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Archive for September, 2007

Top Commenters

September 29, 2007 7 comments

Over in the sidebar you’ll notice a new section, Top Commenters. I noticed that plugin on Colby’s blog after his overhaul and thought it was pretty nifty.

Looking at it makes me realize how long I’ve been doing this. Several people on there no longer read this blog or comment on here. They had a spurt of reading and commenting and moved on. A few names I’d never have guessed commented here that many times.

Categories: Blogging

Hillary Clinton: addendum

September 27, 2007 1 comment

I’m tempted to be against Hillary Clinton solely on the fact that she calls people who sign up to help her raise money “Hillraisers.”

So that’s Move On, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton on the list of people we have to throw out of the country for using bad puns.

Categories: 2008 elections, Silliness

Ahmadinejad comes to New York

September 24, 2007 1 comment

Strangeness abounds. Women have the highest freedom in Iran and there are no gays. Who knew?

He also tried the standard Holocaust denier rhetoric of “questioning, not denying.” It’s pretty transparent. He also waffled on his alleged comments about wanting Israel to be destroyed, which isn’t that surprising.

I don’t really care that he spoke at Columbia. We have nothing to be afraid of by having him speak here. Judging by the comments attributed to him in media reports, his image probably won’t improve.

Categories: Iran

Democratic Candidates: Hillary Clinton

September 23, 2007 4 comments

After writing a post on the least likely candidate to win the Democratic nomination, now I’m going to write one on the most likely, Hillary Clinton.

I’m thinking that as I run through the candidates, I’m going to probably write less on the things I like about them. Being Democrats, I tend to agree with them on most things. So the positives I’ll write about will be things that are very important to me or unique positions they’ve taken that I like.

Before I begin, I’ll point out that this article on Wikipedia was very helpful.

So, the positives. Let’s start with health care. Not long ago she unveiled her health care proposal, which you can read about here and here. It’s still a little vague, but I like what I’ve read so far. It’s not a complete overhaul of our current system, which would probably be best, but isn’t politically feasible. On the other hand, it does have public insurance available to everyone, which is a plus (the few conservatives/libertarians reading this are now shaking their heads in disgust). It’s not disruptive and it’s a feasible, positive step forward.

Clinton also voted against the Military Commissions Act, which isn’t unique, but important. She’s also criticized the NSA warrent-less wiretapping program.

That’s not a lot of positives, especially when you consider the list of negatives:

  • Support of the Iraq war and continued refusal to acknowledge her mistake
  • Supports making flag burning illegal
  • Gun control supporter
  • Supports the death penalty
  • Supports NCLB
  • Opposes same-sex marriage
  • Sees video games as a threat to morality
  • Supports the PATRIOT Act

Some of those are less important than others. Most importantly, I’m skeptical of her foreign policy views. They’re pretty hawkish and interventionist. On principal, I don’t have a problem with liberal interventionism. It’s just that I’m not sure she has the requisite skepticism and resistance towards military intervention that’s necessary to keep that position from being a disaster. A lot of moderate Democrats supported the war in Iraq partially for that reason and it hasn’t worked out very well. She certainly emphasizes diplomacy more than the Republicans, which is exactly correct, but most of the Democratic candidates do that. It’s hard to find information on, but from what I can glean Clinton takes the position that terrorism is the result of poverty and educational failings in the Middle East. As I point out fairly often, this isn’t the real problem, though addressing those issues would certainly have positive benefits.

In the end, Clinton is a moderate candidate (more grumbling from my conservative readers). She’s fairly hawkish and her social positions are conservative enough to be annoying. Her economic policy has her most liberal positions, but even it isn’t that far left. A quick review makes me think she’d be a decent president, but nothing special. Better than any Republican for sure, and she’d be competent.

Categories: 2008 elections, The Left

Fail

September 21, 2007 4 comments

I really should be used to this by now, but this kind of thing still floors me:

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas – An acacia tree that started sprouting a foamlike substance on its branches after its owner died is drawing hundreds of people a day to see what some believe is supernatural ice.

To the naked eye, the white stuff about 20 feet up in the tree looks like ice braving the South Texas heat.

Not likely, say insect and tree experts who viewed photographs of the substance. They said the “miracle ice” is probably nothing more than a spittlebug nest.

Yes. White stuff. On a tree. Must be Jesus.

Family members said they noticed the yellow-tinted froth and the puddles of liquid around the trunk a day after they buried the 92-year-old matriarch. They say she loved the acacia tree and spent days beneath it while coloring the cascarones – confetti-filled eggshells –she sold each year.

The tree has been “weeping” ever since, they say.

“We feel like that tree is now missing her,” her daughter, Mary Lou Sanders, said. “Where it’s coming from, I do not know. It is something I cannot explain.”

I can understand grief and overdeveloped sentimentality leading to wanting to believe the loss of someone who had an impact your life had a similar impact on the world. I do. So I’ll resist mocking the family. The other people?

People begin arriving as early as 7 a.m., mostly from neighboring border towns, to see the “ice” first-hand. They snap pictures and gaze in awe. They kneel before it and pray. They stand, patiently extending their open palms or clutching Styrofoam cups with hopes of getting some of the “holy water” drops.

“I drove up here to see it for myself. You can actually feel the cold breeze when you get close to the tree; it’s something unexplainable,” said Elaine Solis, who drove some 40 miles from Mission. “You have to come out here to believe that there is actually something on that tree.”

Or, it was just the wind. Or, you’ve built this event up in your mind and linked it to a very powerful and ingrained belief system and it’s having an effect on you.

This just annoys me. If you look at nature and know very little about it, you’ll find something you can’t explain. On any other day, most of these people would walk under that tree, see that substance, and probably not think twice. Someone says it’s happening because someone died and now that same person has a spiritual experience. It’s transparent nonsense. Yet, these things are incredibly popular. I realize our brains tend to push us towards these kinds of beliefs, but can’t we resist just a little?

Categories: Religion

Frightening

September 19, 2007 Leave a comment

I’m scared of the future.

Categories: Silliness

Demographic information

September 18, 2007 10 comments

Did you know?

  • The leading domains for visitors of this blog (excluding those who only have an IP address in my logs) are Bresnan (unsurprising), Comcast (surprising), and at-home-solutions (beats me).
  • I have more visitors from the Navy (3%) and the Senate (2%) than AOL (1%).
  • No one who has visited this site is three to four thousand miles away from me.
  • After the U.S. the leading country of origin for visitors here is Singapore.
  • 72% of you use Firefox.
  • Three of the four (semi-)regular visitors here I can link to an IP address are given incorrect locations by Sitemeter. One of them is off by over 300 miles.

Yes, this post was completely pointless.

Categories: Blogging
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