Friday, December 30, 2011

The Cure for Racism

A number of people with with hardened hearts are spreading disinformation about the most honest presidential candidate. They ignore a fundamental truth, that actions speak louder than words.

There is probably a mild bit of the human tendency to overclassify people at a mostly subconscious level in Ron Paul, as in everyone. If you want to believe the worst in Ron Paul, here is the only credible evidence, and it paints Ron Paul no worse than virtually any human being.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Times They Are Accelerating

Is it just me, or are the frontrunner's boom and bust cycles getting shorter?
All Iowa Polls from polling firms that have been rated by New York Times polling analyst Nate Silver (except for polls from ARG and Insider Advantage which are rated near the bottom). Trends are created using a 3 poll moving average.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Happens When You Write the President

Obama opened the purple folder on Jan. 8 and pulled out a three-page letter written on lined notebook paper. He prefers handwritten letters to e-mails, believing them to be more thoughtful, with better stories. The writing consisted of bubbly block letters, sometimes traced twice for emphasis. Obama started to read.
"Dear Mr. President," the letter began.

Jennifer Cline, 27, did not typically write letters, but she was not usually this bored. "Jeopardy" had ended, and so had "Wheel of Fortune." She sat on the couch in her single-story duplex in Monroe, MI flipping through the channels until Obama's face appeared on the screen. It was a holiday special of some kind, featuring the first family, and Cline set down the remote. She had voted for Obama, and she liked him even more now on TV, glimpsing his life inside the White House. He had two young daughters; she had two young sons. He had a dog; she had a dog. It occurred to Cline that Obama seemed normal somehow, like the kind of person who might want to read a letter.

"I lost my job, my health benefits and my self worth in a matter of 5 days...In Michigan, Mr. President, jobs are very difficult to land....I then was diagnosed with both melonoma [sic] and basal cell skin cancer."

Cline had written three pages in less than 10 minutes, more a stream-of-consciousness journal entry than a formal note. She never considered that anyone might read it.

She walked to the porch, dropped the letter in an aluminum mailbox and pulled up the red flag. She had never been to Washington. One day, she wanted to take her boys. She wondered what the White House looked like up close. She wondered whether it had a mailbox.

More of this touching story - the kind you don't normally read about powerful politicans, particularly not about a sitting POTUS.

Sometimes Obama writes a short note back like this:

 And on more than occasion, the president has cut personal checks to struggling Americans who've written to the White House.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

869 Cities, 71 Countries - United for Global Change - October 15

On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares.

From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest.

The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end.

United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us.

On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen.

It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen.

Where to go

Among the 869 cities:
Seattle, which could be said to be the father of all this given the '99 WTO Protest

and little villages in Germany like Witzenhausen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Different Types of Marriages

Thought provoking:

If it were acceptable for people to wed for a variety of reasons, perhaps we would see contracts of 20 years for a parenting marriage,* five-year renewable contracts for a financial security marriage, and two-year renewable agreements for companionship marriages.

In all of the academic and media discussions about marriage and divorce, there has been no distinction between any of these groups or classes. The unspoken assumption is that everyone who marries at 25 is doing so in order to have kids, raise a family and live happily ever after. I suppose people don't think further ahead than that because divorce is not supposed to happen.

But divorce is happening and it is here to stay. In fact, I think one of the main reasons it is so common is that people have not asked themselves why, other than for love, they want to marry. And marriage, if it is to thrive, sorely needs an overhaul.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Here's to the Crazy Ones

This video was first run in 1997 to recapture something lost (in this case, Apple's purpose).

In light of Steve Jobs' passing, others modified the ending.

There are many versions, but these two (with different narrators) are the best.

Richard Dreyfuss's powerfully moving voice:

or with Steve Jobs' more personal touch:

The people in these videos appear in the following order:
Albert Einstein
Bob Dylan
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Richard Branson
John Lennon
R. Buckminster Fuller
Thomas Edison
Muhammad Ali
Ted Turner
Maria Callas
Mahatma Gandhi
Amelia Earhart
Alfred Hitchcock
Martha Graham
Jim Henson
(with Kermit)
Frank Lloyd Wright
Pablo Picasso
Shaan Sahota
(the little girl who only appears in the first video)
Steve Jobs

For more on the background of this videoclick here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bad Lip Reading

What do Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann and Michael Bublé have in common? They've been parodied by "Bad Lip Reading." Click here and enjoy a laugh.

The Soullessness of (most) of the Political Media

NYU's Professor of Journalism, Jay Rosen wrote:

In politics, it’s better to be savvy (shrewd, practical, well-informed, perceptive, ironic, “with it,” and unsentimental) than it is to be honest or correct on the facts. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere or humane.

Very disturbing. If you are a fan or detractor of Karl Rove, look beyond the article's depiction of him to the larger issue of the belief system of the mainstream political press:


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs - Different Perspective

Extremely rarely am I moved by the death of famous people. Steven Jobs was one of those, but not for the usual reasons.

