Archive for the ‘Quick Notes’ Category

Reality Check

August 3rd, 2009 1 comment

Aren’t Republicans, who make up nearly 100% of the Birther movement, all fired up to change the Constitution so that Arnold Schwarzenegger can become president?

Just checking.

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Quick Note on Sotomayor

May 29th, 2009 7 comments

If Bush had nominated someone as moderate as Sotomayor, I would have been very, very happy. Sotomayor is left-of-center, but by no means a flaming liberal. Bush, on the other hand, installed young, white, male conservatives with strong strict constructionist credentials. (Miers was not male, but otherwise matched the Bush mold.) Their votes since joining the court confirm their far-right expectations.

Not that conservatives are showing any signs of relief or acceptance for a moderate judge as opposed to an ardent liberal. Anyone who is not a flaming conservative will be mercilessly attacked.

Categories: Quick Notes, Supreme Court Tags:

Quick Note: The President’s Choice

May 2nd, 2009 Comments off

When Bush was selecting Supreme Court justices, conservatives usually cast it in the light of “this is the president’s choice, and Congress is only there to advise.”

Somehow I don’t think they still have the same attitude now. But they will when a Republican comes back in to office.

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Quick Note: Taking Responsibility for Your Choices

May 2nd, 2009 1 comment

Conservatives are still trying to distance themselves from the Bush era, trying to claim that it wasn’t really conservatism, that Bush & Co. strayed from true conservative policy, and therefore conservatism isn’t stained by Bush as much as people make it out to be.

The thing is, you can blame Bush and reject him as much as you want, but you cannot avoid a simple fact: conservatives voted for Bush and relentlessly supported and defended his policies over the eight years of his administration. Some disagreed on isolated issues, some fully rebelled over time, but most stayed the course–and most voted for John McCain, who ideologically ran on the ‘Bush 2.0’ ticket despite all his claims about change.

You can’t continuously support someone and try to extend his legacy, and then months later try to claim that he violated most of your principles and wasn’t really your guy.

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Quick Notes: Six Years?

April 26th, 2009 3 comments

The Franken seating has been set back again as Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has apparently decided not to end the Coleman farce and Coleman’s attorneys have appealed to the Minnesota State Supreme Court, and those proceedings will hold up Franken’s seating until at least June.

Question: The Constitution reading:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Does that mean that if Franken is seated in June (presuming Coleman does not push it even further), that Franken will serve six years from his seating? It would mean that from now on, Minnesota’s alternate Senate election would always be eight or so months behind all other elections. Because that’s how I read the Constitution. Maybe I’m wrong. Am I?

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Quick Notes: Oblivious to the Obvious

April 26th, 2009 3 comments

Fox News poll question:

Regardless of whether or not you think harsh interrogation techniques work, do you think the CIA should be allowed to use these techniques to obtain information from prisoners that might protect the United States from terrorist attacks?

Okay, let’s parse that:

A. Regardless of whether or not you think harsh interrogation techniques work

B. techniques to obtain information from prisoners that might protect the United States from terrorist attacks

So, whether or not they work, should techniques that might work be employed?

The Fox Noise laddies have worked overtime in the critical thinking department, it seems.

Afterthought: they did not include as a possible answer, “This is a stupid question.”

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Quick Notes: Justice and Retribution

April 26th, 2009 Comments off

A lot of people are heaping blame on the Democrats and Obama in particular for not actively prosecuting all those involved in the torture fiasco. And while I wholly agree that all should be hunted down, tried, and jailed if found guilty, I also realize one important fact: it is not the Democrats that are failing on this, it is the Republicans. The Dems are not holding back because they approve of what happened, or because they were involved or failed to prevent it, or because they want to hold back for any reason; they are holding back because they are perfectly aware that if they were to prosecute to the letter of the law, Republicans would unleash all holy hell as yet not even imagined, claiming political persecution and retribution, and going to level-ten all-out internecine warfare that will make their present ultra-paranoid harpings look like an Osmond family reunion on valium in comparison.

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Quick Notes: Butterflies

April 26th, 2009 1 comment

Even the name is sweet. But frankly speaking, I have often reflected on the fact that these are little more than regular–and fair-sized–bugs that simply happen to have beautiful wings. If this particular bug suddenly lost its wings, this lady would most probably freak out at the ginormous insect sitting smack on her nose.


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Quick Note: Double Standards

February 28th, 2009 3 comments

Why is it “class warfare” only when you’re asking wealthy people to burden the load, and not when you’re asking poor people to?

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Quick Note: The Thing About Bipartisanship

February 14th, 2009 1 comment

The thing about bipartisanship is that both sides must want to be bipartisan. If Obama tries but the Republicans resist, it’s not Obama’s failure. He said he’d reach out, not that he’d somehow persuade the other side to cooperate. He’s kept that promise. The Republicans stiffly declined.

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Quick Note: Happy 200th, Fellas

February 13th, 2009 Comments off

Strange that I have heard a lot about today being the 200th birthday of Lincoln and the 200th birthday of Darwin, but not about today being the 200th birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Both were born on February 12, 1809. I guess that Darwin is still toxic enough to many (fundamentalist Christian) Americans that there is a reluctance to show any kind of relationship between the two.

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Quick Notes: On Job Loss, Tax Cuts, and the Stimulus

February 9th, 2009 Comments off

Don’t you need to have a job for tax cuts to help you? I think that Republicans are kind of missing the point about what “stimulus” is here. Or else they aren’t, and their whole idea is not to help those who are losing their jobs and their homes, but simply to help those who are comfortable, which, after all, has long been the GOP mission.

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The Greatest Obscenity

January 17th, 2009 Comments off

Listening to Bush’s farewell address, there is much to dislike. But one thing stands out, something that has been used again and again over the past five years: the self-serving use of the ultimate sacrifice of American soldiers as a tool to further the policies of the administration, and as a means of excusing its horrific blunders, so they can send even more soldiers off to die for this mockery of a crusade. Bush has used these heroes shamelessly many times over the years, and he could not resist using them one more time. This man is reprehensible, and well-deserving of the judgment that he is the worst president of the history of the United States of America.

Categories: Political Ranting, Quick Notes Tags:

Departing Image

January 15th, 2009 Comments off

The Bush Administration, Bush and Cheney especially, strutting off the stage, exchanging high-fives and taking deep, long bows for extraordinary service, either denying things went wrong or else blaming them on others, while the public, facing a 14-digit debt, a shattered economy, war-torn and terror-weary, shakes their heads in disgust, unable to hide their impatience for these unspeakable losers to finally be shown the door. Democracy at work.

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How Much Would You Pay?

December 18th, 2008 1 comment

It is interesting how the iPhone’s App Store psychology works. Developers are having trouble because people seem unwilling to shell out money for the apps–sometimes even when the app costs only a dollar or two. Free versions have their perils–make them too good, and people won’t pay for the full version; make them too annoying or limited, and people will be turned off. “Comet Cowboy” was a good example of balance–they made the free version fun and addictive, so you wanted to buy the paid version. (I did.) It would be nice to have Demo versions that would work for a limited time, especially for the more expensive apps. The problem is, if Apple did that, then free apps would likely dry up quite a bit.

I find myself reacting to prices unreasonably as well. Normally, I don’t even blink at dropping a few bucks here and there–taking a bus where I could walk, buying a snack or something, buying a song off of iTunes. But for some reason, I balk at paying even 99 cents for an app which I probably would enjoy a lot more than a bus ride or a quick snack. Strange how that works–context can make a big difference.

There’s a similar effect with currencies: many people find themselves unwilling to pay an amount in one currency which they would not think twice about spending if the price were expressed in a different currency.

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Quick Note: Slight Disconnect

October 2nd, 2008 2 comments

I find it interesting that conservatives, who generally dislike Affirmative Action on the grounds that it requires businesses to hire people who are unqualified for the job (they are referring to quotas, not Affirmative Action, and neither makes any such requirement in fact) approve of Sarah Palin as the candidate for vice president.

Just saying.

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Quick Note, September 12

September 12th, 2008 1 comment

New Rule: whenever someone is interviewing a politician and the politician (a) doesn’t answer the question, or (b) replies with a rather plain lie, the “journalist,” in order to earn that title, must follow up and insist upon an answer, and a truthful one. No more letting any statement a politician makes go unchallenged. This should also apply to outrageous exaggerations (as when McCain claimed that Alaska being close to Russia gave Palin foreign policy experience, and Charlie Gibson didn’t even bat an eye), and, hopefully, any claims that have strong evidence to the contrary. No more accepting claims simply because they’re claims. No more giving interviews without thorough understanding of the facts.

The excuse that if reporters did this, they would be denied access, is summarily dismissed, because if all reporters did this, politicians could not deny them all access. If controlling journalists is such a problem, then the profession needs to be reorganized, with a guild or other controlling agency that would award credentials (like the bar association does for lawyers) that requires adherence to these rules else face losing accreditation as a journalist. Politicians who then favored non-accredited reporters would soon be mocked.

Until this happens, there are few if any people out there that truly deserve the title “journalist.” If they don’t measure up, they’re nothing more than weak-kneed hacks who aren’t worth the price of their tailored suits.

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Quick Notes #11

May 27th, 2007 Comments off

Incredible. In his latest press conference, Bush was asked, after having been wrong so much and failed so badly in Iraq, why should he be seen as a credible messenger on the war; in reply, he claimed that “I’m credible because I read the intelligence.”

Before 9/11, there was a large amount of intelligence telling Bush that an attack was coming. He did not act on it. Before the Iraq War, there was a large amount of intelligence warning Bush about the problems that would arise pursuant to the invasion, like sectarian violence. Again, Bush did not act on it.

In short, you do not gain credibility by just reading the intelligence. You gain credibility by reading it, then judging what should be acted on, and then acting on it. Maybe somebody should explain this to him.

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Quick Notes #10

May 21st, 2007 1 comment

Opportunistic: There’s a news story which is as sad as it is unsurprising: al Qaeda is making money off of Iraq. We already know that Bush’s invasion of Iraq has enormously swelled the ranks of al Qaeda. By going into Iraq, Bush has weakened the United States military on a fool’s errand, and strengthened our enemies to no end. Well done.

But here’s my thought: on September 11, 2001, even before the shock of the day’s events wore off, a good president would have asked himself, “How can I fix this?”

Instead, what we had was a president who asked, “How can I use this?”

3,422 U.S. troops dead. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. So many more to come. This is how great piles of corpses are made.

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Quick Notes #9

May 8th, 2007 1 comment

Greed: Some say that we went to Iraq to steal the oil; I don’t know who’s getting what money, so I can’t address that. I always assumed that a bigger aim was not to take the oil revenues, but rather to control the output, so as to control world prices. But here’s another thought: a war in Iraq–especially a long war, what Bush has pushed for and keeps on pushing for–in addition to instability in the Middle East–which Bush has certainly caused, without question–all provides for the perfect excuse to jack up gas prices at the pump far beyond reason. Maybe it’s not just stealing or even controlling the oil. Maybe it’s about creating the pretext for overcharging for the oil.

Any way you look at it, the oil companies have got this covered in several directions. Not the least of which is an administration, run by two former oil company executives, who have fought for and won billions in tax breaks for the oil companies, which are making historic profits.

But surely, I am an conspiracy theorist.

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