Just came up with an idea on how to make the United States people fairly happy and to motivate them to progress as a nation.

Make civil and community service workers tax-exempt. Teachers, police, fire fighters, medics, public defense lawyers, soldiers and other workers who get paid by tax-dollars... make 'em all tax-exempt. Not private-sector employees, mind you, but government employees. Rent-a-cops, private school teachers, politicians, private practice doctors and other such privately-funded peoples would pay taxes just like anyone else, but the people who work their asses off for the sake of the community at large? Give something back to them for their service to the rest of us.

The object would be to encourage the general populace to progress. For instance, education throughout the nation is abyssmal. Part of this is due to the lack of motivation on the part of the teachers. I mean, these people come to work every day and basically get shit on by our nation's youth (to say nothing of how our nation's parents treat teachers). They don't get paid much to begin with and then they've got to pay taxes for a job which is funded by some of their own tax dollars. Lift that burden from them and make their lives a little easier, allow them to see some personal benefits from their hard work and the daily headaches they have to put up with. I'd be willing to bet that education would not only improve, but more teaching positions would get filled. Same thing goes for nurses (and there is a massive shortage of them!).

Then, to balance out the "loss" in tax-money, increase taxes for people whose net worth is over $1 million annually to about 25%, flat tax. No loop holes, no negotiation. Flat tax on those who can afford it while those who get paid beans can feel encouraged to do their jobs competently.

Naturally, the rich folks would pitch a woeful bitch about it, but in the long-run, it'd do them and everyone else a world of good. Their own children would be able to reap quality benefits from the public services and (gasp!) might even feel compelled to participate sometime later on down the road instead of becoming neo-political capitalists. The folks on Capitol Hill could call it the "Civil Investment Tax", or something trite like that, to up-play the idea that such a tax would be an investment in the nation as a whole.

It's just a basic idea, but I think it's a decent one that would solve a lot of problems in our country. Would it ever be put into action? Not in a million years. But that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. Does it?

This is a poem that I wrote a few years back. Every time I read this poem it jumps out at me. It truely conveys the emotions I wished to express when I went to write it. I don't remember the exact time that I wrote this poem, but I do remember it during that great time of confusion that we must all pass through as our rite of passage into adulthood. That time when we are half adult and half child, when we are dabbling in love and yet still cling to our childhood toys.


I wonder if you question life too much,
Or do I not question it enough?
Do I hold all the answers,
Or you all the questions?
Are you black and me white?
Or are you white and me black?

We are both blue.

You say you are lost in a labyrinth.
I take a red crayon.
And draw a line over the walls from me to you.
Do I win? Or have I just begun to see my total defeat?

I threw the crayon away.

I shove.
You push.
We tumble to the ground.
The leaves cover us.

The leaves turn to air.

Do you hold all the answers and I all the questions?

Or will we ever know?


Please feel free to /msg me with comments and/or critiques of the poem.
from a Slashdot comment I just wrote on the topic of people not reading as much. it was a reply to this comment
Argh...

In Britain the GCSE (exam taken when you're about 16) for English is a complete son of a bitch. You can't take a poem on its relative merits, nonono, you can't ENJOY THE FRIGGIN POEM and write about what you think of it, you have to deconstruct it, turning every single friggin line into a stream of mumbo jumbo with words like "pentameter" and "rhythm", rather than beautiful poetry. In the same lessons we had to deconstruct, in the same manner, an article on CNN.com. Yes, you heard me right, our job was to deconstruct a CNN article and look for "literary devices" that were apparently deliberately strewn throughout the text. Maybe they were accidental? Dammit, you shouldn't make people deconstruct things and study them in detail! It just pisses them off and stops them from reading, because they remember all that work they did on a 20 line paragraph and think "fuck that".

Even worse, we had to do war poetry. I don't mind war poetry, but you have a big book full of war poetry and you're only allowed to use about 10 poems from it. This selection is ALL, bar one or two poems, about World War One. There was, IIRC, one poem from WW2 and two from the Cold War. People these days probably wouldn't identify with the WW1 poetry and more with the Cold War poetry, but we were told to focus on the WW1 stuff.

THIS.

SUCKS.

One of the best poems in that book wasn't in that selection, and you were discouraged from doing anything to do with it. Now that is fucked up, and it drives me friggin' mental.

Another brilliant example of why the UK desperately needs exam reform, and why I want to nuke these bastards.

Note that this is no disrespect to my English teacher, who was a brilliant teacher (despite pronouncing "nuclear" as "new-kew-lar" which drove me utterly nuts), just the exam system which she was teaching.

I’ve cut myself. I felt like I didn’t control anything, couldn’t make a difference except to my own body.
When I realised that I didn’t dare to go really deep, and hid the wounds, I stopped fooling myself with the whole notion of ‘control over myself’.

I was 10

The scars have faded, completely or almost.
Only what it inflicted to my thoughts remains.
It’s not a scar.

“If there isn’t any bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.” &dagger

&infin

Layers of doubt and fear, all interweaving and overlapping, carefully held together by insecurity, but interspersed with bright flashes of truth, hope, love.

I wish you..
“… The serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things that you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (I need that myself, a lot)

&infin

“Is he handsome? I mean, would we think he was handsome?”

I smiled - briefly. Even in my terrified, numb state, I sensed the irony behind this question.

“No, I would think not.”

“Come on, just tell us.”

I looked pleadingly into the dissapointed, firm eyes of one of my best friends. I was shaking, trying to get a grip on myself, but my mind was too busy racing to do any gripping. Words formed in my mind – but they didn’t seem to connect with my vocal cords.I had tried to think of the best way to tell them this, all weekend.
I looked straight into the eyes of one of the three friends, with whom I was sharing a 2-person tent with.

