably provable hate crimes and child abuse are now punishable by death. Discrimination in the workplace based on racism, gender bias, classism, sexual preference, belief or for any other reason not having to do with job performance will be outlawed, enforced and punishable by lengthy prison terms; all legal fees and associated costs will be paid by the transgressor. The government will operate transparently. If you are a United States citizen, you have a right to know where your tax dollars are going and have a say in the budget. The government shall not control its people; the people shall control the government.

And, just for shits and giggles, I’d add:

Goldfish will be given a bazillion dollars and be bestowed with the title of Queen Ruler Extraordinaire Ad Infinitum. All citizens are required to give one footrub to same.

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Save The Library



I don’t want an e-book reader for many reasons. I don’t like the concept of having to plug in my book. I’m terrible at remembering to charge things and the last thing I need is another electronic item to remember to plug in before it dies. You never have to worry about charging paper.

I like being able to throw a book in a bag and go. You can’t throw an e-reader anywhere without the possibility of breaking it. Yes, it’s smaller than some books and more lightweight, but you have to be careful about banging it against heavy objects or dropping it. I’m terrible about dropping things. I’ve dropped my phone on concrete more than a dozen times. I had to get a soft, rubberized outer shell for it so that it bounces instead of breaking and the battery doesn’t go flying out every time I butterfinger it.

I am bad at remembering things. A lot of times when I’m reading a book, I need to flip back and read details again to refresh my memory. My brain isn’t good with remembering minutiae, but it usually tells me where to find the things I forgot, for example, it was roughly twenty pages back on the left page near the bottom. That would be lost with an e-reader. Plus, you can only see one page at a time, not a spread.

They still don’t have all the books I want to read available in electronic form. I have very obscure taste in books and only a quarter of them would even be available to me anyway, which brings me to my next point – the library.

I am one of those people that the library probably hates since every book I borrow from them has to be sent to my local branch from the central depository. This is partially due to my obscure taste in books and partially because my local branch has a classics section smaller than my pantry. Some poor librarian must cringe when they see my name at the central depository since it means they have to go way down into the basement and pull out a book that hasn’t seen the light of day in 30 years. I’m not kidding either. I recently ordered a book that still had the old paper card in it and the last time it was checked out was 1978. They probably hate pulling books for me, but they love me come budget time. I prove to the budget people that these services are actually necessary. I am a happy little statistic in their demand column when it comes to funding.

The public library is an essential service and e-books will put them out of business. Not only does the library open minds by lending books, but they have free computers that anyone can use, they loan movies and music, and they have classes and entertainment for children. They provide story hours, after-school activities, computer instruction classes and adult literacy programs. Every time I go to my local branch, there’s a line. In my opinion, the public library system provides one of the greatest public services that man has ever invented. It inspires imagination and I cannot fathom what I would be like as an adult had I not availed myself of their services as a child.

Here in Los Angeles, the Mayor and City Council have already cut library services by two days a week and they’re trying to kill it even more. When people are unemployed and times are tough like they are now, services like the library are needed the most. Rather than saving some of that money we were rolling in a few years back, they spent it all and now they’re trying to kill public services altogether. To read more about Mayor Villaraigosa’s evil plan to kill the library, go to

My biggest point of contention with e-readers is the inability to loan out your books. My friends and I have an unofficial reading circle. One of us will find an awesome book and pass it around to all the rest. I have books that I sent out into the circle a year or two ago and they’re still making the rounds. There are some books that I’ve bought multiple copies of because they never made it back to me. That’s fine with me since it means someone else is enjoying it. You cannot loan e-books, which makes them positively useless in my world. Not being able to loan a book to a friend is their biggest disadvantage. Once you buy a paper book, it’s yours forever and you can do with it what you like. That is not the case with e-books. E-books turn reading into a solitary, digital-rights managed activity and that I cannot abide.

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In The Middle

This is what hell looks like.

