McDonalds to hire 50,000 new employees: Boon to the economy or a double-patty, sesame seed sprinkled, secret sauce having load of crap?

7 Apr

Michelin Man at Age 4

McDonalds is hoping to hire 50,000 workers in one day. The company said it is making the push to bring in new workers because more and more franchises are making the push to become 24 hour locations.

According to an article in CSM online, the average McDonalds employee earns $8.30/hr while management has the potential of earning up to $50,000/yr. It is fair to assume that the vast majority of the jobs will be closer to the $8.30/hr range and without benefits. Just to put that in perspective, if a person made McDonald’s their full-time gig on those wages, they would stand to gain a whoppering $17,264/yr. If a single mother of three tried relied on $17,264/yr, her wages would be significantly lower than the poverty threshold ($22,350).

This got me thinking… The American consumer is demanding ridiculously cheap food, regardless of qualityor effect on health, and are willing to overlook the poverty level employment devoid of benefits for a large underclass of unskilled labor. How does McDonalds justify paying low wages? Well first and foremost, the demand is there. Efficiency gains, the scale of the operations (nevermind low quality of product), and the extremely low cost of unskilled labor (some of it driven down by illegal immigration), allow for a dollar menu and all the McNuggets you can eat (limit 1 packet of sauce per order).

As much as we should praise McDonalds for its ingenuity, it’s important to remember McDonald’s effect on government spending. For every single mother of three that is making roughly $18,000/yr at McDonalds, the government will have to subsidize housing, living expenses, and healthcare (for at least her children). As much as reigning in excessive government spending should be a priority, how do we do that while being compassionate toward people that would literally be relegated to the street if their entitlements are cut? Personal responsibility aside, there has got to be a way to get our country back on the right track without destroying families.

But for now, if McDonalds and Father Government are the only options, beggars can’t always be choosers.

20 and 30 Somethings Moving Back to the Inner-City

6 Apr

Trading 40's and Blunts for Boxed Wine and Vaporizers?

USA Today published an article today about the growing trend of college educated people that are moving back to the cities. What’s truly amazing is that the trend doesn’t only apply to the big name cities young college grades tend to move to (NYC, San Fran, DC, Boston, etc). Even rust belt cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinatti, Baltimore, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh are experiencing growth.

This is very exciting. Many of these cities were left to die with the growth of the suburbs, loss of industrial jobs to the third-world, and the general population migration toward the sunbelt. Further, violent crimes and drugs made most of areas decrepit and unlivable. It is great to see the younger generation of Americans taking initiative in moving back. Property values are low and the potential for growth is exponential. Many of the older cities have the foundation for a beautiful cityscape where inhabitants can live/work, rely on public transportation, and start their own small businesses.

The United States seriously needs to refocus its efforts from building unsustainable suburban growth and start moving back into the cities. The infrastructure already exists. Between old style buildings, the dearth of affordable housing, and the art/music/events/restaurants that are already centered in downtown areas, why not?

Senator Dick Durbin: A Patriot and US Constitutionalist

2 Apr

In running the hearing, Senator Richard Durbin tried to set the record straight about the patriotism of a vast majority of American-Muslim citizens and the continuing assaults on their civil rights. He warned against the “guilt by association” whipped up by Mr. King’s broadsides — that there are “too many mosques” in the nation, that most of them are extremist, and that American Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement against home-grown terrorism.

To read more about Senator Durbin’s positive hearings on Muslim-Americans, please visit NYT.com

Pastor Contradicts Jesus: Burns Qur’an, Fuels Afghani Extremist Rhetoric

2 Apr

Pastor Jones: If you have hate in your heart, let it out

It’s not about the right to burn a Qur’an. Of course he has that right. But as someone who claims to be a man of faith, I don’t see how this is productive at all.  He is clearly trying to bring attention to himself. He is not representative of Americans and he does not have a following. He has been in the media spotlight only because of the absurdity of his logic and the controversy surrounding his actions.  
 
