Friday, November 6, 2015

The Doctor is In

Ben Carson is actually Eddie Murphy's latest method of a comeback into the entertainment industry.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hillary Won

I'm an unapologetic Bernie Sanders supporter. I figured I'd get that tidbit of information out of the way before going on, because it may give some precedence to the unfortunate blathering that is to follow.
Two nights ago, the democratic party had its first of six debates (far too few, if you ask me) for the five (or so, it's hard to count Jim Webb as anything other than an aging Terminator) candidates. It was, essentially, a debate between former secretary of state and Bratz doll model Hillary Clinton and Vermont senator and Troll doll hair model Bernie Sanders. The latter is ardently left, the former is ardently ambivalent until public polling dictates her position.
Bernie, as is his schtick, continuously expounded on his main talking points, i.e. inequality in America, prison overcrowding, Wall Street greed, climate change, social security, etc., and they are always his strengths. Unfortunately, as most Bernie Sanders followers should realize, Senator Sanders' points on foreign policy and gun control were weak.
(25:42 for gun control; 36:06 for foreign policy in Syria, 46:18 for Sanders being uncertain about Putin)

To be fair, Sanders has always been a domestic policy guy, but it was obvious that he took the Syria issue to indicate a possible yes/no for boots on the ground. Syria is an intricate problem with enough interests and alliances to make Machiavelli's head spin, and yes, boots on the ground would be a horrible idea, but so is allowing Russia to aid the Assad government.
Clinton was obviously able to pull out her experience as the secretary of state and display (to a minimal point) the intricacies of diplomacy, it was enough to demonstrate that Sanders needed to brush up on foreign policy.
Besides that, while his populist message has a very true ring to it, he wasn't able to touch upon the recent republican battle against Planned Parenthood as Clinton did.
But then again, Clinton demonstrated her perpetual equivocation on many issuing, ranging from the trans-pacific partnership to the Keystone pipeline to Wall Street to marijuana legalization, and has been one of her most contentious points thus far, especially when she said that the TPP was the gold standard for trade.
Of course, there are five more, so let's just wait and see.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Perfect

Have you ever experienced serenity? A moment in time, or a day, or a week, or a year, or possibly even your whole life, where the sole feeling that dominates you is one of utter placidity, where your worries and wants are nonexistent because there is nothing more for you to do in your moment than enjoy it?

I experienced one once. It was my last night in London after a hectic and storied year of growth and change, and I leaned out my window, taking in the city one last time. The sky above was cloudy and just a bit cool for the end of summer, but the city was in full swing below. Heat rose from the laughter and joy of the people on their nights out, which was more than enough to keep warm the drunken idiot who danced when only he could hear the music.

The lights gleamed off the clouds above, bathing the entire city in gold, and I just leaned on my windowsill and breathed it all in. The temperature of the air, the laughter from below chirping like birdsong, the kingdom of London glowing in the night; it was a perfect ending.

But, of course, the credits didn't roll, the audience didn't stand up and stretch their legs, and the movie theater employee didn't sweep up the stray bits of popcorn and candy that slipped from the patrons' buttery fingers. My life went on after that moment.

For the past 2 years I've been running a personal marathon to reclaim that moment, but not to relive it; rather, that moment gave me the clarity to realize just what road I'd be running for the rest of my life. It gave me a general direction, and since then, I've been better fine-tuning my compass to right my way.

Perhaps it's just because I've hit my quarter-life crisis head-on; after all, suddenly so many of my friends are in long-term relationships, or having children, or maintaining steady jobs and doing other things while I'm still thinking about how cool it would be if DC introduced Darkseid into their cinematic universe. That's not to say that I haven't done or accomplished things in my life; to the contrary, whenever I tell people about my experiences they actually seem legitimately impressed.

