You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

23 April, 2014

Comment about free speech and campaign financing

Let me try to be clearer. Money to support candidates for election to the legislative and executive branches has become less restrictive due to the two Supreme Court decisions on free speech and campaign financing, especially with respect to corporate funding. Corporations have interest in getting candidates elected that favor their business. Corporations and people with a lot of money provide funds for the candidates and to PACs to support their candidates. The result is that those with money can drive who gets elected, possibly with some quid pro quo expectation. Money (corporations, PACs, wealthy) can say whatever it wants, true or not. That makes the side with less money spend its more limited resources defending, rebutting, correcting and less able to express its case to the voters. The purpose of campaign finance controls is to allow a fair exchange of ideas and positions on issues for voters to decide with. That is an ideal state that I have no expectation of ever achieving. To think that corporations have any right to back a candidate or provide campaign financing for a candidate is in my mind wrong. Government representation is for the people, not corporations. A corporation is not a person, does not act like a person, does not have interests like a person. I don’t think corporations should have any direct influence in the election of government representatives. They have plenty of indirect influence. People with money don’t deserve any more say in who gets elected than from anyone else. Basic nature of a democracy. Examples of issues are socialized medicine and climate change. One is a political/social choice the people should make for themselves. The other is a scientifically determined fact the people need to choose to respond to. Both through their elected representatives. The problem is when the few (wealthy and corporations) use their money steer the choices of representatives and ultimately the choices for the issues to their benefit by overwhelming opposition with lies, misinformation, and distortion. That does happen. The people are not getting clear debate to choose with. They may choose against their best interests (like a plumber voting for a small government tax cutter who eventually cost him his business) or don’t vote because they are confused or ambivalent due to the fighting. What I desire is a level debating field where positions can be laid out clearly for people to make educated decisions. There can be noise all around the field and being a free speech advocate I support that, but within the political campaign debate, it has to be limited so that all sides (liberals, conservatives, greens, libertarians, etc…) can get their points across. That means limiting money and who can donate. I think it also means who can speak within the campaigns. I think there have to be rules of evidence as well. Within the campaign sphere. Right now, there is no such thing. I suspect voting would be more prevalent with the ability of people to go straight to the candidates’ positions without the flak and noise and lies and misinformation the free-for-all we have today gives. That is not government control of any message, that is control of the election process to allow the people to make informed voting decisions.

21 April, 2014

I was told to look in the mirror

I look in the mirror and don't see any hatred of minorities. I am a minority. I've tolerated religion all my life and still do, I don't oppress anyone, and seldom make claims without evidence. However, religion doesn't get a free pass anymore. If it makes claims that can't be substantiated, it gets questioned. No longer is faith a virtue. No longer can religion claim moral high ground. No longer can religion claim the only purpose and meaning to life. No longer can religion claim any explanation for why or how we came to be. Showing where religion is wrong is rational human growth, progress out of darkness and superstition. That isn't war, that's rational thought. That's growing out of fear and into understanding of our place in the universe. If the religious feel embattled and persecuted, they should consider the arguments they make based on ancient texts and personal anecdotes that usually are easily explained by statistics, imperfect human perception, and corruption.

Well. That does it. As a private pilot anyway.

My seizure of 10 April killed my ability to fly as a private pilot for the next 4 years at best.  Assuming I'm off any drugs for the previous 2 years and I am ok to drive.

The good news is I can fly Light Sport aircraft if I am ok to drive.  Slower, smaller planes, only one passenger.  Now to deal with the DMV.  That means getting past the EEG test later this week.  If that shows no sign of epilepsy they will take me off the seizure medicine and I can start back to normal.

19 April, 2014

Grand mal seizure

Flew some kids on April 5th, these will be my 301st through 304th Young Eagles officially.  I am hoping they are not my last.

On April 10th I experienced a grand mal seizure strong enough to fracture my left shoulder and stress the crap out of my back.

Thanks to everyone. Standing up to the face of what life throws us is what makes us human. I'm proud of being part of this bunch.
A good friend and coworker suffered a seizure today at work. It was both a horrifying and amazing event. The seizure itself was horrific to witness, understandable, but traumatizing to some. The response of our team of coworkers was astounding. People clearing the room, people dialing 911, people running to various doors to await the emergency response, people holding the elevator, people holding doors.... There is NO WAY the medical responders were going to have any doubt where to go. Yes it stressed people out, but they did well. A true team  I'm proud of them all.

I visited him in the ER tonight, and he is doing well. The MRI showed no sign of a stroke or tumor. He's loaded on morphine at the moment and seems, well, drugged. lol Lucky him. After this I may need some.
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  • Vicky George Love this report, and love how people act in crisis like this. I don't know why but it always makes me really emtional to see how KIND people are when circumstances liberate them to be so.
  • Chuck Thurston We were in the middle of a nationwide VTC at the time, so we thought about rolling Tom under the table to keep the meeting going, but the swearing he was doing would have disrupted the meeting anyway.

  • Mary Jane Pace Owen Thank goodness for all the wonderful people who helped my dear cousin.
  • Catherine Chappuis McMahon Thank you all for the fantastic response you provided when my nephew needed you. We are so very grateful!!! I know he would have done the same for you as well.
  • Melanie Moreno Stuart What a beautiful message Chuck! I second that, it was difficult yet amazing to see how everyone worked together to help Tom. And yes Tom has quite the potty mouth! 
  • Austin Wright Tom, I feared the worse during that VTC and am glad that it wasn't a stroke or worse. Sorry that you had such a rough time, seizure and broken shoulder. Hope you can get some good rest and get your health back quickly - but for your sake I hope you don't return to work too soon! Thanks for all your hard work on our program.

    I am just a tired, grumpy liberal atheist whose brain decided to leave the room at the start of a customer briefing.  The raving maniac that remained was hauled away by paramedics.  Brain and body rejoined somewhere on the way to the hospital.  :-)