Sunday, October 24, 2010

"People are Good"...

People are BASICALLY good... but not so much when it comes to property rights and gaming the system.

I live half the year and I rent a house in South Florida (I sold my home here in 2005... remember the housing crash?  Missed me!).  Pay my rent on time, and am generally about as good a tenant as you can get - family man, live well within my means, live quietly...

The people I rent from?  Not so much... the owner at the house I lived at previously (this is all public information) owes me $4040... that was the determination of a the Palm Beach County Civil Court after a lengthy hearing and trial process - one that the owner fought, lied under oath, and dragged out for months.  It has been 7 months or so since the Court's decision, and despite my best efforts to remind this sad excuse for a human being that she had her day in Court, no check has been forth coming.  As it turns out after further investigation, this has been the standard operating procedure for this POS for quite some time.

So.... I find a beautiful house steps from the beach in Boca Raton, which happens to be a couple blocks from my elderly mother's condo, so I sign a lease and hand the owner nearly $10,000 for first, last and security deposit.  Unfortunately, last week we were served with Court papers that the bank was foreclosing on the Owner - seems the owner has not paid the mortgage since November 2008!  Got that?  The owner was collecting rent checks, and taking in security deposits, but had not paid the mortgage in 2 years.  BTW... the property taxes?  Hasn't paid them in 3 years... Nice work if you can get it, I guess...

So I contact the Court and the City property tax assessor... The Court says "No Problem, you have a lease and you are paid through till January 1.  We can't guarantee what the bank will do, but as a practical matter there is little to no shot of you being evicted by January 1".  That did not make me feel much better, as I wanted to stay until March 1 as my lease states... so I went over to City Hall where I got the unofficial "everybody is doing this, but don't say I told you".  I also got the unofficial report that half of the expensive homes over by the beach had not paid their property taxes in 3 years.

While this is hardly scientific, it certainly is NOT a great data point regarding housing prices... and it really doesn't say much about "community" when property owners are only too willing to steal from people and from banks.  It seems that people WILL game the system, and disgustingly so, and many are quite willing to steal from their neighbors.

The moral of the story?  Desperate people do desperate things... best to stay clear of them, and stay clear of the things and temptations that can bring one into desperation themselves...  I was looking forward to my full time move to the farm this spring... but perhaps this might come down a little sooner.

----------------------------------------------

From the "This has nothing to do with anything" department:

Last week a Rutgers University football player was paralyzed from the neck down.  A few years ago, a Penn State player was paralyzed from the neck down... this type of injury happens several times each decade at the college level, maybe once or twice at the pro level, and every year at the high school level.

I read these stories without detachment...  because there but for the fates go I. When I was young I played football for a high school in a rough-and-tumble, gritty, blue collar town about 10 miles north of New York City's Borough of the Bronx.  I was recruited to play major college football as a Defensive End, and received an athletic scholarship from one of the nation's premier college football programs.  By my junior year, I had developed a chronic injury in my neck - every time I made a tackle or a hit, my right arm would go completely numb or burn with radiating nerve pain.  The trainers and doctors described it as a "sprained neck", whatever that is (I didn't know you could "sprain" your neck).  I could move my fingers, but I could not lift my arm... and I was in excruciating pain most of the time.  The team trainers were of the mind that this was football - you have to accept injuries as part of the game. I looked around me - in a 4 year college football career the odds of severe knee (or other injury) damage seemed to me to be near 50% for defensive linemen, leaving most disabled later in life.  The coaches were all former pro and college players.... and they looked terrible.  Fat, crippled, and just a weeeeeee bit loose in the head (at least they seemed so to me).  This was before we knew that playing football had serious neurological consequences.

In pre-season practice of my junior year I was involved in a 3 way collision that knocked me nearly unconscious and unable to lift or move my arm.  The next day I went into practice, got taped up, sat out by my locker, and couldn't put on my shoulder pads and jersey no matter how I tried.  I had a blindingly painful headache (in looking back there is no doubt I had had a bad concussion) so I picked up my gear, headed over to the equipment trainer, gave him my stuff and told him I was done.  I walked back to my dorm room still in my practice pants complete with girdle, thigh, and knee pads. Other players were still straggling in late and were wondering where the hell I was going... It was the most difficult decision I had ever made in my young life... but I felt I was one hit from being a quadriplegic, and I wasn't willing to take the risk for even one more day.

Several years later Marc Buonticonti, the son of Miami Dolphin legend Nick Buonticonti, was paralyzed from the neck down in a college football game. Buonticonti was playing with a "sprained neck", too. That was in 1985. Marc was quoted as having "waged war on paralysis".  While saddened for Marc's circumstances... I celebrated my own decision, and my own good health.  I often wondered how Nick Buonticonti felt about the game of football - no doubt the primary source of his wealth, connections, and fame - after his son's life changing injury.  I hear he still cracks a champagne cork after the last unbeaten NFL team loses each year.  Life does and should go on, I guess... All the money raised has done wonders for the professionals researching Spinal Chord Injury ("SCI").  They get great salaries, people call them doctor, their kids go to exclusive private schools... and it is now 2010, and despite millions of dollars raised to fund research and treatment, Marc Buonticonti is still driving a wheel chair with his tongue (not that Marc and his organization have not done great things... they just haven't done great things for Marc's paralysis. Marc Buonticonti is an outrageously courageous individual).

Some years later, my first son was born. There were NO pictures of my playing days in my house.  The television sat unused on saturdays and sundays during the fall.  With rare exceptions, I never watched football again.  My son played soccer, baseball, and wrestled.  Somehow, without any knowledge of chronic traumatic encephalopathy ("CTE"), I came to the conclusion that football was not a risk worth taking for the mental and physical health of my son.

Life changing spinal chord injuries happen - car accidents, horse back riding, surfing, falls - but needless to say they are to be avoided at all costs.  I read with sadness AND anger the words of the Rutgers' Coach when discussing the spinal chord injury his player sustained last week. The same words are trotted out every time a player is paralyzed... "he's a fighter", "he'll walk again", "he'll never give up"... platitudes do nothing, and spinal chord injury takes everything - and leaves you with a "head in a bed".  Now we are finding that the game of football simply cannot be played WITHOUT neurological damage occurring somewhat up the nerve stem in the player's brains... their brains are damaged with every hit; they suffer from pugilistic dementia, depression, rage, suicidal tendencies...

In life we make and live with our own decisions, and a good measure of luck (good and bad).... but is this no way to spend a life.  If you have a kid interested or already playing football, you really must consider the risks of spinal chord injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

I thank my lucky stars everyday that I am healthy, happy, and in love with my life and family... for every time I carry my little girl to the beach and watch her play in the sand. Spinal Chord Injury has forever changed the lives of many people... There but for the grace of G-d go I.

22 comments:

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dextred1 said...

The moral of the story? Our government might just reflect the people!!!!

This is the crux of the problem with fixing the United States. All men throughout this nation’s history were not devoutly religious, but most were ethical, had a sense of justice and believed that equality was what you worked for (equality of opportunity not results). Now most are lazy, unjust and entitled. The real downfall is that of morals.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

~John Adams

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

~Ben Franklin

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Dex:

Great quotes... and it is the crux of the problem. Too many accept gaming the system as reasonable behavior.

PioneerPreppy said...

Ya know alot of this has to do with the "separation of Church and State" thing which has been taken completely out of context as written by Jefferson. Interesting that you should bring it up now that the Tea Party O'Donnell woman is being bashed for it.

Even up till the 1900's in some areas local church leaders had some leeway in enforcing contractual laws and forcing payments. County Sheriffs also played a much greater hand in this as well.

I am not sure what the answer is but we are becoming a much ruder and deceptive people the further we get from Christianity and community.

As for your football injury articles I also played in high school and played hard. As an offensive end and defensive back I loved that game until a minor growth disorder and a downfield clip put me out. After a year of surgery, casts and crutches maybe I was better off in the long run. Still from what I understand even high school football has become much more prone to hiding injuries and using "sports" medicine now. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

A 1997 Federal Bureau of Prisons survey of inmate religious preferences gave the following results-

Christian 80%
Other 19%
Athiest 0.2%

A 1999 survey in Texas Prisons showed-

Baptist 30%
Catholic 18%
Other 22%
Athiest 0.0%

Religion doesn't makes anybody more civil.

Best, Marshall

Dextred1 said...

Marshall,
You are being deceptive. Most people come to some type of faith in prison not before. The two best indicators of delinquency are lack of two parent home and no religion. Your stat only points out the obvious that once people are in prison they try to find some meaning in their situation. Not to mention that affiliation tells nothing about the truth or substance of faith. People claim to be many things. Do they live by the standards? Adhere to the principles? Or just pretend to look good for porale boards? I have seen many people completely change their lives not only in my church, but in our jail ministry programs. I have also had a childhood friend who has been in and out of prison. Every time he turns in to super Christian inside and on the outside is just the same ole guy. Thanks for taking a complex issue and over simplifying it. People fail in every situation and from every background.

Here is another fact that libs like to lie with. More teen age girls from religious families give birth, than non-religious teenage girls. The kicker is that the non-religious pregnancy rates are more than 2 times higher actually; they just murder their child in the womb.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Dex:

I am not particularly religious... yet philosophically I fall fairly deep into judao-christian ethics and precepts... I see the merits that belief can have, and I have seen that belief abused, too.

As for church and state... I fall on the side of a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and heavily favor a government that respects the document as it was written.

I do not deny that people raised in a 2 parent home with some grounding in religious belief has likely had the best possible outcome.

And Dex... even though I am not very religious I could not agree more that most secular folks seem to hold an unsupportable position regarding abortion.... a position that, I believe, they were indoctrinated into by the liberal establishment at most of our colleges and universities. I believe this because, when I was young and dumb, I supported the pro-choice position - and then I came to my senses when my wife got pregnant with my eldest. What was I thinking?

Me thinks it very hard for the 50 million women who have had an abortion to admit the horror of what they have done, giving the pro-abortion movement a built in support group that they have taken terrible advantage of.

Dextred1 said...

Jeffers,

This is why I respect you "yet philosophically I fall fairly deep into Judeo-Christian ethics and precepts... I see the merits that belief can have, and I have seen that belief abused, too."

The secular left attacks the right constantly about our faith. The strange thing is that all of the civil liberties that they hold so dear come from the exact ideology that despise. We talk about this all the time, but the fact remains that the despots that most closely follow the secular humanist worldview are communist, following point for point to their outright hatred for anything sacred. The amazing things is how closely these secular leftist constructed morality lines up with the Judeo-Christian ethics. You would think that if they were created from whole cloth then they would look quite different than the moral codes with which their creators were raised. What is more amazing is that the left can never seem to admit this. They want the ethical code without religion, but where can you point me to and say hey they did it there. Ultimately without God your ethical code is based on what is good for yourself. At Dostoyevsky puts it “if there is no immortality then all things are permitted.” On this basis a writer like Ayn Rand is absolutely correct to praise selfishness as a virtue (this is why I don’t like her as a role model for conservatives). To live only for self then would not only be good, but actually foolish to do anything else, for life is too short to act on anything other than self-interest. Sacrifice of life, liberty or just for your children would be stupid. You even go farther into this and if there is no god, no moral truth, no objective right or wrong then how can you say anything at all. Everything is a subjective judgment. It is impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as evil or even bad. You can’t say brotherhood, equality and love are good, only convenient. Without God there is just the base valueless fact of existence, and there is no one to say you are right and I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

Your story about your Boca Raton rental makes no sense. We all know it is only the subprime welfare cheats who would do something like that? The scumbags on the bottom are the only ones gaming the system.
Although I might accept that your former landlady might be a latte sipping liberal. I wonder how many abortions she has had?

Anonymous said...

Dex,

It is the very existence of a higher power that those on the left rail against, not morality per se. Socialism attracts narcissistic sociopaths like moths to the flame, simply because it permits them to play God. For them, morality is whatever is expedient to advance their view of the "greater good" at any particular moment. As you point out, right and wrong, good and bad, are conceptual and situational. Whatever works to achieve a particular purpose is moral.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Anonymous said...

To my point, I saw Bill Clinton interviewed on TV once, and he was asked why he got involved with Monica Lewinski. His answer was "Because I could." Can you think of a worse answer from a man who had control of the US's nuclear arsenal?

Regards,

Coal Guy.

Dextred1 said...

Coal guy,

Clinton. Hahahahahaha

Point taken on morality. The only caveat is that morality in my opinion is contingent on God and as such they can't accept that either. But when they open their big fat mouths they try to sound like Christians moralist instead of communists. Gitmo being a great example.

PioneerPreppy said...

The first amendment only establishes a limitation on Congress as pertaining to religion. Hence the reason there were state religions into the 1900's (Utah).

Yet the progressives have used the 1st amendment to attack mainly Christian symbols, values, and authority even down to the local level. The loss of the morals and values that came with those attacks appears in petty habits such as cheating, ignoring agreements, adultery, abortion etc.

The founders knew there could not be an established National religion but they never dreamed of getting rid of religion from everyday life.

Anonymous said...

Dex,

I must have been unclear. The left denies the existence of anything greater than themselves. They cannot stand such a concept. It bruises their puffed up egos. Their ventures away from Judeo-Christian morality have been disastrous. They stay close to it because it works, but have no loyalty to it.

I agree that morality is contingent upon the existence of God. It is the existence of a higher power that presupposes a natural right and wrong or good and bad.

My point was that the left is fine with morality as long as they define it. Their complaint is that the existence of God clashes with their desire to be the most important things in the universe.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Greg T. Jeffers said...

"My point was that the left is fine with morality as long as they define it. Their complaint is that the existence of God clashes with their desire to be the most important things in the universe."

Well said, Coal Guy.

Still, there are a lot of folks like me that do not DENY anything, but do not assert much either.

I don't feel conflicted by the sense that I am NOT the smartest guy in the universe and that I don't have all the answers - and still reject the idea that I should play G-d. It seems we are in agreement in that we reject those that claim that role for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think you guys are painting with a broad brush with all the criticisms of religious and lefties. The city I'm from is fairly democratic/liberal yet also a very religious town with high turnouts and new churches being built on a regular basis. Lefties aren't all atheists, clearly if you look at population data plenty of dems are also religious--atheists are an extreme minority in this country.

I disagree strongly with the notion that somehow socialism creates narcissistic psychopaths--having spent a few years working with this group of folks. Most of the narcissistic "sociopaths" I've worked with were very religious and Religion can puff up ego's as surely as someone believing secularism can make things right. Many having claimed special knowledge and special relationship with God, and using religious formalism for to perform every evil listed by others here.

These are human problems, the ego doesn't disappear when people proclaim a belief in God, most use this as an altar to promote their ego's since religion fulfills many basic psychological needs.

Religions in this country still often promote an authoritarianism, rather than a libertarian view of other's actions. This is a big part of the reason why many religious folks don't see a much of a problem with warmongering and killing others, as long as they live outside this country--regardless of rationale. Human's can't move much past their animal nature, most being driven by basic limbic reactions, the hedonistic imperative is alive and well and sadly religion often is just another insurance policy or way to make people feel they have a special status with the almighty.

Everlasting life is something that human ego craves, ego's don't want to die...maybe some of the atheistic libs will have a change of heart once mortality kicks in. I've seen this happen with some of my older relatives, who become very devout later in life :)
-Meiyo

PioneerPreppy said...

What type of religion(s) specifically Meiyo?

The problem is many modern "Christian" religions are no different than the culture of corruption for which they follow and administer to.

Even Obama claims to be Christian but I doubt many in the bible belt would agree that his church in Chicago was really Christian or teaches Christian values.

Sadly the churches of today have left behind the moral teachings of even a century ago. Or many of them have. Taking the first amendment to the extreme it has been taken has removed any power the Churches had and forced them to evolve into the same attitude of decay the population at large has embraced.

While I am sure there are sects that come close to the original teaching of Christianity they are rare in America today and even more rare in the Cities.

Dextred1 said...

coal guy,

I was more correcting my own statement.

Dextred1 said...

Meiyo,

Most leftist, not talking dems here are not religious but spiritual. Even when the claim "Christianity" they have got control of certain denominations have took their church in the direction of their leftist worldview, gay marriage, Literally hundreds of theological issues that is just too much to get in here. Really just remaking the church in their own reflection. That strikes at the very heart of religion which is based on an outside or objective view of yourself. As a matter of opinion I don't really deny that a lot of the church has become much more like the world then the early church. PP makes a valid point also about the new Christianity which is nothing more than a bunch of ego boost self help crap. There is no talk about commitment, change, repentance and blood. Just nice little epithets and platitudes.

Coal guy said those ideologies attract those type of people.

Psychology does not explain everything, maybe nothing.

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree that many newer churches seem to focus on platitudes and the notion of grace and emotionality rather than character changes and faith via works. Some of the folks I've met nearly seem like the "power of attraction" types who believe Christianity blesses you with financial wealth, if you just act in congruence with love of Jesus.

So Dex do you believe that God intervened in the world to protect the Bible from influence of early partriarchs and people of power? Does this objectivity come from Bible literalism? And if so which literalism interpretation is correct? I've gone to nearly every sect of christianity during my lifetime, and most make claims to be 'the truth' and cherry pick bible passages often out of context, particularly since bible translations often show clear influence by the beliefs of those who interpret it. The greeks had a fairly complex language they had many versions of love and hell, but most translations completely neglect these things.

Psychology not explaining everything clearly makes sense to me, it explaining nothing--you'll have to expand upon that, since it doesn't make much sense to me--what's your underlying beliefs that would make you state that?

Much of human behavior can be validly explained via psychology, but the human experience is very complex, the subjective experience of family members living in the same home sometimes can vary greatly.

And PP, I'm not going to focus on specific religions, many non-christian religions promote a strong Authority focused anti-liberty agenda, Islam comes to mind most prominently. The history of religion in the world and politics doesn't paint a picture of freedom by any means, the US's respect for religion yet refraining from making some sect of Christianity the official religion was certainly inspired. Ultimately, we aren't a non-interventionist Christian nation, our global police militarism continues to be supported by many religious folks as well as those who get rich of the M.Industrial complex.

Anyway, time to pick more butternut squash, fare thee well all.
-Meiyo

Dextred1 said...

Meiyo,

I would be interested in talking with you about my experiences and what I have learned. (dextred1@aol.com) I starting teaching myself koine Greek yrs ago to get around the interpretation issue. Although to be perfectly honest, there seems to be little difference with the common translations. Most are fine as long as you cross-reference with 3 or 4 different translations so you can pull out the main ideas. Koine Greek is not classical Greek though. Koine is more like English in the sense that it was the primary language of business. Even koine though is much more expressive. As for the Old Testament we have many different manuscripts from different time periods. The most famous being the Dead Sea scrolls. When you cross reference these manuscripts you can compare any changes that would have crept in. The Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament was fairly common in Greece (300-400 B.C.). There are also literally thousands of archeological digs that have parts of Isaiah, Genesis, etc. Prior to 1000 B.C. Some are on doorposts and others on clay pots. I am no one special so I might be of no help to you.

I was talking about dealing with spiritual issues and psychology. All though psychology has some predictive powers it is not useful dealing with the spirit. The Greek word Psuche is where we take this from. The early church conception of it came from the apostle Paul 1St the 5:23. His conception was of a triune being (body, spirit/psuche, and soul/pneuma. To the early church and the Greeks this was force that animated the body (desire food, long for God, to rejoice, to remember etc). This would be many of the modern things psychology deals with. The problem is equating the soul and spirit as one. The biblical conception of the spirit is what is considered to be the Image of God. The spirit is the higher attributes of man such as responsibility, reason and conciseness. This is the part that sets us apart from the beast of the field. Maybe this helps explain my position better.

I am a literalist when the passage calls for it. Most of the old testament is documented outside the scriptures so it is fairly easy to identify many of the narratives through archeological digs and historical background from other writers. When all is said and done you have to determine in a pragmatic way if the belief system you follow has predictive power. Does it explain the way the world works. If the historical record that bible gives is correct and all indications are that it is, then why would they lie about the spiritual stuff. That is the part where faith comes in and as they say that is between you and your creator.

PioneerPreppy said...

On a related note:

Doing my usual evening blog/news cycle I came across this article:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/a_mass_nervous_breakdown_of_th.html

I normally don't like to cross post links on another's site as a rule but this one kinda discusses what we have been kicking around here and in some earlier posts.

Just thought I would share in case no one here reads that site.