Sunday, January 29, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
This is the 100'th post of my blog...so why don't I use it as a chance for some feedback? Talk about whatever you want in the comments, and tell me what you think of my focus and style and such...if you've got something you'd like me to post about...or if you want to write anything else at all.
I could call it an 'open thread' but Kos does that, and I wouldn't want to steal the term from him.
THE CREEPS, THEY ALSO TOLD ME NOT TO GO! BUT THE LOBSTER SAID IT WAS FUN, AND DELICIOUS!!! SO I WENT!
CHECK OUT: THIS IS FUN TO MAKE A BLOG ON THE COMPUTER WEBSITE. THE CREEPS WILL SAY NO!!! BUT GO ANYWAY!!!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Rule: All comments should be PG. I don't want any problems. Trolls are welcome, (in fact, Trolls are encouraged) to comment but only if you keep it nice, like everyone else. I stop listening to you when you stop being respectful...especially of other commenters. And I'll probably delete anything that gets out of hand...
Request: I'm not a fan of anonymous posting. I can't get rid of the option without turning off comments for the general public, but I don't want to exclude people. If you don't want to register with blogger, then pick a name and use the 'other' option. It's the internet. If you post under "bobby" and your name is really ahmed, no one will ever know, and no one will be able to connect you to your ideas unless you want us to. So don't be shy.
However, if you prefer to remain anonymous, that is fine too...
I'll update the rules when they need to be updated. Thanks.
Update: I already changed the rules! Hubby had good points in the comments which changed my mind about how hard-nosed i'm going to be. So, yeah. I try to be reasonable...even if my friends deny it.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
If you want some idea about what the post is about...think of building something with wood, and focus on a place that needs a nail...then picture Charlie Munn from the Officer's Club holding a hammer, and then picture him taking one swing to solidly insert the nail in exactly the right place. That's correct, Charlie hits the nail on the head with this post.
And, in other posts from the Officer's club that I feel the need to comment on. Check out this picture. I have only one thing to say to the people holding the sign, and please, be careful of your ears. I don't swear very much, so when I do, it means a whole lot. My comment is to cordially, but assertively, say to the people in the picture..."Fuck You."
More and more, I'm seeing conservatives of a certain stripe promoting love of self that involves self-reliance, self-respect, and self-support with the understanding that once you've achieved these things you are fairly likely to support others around you to achieve the same. Additionally, more and more, I'm seeing liberals promoting self-love that involves proclaiming your own victimhood, demanding someone else support you and solve your problems, and removing yourself from the community at large to "preserve your individual and separate uniqueness".
I think the idea is fairly valid - but I would be afraid to express it this way on my campus, and in front of my liberal friends. I am possibly too diplomatic, but this is a post about love, after all.
I think this idea gets what the self-esteem people leave out. (I am refering to the self-esteem people that talked to me so much in public middle school...they wanted me to think highly of myself, and damn my criticisers, cause the didn't want me to commit suicide...at least, I think that was the goal. It was a long time ago, and I wasn't really paying attention. Nothing in that school was very interesting for me, so I shut it off and got bad grades. It's a good thing I escaped - whew! enough side-talk..back to the blogging) You need to love yourself because you know you can do good, not because you are God's Greatest Gift to humanity. You need to love yourself, but with humility. You can't love yourself above all others, because that would be missing the point. The self-love this person is talking about is one that is also focused on paying attention to other people, but not to the point that you forget about yourself. I know people who give so much of themselves to other people, that they often can't deal with the other's pain, so they end up getting distraught. That is also not good.
I think the point that needs to be made, is that in order to help other people, you have to have a rock-steady inside. If you spend to much time outside of yourself, especially when you don't have a strong love for your own person, then you slowly errode away and get bitter, and then you are no good to the people you wanted to help, and you probably need help yourself.
The second form of love, the one most liberals proclaim, is one that focus's too much on other's opinion of yourself. Does that make sense? Probably not. This form of self love says - "I need you to love me, so that I can love myself. If you love me, that means you will fix my problems." This isn't good...I think it's better to be responsible for yourself, rather than to expect others to do things for you. I'm not saying that people should become hermits and cut everyone else off. I also think that sometimes we can't solve our own problems. However, it is important for the desire to come from within, and not from other people. The first self-love doesn't exclude help from others, but it doesn't take that help for granted/rely exclusively on it.
The author of the quote might have made a mistake relating these dualing forms of self-love to politics. I don't think it works in all cases. The attitudes are there, conservatives want individualism, and today's liberals want the government to solve our problems. But this self-love also applies to people who eschew politics...the dualing nature of these forms of love are fighting on a level more basic than politics could ever hope to reach.
So, how was that for philosophy? Too wishy washy? Too obscure? Sorry...I'll rephrase if I can boil it down better, and if anyone's interested, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway...
So, someone has been stealing my ideas without my knowledge. And, as you might assume, he totally destroys it. I hate it when people turn my genius idealistic musings into a hellish shadow of what they once were. Well, once I became aware of the rebel idea - which took a while since it was published in the San Francisco Chronicle (not very high up on my list of newspapers to read) - I immediately began to work out how to return my plan to its original state of glory.
Go ahead, and read the fool's proposal, and then come back so I can tell you what he got right and wrong.
Well, he wants to take government out of the picture. That's good. But he wants to replace government with corporatism and lawyers. That's bad. Good marriages are supposed to be an agreement between people that love each other. (all marriages are this way, not just the one's between two people, and again, I'm using marriage to describe the myriad co-habitation rituals that exist in the world) My proposal was to take all that is soulless and wrong (that would be the government) with the state of marriage in our country (and most others as well), and return it to its roots (that would be the people). The proposal outlined in the article gets rid of the soulless meddling of the government (at least until the end, when he sort of says that he wants something akin to corporate law to govern marriage. Crazy fool), and replace it with something that is equally soulless, namely, lawyers and corporatism. I feel that marriage should be pure, that's why I don't want meddling. This proposal just changes the direction the meddling comes from. I want love, not contracts and permits. I know this is idealistic, and I usually dislike idealism. But I'm gonna stick to my guns on this one. Thanks.
All that being said, I think it might be better than the current state. However, I also sometimes think that things like haggis might be tasty (at least until I really think about it), so that last thought might not count for much (as I'm still mulling it over). However, I don't think it's as bad as this guy makes it out to be...but I could be wrong. Go and read for yourself. We link, you decide!
This post is originaly from Mules With Brains - a Fair and Biased website!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
They Call Me Red...um, that's really all I know about the person on the other end of this link. But I can relate. I am incapable of going grocery shopping without picking up a few extra things...and it's cool, for me, since I'm not married or anything, so no one questions my judgement, and I don't really go grocery shopping all that much...but I can see how it could be annoying too...but, sometimes the same old flavor of ice-cream just isn't as good, and it's time for a change...and you can never have too many frozen pizzas, espeically if they're on sale for a dollar, and...
(Full disclosure, since I've been getting misunderstood a lot today...I like to think I'm pretty progressive about women's rights. I don't feel that there is anything I can do that a woman can't also do, no job I can hold etc...I do like to observe polite formalities, like opening the door...because if I don't do it, then who will? But, alas, I've been yelled at (well, at least snapped at) for performing simple courtesies like that. Call me crazy/prudish, but I feel like that is rude. I hope that was informative about my thoughts, and I hope no one misunderstood and that no one new thinks I'm a crazy bastard. Well, I can't do anything about that. So if you feel like I'm a crazy bastard, be my guest and go somewhere else, where your thoughts won't get challenged at all.)
But Wait! I haven't even gotten to the cool part yet, other than the laughs the court case gives. The trial is taking place in the town where my sister is studying for the year! I'll be there early next week! Isn't that cool? I'm going to be in the same town where either the trial of the millennium or the trial nobody-cared-about happened, at the same time that is was happening! Isn't that slightly cool? Maybe I'll even get to do some investigative reporting! As if I was a member of the mass media...Well, anything cool that I find out will be posted here, shortly thereafter...
You should head over there and defend my honor...or something like that...Hopefully we'll start arguing about ideas soon...
Unfortunately, most of the discussion seems to be about logical fallicies that someone claims were in my posts...err...well, You guys know how it is...umm...he's probably right...my title was a bit misleading...
I'm also getting flack for poor spelling...um, guilty as charged on that count as well. I figure if you can figure out what word I mean, then I spelled it correctly, dictionaries be danged.
But I'm going to make an effort to spell better, and write posts in word before I post them here...ugghh. Blogging is getting entirely too much like writing papers.
Monday, January 23, 2006
If you're confused as to what, exactly, I'm talking about when I say there are new reasons to love condi for president, check out Vodkapundit.com, and IMAO.us, and Ann Althouse...they all have good posts from today about Condi, especially the first...
If some of you are wondering why I didn't just provide the links to their posts...well, I'm busy. I should be writing a paper right now.
In other, non-related news that you can find on CNN.com...Italian courts are going to hear a case about the historical existance of a man named Jesus. As far as my opinion counts, I figured this was settled 2000 years ago, when he made it into the Roman Chronicles...but you never can tell, especially when you're in an Italian courtroom. Look up the article, and be amazed!!!
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Bolivia takes on the superpower:
WHATEVER else you may think about Evo Morales, the leader of Bolivia's coca-farmers who will become his country's president on January 22nd, he cannot be accused of underestimating his own importance in the scheme of things. The man about to inherit the problems of a chaotic, dirt-poor country of fewer than 9m people in the Andes boasts that he is the worst nightmare of the United States (see article). The boast, of course, is preposterous.…
That's enough to get the point...all I have to say to Evo is, "Sweet dreams!"
It's cool that they print different opinions in their letters section. The NYT doesn't even try...they cherry pick the ones that make them look good. (that and the obvious liberal bias). I think I fall most nearly to the first letter, from Stephen Brahm. I think the second guy, needs to take a chill pill. I also want to say that the opinions that make up Christianity may be the most extensively peer-reviewed pieces of work ever. They are continualy re-read and re-formed, and people argue discuss extensively the smallest points. That is why there are so many sects of Christianity in the world today. There are comparable sects in Darwin's camp, but obviously not as many, since it hasn't been as extensively peer-reviewed. The point here, is that the peers who review the work already agree with the premise, in most cases, so you're not going to get much that contradicts the basis.
From the Special report:
The report is about all the different non-violent changes in power from the past few years, and how well they seem to be working out compared to Iraq. They say this is something to keep in mind in the comming dealings with Iran...
You should at least buy the magazine to read this part, if nothing else. It is a very interesting spin of things...especially comming from a magazine that supported the invasion of Iraq.
I think they make a few good points - there have been a lot of non-violent revolutions in the past few years. However, none of them have worked out quite as well as the authors suggest in the article. They also mention a lot of countries that went from a nominaly free democracy to an arguable freer form (like Ukraine, and Georgia). None of these have worked out perfectly, and in each case there was an obvious government that was ready to step up and take control.
That strategy wouldn't have worked in Iraq. Anyone who tried to organize an opposition to the government was cut down, so no one was able to form anything substantial.
I think that a non-violent revolution is obviously the prefered motiff for regime change...but it's not always possible.
This is a review of hard-power(War/santions) and soft-power(Talks/negotiations)
I think the conclusion of the editorial is pretty obvious: Soft-power only works in conjunction with hard-power. Soft-power leaves us feeling good about ourselves, but it doesn't really work well with tyrants who don't care about niceties. For tyrants, like Iran and North Korea, you need a combination. We should always try the soft approach first, but not be afraid to get tough when we fail. Like the EU did in Iran, and like we're (along with others) doing in North Korea.
Middle East and Africa:
Damn it Hamas! (non-subscription) Come on PA! you need to clean up your act! Israel can't give you what you want until you stop killing Israelies! So why are you supporting a terrorist organization?
Rebuilding the American Dream machine: (Non-Subscription)
I think this is awesome. Congrats to CUNY! I think more colleges should take this approach...with scholarships given on merit. I think that the 'elite' colleges should especially take this approach, but definately more of the State run schools...
I like what Coburn is doing. I don't like earmarks. I don't like spending. I wanted more from Bush. But he keeps the checkbook open, and the veto-pen in his pocket. Bad form.
That's all I've read so far...there's about half the magazine left. I might keep going, but probably not. I should have some more original stuff tomorrow...I need to get my study abroad application done.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I love the military. I think that the job they do is essential. They are the ones who stand at the door and keep the wolves away. They confront terrorists and garden variety bad guys and say "No more, not today." I think this is honorable, and if we did not have someone doing their job, our lives would no longer be as bright as they are. I live a pretty care-free life, and most of the credit for that life continuing goes to the US military (and others) who are guarding and protecting the rights and freedoms that I enjoy, and who are working to spreading this care-free life around the globe. The work they do is nothing new, it has been going on for hundreds of years. I support their legacy, and I appreciate their sacarifice. The causualty reports affect me, just like they affect every non-dumbass in the world.
However, I feel that it should be the American Military that protects Americans, and does the jobs that civilians should not have to do. I'm not entirely comfortable with mercenaries enjoying the same status. I'm not afraid that they might become turn-coats at the sight of brighter gold. I do feel, however, feel that we should not ask other people to do our dirty business. The soldiers in the military have sworn to uphold and defend our freedoms. I realize that lots of the employees of firms like Blackwater are former military, and that they are most likely just as patriotic as I am. However, it's not the same. If they felt that defending freedom and everything was so important, they should have stayed in the conventional military. I'm not against private training facilities, but I do think that the American military should cary out American missions. It's just wrong to subcontract the obligation to protect our country and defend our freedoms.
I recognise that the government also has a responsibility to carry out it's obligations, and that our own military might not be enough for the job. In that situation, I say wait until our military can handle the workload. If we're going to fast for our very capable military to handle the load, we should slow down.
I respect The Officer's Club a lot, and I think that they do a great job covering their beat. I'll just have to agree to disagree with them on this one.
I wonder then, if they will report that the strike was succesful? We bagged three...possibly more. Hmmm.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
You're welcome, guys.
As he was helped to his feet, Burghardt said, he felt a wave of anger and adrenaline flow through his system. He had just extended his Iraq tour that morning and he was livid that he had been bested by the bomber.
“I was really pissed off that they got me, that after all this time, they got me,” Burghardt said. “I figured the triggerman was still watching, so I flipped him off. I yelled, ‘[Expletive] you! I’ll be out here next week!’”
So far, this guy has 'fixed' thousands of bombs (some were IEDs, some were garden variety munitions) meant to hurt his brother soldiers. He is currently serving his third tour in Iraq...that means he's had very little vacation time back home. It's committed citizens like him who ensure victory in Iraq. And he is just a drop in the bucket.
As an aside, the number of IEDs per week is 1/3'rd what it was at it's high. And in case you think that means it's 100 attacks per week instead of 300, the actual numbers are 45 (from this september) to 15, this week.
We are comming out on top, and the Iraqi troops are taking more and more of the load, as we continue to train their grunts (normal soldiers), and more and more of their officers learn enough to lead troops. Rebuilding an army takes a lot of time...and it's not the total number of soldiers that takes the most effort. Common soldiers are easy to train and find, even if you only take volunteers. What is much harder to replace are the years of experience necessary to see the whole picture like a General needs to do, or to find people with the necessary interpersonal skills to lead units at the level of an army Captain. Some of these can be found in natural leaders, but most need to be found and trained. It will take a long time. Probably more than a couple of years. And I have no desire to cut and run until the Iraqi's can defend themselves without us. We created the 'mess', we need to stick around to clean it up.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Italy is still a good place to be, although the city I'm in is kind of boring. I'm stuck here for the duration, however, since I'm poor and the trains to elsewhere want me to pay for a ticket. I'm saving my cash to splurge on a couple of days in Rome at the end of my trip. But that means I was lonely this weekend, while everyone else went on trips, and I was the only student left here.
It wasn't that bad - in fact, I had been complaining to myself that my compainions were too "American" and that I couldn't very well see the city walking around with them. In fact, most of what they wanted to do was shop, and I'm not exactly into that, especially given my dire financial straights. As it turned out, I was right about them being a troop of Americans. I got out and saw a lot of the city, and was twice mistaken for a native. That is quite possibly the best misconception of my person that anyone can have, at least for my ego, and it took the edge off of my small loneliness.
I also avoided any and all forms of horsemeat while eating, so on the whole, I'd have to say that the weekend was a success! I'd love to hear how people are doing at home, so drop a comment or send me an e-mail!
Along with the other stuff, I've been working through the "Problem of Pain," by C.S. Lewis, and it's very interesting. I must say that it makes sense to me, but I'm not sure how much I need to adopt; that is, how much of it is new. You know what I'm talking about, if you've read this part of his stuff (What he considered his 'serious' stuff, as opposed to the kids stuff, the fiction), and if you're a Christian. It's all stuff that I've felt was true, except he has such an explicit way of putting it, an exact way to nail down the tricky bits.
Then, from Tolkien, I've been reading two slightly obscure books. Roverandom and "Tales from the Perilous Relm". Roverandom is a children's tale, but it's also a call to be more enviromentaly friendly. What's more, Tolkien does a good job of it(unsurprisingly), unlike some of the more well known environmentalists (also unsurprisingly). "Tales..." is also excellent. The last two short stories in the collection are quite equisite. In fact, if you've read them, I'd love to hear your take. I'm talking about "Leaf by Niggle," and "Smith of Wooton Major."
Especially "Leaf by Niggle." Tolkien always said that he hated allegory, but loved aplicability. The one being different from the other, of course, because of the intentions of the author. Tolkien didn't like to nail down the meaning, and thus didn't like allegory. (This was one of the reasons he didn't much like the Narnia tales.) All the same, he must have been thinking of something when he wrote "Leaf.." and I'd like to know what it was...or at least discuss some of the ways that others find it applicable.
Let me say first, that I had very low expectations for the class I'm currently taking. I took it mostly as an excuse to be where I am now. I still have pretty low expectations for the class as a whole, but I've been able to read two very nice books so far (though the first was horrible and I don't have high hopes for the next three.) If you're looking for something to read, well, read anything by Lewis or Tolkien. But if you've already mostly explored them, or have no intrest in their more obscure works/Christian appologeticery (I made this word up myself - isn't it a nice one?), then check out The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, or "The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's," by whoever it was, 'cause you'll probably be able to find it without the title, and I'm too lazy to get up and look at it.
The Leopard is a classic, and I'm told it's sort of like "Lolita." It's got a very interesting narration technique, and it's a great historical fiction novel, if nothing else. But the prose is almost poetical, and it's got great discription. Plus, it gives you a lot to think about. And thats something I think you already knew I enjoyed. It's also nice if you don't know much about Italian history - it gives you a decent account of how Italy as a whole country came into being.
The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's is not quite as 'high-brow.' It is essentially a love story. Almost a chick-flick. In fact, it would be, if it weren't concerned with a Jewish guy in Itally right between the two world wars. Not exactly a good time to be jewish in the country that created Facism, and not exactly a good time to be a somewhat poor boy, spurned the love of a girl who is much richer than you. I make it sound like a soap opera, and in fact, it almost is. However, it's got a little more substance than usual, and I liked it. You can probably make it through the whole book in an evening, like I did. I had to, since we're going to be discussing it in class tomorrow!
Let me say that again, so it can sink in. I am not in the country, and I can't watch playoff football!!
On a normal day, I can take solace in the fact that the Pats are finaly playing well, and they seem to be unbeatable in December, especially when it's slightly chilly. (under 10 degrees)
In fact, I left the country feeling that things were pretty well wrapped up for the season, and I was gonna get to watch the Pats in the superbowl when I got home. Every other time I've left the country during football season, the Pats won the super bowl. In fact, until last year, I thought this was a prerequisite.
Well, as everyone and their dog knows, by now, the Patriots lost. Hopes for a three-peat, along with a large part of my inner soul, have died.
Where was Viniteri, you might ask? And what a good question, that is. It seems like he always pulls it out for us in the end...but it wouldn't have even mattered in this game. However, he still missed a field goal, evidently. And where was the spirit of John Elway? Another good question. Brady got picked twice, and once from the endzone. I'm still appealing this to the Football Gods, and I'll let you know their ruling when I recieve it.
But the worst part was that I didn't even get to see it with my own eyes! I was sitting here, actually sleeping, contented with the knowledge that everything had gone well in the past. Never again will I sleep so peacefully.
I hope I have your sympathy. I know I share this pain with the redskins fans of the world. And if you're from denver...well...it would be good to keep that quiet around me for a little while, possibly until next season, but at least until you loose as well.
This is me, signing off, in misery.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
It's wierd that I totaly distrust beaurocracy, yet I want to grow up to be (essentialy) a beaurocrat. Wierd. I hope it's just a burning desire to fix the system from the inside.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Yes, I know it's shocking, but it's true!!! I swear!
Sure, Frank J. is a mild-mannered engineer by profession, and he married someone pretty from Texas who likes guns. All of that lends credence to his claims of conservatism, but it’s just an alter ego he created to mislead us all.
Take a look at the carefully collected evidence I have unearthed.
He lets that weird (and lame) superhero Aquaman post to his site. That guy is crazy! Why would a conservative talk to him for even a second? Answer: Frank J. talks to him because he’s a liberal!
He has cats, plural, as if one wasn’t bad enough. Everyone knows that dogs are more conservative than cats. They help with household chores, like fetching your slippers and newspapers, and some even help you with fine conservative actions like hunting. But cats do nothing but lay around the house all day. In fact, by owning and feeding cats, Frank J. is promoting a welfare society.
Frank J. has also admitted that he wants to be the Overlord of the Blogdodecahedron (Here is a picture of him). He says that he wants to bring governmental regulation to the untamed masses of blogs. If that kind of big government desire doesn’t scream liberal at you, then I’ll do it. (If you’re reading this at work, you might want to turn down the volume for a second.) LIBERAL!
He has Mao's name as part of the title of his blog. He might even be a communist in addition to being a liberal.
He went to an engineering college. What do you think they teach at those places? How to be a conservative? No way, Jose! He didn't even do ROTC. In fact, he's never served in the military. Unlike his brother, who is a hero. But Frank J. is not, 'cause he's a liberal!
He’s funny, and all you have to do is consider Al Franken (FRANKen, see the resemblance?) to know that all comedians are liberal!
But the biggest and most damning proof that Frank J. is a liberal is still to come…just continue reading and you’ll see.
Frank J. is a WRITER! He has a blog. Not only that, but he writes stories! (So far, SuperEgo, and No Good Deed. - Free Subscription Required) Everyone knows that writers are liberal.
Update: Frank J. has also talked about wanting to publish a book. That in itself adds to the proof that he is a writer - one of the most common forms of Liberal. But, even more relevant is the fact that this book was supposed to be a collection of his Rumsfeld-Bashing In My World articles. Keep an eye out for this book, it will help you to continue your studies of Liberals-in-Disguise.
I hope I’ve saved a few of you from believing Frank J.’s lies. You should go check out his website for yourself, so that you can become more familiar with the tactics of the left. But don’t be confused! The rest of the bloggers on the site are mostly ok. Except, sometimes, for Harvey (he’s an atheist), and Lawrence Simon (he’s a Jew), and Right Wing Duck (he lives in California, and he’s a Mexican, so he’s probably an unemployed illegal immigrant who steals welfare money from America). So the only ones you can trust are Sarah K. (Except she just married Frank J., so she might be influenced by him), Spacemonkey (except he’s a monkey, so you need to be careful), and Cadet Happy (but he’s a Lawyer, so be careful).
Come to think of it, they all do this thing called a podcast…and that’s sort of like radio…and NPR is on the radio…Oh NO! They’re all liberals!
You should still go visit the site, but only for self-edification purposes, and be careful!
Update: I decided it was only fair to e-mail this to Frank J., and give him a chance to deny the charges. It's possible (I'll admit, only slightly possible) that I have misunderstood some things. We'll just have to wait for his response, and then I'll post it. You can then decide.
Of course, if he doesn't respond, then we'll just have to assume that what I've said is true. That will be a sad day. Indeed.
Update II: Right Wing Duck responds, sort of. (He always was my favorite addition when they went to a group blog.) I hope that Frank J. can explain all this. I really did like his site, ever since I started reading it. While all of you are over here, you might as well check out the rest of the place...I don't have much more like this, but no one can read my site and not know that I'm a conservative, and a Browncoat.
I feel that linking to this site will expose in myself a complete obsession with all things firefly, and especially, Kaylee. I don't exactly want to foster this impression on people. I'd rather people see me as a relatively fair, if somewhat biased, observer of the world. I'd rather people thought that I was extremely funny, intelligent, charming. I fear that by linking to this site, I would instead be showing myself for the mildly obsessed male that I am, possibly even giving the impression that I am really obsessed.
However, it's a really good site. It's got a blog written by the actress herself. And lots of biographical information, too. For example, did even the hard-core Firefly fans among my readers know that Kaylee also had a big role in a Disney Channel TV show that I really enjoyed, called Flash Foreward? I really loved that show too...must be something in common between the two shows...besides the two F's.
I'm still hesitant. What do you all think? Should I link the site?
Um, I guess the matter is decided...heh.
All I have to say about this is, congratulations Russia, you're an idiot. I somewhat like Russia, and Russian culture, but this is stupid. Of course, my main affections lie with Condi, so that might have something to do with my reaction. This also comes in the wake of Condi's comments about Russia's dealing with Ukraine, another good place to send insults if you don't want to be friends with me. If this line of thought has left you in the dust, don't worry, it's not that important if you're not a nerd like I am.
Condi is very good at her job, and since it's a job I want, I'm paying close attention. She is exactly as forceful as necessary, and no more. That's good.
However, he was 'right' (sort-of, in a way that is almost completely off-base) about her taste in men. Last rumor I heard said she was dating an NFL lineman...I'd say that most NFL linemen are at least as tough as a barracks full of Russian conscript soldiers, fresh out of high-school.
Sorry, Russia, that you don't make good enough foreign policy decisions to have enough volunteers for your military. And that you don't have a Sect. of State as deft as Condi...
**You hear shouting in the distance**
"Condi For President, 2008"
The basic idea is that a sales tax would replace all income taxes. I think people would be less concerned about paying taxes based on their spending rather than paying taxes based on their income. It would also save the government some of the cost's associated with tax collection. The rate would be about 23-30%, and it would supposedly bring in as much money as we do now.
First thing to note, before people start saying it would be regressive. They proponents say that we could include a rebate (in the form of a check from the government each month) for each family/person that would cover the cost of essentials. In practice this mean a check for 23-30% of the poverty level for each family/person. This seems fairly a fairly flate rate (by that i mean, not progressive nor regressive) and that's good. I think that people who make enough money could choose not to recieve this rebate. Of course, the rebate would create a new beaurocracy (who is a citizen, and who gets one of these checks? What do people who are now on their own as opposed to living at home do?) and letting people opt out would add to that, but I think the costs would still be less than they are now.
Also, please note, we can vary the rates of taxation. A sales tax on food doesn't have to be as high as a sales tax on luxury boats. That could make the system more progressive, and it would also act as an impetus for savings. Paying a higher rate of tax on something will encourage rational actors not to buy it...so they save their money, therefore relying less on social security for their old age. Even a flat sales tax would encourage saving...what will you think when you go to buy the flat-screen tv and it suddenly costs 30% more? ("I don't really need that big of a tv. I don't really need those extra dvd's.")
Anothing benefit for this, is that it looks like everyone gets a pay raise. It doesn't work out that way...people will pay almost the same in taxes as they did before, except for people at the low end of the spectrum who will pay practically nothing because of the rebate. I also think that the income tax is basically a tax on the priviledge of working. If you work, you have to pay the tax to the government because they allow you to have a job. (I know this is an extreme statement, but it's pretty true, even if it's not intended that way) However, if you pay a tax on the things you buy, you are now paying for the priviledge of purchasing those things. Instead of being taxed for your passive actions, you are consciously making a choice "Do I want to buy this, and pay the tax on it? Or do I want to save my money?" It gives the decision to the citizen, rather than just taxing them for working.
An easy way to figure out who gets a check would be to have two forms: one that each person fills out when they are employed, like the w-4, and another that would be available in many places, like the internet, the town hall, maybe even free for the taking from convienence/grocery stores, that you would fill out if you were un-employed, and then send on to the now-much-smaller IRS. Since you would be paying the tax due with every purchase, and there would be no possibility of not paying the tax, you would not need to fill out loads of paperwork on april 14, therefore giving me a better month of the year to have my birthday.
A sales tax would also take away the need for the capital gains tax, and the inheritance tax. All that money would be taxed anyway, when it was spent. So there will be much less unimportant stuff for our politicians to argue about, and they could do the jobs they're supposed to be doing.
I do think that if we allow variable tax rates on different good, our system could become needlessly complicated. That's something to watch out for, and certainly speaks in favor of a straight flat tax rate.
Some states already use this method, especially ones with lots of tourism. It is a big revenue generator for states like California and Florida, and Maine even has a pretty good system in place. Maine still has an income tax, but it also has a relatively low sales tax rate. I'd rather just have the sales tax, and it seems to be working ok for the other two that I mentioned.
I like the idea, and I wish there were enough people who were actively considering it so that we could get some more studies on it's probable effects and then maybe switch to it...but for now I like it better than system we have now.
Cross Posted at Mules With Brains
It involves my all-around favorite firefly quote. (There are many categories, thus many favorite quotes) It goes something along the lines of "when you can't walk, you crawl." It's from "The Message, easily the most heart wrenching one, and the one that has the best music. (From the funeral scene)
But if you haven't seen the show yet, then forget what I just said, go read the story, then go buy/rent the DVD's and watch them.
Update: On a related-only-because-it-involves-firefly note, Adam Baldwin (Jayne) is my first Favorite Actor. Friends that know me really well will be able to guess why. If you don't already know, then I suggest going over to that message forum I posted earlier and joining up. I suggest that anyway. It's a great firefly forum.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
David Brooks talks about the rise of the facebook. He's not the best conservative editorialist out there, but he's one of the most famous. He has some interesting things to say...if only because he says them about something that's so important to many of my friends. (painless log-in required)
The Great Frank J. talks about recall elections. I think he's mostly right, even if this isn't very funny. I only straight up disagree with the last sentance...ridiculing her is going to far. We might hurt her feelings. But I'd like to remind everyone that we already fired important government officials, mostly for their conduct in the region under Blanco's watch. I wonder how much her failure to do her job had to do with Michael Brown's failure to do his?
While you're over there, you should read the new In My World.
Danielle Crittenden makes me laugh every time. She writes IM conversations between Bush and other world leaders, along with a couple of white house staffers. All of them are funny, but while I was reading this one, I was told to be quieter three times, and just couldn't stop myself. It also doesn't need that much background info to understand. Check it out.
Also at the Huffinton Post (a liberal website that is one of the many I read to keep up to date), you can find Greg Gutfield. His humor is a bit harder to understand, but worth trying. Remember, the best part is in the comments. Try the posts about Tookie Williams, which I spoke about earlier.
Ok, thats enough for now...if you need more, you can always go to The Officer's Club.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I can't believe (well, actually, unfotunately, I can) that something like this would happen in such a prestigious university. And that it would be so wide-spread and (it seems) part of the institution. It's not just one professor, or one class...it's the whole system. That's just sad.
Being a professor is a hard job. That's why they get respect and a decent ammount of money - especially at such a high level. But with the job comes a lot of responsibility. Having a deeply held opinion is one thing, but when you teach a class you should at least make the effort to be even-handed. And you should never yell at your students. Especially in class. Some one-sidedness is to be expected, and professors should be free to shout their opinions at the top of their lungs, outside of class. However, in class, espcially during lectures, they should make every effort concievable to be even-handed.
I realize that I'm not a professor and that I don't know how hard it is to teach...especially when you're an expert, and you feel that your opinions are so well considered and researched that they have become fact, but that doesn't give you an excuse.
When people ask me questions I often give long-winded answers. There are good reasons for this. One is that I have a very nice sounding voice. The other is that I try to give an unbiased background for the topic, before I go into my opinions. And I try to label my opinions as much as possible...especially if the topic is contentious. (like Isreal and Palestine) And I'm not even that well educated yet, and if I can do it, then people with much more intelect that I have should find it easy to say "this is agreed upon fact. This is my opinion about that fact"
Well, that is my horse meat story. I guess you have to eat something wierd whenever you go to a different country. I fufilled my obligation tonight, whether or not it was horse.
Monday, January 09, 2006
A black police officer sued the British state for being overpromoted on the basis of his race. He says that he was given jobs above his ablility, and that lead to him getting black-marks on his record. This is perfectly understandable, and it happens a lot, but I'm not sure that suing is the best idea...I'm usually against frivolous law-suits. Maybe this will make the point and we won't need any more?
Update: Unfortunately, this was too good to be true...but in other news, OBL now has a book club we can all join after we make a truce!!!!
From this editorial, but I only really like this part.
Much of the world had long lost interest in Israel's right to a secure life, and perceived only the costs the Palestinians were inflicting on themselves for their unremitting aggression. It became commonplace to demonize Sharon as a right-winger, to liken him to Hitler, and to stage trials for his alleged war crimes. In the end, he had a riposte as unexpected as it was magnificent. Security, he now concluded, necessitated a two-state solution. Israel would build a security fence, withdraw its settlements from Gaza and the more exposed parts of the West Bank, and leave Israelis and Palestinians each to conduct their business as they see fit. Should the Palestinians at last acquire a state of their own, Sharon will have done more to bring it about than any Palestinian, Arafat included, ever did.
Such a program was not a reversal of his lifelong view, but an imaginative fulfillment of it. Putting it in place, he oversaw the reluctant expulsion of some 9,000 Israelis from Gaza, he broke with his political colleagues, and founded a new party, Kadima, whose essential purpose is to make the two-state solution a reality, difficult as this will prove for his successors. This lone ranger had the authority to achieve so huge a political shake-up because most Israelis knew from experience that they could entrust their security to him. His departure from the scene at this perilous moment is a reminder that history is a matter of great individuals and courageous choices.
The Menace of Clean Air: CLEANER AIR MAY SPEED GLOBAL WARMING, the New York Times headlined last week. Huh? The apparently nutty story reports the British technical journal Nature contains a study showing that air pollution prevents global warming; with air pollution declining markedly in Western nations at least, global warming would be expected to accelerate. Actually this is quite logical. Air pollution contains soot and other tiny dark particles that hang in the air and reflect sunlight back into space. As air pollution declines and the sky becomes clearer, more sunlight reaches the ground. This suggests polluted sky would tend to cool the Earth, while clean sky would tend to allow warming. So maybe it's not such a mystery why global mean temperatures declined in the first half of the 20th century, then rose in the second half. In the first half of the 20th century, thick, dark smoke pollution from unregulated coal-burning was ubitquitous in Western nations -- London's killer smog of 1952 killed several thousand people, while a blanket of coal-burning smog killed 21 people in Dorona, Pennsylvania, in 1948. Significant areas of the planet were shrouded in pollution-caused clouds during the first half of the last century, and these clouds reflected away sunlight.So what if it did come from an article about football? It's good stuff.
Decades of ever-more-complex pollution-control mechanisms on power plants, vehicles and industrial facilities have eliminated smoke pollution in the Western world, though this scourge continues in China and India, while greatly reducing fine soot. All forms of air pollution have declined dramatically in the United States: Overall air pollution is down 36 percent in the last 15 years alone, despite big increases in population, economic output and energy use. And despite the commonly heard political claim that George W. Bush has "rolled back" or in some way softened the Clean Air Act -- it's the reverse, Bush has issued a series of rulings making the Clean Air Act more strict -- air pollution has continued its trend of decline during the Bush presidency. (Links to the relevant trend studies are here.)
So the air is getting cleaner, which will accelerate global warming. Clean air -- it's hazardous! Talk about postmodern concepts. The new study didn't surprise me because 16 years ago yours truly wrote, for the Los Angeles Times, an article warning about such zany interaction of pollutants. My 1989 article noted that declining air pollution would be expected to accelerate global warming. I also noted that one reason ultraviolet radiation from stratospheric ozone depletion never caused the predicted harm is that ground-level ozone in urban smog reflected away the UV rays. But watch out, I wrote in 1989: "This means it's only safe to sunbathe in a smoggy location such as Los Angeles, not in some dangerously clean place like Hawaii." Today that zany equilibrium has shifted. Los Angeles air quality has improved very dramatically -- just one stage-one ozone alert in Los Angeles in the last six years, versus 100 or so per year during the 1970s -- while stratospheric ozone depletion is no longer a threat owing to the ban on CFCs. Anyway it sounds weird, but the fact that air quality keeps improving really is one of the reasons climate change is becoming more of a concern.
Skin cancer isn't only for Hawaii anymore!
Nature note: This journal is generally considered the world's number-two hard-science publication, following the American journal Science. Surely Nature yields to no one when it comes to dense-ness -- the current issue contains, for example, a paper titled "Genomic Sequence of the Pathogenic and Allergenic Filamentous Fungus Aspergillus Fumigatus ." (The paper lists 98 authors.) Yet Nature also offers podcasts http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/index.html. You might want to download the Christmas special podcast: "Why dancing and sex go hand-in-hand, how reindeer beat winter blues, pursuing the star of Bethlehem, wines that rock and saving the spirit of tequila."
And if you were wondering about my comment concerning global warming from above. Every single thing you do causes global warming. In fact, every action that happens on the planet causes global warming as well. It has to do with the principal of enthropy. All energy eventually becomes heat, and every time we use energy, to work on a computer, to move our legs, we are causing more heat. So there.
Today is the first day of our class...which sucks...but the class should actually be one of the better lit classes possible. All lit classing involve reading and writing about books...but we're going to read a lot, and write little...and all that will be intersperced with wine-tastings and pasta bars...excellent.
I need to go to class now...hello to everyone back at home! I hope the snow is wonderful...make a snowman for me! And go skiing...since it's too expensive for me here.
Anyway, class is calling me downstairs...
He is, of course, trying to tie into the myth of Che Guevara, someone who is much more popular now that he is dead. I should also add that Che is popular in places that didn't have to deal with him (Europe and America, rather than Cuba or South America).
The ever-lovable sub-commandante (who is actually a professor) has modernized his immage a bit. When he started his charade, opps, campaign, Mexico was a one party 'democracy' but now it's healthy again, and there will soon be a general election. Marcos has changed his title from sub-commandante to Delegate Zero. I guess, since he's calling the tour 'the other campaign', that's supposed to be a reference to the wealth of choice he feels mexican's have in the election. Or maybe he's commenting on his own electability. He has also turned in his face-mask for a reflective helmet. Well, he had, until he turned in the bike for a car...on the second day of the tour.
The best part of the story so far, in my opinion, is the caption a centrist mexican newspaper (called Reforma, which is a wierd name for a paper in the center) put next to a picture of him on his bike. "Did somebody order a pizza? No! It's Marcos!"
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Verona is also cool...
not quite as cool, but since I'm going to be living here for a month, I'll be able to find all the cool places. I went on a whirlwind tour of the tourist stuff today, so I have my bearings straight. I'm just about to leave on a school sponsored dinner in town...I mean, they are paying for it. I'm really hungry, but I'm trying to contain myself now so I can take advantage of the free food.
Later, when I have reliable internet, I'll get back to posting real stuff, plus some travel updates. Although I can't think you really want to hear me drone on about how people think they're cold here, but it feels like late spring....
and I have to leave, now. Imediately.
Spelling is hard, so are mornings.
That is the last wisom I have for you. Goodbye for now.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Today I've been touring the colleges. I thought my schools were old. 1804ish and 1855 respectively...they would be considered the newest schools in oxford, except for one or two, maybe. I'm not 100% sure. I am sure that most here are old. It's a pretty cool place to be.
I think it just made my top ten cities list...
Gotta go...internet is free in the library, but you gotta be quick.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I'm sitting in a internet cafe in the basement of a buger king, on Picadilly Circus Square, London.
It's quite amazing that I'm still alive, actually.
Well, not exactly, but almost.
You see, I had a number of problems getting here, and I'm not quite sure I'll be able to get on my plane to italy friday, but I'm gonna give it the old college try, and we'll see what happens. Other than worries about my travels, the actually traveling has gone quite well.
I got cheated out of six hours of my life while I was on the airplane, and that caused me to miss the New Year. I'll be loosing a couple more hours before I end up back home, but they promised me that they would return every single stolen hour when I land in Washington DC, on Feb. 3'rd. Of course, no one can give me back New Year's Eve, but I can't figure out if that leave me ahead or behind...since I also had no dehydration induced headache to start the year off...only a baggage lost-induced one...but that was solved in a matter of hours.
The sights in London are amazing. I went to DC, and saw the white house and the capitol, and I was impressed. But they don't even deserve to be compared to Buckingham Palace and Parliament. Oh well...at least they're better than the war cabinet building and 10 downing street.
Have you any idea how expensive london is? I'm not complaining, just noticing. Everything looks like it costs the same, if you substitue the $ for the £. But, of course, pounds are worth almost twice as much as dollars, so you are really paying twice as much for stuff. But that's not the worst. I guess museums and hospitals can be subsidized by the government here, but subsidizing churches would contradict the separation of church and state. So, it ends up that seeing westminsters abbey costs 7£ for a student. Churches should be free, always. More on this later.
I've run out of time!
talk in the comments...I shall return!