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Made and uploaded a few more ringtones, 448 of them now. Enjoy.

Happy Independence Day

I refuse to celebrate the 4th of July. I am proud to celebrate Independence Day.

Today, July 2nd, was the day that the Declaration was actually signed by the fifty-six brave men who affixed their signatures to this Declaration. As Ben Franklin put it so eloquently, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." Nine men did not live to hear of Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown. Many others lost their families and fortunes. So they fulfilled the last part of this Declaration:

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

If you have never actually read the Declaration, listen to this. It will be the most impactful 15 minutes of your life.

 

People can change

Everyone (should be) familiar with MLK's Mountaintop speech he gave the night before he was assassinated. The phrase where he said "he hopes one day we judge a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his 1963 book Strength to Love:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

With this in mind, I am happy to bring this article to you: White Nationalist, KKK Member Who Marched in Charlottesville Baptized by Those He Once Hated.

Ken Parker, who was part of the White Nationalists at the Charlottesville rally, was interviewed by Deeyah Kahn, a Black woman and a documentary filmmaker at the rally. Kahn listened intently and treated Parker and his views respectfully, and treated him kindly when he developed heat exhaustion. This simple act started Parker on the road to question his hate.

Some months later, Parker approached a group of Blacks having a cookout near Parker's home. He and his girlfriend walked over and started talking with them. A couple months after that, after more such conversations, Parker was giving testimony and asking for forgiveness from the members of the All Saints Holiness Church. During his testimony, he said this:

"I said I was a grand dragon [recruiter] of the KKK, and then the Klan wasn’t hateful enough for me, so I decided to become a Nazi..."

Parker then went on to join this church and become baptized in it. He then went through the painful process to have his Klan and Nazi tattoos removed.

This proves that if you want to win people to your cause, you do it by being the kind of person and leading the kind of life that others want to emulate. You don't draw people to your cause by calling them vile things or threatening violence. You meet them where they are, reach out to them and maybe when they are ready they will follow you.

My personal philosophy is to leave every person I encounter better than how I left them. I always try to show kindness, politeness and consideration, especially when I am furious at someone or something. I always have a Markism on my tongue to make the other person smile as well. I believe that if we all did this in every personal interaction, the world would be a better place. I ask that you do the same.

Watch out for this kid

Last week, I attended a CPAC365 forum sponsored by The American Conservative Union. It was very interesting, I got to see HUD Secretary Ben Carson speak and I almost got to interact with Art Laffer (of the Laffer Curve), however it seems he wrenched his back (he’s 80) and could not make the flight.

Someone I did meet was an 11-year-old young man who was covering the event like a reporter and was also interviewing people. His dad is his cameraman and driver, as they have traveled over 50,000 miles doing this since he was eight. His website is Phoenix Rising in America. I admire this young man because he was able to articulate what he wanted to do to his parents to a level that his dad left his job to pursue and help him in his quest. I wish him and his family all the best.

As a personal note, my son was a bit younger than this young man when I developed my mental health issues. My son showed similar potential in his own areas, however my illness cut off his promise because I was not there for my son and I have regretted that loss every day since. I try to help my now adult son, but that weight of his lost potential is a heavy albatross around my neck every day.

Why there is pain and suffering

I kid you not, from God Himself on why there is pain and suffering in the world:

This clip has stuck with me since I saw this movie, Oh, God! Book II in 1980. Please, carry this with you throughout your life when you experience bad times, pain and suffering. Without these to compare against, how can our happy times truly be happy?

 

Why you should do the right thing

I have long said you should do the right thing for the right reasons. I just learned about this story, Guy Finds StarCraft Source Code And Returns It To Blizzard, Gets Free Trip To BlizzCon.

This guy bought a "box of Blizzard stuff" off eBay, and in the box was a CD labeled "StarCraft Gold Master Source Code." This is the uncompiled source code that makes up the game StarCraft. A lot of things could be done with this code.

In the end, he did the right thing and returned it to Blizzard. Blizzard then sent him a copy of their new game Overwatch and $250 in store credit.

Then the other shoe dropped.

Out of the blue one day, the guy gets a phone call from Blizzard, giving him a full ride (airfare, hotel and admission) to their annual convention, BlizzCon and drinks with the staff. Oh, yeah, another box shows up at his door with multiple Razer gaming accessories, plushies and a copy of Diablo III.

Think about this the next time you're confronted with an ethical dilemma.

 

The war on work

I admire Mike Rowe. He is a rare breed of man. He is not afraid to get dirty. He is a champion for skilled labor. He laments about the crumbling infrastructure, then points to all of the young people who want to go to college. These young people come out of college, unprepared for real work because they have a degree in Comparative Icelandic Literature and zero practical skills. He is doing the Lords work, through his mikeroweWORKS website where he helps people learn skilled work. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters and all of the other good-paying skilled labor that would fix our infrastructure problems.

Here he is at a TED talk discussing this. The first 2/3rds is him waxing anecdotally about castrating sheep with his teeth (mentioning anagnorisis and peripeteia along the way) and being on a crab boat in 50 foot seas. The important part starts about 15:00 into the video.

 

 

As long as all of us look with disdain upon the skilled worker as some type of Morlock, this situation of empty factories and crumbling infrastructure will only get worse. The large, publicly traded companies who only have their eyes on beating next quarters' stock dividend predictions can include themselves in the blame for this predicament we are in. Many of our skilled labor jobs will change as things progress. There are many types of jobs that no longer exist and there are many jobs that no one could have conceived 30 years ago. However there are still many skilled labor positions that will be around for a long time to come.

It is time we laud their efforts and encourage young people to pursue the skilled trades.

This is great.

I think this article is great. It's a wonderful start and could go very far. The mayor of Albuquerque saw a homeless man with a 'Will work' sign. It gave him a great idea.

This is a program where a van drives around, looking for homeless people. The homeless people who say "yes" (over 70% of them do) get in, and they work for 5 1/2 hours doing beautification work. They get a free lunch and $45 when they are dropped off at a center where they have access to food, shelter and other services.

When a person becomes homeless, they lose many things besides a roof over their head. They lose a safe place to sleep. They lose the ability to have a place to safely store their things. The number of their possessions are literally reduced to what they can carry. They have little or no access to hygiene, or food. No refrigerator, no storing food. No stove, no preparing food, except in the most rudimentary way. For most of them, the only clothes they have are the ones they are wearing. They also lose the ability to receive Postal Mail. With them limited to what they can carry, a SS Card/birth certificate/ID to verify the persons identity is probably non-existent.

So, here is this person who wants to work. How they got there is unimportant. Where they want to be in the future is. They have skills and abilities. However their entire day is spent chasing the chance of a meal and a place to sleep for the night. They don't have the ability to clean themselves and wear clean, neat clothes for a job interview. They can't receive mail to get job offers (no more "General Delivery" at the Post Office) and most likely have no way to reliably access email, even if they have an email address. A steady job, would, by the way end their homelessness pretty quickly.

In a situation like this, you can't "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" because... you have no boots, let alone bootstraps.

I can see how a program like this can be improved. Have local businesses work with this program. If a person works a certain number of shifts, they get an interview with a business "as-is," meaning their cleanliness and condition is not a consideration in the interview. The business pays the deposit and 2-3 months rent for a furnished studio or one-bedroom apartment, having the new worker gradually repay the debt and move forward.

I have known people who have slept on the streets so long, when they get into a place of their own, it sometimes takes 6+ months before they stop sleeping on the floor with all their things in the corner behind them.

If you can, start a program like this in your town. Lift others up. Pay it forward. Do good deeds.

We should all be like this

This was brought to my attention today. I normally not supportive of posts from the Huffington Post, however in this case I will be glad to make an exception. Granted, the post was made in 2012, but The 9 Nanas are still going.

The original article, It Ain't Over: The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades, is about a group of ladies who helped others. They did it just because they wanted to help others. They were not in it for their own glory, recognition or anything like that. They would still be unknown today if they hadn't been "outed."

Just imagine what our world would be like if we helped those around us without waiting for government to do it. You don't have to do it all, do what you can. Do it to help others and that happiness will come back to you multiplied by a thousand.

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