I’ve claimed on this blog before that I’m poor. Well, apparently, I’m not. According to the republic of California, I make enough money to be charged the absolute maximum for health care services on a sliding scale, even though I don’t actually have a, you know, job or a source of income, other than the checks the state is kind enough to send me bi-monthly, which aren’t even tax-free. Somehow, the state of California decided that it’s completely reasonable to charge me, an unemployed person, over a thousand dollars for services I haven’t even received yet while other people receive those same services for free. I have spent eight hours with my butt plastered to a vinyl seat in some office or other trying to get help to no avail. I started this process in August; it is now December and I’m not any closer to the finish line.

This is what hell looks like.
This is what hell looks like.

Now, if I was homeless, a defendant in some sort of legal process, had at least one or a dozen children, paid alimony, child support or was on welfare, I’d be golden. But since I am single, have no children, owe no one money (besides to the state and federal government once tax time rolls around, and my poor, beleaguered credit cards) and actually have the gall to pay for a roof over my head every month, I get no breaks.

This is not the first time I’ve been bent over and ass raped sans lube because I make too much money. When I tried to get financial aid for college, they told me that my parents made too much money, even though my parental units wouldn’t give me a plug nickel towards education, or anything else for that matter; I have been financially supporting myself from the age of fifteen. When someone tried to kill me, all the domestic violence hotlines said I made too much money. Sorry, we can’t help you. I get fucked at tax time since I’m single, have no dependents and don’t own a house – scratch that, because I cannot afford to buy a house. Many moons ago, when I foolishly thought that I could actually afford health insurance, I paid three times as much because I’m single and have no dependents. It was so expensive that I couldn’t even afford to use it. And now, when it comes to public health care, I am fucked again. The state has decided to probe my anus with its mighty government cock all because I have terrible taste in men, and therefore, choose not to be a single mom. Spread your cheeks and brace yourself.

Even though all the money I make now comes in the form of an unemployment check, I make too much money to get any breaks, but not enough to afford anything like health care. I am well and truly in the middle, which means I am well and truly fucked. If I was way below the poverty line, I could get anything for free. If I was truly middle class, I could afford to buy services myself. But, because I’m part of the exclusive ranks of the working poor (or was when I was employed), I get nothing. I fall right through the cracks.

This post is part of the On Being Series.

If I Were President



My first act as President of the United States would be to resign. I have no desire to land in the muck that countless Presidents and career politicians before me have created and I have little respect for those who do.

Can you imagine wanting to take on a job in a failing company where you haven’t been in the black for a thousand years? A good portion of your employees don’t actually have jobs, but you have to pay them anyway. You also have to pay for two wars from which you can’t easily extricate yourself and weapons that you hope you’ll never have to use. Your board of directors are mostly selfish jackasses paid by outside interests who are working against you. No, thank you. I’d rather not take on that job.

However, perhaps I’m being too hasty about this. Perhaps before I tender my resignation, I might want to change a thing or two. I might want to remind people of why it is exactly that this country used to be great. I’d remind them of Abraham Lincoln, arguably the most accomplished President ever, or Franklin Roosevelt who both saw this country through some of the bleakest times in our history. The Civil War and The Great Depression far outweigh this nonsense we’re dealing with now. I’d remind people that we’re all essentially the same and we all have the same goals, i.e., a better life than the previous generation and to live in a place where dreams can actually come true through hard work and perseverance.

I could stop all this nonsense with immigration law. There’s this statue in New York that used to stand for something. On it, it says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” My grandparents saw it when they came to this country. If it had meant then what it means now, I might not be an American. I’d make that mean something again.

I could tell Proposition 8 in California and all anti-gay marriage laws to shove it, and make all marriage between consenting adults legal. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and as such, we all have the same inalienable rights.

I might want to etch the first amendment in stone (yes, I realize it’s already etched in stone, but I meant metaphorically). I’d remind people that the reason this country was created in the first place was to escape persecution for holding divergent beliefs. This country was NOT founded as a Christian nation since that would defeat the entire purpose of free speech. This country was founded as a place where everyone has a right to express their views equally, and no one religion, belief, or lack thereof can take precedence over any other. The wall between church and state should stand tall and proud because it protects all of us.

