Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Martha Burk is a Fool

31.03.2003 (4:40 pm) – Filed under: Men's Rights,Sports ::

Something that irked me like crazy all of last year has recently poked its foolish little head back to the surface: the National Council of Women’s Organizations — led by chairwoman Martha Burk — and Jesse Jackson are still attempting to bully Augusta National golf club into admitting a female member. As anyone with a lick of common sense will tell you, there’s no reason on Earth why a private club should admit anyone they care not associate with.

With the war in Iraq, the aforementioned browbeaters are keeping a lower profile that they would otherwise. But make no mistake: Burk wants to jam this vendetta down Augusta’s throat, no matter what the majority of Americans think. Now, the only reason this issue garnered attention in the first place is that the press is biased towards Burk’s position.

Witness USA Today. In their own poll, they found “the overwhelming majority supporting Augusta National’s position”. Yet this paper published a piece in which all four of their writers took the opposing point of view. No supporting argument was considered. The moral of the story: think, make up your own mind, then consider the media’s position. Not the other way around.

Balance That Budget

31.03.2003 (4:24 pm) – Filed under: Finance,Politics ::

I am loving the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the government over the budget shortfalls. As an IT professional, I’ve been fortunate to have made a decent living in my career, even in the era of failed dot-coms that never should have been started to begin with. Still, I have to manage a budget each and every month. In fact, I am currently scraping and re-painting my house myself to economize; there’s a recession on, you know.

It’s about damn time Uncle Sam and Auntie State had to do the same thing. The balanced budget amendment was passed for a reason – fiscal responsibility. An individual who borrows and lives beyond his/her means is a fool. What does that say about people who vote for fools who regularly do the same thing in our capitals?

A Soldier’s Wage

31.03.2003 (7:48 am) – Filed under: Military ::

They reported on what I thought was something odd: the Red Cross is having a hard time meeting demand for aid for the families of the troops overseas. Now it’s a good thing that the Red Cross exists and is helping these families; however, it’s a sad commentary on the state of this country’s priorities that a large percentage of the families of fighting men must depend on charity to make ends meet.

The fact is that these guys and gals earn about squat as a base salary. I understand there’s a hazardous duty pay standard, at least I would hope that there is, but I seriously doubt that it’s appropriate compensation for having bad guys shooting at you. Am I the only one who’s noticed this? I’m hardly that observant, so what’s the deal?

Also consider those men and women who are in the reserves. They leave behind jobs that undoubtedly pay much better than their job on the front lines. But which role is more important, fighting a terrorist nation or reconciling balance sheets for big oil? There’s something wrong with this picture.

Nightmares

29.03.2003 (4:11 am) – Filed under: Child Care,Society ::

A grown man, dreaming of taking a walk through the woods and finding cats hung from trees by their necks. In my dream I blamed the act on cruel teenagers, the little shit for brains that they are. Once awake, I decided to have a look around and what do I see out my front window but a couple of neighborhood punks out for a stroll. Was my waking the result of prescience? Or just result of punks making too much noise too damn late? One can’t kill them and let God sort them out anymore; the sheriff seemed like a better bet. I have to admit they provided excellent response time, surprisingly.

Have I gotten so old and cantankerous that I must take out the frustrations of my white, middle-class, American life on innocent neighborhood strays? Or has my frustration at the seemingly constant occurrence of petty vandalism in my otherwise clean and comfortable subdivision reached the point not caring if these kids are part of the problem? Or is there simply a line that can be drawn to the effect that there’s no good reason why 15 year olds should be walking the streets at 4 am?

All things considered, the answer is a rather dull-witted Yes. Where are the parents of these children? Asleep in their beds one block over, the nuclear family personified but for junior’s early morning hijinx? Or does daddy live with his secretary now while mommy works overtime at a low-paying job to make ends meet, leaving junior with no adult supervision? Is that important, or is it simply the behaviors that matter?

The bad behavior of our youth has easily surpassed that of my day (and by that we’re talking about the early 1980s). We are all aware of the violence teenage hoodlums perpetrate on society. By and large this is done by boys, girls generally preferring the more sedate rebellion of sleeping around and getting pregnant, and is very often pre-meditated activity. They know what they are doing is wrong and they do it anyway.

Where are their parents in all of this? Pursuing the American dream of a house, a wife, 2.1 kids, and a pickup truck with air-conditioning? Determined to make money to the extent that the very things they should be trying to achieve are ignored? As one caught in that very cycle, to a certain extent, I can say with some perspective that things are not so cut-and-dried as that. But the basic problem is not less real due to its ambiguity. Here it is, in plain English: parents don’t spend enough time with their kids.

That’s a simple truth. Deride me for being obvious, decry me for ignoring the pressures of modern American life, say what you will. The root of the problem with kids in any day and age is that simple. Whether parents are trapped in positions where they simply don’t have the time to fulfill their primary duty or whether they simply don’t give a fuck, it amounts to the same thing.

Iraq Too Hard, Some Say

21.03.2003 (7:33 pm) – Filed under: Iraq ::

What’s up with the doomsayers and their feeble whinings over the war in Iraq? Leaving aside for the moment whether the U.S. of A. should be there or not, did anyone seriously expect the dogfaces to simple stroll into Bagdhad and be handed to keys to the city?

On the day of the invasion, I came downstairs dressed for the salt mines, a subject which I will complain at length about later, I assure you, to find my wife watching CNN. “We’re at war,” she said in a downcast tone. “It won’t be much of a war,” I replied cavalierly, envisioning a 6-8 week rumble in the desert.

Now I hear that many geniuses expected the fighting to be over by now. These are undoubtedly the same people who think voting for supporters of higher taxes and bloated social programs is a good idea. Wake up, folks. It’s just getting started. Even after we shatter Sodamn Insane’s formal army like cheap china, there will be enough cowardly skulkers hiding among the citizens of Iraq to keep the country from stabilizing for a long time after.

That’s what we have to look forward to. Should we be there? More on that later, too. But our men (and women, shamefully) are there, in harm’s way, because the people with the most information believed that was the right thing to do. Question the decision if you will, but at the end of the day, 43 made the call and anyone who says they would have done it differently is merely an armchair quarterback.