Monday, January 31, 2005

It's Nice to Know Athletes Have Political Opinions Too

"One player who wasn't as enthusiastic about the team's White House visit was Rasheed Wallace. Asked on Sunday what he would say to President Bush when they met, the Pistons forward told the Free Press: "I don't have [expletive] to say to him. I didn't vote for him. It's just something we have to do.""


Friday, January 28, 2005

Pushing the Agenda

Paul Krugman's piece on Bush playing the race card in trying to justify the privatization of Social Security is excellent and right on for this purpose. It is also, I think, revelatory of the "by any means necessary" strategies employed by the Bush administration in pushing an unproven agenda based solely on ideology which it's not clear that Bush himself understands. What troubles me though isn't that there's one man, or rather, a small comitted circle, pushing this through faulty reasoning (the statistical lies of the Social Security argument, the falsified uranium documents from Africa, the Medicare drug benefit, the logic behind No Child Left Behind). The most troubling thing is that the massive infrastructure of people it takes to support this reasoning exists. Whether it's the academics who run a sham study or the folks working in the private sector putting piece together some of this legislation for a paycheck or even government workers, I'm apalled. They knew there was little evidence that there were WMD's. They knew that cheaper drugs from Canada were safe. They know that black males who receive social security receive as much if not more than whites.

So beyond the outrage I have a question: If they know that they have to lie or mislead to achieve the policy goals that they are committed to, what makes so many people committed so committed to the goals?

Before your respond, click on the link to the Krugman piece. It's short and well worth the read independent of position.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Exposure to Alternative Lifestyles

Do you think the debate regarding federal (NEA) spending on controversial art is the same as the oen regarding federal spending on controversial public broadcasting (NPR, PBS, CSPAN, etc . . .)?

I tend to think that they differ with the money spent on the latter more justified. While I support almost complete "no strings attached" funding for the arts, I think I support controversial public broadcasting even more. While no one needs to experience Sensation
in order to be a productive member of society, we do need to learn to be respectful of other people even if we disagree with their life style.

To make it clear, I'm talking about art/programming that doesn't violate people's rights.

I've added links to the sidebar on the right

any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Gentle Breed

From the Rhapsody description:

"Kenny G has single-handedly transformed jazz into a genre that actually sells records in numbers normally associated with modern pop stars (over 30 million sold so far). Unlike such Smooth Jazz pioneers as Grover Washington Jr. and David Sanborn, however, Kenny G only concentrates on what the mass public likes and doesn't branch out from what is expected of him. His melodies are of the most gentle breed, churning out endless hits and assisting in the conception of many children. A master of the ancient art of circular breathing, Kenny G also holds the record for holding a single note longer than any other musician."

I would personally like to add the fact that his duets album is called "At Last - The Duets Album" and includes a cover of I Like the Way You Move.

On the Trolly!

As my test run entry, music that I'm bumping:

"Small Talk" - Sly and Family Stone
"Twightlight of the Gods" - Wagner
"Brandenburg Concertos" - Bach
"Thick as Brick" - Jethro Tull
"Cornballs and Boners" - Rob Hsu

Iraqi elections

Well, what are your thoughts? I'm actually more optimistic than I was a couple of months ago. Of course there are a large number of people who consider the insurgents to be doing something good, which underlines our image problem in general moreso than our conduct in this particular war, I'd say. Although our conduct in this war has dramatically exacerbated our image problem. But the fact that the Sunnis are saying that they want to participate in the writing of the constitution (even if they have to continue to denounce the elections to save face) indicates to me that there is a groundswell of desire to see this process through. Plus, Sistani and his guys have indicated that, whatever the elections show, the Sunnis have to have some role in the drafting of the consitution. And the displeasure of the Kurds that seemed about to boil over a few months ago has abated. Clearly there will be many problems writing the constitution but everyone seems to recognize that they need to be involved in that process, and isn't that the idea?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Some tune suggestions

Check out I most enjoy Dice and # One. This album and Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary have been in the car stereo most recently. Along w/ a new flamenco compilation I got the other day.

For anyone who cares

Monday, January 24, 2005

In Favor of the Speech

I think the classic liberal position is that the state is only justified in limiting rights such as the right to free speech if it infringes on the rights of others. In that case I think situational factors such as time and location are more likely to count than content. I'm thinking here of something more like making a speech in favor of violent overthrow outside a classroom window rather than the situation around Eugene Debbs. Based on this I think arguments for the state limiting hate speech are much stronger.

It could be argued that speech advocating violent overthrow of the government infringes upon some sort of "collective rights" but the arguments for the existence of collective rights is shaky at best and in this case its not clear even what collective right could be.

This is all theoretical though practically speaking there may be good reasons for limiting such speech though I'm inclined to think it's not the case. It is certainly true that such speech could alter individual attitudes towards how changes in government, or changes of a specific government, should take place. However for such speech to have an effect is much more likely to be the result of the structure of the institutions of the government. The argument goes something like this: If people think that if the government has enough power to affect them negatively, then they need only have a belief in a small probability that the government will use its power in this way. However, if they believe that the government has little power to affect them negatively it requires a belief in a high probability that the government will use its power in this way. If speech advocating violent overthrow in the government cites good reasons why the government will use is power to affect them in a negative way, then the speech might raise people's belief in the probability that it will. In the case of the powerful government this might incite people to violent overthrow. In the weak government it's unlikely that it will.

That's your thing

Spring Break '99!

Or how about "You love it." Or - Luke is Moses.

Anyway, good work setting this up--should be a good way to keep up more effectively.

Friday, January 21, 2005

about the blog name

we can apparently change it, as well as the site address. let me know.