Saturday, November 15, 2008

Progress for Gay Right's Movement

Gay rights are important, fight for them.

If there is anything that disturbs me about today’s protests it is that this is exactly the kind of grassroots/viral campaign that would have defeated Proposition 8 to begin with. As I said before, the original campaign ads were an embarrassment.

One more thing, the gay rights movement has the right idea as it moves towards a louder, prouder and fiercer campaign about rights and equality. On the other hand, singling out Mormons and African-Americans as scapegoats, is not only hypocritical it can hinder the movement’s progress. Rather than blaming those who campaign against you, simply state your own case louder and with more determination than ever before. It worked for the civil rights movement of the sixties, it will work again.

Gay marriage provides legal equality with straights. Any other compromise, (civil unions for example) is a “three-fifths” solution, a second-class solution and therefore they are unacceptable to anyone that treasures civil rights.

Gays deserve the same rights as straights, no more, no less. Period.


Goodbye Nader, Goodbye Nader Supporters

It's not often I agree with wacKOS, but today they hit it out of the park when they ridiculed the hypocrisy of the Ralph Nader movement:

I doubt "history" gives a rats ass about the "Nader/Gonzalez initiative" (they used to be called "campaigns"), and after I hit submit "post" on this little piece, neither will I.
-- Markos

Then of course, the Nader-heads, in their usual zealous and over-bearing way descended upon him like screeching vultures they are:

It is for this reason that I will no longer read the Daily Kos. If the Kos were to issue a retraction or apology, I would quickly reconsider my decision, as the Kos is one of my favorite sites to visit.

And Markos in his usual "my britches are bigger than yours" way simply responded:

Fuck Ralph Nader, and fuck his supporters. If the past eight years hasn't smacked any sense into their addled brains, then nothing will. This site caters to the reality-based community. No one else need apply.
-- Markos

On this point, I could not agree more. Nader supporters need to wake up and smell the gin on Ralph's breath. The man is an aging embarassment to political progress, and his recent comment on the historic election of Barack Obama, a disgusting epilogue to his career.

This was the last election Ralph Nader will even be an option on the ballot. For those of us who have seen Nader hinder progress for the sake of his own ego; for those of us who watched him take as much money as he could along the way (and from any source willing to donate it), it is indeed good riddance.

And Ralph, get yourself to a 12-step program and fast...


A digital loop to "The Great Depression"

We have been hearing about this for at least a year: just a couple of months away from now it will be time for older televisions to be upgraded to digital. Those with regular old rabbit ear antennas on their Panasonic, Sharp, or even Zenith TVs - who have not stepped into the digital television realm, could be the very ones who may have the hardest time affording it in this economy. I'm just saying. People who haven't upgraded whether their reason be fear of change, because they are clinging to the past, no access to cable/digital service or affordability, face the loss of staying in touch with "the World" at some level.

Even though the digital set top box converter is a reasonable price, and the coming of this conversion has been widely promoted, I still believe there are at least a couple of things to take into consideration, the first being the procrastinators who live in this country. Most likely those who do not have a digital TV or converter will go without for a while and then realize they do not miss the majority of the trivial drivel they have been been exposed to (as referred to in previous posts seen below).

Others will just simply have to put their money elsewhere as there are many people losing their jobs and homes daily. It brings to mind the old days of The Depression when there was no TV; when families gathered around their radios to hear about current events. This may be an extreme comparison, though more and more families are being forced out of their homes, most likely having to move in with relatives. Our country could now begin to resemble the days of "way back when" that our grandparents have been telling us about for years.

Is this such a bad thing? That era was certainly not perfect (are any of them?), but we do have the ability to learn from those days, take what we like from them, add our accomplishments, and leave the rest.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Genetic Breakthrough with AIDS?

I discovered this wonderful piece of news while browsing Andrew Sullivan's blog.

I work in medical research myself, and I tell you, the amount of science and discovery that will be gained in the decades ahead because of increased understanding of genetics will astound us.


Dogs and Seances Instead of Corporate Welfare Investigation?

The amount of analysis over Obama's brief and rather inconsequential press conference yesteday is rather annoying.

Annoying because there was more focus on a marginal PR event, than there was about the strange situation going on with the American car companies. We just handed 25 billion dollars to the American car industry, and a mere 30 days later, all three companies are crying they are already broke again and require more welfare?

Can a qualified journalist please investigate this kind of chicanery? Isn't it possible these bailout packages are rewarding companies who continue to cry the loudest? What is this? Anti-capitalism, where the poorest most inefficient companies on the block get the most money and capital?

And why was this kind of question not asked, instead of questions about dogs, mutts or strange jokes about seances?

Look, I thought Obama handled his press conference well, but the left blogs are proclaiming the conference as some kind of political triumph, and the right blogs are claiming it is proof that our president-elect is a disaster. Michelle Malkin claimed the press conference was proof we just elected Homer Simpson president.

Can someone please shut up the whackos and wing-nuts and find out why all these companies are suddenly so cash poor, that they require a second bail out just 30 days after receiving the first?

Somewhere in the middle of this partisan-cacophony lies a possibility that companies are getting rewarded for squandering their bailout money, and then turning around asking for more. A little less opinion, and a lot more journalism from our media and blogs would be nice.

Does anyone have additional blogs, sites or data on the current situation with the auto-industry?


Minnesota Recount Chicanery Starts Soon

Recounts are just so ugly. Here in Washington, State our "recount" crisis during the Governor race just a few years ago, ended in chicanery and a lot of meddling by both parties to incluence the recount.

Now Minnesota is about to have their own recount debacle, this one over a senatorial seat.

Let me be clear: I loathe Al Franken.

I've listened to his radio show, I read his book and he's a jerk. He hides behind the "satire" to say irresponsible things about his opponents, or indeed anyone who dares contradict his narrow point of view. He's the kind of liberal, many of us independents loathe, because he's more focused on demonizing the other side of the political spectrum, than he is about offering solutions, researching facts, or providing real leadership.

His opponent in Minnesota is a very weak counter-proposal to be honest, and really the independent candidate that is running in this race, would have probably received my vote.

However, despite all this, Franken is right, in that he deserves to have the ballots recounted. In fact, he doesn't just deserve it, the law demands he gets a recount. So on this issue, Franken and I agree.

My only word of warning is, watch how quickly the recount is politicized, and watch how much the recount skews the current totals. Recounts are a huge mess, and all kinds of tricks and games come into play, and both the left and right make no apologies in warping, skewing and altering the final totals for their cause.

When a recount triggers, I wonder if it would behoove us all, to simply have an entirely new vote instead? Perhaps, the candidate list should be trimmed to the top 2, so that those who voted for the third and fourth candidates are now forced to choose, similar to the "run off" vote that Georgia will go through in a few weeks.

This would seem to me, to be a more fair way to resolving a race this tight, otherwise ballots suddenly go missing, or suddenly appear (as they have already), or suddenly polling officials claim they "mistyped" their results; and what we get is more about legal manuevering and tricks, than actually determining who the people voted for.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Fiddler on the Blogosphere

The problem with the right and left in this country is they are intellectual bullies. They rally together, form online packs and then assault everyone who dares to stray from their collective philosophy. This produces a dialog that is more about attacks than resolution and contains more sarcasm, ridicule and antagonism than fact and fresh ideas.

What a sad state the political dialog in this country has become, when the left is spending the majority of their online real estate ridiculing a defeated vice-presidential candidate, and the right meanwhile is already condemning a new president-elect over one cabinet appointment.

Both threads, are so stratified and ironically so distant from one another, and both come at a time when the three major American car companies are screaming for billions of dollars of welfare.

This is an industry that was handed 25 billion dollars just 30 days ago, and now all three are saying they are so cash-poor that they can only stay in business until the end of the year, or they will collapse. In short, these companies are holding our own government ransom for more cash-injection. This is the same industry that spends millions of dollars lobbying our government to avoid regulation on fuel and safety standards.

Yet, our blogosphere is still screaming at the opposite side of their spectrum, vilifying them, demonizing them and mocking them from afar.

It would make Nero proud. Let’s send Markos, Rush, Hewitt and Huffington each a fiddle shall we?

Here's what I intend to do: I am going to spend this weekend, scouring newer, fresher and less-known blogs that are talking about facts and solutions, rather than just "rallying the troops" of the left or right. I will report those sites here.

It's not much, but we need newer, fresher voices out there, that look beyond their own bias, and political party and start dealing with the difficult times ahead.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jindal vs. Palin?

In this candid, and entertaining blog call Dynamist, a woman named Virginia writes:

Now I may have to go back to being a Republican, to gear up for the struggle between the Jindal-Daniels wing and the Palin-Huckabee wing of the party.

What a great quote, and what a fascinating race that would be to watch develop. A Jindal vs. Obama election would be epic, and truly fascinating to watch.

I would never join the Republicans, but I admit, it would be tempting to actively participate in the debates they will surely have in the next year or two.

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the infancy of Obama's presidency, and see if he can resist the tug-of-war with his own party to drag him far to the left. I predict Obama shows Democrats how to truly govern with wisdom, pragmatic tactics and careful consideration of all points of view.

A lesson the Clintons didn't learn at first, and suffered in congress shortly afterward because of it.


Rachel Maddow is Wrong

I know she's a liberal super-heroine, and the latest "talking head" on MSNBC to be worshipped by the partisan left, and although liberals often don't see the hypocrisy of denouncing FOX NEWS, but then subscribing to MSNBC, the rest of the country does.

If we must reject hacks like Kristol and O'Reilly, let us please slap Maddow with the same rejection of narrow-minded and partisan media "stars". Rachel, your sarcarstic rant today on your show, that Obama should not govern from the center, because Democrats won, which means your left-of-center philosophy is now vindicated and self-righteous, is the last kind of editorial we need right now.

If partisan Democrats are going to make the same arrogant mistakes George W. Bush did, and interpret an election victory, as a mandate for extremism, the American people will vote you out. You critisized Bush for that kind of thinking just a few years ago, now suddenly because the same argument is being offered by the left it is justified? Isn't that called hypocrisy, and isn't America so very, very tired of these partisan games?

We didn't vote for Obama to get "revenge" on Republicans, or to fire up a new chapter of the culture war that MSNBC and FOX news delight in stoking daily. We voted for Obama to solve difficult problems, not to ratify an agenda that narrowly clings to a single side of the spectrum.

Thankfully, Obama is more pragmatic, and less dogmatic than the cheerleaders at MSNBC.


Partisan Blogs Will Try to "Spin" Obama's Mandate

Watch what happens in the next few days.

To begin with, watch who Obama picks for his team. He’s made very strong overtures to the Democratic elite, in his first few picks. Guys like Emanuel are Washington insiders, and are as staunchly liberal and partisan as you get in the Democratic Party.

However there are rumors that Chuck Hagel, Colin Powell and possibly other Republicans will also be invited. Indeed, Doris Kearns Goodwin confirmed last night, that not only is Obama reading her book about the Lincoln cabinet (that was very bi-partisan), he also called her to ask her questions about it.

If you are like me, and believe the poisonous partisanship of the last twenty years is hurting this country, this is really welcomed news.

However, when you read the highly-partisan blogs the next few days, guard against their interpretation that their party alone truly represents the country as a whole.

Don’t let the left tell you they “own” Obama’s mandate, and don’t let the right tell you that Obama’s victory means nothing, that the country is still mostly on their side.

Remember, if you are an independent, or if you are a younger voter, *you* were the one that gave Obama his victory. Obama's legacy begins with listening and empowering all voices in America, not just one firmly entrenched in one political party or the other. If he has a clear mandate to do anything, it is simply to unite this country, rather than divide it.

America isn't liberal, it isn't conservative, rather it is the inclusion of all those philosophies, and many more. America is free to borrow from any political philosophy, and it defines itself in far broader, more cerebral terms than "left" or "right".


