Tag: TED

Kiss My Disease

How often do you hear a song that inspires you to overcome your yourself? I think I first checked this song out in like 98 or 99. I didn’t like it much at first because I identified with it a bit too closely and didn’t like it that my own self identity was so easily plugged into a few verses of a song by a band that no one hardly knew existed anyhow. Regardless after a few times I eventually decided I like the song (I was already hooked bad on the band). And felt it was almost an inspiration to listen to before I set out to save the world 😉

Well it’s been a few years, I haven’t quite finished saving the world, but I have a few things to be pretty satisfied about and decided to listen to the song again.

Here are the lyrics, I highly recommend the band as well.

Kiss My Disease
From Virgos Merlot – Signs of a Vacant Soul



Why Read A Banned Book This Week?

banned_books_weekThe answer here is simple. Because somebody, somewhere, is afraid of it. Because somebody, somewhere, is threatened by it. Because somebody, somewhere, wants you to be ignorant of it. It sounds aggressive when I describe it like that, doesn’t it? I hope so. One of my greatest fears is that I’ll be caught in a position that doesn’t afford me the option to learn and grow from an experience…and books are huge part of this.

Strangely enough though, for the first time, I’m taking a closer look at books that have been banned from schools and libraries in order to understand why exactly we would ever ban books.

What I am quickly finding is that the banned books are more often than not incredibly important and some were even required reading when I was in school. These were the books that provoked us and forced us to weigh in on ourselves morally…and somehow managed to become scapegoats for religious/political agendas. Of course this makes me want to read them even more. Go figure.

Having been a direct target of this kind of censorship, I have always reached instantly for those books that people find offensive so much that they burn them or ban them. What is in there that people fear so much that they would try to restrict and/or destroy it? Even with my proclivities, I don’t even find religious ideologies so repugnant that I would want them banned. I simply feel that it’s too important to have that knowledge available to us, with very little exception. I’ll argue this point even unto the science-fiction critics that complain about accuracy and pseudo-science. Imagination and experience are simply too important for us to narrow the scope of our available content.

I know where this argument takes us though, and I want to point out that I am certainly not saying we should have literature teaching people how to intentionally endanger or hurt one another, but books teaching us why people would want to do this would be incredibly important in my opinion. It seems to me that far too many people have taken it upon themselves to declare war on things they’ve only heard about, rather than relying on their own experience…something our government’s foreign and diplomatic policy could stand to consider as we continue to forcibly alienate more and more countries that are culturally incompatible with us. It’s not good enough that these cultures are oceans away, we must instead keep them so politically and personally hated that our perception of options isn’t to live and let live, but to suppress and eradicate. I simply find the situation strikingly similar to how people get themselves so stirred up over whether or not people have access to a book.

Is my allusion such a stretch?

I’ll try it on a different way. Despite a very crazy, abusive, and oppressive childhood…I managed to grow up into an extraordinarily moral individual. I owe so much of this to a list of books I couldn’t even begin to list out, but I will say this: many of them are on that banned book list. Some were actually required reading in school. I didn’t develop my values from reading only what I was told to…I learned from a whole world of philosophers and teachers, some religious and some not-so-much. I sometimes saw wisdom from despicable and evil people, and sometimes read how incredibly virtuous people could single-handedly sacrifice thousands in political posturing. The crazy, the scary, the imaginative…far too many of them incredibly insightful…restricted at libraries because someone ELSE didn’t like the contents. I learned a very strong sense of self, of right, of wrong, and how easily people deliberately convince themselves something morally horrible is acceptable in the name of a higher power that expressly forbids the act.

It pains me to think that maybe if people read more, they would have less time to convince themselves to act in such extremes, and have more time for the insight and inspiration that inevitably arrives from reading a good book…even one that might offend them.

Links to many of the banned books are below. Enjoy!

-Tony

www.ala.org

www.banned-books.org.uk

www.buzzfeed.com

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.time.com



No More Overtime?! Really?!

tonytow tony hunt gets angsty

Some things just absolutely tick me off.

So today an interesting string of articles came up on my radar: an initiative to abolish overtime pay for hourly laborers. I know a lot of you are like “WHAAAT?!”

Initially, I was even like “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!!”

Why? Because that money I like to have when I’ve been working for over 40 hours a week.

That was my initial line of thinking because as an individual, overtime pay has helped me through a lot of rough spots. It allowed me to avoid having to get a second job more often than not. But now that I am running my own company, I see immediately where the government (de)regulation here will remove an absolutely HUGE burden on many many employers here in the U.S. and allow a LOT of staffing opportunities to occur.

This type of legislation will definitely rock the boat, but not necessarily in a bad way. At first I was skeptical because of the impact it has on workers that rely on overtime. Then I realized that this only applied to employees who actually get to work over 40 hours a week (with a few exceptions). Those hit the worst on this type of legislation are union workers, whose inflated salaries are a HUGE drain on employers. Followed up by contractors used to gouging on time over 40. After that…well…it’s not actually that bad.

Here’s the kicker though. This potentially saves employers a TON of money. The reason companies dont like overtime in their service process is because it literally throws profitability in the shitter. Work-related accidents happen more often to employees working over 40 hours per week than those that dont. This affects disability, and workmans comp insurance. Immediate affects are seen in shared tax and compensation responsibilities. Essentially, businesses that dont have to pay overtime are far more likely to be able to employ their staff more, or allow for more staffers based on this (de)regulation.

Dont get me wrong, I love overtime, but to be honest it causes more pain to employers that it’s worth to the employees getting the extra pay, and allows companies to staff better.

Are there arenas where this may be a catalyst to working overworked people even more? Absolutely, but this tactic is already used and a TON of companies already dodge the overtime bullet by deliberately misrepresenting positions as exempt job types when they are nothing of the sort.

Anyhow, I am really curious if this is just another smokescreen platform to get us riled up while something else is pushed through or if it’s like SOPA/CISPA.

Article from the Daily KOS
Opposition Article from PoliticusUSA
HR 1119