Archive for May 24th, 2011

May 24, 2011

Need a Libertarian Candidate in 2012?

by thefulllidvmg

There is Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. I support Johnson. Here is a good read that explains why.

May 24, 2011

An Extreme Gun

by thefulllidvmg

TDW:

FPSRussia gets its hands on a Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft autocannon — the most powerful machine gun in the world that a civilian can own.

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May 24, 2011

Wincing For Sarah

by thefulllidvmg


When Jon Huntsman said that Sarah Palin represents and can relate to every American, I winced. Does she see America when she looks into the all white crowd? (Mind you, the minorities in the video were all working security/stadium crew).

May 24, 2011

Waning Support For Anti-Same-Sex Marriage Views

by thefulllidvmg

“We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that,” – Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family.

In part, I am looking forward to what my generation brings to the table as it grows and progresses. I know, however, that there will be downsides to my generation and everything will not be great with this “more open” mentality.

May 24, 2011

Fearing Change

by thefulllidvmg

“The reality, Mr. President, is that change – thanks to which you were elected, and in which you believe – is the thing that Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular fear most. The reality is that the State of Israel has become accustomed to the present situation and does not recognize itself without it. Israel has existed longer with the occupation than without it; it has existed for most of its years with no border and is deathly afraid of change,” – Merav Michaeli.

Hitting the nail on the head.

May 24, 2011

Belief

by thefulllidvmg

When we believe, we can run into some of this and that. Money quotes:

In my experience “I believe X” suggests that the speaker has chosen to affiliate with X, feeling loyal to it and making it part of his or her identity. The speaker is unlikely to offer much evidence for X, or to respond to criticism of X, and such criticism will likely be seen as a personal attack.

In his post Robin argued that people often convince themselves that they truly reconsider their strongly held beliefs, but what they do is false reconsideration with the real purpose of reassuring themselves and strengthening the belief. Before it was just a strong belief, but after false reconsideration it’s a strong belief that they’ve really, definitely, seriously reconsidered. But if you can’t  imagine yourself going through the day holding another set of competing beliefs than you never actually reconsidered it.

As mentioned in one of the reads, it may be better to say ‘I feel’ than ‘I believe’. They mention this because it makes clear the personal attachment. I would add that feel instead of believe takes away the broad brush-ness of, say, religious statements that in reality are subjective (then by default not objective) and are highly unlikely to have been shared with their religious forefathers thousands of years ago. Here is a decent thought to close on:

Conservatives, could you imagine becoming someone believes that higher taxes and unemployment insurance don’t hurt economic growth or employment? Liberals can you imagine becoming someone who believes that that minimum wages decrease employment and fiscal stimulus doesn’t work? If the answer is no, you should think about whether it’s because holding such a belief would conflict with your identity or affiliations.

May 24, 2011

Obama: Mafioso and a Nazi

by thefulllidvmg

“Obama has adopted in these speeches what might be termed the Mafia Gambit: the implied threat to Israel that either it accepts the ‘1967 Auschwitz borders’ or runs the gauntlet of UN recognition and further western delegitimisation… The fact is that, for all his ludicrous protestations of friendship towards Israel, Obama believes the Palestinians have a legitimate grievance over the absence of their state. He thus believes their propaganda of historical falsehoods and murderous blood libels. He therefore believes it is a just solution to reward murderous aggression. And that makes Obama a threat not just to Israel but to free societies everywhere,” – Melanie Phillips.

H/T: The Dish

May 24, 2011

The Length of American Laws

by thefulllidvmg

Ever wonder why they sometimes get so long?

They … aggregate the survey responses to measure the average ideology of various federal agencies.  And here’s where it gets really interesting.  When agencies are ideologically far from the average member of Congress, the longer and more detailed are the laws that Congress passes to govern that agency.  In other words, when an agency is ideologically distant from Congress, Congress appears to afford that agency less discretion, as manifest in its insistence on these detailed legal rules.

May 24, 2011

A Joke About the CIA, FBI and KGB

by thefulllidvmg

From the Dish, some political humor:

The KGB, the FBI and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at catching criminals. The Secretary General of the UN decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it. The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that the rabbit does not exist. The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and make no apologies: the rabbit had it coming. The KGB goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: “Okay! Okay! I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit!”

May 24, 2011

Food News: Packing Lunch is Banned & Global Food Shortages

by thefulllidvmg


Let’s start with the first interesting story: A Chicago school has banned packing lunches in hopes of having kids eat school lunch (which they label as more healthy). I wonder how legal this is, but I do know that schools give dozens of choices to eat and may be better in some (not all) cases for kids. (PicturedNPR – it comes from a slideshow of school foods from around the world)

Also, foreign countries are now buying land in Africa to grow crops for themselves.

