Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pardoning The Turkey: A Tradition of Injustice

This Thanksgiving, a day where we give thanks for our blessings before we go out and buy new things for which to give thanks and thus bless the nation's bottom line, I could have chosen to blog about the top ten things I'm thankful for, or have posted the words of Abraham Lincoln from when he commenced this national day of thanks. Or something else that would leave you with a warm feeling inside to put you asleep after eating turkey with tryptophan. (at least I like to think it was the tryptophan) But my conscience wouldn't allow it.

No, instead I choose to address the traditional presidential pardon of a turkey. This is an egregious injustice. What crime did the turkey ever commit? Unless all the turkeys are enemy combatants being detained without habeas corpus then they have committed no crime. That the turkey should be pardoned brings shame upon him and his family, everyone suspecting the worse about him, asking what he did to deserve a pardon. Far better is it to be a cooked turkey with a good reputation than a turkey at a petting farm with shame cast upon him.

Why is not PETA outraged that a turkey is being pardoned for a crime it never committed and of which it was never convicted? Do they have something they care about more than the shame of an individual turkey? Obviously PETA tolerates this injustice because if a turkey is pardoned, that makes a turkey a person. They would be exuberant if a turkey was committed of a crime. Pardoning a turkey is a slippery slope to turkey citizens. We must put an end to this unconstitutional act. If turkeys are citizens with rights, then we can't kill and eat them. That would be cruel and unusual punishment. The real cruel and unusual punishment, not being able to eat them.

This is why I will not vote for a vegetarian president. If the president can pardon one turkey, he could theoretically pardon them all. Hell, he could pardon all our livestock, and I like meat way too much to let that happen.

On a related note, I wish we had gone with Benjamin Franklin's idea. He wanted the turkey to be the national bird. You know what that would have meant, succulent bald eagle for Thanksgiving Dinner. The turkey was going to do well regardless. But the bald eagle, if we were able to eat it wouldn't be endangered. Why's that? Because there would be bald eagle farms to provide us with bald eagle meat, keeping them around.

I hope your conscience is not too troubled but this evil, if it is, drown out your woe with food if you haven't already. Remember, don't actually eat bald eagle, its against the law. (put in on advice of legal counsel) As for me, I'm thankful for those of you who read this blog. I leave you with the final words of Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. "In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting Your Fair Share

As you are surely aware by now, especially if you are a watcher of Late Night TV, the Writer's Guild is on strike. As I am not in the Writer's Guild, I am glad to be able to inform you my blog is not affected by this as I am not a member. They are on strike because they want a share of the profits from DVD and Internet sales.

It is true that media is changing and I can understand their viewpoint. At first I was sympathetic. But, it occurred to me that just because you do a job doesn't give you a right to the profits from your work after that. That's why you get a pay check. I'm in engineering, and I won't get a cut of the profits from the product I'm working on. You don't see me on a picket line complaining. You should ask yourself if you are getting the benefits of your work long after you do it.

There are many other jobs were this is the same case. Take it when a doctor saves your life. Does he get a cut of your pay that results from you're continuing to get to work? In some cultures (don't ask me which ones) when you save someone's life they owe you a life debt. (like with Chewbacca and Han Solo) Perhaps doctors should get some of that debt that you owe them in the form of garnished wages. Its only fair.

What's our greatest asset? People. Specifically our children. Who makes them besides of course their parents, teachers. If teachers are making our greatest products, better than DVDs and iTune downloads, should they not get rewarded for their long lasting work as well? So writers, you've brought me around to your side, but only after you give that English teacher who encouraged you to write in the first place (or mocked you and made you write just to spite him) part of your salary, until you die.

Think about it. This could really revolutionize teacher compensation. If teachers get their fair share of the income of their students, they would be really motivated to care about their students for the long run and would go the extra mile to help them, tutoring them, mentoring, etc. Rewards based on grades and test scores don't mean much, bad teachers can either grade easy or give students answers during tests. But when corporate America is judging student success, its out of teachers' hands and they can't be wrong. It wouldn't matter if a student is from a rich, middle-class, or poor family, teachers would expect them to become productive members of society. (But God forbid not teachers; that wouldn't get them much later down the road.) And think of the potential for teacher's pay to increase. If you taught the next Bill Gates, you would get quite a bonus. This could turn teaching around and attract the best, most qualified people. Schools would not be satisfied with mediocrity. Of course this would be grandfathered in. Its about time we invested in our children.

Why stop there? Why not literally invest in our children. If we incorporate a child, we can then sell stock in that child to fund their education, in exchange for dividends, aka a cut of their income. So, I'm going to incorporate myself. If I can't sell stock in myself then I'm not free, and we live in America. (This has the added benefit of my qualifying for corporate tax rates, making my expenses business expenses and thus tax deductible, and limiting my liability. I didn't run over that person, ME Incorporated did, and they happen to not have any money, having paid it to their CEO, me.) $100 buys you one share in me, which will be .01% of my future income, so $1,000,000 total. (Don't tell my prospective investors but when I sell all my shares I'll invest it in the stock market, quit working and live off the growth since I won't get any of my income anyways. But shh. Although I should probably stay the majority stock-holder, lest I lose control over myself.) The stock price of good students would of course naturally be higher. This would encourage investors to look for undervalued students, those under-performing but with great promise, and help them do well. The lower the stock price of a student, the greater the potential gain. It's a win-win situation. Of course make sure you diversify. Emerging markets are doing great, so I'm thinking the most money to be had is in third-world children.

Writers, I hope you're happy about advocating selling stock in children. If you're not I'd say feel free to post otherwise but you'll be crossing the picket line. Silence will be taken as tacit agreement.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Corporate Sponsorship of Campaigns - Good Idea or Great Idea?

You may have heard about the popular host of the Colbert Report Stephen Colbert's presidential bid coming to a tragic end. Sadly, the Democratic party of South Carolina rejected his bid to run in their primary despite being wined and dined. I was quite disappointed, but I'm not focusing on my democratic rights being trampled on by the Democrats. I'm here to talk about his "The Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert Nacho Cheese Doritos' 2008 Presidential Campaign."

"The Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert Nacho Cheese Doritos' 2008 Presidential Campaign" is in my opinion a novel, ingenious idea that could, unlike the McCain-Feingold Bill, bring about true reform in the way campaigns are financed and ran. Questions were raised about the legality of Doritos sponsoring "The Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert Nacho Cheese Doritos' 2008 Presidential Campaign," as corporations aren't suppose to give money to candidate's campaigns, but I see no problem. (He changed it to the "The Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert Nacho Cheese Doritos' 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage.") Corporations already find ways to support candidates who's platforms align with their goals, or to buy them off, whether by forming Political Action Committees or telling their employees to make donations. If that's the case, which it is, then how would it not be better to have candidate's wear their supporters on their sleeves? For example, many accuse the Bush administration of having close ties to Halliburton, so what would have been wrong with the Halliburton's Non-Bid Contract for America Bush-Cheney Quail Hunt for the White House 2008 Presidential Campaign? At least you would know where their interests lie. (Yes I know the Contract for America was from 1994, but I couldn't resist)

But there is an even better reason for having corporate sponsorships of campaigns. When its a corporate sponsorship its no longer about a quid pro quo for if and when their candidate is elected, (I paid for your campaign, you pass this bill that happens to help out our bottom line) but about advertisement. Do you really think Doritos was supporting Colbert's campaign so that when he was elected president he would be pro-junk food? (Not banning Doritos in vending machines in public schools, etc.) Of course not, he was only running for president in one state, that would never happen. (If he was running in every state though, he might have had a shot, his supports would be voting two, three times for him on election day if he asked.) Doritos just wants people to buy their product. It doesn't even really matter whether a candidate wins or loses, as long as their name is out there. Thus, if we allowed outright corporate sponsorship of campaigns, we remove corruption from the political process, and at the same time stimulate the economy by encouraging Americans to do what they do best, consume.

And finally, why stop at corporate sponsorship of campaigns? Why not help fund our democratic process by having everything from the Pepsi Presidential Debates, the Capital One Capitol Building, the McCain-Verizon Straight Talk Express, to the Nabisco Democratic Convention. (the last one I stole from NBC's the West Wing) We could use the money to help pay down the National City National Debt. I propose all these reforms be made into law in the RoundUp Weed Out Corruption Campaign Reform Bill. After all, can we expect our businesses to be good corporate citizens if they can't contribute to campaigns like citizens?

(I just proposed corporate sponsorship of campaigns, I'm not above corporate sponsorship of my blog. So if your interested, arrangements can be made.)