Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Tax Form for 2010

I propose the following new tax form for 2010. It won't fix all the ideological problems with taxation. But it's a damn fine start.

Schedule E SPRKClick to Embiggenate

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shackled by religion

...and they're more than willing to admit it.

Apparently this downtown church is willing to loosen the old shackles just a wee bit if they're hurting you -- but they are in no way interested in having you remove them. You might escape.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

...and they're doing the wrong things

I'm sorry. It's really the same thing said once again. Or maybe not the same thing, but a continuation. About 9 months ago, I postulated that We're Electing the Wrong People. And, since they are the wrong people, I'd also like to mention: They're doing the wrong things.

And, oh my god, how wrong can they be? Those knuckleheads (and I mean pretty much all of them) shouldn't need a handbook on how to do their jobs -- or shouldn't need one beyond the one Thomas Jefferson helped to pen. But apparently they do.

It appears as if the current handbook they're issued is something along the lines of:

Hi. Welcome to Congress. Now we'll help you figure out how to work around the system to make money for you and your friends.

Gee your voice is pretty, make sure people hear it alot.

Let's face it: The original intent of this job was never intended to be a full time job. The idea was that the Constitution was such a strict framework that pretty much every thing that was allowed to be handled was, in fact, handled. And the little things that would come up over time -- we'd just work those out in our spare time. What a novel approach.

So since congress just has no sporking clue how to do their own job, let me just give them a little lesson.

Spork's Congressional Newhire Manual

  • Keep it simple. Laws should not be 1000 pages or more. If they are, you've given too many lawyers too much wiggle room to work through. You want to bitch about judges legislating from the bench? Well, they can only do it if you make it complex. If it is short and sweet, the interpretation wiggle room just isn't that large. How many times did you misunderstand your dad when you were 5 and he said "Calm down or you're going to get a spanking?" If Dad can say something in one sentence that a 5 year old can understand, why can't an old fart with a law degree and 25 years of experience?
  • Along with simple and short comes an obvious corollary. You should not be editing the document in the wee hours of the morning before the vote. Make the rule simple: any change means it goes back to debate for another week.
  • And, oh my god: if you haven't read and understood it, you are not allowed to hold a vote on it. Did I really need to tell you that?
  • In continuing with keep it simple: keep it on topic. In no way should anyone be allowed to hide crap in the middle. If you're passing a law on "Voter's rights" there should not be something hidden inside it about conserving the habitat of the Atlantic Sea Chimpanzee or bee keeping or fuel consumption or bridges in Alaska. It should start with voter's rights, have voter's rights in the middle and then end with voter's rights. If I order a ham sandwich, I want a ham sandwich. I do not want a ham sandwich with a little bit of lutefisk in the middle. That's a lutefisk and ham sandwich. You may, however, add bacon. But that's off topic.
  • Laws should not duplicate other laws, hide other laws or contradict other laws. For example, if you have a laws against murder and assault, there is no reason ever to have a law against hate crime. Is it really intrinsically worse to murder someone because of their religion/sexual preference/gender/race than to murder someone for the $20 in their wallet? Sure, you can argue over the brutality of the murder when it comes to the sentencing, but it's still the same crime. Murder is murder. If the scumbag that perpetrates the crime is a Nazi skinhead, I just don't care what his motivation is -- just that he is removed from society.
  • Get the hell out of the superfluous. The government should not be involved in the inner workings of professional baseball, college football or the mating habits of lemurs. This is just proof you have too much time on your hands. Get back to your real job and go home to your family. You've obviously overinflated your own importance.
  • And last, and most important: learn what individual rights are. It's important. It's the entire basis of American government. Here, let me explain it to you in words that a senator might possibly understand. Think of the other side. Think of the hot button issue (HBI) that really pisses you off. If you're on the right, maybe it's legislation that murders babies and uses their parts for research changing god's own perfect creatures. If you're on the left, maybe it's some enormous monetary kickback to an evil capitalist banking institution. Everyone has an HBI.... think of yours. Now, consider the idea that you are being forced -- at the threat of arrest and incarceration -- to pay for that HBI. Does that seem a tad bit... wrong? Doesn't it seem even more wrong to do it on a massive scale, where people have to sit and count the zeros before they pronounce the monetary total? How many zeros are in gabnillion?

I am not sure why this sort of instruction seems to be necessary, but apparently it is. If only someone had been smart enough to actually sit down and enumerate the powers of the legislative branch in writing...

Oh, and while we're on the topic of Congress being without a clue, just an off topic hint: get rid of the printed poster boards. There's this thing called PowerPoint...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Product Review

And now, for a change of pace, I'd love to give you the latest in product reviews. Welcome to: Spork's Consumer Corner.

