Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wizard of Oz Fears

I am watching (on and off) Bravo's "100 Scariest Moments in Film."

They mention The Wizard of Oz, and I can't help but remember the scene that terrified me as a child, and which in fact, as I recall, made me quit watching once or twice.

It wasn't the monkeys, or the Winkies (the Yeo-he-ho soldiers), or the Witch.

It was the poppies.

Why? Because they were described as "posion," and I was terrified of poison.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Andrew Sullivan's Strange Theology

This line from Andrew Sullivan's recent post on ex-gay McClurkin's appearance at an Obama rally:

No, he doesn't say anything homophobic as such. He uses the usual formula of loving those he wants to be other than they are - which is a very funny kind of love.

Does Sullivan think that it is impossible to love someone and at the same time believe that they have flaws that need to be corrected? He seems to imply that either you condone everythign a person does, or else you do not love them.

Of course, maybe his disagreement is that he thinks that homosexuality is not a thing you do, but who you are. But even if we assume that to be the case, can only morally neutral or morally positive attributes define one's identity? Do not people with tendencies that Andrew would agree are destructive exist (e.g. alcoholics, pedophiles)? Are these tendencies not part of the identity of such people? Would he insist that we encourage them not to change who they are? Alternately, would he insist that they should change, but that in saying so, he does not love them, and furthermore that he only loves them when they do?

Or does his idea that it is strange to claim to love someone and want them to change only apply to homosexuality?

It is one thing simply to claim that McClurkin is wrong to consider homosexuality sinful. In such a case, there is nothing inconsistent of unusual about McClurkin's position. There is nothing unusual about him loving people and at the same time wanting them to change aspects of their identity he considers sinful. This is not inconsistent even if the things he wants to change are fundamental aspects of their identity. The only issue here is whether his belief in the sinfulness of homosexuality is accurate or erroneous. Even if McClurkin is wrong, it does not make his love "a funny kind of love," it just means that his good intentions and love are directed erroneously due to a doctrinal error.

However, Andrew has gone beyond simply disagreeing with McClurkin about one piece of doctrine; he is essentially saying that if you love someone, you must condone everything they do. This either means condoning all behavior or not loving people until they measure up to whatever moral standards you believe exist.

Andrew is the one who is defining "love" strangely in this post.

That is all.

It IS Unfair that California Only Gets Two Senate Seats

Obviously, it should be split into smaller states so each will have two Senators.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More on the Constitution Party

Here is the electoral breakdown of this map.

On ballot: 157 electoral votes
Gathering signatures: 65 electoral votes
Not yet started: 148 electoral votes
Cannot start yet: 163 electoral votes
Uncertain status: 5 electoral votes

That is all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Duncan Hunter

I must say that after the debate on Sunday, my opinion of Duncan Hunter has changed somewhat.

Despite the fact that I don't think I exactly agree with him on trade (I'm more toward free trade myself, although I think we may need some tariffs for revenue purposes), I think that his discussion of trade policy, particularly "mirror trade" did add something to the debate that was not added by any other candidate. So he is more than a shadow of Tancredo.

That is all.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Constitution Party Ballot Access 2008

On the off chance that Ron Paul is not the Republican nominee, I am still following the Constitution Party. (And givning it donations from time to time).

My only concern about the Paul campaign is that if it sucks up all of the money that would go to right-wing third paties, then the third parties might not have a chance to get ballot access if he is not nominated.

So here is my ballot access map as of August 2008. Data is from Ballot Access News.


Not bad for 15 months ahead of the election.

That is all.

Ampersand Likes to See Whites Get Beaten Up by Blacks

He "really doesn't like" this Ted Rall cartoon, presumably because he finds it annoying that Ted Rall brings up the fact that the adolescents charged in the Jena Six incident BEAT A GUY UNCONSCIOUS.

He then prints a sappy passage from an "excellent post" by Elle PhD where Mychal Bell is referred to as "a child."

Apparently, Ampersand doesn't really care much about the victim of this beating, and probably thinks that he deserved it for being a privileged white guy. At least, he doesn't want anyone to bring up any inconvenient facts into his narrative of white = evil oppressor black = angelic victim.

That is all.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thomas of RedState: I'm a Whiny Little Coward

Wah, wah, wah.

That is all.

Alas, A Blog Shows the True Face of Unadulterated Leftism

After asserting essentially that genetic differences between the races cannot even be considered, at least when talking about intelligence, Mandolin proceeds to prove my comment on evo-psych deniers:

Whenever someone denigrates evolutionary psychology, what they really mean is "I thought the whole point of evolution was just to deny God. I didn't think it was actually supposed to tell us anything."

And of course, the thread has the usual moderation disclaimer to make certain that they don't havce to deal with anyone questioning their precious suppositions (becausse leftists think that any disagreement must be due to the magical state called "privilege."

And, wouldn't you know it, Mandolin confirms one of John Savage's theories.

That is all.


Was David Kelly murdered?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to LRC blog.

That is all.


I am starting to think that "African-American" (or "of African descent" when referring to non-Americans) is a better term to use than "black," despite its origins in politcal correctness.

This is because it frames the issue of race more appropriately, as one of ancestry rather than one of one particular physical difference. So people can't keep saying "duh- so you are saying that having darker skin causes behavioral differences?" No, darker skin is just one marker for race - which is about who your ancestors were, not about skin color, or hair shape, etc.

