Archive for October, 2007

Day 238 – Day 240




Day 239 – Resting

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

Having my Rebel XT here is great, at least it gives me something else to do. Sometimes I wish I had one of my zooms out here, but I think I’ll get by just fine with the 28mm f/1.8 I have here with me now. In other news, I got accepted to Texas State University, so that’s a big weight off my shoulders. Admittedly I was mildly concerned I hadn’t submitted applications to enough schools, and might find myself lacking acceptance letters upon redeployment. There wasn’t really a plan of action should such a thing have happened, but I guess that isn’t even almost a problem.

rawr

Someone has decided uploading to Flickr is bad, and I have decided that pisses me off. I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, enjoy a lack of photos. That last bit is particularly irritating because I have my Rebel XT out here now. RAWR.

update: looks like it works again the right way, which doesn’t worry me much as I’ve got other ways to do it.

A Climate for Change?

Any doubts that the present sociopolitical climate is pointing towards major change, exists only in the minds of those removed from reality. Often, change is called for by a minority, one seldom represented by the leading congressional party. Today, members of both major political parties are sure of one thing, change is required. At the head of this heated political battle are a failed congress, a largely unpopular war, and ever rising global tensions. With the climate set, one has to ask what it really takes to effect a change.

Many assumed, albeit incorrectly, that voting in a congress run by Democrats would initiate profound change in our political forecast. Clearly then, voting in the other guy does not necessarily mean you are also voting in the better guy. This happens largely due to voter ignorance, those that stand by one solitary party, or swing to the other side of the isle should the actions of their last choice fail to impress. Voting is a right that should be exercised with care. Voting is certainly a means to effect change, but those wielding the power of a vote have an obligation to cast that vote in an educated manner.

We live in a world overflowing with information. Unfortunately, a good deal of that information is erroneous, much to the point of fraudulence. The voting population of this nation is old enough to be aware of the proper process by which research is conducted, and should be able to spot fraudulent information. In what is a sad reflection on our society, a troubling number of voters actually embrace blatant fabrications as the diction of $DIETY. If the relevance or accuracy of information is of no concern, for the sake of thorough examination, at least seek out a variety of sources.

Fortunately, the business of our congress is largely public record. These records are available through a number of media, the most readily accessible being the internet. Before taking the statements of any person running for a political office as fact, take a moment to go over their voting record online. Does that individual vote against movements you oppose? Does that individual vote in favor of movements you support? Does that individual vote at all? Our congress is a representative body charged with maintaining the freedoms of their constituency in accordance with will of the people, and the Constitution of the United States of America. To do any less is to operate in a capacity best described as derelict.

Members of congress are, in fact, human beings. As such, they lack any super powers enabling them to read the minds of their constituents. In order for our representatives to conduct their duties in a meaningful and honorable way, we the people must also be involved. The blanket of dereliction also covers the swarms of voters abstaining from congressional correspondence. In failing to make their positions on the issues at hand known to their representatives, those voters fail to enable their representatives even the possibility for planned success, irresponsibly leaving the entire process to chance alone.

This correspondence can fortunately be called information, and in this day in age sharing information could not be easier. So far as I can tell, there is a means for digital communications with every single member of our government. In the increasingly unlikely event that access to the internet is completely unavailable (for the sake of argument, I am writing this from the middle of a barren Iraqi desert), it is an absolute certainty that each of your representatives has at least one mailing address. Put those lines of communication to use. Send letters, send emails, blog your position and link your representative’s homepages as well as the pages containing specifics of the legislation in question.

Follow the activity of our government and make sure your representatives know where you stand, at a minimum, on the issues personally important to you. After the dust has settled, and the votes have been cast, see if your representative voted in a way that pleases you as a constituent. When doing this, check your ideological and emotional baggage at the gate. While your representatives have the obligation to represent their constituency, they also have an obligation to uphold the constitution. Should all things be in order, and you find yourself consistently disappointed by the actions of your representative, start researching his or her competition so that you may cast an educated vote against the incumbent in future elections.

At this point it might seem a little ridiculous to even mention this, but I’m going to do it anyway. Understanding what it means to be an active member of our political process is one thing, actually doing it is another. You can send correspondence, conduct thorough research, hell you can even launch a non-profit organization to spread the word, but it is all a waste if you do not bother to show up and vote. That should be painfully obvious by now, but election year after election year the percentage of registered voters actually casting ballots is shamefully low. As the saying goes, if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Sadly, a lack of responsibility on the part of the average voter is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Horribly inflating the supply of fraudulent information is our very own media. Often this is done in less overt ways, in things as seemingly innocent as the layout of an article, or the photographs used to depict certain candidates. The fact of the matter is that we pay attention to layout, and make judgement on things as important as credibility off of something as unimportant as a random facial expression captured at chance in far less than one second. Pay attention to the positioning of candidates in a presidential debate, those the media deems unworthy of attention are placed in the sidelines, often with far less lighting, and outside the field of view of the normal scene. The same “unworthy” candidates are not afforded a proportionate number of questions, nor are they allowed to answer without interruption from the chosen media pets. It would seem, in fact, that the “chosen” are encouraged to interrupt the “unworthy” as often as possible. Bonus points are given for interruption with a rebuttal far from the same galaxy as the original question. Print media is equally guilty, playing lap dog to the broadcast’s chosen electable with dedicated coverage of things as important as hair style and vacation plans, all the while ignoring the unworthy at all costs. When, on the rare occasion of course, something newsworthy does involve one of the “unworthy”, the story is typically small, and if any photo is included at all it is sure to be the least aesthetically pleasing available stock.

Again, the people ultimately have the power. Media, both broadcast and print, is a business. Businesses depend on sales. Successful businesses monitor their market for changing trends, and supply a product or service to satisfy the consumer. Much like the process by which voters interact with their representatives, you can interact with the media and request fair coverage. Should that request be denied or ignored entirely, you can place a vote. In fact, you can place the single most powerful vote possible in a market economy, and the ballots are found in your wallet.

From where I stand, it seems clear that the entire system is broken. All branches of government are ultimately charged with upholding the constitution, none seem too concerned with that minor detail. From a distance, and even upon closer examination, it is apparent that career longevity is the main goal of our government figures. Fortunately, we voters have the power to ensure only those truly committed to their positions can have that career longevity. We only have to organize, and exercise that power.

As far as I can tell, at least where the current field of individuals hoping for a chance to hold the title “President of the United States” is concerned, there is only one valid candidate. This proclamation comes after countless hours of research and discussion, and that individual is Dr. Ron Paul (R-TX). Far be it from me to launch an assault on those who wish to lead this nation, yet fail to execute the charge of their offices in congress on a regular basis. However, in the field of candidates there is only one man standing with a voting record that stays true to the constitution. There is no doubt at all that we need change on a comprehensive scale, and starting by electing a POTUS dedicated to upholding the constitution at all costs is a large step in
the right direction.

Day 232 – Day 234




Day 233

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

What to say, what to say? Presently I’m about halfway through another layer of my hands. How or why this happens, and only in Iraq, is beyond me – but whatever. Playing a lot of guitar tends to assist the dead stuff in its journey to the ground, so I have a legitimate excuse to sit outside and noodle around for hours. Then again, I’ve never actually needed an excuse to play guitar, typically I’d rather be playing than doing anything else.

Day 229 – Day 231




Day 231

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

The only thing really on my mind right now is how my Grandma is doing. Being stuck in this sandy hellhole while the unknown is going on back home is driving me just a little crazy, largely because I should have been a civilian again 3 months ago. Just a minor detail though really. Anyway, if you’re the praying sort – give a few up for my family.

Day 226 – Day 228




Day 226

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

Finished Starship Troopers, and I’ve gotta say that is one excellent book. All of my trusted sources inform me that the movie is pure bovine fecal matter, so I’ll probably avoid that entirely, but the book is great. The social and political sides are spot on, and a military structured in the same way would probably be a lot more efficient that we are now. Unfortunately, the adoption of anything in that book would rock the boat so hard tons of folks would fall out and drown. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, considering the current state of affairs.

Football season is in full swing, and while I never care at home, it is about all there is to do while here. We’ve got our own flag football going on, and the refs are just as blind as the pros, so that’s something. I was asleep during the Dallas v. New England game, so I didn’t get to see the disappointment first hand, all I can say is I will allow one loss – but Dallas needs to get their act together. It’s been a long decade waiting for that sixth ring. Time to bring the championship back to TX.

Day 223 – Day 225




Sunset

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

So I’m reading Starship Troopers right now, and I’m a bit amazed at how much of the social downfall written about in 1959 is a fact of life now. The chapter where Mr. Dubois is going on about an era in which corporal punishment was frowned upon, and the justice system dished out punishments consisting of nothing more than extended stays at not-so-uncomfortable state funded resorts (aka jail), is a nice description of present day. I’m sure I’ll find more to elaborate on as I finish the book, but for now I’m hungry, so I think I’m going to go eat chow.

Day 220 – Day 222




Change of Seasons

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

Well the seasons are definitely changing, the air is nice and cool in the mornings. There are clouds, and thunder too. Still nothing overly profound to talk about right now. I haven’t played guitar in a while, so I’m going to do that soon. We all know I get a little crazy when I don’t play.

For anyone interested, I’m feeling a sixth Superbowl ring for Dallas coming right up. w00t!

Day 217 – Day 219




Day 217

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

Both of my applications have been sent to their respective universities, and all of my transcripts should be on their way as well. Now I just get to play the waiting game, but considering I don’t really have anything better to be doing that isn’t a huge problem at all. One of these days I’m sure I’ll have an issue worth actually writing about, but right now I’m out of ideas. There are a bunch of nice old rifles in the “Hammer Museum” (also known as the hallway in the office), perhaps when my 350D gets here, I’ll take some photos and post those up.

Day 214 – Day 216




Day 216

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

I’m nearly done with everything I need to send off my applications. That’s really all I’ve been doing lately. A new Guitar World made it to me, and has a few jazzy bits in the back, so later I’ll break out the guitar and fiddle around with them. Nothing else really worth saying right now.

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