We’re supposed to be educated and civilized Americans that believe in respect. This ‘pastor’ certainly isn’t responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan as a result of the book burning. However, his actions (in combination with the irresponsible media and the gullible people that keep on eating the tripe the spew), are empowering a radical group of people that believe in a very radical brand of Islam. These actions are fueling thugs and extremists and playing into their hands. They know that they only way they can continue to recruit and grow stronger is if they perpetuate the myth that America is waging a new Crusade against Islam. These thugs will do whatever they can to stifle debate, kill anyone that gets in their way, and make sure that no compromises are never made. Purity in the name of extremism is an awfully dangerous thing.  
 
We must fight extremism with our intellect and we must understand that we are completely desensitized to shock value. Yes, it is clearly silly to us that burning a bound book is just a way for us to excercise our freedom to do so. However, to uneducated Afghanis that will believe anything that is told to them, they probably think there are thousands of Americans who are burning Qur’ans all over the streets plotting how they can completely destroy Islam and kill all the followers. Believe me… if people can be convinced that real estate is always a great investment in America, the uneducated, iliterate, and jobless in Afghanistan can be convinced that there is an American plot to Crusade against Islam.

We all certainly have the right to burn a Koran. If the day comes where someone tries to take that right away, I will be the first one to light one up. However, in the meantime, I’m not going to excercise my right to be grossly disrespectful to anyone or any group just because I can.  
Believe me when I say it… Moderate Muslims, secularists, and women are depending on us to show some restraint.   
Click here to read more.

Bush, Obama, and Presidential War Powers

1 Apr

Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com wrote an excellent article about the expanding war powers of the President. I highly recommend this piece to anyone that is interested in the interplay of federalism, the national executive, and the political process. For my Tea Party compatriots that have a tendency to see Constitutional issues in black and white, I think this will give you a better idea of how complicated things really are.  

Just a quick summation of points:

  • Greenwald begins by discussing President W. Bush’s disregard for FISA (Nixon-inspired federal law that makes certain kinds of domestic eavesdropping a felony). In essence, the Bush’s DOJ team made the argument that Article II’s necessary and proper clause allows the President to ignore Congressional power at his discretion i.e. Statutes apply unless the President, upon his unchecked discretion, deems that it doesn’t
  • In wake of US military action in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the same message to the House of Representatives
  • Greenwald discusses a 1987 report by then Congressman Cheney’s justifying President Reagan’s involvement in Iran Contra. In particular, he gives us an excerpt of the report… “it was unconstitutional for Congress to pass laws intruding” on the “commander in chief”… Needless to say, Cheney does a good job an exception job of making people dislike him with everything he does
  • How Senator Obama and Senator Clinton were adamantly opposed to President Bush’s exercise of power
  • The unlikely pairing of Justice Scalia and Justice Stevens in the dissent of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
  • How President Obama is doing what all Presidents before him have done: preserve and expand the power of the President

Battle of the Message Boards: Is the Hijab a Necessary Muslim Article of Clothing?

1 Apr

Booty Hijab?

I recently came across an article that details experiences of non-Muslims who wear a hijab for a day.

Though I appreciate the social experiment, it captures exactly what is wrong with how we educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam. After having many conversations with feminist hijabis, as thought provoking as the exchanges may have been, I remain vehemently opposed to the position that the hijab should be universally accepted by Muslims. Don’t get me wrong, as a social conservative, I do believe there is a connection between attire, decency, and self-respect, but as a Muslim-American, I believe the focus should be on an individual’s right to choose faith. Praxis necessitates that a universal application of an unnecessary element of freedom will eventually lead us down a slippery slope that will subvert one’s ability to choose his or her own faith.

So here is the message board exchange I had with a few dissenters:

MUSLIM TEA PARTY: If the event’s sole purpose was to give participants the first-person experience of wearing an out-of-the-ordinary piece of cloth, then I’m sure they got their point across. Otherwise, I agree with dissenter. For most Muslims, the hijab is not a part of their cultural tradition. The Hijab is more Arab than anything else. As a South-Asian Muslim-American, it makes me sick to my stomach to see my forefathers’ open-minded culture being strangled by the limits of the hijab. The ‘requirement’ of a hijab is speculative at best; the true Islamic focus is based around moderation (whether a person chooses to wear hijab or jean cutoff shorts is a decision that should be made on the individual level WITHOUT the heavy handed influence of a few hijabis (or a few scantily clad women) and without guilt/sense of obligation). The focus should be on the confidence, inner-beauty, and moderation that one has whether she is wearing hijab or not. The hijab is a symbol that is rooted in the importance between control, self-respect, and the mind-body spiritual connection. The analysis is necessarily subjective, for Muslims believe that your actions can only be judged by their creator alone.
 

