Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hair Trigger Alert/Critical Thinking

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I just got to thinking, following a lecture that was given by a distinguished professor in my indigenous (international human rights) course yesterday: the lack of critical thinking that is taught here in the United States, as compared to other countries.

Critical thinking is a huge task in terms of brain power and effort. It not only requires memorization. It not only requires reading material over and over again. It not only requires choosing a news network (Fox, CNN, or MSNBC) according to your political affiliation. No ladies and gentlemen, critical thinking requires a concerted effort on the part of an individual to HONESTLY analyze and evaluate the EVIDENCE available in a given scenario.

The evidence that must be evaluated must come from both sides of the equation. For example, if a conservative is to come to an INFORMED political judgment he or she must not only watch FOX news (which will cater to such person's tastes), but ALSO watch CNN, MSNBC, or a more "liberal" network in order to obtain information from both sides. In other words, by watching CNN, the conservative will know what the other viewpoints out there are, and be able to refute those viewpoints. Sure, doubts may arise, but faith in ones beliefs are best refined by fire, as the Bible says somewhere (don't quote me on that, but I remember a pastor explaining this to me at some point).

MY POINT: in our country, WE DON'T REALLY USE OUR HEADS WHEN COMING TO JUDGMENTS. Now, most of you reading this have graduated from undergraduate, and most likely, from a graduate program, so you are more ready, willing, and able to see two sides of a coin, and reach an informed conclusion. But at large, people either blindly accept what the Bush adminstration says as true (although this is starting to change) OR people respond to the Bush adminstration with such gutteral hate that they fail to see even the few good moves that have been made. For instance, I'm a Democrat, but I support Bush's endorsement of comprehensive immigration reform, providing for earned legalization of those individuals who have been working so hard here in the United States.

People who fail to think critically will jump the gun and say one of two things: either (1) I'm not a true Christian because I don't support the Bush administration in all of its endeavors and respect Bush as a "godly man" or (2) how dare a Democrat such as me support even something as big as immigration reform... why don't I support AMNESTY???!

Let's face it everyone: we are on hair trigger alert in this country. We can't even discuss the war in Iraq with those who agree with our viewpoint because some individual "agrees with you but is just too angry to talk about it." It boils down to the fact that we are AFRAID of each other. Fear is prevalent throughout American politics. And, as Yoda once said, "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." Our country is suffering as a result of this fear-driven, hair-trigger alert, failure to analyze, evaluate, and discuss the issues of our day.

It's high time that we Americans, in the freeest country in the world, exercise one Constitutional privilege that we seem to have forgotten about in the past six years: the freedom of speech. Once we start openly talking and communicating with others about the issues of the day, our country will once again blossom and flourish. How I look forward to that day!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Free from tyranny at last

I have officially ended my relationship with Evie! Did I ever mention that Evie actually has THREE first names and only one last name. I have met plenty of Spanish girls with two first names and two last names, but never a sole with three first names. I guess there's a first time for everything...

There were many reasons that the two of us split, but those were mostly due to the distance, the fact that our distance resulted in jealousy, overwhelming objections by family and friends, substantially different value systems, and her failure to take responsibility for any of her mistakes. It also costs a lot of money to constantly call and travel 2,000 miles every few months. I'm afraid it's kinda strange to have a girlfriend over the phone? Now that I've figured this out on my own, maybe I can counsel some similiarly situated people so they don't make the same mistakes that I have!

