June 10, 2014
Today, I announce a big announcement on this site: I'm closing it!
Not permenantly, but temporarily.
It should also be not surprise that the past few posts have been mostly about new software, something even my current webhost doesn't have. I'll still be one of their customers, however, progress does not wait on the change in habits of others behaviors or methods. If you want to make something happen, learn how change things rather than just changing yourself to fall back to conform with everyone else. Human beings were not meant to be put into a mold, nor to stay put, nor to conform, and definitely not to keep repeating the same motions as their predicessors in the hope it would create a different result if the same errors were committed.
We are a progressive species. Evolution may be slow, but progress moves much faster.
Politically, economically, and socially, we have seen what happens when we continue to lock into the same beliefs we've had for the past five years, ten years, or even a lifetime. Our president, Barack Obama, has learned that our enemies are better negociators than our government. The government wants to complain and use the media to chastise the president for going over them, but the truth is after rolling back financial regulations that were in place since the Great Depression that were established to prevent another Great Depression (Glass-Stegal Act, etc.), resistant partisan lockstepping in Congress, Congress backing corporate bailouts for corrupt corporations and predatory banks, a Congressionally backed sequestor of government services (which clearly did a bang up job at the Department of Veterans Affairs), and a congressionally backed government shutdown (which effected this website last year killing two important programming projects that used Census data), Congress want to bellyache that the president didn't talk to them six months ago (when they didn't want to talk to him) about talking with our enemies to set free some dope who though he could walk home from Afghanistan five years ago only to be picked up by Taliban insurgents and traded him for five prisoners only to come home to the same welcome a lot of Vietnam veterans got thanks to news media which is in cahoots with a certain political party? Maybe it's time for everyone to unplug. From the way I've seen it the past seven years, our culture spends too much time agreeing on the opinions that were presented to them instead of disconnecting from the electronic media, looking offline for evidence, and forming their own clear option when they return the web to share their opinion.
Very seldom is this site ever political. Opinionanted, yes. But the world is full of opinions. Most of them reactionary. We see it every time there is a shooting, a war, or a political disagreement. Most of it is there just to distract folks from the truth. Not "The Truth" as in "You want to know the truth: It's the martians! Thanks, Obama!" I mean the truth that most people know when they spend very little time in front of the TV or the radio or some website started by some pundit who has or had his own TV or radio show or reading an eBook of said pundits on their eBook reader, Tablet, or Cell Phone.
The Truth is that it is all a show. A distraction. A side show circus. A trap discourage change, discipline independent thought, and to support the interest of a few individuals who have to financial capital to keep doing it. It's just like televangelism...rather it is televangelism.
Right now, the rich are getting richer while everyone else is either destitute or headed towards destitution.
Right now, oil companies are pumping large amounts of precious fresh water to pump out toxic chemicals to fuel our petroleum addiction.
Right now, there are companies claiming they are desperate to hire new employees for jobs that nobody wants.
Right now, there are people who have given up on looking for a job because their advanced skill sets are not in compliance with the corporate world's massive vocabulary of Business and Marketing buzzwords.
Right now, there are CEOs making tens of thousands of dollars per hour doing nothing while there are thousands of their employees who are struggling to live on minimum wage.
Right now, there are wealthy people eating thousand dollar feasts, most of which will go to waste as thousands of other people cry to sleep homeless and hungry.
Right now, there are people in incarceration for crimes that were committed out of desperation, longing, love, finding peace, or health reasons, but who won't get such a fair trail as the racketeer, the overdosing socialite, or because of cultural differences.
Right now, people with Autism and Asperger's are being discriminated against in the same way people who had HIV and AIDS were in the 1980s. Einstien was though to be autistic, and in today's society where any disability will demote you to a life of being indentured, folks like Einstien wouldn't have a chance to show off their genius.
Right now, the military is spending billions of dollars on a fighter jet that is overbudget and can't fly just so some war machine CEO can increase his wealth while soldiers go into battle with guns that jam and no armour against enemies who get their more effective weapons from the same war machine CEO for a fraction of the cost.
Right now, the Cable and Telecommunications industry is getting busted for operating a shady front group that promised to support network neutrality, but it was in fact supporting the exact opposite.
And yet most of these people either do not care about these things or would rather support them if it meant to preserve the status quo or the betterment of their own selfish intentions. They think that none of this affects them. That none of it matters. That they can go volunteer at some charity to reconcile for their selfishness and get a nice tax write off in the process with the folks at their work group or church group.
I know what it is like to have nothing. Sure, I'm in the business of computers. But computers and electronics become cheaper as the market tries to encourage the uses of such devices for the interest of distraction, surveillance, control, or whatever other malevolent intent. But I've been there. I know what it is like to be poor. I don't own a car. I still live with my folks. I ride the bus or (if my body is willing) ride my bike everywhere. I've being trying to find a job for years with not change in my resume due to certain pejorative attitudes in the job market both nationally and locally.
But being poor, homeless, hungry, discriminated, or anything else is not as terrible of a fate as being willfully ignorant.
Sure, there are stubborn people all the time who don't like to do things. Many of them oppose because they see something greater not just for themselves for for others as well. But the most powerful possess a degree of willful ignorance that they are willing to promote it to keep everything they have or everything that was given to them or taken by force by them. This is the kind of willful ignorance puts people into harms way. It has sent millions of people to shed blood in battle. It fights to keep anyone new from experiencing upward mobility and to make sure there is a lengthy gap between those who still have it from those who have worked hard enough to move up but are thwarted from doing it. It turns a blind eye to the welfare of the ill, seditiously breaks the promises of a reward to those who put themselves in harms way, and will do anything in it's power to keep it so, even endorse people who have opinions that sound ludicrous, fringe, and borderline manic-street-preacher-like. They have a voice because someone needs them to be the voice that speaks the lies that people with weak wills will follow and express and outright rage over things that previous presidents did before this one without as much visceral complaint.
While so many people are willing to go out in a blaze of glory to stay the course and keep things as they are but actually end out being dragged kicking and screaming by others to move forward and behave like spoiled children everytime a new progressive change happens, there are many other people who can not wait for a political agenda or the right guy to be elected to see change happen. They also know better than to go crazy or kill people in the process. Yet, we've see this happen, and seen it be exploited for everything that it isn't.
So what any of that crap that I've just written about have to do with this website? A lot, if you go back and read the details, but more importantly the social situations that surround it all.
The more we are immersed in violence or fear, the less open we are to others. I remember this one time, I showed up to a job interview just a day after there was a terrible shooting in another part of the country and saw the secretary lock the door to the office I was to meet at for no reason except fear. The only thing I was carrying was a portfolio with resumes and paper tablet in it. Needless to say, such a cold welcome didn't lead toward a new job that day.
So what do we need to do? We need to be more social. Sure, we have social networks for just about everything, but unless people unplug and meet other people in person without making it harder, distant, less welcoming, exclusive, and expensive human beings in general will miss out on a lot of new, exciting, life changing, motivating things that will make us more open, tolerant, and social with one another.
It's time to unplug and turn off for a while. Hopefully by then, I'll have a new site going with some new things. I do have my GitHub page and my Twitter feed and my LinkedIn page. Those will definitely be active while I construct an even better website. In fact, after participating in Build for STL eariler this month, I think I'll try to become involved with Code for America and be an even better participant in National Day of Civic Hacking next year. It's something I can really get behind.