30 September 2007

Those Crazy Brainwashing Christians

First, let me add a disclaimer. I don't hate Christians, nor do I hate Christianity. What I hate is Christian fundamentalism, or nationalism. The idea that America is a Christian nation and should be governed as such.

The last few years have seen two things: growing awareness of this movement (such as Jesus Camp and Michelle Goldberg's fascinating book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism) and the movement itself.

The aspect of Christian nationalism that makes it so terrifying is that if it succeeds it would completely do away with our basic freedoms and rights. Freedom of religion would be gone, women's rights would go down the drain, along with so much more that we currently take for granted.

Although many people consider them extremists (which they are) and don't think that they'll ever actually succeed in politics, I feel that they are a major threat. Children are being brainwashed into Jesus-loving zombies whose only goals are to spread their religion among the god-hating heathens. For example, read this post from Feministe: Onward Christian Soldiers.

The idea of Christian nationalism and what would happen if they take power in this country has terrified me for years. What are your takes on this?

28 September 2007

You might take advantage of them now, but...

The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming

A few samples:
Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predict hotter temps will cause a 40 percent drop in California's avocado production over the next 40 years.

"The World Health Organization has identified more than 30 new or resurgent diseases in the last three decades, the sort of explosion some experts say has not happened since the Industrial Revolution brought masses of people together in cities." Why? Global warming "is fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases" when mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range, bringing health threats with them."

A recent study done by the International Institute for Strategic Studies has likened the international security effects of global warming to those caused by nuclear war.

Ignore overnight shipping

I think overnight shipping is a scam. Because I live on campus with no car, I rely a lot of internet shopping (especially for all that yummy vegan food). I have never paid for overnight shipping or quick delivery, yet I always get my package in two days. I also bought a computer not too long ago and I picked it up at the post office the day after I got an email from HP confirming that my order was sent and I would receive it in 5 business days. What's the point of paying $25+ for something you can get in the same amount of time as if you hadn't paid extra?

Have any of you experienced something similar, or what are your thoughts about paying so much for quick delivery?

27 September 2007


Myanmar Monks Want Three Things

From Al Jazeera:

There are three steps that we want.

The first step is to reduce all commodity prices, fuel prices, rice and cooking oil prices immediately.

The second step – release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and all detainees arrested during ongoing demonstrations over the fuel price hike.

The third step – enter a dialogue with pro-democracy forces for national reconciliation immediately, to resolve the crisis and difficulties facing and suffered by the people.

Coverage of the Situation in Myanmar

History repeats itself in Burma
Leaders condemn Myanmar Crackdown
Shots fired at Burmese protesters
UN sends envoy to meet generals
Burma protests follow night raids
Police raid Myanmar monasteries
UN urges restraint on Burma junta
Myanmar monks' three demands
Myanmar's media in exile

send me whatever you have

Burma's cyber-dissidents
Eyewitness: Rangoon protests
Who are Burma's monks?
Nine killed in Burmese crackdown
Burma protesters defy crackdown
In pictures

Another update:
Accounts from inside Burma

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Feministing posted a link to an article about the absurd behavior of Blue Cross Blue Shield. To summarize quickly: A woman and her family had insurance with BCBS, and they wouldn't cover her miscarriage because, according to them, it was an "elective abortion". Here's the link to the article: Blue Cross Blue Shield Calls Miscarriage "Elective Abortion", Denies Claim.

This is one of the many reasons America needs universal health care. I hope this gets a lot of attention in the mainstream media.

26 September 2007

A New Way to Visualize All That Money

The U.S. is in debt. Everyone knows that. But how much?


A number that large is hard to fathom, so here's a new way:


Giuliani exploits 9/11 - Surprised? No

The International Association of Fire Fighters is reporting that Rudy Giuliani is using 9/11 for political purposes by asking people to donate $9.11 to his campaign. Giuliani's group says that they did not organize the fund raiser.

Is anyone really surprised at this? The only reason Giuliani is even being considered for the presidency is because he made some nifty talks after 9/11. Of course he's going to exploit it.

25 September 2007

Ol' Man Columbus

I apologize for this being the second quote I've found using one of my textbooks that I've decided to post, but it struck me in such a way that I just had to share it. Christopher Columbus wasn't the hero he's portrayed as, and Americans are slowly starting to realize that, but this quote is phenomenal.

They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... They would make fine servants... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

I know this was written in a completely different era from our own, but still.

2008 Presidential Candidates List

Seeing as the 2008 election is going to be super-important, it's only appropriate that people have a basic understanding of the candidates. Though it's not an easy task, I'm taking it upon myself to profile every single candidate. However, it definitely won't be in a single post (after all, I want to have some readers). It'll be stretched out. I'll probably end up doing it in alphabetical order. Below is a list of all the candidates (thanks Wikipedia); if I've forgotten anyone please let me know and I'll add them.

Steven Adams
Donald K. Allen
Blake Ashby
Joe Biden
John Taylor Bowles
Elaine Brown
Sam Brownback
Hillary Clinton
Don Cordell
Christopher Dodd
John Edwards
Mike Gravel
Jon A Greenspon
Don J. Grundmann
Rudy Giuliani
Bob W. Hargis
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
Daniel Imperato
Bob Jackson
Mike Jingozian
Brad Lord-Leutwyler
Jerry Kann
Alan Keyes
David Koch
Thomas J. Kozee Jr
Steve Kubby
Dennis Kucinich
Alden Link
Bryan Malatesta
David J. Masters
Charles T. Maxham
John McCain
James H. Mccall
Kent Mesplay
Barack Obama
Ron Paul
George Phillies
Bill Richardson
Joe Schriner
Christine Smith
Kat Swift
Mitt Romney
Wayne Allyn Root
Tom Tancredo
Fred Thompson

Michael Bloomberg
Newt Gingrich
Al Gore
Ralph Nader
Sam Nunn
Rebecca Rotzler
Marcela Pena
Ed Thompson

As I wrote this list, I liked the order. So I'm pretty sure it's going to be in that exact order, unless any of the potential candidates decide to run. Because there's so many names there, don't expect me to finish anytime soon. As I finish profiling each candidate I'll post the results. I'm glad to have the opportunity to practice my non-bias. I hope everyone enjoys the next couple months of posts! (psst - Don't worry - I won't stop doing regular posts)

What happened to the free exchange of ideas

As I'm sure everyone's heard by now, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a talk at New York's Columbia University. I'm also sure that if you know that, you know about the protesters. I understand why the talk was controversial, but should it have been? Should Ahmadinejad, a known holocaust denier and violent opposer of Israel, been allowed to talk to American students?

In my opinion, yes. He should have the right to speak to the public, whether or not his comments or beliefs are controversial. The university also should be able to invite anyone they like to give a speech to the students. After all, it really is educational. If I'd been a student at Columbia, I definitely would of gone. In my Intro to Political Science class yesterday, my professor asked us if we would of allowed Adolf Hitler the same opportunity. And my answer is still the same: yes. The free exchange of ideas is very important educationally and politically. By allowing these people to present themselves and their ideas in a democratic context gives the American people a chance to expose themselves to other opinions and cultures. It's very important that we never close our minds to anything.

I want to say a few other things here, stuff that I talked about in my Active Citizenship class this morning. The first thing is something my teacher first brought up: the man who introduced Ahmadinejad made a point of insulting him. Ms. Guise (my prof) made a great point when she likened this to inviting someone to your house and then ripping them apart. I understand that most Americans disagree with Ahmadinejad's postitions, but should we be that mean to him? Also, I heard someone interviewed on the news say that New Yorkers should make it their priority to make his time in this country miserable. What does that say about America? It certainly makes it easy to see why so many people in the world despise us.

What do you think?

Firefox Trick

The wonderful blog Firefox Facts had a great post this morning. Using this trick, you can view your Google calendar tasks and events in your sidebar. It's a great tool.

Google Calendar in Your Sidebar


I'm not going to explain this entire article, mainly because it's so good that I want everyone to read it, but I do want to make one comment.

People in general buy things they can't afford. They're influenced by the glittering consumerism they see everywhere; on TV, in the fancy neighborhood, around their peers. Most people want that huge house on the hill whether they can actually pay for it or not. They might assume that they'll get that huge raise that's rumored, or that it'll all work out. But, in actuality, it doesn't. A lot of people end up having to sell the house and their new car, declare bankruptcy, or find a new way to pay for their things.

The simplest solution is the hardest for most people: voluntary minimalism. You don't need all that junk to make you happy. And you don't have to keep up with your neighbors. If you want a house, buy one that you can afford. You'll probably be happier in a house you can actually continue to live in rather than in one you have to leave because you can no longer afford it.

Anyway, here's the article: The Empire of Dept

24 September 2007

Watch Out America

StumbleUpon is a beautiful thing. I'd seen this list once before and had forgotten about it. It's surprising how America mimics all fourteen of these points. However, I also think that people are hasty to judge based on only one side of the argument. Although I believe that America is leading down a path toward control and a totalitarian-like regime, there are things that make America different from the fascists states studied by Dr. Britt. For example, we have a form of free speech that Germany and the others didn't have. So, please keep in mind while reading through this list that although America has all of these characteristics in some form, there are many other aspects that set us apart.

Fourteen Characteristics of Fascism


Today's links:

Are C-sections Killing Women?
Krugman: Politics in Black and White
Merkel angers China on Dalai Lama
Multiple Studies Reveal Dire Meltdown in Arctic
New equations of living just out...

Coverage of Burma:
Burma March Largest in 20 Years
Nuns in Burma anti-junta rallies

Microeconomics: Learn it

I'm currently a freshman in college, majoring in political science. When signing up for classes, I decided to enroll in Microeconomics. It was a topic I knew very little about, and I felt that, as a political science student, I should have at least a basic knowledge of it. In case anyone's wondering about the different between micro- and macro- economics, microeconomics studies individual markets, while macroeconomics looks at the economy as a whole.

Microeconomics presents us with some basic knowledge of supply and demand based on scarcity. Scarcity is the main idea of economics; we can only produce as much as our resources allow us to. As my professor told us the very first day, there is no free lunch. It might be free to you, but resources have gone into the production of that lunch. Opportunity cost is defined as "the amount of other products that must be forgone or sacrificed to produce a unit of a product" (Microeconomics, McConnel, Bree). Thus, those resources used to make that soy burger could have been used to make something else.

One aspect of the topic that we only recently covered in class is absolute and comparable advantage. This had an impact on me, as this is something that we can use in many aspects of our lives. Absolute advantage is when you are the best at something; you have an absolute advantage over everyone else. A comparable advantage is when one person is "less bad" at something than someone else.

No matter how hard I try, I can't think of a way to explain this than how my professor, Dr. Miller, explained it. He used the example of two people stranded on a deserted island; one's a jock and the other is a fisherman. There are two tasks that need to be done on the island to ensure their survival: collecting fresh water from the stream on the middle of the island, and collecting enough fish to survive. If each person were to try to survive on their own, they would ultimately get just enough to live. However, if they opened trade between them, they could each live more comfortably. The fisherman could spend his time catching fish, while the jock ran back and forth from the stream.

But what about a different scenario? Imagine that the fisherman is replaced by nerd that has no absolute advantage over the jock? Should the jock still trade with him. The answer is yes. Even though the jock is better at both fishing and fetching water, the nerd might be less bad at fishing than collecting fresh water. They would both increase what little resources they have by the jock continuing to get the water, and the jock fishing. Sure, they'd eat less, but they'd still have more than if they were on their own.

Dr. Miller's example clearly illuminates how important this topic is. Although the above situation is hypothetical, we can use absolute and comparable advantages, along with other factors of microeconomics, in our everyday lives to make ourselves more successful.

My President Will Be...

This isn't new, but seeing as this blog is, I wanted to post it. Russ Feingold is one of my three American political heroes (the other two being Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader).

23 September 2007

Grassroots Mobilization

In reading my agonizingly long American Government textbook, I found this wonderful quote.

"You may ask, Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path? You are quite right in calling for negotiations. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.... My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is a historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.... We know from painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." - Martin Luther King Jr.

22 September 2007

Click to Give

Click to give sites are nothing new, but some people are still in the dark. In case you don't know, click to give means that every time you press a particular web-button, a sponsor gives money to a cause. It's effortless.

The site that I first encountered was the Animal Rescue site, which covers so much more than just feeding shelter animals. You can also support the protection of the rainforest, free mammograms, literacy, health care, and ending hunger. Click to give.

Care2 has a similar page. Here you can click for the rain forest, seals, oceans, big cats, primates, children, pets, ending violence, and ending breast cancer. And it's all on one page to make it even more convenient. Care2 Click to Donate.

Another site I'm grouping in this category is GoodSearch. It's not actually a click to give site, but it's a search engine that donates to an organization that you specify every time you use it. It's powered by Yahoo!, and it's nowhere near as expansive as Google, but is that really more important than giving to a great cause - for nothing on your part? GoodSearch.

"Mandela is dead"

Bush has done it again. He's given the American public another thing to shake their head in disbelief over.

Actual quote: "I heard somebody say, 'Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead."

The Daily Show's response

And the public's response