The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady is an American indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2004. The band consists of Craig Finn (vocals, guitar), Tad Kubler (lead guitar), Galen Polivka (bass), Bobby Drake (drums), and Steve Selvidge (guitar).[1] Noted for their “lyrically dense storytelling,”[2] and classic rock influences, the band’s narrative-based songs frequently address themes, including drug addiction, religion and redemption, and often take place within the city of Minneapolis.
Taken from Wikipedia

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16. December 2012 by sean
Categories: Music | Leave a comment

Support the Troops? by Eric Peters

http://lewrockwell.com/peters-e/peters-e263.html

13. November 2012 by sean
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We cannot choose our beliefs.

While watching the movie “Peomethius” the other night, a character made a statement that really bugged me. The main character, as a child, asks her father where her mom went when she died, and the father tells her that she went somewhere beautiful, and the girl asks “How do you know?” and the father replies

“It’s what I choose to believe.”

This statement is false, and very dangerous. You cannot “choose” to believe something. Trust me, I’ve tried. My wife says that I take, what she believes to be, the extreme position on everything, just to be a rebel. And there have been times that I thought that maybe she was right. But she isn’t. These positions are what I believe. I could just as easily wish myself blue skin than choose to believe that government is moral, or rape is good. That god is real.

I struggled for many, many years with the question of faith. I finally realized that I had always been an atheist. But I hadn’t really known it until very recently. I knew that what I was being told in church as a child wasn’t true. In fact, I knew that all the adults and other children around me were lying. I never felt, even the slightest little bit, the things that they claimed they felt.

But I wanted to.

So, I began, as a teenager, my journey to discover the truth. Wicca, Buddihsm, New Age Zen crap, I studied to be a Druid, for a very short time. I even thought about making up my own. I studied religions from the most mainstream, to the crazy to the really silly. I even called myself a Pastafarian for a while. Yes, Pastafarian with a “P”. I wanted so much to believe in a “A Power Greater than Myself”. I am also a recovering alcoholic, so for the first few years that I went to meetings, I tried praying again. I just felt silly. So I stopped, and I stayed sober even without prayer.

I finally settled on calling myself a pagan. Just pagan. I had no idea what to believe. I tried to believe that if you were kind to people, and didn’t steal, you would be rewarded. Many people told me that I was wrong. That I had to believe in Jesus, or I was going to hell. It didn’t scare me.

Then I started listening to The Geologic Podcast. George Hrab is a Skeptic, and an Atheist. He was the first person I really heard talk about the concept of being good, without god. That atheists are actually more moral, because they are good to people, because it is the right thing to do, not because they are afraid to go to hell.

I had always thought that there was something wrong with atheists. That it was like saying that you were better than everyone else. I just wanted to be comfortable in what I believed, not a snob. I was wrong.

I think that part of what helped me along was that I was also learning about liberty at the same time. One of the most important things I learned about was individualism. That while there certainly were Atheists who were snobs, not all were. That I didn’t have to “preach” about it or pick fights with Christians. I could just be what I was.

Now, when I say I “know” there is no god, I’m not saying that I am better than people who believe. This is just something that is true, for me. I cannot believe otherwise. I have a christian friend that tried to talk to me about religion and science, that science proves that there is a god. I didn’t argue with him. I don’t know enough to argue with him, but that doesn’t mean that he is right. And it doesn’t mean that I need to spend tons of time doing research to prove him wrong. I don’t need to argue.

Yes, like I said in the beginning, I do sometimes wish that I was wrong. And maybe I am. I would love to believe that I was going to see my mom, and my beloved dog Chiana again. And it really does hurt sometimes that I can’t just choose to believe it. But I can’t, and I don’t believe anyone else can either. Not without being being very dishonest with themselves.

My Mom

Priscilla DuVally
4/7/1945-10/9/2010
My Mom

Our Beloved Chiana

Our Beloved Chiana

 

 

 

12. November 2012 by sean
Categories: Atheism | Leave a comment

Fronthand Backhand

It is Wednesday morning, November 7, 2012. I just woke, and have been happy that I have avoided all coverage of the election until now. While I was laying in bed, I was thinking about how I had to explain why I wasn’t voting to the two guys I was working with yesterday. I told them that I thought voting was like using my time to go and beg for someone to either kick me in the balls, or kick me in the gut. That there was no way that I could know which one I would end up with, because both candidates were capable of, and promised, both.

Then it hit me this morning. The whole thing reminded me of a skit I saw last week on a Comedy Central show called “Key & Peele“. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are usually Obama humpers, but they are hilarious. One of them does a great Obama impression. They did a skit about the election last week that did surprise me, called “Dunk the Vote “.

But the skit I’m thinking about was not intentionally meant, in any way, to be political or about the election. It was called “Fronthand Backhand“. I’m sure we’ve all heard variations on this game, The only one I can think of at the moment is Bruce Willis’ Head or Gut in “The Last Boyscout”. It is a choice that is not a choice.

Go watch the skit. It’s here on Youtube, and I’ll be here when you get back. That’s Jordan Peele getting to make his choice. I’m sure by now the regular readers of this blog will know why I think that this skit reflects our election process. But I think I need to explain it to people that might not be familiar with our point of view.

Like in the skit, every 4 years, we the “Amerikan People” are asked to make a choice. We are led to believe that we must make this choice. That it is our “Duty” and our “Sacred Right”. You must choose the Fronthand or the Backhand. Yes, you can whine and say, “but what about the punch, or a kick, it’s my right to choose one of those even if it’s not on the ballot, right?” Yes, you can choose one of those. But what Jordan (at least as the character in the skit) doesn’t understand is that there is another choice. To not play. What the “Amerikan People” don’t see is that the whole thing is really be about choosing violence to be committed against you, or choosing not to play.

The Bummer about the Whole Thing

Now, I’m not saying that by choosing not to play, the violence will not happen to you. On the contrary, you will in all likelihood, still get slapped, still get a president you don’t want. But you will not feel like you begged to be slapped. You will not feel like you lost if your “choice” didn’t win.

This philosophy that we have here is not about winning. It’s not about beating our opponents. It’s about living how you want to live, living peacefully. For me, it’s about living a life, and making choices, that I feel good about. If I went into a little booth, and made a choice that made me feel dirty, I would not be living that life. If I told someone that I choose to be slapped. I would not be living that life. The only way, as far as politics is concerned, that I can live that life, is to not play.

Next time you’re given a choice that you don’t like, try to find the option that won’t leave you feeling like you betrayed yourself.

 

This was originally posted by me at The Freedom Feens Blog.

07. November 2012 by sean
Categories: My Freedom Feens Blog Posts | Leave a comment

The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto

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Review

The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / by Monica Perez
About the Monica Perez Show: Monica Perez is a married mother of three, and she has an associate s degree in liberal arts from Rockland Community College, a bachelor s degree from Harvard University with a concentration in economics, a law degree from Stanford Law School and a master s in business administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the bar of the State of New York.
If you ve never heard of John Taylor Gatto you are really missing something. John Taylor Gatto was New York City Teacher of the Year three times when he worked in Harlem. He quit his job, while still holding the title of Teacher of the Year, in an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal saying that he no longer wished to hurt children. Gatto is one of those very rare people (like Ron Paul) who have the intelligence, character, drive and interest to pursue the truth for its own sake, to actually succeed in uncovering some of it and to share it with those of us ready to recognize it.
Continue Reading →

28. October 2012 by sean
Categories: My Recommendations | Leave a comment

Jumping Through The State’s Hoops to Earn a Living

I was enjoying the post by Naveed today titled “The power to license is the power to control“, and wanted to comment on it how good it was, and quickly mention my experience with “Professional Licensing”. As I started to type, I found that it was too much to put in a comment , so it inspired me to write my own post about licensing, and how it’s insane rules effect me and my ability to earn a living.

