Of All the Taxes in All the World, Yours Just Landed on My Doorstep

Amazon, based in Seattle will now start collecting sales tax for orders shipped to Massachusetts beginning in 2013. Following pressure from municipality and business leaders Govenor Deval Patrick's office put pressure on the online retail giant.
Jon B Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts is quoted "Our members are greatful  and relieved to know that they will not have to face another hiday sales seaon with a 6.25% tax disparity with the world's largest online seller... Although we would have preferred a level playing field this holiday season, we are grateful to Gov. Partick for his tireless work on this issue." [Input input] A level playing field? Are you a capitalist in namesake only?
Appartenly the state losing out on millions of dollars in potential sales-tax revenue weighs greater than the fact that it will hit Massachusetts consumers. When shoppers are attempting to make thier purchase/ advertising/ afficable dollars go further, one business entity crys foul on another, and recieves favorable mediation due to potential revenue for the state. This is lazy, uncompetative, and boorish.
Mom and pop shops have been hurt over the last couple of decades by the convenience of online retailers, who can facilitate trassactions for those without the overhead and can charge prices basically independent of all factors apart from the market. Beating out brick and motar stores is not what online retailers do best, it is to provide services and products over a range that would be available to them otherwise by utilizing the net, and to keep up with the trend many physical stores have had to create an online presence to meet customers where they shop.
Govenor Deval Patrick called this a "win for all sides... pleased it promises to generate millions in klong-term revenue for the Commonwealth"; unfortunately what I read was, "tax, tax, tax... tax, tax, tax, resulting in fewer online purchases and eventually stronger intrastate regulation". Shame on me, right? The taxes will be applicable on all purchase on the first of November, the beginning of the holiday sales season and host to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People; Spew

Bad things happen to good people simply because there are no good people.

Terrible events are just events. Nature sans the freak. Events take place and make present the constant truth and fragility of humanity. Ground us. Remind us that we are only human and have little control outside of ourselves.

A myriad of events are actually rather limited to experiences between people, the self, and God. God is whatever you want God to be. It doesn't need to and won't resemble my God in the slightest. Nor should it. Otherwise we're just perpetuating the point I make. We all like the same fast food or we don't. All watch the same television show or we don't. Read the same book or didn't. Write for business or pleasure or don't. We release our writings and send them into the world like unprotected children, ready to be sullied by every negative experience while attempting to hold on to the good intentions of their parents.

A secret? That it's all been said before. A tirade no more than sound. Your tie my dinner and the sinners are winners. Shooting Publish all over your screen, into your thoughts, and out of your heart. Stomaching the (non-)verbal impotence of those around me and spewing my own intellectual blank shots every time I open my mouth. People speaking, if you could call it that the way you could call it spewing hate and fear, have the least to say although those that speak the loudest are often heard most frequently. Laugh and I'll tell you a joke.

So are we good? Good in the sense of good that we know good? Benchmarked with varying levels of cynicism... I'll paint houses all day and give my friend my bed but I'll be damned if I'll simply hand my life over to humanity. Does that make me bad? I assume it does; do I care and does not caring make it all the worse?

I wonder if I only talk to people as to affirm my own beliefs. Talking, no speaking, not conversing, not communicating. If bearing a disguise for my ineptitude and dullness, I should pass off as a creative, critic, thoughtful man I should endear to ruse so long myself and others as to become that person.
A duck shall "woof" a million times and still have webbed feet, but should it fly with a gaggle of geese, who are we to recognize and say that it is not a goose? Different disciplines recognize each other only by their title, a call of the business wild, and would as like see berries of a poisonous variation as beneficial. It is much easier to learn an accent than it is to learn a language. Fluency falsely interpreted by the audience. How far will my lie carry? Good and bad are constructive paradigms to judge one another, always giving emenence to law over human fallibility. Good people make mistakes, and bad people are just waiting for their next mistake. Good and bad.Inconsequential when considering that terrible people have made all the difference as "good" ones. For who? God? Pride? Greed?

And I, your snake-oil salesman, will sell it to you of you'll buy it.

Photo courtesy of Prinon Hossain


Defining Populations

History until this point has been a creation of and reach towards order in a world of chaos, and as such, requires a certain amount of organization for that order.

Wars between civilizations, religions, nation states, and the such were all attempts to create an order that reflected a world that was best for the subjective entity. If factions in China went to war, they did so against other factions, against the state (a separate entity), or against a group or faction of another state (by which I mean Nation-State) outside of China, or with the whole of other state altogether. China simply created a isolationist state and only created an order (I wanted to use peace but that might be a completely different conversation altogether) that limited their world involvement to dealings within those borders; they would then have their world-view being served through their actions. During World War II, the United States of America took control as the hegemon and began creating a world that would most benefit its view on how the world should be for U.S. interests, though not without objection from other entities.

