Chick Fil A: When the Bullied become the Bully and the Futility of Legislating Against Progressiveness

Posted in News, Political, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 2012/08/04 by youngwonder

As Im sure most of you know, Chick-Fil-A has recently come under a lot of scrutiny for a couple of comments that it’s CEO Dan Cathy made on Christian talk show host’s Ken Coleman’s syndicated radio show, The Ken Coleman Show, and later in an interview with Christian magazine “Biblical Recorder”. This is what he said on Ken Coleman’s show…

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about

This is what he said to the Biblical Recorder

We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.

Little did Cathy know that apparently this is NOT a country where you can share your values and operate on biblical principles, at least not without people completely losing their shit over it.

From the quotes it sounds like Cathy knew that his comments -“We know that it might not be popular with everyone” – would not go over well with the non-christian, pro-same sex marriage, progressive liberal crowd. He probably knew this because his company has faced active opposition from the LGBT community for a couple of years now. This most recent flap is simply the public revelation of a PR war that has been going on for a couple of years now.

Back in January of 2011 there were media reports that CFA co-sponsered a marriage conference with the Pennsylvania Family Institute. This rubbed champions of the LGBT cause the wrong way because back in 2008 the PFI had filed an amicus brief during Perry v. Brown, the trial that eventually struck down Proposition 8 in California, in support of Proposition 8 (Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition that passed in California back in 2008 that essentially banned same-sex marriage in the state ). Watch groups like Equality Matters spend much of their time looking for connections between groups that that run counter to their causes and corporations and I am sure they were happy as pie to find one between the PFI and a restaraunt chain that doesnt even operate on Sundays in reverence to their religion (hint hint Christians tend to oppose same sex marriage).  The whole flap prompted CFA to post this on their facebook page

To our Facebook community: First and foremost, thanks for your patience as we made sure we gathered the facts in regards to recent postings. We have determined that one of our independent Restaurant Operators in Pennsylvania was asked to provide sandwiches to two Art of Marriage video seminars. As our fans, you know we do our best to serve our local communities

If the above statement is in fact true then that is just one instance in a litany of many where pro-LGBT groups, with the help of an all too willing mass media, have resorted to bullying and intentional misinformation to besmirch legitimate business in the name of progressing their cause. This was back in January of 2011, 20 months before the current brouhaha ever made its way to facebook and twitter. CFA, like any company, was sensitive to bad PR and Dan Cathy issued this statement back in 2011 (full statement can be read here)

Recently, there have been some misleading stories about Chick-fil-A in the media and on the Internet.  As a result, I feel strongly about the need to clarify some things.

In recent weeks, we have been accused of being anti-gay. We have no agenda against anyone.  At the heart and soul of our company, we are a family business that serves and values all people regardless of their beliefs or opinions.  We seek to treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect, and believe in the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.

We also believe in the need for civility in dialogue with others who may have different beliefs.  While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.

Whether some would like to admit it or not, the LGBT movement in this country has turned into a bunch of bullies looking to defame, and glitter bomb (I wish a motherfucker would…) anyone who doesnt agree with their tenets. This is especially surprising since much of anti-bullying propaganda (for lack of a better word, propaganda tends to have a negative connotation but it is not inherently negative and I am not using it in this instance in a negative way) comes from pro-LGBT sources. If this flap isnt enough evidence of this fact for you well then let me turn your attention to one Dan Savage.

Per his wikipedia page, “Daniel Keenan “Dan” Savage is an American author, media pundit, journalist and newspaper editor. Savage writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love”. Savage first came to my attention through his Loose Lips column that the Washington City Paper, along with numerous other newspapers across the country, runs. I found his writing style to be funny and edgy and his column was definitely one of the things I would read while reading the City Paper. He then reappeared on my radar when he began making the rounds on two of my favorite shows The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

How about we google ‘Giant Douche’ bet his picture comes up

Back in 2003 recent Presidential candidate Rick Santorum made a statement against same sex marriage by saying in essence that if the country allowed homosexuals to marry then it was only a matter of time before we started allowing people to marry animals also. The giant douche, I mean Dan Savage, took this as an impetus to get back at Santorum by creating and promoting a viral campaign, again with the help of the mass media including shows that I watch like TDS and Colbert, so that when you googled the name Santorum the first two results are a vivid description of a byproduct of anal sex. The cruel (read evil genius) part of the whole ruse is that based on the way google works, the more the name is googled the stronger those top two results become. So thanks to Dan Savage not only Rick Santorum, but his kids, and anyone else whose name just happens to be Santorum will forever have their names associated with the most disgusting thing that depraved man-child could come up with. Sounds a lot like bullying to me.

