Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

November 22, 2016

Post-Election: Learning About Our Country

by WIZ

trumpoThis is my first post in 5 years. I vowed to take a reading sabbatical and focus on books over electronic posts. In that time we have had 2 presidential elections, I took a director job in a new area, and started/finished a Masters degree. A lot has worked through my mind in those 5 years. More recently, I have read a lot pertaining to the election and needed to get it out in writing.

Many people believe we live in a new and different country, one they do not recognize or thought still existed. I don’t think a new country could have formed overnight. This change has been fermenting for anywhere between 8 and 30 years.

I voted for Hillary. I didn’t think she was perfect but I admired her views and convictions and respected her experience. I was turned off by Donald’s rhetoric that emboldened hate and nervous we would make the most powerful person in the world hold a job they had zero qualifications for. While Hillary has nearly 2 million more popular votes than Donald, the electoral college vote gave Donald the win. He is our president.

There are a variety of responses to this new reality. Donald supporters can boast, Hillary supporters can vent, or we can work to understand each side. I wish to understand the thinking and desires of Donald supporters. I refuse to believe all Donald supporters are racist and uneducated (exit polls have shown that 30% of women voted for Donald and a similar amount of Hispanics did too).

I have found various media outlets to be either helpful or harmful in this effort to understand. Many blogs report every single solitary tweet by Donald or his “alleged” supporters, making it seem that all they are and do is reduced to offensiveness. Meanwhile I find many posts by David Brooks to be balanced and helpful. Brooks highlights the tendency to reduce people to caricatures (emphasis in bold is mine):

Large parts of popular culture — and pretty much all of stand-up comedy — consist of reducing people to one or another identity and then making jokes about that generalization. The people who worry about cultural appropriation reduce people to an ethnic category and argue that those outside can never understand it. A single identity walls off empathy and the imagination.
We’re even seeing a wave of voluntary reductionism. People feel besieged, or they’re intellectually lazy, so they reduce themselves to one category. Being an evangelical used to mean practicing a certain form of faith. But “evangelical” has gone from being an adjective to a noun, a simplistic tribal identity that commands Republican affiliation.
Unfortunately, if you reduce complex individuals to one thing you’ll go through life clueless about the world around you. People’s classifications now shape how they see the world.

I do not have answers to why each and every person voted for Donald. Truth is I never will. I personally would find it hard to trust his promises when he has never made any political promises before, trust his alleged ethics when he has flip flopped more than Mitt Romney, or simply vote enthusiastically for someone just because Hillary was anathema.

Trump has somewhat changed since winning the election. His 60 minutes interview shows a more somber personality, but his daily attacks on media resembles single party authoritarianism.

It’s been two weeks since the election. The raw emotion has begun to go away for me. I am willing to listen and learn. Let’s do this together.

September 15, 2011

A Reading Sabbatical

by WIZ

I decided this week that I would take an indefinite reading sabbatical. What does this mean? I am going to steer away from my daily online reading, which if you didn’t know, consists of a about two dozen or so blogs and online media outlets, as well as my own blogging/online writing, and start to chip away at my “to read” book list. This has been long overdue on my part. I have a hard time balancing both reading outlets (electronic and paper) and feel more pulled towards books at this point in life. The frenzy that I feel I get caught up in with blogs and the general media cycle can fall to the wayside for a while. I will still check a few blogs that I go to for pictures and articles that I can’t resist.

I will keep you all updated as to my return. There are some articles written here from time to time by other authors. Look for them!

August 31, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“[W]omen in Congo have enough home-grown problems without importing irrelevant, Western controversies. While both the pill and condoms are generally available in larger cities such as Goma, access is limited in rural districts. … Contraceptives do not solve every problem. But women in Bweremana want access to voluntary family planning for the same reasons as women elsewhere: to avoid high-risk pregnancies, to deliver healthy children and to better care for the children they have. And this is a pro-life cause,” –Michael Gerson.

August 30, 2011

Flooding, Evacuations, and Delayed Snorkeling?

by WIZ

H/T: WW

August 30, 2011

Don’t try to make me feel guilty about being selfish!

by WIZ

H/T: White Whine

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August 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

– Steve Jobs

A quote from Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement address about the creative value of dot-connecting and cross-disciplinary curiosity.

(via curiosity counts)

August 8, 2011

I’m still here

by WIZ

Summer continues to draw me away from the computer. I am not complaining. Sorry for those of you that really rely on the postings. I can’t guarentee a certain amount of posts per day or week but that what is posted is solid.

I hope to take some of my summer and blog about it. Much of it has revolved around music. I may post some lists on albums that have struck me as great. I may do the same with some books. I’ve also enjoyed turning my laptop wallpaper into a slideshow based off of different blog’s pictures of the day. Welp, that’s all for now.

June 13, 2011

Comments Are On

by WIZ

I figured I’d give them a try. Comment away.

June 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“In 1989 Joseph Brodsky gave a commencement address at Dartmouth College on the subject of boredom that has a higher truth quotient than any such address I have ever heard (or, for that matter, have myself given). Brodsky told the 1,100 Dartmouth graduates that, although they may have had some splendid samples of boredom supplied by their teachers, these would be as nothing compared with what awaits them in the years ahead. Neither originality nor inventiveness on their part will suffice to defeat the endless repetition that life will serve up to them, as it has served up to us all. Evading boredom, he pointed out, is a full-time job, entailing endless change—of jobs, geography, wives and lovers, interests—and in the end a self-defeating one. Brodksy therefore advises: “When hit by boredom, go for it. Let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom.”