JIMMY: First of all hijaab is not just the piece of cloth that covers the head. It is about the whole of modest form of dress code for both genders. For women, Allah SWT adds one more requirement of “covering one’s zeenath” (check sura Noor). Most scholars agree that hair is part of woman’s zeenath or things that adorn her. It is we in the South Asia that seem to be carrying the cultural baggage and refusing to see the covering of our hair as part of our faith.

 SAI: The first thing that should be stated is that hijab is a personal, deeply personal, decision. Especially in this country and in this climate. People who state that it is arab culture rather than religious tradition are in gross error. Hijab as a whole (meaning modesty and properly covering the body as well as the concept of not ogling the opposite sex or participating in immoral behavior) is a basic tenet of being muslim for both men and women and that should be explained before people try the hijab for a day programs. It’s an opening for the conversation on the topic rather than an opening for the whole hijabi/non hijabi friction. Islam is a religion and not a culture and the sooner people understand that, the sooner they will have a real, open-minded discussion on the realities we face in the world. Many muslims don’t even recognize the difference between african/mid east/south asian culture (e.g. no women drivers, face covering, honor killings, female genital mutilation) and the religion that is islam. How can we expect anyone else to try to understand when we can’t even agree on whether hijab is a culture or religious tenet. It’s not just a head covering, its a way of living. It’s like putting on a shirt or pair of pants and the women who wear it view it that way. These are the things these programs should explain and the purpose for it. It should be more than a fun experiment; it should be an eye opening experience of what we go through daily. What is should not be is a platform for politically intended individuals.

 MUSLIM TEA PARTY:   The point Jimmy and Sai are making is exactly the problem with Islam today. Yes, there needs to be a sense of community and oneness. That does not mean everyone has to be the same, eat the same food, speak the same language, dress the same dress, etc. Throughout Islamic history, there have always been many different schools of thought, different scholars, and differing opinions. Of course the justifications for these decisions were rooted in religious interpretation, but just like any man based law, it is the individual’s experience in his or her locale that directs acceptable norms; historically, this holds true in Islam and to suggest that no adjustments are made for cultural variation is myopic at best. The hijab just happens to be one of many accepted norms (and its origin is in Arabia). It just so happens that a very conservative form of Islam has been subsidized by the rich oil barons in the Middle East. They have exerted their influence over tribal chieftains and poorer communities as a means of spreading their belief system and maintaining their religio-cultural dominance.

Congress Showing signs of a *gasp* Compromise?

31 Mar

You jerk my chain and I'll jerk yours... But that chain looks like it has syphilis!

Though I think compromise has it’s time, it is disheartening to hear that the Republicans aren’t taking the stand that they promised to take. It looks like the whusses are scared of a shutdown… click here to read more

Though I appreciate the activism and the rallying cry, I think it would be unwise to focus too much on a balanced budget amendment. The goal is to bring the federal government out of the red… we can only do that with a clear strategy of fiscal responsibility and restraint.

As for the cuts for the current year, we can’t play games. We must cut as much as we can, and if the liberals threaten a shut down, so be it. Politically, these representatives know that the Tea Party Patriots will back them if they make a righteous budgetary stand. The sooner we get the $61 billion off the budget, the faster Washington has to learn to live without $61 billion dollars. Forget all the rhetoric about free loaders and lazy people etc. that kind of talk is unproductive nonsense. The goal is to shrink the size of the federal government so individuals, the private sector, and States can make the best decisions possible.

