Thursday, April 20, 2006

Post stubs

I was too tired to write anything last night, and I don't have any time this morning to do justice to any of the topics I'd like to write about. So here are a few of the ideas I may flesh out in the future:

- Not all opinions are created equal. In a lot of debates in the national arena, there are two common misperceptions: that there are "two sides to every story"*, and that each side deserves equal time in order for the "debate" to be "fair and balanced." That's crap. Creationism - or any of an infinitude of other pseudosciences - doesn't have equal standing with real science, any more than meteorological weather reports on the news need to be balanced by reports from the side that promotes the "angry weather gods" point of view. ("Today Aeolus will be in quite a mood, releasing wind from the west to punish the nonbelievers in the valleys, while Thor is expected to join with Zeus in raining thunder and lightning on the mountain-dwelling infidels. Meanwhile, Poseidon...")

- Just because somebody uses some of the terminology of science strung together in an obscure way doesn't mean that they know what the hell they're talking about, or even that what they're saying has any rational foundation. Look at the Wikipedia discussion page for the Meme entry to see an example of this. It looks like most of the discussion has been hijacked by lunatics with a lot of time on their hands and a passing familiarity with some of the terminology but no real knowledge of the topic.

- Sammie's is still gone, and ANZAC Day is coming up. I miss her site.
Update, 5/4/2006: Sammie's new site is coming soon!

- The George W. Bush administration will be remembered for many things, but will generally be viewed in the context of a post-9/11 world. It's important to remember that Bush was President for 234 days before September 11, 2001. During that time his administration's main priority was not addressing the growing threat of terrorism, but getting rid of the massive budget surplus that had been left behind by the Clinton administration. Somebody needs to write a book that dispassionately looks at what Bush and his administration were doing during these first 234 days.

- How to think like a Republican:
  1. Deny that a problem exists.
  2. If that fails, blame Clinton.
  3. If it is obviously not possible to blame Clinton, blame Carter.
  4. If it is not possible to even blame Carter, blame FDR and the New Deal.
  5. If all else fails, bring up Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick.

- Will the "Right" finally admit they have been wrong all along, on everything from the economy to WMD's to foreign policy to the environment? Not very likely.

- When will we hear a clamor for the reinstatement of the Office of the Independent Counsel? Not as long as the Republicans own both Houses of Congress - unless a Democrat becomes President.

- Have you registered to vote yet?

- While we're on the topic, how are we doing with the whole electronic voting thing? Very badly, I think.

So there you go. Maybe I'll flesh some or all of these into posts at some point. Feel free to do so yourself - though I claim the book rights to "How To Think Like A Republican." You can have "The First 234 Days."

*My point here is that there are usually more than two "sides" to every story. Almost any statement can be met with many, many different points of view, and deciding to grant "equal time" to just one of them tends to oversimplify the discussion - and elevates one point of view above all the others.


Anonymous said...

Aah, you're ripping into those Republicans ... so you're back and feeling better! Glad to hear it.


Betz said...

Erm, I think I am the two sides to every story culprit......

Anonymous said...

hey there, whatever happened to Sammie's site? I missed her too. :(

Michael Plank said...

Although it's hardly dispassionate, the "Operation Ignore" chapters of Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" do chronicle, with actual facts, what the Bushies were doing (sic) during their first 8 months in office, particularly regarding terrorism in general and AQ specifically. Short version: pretty much the same thing Dubya did in that classroom in Florida after the planes hit. He also lays out pretty much the sequence you do -- deny, blame Clinton, etc.

D.B. Echo said...

Yep, I read "Lies..." pretty soon after it came out. "Operation Ignore" gave me a sneak preview of Richard Clarke's testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Still, it's very easy for Right-Wing partisans to dismiss every word in a book written by Al Franken simply because it was written by Al Franken. There are facts from these first 234 days that are a matter of public record, and facts that undoubtedly have been buried (sorry, "classified") by an administration eager to hide evidence of its failures. It would be nice to see some neutral party collate these facts and present them to the American public.