Wednesday, September 20, 2006

John McCain - Alien

Send troops to the border of his house! The newest headline reads, "McCain may alienate some conservatives".

The article refers to John McCain's stance on War on Terror detainees, and it adds,
"Politically, this isn't wise," added the Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, which supports the president's call for Congress to approve tough interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects.
Pardon me?!? This is not an endorsement of John McCain, but I for one, would FAVOR someone who acted politically "unwise" in favor of doing what he believes is "right".

Now, in all fairness, the article does quote McCain as he points that out himself saying,
As the clash escalated, McCain shrugged off suggestions that the dust-up could hurt him politically, telling reporters last week that his "credibility with the American people is that I do what I think is right."
What a novel idea (whomever the candidate might be).

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Peace Through Superior Firepower

Yesterday the French commander of U.N. forces in Lebanon announced that U.N. troops will not disarm Hezbollah.

While considering the merits of this fact could produce a post alone, I believe that there is another discussion in a point made by French Defense Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie,
“To avoid clashes sometimes you have to dissuade (the other side) by demonstrating you are stronger”
I will go on record and say that I suscribe to this viewpoint, and I believe the U.S. would be better served had we taken this viewpoint in Iraq.

That being said, even with opinions I hold, "truth" is still relative.

It is has been traditionally the case that putting "butter" over "guns" is considered more of a long-term approach vs. the converse which has been considered a shorter-term approach. Has the War on Terror changed this? Has this been a fallacy all along? Is that belief, indeed, accurate? If situational specifics matter, what factors should governments take into account when deciding? How should they go about making such decisions? What percentage of "guns vs. butter" would you use for the following "hotspots": Iraq? Iran? North Korea? Thinking about the use of "guns and butter" not related to nuclear proliferation nor the Waron Terror, what percentage of "guns vs. butter" would you dedicate to places like Columbia?

Hybrid Theory

While I am certainly not an environmentalist in the neo-politik1 sense (that is one who associates with movements like veganism, and groups like ELF and Greenpeace), I do consider myself an environmentalist in the traditional sense (that is, one who appreciates nature and wishes to preserve it).

That, and some reading I was doing led to do some curiosity reading into hybrid cars and alternative fuels. During my reading, I came across the cartoon below, which got me thinking about possible drawbacks of alternative energy sources.

The first useful piece of information I was able to find was this Popular Mechanics .pdf, which, since I had already been biased by the cartoon above appeared to be making a case for electric cars. However, as I looked at the chart, I could not help but notice that an electric car would take 1 ton of coal to produce the electricity required to travel the same distance as a gasoline powered car would take 4.5 barrels of oil for.

I'm no expert on natural resources, but one full ton of coal seems a bit disproportionate to 4.5 barrels of crude oil considering we consume millions of barrels per day. Do we even have that much coal? Seems to me, we could run out of that just as easily as we could oil.

It certainly goes beyond that! If I recall the historical information on coal correctly, we moved away from it for two reasons: 1. It was not as efficient; 2. Oil, bad as at is, is better on the environment.

In some regard at least, there is a happy ending. No, sadly I have not found a truly efficent alternative energy source. However, I did find the full Popular Mechanics article that the earlier .pdf accompanied, and it does an excellent job of explaining not only the various alternative fuels, but also the pros and cons of each. If you have the chance, give it a look. It's a good read.

That being said, what are your opinions on alternative fuels? Are you willing to spend more for cleaner fuels? If cost was not a consideration, which fuel source would you use?

1 "neo-politik" is a self-invented term for new interpretations of politic movements, issues, etc. which too numerous to name here, but are often highly distorted from the original meanings of the terms.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Jihad on the Pope

So it seems there is more "Muslim outrage", this time over an speech given to German university students by the Pope.

Ok, first of all, he's the leader of a competing religion. Of course he's not going to speak kindly of other religions. He shouldn't be expected to! That's like expecting the CEO of Pepsi to say, "you know, I'm really sorry that our commercials say Pepsi is better than Coke."