That said, at this point, less wars occur on a general scale because most civilizations, as defined by Samuel Huntington, have been able to create domains that keep other actors in the world from trying to reshape the world through physical borders. Since the Russian Revolution there has been a different proliferated idea, that is as old as it is new, to changing the world through economic, political, and cultural systems. Nevertheless, civilizations as a whole are able to have a domineering nation-state that is able to protect the interests of the civilization, through a unified agreement, whether written or not, that calls for the protection of the people and associated cultural influencers from other civilizations. Those could be economic, political, religious, or other cultural influencers. 

Alfred Wegener was an astronomer, geophysicist, meteorologist, and climatologist, born in November of 1880. Wegener earned his Ph.D early in life and between researching polar air circulation and lecturing at university he wrote on other topics of interest. One such interest while at Marburg was that of identical fossils of fauna and animals found on opposite sides of the Atlantic, i.e. East United States and Western Africa. Wegener's theory of "continental drift” was supported by this simple placing of the pieces together, so to speak. The continents had formed a single mass, called Pangaea (Greek for "all the Earth"). Through shifting of what we now understand to be tectonic plates, the continents are moving away from each other. This was not a new theory, but given his wide array of specialties, Wegener was able to use multi-disciplinary study to prove these connections.  Years later, through Globalization, we have now seen a reversal of continental drift. 

 What we have as a result is a world that is smaller but still defined by "civilizations" that encompass large cultural identities. The archaic labels of American, Asian, African, and European will encompass those peoples of their respective continents. It will be interesting in the future to see how people define themselves, and whether traditional applications of identification will apply. 

**This was written half-asleep after dreaming of Pangea. Please pardon this mess I call writing.


Commercials at the Theater

Apparently when AMC says that a movie showtime is 10am, what they really mean is that the commercials begin at 10 and we are then expected to sit through 1 hour of commercials. I've decided that pirating movies is now acceptable. I'm sorry to all of my friends either in entertainment and/or law but this is completely unreasonable. 1 hour of commercials after the initial showtime begins means that I will not be attending another show at AMC, Loews in Boston or otherwise.

Irredeemable? Maybe, but I am paying for a movie, not accompanying commercials.

LSAT Preparation

The #BostonLawForum 
today ended the Law School Admission Council's (LSAC) 2012 Law School Recruitment Forums, presenting over 160 representatives from American Bar Association recognized schools from around the United States of America.  

LSAC is the governing body and brain, truly the life-blood of Law, academically and professionally in the U.S.A. This is because they create the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), a major factor, possibly the largest deciding factor in an admissions application. Nevertheless, for those of us like myself, a great score on the LSAT might be the saving grace an application with a mediocre GPA needs.

LSAC, true to my aforementioned description controls, to a degree, recruitment for Law Schools by hosting forums and providing a setting for prospective students and schools to meet and providing LSAT Prep. During the Forum, there were also discussions and panels on Law School Diversity and Financing a Law Degree, giving a more complete approach to guiding prospective students through the process of deciding not only whether or not potential candidates for Law School are a good fit, but what rigors must be taken to make the dream a reality. Law students might scoff at this last comment, as law school has been described to me as being painstakingly difficult as it is rewarding.

Because of the importance that is placed on the LSAT score, it is a major source of possibly tumorous stress for students. Unfortunately, the only way to take such a mentally and physically exhausting exam is to take practice the exam as many times as possible, with and without time constraints and not only strengthening weak points in the exam but strengthening strong points as well. The most valuable piece of advice I have received is to not be surprised by any question that the test can provide. Advice? Absolutely. Every test since 2007 (yes, the year Souljaboy came out with the song Crank Dat) should have every component of the exam seen on current test.

The four parts of the five-35 minute quiz exam are Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Analytic Reasoning (also known as the terror inducing Logic Games). Reading Comprehension is just that. Delve into the author's pov to understand the purpose of the article. Logical reasoning, does not require previous training in logic, but does require that you understand certain terms and premises. Some of those terms are: argument, premise, inference, conclusion, and assumption. Look for quantifier and indicator words. Understand the purpose of the authors argument and the conclusion. Lastly, there is Analytic Reasoning. Logic Games as they are known are paramount to the Hunger Games. These require abbreviation of words, diagrams, and tables. They also tend to take the longest amount of time, at least for myself. Time is the biggest issue in this  category simply because while there is less reading to do, it is more taxing. If the ungraded  portion of the LSAT is Analytic Reasoning, I fully expect to see students crying before the writing section if not after the exam. Unfortunately one of the best tips for this portion is to know "know when to fold 'em, and know when to run" because time is not on your side and simply holding onto a question is not an option. Guess, bubble, and come back to it. There is no penalty for guessing, but I'm hoping that I am the only person that remembers that.

