The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!

27Sep/150

Should We Have Gender Restricted Voting for Specific Issues?

I was thinking today about the possible pros and cons of "gender restricted voting" (my made up term, there is probably a better one).  The idea would be that some legal decisions which have restrictions or requirements that exclusively involve one gender could only be decided on by the votes of that gender; it's surely not any sort of new idea.  The obvious prompt for these thoughts is the abortion topic, which is never far from the news or popular debate.  Now, I think abortion has a rightness or a wrongness to it which should be objective, wholly independent of gender, so the idea of only allowing men or women to vote for/against it is not to give that gender the power to make it right or wrong, but to restrict who may vote on the topic in the hopes of reducing misleading bias and therefore being more likely to see legality mirror the unscientifically knowable (at least currently) but still perhaps existing objective right/wrong.  Would such a scheme accomplish that?  I'm not sure.  And which gender would you disenfranchise regarding any votes related to abortion?  The presumption may be that you would not let men vote on abortion topics because they are not the ones carrying the fetus, not the one most impacted by pregnancy.  And that certainly makes a sort of sense.  Men can't ever be pregnant and thus they cannot possibly vote with a full and personal knowledge of the topic...  but perhaps that would be why some would argue that men should be able to vote on the topic and women should not, arguing that women could be more vulnerable to bias, too willing to ignore objective right/wrong out of personal desire for a subjectively beneficial outcome.  Personally I have no idea which side should or shouldn't vote, or if the gender restricted voting scheme has any merit.  And it's largely a moot point since the matter is primarily decided, obviously, by Supreme Court decision and not individual votes; though there are ballot measures and state / county / etc. restrictions which exist separately to thwart access.   Still, seems like a thought deserving some more thought.  There are not that many legal issues which are gender specific, presently or historically, but there are a few (perhaps military service and front line combat would be others, though again that is decided more by the military than individual voters).

 

^ Q

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23Sep/150

How Did the Germans in WW II Not Know They Were the Baddies?

How could the Germans in WW II not know they were on the wrong side of history?  It genuinely puzzles me.  I was watching a WWII documentary tonight and it reminded me of one of the funniest things I've ever seen, which happens to be on this topic (from Mitchell & Webb)...

And it's humorous, but it seems to me there's also a lot of truth to it as well.  Obviously it's not just the death's head rings and other paraphernalia, but so many of the obvious policies and practices which I would have thought screamed out a warning to the population that they were becoming the baddies!

  • How could those in the military not think it very suspicious and dangerous to swear allegiance to an individual (Hitler) rather than their fellow men or their country?  How were the people not thinking, "I don't know about this...  This seems a little egotistical and weird.  We haven't done this before.  It sure seems like a very bad idea."
  • Surely the pre-WW II belief that Germany needed vastly more land, lebensraum (living space), implied a significant territorial expansion and war to achieve that end; and while I understand the scarcity of some natural resources (like oil), otherwise Germany was hardly a tiny nation with a population density problem, didn't most people in Germany think, "Well, it'd be nice if we had more land, but we don't really need the extra room *that* much."
  • Even if you weren't a diverse multicultural sort of person, and even if you don't know people will be killed as a result, don't you see them rounding up Jews, gypsies, gay people, mentally challenged people, etc. and think, "Hmm, I may not like these people, but this seems a bit much.  Should we really be doing this?  At the very least isn't it going to make us look bad to the rest of the world?"
  • Didn't the German people think it was a bit strange that their nation kept making and then a few months later going against agreements they made with other countries?  I know they had their own nuanced view of why the commitments could be ignored, no doubt casting themselves as the innocent parties, but still, they made and then went against quite a lot of agreements in quite a short time, resulting in war with the Czechs, the Poles, the Russians, and ultimately the rest of the world.  I would have thought many of them would stop and think, "Gee, everyone sure seems hostile to us all of a sudden.  I know Hitler is telling us we are getting screwed over by, but we do seem to be the ones bombing other people's cities, and leading our tanks and troops into their countries, not vice versa.  Maybe we are being a little rash in our diplomatic response here."
  • Didn't the German people think the SA, the SS, and the Gestapo were kind of unseemly?  The SA at the very least was notoriously and blatantly thugish.  Wouldn't a lot of people have thought, "Hmm, I'm not sure I can get behind a leader who supports and is supported by these sorts of groups .  I think we need someone a little more enlightened."
  • And what about the Hitler youth?  Only a few parents thought it pretty vile that their children were being so obviously indoctrinated?  I get that all children are indoctrinated, in the modern age by cartoons, by the Boy Scouts of America, by their church, by their friends, by their friends' parents, by their nation, by brands, by social media, by..., etc. but still, there was little subtlety going on so far as I can tell in Germany at this time.  Wouldn't parents think, "I heard Hans singing a new song he learned today and I'm a little uncomfortable with all the references to Jews and the promise to serve Hitler."
  • etc.