I might want to remind the American public just how fortunate they are to live in a country where freedom is prized above all else. Freedom of speech, assembly, belief, justice and even the freedom to tell the government that we aren’t too keen on what it’s doing. Freedom is not something which should be taken for granted. We all need to fight to keep these rights. As President, I’d remind the people and the government of the people exactly what it means to be American.

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10 Things I Hate Part 5


1. The government. If I had my own country that had to provide services for its citizens, I’d like to think that I could do it with a little more speed and fewer hurdles to jump. I think partly the reason why the government is so inefficient is to scare off any slackers. You have to be really committed to wanting government services to actually get them.

2. Movie theaters. The film industry whines and moans and complains about piracy and streaming and what all else. Fine. You have a point. However, when I spend $12.50 just to get in the door to see a matinee and then you charge me $6 for a Coke the size of an espresso, do you really expect me to pay for the whole theater experience on an ongoing basis? Because, let me tell you, it ain’t all that. Only after 20 minutes of commercials for products that have nothing to do with movies and trailers for crappy movies that I don’t want to see does the movie actually start. And somewhere along the line, the average length of a movie went from 1.5 to over 2 hours, which means at some point, I will have to get up to pee and I can’t hit pause. Lame.

3. I hate that I feel a little embarrassed and that I need to explain myself for being American. I’ve met quite a few foreigners in my day and whenever I do, I somehow feel obliged to convince them that we’re not all like that as if I’m suddenly pressed into service as a goodwill ambassador. By the way, we’re not all a stupid stereotype of flag-wavin’, pick-up truck drivin’, ignorant, fat, selfish, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, arrogant bastards.

4. I hate people who are convinced that the music they listen to is better than the music you listen to and feel the need tell you precisely why you are wrong. Ahem, I’ll say this once, so pay attention: Other than the technical processes involved in making it, music is subjective. There is no right music nor wrong music. You like what you like and that’s all there is to it.  The same goes for film. Although, I will say that I wish people would think outside the box a little bit more when picking what to listen to or watch.

5. How could I have made it through 44 things that I hate already without mentioning hipsters? Well, this deficiency will be rectified presently: I hate hipsters. Every little subculture, every bar, every restaurant in the cool section of town has their own inexhaustible supply of these raging morons. You know the type. The kind that wear the look some other trendsetting person created, read books by people who are now considered in and only listen to the cool tunes. Get over yourself. You are not original, creative or in any way thought-provoking. Someone else did all your thinking for you. And, what’s worse, these people are starting to breed. They’re creating another generation of people who are supposedly too cool for school.

6. Rhetorical questions. Specifically, I hate how we have different ones. Say, for example, you’re walking down the hallway and run into your boss. You are expecting him to say “How are you?” and instead he asks, “What’s up?” to which you answer, “Fine.” like an idiot. Neither of these questions is designed to elicit a proper reply. He doesn’t really want you to go into detail about how you are or what you are doing. They are merely greetings, and as such, there should be only one standard answer. We should have only one rhetorical question to avoid such social awkwardness.

7. Personal space invaders. There is an unspoken distance we humans keep from each other, unless we are doing something fairly intimate like sticking body parts into each other or playing sports. Usually, those activities involve mutual consent. If I just met you and we are not intimate, you have no such consent. So, when you get within inches of my face, you are, in essence, raping my personal space. Step back, Jack, and let me breathe.

8. Interrupters. I hate people who don’t listen to what you are saying at all, but just wait for you to take a breath so that they can inundate you with their own personal thoughts on the matter.  Sometimes, I do this too, but I’m always aware of it and I usually apologize. Most people don’t. Most people will just continue blathering away without even acknowledging that they just stole the talking stick away from you and are now beating you over the head with it.