No one likes to be bullied, and it seems that those in the LGBT community have been bullied for so long that they are now resorting to that very same tactic to get their point across. The truth is being against same sex marriage doesnt make you automatically homophobic, that isnt to say that there isnt homophobia in the traditional marriage movement but believing the former does not automatically make you the latter ( I define being homophobic as hating gay people so when you see me use that word, thats the context im using it in).

I want to end this by addressing the other side of this debate. To the Christians who do spew vitriolic hatred against homosexuals that is not the people God called you to be. Jesus said that the world would know you were his followers by the love that you show, not the righteous indignation that you blindly spew. There is a way to be against the sin that you perceive homosexuals to commit and still be loving and compassionate to the people and the situations they face in this country.

Secondly, just a piece of advice, you can not expect to legislate morality in a regressive manner. What I mean by that is that advocating legislation against same sex marriage is a fruitless endeavor, because as times change and people change, our history shows that progressiveness eventually wins out at the end of the day and same-sex marriage is definitely a progressive cause. That doesnt mean that you should just roll over either. I see people in comments section and message boards all the time say something like ‘ how am I supposed to raise my kid in a society that allows xyz’. I dont have any children, but my advice would be to raise your kids the best way you can in spite of whatever society is doing. This is in fact you duty as a Christian. Proverbs says to train your child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. If you put your faith in that word than no amount of societal moral decay will prevail against your family.

As an aside Im sure most people reading this will want to know my position on same sex marriage so Ill take this time to explain. I put this at the end of the piece because I dont believe that this has any bearing on what I wrote but I am willing to let my opinion be known if only to satisfy the curiosity of my readers. I personally believe that when Christians say that marriage is a sacred institution in America and should be protected through legislation that they have absolutely no moral ground to stand on. The divorce rate in this country is above 50%.  Celebrities that we, both Christians and secularists, idolize participate in sham marriages that we obsess over. Kim Kardashian divorced Kris Humphries for 2 and half months and her stupid show somehow became MORE popular than it was before. For that reason you can not reasonably claim that our society places value on the institution of marriage.

I was watching a video of the Republican presidential debates recently and Ron Paul made this point when asked about abortion and his response helped me formulate and articulate my opinion on this issue.

The part Im talking about begins about 43 seconds in when Congressman Paul begins to talk about the shifting morality of the country in the ’60’s. “When the morality changes it will reflect on the laws. The law is very important, we should have these laws, but the law will not correct the basic problem and that is the morality of the people.” Again you can not legislate morality in a regressive fashion. You have to deal with the moral attitude of the country before you can begin to change it.


SOPA/PIPA Online Activism and You

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 2012/02/02 by youngwonder

A couple of weeks ago I logged in to Facebook and Twitter ready to write a full diatribe about the evils of SOPA and PIPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. The bills were being considered by Congress and had enough bipartisan backing to easily be passed by a Congress that took ten years to decide whether to give 9/11 first responders healthcare.  A few seconds after logging on I discovered something truly inspiring, the majority of my friends on Facebook and Twitter had already gotten on their own soap boxes and were shouting down the bills themselves.

Apparently I was late to the party, so I decided to not say anything. Everything that could have been said about the bill, already had been. As someone who constantly admonishes people to speak up against legislation that restricts their freedoms, this felt like an unprecedented victory for the masses. Turns out this victory was unprecedented, but for all the wrong reasons.

As I started reading more about the bill and what had been transpiring behind the scenes I found out that a group of websites that included Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia were participating in an online “blackout” in protest of SOPA and PIPA. This turned out to be an extremely effective tool not only for raising awareness about a bill that otherwise would have been passed without a peep from the public, but also for inspiring the very same public to political action.

The sites called for their users to write and call their congressional leadership in an effort to let it be known that they were not happy with the restrictions that the bills fostered. The 7,000 websites that participated, most of the sites were small but included 11 huge ones like Twitter, LinkdIn, eBay, craigslist and the ones listed above, reached over 160 million Americans with their message. Some of the opponents of the bill even banded together to take out a full page ad in the New York Times.

