Turns out I like Gravel and Kucinich

•January 5, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I never would have thought it.  I know I’m not as conservative as I used to be.  I was only really an economic conservative anyway and now I accept that there’s just no way for-profit health insurance is going to realistically do an all-around better job than a well-managed national system.

I don’t think I’m allowed to call myself a conservative anymore.

I vote.  In just about every election in which I’m eligible.  Obviously that means I plan to vote in both the primary and the general election.  I figured I’d vote for Obama if he won the Democratic nomination and if not, I’d be kind of stuck.

Yesterday, and again today, I took the ABC News/USA Today Vote 2008 Match-o-Matic quiz (a name which conveys all the gravitas and depth those two juggernauts, combined, have), in which one is asked to answer eleven multiple-choice questions on Iraq and a couple of “hot-button” issues in order to see a list of one’s three top matches.

When I took it yesterday, I was surprised:

1. Mike Gravel

2. Dennis Kucinich

3. Chris Dodd

Today, I took it again, and was even more surprised:

1. Mike Gravel

2. Dennis Kucinich

3. Mitt Romney

I can’t stand Mitt Romney.  It matters that he’s a Mormon because he’s a Romney, he’s from a family very powerful in the Church.  And I think it is perfectly relevant to want to know whether the potential chief executive of the United States believes in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being who still somehow has a home and that that home is the planet Kolob (or behind the planet Kolob.)   The guy has also changed just about every position he’s publicly held to pander to the deeply creepy Christian conservative wing of the GOP, which is, in terms of policies and stances, an absolute joke of a party – absolutely bankrupt.

While the ABC quiz was too shallow to be much more than a slightly-less-than-random matchmaker, it does show one important thing: no one who’s any good is ever going to be a prime contender for higher office in the United States.

I actually agree with Dennis Kucinich on a number of issues, I just think he’s a bit nutty.

Bumper Crop of Year-End/New Year Posts at TPR

•January 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda greets the world in English on YouTube, but that comes after Seijigiri does 2007 in a review of Japanese politics and BizCast Japan reports on the top 7 business stories of ’07.

Book: “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan

•January 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Americans eat pretty much nothing but corn. One of those things I suppose an intelligent person could have reasonably guessed, but I’m not all that bright. Or, rather, I knew Americans ate a lot of synthetic junk made of corn, but didn’t realize just how much.

Also includes one of the best counters to the common animal rights-means-vegetarianism arguments I’ve read since Daniel Dennett’s Kinds of Minds. What makes it so good is that it reads as though Pollan is just sitting there thinking it through and including the ramifications of what it means, which not many animal rights activists or proponents do, at least in a real world way.

I had the rare pleasure of reading for hours a day and reading the whole book in a couple of days while at the in-laws’ for New Year’s, which I love doing.

One Fat Penguin recommends The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

$99.29 per Barrel

•November 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Close.  We’ve heard of the threat of $100 per barrel oil for donkey’s years now.  Today, that benchmark was quite nearly reached.

Now, some might say that this will be an incentive for more investment in alternative fuels.  Those people are stupid.  This means converting tar sands to synthetic crude is now really profitable.  Oil shale conversion will be profitable, too.  If you thought conventional crude was bad for the environment. . .

Why won’t things change?  Because setting a thermostat to 68 instead of 72 is considered eco-friendly in America.  Because setting it a bit lower when one is not home instead of turning it completely off is considered eco-friendly in America.  Because most apartment buildings prohibit hanging laundry outside because it looks bad, which is OK because no American would seriously consider not using a clothes dryer or a dishwasher or climate control anyway.  Because every new technology or pollution control measure has to not only be better, but also cheaper than the alternatives.  Because America decided long ago that pecuniary cost-benefit analysis is the rubric by which absolutely everything must be judged.  No other factor matter at all unless the pecuniary cost-benefit analysis is absolutely even.

And the rest of the world is desperate to catch up.

Enjoy the wealth, Alberta.  Enjoy while you can before your province is a giant nasty black hole and you’ve forgotten how to do anything other than literally seel the ground out from under yourselves.

To everyone else, if you don’t feel like an asshole every time you start your car, you should.

How I feel talking about Japanese politics and Nova

•September 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The English school Nova is going out of business.  It hasn’t been officially declared, but I’ve been convinced of its imminent demise by the facts presented to me by trusted sources and by recent events.

I also spend a lot of time talking, reading, and writing about Japanese politics.  I’m a well-intentioned novice at best. 

Had this conversation over Skype tonight (slightly edited for coherence):

Continue reading ‘How I feel talking about Japanese politics and Nova’

Abe Resigns

•September 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Extra! Extra!  This just in!  Abe resigns!

Extra, Extra!  Read all about it.

Trans-Pacific Radio is One Year Old

•August 28, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The guys over at TPR have just celebrated their first anniversary.

 
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