9. People with annoying laughs. This one is completely unfair since laughter isn’t conscious. If you have an annoying laugh, there’s not much you can do about it. Still, I hate people with annoying laughs. An annoying laugh just makes me not want to say anything funny to you ever. I turn into someone without a sense of humor at all. I apologize if I’ve ever talked to you in person, and all of a sudden, I stopped being funny. I did this because your laugh is horrible. I just thought you should know.

10. Old jokes. I hate when people tell me a joke as if I haven’t heard it before when it’s been around longer than I have. Am I supposed to laugh at something that wasn’t even funny when it was thought up in 1973? Most jokes aren’t even funny anyway. Before you tell a joke, ask if the person has heard it before, please. There’s nothing worse than placating laughter.

More Things I Hate.




Yes, I am.

For a number of reasons, which I won’t enumerate at the moment, I am seeking professional assistance with my brainpan. My brainpan, more specifically, the gray matter inside of it, hasn’t functioned properly for quite some time. If you look over to the right there -> and click on the tag “Brain FAIL”, you will see what I mean.

Things being what they are, with my lack of income due to the fact that my job rudely stopped paying me and with my brain not working properly from where it sits perched atop my neckhole, I have entered the system. The horribly gloomy, government-run, institutional, no other means available, ‘we will treat you because you have no other alternatives’ system is the last place you ever want to look for help. In the system is the last place anyone ever wants to be. The very nice man who indoctrinated me into the system even told me as much. He said, “If you have any other alternatives, you should use them, since this is a last resort.” I have no other alternatives.

They designed the crazy department of the government (actually, most of the government in general) in such a way that you can never get exactly what you need when you need it. Some government bureaucrats, inordinately fond of paper trails and redundancy, decided that you must first go through the obstacle course. This course involves navigating your way through about a billion different government websites all with differing information. From the websites, you start making phone calls. You will spend approximately thirty hours on the phone, most of them on hold, trying to call various places. When you finally talk to a living person, they will give you the wrong information and send you to someone else. That someone else will say that they’re not the right person either or that their government building is too swamped and you’ll have to call another government building. Finally, when you’re just about to give up, the last government building you call gives you an appointment.

Because the other government buildings are too swamped, you get an appointment at a place far, far away from where you actually live, even though there’s a similar place just down the street. The appointment is for the following month.

The next month, you show up at the far, far away government building, go through the metal detectors, sit on a vinyl seat manufactured in 1953, fill out many forms with mostly the same information on each of them and wait.

From there, they usher you into a conference room with other crazy people. The government indoctrinated, enrolled, oriented, entered, filed, processed, notarized, filled out in triplicate and bar coded several of my alternative-less fellow citizens and me into the system today.

The crazy refugees included a woman who said nothing and looked at her shoes or the spot just in front of her shoes (I can’t be sure which) while playing with a paperclip for the entire three-hour process, a man who the court ordered to be there presumably after he was caught committing some crazy crime, a girl who was just released from the hospital since she tried to off herself and has so many different kinds of crazy that she can’t even list them all even though she tried to tell me about them non-stop, and a woman with such a case of the crazies that she lived in her own world for the entire time without once setting foot into ours. It seemed like a pleasant enough world from where I sat though. She was escorted by her mentally handicapped son or other familial relation I’m guessing. When the mentally deficient are filling out your forms because you are too crazy to do so yourself, well, that’s a level of crazy I hope to never attain. Serious crazy is serious. And then there was me.

In the room with the crazy people, they lecture you like you are five years old, and frankly, crazy. Given the condition of my fellow inhabitants of the room, I can’t say as I entirely blame the nice government workers for adopting this attitude.

After the three-hour orientation, you sit in another room with another person and they ask you the very same questions that you have already answered on the many forms you filled out when you arrived. Either they lost all your forms in the meantime or they assume you were too non compos mentis to fill out forms properly. In the case of the crazy lady who brought her own world with her, I can see how they would arrive at that conclusion, but then why ask the crazy to complete forms in the first place?