What did all of this effort get the companies who stood to lose the most if these bills passed? 2.4 million twitterers posted SOPA related tweets in a 16 hour span. 8 million people searched Wikipedia to find out who their congressional representative was. Two of the bills cosponsors and 25 Senators changed their mind about backing the bill and 4.5 million people signed Google’s online petition.

The response I saw on Facebook and Twitter turned out to be a good barometer of what was going on in the real world. The public, properly informed, was spurred to action and for once their voices were heard by the legislature. A victory all around right? Well not quite. What about issues that Google and Yahoo don’t care about? Issues concerning actual civil rights and not just the right to download pirated material (I kid, kinda). Where is the public outcry? Why werent people searching for their congressional representatives on Wikipedia when the NDAA that, among many other things, makes the prison in Guantanamo Bay permanent, passed last month? Why dont people sign online petitions when the Supreme Court rules that corporations should have as much political say as individual citizens? A question that has bothered me for forever, ‘why dont people care about rights issues that affect them directly’ has an apparently simple answer; Google hasnt told them to yet.

While I dont agree with Sen. Dodd’s position on SOPA, the PR release he put out was spot on: ”

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use
their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the
marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as
gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their
corporate interests.


Im Not Dumb, Ive Just Been Paying Attention

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 2012/01/17 by youngwonder


“ It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama from the enraged right and the demoralized left. It’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong”

And thus Andrew Sullivan begins his opinion piece in this month’s Newsweek magazine. In the article, entitled: “How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics” , Sullivan goes on to claim that criticism coming from the right are so off base as to be described as “unhinged”.

Simultaneously, the criticism coming from the disenchanted left stems from a lack of understanding of just how awesome the Obama administration’s policies have been. He calls it Obama’s “long game” and thinks that if (when?) Obama is reelected and given an 8 year mandate, liberals will finally be able to recognize all of the good that this administration had accomplished.

To make his case Sullivan breaks his article down into two sections: reasons why the right is wrong to criticize Obama; and reasons why the left is wrong to do the same. Sullivan writes, “But given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb.  “

Ok Mr. Sullivan, make your case.

Bank Bailouts:

“But Obama did several things at once: he continued the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, he initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and he worked to pass a huge stimulus package of $787 billion… All these decisions deserve scrutiny. And in retrospect, they were far more successful than anyone has yet fully given Obama the credit for. The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs.”

While this is obviously a reductive view of the last 3 years, the numbers, on their face, offers support for the idea that the stimulus package and bank bailouts were “far more successful than anyone has yet fully given Obama the credit for” as Sullivan asserts. However, one only has to dig a bit deeper into the numbers to find out the true story about America’s job situation.

Take the employment report for the month of December released last week for example. The jobs report that the administration and news agencies cite are based on two surveys: one given to households; and one given to employers. Last month’s surveys pointed in two completely different directions.

“The employment survey, the normal focus of attention, showed overall growth in payrolls of only 103,000. That was well below expectations, especially after a disappointing November report and a remarkably high estimate from private- sector payroll processor ADP earlier this week.” (source)

Yet the household survey, from which the unemployment rate is calculated, sent a completely different message. It showed an extra 297,000 people in jobs and 260,000 fewer people in the labour force. The combination of the two was enough to cause a drop in the unemployment rate from 9.8 to 9.4 per cent…

 “At the moment [both surveys] send the same message: things are doing OK but not as well as you would have hoped or expected given the apparent strength of growth,” said Paul Dales, senior US economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman,struck a similar note in testimony to Congress prepared before the release of the payrolls data. “Although recent indicators of spending and production have generally been encouraging, conditions in the labour market have improved only modestly at best,” Mr Bernanke said.” (source)

The jobs picture is a lot murkier and much less clear cut than Andrew Sullivan would have you believe. I find it hard to give the Obama administration credit for a jobs situation that is still up in the air at best.

The Liberal’s Case Against Obama:

For the first part of the article, Sullivan attempts to defend Obama against Republcan attacks, pointing out the hypocrisy of the right for criticizing Obama’s tax policy as he has kept the Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent (the fact that he promised to allow them to expire while he was campaigning doesn’t seem to affect Sullivan’s assessment) and implemented a series of tax cuts that affect 95% of Americans.

