People are saying recession. I’ve heard the word depression tossed around. The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates two times in eight days. The House and Senate just approved an “economic stimulus package” for which I don’t qualify because I didn’t pay any taxes last year. Besides my slight bitterness about missing a handout from the government (too bad it’s not free health care or something, you know, practical…), I wanted to go over this “stimulus package,” which if I think about it more carefully, actually makes me feel sick and awful that I’m a part of this country. As far as I can understand it, this “package” is going to give most people and businesses either a little extra money or a tax break. And these two things will help strengthen this weakening economy which is attached to a miserably weak dollar as well. This is what makes me feel nauseous: in order to strengthen this economy, the government is going to give almost everyone some extra money so that they’ll go out and spend it!! Why does economic growth and a strong currency equal consumption of stupid, worthless products? Why do we need constant growth in the economy? Doesn’t anyone in the world seem to understand that growth cannot last forever? That eventually something is going to snap? That perhaps giving most people a few hundred bucks might NOT help the economy when gas is three bucks a gallon and no one is doing anything about it? Since I’ve been back from Vietnam, I’ve had a lot of time to think while living home alone. After “sowing my wild oats” as it were by eating horribly unhealthy fast food and taking a few road trips, I’ve been mostly cooking my own food, driving the absolute minimum amount possible, and going to one store one time a week. I’ve made a conscious decision to consume less than other people, and I’m carrying it out. This talk of “the stimulus package” seems ridiculous because it just encourages consumption, which in turn will only be a temporary solution to this economic crisis that this country is facing. My suggestions for fixing this economic problem (and let it be known that I’m not an economist or a politician): Get the fuck out of Iraq and Afghanistan (that’ll save more than $1,000 per second). Stop all deficit spending (and hence get our debt out of foreign hands). Start the conversion to a renewable energy country and economy, thereby creating millions of jobs, both skilled and unskilled in the process.
My sentiments exactly:
(Image stolen from Jesus’ General.)
Late last week the newspaper published a story that I wrote about some local establishments and their violations of the anti-smoking law here. Then yesterday I was out taking a picture of Joe Schriner (of all people) and doing some medical-related stuff, and I came back to find a letter lying on my desk. I am retyping it in its entirety, including the original italics and mistakes:
Mount Vernon News
P.O. Box 791
Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050
Note supporting Mr. Burdette’s article re: smoking complaints.
I want to commend you on a very well written article regarding this law, which has striking similarities to the ill-fated prohibition law. What is most disturbing is that Mr. Brian Bennick is compelled to respond to every anonymous complaint. It sounds like he would make a good Gestapo agent.
What would happen if some radical group targeted judges, police officers or politicians? What a mes our state legislators created here? What is the ACLU position on this travesty of civil rights? Is the subject still too politically incorrect?
I must commend those club owners for their stand in this matter. I am certainly confused in regards to the silence of those veteran organizations. Then, they were supposed to be exempt according to how the law was presented to the voters. If so, why did they post the “No Smoking Signs’ on their building? Is there a swastika hidden in that sign?
.Thanks again for a well written article and to those that had the courage to contribute!
-John C. Davidson
P.S. I know you are aware of the problems the Richland County Sheriff’s department is having due to reacting to unreliable sources and tips. At least the Chief of the Mansfield Police had the good sense not to involve his officers in that mess. Unfortunately, many elected officials feel they are immune to criticism and the rights of those who elected them!
I had my first potentially exciting assignment today! There was a crackle on the scanner that’s in the newsroom, not too far from my desk. There were reports of a fire on the the southern side of town, and my editor said, “You aren’t doing anything, are you Eric?” I grabbed a camera and notebook and hustled out to the car and got out into the street. I was headed down the road, about halfway around the block from the newspaper office, and my cell phone was ringing. It was my editor. “They’ve called it off,” she said, “Come on back to the office.” I’d seriously gotten halfway around the block when I got the call. So that was my first exciting assignment.
This past week was a lot of late nights followed by early mornings. I’d try to sleep, and end up staying up till 1 a.m., only to wake up at 6 a.m. and then repeat the process. I did that for five days, and then on Friday night I felt exhausted at 8 p.m., but somehow kept myself awake until about 2 a.m., and then was woken up around 10 a.m. by a phone call from another country. Some of the friends called me from Vietnam. I spoke to old friends that lived in the same house, the same town, the same region where I lived up until about a month ago. I spoke Vietnamese for the first time since I’ve been back in Ohio, and it was strange doing it the first thing after waking up too. Those people that I talked to were my life not too long ago. A month ago I would’ve been with all of them at that table in the warm night air near the canal joking and smiling before getting on my motorbike and roaring home.
Since this blog is kinda open-topic now, I’m posting this rant, completely unedited and devoid of punctuation:
I see the best minds of my generation destroyed their minds warped by greed their eyes void through their need for the next thing delivered from the goddess of lust and her fair husband power I see the best of my generation the eyes empty and lifeless the head in a puddle of slime while the torso and trunks lumber on towards the next neon sign offering instant updates and discounts and orgies and blood flowing through the sand I see the best minds of my generation listless and apathetic to this world the death doesn’t matter as long as I can drive my pickup another 6,000 miles who knows how far a kilometer is my generation my people my comrades who feared not the reactions of others now only care about the newest conditioner and foaming body wash discount I see the best minds of this generation who refused any opiate of the masses now bow and prostrate and writhe in fear of the awesome power of mammon may he be praised in all his destructive power and glory my people have been blinded by the bright green light and are now having their flesh devoured by what they sought to console them I’ve done my singing I’ve tried my preaching I’ve railed I’ve used the best rhetoric I have I’ve tried and failed we are a lost generation a generation with souls containing no dust no ashes only blackness and no light a generation of emptiness and nothing a generation that is blind and will be forgotten a generation that has destroyed itself through apathy and avarice and cowardice I see the best of my kind float about lost and wandering they have no purpose yet create one in their cranium-centric heads we are lost to the critical winds of eternity for the haughtiness that we created I see the best minds of my generation hopeless because they have drained the hope they have whitewashed blackness from humanity and declared madness unconstitutional along with freedom of the mind where are our poets and prophets where are the mad philosophers and sad con men where are WE the best minds of my generation have left their passports of humanity before burning them with the green fires that have overtaken the beauty the resolve the essence that makes us be
Well, I’ve applied for several jobs now, and even had an interview, but still I haven’t heard anything back from anyone. I think it’s the waiting that’s getting to me. I just browse around on the internet, find a job that looks interesting/appealing, then fire off my resume to them and wait more and search more and contact a few more people that might be able to help me in some way. It’s strange being at home with no vehicle to get me around, but it actually isn’t that bad; there’s plenty of food around here and I’ve only left the house once in the past week or so. It could be said that I’m lonely, but I don’t really feel that way; just sometimes wondering what I’m doing here when I could get a job in a few minutes in Vietnam.
But I’ve been cooking up some strange stuff that doesn’t taste too bad, and that I’m enjoying. I’m also liking all the reading that I’m able to catch up on while waiting, waiting for someone to contact me back with some glimmer of hope about a job.
I was rooting through some old college papers and notes and stuff and came across some creative writing that I’d written all those years ago. So here’s a couple little short things that I came up with (I’m not even sure when I originally wrote them).
The Romantic’s Pledge of Allegiance
I pledge allegiance to myself,
And the individual who I am,
Unique, under many gods,
Promoting freedom and social justice for all.
Reflections on Reflections
Reflections are nothing,
simply the thought or false image
of something real in this world
and of this life which may not be reality,
just a dream taken seriously.