Monday, September 29, 2008

Generations Passing

It happened during the 1996 Republican Convention. Senator Bob Dole stood up and said that the White House was filled with people who had "never accomplished anything." This struck me as an inter-generational slap against the Baby Boomer generation by a member of the Greatest Generation. "We won WWII and all you did was smoke dope!"

Now McCain is trying to paint an Xer as naive while we must trust the worldliness of his Silent Generation. I wonder if this sort of thing signals "past it!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feelin' Old

I am sitting at my desk listening to James Taylor on my headphones and thinking, "Man, that was good music!"

Sarah, The Messiah

At 7:30 in this video, Sarah Palin accepts the anointing of a man who believes he defeated a witch in spiritual battle.

What does it say about a person's world view and, frankly, judgment that she allows herself to be involved in this?

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have become increasingly disappointed with Wikipedia when it comes to getting unbiased information on non-trivial topics. Then I read the entry on the Gospel of Luke.

Statements like this set off the warning bells:
The traditional view of Lukan authorship is “widely held as the view which most satisfactorily explains all the data.” The list of scholars maintaining authorship by Luke the physician is lengthy, and represents scholars from a wide range of theological opinion. But there is no consensus, and the current opinion concerning Lukan authorship has been described as ‘about evenly divided’ on who the author was.
Note the appeal to popularity. Not a lot of light shed here.
Then there was the sop to Bart Ehrman on early modifications to Luke:
While probably not original to the text, these verses reflect first-century tradition.
When you check the source for this statement you get Bruce M. Metzger, a favorite authority for apologists and evangelicals. In fact nearly a quarter of the sources cite Donald Guthrie whose wrote "New Testament Theology, which some evangelicals believe to be among the more significant books related to the New Testament." Excuse me if I reserve judgment.

The article does contain a smattering of skeptical citations but the whole fails to give any sort of balance or appreciation of the thrust of argumentation. Of course, I will continue to use Wiki for all my Power Rangers background material.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


It really bugs me that when I check for science news in the Tech & Science section of a news site, I have to see stories about video games!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin: Ceiling Shatterer

I remember seeing something in a fellow workers cubicle back in my phone company days.

I paraphrase:
True equality will not exist until an unqualified female shmuck is promoted to a job ahead of a similarly qualified male shmuck.

Update: I heard a female voter interviewed on NPR make this same point. (9/18/08)

Friday, September 12, 2008

EBay Wisdom

In every speech it seems that Sarah Palin burnishes her reformist credentials by hyping the fact that she put a state jet on Ebay. I'm sure your average American is impressed with the homey wisdom of the bespectacled Alaska governor.

Think about that for a minute. Now add the fact that she put it on EBay twice and failed to sell it either time plus the fact that it was ultimately sold via an aircraft broker and you are left with a somewhat different picture. Sure, she sold the damn plane. Good for her. However her judgement starts looking a little suspect. Your average Hockey Mom (tm) might think the best way to unload something is on EBay but among the Experienced (tm), these sorts of deals just don't go down that way. Naivite, perhaps? Yes and forgivable in your average American. Worldly-wise enough to be President? I'm not sure.

I am left wondering what else Sarah Palin doesn't know enough about to know that she doesn't know enough about it. That is Wisdom and it is something that Palin has not yet demonstrated clearly. Similarly, while Barak Obama's manner consistently hints at a level of self-reflection that guards him against rash and unwise action, John McCain, in some ways like George W Bush, shoots from the hip and risks lodging a bullet in everyone's foot.

Some people feel that men or women of action are needed to keep this country strong and safe. I think the last eight years bears me out in believing that action is dangerous when not balanced by curiosity and awareness of the limits on our ability to predict the consequences of our actions.

Obama may prove too circumspect to act when necessary but John McCain (and Sarah Palin?) gives every indication that he will act without understanding the consequences.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Sen. John McCain has claimed that Sarah Palin "knows more about energy than, probably, anyone else in the United States of America."

Go here and play the video at about 4:15 (the counter runs backwards).

Update: And that was in response to a question about foreign policy, followed of course by mention of Alaska's proximity to Russia ...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Free Market Myth?

Something to think about from the The Nation's Deborah Stone:
Maybe this is the ultimate lesson in why the Republican strategy of privatization and deregulation doesn't work. Markets depend on confidence--confidence that somebody stands behind the currency of exchange, confidence that somebody will hold buyers and sellers to their promises and, above all, confidence that if banks and big businesses crash, somebody will step in to help all the little people who might be wiped out with them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Sack of Salt

Following up on yesterdays post about military "spin", we have this:
"The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was an army colonel."
[italics added]
Exactly how long does the Pentagon think they can get away with this before their credibility has been completely pissed away. Sure, cover up the important, operational, stuff but don't lie about things that can be easily disproven. It is beginning to appear pathological.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Don't Go to War: Reason #102

In response to claims that an Aug 22 air strike by U.S. killed 90 civilians our military, the good guys, replied thusly, "The U.S. military says militants encouraged the villagers to exaggerate their stories."

This sort of bald faced spin in routine from the armed forces. In essence the true situation "on the ground" is virtually impossible to get at without serious and dedicated digging by outside parties. It becomes so essential that the military keep the public on their side that body counts, exageration and outright lies become necessary.

Here's an idea: Don't start wars unless there is a genuine, existential threat.

Never mind. It would never work...

Friday, September 5, 2008

More on Bush's Detachment

Bush's detachment is highlighted all the more by the fact that he is largely an absentee president - 879th days at his ranch as of May 11 and currently spending a "long weekend" at Camp David. While Pres Bush claims that he works from Camp David, it is 70 miles from the White House and requires extra effort to organize meetings. Impromptu or short-notice meetings would be nearly impossible.

I am not one for conspiracy theories, but there must be some who prefer that the president be inaccessible during his frequent stays away from Washington.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I just saw Todd Palin and John McCain do a little Man-Hug at the Republican Convention. Is non-hand contact now acceptable between men?

As Bad As I Thought

The Washington Post has a brief overview of Bob Woodward's new book on the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War, The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008. (When did book titles start getting quotes instead of underlines?)

The headline reads: "U.S. spied on Iraqi leaders, new book says" but the real shockers as reported in the article are far less mundane.
In response to a question about how the White House settled on a troop surge of five brigades after the military leadership in Washington had reluctantly said it could provide two, Bush said: "Okay, I don't know this. I'm not in these meetings, you'll be happy to hear, because I got other things to do."
Say what? Happy to hear that you don't attend meetings concerning the commitment of US troops?

And this:
During the interviews with Woodward, the president spoke of the war as part of a recentering of American power in the Middle East. "And it should be," Bush said. "And the reason it should be: It is the place from which a deadly attack emanated. And it is the place where further deadly attacks could emanate."
Excuse me, but no deadly attack emanated from Iraq. Afghanistan, perhaps Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Was our attack on Iraq supposed to scare Saudi extremists like Bin Laden? This is the most daft national security strategy ever. And it has failed to boot. The really scary part of thi sis that Bush has managed to cling to this belief for 7 years.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Community Organizers

"Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

A blog commentator

Words to Live by in a Political Season

“No matter how cynical I get, it’s just never enough to keep up.”

Lily Tomlin

More Sex and Politics - the Obama Edition

Obama said that teen mother's are off limits as a campaign attack but his surrogates are saying, "True, but this raises questions about McCain's judgment in picking Palin." THIS IS STILL MAKING TEEN MOTHERS A CAMPAIGN ISSUE!!!


It is sad that the McCain campaign forced 17 year old Bristol Palin to stand up on stage under the scrutiny of a nation. I suppose every candidate must parade their family on the convention stage - unfortunate. But to force the teen aged father of Bristol's unborn child to get a haircut and stand up there holding Bristol's hand to prop up Sarah Palin's moral credibility? This is political theater at it's worst.

I really feel for both of these kids.

Sex and Politics

A few thoughts about gender, politics and the current campaign:

If you are going to present Sarah Palin as a "Hockey Mom" you can not complain about the media talking about her kids and her daughter's pregnancy. If her motherhood is a touted as proof of her virtue then examination of it's quality must be allowed.

When the Republican delegates wear pins saying "We have the hottest VP" and "Hot Chick", you are not allowed to cry, "Sexism." Ever!