American Idle (Presidential Election Reform)

For those who have followed my blogs on other sites, I apologize for rehashing.  But I think this one needed to be brought to my WordPress postings:

With the 2012 Election season quickly descending upon us, I feel it is time to discuss how I think the Presidential race can be cured…or at least corrected somewhat.  This idea is more of a glorified bullet-point list, let’s keep the hair-splitting to a minimum.  First, this needs to be said, this plan works against the two party system.  It’s an old fashioned idea who’s time has passed.  There, I said it.

  • First, each State would hold an election to choose its own Presidential candidate.  This would give us 50 candidates running for the President.  (YAHOO!)
  • The five main news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and FOX) would hold a lottery that would give each network 10 candidates.
  • Each of the networks would be given a primetime slot (Sunday through Thursday) for their own version of “American Idol/ X Factor/ The Voice/ (you get the point)”.
  • Each week, there would be a different topic debated among the candidates.
  • The following week, a candidate would be voted off via America’s vote.  Go back to previous step and repeat until each network is down to one.
  • In the meantime, the entertainment shows (TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Access Hollywood) would circle like piranha looking to dig up dirt on any and all of the 50 candidates, giving us the most honest view of politicians EVER.  (Think about how much dirt they dig up on the American Idol contestants…now imagine that it matters!)
  • Once each network has one candidate, those are the people you will be voting for in November.  Each network would plug their candidate (doing away with equal time on EVERY station).
  • Each of the five networks will hold a debate with the 5 remaining candidates. (again, doing away with equal time).
  • We vote and still bitch for the next four years!  (U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!)

I believe this is the best way to get decent people back in power (or create a better class of criminal).

How Would I Fix the Deficit? (Okay, But You WON’T Like It!)

All this talk about the economy and the deficit and bailouts is driving me nuts!  And as Denis Leary once said “I have the solution.  Nobody wants to hear it, but I have it.”  And that is not less taxes, but more taxes.  More taxes and give it to the right people.

I’ll wait until you’re done yelling at your screens……….

All better?  First, there MUST be a law past stating that NO elected official receives a paycheck when the region they are covering is in a financial deficit.  In my mind, this would bring out people who actually want to HELP their people instead of line their pockets while everyone else suffers.  If they all compare their job to running a business, then they shall be paid in profit sharing.  (How about giving them shares in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, that way, they’ll be even MORE concerned about how the economy is doing.)

Second thing that must happen, all military must be brought back home.  We are in no condition to police the world.  Our troops are better served at home protecting our boarders than overseas with lives at risk over a war we cannot win.  (But that’s a different blog, altogether!)  Bringing home the troops will GREATLY reduce our defense spending (which is equal to the next 20 countries combined).  Between those two moves, that takes a huge chuck out of the budget spending.

Back to my deficit reduction idea, in the current Untied States deficit (which is around Sixteen TRILLION dollars at the time of this writing… That’s $16,000,000,000,000 for you numbers people) my idea is to create a tax schedule that mirrors the 1945 tax schedule.  Granted, the income levels are greatly reduced so I had to do some averaging of levels.

  • $8,700 or less goes from 10% to 20%
  • $8,700 to $35,350 goes from 15% to 21%
  • $35,500 to $86,650 goes from 25% to 26%
  • $86,650 to $178,650 goes from 28% to 36%
  • $178,650 to $388,350 goes from 33% to 54%
  • And folks over $388,350 goes from 35% to 78%

Now, before anybody complains about the 3rd tier only going up a single percent, what that SHOULD tell you is that tax bracket has been paying the same rate for the last 67 years!  If you’re bracket has taken a jump, it’s because the Government has taken pity on you over that time and reduced your bill.  But it’s time to step up and wipe out our debt so we can move on as a country.

This tax schedule will remain in effect until the deficit is wiped out (you can hold out that long, right?).  Then, the IRS will be shut down as income taxes will cease to exist.  We will move on to a Federal sales tax and forever do away with everybody’s April headache!

Could it be that easy?  The spending sure was!

Comparing Illegal Immigrants to Slavery? REALLY?

Let’s start at the beginning.  Here’s what I found waiting for my on my Facebook wall:

I don’t have a single thought that can carry a full blog here.  What I do have are questions and statements.

  • Whoever made this photo has NO CHANCE of remembering how it was!  It was 1609 when the first boat came over.  The Slavery Abolition Act was signed in 1833 (yes, I know it didn’t stop there but stay with me!)  So, you would have to be over 179 years old to actually REMEMBER how it was!  Was there people back in the day screaming “THIS IS WRONG”?  I bet there were, they just didn’t make the history books.
  • Next, if we are going to frame up Illegal Immigration this way, shouldn’t we realize that this is a BAD IDEA and put a stop to it?  Instead of welcoming every Juan, Jose and Pedro (I don’t know the Mexican equivalent of “Tom, Dick and Harry”, sorry) into the country and siphon off of the system that they refuse to subscribe to!
  • And IF this is a valid comparison, why hasn’t the NAACP or any other African American organization rose up and spoke AGAINST Illegal Immigration?  With the chip that still lays on their shoulders about what happened to their great, great grand folks, shouldn’t they be wanting to end such a thing?
  • If Americans DID treat the Illegals like the slaves were treated, they would run back to Mexico and build a wall keeping US out!

I wasn’t around when slavery happened.  Hell, I was barely around for full blown segregation (again, stay with me, that is a whole other debate).  I have never met anybody who witnessed the boats coming in… and neither did you!  Nobody has a direct comparison as to whether or not Illegal Immigrants have it as bad as the slaves did.

I somehow doubt it.

Resentment

I recently learned that an individual in the area was badmouthing me and my craft.  This was in an effort to make this individual appear superior to myself and any other person behind a camera.  At first, I was upset by the news.  What have I done to bring on this attack?  Apparently, they started shooting video and posting live music with interviews and told my friend that they were not doing it anymore because they weren’t getting the attention of Mid Ohio Rock Show, a YouTube channel that I Produce, Direct, Shoot and Edit.  Was THIS the reason for my attack? Is it MY fault that people weren’t watching?

I don’t spend a lot of time sitting around figuring out how to outdo anybody or keep others from reaching my “success”.  How to trip them in this perceived race we’re in.  How to add to my credibility by taking away someone else’s (by falsehoods or other means).  I don’t have the time or experience to even pretend to proclaim myself best in the City, County or State.  (I’m not even sure I’m the best in my neighborhood!)  What I do know is I enjoy shooting and editing video, taking photographs and working with graphic editors.

What keeps me awake some nights are ideas.  Ideas on how I can do MY thing better.  How I can improve for the next video.  Snap a better photograph.  Design a sweeter flyer.  I am in a race with myself.  Each time I complete a project, I am looking for the next logical hurdle to overcome.  If I happen to be outdoing somebody in the meantime, so be it.  I don’t know or care about my status against the others.  Once I am done learning (and the intelligent ones know that will NEVER happen) then I will concern myself with why am I not as good as the others.

I haven’t gone to school for anything that I do.  Everything I know about video, photos, the Adobe software series, iWhatever I’m using at the time, I have sat down, researched, and learned on my own.  I don’t have a mentor to judge how well I am doing things.  I am all on my own here.

Sure, I have my friends who also hide behind cameras that I converse with and we share ideas.  It doesn’t mean that I run home and try to take their idea and make it better (the term “better” is in the eye of the beholder, anyway…isn’t it?)

Eric Smith is one of the best photographers for family and senior photos that I have the pleasure of knowing.  I called him in to do our Wedding photos last April and we are the furthest from disappointed that you can be!  You can check him out at http://www.framedphotography.biz/

Violet Thompson’s photos of live bands have taken a HUGE leap in the past year.  She just knows how to capture the artist on stage.  She’s my still photographer for Mid Ohio Rock Show and I would completely trust her if I were a band looking for some great action shots for your promotional needs!  She doesn’t have a website but you can look her up on Facebook.

What you should take away from this is, what do you ACTUALLY achieve by bringing down somebody else?  When you do, the person you brought down suffers, and (for the sake of argument) when they pass on #1 to get to you, that just brings down the quality in general.  Would Coke and Pepsi be as good if they didn’t have each other to work against?

If people would just get out of their own way and help someone else, its amazing what could happen.  And if the “kid” you help ends up being better than you, if you’ve taught them anything in that time, they would be paying you back and paying forward in an effort to help the next generation (yes, I know that’s not a guarantee.  Just work with me here!).  What’s wrong with that?  Not everybody can be #1.  But if you can look at #1 and legitimately say “I taught them what they know” or “I got them started in this business”, isn’t that a nice consolation prize rather than resentment?

DON’T DROP ME!!!

Many years ago, when my Wife and I were just getting to know each other, we went to Cedar Point to get away from both of our pending divorces.

She is a roller coaster fanatic.  She loves the big thrill rides.

I, on the other hand, do NOT like the sensation of being thrown around.  I’m a big boy, I am not used to it happening.  Period.  Back off!

So she talked me into going on the Power Tower.  For those of you who don’t know, there are four different legs to this thing.  Two pull you to the top and drop you (forget THAT noise!) and the other two shoot you up from the ground.

I must have been blinded by love because I agreed to ride it with her.  Back then, there was plenty of time to decide whether you were going to get dropped or shot into the atmosphere.  All I knew is I did NOT want to be dropped.  I watched the red side get shot into the sky.  I must have been mesmerized by the TIE Fighter like sound it was making on that side (My Star Wars friends will TOTALLY get that.  AND that sound no longer exists, much to my dismay).  They went up and I looked at my girl, amused by the sound.  So, in an attempt to impress the new lady in my life, I said let’s go up!

“Sure about that?”  She asked with a little smile.  I should have paid attention to it at the time.  I didn’t know I was getting set up!

Well, we got strapped in, I was pretty smug thinking “Yeah, I TRICKED you, Power Tower, you ain’t dropping me.  And just as the guy said “clear”, it donned on me… what do you think is going to happen once you reach the top?

BANG!

Off we went!

Now what seemed like a second from the ground afterward, when we reached the top, we were weightless for, oh, two, maybe three hours.  I was kicking and would have been screaming had I been able to take a breath.  All I could see is Lake Erie.  All I could hear was my girl saying  “Just relax!  Breathe!” through her laughing. (Thanks, dear).  And once my lungs were able to take in air again, it happened.

ZIP!

Screaming back down toward Earth to my death…. or it may as well have been!  If I’m going to fall THAT far THAT fast, just let me hit!  Thank God I have a strong heart because I was putting it through a workout that day!  At this point, I looked over at my girl and saw she also couldn’t breathe.  For a moment, I was sympathetic to her condition, as I was experiencing it, as well.  That lasted a brief second as I realized it was from her laughing so hard at my torment!

“I HATE YOU!”

Just more laughter.

That should have been the end right there.  I should have dumped her.  Why would you DO that to someone?  That’s not how you treat someone you’re interested in!  You sicko!

Ten years later, I married the woman who tried to kill me.  She’s given me more thrills than any amusement park to provide.  Ten great years and two children later, we still laugh about that day (her more so than me).

And now, as if to come full circle, I just got to experience my Daughter taking HER first ride on the Power Tower with her Mom.  My stomach still turns just watching the other riders these days.  All I heard was giggling all the way up and back down.  She handled it better than I did.

Way Better.

Obama… thanks for coming to town, now pay your bill!

When someone raises millions upon millions of dollars to run for President and then comes to a city that has been in fiscal emergency for TWO YEARS and then sticks that city with the bill for all the preparations and security needed for him, that my friends is messed up! (Yes, I am toning that phrase down!)

Now, Team Obama may still step up and pay the city but as of right now, there is no talk, no offer, no nothing.  What the hell is all that money he is raising for?  Oh yeah, the less he spends, the more he can keep afterwards.  GRRRRRR!  How can you seriously ask me to vote for you when you further cripple my city?  Why don’t you just go ahead and close the airport right after you leave like your Administration wants to do?

As you know, I am not a big supporter of the two party system.  They have totally had their way with us and it is time to change the song in this dance!  The two step is over!

So, I found a website called iSideWith.com and after a short quiz, it tells you who your values match up with the best.  Below, is a screen capture of my results.  Gee, what a surprise!

Now I’m not going to get on the Libertarian Soap Box in this blog, but I AM going to ask you to go to that site and learn who you should ACTUALLY be leaning toward.  Before this, I thought I was leaning toward Obama… guess not.

So, to wrap up this quick blog, here’s a couple images for you!

What Defines You?

During a trip home from an outing with friends, a conversation came up that stuck with me. One of my friends was upset by the actions of an individual who’s only goal in life is to let EVERYBODY know he’s gay. (Stay with me this is NOT about homosexuality!) My friend doesn’t have a problem with the belief itself, but rather that the belief is the sole identity of the individual.

For the purpose of having a segue from my previous post…

Is there ANY difference between the two? Two humans kissing in protest. Are they truly for the cause that has spawned he protest? Or are they the subjects to photos because they want EVERYBODY to see them?

How many of you HATE those mushy couples that can’t seem to get their hands off of each other? You know, the ones that make you say “Get a room!” Guess what, some gays are just like that, too. It’s a human trait, not a sexual preference one. The difference is intolerance. And intolerance isn’t necessarily the fault of the “hater”. Sometimes the aggressor is the “victim” by throwing their traits in the face of the world at every open moment. (again, think of the heterosexual couple flaunting their passion for each other in front of you)

If I were to run up into your face as often as I could and yelled “GO BROWNS!”, sooner or later, you’ll want to punch me. But if I just wear the team colors and say nothing, you probably won’t even notice, let alone care. (Unless you’re a Steelers fan….then it’s game on! lol) The point is, aggression will be met by equal or greater resistance regardless of what the subject matter is.

I understand not wanting certain elements around you. I don’t like Indian food. I don’t go to their restaurants. That doesn’t mean I start a movement where ALL Indian restaurants must be shut down! Yes, you encounter the “unwanted” elements in the Media. As George Carlin once said “There are two knobs. One changes the channel. And the other….SHUTS IT OFF!”

Back to how you’re defined, some folks don’t have many hats to wear. Some are “pigeon-holed” into one classification by the public.

A minority is “wronged”:

A question of biblical morals arises:

A debate about the use of Steroids arises:

Fact is, people are multi-dimentional. It’s what you broadcast to the world that could make your personality seem one-dimentional.

This commercial used to run on the USA Network. It’s one of my favorites.

What are you? What are you KNOWN for by those around you? Are you a single-dimentional person? Or are you known as many things?

Me? If that video were mine:

  • I am an adopted child
  • I am a Parent
  • I am a business owner
  • I am a video maker
  • I am a photographer
  • I am a Libra
  • I search for balance and fairness (notice I said that differently than FOX news!)
  • I support local music
  • I support those who strive to achieve

Back to Characters Unite, this is their most recent movement:

Shouldn’t we ALL be joining this movement?

And now for my curveball. After all of this “what labels make you?” talk. Why do we have (and cling to) labels? All they have done are separate us. Sure, the labels hang out together but that is hardly unity, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s time to “get past the labels”.

Check out the video via this link: http://www.charactersunite.com/programming/psas/labels

Black, White, Gay, Straight, Asian, Polish, Irish, Mexican… does it REALLY matter? In my list, did I give you a hint as to my ethnic background, gender, sexual preference? No. I told you about me, the person inside. Isn’t that what REALLY matters? I have had friends who happened to be Black, White, Gay, Straight, Irish, Polish, Indian, British, Canadian, Korean, Mexican, Male, Female, Handicapped, Gifted, Special, and some plagued with diseases we don’t fully understand. The one thing they ALL have in common is, I am their friend.

Friends and Family. Aren’t THOSE the labels we should care about?

It’s all about CHARACTER, not labels. And for one final comment: