Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Post-Clinton Years

Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder, both with The Atlantic, discuss what Obama's victory means for the country, the Democrats, and the Clintons.

Star Trek Luminaries

I mentioned the passing of Alexander Courage recently. Geekdad also pays tribute to him and to two other people who were important to the development of the original series, Joseph Pevny and Robert H. Justman.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a .wav file of the awesome theme that Courage wrote.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kids are Mean

Just about anyone who has been through school will tell you that kids are mean. They may not have been on the receiving end of it, but they have seen it. A post on the GeekDad blog over at Wired is about the topic in response to an almost too outrageous to believe story from Florida in which a kindergarten teacher had her students vote on whether or not to expel another student.

I was bullied a lot as a kid. It had a profound impact on my life and not in a good way. I became a very angry teenager, not just because of the bullying but it played no small part in it. That anger led me to a lot of self-destructive choices that in some ways I am still trying to recover from. I think it is safe to say that I am at a point in my life where I have worked through that anger and dealt with the issue, but it has taken a lot of self-discipline, a lot of time, a lot of emotional release. The impact that bullying has on kids cannot be underestimated.

The source of bullying must be understood. It is about insecurity. The kids (well, all people, really, including adults) bully others because they feel insecure. They feel powerless. It is their way of asserting themselves, of hiding their true face, that of a scared kid worried that no one is going to like him or her. Bullies are lonely, afraid, and desperate for acceptance. They lash out in the only way they know how, but unfortunately it only serves to make those being bullied miserable while doing nothing for their own problems.

So, what to do about it? Well, parents must give their kids the self-respect and confidence so that they do not feel a need to bully other kids and so they can weather the storm if they are the target of bullies. It sounds so simple, but as a parent, I understand the difficulties in doing this. My youngest daughter, Shaena, is very insecure and feels worthless. Unfortunately, at her mother's home she is often called "fat", "worthless", and told she won't ever amount to anything. She is being bullied at home which is ten times worse than being bullied by your peers and it's not something that can just be made to go away. I see it in Shaena's face when I tell her how beautiful she is, how smart she is, what a wonderful kid she is, that a part of her doesn't quite believe me and it breaks my heart.

To all of the parents out there, tell your kids how wonderful they are just the way they are. Tell 'em when they are young. Tell 'em when as they are growing up. Give your kids the strength to stand before anyone and say, "I am a good person and I don't care what you say." God knows, they'll need it.

Is Hope So Bad?

Matt Yglesias writes about pessimism, hope, and Obama.

All in all, the pessimist in me sees it as an approach to politics designed to set us up for a hard fall when it fails. But in a deeper sense I find it incredibly appealing. To me, it's incredibly frustrating to hear that ideas "can't be done" not because they won't work, but because people know -- just know -- that they're not politically possible, even though they're things that have never been tried. I think almost every worthwhile accomplishment of progressive governance -- from the UN and NATO and the NPT to Medicare and Medicaid and Title I school aid to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act to the ongoing feminist revolution that's completely transformed American society in a generation and a half with no sign of slowing down -- is the kind of thing that before it happened, a lot of people would have said that it couldn't happen. And of course sometimes the pessimists are right, but unless you sometimes assume they're wrong then nothing's ever going to happen.

As someone who tends toward pessimism myself, I find this one of the more, if not the most, compelling cases for Obama.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

History is Made

He has clinched the nomination.

Primary Voting in Montana

I hope all Montana citizens eligible to vote in today's Democratic primary did so. I did.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And the Beat Goes On

The Democratic Rules & Bylaws Committee came to an agreement yesterday on the status of Michigan and Florida delegates, but it seems that it will only serve to further divide the party especially since Clinton and her surrogates keep hammering at the wedge. Much of the blame for this has to lie at the feet of the Democratic Party leadership. It was very foolish to strip both states of all of their delegates. The Republican plan of only stripping the two states of half their delegates made much more sense and would have spared everyone of much of this drama.

Of course, once it was done, it was up to Howard Dean and other party leaders to make sure something like the current circus did not occur. They should have been working behind the scenes to hammer out some sort of deal when the issue began to heat up or at the very least get Clinton to shut up and quit whining about the deal. She had no problem with the DNC decision back when she strutted around self-assured of getting the nomination. It was only after she realized Obama was going to smoke her that she started worrying about "disenfranchised voters." Why hasn't the media been hammering her more directly about this? I want to see her attempt to assemble a coherent answer when asked why she approved of the decision for awhile and then did a complete 180 on it.

The Dems need to rethink their rules so this does not happen again in the future. Clinton and her most fervent supporters are only making things more difficult for Obama and the party in the fall. The ludicrous calls to vote for McCain over Obama in November just boggle the mind. Obama and Clinton are very close policy wise. Anyone who supports Clinton just because of her genitalia needs to get their head examined. Obama has out-campaigned her plain and simple. Her argument that she is stronger against McCain in the fall is undercut by the fact that she can't even win her own party's nomination.

Weekly Music Video

Epica, a Dutch symphonic metal band performing two songs from their Consign to Oblivion album, "Blank Infinity" and the very cool "Mother of Light."

Weekly Secret



A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to a year in jail for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Making it even better, her MySpace page says she is a 19-year-old divorcee and has videos of her dancing very suggestively. And, to top it all off, this is not the first guy she has done this to.

Now, I whole-heartedly support people not jumping in the sack until they are in a marital relationship; but I know that humans being the creatures they are, it is going to happen. So how can a case like this be called justice? This isn't a rape. This isn't a teacher sleeping with a student. No, this is a young girl who looks older, knows it, and uses that to deceive men and then get them into trouble. She is suffering no consequences from this from either the law or her parents who admit she still "stays out late" and only in the last few days has her MySpace page been taken down. Morris Williams, the most recent man going to jail went to her father after he started to suspect the girl was younger than she had been saying. We can debate the brains behind that move, but the point is that this guy is not some dirty pedo who needs to be locked up and branded a sex offender for the rest of his life.

This girl is only 13 years old and she has already ruined two men's lives. How many more times will it happen before her parents do something about it?