Taken by itself, the fact that the Bush tax cuts not only were renewed but also seemed to never be in danger of being dropped, would not be that alarming if it didnt show a steady trend of a candidate who talked big talk of standing up to the type of economic policy that adversely affected the nation (cutting taxes while increasing the deficit to its highest levels ever), but after being elected meekly acquiesced to the status quo.

He goes on to assert that “Obamacare, is also far more moderate than its critics have claimed. The Congressional Budget Office has projected it will reduce the deficit, not increase it dramatically (CBO projections are notoriously unreliable, why they are continued to be cited like they are scripture is beyond me)…”It does not have a public option; it gives a huge new client base to the drug and insurance companies; its health-insurance exchanges were also pioneered by the right.”

I found it amazing that Sullivan would site these two things in an article meant to defend Obama’s record. In just a few paragraphs, Sullivan encapsulates the very reasons that the people who gave Obama an overwhelming and undisputed mandate in 2008 should be disappointed in his governance over the last three years. In defending Obama to Republicans he invariably shows just how weak of a Democratic leader he has been.

When the Public Option was taken off the table, polls showed that support for the its inclusion in the healthcare reform bill was incredibly strong, ranging from %55- %65. While citing the need for compromise when dealing with congress in defense of the removal of the public option, liberals tend to forget that the public option WAS the compromise. The single-payer option was what was promised during the campaign, a public option was the compromise. So here we are three years after his election, this is what healthcare reform in America looks like: A mandate that the 44 million people in America who are uninsured, presumably because they were too poor to, to buy health insurance or face a penalty. Whether this will work towards reducing healthcare costs, shrinking the deficit, and adequately providing insurance to those who can not afford it remains to be seen.

Sullivan’s Final Attempt at Defending the Indefensible:

 “From the start, liberals projected onto Obama absurd notions of what a president can actually do in a polarized country, where anything requires 60 Senate votes even to stand a chance of making it into law. They have described him as a hapless tool of Wall Street, a continuation of Bush in civil liberties, a cloistered elitist unable to grasp the populist moment that is his historic opportunity….”

Out of all of the defenses of what has been a giant failure of a presidency in my opinion, this is the most annoying. That somehow the public is asking too much of Obama. Do you remember the 2008 campaign? He set himself up for this dissapointment by promising to be some sort of bipartisan, like-youve-never-seen-in-Washington, super-politician.

I understand that this rhetoric was simply designed to get him elected and he was capitalizing on anti-beltway insider sentiment that the Bush administration had fomented over the previous eight years. But then dont turn around and act like you dont know where these high expectations came from. They came from your campaign!

Also no one is asking Obama to part the Red Sea. We only ask that you make a good faith effort to do the things you promised you would during your campaign. Like closing down Guantanamo Bay, instead of keeping it open and then signing legislation that makes it virtually impossible to close. Like decrying the Patriot Act, and then forwarding legislation that expands its power. Like running on true healthcare reform that included, at the very least, a public option, and then unceremoniously dumping it without negotiation. Like decrying Bush for expanding executive power and then actively trying to expand executive power once you get into office.

Sullivan unsuccessfully attempts to separate the Iraq war into an issue in and of itself and then declares an Obama victory for ending that war.

“The Iraq War—the issue that made Obama the nominee—has been ended on time and, vitally, with no troops left behind. “

This is of course revisionist history. The issue for liberals wasnt just the Iraq War, it was the fact that the executive branch acted unilaterally (no, the “coalition of the willing” does not count) to go to war with a country that was not a threat to us. The country was fed up with the idea that the president could act without the approval of Congress and take the country into a war that it neither needed nor wanted, an issue that Sullivan admits himself.

“Yes, Obama has waged a war based on a reading of executive power that many civil libertarians, including myself, oppose. And he has signed into law the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial (even as he pledged never to invoke this tyrannical power himself)….”

But to defend Obama from criticism in the next sentence he says, “ But he has done the most important thing of all: excising the cancer of torture from military detention and military justice.” Since when was that the most important thing of all! Yea torture sucks but I swear it was like eighth on my list of things that were important for the Obama administration to change. Somehow in Sullivan’s fantasy world of Obama’s presidential infallibility the “end of torture” jumps to the status of “the most important thing of all”.