May 24, 2011

China Bests Israel In Diplomatic Discourse

by thefulllidvmg

Think about how Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to Barack Obama in comparison to Hu Jintao of China. Who would of thought China would act more civil than Israel? Then again, China has many skeletons in (and outside of) it’s closet (as does Israel):

Think of this contrast: when China’s Hu Jintao came to Washington for a state visit, each of the countries had profound disagreements with the other. (Chinese leadershate the U.S. policy of continued arms sales to Taiwan, much more so than Netanyahu could sanely disagree with any part of Obama’s speech.) Neither China nor America is remotely as dependent on the other as Israel is on the United States. Yet Obama and Hu were careful to be as respectful as possible, especially in public, while addressing the disagreements. High-handed and openly contemptuous behavior like Netanyahu’s would have seemed hostile and idiotic from either side. As it is from him.

May 24, 2011

“Don’t Be Even Handed With Israel and Palestine”

by thefulllidvmg

So says the AIPAC chair. Wow:

“In a world which is demonstrably on the side of the Palestinians and Arabs – where Israel stands virtually alone – the United States has a special role to play,” said the AIPAC director. “When the United States is even-handed, Israel is automatically at a disadvantage, tilting the diplomatic playing field overwhelmingly toward the Palestinians and Arabs.”

May 24, 2011

Same-Sex Marriage: “A Choice, Not a Fate”

by thefulllidvmg

Andrew Sullivan explains like almost no one else can:

It has always seemed chilling to me that gay leftists – when pushed to say what they really believe –  want to keep gays in some sort of glorious, oppressed, marginalized position, until the majority agrees with the gay left’s view of human nature, and revolutionizes straight society as well. This will never happen (and in my view, shouldn’t).

Until then, the gay left focuses on demonizing those gays who argue for those who want to belong to their own families as equals, serve their country or commit to one another for life. In this, in my view, the gay left mirrors the Christianist right: they insist that otherness define the minority, even though most members of that minority are born and grow up in the heart of the American family, in all its variations, and of American culture, in all its permutations. No one should be marginalized for seeking otherness. But we are fighting for it to be a choice, not a fate.

He was responding to this piece:

Nobody is saying gay people have to get married—only that it should be a legal option if they want it. If you disagree with marriage, don’t get married.

This is good for the U.S. to think about because just as there are many nuances and shades in different religious groups (literal factual readers of The Bible vs. metaphorical historical readers of The Bible), there are some in the GLBT fold as well.

May 24, 2011

Long Overdue For The NYT?

by thefulllidvmg

They just now brought on their first openly-gay op-ed writer. I would have thought this would have happened before now with the NYT. Anyway, good news for them!

May 24, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Male Seahorse

by thefulllidvmg

Almost like an Onion article (not safe for work).

May 24, 2011

10 Epic Commencement Speakers

by thefulllidvmg

GOOD magazine has a list:

3. J.K. Rowling, Harvard University, 2008: In her speech, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” Rowling reflects on her experience writing herself out of poverty. She told graduates about the benefits of failure, saying, “failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”

May 24, 2011

A Thought Experiment

by cpmy3rs

I thought about attempting to explain the shift in the perception of the LGBT rights movement within the political class using a number of anecdotes, examples, and data. After a number of attempts I decided it was too much effort. Ultimately a simple thought experiment is easier.

You are an elected official. You’ve been on The Hill for the better part of a decade now and you have a loyal and dedicated staff. Among them is your Deputy Chief of Staff. He (or she) has been with you since the beginning — back when you were an off-message less-than-nothing in a crowded primary field fighting for the honor of losing to some jerk in a heavily gerrymandered district. Against all odds, you won. This staffer worked hundred hour weeks for almost no money to put you in office. Ever since then, he’s been one of your closest confidants — no matter whether the subject is political or personal, you talk about these things with your priest and wife, but for some matters you would trust this staffer’s word over theirs. One day, after a vote on a matter pertaining to LGBT rights, you notice something amiss and eventually you ask if there’s something wrong in his family.

“I’m gay,” he says dejectedly.

You regard yourself as a decent person and, while you’ve known for a long time that gay people existed, you never realized that one was in your office and in your life, helping you. You feel that you owe him an explanation of why you did what you did, but the stock answers aren’t cutting it as you go through them in your head.

What do you do?

Your initial moral inclination is to rationalize your prior beliefs. If you’ve even a minimally developed theological muscle, you ask yourself whether this person’s decent behavior toward you would excuse him of other serious crimes like murder which are also proscribed by your religion. You answer yourself no, it would not. Yet here this man is, standing and waiting for your response. You don’t honestly think of him as a murderer, and at this point you realize that you’re having a very difficult time justifying what you’ve done to civil law using civil reasons.

Obviously this is a thought experiment, and I’ve yet to hear of a case of this exact scenario happening, but it is well established that the views and preferences of staffers have an appreciable impact on those of their bosses (even if only passively.) I find it difficult to imagine that something similar does not exist here. Politicians, whatever we may think of them, are sometimes all too human (aren’t we all?) In instances like these, both in public and private life, I suspect that the discriminating party has felt guilt — or as a number of natural law scholars (most of whom would disagree with how many who engage this experiment in their personal lives end up deciding it) would call it, the faint stirrings of morality. Not merely the guilt of letting down a friend who was acting in a way thought to be immoral, but the uncertain and uneasy guilt associated with entering a state of reflective equilibrium. Regardless, I suspect that though a number of people would deny it, their moral inclinations have (over the past two decades) stirred in a rather different way than their religious ones.

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