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My ratings (R) are from 1 to 9. My Dates are also permalinks. Click on the column headers to sort Jots. Feel free to use the address bar like a command line interface by setting the optional query string parameters: Dtm1 (10, 20, 30, YYYYMMDDhhmmss), Dtm2 (YYYYMMDDhhmmss), IsJot (Jot or Not), Tag (zero+ times), NotTag (zero+ times), OrderBy (PostForDate, PostTitle, PostLink, PostText, PostSource, PostRating, PostSize) & Desc(Desc), and Limit(integer).
|20080707 202113 Z||Bush Edits Out Jefferson's Religious Views||scienceblogs … fersons_reli.php||digg.com/pol … ous_Views?OTC-ig||Atheism, History, Politics, Quote, USA||So typical of Bush. Aside of the religous and political implications, this is just bad quoting by Bush. Jefferson, like many of U.S. founding fathers, was a deist, which practically makes him an atheist. The article thread and digg thread also discuss Jefferson a fair bit.|
|20080806 130655 Z||Obama Insists Inflating Tires Better Than Oil Drilling||www.youtube. … ch?v=akjXqfvLu28||digg.com/200 … _ignorant?OTC-ig||Funny, Live Action, News, Obama, Politics, Sustainability, Videos||Hahaha! So natural, so true, so funny, so hard hitting.|
|20080812 161649 Z||The Seemingly Impossible Is Possible||www.gapminde … is-possible.html||Beauty, Cool, Culture, Economy, Funny, Inspiring, Live Action, Performance, Politics, TECH, Videos, World||There's so much good stuff from the TED conferences (Technology Entertainment Design) [ted.com], that I have a hard time posting any of it. "The Seemingly Impossible Is Possible" by Hans Rosling (a Swedish professor in International Public Health). An incredible presentation. Very hopeful, informative, beautiful, and funny. It has a surprise ending too. It shows hope for progress in the Third World. Combined with the progress in artificial photosynthesis, the outlook for the future is quite bright!|
|20080911 162400 Z||Damon Condemns Palin||www.youtube. … ch?v=anxkrm9uEJk||digg.com/200 … ney_movie?OTC-ig||Celebrity, Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||My views exactly. We know very little about her and yet she barely participates in the public vetting process that all other politicians submit themselves to.|
|20080911 230318 Z||Transcript: Obama Sits Down With Letterman, Discusses Pigs||elections.fo … -letterman-pigs/||Julia||Barack Obama, Politics, Transcripts, TV, USA||Nice. Sometimes what you want is to hear a person have a long, decent conversation. Obama and Clinton can do that. I haven't seem McCain or Palin do that.|
|20080925 225054 Z||This is why McCain canceled the debates. Watch Sarah Palin on CBS tonight. Utter disaster.||www.americab … led-debates.html||www.reddit.c … e_debates_watch/||News, Politics, TV, USA, Videos||OMFG. Even though I'm for Obama, I still feel embarrassed for Palin. We need to see her in a live and unedited format (like the debates).|
|20080926 151200 Z||More on John McCain||lateshow.cbs … php/965757.phtml||Celebrity, Funny, Live Action, News, Politics, Show Biz, TV, USA, Videos||Dave Letterman does more on John McCain after he canceled. Archiving it here for future laughs.|
|20081007 171635 Z||Olbermann: Terrorists? It's Palin doing the pallin'||www.msnbc.ms … 7057346#27057346||www.reddit.c … ent_on_palin_he/||Journalism, Politics, TV, USA, Videos||Olbermann rips into Palin, but you also end up feeling sorry for Palin.|
|20081017 165302 Z||Obama, McCain share laughs at dinner||www.swamppol … laughs_at_d.html||Julia||Funny, Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||It has been a hard fought Presidential campaign and it was really refreshing to see Obama, McCain, and Clinton at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, an annual charity fund raiser for Catholic Charities. A good number of genuinely funny jokes by both Obama and McCain last night. By coincidence, I'll be dining with friends tonight and most of them lean much more on to the right than I do.|
|20081023 152526 Z||The Internet and the Death of Rovian Politics||www.huffingt … at_b_136400.html||digg.com/200 … _Rovian_Politics||Cyber Life, Politics, TECH, USA, Videos||I know the link is a left-leaning site, but the subject of the article is partisan to some degree. Basically the Web has made fact-checking so fast and easy, that it is harder to run a campaign based on lies and FUD. YouTube in particular was founded in 2005 so this is the first US Presidential election with a YouTube influence!|
|20081023 161036 Z||Total Fail: McCain's Own Aides Can't Defend Palin||ca.youtube.c … ch?v=m-9VW4ewI1M||www.reddit.c … tenhaeur_spends/||Journalism, Live Action, News, Politics, TV, USA, Videos||Chris Matthews gives Nancy Pfotenhaeur a chance to defend Palin's statements of what the VP does, but Nancy can't. How can Americans let this slide? This is stuff you learn in grade school. The VP has to jobs: 1. To step in as President if the President dies. 2. To break ties.|
|20081023 161949 Z||"I can't imagine a President being named Obama"||nz.youtube.c … ch?v=UwjlUMoLVvA||digg.com/com … eing_named_Obama||Atheism, Faith, Live Action, News, Politics, TV, USA, Videos||Blatant numbing bigotry. I realize that she is just one vile woman but you can't help but feel that her ilk form an important part of the Republican base.|
|20081105 164020 Z||Obama Wins||http://www.cnn.com/?obama_wins||digg.com/200 … dential_Election||News, Politics, USA||28,471 diggs and counting.|
|20090121 203339 Z||Exchange Between Bill Moyers and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League||www.pbs.org/ … ll_moyers_a.html||www.reddit.c … _antisemite_for/||Israel, Journalism, Middle East, News, Politics, War||
There are many things to explore and only so much time. I am ashamed that I have not explored the Israel issue well enough to properly speak of it, especially considering that it is on the news almost every day.
Some of the pictures passing around: http://youngfoxredux.blogspot.com/2009/01/take-walk-through-gaza.html.
|20090414 013635 Z||LOON WATCH: Right-wing bets against U.S. in pirate standoff||www.dailykos … tv.com/w/001151/||digg.com/pol … _pirate_standoff||Journalism, Live Action, News, Politics, TV, USA, Videos||To the dicks at Fox: No thanks, you can keep your lousy trash talk. Obama and US military did an awesome job dealing with the pirates!|
|20090420 162610 Z||Anybody else waiting for the old generation to die so that we can legalize filesharing, marijuana, gay marriage, etc. and then get on with our lives?||www.philipbr … ocoum.com/?p=588||www.reddit.c … d_generation_to/||Ethics, Legal, Politics||Controversial. It's good to see contrary comments in the post and in the reddit thread.|
|20090429 191956 Z||Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 1||www.thedaily … edited-interview||www.reddit.c … ain_as_a_gifted/||Ethics, Funny, Jon Stewart, Journalism, Live Action, News, Politics, TV, USA, Videos, War||Cliff May and Jon Stewart debate the recent torture issue. It's good to see folks who come from such opposites sides of an issue, but who are able to do an actual exchange. It's not pretty but it seemed sincere. BTW: I'm with Jon Stewart on this issue.|
|20090630 201822 Z||Minn. court rules for Franken in Senate fight||www.google.c … QSrgyOQD9956T5O0||Julia||News, Politics, USA||Whoot! The Minnesota Supreme Court rules 5-0 in favor of Al Franken for the Senate seat.|
|20090729 164019 Z||O'Reilly's Fuzzy Canadian Health Care Math||tpmtv.talkin … .com/?id=3060320||digg.com/pol … _O_Reilly_Genius||Funny, Journalism, News, Politics, Sad, TV||Bill said: "Of course Canada has longer life expectancy than the U.S. -- we have 10 times more people.". From the Digg thread: "Using Bill O logic, the average Chinese citizen must live for about 12 minutes." and "The worst thing about it is that people watch that and don't flinch. It really makes me scared.".|
|20090811 172143 Z||Ice cream shop gets licked||www.chicagot … ,0,5958297.story||Chicago, Chill, Images, Politics||"Scooter's Frozen Custard of Lakeview has chairs yanked by city, but there's hope for thaw". My family has been there. Who are these party poopers who would get in the way of hanging out and eating ice cream? Surely we can scoot around if a wheelchair or stroller needs to get by!|
|20090819 183242 Z||Barney Frank Confronts Woman At Townhall Comparing Obama To Hitler||www.youtube. … ch?v=nYlZiWK2Iy8||digg.com/pol … _Obama_to_Hitler||Health, Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||Barney Frank kicks ass! The man has serious patience and poise. This made it to the front page of CNN too: Barney Frank goes toe to toe at health care town hall [http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/18/frank.heath.care/index.html]. I get tired of discussing things with a "dining room table" too. Someone is stoking FUD and noise. "Death panels"? Some folks make this crap up and some folks are foolish enough to spread it.|
|20090820 151119 Z||Mercury found in all fish caught in U.S.-tested streams||www.usatoday … sh-mercury_N.htm||Nature, Politics, Sustainability, USA||So it's not just recreational fish from oceans and lakes that have mercury, but from streams too. Way to go anti-environment Republicans and Conservatives.|
|20090925 184623 Z||Rachel Maddow Show Sep 16 - Frank Schaeffer Explains the Insanity & Racism of the Religious Right||www.youtube. … ch?v=uYn9at5hiE0||Barack Obama, Faith, News, Politics, TV, USA, Videos||According to a poll in New Jersey, 18% believe President Obama is the Anti-Christ and 17% believe he could be. These are probably the same "Birther" folks who doubt he was born in America. It's amazing that these crazy Evangelicals have such a vise-like grip on the Republicans.|
|20091016 171036 Z||Boy Asks Obama, 'Why Do People Hate You?'||www.youtube. … ch?v=Py15owTneag||digg.com/pol … veryone_Hate_You||Barack Obama, Cool, Inspiring, Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||A clean, intelligent, down-to-earth, and respectful answer.|
|20091018 183456 Z||Holy Crap!! Franken ANNIHILATES KBR attorney during testimony (w/video)||www.dailykos … ny-%28w-video%29||digg.com/pol … during_testimony||Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||Senator Al Franken totally kicked Halliburton arse on video. How can anyone justify gang raping their own people? The Jon Stewart video nails it too.|
|20091214 001535 Z||Scepticism's limits||www.economis … trust_scientists||www.reddit.c … so_for_the_time/||News, Politics, Science, Sustainability, USA||Climate-gate? Smoking gun? My arse.|
|20091207 202005 Z||Climatologists under pressure||www.nature.c … ull/462545a.html||science.slas … -Leak?art_pos=41||Politics, Science, Sustainability, USA, World||There is no conspiracy, no real story in the Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident [W]. The investigation will be more thorough than any investigation into things like child abuse by the Roman Catholic church or the assassination of JFK. The sad part of it is that there are Republicans and such out there who want to see the climate issue as something like a political conspiracy by Al Gore. Scientists are all about openness and "how do we know?" and peer review. What motivation would scientists have to create such a conspiracy?|
|20091224 172621 Z||Climate Change Deniers vs The Consensus||www.informat … s-the-consensus/||Geography, Images, Politics, Science, Sustainability, TECH||Nice graphic that looks at both sides of the the issue. This related graphic is nice too: Climate Change: A Consensus Among Scientists?.|
|20100120 160142 Z||Hitler Finds Out Scott Brown Won Massachusetts Senate Seat||www.youtube. … ch?v=c4aQCiRjvZY||Gus||Funny, Politics, Sad, USA, Videos||Republicans and Democrats alike will like this video. Kennedy's seat barely got cold and it went to a Republican?!?! OMFG! This had better wake up some folks. Boring old Croakley sat on her ass and took Kennedy's seat for granted. Pretty boy Brown kept smiling, fought hard and won. Congratulations Mr. Brown.|
|20100130 043515 Z||Richard Dawkins interviews creationist Wendy Wright (Part 1/7)||www.youtube. … ch?v=US8f1w1cYvs||Julia||Atheism, Evolution, Live Action, Politics, Science, USA, Videos||I watched all 7 painful videos. It seems that they agree on the virtue of examination of evidence. They also seem to agree on the humane treatment of people. The difference seems to be that Wright thinks a person's religious belief must influence the certainty of the theory, while Dawkins does not. Knowledge of chemistry, physics, evolution, etc. is objective, testable, open, and separate from ones religious, political, subjective, or ethical point of view. Such objective knowledge can, of course, be used for good or evil, i.e. subjectively applied and interpreted, but that does not change the knowledge itself. Even so, the emotional and spiritual feelings that people have must be dealt with. The woman is clearly pained.|
|20100131 035727 Z||President Obama Full Q&A||www.youtube. … ch?v=oBuG2TdgMn0||digg.com/pol … e_at_GOP_retreat||Barack Obama, Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||Republican congressmen drilling a Democratic President in public. Whee!|
|20100211 033101 Z||Sarah Palin Uses a Hand-O-Prompter||www.hulu.com … -hand-o-prompter||Funny, Live Action, News, Politics, TV, USA||Sweet material from The Colbert Report. Sara Palin is so entertaining!|
|20100213 034446 Z||Jon Stewart: Senator Ackbar Is Right||www.indecisi … ackbar-is-right/||digg.com/tel … bar_Is_Right_Vid||Health, Politics, USA||Whoot! Just show up, you pansies! Do your job, get things done. Filibustering is not leading.|
|20100213 035914 Z||GERMANY 1940 and ISRAEL 2009||whatreallyha … aHolo/index.html||www.reddit.c … 1940israel_2009/||Images, Middle East, Photography, Politics||Controversial, but better to have a dialog than nothing. It's a trap!|
|20100305 011550 Z||Anthony Weiner Takes it to the FOX Liar Brigade||www.dailykos … FOX-Liar-Brigade||www.reddit.c … iends_in_a_3_vs/||Live Action, News, Politics, USA, Videos||More Democrats walking into Republican camps and doing fine these days!|
|20100311 023701 Z||Limbaugh: I'll Leave US If Health Care Reform Passes (VIDEO)||www.huffingt … if_n_491536.html||Health, Politics, Radio, USA||What sweet news! If only he would leave sooner. Did he say he'd go to Costa Rica on purpose? Costa Rica has universal health care and no army. Doctors taking federal money?! What a shock! What an outrage! O wait they already do that with Medicare.|
|20100311 034458 Z||Hypocrisy Alert: Calif. Politician Roy Ashburn Arrested for Allegedly Driving Drunk; It Gets Worse||www.cbsnews. … 6524-504083.html||www.reddit.c … e_about_married/||Equality, Journalism, News, Politics, USA||This atrocious story has been out for a few days already, but I do like how the writer, Kevin Hayes, presented the story.|
|20100321 033030 Z||Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth||fora.tv/2009 … olocaust_Deniers||digg.com/art … olocaust_Deniers||Atheism, Evolution, Faith, Mind, Politics||Richard Dawkins likening Creationists with Holocaust Deniers. Freedom and tolerance are good, but we should be less tolerant of religions that foster bigotry and murder.|
|20100330 010631 Z||An open letter to conservatives||tpmcafe.talk … ve.php?ref=recdc||www.reddit.c … es_on_hypocrisy/||Politics, USA||Come back to the middle a bit.|
|20100409 235841 Z||"...who are you better than?"||advrider.com … ead.php?t=565866||www.reddit.c … r_on_motorcycle/||Politics, Relations, USA||The Tea Party and race. Interesting. Lots of raw nerves here.|
|20100502 213402 Z||Imagine if the Tea Party Were Black||www.jackandj … nt=Google+Reader||Barack Obama, Politics, USA||An article like this can irk people but it certainly is interesting.|
|20100503 030407 Z||Fox News Calls Mr. Rogers An Evil Man||www.prosebef … -mr-rogers-evil/||digg.com/tel … An_Evil_Evil_Man||Inspiring, Journalism, Live Action, News, Politics, TV, USA||Sorry Fox News, but Mr. Rogers is AWESOME! Mister Rogers defending PBS to the US Senate. 15 reasons Mr. Rogers was best neighbor ever.|
|20101008 193131 Z||China blanks Nobel Peace prize searches||www.cnn.com/ … /china.internet/||China, Journalism, Politics||"Type "Liu Xiaobo" -- or "Nobel Peace Prize," for that matter -- in search engines in China and hit return, you get a blaring error page." China has got to realize that this is glaring to the rest of the world.|
|20110602 163624 Z||Chicago's casino bet||www.chicagot … ,0,7560633.story||Chicago, Economy, Politics||Chicago would not merely regulate and tax casinos, but OWN them. We'd be the 1st major US city to do so. If gambling is taxation on those who get thrills from risk, then perhaps this is an opportunity for us to moderate that risk? Would that be construed as a restriction on freedom?|
|20110615 150602 Z||Wis. Senate votes to legalize concealed carry||www.chicagot … ,0,2695253.story||Guns, MARTIAL, Politics, USA||So WI will be the 49th state with CC and the pressure can focus on the 50th!|
|20111018 165540 Z||Time will Tell: Occupy Wall Street in Historical Context||www.thefaste … torical-context/||Economy, History, Politics, USA, World||"If we look at the 99-percenter movement in context, its goals become pretty clear. After all, they’re the same as every similar movement since the Middle Ages."|
|20111213 165130 Z||Everybody's So Different, I Haven't Changed||www.stoneket … nt-i-havent.html||Politics, USA||Nice. I've been wary of labels because the words remain but the meaning behind them depends on the context and time.|
|20111213 165226 Z||How To Explain Gay Rights To An Idiot||www.buzzfeed … alizing-beastali||Ethics, Faith, Politics, Sex, USA||Consent, civil rights, and tolerance.|
|20120629 183437 Z||2012 platform for the Republican Party of Texas||s3.amazonaws … atform_Final.pdf||Politics, USA||It's the 2012 platform for the Republican Party of Texas. Some of it is OK, but there's way too much WTF in it.|
|20130114 030459 Z||Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media||www.people-p … lt-public-media/||Atheism, Faith, Politics, Science||This survey of 2,500 scientists covers a large number of topics. Some of the findings were expected (87% believe in evolution, 84% believe in human induced climate change), but other finds were a bit more surprising (72% men, 81% white, 6% Republican, 33% believe in God).|
|20130626 175036 Z||DOMA and Exodus International Defeated!||Chicago, News, Politics, Sex, USA||Progress on the equality front! Exodus International shut itself down and apologized! The Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court! All just in time for the Chicago Gay Pride Parade this weekend!|
|20130630 150152 Z||What's The Dumbest Thing You Could Say To A Congresswoman Who Lost Her Legs In Battle? Um, THIS.||www.upworthy … -found-it?c=ufb1||Cool, Military, Politics, USA, Videos||Break out the popcorn. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) lays it on.|
Many folks seem to be saying that the Republicans just attack Obama, while offering no solutions of their own. This is reminiscent of the 2004 election when the Republicans were saying that about the Democrats. I'm glad to hear that Obama's calm response of "I've been called worse on the basketball court" ("Barack Obama: They Don't Have An Agenda To Run On" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBXeVvoQA9M].
