Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Anime Blog

So, I was sitting there, watching videos on youtube, and something dawned on me.  It's been a while since I've written about anime on my anime blog.  I've been sidetracked.  Classes are going well, but my studies could be going better.  I need to work more on my programming and my Japanese.  I'm still working out regularly, and I'm getting my dental work taken care of.  When I phrase it like that, things don't sound that bad; I should do this more often.  My anime viewing has consequentially been lackluster. Aside from Log Horizon and Yuru Yuri, I've only been able to squeeze in the occasional Kill la Kill episode.
Spoiler Alert

I really enjoyed Log Horizon, and am eagerly anticipating the second season.  It arouses incredible nostalgia for my MMO days.  I can picture what it'd be like to be stuck in the game.  I think I could get used to the body changes, but more than that I'd be more gung ho about exploring the magic system.  Creating new spells, taking on an NPC apprentice, it'd be great.

The nostalgia from Log Horizon has been so strong that I've bought a few months of time on FFXIV.  It hasn't quite got that spark.  It's nice, and I think I may wind up playing off and on for a while longer, but I'm not terribly excited about the game. Though, I think that I may just have to make my own MMO if I'm going see one that hits all the right notes.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Minor Update: Just Got Back From The Gym

No half-baked political theory today (though it is awfully tempting to do a Libertarian rant), I have some studying to do for my java programming class.  I'm feeling pretty confident, as all the lab work so far has been pretty easy, but I think it wise to brush up because I won't be able to refer back to previously completed programs.

Even if I haven't been going at the pace I was hoping for back in Dec 13, things have been going pretty well this year.  I've been doing a lot more writing, and I've done well developing a habit of going out to the gym.  Just simple cardio on the bike machine, but I think it better to take it easy and develop the habit than push myself too hard and revert back to my old ways.  The person who looks back at me in the mirror is even starting to look a little better.; though that part could just be in my head, that's the place where such things matter most.

Also, in case you hadn't heard: Legend of the Galactic Heroes is getting a new anime.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Problem with Separation of Powers

My last post was a few pegs away from anarchy, and now the pendulum is swinging to the right.

I think that the founding fathers miscalculated when they set up the separation of powers in the United States Constitution.  As it stands, the government is divided between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.  This reflects a deep concern with the mechanisms of governance; however, I am not convinced that this is the best way to divvy up political power.  Instead, I would propose dividing the powers of government based on their purpose.  Foreign policy, day-to-day governance, and the cultivation of the people. 

Foreign policy is extremely important to the well-being of a state, and to its citizens; however, it is a very broad subject that is, quite frankly, beyond the scope of most people.  They either lack the necessary education or time to make informed decisions, and, judging from the various military misadventures that the United States has involved itself in over the decades, this lack of foreign policy competency is not restricted to the citizenry, but also includes the elected officials.  Putting the daily governance of the nation and foreign policy on the plate of congress seems to be more than they are capable of stomaching. 

The decisions of foreign policy are extremely weighty.  The person(s) responsible for determining a state's actions on the grand chessboard, WILL be responsible for the deaths of their citizenry, providing all the more reason for foreign policy to be the sole responsibility of a particular government branch. Furthermore, the daily governance is largely irrelevant to securing a nation's place on the geopolitical stage.  How laws regarding theft and murder are enforced make little difference when attempting to push the state's interests abroad. 

Therefore, there should be a branch of government associated with big picture governance.  A prince to lead his people in competition and cooperation with foreign states.  The individual(s) manning this hypothetical branch of government would need to be selected very carefully.  It must be ensured that the anyone involved is of proper temperament and education so as to ensure that they will be capable of acting on the world stage in such a fashion that does not needlessly endanger the lives of the citizenry; however, because the populace is largely unprepared to make decisions of this nature, they cannot be trusted to choose someone who is.  The problems with traditional hereditary monarchy have been made well apparent over the course of history, which prevents this method of selection as well.  As the leader of this branch must be an Iron Buddha loving even those condemned to death, possessing a Machiavellian mindfulness, the lifelong grooming of an individual from childhood would be necessary.  In this way, the prince would be prepared for governance in the same way that the Dalai Lama is prepared. 

He later went on to ruin things with meth and genocide.
Moving on for a moment to the next hypothetical branch, the citizenry must be cultivated wisely.  The citizenry must be one people; this is not to say that total homogeneity is necessary (or even desirable), but that they must all view themselves as being a part of the same community.  One of the great problems affecting the United States is the polarization of the races and the increasing compartmentalization of society.  Urban design, or (more accurately) the lack thereof, is a big contributor to this.  People live in the same neighborhood, or even the same apartment complex and are nevertheless strangers.  The lack of community, and the notion of "so long as I get mine" is extremely detrimental.  Whether rich or poor, white or black, we are all citizens of the same state, and we must work together in a spirit of brotherly love.

The education system should act to accomplish the goal of cultivating a community of strong, well-adjusted, and self-reliant individuals; however, for a multitude of reasons, it has proven itself incapable.  By centralizing the education system under a broad branch of government whose sole purpose is to help the people be the best people possible, the corrupting effects of lobbyists and ignorant congressmen may be lessened.  In keeping with the republican spirit of the nation, this branch of government should still be populated by elected officials; however, a pre-condition for running ought to be the achievement of a certain level of education or the demonstration of competency through other (as yet undefined) means. 

