Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's time to admit that our government is broken

For a while I had a little bit of hope that this country was finally getting over our gun lust. After the tragedy at Newtown it looked like we might make some sensible steps forward in order to curb the absolutely insane amount of gun violence that we experience in this country. Over the last few weeks I slowly understood that I was being foolish and naive to think such a thing was possible. 

First the most extreme parts of the bill were gotten rid of; there would be no automatic weapon ban or ban on clips with an asinine amount of ammo. Never mind the fact that there is absolutely no reason to need an automatic weapon or a magazine with 30 or more rounds other than to kill a bunch of people as quickly as possible, people feel like limiting what type of gun they can possess in any way is unconstitutional. I'll address this argument in a bit.

After getting rid of the parts of the bill that had actual teeth there was bunch of discussion and some bi partisan agreement that a bill mandating tougher background checks should be able to pass. All this bill wanted was to simply make sure that someone wasn't crazy or a known stick up man before purchasing a gun. Background checks are widely supported by the American people. When I say widely supported I mean 90% OF PEOPLE SUPPORT BACKGROUND CHECKS. If the senators and representatives actually voted in a manner that reflected the beliefs of their constituents this this bill would pass in a second, no problem. Sadly that's not the way things work. Politicians don't work for the people, they work for special interest groups and whoever will give them the most money; and the NRA gives a fuckton of money. That's how every hope I had crashed to the ground today when the gun bill was basically taken out back and shot in the head.

Saying that congress should be ashamed of themselves is an understatement. Being unable to pass a law that 9 out of 10 Americans want shows that congress doesn't give a shit about the American people. All they care about is getting re-elected or possibly getting elected to a higher office. The entire premise of American government is based on the people who are elected acting in a way that best represents what the people who put them in office want. Sadly this is just something that kids are taught in civics class and not the way that things actually work. I don't know how a person can still have any faith in this government ever doing a thing correctly. Whether it be the flat out refusal of the two parties to work together, blowhards filibustering for no reason other than to make a name for themselves or the notion that basic civil rights are still an issue that people believe is up for argument there are a myriad of reasons you can point to in order to say that government is broken. I have been frustrated with President Obama from day one for his inability to get any of the things he promised done. Now I'm starting to see that it may very well be impossible for anyone to change a single thing in Washington, that getting any meaningful bills through congress is a thing of the past. This infuriates me. It makes me want to march on the capital with a pitchfork and a torch, although then people might think I'm going after Frankenstein.

The point is that it pisses me off. And it should piss you off too. It's disgusting that our government has been taken hostage by lobbyists and people with unlimited money to throw around until they get their way. It's fucking ridiculous and unacceptable that year after year gun nuts get their way while more and more people die. The fact that they won't even allow a common sense law mandating background checks just reaffirms every suspicion I have had that the NRA doesn't give one single fuck about human life. Over and over I hear the argument that criminals will find a way to get a gun despite background checks. Sure, that might be true but why not make it as hard as possible for them to obtain that weapon? If a background check saves one life, hell, if it saves one injury it is 100% worth it. Sorry, I care about human life and think that it's a pretty precious thing and that as a nation we should do everything we can to keep our citizens alive. Yet the NRA would make me sound like a radical for thinking that.

Lastly I want to take a second to talk about the Second Amendment. I seem to view it in a radically different way than most people do. I blame my ability to read the entire amendment and not just the part I want to read to further my agenda like some people. The second amendment reads as follows: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Let's focus on the first part for a second, the part about the militia. Guess what? We don't have militias anymore. We have the biggest and most expensive military in the world. To me this negates the second half of the amendment. Back in the day people needed to have guns because they were expected to use those weapons to defend the country when they got called up to the militia. Now? There is no need for it. So in my mind there is no need for people to have guns. I know this is an extreme point of view but I'm sick and fucking tired of reading about shooting deaths every single day in the newspaper. If people want to own automatic weapons I'm fine with that, just sign up for the army and when you're done serve in the National Guard, today's version of a militia. Do a duty for the country and earn the privilege to own a weapon. 

Of course I understand that this will never happen, it's a pipe dream of mine. I'm the extremist, I'm the radical, I'm the one with the crazy thoughts. Don't forget that. Wanting to save lives and not live in fear is a platform that will get voted down by congress, even if 90% of the public supports it. We're broken and something needs to change, now.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Absolute Least You Can Do

For the last couple of days I have been trying to do laundry here at my Fortress of Angertude. I know, it seems pathetic when a grown man says that he has been trying to do laundry for multiple days but the situation is a bit unique in my building. In a building of 8 units we have 1 washer and 1 dryer. That's it. So for the last couple of days whenever I have been ready to do laundry, or more importantly whenever I have remembered that I'm lacking any clean pairs of socks, the machines have been full. Grrrrrr.

I'm sure that I could take my laundry all of a few blocks away and have it done for super cheap but that requires a Herculean effort compared to shuffling no more than 15 steps from my bedroom door to the washers here. Plus I can hear when they are running so I know when I have a window to jump in. Eventually I get my turn and throw the first load in the wash with no trouble whatsoever. Above the washer the landlord has posted a sign stating; "Do not use Canadian Currency!" This cracks me up for a few reasons. First it makes me wonder if this was ever an actual issue. Was there some super cheap tenant who wanted to take advantage of the exchange rate while doing laundry? Secondly I sort of think that the sign absolves me of using any foreign currency as long as it isn't Canadian. I'm sure that I have some Hong Kong dollars, Colones or Yuan lying around that I can use next time I do the wash, maybe I'll give it a try.

After not too long I know that the washer is done and it's time to throw in the next load and throw the first load in the dryer. This is the point in our washing experience where the second sign that the landlord has posted comes into play; "Clean out the lint trap after drying!" As I am not a trusting man I decided to give it a check anyway. It was overflowing. Unless the person before was drying nothing but lint I don't see how it was possible that this came from only one load, it was as if no one ever emptied the lint trap. Ever. How frickin' lazy are people?!

Cleaning out the lint is the most minimal task I can imagine. It actually is the absolute least you can do. Since I am an anal retentive jerk insistent on proving to the world how much better I am than the unwashed masses I decided to time myself while cleaning the lint trap. In order to give people some benefit of the doubt I did not clean the lint trap quickly either, I did it as deliberately as I possibly could while sighing and acting like a snot nosed 7 year old told to clean his room. It took 9 seconds. 9 goldarned seconds. Yet I'm expected to believe that this was TOO MUCH TIME for some jerk in a hurry.

Yet every damn time I go to dry my clothes anywhere in public there is always a full lint trap waiting for me. Of all the courteous things that a person is expected to do on a daily basis this has to be the least taxing. I'd almost go as far as to say it takes more effort to not empty the lint trap. I'm sure people claim that they forgot but this is bullshit. There has never been a public dryer in the history of the world without signs reminding you to empty the lint trap, hell, a lot of dryers have them emblazoned on them. You will be reminded to clean the lint trap so often during the process of doing laundry that unless you are illiterate or the guy from Memento you are making a conscious decision not to clean it. I'm even willing to bet the Memento guy had it tattooed on his body somewhere, that's important life info.

So, come on people. Just make that tiny little bit of effort for 9 seconds and clean out the lint trap. Don't just do it for me, do it for you. Most importantly you should do it to keep from forcing me to place a live raccoon in the dryer with your clothes next time. Jackass.