The other issue of the Republican continuing to be unconcerned about preserving human rights is particularly disturbing considering that McCain was a POW. My brother is in the Army in Afghanistan right now and these guys are making light of torture? Frak that!
The Republicans will blind themselves, sling mud, and twist the truth as they've been doing for the past 8 years. We need to stay calm, stay hopeful, and think about solving problems together.
I understand that this recent conservatorship or federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac [W] had to happen or else there could have been a global financial meltdown. However didn't we just have a bailout of Bear Stears [W] in 2008-03? Wasn't it obvious that we've had a subprime mortgage crisis [W]? Wasn't it obvious that the United States housing bubble [W] had burst? There have been a lot of bailouts: Corporate Bailouts Through History [http://images.businessweek.com/ss/07/12/1217_bailouts/index_01.htm].
The Republican response: The people paying the mortgages get no help, but the corporations and stockholders making money off the homeowners do. Tax payer money pays for the bailouts. The rich get tax cuts.
The Republicans talk about how Democrats are socialists who want to provide social services and raise taxes, and yet the Republicans are corporate socialists who want to provide socials services for corporations and lower taxes. The role of the government is supposed to provide social services (law and order, roads, disaster relief, etc.) and it needs to collect taxes in order to pay for it. However, the slew of bailouts and fiscal irresponsibility has made the US most socialist country (besides North Korea and Cuba). Heck, China is less socialist than the US! Think of how ugly the US has been in the past eight years with torture and violating privacy and obstructing due process.
Some socialism is needed to regulate industries for the public good, but it also can't be the kind of socialism that lets certain industries become too fat and bloated and a danger to the public. Too many tax breaks. Too many subsidies. Improperly regulated. Iron triangles. Here are some industries that have gotten away with too much:
It is almost sickeningly simple to tell when an artificial market is in place because of run away prices and salaries. The tech industry had its dot com bubble but it quickly learned to keep things real. The entertainment industry (movies, sports, video games, fashion, etc.) is always oddly priced because it's all bravado. The science industry has its costs because, it often almost literally rocket science (and should not be pad the MIC.
We need some bold folks to shake things up. Vote for change! Vote for Obama!
Here's how I replied to my friend Nick about this article by Camille Paglia:
I read the entire thing and agree with practically all of it.
I have long advocated independent thinking, but the political and mathematical reality of winning by a slim majority favors this ugly 2 party system: A morass of group think, where a whole suite of issues are already decided for you. I'd wish we could avoid all the pork bellying and take things things a la carte.
As far as the political games, the Republicans are doing the same thing as ever: Egging the Democrats on in order to draw out an angry indignant response. It is proper that they start out with a kuzushi, an off-balancing, of an emotional nature before they talk about issues. The Democrats always want to just jump to the issues and they come across as elitist and drab.
The whole sexism/feminism thing is a goofy issue like the racism issue. A person is a person and you don't ask for special treatment: Fish, hunt, play basketball, run for President, or whatever. Do what you can. Get paid the same wage. Play by the same rules.
Politicians goof up when they aren't being true to themselves and act out of character. I read something recently about dating: Some folks make the mistake of acting as the fictional person they imagine their date wants to see instead of just being themselves.
As far as Palin, I agree that we just don't know her. We know very little about her, and yet she barely participates in the public vetting process that all other politicians submit themselves to. Perhaps we'll get to know her better over the next few weeks. Matt Damon says it pretty clearly here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anxkrm9uEJk. If you look at the actuary charts, there is a high probability that Palin would have to replace McCain. It's become a 2v1 race.
I am constantly amazed at the things that are so obvious that I can't believe I have to say them. McCain's reason for no-showing this Friday's Presidential debate, the first of the season, is because he has to deal with the financial crisis. (Also McCain Bail on Letterman [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCkbiyuh44k] and is exposed to ridicule. So if he had a hurricane in Florida, a conflict with Iran, and problems with the US economy, he'd only able to deal with one of them?!? Bleh! Dude, his job is to interview for the job titled "President of the United States of America". It's bad enough that his VP choice Sarah Palin hardly ever shows her face. Now McCain is thinking of hiding her again by wanting to swap out the VP debate with a Pres. debate? Not only is he weak on issues, but he doesn't have the brains or the heart to face us.
I've also had it with his blatant lying and smearing campaign, especially with his recent remarks aimed at Chicago. His key facts are so easy to check but he persists. Like Daley said: This will come back and hit you in the face.
Now if the Republicans had nominated Ron Paul, they would have much better chances of winning this election especially since he's been warning about the particular economic issues that lead to our current financial crisis.
Before I go on, let me insert a link to the Transcript of presidential debate [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/26/debate.mississippi.transcript/].
The polls pretty much say that Obama won by 13-15% over McCain. See http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/09/26/politics/horserace/entry4482028.shtml, and http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/09/why-voters-thought-obama-won.html. The general consensus is that since McCain was trailing in the polls, it was McCain who needed to pull a big win but he didn't.
I watched the entire first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain yesterday. I liked how the host, good old Jim Lehrer, tried to have the two talk to each other. I liked the debate because there was some actual meat in there about the issues.
However, as a martial artist, the part I liked best was their back and forth on strategy versus tactics. Strategy from the Greek for head of the army and tactics from the Latin for touch, but I like the idea of head and hand. Strategy and tactics are cyclical because one man's strategy is another man's tactics. To McCain the Iraq war is a "strategy" because it establishes a democracy and an ally in the Mideast, which helps fight the larger war on terror. However to Obama, the Iraq war is a "tactic" because bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban were in Afghanistan, and they are the main threat from 9/11, and the main threat in the larger war on terror, and the Iraq War detracts from the Afghanistan war. McCain keeps insisting that Obama does not acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq, but that's not true. Obama just wants to put it in a larger perspective. [I don't even want to start the debate of why we went into Iraq in the first place. It wasn't so much WMD, but that Neocons took advantage of 9/11, etc.] You can see Obama's larger perspective with his energy plan because one of the biggest reason of why we have issues with the Mideast and Russia is because of our energy needs. Obama's aggressive 10 year plan for energy independence cannot be dismissed as a tree-hugging liberal dream, but should be seen as a serious far-sighted strategy for the economy and security. The emphasis McCain put on earmarking also shows their difference in perspective. Any waste/abuse/inefficiency is important, but it has to be given perspective. "Now, $18 billion is important; $300 billion is really important."
It was also fun to see Obama pick the fights with McCain. If there was no fight, he simply said I agree with McCain. But whenever McCain did some outright lies or a twist of truth, Obama hit back straight away. Furthermore, for some of McCain's smaller lies, Obama was gracious enough to merely deny it and then move on with the program.
McCain pulled out easily defeated canned talking points. McCain tried to get Obama for wanting to meet with foreign parties without preconditions and then denied that Kissinger, McCain's advisor for decades, agreed. Kissinger: Open direct Iran talks [http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/09/16/Kissinger_Open_direct_Iran_talks/UPI-46971221579660/]. Obama was right to point out that even Bush has finally acknowledged that the silent treatment hasn't worked with North Korea. To top it off, Obama pulled all this off while remaining calm, congenial, and controlled.
The one part where McCain led was with his experience. Simply talking about the places he's been, the people he's met, the thing's he's seen, and the things he's done shows that he's got mileage. You have to give McCain that. But the future is where we're going and for me it's not the experience but the vision. See http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2008/09/27/in-mccain-obama-debate-a-clash-of-two-visions/. Just as the silent treatment for enemies doesn't work (you should continue negotiations while continuing to advance your position), neither does too little of the right kinds of regulations, and neither does trickle down economics (see Supply Side Jesus [http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/09/17_franken.html] and http://blogs.venturacountystar.com/greenberg/qqxsgFiscalConservative.jpg). We have yet to see the financial crisis turn, but I'm clearly more for progressive taxes than regressive. See Comparison of the McCain and Obama Tax Plans [http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/06/comparison-of-t.html] and http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/obama-vs-mccain-tax-plans-obama-saves-you-more.html.
There's more to say but life goes on. Read more. Fact check. Use multiple sources. Think for yourself.
The upcoming Palin versus Biden Vice-Presidential debate should be fun. I hope that Palin is cramming enough so that she doesn't totally embarass herself again.
It sounds like the lawmakers may have the bailout later today: Lawmakers Say They Have Breakthrough on Rescue Plan (Update3) [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601170&refer=home&sid=afLj7ofnabdc]. I hope they have something good for us but I'm very skeptical. Here's what I emailed a few of my friends 2 days ago:
My thoughts: I'm with Ron Paul as in against price fixing and against the bailout. The over-leveraged stuff needs to be trashed instead of re-circulated. I'm for a true free market (not an artificial one), but with more regulations and transparency to protect the consumers. As in you're free to drive around the country but there should be traffic laws for everybody for safety's sake. Inaction is an action. Certainly Bush-style rule by over-powered, unwatched, constitution-violating fiat is not what I want. I'm $700 billion is an estimate and it could very well be $4 trillion or more. They need to come up with a palatable solution, but eventually they'll come out with something, anything.
My actions: Personally, I transferred my money from JPMorgan Chase to a smaller bank in August. I got better rates and free movie tickets! (On one hand Chase may come out of this quite well, but on the other hand they're going to be very chaotic.) I told you guys ages ago that there was a housing bubble and to buy gold, that's why my house is for living and not so much an investment, while my gold has fared much much better than almost any other investment. I switched 25% of my future 401k transactions to more conservative choices. Investing in solar.
One interesting thing about this bailout is that Bush is pushing it and the Democrats (who have the majority in Congress) are for it, but there are some conservatives and some Democrats who want to think about this a bit more. I think working out a trillion dollar deal in just a few days is indeed something to approach with care.
Two fun links related to the bailout:
The debate skit is funny but the Palin skit is funny and painful because they used words actually spoken by Palin. There are so many articles out there wincing about the Palin and Couric interview. Couric was being nice, Couric was giving Palin opportunities to shine, but all Palin could do was stumble on talking points. If I were prone to believing in conspiracies, then I would propose that this is all a ruse by Palin in order to make the Democrats let their guard down. If not, then it is frightening to think that the GOP machine has such power that it can dupe half the country into wanting Palin to become one 72 year old's heartbeat away from becoming President. There are college kids who know more about the issues than Palin. For the security of America and the world, I sure hope that it is all a ruse.
There are tons of articles out there about the Palin debacle. EG: Mad Dog Palin and The Palin Pick -- The Devolution of McCain. The need is urgent and important. However we need to do what Obama's doing: Stay calm and play straight, but watch for the curve ball. Maintain a relaxed state of suspension, of readiness, of patience. Have faith because we've prepared and we can do it. This humanizing photo of Obama prepping for the debate captures that state:
The Palin issue is funny and sad, but most of all it's insulting. There are so many people that are more qualified than she is. I'll admit that she has spunk and some sense of timing to have gotten this far. It's not all a matter of luck (She did have some lucky breaks (The governor before her was one of the most unpopular governor ever) but it hasn't been all luck.
Take the Biden v Palin Vice-Presidential debate. She blatantly didn't answer direct questions and instead gave out memorized talking points. Even by beauty pageant standards, it was pretty bad. Biden genuinely got choked up at one point when he was talking about his experience as a single father, and it made Palin's performance look even more plastic. Biden was authoritative, congenial, and knew his facts.
Palin "succeeded" because she stopped hemorrhaging like she was doing with her interviews with Katie Couric. The general public still has not seen Palin speak beyond talking points. It's all very funny and all but more important it's a security risk. We KNOW that the Obama and Biden are smart, so why take a risk on Palin?
Now I'm going to post a few election-related funny items just to archive it at my site.
It's abusing a bad photo, but still funny.
Silly but truthful.
Funny but frighteningly truthful. Via http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/10/3/43222/8057/718/618653.
Saturday Night Live: VP Debate Open: Palin / Biden [http://www.hulu.com/watch/37730/saturday-night-live-vp-debate-open-palin--biden]. Wouldn't be complete without Tina Fey.
And here are two short blurbs passing around of unknown origin. [NOTE: If anything in the following is not factual, then please inform me and I will update this post.]
...Trying to get my head straight on the upcoming election
I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight....
If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different'.
Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.
If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.
Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 ne w voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society
If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, much clearer now.
What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.
You are The Boss... which team would you hire?
With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc.
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism
Now, which team are you going to hire?
PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter....
I'm sure that the Republicans must little blurbs passing around too. I'd be curious to see those.
The Obama campaign is ahead so they don't have to go negative. They are, however, quite ready to counter punch. (BTW: The martial artist in me loves how the media has been doing all these boxing analogies lately.) For now thought all the Obama camp needs to do is link McCain to the failed Bush administration (who has the worst poll ratings since they've been tracking polls). Thus Biden can go around and say that McCain is more of a "sidekick" than a "maverick".
(While I'm at it, I just want to grump about the little phrases that have become so annoying so quickly: "maverick", "my friends", "you betcha", etc.)
On the other side, the McCain camp is behind and since they're weak on the issues, they have a lot of negative campaigning. You really get to see the hate and fear that festers in the Republican camps. The racial epithets by audience members at GOP events reek of hate and radicalism. The recent emphasis by the GOP on Obama's middle name (Hussein) is a weak attempt to foster religious discrimination because, duh, Obama's a Christian. The "that one" phrase at the 2nd Presidential debate compounded by the body language of avoiding eye contact, avoiding hand shakes, etc. reeks of disgust, disrespect, and cowardice. And at the debate: Was McCain purposely trying to empathize with the more ignorant folk who actually haven't heard of Fannie Mac, Freddie Mac, and some of the foreign countries before?
And to make it even more personal for me is that McCain keeps dragging Chicago into all this with his remarks about corruption and pork bellying $3 million for the projector at Adler Planetarium. Some of us like science and the stars! 40 year old planetarium projectors need to be replaced sometimes --especially when nearing the 50th anniversary of NASA!
And since science often ties to math: Another pet peeve of mine is how the GOP wants to shrink government and reduce taxes, but they also use taxpayer money in sledgehammer fashion (big wars and bailouts), so they run up huge deficits. Dude: Taxes pay for this. Government should be investing in things with a ROI. NASA has a ROI of 7: Every tax dollar spent on NASA comes back as 7 dollars. Buying bad mortgages will not get our money back! Obama's energy plan will invest in alternative energy that will have a great ROI. How about a cheap solution that gets rid of some of the bad mortgages: Make the banks lower the principal and the interest on a bunch of them because otherwise they lose their money anyway. Regulation covering derivatives any hyper-leveraging maneuvers needs to be reviewed because that behaviour has endangered all of us. See Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/business/economy/09greenspan.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink].
Sorry, sorry. It's good to get things off my chest, but I need to calm down and keep things clean and orange. Focus on the issues: The American machine has run into some technical difficulties and now we need to vote for someone who can see, analyze, prioritize, and advance on multiple fronts (diplomacy, technical, economic, military, etc.) in a surgical fashion, and not someone says they know how to do things (but hasn't) and instead hires a beauty pageant pit bull who can only speak in memorized sound bites.
I was just looking into the candidates on taxes.
has no link on taxes?
What was it that McCain said? "Nailing down Senator Obama's various tax proposals is like nailing Jello to the wall"?
Y'all better check out sites like:
Powerful and succinct analysis by Colin Powell on why he chose Obama over McCain while remaining entirely respectful towards McCain.
(In case the youtube link breaks, here is another link to the interview by NBC's Tom Brokaw: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27265369/.)
His story about soldier Khan was particularly moving and important. The FUD and rage and hate needs to go away. Branding Americans as un-American or unpatriotic needs to go away. Discrimination by race, religion, ethnicity, gender, class, etc., needs to go away. The denial of the necessity of funding the government needs to go away.
My brother Alan died serving as a Marine in 2003 and my brother John is doing his 3rd tour of duty in Afghanistan right now, so the thought of folks pulling out the hate for not being white or Christian or whatever while we serve and protect really, really gets to me. COL (Crying Out Loud).
Oddly enough most people don't know the difference between regressive, progressive, and flat taxes. Regressive tax plans lower the tax rate as income increases, while progressive tax plans increase the tax rate as income increases, while flat tax plans have the same tax rate regardless of income.
There are pros and cons for regressive, progressive, and flat taxes, but the bottom line is that the US has progressive income tax, flat sales tax, and tax deductions/incentives geared toward regressive taxes.
In this election, McCain has been saying that he'll lower taxes while Obama will raise taxes. This has some truth to it in that McCain will lower everybody's taxes while Obama will lower everybody's taxes except for the top 1%. The real issue is that McCain's plan is regressive while Obama's plan is progressive. This chart is a clear demonstration of that difference.
I wasn't going to bother to post about the $150,000 Palin spent on her campaign makeover, but these images are too good to pass up.
Yes, she is encouraging us to vote Democratic.
I just got this email from a Republican friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous):
Oh my god... you have to hear this... he wants to re-write the constitution for redistribution of wealth... ie socialistic reparations for slavery... listen to this.. its no joke.. its him in a radio interview...
Here was my reply:
Oh my god... you have to hear this... Obama was on a Chicago Public Radio show called Odyssey for an episode called "The Court and Civil Rights" (hear the full 53:22 minute show at http://www.wbez.org/audio_library/od_rajan01.asp#010118), having an intelligent and complex discussion with several law professors, but now the desperate McCain campaign is being intellectually dishonest by snatching a few snippets from the show and distorting it in a youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck.
This lame "news" by Fox [http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/27/radio-interview-obama-laments-lack-supreme-court-ruling-redistributing-wealth/] and the Drudge Report will, of course, fool a few who will hear what they want to hear (and were going to vote for McCain anyway). However this FUD attempt will only once again reveal the truth that Obama is smart and that McCain is pretty sad, thus convincing even more folks to vote for Obama.
The fact-checked counter-punch hits harder than a FUD attack. Fact checking is faster and better this election cycle because people are better at Wikipedia and Google, and because YouTube is clickable TV and was not around in the 2004 election. Maybe the GOP will catch on by 2012.
The prospect that intellectual curiosity and honesty can win is heartening!
It's a Wikipedia article tracking the newspaper endorsements fur President in 2008. As of today:
In the past few days the two most "shocking" endorsements for Obama were by Alaska's The Anchorage Daily News and the conservative Financial Times (the equivalent of the American The Wall Street Journal).
Electorally, 50% (270 out of 538) is required to win. These electoral polls show these numbers today:
I just got an email from a Republican friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous). It was a copy of a letter called "Respect Life Sunday" [http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/Bishop%27s%20Pastoral%20Letters/RespectLifeSundaySeptember30th2008.asp] from Joseph Martino, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Joe Biden is a Roman Catholic from Scranton.
Here was my response:
I just read every word of the letter. No one likes to kill defenseless babies. I'm sure the Americans who just made the attack in Syria did not like killing civilians including 4 children. [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27389245/]
Although abortion is not limited to Catholics, see also this article from a Catholic weekly site: "Barack Obama and Abortion" [http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11024]
If the moral issue is to save lives, then for now lower the full lifeboats with the people in them, and then calmly negotiate for the lives of the others --getting irrate usually means that the ship goes down with empty lifeboats. Most of the pro-life versus pro-choice arguments are very heated, go around and round, and are non-productive. I think the key is to have calm productive negotiations. Putting air quotes around "the health" of the mother [like McCain did at the debates] does not tend to foster good negotiations.
If the moral issue is to save lives, then you have look at the political reality, just as you should love people in practice, not just in theory. The latest numbers on several American polls on abortion [http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm] show that 10-18% believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases. This means that 82-90% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or some cases. (FYI: An astonishing 17-28% believe that abortions should be legal in all cases.)
So how does a minority express itself and fight for rights it believes to be self-evident? Well some people believe you do so by killing abortion doctors, but I think a peaceful, non-violent way is a better solution. Someone who knows about the Civil Rights Movement or the Indian Independence Movement might know. Joe Biden does not tell the Catholic Church to do its job and the Catholic Church should not tell Joe Biden how to do his job.
I forgot to send this link in my email: Barack Obama on Abortion [http://www.ontheissues.org/Social/Barack_Obama_Abortion.htm]. His answer on this quesion for example is intellectually honest because sometimes "I don't know" is the right answer:
Q: Do you personally believe that life begins at conception?
A: This is something that I have not come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question. What I know is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates.
I take public transportation most days and I've often felt like shouting out "Go Obama!"
Instead of walking the tree-lined streets near our home, my wife and I were instructed to canvass a housing project. A middle-aged white couple with clipboards could not look more out of place in this predominantly black neighborhood.
We knocked on doors and voices from behind carefully locked doors shouted, "Who is it?"
"We're from the Obama campaign," we'd answer. And just like that doors opened and folks with wide smiles came out on the porch to talk.
It is about hope!
I've learned that this election is about the heart of America. It's about the young people who are losing hope and the old people who have been forgotten. It's about those who have worked all their lives and never fully realized the promise of America, but see that promise for their grandchildren in Barack Obama. The poor see a chance, when they often have few. I saw hope in the eyes and faces in those doorways.
Just another snapshot of the polls and endorsements (like the snapshot from a week ago).
Electorally, 50% (270 out of 538) is required to win. These electoral polls show these numbers today:
In addition to the link, I'm posting the whole thing here:
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics -- you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to -- it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington -- it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -- I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you -- we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek -- it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers -- in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House -- a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn -- I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world -- our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down -- we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security -- we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright --tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America -- that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing -- Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time -- to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth -- that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
After two years of this Presidential election cycle, and eight years of George W. Bush, and over two hundred years of white Presidents, I am still recovering from Barack Obama's win last night.
I telecommuted yesterday but I was mightily distracted by the election. I voted, made calls on behalf of the Obama campaign to Ohio, took a break to get the kids, then I spent the evening watching CNN and MSNBC. The biggest moments were probably when they projected Pennsylvania and Ohio for Obama. My daughter Connie sat-slept in a chair until Obama won.
"Rosa Parks sat down. Martin Luther King marched. Barack Obama ran. And my grandchildren will fly." This was a statement that the Chicago Red Eye newspaper attributed to an anonymous African American man on the Chicago "El". There are many variants of that phrase flying around, but I think the original phrase was coined by the singer Jay-Z on Tuesday: "Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run.". The pride and joy apparent in African Americans is powerful and moving.
The fact that America elected Obama yesterday is meaningful in so many ways:
Obama has a very big and hard job. Obama has shown that he will not run away from a problem, but instead will see it as an opportunity for greatness. Obama has shown that he can recognize the opportunity, see it, study it, plan for it, gather advisors for it, honestly discuss it, gather a community to do it, that he can do it, that we can do it.
Yes we can. Yes we can! Yes we can!!
Here's the whole joke:
This comment in the reddit thread was painfully true:
Hahaha. Finally I can read the Onion without double checking I'm not reading a White House Press Release.
There are so many articles out there about the hope and change that the Obama era brings. From "Obama promises new era of scientific innovation" [http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/dn15130-obama-promises-new-era-of-scientific-innovation.html?feedId=online-news_rss20], to restoring American respect of rights, to restoring respect of Americans. I have great hope for what the Obama era will bring. I have a soft spot for the return of science and "sending a man to the Moon" sort of effort towards sustainability.
Victors are prone to hubris immediately after a victory, so I want to be cautious about all the good news. This article has in interesting perspective on a potential historical pattern in the US.
As I see it, to date there have been three American republics, each lasting 72 years (give or take a few years). The First Republic of the United States, assembled following the American Revolution, lasted from 1788 to 1860. The Second Republic, assembled following the Civil War and Reconstruction (that is, the Second American Revolution) lasted from 1860 to 1932. And the Third American Republic, assembled during the New Deal and the civil rights eras (the Third American Revolution), lasted from 1932 until 2004.
Policy shifts, more than public opinion polls or election results, suggest that a truly transformative moment may be upon us. The first three American republics display a remarkably similar pattern. Their 72-year life span is divided into two 36-year periods (again, give or take a year -- this is not astrology). During the first 36-year period of a republic, ambitious nation-builders in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton strengthen the powers of the federal government and promote economic modernization. During the second 36-year phase of a republic, there is a Jeffersonian backlash, in favor of small government, small business and an older way of life. During the backlash era, Jeffersonians manage to modify, but never undo, the structure created by the Hamiltonians in the previous era. We see this pattern of Hamiltonian nation-building and Jeffersonian backlash in the First, Second and Third Republics of the United States.
George W. Bush was not only the final president of the Jeffersonian backlash period of Roosevelt's Third Republic, but the last president of the 1932-2004 Third Republic itself. The final president of a republic tends to be a failed, despised figure. The First Republic, which began with George Washington, ended with James Buchanan, a hapless president who refused to act as the South seceded after Lincoln's election. The Second Republic, which began with Abraham Lincoln, ended with the well-meaning but reviled and ineffectual Herbert Hoover. The Third Republic, founded by Franklin Roosevelt, came to a miserable end under the pathetic George W. Bush.
The latter half of the article is even more interesting. In the article, the cycles manifest politically but stresses the technological and economic factors. This meshes well with social evolutionary theory as in Guns, Germs, and Steel. A case of practice/pragmatics coming first, followed by theory/ideology.
If this analysis is right, what causes these cycles of reform and backlash in American politics? I believe they are linked indirectly to stages of technological and economic development. Lincoln's Second American Republic marked a transition from an agrarian economy to one based on the technologies of the first industrial revolution -- coal-fired steam engines and railroads. Roosevelt's Third American Republic was built with the tools of the second industrial revolution -- electricity and internal combustion engines. It remains to be seen what energy sources -- nuclear? Solar? Clean coal? -- and what technologies -- nanotechnology? Photonics? Biotech-- will be the basis of the next American economy. (Note: I'm talking about the material, real-world manufacturing and utility economy, not the illusory "information economy" beloved of globalization enthusiasts in the 1990s, who pretended that deindustrialization by outsourcing was a higher state of industrialism.)
The Republicans are so out of touch.
Chip Saltsman, a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent a compact disc to committee members over the holidays. It includes a tune titled "Barack the Magic Negro," which first aired on Rush Limbaugh's radio show in 2007.
The song is a parody of "Puff the Magic Dragon" by conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, who does it in an impersonation of Rev. Al Sharpton. A sampling of the lyrics: "Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C. . . . he makes guilty whites feel good. They'll vote for him, and not for me, 'cause he's not from the hood."
Yesterday I watched the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of these United States of America. I watched it with York, my son, at home on TV. He was home sick, otherwise I probably would have watched it at work online.
I was moved by the historic event, the enthusiasm and mix of the crowds, the song of Aretha Franklin, the story and speech of President Barack Obama. I am proud to have made my small contributions to his election: Supporting him on my website, a small financial donation, phone campaigning for him on Election Day 2008, and wishing and hoping. My feelings after he took his oath were similar to my feelings when he won the election: I was vastly relieved, thankful, and hopeful.
Obama's inaugral address [W] was as spot on. He would have us face these sobering times while keeping up our hope and strength. He managed our expectations of him, ourselves, and our neighbors: Both raising them up and yet staying grounded.
Obama said the "the time has come to set aside childish things" and thus he invokes Corinthians 1:13 [W]. It is not elitism, it is not saying that he has more knowledge or better theories, of small or big government, but of the limitations of our knowledge and foresight, and hence the need for patience and mercy. We should stick with our ideals, but we need pragmatism and empiricism, we need to see what works.
I don't want to dwell on this, but I wanted to archive this chart of George W. Bush's approval ratings:
I've read Dan Savage's sex-advice column Savage Love before, and while it is well done, it frequently pushed well past my personal comfort level. I am not a very profane person but I do appreciate those who are versed in the poetic art, and Savage has even pushed it into the realm of politics with santorum [W].
In case he takes the site down at some point, I'm going to archive its content here:
Saddlebacking: sad•dle•back•ing ˈsa-dəl-ˈba-kiŋ vb [fr. Saddleback Church] (2009): the phenomenon of Christian teens engaging in unprotected anal sex in order to preserve their virginities
After attending the Purity Ball, Heather and Bill saddlebacked all night because she’s saving herself for marriage. Unfortunately her parents found out because they got santorum all over the sheets.
Savage is also capable of non-political profanity as he did with pegging [W].
I have small group of friends from college. I'm the only one who leans left, the others are right of center or far right. One of the die-hard Republican friends sent out this email recently about a speech by Rush Limbaugh on 2009-02-28:
Rush gave the keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) two weeks back. CPAC holds the biggest annual conservative convention in the country. This year FOX aired the keynote address, and knowing this Rush took the opportunity to explain to the nation what conservatism is. It was basically a Conservatism 101 class and really boiled down conservative thinking in one speech.
I thought of myself as a liberal until I listened to Rush. He was my mentor in political thinking. So if you’d like to get a idea of how conservatives in general and myself in particular view the world, please consider listening to this (the link is weird, after getting to the site, I had to hit refresh to start the video):
I replied with the following:
Sigh. The things I do for my friends. I just watched all 1:28:50 of the Rush "address to the nation". I even rewound it a few to times to make sure I heard it right. Unlike his all pro-Rush audience, I personally did not appreciate his going over his allotted time by an hour.
It seemed that his speech was largely to to explain who conservatives are to a larger audience, but he was also giving conservatives suggestions about what to do especially in response to having lost the 2008 Presidential election.
Whether Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, I think most Americans love people, the Constitution, life, liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. I find this funny because as much as he accuses libs/Dems of fostering a victim mentality, he and the cons/Repubs so often play as if they are victims to the media. Is the media saying that libs/Dems have those qualities and that cons/Repubs don't? Is he saying that cons/Repubs love those things and foster those things more than libs/Cons? Silly. But in a sense everyone regardless of party has to promote these thing in order to avoid looking like they're not against those things.
In order to define conservatives, Rush had to draw the distinctions between libs/Dems and cons/Repubs with using less general stuff. In many models there are two axes of freedom/permissiveness: personal/social and economic. The usual definitions roughly follow the attached chart.
On the personal/social axes Rush talked about how cons/Repubs like people, see individuals and not groups, how people should live lives according to their values, about how they should make suggestions and then let people do as they wish, they want everybody to succeed, etc. Rush tries to make it sound as if cons/Repubs are live and let live, and are not racist, sexist, or homophobic, but then does not bring up cans of worms like affirmative action, abortion, or gays. (Otherwise his speech would have been even longer!) These are issues of fairness, morality, and taste, and I find it odd to parse these issues by party. If anything, it seems that Rush is leaning toward moderate on these issues (as would be expected of a capitalist according to the chart).
Rush largely focused on the economic axis, especially with taxes, regulations, and role/size of government. (Regulations and role of govt can also fall in the pers/soc axis.)
I think the tax issue is overplayed. Raising taxes is never popular with the voters, so why would either party want to be pro-tax? If anything, Obama is giving 95% of America a tax cut. We've only had income tax since the Civil War, but I consider the existence of taxes a separate issue. As far as punishing achievement (the rich), these Republican Presidents had these tax rates for the rich: Eisenhower 91%, Nixon 70%, Reagan 50%. Obama is just rolling back Bush's tax cuts from 35% to 39.6%. Perhaps cons/Repubs want bigger tax cuts all around and for the rich but then there's the national debt. Obama is setting a moderate progressive tax, he's no wild-eyed socialist, punishing the rich.
As far as regulations: It was lax regulations that enabled bad securities to get AAA ratings. All the politicians can point the fingers this way and that. We, the people, don't care, we just want regulations in there to prevent this from happening again. Perhaps bubbles will always happen but a robust system with redundant systems can handle failures. These securities were opaque, were pervasive enough to take everything down with them, and should be illegal. I don't consider this to be overly authoritarian, any more than having traffic laws for safety. The true costs of things eventually get revealed. Of course we need to weed out the bad regulations too. Keep things simple as possible, but no simpler.
As far as role/size of government: Bush did the bailouts and TARP --everyone agrees we need a stimulus package. As far as a perpetual War on Poverty, a welfare state, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, and destroying ambition: America isn't socialist. In the US budget: 23% is Medicare/Medicaid, 21% Social Security, 21% Defense, 17% discretionary, 10% mandatory, 8% interest. The government is not a for profit organization. It's supposed to provide some public services. I don't think folks are living high on the hog on food stamps, unemployment benefits, NASA, and college grants, or that we aren't following our dreams. Libs/Dems have nothing against people getting rich or being happy.
Rush seems to stress more on what cons/Repubs would not do, as opposed to what they would do. It's almost Taoist in the sense that those in touch with the Tao appear to do nothing and yet accomplish so much. His advice to his flock of beating libs/Dems by talking about principles instead of trying to make better policy, is akin to being more and doing less. I'm greatly amused by this because that's my general mode of operation. I only step in and tweak things as needed, otherwise I let the people live for themselves.
Rush says that libs/Dems are about fostering fear, defining who can have freedom, being authoritarian. That all sounds like the Bush admin to me. The war and the economy foster enough fear by themselves, thank you. I don't think libs/Dems are out to destroy and remake the country, or destroy people's futures: Who's fostering that fear? Libs/Dems have blood in Iraq and Afghanistan and did not want want the Iraq war to fail, period.
What's with all these petty attacks on Biden? Jokes about Indians at the 7-11? Biden forgot the name/number of a website? Perhaps Rush was trying to lighten things up, but it comes across as petty and emotional manipulation. He keeps saying he sees Americans individuals instead of groups, but he keeps playing us versus them.
I find the joke of Rush thinking so highly of himself, as in being God-like or having crowds cheering him wherever he goes, sort of warps his perspective. I don't think too many people cared what Rush was doing while Obama met with moderate cons/Repubs. It's all Rush self-promoting.
