Appeasement

This is entertaining:

It’s a key point and it is good that Matthews pushed it: appeasement does not mean “talking to”. It means giving up something in hopes of avoiding a conflict. Neville Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler by signing the Munich Agreement, conceding part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler.

John F. Kennedy said “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” I agree with him. I think Bush is a dumbshit.

Appeasement

Fer fuck's sake, Pawlenty

Stung by criticism that his Monday letter explaining a veto of legislation to ban a fire retardant and a known toxin in children’s toys was “riddled with inaccuracies,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty yesterday acknowledged factual misstatements and apologized.

But he still stands behind his veto:

And so, the governor altered his reasons for vetoing the bill which, he said Tuesday, was because “many studies regarding the impact of DECA do not support a ban.”

Meanwhile, in reality:

Dahl said the “overwhelming conclusion” of independent, peer-reviewed studies is that DECA is a “dangerous neurotoxin.” She produced a long list of abstracts for scientific papers documenting known hazards of DECA, and another list of studies on another toxin, phthalate (pronounced fail-ate), that would be phased out in the vetoed bill.

Dahl said that both DECA and phthalate do not bond to the products in which they’re used, meaning that the chemicals are released as children chew on playthings or as products heat up.

Forty-one nations, including the European Union and Mexico, have banned phthalate; the giant retailer Toys R Us and toymaker Mattel have vowed to be phthalate-free by the end of the year.

The flame-retardant DECA — a “developmental neurotoxin” similar to PCBs, which were banned in Minnesota in the 1970s — is used in textiles, mattresses, and electronics. Heat causes DECA to be released, exposing firefighters to elevated chemical risk as they respond to fires.

Children are affected as heat from laptops and TV sets release DECA into dust that then circulates around the home and into carpeting.

Hmmm, I wonder whose pocket the Gov. is in on this one?

(via MinnPost)

Fer fuck's sake, Pawlenty

Government should leave us alone

Government should leave us alone. That is the cry of libertarians and Republicans. Government should leave us alone. It’s one of those statements that, in my mind, is almost meaningless because all of us, libertarians and Republicans included, see the need for government. The political conflict that we have is because people see the need for government in different areas and at different times.

It’s Republicans, of course, that piss me off the most. They try to spin liberals as wanting a nanny-state where the government does everything for everybody, forcing legislation and regulation down our throats. Yet they are so quick to call upon government intervention where they want it. People shouldn’t be allowed to be gay married! Abortions should be illegal! We need half of our budget to go to the military! People shouldn’t be allowed to grow pot! Hell, if you drive your car into an affluent Republican neighborhood you can’t even park on the street without a permit. They love government, but only when it directly benefits themselves. With Republicans it is a politics of convenience — “I’m a socialist when it is your stuff and a capitalist when it’s my stuff”. Thus, Republicans, when they use the “government should leave us alone” argument, are complete hypocrites.

Libertarians, on the other hand, think that government has one role — protect personal property. They think the only good laws are laws that protect personal property. All other laws are just government interference in our lives.

I think libertarians are not hypocrites but they are much too willing to allow the tyranny of the majority and much too unwilling to use government cooperatively for the common good. Libertarians seem to think that, if you get sick from mishandled food at a restaurant, you should not patronize that restaurant anymore. If you don’t want to work in a dangerous mine or a smoke-filled bar, don’t apply for the job. If you can’t afford health care, too bad so sad.

While I am certainly more sympathetic to the libertarian viewpoint than the Republican viewpoint, I think it’s impractical and wasteful to not band together for the common good, it guts our economical potential and it abandons our humanitarian ideals.

My favorite Paul Wellstone quote is “We all do better when we all do better.” Our greatest economic potential is moving people out of poverty. We should do this for humanitarian reasons alone, but the economic reasons cause the initiative to pay for itself! Welfare programs that get people on a track towards economic independence are fiscally conservative. The health care “crisis” is another example where, if we increase the size of the risk pool and use our dollars more wisely, everyone benefits. A pure free-market approach to health care leaves behind the poor and costs us much more money in the end. Free markets cannot be trusted to do the right thing in the long term for the population as a whole. Free markets benefit those who are savvy and have means. They brutalize the poor.

Thus, we should abandon empty platitudes like “government should leave us alone”. In the best case its naive and in the worst its hypocritical bullshit. I agree entirely with the notion that we must be wise about what we choose to do with government. Government is the wrong tool for many, many jobs. But, on the whole, government is a force for equality, opportunity, fairness and justice. The anti-government rhetoric of libertarians and Republicans is just plain wrong and, in the latter case, is just a shallow attempt to deceive people with a campaign slogan.

Government should leave us alone

Those good ol' Republican family values

Yet another Republican hypocrite: Vito Fossella drives drunk, has a long-term affair and fathers a child by his mistress. Yet he is so full of “family values” that he shuns his own sister because she is gay.

So apparently he can’t love his own sister because of his religious beliefs but he can fuck around on his wife for years and drive drunk. I guess I missed that part of the Bible.

I don’t care, necessarily, that people are imperfect. I do care when they are lying, hypocrites who act as if they hold the moral high ground politically.

Let’s see, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) fucks call girls, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) cheats on his wife and drives drunk. At least Elliot Spitzer (the only D in this post) had the decency to resign.

Those good ol' Republican family values

A Real Cause of Atheism

After having recently interviewed Ernan McMullin I found this page on writings by Christian scientists. These are the lot that Myers and Dawkins tend to not talk about because they make sense. I still tend to think their theology is silly but at least it doesn’t conflict with scientific principles.

I found this quote interesting from Is Evolution Atheistic? by Dr Denis Alexander:

Evolution itself is not atheistic. A robust Christian theism readily encompasses evolution as an expression of God’s creative actions. But, sadly, there are prominent scientists, like the Harvard sociobiologist E.O.Wilson, who left their earlier Christian experience to become atheists because they faced hostility to evolution. Arguably, attacks by well-meaning Christians on evolution promote rather than counteract atheism.

It makes two great points: 1) Evolution does not at all deny the existence of God; and 2) Ignorant attacks on evolution by well-meaning Christians actually undermines their aims.

A Real Cause of Atheism

Blog software update (again)

Behold, my blog is now on WordPress. Note that this is not the final design, it’s just a temporary design while Kyle finishes up the new design. You will see some weird things happen, perhaps, from time to time as we try out the new design.

If you are a frequent visitor I would highly encourage you to register. Then I can approve you so you can comment without moderation. I’m going to try to set the perms as liberally as I can without being bombarded with spam.

The old version of lolife.com/blog is here for a little while in case I screwed anything up.

Blog software update (again)