A little more than a month ago, when I drove to the next county to buy liquor (you know, because selling it here would be... wrong) I bought me a big jug of Seagram's Gin. Sure, Tanqueray is better. But I should remind you: I am a cheap ass bastard. Seagram's is good enough. A commonsewer I am not.

When I picked up the bottle, it was a little heavier than I expected... and out of balance. Lo and behold I noticed: the gin came with a free trial pint of what they are calling Seagram's Grape Twisted gin. Free liquor? Yes, please.

When I got home from my drive, curiosity had the better of me. I twisted the top off and poured a tiny little shot.

A sip.

Now, I've found that when reviewing a product, it's best to compare it to the competition. In general, one should go with the "best of breed" in your comparison. So, let me say that on a 5 point scale, Seagram's Grape Twisted gin is a 2, with the competition - Triaminic Cough Syrup being the proverbial 5.


Discriminating tastes

So maybe this is a fart in church. But I'm going to say it: discrimination isn't in and of itself a bad thing. Whew. There, I said it.

Now hold on there. Don't go hanging your confederate flag across the gun rack in your big bubba truck just yet. Let me finish.

Typically, the American culture has defined "don't discriminate" to be "don't be stupid." And, well, that's a darn good idea. The issue comes when you pass a law saying "don't be stupid." When you do, you just make things worse. The discriminators now think "see, those lazy bastards couldn't make it without all that special help." In effect, you have cemented their ideas. They thought a person of a particular {pick one: race, religious idea, gender, hair color, weight, body type, handicap, earlobe size} couldn't get ahead on their own -- and you just proved them right in their eyes. Further, the discriminatee now can't catch a break. At this point if they succeed, they will never be given proper credit. If they fail, they get a "see, they can't even win when the game field leans their way."

The real way to deal with stupid is, in my opinion, to just make a big show of the stupid. Won't hire a black man? That's fine, it's your business. Oh, look, there's Morley Safer and his film crew. He'd like a short statement from you before the picket line shows up. Oh, and Wal-Mart (aka 'the Walmarts') just canceled their order for the 100,000 widgets they ordered. They don't want the bad press of dealing with a racist.

And as the lead in suggests: sometimes discrimination is totally appropriate. A local baptist church needs a preacher. Do you not expect them to discriminate on the basis of religion? Would you really want to force them to hire the extremely qualified atheist over a lesser qualified baptist? A company needs to hire an evolutionary biologist for a research project. Would you really want to force them to hire a well qualified creationist? Would you wish the NAACP to hire a white guy -- even one that is extremely progressive and fully believes in their mission statement? Should Hooter's be required to hire a big hairy man to wear their undersized orange shorts? Would you force a catholic church in need of a priest to hire a well qualified pregnant woman with no interest in young boys? (Did I lose you there? Sorry.)

I say all of these folks have their own agenda and are using their own money and absolutely should be discriminating on the basis of religion, race and gender. The sad thing is: I suspect any one of these has potential to win a court case.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Irony is always funny

The left is upset by the Texas Governor Rick "The Hair" Perry's appointment of a creationist to run the state education board. And, yeah, they should be. Mr. Hair chose the lesser of 2 evils by taking the "little bit crazy creationist" over the "totally batshit crazy creationist" -- you know, as a sort of compromise. For the benefit of the left. You can thank him later.

But I get why they're angry. They just don't get why it's funny.

They are angry for several reasons. The biggest really has to do with separation of church and state. Intelligent design is, at best, a hypothesis -- and really not a good one. It's not a theory by any scientific definition. It's religion, packaged in a shiny shrink wrapped bundle that we're told is scientific. Lefties are upset that something unscientific is being taught as science and "dumbing down" the next generation. And -- what is most important here and most likely to be misunderstood by the left: It is just plain wrong to forcibly take their money through taxation and spend it educating kids on something they are diametrically opposed to. It's wrong on so many levels. It's a question of their individual rights.

And yet, they're more than ecstatic to forcibly take the money of the right through taxation and spend it on educating kids on something THEY are diametrically opposed to. And even though I totally think the left is scientifically backing the right horse -- they have no more right to force feed the religious conservatives their science than the religious conservatives have to force feed their religious-based doubt to the left.

The problem here is the whole idea of public education for the public good. Who is the public? What is good? Who decides? Certainly not the individual. It's for the benefit of society as a whole. It was the left that told us that.

