Month: October 2016

My Dwindling Belief in Politicians and Public Service

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“How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”

James Monroe

In writing this post I must own that as a 35 year old woman I may come across as incredibly naive. Some may laugh at my ever being so foolish as to believe in such noble concepts. But today I’m here to tell you that this woman’s idealism has been wounded perhaps beyond repair in this election cycle but even before then.

You see friends I used to believe in something called public service. I knew there were certainly egos and narcissists in our government, but I was pedestrian enough to believe this was a loud minority. I believed that a majority of our leaders saw a need, an opportunity to serve and chance to do something more for the world than they might have in the private sphere.

Part of my reason for believing this was the lessened salaries most of these Ivy league graduates could receive in public service. Even something like the presidency doesn’t pay near what the men of that position would have earned in a different occupation.

public-service2Of course it is easier to believe the side I agree with is full of noble intentions and the opposite point of view is suspect, but I have always been one that defended the indefensible. Yes for years I stood up for politicians!  It was understandable to me that a person like John Edwards could place himself over the good of the country or any number of other narcissistic scandals could exist but I could ignore them as disgusting outliers.

When other people ragged on our representatives both national and local, I said “at least they were out there fighting and trying to make a difference.” I worked on campaigns. I even made calls and went door to door on occasion because I really believed in these people.  How foolish do I sound now.

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I’m not speaking for anyone else but myself. I just wanted to say that I don’t believe them any more.

In the last few weeks I have seen one representative after another compromise their principles to support both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If they believe they are good candidates than that I can understand and support that, but it is the public maneuvering to save face that makes me sick.

For example, congressman Jason Chaffetz, who I at one point had a ‘political crush’ on went in under a week from saying “he couldn’t look his daughter in the eye” and endorse Donald Trump to tweeting out “I will not defend or endorse Donald Trump but I am voting for him”

Shame on him. This is not the politics of public service. This is politics as political maneuvering to try and save face. A public statement of who you are voting for is an endorsement Mr Chaffetz whether you like to call it that or not.

He is not alone. Now after Hillary Clinton has been put back under investigation by the FBI liberals like Paul Krugman have gone from saying Trump’s allegations of media bias and a rigged system are outrageous to making the same claims about Hillary Clinton’s treatment. Nancy Pelosi said it was “partisan conspiracy-mongering.” Evidently only liberals are allowed to throw out conspiracies…

Other people may buy into one side or the other but I don’t any more. They are all spin doctors. They are all out to protect themselves more than what is good for our country.

They have all forgotten PUBLIC SERVICE!


You can call me a cynic but that’s really how I feel. They are supposed to be serving us. They are supposed to be looking out for us. Instead all they care about is themselves, their careers, and how it impacts their precious party.

I personally was proud of Senator Ted Cruz for being the one Republican to not endorse Donald Trump at the GOP Convention. This to me showed integrity. How wrong I was when mere weeks later he was answering phones and working for Trump.

Since then I have seen one leader after another fail to make a stand or compromise where they know they shouldn’t be.

It reminds me of the scripture story where Esau sells his birthright to his brother for a mess of pottage. When all this is said and done they will have either failed to speak up or actively spoken for something and someone unfit to stand with their own daughters let alone lead our country. They sold their birthright for pottage of momentary consensus and inclusion.

Yes, the third party candidates do give me a sense of hope but they are the minority and it is easier to be brave when you do not face the peer pressure of the bullying sheep.

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This is not a sudden realization for me but something that has been brewing for a long time. Back in 2009 I joined with other concerned citizens to protest the bank bailouts and other insane spending by our representatives. The tea party protests were the most inspiring and patriotic experiences I’ve had in my life.

Back then I believed that the representatives would listen and at least some of them were true public servants. Then I spent the next 7 years being treated like a terrorist, and radical by the very party that I was supposedly in allegiance with.

Representative by representative, leader by leader has fallen into a sea of self-interest since those days of protest in 2009. And now I just don’t trust any of them and perhaps that is the healthiest place to be in.

Gone are my illusions of public service and that elected officials were for the most part trying to do what is right.

I don’t believe in them any more.

Friday 5: Spooky Instrumentals

This week for Friday 5 we could do anything Halloween based. I decided to focus on spooky instrumentals. I think you will enjoy these for your Halloween party.

Are you guys doing anything fun for Halloween weekend? I plan on just spending time with family and friends. I have a very special Halloween costume which you will get to see on Monday on my channel.

Why are the Classics so Long?

Tonight I am going to see the classic film Gone with the Wind. Megaplex theaters here in Utah are doing a Silver Screen Series of 10 classic films for only $10. This gives us the chance to see classic films on the big screen!  Here is the series:

This is an awesome opportunity but also a lot of fun because I am podcasting about them with my friend Christine. We have already talked about Lawrence of Arabia, which we both loved. You can listen to that analysis here.

I must be honest though a side of me doesn’t really want to see Gone with the Wind tonight. It’s just so long and so full of melodrama. Plus, there are the racially insensitive moments and all that Magnolia rosy versions of the Slavery South. But mostly it’s just hard for me to get super excited for a 4 hour movie…

It got me thinking 6 of the 10 selections are 3 hours or more. Occasionally you will see a 3 hour movie these days with Lord of the Rings but most are under 3 hours. In fact, films like Batman v Superman will be hacked up to keep it under the 3 hours. I know why this happens because over 3 hours limits screening times which then limits income for the studio.  The 3 hour version is saved for the bluray these days.

But economics aside I think there is something more to this. I mean there is no way a movie like My Fair Lady or Sound of Music would ever be 3 hours these days no matter how many screenings they could fit in. It makes me wonder why?

classics1We can look at the same phenomenon with literature. Classic novels like David Copperfield are so long they took multiple parts to print. Books like Count of Monte Cristo, Nicholas Nichleby, Don Quixote, Moby Dick are well over 1000 pages. Occasionally you will find such a book these days but I think it is the exception rather than the rule.

Just like with movies there was an economic reason for the length of these novels. Authors at the time were paid by the word so the longer they could make the story the better. I love classic novels but some even try my patience including Les Miserables which despite my love for the musical I have never been able to get through.

But just like with movies I think there is more than economics to explain these changes.  Sure occasionally we get a novel that feels like a classic in length but it is definitely the exception to the rule (I haven’t read but been told Infinite Jest is such a book).

It makes me wonder what has changed in our collective storytelling patience in the last 50 years or so? Is it the prevalence of television and it’s 30 minute storytelling platform that made the difference? Is it the amount of material to read and view that makes us anxious for the next item? Perhaps if we only got 2 or 3 major books a year we wouldn’t mind the ones we got being long and drawn out?

Again, I love the classics but I’m not always in the mood for them. Sometimes I am in the mood for a more succinct modern story. Maybe it is just the longer novels/films which have persevered as classics while the shorter ones were digested and forgotten?

What do you think? Why do you think there is this difference in modern and classic books and movies?

What do you prefer? Do you like modern tight storytelling or the more leisurely paced classic?

Throw Away Your Vote

voting-twainThis post may seem somewhat cynical but it’s really not. If anything it should be empowering. I have decided to vote third party this election and have heard the outcry of ‘you are throwing your vote away’.  Well, the truth is that my individual vote  doesn’t really matter to begin with. What does matter is the act of voting. This is especially true in the presidential election.

What! I can hear you saying. How can Rachel the patriot be saying that a vote doesn’t matter? Let me state again- VOTING MATTERS, A VOTE DOES NOT.

Statistically speaking voting is not a utility maximizing activity.  Almost any activity you can do has more of an impact than voting. In just the state of Utah there are 2 million people of eligible voting age. Of those people about a 1/3rd actually vote (which is a crime). So, around 700,000 people vote in a Utah presidential election. Just think about it. My vote in Utah has a 1/700,000 chance of impacting the race in just my state. This means it is statistically nearly worthless.  You’d have better chances of entering some lotteries or playing poker in Vegas.

These statistics are made even worse in a presidential election where the popular vote may not even matter at all. United States citizens do not actually elect the president of the United States. The electoral college gives states power over popular consensus by awarding delegates based on their representation in Congress. In theory the delegates are supposed to vote with their states electorate will but they are not required to do so. Typically the votes go on a win-all basis so if Utah goes Republican than the electoral college will give 6 Republican votes. Maine and Nebraska are exceptions to this rule. 

You can debate the value of the electoral college but for the moment it is here and it can have an impact on the election. For example, in 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral college to George W Bush. If you are one of these 538 electoral delegates than your vote does matter but statistically speaking for the rest of us it really doesn’t.

