Archive for September, 2007

Big Brother is Watching You

September 25, 2007

For those of you who don’t know, my favorite book of all time is 1984. I have read it five and a half times (I couldn’t finish it again this summer before coming to school), and I am just absolutely in love with it. The title of this entry comes from the book. This slogan is plastered on every sign throughout the country: Big Brother is Watching You.

The idea of being watched over by our higher government powers is something quite frightening, at least to me it is. History has shown us time and time again that dictators often take totalitarian control of a country because they are “doing what’s right for the citizens”. They are not scrutinizing the people’s every move for any personal gain, but for the good of the country. When citizens do not know how to make their own valid choices, the government steps in to lend them a hand. Often, this can begin in the most subtle ways.

I believe it was two days ago when CNN did a wonderful documentary titled, “America’s Killer Diet”. It opened with depicting a young, Jamaican boy who had gained weight exponentially since coming to the U.S. The story was heart-wrenching and very sad to watch. The documentary continued with showing the various ways in which America’s diet, to put it bluntly, murders us. The saturated and transitive fats, the calories, the carbs, the processed garbage- it destroys our health.

One of the big problems CNN touched on was the amount of Omega 6 oils consumed by U.S. citizens. Omega 6 oils are essential to our diets, but not in large quantities. They are found in the form of soybean oil, and over-consumption of these oils cancels out our consumption of very important Omega 3 oils, found in certain types of fish, almonds, avocados, etc. (As a side note, check the food labels on your next meal; you’ll be shocked to see how many things contain soybean oil).

Anyway, the documentary proceeded to interview various nutritionists, doctors, and lobbyists regarding the excess amounts of Omega 6 oils in everything we eat. One woman even went to far as to assert that the government should prohibit these oils from being so widely used, even suggesting banning them completely as a concern for public health. She then continued to say, “I guess that sounds something like a nanny state, but if that’s a nanny state… haha well then so be it.”

The gears in my head came to a screeching halt. WHAT?! “If that’s a nanny state then so be it,”?!?!?! I truly cannot believe how often people are so willing to let government creep so far into their lives. This woman told CNN, told the country, that she believes that it is okay for the government to dictate WHAT WE EAT. It is not as if America has stopped importing a certain kind of crop from another country because the country has been using toxic pesticides…No. This is completely different.

This woman has said, in so many words, that citizens cannot make their own healthy choices, so the government needs to make them for us. False. I am taken back to ever-enduring words of Benjamin Franklin who said, “Those who are willing to give up a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security deserve neither and will lose both.” You said it, Ben.

If you are willing to stuff your face with McDonald’s four times a week, please do not come crying to the Supreme Court that you are now morbidly obese. McDonald’s, along with other multi-million (multi-billion?) dollar fast food corporations are doing what they do to make a buck. Your own choice was to down a Big Mac instead of munching a carrot. Your prerogative was to grab the large fries as opposed to a yogurt. YOU PICKED the milk shake, the fried chicken, the cookies, the deep frying, the whatever. You chose it; you deal with it. I do not for one second believe in condemning the fast food industry for the obesity of the American people. So many individuals find the strength to say no; why can’t you? So many others find the energy to hit the gym a couple times a week; why can’t you?

If we tell the government, “Hey, it’s fine with us. Step in and dictate what we may eat; make us thin again through restriction on foods,” what kind of barrier have we taken down? How far will that allow the government to go until we’ve decided it’s gone “too far”? From that point, where do we draw the line?

To the mother of the Jamaican boy who was somewhere between 10-12 years old (I cannot remember)… suffering from high blood pressure, sky-rocketing cholesterol, and teetering on the border line of diabetes… Where were you through all of this? Why didn’t you ever say to your son, “You’re eating poorly. You’re gaining weight. You’re not exercising. You need to change your habits, or I’m going to change them for you,”? It was her job as a mother to take care of her son’s health, and I feel like she failed to do so. However, she is now able to blame it all on our country’s food products, get some time on a CNN documentary, and earn some extra cash for her and her son’s appearance.

God bless America.

Email forward reveals what thousands of years of philosophy could not!!!

September 17, 2007

So I’ve confided in a family member of mine (relation will be withheld for privacy) with some tensions I’ve been having with Catholicism and Christianity as of late. While I in no way am renouncing my faith or anything drastic, I’ve simply been contemplating anything and everything that I can.

In response, I received this email forward. I have done absolutely NO editing to what was sent to me. My personal comments are in blue:

KNOW THESE FACTS?
Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!
Make a personal reflection about this…..

