Why I am Not a Democrat

Sunday, October 31, 2004
In honor of the election tomorrow this will be a two part blog. Today it is going to be why I am not a Democrat. Tomorrow it will be why I am not a Republican.

I actually am a registered Democrat. When I turned 18 I had different beliefs and ideals and I registered as a Democrat. In every election since 1996 I have voted for the Democratic ticket as I will this year. All that being said, I will, next election, un-register myself as a Democrat as I no longer agree with all of its philosophies. That does not mean I won't vote Democratic, I just wish to be independent as I disagree with BOTH of the dominant American parties.

I believe in choice. I believe that I know what is best for me better than my government. I know what my own beliefs are, I know what I believe to be moral, and I know what I want to do with the money I earn. Most of the people who read this blog know that I'm very opinionated. But I am opinionated only for myself. I recognize the fact that other people have different beliefs than I do and I do not wish to impose by force my beliefs on other people.

But the Democratic party (as well as the Republicans but that is for tomorrow) seems to think it knows better than I and the American public what to do with our lives. Democrats believe in big government. They believe it is proper for government to provide things like welfare, universal health care, etc.

I am not saying that I don't believe in these things. I am not saying that I don't think charity to others is a good thing. I am saying that it is not fair for me to force my beliefs onto somebody else. When the government takes your money from you that is exactly what they are doing. They are making a choice for you about what you should do with your money. They are telling you that you MUST pay for things like Art, Stem Cell Research, charity, corporate and farm subsidies, the war in Iraq, etc. even if these things conflict with your personal moral code.

I am not saying that the Republicans don't do the same thing. But the basic philosophy that is underpinning the Democratic party is that it is proper for the government to regulate the economy so long as it is for the public good. But who is the public? The majority? If that is the case who protects the minority interest? I do not believe in big government. I do not believe that it is OK to tax people to pay for the interest of others even if I agree with those beliefs. I believe in the Free Economy.

That means every man has the right to earn, through his own effort, a productive and happy life. That implies no man has a claim on another man. However, when you believe it is proper for the government to tax someone to pay for the health care, food, housing, etc. of another that is exactly what you are doing. You are stating a man must live for another. If you think that is your duty to provide the sustenance of another than I think that is wonderful. I think you have the absolute right to give all of your earnings to support churches, halfway houses, free clinics, etc. But these activities should be PRIVATE not public. That is your moral choice, and the government should not legislate morality.

And that brings us to the Republican party ....

Why Taxing the Rich More may be a BAD Idea

Thursday, October 28, 2004
There is a proposition on the California Ballot, Proposition 63, that will increase the tax of people who make over $1million dollars by 1%. This would raise approximately $750 Million a year by taxing only about 25,000 to 30,000 people No big deal right? Sounds like a great deal "Because they have the capacity to pay it." It looks like it is going to pass. I'm here to tell you what a really bad idea this may be.

Imagine you are a very hard worker at your company and you are the best at what you do. While most people work 32-40 hours a week you voluntarily work 80 hours a week. You make a little more money than most, not twice as much but you like your job and you don't mind much. You know that your hard work will help everybody in the long run by making the company more successful.

Now the company decides to implement a new policy. It tells you that all the best workers are required to work more hours. Not a lot more just a little. It shouldn't be a big deal "Because you have the capacity to do it" Those who don't have the capacity, the people working 32-40 hours, actually will get to work less. They tell you that you are now REQUIRED to work 84 hours, just 5% more than you are currently working. Because you are good at what you do and so much more productive than everyone else everyone else gets to work 2 hours less.

Great plan right. I mean only the people who have the ability are affected. Everyone else, those without ability, get to live a slightly easier and better life. Why should you care? You can handle the extra small burden.

What would you do? I know I would leave the company and find new work. Where does that leave everybody? The company just lost one of its best workers who not only worked harder but also was more productive. That means everybody has to work HARDER now, 40-48 hours, than they did before or the company will do worse. Even a bigger problem is that most likely it doesn't matter how much harder everyone works, there are certain things that only you can do. No matter how hard I work, no way can I do the creative work of the Graphic Designer just like no way can the Graphic Designer come up with an elegant software architecture.

But it's only a little! The problem is that there is a domino effect. It takes one hard worker leaving the company. Let's say that is someone else. Well then production for the whole company goes down. What happens? Well, why don't we just make the most productive work a little harder? It’s only a little. What is another 5% right? So now you are working 88 hours. See the problem?

People sometimes say I lack compassion because I don't believe in helping the poor at all cost. I say that these people don't have a view of the larger problem. What happens to those without ability when the company goes under? How will they find more work? It's probably not a big deal for the hard workers to find new jobs but what about those that are not as hard working? Who was really hurt because you decided to ask for more from those most able? Have the people who said this ever had to lay someone off? It isn't fun. So who lacks compassion?

Think about it.

A Better Blogger

OK. I am promising to be a good blogger from now on. I have finished some other things that required a great deal of my time and now should be able to be a more regular blogger. Inspired by Jenny I will attempt to blog every day.

I was going to blog something about Politics today, but I've done that the last few times and I will save my post for Monday and Tuesday as it will be more appropriate there too. So having a lack of anything else to talk about I'll review a DVD I got from Netflix, Love Actually. I am going to give away the ending so read at your own peril.

I actually liked this movie. I didn't at first because it is basically is about 8 different VERY loosely related love stories. At the beginning things keep jumping back and forth and there really is just too much to track. Some of the stories get jumbled and its hard to keep all the characters and stories straight.

What I liked most about it was that not everyone gets a happy ending. Some of my favorite movies are movies with miserable endings (all time most miserable ending Last American Virgin). Hollywood endings are boring because you always know what is going to happen.

But in Love Actually three of the stories don't really end with the traditonal happy ending. Two of them are mediocre. A cheating husband, (Alan Rickman) gets caught but this story is really unresolved at the end. A guy who is in love with his best friend's new bride, Keira Knightly, tells her he loves her but appropriately nothing comes of it.

The only "bad" ending involved Laura Linney's character who is in love with a coworker. Unfortunately she has tremendous guilt about her sick brother who constantly calls her. In a romantic encounter with the coworker, she is interrupted by a call from her brother and blows off the guy to run to help her brother. In the end she is left alone on Christmas. She ends up calling her brother.

Not terribly interesting today I know but I'll try and do better in the days to come.

Eminem's Vote Video

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Keeping in line with my last post, Eminem has a video out telling people to get out and vote and criticizing the administration for its policies. Check out Eminem's new video.

Even if you don't like Eminem, maybe you will like the Anti-Bush message.

No Longer My Mother

I had lunch with my (ex)Mom today. She asked me if I had turned in my absentee ballot yet and I told her no but that I was pretty much ready to. I asked her if she had voted yet and for who. She said yes she had, and for Bush.

I no longer have a mother. I asked her how the hell she could vote for that Moron. She gave me the standard answer of "he is a flip-flopper" and a bunch of other stuff she couldn't substantiate. I decided to drop the subject rather than get into an argument with my mother.

I understand what is going on. My mother just always votes Republican. She, like me, hates big government and believes we are taxed too heavily. This is odd considering my mother is in one of the lower tax brackets but all the more reason to respect her since she doesn't think the government should be taking care of her or anyone else.

Material Things and Happiness

Thursday, October 21, 2004
I don't like it when people say "Material things don't make me happy" because really these people are full of it.

How can I be so materialistic? People who know me know I am not, I live way below my means and don't really buy flashy or expensive things .... besides jeans :) I just think people need to qualify their answer slightly. I mean if material things don't make you happy then why work at all? Unless you have a job you love why not just do whatever you want however impractical? Your house is a material object. Your clothes are material objects. You have a job to pay for these things. So if your job makes you miserable why do it if not for these material things?

I think the better statement might be "Past a certain point, material things don't make me happy". I wonder if the people who make the first claim have ever been really poor. I mean really poor. I mean living without a roof over their head. I mean wondering when the next time you might eat. I mean wondering how you are going to pay the doctor to look at your sick child.

