Friday, April 21, 2017

An Open Letter to Andrew McMahon

You saved my life. And I'm not just saying that in a figurative sense. I mean it literally. 14 years ago when I was in the darkest place, where the light seems to never reach,
Something Corporate (via my friend Cailin McLoughlin) crawled thru my Walkman and said "you are not alone". I remember it so clearly: as I was drawing a bath, and slitting my wrists, I popped "Leaving Through the Window" into my CD player. The first song that played was "I want to save you" and it was so good, so raw, and the message was so strong, that I had to hear more of your music. So I put the razor down, and I wrapped up my wrists and I sat with my headphones on, and listened to your album. Then I listened to it for weeks and months and years to follow. Konstantine to this day, is my favorite song, my go to when I feel isolated and alone. I listened to "punk rock princess" and I felt like maybe someday I'd meet my garage band king. Your words gave me hope. You shared your soul with me, and it was the first time that I was changed by music.

Since then I've been changed by music hundreds if not thousands of time. The right song always seems to find me when I need it. Music has shaped who I am in endless words, but if it hadn't been for you, I never would have heard the music of Conor Oberst, Chris Carrabba, Adam Lazarra, Jesse Lacey, Alexi Leiho, Francis Mark, Toby Morse, Aaron Gillespie or any of the others who have painted my soul the brilliant colors that make up who I am.

Peyton Sawyer (who yes I realize is a fictional character) once said "You know, I've got this theory: There are two kinds of people in the world. There are lyric people and music people. You know, the lyrics people to tend to be analytical. You know, all about the meaning of the song. They're the ones you see with the CD insert out like five minutes after buying it, poring over the lyrics, interpreting the hell out of everything. Then there's the music people who could care less for the lyrics as long as it's just got, like, a good beat and you could dance to it. I don't know, sometimes it might be easier to be a music girl and not a lyric girl. But since I'm not, let me just say this: Sometimes things find you when you need them to find you. I believe that. And for me it's usually song lyrics."

Well I'm the rare music and song lyrics person. Your lyrics have always touched me, but when the melody of Konstantine came together and I heard the way all the instruments synchronized and I thought, somebody WROTE this. Not Beethoven, or Mozart but someone who walks the earth with ME. So every time I feel alone, like no one could understand my pain, my isolation, I listen to konstantine, and I focus on the piano and I think to myself, someone is stroking those keys with my sorrow, my passion, my hope, my dreams, and I keep breathing.

You have saved me again and again. As a part of SoCo, as Jacks Mannequin and more recently as Andrew McMahon (& into the wilderness). I have followed you thru your dark days and your struggle and I have appreciated every raw emotion you've shared through your music. It has kept me going.

But the reason I'm writing this is because you (and massive shout out to Night Riots and Atlas Genius for also ROCKING) saved me again. More subtly this time because I haven't self harmed in years, and I wasn't drawing a bath with a razor. But I was dying, I just didn't know. I'm not sure if the people around me did either. We don't always realize how much we're struggling, that our light is going out, until it's almost too late. We forget the brilliance that is inside us and we allow ourselves to be silenced by our circumstances.

Life is funny sometimes. As a wife and mother I constantly sacrifice for my family. But months ago when I saw you were coming to town I thought "I have to see Andrew" so I bought tickets, and it was selfish. Because this is my husbands birthday weekend and this probably isn't how he would have chosen to spend it but, I just had to see you.

I came and I saw you as well as Night Riots and Atlas Genius and I FELT "it", something long dead inside of me that only someone screaming their heart out on stage can awaken. The visceral part of me that can empathetically feel what you feel. That knows the struggle and the pain in every word, in every chord.

So thank you, though you may never read this. And thank you to artists like you who put all that you have into every word. Somewhere, somebody is listening and they keep breathing because of you.

After I drafted the majority of this, I dragged myself upstairs (in a very long line) & about had a heart attack when I saw that I had WON, on a five dollar raffle something that will forever be unbelievably priceless to me.

Friday, February 24, 2017

An end to Florida red light cams?