Very interesting, read until the end…..
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7):

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.

Here are some men and women
who mocked God :


John Lennon (Singer):

Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said:

“Christianity will end, it will disappear.
I do not have to argue about
that. I am certain.
Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more famous than Him” (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.
Um, how long after Lennon said these things was he shot? Lennon died in 1980, fourteen years after this statement was made. What a valid conclusion the writer came to.


Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):

During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died .

Isn’t Brazil considered a developing nation? Disease, sickness, etc. are not a rarity there. He also died over a month after becoming ill. Not one day.


Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):

During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ), while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: “God, that’s for you.”

He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.

I do enjoy that the author made sure to include that this man was bi-sexual. So not only did he blow smoke up toward God, but he also lived a disgusting life of sin. Is there a “good manner” in which one would die from AIDS? Just wondering.


The man who built the Titanic

After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be.

With an ironic tone he said:
“Not even God can sink it”

The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic ..

Ah yes. To punish “the man who built the Titanic” God chose to kill 1,450 innocent people, just to teach him a lesson!


Marilyn Monroe (Actress)

She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.
He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.
After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said:
“I don’t need your Jesus”.

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment ..

The fact that Ms. Monroe had many affairs in the course of her life, all while being a giant sex symbol in American culture probably had nothing to do with the fact that she was murdered.

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:
“Don’t stop me, I’m going down all the way, down the highway to hell”.

On the 19th of February 1980 , Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

What a peculiar way for rock stars of the 70’s and 80’s to die: as a result of a drug and alcohol binge. Completely unheard of!

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas , Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend…..
The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car:

“My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You..”
She responded: “Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside Here…..It’s Already Full ”

Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died,
the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact.

The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken .

Why did the mother let the daughter travel in this drunk stupor again? Surely, she is not to blame! God’s vengeance came down upon the girl… although he did spare her eggs!

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer) said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.
In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.

To be fair, it’s not the most interesting book…

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive

“Jesus”

P.S: If it was a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are you going to have courage to send this?.

No. I would not have sent this to everyone if it was a joke. I choose not to bother people with annoying email forwards, thank you.

I have done my part, Jesus said

“If you are embarrassed about me,
I will also be embarrassed about you before my father.”
“And I’ll have him kill you by having you strangled, shot, or giving you AIDS.”

You are my 8 in 8 seconds. I am not breaking this. No way!
Yeah! No way!

I’M TOLD THIS WORKS!!!!! Bishop T.D. Jakes “8 Second Prayer.” Just repeat this prayer and see how God moves!!

“Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

All you have to do is say this prayer and don’t bad mouth God, and you’ll be in heaven for sure! Do whatever the hell else you want, but this will save you!

Pass this message to 8 people {EXCEPT YOU AND ME}. You will receive a miracle tomorrow. I Hope that you don’t ignore and let God bless you ..

I’m not even going to comment on this. It’s too easy…

So, here I am again, ranting about religion. It’s funny, really it is. It’s funny that God chooses to violently murder people who speak ill of Him, but JonBenet Ramsey’s killer(s) wanders free. I guess this shows us the real way to appease God: sweet talk. I’m sure Ramsey’s killer prays to God every night asking that he/she/they will never be caught. It seems to have worked.

If only John Lennon had praised Christianity a little more thoroughly, he would still be alive today. I wonder if Abraham Lincoln said the Bible was outdated or something. God got angry, sent John Wilkes Booth on his ass. That explains a lot.

I think the worst part is that the people who write this stuff to promote Christianity miss entirely what Christianity is about. I could have sworn Jesus was saying something about that infinitely loving and forgiving God… You know, you turn your back on Him, but he never turns his back on you? Something like that. Instead, the author of this piece truly believes that God, a being that is beyond human comprehension, beyond the capacity of the human mind, gets pissed off when someone talks garbage and decides to have that person wacked.

To anybody with any sort of intellectual mind, this should not make a lick of sense. I responded to this family member and asked her not to send me things like this anymore, and she merely replied with, “Sorry to see that you have not gotten off of your soapbox yet.”

Ah yes. My soapbox. As I struggle to figure out my faith, as I aim to wrangle with the meaning and significance of Christianity, I am merely standing up on a soapbox.

