Shutting Down the IRS?

Members Of Congress Push To Shut Down IRS Forever by Kelly Phillips Erb

This is one of the most ridiculous ideas Congress has ever had. This and ever other attempt to pass the blame to someone else. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s ideas are not much better. Repealing several bills, acts, etc. that benefit MANY Americans is not the answer either. How about they reinstate The Glass-Steagall Act? Or, maybe properly fund our many different departments and agencies? After all, government spending is one of the biggest (if not the largest)  money multipliers. Then again, reducing the tax code to less than 10 million words might help as well, but that is the duty of Congress.

2 hours a day

I read some where once that reading an hour a day for 7 years would make you an expert in that topic. Well, I change you to read twice as much. Pick a topic, any topic. Read it. Watch your world expand. Don’t forget to read both sides of the argument so that you can counter the other side… oh and where they are coming from and stuff.

More importantly just read. It is good for your health.

A long over due post… January 5, 2016

Sorry I haven’t written in a while.

On the last day of November I started a new job and it has thrown my reading and inspection schedule to wackiness. Also, I got married yesterday, but no biggie.

I am about half way through The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 by Robert S. McElvaine, 25th anniversary edition. Chapter 9 Moral Economics: American Values and Culture in the Great Depression has really got me in the mood to consume Depression – Era media creatives. On my list of movies to re-watch include The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith goes to Washington, It’s a wonderful life, and many more. Then there are the movies I have never watched: Our Daily Bread, Little Caesar, among others.

I told my self that I wasn’t going to make any new years resolutions, instead I am just going to make the effort to live my life the way I see best fit. That includes adapting better to my new job — meaning instead of binge watching Supernatural every night, I make time to do the things that I really truly want to do: finish this book! … and start a few more.

Wish me luck! …. and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hate history classes

During grade school history class was so boring! They taught us the same things year after year — only slightly more detailed than the last. SNOOZE! UGH! Can we blame our children or ourselves for failing at the subjects we hated if our teachers failed to inspire our engagement? Well, yes and no, but that is not our topic today.

During grade school, I was disinterested in my history classes because it was the same information year after year. During my freshman year of high school, my algebra teacher mentioned something about Galileo Galilei. In that moment, I realized that history is all around us. EVERYTHING has a history-has a story behind it.

Upon my realization, I attempted to read more about the history behind the subjects I found interesting. However, I was fourteen. That didn’t last long. Ten years later–after graduating college–I am now reading again about the subjects I find interesting. Current topic–The Great Depression: America from 1928-1942.

During my current readings, I have realized or just really gave it thought really….. everything has history thus everything is related. Since everything is related, learning about one subject makes it easier to learn about the other things going on around it.

Moral of the story is: you can learn something you are not passionate about,  all you need to do is relate it to something you are passionate about.

Paranoia Ponderings

My name is Max and I am Chanel’s fiance. She invited me on here to do an occasional guest post so here goes my first one.

I had the displeasure of attending an antivax presentation recently and it got me thinking about why so many people buy into conspiracy theories, particularly when it comes to health and medicine. There are many factors at play here ranging from mistrust of large corporations to malicious misinformation to honest ignorance or misunderstanding.

There can be good reasons to mistrust large corporations. If they are for-profit then their goal is most likely to make a profit, and there are plenty of people in the world with too much power and too little empathy. That said, just because a large corporation does something does not automatically make it wrong or even suspect.  When a company sells a product they make money when people continue to buy that product. If all of their customers die, word will spread pretty quickly and they will likely be sued into oblivion. All in all, this isn’t a great business strategy. When you see an ingredient in a package of food and don’t know what it is, it is probably in there for some reason. While some companies may add something subtly addictive to keep you coming back for more, not many will blatantly poison you “for the lulz.” Something else you always want to make sure to do is to check the store shelves of the people who are telling you not to trust the megacorps because…

Depending on who you get your numbers from, the complementary and alternative medicine industry is worth between 14 and 35 billion dollars, mostly out of pocket. Many of the people, including some of those responsible for the material at the presentation I attended, who claim that big pharma or big agro are poisoning you are the same ones selling you the “cure.” There are entire businesses built on the idea that you can make a profit off of fear. Often times these groups will make outrageous claims about the merits of their products without any evidence or trials to back it up. They rely on personal testimony as evidence of their success and posit wild explanations for how they work witout any justification (look into the “science” behind homeopathy for a great example). Pharmaceuticals and transgenic or otherwise modified organisms go through rigorous testing before they go to market to make sure that they do what they say with relative safety. By slapping a homeopathic or other such label on it, some charlatans are able to sell whatever they want for whatever they want. If you think the few people at the top of the economic food chain are predatory sociopaths there are guaranteed to be a whole lot of people on the lower end just waiting to take advantage of people with good intentions and misplaced trust.

And therein lies another problem. Many of the judgments that people make in their everyday lives, even the important ones, are based more on what feels or sounds right than what is dictated by logic and rationality. “Organic,” “natural,” “herbal,” “artisinal,” these words all sound nice even if you don’t always know what they actually mean in a specific context. Many of the arguments against corporate anything are based on “common sense” logic. This kind of reasoning is really, really innacurate partially because our minds didn’t develop with the need to process complex interactions and relationships. We have been tuned to see patterns and make snap judgements even though those types of analysis are often wrong. If someone tells you something that sounds too simple or obvious, it probably is.

All of the factors mentioned so far are important to remember when deciding what to believe and not believe about the world and how you want to live your life. Always make sure to analyze an argument in its own merits, not how much you like or dislike the arguer. Don’t trust somone just because they tell you they are the underdog. And don’t have blind faith in any position. Look at what evidence is out there and make educated, informed decisions. Don’t let paranoia consume you.

Greatness is made not born

I started a new job yesterday and I will be ‘stuck’ in training for the next few weeks.

Yesterday, we watched a couple of inspirational videos. The messages have stuck with me — and I am going to work on making sure they continue to do so.

Talent Grows. The great people were not born. They started out not knowing what they are known for. Did some of them have an easier time learning it? Some yes, but not all. Others put in HOURS if training (practicing) EVERY DAY.

Normal is merely average. Are you normal or are you abnormal? Be the odd ball. Try harder than everyone else.

Are you not achieving at par with everyone else? Find out why. Not all technics will benefit everyone. Purhaps you need to be weird and break from the norm to excel.

Are you excelling beyond your peers? Find out why. See if you can help others excel with you.

Conclusion. Your success is yours but it is not yours alone. If you have failed, it is only because your talent is growing. When you succeed it becomes your responsibility to help others succeed.

Poisoned M&M’s

The other day I was having a discussion about the Syrian refugees. My argument was that we should welcome them into our country. My opponent’s argument was that we should not — for various reasons, most of them you have probably heard or even hold. Eventually, he said: I have a bowl of M&M’s, 10 of them are poisonous. You go first.

My response was a sarcastic: Let’s dump them all. 

Him: I didn’t say get rid of them. I said you go first.

Now, let’s discuss how ridiculous his argument is. Why is it inappropriate to use the analogy of poisoned food in comparison to the Syrian refugees, migrants, and even ISIS? Well, to begin with, it is ridiculous to compare a person to poisoned food. Why? Because what do you do with poisoned food? Do you eat it? Do you let someone else eat it? NO! Of course not, you throw it out in such a manner that no one will eat it because IT IS POISONED!

When comparing the Syrians to poisoned food, you are saying – whether you intend to or not – that they should be thrown away because a few of them are “poisoned.” BECAUSE YOU DO NOT RISK EATING POISONED FOOD.

Comparing them to a bowl of partially poisoned M&M’s is taking away their humanity. With such arguments, you get Trump saying that we should force them to registrar and wear identifying markers to distinguish them as others. Does that sound familiar?

It is wrong to treat people as others as less than human. Why? To put it simply, we as a species decided so during WWII and Hitler did the same – and worse – to the Jewish people of German.

Now, is poisoned food is a bad analogy and we want to stick with a food theme — what is a good analogy?

A quote that I have repeatedly seen on Facebook and accredited to Malala Yousafzai sums it up good: With guns you can get rid of terrorists. With education, you can get rid of terrorism.

Your ultimate goal will determine which stance you take. If you want to make yourself feel better today, you may take the gun approach — poisoned M&M’s. However, that is superficial. Increasing security to obscene levels and denying human rights to an entire nation and religion, will not make you safe. You may feel like you are doing something to increase your security, but ultimately, your efforts are probably in vain.