But of all the things I've done, nothing will strike me as more important than bringing back that feeling of peace. Maybe it's a taste of Buddhism's nirvana, where all wants and needs are released and the soul is at peace for eternity, or maybe it's just the knowledge that I can be that content in my life. There is no panacea for it; one person's cure will usually only work for them, so here's to stumbling blindly through my life and feeling the walls for clues until I see an inkling of light.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Seeking Refuge

Of late, the current crisis of refugees making their way from Syria and the Middle East into Europe has been dominating headlines, and for good reason: there are currently more displaced people than ever before in history due to the wars in Syria and Yemen, as well as ISIS' destructive crusade around Iraq.

It was recently reported that Germany has taken in more than 800,000 refugees on its own, while the ever-aggrandizing and aloof David Cameron finally bowed to public pressure, though that 'pressure' only constitutes no more than 10,000 refugees.

The EU as an entity has been lackadaisical in its approach to the current crisis, as is warranted by a body that depends on unanimity. There is very little in terms of a top-down approach that can emanate from Brussels and be accepted throughout the union, but should there be some great rise of public consciousness, then I should hope that a refugee allotment plan looks something like this:
  • Firstly, the refugees need to be registered, which is, of course, a difficult task, but a necessary one. Registering them allows for a formal process of integration into a country, and also allows for access to public records, if the person has any. This also aids in background checks run by INTERPOL, EUROPOL, and the member states' various security agencies.
  • Secondly, the EU and its member states should seek to find suitable housing arrangements for the refugees, whether through public housing or temporary housing of some kind. Families would obviously be kept together. The number of people distributed throughout the EU should, ideally, be commensurate with population, also taking into account available living spaces. There should hopefully be no 'excuses' as to why a country can't host more refugees, aside from a legitimate one such as size.
  • Thirdly, and this is probably a bit idealistic of me, offer free language classes for those who don't already either speak a member state's native language or English, or both. Also, enable a job seeker's scheme whereby vocational training classes are offered at either a discounted price, or for free.
  • Fourthly, there are likely many qualified individuals who have fled from the various conflicts, and they would probably like nothing more than to work and save money for their families. This is a measure that would be slightly controversial, especially with the more nationalistic states/parties, because there might be a notion that 'refugees are stealing jobs.' It would be the most difficult to sell, but the most necessary as well if they are to stay in the EU for a long time, or for the rest of their lives.
  • Fifthly, get ready for the long haul. The civil war in Syria has no discernible end in sight, especially since now all western powers are afraid that if Assad's government falls, then ISIS will be able to set up camp in Syria. This would give ISIS better access to Turkey, which is already fighting the Kurdish Worker's Party in the south of Turkey, while the Kurds are also the primary force fighting ISIS (which is another completely confusing and Risk-esque situation in itself). 
This is obviously not detailed, but I'm not a policy adviser; otherwise, I might have actually written up a policy paper. (Not saying I did, but if I did, it would probably be around 50, maybe 55 pages long, with individual policy suggestions for each member state, along with distributions of funding from the EU in addition to discretionary funds available from each member state's annual budget, and then a future analysis of population growth and possible employment demographics from the refugee pool. Again, just a hypothetical. Maybe.)

Finally, the US. The country that boasts the most has done the least in terms of allowing in refugees from Syria. Since the conflict started in 2010, the US has taken in somewhere around 1400 Syrians total. It goes without saying that the US, a country with more open space than all of Europe, should be actively vetting and aiding Syrian refugees.

That's all for now, 
Das Flüg
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Don't Watch the Video

Today, a madman with a gun did what has become one of the most mundane, everyday incidences to lead the day's news headlines in America: he killed several people; however, this time was different. The man took a video of the shooting on his phone as it happened on live TV.

The man shot a reporter, her interview subject, and the cameraman, filmed it, and posted it on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. As you'd expect, it was taken down by the sites, but many have saved it and uploaded it elsewhere. Don't watch it.

Why, you ask? You probably expect to hear the usual "this is what the killer would have wanted you to do" from many people, but that isn't why you shouldn't watch it. You shouldn't watch it because this is a video depicting a brutal act that shows the end of someone's life. We shouldn't want to watch people die, regardless of whether or not we know them, or hate them, or what have you, because it isn't at all like a movie or a TV show. These people won't appear in other shows, or movies, or talk about their death scenes in an interview: they're gone.