“It’s, um… It’s not a boy.”

I looked at the ground. I felt relieved, in a dizzying, numbing kind of way. At least the doubts of telling them or not were gone now – there was of course the risk that everyone would know, or that they couldn’t handle it –god, they had to sleep next to me tonight- for the moment, I tried not to care.

Jesus, I never expected..” &infin“But, I touch you all the time..” &infin “If I would – feel something like that, I would try to push it away, I guess” &infin “How, how long do you know?”

I was happy they didn’t try to hide their shock – they’re honest, at least.

She even grinned. “When you said it wasn’t a boy, I thought; “huh, what the heck is it then – neuter?”

I smiled. The inside of the tent, which smelled like alcohol because of the Smirnoff bottle that she had tipped over, and looked like a tornado had tore through all our stuff because of the silly, exited atmosphere that we were caught in this whole weekend didn’t lead to big cleaning moods, seemed a little brighter. They were good friends.

&infin

“So, shall we do a video-night this week? I feel a big need-for-popcorn-attack coming up. Or wait – we could watch Everwood together tomorrow.”

-long silence-

“Uh.. no, I think I might have a family-thing, a birthday or something.”

I think my heart ripped that moment. This was my best friend, with who I could talk about anything, hug or tickle, just because I felt like it, and be totally comfortable and at ease with. Not any more, apparantly.

&infin

You once told me, you’re like Willow. I must admit – the resemblance is striking. You have the magics in you alright. I look at you, hear you, you just shine. Hopefully, one day, you’ll see it too.

I care about my friends, try to make the best out of life, sometimes see things others don’t expect me to – but I don’t have or am anything special. All the talented people I know – I can only try to show them what they are.
I’m afraid of responsibility, lack the self-confidence to become mature
Xander it is.

&infin

“I need to tell you something.”

“Ok, tell me.”

The hardness of his voice, his ill at ease movements, and the look in his eyes all betrayed his trying-to-be-cool appearance.
I was silent for a long time, paced around the room, bit on my lip.

I, um, I’m in love with someone else.”

I didn’t dare to look at his reaction. I had done this kind of thing to him one too many times.

“it’s… It’s not Tom, if you uh.. assumed that.”

“Tell me who it is.”

I’d rather not.”

“I deserve to now that, at least.”

I looked into his eyes, for the first time since my Evil Bitch Monster of Death announcement. This sudden self-assured, goal oriented version of him that stood before me.. he keeps surprising me.

I know.”

“So… Boy or girl?”

I was undone. My fears of him knowing me better than I did.. Connected to my very essence, fears of not being able to change, stand still, because of it, flooded my mind again. Was he smiling?

I told him.

He laughed, and hugged me.

“Well, at least I have something to tell now –“Y’know, my first girlfriend turned gay after our relationship of a year.” He smiled.

I’m not gay.”

‘You’re kidding me’ was spelled out in his wide eyed expression.

“I’m still… just me. Anyway, it’s just not meant to be.”

The boy lying on his bed, opposite to me, who has meant, and still does mean, so much to me, full of his own, private little oxymorons, the best kisser anywhere, anytime, shot a troubled look in my direction, shrugged it off, and smiled again.

&infin

‘You’re not in love with me anymore, are you?”

I sensed him taking a deep breath.

“It’s weird, that after everything you’ve put me through, I still even want to talk to you.”

Shrugged.

“But I just can’t do without you.”

He’s the most honest person I know.

I cried.

I don’t deserve him… or anything else.

&infin

Vindicated
I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right
I swear I'm right
I swear I knew it all along

And I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

Dashboard Confessional: Vindicated

&dagger “Angel” – Epiphany

Today the workout routine calls for a leg workout today. Those following along may realize that this isn't necessarily following the plan. This is simply because the routine is never set in stone. Your body works with nature and your routine works with your environment. Due to one circumstance or another, the routine got a mixed up a bit. This still means, however, that all the days in the split will be hit, just the order may be changed slightly.

Now legs aren't the most common body part that you'll see worked out in a gym. In fact, I'd say 90% of the people at the gym for strength training never hit legs, and if they do its once in a blue moon. Sadly, I was once one of those people, chicken legs with a developed upper body. Soon I realized I had become too top heavy, yeah I had these big rippling muscles but my 100lbs girlfriend could push me over by leaning on me. So as I got more into bodybuilding as opposed to just working out, I realized the benefits and importance of overall muscle growth.
Now be prepared, leg workouts are gonna take you off your feet for the next day or two at first and if you've done them right. Also squats and deadlifts are considered in the bodybuilding world to be THE way to gain MASS


Previous log: June 20, 2004, July 5, 2004

Today I'll breakdown the legs into more categories than just legs or it'll seem kinda weird.

---QUADRICEPS---

Barbell Squats: -- Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus
3x10 175lbs --- Performed to thighs slightly below parallel to floor.

Leg Extension: -- Quadriceps
3x12 70lbs

---HAMSTRINGS---

Straight Leg Deadlift: -- Hamstrings, Glutes, Erector Spinae (lower back)
3x10 195lbs


---Calves---

Seated Calf Raise: -- Soleus (not the major muscle which is Gastrocnemius, but it is also targeted to a lesser extent
3x15 90lbs

Notes:
BE CAREFUL WITH DEADLIFTS. Can't stress that enough. They replicate lifting in the exact way work safety advises you not to lift. Also note that reps are usually higher for leg exercises. I believe that since legs are such workhorses in your every day life, and due to the amount of use they get put through, they need a bit more repetitions before they realize this is above average work load which is what promotes muscle growth.
I also do not have a Gastrocnemius-targeting exercise here which is important. A good one is a standing calf raise on a smith machine. My soleus is fairly weak so that is why I'm targeting it.

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