Obviously hindsight is 20/20, and I know a lot of people (though an effective minority) did oppose Hitler, and I get that Germany was coming out of a deep depression following WWI, and I get that Germany is in no way unique here, that any other populace in similar circumstances may have reacted in effectively the same way...  but I just find it perpetually shocking that it happened, that all the normal rules most of us imagine exist to govern human behavior and make us better than bad can be somehow suspended and that the German people wouldn't realize, on some level, that in that situation, they were the baddies.

^ Q

3Sep/150

The Idiocy & Dishonesty of Racism

(Racism comes in so many varied and often subtle forms that it complicates talking about it; you need to be pretty specific about just what element/manifestation of racism you're talking about.  In this case I'll discuss one of the uglier and most visible kinds.)

To my mind the worst form of racism is the belief that one race is superior to another and that the superior race should take action (legal, social, religious, etc.) against the inferior race as a result of that conviction.  Examples are legion, and included nations as well as social/political organizations (South Africa (during Apartheid), Germany (during the Nazi reign), U.S.A. (during antebellum and Jim Crow), as well as the KKK, neonazis, etc.)

What boggles my mind is the idiocy and dishonesty of their position.

When I was 14 I was at a small summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina.  Everyone working at the camp and everyone attending the camp was lily white; no one of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent.  Almost everyone at the summer camp was from the surrounding Southern states.  Racism was rampant but fortunately ugly comments rarely came up since there was not but a pale face to be seen or insulted.  But I remember this one time the topic came up, and this one boy, whose name was the name of a kind of monkey, suddenly announced, "I am smarter than any black person on the face of the Earth."  What made this seem instantly laughable, distracting me temporarily from the horrendous and vulgar racism, was that he was truly one of the stupidest people (of any genetic background) I'd ever encountered; he was almost sitcom human stupid or perhaps penniless Trump stupid.  But he was serious, horribly serious, and I feared and felt for anyone of any non-white hue who might ever cross his path.  Several of us there argued with him, tried to point out the ridiculousness of his statement, but he was having none of it.  He was so unaware of his own place in the universe that one could hardly hope to convince him of anyone else's place within it.  I was still young, but I had certainly come across quite a few people, made from all sorts of different genes, who I knew or strongly suspected were vastly smarter than I was.  How could this idiot imagine he was smarter than ~1 billion or so (depending on what you count) people he'd never met?  That is idiotic and worse deeply dishonest, as he lived in a major city in the South, and surely had encountered many black people who were infinitely smarter than he was, and he simply chose not to notice or believe it.

But it is not hard to imagine why he (and others) seem to need to believe such an absurd position, need to believe that they are better than an entire race, because things get rather confusing for them if they don't.  The wildly racist often profess strong values, and no doubt most try to live in accordance with them.  And many of their values involve a love of freedom, family, righteousness, justice, etc.  So to avoid a deep and disturbing sense of hypocrisy they must write off the members of the group against which they stand.  If all blacks people are inferior to white people then they can see a logic in allowing them fewer rights, deeming them unworthy of a full and equal position in the world, and any white actions taken against blacks are reasonable in defense of white interests.  If these racists allow that some percentage of black people are actually their (individual) superior (across many facets of being, including intellectually), then what are those racists going to feel?  I think some parts of their brain would cry foul, detect their hypocrisy, detect their injustice, and threaten their ordered world view.  And so it is only a stable and comfortable position if every white man is inherently superior to every single black man (a position requiring ample employ of idiocy and dishonesty).

I keep wondering if that particular camper ever wised up.  I hope he has.