People think Tea Party Patriots are completely against raising taxes… that is not the case. In the situation we’re in now, taxing a public that is struggling to make ends meet and growing the federal government would be a very short-lived temporary fix that will only dig us deeper. But when we get back to fiscal responsibility, it is the individual and the State that should have more leeway; when we reach the equilibrium again, if States like CA and IL keep playing the same ol’ tax and spend game, the individuals of that state will be able to spend the way they want and raise/decrease the STATE income tax as they please (so long as they know the Federal government wont be there to bail them out every step of the way AND that they’ll have to compete with fiscally responsible States)… Competition is the end game

NJ Governor: True Tea Party Patriot Without All the Fat

30 Mar
Okay… maybe not!

Unlike the calls of certain Islamaphobes who are tarnishing the Tea Party’s good name,  Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey clearly governs with his conscience and doesn’t buy into all the libera media-constructed hype. The man means business. Gov. Christie recently nominated Sohail Mohammed to the Superior Court of NJ. In a time where politicians (like Presidential hopeful Herman Cain) are making a stand against hiring Muslim-Americans (government jobs for now… but what’s next? First responders? Doctors? Attorneys?), Gov. Christie continues to stand by his decision to nominate Mr. Mohammed (even though he is a Muslim-AMERICAN).

This isn’t an affirmative action issue. Just like Christians, Muslims believe that one should only reap what he sows. Generally, Muslims do not support the idea of hiring someone just because of the race, gender, or religious beliefs. Here, it just so happened that a Muslim-American was the best person for the job. As we start getting to a point where it is commonplace for there to be 2nd and 3rd generation Muslim-Americans, expect there to be more of us that are competing for high profile positions.

To read more, please click here to see the NJ.com article.

Sharia Part 1: What is it?

30 Mar

Before I address more practical applications of Sharia (coming soon in future posts), I wanted to address some theoretical components.

Very simply, Sharia is the law of God. Though some Muslims will say that the Qur’an has all the answers (so cliché), it certainly does not have all the laws we’ll ever need pre-casted and ready to be implemented.  So as much as Sharia has come to refer to a static set of rules and laws, it is more appropriate to view it as a system of creating laws that are divinely sanctioned.  To elaborate a little more, like many other explanations about something that is deemed Godly, Sharia is supposed to be humanity’s attempt at developing a set of laws that is close to perfect as possible (perfection equaling God).

As any true scholar of Islam will tell you, the ‘characterization’ of God more closely parallels the transcendence of Judaism than it does the personal/human God of Christianity (BTW… Muslims believe that these are all the same God). By transcendence, Muslims mean that God is wholly other and mostly incomprehensible to man. The philosophers might liken this description of God to the concept of infinity; no beginning, no end, theoretically imaginable, not completely graspable. This is probably where Kant would say that we are hardwired to understand in a context of time and space.

Okay. So Sharia is the law of God and it must aim to be Godly, yet humans can’t quite grasp the notion of God like they can’t grasp infinity?? The confusion I have brought you to is exactly the point. Fundamentally, one must understand that the Sharia law is ultimately controlled, guided, and implemented by humans. Humans are not God and they can’t exactly know whether their actions are completely Godly. However, lawmakers can commit themselves to the ideals of justice and fairness.

Upcoming Posts:

Part 2: Religious Ritual Law vs. Legal Code

Part 3: What is a fatwah? A Basic Explanation of Islamic Jurisprudence

Part 4: Why is Sharia misunderstood (and villified)?

Part 5: Is Sharia compatible with the US Constitution?

Is America Responsible for Free Speech Limitations by Tyrants in the Middle East?

30 Mar

For the good of the sultan!

As more Middle Eastern Kings, Sultans, and “Presidents” face mass protests and dissent, one of the first moves is to shut off access to the internet. Between Twitter, Facebook, and emails, it is much easier to share ideas, rally protests, and come up with strategies to topple oppressive regimes. Though the heads of State know that it isn’t enough to quash a rebellion, they do know that limiting access to websites enable them to put up hurdles and to unabashedly disseminate their own slanted version of the ‘truth.’

So are Americans to blame for this practice? GIVE ME A BREAK. We originally developed these technologies to keep middle school perverts from looking at porn in school. Now, almost every company out there blocks access to sites like youtube at the workplace to make sure productivity levels stay afloat. Is it immoral for American companies to sell their products to these oil baron Kings? It’s about time the left wing of this country stops blaming American ingenuity and creativity for the actions of tyrants. McAffe doesn’t censor people, tyrants censor people.

For more information, visit WSJ.com for the article.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: