Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Racism in Colorado Springs

Last Sunday our local newspaper ran an editorial ( I am also the guangping making comments ) on Amendment 46 on the ballot that would get rid of the equal opportunity laws that have been in place for over 30 years. They are not perfect, and there has been the tendency to hire and promote people to fill an ethnic quota rather than if they're capable for the job. They have also provided educational and job opportunities for people who would not ordinarily have been considered, because of white people's tendencies to only consider other white people.

The writer was cute and flipped the argument around, calling our present policies as racist and Amendment 46 would then create true equality, throwing 50 years of civil rights struggles out the window. He also used an example of freeing up scholarships, and if the Aryan Nation wanted to give out some to white folk only, they would then be free to do so. The writer is obviously a white guy, and probably a closet white supremest.

Having grown up on the Left Coast, and worked 21 years with the public where I had to be politically correct, I thought that things like racism was pretty much a thing of the past. And then I moved to Colorado Springs...

Yesterday afternoon I watched a trial at teen court, where teens are the prosecutors, defense, and jurors trying cases before a real judge and giving sentences along provided guidelines. A 16 year old girl who was half-black had transferred to Coronado High School, and had been having a hard time making friends. She was constantly taunted, called sand-nigger, whore, and other things so that she often feigned sickness rather than go to school. One day she snapped and punched a girl in the face... From my sister's grandkids, who are a mixture of white, black, and Hispanic, I hear other stories, and I have witnessed incidents here myself. I have also been called a racist by a couple of black people, which came as a shock. So, there is a lot of tension here.

Yes, with kids a lot of it is just being cruel to each other, but racial remarks should never be tolerated, and shows a failure of parenting. You would think that with all of the churches here that it would be a tolerant, forgiving paradise, but far from it. I'm sorry, but most evangelicals I've met here are ignorant and narrow minded, and I shudder to think that they are joined with other like-minded folk.

I've noticed that most homicides committed against strangers in public are done by lone, white males who are filled with rage and wanting to take it out on others. Often a product of restrictive, repressive, conservative environments; if they are teenagers, they usually use their schools or churches to enact their rage, and adults use work and public institutions. The shootings at Columbine High School here in Colorado has become iconic to many other teens, and has been copy-catted a number of times. We may have invested millions in education, but have ignored teaching emotional and spiritual growth to a stunted country.

- yiquan

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lamborn for Congress

I just got my first piece of political mail and it was from Doug Lamborn. This means that I will vote for him in the primary in August.

Sure, I'm not impressed with him, he's an unthinking party hack, and he's wisely avoiding debates with the other candidates. No fun there... But I haven't changed my opinions on his challengers, whom I am even less impressed with than Doug. The situation is similar to LBJ's famous comment on Somoza: He may be a sonovabich but he's our sonovabitch!

I feel that the voting process has become corrupted by people hacking into the technology, and the Republican Party needs to rebuild itself away from right wing extremism and back to a more honest and transparent way of presenting itself. The current presidential campaign is embarrassing with the same old hacks creating hit pieces against Mr. Obama. And yes, the Democratic Party needs the same kind of rebuilding. As long as our representatives are allowed to add pork to bills, get wined and dined by lobbyists, go on fact finding missions abroad without making reports to their constituents, voting on their own salaries, creating bills without sunset clauses, and not accepting term limits; then we can expect the same old, same old from those we elect.

Poor John McCain just isn't the man he was a few years ago, his mental gaffes may be from not remembering all of the scripting he now has to do, or it could be a sign of aging and oncoming Alzheimer's. We already had that with poor Ronald Reagan, how painful it was to watch his last couple of years and the efforts that went to hide it from us. My most paranoid theory is that the VP selected to run with John will be the real person the party hacks want, and that once in office, John McCain will die off... unless the choice is Dick Cheney, and then he will be content to rule and pull the strings like he has been doing for the past 8 years.

- yiquan

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Boring Week...

Not much going on this past week, I miss the media driven conflicts between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Mit Romney versus Rudy Guliani versus Mike Huckabee. I would include Ron Paul, but he's from Texas and never had a chance. Oh, and there's Bob Barr, the Republican turned Libertarian, but nobody is quoting him and I doubt if he will be in any presidential debates.

Its time to change the Grand Old Party, make it into something that actually works and can come up with good ideas for our country. The right wing has been in power for the past 8 years, and they have fucked things up beyond recognition, been mean and vindictive to anyone who criticizes them. Even now, when the administration issues policy statements, they are then parroted in John McCain's remarks and on radio and television talk shows. Its as if nobody is allowed to think for themselves, having had their brains sucked out and intimidated by the Great Satan, Dick Cheney.

Locally, our candidates for Congress are trying to knock each other out by touting how they are the most conservative because this has traditionally been a very conservative district, probably from the amount of retired military folks. But most people are a mixture of conservative and liberal ideas that lead to a more balanced middle-of-the-road. It's the insane sociopathic people that always have to adhere to some set of ideas that's been spoon fed to them, and they brand themselves as true conservatives or liberals. They spend more energy demonizing each other and shutting their ears when we could be putting that energy to good use. Unfortunately, this cutting themselves off from the ability to listen and communicate rolls over into their personal lives as well, and is the reason why their children often rebel against them. Colorado is home to the Columbine massacre, which has become iconic to disaffected teenagers, and the killings at New Life Church, where a kid went over the edge and lashed out lethally at the institution he felt was responsible for his crazy-assed parents and his upbringing. Don't get me wrong, I would have shot him, too.

Linking closed minds is often religion. I thought that California was the home state for cults, but then I moved to Colorado... If your religion creates a divisive " us " versus " them," with everyone else in the universe being " them," then you have not been saved; you have been brainwashed. The problem is that Christianity is a mystical religion and most people are ignorant about mystical states, confusing simple epiphanies with grand religious insight. There is a saying: when God wants to destroy an ant, He gives it wings... In Zen, when a person has been acknowledged to have achieved " enlightenment, " it means that they have gotten the basics down, and they are now ready to continue on the path. They don't build their lives on a single epiphany, knowing that there will be many more to come.

Having a place that fosters growth for your faith is a blessing, but often when that place gets too big for the congregation, they become a money-making institution and lose sight of their original goals. Ted Haggard was seduced by being a player in Washington, he also preached divisiveness of the spirit and became two persons: one, who was a man of an Evangelical God, and two, a man who just had to suck a dick every now and then, using a little crank to mask those feelings.

The GOP needs to become a party of ideals and ideas again, not the cynical twisting of ideals to rip off the rest of us. It needs to harness the idealistic energy of young people, which Barack Obama is doing. If we can't spark hope and enthusiasm in people, then we have become bankrupt and need to be replaced.

- yiquan

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cheese it, the Cops!

I always wondered what that phrase meant and where it came from...

Anyway, our local police have been making the news. It seems that two motorcycle police officers, who have conveniently retired before this item was leaked, were caught in an audit of daily log reports, to have copied each other's tickets in order to pad their ticket level. Of course, the police chief denies that there are no ticket quotas, they just have minimum performance standards... ya know, if it walks like a duck...

I have never lived in a city as violent as Colorado Springs, though I understand Denver is worse, and just be glad that we're not in Texas... I have never met a local policeman that I was impressed with, and two retired officers that I like a lot. But, if you start asking people you know for stories, you will end up collecting quite a lot about dishonest cops. You will find stories in every town about petty abuse of power and theft (want good drugs at your next party, invite a police officer!) But our local guys seem to have a long standing subculture that has been reinforced for over 20 years. Why they are allowed to become lazy and slothful in the performance of their duties is a subject for an investigation. Why someone wants to jeopardize their job over a lousy traffic ticket, I don't know. I do know that the new police chief, Richard Myers, is in over his level of competence. It must be demoralizing when your boss's wife is addicted to heroin...

My brother-in-law's theory for the amount of violence here is because this is a military town. We are surrounded by the Army and Air Force, and much of the population consists of retired military folk. Because of the war in Iraq, the military has lowered their standards and has welcomed recruits with criminal records. These people move here with their families, and members of those families continue in their criminal behavior. So we have innocent children being shot in drive-byes, soldiers murdering other soldiers and burglarizing the town. Gangs of adolescent and teenage kids go through townhouse parking lots breaking into and robbing cars, while their mentors sit safely out of the way in their cars. No wonder certain members of the community want to have more handguns on the street!

- yiquan

Lions and Tigers, Oh MY!

This last weekend we took a couple of grandkids to Big Cats of Serenity Springs, a refuge and home to about 105 big cats. We are talking leopards, cougars, and lots of lions and tigers. Right now there are more tigers in the United States than in the rest of the world combined. This is one of those places that every person in the Colorado Springs area should visit, to see the work that these people do, and help out with the cost of feeding the animals.

Most of these animals were rescued from people who had them as pets, or other animal facilities that were abusing them. Some came from Hollywood animal trainers, and a lot came from animal facilities in Oregon; but many came from people's homes. Evidently there is a large subculture that think it's cool to smuggle in a leopard or tiger to have as pets. The worst offenders are the illegal drug importers, and hip-hop millionaires, who haven't a clue how to take care of them after they are no longer kittens. 

One beautiful spotted leopard named Anthony was owned by a lady in Las Vegas, who kept him in a cage inside of her house. She had a stupid friend who stuck her hand inside the cage to pet Anthony, and he bit her finger off. Instead of taking her finger to the hospital to try and have the finger sewn back on like a sane person would do, she decided to go to her local Wendy's and put the finger in a bowl of chili, so she could then sue. I think we've all heard this story when it happened, but now you know how it began. The owner got rid of the leopard as soon as she heard what her friend was up to.

Another white tiger was once owned by Mike Tyson, who enjoyed getting into the cage with it and practice boxing on the cat. So, one day, Mike of course gets into the cage and boxes with his pet tiger. The tiger gets tired of this dude faking him out, and tackles Michael to the ground, and holds him down by putting his head in its jaws. He hold Mike there for over four hours until the trainer arrived. Hold very still... I asked if it was possible to buy extra portions for this guy.

I strongly suggest leaving children under the age of five years old at home. We took a four year old boy, who felt uncomfortable because many of the cats immediately started stalking him when they saw him. Since many people are incredibly lax in monitoring their children in public, it's best not to push the river, especially near Anthony's enclosure...

- yiquan


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

James Dobson is Afraid of a Black Man...

Recently, our most famous religious local personality, James Dobson, gained national attention for attacking Barack Obama's comments made in a speech two years ago. It's painfully obvious that Mr. Dobson is thin skinned and has festered over the throwaway remark until he could come up with a childish response. Or, he just chose the speech for what seemed an easy, cheap shot...

 Mr. Dobson touts himself as a child psychologist, even though he never has had a practice or has gotten a licence to practice in California or Colorado, or anywhere in the United States. He also has had no formal religious training but has grown a multi-million dollar empire dispensing advice as a psychologist in an evangelical setting, especially from his bookstore here in town and through his website Focus on the Family

I have read James Dobson every Sunday in the Colorado Springs Gazette, where he sponsors a short question and answer format that takes up a quarter of a page. He actually gives very good, common sense type of advice, is low key and not preachy. He lives modestly with his wife, and looks like an old, chubby Mr. Rogers. So, I guess his desire to influence political and policy decisions is his dark side. The side that had influence with the Bush administration for the last 8 years, and was indirectly responsible for how screwed up our nation has become in domestic and foreign policy. Perhaps Mr. Dobson's lashing out has more to do with his waning influence and feeling frustrated and impotent than anything Mr. Obama said two years ago, proving how addictive power really is. I wonder if he can go cold turkey, or will he find other ways to get his fix?

Bumper Sticker: If you want a Nation Ruled by Religion, Move to Iran

- yiquan