From there, you are gloriously escorted out of the building with some reading material printed on purple paper with a smiley face on the cover and a slip of paper that says come back in three months. That puts us in December. And the appointment in December isn’t even for what you need. It is just another hurdle where, more than likely, the same forms will be filled out, the same questions will be answered, and the same vintage, vinyl chair will serve as a receptacle for your buttocks for longer than you’d think entirely necessary or even possible.

Now, I know I’m not the sanest person around, but I’d like to think that I can handle my business, even with a malfunctioning brain. I can hold a job and live in a house and tie my own shoes. I am not a danger to myself, other people or small woodland creatures. I don’t hear voices in my head that tell me to visit the planet Neptune and kill all the Neptunians because they can read my thoughts. I don’t think that I’m Joan of Arc or Betsy Ross. I know what year it is. I’ve never made a tinfoil hat. But, somehow, this strange thing called life, has set me on the same path in the same room on the same side of the table with the criminally and/or just plain old insane. And worst of all, I have to go back there… in December.

Basically, all I accomplished today was to verify that the government is, indeed, a ridiculous organization and that I’m not as crazy as I thought. There are people much crazier than I am and I’d like to keep it that way. I suppose that was worth the trip.

The crazy saga continues in the post In The Middle.

This post is part of the On Being Series.

We The People…


I live in a powerful, warlike country. There was a time when my country fought in wars that were just. The whole population would sacrifice in order to help the war effort, but now, we have so many wars at any given time that most of the people don’t even know nor care about them. We have tremendous resources and tend to use them mainly for killing things. If we took some of those resources and put them towards helping people instead, there’s nothing that couldn’t be done, but that rarely happens.

There was a time when my country fostered ambition from even its lowliest denizens. It was a place where people believed that most aspirations were possible if you worked hard enough. It was a place where people’s main goal was that their children’s lives should be better than their own, but that type of thinking is mostly gone or impossible now. It has been replaced by malaise, indolence, greed, selfishness and shortsighted thinking.

There was a time when my country was beautiful. It was full of wide forest, flowing rivers and vast plains where wild creatures roamed free, but those creatures have mostly been killed off now, and the ones who remain are put in little cages or forced to find food in mini-malls and subdivisions full of identical houses. We round them up and put them on small strips of land, expecting them to understand the concept of property lines and stay there.

There was a time when my country was doing things to benefit all mankind. We built rocketships and sent them out in space. We set foot on the moon, but that costs money when that money could be used to fund wars instead. Now, instead of building rocketships to explore space, we build bombs.

There was a time when scientists and inventors and dreamers were given room and encouragement to build their dreams. Many great ideas came from my country. Everyone was free to speak their mind and believe whatever they wanted, but now, opinions only seem to matter when they coincide with the majority and dreams are only encouraged if there’s profit to be made from them.

In one of its founding documents, my country said that all men are created equal, but when they said all men, they really only meant white, male Protestants. My country has always oppressed certain members of its own people. If you were a certain color or gender, you didn’t have the same rights. We still single out people based on color, but now, we also oppress people for their sexual preference or for having different, undesirable beliefs than the majority.

There was a time when the government was there solely to provide services for the people. It was comprised of the people, by the people, for the people. Anyone could be voted into a government office if they wanted. There was a time when the government didn’t tell the people what to do, believe, think or act on, but the people told the government. Now, the government tells the people what to do, and you can’t even be elected unless you are rich and powerful.

Long ago, a great statue was erected. There was a time when this statue welcomed people from all over the world. It told them that this was a land of opportunity and everyone was welcome. The statue is still there, but now, instead of welcoming huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we round them up and send them back home.

There was a time when you could be proud to be a citizen of this country. The people would talk about how great and free it was. There was a time when that was true. But now, a lot of people are unhappy. A lot of them don’t have jobs or houses to live in. Some of them have no food to eat. Some of them feel the country has been headed in the wrong direction for a really long time now and that the people are powerless to do anything about it. And the ones who still think this country is great and free, only show it by putting little flags and yellow ribbons on their cars.


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One Law I’d Abolish


If you could reverse one law, which would it be?

“Excuse me, Goldfish, your politics are showing.” Embarrassed, she tucked them back inside her pants where they belong, “Thanks.”

I’d abolish the law of gravity. Oh, well, that would be a mess, wouldn’t it? Houses and people flying everywhere… people can’t even drive as it is with the laws of physics in place. I can only imagine how that would be compounded without gravity. OK, never mind that one. The laws of physics are all pretty sound, mostly because science rules. It brought us out of the Dark Ages where we were afraid of ghosts and didn’t take showers. So, that leaves the laws of man. Ugh, the laws of man…

Where to start? Man has done some pretty stupid things to itself. For instance, I heard that the only thing you’re legally allowed to throw out the window of a moving vehicle in California is chicken feathers. I don’t know how true that is today and I’m too lazy to research it, but it was most likely true at some point.

Something that never should have been a law to begin with was this whole Proposition 8 folderol in California that abolished gay marriage. Personally, I think all consenting adults who are insane enough to want to get married should be allowed to do so. However, Prop 8 was ruled as unconstitutional discrimination earlier this month so that leaves that out. Although, the battle is not over and it will most likely be taken all the way to The Supreme Court where they will rightfully uphold that ruling by a California judge (fingers crossed), let’s pick something that isn’t so ridiculously unconstitutional and discriminatory that it shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place.

I’m really not a fan of George W. Bush’s Faith-Based Initiatives either. That’s the executive initiative where W. decided to give our tax dollars to churches. However, since it’s funded by the Presidential discretionary fund, even though it’s still our tax dollars, The Supreme Court upheld it. According to that logic, if you’re President of the United States, you could hire hit men to kill anyone you choose with your discretionary fund and The Supreme Court can’t touch you. Unconstitutional or not, you could start your own war or decide to kill all babies born on Tuesday with taxpayer dollars, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But, Faith-Based Initiatives is not a law per se. If it was, it would be easier to fight it. Anyway, because it’s not a law, that doesn’t count either.

So, that leaves Wall Street. President Bush Sr. started chipping away at financial regulations, and Presidents Clinton and Bush Jr. carried on with his madness. By 1999, when the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was repealed, almost all federal regulations of the financial markets were gone. Provisions that prohibited a bank holding company from owning other financial companies were repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act on November 12, 1999. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act effectively removed the separation that previously existed between Wall Street investment banks and depository banks. Like a house of cards, deregulation exacerbated the damage caused by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market that led to this latest financial crisis.

Removing federal regulation of financial markets effectively meant that Wall Street was the Wild West again. It was a free for all for greedy assholes. Less than a decade later, we have this mess we’re in now. Millions of people are unemployed, including me, countless people lost their homes, countries across the world had their economies collapse overnight and we’re still digging ourselves out of the hole that deregulation dug for us. So, I’d go back to the first Bush administration and cement federal financial regulation. I’d etch the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 into stone. I’d shove deregulation where the sun don’t shine.



10 Things I Hate Part 2


Because there’s never enough hatred in the world, I’m continuing with 10 Things I Hate

1. I hate that the public library no longer puts the little due date cards inside library books.  Once upon a time, you could just open the front cover of a library book, pull out a card and know exactly when a library book was due. Nowadays, you get a printed receipt very much like one you would receive if you bought a soda. It’s hard to distinguish which is a stupid, useless, soda receipt and which is the one that tells you important information, like, say, WHEN YOUR LIBRARY BOOKS ARE DUE. I know it is a far better system for them and it also means we don’t have to deal with the dreaded card catalog anymore, but it really sucks for me since I can’t remember these things and I seem to collect a lot of receipts.

2. I hate it when people start a sentence with “Guess…” For example, guess what I did last night. Guess who called me the other day.  Guess how much I weigh.  Do I look like a fortune teller?  Am I at a carnival and I’ll win a teddy bear if I guess correctly?  No, stop it.  Just tell me whatever it is that you’re dying to tell me without all the guessing, please, because inevitably, I’ll guess wrong and accidentally say something that hurts your feelings anyway.  “Guess how old I am.”  “I dunno, 54?”  “I just turned 30,” says the insecure idiot who ridiculously asked me to guess her age for no reason at all as she runs away crying.  I’ll never win the teddy bear.

3. I hate how parents these days seem to be afraid of their own children.  More likely, they’re afraid of having child protective services called on them if they so much as raise their voice to their child in public.  If I see one more child crawling under a table in a restaurant while its owners sit idly by, I’m going to lose it.  It’s alright to discipline your children if they’re out of control. Really, it is.

4. I hate when people pull up in front of a house and honk the horn.  Most of the time, they don’t honk the horn just once, but constantly at three-second intervals until whomever they’re waiting on takes their sweet time getting out to the car. If you are really that impatient, might I suggest you get your fat ass out of the damn car and go knock on the door?  Or, if that’s too much of a bother, there are these new things called cell phones where you can call them right from the comfort of your vehicle instead of driving me to want to murder you.  Plus, the entire time you’re wailing on your car horn, you’re probably double parked, which brings me to #5…

5. I hate when people double park on a street right in front of an open spot a mile long.  What is that?  You don’t even have to do the whole forward, backward thing.  The spot is so big you could pull a semi-truck in there straight on, but no.  That’s not for you. Your inconsiderate ass won’t pull over.  Instead, you’ll make the rest of us go around you into oncoming traffic while you blast your damn car horn at someone inside.

6. I hate trying to get useful information from government websites/automated phone systems.  The websites are slightly less dreary and dismal than their brick and mortar counterparts, but not by much.  At least if you call them or go in person, you know that, after the interminably long wait, you will get a person to talk to at the end, if you’re lucky. Not so with websites.  The people who wrote the copy must get a good laugh out of confusing you while not providing any information of benefit at all.  You’ll just wind up in a twisted Möbius strip of pages that become increasingly incoherent with every pass.  In the end, you’ll probably end up calling the phone number anyway where you will be treated to a thousand prompts and recorded messages that don’t pertain to you. Then, it will unceremoniously hang up on you because it can’t recognize the numbers you type in on your smart phone as numbers. “Is your telephone number QWZ-FAP-TRKL?  If this is correct, press 1…”  And don’t even get me started on the web design…

7. I hate that some people still refuse to use spell check.  It’s everywhere these days. I even have it on my phone so that when I type “Sup?”, it will ask if I meant “Supper?”  I’m alright with the obtrusive nature of spell check because, if I did mean supper, it will fix it.  Although, I can’t imagine why I’d ever use the word supper in a text message… Anyway, spell check is omnipresent now.  We never have to misspell a word again, especially in something considered to be “writing” which is posted on the internets, like this here thing I’m ranting now. Use it, please.

8. I hate websites that don’t list prices.  This is not some exclusive French dining establishment where, if you have to ask how much the Chateaubriand is, you can’t afford it.  This is the internets.  We are consumers.  Consumers need things like prices to make informed decisions about buying things.  If you don’t put the price on there, there are a thousand other websites that sell your junk or similar junk who will.  Put the price up.

9. I hate that people seem to have no manners anymore.  If someone holds the door for you, please, say thank you. It’s not hard.  It’s amazing that anyone would actually hold a door open for someone else in this day and age, so when they do, they deserve some sort of recognition. This kind of rare behavior towards our fellow humans should be encouraged. A simple “thanks” would do nicely.

10. I hate the inevitable awkward conversation about whatever TV show people are watching these days. It’s awkward for me since I don’t have cable and I have never seen it. This always happens in a group of three or more people. Obviously, if someone is just talking to me, I’ll say I’ve never seen it and that’s the end of the conversation. But, in a group of three or more people, there always seems to be two who have every episode committed to memory and a half-hour conversation on something I have no idea about nor interest in will ensue. This also applies to conversations about people I don’t know. “Oh, you know John Doe, too?  We went to high school together!”  This is usually the part in the conversation when I groan and excuse myself, hoping that John isn’t all that interesting and they won’t still be talking about him when I return.


More Things I Hate.