I live a comfortable life. Will buying a huge house and that new Mercedes make me exponentially happier? To some degree sure but it wouldn't make everything great if everything else in my life was crap. Having great friends and people who love you are by far more important, but please don't discount the importance of having money. Too many people do, but that's because they have it.

God and Sports

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Yesterday, after the Redsox defeated the Yankees to force a game 7, Curt Shilling thanked God for making it possible.

Now I'm not here to say prayer does or doesn't work. Jenny has shown in the last few weeks that her praying is completely responsible for lots of good things happening for me :)

What I don't understand is do people really think God, if there is one, cares about the outcome of a sporting event? After every event someone thanks God for letting them win. I guess if there is a God then he is omnipotent and it technically would not be a big deal if he decided the outcome of every little thing. Now, I am sure there are people on both teams praying for the outcome of the game to go their way. How does God decide who wins? Is it who prays harder? Which team has more people of the correct faith? Maybe whoever sacrifices the best tasting chicken?

By the way, if the RedSox really are able to pull out the series after trailing 3-0 then it must have been an act of God that saved them.

Netflix vs. Blockbuster

Monday, October 18, 2004
This is my comparison of Netflix and Blockbuster. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone. Below is the long version of the story but for those who don't want to read the whole thing let me paraphrase.

I live in LA. Pasadena to be exact. I wanted to do a comparison between Blockbuster and Netflix's DVD by mail service. In the end Netflix was MUCH better than Blockbuster. Not only were the movies I placed in my queue more readily available (several Blockbuster titles had short or long waits) but the delivery time was much better. Blockbuster would tell me they mailed the DVD but often it would take 3 or 4 days for the DVD to show up. In one case it took 8 days. That sucks because not only do you not have the movie but you can't get another one back. So if you want my opinion go with Netflix. Below are the details.

Day 1 - Saturday. I signed up for Blockbuster's net service today. I went with them initially because they are cheaper by $2 a month and they give you two in-store rentals a month. That is a pretty good deal I think. I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that many New Releases, the titles I'm most interested in, had a short wait for them. This makes me think I will need to look at Netflix.

Day 3. My movies were mailed today from Blockbuster. One of the movies is going to take a little longer than the other two, strange.

Day 4. I got two of the movies in the mail today. I watched both today and sent one back early enough to get the late delivery at the post office. Blockbuster should get it by tomorrow.

Day 5. I decided to sign up with Netflix today so I can really compare the two. The early reviews are favorable to Netflix. All the movies I put on my queue are available now as opposed to many short waits for Blockbuster.

However, Netflix told me the movies would ship today, I signed up at 9:00 a.m., but then changed the message to that they would ship tomorrow, Thursday. First rule of marketing, don't tell a customer one date and then change it to a later date. I would have been fine if they just told me it wouldn't go until Thursday, I would totally understand. But they set my expectations for shipment today so I was excited to get them by Thursday and consequently disappointed that I would not get my movies.

Blockbuster lost some points too though. Its 4:15 in the afternoon and the site is "Down for scheduled maintenance" Who the hell schedules maintenance for 4:00 in the afternoon. As someone who is a supposed expert in availability I have to say this GREATLY disappoints me.

Day 6

Blockbuster is doing really badly. Right now I have NO DVDs from them in my possession. They shipped one DVD three days ago but still not here. They supposedly shipped another yesterday but still not here. I still haven't gotten a Netflix DVD yet but if their delivery is at all better Netflix is going to win hands down.

Day 7

I got all 3 of my Netflix DVDs today. Will have something to watch this weekend. Still missing a Blockbuster DVD which I ordered last 7 Days ago. Blockbuster is screwed unless Netflix really drops the ball somehow

Day 8

Mailed back one of the Netflix DVDs today. We will see how good their return service is. I Just got the DVD I ordered 8 Days ago. 8 days! That is pretty bad. Not only do I have to wait for the movie but it prevents me being able to get another movie.

Day 10

Today is Columbus Day. I forgot about that. No mail. Oh well. Somehow Netflix still got the movie I sent on Saturday. That's a pretty good sign. They sent me another movie already.