Post Baby-Boom Era

I recognize, as many have said, that my generation stands on the shoulders of the civil rights movement, and the modern industrial age that was carved out after the end of World War II. In other words, I owe much to the generations that came before me.

However, I think it is important to note, that there wasn’t just a racial barrier that was shattered today, we also broke a generational one. 25% more people under the age of 25 voted in this election than voted in the last one, and 13% more people in the 26-44 age bracket (which at 42, I fit into) also voted in this election that did not vote in 2004. Those two age-brackets were the only two that voted more for Obama than against him.

So the data is clear: we are now officially in a post-Baby Boomer electorate.

For the first time ever, we have a modern President that didn’t face the draft during Vietnam, or wasn’t a veteran of World War II. So in other words, we have elected a President that isn't trapped by the culture war that has dominated this country for decades.

We have elected a President that was a pioneer in using the internet in motivating and mobilizing an electorate, and was able to largely reject corporate donations in lieu of micro-payments from ordinary people. This in turn, ensured his campaign was boosted massively by young voters, who participated in democracy for their first time ever.

We have, my friends, elected the first true President of the 21st Century, elected largely by people who will now definitively shape the century ahead.

We now have a president, who understands how the world has changed since the end of the Cold War, that grew up in a true multi-cultural environment, (just like we did, but our parents didn't).

If you are like me, you never attended a school that wasn’t racially and culturally diverse in the classroom and you've yearned to see a government truly reflect the very environment we grew up in.

What will my generation and future generations bring to this world now that we are now fully empowered? What lessons did we learn, from history, and what lessons do we bring from our own unique experience?


This Close to History

Standing this close to a historical moment, can be a very humbling experience. I find myself wondering what it must have been like to read about Pearl Harbor, or to experience the surrender of the Nazi regime in London.

I have had few historical moments in my life that have come somewhat close to that magnitude. One was, I witnessed my home province of Quebec reject a referendum that would have begun the process of separation in Canada. Another was, I witnessed Nelson Mandela finally get released, and then take command of the South African government via the ballot box. I also witnessed the Berlin wall falling down, and watched Germany unify once more.

Today, once again, I feel connected to history. It is a very satisfying feeling. I will try and document my thoughts…

  • We saw the youth of this country participate in the democratic process at unprecedented levels. This is, in my opinion, is just as vital an accomplishment as the racial barrier that was broken last night. Indeed, it might just be the lasting legacy of this election. The race problems in America, will take another generation (or more) to fully resolve; Obama’s election was just a stepping stone to that arduous climb, but not the pinnacle. However, I think younger voters will continue to stay mobilized and invested in this country, because Obama showed us how you can include them in unprecedented numbers. Young people in America, take a bow. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, you came out in throngs, and invested in this country’s future, I am very proud of you.

  • I was particularly thrilled to see Obama’s acceptance speech underline the theme of unity. In other words, to establish an agenda of non-partisanship, to understand the importance of working with all people, of all persuasions and politics to solve the difficult problems ahead. It was the first real sign Obama will govern from the center, and that the election was not a mandate to return to “tax and spend” liberalism of decade's past. If Obama can somehow miraculously diminish the poisonous politics of the baby-boom generation, and embrace a competitive, spirited but respectful debate moving forward, I believe this will be a monumental achievement.

  • My favorite quote last night, from all the pundits, all the panels and all the analysis came from a French journalist on the Charlie Rose show. He quoted a voter he met in New York, who surmised my own feelings on the historic nature of this election so beautifully:

Rosa Parks sat, so that Martin Luther King could walk, so that Barack Obama could run, so that America could fly.

Amen. I feel like I could fly today, that’s how good this feels.


Monday, November 03, 2008

The Prediction

This is what I think the map will look like by this time tomorrow (click to see a larger image)

I do not see a landslide win of 390 electoral votes like Markos (and others are predicting). I think several factors will make this a little closer than most of the polls have shown heading to election day.

I see blue collar states like Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina going for McCain late. We'll see that the GOTV operation in those states for the Republicans was much stronger than anticipated and that in the end, many of the red state's undecided voters swung hard for McCain. Those states will be close, and may take a very long time to call, due to close votes and high turnout, but will narrowly end up in McCain's column.

Sadly, we will see columns written on Wednesday claiming the Bradley Effect isn't quite dead in America.

However, I see Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico needing to come through for Obama in order for him to prevail. Obama wins because of a superb ground game in these states. Latinos will be seen as one of the key reasons why Obama won the race. We will also see columns on Wednesday that will note this importance, and Latinos will be a much talked-about voter block in 2010 and 2012.

I do see Obama capturing 51.5% of the popular vote, but losing closely in many of the early swing states. Virginia and Pennsylvannia come through for him. New Hampshire is also suprisingly close but Obama wins it.

FINAL SCORE: Obama 291, McCain 247


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Unity FTW

Unity for the win:

This, more than anything, captures why Obama's campaign defied the odds. This message of his, captures why he motivated us more than the Clinton machine, why he could soar above Rovian attacks and why he is energizing a generation of voters, that until now, never seemed interested in politics.

In a wretched economy, in a time where we are mired in two wars that show no tangible progress, as we witness a ballooning deficit that threatens the future of our children, and in an America that seems to have lost some of its prestige these last eight years, ideas like this seem genuinely soothing and inspiring.

Sure it is just words, sure it is just a stump speech, but it sends a message that is connecting to many of us, including, stodgy, cynical independents like me.

We want to unite, and solve our problems, not divide, blame, and antagonize those who don't think like we do, or look like we do.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: if Obama wins, his mandate is not a liberal mandate, it is a bi-partisan mandate. It is a mandate for unity, moderation, dialog and inclusion of all Americans, regardless of religion, creed or political persuasion.

It is when Obama delivers this exact message, that our hearts soar. Put away DailyKOS and Drudge, and instead, find someone who has a different political philosophy than you, and then embrace them as your equal, instead of your adversary.

We all have a stake in this. Stop demonizing those with new and different ideas to your own, instead listen and find the common ground.

Obama's rhetoric might just be rhetoric, but it offers us a tonic that this country so desperately needs.


Dowd: Schmidt is the Scapegoat

Maureen Dowd reminds me of that English teacher that would scold you for a dangling participle, and then force you to read Catcher in the Rye. Maureen Dowd doesn’t really editorialize, she muses, and usually in a way that condescends, rather than inform.

While she may difficult to read, (and seems like the kind of woman that would immediately wash her hands after you were formally introduced), she is required reading for anyone interested in US politics. She is required reading, because like it or not, she often sets the agenda for a news cycle.

She and others (such as Matt Drudge), are shepherd crooks in the sheep pastures of American media. They are important, because in this age, our media seeks sparks with which to launch the next 24-hour fire. Dowd, Drudge (and a few others) often provide those sparks.

Maureen’s editorial today is one of several that are already writing the John McCain obituary before the results are even tabulated. It was as usual, quite sardonic, but it did highlight one scapegoat for McCain’s current situation that I’d also like to highlight: Steve Schmidt.

She writes this about him in her latest editorial:

In the end, “The Bullet,” or “Sarge,” as McCain calls his replacement campaign manager Steve Schmidt, was the one who did the shackling, turning the vibrant and respected McCain into a shell of his former self. Schmidt abruptly cut off the oxygen supply to McCain’s brain. No more of the oldest established, permanent floating crap game of press confabs. No more audiences that weren’t vetted for friendliness. No more of McCain’s trademark insouciant mocking the process even as he participated in it.
--Maureen Dowd

If McCain goes down in a ball of flames, (as many are predicting) then Schmidt is indeed scapegoat #1.

I believe the morale of McCain's campaign will be: you can’t run a Karl Rove campaign during a recession. Schmidt failed to see that obvious truth, and may have damaged the Republican brand for years because of that blunder.