So why participate in this waste of time called voting? Because what is actually statistically important is the act of voting. While my vote in Utah may be 1/700,000, my act of voting may encourage 3 or 4 other people to vote. All of the sudden that is a significant impact. Those 3 people encourage 3 other people and the ripple effect is real. Plus, there are smaller races, which while still statistically not utility maximizing, the impact is more like 1/20,000

Another reason to vote is simply because it is the right thing to do. There are lots of things we do which we draw mainly moral inspiration and fortitude from. An article I read in the Harvard Political Review put it well:

“There are many actions we consider morally valuable, even when they have little or no consequence. Such actions are intrinsically valuable, or their goodness consists in their being suitably related to a deeper moral ideal or principle we find compelling. Suppose I make a promise to my grandmother that I will visit her grave once every year. It seems that honoring this promise is morally valuable, irrespective of the positive consequences doing so may bring about. It is valuable because promises are simply the sort of thing that it is right to honor”

If we are voting out of a moral imperative than doesn’t that make voting for someone you don’t believe in even more nonsensical? If voting is the right thing to do than voting for the right person logically must go along with it.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter who you vote for. It just matters that you vote. People can say you are throwing away your vote but statistically that’s just not true. Vote for whomever you want and then encourage other people to do the same. That’s how you really make a difference.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

ps. I will be so happy when this election is over!

One Lovely Blog Award

meMy friend Kyle nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. He’s an awesome fellow animation addict and you guys should totally check out his blog.

This is a fun blog tag where you get to talk about 7 Things About Yourself. Now after blogging for 8 years there isn’t much you guys don’t know about me but hopefully I can remind you of those fun things.

  1. I write for Rotoscopers.com- I don’t get to talk about it often on this blog but I write fairly regularly for rotoscopers.com which is an animation website. It’s a lot of fun and my writing has improved as I’ve had to write for a professional site. I brought up the idea of doing a Disney Canon Countdown with the other writers and they have embraced it. My last canon post was on The Little Mermaid, which I love so much. I’d love for you to read it. http://www.rotoscopers.com/2016/08/19/disney-canon-countdown-28-the-little-mermaid/I also got the chance to be on the rotoscopers podcast which was amazing!
  2. I am not voting for Trump- Frequent fans of this blog know I am a strong conservative. I have decided to vote for Evan McMullin an independent candidate. Some say I’m throwing my vote away but I just couldn’t vote for someone like Trump. I thought back on the early history of my faith and when the Saints had nobody they could vote for Joseph Smith ran for President. I figure if it is good enough for them to go third party it is good enough for me! Here’s a little bit more about Evan.
  3. I recently became a Star Trek fan! Starting in May my friend Tom and I started podcasting about all the Star Trek movies. There are definitely misses in the films (14 including Galaxy Quest) but at its best Star Trek is an engaging and smart series with good sci-fi writing and charismatic performances. I have just started on the TV shows but the movies were a ton of fun to watch.
  4. I love to swim. This year I finished my 11th open water race. I really need to get back in the pool more than I do but I really do love it. deer creek
  5. I went to Spain this year! I hadn’t been out of the country since 2008 and that was just Mexico. The last time I used my passport was 2005 to Japan, so it was quite the adventure. I went to the beach 13 times! It was a dream for me. alicante3
  6. I work from home as a digital marketing coordinator. Unfortunately I am not full time employed but with my basement apartment rented out I am able to make it all work. In a way it is nice because I have more time to work on my youtube channel and other writing.
  7. I collect Funko Pop dolls. This is a fairly new collection but I’m having a blast doing it. I currently have 40 in my collection. I’ve gotten 5 since doing this video but it is pretty accurate.  What’s fun about the funko pops is the attention to detail and their relatively low cost (under $10).

    So now is the point where I am supposed to nominate other people to participate. I nominate Jeremy and Abby, Richard, and my friend over at The Love Pirate.  They are all awesome bloggers so check out their blogs.

  1. Write a blog post accepting your nomination.
  2. Show the blogger who nominated you how much you love them by thanking them in the post and linking to their blog.
  3. Tell us seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate other blogs that you think are totally rad.
  5. Let the bloggers you’ve nominated know about they’ve received an award.
  6. Post the rules again to let those bloggers know how it works.