I am a licensed electrician in all 5 New England states. I started out with my Rhode Island license, which required me to work as an apprentice for 6000 hours at that time (the early 90′s, it’s now 12000 hours). After paying to take the test, and then paying separately for the license after passing the test, From then on, you are required to pay a yearly renewal fee, and every three years must complete a 15 hour continuing course, which costs about $160, plus you need to buy a code book, $75. This is the National Electrical Code (NEC), which comes out every three years, which is the reason for the continuing education.

Several years later, I worked for a company that wanted me to get all of the New England licenses. It’s easier for them to land jobs in states if they can show that they can man the jobs with licensed guys.

 

Here’s where the fun starts with the insane rules. Rhode Island was only reciprocal with Oregon, I think. Which meant that I could get an Oregon license without taking a test. But I didn’t want Oregon. Massachusetts was reciprocal with New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. And Connecticut wasn’t reciprocal with any of them. So, I had to take the test for MA, $300. And I failed half of it, and had to pay another $150 to retake it, and then another $90 for the license. The tests are 100 questions, and that is a lot of mind numbing stuff to study, so as soon as I passed MA, I signed up to take the CT. Funny, the CT test is given by the same company as the MA test, so I got to take it in the same room in the same building as the MA test, and it is also 100 mind numbing questions. Does this make any sense. And it cost only slightly less money. So, with these in hand, I now got a $5 raise. Seemed worth it to me. Until the company closed its doors a year later, but I won’t get into that.

So, now I have 5 licenses, in 5 states. 4 of those five states require 15 hours of continuing education every code cycle, 3 years. $160, plus $75 for a code book. Luckily the instructors can cover all 4 states in one 15 hour course. Massachusetts requires an additional 6 hours on top of that. Connecticut does there own thing. They require 4 hours every year. $75. It was 7 hours up until last year, so that’s not so bad.

The reason for all of this is that each state adapts the NEC differently. Connecticut, for example, is still using the 2005 code, and making their own amendments, adapting small parts of 2008, and 2011. You need to know this working in that state. MA and RI also have their own amendments, and sometimes they go above and beyond the NEC.

Then, keeping track of expiration and renewal is a nightmare. Some states expire on your birth month, some in September, and others the end of December.  Some renew every year, some 2 years, and some 3 years. RI is $36 a year, MA is $90 a year, NH is $150 every 3 years.

They make it harder and harder to work every year. A Journeyman electrician could pull a permit to work in a home or business by himself. Then the last couple of years, you have to have a Master Electricians license, which is another test, and you need to take business classes, and carry insurance. A job has to have a ratio of journeyman to apprentices. In RI, if you are an out of state company, it is 3 journeyman to every 1 apprentice, if you are an in state company, its 1 to 1.

To work on any jobs now, you need to have taken an OSHA 10 hour course, which never expires. (OSHA is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration). But in MA, if you work on any state funded job, you need to renew it every 5 years, and there is talk of going to a 30 hour course. Next year, some states are going to require that you have a license to work with lead in any buildings built before 1972.

Everything is so arbitrary. The job I was just on, the company had to spend thousands of dollars to install fire alarm  devices that will no longer be required January first. They fought with the fire department, but had to install them anyway.  What difference does it make, you know that they are not going to be needed, but you have to wait for this arbitrary time.

It is so frustrating. So arbitrary. So ridiculous. But we just have to go along with it. If I tried to take a stand, my company would just say “Too Bad, go somewhere else.” If you even mention to anyone else in the field that you don’t believe in licensing, they laugh at you like you’re a mad man. They agree that some of this stuff is stupid, but that’s the way it is. Normal people have been so conditioned to this stuff. It’s all about power and money, none of it is about safety. None of it is about protecting the consumer.

Well, that turned out to be a much longer rant than I wanted it to be. Thanks again Naveed for the inspiration. I’d like to opt out, and maybe someday I will, but I have a mortgage and kids and I just can’t right now. But at least I can see the ridiculousness in it all, which is more than can be said for most.

 

This was originally posted by me at The Freedom Feens Blog.

22. September 2012 by sean
Categories: My Freedom Feens Blog Posts | Leave a comment

What was the intended purpose of the drug war?

Child Threatened by Rogue Cop

Was it to terrorize the American people? Was it to make sure that there was enough “crime” to justify the massive amount of police officers that are employed by local, state and federal governments? Was it to destroy the lives of countless innocent people around the world, to lock them in cages? To teach citizens obedience? To justify taking away our rights to privacy, property, dignity?  To give thugs incentives to get children hooked on poisons that they otherwise would have never contemplated taking? To give rise to more potent and dangerous drugs that never would have been invented? Was the so-called war on drugs just an excuse to give trigger happy, adrenaline junkies weapons to be used in the killing of innocent men, women, children, and family pets.  Was it intended to be the “WAR ON PEOPLE” that it has most certainly become?

I sincerely hope not. I really do believe that the intent was to protect innocent lives from something that was perceived to be dangerous. I do not believe that the state has any right to prohibit anything. But I do believe that many drugs are VERY DANGEROUS. I believe that, though very misguided, the war on drugs was meant to save lives and to keep our children from harm. So how did we get from trying to protect the innocent from harm, to harming the innocent? Because, instead of saving hundreds, maybe a thousand lives a year, in reality, millions are harmed, around the globe.

This is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the intended course of these policies. And the consequences of these policies are no longer unintentional. In “A User’s Manual for the Human Experience“, Michael W. Dean says that “An apology only works the first time.” Meaning that when someone says sorry, that they should only have to say it once. That if a person has to say sorry over and over again, for the same things, that they are not sorry at all. So, every time I hear a PR person from the state say how tragic it is that a child was struck by a cruiser chasing a drug dealer, or how unfortunate it was that someone’s pet had to be shot, or how an 80 year old woman was terrorized in the dead of night because the police had the wrong door, or the wrong information, I say BULLSHIT!

BULLSHIT!

You knew! The officer knew! His superiors know! The policy makers know! The politicians know, and the president knows. They ALL know that every-time that they do something to prohibit drugs, they WILL hurt many times more innocent people than they will protect.

You hear it all the time, “If what I do can save just one life, it is worth it.” Well, I have to ask “If you kill ten people, trying to save that one life, was it really worth doing over and over and over again?”

I really feel very frustrated by all of this.

If an organization had a plan that promised to relieve the suffering of hundreds of people, and when they put that plan into action, it killed thousands of people, what would happen? Would we give them more money, more power, and more killing devices? Of course we would! Because it’s “For the children”. Drugs are bad, Drug dealers and users are evil people. They must be stopped. NO MATTER WHAT!! That organization does whatever it wants, it answers to no-one. It doesn’t care about innocent children, it only cares that you care about innocent children, and that you keep feeding it.

If ending the “Drug War” can save just one innocent person, and I believe that it can save millions, why does it continue?

It continues because it feeds the lust for power.

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”

–FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune

 

This was originally posted by me at The Freedom Feens Blog.

13. September 2012 by sean
Categories: My Freedom Feens Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Why do Hollywood Gays need to Beg for Permission?

We’ve all heard the arguments from both sides of the gay marriage issue. Over and over again I’m sure. When I tell people that Obama and Romney are the same, they say  “No, they don’t agree on gay marriage”. And they look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that they both want us to ask permission to marry. I understand that state recognized marriages have certain financial and legal advantages, such as the “right” to hospital visitation and property issues. So I don’t blame the average person for believing that a state recognized marriage is the best (or only) option that they have. Most of us don’t think we have the time or resources to get those advantages without one, but there are simple documents that can resolve these issues at a fairly low cost and not too much time. Many “legally” married couples get them just to be safe.

Which is why I was bothered, when I was watching TV with my wife (yes, I do have a state approved marriage), to hear Neal Patrick Harris (NPH), in an interview with Oprah, tell her that he had to call his partner David his “fiancé” because it was illegal for them to marry. I love NPH, but he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

I have two problems with this statement. First, who said that it was “illegal” for gays to marry. Since when is it illegal for a willing clergyman (or anyone they choose) to “marry” two people, regardless of sex or any other reason. To stand up in front of their friends and family, and say words to them about their love and commitment to each other. Because friends and family (their loved ones) and possibly their local community, are the only ones that their marriage need involve. As far as I know, it is just not legal for them to obtain a marriage license from the state. Their rulers are not allowed to grant them permission. So what? Who needs it?

Secondly, why should two people, as well off as Neal and his partner David be in any way concerned with these so-called advantages? How could they effect them in any way?  The financial benefits are nothing to them, and I’m sure that they can work out the other stuff with a lawyer, like hospital visitation, wills, child visitation, custody issues, etc…

The only way to solve the issue of gay marriage is to abolish the practice of begging permission from the state monopoly. As for the religious objections to it, I don’t believe that they will ever be satisfied with any solution that would allow someone to make a choice that they believe is wrong or a sin. If something is distasteful to them, it should be controlled or banned. The only explanation for this is intolerance.

I think that it is sad, because I believe that gay marriage could be a great help in solving the abortion issue that the “right” is so upset about. Consider the advantages of having that many more tolerant and loving couples willing to adopt unwanted children. Neal even says in the interview that “We didn’t just accidentally get pregnant and realize all of a sudden we need to make this work. These kids come into our world with nothing but love.”, it was something that they really wanted and had to work hard for. If that isn’t a reason to let gay couples adopt, I don’t know what is. Combine that with Walter Block’s ideas about “Evictionism”, an idea that even Ben Stone of The Bad Quaker Podcast defends, and you have something that could eliminate the need for abortion altogether and satisfy everyone on both sides of the issue.

Everyone except the intolerant religious people.

But marriage is not their domain alone, as they would like to believe. It is an agreement between two individuals. And it is their choice, and theirs alone, if they want any god, or gods involved. Even if those gods be politicians.

The only real permission they need is each other’s.

 

This was originally posted by me at The Freedom Feens Blog.

10. September 2012 by sean
Categories: My Freedom Feens Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Molôn Labé! by Boston T Party

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After a decade of retaking their stolen freedoms, the people of Wyoming (many of them newcomers) are forced to finally confront their jealous masters in the U.S. Government. Can a lone, courageous state successfully resist federal tyranny, or has the Bill of Rights been reduced to a myth? Can an allegedly free people act free, or is our liberty just a 4th of July farce?
These issues weigh heavily on the shoulders of Governor James Wayne Preston, a decorated Desert Storm Marine helo pilot. Elected in 2014 on the Laissez-Faire Party ticket, he enjoys nearly full support of the legislature to return Wyoming to a long-lost era of liberty. But how far can he and the people of his state go before Washington, D.C. feels compelled to act? Will Wyoming’s free and independent course reach actual secession? Will President Melvin Connor suppress the maverick Western state with federal troops? Will anybody come to Wyoming’s aid?
Molon Labe! is a fictional account of a real-world blueprint for a free state initiative focused on Wyoming. If enough freedom-loving individuals will relocate there under a useful pattern, they can “liberate” the Cowboy State on many levels. In Wyoming we could truly enjoy our rights of gun ownership, privacy, schooling, health and diet, unrestricted travel, and property. Boston shows us how it actually can be done!

24. December 2011 by sean
Categories: Books, Books I've Read | Leave a comment

The Fountainhead

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Amazon.com Review

The Fountainhead has become an enduring piece of literature, more popular now than when published in 1943. On the surface, it is a story of one man, Howard Roark, and his struggles as an architect in the face of a successful rival, Peter Keating, and a newspaper columnist, Ellsworth Toohey. But the book addresses a number of universal themes: the strength of the individual, the tug between good and evil, the threat of fascism. The confrontation of those themes, along with the amazing stroke of Rand’s writing, combine to give this book its enduring influence. –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

09. December 2011 by sean
Categories: Books, Books I've Read, My Recommendations | Leave a comment

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