^ Q

3Sep/150

The Ongoing Curiosity of China

China mystifies me.  Their recent military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII is one confounding example.  They stage a huge parade to show off all their offensive and defensive weapons, shut down the city days in advance to make sure people are out of the way and the air is unpolluted, invite some foreign dignitaries, and ban their citizens from watching the parade in person (no standing on balconies, no opening windows, no looking out windows, no standing on the street watching, no watching from cars, no photos, etc.); presumably there is approved news coverage they can watch/read.  But, what a bizarre idea?  I thought events like this were meant to impress the people, involve the people, akin to the pre-war Nazi parades.  When you have to keep the people away out of fear of activism or terrorism then the parade seems more an admission of abject defeat than triumph.

^ Q

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21Nov/141

Another School Shooting, Another Round of Pointless Gun Debates

Every news story these days has a comment section which erupts into a slug fest between the politically left and politically right. The same arguments are made this time as last time, the same "proof" is offered this time as last time, and no one is convinced, and nothing changes.

What annoys me most is that neither side seems willing to debate their real point of view, they rely instead on dishonestly framing the debate.

On the right I wish they would admit, "Hey, look, if someone could could snap their fingers and get rid of all guns there would be a lot fewer homicides and suicides, but guns are a lot of fun, and people die left and right from driving cars and eating fattening food, so we've decided we're comfortable with the number of deaths from guns. And besides, it might theoretically make our government a little afraid of violating our rights, though admittedly they seem to be violating a lot of rights and we're not doing anything about it."

And on the left I wish they would admit, "Hey, guns are really scary. We're not hunter gatherers any more, and people who collect and shoot guns, especially at cute little woodland creatures, seem a little mentally disturbed to us. And if you want to carry them all the time, everywhere, and buy your kids Hello Kitty themed shotguns we really think you have a problem. We know there are so many guns in the country that banning them won't really do a lot, but it'll do something, and more important it'll feel like we're doing something. And maybe if we can damage the gun market now in a hundred years there will be less of them around, and maybe then society will be safer. And the sort of guns people have now haven't kept up with the hardware the government has, so give up on the argument that it'll keep us free from tyranny."

If both sides lead with that it would feel more honest to me, and at least make the debate potentially more productive.

^ Q

4Jan/140

A Happy ACA (Obamacare) Subscriber

The news is filled with people bemoaning the ACA (aka Obamacare).  I am not one of them.  My situation has greatly improved.  I was a single guy, no kids, early forties, paying $650/month for a HIPAA plan with very high copays and $5,000 deductible.  I am now paying $370/month for a platinum plan (10% copay) with $500 deductible.  I couldn't be happier.

I have always been a non-smoker, non-drinker, non-drug user, and reasonably healthy.  But no insurance company would give me an individual healthcare plan, not since I was 25.  I was rejected without explanation by many companies.  Presumably they rejected me based on pre-existing conditions, but my pre-existing conditions were trivial, some mild depression and anxiety, but never hospitalized for that or anything else.  I finally got insurance through work, and was able to transition to an individual HIPAA plan after becoming a consultant.  I could not switch to anything better or cheaper, though, still no company not forced by HIPAA to take me would have me.  And I looked into the "high risk" pool coverage (the only other option) that California offered and was shocked to find it was a) expensive, b) had a long waiting list to get in, c) provided really low and weak coverage.  So, until the ACA rolled out January 1, 2014 I was stuck.

The news reporting of others' experience with ACA plans has me a little confused.  The vast majority of people seem to have had really lousy policies which didn't offer much coverage and they are now complaining that they are forced to buy a more comprehensive policy and thus pay more for it.  I have somewhat limited sympathy for those situations, because I think the reality is that those cheap policies often just wind up shifting the cost to everyone when someone who has one of those policies gets seriously ill, finds their policy doesn't provide adequate coverage, and goes bankrupt or otherwise requires the hospitals and debt agencies to eat the loss when they can't pay their bills.  The people buying those policies may claim that it's the right plan for them, the right price, and that it's just what they need, but I have to believe on a macro scale that's just not born out, that the rest of society takes a financial hit for their stinginess.  If you know that to be false, please correct me.  For the remaining minority of people making the news whose prices have gone up significantly without an increase in coverage, and without any offsetting tax reduction, I do feel very badly, and hope cheaper options become available, or other corrective measures are taken.