Day 11

Got two more Blockbuster movies and one more Netflix movie. One of the Blockbuster movies i already got from Netflix, i screwed up my queue. That's OK. It should give me one more time for Blockbuster to send me a movie.

Day 12

Have 2 Blockbuster movies and 2 Netflix movies on the way. Lets see what happens.

Day 13

Didn't get anything from either. Strange.

Day 14

It's over. I got one of the Blockbuster movies and 2 of the Netflix.

Day 15.

Canceled Blockbuster. Still waiting for that other DVD.


Friday, October 15, 2004
We are getting lunched delivered and they are charging a 12% gratuity for delivery. So now tipping is mandatory?

I hate this. Before people get on my case let me say this. I always tip and I tip generously. It is not at all unusual for me to leave 20 or 25% for a tip if the service is good and I always leave 10% even if its bad. I have also worked as a busboy and a server so I know what it is like.

But tipping should NEVER be mandatory. I do not want to hear arguments about how the waiters or waitresses are losing money because their wages are less because tips are factored in. It does not matter. You go to a restaurant to be served. The cost of this service is factored in into the cost of your meal. Tipping is meant to be a way of saying, "Thanks for giving me excellent service ABOVE AND BEYOND what is required." For me this is normally the case if the person just says hello, smiles, and comes by once to make sure I'm OK. If I have to flag the person down more than once then something is probably wrong.

If I ever own my own restaurant this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to pay the highest wages around for my servers. I will only hire the best people I can find. If I find that my servers are below par then I will get rid of them and get better servers. The best servers will want to work for me because I pay the best wages. They will work hard because they will know that if I don't get their best I can find someone else who will give it their all. I believe people go to restaurants probably more so for the service than the food (I'm biased since I don't like food I know) so I will make it my top priority to have the best service.

Then, I will post a sign and place a note on the menu that states

"Tips are not requested nor expected. It is our pleasure to serve you to the utmost of our ability."

Sorry Slow Week

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
I normally will just stay silent if I have nothing to say but I will say that I'm sorry for not posting anything of substance this week. Life is hectic. It should sort itself out shortly and I promise to post more when it does.

Photos are Back

Monday, October 11, 2004
OK, OK. I get the hint. I have been very busy over the last few months, some of you know why but I don't want to get into that here. I have not had time to take photos or even post but I will do my best to post more often. I would say for now, I will post once a week, probably on Mondays. If the mood strikes me I will attempt to do it more often. I guess I should be thankful that enough people have thought enough of my little photoblog to bug me to do some more.

Visit my photoblog if you have a chance.

Who is a Minority?

Saturday, October 09, 2004
When reading over a magazine that detailing admission statistics for some colleges I looked at the column for minority enrollment. Next to it was "****". What did "****" stand for? At the bottom it explained that this meant Asian-Americans were not included in the statistic. Why not?

This always confuses me. I used to be a supporter of affirmative action. I believe that there are definitely some people who are at a disadvantage to others. I believe diversity in a college community is a good thing as different ideas, viewpoints, and cutlures create to the overall learning experience. But I just don't get why Asian-Americans are singled out as the minority that doesn't count.

Asian-Americans make up a about 4% of the population compared to 77% white and 13% black. They earn high-school diplomas 87% of the time and college degrees 47% if time. The percentage earning college degrees is by far the highest of any population group.

But why is it that Asian-Americans receive no preference and are even excluded in population statistics for minorities? Are not Asian-Americans more of a minority than African-Americans? There is the argument that African-Americans have always been disadvantaged because of the social structure of America. But my family came to American with no money and unable to speak the language. You can't really start out much worse than that. In a generation my family was able to send all of its children to college and all have obtained some measure of success.

So what is it? I'm not so sure. I would love to hear other people's opinion.

Hard Earned Money

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I hate the term hard earned money. Is that implying that some money is not "hard earned"?

If money is not "hard earned" and is in fact "easily earned" than wouldn't that mean everybody would be able to do it and become rich?

So what qualifies money as being hard earned? Do I have to sweat to earn it or is exercising my mind enough? Is there an income restriction so when I earn too much everything after that is just "easy"?