Is the public good decided by majority vote? If so, then -- go ahead, scream "evolution is only a theory" from the roof tops. Let's hand out fliers in the hall ways on the upcoming lectures on "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. Let's offer a whole series of classes based on Micheal Behe's non-scientific works. Majority rules, buddy. Sorry. Thanks for playing. If you don't like it -- move to a blue state. Woodja like some sweet tea to wash down that bitter pill?

Or is the public good just decided by your own opinion? -- even if, in this case, I think you are correct. You are also so incorrect.

Oh, and remember this -- while you swing your big huevos around on the national level. The more you push outside the limits of the Constitution -- the more change and control you seize -- the more it will bite you hard on the ass some day.

The left/right pendulum never seems to settle somewhere moderate. The further it swings right, the more it swings back left. And when you over compensate left, you just make it worse again to the right. And they'll push the Constitutional limits just as hard. They'll push change you DON'T believe in. They'll seize control and expand the government more in ways you don't like.

So, back to public education: That knock on your front door? It's just the chickens. They've come home to roost.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the Beauty Pageant

[ Note: This was topical (maybe) a month ago when I wrote it. I sort of saw it as a reject and never published it. I know what you're thinking: "You mean, there are actually rants you rejected???" But my lack of focus has led me to go ahead and plop it down, just for fun. ]

...and with the firing of Carrie Prejean, the spectacle we know of as "the beauty pageant" is fully exposed as the three ring circus that it always has been. Except in this case, we see that the clowns are hopelessly stuck in their undersized car, the lion has just eaten the trainer and two of the Flying Wallendas have just splatted on the ground -- while the ringmaster continues to bark his spiel under his magnificent big top hat... err, hair hat.

Look, I'm a heterosexual male and I enjoy being a pig and staring at cute chicks just as much as the next straight guy. But come on... these things are just stupid. How stupid? Well, Ms. Prejean shows us exactly how stupid. And let me qualify this by saying: It ain't about Ms. Prejean. She's just a slice of the meatloaf. It's the whole meatloaf that's the problem.

Let's look at what a typical beauty pageant entails:

  • Evening gown - This, in my very important opinion, is the biggest wtf of the lot. What the hell is the evening gown competition but "which chick can shop best?" Sure, it may be indicative of some culture flaw but -- seriously -- She can buy and fill a pretty dress? Really?
  • Talent competition - Well, this actually might make a little sense. A little. Now, let's google and figure out what Ms. Prejean's talent was... Oh. My. Miss USA is a "no talent" competition. Hmmm. Next.
  • Intelligence/Interview - This, in theory, is a half decent idea. Now, I'm the first one to be unable to intelligently rub a subject and a verb together in front of an audience, so I get how these chicks may feel -- afraid of looking stupid and allowing their nerves to take over and sink them like a rock. But the bits and bobbles (or boobles) I've seen in the past were pretty inane questions... generally "are you against hunger?" and "wouldn't world peace be swell?" are about as controversial as it gets. So asking questions that require a thought provoking answer... that's actually not such a bad idea.

The idiocy comes in the judgment of her answer. Let's not quibble here. I totally disagree with her answer. But the hooha over her answer was a bunch of dummies that agreed with her versus a bunch of dummies that disagreed with her. Never did I hear commentary on the mistakes in her reasoning or her lack of presentation skills. I just heard a bunch of bible thumpers taking her under their wing and a bunch of ad hominem attacks calling her a biatch for having a different opinion. I do, however, find it overly amusing that the bible thumpers are ready to make her a traditional marriage icon while ignoring her nudie pictures . And they are apparently okay with...

  • Swimsuit competition - Can we not mince words here? We know what this is. This is a "who is the best piece of ass?" competition. We all know it, so let's just say it. It's not a "scholarship program." It's not like chicks in high school earn a letter jacket in "sweet bikini." In theory, I guess, it's a judging of natural beauty, which brings up a couple of thoughts: First off, is natural beauty really something to brag about? I mean, it's not like its something you create. It's a dice roll of Mom and Dad's DNA. It's like being judged on the fact you have 2 perfectly working kidneys -- nice to have, but really not an accomplishment to brag about. And secondly, the irony. The natural beauty of Ms. Prejean is being judged... with her bleached hair and saline filled breasts. Apparently dark haired, small breasted women need not apply to Miss USA. Heaven forbid you think like yourself and look like yourself.

So let's either chuck this type of competition entirely... or embrace it for what it is. It's those popular chicks in high school with their big hair, perky boobs and cliquey groups admitting they still haven't graduated high school, still don't like you but still want to be adored for the fabulous piece of ass they are. And that's what the contest promoters want: a pretty ornament to send to ribbon cuttings, not a controversial icon to divide the crowd into us versus them.