If nothing else, I am very glad that the health insurance system was finally forced to move away from the cruel and capricious system of excluding people because of pre-existing conditions, it was a savage system that usually unfairly penalized people who had no hand in their conditions, leaving them to fend for themselves or pay dearly for rotten coverage.  Whatever people may say about the ACA, at least it did away with that...

^ Q

3Jan/140

Why Christians Should Pay for Health Insurance Covered Abortions

I wish that we lived in a world where people could always control what their dollars directly and indirectly funded, but we don't, and Christians only seem to care when it's their money and something they believe is immoral.  Would most Christians support another person's "rights" not to have their income tax fund foreign wars/actions they morally oppose?  The vast majority of Christians would certainly not, and for that reason I cannot support their right to pick and choose their healthcare funding according to their morals.  If they want to broaden the debate, and argue that everyone should be able to refuse to contribute towards things they believe are immoral, then I'll be happy to support their cause.  Until then, we might as well all be stuck in the same boat, until we together pick a course that gets us to a better land.

^ Q

P.S. - Of course beyond issues of morality, there are lots of other purely lifestyle related costs we make others pay for.  If a couple chooses to have 5 children that can incur public schooling costs of $600k (from kindergarten through high school), that burden is disproportionately covered by those who choose to never have any kids or have just one.  As a society we have decided to pool our resources, accepting the many potential inequities, injustices, and betrayals of personal conscience.  We can't have it both ways.

16Nov/130

How can anyone not see that universal health care is inevitable?

Ignoring implementation issues and the specific terms of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), I really don't understand how any sensible person can fail to see the logical necessity of having an entire society covered by health care (at least to the level of catastrophic health insurance).  

The simple facts are these:

  • Anyone can become ill.
  • Being ill is expensive, being seriously ill is incomprehensively (life destroyingly) expensive.
  • Many people do not have health insurance.
  • U.S. hospitals are required to provide life-saving health care to people regardless of ability to pay.
  • U.S. hospitals also provide health care with non life-saving conditions who they expect to pay.
  • Until the ACA many people were unable to get insurance or had severely limited policies because of pre-existing conditions (many, if not most, of which were absolutely not a result of poor diet, lifestyle choices).
  • U.S. hospitals cover the cost of non-paying patients by raising costs for paying patients, depressing nurse and doctor pay, and thereby effectively taxing everyone who pays for medical services.
  • People who go bankrupt because of high medical bills cost shift financial burdens to everyone (from unpaid bank/car/school/credit car loans, etc.).
  • Younger people require less health care than older people; but young people (who do not die prematurely) will all to a person become old people.

The system we've had from the eighties until now has been very shoddily constructed.  The concept with any insurance is simple, distribute the risk across the largest pool of relevant people, so that they can all can be protected at a price they can afford.  The issue of what is the relevant pool is certainly up for some discussion.  Those issuing the insurance want to collect enough premiums to cover the risks they are securing (and make a profit), sell as many policies as possible to ensure that their risk is distributed / mitigated and profits maximized, and eliminate as many bad, ongoing risks as possible.  

Unlike any other kind of insurance I can think of (e.g., car insurance, homeowner's insurance, life insurance) , a person need do nothing more than exist in order to potentially require others to pay for expenses (medical in this case) on their behalf.  It makes sense to require owners and operators of cars to have car insurance because they have created a situation in which they are very likely to create potentially catastrophic expenses for themselves and others by the use or misuse of a car.  And while pedestrians who do not own/operate a car can and do cause some car accidents, the events are few enough that society has decided to let that risk be absorbed by drivers, not everyone (in other words, if a pedestrian causes a car accident, the car insurance (depending on policy) would help the driver, and separately sue the pedestrian).  But simply being born is all that is required to potentially cost others in society tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  A baby might be born into the world to parents without insurance and immediately require $200k of life saving care, an uninsured 18 year old might require expensive cancer treatments and have no family support.  

I hear people say, "I'm 23 [or perhaps 53], I'm unlikely to get sick, I don't need health insurance.  I'm self-insuring."  But that is just ignorant, they are not self-insuring.  They have no capacity to cover catastrophic costs.  If that 23 (or 53) year old suddenly finds out they have an aggressive cancer that requires tens or hundreds of thousands in treatment, the odds are extremely high that they will not meet their financial obligations and may escape them through bankruptcy.  We all would pay for that person's decision not to have health insurance, through higher medical costs, through higher bank and credit card costs (if they went bankrupt).  