However, if your goal is to be safe, you will take the educational approach. It takes more time, and the affects usually do not present themselves until years down the line, but the efforts have much longer lasting effects.

What food analogy works best with the Syrian-ISIS crises? Dirty food – not poisoned. Imagine you were carrying a tray of cookies, and you stumbled a bit. A few cookies fell of your tray. Some on to the side walk, and a few into a pile of manure. What do you do with all the cookies?

With the poisoned M&M’s scenario,  we had to throw out all the M&M’s because we did not know which were poisoned and which were not. With the cookies, we do know which are safe to eat–and which are not. We know which cookies fell into the manure. Those we throw out. There is no saving them. But the ones that did not? Those can be brushed off. Those we can save. Then there are the ones still on the tray. Those are still perfectly good.

The flaw with this analogy is that we witnessed the cookies falling. We know precisely which ones to do what to with little effort. With the Syrians and potential ISIS members it is a little more difficult. We can’t make an instant judgment as to which basket they fall into. That is why the refugee placement program takes so long to complete — 18 to 24 months or longer! If we try to make a quick decision about individual people we start thinking like Trump — they are all potentially poisoned — and thus start acting like Hitler.

I do not make light of Nazi comparisons, and dislike it when others do. However, if I recall my history right. It all started with registering a group of people. Marking them as other. Will we treat the Syrians as horribly  as the Nazi’s treated the Jews? More than likely not; however, the US also rounded up people of Asian decent during that time because of the attack on Pear Harbor. All I can remember of that situation — because it was barely mentioned in my history classes — was that they were not exactly treated nicely.

What I do know is this: if we start treating the Syrians as less than humane by taking way their human rights, it will only get worse.

To paraphrase a Lorax I know: unless someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to change. It’s just not.

 

Elementary School Fundraisers … Parents be careful how you handle them!

During elementary school, I had mixed feelings about the school fundraisers. On one hand, I thought they were fun and the items in the catalogs were cool… and the rewards were even cooler, but … I was never able to sell a lot for the fundraisers, so I hardly ever got any of the prizes. This was in part to the lack of support from my single father. After all, when a 7 year old lives out in the country, how can she be expected to sell much?

It has been over a year — almost two years — since I have graduated college. Wow! Time flies! It has been a little difficult on the job front. Don’t get me wrong. I have been working, but I have been having trouble finding something that empowers me… that feeds my passions. Why is that? Well, for one. For the longest time, I refused to work a sales job. The trouble with that is many companies use their sales reps to vet employees for “hire up” positions, some of which I want(ed).

Why was I putting off getting a jobs in sales if I wanted a hire position – or a different position – that require such experiences? It is because sales scare the crap out of me — as do people but that is a different issue. Over the last few weeks I have been contemplating  why it is that I have such an aversion to  sales. After much contemplation and following train reactions, I have come to the conclusion that … it is my father’s fault.

In the third grade, I really wanted to do better than in years past. Being 9 at the time, so of course I would need parental help. Now,  I don’t remember how I approached my father on the subject; however, I remember his response — almost verbatim. “You are going to school to learn. Not to be a salesman.”

Since then until now I have been opposed to a sales position. There are other factors that have a played a role, but that was the defining moment that pushed me flying down that path. The other factors just kept me there.

Now, my advice is not to ensure that your kid gets the top price during the fundraiser. My advice is to be careful how you address the situation. This is a great learning opportunity for your child. Don’t pass it up, and most definitely don’t teach him or her the wrong thing.

The American job market is predominately a sales market. Your child will be selling one thing or another to one person or another. A few weeks ago, I received the most outstanding advice from someone on the Leadership team of The Oklahoman Media Company (which I don’t remember verbatim) — You are all in customer service. You are all selling a service. Wheth you are interacting with a customer or a co-worker, put your best foot forward, do your best. 

No matter what your child grows up to be. She or he will be selling  their services. So during the school fundraiser, take the time to teach them some important skills about interacting with people, sharing information, and other skills involved with selling.

I am slowly but surely cover coming the challenges of my upbringing. My last day with BigWing (a brand of The OMC) will be November 27th, and I start my next career on November 30th. Going from an Admin Assistant to a Credit Consultant — Inbound Sales for Progrexion.

This move will be an outstanding experience and much personal and professional growth is in my near future.

Wish me luck!