I was hopeful that he'd present a view of conservatism that I had not grasped before, but it was pretty familiar stuff. He is still largely concerned about the political GAME of us v them, as opposed to acting like a public servant --which is OK because he's not a public servant --he's a political entertainer profiting off of a captive audience that he cultivates. His statements about wanting to see Obama fail (and his weak defense) highlight this.
The people and I are watching actions, and examining the reasoning, evidence, heart and laws supporting those actions, and the results of the actions. We don't care what you're party is.
His reply so far has been this:
Thank you, Thank you George! A very reasoned response. You’d might be surprise on how many points we agree (I sure was). I will respond when I have more time. Nice chart BTW, although I’m not sure what the "You" button stands for...
Tao? Hmm... I’ll have to give some thought to that one...
To be continued...
So far so good. It's often more fun to "fight" with your friends than your enemies. Even though we may seem politically opposite according to the two party system, I'm hoping that our differences are actually manageable, because on a grander scale we have the same political interests of looking after our friends, family, and neighbors.
Today's G.O.P. is, after all, very much a minority party. It retains some limited ability to obstruct the Democrats, but has no ability to make or even significantly shape policy. Beyond that, Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn't feel right to make fun of crazy people. Better, perhaps, to focus on the real policy debates, which are all among Democrats. But here's the thing: the G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now. That didn't stop Republicans from taking control of both Congress and the White House. And they could return to power if the Democrats stumble. So it behooves us to look closely at the state of what is, after all, one of our nation's two great political parties.
I've never really followed Jesse Ventura but this is good stuff!
I also liked this presentation by a user at the digg thread. Bonus points for the WarCraft connection.
Prepare to fight
First Blood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSra-McRZEc
Triple Kill http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO5QWxaoup4
A sweet post on why XML sucks that's also garnished with thoughts on things like the metric system, George Bush Jr., date formats, and gun control. The issues of solutions being more troublesome than the problem they were supposed to solve is key. So is the issue of group-think.
Farewell Erik Naggum [http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Erik_Naggum] (1965/2009).
I believe C++ instills fear in programmers, fear that the interaction of some details causes unpredictable results. Its unmanageable complexity has spawned more fear-preventing tools than any other language, but the solution should have been to create and use a language that does not overload the whole goddamn human brain with irrelevant details.
The Canadians voted Tommy Douglas [W] "The Greatest Canadian" of all time for his work on the socialist government in Canada and universal public healthcare.
I like this comment from the Reddit thread:
To me as a Canadian, it's still unbelievable that this is even a debate. It's like if someone was telling me that "socialized firefighters" is not a good idea and that it would be better done by putting an insurance company between the firefighters and the citizens. The insurance company would also decide which house to save depending on pre-existing conditions of what caused the fire. How could something with an extra layer of people filling their pockets be more cost effective?
Of course the Obama plan for healthcare is NOT socialized medicine with a single payer/insurer. The plan is to keep the current insurance companies, and to add one more (a government one). The doctors at the American Medical Association approve. Don't let the lobbyist keep you living in fear.
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt discusses the current health care debate in the light of moral psychology. This is fascinating because recently I've been thinking about how I emphasize evidence, logic, and the dialectic, but I'm not that versed with rhetoric, persuasion, and the social.
Moral psychology is an upgrade of morality as a matter of logic, because it takes into account evidence, intuition, and the the things I'm not versed in: rhetoric, persuasion, and the social.
I can see now that if Kal El, Superman's biological father, were better at rhetoric and politics, then he might have been able to save not just his son but more of his people.
Ha ha ha! I love it when President Barack Obama hits back. He usually does it in an intelligent and respectful manner too.
What I reject is when some folks say we should go back to the past policies when it was those very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. (Applause.) Another way of putting it is when, you know, I'm busy and Nancy's busy with our mop cleaning up somebody else's mess --- we don't want somebody sitting back saying, you're not holding the mop the right way. (Applause.) Why don't you grab a mop, why don't you help clean up. (Applause.) You're not mopping fast enough. (Laughter.) That's a socialist mop. (Laughter and applause.) Grab a mop -- let's get to work.
Grab a mop!
I liked this part:
Why is it broadly accepted that the elderly should have universal health care, while it's immensely controversial to seek universal coverage for children? What's the difference -- except that health care for children is far cheaper?
It's been a while since I've done one of my litte free association scribble sessions, so here goes.
Today is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species [W]. It's a good and grand occassion for celebration. I don't mind that Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are giving away copies of the book with an anti-evolution introduction --the book, the evidence, the testing, and the ideas are simply blow away the stuff that Kirk and Mr. Banana come up with.
I have loved science and the philosophy of science for most of my life. Last month I saw David Deutsch: A new way to explain explanation [http://www.ted.com/talks/david_deutsch_a_new_way_to_explain_explanation.html], a video of David Deutsch talking science philosophy. Good stuff espencially its tie ins to Karl Popper [W].
By coincidence, I've been having an email exchange with my Conservative/Republican/Right-leaning friends. They were trying to slam Hawaiiaan health care with this article: Remember Hawaii's Health Care Lessons [http://sweetness-light.com/archive/lessons-from-hawaiis-health-care-system]. I countered with this email (which has been edited for privacy and formatting):
As is in the lowest costs per beneficiary in the country?
The attached chart is from last month's article: In Hawaii's Health System, Lessons for Lawmakers [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/health/policy/17hawaii.html].
"Hawaii's health care system insures over 95% of residents. Under the state's plan, businesses are required to provide employees who work more than twenty hours per week with health care. Heavy regulation of insurance companies helps keep the cost to employers down. Due in part to the system's emphasis on preventive care, Hawaiians require hospital treatment less frequently than the rest of the United States, while total health care expenses (measured as a percentage of state GDP) are substantially lower. Given these achievements, proponents of universal health care elsewhere in the U.S. sometimes use Hawaii as a model for proposed federal and state health care plans. Critics, however, claim that Hawaii's success is due at least in part to its mild climate and to its status as a chain of islands whose economy is heavily based on tourism: features that make it more difficult for businesses unhappy with paying the plan's premiums to relocate elsewhere."
My brother lives in Hawaii and so does Linda. We can ask them.
Epistemology [W] because there's more than Fox and Rush.
From the responses, at first I thought I went over with the thing about epistemology, so I wrote this:
Sorry if talking about epistemology sound pretentious, but I've been reading about Karl Popper [W] and the philosophy of science, which all ties in to epistemology, as in what distinguishes common knowledge from scientific knowledge? What makes knowledge objective or subjective? How do we know? I think people like stuff that's very objective (science) or very subjective (art), but when things get in between (politics), it gets very muddy. Another important aspect is that somethings that "should" be objective may actually be quite subjective and vice versa. Certainly scientific/objective knowledge isn't everything, but knowing the distinctions between approximating the weight of a thing versus whether you like your weight are interesting to me.
Popper says some interesting stuff about freedom too, which BTW supports fighting: "The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato. Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."
It's all good considering that today is the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species". It's a theory right? What makes it "better" than say a theory that claims that we were created by Zeus? Knowledge are theories and conjectures, but scientific knowledge is testable and falsifiable.
However, further discussion seemed to indicate that it was actually my quip against Fox and Rush that totally sidetracked what I thought was going to be a discussion about health care. So later on in the email thread I said this:
My exact words: "Epistemology because there's more than Fox and Rush"
My words insult Fox and Rush and those who listen predominantly to them. If you have more sources than Fox and Rush, then you shouldn't be insulted.
You could take the same phrase and replace "Fox and Rush" with a comparable pair of terribly left-leaning sources. Would I be insulted? I don't think so. I for example, don't follow any specific blogs these day.
Hmm. I'm having deja vu. This sounds similar to the race discussion we had a little while ago. Am I really so brusque in my communications? My wife gives me a similar attitude sometimes too. I think we're just talking --and then all of the sudden I'm in trouble. Am I becoming some sort of Archie Bunker?
Ewww. Sorry: I'm over-quoting. Anyhow, it seems that as a species, we can be very good at objective/scientific/mathematical thinking as well as subjective/creative/artistic/magical thinking. We can make great science and great art. What gets me is when they clash poorly or maliciously or both. Religion and politics are the primary examples. Religion and politics can be so inspiring, creative, and constructive for society, but they are often abused, dogmatic, and destructive. It seems to me that the problem is largely political (in the sense of people promoting and protecting their own interests). People squibble about power, resources, time, love, ideas, popularity, money, justice, attention, and so on, but if we could all be less trivial, we could do some really great stuff.
I'm tired of being trivial, of being morose and maroon. I want to do great things, feel great love, think great thoughts, share great wealth, be patient, be "orange", foster the good. It's time to maximize that signal-to-noise ratio. Big bold words, idealistic words. I know, I know. But it's hard to not be so when you watch Hans Rosling: Asia's rise -- how and when [http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_asia_s_rise_how_and_when.html], and you clapping and really believe that India and China and other lagging countries will become first-world countries by 2048! OK, so maybe we'll lose our polar caps and polar bears by then as well, and maybe we'll run out of oil too, but still, there's a lot of good we can do.
