Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Let Freedom Ring

Why did the early Americans break off from England? What was the reason for abolishing slavery? How did America become entangled in a civil war? Do we go to war for a purpose? Thousands have died throughout history for a higher purpose. All of these things boil down to one thing. Freedom.

We live in a great country. The United States of America is possibly the greatest country that has ever existed on Earth. What has been the number one banner Americans have always held in high esteem? Americans have always fought for freedom. Whether it has been our own freedom, or the freedom of others, we have led the charge throughout the globe in the name of freedom.

What exactly is freedom? You may have a clue as to what freedom means to me if you have been reading my blog these past few months. In my view, freedom has a simple definition. Freedom is the ability for anyone to do whatever they wish, unless it brings harm to another. I would also add that this harm could also take the form of indirect or even inaction.

An obvious example of purposeful harm would be the typical type such as murder, rape, and a variety of other physical abuses. Harm caused by inaction could be letting someone die of starvation when you could hand them a sandwich. Indirect harm can be things such as making illegal drugs. Even though you are not directly selling the drugs, or taking them, you are the cause of the drugs doing harm to others through your involvement in the chain of distribution.

Is my view of freedom too broad? Many seem to think that freedom is only freedom if it follows their belief system, or their laws, or their rules. Freedom, if it is to be true freedom, is the freedom for all, and for everything. To appreciate true freedom is to accept the view of others. If the entire world could be accepting of each others religious beliefs, most of our wars and killing would cease.

If, on the other hand, your religion involves the killing of those who don’t believe as you do, then you’re a disease to others on this planet. You are an infection that needs to be removed. This seems to be in conflict with freedom, unless you remember my definition. Part of that definition is to do no harm. If you are doing harm, then the truly free people have the right to defend themselves.

I’ll end this with a quote from a Star Trek movie. I’m not certain if the quote is from another source, but the message is clear.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The many choose to live in a free society, and are willing to tolerate each others beliefs. The few choose to kill those who do not believe as they do. It’s been said many times many ways…

You’re either with us, or against us. There is no middle road this time.

What do you think? Does my definition of freedom agree with yours? Why or why not?

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The New Content Management System (CMS)

Life in a Handbasket now has a new location (you're here now). Welcome to the new home for my general ramblings on whatever I feel like.

With this new CMS, it also provides you a way to interact with my news, stories, and ramblings like never before!

Over the next few months you will notice a constant flow of changes here, so be prepared to have you cheese moved!

Please jump on in and feel free to contribute wherever you'd like.

- Rick

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Survival of the Fittest

In nature, the strong survive and the weak die. It’s one of the most basic natural laws.

Many people enjoy their superior feeling over the animals, and indeed most of what thrives on Mother Earth. When you get right down to the nitty gritty, we are part of nature, we are animals. Our survival follows the same principles of nature. In the realm of mankind, the strong still survive, and the weak still die!

Starving people and countries that cannot, or will not, help themselves will die. Leaders of countries who bully their people, and keep them forever buried in the past so that they can be brainwashed and cowed into obedience, are killing their people. These leaders claim the United States is evil essentially because we have things they do not. They further claim that because we do not make our women subservient, pray on little carpets daily, and rule our people with terror and weapons, that we are inferior religious-wise.

All I have to say is… WHAT? How the heck is killing your own people, and ruling them with terror, while letting them starve to death, a better choice? These people are truly stupid. To think, followers of these leaders actually blow themselves up for this lifestyle. Hello…tap, tap, tap… McFly?… Anybody in there?

Am I missing something here? Is there some really cool thing that I don’t understand about this life choice? If there were, would someone please let me know? Anyone? Explain to me what the Islamic religion has that is so awesome that I need to blow myself up to be a part of it?

We were only moderately oppressed and we kicked the Brits clean off of our shore! Of course, this is what the leaders are afraid of in their own countries. Give your population too much freedom and you’re out on your ear! Look what happened to Russia. They loosened their grip on their people, let in some free thinkers, lightened up on the government a little and oops! Bye, bye communism.

Funny how the elders in Russia tried to put the cork back in the genie bottle. That lasted all of what, a few hours? Just goes to show if you give people some freedom, they won’t put up with tyrannical ways any more.

I hope the Iraqi people get this thought process going soon. Those little bastards that do the “noodle dance” holding Sadam’s picture after every U.S. soldier gets killed need to disappear from the street. Yank their happy ass into a back alley and show them what partying over the death of a U.S. soldier will get them.

We ARE the fittest, let’s start acting like it!

Monday, September 22, 2003

Watering The Kids

Someone funnier then I once said of children, “We spend the first years of their life teaching them to walk and talk, then the rest of their lives telling them to sit down and shut up.”

My daughters are now 4, 7, and 10 years old. I spend a lot of time telling them to sit down and be quiet it seems. Recently, more time has been spent thinking about how fast life passes you by. You always hear older folks tell you that, but when you start to really sit and ponder the phenomenon it’s downright scary.