My response isnt to say that the Obama administration does not deserve credit for some stuff (the Bush administration got SOME stuff right too, doesnt mean it wasnt the worst administration ever), but to argue that he doesnt deserve criticism from either the left of the right is simply ridiculous just on it’s face. If he is in fact promoting an agenda that liberals can be happy with, then it stands to reason that conservatives should be critical of him. If he is in fact promoting an agenda that is actually very conservative, then of course it stands to reason that liberals should be disappointed. It seems as though Sullivan wants to have his Obama cake and eat it too. He talks out of both sides of his mouth to once again turn Obama into Mr. everything for everybody, a persona that he successfully rode to the White House back in 2008. A role that , referencing the last three years of his governing record reveals, does not fit him in the least.

Papers Please!

Posted in Uncategorized on 2011/12/14 by youngwonder

When Congress actually agrees on something is when you should really start paying attention. The Senate recently passed the National Defense Amendment Act by a 93-7 margin and while the President has promised to veto the bill (more on this later), the ramifications of this bill are game-changing.

The NDAA has been passed every year for the past 48 years with no problem. Basically it is the bill that funds the United States Department of Defense. This year’s bill features a provision that has been folded into it that, among other things, allows for the indefinite detention of United States citizens.

That is indefinite detention, meaning that without a trial or even a legitimate charge, US citizens can be subjected to military tribunal and locked up indefinitely. Meaning that for the first time the US government would have the power to lock it’s own citizens, not just foreign combatants, away in Guantanamo Bay, Harold and Kumar style.

Before passing this monstrosity, our wise and just Senate allowed for just an hour of debate time to discuss the pros and cons of such a measure. An hour. They spent an hour debating whether the US government should wipe it’s behind with our 4th and 6th Amendment rights. Our constitution lost the debate, by a 93-7 margin.

But wait, earlier I mentioned that the White House has said that it will veto the bill. President Obama to the rescue right? Well, not quite, the White House is saying that it will veto the bill:

This unnecessary, untested, and legally controversial restriction of the President’s authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals. Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States… would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”

This would be good news if it werent for the fact that the Congress has more than enough votes to overturn a Presidential veto on this bill. It cant be stressed how slippery of a slope we precariously find ourselves on right now. Unfortunately we have been moving down this path – a path that undoubtedly ends in less freedoms for the average person and more government control over our daily lives – unimpeded for some time now.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) has been called the founding document of the apparently open-ended “war or terror”. Passed one week after 9/11, it allowed for the President to search for and prosecute anyone suspected of being connected to the 9/11 attacks. This new bill expands this power to include jurisdiction over all “covered persons”.

From the bill:

“The authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons. . . pending disposition under the law of war.”

As Sen. Rand Paul states in the above video, the bill makes no distinction between those found to have been actually supporting terrorists and those simply accused of “supporting terrorism”, a phrase that is broad itself.

“I want to repeat that. We are talking about people who are merely suspected of a crime. And we are talking about American citizens,” Paul said. “If these provisions pass, we could see American citizens being sent to Guantanamo Bay. It puts every American at risk. The only thing protecting innocent Americans from the heavy hand of ‘a too powerful state’ is the Constitution. Detaining citizens without a court trial is not American. In fact, this alarming arbitrary power is reminiscent of Egypt’s permanent emergency law authorizing permanent detention—a law that provoked citizens to tear their country apart last spring and risk their lives to overcome tyranny.”

“I Have Dreamed A Dream”

Posted in Life on 2011/08/11 by youngwonder

Leap of Faith

Most people who know me know that the Matrix is one of my favorite movies of all time. Has been that way since the first time I saw it when I was like 13. While I really didnt know exactly what it meant back then, something about it stuck with me. Today I understand the movie in a fuller sense, but every time I watch it I feel like I learn something new.

While there are lessons to learn from each of the movies in the trilogy, I want to focus on one scene from the second movie, The Matrix Reloaded. By the end of the movie we find out that the prophecy that has driven Morpheus’ entire life was a lie. It turns out that The One, Neo, was never meant to end the war. He was simply another system of control that the machines used to keep everybody in line. This is of course a crushing realization to have.

Right after finding this out, his hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar, is destroyed by a bomb. Him and his crew escape unscathed but coupled with the fact that he just found out the thing he has dedicated his entire life to is a lie, Im sure he felt like dying wouldnt have been the worst thing in the world at that moment.  While watching his ship burn he uttered the phrase that inspired this post: “I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream is gone from me”.

