Semi-Charmed Life

31Aug/090

Who Gets To Decide What You Want?

This post by Seth Godin is worth some thought:

Who Gets To Decide What You Want?

When George Washington was a teenager, did he really, really, really want a car?

Unlikely.

In order to want something, you probably need to know it exists. But my guess is that it surely helps if you've been marketed to.

One definition of happiness is wanting the things you're likely to get (or, conversely, not wanting the unattainable). One definition of marketing is persuading the world it wants what you have, regardless of whether they can afford it or not.

We don't hesitate to motivate employees by marketing them the benefits of being promoted, even if they all can't possibly get this. We don't hesitate to tease kids by marketing every conceivable unattainable Christmas gift at them, relentlessly.

Teenage girls are taught what to want by magazines and by peers.

Patients are taught what to want by doctors who prescribe new tests. And doctors are taught to do that by lawyers eager to sue if they don't. Imagine going home and saying, "the doctor wanted to give me another test, but I said no..."

This cycle of assigned wants is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The game theory demands it.

And so, once again it seems to come down to a personal decision. If you decide what you want (instead of letting someone else decide for you) perhaps you could choose the things that would actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with.

So much of our happiness is tied to expectations. Whether you live up to your expectations or not, you should realize that a lot of times these expectations are thrust upon you externally. Educational instutitions. Corporate institutions. The marriage institutions. It's scary to think that these institutions play such a big part in determining what we want out of ourselves. It makes me think: Is it even possible to say that we have free will in determining what we want out of lives when so many forces are conspiring to help us make those decisions for us?

That's not to say that you have to buck the trend just because it's the trend. These are just some things that we should all re-examine from time to time.

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28Aug/090

Bathroom Etiquette

Sometimes it boggles my mind how people can be so disgusting. It is disgusting to see unflushed toilets at work. It's not like I work at a freaking gas station either. This is a white collar environment for crying out loud. WHY CAN'T PEOPLE FLUSH THE GODDAMN TOILET? And raise the toilet seat while you're at it, because obviously the smaller target that a lowered toilet seat affords you is inadequate, judging by the golden puddles decorating the seat.

I'm not sure if that bothers me more or the guys who don't wash their hands. I mean, could you at least pretend to wash your hands? Like those guys who turn the faucet on and swipe their hands through. It's like people who drive without their seatbelts on and pull the seatbelt down and hold it there while they're passing a police officer. It's more trouble to fake it than it is to really do it. But you know what, I'll give them a little credit for at least faking it. The guys who straight up just piss and leave? I know who you are. We will never be friends.

I'm not sure if I should be surprised or not, but a LOT of people do these things. It's disgusting.

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28Aug/090

The Socialists Are Out To Get Us

I love how politicians always try to scare the shit out of the American people by always warning us that we're thissssss close to becoming a bunch of socialists. From The Atlantic:

Matt Yglesias once pointed out that we already have socialized, single-payer style healthcare. It's called Medicare, and it's one of our most popular social programs. This morning I heard a clip of Ronald Reagan, then candidate for governor, speaking about the prospect of Medicare, and sounding very much like today's town hall critics.

"If this program passes, one of these years we will tell our children and our children's children what it was like in American when men were free."
And:

"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism, or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it."
Just so you get it, that was almost fifty years ago.

Obviously us Americans today don't know what it is to be free.

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28Aug/090

The Problem with Politicians

At a town hall meeting Wednesday Sen. Jim Inhofe told Chickasha residents he does not need to read the 1,000 page health care reform bill, he will simply vote against it.

"I don't have to read it, or know what's in it. I'm going to oppose it anyways," he said.

Inhofe said public opinion and information provided by news media have helped him become a staunch non-supporter of the bill. He said he would prefer waiting until after mid-term elections to enact reforms. He did not say nothing should be done. He simply feels that a topic as important as healthcare should not be rushed through the Senate or House of Representatives.

City Council Member Hank Ross agreed with Inhofe. Ross owns a medical care company in Chickasha. He said he does not believe the government would be efficient in providing care and would like to see reforms happen at a slower pace.

"I personally think Obama has over reached," Ross said. "I think we need to treat this with kid gloves and do it right."

Inhofe also spoke about the diminishing military budget and the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, but healthcare was the hot button subject.

Inhofe took the opportunity to blame democrats for a bevy of issues. He lashed out at democrats for overtaking the government and spending billions of dollars on unpopular packages. He said government is becoming too big and overreaching its boundaries.

"People are not buying these concepts that are completely foreign to America," Inhofe said. "We're almost reaching a revolution in this country."

Many in the meeting agreed and were vocal about their disdain for the current climate in Washington.

"No more compromise," Chickasha resident Ed Hicks said. "We're losing our country."

Inhofe's town hall meeting was much like others happening during the Senate's recess. Except there was no dissent, just concerns about change and what is happening in Washington. Health care reform was the main topic of discussion, but some voiced their worries that the Cap and Trade bill would hurt local oil producers. Others were worried about their Second Amendment right and their ability to own and carry firearms.

Inhofe tried to squelch the concerns, but until Republicans take control of at least one branch of the government it will be an uphill battle. He said he will do anything he can to keep fighting and promote the wants and needs of his constituents when he returns to Washington next month.

Link

Seriously?

This is not just a problem with Republicans or a problem with Democrats. This is a problem with all politicians. We should expect more from our elected officials than bullshit like this. Makes me sick that people like this are running our country.

If he really wants to "promote the wants and needs of his constituents" he should do his own homework and form his own fucking opinion on something.

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26Aug/090

Healthcare Reform

outrageous

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