Archive for March, 2010

Another Reason Our Current Two-Party System Sucks

Republicans have been getting (and giving) a lot of flack as of late.

There’s been the on-going, “Republicans are the party of ‘no,’” and the honest admissions that even though everyone “wants” bi-partisanship, the minority party has nothing to gain from it (except of course, doing the right thing, rather than fear-mongering about socialism). There is the emerging consensus that the minority party has no interest, use or need to actually partake in governance, and that stalling and obstructionist tactics are the only worthwhile actions for the,

There are a lot of reasons why this is true. Among them are that we have incredibly divided politics right now and so if you work with someone you call a fascist, well that kind of makes you a fascist, doesn’t it? Or at least a fascist-sympathizer. Additionally, you won’t get any significant amount of credit out of the deal, as your party is not in control, and will not be rewarded for the success of that legislation.

Politics is very zero-sum, many times.

So there are a number of reasons why the minority party wouldn’t want to help out. And while some would argue that Dem.s hadn’t used as many filibusters historically, and have crossed the isle more (both things I’ve heard, neither of which I’ve double-checked), we are still left with a dynamic that expects us to have only one useful party at a time.

It’d be a lot better if we could put the minority party to use doing something. I mean that in an honest sense. If there’s nothing they can expect to get out of it in the short or long run, we can’t blame them (or us, next time around) for being obstructionists. Of course we can keep saying – correctly, I would argue – that people should do what is right for the country regardless, but we cannot structurally count on individuals to make decisions that end their careers for the sake of the country. “Do a good deed today, end your prospects of doing a good deed tomorrow.” How can we fix that?


Response to "Telephone" w/ Lada Gaga and Bionca

For those not familiar with “Telephone,” the premise of the tune is that LG and B, are not going to answer their phones, because they are busy dancing, partying etc. They clarify that it’s not that they don’t like you, they’re just busy. So ya know, stop “telephone-in me…”

My first thought is that this topic has got to be one of the most superficial and useless topics I’ve ever heard. The only thing that would be more ridiculous would be a song about not “poking” someone back on FB. Whatever.

Then I thought, “Maybe this song isn’t shallow, maybe it’s intimate.” Maybe it so closely resembles the experience, concerns and topics of interest of her general audience that it perfectly “speaks to them,” addressing a very common, very shared situation.


Nowhere to Hide

As the sophistication of available technology and information increase exponentially over time, and as the ability to stop the proliferation of them also decreases, it will become impossible to stop motivated people from doing anything.

What I mean by this is, if someone wants something bad enough it’s only going to get easier for them to gain access to technologies that enable them and information that guides them. This idea comes from here, in a discussion of “superempowered individuals.”

Specifically the discussion is about terrorist organizations and their training of lone gunman operatives like the xmas bomber. It’s a frightening prospect and it changes things dramatically.

At some point in the future the ability to attack a foreign place or individual will be accessible to anyone and everyone. How do we defend ourselves in such a world? Defensive technologies, when an equal amount of money is being spent, are always on the losing end (think of the cost of a bullet-proof helmet versus the cost of the one armor-piercing bullet that went through it).

What this will mean is that our best and eventually our primary mode of defense will be winning the argument, really engaging in it and then winning it.

Perhaps a more salient example is this: Mutually Assured Destruction. Russia, US, don’t nuke eachother because they know they’ll both die so neither one ends up able to subjugate the other. Now compare that to Israel-Palestine, where Israel clearly has a preponderance of force, is able to keep the Palestinians at bay and so doesn’t have enough incentive to rectify their situation. Imagine how that would change if the Palestinians had the same military force as the Israelis? More so, imagine if they both had nukes.

It’s possible that we’ll be able to get some work done on nuclear proliferation if the ‘Bama works hard enough at it, but on a long enough timeline, the technology to build those bombs or to MacGuyver any other bomb, will leach out to the net, and be cheap enough and available to anyone with interest. At that point, the only way to stop them from blowing up a building, is by making sure they don’t want to.



Brother Sharp S/S/A/W 2010 “Vagrance Pour Homme”

Derelicte: it’s so hot right now.

You have no idea.

There are only two things you can do with your life

1. County beans.

2. Decide what beans mean.


Maple Bacon Truffles

Balls of dark chocolate and bacon bit ganache coated in a white chocolate and maple-infused syrup the garnished with bacon bits.

(Submitted by That Guy Ruste)

Frickin’ Lazy

My new catch-all political opinion is that politicians are just lazy-asses gaming their jobs and not doing anything all day.

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona is quoted as saying: “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

There’s a qualifier necessary there. It’s a disincentive for them to work if they can accept the quality of living provided by the small amount you get from Unemployment Insurance. This is a dumb idea, I’ll just say that.

More to the point, the fact that Congressman apparently no longer have to actually pass legislation, but rather can just gab-off all day pointing the finger at someone else, tells me that they have a disincentive to work.

Bottom line is working as a Senator is like being on welfare, only it’s waaaay better: everyone thinks you know what you’re talking about, you get paid a good amount, you get loads of free stuff and kick-backs from industry, as well as near-perfect job prospects in the private sector when your term is done, and you get “invincible-man healthcare.”

What a bunch of free-loaders.