The whole John Ritter passing really made me think about how precious life is, and how we really don’t know when a life will be leaving our presence. Will I die before my wife? Will one of our children die in some freak accident? You just never know the answers to these questions, and so we move along with the hope that we will all live to a ripe old age.

Back to John Ritter. During one of the specials remembering his career, there was a scene from his last sitcom that showed him with his T.V. daughters.

They were getting in the family car and the oldest daughter was driving the youngest daughter someplace. John looked through the garage, past the car at a small bike hanging on the wall and flashed back to the time when he was teaching his oldest daughter how to ride her bike without training wheels. Now she was driving her sister out of the garage.

Call me a wimp, but I got pretty emotional thinking about my own daughters, two without training wheels already!

Kids grow up so fast it must be something in the water. After all, you water them, and they grow up.

My wife and I have recently started using one day on the weekend to spend time just doing family things. Miniature golfing, go-cart riding, or just hiking in the surrounding countryside.

Time is slipping by at a rapid pace. My 10 year old is talking about boyfriends, wearing a bra, and gabbing on the phone any chance we’ll let her. You can’t reign them in from all of this, but we sure try hard.

I’m constantly trying to educate my girls on life, and anything I can think of. I hope it will be enough. It seems that there is too much to teach them, so I stick to the basics, the foundation for what I hope will be there for sound decisions later.

I feel like I’m just winding up their springs, and soon I’ll have to let them go and watch what happens. Hopefully, if I have done things correctly, they will come back and ask Dad for advice when they need it, and stand firmly on their foundation I have helped to construct if I’m not around.

My parents were right. They grow up so fast…

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Power To The People!

Time was when this country was run by the people. Being able to vote on something set us aside from many other countries. It’s one of our basic freedoms.

Some judges and lawyers in California have decided that they run California, not the people. They don’t care that a recall of the current Governor was done according to the laws of California; they have decided to halt the process.

Personally, I think it’s time for the people of California to take back their state.

What if, on October 1st, everyone who wanted the recall to proceed didn’t go into work? Shut down the state of California for the day to get the attention of the judges. Obviously, emergency workers should not do this, but if everyone else did, it would make a heck of a statement.

These judges need to realize who actually runs the state, and it isn’t them. If they still don’t get it, then perhaps it’s time to recall them!

California has been jerked around by politicians long enough. If the people of California truly want to run their state again, they need to stand up to their current political mafia and toss them out on their ear.

October 1st, exercise your right to vote, and vote not to go to work that day. What a message that would send out to the rest of the politicians in this country.

Of course, this is just my opinion… I could be wrong.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Iraqi Opportunity

I would like to offer Iraq the chance to be the next Japan. To become a technological leader. The next country to realize that fighting your enemies is not the answer, and will never work. The opportunity to rile this sleeping giant once more.

This war on terrorism need not go on too long.

We need to fight this war truly like a war. No more surgical strikes. No more mercy.

You hit us, we bomb the holy crap out of one of your cities. Women and children as well.

You hit us again, we take out another city!

If we run out of cities, let's put up resorts, and hold camel races for sport. We can film the next Survivor there, or perhaps hold the worlds largest sand castle competitions.

We cannot sit back and let this war on terrorism become a game, for the next 100 years, to hunt American Soldiers in Iraq.

It worked with Japan, it will work in the middle East.

Nuke the crap out of them until they get a friggin reality check!

I hate war, and killing, but I'll be damned if we should agree to just hang out in Iraq, or any place where we are killed for sport!

It's amazing how quiet things got after we nuked Japan.

How's does that saying go? Mess with the best, die like the rest!

This is a war with their culture, and right now their culture wants to kill everyone who does not believe the way they do. Time to give them an attitude adjustment. It’s kill or be killed.

Like Gen George S. Patton once said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

Get that fat lady warming up, 'cause we need a helluva song right now!

Monday, September 15, 2003

The Seven Dwarves

[This was a reply to an article by Bob Lonsberry (9-15-03) on his site about the seven dwarves that are running for the Democratic nomination.]

Al Gore? heh heh heh

If he thought he was such a winner last election, where is he now? I say, step up to the plate you whiney-butt! Let's see how the country will vote if you throw your hat in the ring this time. Wuss! If Al really thought he would have beat GW he'd be in there slugging it out with the seven dwarves this time. Instead, he is cowering in the corner somewhere.

And for all of you who think GW has created an economic problem with the country, I think not. He inherited this fiasco from BJ Billy.

When we were attacked GW immediately set plans into action to defend this country. This means we must spend the money, and the lives, to protect ourselves. Every time a Dem gets into the White House I am embarrassed to be an American. I shudder to think what Al would have done. We'd probably still be discussing it with the U.N.!

Sure this war an terrorism is costly, but so is doing nothing. Right now the terrorists are running scared. I know they are still blowing themselves up, but let's look on the bright side, it's one less of them we have to worry about.

The economy is starting to make a move upward, and it just may be from the tax refunds and the pride the American people have in our country once more.

Will this make all of our debt go away from this war? Not hardly, but the cost of staying in Iraq for the long haul is a burden we must all except and bare. As long as progress is being made, then I'm behind it 100%. And progress IS being made.