While researching the quote I came across a blog that talked about faith. Morpheus, who had been a pillar of strength and has showed considerable faith throughout the series is faced with his darkest hour. The author compared the Matrix story to the story of Abraham in the Bible. When God called Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the alter.

Abraham was really old and wanted a son. He had been praying for one for a while, but his wife Sarah could not bare children. After many years God finally gave them a son, they named him Isaac. When Isaac was 12 or so, God decided to test Abraham’s faith and asked Abraham to sacrifice his son to him. Abraham eventually conceded and was about to sacrifice his son when God stopped him and told him that it was only a test.

The point the author of the blog post tried to make was that in any walk of faith you have two defining moments. The moment when your faith is tested way beyond the point that seems reasonable to any outsider and the moment when you make a leap of faith despite all signs telling you that your belief is wrong.

Morpheus had heard the impossible. Neo, the one himself, told him that the prophecy that fortetold his coming was all a lie. This flew in the face of everything that he had been led to believe up until that point. Then right after that, his ship is destroyed. At his lowest point, Morpheus had a choice to make. He could accept what all the evidence available to him was telling him, or he could make a leap of faith and continue on with what he knew to be right in his soul.  Despite all that happened at the end of the second movie, Morpheus kept his faith going into the third one and was ultimately rewarded when Neo ended the war.

I guess the point Im trying to make is that if your walking any walk of faith, one day your faith will be tested. Seemingly insurmountably. Everything will be stacked against you and what you believe. At that point you have a choice to make. You can either wilt under the pressure, or you can take a leap of faith and believe in the impossible. What is faith, after all, that is never tested. Hopefully we all can keep this in mind when the time comes for us to make the leap.

Cant Change Who I am, Just Trying to Get Better

Posted in Uncategorized on 2011/08/08 by youngwonder

A little background…. I went to a Christian school for 14 years during my formative years. On top of that I went to church damn near every Sunday for about19 years*. So it’s no surprise to me that even though I dont read the bible like that anymore, random bible verses pop into my head from time to time – much in the same way random lyrics do.

A week ago I was talking to a friend about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During this month, billions of Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sex during the day light hours. The purpose of this abstinence is to bring the devout closer to their creator, an idea that is shared by holy people across different faiths including Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.

The Bible verse that popped into my head was 2 Chronicles 7:12-14.

“12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. ”

Im not a religious person, but I do consider myself a spiritual person. I believe in a spiritual realm that simultaneously operates outside of and in conjunction with our physical world. And if Muslims around the world are using this month as a time to increase their spiritual acuity then I figured this would be a great time to do the same.

As I said, I am not a Christian, so when verse 14 says, “If my people” I take “my people” to mean anyone who is of like mind. No matter the religion. This verse is calling anyone who believes in this spiritual realm or even in the idea that we are all somehow connected on a non-physical level** to do something simple yet profound in times of crisis.

In our microwaveable-google searching world of instant gratification a month of self denial seems cogent. Our very way of life appears to be crumbling around us***. Wouldnt be the first time, wont be the last****, the heavens have been shut up, there is no rain and the locusts have been going ham!

Im not calling for anything big like fasting during the daylight hours *****, but something that you enjoy partaking in (think lent). I am giving up sugary drinks****** (long story) in conjunction with daily meditation and prayer. I lamented on twitter the other day that my meditation sessions have felt fruitless recently. I expect to not only be physically stronger by the end of this month but also spiritually recharged. Im actually really excited about this. This world aint gonna change itself, those who know have to start with themselves then maybe those who dont will have an example to follow. And maybe all this good will that we, the Muslims and whoever else wants to join, put out into the universe will give us the answers we seek to help us heal our land.


*We probably missed like 5 services in all that time

**Metaphysical maybe

***If you cant agree with anything else I said here please agree with me on that lol

**** I hope.  This could actually be the last time lol

***** Seriously is there any religion more devout than Islam

****** Already failed because Im an idiot. Drank a free smoothie yesterday, not stopping to think that there was juice in the drink. All I thought was “Oohhh free”. So my month actually starts today

This One is For All the Leaders. Lets Change the World

Posted in Uncategorized on 2011/04/04 by youngwonder

Believe me when I tell you I had no idea that today was the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. I was inspired to do a post on MLK after watching the movie ‘Sucker Punch’ on Saturday. At first I wanted to do a post on the movie itself and it’s message, but that just seemed kind of lazy. I was listening to my Zune on my way home after the movie and a song by the Game featuring Nas entitled ‘Letter to the King’ came on the shuffle. Since I dont believe in coincidence, the movie plus the song inspired me to write this post. Today provides the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on one of history’s most well recognized revolutionaries and fighters, Dr. Martin Luther King.

