Why are we having such a bad reaction to Hillary?

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I used the term “we” in the headline very loosely. It does seem, though, that a (vast) majority of the “liberal” community is hoping for Obama rather than Clinton. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to stop watching and reading too much political commentary, mostly because of primary-fatigue but I also have started getting agitated any time I see Hillary. I’ve started trying to figure out where this reaction to her comes from.

I guess the first and most obvious reason is that she’s at least holding up, or at worst stopping, the person I’d really like to see win the nomination. But, this is countered by the fact that I think she would be at least a decent president. Given that, you would think it’s a win-win, but to some extent the prospect of President McCain bothers me less than President Hillary. WTF?

When I really get into it, my thought that she would be a decent president is within the scope of recent presidents. Obviously she would be much better than Bush. Yet, what a lot of people are hoping for is a break from the past. Maybe what I meant above is that she would be at least a decent “executive to hold the office of president”. I don’t think she would screw anything up, she would focus on some important issues, have some wins and some losses, etc. She isn’t a game-changer or a visionary.

The other interesting thing is Bills involvement. I, as I believe most liberal people do too, look back on him as at least a good president. He was definitely more of a centrist than a liberal, which was probably appropriate for the time, but progressives are looking for more right now and I think that’s another huge component of my attitude towards Hillary. Bill and Hillary are proven to not be shy of sending troops to war and have not ever gone to bat for any big climate-change related issues.

Barak, on the other hand, could be a game-changer or visionary. True, we don’t know that for sure, but there’s a hope of it. The US political system is so corrupt, divisive and poisonous right now that I think it’s worth taking a gamble for anyone who might try to fix it.

Lastly, to clarify my comments on McCain above, all I can say is that I’m confused. I had respect for McCain of 2000 but am unsure if todays McCain is a result of knowing he has to pander to the right to get into office or because he’s going senile in old age. While I don’t agree with his aggressive foreign policy stance I also don’t agree with the far left that the US should immediately and fully withdraw from Iraq after destroying the country.

A parallel universe where Canada is Iraq

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This is a very stirring comic today: Married To The Sea: Oops, that’s not funny.

In case anyone can’t or won’t click on links to images, here’s the text set atop a city skyline:

“2021: A small group of rogue Americans hijack an airplane and fly it into the Burj Al-Arab, in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates spend the next five years invading Canada and torturing its citizens, eventually leaving over 80,000 dead.

Oops, that’s not fully.”

You know, I have thought a lot over the years about how to logically support the invasion of Iraq, mostly because I think it’s important to really understand the thought process on the other side of a debate. However, parallels like the above, while imperfect, really underscore how absolutely ridiculous it all is. At the end of it all, how can any sane person justify in their own minds that killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people is acceptable, for any reason?

The fall of Ben Stein

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I used to think Ben Stein seemed like a reasonable intelligent guy, even though I would disagree with most of his conservative ways. That time has passed. He recently starred in a documentary seemingly intended just to start a controversy, claiming that Atheists and/or Darwin are to blame for Hitler and the Holocaust.

I won’t link to the movie, but here’s an interesting response: Open Letter to a victim of Ben Stein’s lying propaganda

Ben Stein seems to be a contributor to Yahoo! Finance, who I’ve just sent feedback asking for him to be removed, FWIW.

Primary Fatigue

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I don’t know how other political junkies are coping out there, but I hit a major wall of Primary Fatigue about a month ago. I’ve reached a plateau of hopefulness that Obama would win, but I remain scared Hillarys team will pull off some crazy maneuver at the last minute and win the nomination.

McCain seems to be getting crazier every week and Hillary keeps proving she’s the typical “establishment” candidate who offers no real change. I don’t mean change in the cynical way some people keep referring to Obamas message, but really, how different are her positions from McCain? It’s interesting because if the matchup were McCain of 2000 vs. Hillary, I’d have to think hard about who I’d rather win. It’s not clear to me if McCain has gone senile or if his craziness stems from pandering to the far right, but maybe there’s still a chance if he hasn’t gone senile he’d revert to “Old McCain” if he won?

Hopefully we don’t need to find out because Obama can still win it…

Environmental investment and food

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Some good recent articles in the New York Times:

A Shift in the Debate Over Global Warming, and Grains Gone Wild

First, on the article about climate change, here’s a quote I find interesting:

“What is needed, Mr. Sachs and others say, is the development of radically advanced low-carbon technologies, which they say will only come about with greatly increased spending by determined governments on what has so far been an anemic commitment to research and development. A Manhattan-like Project, so to speak.”

I’ve thought this way for a long time, and here’s what I don’t understand: A Manhattan-like  project would in the end make an unbelievable amount of money for the US.  The first country that becomes the recognized leader in green technology is going to make a fortune because everyone else is going to scramble to buy it.  There have been studies showing such an investment would produce tons of jobs and money at the same time.  Yet, no government wants to do it, especially not the US.

Figuring out why is tougher.  Assuming it’s a conspiracy by the oil companies seems overly simplistic, for a few reasons.  First, the oil companies are in a unique position to be those new energy leaders.  They have an almost limitless income stream to spend on R&D and if they were successful would ensure their license to print money extends much longer than oil will last.

Second, holding down green energy R&D in the US would be very short-sighted, as it’s obvious someone is going to get there eventually.  This would be a stronger point if we didn’t also see the US auto industry slowly killing itself by bribing the government to keep fuel standards low enough that they can still sell their cars.  It is completely obvious that this is only serving to slow their demise while also reducing the incentive to invest in better technology, which is circularly also ensuring their demise.

The second article has several causes of the growing worldwide food crisis.  The one I found most interesting was this:

“First, there’s the march of the meat-eating Chinese — that is, the growing number of people in emerging economies who are, for the first time, rich enough to start eating like Westerners. Since it takes about 700 calories’ worth of animal feed to produce a 100-calorie piece of beef, this change in diet increases the overall demand for grains.”

It’s really alarming how much more resources are consumed for meat production than fruit and vegetables.  Another comparison is that the average agricultural land area used per person in North America is about 1.4 hectares.  A vegetarian uses about 0.2 hectares, or one sixth.  This is one of the reasons I like to make an effort to eat less meat than I used to.