Monday, February 27, 2012
As an atheist I have to accept the fact that, as far as presidential politics is concerned, my worldview is the ultimate inconsequential minority. I may have lived to see an African-American elected president, and I may yet live to see a woman in the office, but there is zero chance that I will live to see an avowed atheist put his or her godless hand on a bible and take the oath.
OK, so let's look at the gods currently on offer in the latest clown show. Elect-ability aside, it appears that voters from here on out will have to pick between the Mormon, Catholic, and Protestant versions - a Muslim president perhaps being the only thing less likely than an atheist one.
Romney is the Mormon god's point man. Santorum is playing for the Pope of Rome, and president Obama is batting for Baby Jesus. But why, you might ask, is any of this relevant? Certainly, the two Republican candidates would like you to believe that it isn't. They would, in fact, like you to believe that it is somehow un-American to even bring it up - even though both would still try to make you believe that this country was founded as a Christian nation, and some of their supporters on the religious right would like you to believe that president Obama is insufficiently Christian, or really a Muslim.
Over at The American Prospect, Steve Erickson has put the logical sword to all of this nonsense in a very readable and coherent way. Go read it, and then ask yourself, "whose god do I want?"
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Perhaps more than ever our political landscape is best understood in terms of narrative. It is for this reason that I am thrilled to discover that my favorite living novelist, Steve Erickson, is covering the madness for The American Prospect. Here's an index page for his articles.
His take on the election is refreshing and different from all the usual hacks/insiders/pundits that we are forced to wade through in our usual travels.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Impossible today to avoid the subject of SOPA/PIPA. What amazes me, however, is how few people seem to really understand the situation, and how nobody seems to recognize the obvious answer to the problems.
The problems: Let us grant that offshore piracy is a very real problem that must be addressed. And let us also grant that SOPA/PIPA is the wrong way to address this piracy.
If you don't agree with the former, then I can say with assurance that you don't live where I live (Los Angeles), and you haven't seen your friends going without work, losing their cars/homes, and despairing at the effects of offshore piracy on their way of making a living. No, Tom Cruise isn't missing any meals, but a lot of artists who work "below the line" are. If you disagree, I'm sorry, but you are wrong. When my last movie was released on DVD I checked the bit torrent sites the first day. I stopped checking a week later when the total count had exceeded 250,000 illegal downloads. Too depressing.
If you don't agree with the latter, then I really don't know what to say to you. SOPA/PIPA is all we've come to expect from our Congress: legislation that won't work, with the bonus of harmful, unintended consequences.
Critics of SOPA/PIPA indict the U.S. Congress for legislating badly on a topic that they do not really understand, and indict Hollywood, particularly the MPAA and the RIAA, for an inability to innovate in the face of technological change. Really?
How many years has the U.S. Congress been proving that it excels at making bad law, particularly when faced with a new kind of problem? Over 200 years.
How many years has "Hollywood" been demonstrating a DNA-level inability to deal with new technology? About 100 years.
And yet, a lot of very smart people seem surprised that these institutions are behaving as they always have. About the only thing that people seem to agree on is that the situation calls for some form of technological innovation.
Who from the following list would you call upon for tech innovation: The U.S. Congress, The MPAA, The RIAA, Google, Facebook, Apple.
The dirty little secret, of course, is that many of these tech giants owe their very existence to "free content", and are terrified by the prospect of having to police their lucrative industries for piracy.
The way, the only way, is for those tech giants that have such high dollar interest in a free and open internet to put their pointy heads together and figure out a way to self-regulate against offshore piracy. Work with the Congress to develop a system for shutting down pirates without killing the freedom of the web.
Today they demonstrate their mastery and control over the "free" internet by taking some of their sites black in protest. I'm sure they are all patting each other on the back, certain in their righteousness, unaware that they are only proving that they are the ones who have the skills to solve the problem.
One thing is for certain, if somebody doesn't solve the offshore piracy problem the U.S. Congress will.
And it will do it badly.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Good analysis by Jonathan Chait on Obama's critics from the Left. Personally, I've stopped reading these people - seems they only get their little moments on CNN, etc. when they attack Obama, so I suspect that's part of the motivation. But, if they really thought the president would govern any other way than he has they just weren't paying attention during the campaign.
Friday, September 02, 2011
Yeah, my blog went dark when Blogger stopped using FTP to publish. After a few futile attempts to make the changes I got busy and gave up. Finally figured out that my host needed to add a DNS editor to my control panel. Took about 2 minutes to fix. Frickin innerwebs...
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Yeah, What John Said... (Eps. 378)
Go to Balloon Juice. Read John.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Gun Show Loopholes
Looks like they still exist. This is a major terrorism issue, yet most republicans still deny they exist. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for going against the party line.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Edward M. Kennedy
He accomplished so much, perhaps in part because he never became the US president. I met him briefly during my high school graduation (he struck me as an unusually kind man), and I know that he was the rock of his family. RIP Sen. Kennedy.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Mara Liasson is an Idiot
On Fox News, NPR's Mara Liasson compares the "failure" of the Cash for Clunkers program to the government's failure during Katrina. See it here.
Is it something in the water over at Fox News? I hadn't previously noticed what a dipshit Liasson is...