This leads us to the third and final branch, which would deal with the general legislating and governing of the nation.  Part congress, part court, and part bureaucracy, this branch most closely resembles the current United States government.  As most of the laws necessary are simple and need little expanding upon.  Additionally, one of the biggest problems facing states as they age is the accumulation of political weight.  When young, the state is vibrant and able to accomplish great things, but as it ages corruption and rot seeps into the system.  Laws become a tangled mess as adjustments are made, and solutions to temporary problems are codified into permanent fixtures of government.  Comprised of elected officials whose sole job is to keep the country running, the biggest change would be the restriction on the time congress is in session, and the shrinking of legislative powers. 

I have yet to attempt the precise balancing of powers between and within these three branches, as this is a broad concept rather than a constitution.  How a constitution designed under these pretenses would operate, especially with the integration of novel information technologies, is difficult to predict; however, I doubt that it'd be much worse than what's going on now.  Regardless of the worth of the system herein proposed, I feel that, though the political experiment that is the United States has taught us much, it is perhaps time to start the next trial study.  The notion that democracy, as it exists today, is the best form of government is laughable. 

Until we have created heaven with our own two hands, there is room for improvement.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Problem with State's Rights

Picture Unrelated
If you've paid even a modicum of attention to the shit-storm that is the middle east, you've heard about Israel and the host of issues surrounding it.  The Israeli state has been accused of the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians, to which a common rebuttal is the accusation of antisemitism and the argument that Israel possesses the right to exist.

I won't comment on the racial issues surrounding the Israeli state in this article, because I think the most immediate problem with Israel has nothing to do with the rivalry between the Jews and their neighbors.  Additionally, it's a bees nest, I have little desire to stir up.  Suffice to say, I see them as my brothers, and would promote their equal treatment under the law.

Rather the problem with Israel is the notion that a state, any state, can somehow possess the right to exist.  To say that the modern state of Israel, the historical state of the Soviet Union, a hypothetical Palestinian state, or any other have the right to exist -- the right to life -- is absurd.  Principally because the state does not actually exist.  Like other organizations, there is no thing which is the state.  Neither the land, the buildings, or its agents are the state.  Though frequently treated like an agency possessing entity (a fallacy commonly among
conspiracy theorists), the state is a fiction.  It is not The Government which carries out laudable or damnable actions, but individuals acting under its banner.

The individual has hopes, dreams, loved ones, and, most importantly of all, a soul (or at least the capacity to develop one); these are things which no state, no corporation, nor any other organization may ever hope to possess.  Indeed such thingless concepts are incapable of hoping or verbing at all.  So when an organization is granted rights, they fall not to the abstracted state or corporation, but to the individuals who man the metaphorical ship. 

Pic Related
In this fashion, granting rights to organizations, whether they be states or corporations, undermines the rights of individuals.  This is particularly notable in the gun control debate; a debate that would be more accurately framed as the violence monopolization debate.  The weapons will not disappear, but be consolidated in the hands of individuals who happen to be employed by an organization for the explicit purpose of engaging in violence.  Similarly the government which does not physically exist has a greater right to privacy than the living individual. 

In short, the state is an abstraction.  A tool to aid in the organization of resources, and to provide a means for common defense.  Suggesting that a state can possess rights should evoke the same sense of absurdity as claiming that a hammer can.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Minor Update

I'm more or less settled in my new apartment now.  Everything of importance is unpacked, and the remainder has been stowed away into my closet.  It's nice because I finally have the desk space to set up my second monitor.  Being able to have a show going in the background while doing things on the computer is really nice.  I have Saki playing right now; it's great.

Classes have been going well, and I've been heading to the gym this last week to get in some simple cardio.  I plan on starting up a strength training program in February.  All in all, things have been going a little slow with the transition into the new year, but they're still going.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, Rocky Start

Things are a little rocky, I was hoping to have already purchased my car by now, but my last couple trips to the dealership have been lackluster.  I'll just pick the first thing that looks decent this weekend. 

I just received a email from my college, letting me know that my financial aid still hasn't gone through and that if they don't get their shekels by the sixth, they'll kick me out.  Of course, financial services will be closed over the weekend, so I'm scrambling to get a ride out to campus. 

I despise bureaucracy.  I feel that it is the death of community, and bane to progress.  I'm also more than a little biased, at the moment; however, I doubt my opinion will soften that much, even after my mood recovers.

Despite the turbulence, I'm nevertheless feeling pretty good about the new year.  Even if I wind up not taking courses this semester, I'll just use the allotted time to study programming on my own.  I'm also taking a lot of enjoyment from practicing overtone singing.  I'm not very good at it, but I've gotten better since my first night of drunken practice, so I consider it a success.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Surreal News

Alright, this is downright creepy. 

I don't think that local news stations should all be giving the same half-assed "news" report.  It makes me wonder about the state of journalism in this country.  There's a lot of important stuff going on right now (the NSA, the strife in Syria, China's geopolitical ambitions), and these local news stations are (seemingly) working in cahoots to distract people by encouraging materialism.