Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It was a hot day in Arizona...

It was another hot day in Arizona.  The temperature was exceedingly high even for the first day of June.  As I navigated my way home from work through a morass of overheated vehicles and their similarly afflicted drivers I happened to notice a billboard displaying the current temperature, 111 degrees Fahrenheit. 

An angry Red sun slowly setting in the west, twisted and distorted by the byproduct of dreary daily commutes both past and present seemed to punctuate the mood.   It seemed as if nature itself was making dour commentary on our goings on.

Not that this commute was any more eventful than any other, it wasn't.  The usual cast of characters largely oblivious to the other participants in this risky game were all present.   All have a role.

The impatient jackrabbit convinced that his commuting brethren conspire to impede his progress at every turn.   Darting amongst the less expedient every gap is an opportunity if you're lucky he may take the time to signal before traversing 4 lanes of traffic.

The mule, an overloaded landscape truck with its poorly secured load.  Pavement or windshield which one takes the blow only time can tell.  Only a fool would risk taking a position behind him, many fools do.

The conscientious driver determined to enforce every posted limit even at their own peril.  This is the sworn enemy of the jackrabbit.  The Tortoise versus the hare or so it seems.  A deadly dance that never questions if but when the race ends in twisted metal astride a flatbed truck.

The distracted driver more concerned with the status of their Facebook page than the fiery flare of the brake lights they're rapidly approaching. 

Countless permutations and combinations exist.  We've been them all at one point or another and the memory conjured is never cherished. 

It's a basic rule of nature that most unpleasant experiences are indicators that something's gone awry and needs correction.

A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion.  Daily commutes run afoul of this basic tenet of science. 
Technology is all around us perhaps to our own detriment but regardless of your opinion it permeates every waking hour. 

Why then, with the world at our fingertips do we continue a ritual firmly embedded in 19th century realities no longer relevant 2 centuries later.

Perhaps it's a shoehorn mentality.  Ill fitting shoes can still be worn if forced on the wearer.  Ignore the pain and the blood, the shoe is firmly in place and all is as it should be at least according to convention.  The pain must be endured else the shortcomings of a failing model be revealed.

We commute to passable occupations, accept schedules contrary to our potential and immerse ourselves in misery for the sake of pointless timesinks that barely enrich our personal coffers let alone our lives.

Wake up!  It doesn't have to be this way but it takes the painful act of crawling out of your conformity and demanding more of the limited time you have left to walk on this rock.

Think about it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Law Enforcement and Political Activism

Article first published as Law Enforcement and Political Activism on Technorati.

It's good to have heroes.  People whom you can look up to and pattern yourself after as you move through life.  It's fairly obvious that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has a hero in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and possibly Rush Limbaugh.

In the latest episode of "Babeu on Immigration" we find the Pinal county Sheriff bemoaning what he calls "Roadside amnesty"

The Pinal County Sheriff had this to say to local news outlets today.
"Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices upholding the main portion of Arizona's SB1070 law, President Obama and Janet Napolitano, with a wave of their hands, have made what was illegal one day, legal the next. They can't pass their dream act, so they change enforcement policies, which undermines the rule of law,"

He goes on to cite an alleged incident involving a 17 year old stopped for exceeding the speed limit by 50MPH.  Apparently the teen had no driver's license or other identification because he was an undocumented immigrant. 
The Sheriff contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but found no interest in the teen since he had been in the country for most of his life.   ICE does not consider this type of "illegal immigrant"  a priority focusing instead on recent and repeat border crossers, those over 30 years of age and felony offenders.

Babeu holds President Obama and DHS Head Napolitano to blame for having to release the young offender to his mother's custody with a citation instead of turning him over to ICE for deportation. 
Babeu cites the revoking of the 287G agreements between DHS and local law enforcement as the root cause. 

The 287G agreements allowed local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law and hold offenders in custody.  With the SB1070 supreme court decision, DHS terminated the agreements which in Babeu's view allows "illegal immigrants" like the aforementioned teen to go free.

Babeu continues...

"The President fails to understand the...impact created by his decision to not enforce immigration laws..........What other laws will the President wave and not enforce?"

Conservative pundits often cite the reason that Gitmo detainees could not be brought to U.S. soil is because they may gain the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens such as a right to jury trial and counsel.  Which begs the question, exactly what laws isn't Sheriff Babeu able to enforce?  The laws that exist or the laws that he'd like to exist?

The teen in question was arrested in Sheriff Babeu's county which at last check was well within the confines of the United States.  It's likely that along with the criminal speeding offense, a laundry list of other charges await the teen unless he happens to have a parent who belongs to the Mexican consulate.  He was arrested while traveling to work so that's unlikely.
Law enforcement's primary responsibility is to enforce existing laws, regardless of political bias or opinion.

While the prospect of activists judges is frightening, activist law enforcement is even more so.  Like Arpaio it appears Babeu has no qualm with using his position as a political platform.  In some cases, tragically as in his recent misinterpretation of a murder/suicide as a drug cartel assassination.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa county Arizona has done a stellar job of self promotion for the past 3 decades and it appears Pinal county's Sheriff is looking to get in on the act.  Nothing garners more press attention than a public persona emphasizing political extremes that border on a circus sideshow. 

It's likely you don't know the names or political positions of Arizona's other 13 county sheriffs, perhaps that's the way it should be.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Facebook the Homewrecker?

Article first published as Facebook the Home Wrecker? on Technorati.
Note: This is the original edit.

The popular media has found a new scapegoat for our personal failings and of course it has something to do with the Internet. 
Depending on whose study you're reading,  divorce statistics now show that either  1 in 5 or 1 in 3 cite  the popular social networking site Facebook as the cause. 
How can a website break up a marriage?  According to the studies unfaithful spouses often pursue extramarital relationships via Facebook with relative ease and little consequence.  Reconnecting with an old flame or just fudging marital status to flirt with other users is as simple as a mouse click.
And why not blame Facebook?  If the medium didn't exist none of these failed marriages would have happened, right?  Just as it's ridiculous to blame the lamp that you dropped on your foot for your throbbing big toe so it is with blaming Facebook for your divorce.
 General statistics still show divorce rates hovering in the 50% range which means  a large group of people made the wrong decision at some point with or without Facebook's help .  Blaming the catalyst (aka: Facebook) is nothing less than abdication of personal responsibility. 
The media loves headlines like this and buries the details on page 3.  After all infidelity is boring but add in the Internet and suddenly it's breaking news.   If you're married and pursuing extramarital relationships on Facebook, it's likely you'd be pursuing them without it.
It seems that many enter marriage with little more care than considering the purchase of an automobile.  I'll demonstrate with a equivalency comparison...
price = earning potential
styling = looks
performance = use your imagination...
cargo capacity = wants kids

safety = not an axe murderer
resale = alimony
With such a short list it's no surprise so many marriages fail.  Is it really such a revelation that an unfaithful spouse is caught flirting on Facebook if your entire relationship is based on such limited information? 
Divorce is a very mechanical process; full of formulae, legal claims and plenty of  personal liability to go around.  Intangibles like communication, shared interests and mutual respect can't be quantified by a cold algorithm.  It follows then, that blaming a website for the failure of your relationship exists in the realm of pure fallacy.  Facebook is a means not a cause.

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