Is it such terrible hubris to believe? I love science, but I'm a believer. I believe that we want what's best for our kids, for all the kids, for our race, for our species, for our planet. We may indeed be a flash in time, an effervescent moment, a fleeting arrangement of legos [http://xkcd.com/659/], but oh how we dazzle, oh how bright are those shinging eyes [http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html].
Pffftt! I can almost hear those Republican friends of mine tell me about drinking the tree-hugging kool-aid. You know what I say?!? FFFFFFUUUUUUUU!!!! Yeah baby! I'm living large! I'm breathing fire! I'm eager for my next CrossFit workout! I'm ready to cross swords! I'm watching too much TED and South Park and Heroes!
Phew. Slow down, slow down. Take it easy. I can breath fire calmly. I have the hubris to save the world. I'll do it Kill Bill style: I'll make a list.
Gaah! It's a crappy list, but it's a start. Time's up: Spell check and post. GO DARWIN!
This video was sent by a Republican friend of mine. It's not as adversarial as our past exchanges. Here's how I replied:
I like the video quite a bit. It's a little simple but it's mostly right. It does need some qualifications.
For example, there is a distinction between concepts ("democracy", "republic") and names of parties ("Democratic Party", "Republican Party"). After watching the video, one might simply conclude that the Republican Party is the clear choice over the Democratic Party because we clearly a republic is good, and a democracy is just a transition towards a bad oligarchy.
A party, its name, and what the party stands for are distinct things. For example, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson formed the "Anti-Federalist" factions in opposition to the "Federalist" party of Alexander Hamilton. The "Anti-Federalists" became the "Democratic-Republican" party, which eventually became today's "Democratic" party. It is true that Madison and Jefferson opposed the concept of "direct democracy", they were certainly in favor of a "representative democracy".
The U.S.A. is a republic and a representative democracy. Our representatives are elected by the People.
(It could be argued that neoconservatives like Cheney seemed more like oligarchs and thus even more pro-government than the republican on the chart in the video.)
My world view is unavoidably intertwined with my personal subjective self; I cannot write my world view in an objective fashion. I can put effort into exploring my world view as if I were not me, just as I might try to explore someone else's world view. However, I cannot eliminate myself while exploring myself. Thus before I continue on with exploring my world view, I will briefly review where I've been and where I am:
In 1968 I was born in the Philippines and came to America when I was 4 years old; My parents had gone ahead and we were separated long enough that I did not recognize them when I arrived. I've been deaf in my left year as far as I or anyone else remembers. I was raised Roman Catholic but although I tried all those years to believe in Catholicism, I don't think I have ever believed in anything mystical. I am an introvert and I abhor parties and social gatherings. It is not that I dislike people or society, but that many things, including myself, seem quite noisy. I have kept a journal since high school; I used to have a great emphasis on exploring myself, but since I realized that it was endless, I stopped worrying about it; I still journal but less intensively. I grew up speaking only English, but since my 20s I have come to appreciate the great cultural and identity loss I have by not being able to speak Filipino. I boxed sporadically as a youth; I did Shotokan Karate daily for 13 years; I've been doing Western Martial Arts weekly since 2003. I've been happily married since 1992; we have 2 girls and 1 boy; Julia and my kids are central in my life. I went to Lane Tech H.S. in Chicago; I got a bachelor's in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I tried to get into the Environmental Protection Agency, but when that failed I bacame a programmer; I currently program and co-own a small company in the health care industry called ICLOPS; I intend to never retire. I collected comic books into my adulthood; I can draw but I never developed it; I suck at making music but I like to listen; I read a good amount. I was not into politics until the aftermath of the 2001-09-11 attacks at the World Trace Centers; I have become more watchful since. I explore anything, but especially philosophy, technology, and martial arts. I'm not seeking fame or fortune; I'm not expecting to do anything spectacular with my life; I'm not seeking great pleasure, nor am avoiding reasonable pains; I just want to explore, live sincerely, and do/be good.
Now that I've given some background on myself, I can proceed with exploring my world view. Why am I exploring my world view? What is my goal? Given that my time is finite, I want to give myself perspective on where I'm at, what I want to do, how to do it, and so on. I want a world view that is sincere and personal, and yet beautiful, powerful, and reliable. As a programmer, I also have another goal: Since I'm bothering to do this work, I might as well see if I can construct it in such a generic way that it would be useful for other people too. I imagine that the latter goal makes the former goal harder, but I think it helps me in that it makes me a bit more accountable. I think I will have to be careful about parts of my world view that are specific to me as an instance of a person, versus the world view that would be applicable to people in general.
When it comes to exploring and sharing my world view, I immediately run into this problem: I have practically an infinite amount of material to explore, but a finite amount of time in which to explore; So how do I start? Where do I start? The data points, the possibilities, the perspectives, are practically infinite. To avoid never starting at all, it seems to me that the answer is to just start where ever I am. As Newton said, we're just "playing on a seashore". We can add or discard stones and shells as we go along. A child-like attitude is key: A child is bold, sees patterns, imagines possibilities, experiments, collects data. When it comes to the young there is a great emphasis on growth, but we forget that growth also involves a great deal of forgetting, prioritizing, forgiving, and letting go.
Zooming out, one realizes that "no man is an island": People are also fostered by other people. While a newborn fish can go about and fend for itself from birth, a new person must be nurtured: A person is a person through other people. This concept is nicely encapsulated by the African concept of ubuntu. A person lives in the context of his or her society. Zooming out even further, a person is also in the context of an eco system, an environmental system, a solar system, and so on. It is hard for a person to think in a larger scope in space: We can barely get past our solar system, let alone our stellar neighborhood, or galaxy, or galactic neigborhood, or universe.
Zooming back in, there is the cosmological timeline, the Sun's lifetime, geologic time spans, biological time scales, human history, generational history, my life, my week, my present. Zooming in and out through time and space affects one's world view. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not affects one's world view. My personal perspective is to try to take a general perspective that would apply regardless of one's familiarity with science or religion. This world view would have to satisfy the evidence you encounter and your instincts. This world view would have to work with a broad spectrum of people, a bell curve. This world view will have to jive with works of science, literature, art, and culture from different times and places. This world view would have to answer two questions: How do you know? How do you feel?
OK, I just came back from taking a bunch of the key concepts and manipulating them symbolically on a piece of paper until it made more sense. It's sort of like math but with ideas. I will try to write down what I came up with.
There nodes: self, other, others, and clumps of others. There are different relationships between nodes: self-to-self, self-to-other, self-to-others, self-to-clumps, other-to-other, other-to-others, other-to-clumps, others-to-others, others-to-clumps, clumps-to-clumps. There are actually an infinite of number nodes: ideas, dead or past nodes, virtual nodes, etc., and an infinite number of relationships. The concept is that you have nodes and node relationships, which, in my mind, I represent as a bell curve, but for now I'll use the upper case Omega: Ω.
Ω must be parsed or dealt with. I represent this as a method with a parameter. I'll use the lower case alpha:
α(Ω). The trick then is to achieve the best parsing. α must be beautiful, powerful, reliable. α must apply to the widest range of Ω. The universe is the "α and the Ω", in that nature parses everything according to math and natural laws. In the human context, the same thing happens but we have our own standards of what is a good parsing, of what satisfies our sense of truth, justice, fairness, equitability, efficacy, efficiency, timeliness, beauty, order, etc.
My α(Ω) model may seem too general, but I want it to be scalable and broadly applicable. Here are a few general points applicable to α(Ω):
The universe is α(Ω). Whatever I think or do, whatever models I come up with, the universe is there doing its thing.
To wrap things up, here is a short list of some devices/ideas to layer upon my α(Ω) model. Apply these as well as whatever works for particular situations.
Just a recently: I woke up from a dream, then I let my mind wander, and then I realized that I was not likely to go back to sleep. Usually I lay there and try to go back to sleep if it's early enough, but today I've decided to try writing.
First I'm going to write about the kinds of dreams that wake me up. Why first? Because I want to write about it while I'm fresh from sleep. I can't say for sure because I haven't been logging it and therefore have no data collected, but I think I'm waking up more easily these days.
It seems that all I need is a dream that changes my heart rate a bit and that wakes me up. Here are typical dreams that wake me up:
Enough about dreams. Next I wanted to jot down a few notes about general topics of controversy (sex, violence, religion, and politics) and parsing them with simple tools (preferences, consent, and tolerance).
OK, that's enough for now. It's several hours since I woke up. On with my day.
I usually avoid political posts, but this has too much WTF to resist.
"What do you think makes a woman want to have an abortion?"
"... I don't know, I have never -- it's a question I have never thought about."
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