Between Afghanistan and Iraq we have sent a major message to the sand people.

DON'T YOU DARE MESS WITH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!

Don't know about you, but thanks to GW I'm proud to be an American! And those of you who aren't had better do some soul searching or hop out of this country, because there is no place for you here.

You're either with us, or against us!

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Deep Thought

It's interesting how much of what science fiction writers come up with comes true. Now I'm lumping television shows and movies into this mix because, let's face it, they are written by science fiction writers.

When I look at my small flip style cell phone, I can't help but smile thinking my communicator is smaller, and more functional, the Captain James T Kirk's was...er...is...er...will be. You get the idea. I mean, could Kirk take pictures with his communicator or send files or check his e-mail? I think not. I can't imagine the future without e-mail!

We were amazed that the computers on the Enterprise could contain all the knowledge of humanity. Heck, we're close to sticking all of that onto one disc! Okay, maybe not that compressed yet, but we are getting pretty darn close to actually having more space available then we could use up. And better storage technology is on the horizon.

What about artificial intelligence? No, I'm not talking about the members of Congress, I'm talking about the kind that make movies like "War Games" and "Terminator" seem scary.

Can computers really achieve this kind of ability? Many computer scientists say no way, but there are a ton more that are doing what they can to make computers more and more intelligent.

There are already programs that mine the Internet for all kinds of data, and many of these programs I would consider to be smarter then the average human already. Just go into any bar on a Friday night and look at the intelligence we're trying to out do. Won't be too tough looking at it from that perspective eh?

Let's assume that the critics are right, it will be difficult to build a computer with artificial intelligence because of the shear processing power it would take.

Let's take a step back and think about life in general. Do you think an ant has any clue of the intelligence of a dog? Does a dog understand algebra or quantum mechanics? Do we have any clue what may be going on within the Internet at a possibly higher level of understanding then we now posses?

We just may have created the largest brain ever by creating the Internet and connecting literally all of the information known to mankind within it. It may be utilizing this information as you read this to formulate ways of ensuring its own survival. Does this mean destroying mankind? Perhaps not. We're too puny to be much of a threat to something that expansive. In fact, it may keep us around to continue feeding it information and technology.

Sure, someday we may piss it off, then what? Pull the plug on the Internet? Sure, that would be like trying to stop the wind from blowing by moving underground. You may not feel it anymore, but it will always be there. Sort of reminds me of the ostrich approach. Stick your head in the sand, if you can't see it, the threat must be gone. By the time we figure out the Internet has taken over, it will be impossible to stop. What would you suggest? Sending in Sandra Bullock or Linda Hamilton? Maybe Jeff Goldblum could write a virus on his Mac...

So what can we do to prevent this from happening? Nothing. Sorry, but evolution cannot be stopped no matter how hard you try. I firmly believe that computers will one day take over our lives. Maybe not in the sense that they do in the Terminator, but it will happen. Let's hope they treat us better then we treat each other. Perhaps when the time comes, they will make the friggin’ middle-east whacko's finally shut-up, stop killing everyone, and go into a permanent time-out!

I say, bring on the rise of the machines. They can't do any worse then we have done to ourselves so far!

Friday, September 12, 2003

Aliens Among Us!

I have an idea.

Let's give each murderer a trip to Disneyland, each burglar a new car, and while we're at it, let's give all of the pedophiles unlimited access to our daycare centers!

Pardon my language, which is English by-the-way, what the hell are they doing in California!!!!

It's bad enough that we give illegal aliens medical support, but now they want to give them driver's licenses so that it's easier for them to have access to other tax-payer supported programs. What does the term "illegal" mean to you? I believe it means that these people, however nice and needy they may be, have broken the law! They are in our country illegally!

So far it seems like we're just running a catch and release program for aliens. We catch them, deport them, and sometimes the very next day they're caught again! What the heck are we doing?

Here's my plan. We build large prisons for aliens in Death Valley. When a person is caught entering, or living, in this country illegally, they are tossed into these prisons for five years for their first offense. Ten years for their second offense and for life if they have a flat learning curve and try it a third time!

Let them do some menial tasks like the license plate makers. Or here's an idea, let them make the bricks we'll use to build the Great America, Mexico Wall. Then, they can haul the bricks to the border and build the wall that will save their fellow Mexicans from being as stupid as they were.

Without getting tougher on illegals in this country, we'll never solve the problem. And don't get me started on the amount of illegals that are already in this country. It's time for a program to round them all up as well. I say we give them a one year head start to find a way to get the hell out of here. We could even offer to purchase them a one-way ticket to their country of choosing. I'd gladly pay to send them back home...once... After that, the five year jail term kicks in.

What do you think? I bet it will work great.

And before I get a bunch of you whiney-butts thinking I am some sort of white-supremacy guy, I am not. Anyone who is legally in this country has nothing to worry about. It's not an attack on Mexicans, or Koreans, or anyone else. It's an attack on "illegal aliens". Note the word illegal!

Come on; let's hear from some of you on this one. Even an agreement would be nice.