And if we can acknowledge that everyone needs insurance and should have it throughout their life, then the notion that young people are paying rates higher than the benefits they collectively will receive in the short term, in order to subsidize older people's premiums, becomes somewhat moot.  What does it matter?  They could divide up total lifetime health care premiums by the 77.5 years (or so) we're expected to live and charge that amount to everyone, so it is completely consistent from age 1 to age 77.  But it makes more sense to me to charge less when people are younger and have fewer resources, and more when people are older and are more likely to have more resources.  Further, it makes even more sense to adjust the premiums somewhat so that they do not continue to grow insanely high as you get very old, when people have a fixed income; this requires shifting some of those costs to those who are younger.  I fail to see any ideological, moral, logistical problem with this.  

I cannot imagine anyone suggesting we charge an 80 year old a premium based on their actual one-year likelihood to require major medical help, it would cost them far more than they could afford.  Likewise why would we imagine charging a 23 year old only what he's likely to cost medically in the near term?  Insurance only works as a concept if people are in it for the long haul.

I think Obama has made a mess of the current and critical ACA 2014 debut, between the website failures and the grossly misleading statements about people being able to keep their health care (I am one who was notified that I am losing mine), but I can only still conclude it was the right thing to do and we're long overdue for having it.  If the Republicans wanted a different solution they had decades in power under several Bushes and a Reagan in which to implement something, and they did not; I'm not even aware of any serious, sensible solution they've proposed which acknowledges that everyone must have coverage for all their lives if the system is to work.

Am I missing something?

^ Quinxy

30Nov/120

To the Whining Christians Complaining about Christmas

Every year it seems like I receive an email forward from irate Christians wanting to remind me about how Christmas is being co-opted by the gay, feminist, atheist, capitalist agenda who are hell bent on taking the Christ out of Christmas...  This year I couldn't help but respond to the most recent forwarder, my dad, who had attached his own screed.  This is my response.

You poor, poor American Christians. How oppressed you are with your undefeated record of electing 44 Christian Presidents (unless of course you conveniently think Obama is Muslim), your vast 89% majority in Congress, your significant 77% majority of the US population. Oh, but of course maybe those aren't "true" Christians. Funny, they look pretty good on paper with 61% of the population believing that evolution is a lie, and 45% of the population believing the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

But you go on with your hypocritical lives, your convenient selective memory of the Old Testament and the New. Keep quoting the Old Testament to stop the queers from their equality, your marvelous quotes about slavery kept those uppity Negroes in chains for a few hundred extra years. And don't worry, I'm an atheist so I don't have the mandate to stone you for working on the Sabbath, for eating shellfish, getting tattoos, or association with menstruating women. And I'll try to resist quoting Matthew 5:17-20 and all that stuff about, "Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished." I'm just an amoral, compassless heathen apparently bent on doing all I can to make some tasty s'mores while I watch the world burn.

Oh, and as for Jesus Christ ruling forever, good luck with that. Hope He has a bit more staying power than the Sumerian religion, the Babylonian religion, the Assyrian religion, the Egyption religion, the Greek religion, the Roman/Mithra relition, the Germanic/Norse religion, the Maya religion, and all the others that have faded into history. All those religions sure seemed convinced they were the real deal, and I'm sure all their followers sure were pretty miffed when you people started taking the Zeus out of Zeusmas, the Isis out of Ismas, etc. So I get it, you are right to be outraged. Shout "Merry Christmas" or "I love Jesus" at whoever you want as loud as you want, nobody will punch you in the mouth like they would me if I yelled out "Merry Jesus is a Myth Day". But you're right, you're the oppressed, distressed, offended people here. I keep forgetting that.

It's a funny thing, outraged Christians sure sound a lot like outraged white males, probably because so many of them are. A few thousand years of ideological domination and the subjugation of others just never feels like enough, does it? Even when you accept the notion that equality is probably inevitable you sure do grouse about the thought that women, blacks, gays, foreigners might temporarily get 'unfair' educational, career, financial advantage. How dare the pendulum swing even a tenth of a degree in their favor, what an affront to a system you'd so carefully rigged over centuries with all your social and religious mores.