In a game where the rules are set out and there is only one way to win, all way can do is know the rules and play as best we can. While the debate to the value of Law School is contentious when considering post-graduation rates, Bar passage rates, and post-graduation loan amounts, such as Why Attending Law School is the Worst Decision You'll Ever Make by J. Maureen Henderson, the knowledge and experience you will gain can hardly be compared.



Gibberish for Doing More

I find myself constantly wishing I had done more. Worked harder, taken more difficult coursework, chosen a more challenging major for my undergraduate degree. The truth is, I was a "true" nerd through primary school and it allowed me to breeze through a liberal arts degree, although even that became difficult as I dealt with the in's and out's of life, love, and liberty.
filling in the picture of my life
Accomplishment and tragedy intertwined to make my life a roller coaster. Long days and long nights culminated in what I would think of as a five year bender in between classes. Now a new decision to make... I haven't had the bravery to apply to law school yet, although I have been studying for the LSAT and looking into Law schools that interest me. Those that have the classes and clinics that interest me and that will provide a financial package that will allow me to study without breaking the bank. I am constantly weighing the options of how to spend my time. A number of investments and business propositions against studying for the LSAT. And that is a benchmark that may determine my ability to attend Law School, considering my lackluster academic performance reflected by my likewise grade point average.

The conflict of being young and able to do anything. Maybe older than I was a day ago, but still aspiring. My actions of late have reflected a trend of moving towards what I want. Becoming more engrossed in social media marketing practices, tradings and investments, and LSAT testing. Filling in the picture of my life.



Austin is for Lovers

(as well as students, alcoholics, champions, young professionals, activists, singles, and a million other categories)
What does it mean to be at home? I'll skip the numerous references from journals and get right to the heart of the discussion for myself. As an American of Spanish decent who grew up in New York and Houston I often identified with the former and ignored the latter at every turn. Houston never felt like home outside of my families house. A flip was switched as soon as I stepped through the door into Southeast Houston, and I was a completely different person. No matter what, I always had my brothers and sisters.
When I chose to go to the University of Texas at Austin, I knew I'd be enduring seasons and almost years before seeing my New York family again, but my mother was close and my brother who was always an extension of myself was closer. Apart from skating through much of UT on what I had learned in middle and high school, I learned life lessons on the subjects of love, professionalism, and independence. My brother and I went different ways... got girlfriends, a different kind of dependence... created and joined different social circles, and lived apart, giving us the opportunity to live different lives for the first time.
I pledged for a fraternity, dropping myself because of my inability to maintain adequate grades, and I couldn't be happier that I did. I never spoke badly of them, though I know a few did of me, and it gave me a justification, knowing that some people will do what's wrong if it's expected of them. Instead I started attending the European Student Association meetings, of which I was introduced to by Kriti C. my co-worker at the International Office at the University of Texas and friend. Aleksey was working at the office and a member of the ESA at this time as well and soon after I met Ouna, Prinon, Kyle, Nikita, Thai, and numerous others. These men had created something and it wasn't until I was in it that I realized what it was. It was a brotherhood. There were letters. There were tests, but not any kind of any measure that you could think of.
At once I had a new family and a new home. Austin was my playground and as early as my freshman year I was out and about 5 nights a week. I learned Austin like the back of my hand, even East Austin, where no squeemish students dared travel. The climate became as predictable as it was unpredictable. Music shows became an entitlement and I have never been short of a party because if we couldn't find one, we made one. *This actually happened, the first time courtesy of Yoshi.
Since moving away an ache has pained me and although I know I have too many places to visit and live in the world to move back, I have no  doubt that I won't make it back there as long as I am possible to visit my friends, brother, and university. You choose to spend your life on only really a few things and these have been the focus of much of the last 6 years and I couldn't be happier that I did. I've made so many mistakes, especially in the course of my academics and relationships, but I took it at face value as a learning experience and tried to make sense of my senseless (at times) actions.
Austin is where I grew... It tried me, but I am better because I lived there and hope that every place I live gives me as much of an opportunity to learn as that city did.


Today's Vacation

From the top of the Hill in the Boston Common
Today's vacation took place at 5:20pm EST atop the "Hill" in the center of the Boston Common. Very different, but reminiscent of looking South into Midtown from within Central Park. I took a few minutes before snapping this picture on my way to Ballroom Dancing class and the combination of weather, view, and atmosphere just made my day go from great to exceptional. These are the days I think not of what I don't have, but what I do.


A New Level of Laziness due to Social Media

Ask me about... A new level of laziness in social networking. All of those questions you're too lazy too ask or stopped asking when you were 12, like "if you had one superpower, what would it be and why?" or "who's your hero?" With the ability to link to Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Formspring, and other social networking sites you can answer your friend's questions, Formspring's questions, or post your own. Questions and responses will automatically be posted to your Wall and Tweeted if you choose to opt in for these services.  Quora is another service that provides a similar service that is less random and facilitates discussion in regards to a multitude of specific topics.
Ask me about...

The real fun is just how lazy you can be. There isn't really anything here that you couldn't do by posting on your Facebook Wall and letting people reply. The people behind Formspring do have a good sense of humor and I can see how people might enjoy a site that speaks to them through random daily questions.
During my usual morning run through of Social Networking sites I came across the question "Is it easy for you to tell people how you feel?" and before I contemplated a response, I had to take a good long moment to assess how I could and would answer this question for myself. Gems like this are why I enjoy being surprised and surprising myself; they make me think. Why didn't I see this question on my Facebook Wall or Google+ Page? Does it say something about my network, or about the questions being asked today and whether a question like this is relevant. I want to say, "of course it's relevant" and then I have to follow up by dictating to myself and others my reasoning while being prepared for alternate viewpoints.
Back to the question. "Is it easy for you to tell people how you feel?" The answer for me is yes; my presence on Facebook and other social networking sites is testament to that. Much of the time I will not bother orating my opinions for the sake of not having people despise me, but it is all too often that I find it easy to speak my mind through crass explanation or simple statement. How many do not speak though, for fear of isolation and embarrassment? Do our obligations to the normative thinking of society keep our Shadows from connecting with the self? I am not radical in my thoughts, but I do think that common sense has been radicalized. Polarization of politics among other subjects are clear examples. Moments of clarity can come from a number of mediums and I think of as rarely being self-induced. One of my favorites is music. Most recently I bought Lupe Fiasco's Lasers, and the track Words I Never Said really struck me.
Now I find myself asking how honest I am with myself and others and likewise, how honest others are with me. A simple step but I think I'm going to start asking more questions.
My answer on formspring.me


Spain's Economy Climbing Out of a Sinking Hole?

Spain is doing exceptional considering their fiscal situation; 22.5 billion euros in recent cuts. The fiscal issues are exasperated by the high rate of unemployment (22.8%) but combating that, you have small shows of the fight against austerity (according to government sources, as union representative have consistently claimed 10 times the recorded number by police) and a strong remaining working class picking up the slack. Nevertheless, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria called the situation "extreme". If Spain had chosen to borrow and spend generously before the European Financial Crisis, there are speculations that they would now be in a better position to have staved off sharp financial cuts and payroll freezes.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria 
Will this stall the recovery of the private sector while competently shoring up the public sector accounts? Makes me think of that saying, “...that you have to spend money in order to make money” by Srully Blotnick which I don't agree with personally, especially in response to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but I personally tend to be wrong at an alarming rate. The reason this is important to me at this time, is that I have passed the initial application process for a 6 month unpaid position in Madrid with a large International Marketing and PR firm and I must now decide to continue with the process and risk getting accepted or to pursue full time paid positions in Boston or New York.
People are still willing to invest in Spain though and the economy, which is my primary concern, has the potential to rebound in a big way. Bond Auctions in the last couple of months have seen a rise in popularity and, I'm sure linked, rate, which will raise Spain's borrowing costs but does put much needed money into the country.  Direct Foreign Investment for a controversal possible casino that has the would bring 16 billion euros and up to 260,000 direct and indirect jobs has created a fervor in discussion. Can a Euro-Vegas save or destroy Spain? We have some time before decisions are made and more pressing issues for the immediate future are how the Spanish economy will continue to cope with these current losses and gains.
#NYTimes #ESP

It is the first week in September, 2012, and I am really shocked at just how wrong I was. While the public sector in Spain continues to tighten it's belt and implement austerity measures, the hole within which it has landed itself will not be so easily climbed out of. Kyle Alexander Hentges, the IPB Scholar and World Business Analyst weighed in very strongly against my prediction that Spain would not continue to need bailout funds, and he was right as he tends to be. He did make a strong distinction though, in comparing Spain to Greece and suggested that unlike Spain, Greece should be dropped from the Euro if Germany would allow it to happen. It is a long way from financial stability, but the right moves are being made for a recovery on global terms.


How Far do You Have to Go to Get Away?
The last time I was in New York I enjoyed spending time with the family but I was hoping to get away from the kids and dogs, a veritable Cartoon Central, so I jumped, hopped, skipped to Manhattan and spent the night in a hotel a couple of blocks from both Time Square and Central Park. There I was able to walk around at all hours of the night, have a drink at the Russian Tea Room, and get creative juices flowing for a night of intense typing. The perfect vacation in my own back yard.


Welcome to the Mis-Education of Francis Hill Cruz. Sit back, grab a drink, and be amused. These thoughts are my own. These thoughts are my world. These thoughts are my voice. These thoughts are my word. These thoughts are mine.