Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I then had a much longer followup and I don't want it to be lost... so I'm turning it into a blog post.
This post is framed by and within the US Public School -> University machine/system in which I participated.
I completed my degree (BA History Minor in Italian Language & Culture), I have paid off my debts (roughly $70k), and I did the whole horse and pony show (graduated high school and college with honors, did well on all my standardized tests, etc. etc. and I now have a lucrative IT job that has absolutely #$&* all to do with my degree)... I even wear a lovely gold ring with my school's logo on it and cheer on my properly colored tribal warriors on the football field each year when they do mock battle on the field of astroturf honor.
I went to Uni to get an double degree in Art and Computer Science, in 1995 the idea of a degree in computer graphics/animation was not yet vogue. After two years of taking mandatory classes and incurring half of my debt I realized that all I did was absolutely kill any desire I had to be creative (I had to make art I did not enjoy to comply with arbitrary standards to show mastery of arbitrary skills) and I was learning programming methodologies that were already 2 years behind the bleeding edge and paying money for the privilege. So I got a wake up call, decided to pursue my original love of History and went back to self-study of what is now my career - web design. The degree was ONLY to get me through the "HR filter" so that I could get a corporate job.
Mostly Blah, Some Good, Some Bad
I believe Gaussian distribution (the bell curve) applies in all things and over time the curve becomes more pronounced. Nearly 20 years after I started at Uni, I've come to realize that the classes where I grew best as a human being (the leading edge of the curve) - I could have done in 2014 via a social media group or a Meetup group, chatting about politics at a pub or coffee house, or even just opening my mouth to talk to a new stranger I just met on a train in another country. Or... by joining the armed forces. The only thing my professors really did for me, was provide me with bibliographies of good books... which I can now get just by asking my Facebook colleagues or reading Amazon "top sellers" lists. For the rest of my time at Uni, the rest of the bell curve applies - and I paid good money to sit in a room and learn stuff I could have learned on my own, to talk to people with nothing interesting to say, and to fulfill "my requirements" ... and sometimes, I paid good money to sit in the most arse numbingly boring classes imaginable just to fulfill a "requirement." (trailing edge of the curve). But I had to pay it, because I had to get enough "hours."
Hours Über Alles
... in the US, that's a minimum number of "hours" and schools are paid for by how many "hours" you take in a semester. In order to complete your degree, you MUST purchase a specific number of hours, and the content of those hours varies by degree plan. Showing mastery of a subject allows you to - sometimes - get credit for the material (so your degree plan is satisfied) ... but you still must now fill the gap with hours (that you pay for) somewhere else with some other subject. If you should transfer to another school... you must pay for a specific number of hours at the new school in order to graduate from that school (even if you show mastery of all subjects required for the degree you want... we go to Uni to learn right? So if I learn the material why can't I get the diploma earlier? ). There are even Universities now that offer "general studies" degree plans, where you basically pick and choose whatever courses you wish, and once you hit your "hours" you get a - you realize a decade later - very expensive piece of paper from "a good schoo." (that now in 2014, you can get from home, via an online degree program, provided by a business that realizes that you're just after the piece of paper and so charges you a fraction of the money just to get in, get out, get the paper).
Then there's textbooks - invariably in the US, the classes with the heaviest churn always have brand new text books every year so that there's no used books available. These new books are absurdly expensive, but students don't care because they're getting loans anyway. Curiously convenient confluence there that helps pay the textbook industries bills. Then you have professors that require their own books in class (fortunately there's usually used available). Then labs, which carry fees... conceptually to pay for the materials consumed in the labs... but most of the time you have to buy additional materials as well with your own money. Then there's "general fees" for things like the student health center and photocopy center (but you have to pay for any services rendered yourself also). 30,000 people attended my Uni. when I went... each of them paid $5 for student health services. You still had to pay for any injections, serious medicine, etc. yourself... but at least bandaids and Tylenol were free. Thank goodness for that.
By GED you've got it!
If I could do it all over again, I'd go back and tell High School me to tell the public schools to piss off, go get my GED at 16, study for the SAT standardized entrance tests myself, pass them earlier, go to a local community college to get my "core curriculum" goals met, and then transfer to my Uni. of choice to pay for only "the hours" necessary to get my fancy paper and gold ring with a prestigious logo on it (assuming I didn't just get the paper from an online University mill) and save myself countless thousands of dollars.
I'd have paid a fraction for the paper that got me through the HR filter to my current job, saved years of my life, and probably been very similarly (professional) situated as where I am now - because nothing I learned necessary to do it came from the Uni.
Obviously there are other circumstances outside of simply the University/Degree situation involved. I love my life, let me repeat that I LOVE my life and I wouldn't - in fact - go back and change a damn thing. But I can at least acknowledge that, in the end, I was bilked for $70k of money to get a piece of paper "the right way" (or rather, the way "everybody else does it") that, had I known more as a kid, I might not have had to do so. One of the things that "contrarian philosophy" (a mindset I did NOT learn at school by the by) teaches us is that... if "everybody" does something a certain way, that's the only evidence necessary to tell you that there's got to be a better way.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
My very first nickname given to me by a non-family member was as a kid in Singapore. There was an Italian restaurant my parents loved (maybe my brothers remember the name...).
... the waitress always called me Superman because the hair on my widow's peak would always curl down over my forehead (it still does). Even though I only rarely collected Superman comics themselves, I - like everyone else that's part of western culture or the modern world - have always secretly loved the Big Blue Boy Scout.
Friday, October 11, 2013
30-ish years ago, my father, knowing that I was interested in learning to read, bought me my first comic book. As a boy growing up overseas in Singapore with an ex-pat Dad from Texas... he picked Captain America. So when I say that the exploits of Cap mean quite a bit to me sentimentally ... that's what I mean. Captain America was my first comic book. Ever.
I can still see the cover in my minds eye, that's how big of an impression it made on a 5 year old boy (I also remember my first day of 1st Grade at Singapore American School so ... maybe my memory is freakishly good ... but whatever). Thanks to the Internet, I can share the image in my mind's eye with you as well.
Captain America Vol.1 #278 "Oh Thus Be It Ever" (yeah that's right, the title of the issue was a lyric from the freaking Star Spangled Banner!)
Imagine a 5 year old boy growing up overseas seeing that cover for the first time. I'd never heard of Captain America before, I had no idea who Zemo was, heck... I could barely read (I had cut my teeth on Ladybird Storybooks - fairy tales like Three Billy Goats Gruff, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.).
There he was, larger than life. Captain America! Leaping out of the cover thanks to Mike Zeck's pencils - red, white, blue and awesome. "You've pushed me too far!" ... wow, what had happened that made such a hero like Captain America angry?!?! I wanted to know, I had to know.
I'm pretty sure Dad read it too me for bedtime.
Why do I tell the internet this? Well, so that when I say I could NOT stand the Dimension Z storyline and STOPPED collecting Captain America, you'll know what that means. Combine the DUMBEST storyline I've ever had the displeasure to read with John Romita Jr.'s pencilwork ... I ... I ... I just couldn't.
So... whoever finally got a clue, ended the Dimension Z story, and put Cap back to "normal" thank you. I'm not sure if I like the "Armored Costume" look you're going for (a nod to the movies) or the semi-reboot you're doing of all the things I've come to love about Cap recently but... you opened the comic with a flashback to Manhattan 1935 - Steve Rogers as a boy. You roped me in. Let's ride.
Thanks for giving me back Cap.
Oh thus be it ever.
Monday, September 23, 2013
According to J the girl was super excited all day. When I finally got home from work, I got dressed and after a few last minute items, we headed out to find SHRIMP! ... that's what she wanted it seemed.
She informed me, as we drove, that although she liked playing with her brother, she really, really liked just being alone with her Daddy because "sometimes Morgan just always wants to be near me" ... I understood, but I also taught her that maybe Morgan likes to be near you all the time because he loves his awesome big sister so much. We'll see if she listened in the years to come I guess.
The first destination was Toys R' Us to get Morgan's birthday gifts out of the way. After a discussion about the merits of "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" versus "Mickey Mouse" we decided that V should get the Mickey Mouse items (as Daddy had already acquired a plush Jake and Captain Hook previously). V then made a beeline for the girls toys, pulled off track by Daddy to buy Morgan's gift... which resulted in her pointing at the first Mickey Mouse toy she saw with wheels (a firetruck). I suspected the Morgan might appreciate a plush Micky as well so I also get one of those. The girl then spends the next 10-15 minutes going up and down the girls toys telling me all about Lalaloopsy, My Little Pony, Barbie, Hello Kitty, and whatever else caught her eye.
Our second destination was Outback Steakhouse... in the rain, the waiting line seemed to fill the porch. So, I drove over to Red Lobster. The rain had stopped and the porch was larger so into line we went... 45 minute wait.
So I spent the next 45 minutes watching my overactive nearly five year old run around like a crazy monkey. I swear if they ever figure out how to bottle Essence of 4-Year Old they'll solve the world energy crisis. The only respite I got was an intense 15 minute game of "I Spy With My Little Eye" and she's pretty shrewd I can tell you.... best bring your A game.
Then... we went inside for a rest room break and she spent a few minutes prior just eyeballing the live lobsters. I informed her that they were pretty good eating and she licked her chops (not kidding). She informs me that she's never had lobster before (as if I wasn't aware, which was cute) and wonders what they tasted like. I informed her that they were fairly delicious and made a mental note to get something with Lobster on/in it.
Finally, after coming out of the restroom our table is ready and we sit. After telling her about how her daddy and her Yaa (Thai word for Paternal Grandmother) and my Daddy Morgan used to come to Red Lobster, we ordered the Ultimate Feast. I've forgotten how many of those I've eaten in Red Lobster alongside my Mom & Dad... seemed appropriate.
The results? Popcorn shrimp (Well technically "Walt's Favorite Shrimp") was the winner, hands down followed by the Wild Rice Pilaf. Then I discovered that she didn't like heavy butter. Once the butter was removed from the equation... the snow crab and lobster were right up there. At the bottom of the list was the garlic shrimp scampi... which allowed me to enjoy them. She also adored the Cheddar Bay Biscuits... eating two. Since she and cow milk are still not friends, we finished up with a Warm Apple Crostada which was also a huge hit.
On the drive home, I informed her that since it was very, very late we were unlikely to do many bedtime stories. Smart girl that she is, she proposed that daddy just tell her stories as we drove. I then regaled her with some family stories about my father (her grandfather Morgan that she'd never have the opportunity to know).
J tells me that she was asleep within minutes after we finally got home. I'll call the first Daddy Daughter Date a success.
Friday, July 5, 2013
However, I keep hearing over and over about how he’s a traitor for failing to follow orders or the responsibilities of his post/position. I’d like to post something from Senator Inouye of Hawaii, Chairman of the Iran Contra hearings, July 14th, 1987. Senator Daniel Inouye, by the way is a Democrat, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, and served with the Nisei 442 RCT in WW2.
Anyway… food for thought.
“The uniform code makes it abundantly clear that it must be the lawful orders of a superior officer.
In fact, it says, “Members of the military have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders.”
This principle was considered so important that we, we the Government of the United States, proposed that it be internationally applied in the Nuremberg trials… “
… does he need to come to trial and prove that his orders were indeed unlawful? Maybe… not for me to decide… freedom is precious, I will never fault a man for wanting to preserve it. Especially since he’d probably sit in a jail cell for 3-5 years before he gets a trial. “Right to Speedy Trial” is apparently a relative term these days.
Did he have to “out” the government in such a public fashion… considering it’s OUR government? Yes. Without a 1st Amendment press/media shield nothing would have ever been done… or… to be blunt, he might have just lost his job/been discredited/crushed financially (if you’re of a conspiracy mind… killed).
Sometimes I wonder if we forget, in our crazy national gyrations about protecting our First Amendment rights to burn flags, watch porn, or pray (or not pray) in X/Y/Z location…. that the reason we have Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech in the same Amendment is exactly for things like what Snowden did.
"We the People" are the watchdogs on our government, and the Press is how we bark.
… or at least, once upon a time, that’s how it was supposed to work. Lord knows we often fail to live up to our National Potential. Snowden is an interesting case/flashpoint in the history of our country. I wonder what future events will bear out regarding the 4th & 1st Amendments, the NSA, and our government. We live in interesting times.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Locally here in DFW a Malaysian coworker told me about a good Singaporean restaurant. That led me down memory lane and after a foray on Google I learned that The Satay Club was demolished back in the mid-90s.
A piece of my childhood has died today... or rather it died 15+ years ago and I didn't know it until today.
The Old Satay Club on the Queen Elizabeth Walk
For those of you that didn't get to visit or grow up in Singapore back before the current century... The Satay Club was awesome. My memories are fuzzy, but this is what I remember.
It was a collection of stalls where guys would cook Satay... skewers upon skewers of it. Every few stalls would be somebody making the peanut sauce. You would show up and eat... and eat... and eat... and at the end somebody would come by, count up how many sticks your table consumed, and you'd pay at that time.
It was carnivore heaven... savory... peanut sauce drenched heaven.
So if I ever get to go back to Singapore again after so many years away... where's a good replacement place?
Monday, July 1, 2013
I read it so often that I never, ever forgot it. When I think of the generations that will come after me I try to remember its words. It's an edited version of the original.
You got it from your father,
t'was the best he had to give,
And right gladly he bestowed it
It's yours, the while you live.
You may lose the watch he gave you
and another you may claim,
But remember, when you're tempted,
to be careful of his name.
It was fair the day you got it,
and a worthy name to bear,
When he took it from his father
there was no dishonor there.
Through the years he proudly wore it,
to his father he was true,
And that name was clean and spotless
when he passed it on to you.
It is yours to wear forever,
yours to wear the while you live,
Yours, perhaps some distant morn,
another boy to give.
I did too, December 19, 2010 - in a chapel in Lewisville, Texas ... I passed it on to my own little boy (just like I did two years previous when I did the same for my daughter... but the poem mentions a boy).
Friday, September 5, 2008
First of all, in the United States, we seem to use fascist to mean "You strongly believe in a political viewpoint that is not my own."
How it actually plays out seems to be: "You strongly believe in X viewpoint, do not support Y viewpoint, and are willing to vote and work to support a political agenda that promotes X. Because I don't agree with you because I believe in Y, you're a fascist."
Let me make two things perfectly clear.
1) Both Democrats and Republicans have tenants of REAL fascism in their rhetoric. That's reality. Fascism is actually a MODERATE ideology (it is more left than the right, it is more right than the left). Socialists, classical liberalists, conservatives and capitalists all share tenants with fascism.
2) Fascism is NOT Nazism. A fascist is not necessarily a Nazi, but all Nazi's were indeed fascists. If you don't understand the difference, don't get into political discussions.
Let's talk about REAL fascism for a minute. If you don't care, bail out now, because this is a rant.
Real Fascists are ultra nationalists. That does NOT mean that anyone that loves their country is a fascist. Ultra nationalism means promoting ones own nation to the exclusion of everyone else (Mussolini said it best "Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state").
- Considering how much aid we send overseas, how much money we spend in foreign trade and out trade deficit, and how intensely we are involved in the goings on in this world... we are about as far away from "ultra nationalism" as it gets. I would argue we have gone far beyond the balance point and are actually damaging out country with this position...but here's the rub ANY discussion to try and correct the imbalance... "Well, that's fascist!"
- Ultra nationalism is also extremely blind. "My country is never wrong." - It means that no matter what the state decides is the de facto course of action, the state is never wrong, and argument is not allowed. Political discussion, disagreement with one's leaders, debate, discussion, argument, and all the basics of the American political system are 100% incompatible with the Ultra Nationalist concept of REAL fascism. But get this...in the bigotry and hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, well bub, if you actually support the government, if you agree that troops are needed in Iraq, if you believe that terrorists should be interrogated to save American lives... "You’re a fascist." Just because you happen to agree (which is your right just as much as it's your right to disagree)... well you're 100% guilty of being a fascist.
Real fascists are populists. What the hell does that mean? That means fascists believe that there are two classes of people in the world; the "good and just and downtrodden" (the fascists) and "the elites" (the opponents). The elites can take any form so long as they're demonized and railed against. Hmm. Sounds more like the Democratic Party to me. Are you a religious person in America? Do you have a good job that pays well? Do you live in a nice home? Do you own your own business that's reasonably? ... well... you're the Elite. You've got to be brought low! You're the bad guy. But never forget that anybody can be the "bad guys": Jews, Christians, homosexuals, the rich, the poor, whites, blacks, men, women, Communists, Socialists, Capitalists. It doesn't matter WHO it is, just so long as "it's their fault."
Real fascists are collectivists. What the hell does that mean? That means that everyone should pull together for the benefit of everyone else. Christians are collectivists. Hippies are collectivists. Communists are collectivists. Environmentalists are collectivists. Being a collectivist doesn't make you a damn fascist. It makes you someone that cares about somebody other than yourself. How is it different from socialism? It's not really. The difference is slight. A collectivist will use the government to FORCE people to have to consider others.... home owners associations, environmental protection laws, mandatory recycling, etc. are all examples of American collectivism. Fascism doesn't seek to destroy the class structure. It seeks for IMPOSE a system that forces the classes to work together. Broke? The state will save you and tax you for the privilege. Rich? The state will make you help the poor. Individual rights are secondary or even tertiary to the needs of the collective.
Real fascists are dictatorial. Real fascists believe that only the strength of a strong leader, usually charismatic, with a cult of personality around him (so far there have been no women fascist leaders), has the strength and power necessary to enact true change. To get elected (every fascist leader so far has been elected... never forget that) that leader will use populist arguments to paint a dire picture ("The sky is falling, the sky is falling! My fellow citizens, if we don't act now our country and the planet will be forever lost!") and uses that as the platform to come into power. The "I will save us. I will make the changes needed. I will make the bad people stop keeping you down." arguments on the campaign trail are all echoes of old school classical fascism.
Real fascists believe in a strong military for defense as well as offense. Real fascists believe in using the military to advance the state. "Offense" means taking land and resources by force for the benefit of the state. Just because the army leaves your own national borders doesn't mean it is now assuming the role of jackbooted terror troops of the state. If you still believe, every time you go up to the gas pump and pay those prices, that we went to war for oil… you're an idiot.
Real fascists oppose free capitalism. They believe that the government is responsible for managing and controlling certain industries that are vital to the state (like, oh I don't know... fuel). They believe that the government, not free trade, should govern the prices of these key industries and wages. Contrary to the collectivist tenant, the opposition to free capitalism and the belief that government should be responsible for managing and controlling industry makes real fascism 100% opposed to trade unions. Not because they don't believe in organized workers... but because they believe the state to be the best one to do it. Real fascists also oppose the idea of interest and finance capitalism... they want to have control over debt, loans, interest, and credit in the country. They want to take control of banking and regulate it as it pertains to the state. We already do this and have been doing it since just after the Great Depression; it's called the US Treasury. Interest rates are based on Prime + whatever interest the company wishes to charge. Prime is set by the Government.
Real fascism is incompatible with true religion. Real fascism strives to make the secular state more important to the citizen than his or her faith. Atheist individuals are the ideal citizens of both classical Marxism as well as Fascism because the intent is to promote the "state above all else." Fascism and faith are completely incompatible because both strive for all of the resources of the citizen. One cannot serve two masters. However, don't think just because you're a person of faith that you're free of fascism's taint. Fascism WILL use organized religion as an ally and means to gain power. Politically active religions are at risk of being used by fascists to help them come into power. Know any charismatic political leaders to use a local religious organization to come to power and then dump it when it became expedient recently?
Real fascism believes in social interventionism. That means that the state WILL get involved in your business. However, HOW that will come about is not fixed. Italian fascists believed that abortion and birth control was bad. German fascists believed that abortion and birth control was good. Italian fascists believed that Italians were best because they were culturally Italians (regardless of race). To that end they tried to improve the Italians standard of life through cultural programs (paid for by the state at the expense of the Elite). German fascists believed that Germans were best because of Aryan genetics. To that end they tried to improve the German race via genetics (eugenics, prohibiting procreation with lesser races, promoting sex and babies among Aryan parents with or without marriage, etc.).
I've heard hard right folks accuse the left of fascism and there's truth there. I've heard hard left folks accuse the right of fascism and there's truth there. What makes me sick is that fascism has become a joke. The word means nothing anymore. THAT is the real danger.
- I believe in individual freedoms as well as individual responsibility.
- I believe that the government should get the hell out of my life and my business.
- I believe in God and if it comes to my state or my faith, my faith wins.
- I believe in free capitalism and trade.
- I believe in earning what you're worth and making as much money as you can.
- I believe that a military exists for the DEFENSE of the state, never, ever for attack. Your land is yours, but if you attack my country I'm going to dump a ton of hurt on yours.
- I believe in the right of elected officials to determine policy, not a dictator or political elite.
- I believe those officials must ANSWER to the people, if they don't I want them fired. They're MY employees.
- I believe that I should help others, recycle, and be environmentally aware because I WANT to as a human being and a Christian, not because the state tells me to or forces me to.
- I don't believe in populist bullshit. I think in America you're as successful as YOU want to be. You make the decisions, you reap the benefits. You succeed or fail based on your own strengths or weaknesses. There's no "class" in America, only opportunity. There's no elite, there's just those that succeeded and want you to succeed as well. I sure as hell don't believe in your right to be as successful as I am just because we're both Americans or vice versa; and I sure as hell don't want my hard work to go and bail out parasites. Nor do I want those more successful than I am to take food and money from their own families to help mine.
- I love my country and think it's the best nation on this earth today and possibly the greatest nation that has ever existed, but I sure as hell don't think that it's always right. Thank God for political debate and argument. I don't think we should only protect our own interests, but I think we've gotten TOO involved in the affairs of others at the expense of our own.
I'm no fascist. I'm an American.
Friday, June 27, 2008
So, I was listening to politics again at the office. While annoyed at the various idiots I'm listening to, my eyes stumble across a Dave Ramsey article that hits the nail on the head.
A Tale of Two Americans.
One, we'll call him John. John graduated from high school, didn't attend a big university, and got a job at the factory (maybe even joined a Union). He works hard every day and nobody can fault his work ethic even though he comes at the buzzer and is probably already heading to the car at the final buzzer each day, and he loves his breaks. Due to his dedication and seniority he's up to 75k a year, rarely ever misses a kid's ballgame. In the evenings he's watching TV, he can tell you all the latest comings and goings on the reality shows or local sports team. He works a 40 hour week and on the weekends he's fishing with his buds.
The other, we'll call him Henry. Henry graduated from high school and got a job installing home AC units. He worked hard and before long, the boss taught him more about the trade so he could help out with that side of the business. After 6 years, the corporation laid him off - "downsized." He still had his tools and a wife and kids to feed, so he buys a truck and starts his own HVAC business. He made a lot of mistakes at first but in time, he bought some books on business, he took accounting and business classes at the local city night classes and community college and has a business of his own. He works hard, averages 70+ hours a week, and on any given night you can see him at this office, pouring over his books trying to figure out how to make ends meet and pay all the people that work for him because some recent client hasn't paid his bill yet. If he's in trouble, he misses his kid's soccer game and is outside in the 90+ degree day working his butt off so that somebody ELSE has a working AC. He's got a great reputation so he is getting a steady supply of customers. His little business that started with one guy and one truck now makes about 350k a year.
Are either of them less American? Are either of them living less of the American Dream?
Why should Henry be penalized by the government and have to pay proportionately higher taxes just because he makes more than 250k a year? Hasn't he earned it? Why should the government be in charge of "re-distributing wealth?" Call it "taxing the rich" or whatever the hell you want... it's still the pig called socialism, painted with a new brush.
Reality check, most of the people making more than $250k in this country are like Henry, they're not some "aristocratic monied elite" - they're poor schlubs like you and me that work harder and longer than some and make big sacrifices - daily - to live the American dream... why? So that their wives and kids will have luxuries they couldn't.
Obama Democrats... enough with the socialist bullshit please. You're an embarassment to the hardworking American Democrats that have helped build this country that I'm proud to call my friends and neighbors. I guarantee that I have more in common with them than I do with you.
This is America. The "politics of envy and jealousy" has no place in this country. If you want more money, get off your ass and go earn it. While you're at it, thank God (or whatever higher authority to which you hold) that you live in a country where that's possible because I can guaran-damn-tee you, from personal experiences, that there are worse countries out there than the one in which you live you whiney bitches. I will never vote to let "the goverment" be in charge of taking money from the Henrys... that's what *I* call unAmerican. In the America I believe in, you keep what you earn.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
What is so hard? "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
It's a prefactory clause people. It's not rocket science. If I hear any more "the sentence grammar is wierd" ... it's not wierd, it's old, but it still works just fine. Just because you're ignorant don't blame the founding fathers.
"A well stocked pantry, being necessary to the creation of a banquet, the right of the cook to buy and cook food, shall not be infringed."
"A bitchin' ride, being needed for impressing friends, the ability of the middle-aged executive to purchase and drive a Corvette, shall not be infringed."
PS - To the twits that it may concern. Quit bitching about the 2nd amendment with one breath and exhalt another amendment (1st, 5th, 15th, 19th, etc.) with the next. I may think you're an idiot, but I don't want the 1st amendment changed either just because you're a fool and talk like a fool... quit playing favorites with your pet amendment and try to screw over mine. I support the Constitution, the whole damn thing, I'd appreciate the same courtesy.