Power Corrupts?

power  I’ve heard this kind of saying since childhood. It is certainly easy to believe; I mean, there is more corruption in politics and law than pretty much anywhere else. But does the corruption truly come from the power, or is it the other way around?

Personally, I am a comic book buff. I love my comic book heroes. They all have something the rest of us lack. Look at Superman. He is the epitome of honesty and integrity. He has powers that could set him up as a god on this planet, but does he use them in that manner? No, of course not. Why? Because he has that strength of character that the rest of us lack. He would much prefer to live along side us and use his powers to help and protect us than to have dominion over us. His character defines who he is and why he chooses to live that way.

Batman has taken his personal tragedy and turned it into motivation to change the world for the better. He defines determination and ingenuity. Every villain or bad guy that Batman has ever gone up against has lived to tell the tale. Batman captures his prey to deliver to the authorities; he does not kill. Why? Because of his strength of character. Could he kill the Joker, or Riddler or any of the dozens of other villains he goes against? Of course he could. Have you seen his arsenal? The guy has a military base under his mansion and a never ending budget! Will he? No, because killing is wrong. He will let the authorities decide what to do.

I have my own personal issues with Spiderman, I mean, in my opinion, he could achieve most of his personal goals along side his professional ones, but if he did that, his motto would not be so profound, now would it? “With great power comes great responsibility.”

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That’s the issue, isn’t it? The people in power are not accountable, are they? They swoop into a powerful role for a short time, make outrageous decisions that affect large numbers of people for long periods of time, but their decisions are not accountable to them, because by the time those decisions take effect, that leader will be long gone. That gives these leaders the power to do just about anything without the fear of repercussion. The backlash of their decisions will fall on someone else.

With great power comes great responsibility. When we lack character, we no longer care about the true consequences of our actions, only about the consequences to us. Those in power use that power to further their own private agendas because they lack the character to concern themselves with the overall harm they are doing in the process. So is it the power that is corrupting the person, or the person that is corrupting the power?

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Coffee Glory

I am a coffee drinker. Working in a convenience store, a lot of people come in to buy energy drinks. Many of them assume that I drink that stuff, too. When they make a comment to that effect, I inform them that I prefer my caffeine in its natural form. I’ve had several take offense to that, saying that all caffeine is bad. I beg to differ. To get caffeine into soda or energy drinks, it has to be extracted from a natural source or manufactured synthetically, then added to the drink. All of which creates harmful byproducts, byproducts that the user then nonchalantly intakes. The side effects of these energy drinks are massive, and all negative.

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Coffee, on the other hand, produces its own caffeine, naturally. Caffeine can be used as a stimulant, but in its natural form, within coffee, the benefits it provides are staggering. Studies show that drinking coffee on a regular basis can help reduce your risk of contracting serious conditions, including certain types of cancer.

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Depending on how much you drink, you can protect yourself from a lot of different ailments. Of course, coffee, like everything else in this world, can be abused. Anything over 5-6 cups of coffee a day can be detrimental.Health-Benefits-of-Coffee (1)

In the end, the coffee beats out these energy drinks, hands down. No wonder I look so good and feel so great…

Working Toward a New Future

What, exactly, could be gained and/or lost by implementing a new system of higher education? Let’s explore this. When higher education first developed in this country, only the wealthy and people from the upper middle class partook of it. They became part of an “intellectual elite.” Eventually others wanted a piece of that knowledge. By the 1960s, higher education had become available to people of pretty much every tax bracket. The discrimination those institutions showed toward people of color was vehemently protested by the student body, and eventually overcome.

Unfortunately higher education has become a business. Even taking inflation into consideration, the cost of college tuition is now 500 times what it was just a generation ago.

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Compared to the cost of other life necessities, the cost of a four year degree has risen on an epic scale.

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As you can see from the image above, unlike in years past, the average household can no longer afford a four year degree. To top it off, to be able to land a career that will pay off in the end, most people will need more than a basic four year degree. There are no grants or student aid for graduate students and tuition is higher.

The biggest loss by implementing a new system of education is for the people taking money from the unwitting students. The students expecting to better their lives with education, but instead ending up with a horrible debt that they cannot pay because the piece of paper they earned is worthless. They are left with no money, no career and a dismal credit rating. There is nothing to be done because there is absolutely no way to declare bankruptcy or remove a student loan from your credit record without payment. The school has nothing to worry about. Once the student aid loans are taken out, the money is paid to the school and the problem of collecting from the student is left up to the banks and collection agencies.

If we were to implement a new system, the schools would no longer be able to destroy the hopes and futures of hordes of people. The education of new recruits would be left up to the discretion of potential employers. Because the stress of a mountain of debt accruing with every class taken and every book bought is no longer an issue, people can focus on matters of more pressing relevance. These “internships” would be in “real life” situations, rather than the classroom setting of college. Many times in college classrooms I heard the words, “Things will be different once you actually get out there.” Well, if you are already “out there” while you’re learning, there is no need to hear those words.

Basically, students, parents, companies and anyone who needs higher education or needs to hire someone with a higher education degree would benefit from a new approach. The only people who would be affected negatively are the higher education institutes themselves.

Getting to Know Me

There has been a few people who have asked about how to get in touch with me. There is a link to my facebook page in the sidebar here and I also wanted to give people an email address. You can reach me at banditthecat@hotmail.com. If you have comments or questions, feel free to contact me.

The Rabbit Hole

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I’m a bit older than a lot of people who breech the subject of child rearing. Most people who do so tend to be in the process of rearing children of their own. My children are pretty much grown, the youngest being nearly 18.

