Mind Games 2.0

Bloggin' 'bout science and life

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 4)

Does Everything in California Cause Cancer?

I saw this sticker in the window of a new car in my work parking lot a few days ago.  

Does everyone in California make as much fun of these stickers as we do?

Does the state of California this these are helpful and useful and informative?

I know no one who sees these that don’t express derision.

Are we really a society in which everything warrants a warning sticker.  

Is the state of California not in “cry wolf” territory now?

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A Conservative Principle to Guide Health Care Reform

For all the “conservatives” who rail against the ACA as a liberal take-over, you should go back and read your Adam Smith (remember, the guy who wrote Wealth of Nations – or more correctly An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – the founding document of modern capitalist economic theory). His first book was The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a fascinating philosophical book that lays out the basis for what makes the Wealth of Nations work. His moral philosophy is undergirded by the Golden Rule. For example, this paragraph is from Chapter 1 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

And hence it is, that to feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety. As to love our neighbour as we love ourselves is the great law of Christianity, so it is the great precept of nature to love ourselves only as we love our neighbour, or what comes to the same thing, as our neighbour is capable of loving us.

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Important Words About “Celebrating” The Confederacy

I have written here before about my heritage.  Some of my ancestors were Union enlisted men who fought and some died in the Civil War.  My family has always payed great homage to Abraham Lincoln and how he saved this country from those who would have destroyed this country because they wanted to own other human beings.  

Those who would argue that the Civil War was about “states rights” and not slavery should read the secession proclamations of the various Confederate states.  For example, Mississippi stated in the second paragraph of its declaration:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. 

Against this backdrop, some in this country have celebrated the Confederacy since the war ended. Much of this celebration of Confederate soldiers was actually directed at trying to rewrite this history.  Recently, many towns and cities across the south have finally decided that this rewriting of history and celebrating those who took up arms against the United States to defend slavery and human bondage can no longer be justified.  One of the clearest and most forceful statements about this legacy is the speech given this week by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.  Here is his speech in its entirety.  Bravo Mayor Landrieu!!!

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Can A New Sense Of Country Before Party Take Hold?

Among all the political and legal noise that was created last week, I think one thing that was sorely missed was this exchange between Gov. Kasich and Sen. Sanders.  I think both of these people have identified the important problems facing our country, and I agree much more with Gov. Kasich about what the solutions to those problems might be.  However, I, more than anything, appreciate the civil and intellectual tone that both take in this discussion.  This is what we need to get back to!

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More Words of Wisdom From A Past Leader

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Wisdom From Martin Luther King, Jr. For These Times

On 3 December 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered an address to the First Annual Institute on Non-Violence and Social Change in Montgomery, Alabama.  I read this again last week and found much that resonated in today’s world.  One section in particular speaks to politics today:

Another thing that we must do in speeding up the coming of the new age is to develop intelligent, courageous and dedicated leadership. This is one of the pressing needs of the hour. In this period of transition and growing social change, there is a dire need for leaders who are calm and yet positive; leaders who avoid the extremes of “hot-headness” and “Uncle Tomism.” The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgement and sound integrity–leaders not in love with money but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause. To paraphrase [Joshua Gilbert] Holland‘s words:

God give us leaders!
A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts,
true faith and ready hands;
Leaders whom the lust of office does not kill;
Leaders whom the spoils of life cannot buy;
Leaders who possess opinions and a will;
Leaders who have honor; leaders who will not lie;
Leaders who can stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous
flatteries without winking!
Tall leaders, sun crowned, who live above the fog
in public duty and private thinking.

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A Great Man Honored

I think these two men have done a great job.  I don’t always agree, but you couldn’t find two finer men.

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Words For These Times

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

George Washington, Farewell Address 1796

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The Other Adult In The Room

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What If Everyone Was Carrying A Concealed Firearm?

I was talking to a friend today about gun control policies.  As a scientist, he was trying to think through how to formulate the problem of what is the optimal fraction of the American population that should be armed via conceal-carry permitting.  I should point out that my friend does not own a gun, and I believe his personal views are that the best fraction would be 0%.  However, he wants to analyze the problem as a scientist, because he knows his personal preferences do not decide public policy and may even not be correct.  I wish all our politicians had such an inquisitive mind and rational/analytical curiosity for applying the best techniques to deliberating about public policy. 

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