Well, email forward, I guess you’re right: I don’t know the facts. I didn’t know that the God I was worshiping will give me AIDS if I insult him. I did not know that God kills humans out of anger, despite all refutations of such a notion in the New Testament. I was unaware that God would even concern himself with killing those people, while letting rapists, murderers, child abusers, torturers, terrorists, whatever, roam free over the green earth. I really did not know. Thank you for curing me of my ignorance. It was a plague on my very soul. I will be sure to write to every theology teacher I have ever had (there are six, I believe) and let them know that they are wrong. I will speak with the Pastor of my church and recommend that he work this information into a sermon sometime (this is important for everyone to know). Most importantly, I will be sure to, in my own mind, know the character of the God that I have been worshiping all my life.

Philosophers dating back to the time of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have been struggling to determine the true nature of that which creates and guides the universe, but finally, this author has figured it out.

If ever there was a post on which I sought comments, this is it.
Please. Tell me I’m wrong; tell me you hated it; tell me you don’t believe in a God period.
I just want some responses. I just want discussion.

A Low Expectation of our Generation

September 16, 2007

I’m currently taking a Business and Politics class for the fall semester at Marquette, and while some of the concepts are difficult for me to grasp, I have found the class to be quite beneficial and interesting all around. However, it’s one of those classes that wakes you up to reality. Unlike the Philosophy of Human Nature or Introduction to Sociology (two of my other classes), my Business and Politics class gives a vivid presentation of where America stands in the world, how it got there, and where it is going. While my teacher is absolutely a liberal man, I respect greatly that he presents both sides of every issue and opens the door for class discussion and deliberation so that we can figure out on our own terms how we feel about a certain subject.

Curiously enough, this liberal PhD-holding-professor has had us read a significant chunk of the book, The World is Flat: A brief history of the world, by Thomas Friedman. If you have not read the book, I strongly recommend it. It is captivating, informative, and eye-opening. Friedman begins the book by describing how he sees the world as flat. Technology has allowed the United States to set up call centers in India that operate during our evening hours. These call centers deal with questions and inquiries by the myriads from American and European consumers. Doctors may digitally send X-rays or MRI reports to the East to be read by Indian doctors who, again, are in the middle of their work days as ours comes to a close. This not only offers our American doctor a second opinion of a report, but also allows him to leave the office at 5:00 or 6:00 to get home to his family and rest up.

The world is flattening. We are closer to each other than ever before, while still remaining oceans apart.

Keeping in mind the fact that we are now so close to our Asian neighbors, it is thus important to realize that the playing field has expanded exponentially, and this is something that should be very unsettling for my generation and the ones to follow here in America. The college-bound and college-educated in China and India are bolting with extraordinary diligence to the top. The Asian education systems pump millions of fantastically educated, incomparably motivated young go-getters who are ready and willing to bump us American kids out of the jobs to which we feel inherently entitled. While we American students, myself included, feel burdened and overworked by our 15 credit hours, part time jobs, and one, maybe two extracurriculars, our Asian counter-parts are working ’round the clock on academics and advancing their careers, putting effort into their every aspect of living that is not so common now a days in our U.S. universities.

My Business and Politics professor put this phenomena rather well: You’re in your own little cocoon right now, and within that cocoon, you have created this little world for yourself in which you succeed, but you never take the time to notice that all around that cocoon people are beating in the walls. And soon, you won’t have that protective wall all around you anymore and you’ll know what real competition is.

Looking around my very own dorm, this scenario comes to life. Every day I watch 18, 19, 20 year olds take a $37,000/year education and nonchalantly throw it to the dogs, but ironically enough, even with a 2.5 GPA, these young adults will still come out of school and get good, maybe even great jobs. We can’t count on that happening anymore. I think Friedman put it very well in his book when he stated, “In China, when you’re one in a million, there are 1,300 other people just like you.” Americans just seem to take education for granted, even though it’s one of the most important things we can possibly do for ourselves, and we no longer strive for excellence, just mediocrity.

The playing field is expanding, and the best of the best are going to be the ones to put on the uniform. There is less room for second stringers nowadays, and that becomes increasingly more frightening as it seems that Americans are turning into those second stringers.

Usually I try to come up with some sort of answer, or at least a valid response to whatever given problem I discuss, but I’m at a loss for this one. Of course, I would recommend more money in education (as anyone who reads this thing even once in a while would know), but I’m not sure what else should be done. How do you change the mentality of an entire generation?

Thoughts? Suggestions?

P.S. Enjoy this fun fact:
At 12:34 on Sunday, September 16, 2007, the war in Iraq has cost the United States $452,045, 151,134. Instead, the U.S. could have provided 21,914,160 students four-year scholarships at state universities. Nice. http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_content&Itemid=207&id=322&task=view