Thursday, August 05, 2004

Iraq, ect.

Large questions remain unanswered.Was invading Iraq in the interest of the long term security of the UnitedStates? Even if so, is the benefit worth the cost in blood and treasure?Is a more surgical approach possible and ultimately lest costly and moreeffective? Was and is the effort to more specifically identify, and dealwith, those that have done and will do us harm given short shrift in favorof toppling Saddam?How, if at all, does the invasion of Iraq diminish the prospects of findingand killing the specific people who are a threat? I have no truck withmulti-lateralism when it comes to American security, but when we need to beoperating overseas finding folks who have so far proved elusive, we needsome cooperation outside our own borders.Is a revival and modification of the cold-war MAD doctrine appropriate (I'msurprised Rumsfeld has not floated this; perhaps he has internally)? Couldwe not announce that, we are not changing one thing at home (see nextsection), and the next time Americans are killed on American soil byjihadists we will drop sufficient bombs, including nuclear if needed, tokill residents of _______ (name an Islamic city) in the ratio of 10,000 or100,000 to one?Why have we adopted what seems to be a dangerous middle ground between thepolicies articulated in the preceding paragraphs?****Are the efforts at home paying dividends? Is the compromise of fundamentalliberties and the quality of life of Americans attendant to the Patriot Act,airport security, etc. a rational and effective tool to prevent furtherattacks on American soil? Are there some in the government who would usethis crisis to permanently curtail some liberties?****Can a citizen in good conscience consider that a Democratic administrationwould be as or more effective as the current one in fighting our enemies?If so, is it not legitimate to vote for a change based on other issues?Protecting privacy and personal libertyProtecting freedom of religion and expression; maintaining church-stateseparationSensible economic policy (Who remembers when the GOP stood for balancedbudgets? Remember Gramm-Rudman?)Protecting the right to trial by jury in civil mattersProtecting the power of the courts to provide relief from laws infringing onpersonal libertyOpposing federal judicial appointments that reflect a narrow view ofpersonal liberty, unless the activity in question makes money, in which casethe liberty is infiniteGetting the government out of the culture war (With record deficits, why notsave the $57 million slotted for abstinence-only sex education?)Funding for basic science, irrespective of religious objectionsScience education based on the scientific method, not anyones religiousbeliefsRational, science-based environmental policy allocating environmental coststo those that generate themEnforcement of anti-trust, fraud and other laws that protect our marketeconomy from unfair distortions -- irrespective of how big or rich theoffender isMaking sure charitable organizations -- i.e.churches -- stay out of politicsor lose their tax exemptionsA chief executive who professes respect, not ridicule, for intellectualpursuits, academic excellence, and informed analysis; one who believes inevolution

Thursday, July 29, 2004


Having been accused of being a "Liberal", I outline a few things I believe in:

The right to bear arms in self-defense, and as a bulwark against government tyranny.

The death penalty.  Draconian punishment for violent crime.

Trial by jury in civil and criminal matters.  And what the jury says is what the judge orders, even if it bankrupts someone really, really rich.

Government getting out of the business of legislating morality, period.  No palpable injury to another, no basis for prohibiting ANY conduct.  This includes pre-viability abortions, until there is scientific proof that the soul attaches earlier.

Strong national defense including totally wiping out those that would harm Americans.

Free speech no matter whom it offends.

Freedom from government intrusion and investigation absent judicially determined probable cause.

Democracy, tempered by an expansive view of those rights which the minority or the individual has, irrespective of the majority's wish to circumscribe those rights.

Low taxes, but with balanced budgets.

Just enough redistribution in the tax system to fund opportunity, not outcomes, for all.

Capitalism.  Anti-trust laws.  Rational allocation of environmental costs to those that damage the environment -- but only if scientifically justified.

Entrepreneurship over massive corporations, though such are likely unavoidable.  These is wisdom in the saying that separating ownership from management leads to trouble (See Enron.)

Freedom of religion, or freedom from religion, if the individual wishes.  I fear God's judgment, but not as much as that of some of His self-appointed representatives.

Equal protection and due process.

Science. Public funding of basic research.  Science education, especially in the primary and secondary schools, unalloyed with any group's non-scientific (this includes creationism in all its forms) positions.  By all means, study those positions in non-science classes.

The right to be secure in ones home.  The right to raise ones children as one believes best.

The cultural superiority of that set of values which define Western Civilization; the Enlightenment; the power of reason and rationality;

That Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill are two examples of what all men should aspire to.

That the debt we owe Newton and all the other great discoverers of knowledge is beyond calculation.


Sunday, June 06, 2004


One would think that, with the plethora of websites devoted to almost every imaginable interest, coverage is complete; no additional sites are really needed (not that that's likely to stop anyone). However, I have discovered some gaping holes that need filling, and thus present some sites that ought to be out there but aren't. These are not live links -- yet -- so don't bother clicking. Gambling. Run out of the Caymans (or any Bush state), this site makes book on whether any particular piece by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is written while she is entertaining her "monthly visitor". Site integrity insured by former Arthur Andersen partners who make surreptitious visits to the Times' waste disposal facilities; they sure don't have anything else to do. Site was planning to extend coverage to Ann Coulter until investigation revealed doubts about her gender. A planned rollout on Sean Hannity is on hold until it's determined if he's ever off the rag.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


But I repeat myself. Less than half of Americans believe in evolution. The President of the United States is on the fence on the topic. Bodes well for science education, doesn't it? (Gee, Mom, why should I study evolution? W doesn't believe in it.) Now, what people take on faith is their own business. What is objectionable is the attempt to bolster the creationist case by -- manifestly falsely -- representing that there is some genuine scientific dispute over the existence of evolution, the age of the Earth (at least as far as a few thousand years versus several billion). Repeat after me. There is no scientific controversy over these matters. All the notions floated in the popular press suggesting the contrary are as intellectually bankrupt as fixed sphere cosmology.