Saturday, January 30, 2016

Just FYI

Santorum won Iowa in 2012: 24.6% vs Romney's 24.5%.
Just sayin'.

Thoughts for the day

Things are the way they are because they got that way.

Unless things change they are likely to remain the same.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Me and The Donald

... We'll both be skipping tonight's GOP debate!
(But I don't have anything against Megyn Kelly!)

Thought for the day

The sooner you fall behind...
... the more time you have to catch up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Party of Lincoln

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Lincoln's Second Inaugural address
Just sayin'.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The optimist and the pessimist

When I'm optimistic: I hope that Trump or Cruz will be the GOP nominee.
When I'm pessimistic: I fear that Trump or Cruz will be the GOP nominee.

... and in my pessimistic mode, I am less than certain - much less certain than some conservative pundits - that Trump or Cruz would lose in November.
Assuming one of 'em is the GOP nominee, the only thing that will spare us President Trump or President Cruz is an energized DEMOCRATIC electorate.

It may be a bit early, but then again - maybe not: start encouraging your DEMOCRATIC friends to pay attention!
If they're not yet registered to vote - GET 'EM REGISTERED!
... and, when election day rolls around - Tues, 8 November - CALL 'EM! Make sure they go to vote!!!

If we become complacent - certain of a Trump or Cruz loss - WE'LL LOSE!
... and have to live with President Trump or President Cruz for at least four years!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Uh-oh: I agree with Donald Trump!

Donald Trump: ‘Wacko’ Glenn Beck Is a ‘Failing, Crying Lost Soul’
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Wacko @glennbeck is a sad answer to the @SarahPalinUSA endorsement that Cruz so desperately wanted. Glenn is a failing, crying, lost soul!

Flagrant politicization of a tragedy

Title of post refers to what follows: MY flagrant politicization of a tragedy!

I refer to the Flint, MI, water crisis.
This would be a really good teaching opportunity for Dems.

The tragedy now afflicting Flint, Michigan is a DIRECT result of GOP refusal to acknowledge SCIENTIFIC FACTS!

It is also the result of a non-democratic (little 'd') take-over of a city by the GOP government of Michigan...
... a take-over motivated by $$$, with consequent "solutions" to financial problems based SOLELY on $$$ - with no concern for human health.

Put 'em both together - denial of science + focus on "fiscal responsibility" - and you've got the makings of a GREAT teaching moment ... that unfortunately also involves a great human tragedy.

Yep - this is "politicizing" a human tragedy.
My bad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Asymmetric warfare

Nope - this isn't about warriors armed with pick-up trucks & 50-caliber machine guns defeating The Strongest Military in the World.

It's about two unrelated arguments that frustrate me.

The first: Me vs the good Christian Believer.
If the good Christian Believer is right - and I'm wrong - then when he dies, he meets God, gets welcomed into heaven, spends eternity in bliss.
... AND I am damned to Hell for eternity.
On the other hand, if I am right - when he & I die, well - nothing much happens. We just cease to exist.
No bright light, just... something very hard to imagine - nothing!
If he's right, he can gloat.
If I'm right, I can't.
Pisses me off.

Next up: Climate Change.
The current bunch of climate change deniers in the GOP won't live long enough to see the disastrous effects of the their failures to act.
They can go right along citing all the horrible things that sensible regulations on carbon WILL do to DESTROY the VERY FABRIC of AMERICA...
... and in the end have to pay no price for their stupidity & cupidity.
Pisses me off.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Long ago, in a galaxy far way...

Once-upon-a-time I was the editor of my high school newspaper.
In this capacity I was tasked with interviewing the principal of the local Vo-Tech high school.
His name, as I recall it, was Joe Lempke. (This may be mis-remembered.)
Before I could ask him a question he volunteered:
"People want to talk to me about Vo-Tech education. I want to talk about EDUCATION."
The CAPS in that quotation reflect his tone of voice.

His point was simple: EDUCATION is about citizenship - "producing" students who are self-supporting and making a contribution to society.

Somehow we have lost our way.
STEM is great - "Science, Technology, Engineering, Math"... BUT - there's more to life than STEM.

Every day I use fonts that were DESIGNED by someone with artistic talent.
My furniture was DESIGNED by someone with artistic talent.
I frequently attend concerts by amazingly gifted musicians.
I attend plays presented by talented actors, and directed by folks with artistic vision.

None of these contributions to society is recognized by STEM.

Don't get me wrong - I made my living as a statistician.
I really like math, and think everyone ought to appreciate its beauty.
BUT...

There's a whole helluva lot more to life than science, technology, engineering, and math.
In fact, without all the non-STEM stuff, life would be pretty horrible - no art, no music, no design... no beauty.

Testing the hell out of our kids is NOT the way to improve our nation.
Encouraging individual gifts, encouraging the pursuit of beauty, ...
Encouraging...

How to stop the "lone wolf" assassin, part 2

No, this won't work.
But it won't hurt, either.

Teach civics.

Every once in a while I cite my 8th-grade civics text, Your Rugged Constitution.
This is not a bad place to start to encourage students to embrace basic citizenship.

As I think about it, there may be an even better book to help teach citizenship: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten:
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put thngs back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Yeah, not terribly profound... BUT - not bad advice, either.

