Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Journey to the White House is Just Starting

The National Journal has an excellent piece examining the current state of the presidential race. Bottom line? "This could go on awhile."

Combined with the outcomes of the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire results leave the parties confronting similar situations. Each side faces the prospect of an extended nomination fight between candidates who have established clear demographic strongholds, but have not yet demonstrated enough strength to dislodge their opponents from their strongholds or to unite all the divergent elements of their party's coalition.

This has certainly been a fascinating election year. I can't wait to find out what the outcome will be.

Isn't Texas Great?

A Texas school wants to offer a degree in "Science Education" (read: Creationism). Now, if only there was some science behind creationism (the literal kind, i.e. the world was created in six 24-hour days 6000 years ago). Bah, who needs science? It's obviously a tool of Satan used to steal our souls!.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Great Expectations

Time has a sobering assessment of Bush's recent efforts in the Isreali/Palestinian peace process.

Bush capped the two days of talks Thursday evening with a restatement of U.S. goals for a peace deal as well as encouragement for both sides to pursue talks. But if it hasn't been already obvious, Bush's trip to Israel and the West Bank this week has made one thing abundantly clear: the Israelis and Palestinians aren't making peace anytime soon. Israel is as resistant to basic peace process concessions as it has always been and the Palestinians are alternately weak or violent, depending on which part of their territory you look at.

Perhaps I'm cynical (I am) and perhaps I am highly critical of Bush (I am, but it's not like he hasn't asked for it), but his current push for settling this conflict comes off as a half-hearted attempt to salvage some sort of legacy for his presidency. I don't think he's even put a whole lot of thought into this beyond "You know, it seems like them Israelis and Palestinians should get along. I bet if I sit them down together, they can work this little misunderstanding out."

This conflict has been going on decades. A half-hearted attempt by a President in his last year of office who has lost all credibility in the Middle East is not going to work. Sad but true.

Who Wants to Be Invisible?

Scientists are getting closer to making invisibility a reality. As cool as this is (and oh so ripe for abuse), though, my preferred super-power is flight. When is someone going to get me my own personal flying device?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Early Birthday Gifts

My birthday is not until tomorrow, but I have received a few gifts already. Yesterday, my co-worker, Brenda (or my "work-mom" as she calls herself), gave me Star Trek V and VI to round out my collection of the original series films. She said she wanted to wait until my birthday, but she saw I has having a bad day at work and thought I could use the pick-me-up. Brenda is also the type of person that has trouble waiting for something like this because she gets so excited. One of my tail lights was out in my vehicle and Brenda also had her son fix it for me.

Today, my mother took me to the bookstore (okay, I took her) and let me pick out a few books. She is very traditional and did not want to do it this way, but she hasn't had a chance to get a ride from anyone else, so it was up to me. I picked out The Thousandfold Thought by R. Scott Bakker, the third in his Prince of Nothing trilogy. I haven't read the first two, yet, though they have received rave reviews. I also picked up Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook which collects the first trilogy of his Black Company novels. I have been wanting to read these for a long time and now I don't have an excuse not to.

Anyway, a big thank you to Brenda and Mom for my gifts. They are much appreciated.

People Are "Doing It"

A fascinating new study points to the liklihood of this happening right now somewhere, maybe even nearby.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Religion Fact of the Day

Belief in the Trinity as most Christians currently know it was not always so clear cut. Arius was a Christian pries in Egypt in the late 3rd/early 4th centuries. He stirred up a lot of controversy by claiming that Jesus did not exist from the beginning with God, but was created later and by implication less than the Father. Athanasius was the major opponent of Arianism as it became called. The Council of Nicaea in 325 was an attempt to resolve this dispute, but the wording of the Nicene Creed, specifically the word homoousios ("same essence"), only served to inflame the conflict. It wasn't until 381 when the creed was rewritten that the dispute was settled with Arianism losing out.

New Hampshire Makes Things Interesting

In stark contrast to all of the polls from the last few days, Clinton eked out a narrow victory over Obama in the Granite State. After looking very emotional and tired over the last few days, I'm sure this will invigorate Clinton. We'll see how things fall out, but I still don't think Clinton will go all the way.

On the Republican side, things become more confusing as McCain gets a solid victory. This looks to be shaping up as a Huckabee/McCain battle. Romney and Guiliani are fading in the polls. Thompson seems to have lost any ground he gained with his late-inning entry. That said, while the Democratic front-runners are clear, it is much murkier for the GOP. It could go anyway at this point and that seems to point to confusion within the party for the direction they need to go and to disillusionment with any of the choices this year.

An interesting year for politics to say the least.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Girls' Self Image

This is the sort of thing I worry about with my youngest daughter.

[Girls] who believed they were unpopular gained more weight over a two-year period than girls who viewed themselves as more popular. Researchers said the study showed how a girl's view of her social status has broader health consequences.

Shaena is such a sweet girl, but her self-esteem is in the gutter. She thinks she's worthless and not as smart or beautiful as her sister. I try to boost her up, but it's so hard especially when her home environment is so negative. She needs to get away from that and she needs some positive female role-models in her life. I need to do more for her.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Why Campaign Coverage Sucks

Chris Hayes, editor of The Nation, explains why media coverage of political campaigns is typically poor and offers some solutions including this one:

2) Go more for features and less daily reporting. The Times has been doing this, though, their feature coverage has tended to focused on such burning issues as what Hillary Clinton wrote in letters to a penpal 35 years ago. But it also produced an excellent piece about Giuliani’s fraught relationship with New York City’s black residents. These kind of longer-form, non-deadline pieces are fun to read, and far, far more informative than the daily dispatch.

I think this could be extended to many news stories and not just campaign coverage. The 24-hour, instant gratification news cycle is tearing our media apart.

Religion Fact of the Day

The Southern Baptist Convention is the second largest Christian denomination (next to Roman Catholic) in the United States. It was founded in 1845 in Georgia in part as a reaction against other Baptist movements denouncing slavery. It was not until 1995 that the SBC formally renounced its racist origins.

Weekly Music Video

How about a little 90s flashback with the Pet Shop Boys and their cover of "Go West."

Weekly Secret