90 Lashes?

I read an article today about an Iranian actress who is being sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes. Her crime is that she starred in an Australian movie about how Islamic culture suppresses artistic expression.  What is funny to me is that by sentencing her for this “crime” they are only reinforcing what the movie is bringing to light. This shows how far behind many Islamic nations are. 90 lashes – that was an acceptable punishment a century ago. All Islamic countries need to take a look at what is happening in Egypt, Syria, and Lybia – the Arab Spring is a movement that shows no signs of slowing down. Although it is debatable whether or not the Arab Spring can be considered successful, the act of the people standing up to the wrong doings of their government certainly seems like a step in the right direction. I searched the internet a bit and found that women receiving lashes as a form of punishment is far from uncommon in nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Rather than hurting the backside of wrongdoers, why not adopt the American principle of hurting their wallet? When someone breaks a law here in the states they get a ticket. You need to pay that ticket in order to avoid further legal troubles. Generally, once you pay a few tickets you get tired of handing your hard earned money over to the government and you make it a point not to get any more fines. Like many people from my generation, it is hard for me to imagine the government being able to beat you. In reality America is not that far removed from a time where the government suppressed both women and African Americans, hopefully other nations undergo the changes that we did in the near future.

Here is a video about punishment in Saudi Arabia:

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NFL Lockout is Over!

With the NFL lockout coming to an end, football fans everywhere couldn’t be happier. I am excited to see where all the big name free agents will land in the upcoming weeks, hopefully the good ones land in Miami. That’s right, I am a Dolphins fan. Truthfully, I am a football fan in general. I can watch any game, it does not matter who is playing. Here is my favorite football video of all time. It is college football, but football nonetheless.

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The Beauty of Blogging

Lately I have been thinking about my blog a lot. I have been thinking of tons of things – ways to change it, ways to make it more interesting, ways to attract more readers, etc. Currently, I average anywhere from 30-50 views per day, which is not horrible (especially because I only have been blogging for roughly 3 months). The last few days I have been probing WordPress.com and checking out what other bloggers have been up to – needless to say it was very humbling.

I never thought that so many people were so passionate about their blogs. There are literally blogs for almost anything I can think of. After reading a few different blogs the first thing that popped into my head was “how the hell do these people have the time to write such detailed entries?’ Some bloggers have entries that look like they spent more time writing it than I have ever spent on any project in my 4 years of college. Here is an example of what I am talking about: BirdAbroad. The blogger’s article about knock-off Apple stores that are popping up all around her has received a ton of attention. I respect that, it is a great entry. It is extremely well written and even has a few photographs serving as proof of her writing.  The funny thing is I read that blog last night, and this morning it was all over the internet. When I read it last night I said to myself, “Wow, this person must have spent a good amount of time taking pictures, organizing her thought, and writing this post.” And she probably has. That just goes to show how passionate she is about what she writes in her blog.

In order for me to create the type of blog that I want, I need to make some changes. I guess the first change I should make is become more dedicated to blogging. I’ll be the first to admit it – I get lazy. When I don’t blog it is not because I have nothing to write, it is because I am too lazy to actually type it. I also want to start taking more pictures – a lot more. A photo gallery is a nice addition to any blog, and it is simple to do too.

If there are any suggestions you would like to leave me, feel free to do so.

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Rupert Murdoch Scandal

Who is Rupert Murdoch? Simply put, he is really old & really rich. His net worth is in the billions. He owns News Corporation, which owns Fox News, National Geographic, Hulu.com, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Washington Times. Being that he is wealthy and has such a wide audience, he has made several appearances on lists such as “The 100 Most Influential People”. So what is the big problem with this guy? Apparently he knowingly had employees and policemen tap the telephone calls/voice mail boxes of tons of people in search of something newsworthy. This invasion of privacy has landed him in the hot seat with Britain’s Parliament. Who knows if he will end up serving any jail time for this, personally I don’t think he will.

What I find rather comical is the fact that one of the whistleblowers who original spoke of the phone tapping was found dead in his apartment and the British police are not considering the idea of a homicide. According to them he died of natural causes. I do not know the life expectancy in the UK, but in America not many people under the age of 50 die from “natural causes”.

