Archive for March, 2012
I know this surprises no one, but as it turns out, the “Romniverse” is more like a multiverse, featuring different dimensions and political ideologies, depending on the day. Here is an interesting column along those lines:
The imagery may have been unfortunate, but Mr. Fehrnstrom’s impulse to analogize is understandable. Metaphors like these, inexact as they are, are the only way the layman can begin to grasp the strange phantom world that underpins the very fabric of not only the Romney campaign but also of Mitt Romney in general. For we have entered the age of quantum politics; and Mitt Romney is the first quantum politician.
A bit of context. Before Mitt Romney, those seeking the presidency operated under the laws of so-called classical politics, laws still followed by traditional campaigners like Newt Gingrich. Under these Newtonian principles, a candidate’s position on an issue tends to stay at rest until an outside force — the Tea Party, say, or a six-figure credit line at Tiffany — compels him to alter his stance, at a speed commensurate with the size of the force (usually large) and in inverse proportion to the depth of his beliefs (invariably negligible). This alteration, framed as a positive by the candidate, then provokes an equal but opposite reaction among his rivals. …
What does all this bode for the general election? By this point it won’t surprise you to learn the answer is, “We don’t know.” Because according to the latest theories, the “Mitt Romney” who seems poised to be the Republican nominee is but one of countless Mitt Romneys, each occupying his own cosmos, each supporting a different platform, each being compared to a different beloved children’s toy but all of them equally real, all of them equally valid and all of them running for president at the same time, in their own alternative Romnealities, somewhere in the vast Romniverse.
And all of them losing to Barack Obama.
Here is a good read from James McPherson on the Republican Party candidates’ many gaffes:
Think for a minute–as much as some people hated George W. Bush, can you imagine any of those folks openly and proudly insulting Laura Bush? In fact, to find such boorish behavior toward a First Lady you have to go all the way back to … Hillary Clinton. The worst example? Another Democratic First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson.
And when people are working as hard as the current crop of GOP candidates to look stupid, it’s difficult to conclude otherwise. Perhaps it’s simply a Wall Street plot to get Obama re-elected, despite all the reasons he shouldn’t be. See a couple of the more humorous recent examples–or at least they would be funny, if these weren’t people seeking to lead the free world–below.
When it comes to knowledge of world affairs, “no news is better than Fox News,” according to a study by researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Sadly, that’s old news. Even sadder, as columnist Kathleen Parker (once considered a conservative, though now even Ronald Reagan wouldn’t qualify) has pointed out, the relative ignorance common to heavy watchers of Fox News is driving today’s Republican Party. Or, as Paul Begala has termed it, “the Stupid Party.”
I hesitate to paint with a brush so broad, though I have previously noted some activities by conservatives that seemed at least unenlightened. But presumably these are some of the same folks who actually booed the First Lady over the weekend at a NASCAR race (an action that the voice of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, actually defended).
Here is one video:
Embarrassing. And another embarrassment:
Thanks to Think Progress for the article. And here is the list of GOP politicians who once supported an individual mandate provision in health care reform. I think listing every single one of them is important.
Frmr. Gov. Mitt Romney (MA) | Frmr. Rep. Newt Gingrich (GA) | Frmr. Gov. Tim Pawlenty | Frmr. Sen. Bob Bennett (UT) | Frmr. Sen. Chris Bond (MO) | Frmr. Sen. William Cohen (ME) | Frmr. Sen. John Danforth (MO) | Frmr. Sen. Bob Dole (KS) | Frmr. Sen. Pete Domenici (NM) | Frmr. Sen. David Durenberger (MN) | Frmr. Sen. Duncan Faircloth (NC) | Frmr. Sen. Slade Gorton (WA) | Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) | Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) | Frmr. Sen. Mark Hatfield (OR) | Frmr. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (KS) | Sen. Dick Richard Lugar (IN) | Frmr. Sen. Alan Simpson (WY) | Frmr. Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) | Frmr. Sen. Ted Stevens (AK) | Frmr. Sen. John Warner (VA) | Frmr. Sen. Hank Brown (CO) | Frmr. Sen. Conrad Burns (MT) | Sen. Dan Coats (IN) | Sen. Thad Cochran (MS) | Frmr. Sen. Paul Coverdell (GA) | Frmr. Sen. Larry Craig (ID) | Frmr. Sen. Judd Gregg (NH) | Frmr. Sen. Jesse Helms (NC) | Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) | Frmr. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne (ID) | Frmr. Sen. Trent Lott (MS) | Rep. Connie Mack (FL) | Frmr. Sen. Frank Murkowski (AK) | Frmr. Sen. Bob Smith (NH) | Frmr. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) | Frmr. Sen. Malcolm Wallop (WY) | Frmr. Sen. Don Nickles (OK) | Rep. Cliff Stearns (FL) | Frmr. Rep. Jim (LA) | Frmr. Vice President Dan Quayle (IN) | Sen. John McCain (AZ) | Sen. Scott Scott Brown (MA) | Frmr. Gov. Tommy Thompson (WI) | Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) | Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) | Sen. Mike Crapo (ID) | Frmr. President George H.W. Bush | Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) | Frmr. Sen. John Chafee (RI) | Sen. Jim DeMint (SC)
And here is a handy video that exposes the contradictions:
- Still Evolving
@prograt Hey Republicans: Is it OK if I use a condom for non-reproductory purposes? Like hurling a water baloon at some one? Just asking…
@Nicronon In 1994, Mitt Romney was pro-choice, he attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, and even donated $150:
- Plasma Engineer
@plasma_engineer Something Surprising archive: How to beat William Lane Craig – you invite Stephen Law! #atheist #skeptic – (http://somethingsurprising.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-to-beat-william-lane-craig.html)
On March 12, 2012, the hashtag #ToMyUnbornChild became a trending topic. People used this hashtag to “tweet to” their future child. Here are 100 real tweets from real people — all within 24 hours — saying they would murder their child if he or she was gay. - 100 Real Tweets from Homophobes Who Would Murder Their Gay Child
I bet 99 percent of these same Tweeters would also call themselves pro-lifers. Or is a 100 hundred people posting that they will kill their child if they turned out to be gay all just fun and games?
Here is quite an enlightening inside look at one of the nation’s largest financial firms, in which Greg Smith, Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the company’s equity derivatives branch in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, announces his plans to resign from the company. Here is a snippet:
Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.
How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.
Cynics like myself won’t find anything surprising in the fact that Goldman Sachs suits were advising their underlings on how make money off of their customers even when it might not prove advantageous for their clients. What is more surprising here is Smith’s retelling of the company’s apparent prior policies of attempting to genuinely meet the financial needs of the customers, even if it meant less money in company coffers. I laud Smith for being so forthcoming, of course, but I’m afraid Goldman Sach’s supposed policies when he was an up and comer are more of an eyebrow raiser. Its current money grubbing tactics should surprise no one.
How did something come from nothing? That’s it. That is the only question believers can hang their hats on and say, “Yes, we have a one-up on the scientific community. We have at least one question they can’t answer.” This article addresses it.
Until we learn more, the scientific explanation of how the universe and earth began is exponentially more satisfactory than the religious explanation, which would have us believe that, hey presto!, God did it. This is true because A) religious folks would have to explain the genesis of God and B) they would have to explain how and why such a god might be capable or even willing to create life in the first place. Claiming that he is benevolent and does it just because he is good is fallacious reasoning since I, nor anyone else, has any eye witness accounts that he is actually so.
You know it’s been awhile when, just out of curiosity — I did this 30 seconds ago — you have to load your own website into the browser just to make sure you’re still up and running.
Looks like we are still live. That said, I will explain briefly the nature of this much too long hiatus. First, I moved to a different state and to a new job. As such, I wasn’t online for a good portion of that hiatus. As it turns out, AT&T’s promised “self-installation” U-verse package doesn’t quite live up to the billing. Second, and this is the real kicker, I write more, much more, at the new job. Thus, my creative energies get utilized more throughout the day rather than just for 30 minutes or an hour late at night and half-medicated on port. Third, I really enjoy Madden 12. Don’t get me wrong. I suck at it, but I have slowly been climbing my way out of the gutter. Thus, instead of being 20 games behind .500, I am now about 10 back. That’s what we call progress. Fourth, I really enjoy reading long and verbose accounts of the Civil War. And it wouldn’t much matter if I liked it or not at this point. I’m now entrenched in the 2012 office read-off, except this time, Blake and I happen to be in different offices. But I’m sure that won’t stop us from slogging our through one obscure book after another.
So, yes. I’ve been slacking off with regard to this site. Fresher posts are forthcoming. I hope. I never have quite been able to reach my goal of one or more post every single day, and I don’t know if I will. We’ll still call it a goal, but I’m afraid if I commit to it for sure, one hobby will just have to go. Did I mention I’ve been studying some calculations in order to improve my skills at Texas Hold’em? Good use of my time, I know.