“I ain’t even know the strength you had to have to march/ You were more than just talk/ You were the first real brave heart/ We miss you/ I feel like King be in me sometimes”

I liked the movie Sucker Punch because of the message that was behind it. The movie ends with the line “You have all the weapons you need. Now fight”. That resonated with me because I believe that this is the message that our generation needs to hear the most. We have become, by design, too complacent with the state of affairs in our society. We as a generation are asleep in a matrix of mindless entertainment, distracted by the most trivial “news” all for the purpose of keeping us docile and tractable. Who cares about a war in Libya, March Madness just started and the Situation from Jersey Shore  just gave someone VD, again.

We have allowed our generations greatest achievement and potential savior, the internet, to become another system of control that enslaves us. Television 2.0, now interactive. Have you seen those ‘Bing’ commercials? The search overload commercials where there is a person rambling on about random stuff they had been searching for on the internet, thats us! We have become beholden to our technologies (an idea that has been foretold in generations of science-fiction writing). All the information we could ever want or need at our finger tips and this is how we utilize it.

What does this have to do with ‘Sucker Punch’ or Martin Luther King, you may ask. Well, to fight or march or to do anything that takes effort or goes against the grain requires one important ingredient, a sense of uncomfortableness. As long as we are sedated and comfortable with our surroundings we don’t feel the need to cause a ruckus. Everything is cool. This is where entertainment and the media come in. It is their job to keep us sedated. I believe it is our job, those not trapped in this mental prison, to wake us all up.

Martin Luther King should be celebrated not only because of what he helped black people in this country achieve, but also because he was willing to go against the grain, and in turn inspired the masses to do the same. By no means was this easy, but the fact that he was willing to face not only hatred but almost certain death should serve as an inspiration to us all, leaders.

“But the King who came to Memphis in April of 1968 was a very different man from the one we’ve come to venerate. A fierce critic of the Vietnam War, King had begun to preach an uncomfortable gospel that involved the radical redistribution of wealth. As he became more controversial, his popularity had sagged. Key allies in Washington had abandoned him. He’d gained weight, was sleeping poorly, and was drinking and smoking more. He received frequent death threats. His marriage was strained from his travels and dalliances. One of his mistresses, in fact, was staying at the Lorraine the night before he was killed.”

Some would have you believe that there is nothing wrong with our society today. But the evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise. Our elections are bought and paid for, the poor get screwed out of their pensions while the rich receive bailouts that are funded by the poor’s pensions, lol (have to laugh to keep from crying), we are killing people in the middle east over oil (again), our country’s educational system is a joke, college is becoming less and less affordable at the same time the value of a college degree is falling trepiditiously. And then there is Soulja Boy and Rhianna…. It takes strength to fight against evil, a strength that King and all the revolutionaries of the ’60’s and all the revolutionaries throughout history had. A strength that lay dormant in us, until now.

People are waking up at an increasing rate as the powers that be have gotten more bold about doing what it is that they do (case in point; in ’03 George Bush lied to the nation to get us to go to war with Iraq. 8 years later in 2011, Obama simply went to war, didnt tell anybody, then explained his actions 10 days after the war started, I kinda miss Dubya…). I never get angry at Obama or Bush or any politician anymore. As the scholar and gentlemen Weezy ‘the F is for Finisher’ Baby says “I had my heart broken by this woman named Tammie/ But hoes gonna be hoes so I couldnt blame Tammie”. Our politicians are puppets who do the bidding of their puppet masters. They will do what they are supposed to do. I more so get angry at the masses indifference to their bullshit. We just bend over and take it.

I fight the best way I know how, through this blog. Through letting the dozen or so people who care what I have to say into my perspective on todays current issues. Leaders, we all have the spirit of MLK in us, it’s high time we asserted ourselves and fought against the direction that I know you see our society going. Our strength lies in our numbers. This is still a democracy and we still have the power to fight. We have to wake this country up from it’s slumber before it is too late. If this resonates at all with you then be ready to “march”. This is the day of reckoning, it’s time to either get down or lay down.  You have all the weapons you need. Now fight.