Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In Memoriam of a Hero

My friend Cissi was at the computer crying the other night when I got up to get a drink.  She had just recieved word that a dear friend of hers from California had died in Iraq. Below I am posting an excerpt from the story in the San Francisco Chronicle (click link for the full article).

San Francisco Chronicle -- Army Pfc. Raymond N. Spencer Jr., 23, of Sacramento County was a study in contrasts. He liked the movies "Top Gun" and "Finding Nemo," the History Channel and "South Park," country music and rock.
Spencer was a firefighter in Placer Hills before joining the Army. He coached youth ice hockey and played the game himself throughout the U.S. and Canada, at one point harboring ambitions to play professionally.

He cherished his family, said his aunt, and wrote on MySpace, "My family has always been there for me and support everything I do. I plan to be the same way when I start my own family one day."
He never got to start that family.  He was scheduled to be home on July 1st, in time for his sister's wedding.  He is coming home now, but not in the way he intended.  He died on June 21, 2007.  Insurgents in Baghdad attacked his unit with IED's and small arms fire.

I had to let myself cool off for a couple of days because initially all I could feel was rage. I want this post not to stand as a rant or political statement. This post has one single purpose, helping the world carry the memory of a fallen hero who gave his life for a cause he believed in.

Pfc. Raymond Spencer, Jr., you will always be remembered. I salute you and all of your brothers-in-arms who make the ultimate sacrifice. May your family find comfort in their time of loss.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rising from the dust with a rant for the ages...

After a couple of months of life getting in the way I am back. Give me a moment to get the old blogging juices flowing, then sit back, strap in, and prepare yourself. I have two months worth of rant built up and it is going to blow up all over your monitor.

First, one thing that really bugs me is under-qualified people in important positions. I was listening to the radio this morning and heard one of those people being interviewed. He introduced himself as the, "regional manager of the Small Bidness Adssociation(sic)." If you can't pronounce the name of the office you are in charge of, you don't get to be in charge of it. This applies double in a position where you have to communicate effectively with business professionals. I don't care what color you are, where you are from, or how cute people say your accent is, if you can't effectively communicate in English, you are instantly under qualified to manage anything here in America. It isn't a race thing, it's a requirement of the job.

Next on my hit list are these crazy people who think the answer to illegal immigration is to build a fucking fence. Penn & Teller already showed on their Showtime series "Bullshit" how a team of illegal immigrants got through, over, and under an exact replica of the fence they are building in under two minutes. You want to stop illegal immigration? Help make the shit hole countries they are coming from livable. If you don't want people to look for greener pastures here, help fertilize their own pasture. Otherwise they will come to graze in ours, even if that means risking life and limb to get here.

Next up we have religious extremists the world over going completely ape shit. In Gaza we have the loonies at Hamas attacking the only chance at a sane, secular government in the Middle East. Here in America we have Right Wing whack jobs thinking creationism is science and every kid should be taught it in place of Evolution, a thoroughly tested and scientifically verifiable theory. Then they go further by interfering with science that could save lives because the cells they are testing could, if implanted into a mother at the right time, maybe, eventually, become a viable baby. Forget that the same could be said for the millions of skin cells you kill every time you scratch an itch. THE BIBLE IS NOT SCIENCE!

Further on the religious bent, it drives me absolutely fucking crazy when people count their religious texts as evidence when arguing a point. Note to Christians: THE BIBLE DOES NOT COUNT AS EVIDENCE! For it to work as evidence, it would need to be verifiable and it just isn't. Many of the accounts, especially the most fantastic, only appear in the Bible and nowhere else in the historical record. You would think Egypt would have recorded at least one blurb about the millions of Hebrew slaves they had. A cosmological event of the magnitude of a huge star over Bethlehem would have been written down by more than just one race. Many cultures at that time had incredibly accurate star charts and none of them include a huge one over Bethlehem. Your record loses credibility every time it makes a huge claim that can't be verified ANYWHERE. That is why it is religion and not science.

Last but not least, I LOATHE those who think you have to be religious to be a good person. Albert Einstein said it best when he said, "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." I am not moral because some bearded old man in the sky will give me a cookie. I am moral because it is my civic duty. I am moral because the survival of the species depends on moral people doing moral things. I am moral for the sake of morality. Further, I base my morality on a logical set of rules, not the arcane writings of racist, homophobic, and xenophobic assholes. I like the Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do as thou wilt." The logic is simple and clear. If you are harming no one, do what makes you happy. I take that a step further and say all others should be allowed the same right. If you are gay, be gay! If you like to swing, then find some swingers and have at it. We have one shot on this spinning rock. Life is too short to not be yourself on account of what others may think.

Well, that was cleansing. It is cathartic to unleash the power of the written word. I hope in doing so I helped enlighten at least one of the random souls that graces this page. Until next time...