30 November 2008

QotD for 30 Nov., 2008

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. ---Isaac Asimov, in The Foundation Trilogy

26 November 2008

QotD for 26 Nov., 2008

In an entry on boing boing about how CNN is struggling to find a way to report on the continuing financial crisis, Dale Dougherty suggests:
It's like a war and we keep losing ground each day. In the place of casualties, we have falling stock indices but it's hard to show the real damage. There's only so much you can do with oversized charts to tell a story. The war on terrorism featured a real enemy. We've just never been able to find them, no matter who goes after them. (Maybe it's not so different.) Campbell Brown ("No Bull, No Bias") should say that what the capitalism's finest did to themselves and to us was worse than any terrorist could have imagined. [emphasis mine]

25 November 2008

We're Number One! (in Gun Ownership)

From Thomas P.M. Barnett's blog:
Here's the top five: US at 89 small arms per 100 people, Yemen at 55 (a gun-&-knife-toting culture without peer), Switzerland at 46 (who knew?), Finland at 45 (still expecting the Russians), and Serbia at 38 (just got in the habit, I guess). ---source, the Swiss 2007 Small Arms Survey, 28 Oct., 2008

OK, yeah, I know - the U.S. has a unique culture. But more small arms per capita than freakin' Yemen for cryin' out loud ?! Sheesh... feel safer, do ya ?

24 November 2008

15 reasons Macs are Still Better Than Windows PCs

APC, the longest running computer magazine in Australia, posts a list of why Macs are still better than Windows PCs:
I long ago stopped actively seeking out Mac vs PC discussions (partly because Macs are now PCs -- so the argument is more about Mac OS X vs Windows vs Linux than a proprietary Mac architecture vs an x86 PC architecture), but I still find it confounding that after all these years, people still don't know the basics of the upsides of Macs and OS X...

So here's my answer. Note, despite what I said above about the argument really being between operating systems these days, I've looked at Macs as a hardware and software combination in this article, pitted against regular PCs running Windows.
---APC Web Editor Dan Warne

The full article is here. Some of my favorites are:

  • Apple seems largely to be lameness free.
  • Apple doesn’t load the system up with crap.
  • More useful apps out of the box.
  • Still no need for additional security software.

Plus one of my own - the power and stability of Unix married with the most well-designed personal computer user interface experience on the planet (so far).

19 November 2008

Someone Over There Finally Gets it

Great Googly-Moogly! there's finally a Republican willing to talk publicly about the elephant in the room:
[T]he evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.
---Kathleen Parker, conservative columnist for the Washington Post, in Giving Up on God

13 November 2008

QotD for 13 Nov., 2008

There's a post over on the Friends of Jake which mentions a reaction the Marriott Corp. had to the possible threat of a boycott over the Mormon Church's backing of the anti-gay Proposition 8 in the Calif. election last week (the Marriott family are Mormons).

The comment thread veered off onto a discussion about a situation "that led to the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento resigning because he, as a personal choice, gave money to the Prop8 campaign."
For the guy in [Sacramento], of course the community and actors can decline to participate. But you may be unaware that there has been a media witch hut out here on this guy, which I find is WRONG.

I find your argument about behavior vs. belief to be semantics. Gays firing conservative = conservative firing gays. Neither is right. Individuals can decide how they want to behave, but witch hunts are ugly and unjustified. WE ARE BIGGER THAN THIS.

I am not unaware of the irony that I am lecturing Christians about this.
---commenter and blog admin "IT"

(emphasis mine) Indeed, a layer of irony thick enough to insulate an iceberg... :/

I wonder why it's not more obvious to the average American how "Christianity" has become the elephant in the room of our culture wars ? How supposed followers of the Jesus of the Gospels are the primary obstructions to peace, justice, and civil rights in modern, Western culture.

10 November 2008

Who's Left for the GOP ?

The post-Bush-Rove Republican Party is in the minority because it has driven away women, the young, suburbanites, black Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, educated Americans, gay Americans and, increasingly, working-class Americans. Who’s left? The only states where the G.O.P. increased its percentage of the presidential vote relative to the Democrats were West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas. Even the North Carolina county where Palin expressed her delight at being in the “real America” went for Obama by more than 18 percentage points. ---Frank Rich, It Still Felt Good the Morning After, in the New York Times

With the Republicans alienating so many different groups of Americans, who's really left for them ? Will they find the courage to dump their cherished base of social conservatives and evangelical right-wingers to appeal to regular, centrist-leaning voters ? Or will they succumb to the nattering of their fringe and become the minority party of the Limbaugh / Hannity / Dobson wingnut crowd ?

[thanks to PJ for the link to Rich's article]

05 November 2008

The High Road

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see LOLPolitics pictures

Who's Your Base ?

Pondering the effect that yesterday's election will have on the Republican Party, I'd like to propose an hypothesis: The Democratic Party is positioned far better to become a "Centrist" party appealing to most Americans. And one big reason is just who makes up the "base" of both parties.

1. While the Left has its share of extremists, these folks don't make up the Democratic base. Our base overwhelmingly consists of people who are centrist to moderately left of center. And if you can tear yourself away from right-wing talk radio and actually use your brain, you'll also see that leaders like the Clintons, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi are all pretty moderately left to centrist in their political philosophies.

2. On the other hand, the Republican base is almost completely made up of extremists. The Pro "Life" bunch, NRA fanatics, way-out-there evangelicals, the Limbaugh-Hannity black helicopter crowd. And Republican politicians spend so much time & energy pandering to this bunch that they completely alienate centrist to moderately conservative voters.

What do you think ?

03 November 2008

The Conservative Freak Show

I've been wondering when the (somewhat) thinking part of the Republican Party would start to distance themselves from the 'conservative' freak show that is their so-called 'base'. And nowhere is this gobsmackingly ignorant nonsense in fuller bloom than in rural America.

Witness the essay One conservative's case for Barack Obama. Fair warning: this is a full-on screed packed with bad language and a worse attitude. And no, it doesn't represent the views of this blog's author. But it is interesting in that it handily illustrates the cracks that are bound to appear in conservative politics if Obama is elected President and the Congressional elections become a rout for the Republicans.

For a more thoughtful, readable, and vastly more sympathetic, look at conservatism in rural America, see Joe Bageant's excellent Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War.