One other small note: I think the word "insouciant", is the kind of adjective only a Thesaurus should ever print. :)


Mocking Olbermann

Blowhards from the left and the right must be mocked accordingly:

What makes the sketch so perfect is it shows how indignant and self-righteous the left can be.

Nice to see Saturday Night Live get some "teeth" back, embracing political humor again, and throwing punches at both the left and right.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Conservative Litmus: George Will

Do you want to know if you're a genuine conservative? If you demand a conservative litmus test, personally, I'd leave the final verdict to George Will.

His verdict on Sarah Palin is not a good one. This editorial from him is outstanding reading.

My two favorite quotes from this are below and my commentary follows:

Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party" is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents "are in charge of the United States Senate"?
-- George Will

Later in the article George Will attacks the scapegoat tactics, that have demonized Obama's fund raising:

Why is it virtuous to erect a dam of laws to impede the flow of contributions by which citizens exercise their First Amendment right to political expression? "We're now going to see," McCain warned, "huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal." The supposedly inevitable scandal, which supposedly justifies preemptive government restrictions on Americans' freedom to fund the dissemination of political ideas they favor, presumably is that Obama will be pressured to give favors to his September givers. The contributions by the new givers that month averaged $86.
-- George Will

MY COMMENT: Palin was a farcical pick, a "sugar rush" that provides instant momentum for McCain's campaign, but then crashed and burned when it was obvious that even the most basic question from the press (say a question like "what newspapers do you read?"), had her stumbling for words, and struggling to deliver a single coherent sentence.

On campaign financing, Will makes superb commentary, but missed why McCain is making noise on this issue. While we all agree, public financing of presidential campaigns, need to go the way of the dodo (public financing does far more harm than good), the reason why McCain is raising the issue isn't because he defends public financing, it is because it is setting the stage for the inevitable Republican response to this election.

That response will be: fraud, fraud, fraud.

Obama's campaign financing will receive massive scrutiny in the weeks ahead, and his use of e-Commerce to raise hundreds of millions, will be called into question, and there will be enough odd cases of fraud, that the cry that his entire victory was fraudulent will sadly gain traction in the press.

Still, Will's commentary is laser sharp in the above editorial, and ends on a "delicious" piece of trivia about potato chips. It's worthy reading, from a worthy voice in our political landscape.


ACLU & Privacy For All

It’s not often I agree with Michelle Malkin (who has written some of the stupidest things about Japanese internment camps ever).

None the less, civil liberties, are civil liberties and they must be protected for all, yes even political stuntmen like Joe the Plumber. If the claims Malkin documents are valid, then the ACLU needs to act and protect his rights.

Her editorial on this topic can be read here.

If state employees sifted through government records illegally, and then forwarded them to mainstream press in order to discredit Joe the Plumber, then this must be investigated.

I know the left are dismissing this with a shrug, and clearly the ACLU claimed they were appalled but didn’t actually do anything about it. On Bill Maher last night one liberal journalist actually claimed the state *should* violate the law, to sniff for dirt on Joe the Plumber, that this was a righteous act.

This is wrong. If we are to advocate civil rights and privacy rights (as we rightly should) then we must show our dedication to this cause, when it matters most. Civil liberties matter most, when the person you advocate for are not aligned with your own candidate or philosophy.

In short: if Joe’s privacy was violated, and if state employees broke the law for political gain, then we need to act.

I challenge DailyKOS and other leftist blogs to investigate this, and if proven to be right, then to advocate for privacy and civil liberty and criticize this violation of the law.

And yes, this blog just advocated an editorial from Huffington Post, and Michelle Malkin on the exact same day. Such is the glory of independent thought. :)


Doonsebury Out of Touch

I've ranted for years about how Doonsebury is now so hopelessly out-of-touch with those of us born after the baby-boom generation. Now I offer this proof that Doonsebury lost its relevance twenty years ago, with this startling news.

What an idiot. For someone apparently so attached to the progressive cause, a headline like this in America's largest newspaper hurts Obama's cause more than helps it. That didn't seem to bother Gary, who clearly values publicity more than actually supporting a presidential candidate.

My disdain for this goes beyond the headline though. My biggest beef with Doonsebury, is the implied message that Gen-Xers (like me) were stupid, shallow and materialistic because we didn’t always fall in line with the cause of liberal baby-boomers. This has been obvious in his work for years, where almost every new character (that were younger than the original characters), were always shallow, vain, confused and seeking advice from the orthodox-liberal characters in the strip.

Don't get me wrong, Doonsebury deserves high marks for breaking barriers in daily cartoons. He also inspired greater cartoonists like Breathed and McGruder. However, in my opinion, Doonsebury stopped being genuinely progressive and open-minded a long time ago. Now of course, headlines like the one above from USA TODAY, (a clear and obvious marketing-stunt), just makes Obama’s cause synonomous with the arrogant and self-righteous leftists of the 60’s and 70’s.

It also makes Obama and his supporters look arrogant, and cocky, and quite frankly, I take exception to that.

Apparently none of us even need to vote, because Doonsebury tells us it is already over. A cartoonist, is counting the votes, before any of us have actually cast them, how can that not be perceived as arrogant, presumptuous and just plain stupid?


Hurrah for Grace Stanchfield

We've talked a lot about "generational politics" these past few days.

I think it is important to remind ourselves just how much we owe the generations that came before us.

On that note, I thought the Post-Intelligencer had just a superb article yesterday, about a woman who is about to vote for her 19th president. You can read the full article here.

My favorite quote in the article, is her central advice on how to live such a long and happy life:

"Older people tend to complain," she says. "Don't complain. Take it as it comes. Attitude is the most important thing."


Biofuel is Worthy Research

I've had many arguments with friends, about the validity of ethanol and biofuels in general. I concede all the valid criticisms of corn-based ethanol, and that many biofuels don't truly tackle our carbon emissions.

However, I've always argued, that anything is better than oil, and that all research that weens us of oil, is valid and worthy research to explore. Research begets more research, and science can breed new understanding and techniques that can often yield discoveries that become a catalyst to bigger breakthroughs.

I have experience with cancer research for years, and I can tell you, scientific discovery requires an iterative process, and what may seem like an imperfect solution at stage one, can yield far more promising resarch in future stages.

This is why I applaud, articles and research as the one outlined below...

In what could be a major breakthrough for second generation ethanol production, German researchers have developed a new method that easily converts raw wood into sugar using a liquid ionic salt bath at room temperature followed by reaction with a solid acid resin.

I believe we so often get caught up in the issues surrounding corn ethanol and making fuel from food crops that we tend to write off biofuels as a flop. In reality, corn ethanol is a stop gap to help us develop an infrastructure for the second generation of non-food biofuels like cellulosic ethanol.

The full article can be found right here.


Generation Gaps & Israel

I criticize HuffingtonPost regularly, as being just a collection of celebrities, who cheerlead for democrats. Also I believe every time Arianna opens her mouth, the cause of progress suffers. :)

None the less, on rare occasion, smart people (rather than famous people) write intelligent things at that highly partisan site. Yesterday, I thought this editorial was quite interesting.

Much of the editorial, is just boiler-plate endorsement of Obama, but contained within that, is this important commentary on how the younger generation views Israel:

Now there is a generation growing up that is more distant from Israel than I should like. Young Jews do not automatically support Israel, and many are rightly troubled by what they learn about the ill treatment of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. No longer motivated by fear of anti-Semitism, they seek to understand what Israel stands for, not to say "my Israel, right or wrong." Without strong support among the younger generation of American Jews, Israel may lose its vital relationship with the US government.
-- Edgar Bronfman

MY COMMENT: We now have many young Jewish voters, who cannot remember the Suez crisis, and read about the peace treaty between Begin and Sadat in their history books.

The divide between orthodox and secular in Israel must be monumental right now, but I wonder if there is middle-ground between the two, and if the young generation in Israel can help to find that common ground?

I also wonder how demographics Israel's elections. How many Israelis under the age of 30, support the Likud I wonder?