That is all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SubPrime Mortgages

Reading this, a cartoon came to mind that I read a few months ago on a liberal blog.

Looking at the cartoon, it is interesting to note the subtext: Everyone is entitled to a house and one cannot be secure without one, but not everyone is able to afford one under reasonable conditions (i.e. without paying astronomical rent). Therefore, everyone should be given a house, either in whole or in part (that is, subsidized), presumably by the government.

That's not exactly what is said, of course, but that is what the message amounts to.

The possibility that not everyone needs a house and that people ought to wait to get one does not appear to be the dominant mode of thought.

That is all.

Thoughts About the GOP Race

Accoding to this, Sen. Brownback is planning on dropping out of the GOP race.

I think that this is a good idea. Moreover, I think that Brownback ought to endorse Mike Huckabee, as they seem to be the closest on the issues.

As I see it, Brownback and Duncan Hunter are essentially lesser versions of Huckabee and Tom Tancredo, respectively, and they do not add anything to the race. Therefore, unless they can show significant polling numbers, I see no reason for them to keep running (whereas if they had unique interesting positions, I could justify their staying in the race despite low poll numbers because of what they added to the debate; for example, Tom Tancredo brings up the big picture on immigration in a way that no other candidate does and Ron Paul brings up monetary policy and non-interventionism).

Hunter should drop out and endorse Tancredo, in my opinion.

It is, of course, more likely that Brownback will endorse one of the big three in hopes of kissing up to power, which is sad, because I think that Huckabee would add something interesting to the race if he could consolidate the "compassionate social conservative" vote.

Update: Andrew Sullivan seems to be suggesting the same thing as I am about Brownback vis a vis Huckabee.

That is all.

Th Insipid Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson wants to overturn Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion via a lawsuit.

Completely ignoring the issue of whether or not the SCHIP expansion is a good idea, ths strikes me as a totally asinine move.

The fact of the matter is, there is no legal requirement that the president let any SCHIP funding bill pass. Health care is not guaranteed as an inalienable right to be protected by the governemnt in our constitution.

So there is no legal standing for Governor Richardson to sue. It is not as if Bush signed the bill and then used executive orders and whatnot to undermine it. His power to veto legislation is enshrined in the Constitution, and ihe has the power to veto whatever he wants.

If you read the article, you will discover that nowhere in the article does Richardson explain the legal basis for his suit. That is becuase there is none.

So it is a totally asinine move. The obvious political reason is that he is running for President, and as a governor he does not have the power to directly counter Bush (by voting to override his veto) the way that Obama or Hillary do.

So he is trying to jump on the "me, too" bandwagon with this ridiculous lawsuit.

That is all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thoughts on Turkey's Genocide Denial

While I can understand that at this time we wouldn't want to alienate them by actually passing a resolution, if we are going to softpedal Turkey's mass-murder against the Armenians, I think we ought to shut up about Ahmedinejad's Hoilocaust skepticism, unless of course we are just intending to use six million dead Jews as a prop to launch an aggressive war against a country that was not involved in their killing. (In which case we are announcing to the Armenians that they might as well go and screw themselves).

That is all.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

McCain and the Magic Word

Not that I would ever vote for him, but McCain made a very important point in the economic debate on Tuesday.

As one of the main things I hope for with the Paul candidacy is that he will bring isues to the floor that no one else will touch (e.g. the Federal Reserve), I must give credit when someone else brings up a point that no one else wants to explain.

In the debate, when McCain talked about ethanol bio-fuel, he said the magic word that needs to be said whenever anyone wants to seriously think about ethanol as a supplement to our energy supply.


Any realistic attempt to get any benefit from ethanol bio-fuel will almost certainly require us to use sugarcane-based ethanol - which will almost certainly have to be imported. Corn is simply to inefficient.

That is all.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dinsingenuous Atheism

People who claim "I don't believe in labels" tend to strike me as rather pretentious. Generally it seems to me that this is a disingenuous attempt to avoid associations with an idea or categorization that is unpopular, rather than standing up an owning it.

In this vein, I find the speech by Sam Harris that Andrew Sullivan is quoting rather unimpressive:

Attaching a label to something carries real liabilities, especially if the thing you are naming isn't really a thing at all. And atheism, I would argue, is not a thing. It is not a philosophy, just as "non-racism" is not one. Atheism is not a worldview—and yet most people imagine it to be one and attack it as such. We who do not believe in God are collaborating in this misunderstanding by consenting to be named and by even naming ourselves.

Ah, but atheism is a thing.

It is a category.

While atheism is not a worldview or a philosophy, it is certainly a legitimate category of worldviews or philosophies. Atheism is a category of beliefs that share one common element: the denial of the existence of God. Not labelling "atheists" as such is a rather Orwellian way of trying to define the terms of the debate.

Certainly there are other categories comparable to atheism that, while not a philosophy or worldview, nonetheless do exist within clearly recognizable borders.

Monotheism and polytheism come to mind. Sam Harris himself offers one: non-racism. For that matter, fatalism, belief in reincarnation, pragmatism, and a hot of other things can also be called categories, even if they do not represent the entirety of a worldview or philosophy.

I am not sure where this aversion to naming one's self came from. But unlike Andrew, I find it intellectually dishonest to eschew labels (although it is perfectly sound to be opposed to a particular taxonomy of labels, e.g. the current understaning of "conservative" and "liberal").

That is all.