Second, he was making a historical academic citation. Are we to understand that Islam is opposed to historical accounts because they are critical of the religion? Should Germany feel inclined to attack Israel and the United States because of references to Hitler or the Holocaust?

By the way, I'm not Catholic.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September Poll

The poll for September is up as promised. Discussion to come.

Monday, September 11, 2006

We Will Never Forget

Remembering Rhonda Rasmussen - Everyday Hero

Launch in external player

To all the victims of 9-11 and their families. My heart is with you.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hot Blooded or Hot Water?

Everyone's favorite un-PC Governor has caused a stir with tape-recorded remarks about Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

As reported by the AP,

The statements were captured on a six-minute tape made during a March 3 speechwriting session between Schwarzenegger and his advisers. On it, Schwarzenegger and chief of staff Susan Kennedy speak affectionately of state Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia and speculate about her nationality.

"I mean Cuban, Puerto-Rican, they are all very hot," the governor says on the recording. "They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it."

It is important to note that Garcia herself, a fellow Republican to Schwarzenegger, claims she is not at all offended by the comments,
Garcia, who is Puerto Rican, appeared with Schwarzenegger on Friday and said she was not offended by the governor's comments. Garcia earlier told the Times that she often calls herself a "hot-blooded Latina."
It is also important to note that with the exception of Schwarzenegger's opponent in November's election, Phil Angelides, the Democratic response appears muted.

What do I think?

There are certainly a lot of factors to consider.

As I previously mentioned, Arnold is certainly not the most "politically correct" person ever. Then again, he doesn't make a lot of bones about it.

That being said, consider the issue at hand. While it may very well be politically motivated, Garcia says she is not offended by the comments. Indeed, I can say from personal experience that many Latinos - Puerto Rican, Cuban, or otherwise - consider themselves "firey" or "hot blooded". On the other hand, the governor's specific remarks did not limit themselves to Garcia nor the people who approve, and there likely are Latinos who are offended.

Let's look at one more thing. As an American of Austrian heritage, Arnold has often been stereotyped racially. Now from what I've seen, when such stereotypes are made in jest, he appears to take them as such. On the other hand, having been stereotyped, he should be more sensitive to the harm such comments can cause.

I submit that as usual, there is no black-and-white answer. As a result, I invite you to share your views.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"The Path to 9/11"

It seems an upcoming ABC miniseries is drawing controversy before it has even aired.

As ABC describes it,
On September 11, 2001 the world stood still as terrorists used four planes as lethal weapons against innocent Americans. The 9/11 Commission was formed to determine how such an attack could happen, and its report documents the trail from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the tragedy of that autumn morning. The bipartisan commission effort created a comprehensive record of events and provides valuable insight into what must be done to protect the nation in the future.

ABC will present "The Path to 9/11," a dramatization of the events detailed in The 9/11 Commission Report and other sources, in an epic miniseries event that will air with limited commercial interruption.
However, the decision to take a view that is more reflective of the history well before 9/11, rather than events immediately beforehand, has led to the controversy.

As the counterpoint protests,
"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has a duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely. It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known."
Accurate or not, the buzz created by the protest will certainly increase ratings for ABC.

As For Me...

I'll make sure to watch it before I make my decision, though I personally believe that the issues that the show apparently portrays have been in need of discussion for some time.

Your thoughts?

Poll Results - The "Liquid Bomb" Plot

Here are the final results from the August poll - The "Liquid Bomb" Plot" Overhyped or Underreported?

Overhyped (2) 67%
Underreported (1) 33%

I hope more people will take the next poll coming September 12.

Strep Throat

So just my luck, I came back from my vacation with a case of strep throat, but I am mostly back now - a little late, but back as promised none-the-less.

You'll be seeing posts at least 3 days a week from me again.

Thank you to those who kept faith in me and this blog.