Friday, December 19, 2008

Spirit of the Season

In the spirit of the season I thought I'd point over to one of my favorite Christmas songs...

I always have had a warped sense of humor.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dave Smith - R.I.P.

Former Major League Baseball player (pitcher), Dave Smith passed away yesterday.

Normally, I wouldn't mention something like this, except that I had the pleasure of meeting this fine man. He gave pitching lessons to my youngest son, and we both had the opportunity to see a small glimpse into the man, on those occasions where we simply sat and talked before/after the lessons.

Both my son and I have fond memories of the time with him. We will both miss him.

Rest In Peace Dave. Rest In Peace.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh That He'd Won...

See this post over at the Scratching Post.

Just, think someone preaching fiscal sanity.

It's just too bad that he didn't win.

Well at least we have a very qualified President-elect.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What I Believe (Part 4)

I was getting ready to post this, and had to rewrite...

I believe that ethics matter. I believe that morality matters.

They are not the same. To be clear (as I use them) from Wikipedia:

Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong.

Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") has three principal meanings. [here I use the second] In its second, normative and universal sense, morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions. In this "prescriptive" sense of morality as opposed to the above described "descriptive" sense, moral value judgments such as "murder is immoral" are made.

Today I fear that too many people no longer believe that morality matters. That there are no "value judgements" that can or should be applied. That somehow whatever anyone believes is good, is good. I disagree. There is right and wrong. This absolute right and wrong is the only justifiable basis for ethics.

Here are two examples (and what made me re-write).

Two days ago, here in San Diego a true tragedy struck. A Navy fighter had double engine failure and the jet fell out of the sky and into a home. A home that was, at that moment, occupied by a woman, her mother, and her two children (both under 2 years old). They were all killed. The woman's husband instantly lost his family. Since then Mr. Yoon has shown tremendous strength. He has publicly forgiven the pilot, and expressed his hope that the pilot not suffer from the "accident". Mr Yoon is the ultimate expression of a moral man, behaving ethically based on what his morality tells him.

Meanwhile, the local media continue to haunt this man like vultures. They push their cameras into his face and bemoan that "he must grieve in public". They know its wrong. Their words show this. Yet they persist. They are moral, but unethical. The media puts its own selfish, ghoulish, interests before the victim. Shame on them.

The second example is the Governor of Illinois. Here we have a man who had risen to power and fame. But because he is a man who has lost his moral compass, he self-immolated his future with greed and hubris. He has done unrepairable harm to his family. His ethics were simply missing. They left when his sense of morality failed.

These two examples show why I believe that morality and ethics are important.

I originally wrote this using the financial meltdown. It applies in obvious ways. I see our systems breaking down due to our loss of both. A loss that has happened because we seem to not care enough to keep them. Shame on us.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What I Believe (part 3)

I believe in personal responsibility.

I don't believe that everything that happens to a person is someone else's fault. Sometimes it is the fault of others. Sometimes it isn't, it's their own fault. And sometimes it's no one's fault.

I don't believe that anyone should expect to be given things, or taken care of. I don't believe that anyone is responsible to take care of anyone else (other than spouses, children, and parents), and I believe that if you want something, then you need to earn it (it will mean more that way). You are responsible for your own needs and wants.

I believe that personal responsibility means that you have to be true to your word. If you say something, you must be responsible to keep your word.

I believe that part of personal responsibility includes that you need to give back to your community. I was fortunate enough to be able to play organized baseball as a young boy. I put in years on the board of directors of the leagues my sons played in. One day they asked me what they could do pay me back. Wrong question. From then on they participated in field maintenance days. They were the only non-dads, but they were there, and they worked. They put in to the system, in order to get something out. I also told them that they'd pay me back by ensuring the same opportunity to the kids in their children's generation. I took from the system as a child. I was responsible for putting something back in.

I find that personal responsibility seems intimately linked in my own mind to the previous topic - fiscal sanity. I fail to see how I could have one without the other.