So, many of you may ask, what am I going to do in my newfound free time. First of all, OBVIOUSLY I am going to have more time to post interesting stuff in the blogosphere. My other goals, not necessarily in this order include all of the following:
(1) Graduating! The tough part, of course, being somehow surviving the drafting of four papers and studying for two exams on top of that...
*** Did I mention that I have to work on top of that???!
(2) Studying for the bar exam - yep, two months of pure, unbridled joy. I didn't register in time for the live session in the morning. But, at the very least, I'll still be able to alternate between the afternoon and evening sessions. Plus the afternoon session starts later. End result: more chill time after graduation.
*** Chill time = another trip to Tampa following graduation. Maybe I can go visit some family up in Tennessee while I'm at it.
(3) Working out, getting buff. Well, I have boot camp for the balance of the month - which is approximately 14 more sessions of tough cardio, in addition to strength and balance training. Of course, beyond that I am eyeing some other fitness goals for the summer following the bar exam, including (a) learning how to play volleyball, so maybe I can meet some people down in Tampa or in South Beach or whatever freakin' beach I decide to go to; (b) tennis; (c) softball here in ATL; (d) some self-defense classes - at this point I'm considering doing tae kwon do -- this time, actually making it to blackbelt; and finally, (e) dancing -- I want to learn how to salsa dance for real. But, before I can find myself a dance part, it is necessary to look like a credible dancer. Which clearly means losing weight, gaining tone, etc etc. You know how it goes...
(4) Becoming more involved in Young Democrats, actually going to the meetings, contributing to the Democrat's future gain of the Triple Crown -- supporting a Democratic candidate because he/she is ELECTABLE, not simply going along with the mob and nominating some socially inept moron because he/she won in Iowa and New Hampshire... with that said, if some socially inept moron IS chosen, I'll have no other choice but support such loser candidate, because anyone would be better than four more years of "fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here" foreign policy. Nevertheless, neither Hilary Clinton, Barack, nor Edwards would fall into that category, so I'd be happy with any of them.
(5) Maybe I should have put this higher on the list, but becoming closer to God, going to church more often, and getting involved with some singles events at church, having patience and realizing that only God will provide me with the person that I need. Jumping the gun does nobody any good.
(6) Learning how to play poker and getting involved with something EXTREME -- maybe learn how to ride a motorcycle, rock climb, or bungee jump.
* All of this would be AFTER the bar exam!
* Skydiving is out of the question - bungee jumping is only from 250-500 feet in the air, while skydiving means jumping out of a plane from 15,000 (approximately)
* I would only ride the motorcycle on surface streets in relatively remote areas, and would never go more than 60 miles an hour - after all, people need me here, not in some crazy accident.
(7) Improving my musical skills - taking pop/rock voice lessons, practicing piano on a daily basis again, practicing guitar very frequently - i.e. practicing in between study sessions, whenever I'm tired.
(8) Traveling to new, unknown places in Georgia and Florida - I'd like to get to know Miami a little bit better, also go to some new Spanish clubs in Tampa... and try some here in ATL too.
(9) Really getting into immigration law, learning the subtleties of the letter of the law, and learning how to manage immigration law like driving a car.
(10) Learning some basic car maintenance skills - so one day I can be a good samaritan and help out some poor soul who is stranded on the highway at 3:00 in the morning.

All of this made possible by NOT having a girlfriend over the phone, by the way!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Life can be overwhelming sometimes!

It's true! Life can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes -- like where you have so many things on your plate that you can't POSSIBLY focus on any individual task. For starters, my aunt (who incidentally is like a grandmother to me) has been lying ill with cancer for the past few weeks, and is now in that time period where it could be any day, but no one really knows when that day is. Second, it's time to COMPLETELY pull the plug from my former relationship with Evie (a lazy girl with some serious psycho issues), but the difficult part is breaking a routine that I've been in for the past seven months of calling her multiple times per day. Third, I have several projects at work that haven't been completed, and finally, FOUR papers to write in lieu of an exam, in addition to two in-class exams to prepare for.

You know, I was always a bigger fan of writing papers than taking exams b/c it allows myself time to organize my thoughts and construct something legible and interesting. However, consider the fact that EACH paper must be AT LEAST 20 pages (and in some case, up to 25)! Multiply that by 4, and the result ain't too pretty.

But, at the very least, "Girlfriend Over the Phone" was completed over the weekend.

Wanna read the lyrics? Wait for my next post!

Saturday, March 31, 2007


You know, even though I've been in law school for almost 3 years, something was awoken in me that has been lying dormant a long time -- my CREATIVITY! I haven't had such a good jam session with my buddies (and fellow "manager) in ages. Not only that, we varied up some oldies, like Every Refrain, and added a solo section. Of course, Mr. Mott continues on his neverending adventure toward rock-stardom... it seems like he's writing a new song every day. Of course, that's an exaggeration, but maybe the old cliche that lawyers are supposedly creative just doesn't hold water in my case -- a certain engineer may have me beat!
One of the songs that we wrote today, of course, was "Girlfriend Over the Phone", which is still in its earliest stages:

I’ve never even met you,
But somehow I can’t forget you,
I’ve only seen your picture,
And yet you’re still a fixture,
And all I’ve ever known,
Is my girlfriend over the phone,
It’s just like I’m alone,
With my girlfriend over the phone,
I wonder if I’ll ever see you again,
Or for the first time!

More verses to come... and no, I have no legal commentary today because I am on a two-day vacation...