Update: Beer in the Shower

Image 

Two weeks ago, we took a trip to New Glarus, Wisconsin where we indulged in encased meats and beer. As is typical for our Wisconsin ventures, we brought back a few cases for our continued enjoyment.  Given the amount of beer we have, I was reminded that I have a post here about Drinking Beer in the Shower.  Version 2.0 is coming folks. The question is which New Glarus beer should I review?

 

Leave your answer in the comments. This isn’t attention whoring, it is for straight up science.

 

SCIENCE!

On The Horizon

So last week i tweeted about “two incoming blog posts.” Both are still in progress. One is for this blog–on my parent’s reaction to the dogs–and the other is for WTTRP. Actually, WTRRP has TWO posts in the works….but I digress.

Every time I start to write out a post, I get distracted by something; Work, a tweet, a phone call, a grumble in my belly. The fact is I do not have the discipline required to be a good blogger or a writer. At least, I dont have it now. Especially when my attention is needed elsewhere….

But this isn’t a meta post. Oh no. I have an actual thing to discuss:
Every time I think about a blog post that would involve my father, my attention is always drawn to something else that reminds me of him. My aunts would say that “God” or “The Universe” is trying to tell me something. I think its just a happy coincidence.

For instance, as I was thinking about the dogs post, and how my dad would react to them, his favorite Grateful Dead song came on the radio. It brightened my day a bit, even if I don’t care for the Grateful Dead, but it doesn’t mean he was sending me a message.

Still… I look forward to writing what my dad would say about the puppies.

Why I Lost Faith

I left the church completely when they turned their back on a child in need. This is happened years ago, but Charlie Pierce has an essay up that made me rethink about my own relationship with the Church. My thoughts are far too complicated for twitter, and I’m not sure they will make any sense with the blog, but all the hoopla on the Church lately has made me think about why I walked away from Catholicism and the Christian faith. I left because of the sheer hypocrisy of the Church.

I had a client, years ago, who was a devout Catholic. As with all of my clients, this young man was sexually aggressive. While in the world of treatment, his case was not necessarily the worst I had ever seen, he had done great harm to his victim, her family as well as his own family. His family came to me for treatment, and I worked with him to address his thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Given his level of activity in a peer group he was considered lower-risk. The family, who was accustomed to getting strength from the church ,assured me that this young man would continue to be embraced by the church community and receive the requisite spiritual and social support necessary to live a positive life.

They turned to the church, and the church kicked my client not just out of the youth group, but his school as well, citing his non-adjudicated offense as the reason why he could not be around children his own age.

Let me be perfectly clear: The kid offended someone much younger. He had no contact with kids of that age any more. He wasn’t on probation, he was diverted. This means he wasn’t even in the Juvenile Justice System because the authorities in the State’s Attorneys Office deemed him to be low risk.

So the Catholic Church, which goes on and on about forgiveness, redemption and social service turns its back on a parishioner who needed help. Meanwhile, the Bishops are shifting pedophiles and hebephiles around like collectible collecting cards. Here was a kid who was ready, willing and able to work through his shit.  They walked away from him.

The kicker:  I knew the pastor of that church.  He was, when I knew him, a good man who cared about children of all kinds.

The Church did nothing for this kid, while they have gone to the MAT for adults who have offended dozens of children.

This was a kid who could have–and  I should point out, was–helped without the guidance of the Church. As far as anyone knows, he’s relapse free for at least five years.  During those five years, the Church has continued to shelter pedophiles and turn its back on people in need based on sexual orientation or gender.

I beat up on the Church because the Church chose to protect and shelter pedophiles, and because it abandoned families in need.  Their hypocrisy drove me away.  And now, despite my desire to believe in the hereafter, they can’t get me back.

Brush Your Shoulders Off

If there was dust on the internet, there would be a few centimeters of schmutz here, obscuring the view. Given the current layout and widgets, that might be a blessing in disguise.

So to kick things off, let’s rock the dust off:

Now then, onto the bidness.

There are two competing questions in my head right now:

  • How much hypocrisy is tolerable?
  • What the hell am I doing with my job and my education?

First and foremost, the question of incongruous attitudes and behaviors is one that frequently comes to the fore of my thoughts. I firmly believe that everyone is going to have a little bit of dissonance (or hypocrisy) within. This is simply is part of the human condition: Anyone who says otherwise may not be that introspective. At some point, however, the dissonance is too much and something has to give. For instance, anytime a person with views to the Right of Center begins to speak, I stop listening and begin to formulate arguments. This is despite the fact that I believe I am open minded and willing to listen to people with a variety of view points. One cannot listen and formulate an argument at the same time, therefore, something is going to have to give.

To that end, I typically justify my responses by saying that current political discussions are rehashing the same theories and bogus evidence that have been pulled out over the past thirty years. Furthermore, I find the “White People/Christian Thinkers are so persecuted in America” to be the single most stupid distortion of history I have ever encounter. So if the opinions I hear are based in either a) Same old Supply Side Arguments or b) white people have it so hard the dissonance disappears fairly quickly.

