Arrested Economic Development: Can Sequim Survive Washington Government?

Isn't it amazing what new information you can discover for yourself when you research something and read? 

For instance, during tonight's research I discovered that the Clallam County Economic Development Council, a private non-profit organization advocating for commerce in Clallam County, has a working draft Strategic Direction 2014-2018 Report in which they make a bold statement. 

How bold a statement is it? It is so bold, upon reading it all I could hear in my head was John Travolta telling me that it is a bold statement. Now, that's a bold statement.
On Page 5 of the EDC's report at the bottom begins the section entitled Challenges and Constraints (or in other words -- Opportunities).  The fifth bullet point down, which is at the top of Page 6, states as follows: 
The tax and regulatory environment, both state and federal, make it increasingly difficult to sustain historic County natural resource-based industries, and create significant obstacles to expansion, and even survival, of business in general.

See, I told you it's a bold statement. 

When the local economic development council is saying that taxes and regulations from both state and federal agencies are creating difficulties for businesses to not only grow and expand, but to survive in general in Clallam County, it is finally time to get out of denial and recognize the obscene fact that businesses in Washington State are being run out of business by their own leaders in government.

And after that, then maybe, just maybe, people will start to recognize that government is not here to help the people. On the contrary, government is here to help themselves to the money that the people earn on their time...time which people will never ever ever get back, ever.
Pardon me for not painting a rosier picture of the reality I see around me and that has now been confirmed through the local EDC. 

The EDC's report isn't about the world at large, or America, or another state, or some other area of Washington State. The report is a reflection of the county where I live, my home base of operations; and even though I do not want to be here forever, I am here now and want to see this place grow in business, commerce, and thriving lives.

When I look around the Sequim area, I see so much potential for growth with the empty strip malls, store fronts, and business space; it truly confuses and saddens me why there isn't more growth going on for all the needs that are not being met in this area. 

But, is it really all because of Washington State's and DC's overwhelming taxation and regulations? That is what I have suspected all along since returning to this state in 2012, and after reading this report I don't know what else it could be; do you? Granted, more research may give me new answers, so the possibility of hope is there that something else is causing the arrested economic development of the Sequim area, even though the realist in me suspects there is no hope where government is involved. 

In a digressive conclusion, I ponder: 
1. Is Clallam County and the Sequim area forever doomed to dwindle away under business-crushing taxation and regulations from government bureau'rats...with nobody saying anything or taking a stand against it? 

2. And if the majority of people here don't care and don't take a stand against government, should the minority of people go along with it...to just give up and willingly die in government's crushing grip? 

Pardon my dissent, but I'm not gonna do that.
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Don't Change the Minimum Wage: Change Yourself

To those who say that the minimum wage in the United States should be raised, I have a few questions. To begin with: Are you a minimum-wage earner or payer? If not, then why does it matter to you what the minimum wage is?

I mean, what makes it your business what someone else is paid for the work they choose to do when you are not involved with it? Do you not have anything else to focus your energies on that impacts you firsthand?

Not only that, but if you do not earn/pay a minimum wage and you think it is appalling that human beings should have to work for such an insulting wage, I ask you this question: What are you doing to help minimum-wage earners make more money? 

Yes, I understand you are passing the buck to government to force employers to pay their employees more money, but that aside: What exactly would you say you are doing to help the cause of minimum-wage earners make more money?

I mean, that is the cause, right; to help people earn more money? The cause to raise minimum wage isn't just about making more laws...is it?!? That's an unnerving digression to ponder another time, so back to what you are doing to help your cause.

For example, hypothetically: Are you hiring people at higher wages than the minimum wage? You do understand, don't you, that employers can pay employees more than the minimum wage at their own discretion without being mandated by law to do so; right?  

Heck, do you even own a business? Have you ever run a business or do you have a degree in it? Do you even know any business owners? If not, then how much do you know about the business of business? 

Do you know what is required to hire employees by various city, county, state, and federal governmental regulatory agencies; or how much money a business owner must pay to regulatory agencies for employing people and simply being in business? 

If you don't know these answers, then should you even be opening your mouth in favor of raising the minimum wage when you are not a player in the game as either an earner or payer? Consider that for a moment.

Now, what I would like to know is this: Are there really any private sector business owners (with employees) who are in favor of being forced to pay a higher minimum wage, or any wage that is mandated by government bureaucrats? 

I am not saying that such a business owner doesn't exist, but should they exist I would very much like to hear their reasoning as to why they prefer having government tell them how much to pay both employees and regulatory agencies. My comment box awaits. 

Now, if you are unable to hire employees at a wage you deem to be better than minimum wage because you are not a business owner, I reiterate: What exactly would you say you are doing to help the cause of minimum-wage earners make more money?

For example: Do you hire people to clean your house, maintain your home, wash your car, mow your lawn, run your errands, cook your food, help your kids, or anything else that can be hired out? 

Or what about this: When you go out to eat at a place where employees are paid minimum wage, do you give your servers an extra nice tip to make up for what they aren't earning from their employer? I mean, is there a law stopping you from tipping each McDonald's employee $20 every time you go in, or at the very least your cashier; or giving $20 to every WalMart employee you pass when in the aisles? Maybe there is such a law and I just don't know it. 

Or if not a law, there could be private business policies that do not allow tipping of employees, as is the right of business owners, and as it is the right of employees to seek employment elsewhere if they do not like a business policy.

But even if a private business does not allow tipping, why not arrange with the employee to meet them off business property on their own time to give them the money you believe they so rightly deserve for not being paid more under a cruel and unjust minimum wage? I mean, if this is a cause you believe so deeply in, are you not willing to utilize every way imaginable and possible when it comes to helping minimum-wage earners make more money?

Private business policies aside: If there is no law precluding you from giving your money to employees you interact with, and you think it is a grave injustice that people are not being paid what they so rightfully deserve, then why don't you be the one to give your money to the people that you think deserve to be paid more? 

After all, don't you want to be the change you see in the world? I mean, why settle by leaving it to government to set the example when you, as a private citizen, can be the one to make a real difference by giving your money to anyone that you think deserves it? Indeed.

In closing, and to lay some foundation, I am currently a part-time minimum-wage earner, which means that I, unlike so many talkers, am a player in this game with a completely different view from the playing field; and as such I have had my fill of people preaching the praises of raising the minimum wage when they neither make a minimum wage nor pay a minimum wage...nor support me in my entrepreneurial endeavors. 

To those people, I say: Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up; because you are not helping anything and you are only being part of the problem by passing the buck to government.

Now, should you find it to be the most Shakespearean of tragedies that I am currently condemned to being paid a lowly minimum wage, remember that you have the power to do something about it.

All you have to do is visit my Amazon book shop and buy a book or 50; or visit one of my gift shops at Zazzle and Society6, and buy a gift or 50; or if you do not see what you want in my shops, send me an email to design something special just for you, or to hire me for one of my many skills, or to simply send me gobs of money because there is nothing stopping you from doing it. See, there are solutions for everything! Don't you feel better now?
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May Babes & Movie Cosplay

Lucky me, I share a birthday with Debra Winger. All the more reason to make her my movie cosplay choice for the Summer of '16, as Paula from An Officer and a Gentleman.

This film has been on Epix a lot recently and I finally watched it all the way through. I concluded that the Puget Sound looks good on camera, and so does Debra Winger without a bra, but maybe it's just me. 

That's the look I remember when I was growing up in the Puget Sound area in the early 1980s; watching the film brought it all back and inspired me to work at channeling it this summer.

In fact, going braless in the Northwest should be a summertime standard, at least for those young enough, bold enough, and petite enough; it's definitely not for everyone, which is all the more reason for those who look good doing it to take advantage of doing it. 

For anyone who doesn't know it, An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed around the Puget Sound in Washington State, which is where I am from and currently live. 

The Summer of Debra shot above is from one of my favorite scenes in the film; where the girls are riding the ferry (between Clinton and Mukilteo) and discussing their differing personal ethics of whether or not it is okay to trap an officer-in-training with pregnancy. Not only is the dialogue excellent as far as viewpoints to consider, but the scenery is pure Puget Sound, giving it a personal touch of home for me.

This is the website I found while researching the scene for its location. The website is a great resource; check it out to learn more about where many of scenes in the film were shot around the Puget Sound. 

Seeing as how I am still learning the lay of the land up here, I also attached a Google map of the Puget Sound Islands below to help educate others on Washington State geography. 

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The Joy of Sexism: Why It's Good to be Sexist

Pardon my dissent, but I love sexism. Nothing makes me feel more girly than when a man willingly chooses to be sexist towards me.

To be sexist is to discriminate; and to discriminate is to make a distinction in favor of (or against) a person based on gender rather than individual merit. 

So, I'm supposed to be offended when a man treats me favorably, due to the fact that he distinguishes me for being what I can't help but be...a female? Now, why exactly am I supposed to be offended by that? If anyone can clarify, please do so.

I can't help but love it when a man favors me for being female; because it reminds me that I am a female, and that someone sees me as being a female, and that I should enjoy all the honors and benefits thereof; to wit:

- men opening doors for me
- men pulling out chairs for me
- men talking with me
- men complimenting me
- men admiring me
- men wanting me
- men defending me
- men doing gross tasks for me 
- men recognizing my feminine limitations
- men minding their manners around me
- men helping me
- men protecting me
- men supporting me
- men being nice to me

Granted, these perks should not go to one's head, nor should they be abused or taken advantage of; they should be reciprocated in kind. As I have learned through experience, it doesn't hurt to let a man be a little sexist when he chooses to be, and to be a little sexist in return for fair play. 

In fact, what I find to be more offensive than a man being sexist towards me is when a man thinks I am one of the guys and behaves like one of the guys (i.e., a pig) in front of me. Sure, it can be a fun new thrill when young, but wait until you are halfway through your thirties and you will realize that it is more enjoyable to be treated like a woman than a pig.

While I appreciate pigs and love having them in my life, especially when they bring home the bacon, it doesn't mean I am going to let a pig treat me like a pig; because I am not a pig, period. 

Just because I like hanging out with guys does not mean I am one of the guys or that I want to be treated like one of the guys. What it does mean is that I like guys, and I like to be around guys, and I like to learn about guys. What do you expect from a curious heterosexual female?

And, whether guys like it or not, I want to give them a reason to raise their standards above pig when in my presence, because I favorably recognize them as being more than pigs and distinguish them as being men. That's the joy, and power, of sexism.

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The Hateful Eight: Not For Kids & Other Thoughts

My thoughts on Quentin Tarantino's latest film, The Hateful Eight:

1. Not for kids.

2. Jennifer Jason Leigh: awesome to see her in a film again; she definitely deserved the Oscar nod, especially for recognition of the challenge that must have been her wardrobe and make-up throughout the film.

3. Kurt Russell: also awesome to see him in a film again; his acting seemed a bit cliche after awhile, but considering it's a western and Tarantino's fondness for capturing small idiosyncrasies of older film genres, it worked.

4. Tim Roth: one of my favorite actors since Reservoir Dogs, in spite of his personal anti-gun views; loved his beard and acting in this film; in my opinion, I think he had some of the best dialogue throughout the entire film and he delivered it superbly; no one can act out a shot to the gut like he can, and he only gets better with age.

5. Bruce Dern: a small, but essential, role; to me he'll always be the comedic Lt. Mark Rumsfeld from the film The 'Burbs, but I liked seeing him play this hateful old general whom I couldn't help but pity.

6. What has been seen cannot be unseen. I wish Tarantino would stick to his Reservoir Dogs style, in that he never had to show the ear being cut off to mess with the audience's mind. The visuals that come about in the story told by Samuel L. Jackson's character that result in split-second shots of a man-on-man power rape scene are visuals I did not need to see and I wish they would get out of my head along with the story and Samuel L. Jackson's voice. Out, damn scene, out I say! 

7. Tarantino Trademarks: Could you really call it a Tarantino movie if it doesn't include anti-gun actors shooting guns, Tarantino writing himself in when he shouldn't, excessive assault of women, excessive use of the word 'nigger' by white people (due to the time period is my guess, as opposed to films of his set in modern times with black people saying 'nigger' more than white people), men raping men, and allusions of white guilt? All were included, making it a bona fide Tarantino film.

8. Stunning scenery and cinematography. No matter how many trademarks I slowly lose taste for in a Tarantino film, the visuals are always something to behold. Even in scenes I don't care for, I do my best to appreciate the artistic merit of the image when it comes to telling the story. 

9. Tarantino, the storyteller. I remember when he won the original screenplay Oscar for Pulp Fiction and that is always what interests me the most about his films -- his style of storytelling; not only his out-of-order chronology which is another trademark of his films, but also his writing and word arrangements. I am always curious to see how he will tell the story, how all the backstory of the characters and plot twists will be revealed (there are some good ones in The Hateful Eight!), and the order in which the story will be told. After all, if there wasn't a script, would there be a movie? The writer in me says no. 

10. Over all, a film worth seeing for Tarantino fans. If people do not like Tarantino movies, do not talk yourself into giving this film the benefit of your doubts, because you will not like it, I guarantee it. 

I love film more than most people I've met, and I have a fond enjoyment for Tarantino films, but even I have to question myself as to whether or not I truly liked the film beyond its artistic vision due to the lingering disturbances it has given me. Ironically, to leave me this disturbed is proof positive it's a good film, which makes me automatically like it by default just for that alone. Touché, Tarantino.

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