Politics Archive

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cynicism, Part III

PoliticsI was so disgusted by the lying the in first presidential debate this year that I only made it through 5 minutes of it before having to change the channel. For the second debate, I was a bit more prepared, and made it through 10 minutes. I blogged about both of those previously in the entries, Cynicism and Cynicism, Part II. This time, I watched about 10 minutes of the debate before changing the channel to something less frustrating. Just to continue the trend, here are some links to articles fact checking the debate. Like for the first two, neither candidate was completely honest, but one seems especially prone to lying.

During the few minutes that I did watch the debate, I heard a disheartening discussion. It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I agree with Obama on many more issues than Romney. There are still several issues where I disagree with Obama, though. One of the biggest, which literally infuriates me, is Obama's use of the double tap drone strike (read a sober account of this on The Guardian, or a more colorful account on Pharyngula). This is practically comic book level villainy - attacking a target, waiting for emergency personnel to show up, and then attacking again. To be honest, if I had any belief that presidents would be held accountable, I'd like to see Obama and Bush both taken to the Hague over their actions in the fight against terrorism.

So when Bob Schieffer asked Romney, "What is your position on the use of drones?", Romney had the opportunity to call out Obama on this horrible practice. Instead, he said this (emphasis mine).

Well, I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.

So we have a sitting president committing acts that would have been labeled as terrorism just a few years ago, and his opponent enthusiastically agreeing that the President did the right thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cynicism, Part II

PoliticsAfter the first presidential debate a couple weeks ago, I complained that I only watched about 5 minutes of it before getting so fed up with the lies that I had to shut it off. This time, my wife and daughter decided they wanted to watch a little bit of the debate. I think I made it through about 10 minutes this time before I convinced them to let me change it. So, for anyone more concerned with what our politicians have to say than how they say it, here are a few links fact checking the latest debate.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Last Chance to Register to Vote in Texas

Politics - Can't We All Just Get Along?Just a quick reminder if you live in Texas - today is the last day to register to vote if you haven't done so yet.

To see if you're already registered, check this link:
Am I Registered?

If you do need to register, go to this link, fill out the form, print it, then make sure you mail it today.
Texas Voter Registration Application

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Exploration Day

Moon PrintToday is traditionally celebrated as Columbus Day, but there's a small movement underway to get the day switched to Exploration Day.

I've written briefly about Columbus a couple times before, Debunking a Columbus Myth and Columbus Day. There are a lot of misconceptions about Columbus and his role in history - misconceptions that are still being taught to my middle school daughter, by the way. In reality, he was a bit of a crank. The concept of the Earth being a globe had been known for thousands of years prior to Columbus. In fact, Eratosthenes had calculated the size of the earth to a very accurate degree back around 240 BC (or BCE). Why Columbus had such a hard time securing funding for his trip was that he was so far off in his estimate of the size of the Earth - 15,700 miles in circumference vs the true 25,000 miles. Educated people knew that in theory, you'd eventually end up in Asia by sailing west, but they didn't think any of the ships of the time would allow someone to carry enough supplies to complete the journey. And they were right. Had there not been two unknown continents, Columbus and his men would have starved to death. And Columbus never did figure out that he'd discovered a new continent. He went to his dying day thinking he'd found islands off the coast of Asia.

And if his technical incompetence weren't enough, Columbus was a pretty ruthless governor. To quote an article from The Guardian:

As governor and viceroy of the Indies, Columbus imposed iron discipline on the first Spanish colony in the Americas, in what is now the Caribbean country of Dominican Republic. Punishments included cutting off people's ears and noses, parading women naked through the streets and selling them into slavery.

His actions were so bad that he was arrested and taken back to Spain in shackles. He later received a pardon from the crown, but only after a new governor was put in charge of the colony.

Granted, Columbus was important historically. His unintended discovery of the New World set off a wave of European exploration that changed the course of history. But why do we have a holiday celebrating this tyrant who only lucked his way into the history books instead of starving at sea?

If what we truly want to celebrate on this day is the spirit of exploration, then why not just come out and make that the focus of the holiday? Make a day that honors those like Magellan, Lewis and Clark, Lindbergh, Armstrong and Aldrin, the Wrights, Amundsen, Hillary, Cousteau, the engineers behind the Mars rover. Make a day that honors all those that push the frontiers of our knowledge.

More Info:

Thursday, October 4, 2012


PoliticsI watched all of about 5 minutes of the presidential debate last night before I got fed up with the lying and turned it off. I checked a few sites this morning, and see that I probably saved my blood pressure a bit by watching as little as I did.

It seems that one of the candidates lied more than the other (hint: the one who's campaign pollster said, "We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers" - or read this article), but neither one was completely honest. So, our two choices for president are a guy who lies some, and a guy who lies even more.


Selling Out