When it comes to watching the news, I am a CNN kind-of-guy. One of the shows that I watch is Piers Morgan Tonight. He is a former editor for one of the publications that is owned by Murdoch. He also was accused of phone tapping during a Parliament hearing by Louise Mensch (a Conservative member of Parliament on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee). Here is the video of him defending himself. Her face is pretty funny when he calls in during one of her interviews.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=bestoftv/2011/07/19/exp.piers.responds.mensch.cnn

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Suicidal Thoughts

I have heard about quite a few suicides over my short lifetime and I never really thought that so many people would actually take their own lives. Thankfully, no one I truly care for has chosen to take the “easy way out”, and I am not sure if you can really consider it to be the easy way out to begin with. After all, choosing to take your own life does not seem to be an easy decision by any means. Obviously I feel this way because I am thinking clearly, and most people who choose to commit suicide are not thinking clearly at all. I know that depression and other illnesses can cause people to feel like suicide is the only way to win the war that is raging in their head, but there is no way that it can solve the problems they think it will. If I could ask someone who took their own life one question it would be: was it worth it? I wonder if someone who chose to commit suicide would say that it was the right decision and if they were in the same situation that they would do it again.

Depending on your religious views, you may think that once you die you will be transported to a better place than you are now. In reality suicide goes against what most religions teach, thus it is not rewarded.  If you believe that when you die your life simply ends and there is nothing more – then that really has to suck. Don’t get me wrong, life is tough sometimes, but there is not much logic in bowing out early if you only get one crack at it.

I find it hard to have sympathy for those who chose to commit suicide. I have sympathy for the mental anguish that they must have endured on a daily basis in order for them to get to such a weak point, but I do not have sympathy for the way they handled it. It is no secret that when you die the lives of the people who love you will be changed forever, and that selfishness is part of what makes me resent those who chose to commit suicide.

I know that all of this is easy for me to say because I have never contemplated suicide, and that really puts me in no position to speak negatively about those who have. All I am saying is there is no problem in life who’s only solution is suicide. When I really think about life and the world we live in, I realize that just because you die does not mean the world is over for everyone else – it is only over for you. To me that is a very lonely thought.

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Will America Default?

The latest political news focuses on whether or not Congress will raise the debt ceiling in order for America to be able to “pay its bills”. Most people who actually know something about the economy say that on August 2, 2011 America will NOT default on loans like most of the media is predicting. Some say that it is a strategy used by Republicans (who currently control Congress) to help put fear into Americans, thus making them vote Republican in the next Presidential election. You probably heard a bit about their plan to “cut, cap, and balance” and there is no denying that America needs to do something, and ideally do something soon. What really annoys me with politicians is the fact that they make things so much harder than they really need to be. I will never understand why they cannot just look at the facts and make a logical/responsible/reasonable decision that will benefit the majority of the people. It is impossible to please everyone, but it is possible to please almost everyone if you make decisions that actually work. I know I hold politicians to a much higher standard, and I do not think that is wrong. Is the idea of making decisions that benefit the majority of the people utilitarianism? Yes, and so what?

A friend of mine recently started his own blog (http://seekingalpha.com/user/959866/instablog) and it is going to be focused mainly on finance and economics. I asked him to do a post for me explaining the current situation in Congress and he created the video below.

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Bear Crap

It has been quite some time since I wrote a blog entry. A lot has happened since my last entry, so I will try to catch up.  Last week a man was hiking with his wife in Yellowstone National Park when he startled a mother bear with her cubs. The bear then proceeded to attack the man and kill him. There has been a few articles written on this, and frankly I am surprised that anyone is even deeming this as newsworthy. You should not go into the wilderness, especially a place like Yellowstone National Park, without being extra prepared. When you do go, you should not try to be Steve Irwin and get as close as possible to the animals because we all know how that turned out for him. When you impose on another animals natural habitat, things become much more primitive and you become part of the food chain. Obviously humans reside at the top of the food chain, but when you go into the wild you better be prepared to defend yourself to keep it that way. Interacting with other species is a risk we take all the time – whether it be hiking in the woods, camping, or swimming in the ocean. It is our responsibility to take the necessary precautions when we are in another species habitat, not theirs. If you are wondering, the bear is still alive and will not be put to death. I guess we can all agree that she is a better mother than Casey Anthony.

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