Short of confiscating all our guns, encouraging neighbors to spy on each other, and monitoring our every move, teaching basic human values - civics - seems to me the best way to combat the "lone wolf".
Love your neighbor as yourself.
(Leviticus 19:18)
It's not clear to me that any of the GOP candidates knows this... or simply knows basic civics.

How to stop the "lone wolf" assassin

One of the questions during the Democratic Presidential Debate was:
A new ABC News poll shows 77 percent of Americans have little or no confidence in the government's ability to prevent a lone wolf attack.How would you specifically find would-be terrorist who are going undetected?
To be honest, none of the three candidates provided particularly enlightening answers.

BUT - to be fair - there really aren't any good answers... except the obvious:
Turn the U.S. into a Police State.
Do, in fact, confiscate all the guns.
Encourage neighbors to spy on each other.
Monitor ALL our phone calls, our email, our postal mail, our web-surfing.

We are suddenly concerned with the "lone wolf" terrorist, but for years, decades, centuries, we've been fairly complacent about the run-of-the-mill murderer.
If someone wants to kill his wife, her husband, his or her kids, his friend, his neighbor... well, there's just not a whole helluva lot the government can do to stop him or her.

Yeah, it's deplorable... but to my way of thinking, it's preferable to living in a Police State.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Luck

I'm an agnostic.
For me, this means that the truth value of the proposition "God exists" is unknown and unknowable.

That said, I've found that the world makes a whole lot more sense if I choose to believe in Luck, Good, and Evil.
This will be a comment on Luck.

I have had my share of Luck.
I was born in the U.S.A. to middle-class, caring parents.
This was not my doing - it just happened.

No matter how screwed up the current American political system - and political class - seems to be...
... well, it's all relative.

I am not worried about religious fanatics knocking on my door, hauling me out, and beheading me.

I can go to the local market and buy pretty much whatever I feel like eating today.
If I don't feel like cooking - or if Melissa doesn't feel like cooking, which is more apt - I, we, can go to local restaurant and order pretty much whatever we want... and folks will serve us, clear the table, and wash the dishes!

Water-borne diseases? Not my worry.

My house is not being threatened by bombs.

There's very little chance the thought police will come to my home to arrest and imprison me.
(This will still be true even if Trump is elected President!)

I HAVE a home!

None of this is my doing.
I didn't earn it.
It's just Luck.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Just a thought

The GOP folks who promise to abolish gay marriage seem always to rely on the Bible - Leviticus & Romans, in particular - to justify their objections.
These are, by and large, the same folks who want to introduce legislation prohibiting Sharia law in the U.S.

So, it's okay to foist Christian Bible-based law on the country, but not okay to foist Islamic law on us?
Why does no one ever ask this question of the candidates?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Who are small business owners?

I think I've remarked in the past that Melissa & I are "job creators".
Most of the work around the house we hire out.
"To whom?", you ask.

We have a young woman clean the house every two weeks. She is married, with three school-age kids.
She lives for her kids.
If one of them is sick, she cancels her appointment with us.
Last week she got a call from her son's school - the principal needed to talk with her. She needed to postpone her appointment with us - no problem. (Turns out, it was good news - her son is performing beyond his grade level and they want to advance him a year.)
Every once in a while she shows up with a helper, but usually she works alone.
She is a small business owner.

To handle the sprinkler system, we employ a fellow with his own small company.
He employs maybe five full-time employees.
They do great work, and I've been calling him for several years.
His dog died of cancer last year.
He was heart-broken.

Whenever I need brick work done, there's one guy I call.
His company has a name, but he's just one guy.
He likes attending musical theater.

THESE are "small business owners" in Albuquerque.
They work hard, but they don't create thousands of jobs.
They get by.
We have at least semi-personal relationships with each of 'em - they share their problems with us, and we ours with them (to an extent).
We're delighted to be able to help support 'em.

Are these the entrepreneurs the GOP candidates are talking about?
If so, it sure doesn't sound like any of the GOP's policies do anything to help 'em!

A surprising cartoon from the Albuquerque Journal

... "surprising" because the Journal is pretty darn conservative!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday, 10 January, 2016 - part 2

My son & daughter-in-law visited this afternoon, with grandson Hunter.
As always, a delightful visit!

Sunday, 10 January, 2016

Melissa & I attended an inter-faith brunch this morning at Congregation Albert.
The faiths represented: Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists.
Theme: Being non-Christian in Albuquerque.

'Twas a nice event, with panel presentation & discussion.

We'll continue to support such inter-faith gatherings.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A "thought experiment"

Armed men, led by Bundy brothers, take over federal building in rural Oregon
How will the GOP candidates respond?

Now, imagine that the headline had read:
Armed Muslims take over federal building in rural Oregon
How would the GOP candidates respond?

I'm guessing the two responses would be completely contradictory.

I'm thinking the GOP candidates will all respond to Bundy brothers with some version of, "This is what happens when an over-reaching Federal Government oversteps its bounds."
... and possibly, "These folks are well within their rights to protest Government encroachment."

... and if the rebels had been Muslim?
Not so much.

Maybe I'm an isolationist

Iran's Supreme Leader Predicts 'Divine Vengeance' After Saudis Execute Cleric Saudi Arabia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Iran, Foreign Minister Says
Maybe it's time to walk away from the Mideast. Just walk away.
Just walk away Renee
You won't see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You're not to blame

(The Left Bank, "Walk Away Renee")