Death isn't a fetish, it is a fact of life and something that just about everyone will try to avoid in the course of their lives. It is both fascinating and perverse, but we do not set up shop in a hospital's ER just to watch incoming patients fight for their lives.

What's more, who wants to be remembered solely for being killed on tape?

That's all for now.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Trump Dump

Donald Trump is a joke. I'm not even going to provide you with any examples of that because I don't need to, nor do I want to; all you have to do is Google "Donald Trump" and I'm pretty sure the first hit that'll come up will be about something he said or did. He's the greatest living actor alive: he took on the role of a condescending, narcissistic talking cardboard box of a man for a TV show where people gargle on his testicles day in and day out, and apparently he's still living it, whether he realizes it or not.
He's also running for president of the US of A. Any political scientist worth their salt and poor salaries will tell you that he has about as much chance of winning the presidency, let alone the republican nomination, as most of the contestants on his shitty TV shows have at tasting anything other than the bitterness of defeat on the hairs of Trump's ballsack. Recent polls suggest that Trump is ahead of the other candidates, but polling is notoriously flawed.
But, for the sake of dreams and rainbows and 'fun,' let's imagine a world where Donald Trump has attained the republican nomination for president. (Keep in mind that this is also a world where pigs fly and human farts reverse global warming.) Now let's think about how various people would react on election day; I can think of a few:
  • "Donald Trump is the nominee? Better vote for the other guy/lady, whoever they are."
  • "Donald Trump is the nominee? Sweet! Let me go grab my gun and shoot some immigrants! Oh, and vote too!"
  • "I wasn't going to vote for him anyway."
  • "Donald Trump is the nominee? Well, this just delegitimizes the entire American political process and demonstrates precisely that only the wealthy can attain power in the country, whether it's directly or indirectly by lobbying! I'm not voting. Now I'm going to go to Chipotle and fight global warming."
  • "We have elections in America?"
I'd say that covers it. Speaking of coverage, I get that news stations are supposed to cover candidates, but come on, guys. If you want a smarter electorate, give us smarter programming that's not about self-aware vacuum cleaners.

That's all for now, Das Flüg 

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Thursday, June 25, 2015


When I walk to and from work on my usual route, I normally pass a raucous homeless man who is impossible to not notice with any of the 5 senses. He would push his cart up and down the street, yelling incomprehensible proclamations to the sky, every so often pausing to read from what I assumed was his personal bible. I believe I once made out the words "CIA" and "Obama" from his hoarse pontifications.

Whenever I walk to or from work, I typically turn my brain on autopilot and set my legs to one course: the train station home. My eyes stare forward at my distant destination, and nothing diverts my attention, save for the occasional attractive woman or the aforementioned homeless man.

It took me several walks to and from work to realize that the homeless man wasn't there anymore. No more partially toothless shouting, no more layers upon layers of clothes, even in warm weather. I started to wonder if he had moved to somewhere with better shelter, or perhaps he had died. That was the sad thought: if this man was actually dead, then he likely died without anyone knowing his name.

And I started to wonder about him. He was someone's son; maybe he was a brother. Maybe he had a father, maybe he had a mother, maybe he was an uncle, maybe he had a cousin. Maybe he had friends; maybe they stole a Playboy and saw their first naked women together. Maybe they knew his name. Maybe he grew up in a house where life wasn't easy and circumstances were drawn against him. Maybe he made some bad choices; maybe he made some good ones. Maybe he once marveled at the simplicity of rain, maybe he once wondered about how cars worked. Maybe he went to school. Maybe he was enjoyed at it, maybe he didn't. Maybe he never wanted to admit that he enjoyed it; maybe he thought he could do something else with his life. Maybe he fell in love; maybe he had his heart broken. Maybe he made a mistake; maybe he lost everything. Maybe he was a genius who lost his mind. Maybe he had regrets. Maybe he didn't realize he had regrets. Maybe his friends forgot him. Maybe his family was gone. Maybe he never knew it.
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