Riker's Mailbox

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I believe in our system.

By 'our' I'm referring to the citizens of the United States. By 'system' I mean our government as a whole. By 'believe in', I mean that there was once a pure and honest intention central to that government, which was the source of our greatest ideals as a nation; I believe that if we dig (or poke, if need be) deeply enough, we will discover that it is still there, and with concerted effort we can motivate it to bring about a positive change for the future. It happened with emancipation. It happened with womens' suffrage.

It needs to happen to the I.R.S.

My responsibility as a citizen is to make my voice heard if I have a strong and politically relevant opinion on a matter. It's not a huge responsibility, but it's one I've been given and I intend to use it. Every time I need to.

What follows is a letter I wrote to my Senators and my state Representative - an indulgent expansion of a form letter sourced from the 'Americans for Fair Taxation' organization, of which I am a fervent supporter:

Dear [Rep. Sanchez / Sen. Boxer / Sen. Feinstein],

Every April, American taxpayers dread the federal income tax filing
process; the endless forms and paperwork, the cumbersome rules and
byzantine changes. It's time to say, "Enough already!"

As a voting constituent of yours, I support a viable and smart
alternative, the FairTax, and would suggest you consider this proposal
as well. The FairTax is better for everyone: Citizens, businesses, and
most of all our economy, which would be unshackled from the endless
volumes of regulations and rules that comprise our federal tax code

In the time I have had to study the FairTax debate from both sides, I
have seen overwhelming evidence that it is a far superior taxation
scheme than the runaway train our current system has become. I have
determined that this is a far more advantageous plan not just for
selfish or personal reasons, but for the greater good of the nation we
live in.

A truly progressive tax like the one FairTax implements would improve
not only the financial standing of a great majority that are currently
unable to climb out of the hole of debt and financial dependence, but
would also improve the government's efficiency in keeping track of its
due revenue. I will point out, in case you are not aware, that the
FairTax in no way attempts to reduce the amount of money the
government receives; instead it is designed to redistribute the tax
burden in a manner that is logically fair, and mutually beneficial to
all taxpayers.

If you have heard of the FairTax but are skeptical of the claims I'm
making in this statement, I strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of
'The FairTax Book' by Neal Boortz and John Linder. Read it cover to
cover. I wouldn't doubt there's a copy floating around nearby
already... but if there is not, it is an inexpensive book, is a quick
read, and is widely available.

In all honesty, the only opposition to this plan will come from (1)
the great many people who have been misled to believe that the FairTax
is something entirely different and (2) those in government who source
their power and influence from the endless intricacies and loopholes
in the current tax code.

Our current taxation system is one that has grown into a
self-sustaining, cannibalistic entity that is depriving all of us from
a simpler and more prosperous life. It is time to recognize this and
bravely look inward and realize there is much, much room for

There is a greater good in the FairTax; and I am one of a consistently
growing body who realizes it. We won't be able to be ignored for

I strongly urge those in whose hands the decision rests to take a
critical look at the elements of HR 25. Any person looking
objectively *will* discover the significant merits of the FairTax

It will take maturity and courage to voluntarily subject the machine
of government, of which he is a part, to the scrutiny provided by this
bill. If passed, this will be a show of good faith on the part of the
governing body that will do much to restore the faith of the voting

A paradigm shift is ahead of you. There will be those who wish to
cling to the familiar despite the obvious damage that course of action
has taken. But there will also be those who have the spirit to
carefully but confidently move forward into territories ripe with
opportunity. I sincerely hope you will count yourself among the

As April 17th draws near, I urge you to consider a tax change for the
better of all Americans: The FairTax. This tax reform plan is embodied
in H.R. 25 and already has 57 co-sponsors. The taxpaying public -
individuals, farmers, schoolteachers, seniors, small business owners,
and others - will thank you for it.

Thank you for your consideration.


Mr. Kevin Savino-Riker


If you read this and are at all curious about the FairTax, please visit Americans for Fair Taxation, and consider purchasing The FairTax Book.

To take part in the "100,000 Faxes" campaign and send a letter to your representatives like I did mine, Get Started! No fax machine required!

Let's see if grassroots movements 'still got it.'

Friday, March 16, 2007



In reference to post-previous, I'm working on an essay that is quickly growing into an exposition of my personal belief structure... an affirmation, more accurately. So, I've been in a philosophical mindset lately. The essay is far from complete, but I still have an urge to put something out there. I remembered writing an e-mail to myself (as I often do when I don't want to forget something; let Google sort 'em out) on a topic that is loosely related to the single thing that's been occupying my creative time over the last few months... not counting the band, of course*.