When my children were young I was punished for having such doubts as the ones posed above. The idea of leaving my son’s penis in tact was scorned. The concept of sleeping peacefully along side my children was ridiculed. Thinking that positive words were more effective than violence was mocked. In fact, my philosophy concerning child rearing was so outside the norm that I was deemed unfit. My children were taken from me and placed with my parents who had a more “conventional” concept of what child rearing should be.

Now, it seems, more and more experts are siding with me. My philosophy was not so “out there” after all. Unfortunately for my children, that social realization has come a bit too late. Perhaps other children can benefit from it. Many parents still hold tight to time honored traditions such as spanking, forcing their children to sleep alone and enforcing three large, separate meals in a day. All of these may have been practiced by their own parents, but none are healthy for children.

Violence begets violence. When you hit a child, the only things you teach that child are it’s ok to hit and I am bigger than you are, therefore I can hurt you. There are no life lessons that can be taught through hitting.

Fear can be all consuming. Being alone is probably the greatest fear a normal, well adjusted child has. To force that child to remain alone in a dark, scary room by him/herself is cruel. Allowing a child to abate those fears by sleeping in the bed with his/her parents instills a sense of trust and security. It also fosters a sense of confidence later in life.

I’m sure nearly everyone remembers being fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. Truth be told, large meals like that are unhealthy, especially on small stomachs. Children should be fed 5-6 smaller meals in a day with the nutrients divided to ensure that they get the desired health benefits from the meals.

I don’t even want to discuss my position on circumcision right now. Suffice it to say that I think each person should have control over his/her own body. It is not my place to alter anyone else’s body, regardless of who it is.

It seems funny to me that this meme makes it seem as if raising a child naturally were odd…something strange that should cause us to rethink things and then question what we were taught. When I had my children, what to do just seemed logical. Even though my parents harped on me about how I had no business sleeping with my child, it felt like the right thing to do. They threw a fit when I didn’t spank my children, but when I tried it for the first time, it was just wrong, so I didn’t do it. Everything just logically fit together, so that’s how I did it. Unfortunately for me, that’s not how everyone else did it. I truly feel that my abundant love for my children was detrimental for both me and them. Because my way of doing things was not yet main stream, my children were taken and put in a home where they were spanked, forced to sleep alone and not cared for nearly as well as I would have cared for them.

I tried to go down the rabbit hole described above, but my path was blocked by those who are afraid of the future. My children had to suffer the consequences. Who else is willing to dare that dive? All I can do is hope that our society has evolved enough not to block your way.

A Woman’s World

Now that I’ve broken the ice, so to speak, I have a few questions. Are reason and intelligence intimidating qualities for a woman to have? Is it wrong for a woman to be outspoken about thinking science, reason and logic are the ways of the future? Are men the only ones who are allowed to speak out about protecting the minds of our youth from the mysticism of old?

From my perspective, women, especially mothers, have a vested interest in speaking out against teaching religion as science in school. Personally, I have no issues with teaching religion, as religion. As long as children understand that what they are learning is just one of thousands of worldviews, then have at it. Perhaps that will spark more curiosity in the child and s/he will want to learn more about other cultures. The next thing you know, you have a cultural ambassador on your hands. I only have a problem when one worldview is taught as fact, and I think others should feel the same way. If specific families have certain religious or cultural beliefs that they feel the need to indoctrinate their children into, that is what home and church are for. Feel free to abuse your own children in the privacy of your own church and home. Do not force everyone else to participate in your archaic, abusive rituals.

I’m wondering off point here. My original issue was the fact that the “New World Order” of atheist leaders does not seem to have room for women. Is that because the women now days are too conformist to speak out? Is it because the men shine too brightly to allow a place for the women to step in? What exactly is the issue here? Why aren’t there any strong, female, atheist voices out there? Don’t get me wrong, the men we have are amazing. Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my all time heroes. Richard Dawkins is coming to San Francisco next month, and I want to be first in line to see him speak. Seth Andrews is amazingly articulate. I just want to know why there are no women for me to admire. I keep hearing rumors that women are less likely to embrace atheism. I take that as a personal insult. That is telling me that my gender is less likely to look at things logically and choose the intelligent course of action. My response…screw you. Personally I think that more women are likely to be politically correct about things and choose not to “rock the boat.” In my opinion, rocking the boat is the only way to get things accomplished. We will be catering to the whims of religious extremists unless we do something about it. We, as intelligent women, need to recognize that and take action. It’s time to be recognized.

Upgrading My Life

A few months back my cheap little coffee grinder bit the dust. I decided that I wanted a decent grinder that would last, so I invested in a KitchenAid burr grinder. This thing is beautiful and amazing. It ensures that my coffee comes out perfect every time I make it.

So yesterday we were considering a new mixer. After our experience with the grinder, we looked into KithenAid, and found a great one on sale. It’s an Artisan model, sleek, gorgeous and very efficient.

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I was anxious to use it (like a kid with a new toy) so I made some whipped cream today. I put the heavy cream into the bowl, added the sugar and turned the mixer on. Within seconds it had whipped the cream into a fluffy cloud of yummy dreaminess. No more hovering over a bowl for 2-3 minutes with this baby.

My next kitchen venture is going to be a high quality food processor. The one I have now is a piece of crap. I want something that can chop, dice, mince or puree at the touch of a button. When I say puree, I mean peanut butter out of peanuts if I so desire. If anyone has suggestions concerning brands or models for me to look into, I would truly appreciate the input.