Archive for September, 2009

I still have a blog!

September 30, 2009 1 comment

Apparently. Did you know this person at The Corner can’t read her own chart? It’s true. Just look at the giant bar in the middle (2008’s projected budget deficit) and try to square it with “[e]ach year under Obama is worse than any year under Bush.” I’m pretty sure Bush was president last year.

This also invalidates her second point, but less humorously so.

UPDATE: This is what I get for ignoring how easy that was. Dave points out in comments that the graph is mislabeled and 2009 is the big bar in the middle. Of course, you can still point out that FY2009 includes TARP and the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac subsidies, both of which were Bush policies and a substantial portion of the projected increase. Not to mention the general economic deterioration which is difficult to blame on anyone. But that still means I should pay more attention.

Categories: The Right

Random thoughts

September 14, 2009 2 comments

I wonder if replying to emails I get at work with a Snopes link would cause problems.

In other news, you should read this. Of course, I’ve never read any Ayn Rand, so maybe I should shut up. I’ve sort of half meant to read a book of hers, in the same way that I half consider reading a Twilight book: I would feel better about considering them dreck. Alas, I have better things to do.

Categories: Domestic Policy, The Right

Pointless Pre-Labor Day post

September 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Because I’ve been on a sci-fi/fantasy kick all summer and am bored, here’s a meme from, via Good Math, Bad Math. The last three genre books purchased.

As it happens, I bought four at once just about a month ago and since I’ve only finished two of them, I’ll mention all four. That evens out to three, right?

  1. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. I read Old Man’s War earlier this summer and thought it was decent entertainment. Mostly because his blog is so entertaining, I bought this, even though Old Man’s War wasn’t good enough for me to be really excited about a sequel. It’s military SF, standard colonization of space type stuff. Old people can sign up for service with the Colonial Defense Force and get their consciousness transferred to a new body. The CDF also engineers people specifically to be soldiers, using the consciousness of those who didn’t quite make it to the transfer part (hence the name “ghost brigades”). TGB follows one of those soldiers. It’s not as good as Old Man’s War, but it still qualifies as decent entertainment. The universe is explained a little more and some of it is interesting, but the book really drags. I liked the end, though. So it’s a book I’m not enthusiastic about, but it’s a quick, enjoyable read.
  2. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. I love this book. The planet is put inside a sort of cosmic sphere where time is massively slowed down. This leads to all manner of reactions, which are all fascinating. As are the characters. Wilson’s writing is superb and the answers to the mysteries of the “spin” are suitably mind-blowing. I’ve not read anything like this, but my exposure to genre sci-fi is relatively small. It’s easily on the list of my favorite books and makes a strong case for the top spot (it’ll have to fight 1984 for it). There’s apparently a sequel (called Axis), which I’m too scared to read, lest it sully my enjoyment of this book. I’ll get to it eventually.
  3. Cosmonaut Keep by Ken MacLeod. Maybe it was because I had just finished Spin, but I only made it through a third of this. There are two main storylines, one of which is a near future that deals with first contact with an alien race and the other a far future that has space travel and castles. The near future one was vaguely interesting, though the name dropping of “legacy” software was grating for some reason (I know exactly what he’s talking about, so it’s not that I don’t understand it). The far future storyline/world was just really unappealing. It was also confusing, mostly because I didn’t care enough to pay attention after a certain point. The writing is decent enough and I suppose if you find the world engaging you’ll like it, but it apparently isn’t for me and I decided to not waste my time on it.
  4. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. I’m not very far in this one (couple hundred pages), but it’s good so far. It’s more space opera and has an odd structure, with a few storylines that aren’t necessarily happening at the same time. It’s strange, but it’s working well enough. I haven’t really been pulled into it yet, but it’s engaging enough to keep me reading. Unlike Cosmonaut Keep.

Are these books “comfortable” together? Well, given that all but one is space opera, I’d have to say yes. I don’t know why I bought a bunch of space opera, but there you go.

Categories: Culture


September 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Since most of the time when I link to The Corner, it’s to mock it, I thought I should link to a post approvingly. Amazingly, it’s a post about religion and politics.

I’d quibble with the quote that “secularists ask that individuals with religious reasons pretend to think and act on some other basis.” Secularists ask that individuals don’t advocate for policies with no support other than religious dogma. If they can come up with an argument that demonstrates the benefits or harms of the policy, great. If not, the policy isn’t one we should adopt.

I don’t think that’s really “pretending,” so much as acknowledging that it’s not the job of government to govern the spiritual lives of a society. It’s the logical conclusion of a belief in the separation of church and state. It is absolutely an ideology, but one that is broad enough that it encompasses a wide array of political views (even if conservatives have rejected it in greater numbers than liberals).

Categories: Religion