I read this this article last month:

'I live in hope he will reach out to me before it's too late': Steve Jobs' biological father speaks of yearning to meet his son

There is also something I learned today:

Famously hostile to leaks, Apple's paranoid culture's new poster boy: a Chinese engineer who has killed himself after losing an iPhone prototype.

Also the photos I typically see today about him, remind me of something I can't quite surface yet. I think it has to do with my uncles.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Romney Rule - Mitt has 14% tax rate

Time magazine’s Michael Scherer weighed in with a great post reporting that one of the wealthy individuals who would be impacted by Obama’s push for the “Buffett Rule” is none other than Mitt Romney.

“He comes off, as Mike Huckabee famously said, like the guy who laid you off.” said Paul Begala.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a progressive-leaning group, estimated Romney’s 2010 tax rate at 14%. “Millionaire Mitt thinks he should pay a lower tax rate than maids and Master Sergeants,” Begala said.


Schrödinger's Candidate

This one is for geeks who also like politics...
If you are curious, and want to know what the famous Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment is, or weather Schrödingers cat is not dead, click here

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jon Stewart - Liberal or Libertarian?

Jon Stewart gave Ron Paul 10 minutes of network time. I think that is the longest on air interview the Daily Show has ever done. (Including webonly parts, it runs 17 1/2 minutes).

It is fitting that Jon Stewart is the one who gave him so much time since he singlehandedly got the media to stop (blatantly) ignoring him.

Now the ignoring is more subtle.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Political Debates

The political soul also has a sense of humor. This one from last weekend is right up there with their Halloween time candidates spoof from 4 years ago. Both provided for your enjoyment.

Obama se déguise en Obama pour se moquer... von Nouvelobs

Euro Mess - Simply Explained

Nobel Prize winning Economist, Paul Krugman, has a simple way of explaining things. I never understood the Euro mess until I read this:

The introduction of the euro in 1999 led to a vast boom in lending to Europe’s peripheral economies, because investors believed (wrongly) that the shared currency made Greek or Spanish debt just as safe as German debt. Contrary to what you often hear, this lending boom wasn’t mostly financing profligate government spending — Spain and Ireland actually ran budget surpluses on the eve of the crisis, and had low levels of debt. Instead, the inflows of money mainly fueled huge booms in private spending, especially on housing..

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Solving the Paul/Cain Arizona Straw Poll Winner Riddle

 In a memorable movie Kathleen Turner says to her teacher "I happen to know that in the future I will not have the slightest use for algebra, and I speak from experience".

But to solve the riddle of major news organizations (CNN, Reuters, Politico, etc) offering conflicting stories about who won the Arizona Tea Party Straw Poll, Ron Paul or Herman Cain, a little high school algebra does wonders.

Ron Paul did win 49% of one part of an Arizona Tea Party straw poll and 15% of another part of an Arizona Tea Party straw poll.

Herman Cain did win 12% of one part of an Arizona Tea Party straw poll and 22% of another part of an Arizona Tea Party straw poll.

Ron Paul did get 581 straw poll votes 

Herman Cain did get 256 straw poll votes.
About 1600 people did take part in the Arizona Tea Party straw polls.

It is probably true that 1600 people paid up to 125$ to attend an onsite one day event.
It is probably true that 2300 (maybe even 3000) people paid up to 10$ to view this event online.

The other information in the various articles
2300 people took part in an online poll
1600 people took part in a live/onsite poll
are FALSE.

High school algebra is how you sort out truth from sloppy reporting because the number of people taking each version of this poll was never reported correctly by the news media or the straw poll event organizers. Why, is up for someone else to figure out. I just do math.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ron Paul says he'd consider putting Dennis Kucinich in his Cabinet

Not your typical politicians...

"You've got to give credit to people who think," he said.

"Being pragmatic is about forming coalitions," Paul said Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "I probably work with coalitions better than the other candidates. I don't think I've said anything negative here about the president."

Mainstream Media Takes Paul Seriously

The mainstream media is finally starting to treat Ron Paul's candidacy seriously
Huffington Post likes Paul's chances
Michelle Bachmann is no longer considered credible and the author believes Paul has a shot to supplant Perry as the best non-Romney. I am surprised and pleased.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Oktoberfest Kind of Gal / Chancellor

My answer to a Colbert segment (about Merkel not being an Oktoberfest type of gal)

And just for fun, let's contrast that with Obama:

Nobody Got Rich on Their Own

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.

You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
- Elizabeth Warren

More on Warren in MSNBC interview

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Asking Politicians About Religion - On The Media

With another election cycle underway, the topic of faith is a recurring one, especially in the current Republican primary race. Bob spoke with Amy Sullivan, who writes about religion and politics for Time.  She says journalists often miss the mark when discussing candidates' religions.