If Florida repeals it's Red Light Camera law it will be a major win for Liberty! As crashes at intersections with Red Light cams rise, lawmakers may repeal the state's red-light camera law entirely. On January 11th&nbsp;&nbsp;House members sitting on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee heard an overview of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report that found crashes at intersections with red-light cameras rose 10 percent in 2015. This could be the first step in repealing a law I consider to be unconstitutional. The report on increased crashes also found pedestrian-involved accidents dropped nearly 20 percent, and state representatives were unsure how to take the overall results.<br />
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However, the next time they discuss the law should be whether to repeal it. State Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, has proposed repealing the law, and state Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, has filed a similar measure.<br />
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The legality of the law itself has been in question for a while now. There have been conflicting rulings in state appeals courts requiring a review by the Florida Supreme Court. A federal class-action suit demanded the return of fines paid by motorists under the potentially illegal law and is on hold pending that review. With all the legal uncertainty, more and more cities are choosing to end their red-light camera programs once and for all.<br />
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The number of cameras in use in Florida has already dropped to 688 in 2015, down more than a hundred cameras from the year before. Despite the decrease in cameras, the number of citations has actually risen. Artiles and other critics call this evidence that the cameras are a revenue-generating system, not a public safety issue.<br />
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<b>"The purpose of red-light cameras is not about safety. It's about money," Artiles said. "We finally have the proof we need."</b><br />
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Saturday, February 11, 2017

You down with NAP? Yeah, you know me

If you spend any time online amongst Libertarian groups you may see a lot of "TAXATION IS THEFT?" "AM I BEING DETAINED?" and "ABOLISH _______". While all of these things can be/are libertarian principles. They aren't THE basis of what I consider to be all things libertarian. For me libertarianism starts with the Non Aggression Principle, or NAP for short.

The Non Aggression Principle asserts that any act of aggression is inherently illegitimate. Anything that has to be imposed upon people by force is regarded as criminal in nature. This applies to government as well as our personal lives, and can be applied to almost any thing. There are few issues that fall outside the logical repercussions of this singular theory. Most of which, we as libertarians, rarely chime in on.

Aggression in this case refers to any initiation of a coercive relationship. It's easy enough to see how one could follow this theory to insert that taxation is indeed theft, or that many government programs are not legitimate since we, as citizens were not ASKED if we'd like to pay for them. Anything I am forced to participate in at threat of violence is a violation of the NAP.

Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals. They reject “first-strike” force, fraud or theft against others; they only use force in self-defense. Those who violate this “non-aggression principle” are expected to make their victims whole as much as possible. This “Good Neighbor Policy” is what most of us were taught as children. We were told not to lie, cheat, steal, not to strike our playmates unless they hit us first. If we broke a friend’s toy, we were expected to replace it.

Most of us still practice what we learned as children with other individuals, but we have grown accustomed to letting government assert aggression against others when we think we benefit. Consequently, our world is full of poverty and strife, instead of the harmony and abundance that freedom (i.e., freedom from aggression) brings.

There are many other ideas and concepts that surround libertarian principle, and it has even been suggested that we move away from the NAP as it is a somewhat limited philosophy, but I for one agree in entirety that it should be the basis of all our principles, and that anything that could be considered a violation of the NAP should not be supported by libertarians. If it can't be supported by this one principle I don't believe it should be a part of our platform. However as libertarians we are allowed to disagree and hold beliefs different than one another.

So what do you think? Should we abandon the NAP and build a more specific platform/philosophy?You

Why Libertarians NEED to Volunteer

In order for the Libertarian party to truly be the "party of principle" we, as libertarians, must practice what we preach. How do we prove we don't need the government to govern our morality? By being moral without their interference. By giving of ourselves, our time, and our money to better our society WITHOUT the threat of violence looming over our heads. So this is my not so subtle reminder to go out and better your world today.

Whatever is voluntary is ethical. The implementation of force (or the threat thereof) to achieve what we consider to be "right" bastardizes the nature of said "good deed". However, the argument many leftists make against a libertarian society is that we are incapable of governing our own moral actions. The best way to dispute this is to be living, breathing examples of voluntary charity.

