September 28th, 2008

wart

Back to the Debate

Okay, I've thought of a few other things I wanted to mention about the debate.

1. McCain referred to Obama having the most liberal voting record in the Senate, and someone else recently said he was the most left-wing Senator. I find that hard to believe. I mean, isn't Kucinich still in the Senate? The early part of the Democratic primary process tends to consist of weeding out the actually liberal candidates. Then, after a fairly moderate candidate is chosen, the Republicans try to paint him as someone who's going to replace the Department of Defense with a Department of Flowers and Kittens. (Not that I think a Department of Flowers and Kittens would be a bad thing, but I doubt it would do much good against Bin Laden. He doesn't strike me as a lover of cute things.)

2. Obama said something about the United States being "the greatest country in the world." Are you required to say that if you're running for president? And what scale are you using to rank the greatness of countries? The nationalism of this commonly spouted phrase really bothers me. Can't you love your country without putting others down in the process?

3. Why does no one ever even acknowledge the lower class in these things? I mean, this is basically what he get from the two parties:

REPUBLICANS: We need more tax cuts for the upper class!
DEMOCRATS: No, it's middle class we need to help!
JOHN EDWARDS: Hey, you know there's also a lower class, right?
REPUBLICANS AND OTHER DEMOCRATS: Screw those poor bastards!

Of course, why should we listen to Edwards? He's a pretty boy who gets expensive haircuts and fathered a child out of wedlock, after all.

4. McCain was going off about how health care decisions should be made by families, not the government. But isn't a large part of the problem that it isn't either one of those parties making the decisions, but rather the insurance companies? Besides, even if we had national health care, I don't think anyone would stop you from choosing a doctor and paying out of pocket if you really wanted to. And what's with the Republicans' always talking about choice in this matter, when they seem to oppose it in all other respects? Also, McCain's plan to give tax credits in order to let people pay for health care strikes me as pretty stupid. Hey, if someone gave ME extra money, I wouldn't use it for health care, unless I just happened to have a serious health issue around when I got my income tax refund.

And while this wasn't addressed in this debate, if politicians are going to keep pimping out the idea that everyone should go to college, then the colleges need to stop raising their tuition every five minutes, when it was already too expensive for just about anyone to afford without a loan, a scholarship, or years of saving. If education is so great, why not put some money into it? But I guess it's easier to yak about education than to actually fund it. I mean, just look at No Child Left Behind.
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zoma

A Discomforting Post

Since it's Sunday, how about a double dose of topics related to religion? The first subject I want to address is that of people considering themselves the "real" or "true" Christians, Muslims, or whatever. Some extremists will even insist that, for instance, Catholics aren't really Christians. But isn't everyone who believes that Jesus is the savior of mankind a Christian? I mean, they might not all be RIGHT in their beliefs (in fact, I personally don't think any of them are), but that doesn't mean they aren't all Christians. I mean, even back in the first century, the early Christians had arguments over certain policies. And, if we're to accept the Biblical account, these included people who had known Jesus personally. Similarly, I'm not so keen on sweeping statements like, "Islam is a religion of peace." Actually, from what I've heard of Muhammad, he was a pretty violent guy. But that's not to say that people haven't adapted his teachings for peaceful purposes. Jesus is presented as a pacifist (except occasionally when it comes to money-changers), but some Christians have used their religion to defend violence. Does that mean that Al Qaeda terrorists aren't real Muslims, and the Crusaders weren't real Christians? Well, obviously, I don't know the personal beliefs of everyone involved in those groups, but as long as the former believe that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet, and the latter excepted Jesus as their savior, then I'd say they were authentic members of their own religions. That's not to say that they should be held as examples of typical followers of those religions, just that it doesn't really work to generalize about religions that already have a bunch of different denominations.

For my second item, travspence linked to this video of Kirk Cameron's Aussie buddy Ray Comfort discussing bananas. I'd heard of this plenty of times before, but hadn't actually seen this clip. Apparently a "well-made banana" (which I suppose means that God makes some crappy bananas for whatever reason) proves the existence of an intelligent creator, because it's so perfectly designed for human consumption. Never mind that bananas have been selectively bred for certain qualities, and that this doesn't hold true for a lot of other fruits. Were they made by some second-rate divine assistant, or perhaps by Satan? I've read that even Comfort himself eventually admitted that the banana argument is a bad one, but he still used it as a significant point in a pamphlet that's reproduced on this page. There are also a few other gems there, like how nobody can REALLY be an atheist, because they can't know FOR SURE that there's no god. Doesn't that also mean there aren't really any theists, because they can't know for sure that there IS a god? I'd say someone should teach this guy the difference between knowledge and belief, but I'm inclined to think he's too far gone. He's starting to make Kent Hovind look like a genius.

Oh, by the way, this is old news, but it's somewhat relevant to the topic. At a Growing Pains reunion on Larry King Live (that guy gets ALL the most significant guests, doesn't he?), Larry asked Kirk Cameron whether he was religious. His answer was something like, "No, I'm a Christian." Um...what?
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wart

Oh hai! I can haz plannit?

Here's another post about stuff I wrote as a kid, and it ties in with my first three cats. Interestingly enough, my galaxy project coincided with my getting pets for the first time. My parents split up when I was about ten, and I'd never had a pet before that. I was afraid of dogs, but interested in getting a cat, but I was never allowed. Soon after the break-up, though, my dad adopted a stray cat who had been locked in an abandoned house for a week. I think the experience of going that long without food made him never want to go hungry again, because he ate a lot of cat food. His name was Arthur, and he was a gray tabby, and not really a lap cat. Usually, he'd just sit near people, instead of actually making contact with them. When my dad moved to New Mexico, he took Arthur with him, and I only saw him once after that. He was only ten years old or so when he died of feline leukemia, and I'm not sure how he got that, since I thought the vet gave shots for it.

Not long after this, my mom adopted a two-year-old cat named Cat (her earlier owners must have been really creative :P) from the SPCA. She was a calico, but wasn't as splotchy-looking as calicoes generally are. She was mostly white, and had rather neat brown and black patches. bethje observed that she was colored like a hot fudge sundae. When we got her, she was sick and refused to eat, but she got well again after about a month. She lived pretty long (about sixteen years, I think), but since she had a problem with peeing on things, we kept her in the basement for a lot of the time. I feel bad that we did that, but I'm not sure what else we could have done.

The third cat that I had at the time of the galaxy project was Star. She was a black and white cat with a black nose, who was part of a litter of four kittens born in my mom's friend's house. My dad adopted her, and while Arthur initially hated her encroaching on his territory, it didn't take them too long to become friends. She was kind of neurotic, and was the only cat I've ever known to have been prescribed Valium by a vet. Unfortunately, she didn't live very long, as she was hit by a car during Thanksgiving break when she was only two years old. Poor Star. :(

I was in the fifth grade when we first got all three of these cats, and I was pretty excited about it. I ended up working them into a few things that I wrote, including the aforementioned galaxy project. The Great Galaxy included a cat planet, ruled over by Arthur (hey, he WAS named after a legendary king), and mostly covered in an ocean that contained sections made of cat food. The only continent there was called Meowica, and the four moons were named after Star and her three siblings (although I doubt whoever adopted the other three kept those names).

Please let me know whether you've been enjoying these posts about old writings. I know a lot of you voted that I should make them, but since I haven't gotten any comments, I'm worried that they might not be of interest to anyone else. But then, in fairness, I probably wouldn't be able to think of any way in which to reply to such posts either.

Anyway, in the meantime, here's a survey that I got from slfcllednowhere:
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