The lesson boredom teaches, according to Brodsky, is that of one’s own insignificance, an insignificance brought about by one’s own finitude. We are all here a short while, and then—poof!—gone and, sooner or later, usually sooner, forgotten. Boredom “puts your existence into perspective, the net result of which is precision and humility.” Brodsky advised the students to try “to stay passionate,” for passion, whatever its object, is the closest thing to a remedy for boredom. But about one’s insignificance boredom does not deceive. Brodsky, who served 18 months of hard labor in the Soviet Union and had to have known what true boredom is, closes by telling the students that “if you find this gloomy, you don’t know what gloom is.”

“Boredom,” as Peter Toohey writes, “is a normal, useful, and incredibly common part of human experience.” Boredom is also part of the human condition, always has been, and, if we are lucky, always will be.

Live with it.”

Joseph Epstein on boredom. His whole piece is long but worth checking out.

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June 5, 2011

This and That

by WIZ

June 1, 2011

Does Mentioning Racial Disparities Make One a Racist?

by WIZ

Some would say yes in the case of Rush Limbaugh. Many of his analogies on his radio show are race-laden (“Obama is working for reparations with his new health care bill“). His logic generally looks like this:

Let’s see, we’ve got a black president, and I’ve been implicated in several racially tinged controversies, so why not compare him to a slave holder? Plus I can riff off his Abraham Lincoln complex by adding that he’s actually more like a Confederate. Ha. Comparing our first black president to Jefferson Davis! That will get ’em going.

Conor Friedersdorf makes an important note about Rush Limbaugh (and other talk radio hosts on the right). He conducted email interviews with GOP county chairmen across the country and had this one response:

Their listeners do not always or ever understand that they are entertainers. I’m not discounting their ability to formulate opinion or the good they might do as watchdogs. However, we must understand that in order for them to be successful, they have to have good ratings. Their decisions therefore are not based on the good of the Republican Party, but on how certain subject matters will affect ratings. We have to clearly delineate between members of the Republican Party and entertainers. We should be careful to ensure that people do not feel they are speaking for the Republican Party.

Now, on to the left.
Bill O’Reilly continues to make the identical claim of race-bating with Barack Obama. O’Reilly claims that Obama’s poor choices of churches to attend brings him again and again into the presence of reverends turned race activists. This, O’Reilly argues, makes Obama the inciter of (or supporter of inciting) racial disparities and he should be the last one to support racist incitements since he “has made it” through the Ivy League’s and into the Oval Office.

I come away with this question: should Obama never support racial equality since he has made a nice life for himself and his family?

After looking at both sides, the far right with Rush Limbaugh and the racially activist side with Obama’s preachers, I can see it as unfair to quickly label Rush as the racist. Rev. Jeremiah Wright did make some harsh criticisms of America that included racial injustices spanning America’s history. However, with both examples from their respective sides, you have to ask what their goals are from their diatribes. Are they pushing for the topic of race to be discussed openly or higher entertainment ratings? An even better question is if these two sides are ostensibly hoping to play racial peacemaker but the money, fame, or power is the real goal underneath it all.

June 1, 2011

Adele Does Angrybirds

by WIZ
May 26, 2011

“The Tucson Shootings Never Actually Happened”

by WIZ

Up comes another conspiracy theory.

May 22, 2011

Failed Rapture Details

by WIZ

All of them and more here.

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May 14, 2011

New Name

by WIZ

Pretty self explanatory.

March 31, 2011

The Dark Knight Chase Scene

by WIZ

Enjoy this awesome scene from one of my favorite movies.

March 31, 2011

A Yankee, A Met, and a Phillie Fan

by WIZ

“A Phillies fan, a Mets fan, & a Yankees fan are climbing a mountain & arguing about who loves their team more. The Yankees fan insists he is the most loyal. ”This is for the Yankees,” he yells, & jumps off the mountain. Not to be outdone, the Phillies fan is next to profess his love for his team. He yells “This is for the Phillies!!” & pushes the Mets fan off the mountain.”

H/T: M.B.

March 29, 2011

An Artificial Leaf?

by cpmy3rs

I know that this is a bit outside of what usually comes up here, but an MIT Professor is making some pretty impressive claims about what his artificial leaf can do.

The device is an advanced solar cell, no bigger than a typical playing card, which is left floating in a pool of water. Then, much like a natural leaf, it uses sunlight to split the water into its two core components, oxygen and hydrogen, which are stored in a fuel cell to be used when producing electricity.

Nocera’s leaf is stable — operating continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity in preliminary tests — and made of widely available, inexpensive materials — like silicon, electronics and chemical catalysts. It’s also powerful, as much as ten times more efficient at carrying out photosynthesis than a natural leaf.

He has also evidently signed a deal with a large technology conglomerate, so somebody thinks his idea may be viable.

March 29, 2011

GOP Presidential Candidate Endorses Affirmative Action

by cpmy3rs

One of the so-called “third rails” of American Politics is race, and one of the most contentious race-related topics is affirmative action. That is why I was so happy when Herman Cain, at the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines Iowa, had the guts to say that he would make his hiring decisions based on religious quotas. Specifically, Mr. Cain took the position that there would be no Muslims allowed in his cabinet when he said

KEYES: You came under a bit of controversy this week for some of the comments made about Muslims in general. Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?

CAIN: No, I would not. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cain appears to be confused about the purpose of affirmative action, which is to include rather than to exclude. Then again, since so many on the right have conflated affirmative action with racism, perhaps Mr. Cain simply forgot that there was a difference. At any rate, I do hope that he and his Tea Party friends remember to read the Constitution they so revere. Specifically, Article VI, Paragraph 3.

March 16, 2011

Mid-Day Links

by WIZ

Ever wonder why there was looting in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in Haiti after their earthquake but not in Japan?

Some interesting caricatures of Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Some eye opening pictures of where kids around the world sleep.

Look for a book review by me in the near future on a book I just read on loneliness.