Here are just a few ways to get involved in Central Florida, so that the next time someone tells you charity would cease to exist without government involvement you can be a living example of why they are wrong:

Junior Achievement of Central Florida

To Write Love on Her Arms

Hands on Orlando

Consider going to your local VA and asking what they need most right now. Check out a local animal shelter and spend time volunteering there. No matter your income, or talents somewhere there is someone who needs you, and you can find a way to help and change the world. Don't let libertarians be targeted as a "selfish" party. Let's stand together and show them who we are: The Party of Principle.

You can also Go Here to get matched with volunteer opportunities in your area.

Libertarian Must Reads

So first I really just need to throw it out there that I've been reading the Thinblade series by David A Wells and if you love fantasy with tons of libertarian philosophy thrown in I highly recommend it, and the first 2 books are free on Kindle so you can't really go wrong there.

Here is a list of a few more standard books I recommend:

The Libertarian Mind by David Boaz

You can also find Libertarianism a Primer by Boaz for free here.

Consider The Law by Frédéric Bastiat.

You can find it free here.

The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism by David Friedman

Find a second addition copy free of charge here.

My road to libertarianism admittedly started with this Dystopian fiction:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Found free online here.

Also try:

America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard

The Road to Serfdom by Frederich Hayek

I'm sure I'm missing some on my list. What books do you recommend?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Another Post About Charitable Giving

Disclaimer: I'm not a Christian, and I don't really celebrate Christmas. Many of my family members do. I celebrate in a more classic "Yule" way. However, if this is the season of "giving" then why are the only people profiting mega-corporations. Before you go spend your entire paycheck at a department store on gifts that inevitably will end up in a closet or broken, consider charitable giving.

This year I'm using 3 charities for all of my gift giving. I used WWF to "adopt" my friends and family their favorite animals, with the exception of my mother, who's adoption of "Fife" I renewed through World Wildlife federation has a 3/4 star rating on Charity Navigator. I also buy loved ones gifts by donations to the Heifer Project.

There are 100s of other charities that will send your loved one a symbol of your donation in their name. If you have questions about which one might match your passions or someone else's please don't hesitate to reach out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Resume Tips and Tricks

You may have read one of my previous blogs on how to build a great resume. I wanted to add a couple things to my previous post. Over the past year I've spoken to a ton of recruiters and hiring managers and there are a few key items that can really make your resume stand out.

Spelling and Grammar
While spelling and grammar mistakes may make your resume stand out, I've spoken to recruiters who will literally stop reading at the first error and throw a resume in the "not hiring" pile. When a hiring manager has 100 resumes to sift thru small mistakes will take you out of the running instantaneously. I highly recommend using the plug-in on top of whatever native spell-check your word processing application has.

Touches of Color
While infographics and photos are a great addition to most resumes, they aren't necessary for every job. Some positions might even frown on an overly flashy resume. That being said a touch of color has never been frowned upon in my experience. Consider choosing your favorite color and using it in your heading, and subheadings.

Depending on what you're applying for you'll want to consider either a quick bio, summation of project experience or objective. Are you a sales person who has a proven track record of increasing profit for your employer? Do you smash sales goals? Are you a creative professional who's worked on a well-known project? Has your artwork been featured anywhere? Unless this is your first ever job application I suggest steering clear of academic accomplishments unless they directly correlate with your career goals. Do you have relevant volunteer experience? Try to come up with something unique to you. We all know you want a job so you can eat. Everybody does. What makes you a great employee/colleague/professional? Sum that up in an introduction.

Here's an example of my resume for general circulation. As I'm not actively seeking a new position it's just a summation of my current experience.

Be sure to create multiple copies of your resume. I have one for Business Development/ PreSales, one for Telecom, one for Political Positions, a generic one, and a variety of "dream job" drafts. Be prepared to send someone a copy of your resume at a moment's notice, but also don't be afraid to craft a new resume for a specific position.