So much of life is a popularity contest, with people acting out of the desire to be well-liked, admired, followed, and famous. Often, the most popular among us are the loudmouths who make their voices heard above everyone else’s, regardless of what they are actually saying. This leaves the masses in a category of “nobodies” that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of our human potential. It’s obvious what a person gains by being popular. But, on this episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, Heit & Cheri ask, “What are we compromising in the pursuit of popularity?”

Topics discussed include unemployment fraud, Senator Lindsey Graham saying that the FBI should confront people who visit Islamist websites, the media attempting to make a connection between homegrown terrorists and conspiracy theorists, how being found guilty by a jury’s opinion is considered a determinant of the “fact” that a person committed a crime, the case where the feds arrested the wrong guy in connection with the ricin attacks on President Obama and Senator Wicker–now they say they have the right guy in custody, video of a guy–who had road rage due to being cut off–fires his gun after getting his butt whipped after following these teens to their home, videos of bullies getting the tables turned on them, how some children are natural aggressor–operating by means of force or manipulation, how Facebook is like high school, popularity trumping talent or doing a good job, how the Nobel Peace Prize is the most popular of the Nobel prizes, the Liberty Movement’s rising “stars”, connection between the desire for popularity and the desire for leadership, Heit & Cheri sharing lessons from their own lives about popularity in high school, how people would be a lot more “successful” if people were allowed to make themselves individually into what they want to be, and more!

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  • Discussion about unemployment fraud.

    The U.S. government paid out billions in unemployment benefits to people who were actually working, a new report finds, sparking concerns that a big share of the money meant for the jobless isn’t going to the workers who are struggling the most.

    Unemployment insurance fraud cost the federal government $3.3 billion in 2011, according to a recent report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. The largest share of fraudulent unemployment benefits went to people who were still working: $2.2 billion or two-thirds of the fraudulent payments, according to the report.

    Nearly a half-billion dollars went to workers earning at least $900 a week or $46,800 a year, the report found. That’s only slightly less than the U.S. household median income of $49,909 in 2011, according to a study from two Census Bureau researchers from that year. Those earning less than $300 per week received $210 million of the fraudulent benefits, or less than 10 percent.

    Though only a small fraction of the $108 billion the federal government paid out in unemployment benefits in 2011 went to people who weren’t eligible, the study’s findings raise concerns that some of the money intended for struggling jobless Americans is going to people who don’t qualify to receive it.
    Source: Huffington Post

  • Why is the Huffington Post reporting the story this way? They are not talking about the cuts in benefits that affect people. They want to point out the little things that really have no bearing.
  • Reports like this make it seem like unemployment fraud is a huge problem. Why did they report a dollar amount instead of a percentage? They want to make it seem like this is something that affects a significant segment of unemployment recipients.
  • The average person is not cheating unemployment, and it is wrong to approach these benefits as if everyone should be viewed with extra scrutiny because some people cheated the system.
  • Discussion about people committing unemployment fraud by collecting benefits while still working. Keep in mind that in most states (if not all) working up to a certain amount is allowed while a person collects benefits.
  • The bottom line is that people have an issue with unemployment, so they play up stories like these to sway public opinion. These are the same people who say, “I’m not racist. I just believe in “stop and frisk.”
  • This approach is a thinly veiled classist and/or racist narrative.
  • Discussion about Senator Lindsey Graham saying that the FBI should confront people who visit Islamist websites.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), appearing Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said that he believes Americans would be made safer if Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents would physically confront non-criminals over their web surfing activities, especially if that person is on a watch list and has been looking at “Islamist” sites online.

    Explaining that there were warning signs known to various U.S. law enforcement agencies that one of the accused Boston bombers may have been a threat, Graham said the attack was pulled off because of “a failure to share information and missing warning signs — we’re going back to the pre-9/11 stovepiping.”

    He added that if someone federal agencies had received tips about “goes on the Internet for the whole world to see, to interact with radical Islamic websites, how do we miss that?”
    Source: The Raw Story

  • What exactly is an Islmaist site? Is this any website that contains information about Islam?
  • What if a person visits a site or is directed to a site via Google and has no idea who is running it? Also, you cannot draw a conclusion about why a person is visiting a particular site–it could be just to see what is being said.
  • Also, is what is being said on the site illegal? There are a number of different types of sites that can be targeted by using this logic–for instance, sites that talk about marijuana growth etc..
  • Discussion about the media attempting to make a connection between homegrown terrorists and conspiracy theorists.
  • Discussion about “speculative” reporting.
  • Discussion about how being found guilty by a jury’s opinion is considered a determinant of the “fact” that a person committed a crime. What about all of the people who have been exonerated? It clearly is not a fact that they committed the crime, yet they were convicted.
  • Discussion about the recent case where the feds arrested the wrong guy in connection with the ricin attacks on President Obama and Senator Wicker.

    BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — An ex-martial arts instructor made ricin and put the poison in letters to President Barack Obama and others, the FBI charged Saturday, days after dropping similar charges against an Elvis impersonator who insisted he had been framed.

    The arrest of 41-year-old James Everett Dutschke early Saturday capped a week in which investigators initially zeroed in on a rival of Dutschke’s, then decided they had the wrong man. The hunt for a suspect revealed tie after small-town tie between the two men and the 80-year-old county judge who, along with Obama and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, was among the targets of the letters.

    Dutschke’s house, business and vehicles in Tupelo were searched earlier in the week often by crews in hazardous materials suits and he had been under surveillance.

    Dutschke (pronounced DUHS’-kee) was charged with “knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin.” U.S. attorney Felicia Adams and Daniel McMullen, the FBI agent in charge in Mississippi, made the announcement in a news release Saturday.

    Dutschke’s attorney, Lori Nail Basham, said she had no comment. Earlier this week she said that Dutschke was cooperating fully with investigators and Dutschke has insisted he had nothing to do with the letters. He was arrested about 12:50 a.m. at his house in Tupelo and is expected in court Monday. He faces up to life in prison, if convicted.
    Source: Associated Press

  • Are they sure that they have the right person this time?
  • Discussion about how it was the enemy of the original guy who was arrested and harassed by the feds who is now accused of sending the ricin and framing his rival.
  • Discussion about a video where a guy, who had road rage due to being cut off, pulls out his gun after getting his butt whipped after following these teens to their home.

    NEWPORT, N.C. – A Lenoir County man, accused of attacking another driver and shooting that driver’s car, is facing up to four years in prison.

    Bradley Turner, 40, of La Grange, made for his first court appearance Wednesday, standing before the judge with a bruised eye and his wife sitting behind him, following Sunday’s violent road rage incident.

    Deputies in Carteret County say he punched a man in the face for allegedly cutting him off while driving. The victim, 20-year-old William Berry, and his friend, 21-year-old Nathan Brotzman, were seen on cell phone video fighting back.

    Deputies say after Berry and Brotzman beat Turner to the ground, Turner then pulled a gun on them and shot Berry’s truck and Berry’s neighbor’s house, all in the presence of Turner’s toddler, sitting in the car.

    In court, the judge decided Turner is not allowed to have any contact with the victims, their families, or any prosecuting witnesses. He is also not allowed to bring any firearms outside of his house.

    Turner’s lawyer, Roger Crowe, painted a different picture.

    “We’re dealing with a man who’s a father and a husband and a hard-working man, and he was just completely terrified,” said Crow.

    Turner is facing five misdemeanor charges, including two counts of assault by pointing a gun, and one count each of going armed to the terror of the people, injury to personal property, and assault and battery. He is also charged with felony discharging a weapon into occupied property.

    “I think it’s important to realize that it was a very dangerous and volatile situation, obviously by what you saw on video, and people were put at risk and in danger,” said Scott Thomas, Carteret County district attorney.
    Source: WNCT

  • These are your average Americans who are never under suspicion.
  • Discussion about a video in which a boy is mercilessly picking on another boy and he gets body-slammed unexpectedly–he was asking for it!
  • Discussion about a video in which girls are picking a fight with another girl in a locker room until the aggressor gets the tables turned on her.
  • Discussion about when people get pushed to the point of having to defend themselves against aggressors–people who are normally nonviolent.
  • Discussion about people who feel that they can treat people a certain way because they are stronger.
  • Discussion about people who are always looking for a confrontation–whether verbal or physical.
  • Discussion about how some children are natural aggressors, who get what they want by means of force or manipulation.
  • Discussion about the claim that Facebook is like high school. The world is like high school and high school is training for the world.
  • In high school–just as in life–the popular people get the “votes” and attention.
  • Discussion about popularity trumping talent or doing a good job.
  • Discussion about how sports players get paid more than other professions. People are talking about the NFL draft, but where is the science draft.
  • Discussion about how the Nobel Peace Prize is the most popular, and the other Nobel prizes go mostly unnoticed.
  • Discussion about the desire to be popular fueling people.
  • liberty movement rising stars

  • Discussion about the Liberty Movement’s rising stars pic posted on Facebook. If they are pushing the idea of liberty, why do they need “stars”? This is all a popularity contest.
  • Many times leaders are chosen out of popularity, but many times they cannot compete intellectually.
  • Discussion about the connection between the desire for popularity and the desire for leadership.
  • Things are easier for popular people–the doors swing open for the popular folks.
  • Heit & Cheri share lessons from their own lives about popularity in high school.
  • Cheri talks about coming in as runner-up for best actress for a skit in high school, and Heit talks about being compared to the “smart guy” after he came in 2nd place in a math competition. He explains that he was never popular for anything of intellect when he was in high school.
  • Everyone has something that they could be good at if it is fostered. People would be a lot more “successful” if people were allowed to make themselves individually into what they want to be.
  • Do people really want to be popular or do they want the benefits of popularity? Likewise, do people want money or do they want the things money can buy?
  • Discussion about some peoples’ need for attention.

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