Anyway, I figured I'd post it here, as sort of a small sample of what I'm preparing. Like I said, it's not the same topic, but it's somewhat related; it's to whet the appetites of anyone curious to see what I'm concocting behind the scenes. Enjoy!

An Email To Myself

When the religious organizations lobby for teaching of intelligent design in schools, they often accompany this with a statement encouraging students to be cautionary in their thoughts toward evolution. They remind us that evolution is 'just a theory', and science should be approached with an open mind, leaving room for alternate theories**.

They're masking their weighted statements under the guise of skepticism, so as to appear more scientific. The truth is, however, that they are requesting a one-sided skepticism. To be truly scientific, they should request equal skepticism for both arguments. But they do not. They request skepticism on evolution's part, and implicitly request faith in intelligent design's merit to stand against evolution. It's asking for a fight, and asking evolution to tie one hand behind its back first.

This statement of theirs plays another trick as well: they request that the student approach evolution skeptically, as if to imply to the student that evolution has not yet been subject to such scrutiny. Their use of words would suggest to the reader that evolution hasn't been standing up to scrutiny and skepticism for over a hundred years. They are singlehandedly taking out of mind the fact that evolution was met with the fiercest of opposition in the scientific community upon its unveiling, and has withstood the tests of time and scrutiny by virtue of the mountain of evidence gathered in its support. Evolution has been subject to testing and skepticism for long enough, and has emerged in well enough condition, that for now, we are confident in the solidity of its foundations. It is by this series of trials over such a long period that it has earned the status of scientific theory, a weighty title indeed. Intelligent Design has passed none of these tests. It is treated so casually by the scientific community because it fails immediately under the most gentle questioning, and is therefore dismissed with relative ease.

* - Shelby Three and the Harmony are playing from 4pm to 8pm tomorrow, St. Patrick's Day at the Irish Mist. BE THERE!

** - equivocation at it's most blatant. They are banking on the fact that the general public may not be aware that there is a difference between the common-usage definition of the word 'theory' and the scientific definition. They want you to believe then, that when scientists refer to evolution as a theory, they do so because they are not yet sure of its validity. They want you to think 'theory' means 'unsubstantiated guess'. 'Hypothesis'. This is the colloquial definition of theory: "I lose my keys every Sunday; my theory is that I'm doing something different on Sunday that causes me to lose my keys."

In truth, the word 'theory' in the scientific community is a very powerful one, and the fact that evolution is considered a theory is a *very* strong argument in its support. A scientific theory is one step removed from scientific law: fundamental forces, gravity, magnetism, etc., are examples of ideas that have more support than evolution. They are universally observed, and for all intents and purposes, there is no deviation between observation whenever or wherever that observation takes place. Evolution is a theory because there is a massive amount of evidence gathered for it, to the extent that the scientific community regards it as fact that evolution has occurred; it is not a law, however, because there is still an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms behind the fact of evolution. In science, this room is left because of the revisionist and skeptical nature of science as a practice. We know that we do not know everything about evolution yet, therefore it is not a law. It is 'only a theory'. But not knowing 'everything about a subject' is far from enough to claim that one knows nothing about it. Not knowing everything does not exclude knowing a great deal. Evolution is on the same level of verification and refinement as is Einstein's theory of general relativity. If the proponents of ID want to be skeptical about evolution because it is just a 'theory', they should be raising as much opposition to relativity as well. But the religious community has no quarrel with relativity, because they do not believe support of relativity is equal to a renunciation of God.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Shamefully, I show my face again, after a three-month hiatus from posting.

But I promise that I have been writing a lot in the meantime. I just haven't posted any of it.

The explanation is simple: I've spent the last few months rounding out some writings which began as typical blog fodder (random thoughts collected into some pseudo-coherent musing), but quickly evolved beyond into a full-fledged thesis. The punchline is that I've taken what started as a little blurb and expounded upon it until it's become something between an essay and, due to its nature, a manifesto of sorts.

Those of you who know me know that I have an underground passion for philosophizing. I'll just say that the essay I'm working on is a real doozie, and I'll be laying it out for all to read as soon as I get some time to finish arranging all the little paragraphs in an easier-to-follow order.

Meanwhile, I hope I can muster the gumption to multi-task enough to keep filling archive pages even while I polish off my masterpiece.


P.S. I just found out that I love flautas.