Saturday, May 31, 2008
After having to console my intern who was emotionally assaulted (gangland style) by her Diversity course, I decided to create a blog to combat this sort of abuse of psychology students specifically and all other college students in general. In the course of doing so, I discovered a wonderful website, FORA.tv. This site hosts powerfully intellectual discussions from a diverse group of Libertarian and Conservative thinkers on every subject worthy of debate.
Firstly, I'd like to share my new blog, Truly Diverse, with the Junto Boys.
Secondly, I'd like to share just a taste of the 1000's of hours worth of quality lectures, speeches, and education from FORA.tv. Enjoy!
Friday, May 30, 2008
One of South America's few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru.
The Brazilian government says it took the images to prove the tribe exists and help protect its land.
Survival International says that although this particular group is increasing in number, others in the area are at risk from illegal logging.
Isn't the real risk that they are living in the stone age?
They show tribe members outside thatched huts, surrounded by the dense jungle, pointing bows and arrows up at the camera.
"We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist," the group quoted Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior, an official in the Brazilian government's Indian affairs department, as saying.
"This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence."
We're treating them like some rare animal instead of human beings.
He described the threats to such tribes and their land as "a monumental crime against the natural world" and "further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the 'civilised' ones, treat the world".
I love the quotes around civilized. We're the strange ones getting the most out of natural resources and curing diseases and such. Ah, if we only had the vision to live naked to the elements with our bows and arrows.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Our nations third largest political party may actually have a viable candidate this year. The Libertarian Party recently selected Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr as 2008 presidential nominee. If Bob gets at least 15% of the vote, then Federal election rules mandate that the Libertarian party would get matching dollars next presidential election and a spot in the debates. If there has ever been a Presidential election year that we needed an option, this is it. I for one am voting for Bob.
Denver - The Libertarian Party has nominated former Congressman Bob Barr as its candidate for president for the 2008 election.
"I'm sure we will emerge here with the strongest ticket in the history of the Libertarian Party," Barr stated in his victory speech shortly after being selected as the Party's nominee. "I want everybody to remember that we only have 163 days to win this election. We cannot waste one single day."
More than 650 Libertarian delegates met in Denver from May 22 till the 26 for the 2008 Libertarian National Convention. After six rounds of voting Sunday afternoon, Barr was selected as the Party's presidential nominee.
"We're proud to present to the American voters Bob Barr as our presidential nominee," says Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis. "While Republicans and Democrats will fight for their own power in November, Libertarians will fight for Americans. Bob Barr is one of the strongest candidates in the Party's 37-year history, and we look for him to have an enormous impact in the 2008 race. Republicans and Democrats have good reason to fear a candidate like Barr, who refuses to accept the 'business-as-usual' attitude of the current political establishment. Americans want and need another choice, and that choice is Bob Barr."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
John Stossel has a great article on McCain's global warming ideas and they get to the heart of why a McCain victory is a debatable victory for free market ideology. Money quote. . .
"Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, ... we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge".
This reminds me of the medieval king sending his best knights into the dark woods to sleigh dragons.
Now a sober view.
Roy W. Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and author of "Climate Confusion," says he's "increasingly convinced" that climate change has far more to do with natural phenomena like El Niño and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation than carbon dioxide. "Maybe the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is higher now than it has been in hundreds of thousands of years. So what?" he wrote in a recent article for the National Review.
"Even though there has never been a single scientific paper published that has ruled out natural variability for most of the warming we've seen since 1850, Big Science has managed to convince politicians and much of the public that the science is settled. Apparently, our addition of nine molecules of carbon dioxide to each 100,000 molecules of air over the last 150 years can now be blamed for anything and everything ... Hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, floods, glaciers flowing toward the sea ... these used to happen naturally, but no more".
Our unlimited faith in the government somehow supposes that the government is full of experts that know best. What if the government were full of hacks that use crisis as a means to spread their influence and gain power? Making that point is the function of the right wing candidate. Our guy seems to be eating lunch on the first supposition.
Remember when I posted the odds of the top 24 contestants? Here are the top twelve finalists in their order of finish with their original odds to win:
David Cook 14-1
David Archuleta 6-1
Syesha Mercado 14-1
Jason Castro 16-1
Brooke White 10-1
Carly Smithson 12-1
Kristy Lee Cook 10-1
Michael Johns 8-1
Ramiele Malubay 14-1
Chikezie Eze 10-1
Amanda Overmyer 14-1
David Hernandez 10-1
I never liked Hernandez though I think he could have Broadway success; Overmyer was a one-trick Janis Joplin clone who wore thin after a few songs; Eze was inconsistent but has a nice voice; Malubay has a great voice but horrible song choices, attempting every overblown diva composition; Johns' early exit was the biggest surprise of the season - he could easily be the next Robert Palmer; Kristy Lee Cook got a couple extra weeks due to her hotness but couldn't outlast the better performers; Smithson was one of the finest singers but failed to bring anything special to her songs; White has the southern California good girl vibe down but couldn't successfully stretch her range; Castro is a soft balladeer who just wanted to go home when the pressure set in; Mercado was the opposite, trying harder as she got closer to the goal line - she is a hottie with desire, no question she will be successful; Archuleta is a little muppet who sings for the old ladies and the little girls who don't know any better - sure he has a voice, but I found his interpretations vapid from the start; David Cook was clearly the best performer of this bunch and it is good to see that he won because he deserves it. I might even download his album when it comes out.
Monday, May 19, 2008
POPE IS GETTING US READY FOR INVASION FORCEFrankly there is only one way to read this story, The Vatican (via the Pope on his recent U.S. Visit) was informed of the pending invasion force by superior alien force. He is attempting to soften the ecclesiastical tempest by preparing us psychologically.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican's chief astronomer says there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of "extraterrestrial brothers" perhaps more evolved than humans. "In my opinion this possibility (of life on other planets) exists," said Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, a 45-year-old Jesuit priest who is head of the and a scientific adviser to .
"How can we exclude that life has developed elsewhere," he told thenewspaper in an interview in its Tuesday-Wednesday edition, explaining that the large number of galaxies with their own planets made this possible.
Asked if he was referring to beings similar to humans or even more evolved than humans, he said: "Certainly, in a universe this big you can't exclude this hypothesis."
In the interview headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother," he said he saw no conflict between belief in such beings and faith in God.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I have listened to (too) many political speeches over the past months. Most of them sound like somebody reading a speech. McCain especially. He is a terrible, terrible speaker, and that, more than any policy positions, could link him to Bush in the impression-centers of voters. I still wince at the sound of Hillary but, through exposure, no longer so violently. I disagree with almost everything Obama says, used to find him endearing anyway, and now hear mostly populism, self-promotion and condescension. As the frontrunner his content has (again) become safe and remote. The philosopher-king is fueled by his contempt for the ignorant masses.
Neither Obama nor his party seems to understand how incentives motivate human behavior — not force, not coercion, not mockery, not nursery-school regulation, but real possibilities of good fruits up ahead for free and responsible actions. They do not understand the wellsprings of a virtuous, free, and prosperous society. They are still entangled in the fantasies of the European Left of 150 years ago.
Thus, Obama is now the creature and the prisoner of the American far Left, which has learned nothing from the failures of socialist and statist and anti-capitalist ideas during the past hundred years. Many leftists learn nothing, know nothing, and propel themselves not with practical wisdom, but with outrage and contempt and a desire to punish those who do not agree with them.
Obama's content smacks of contempt and a desire to punish. "Windfall profit taxes"?! He and Hill want to punish profitable oil companies rather than free them up to find and deliver more oil. I don't care how much they make if they can get a tank of gas back to $45.00. The more holes they make in Mother Earth, the better I like it. He wants to tax the rich, the dirty bastards. He wants to punish America and Americans for being successful. Uncle Sam will solve all my problems if I will just sit quietly and hand nice Mr. Obama the keys.
My most hopeful moments derive from imagining that Obama, as president, will be dissuaded from acting as he now says that he will. In that way, God will once again take care of those who are drunk on statist illusions, and He will once again take care of the United States, despite itself. It is when I take Obama at his word that pessimism floods over my heart.
Obama's is the same losing message, but in a year when the deck is stacked mightily against the incumbent party. I hate to think of a President Obama and a 60% override, but I can't see McCain getting out the vote. His message is confused and he sounds like a tired old man. He is trying to be what his advisers are telling him to be, rather than who he is, and that is rarely a recipe for success. The best I can hope for is that we get real about who Obama is and who McCain is, and agree that McCain is less bad than Obama. I have always thought that Obama was a bad candidate, in the same ways that Gore and Kerry were bad candidates, but that only helps if the Republican candidate is good, or at least above average, which this one isn't. I try to tell myself it doesn't matter, who is our next President doesn't matter, but I can't get me to listen.
Bush speaking in Israel.
ABC News' Ed O'Keefe Reports: The Obama campaign is taking issue with a comment President Bush made while speaking to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's statehood.
"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," the President said to the country's legislative body, "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is –- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
I heard this comment on NPR and my first thought was Bush was talking about Europe.
In a statement, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shot across the bow: "It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 6Oth anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack.
Only a cheap two-bit politician would use Israel's birth to knock a humble man such as myself, albeit between the lines.
It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel.
So let me use the event of Israel's birth to knock a fellow politician by name.
Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power -- including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy - to pressure countries like Iran and Syria.
Tough talk in no action? That is Bush alright. Saddam still in power after all these years, Khaddafi building a WMD program, and attack after attack on U.S. soil.
George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the President's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."
Maybe that is why Bush didn't name you as an appeaser. Maybe he meant someone else. Maybe your own words and actions implicate you instead.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I get annoyed by misspellings in the news networks' graphics and crawls, but this item in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday took lack of editorial oversight to a new level.
It's a victory in the sense that I'm here," Clark said after leaving the practice field at the Steelers' South Side facility. "That's the victory. The rest, as they say in Louisiana, is laying you up, it's extra." [emphasis added]
Ok, so I can forgive Pittsburghers for not being familiar with lagniappe (lan-yap). But "laying you up"? They say that in Louisiana? They say that anywhere? What, it must be some black lingo that doesn't have to make any sense? Worse, the error has not been corrected in the online article 24 hours later. I've accepted that we don't care about spelling any more, but do we also not care whether written statements make any sense?
The Wall Street Journal says yes.
What's going to stop the housing decline? Very simply, the same thing that caused the bust: affordability.
The boom made housing unaffordable for many American families, especially first-time home buyers. During the 1990s and early 2000s, it took 19% of average monthly income to service a conforming mortgage on the average home purchased. By 2005 and 2006, it was absorbing 25% of monthly income. For first time buyers, it went from 29% of income to 37%. That just proved to be too much.
Prices got so high that people who intended to actually live in the houses they purchased (as opposed to speculators) stopped buying. This caused the bubble to burst.
Since then, house prices have fallen 10%-15%, while incomes have kept growing (albeit more slowly recently) and mortgage rates have come down 70 basis points from their highs. As a result, it now takes 19% of monthly income for the average home buyer, and 31% of monthly income for the first-time home buyer, to purchase a house. In other words, homes on average are back to being as affordable as during the best of times in the 1990s. Numerous households that had been priced out of the market can now afford to get in.
The logic is simple. New houses became unaffordable for too many people. Now they are affordable again and people will start buying them. How do we know that? Because they always do.
Some argue that prices are still way too high compared to historical averages, and they are high, but people buy mortgages not houses, and the deciding factor is how much of their monthly income will go toward the mortgage. That we are a nation living on credit is a separate issue.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I had to return something at Best Buy tonight and I was already in a sour mood of sorts. Sir Saunders called me on the way and he told me about his grandmother’s funeral and it sounded like such beautiful event with much love. It improved my mood just talking to him which is usually the case. We were still on the phone when the Best Buy door guy tags my return with a sticker and I head to the line.
As I get closer to customer service I see that no one is at any register, then coming up on my right is a guy with a big Bose box. As we both get closer he speeds up to try and beat me there. Now I’m on the phone and only half take in what’s happening. Steve and I are discussing whether we can go biking Saturday and still make niece Maddie’s first birthday party. So as this guy tries to beat me to the line, by instinct I speed up to and beat the guy to the register.
He says to me, “I need to sit this on the counter” so I move up a few feet and continue with Saunders. Not long after a girl comes to the register and helps him. He doesn’t say anything. Saunders, I think, can tell that I’m distracted and we end the phone conversation.
I'm sure most people would have said nothing, but you know me. So I said, “Hey, why did you cut in front of me. You said you wanted to sit your box on the counter?”
He said, “I was here first.”
I said, “You were behind me.”
He said, “She already had my paperwork.”
The cashier said not a thing during the exchange. And even though he was a bigger guy than me, he sheepishly left on the paperwork line and hustled to the door.
Looking back, the way he tried to get ahead of me makes sense if he was worried about being in an awkward position, because he was mid-transaction, and no authority figure was present to vouch for him.
I’ve been in similar situations before. I wait my turn in line and when the customer service person returns he/she decides whether to bring me to the front of the line. I don’t take it for granted that I am next when the only other person in line has never seen me. He could have set his box on the floor and waited for her to return.
More importantly, if you ask a person to let you sit something on the counter and then it looks like you took that opportunity to jump the line, the answer isn’t I was here first, but you apologize for the misunderstanding and then explain. And I think that was the uncomfortable part, his having to explain the situation to a scary stranger. This wasn’t some kid, but a guy around 40 years old and he looked successful.
That's what makes this story interesting to me. He's too proud for a humble explanation and yet a part of him acts like he did something wrong and he needs to defend himself. He's lost without an authority figure.
This is very insightful. Obvious when he points it out, but he's the only one to have pointed it out.
This week we learned the limit of a dream in American politics. At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman.
No prominent black clergyman came forth to make even the simple point that Jeremiah Wright's notion of the "black church" is but one point on a spectrum of faith. Rev. Wright, now written off as a virtual nut case, got more support from black clergymen than did Obama.
Barack Obama was bleeding by Monday and needed cover. Where, when he could have used them, were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers: Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Oprah, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Jay Rockefeller, John Lewis, Toni Morrison, Roger Wilkins, Eric Holder, Robert Reich, Ted Sorenson, Alice Walker, David Wilhelm, Cornel West, Clifford Alexander, Donald McHenry, Patricia Wald, Newton Minow?
Where were all the big-city mayors who went over to the Obama camp: Chicago's Richard Daley, Cleveland's Frank Jackson, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin, Washington's Adrian Fenty, Newark's Cory Booker, Baltimore's Sheila Dixon?
It isn't hard for big names to get on talk TV to make a point. Any major op-ed page would have stopped the presses to print a statement of support from Ted Kennedy or such for the senator. None appeared. Call it profiles in gopher-holing.
Operation Chaos is working to perfection.
The list is long this week of supporters who let Barack Obama hang out to dry. More than a few were last seen running out on Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the solution here is for the two soloists to meet, flip a coin, and spend the next six months as a pair running against John McCain. It looks like they're the only friends they've got.