Funny thing is, I'm actually all for you loving your Lord. I want you to find spiritual sustenance wherever you may. I am not the least bit offended nor do I shy away from your Merry Christmases. There is much to respect about the modern interpretation of Christ, certainly a lot more than the interpretation which brought us inquisitions, crusades, the burning of misidentified witches, and whatever horrors future interpretations may bring. It just irks me when you whine about your lot, at the notion that others might dare for a few moments here or there to be as loud and as obnoxious as you felt quite comfortable being during various parts of your continued Western World domination.

Be gracious winners, not whiners. Your majority rule hasn't ended yet. Try to enjoy your declining years, it sounds like you are the ones confusing a trip to a big box department store with a trip to a church. I read nothing about the exchange of big screen flat panel TVs in the New Testament. I can't imagine mixing up the joy at my savior's birth with the joy of unwrapping a toxic toy made by children in China. If you expect God to be found in Best Buy or City Hall you're bound to be increasingly disappointed, try visiting your perpetually-renewing local house of worship instead. All public traditions get co-opted, by non-believers, by capitalists, by the ignorant, by people who simply see a good birthday party and want to attend without giving a damn whose birthday it is. I didn't turn your Christmas into a business proposition, that was you believing folk who made a religious celebration commercial, who took to exchanging increasingly expensive items as a proxy for religious passion.

This atheist wishes you all a very Merry Christmas, in the truest sense of it. Enjoy Christ, love Christ, celebrate Christ this December 25th. And quit your bitching about people at the local mall or city hall or school awkwardly trying to make room for others at your table of largess. But, do let me know if any of those folk wander into your church and try to make your pastor take the Christ out of Christmas, that's when you'll have my full support.

Q

> On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM, My Dad wrote:
>
> Powerful, alarming,sad,sobering, all-too-true message. In response, I AM thinking of, and invoking a message of:
> Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father...the Prince of Peace...and He shall
> reign forever and ever...and the Kingdom of this world shall become the Kingdom of OUR GOD AND
> OF HIS CHRIST, AND HE SHALL RULE FOREVER AND EVER....AMEN...AAAAMMMENNN...AND...AMEN!!!
>
> PEACE, Indeed!Thank you...(I am sending this to many)
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Somebody
> Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 18:46:53 -0500
> Subject: Fwd: Fw: Your First Christmas card
> To: Lots of people
>
>
> MERRY CHRISTMAS
> YOUR FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD
>
> Cleverly done!!!
>
> Twas the month before Christmas
> When all through our land,
> Not a Christian was praying
> Nor taking a stand.
> Why the PC Police had taken away
> The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
>
> The children were told by their schools not to sing
> About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
> It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
> December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.
>
> Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
> Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
> CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
> Something was changing, something quite odd!
>
> Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
> In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
> As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
> At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
>
> At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
> You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
> Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
> Are words that were used to intimidate me.
>
> Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
>
> On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
> At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
> To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
>
> And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
> Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
> The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
> The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
>
> So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
> Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
> Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

> Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS,
> not Happy Holiday!
>
> Please, all Christians join together and
> wish everyone you meet
>
> MERRY CHRISTMAS!
>
> Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!
> If you agree please forward, if not, simply delete.

26Sep/122

Physiognomy & Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

I've always been a big believer in physiognomy*.  I cannot prove it scientifically, nor do I believe it would necessarily hold up to scientific scrutiny, but it has always felt true to my experience of people.  People who look nice usually seem to contain niceness.  People who look mean usually seem to contain meanness.

I have never felt let down by this intuitive assessment tool, until Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began showing up in the news.  My physiognomic response to seeing his likeness  is to feel deeply warm feelings towards the man, somehow seeing in the contours of his face a disarming humor, charm, kindness; there's just something about his look to which I respond very strongly positively.  And yet I cognitively know that the man himself seems by all accounts to be a pretty bad man.  Whether its his alleged nuclear weapon ambitions, his arguable election tampering, his brutal crackdowns on his people, his baffling denials of things like homosexuality and the Holocaust, I find little good to say about the man.  And yet even still I see a photo of him, smiling or not, and I am still deceived into feeling something warm and fuzzy.

Thank goodness I rely more on logic than feeling when it comes to decision making...  and thank goodness I have few decisions I need to make related to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

*Physiognomy (from the Gk. physis meaning "nature" and gnomon meaning "judge" or "interpreter") is the assessment of a person's character or personality from his outer appearance, especially the face. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied characteristics. Wikipedia