And yet, I will revisit it frequently because I’m not entirely sure that’s the right thing to do.

For the second point, I’m still looking into ways to combine my degree with my job. The fact is that the public sector needs to improve its IT, whether it is knowledge management, computer systems or data policies. This means I have to write proposals for the office and find the journals to read on the topic. While I hope it leads to clarity, I am fairly convinced I’ll leave asking more questions about my direction than when I started.

In the past, blog-as-soundboard has helped out with some of these thoughts. I also know I feel better when I blog regularly. So I guess its a return to form.

On a final note, I leave everyone with the elephant in my brain: The impending release of Mass Effect 3.

Peace out.

SOPA: Letters from my Senators

First, Mark Kirk:
Dear Mr. Gleason:

Thank you for contacting me about regulation of the Internet. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

The Internet has revolutionized the way we educate, entertain and do business. With the growth of online commerce and interaction, the government’s role in regulating the Internet remains the subject of much debate. Democratic movements in the Middle East and developing nations attribute many of their successes to an unencumbered online community where information is freely exchanged. I believe our economic future depends on a robust online marketplace where goods and ideas can be transferred openly, without government interference.

Lawmakers in Congress are beginning to examine the issue of online consumer privacy. Without consumer consent, companies can collect information from users surfing the web, and use or sell the data to personalize advertisements to these consumers. Committee hearings have been held in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA) to discuss how to best to proceed with legislation that could protect consumers from unknowingly having personal information collected and distributed. While the Senate has not yet considered legislation on the subject, I believe we must strike a careful balance when addressing the issue. Reasonable assurances to protect private information should not overstep boundaries that would over-regulate and hinder job creation and economic growth.

It is also critical that we balance the need for an unfettered online community with the responsibility to prevent widespread theft and copyright infringement of American intellectual property. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are forced to unfairly compete with illegal Internet piracy due to the sale of counterfeit goods and services, often from foreign, rogue websites. This criminal activity costs the U.S. economy billions each year in lost revenue and jobs. To address Internet piracy, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. This legislation provides tools to law enforcement to target these rogue websites by cutting off their mechanisms of financial support. S. 968, for example, would allow the Attorney General – with court approval – to require advertisers and payment facilitators to pull their services from websites violating American intellectual property rights. The PROTECT IP Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support on May 27, 2011. The bill currently awaits further action by the full Senate.

Congress must take the time to craft thoughtful legislation that will protect consumers and their constitutional rights, ensure a fair playing field for U.S. businesses, and meet the industry needs to freely grow and innovate. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind as such legislation advances through the 112th Congress.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me on this issue. Please feel free to contact me at (312) 886-3506 or online at http://kirk.senate.gov if you have any questions or concerns before Congress or the federal government. It is an honor to serve you in the Senate.

Very truly yours,

Mark Kirk
U.S. Senate

Second, Dick Durbin:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011 and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). I appreciate hearing from you.

The bipartisan PROTECT IP Act (S. 968), which was based on last year’s Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, would authorize the Department of Justice to pursue court orders to take action against websites that are dedicated to selling pirated and counterfeit goods. I am a cosponsor of S. 968.

It is important to note that this legislation seeks to address a serious problem without inappropriately restricting Internet freedom. The Justice Department currently lacks tools to effectively enforce anti-piracy and counterfeiting laws against websites that are dedicated to distributing material in violation of these laws.

This legislation seeks to address this problem by enabling the Justice Department to target these websites through court orders, while also providing the websites with the opportunity to petition a court to lift an order. The bill is narrowly tailored so as not to include legitimate websites and it includes important procedural protections to prevent misuse of this authority. For a court order to be issued, the Justice Department must show that the website in question is directed at customers in the United States and that it harms holders of U.S. intellectual property. In addition, the Department is required to promptly serve notice of the action after the filing.

S. 968 provides a narrower definition of a website “dedicated to infringing activities” than the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. In addition, while the PROTECT IP Act would authorize the Attorney General and rights holders to bring actions against online infringers operating a rogue website or domain, the remedies are limited to blocking financial gains of the site but not blocking access. Also, this bill ensures that third-parties (e.g. internet service providers, payment processors, advertising networks) are not overly burdened to comply with an order beyond what is feasible and reasonable.

In May 2011, this bill was approved unanimously by a voice vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate will vote on whether to bring debate to a close on PROTECT IP Act in January 2012.

In the House of Representatives, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261. This bill has many of the same provisions as the PROTECT IP Act, such as providing the Justice Department with legal tools to prevent foreign websites from selling copyrighted material to American consumers. However, H.R. 3261 has more stringent requirements for third-parties to comply with court orders. This bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Effective enforcement of intellectual property laws is critical to the encouragement of innovation and the creation of jobs. In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of Internet websites that are devoted to the unauthorized distribution and sale of pirated and counterfeit goods. These websites deprive innovators and businesses of revenue and result in the loss of American jobs. In addition, these websites present a public health concern when they sell counterfeit, adulterated, or misbranded pharmaceutical products.

I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers this issue in the coming months.

Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator