Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain, Clinton win Florida

The results are in, and it's John McCain by percentage points. While there are still other candidates, it's now becoming a race between two candidates for both parties. On GOP side, it's McCain and Mitt Romney, while on the Democratic side, it's Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. On the GOP side, they're trying to claim who is the true conservative candidate, while on the Dem side, each candidate is trying to have the more historical candidacy.

Hillary's win was largely an empty one, because the Democratic party didn't allow any delegates as punishment for moving up their primary date. I find this humorously ironic, as the Dems were crying foul in 2000 over the elections results between Bush and Gore. At that time, the term "disenfranchised voter" had been coined by the Dems. Well, here we are a few years later, and the Dems ended up disenfranchising the whole freakin' state!

Coming up tonight is the debate between the GOP candidates, followed by the Dems tomorrow. Since John Edwards is said to be bowing out, that will leave just Barack and Hillary, and I betcha that their debate will be worthy of professional wrestling! Given their recent contentiousness, it should shape up to be worth watching.

And last, here's an editorial cartoon by Sean Delonas:

No doubt Sean is going to get grief for this, largely because he's picking on two liberal icons. However, notice how he drew Ted Kennedy. Intoxicated, with pants down, and boxers that have hearts on them. That's a fairly common depiction of him in edtoons. When I had ol' Tedster in one of my edtoons, I drew him the same way.

The edtoon above, by the way, makes reference to Kennedy's infamous incident at Chappaquiddick.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The difference between Obama and Clinton

In discussing my previous blog entry with one of my readers, they asked me what I thought the difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was (besides race and gender), since I say that they are virtually alike when it comes to their views. Well, both can play the "victim" card - that is, Obama can cite how blacks were oppressed in the past, and Hillary can say the same about women in the past. Basically then, their "victim" cards cancel each other out.

I think Obama realizes this, but Hillary has not. What I mean is, Obama is running as a candidate for the office of president, and not as a black candidate for the office of president. That is, the voters can see that he's black, so he doesn't need to keep reminding them of it. As a result, he instead concentrates on how he presents himself. His statements discuss what he can do for America and what kind of change he can bring. His race is not part of his messages, and based on his current success, it doesn't need to be.

Hillary, meanwhile, is running as a female candidate, rather than as a candidate. Like Obama with race, we can see that she's female, so she doesn't need to keep reminding us of that. And yet, she will, as when she did her almost teary-eyed answer on the difficulties of being a candidate for office. Had any of the male candidates given such a teary response as she did, they would have their masculinity questioned. Hillary has not learned that eventually people will tune out the novelty of her being a female candidate, because being female is something that she didn't control.

For example, imagine running for office pointing out the fact that they have two feet, or ten toes. Or perhaps running because they have knees, or an elbow that people come miles to see (I forgot where that elbow statement comes from. If anyone knows, please let me know). Eventually, the voters will lose interest even in the lovely elbow, because all that is part of what you are, and not related to your message. Hillary is still stuck on describing her elbow, and it's why she's losing ground to Obama.

Plus, Hillary is a baby boomer, and generally speaking, baby boomers her age are still operating under 1960's rules of fighting the establishment. That's all she knows how to do, and I'm very certain that she is genuinely confused by the reactions that she's getting. In her eyes, she's getting the negative reactions because the world has turned conservative, but the truth is that her combative form of campaigning no longer appeals to the general population.

While Obama, in his mid-40's, is technically a baby boomer as well, he's at the tail end of that generation, and he's more Gen-X than baby boomer. In other words, he's old enough to know what appeals to older baby boomers, but young enough to know what appeals to younger generations. Like those of the younger generation, he grew up with the combative methods of baby boomers, so he can understand the younger generation's fatigue of baby boomers always fighting and never accomplishing anything.

If he manages to keep his successes up, it's very certain that he's going to get the Democratic nomination, because there's very little reason to believe that Hillary can adapt accordingly. And Hillary will go down not because of her gender or because Obama is black, but because she couldn't connect with the general population in the way Obama seems to be doing. But of course, she won't see that, and instead will be blaming the vast right wing conspiracy for her loss.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama wins South Carolina

In what is proving to be an interesting primary season, Barack Obama has won the race in South Carolina. Obama seems to becoming a fairy tale story in this election. And finally, it seems that news reports on Obama have stopped focusing on whether he's "black enough". I think SC proved that he's "black enough", because he got 78% of the black vote.

The Democratic side has been historic in that both a black candidate and a female candidate are running for office. For a time, there were (the best word I can think of this is:) "vibes" that the Dems were worried on whether the U.S. was ready to vote for black or female candidate. I think the primaries so far have shown that Americans are ready, because if they weren't, then John Edwards would be the leader instead of in 3rd place.

I think that Dems should stop worrying about such things, and instead concentrate on making their candidate likable enough regardless of their gender or skin color. Granted, there will be those that won't vote for Obama because he's black or Clinton because she's a woman, but such people are far, far, far in the minority as to be irrelevant when it comes to polls and votes. There's always going to be racists and sexists, but concentrating on them so much is only going to give them more influence than they actually have, much less deserve.

Last, I say that the Dems should work on their candidates' likability - regardless of who it is - because when it gets out of the primary stage and into the national stage, they will have to contend with the GOP candidate, who's going to be a white guy, apparently. As for myself, I won't be voting for either Obama or Clinton, because I don't like either one of them. And my dislike is based not on their race or gender, but because for one, they are both pro-choice.

For another, Hillary just comes across as a "say-anything, do-anything" total politician, who is nowhere as skilled as her husband Bill when it comes to hiding such tendencies. I liken the difference between them as that between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Obama, meanwhile, is saying a lot without saying anything. The speeches I've heard so far are vague and grandiose without getting into details. This actually seems to be par for the course for Obama, because he often voted "Present" when it came to voting for important bills. Voting "present" is a way of voting without actually voting yea or nay. How can he run the Oval Office with such non-committedness?

So far, they seem to be putting all their bets on their race or gender to get them noticed, but ultimately, that's only going to get them so far, because one's race and gender is something that one has no control over, and counting on "righting the balance" votes probably won't be nearly enough to get them in the White House. Eventually, it's going to come down to issues, and neither candidate has shown enough skill to demonstrate that they can handle the pressure of actually coming down to an actual stand on an issue.

If they keep that inability up, then they make it easier for the eventual GOP candidate to walk all over them. While the Dems are worrying about race and gender, the GOP - with its all white male candidates, is concentrating on the issues, and whoever emerges from the pack is going to have that experience working in their favor once things move out of the primaries and onto the national stage. If the Dems thought things are bad now with Obama and Clinton sparring, then they ain't seen nothing yet once this goes national and the evental Dem candidate becoming fair game for the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world.

Don't think that the conservative talk show hosts aren't also paying attention to the Dem bickering. No doubt they're taking notes as well, and they're going to be quite skilled at evading likely charges that they are criticizing Obama because of race or Hillary because of gender. If the Dems are counting on the race card or gender card to bail them out of criticism from conservative talk show hosts, then they are not playing with a full deck.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Legalized abortion pt. 3 of 3

In my previous two blog entries, I had tried to discover a starting point for when the unborn are regarded as human to the point that they are considered as being under the protection of the law. As you have read, even when a simple definition point is used to determine when life begins - that is, birth - our society still has chosen to complicate the matter. Thus we get to the crux of the matter: Society complicates the definition of when life begins not for the sake of the unborn, but rather for themselves.

Throughout human history, we have always had a group of people that we considered "disposable"; that is, worthy only of being used and mistreated, and then discarded after we're done with them. For the longest time, even some of the more advanced civilizations had slavery. Even our country (the United States, for those readers who aren't in the U.S.) had slavery right up to 1865; this despite our founding documents saying "All men are created equal".

Why have even the advanced societies needed slaves? To do the dirty work. The slaves did the heavy, sweaty drudgery that those in power didn't want to do. Those in power also needed someone to blame for when things go wrong. From the days of the Roman empire when they persecuted the Christians right up to recent times when the Nazis killed millions of Jews, there has always been a quick and convenient group of people to blame. Of course, persecution of a people came before the Roman empire - and it continues in the post-Nazi years - in our present time - with legalized abortion.

The unborn are today's persecuted, oppressed people. However, even this form of persecution and oppression is hardly unprecedented. In the New Testament is the story of King Herod ordering the execution of any child under the age of 2 so that in the process, he could be assured that his prophesied successor will be killed in the process. What is unprecedented in our day is the scale - the sheer numbers - of these unborn executions, and the heavily institutionalized processes that have been incorporated to keep legalized abortion in the lawbooks.

And the greatest ironic tragedy in all this is legalized abortion's most ardent defenders: liberals and progressives. Liberalism traditionally had been the defender of the weak and helpless, but for some reason, they have chosen to be the defenders of a practice that preys upon the most weak and helpless of all in our society. How liberals got to be this way can be best explained as being sold the idea a little at a time. Now they are so far gone that to get them to change their views is akin to trying to change the course of a river.

I find it rather macabre that a group that calls themselves "progressives" can advocate something that is actually regressive as far as helping us to grow and develop as a society. That's like trying to improve our justice system by reintroducing practices such as stocks or disembowelment.

I have been trying to find a definition of the origins of life. However, I think that we already know when that is - and it isn't birth. Life begins at conception, for that is when a new being with its own genetic code is created, and it is a genetic code that they will have with them throughout their lives, however long that it may be. That is the most logical origin of life, because all other definitions tend to instead be describing later stages of development. Some of the proposed origins are "heartbeats and brainwaves", or "viability" (that is, the ability to live outside the womb", and of course, birth.

But these are not origins of life, the are instead convenient designations to justify ending the unborn's existence. For example, we would say "If it doesn't have a heartbeat or brain activity, then it isn't human yet", or "If it can't live outside the womb, then it isn't human yet", and so forth. And as I demonstrated in my two previous blog entries, even something as basic as birth for a definition of the origin of life isn't enforced consistently.

We are aware of the origins of life, because we keep trying to hide it as I've been detailing in these 3 blog entries. In psychological terms this is called denial, and denial has never been a good course of action when it comes to dealing with difficult situations in life. Fear also plays into this, as some women with problematic pregnancies often have their fears preyed upon by those who don't have the best intentions in mind. However, just like denial, fear is also not a good way to conduct one's life.

Granted, there are pregnancies that are indeed problematic, but fear and denial are not how to deal with them. They need love, patience, guidance and understanding. Way back in the early 1990's, one of then-president Bill Clinton's goals was to "make abortion rare". However, he advocates actions that will do nothing of the kind. The best way to make abortion rare is to first recognize the humanity of both the unborn and the pregnant mother, and to act accordingly.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Legalized abortion continued

First, I apologize for not posting the very next day as promised, but the tasks and errands that I had planned ended up taking more of my time than I expected, and I didn't just want to post in haste. And now, onwards.


Last time I had attempted to define when the unborn becomes human to the extent that it is considered murder to end its existence. So far I think that most of us would say that this point is birth. Once a baby is born, then it's human. However, I also pointed out complications to this definition. I refer you to the previous blog entry for that discussion. Now, however, I wish to add a further complication to this definition.

There have been cases in which, during an abortion, a child somehow emerges out of the womb before the abortionist has a chance to - ahem - "terminate the pregnancy". That means that the now-born child is still alive, despite the abortionist's attempt to prevent this very occurance. What we have, then, is the technical definition of a birth - a child that has emerged from the womb alive. Under the "human at birth" definition, this child is now human. So now what? Some abortionists have reasoned that, since this child was an intended abortion, they'll proceed to kill it anyway.

No doubt some of you have heard the term "partial-birth abortion". I'm about to describe this procedure in some graphic language, so be warned. A partial-birth abortion is what happens when an abortionist partially removes the unborn from the mother's body until just the head remains in her womb. At this point, the abortionist inserts a tube into the base of the unborn's skull to suction out its brains so that the head will collapse, at which point the abortionist removes the unborn from the mother's body to complete the abortion procedure.

A partial-birth abortion takes full advantage of the fact that the unborn is not "fully born". This means that he (or she, as there are female abortionists) abides by the "human at birth" definition right up to the very last moment before the unborn emerges fully from the mother's body. So how does this work into "terminating a pregnancy" after a child manages to emerge alive anyway? Apparently, there's a variation of the "five second rule" involved here. And truly, for an abortionist, there is very little difference between "terminating a pregnancy" with just the head of the unborn still in the mother's body, and ending the life of the now-born in the few seconds after it accidently emerges before he or she can complete the "termination".

In 2002, a bill titled "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act" was passed to protect children that were accidently born during an abortion. One current candidate for president had opposed it in his home state, and he opposed it at other times as well. His name is Barack Obama.

As Americans, we have a tradition for fairness and equal protection under the law. And yet, no other group of Americans have their humanity so arbitrarily defined as the unborn. Imagine the humanity of any other people having their humanity so arbitrarily defined, and see the outrage that would emerge.

Coming up later this week, I will conclude this discussion.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Questions about legalized abortion again

Earlier in the month, I had brought up some questions in regards to legalized abortion. Here are the questions again:

1.) If the unborn is not human (or not human yet), then what is it?

2.) If the the status of the unborn's humanity is not yet established, when will it be? What standards will determine when we know whether the unborn is human or not?

3.) If the unborn is human, then how is legalized abortion justified?

I'm now going to attempt to answer these questions.

The controversy of legalized abortion wouldn't be a controversy if we knew for sure that the unborn weren't human. Let's start by saying this: Simple logic says that if it's human after birth, then it must be human before birth. We know that an already-born baby is indeed human, and recognized as a human life by law. How do we know this? When you hear news about a baby being killed either by a murderer or in an accident, we view that death as tragic. Why? Because we know instinctively that it is not just a life, but a fragile, defenseless life, unable to provide its own defense against a murderer, or unable to run to safety in the case of a fire.

We also lament the fact that it will never get to grow up and live up to whatever potential that it had. If an already-born baby wasn't human, then news reports about its death by murder or accident wouldn't even faze us. What I'm trying to establish here is that we do indeed recognize the humanity of a baby that is already born. So next we must try to determine, if possible, at what point that a baby establishes its humanity.

One answer could be: birth. When it's born, then it's human. There. Nice and simple.

But is it? What about babies born prematurely? If one infant is born 2 months premature, then why is that infant more human than another baby that is carried to term? That is, why is that preemie, who was born during its 7th month of gestation, more human than an unborn in its 8th month of gestation, or even its 9th month? Under the "human at birth" argument, the preemie is human because it has already been born. That it was born 2 months before the usual time is largely irrelevant to the argument.

However, let's carry this "human at birth" argument further by asking: what about the unborn that are withdrawn while still embryos? Aren't they technically "born", since they have been removed from the mother's body? No? Well, why not? Isn't that "born" in the technical sense? The answer here might be "Well yeah, they are out of the mother's body, but an unborn that young doesn't look human. They don't have any eyes, feet, hands, or other characteristics that we would recognize as human."

If we were going to be consistent with the "human at birth" argument, then we wouldn't be involved in the current embryonic stem cell research debate (by the way, I say "embryonic" to separate these forms of stem cells from the other, non-controversial stem cells such as adult and placental), because we would recognize that embryos that are removed from the mother's body are indeed "born". In fact, we might even say that it is to the embryo's advantage to be extracted as early as possible so as to have their human rights conferred to them as early as possible.

Of course, this is ridiculous, because it is to the embryo's advantage to be allowed to develop in its mother's womb - however, this is what the "human at birth" logic arrives at when taken to its extreme. But because of the controversy of embryonic stem cell research, we see that this is not what is accepted by the supporters of such research. In fact, the use of embryos in such research is not only not discouraged, but actively encouraged - thus flying in the face of "human at birth" standards of identifying the beginning point of the unborn's humanity.

Coming tomorrow I shall continue this discussion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Paint like Jackson Pollack

I'm doing better, so I should be up and running tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this website: Jackson Pollack

Note: Click the mouse to change color. Hit the space bar to clear the screen and start over.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Match the Candidate game

Sorry I haven't posted lately, folks, but I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I should be back to posting by Thursday. In the meantime, play the

Match the Candidate Game

Maybe this will help you decide which presidential candidate is for you. :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I am typing this blog entry in a restaurant

As we speak, I am typing this in a restaurant that has free Wi-Fi. The two coolest things today are:

1.) Laptop computer, and
2.) Free Wi-Fi

I know that many of you out there have been doing this for years, but for me, to have a restaurant within walking distance of my workplace that offers free Wi-Fi - well, the words that best describe how I feel right now are: Nerd Nirvana.

Those of you who are regular readers know of my occasional "Notes on the Journey to Nerdville." Right now, this is the closest I've felt to my higher-tech nerd friends out there.

No, I don't have a BlackBerry phone, or an iPhone for that matter. I have a cellphone, but it's very basic. So's my digital camera and digital camcorder. I don't have an iPod - although I do have an MP3 player. I don't have a Wii or XBox or other gaming system (unless you count one of those dinky "plug and play" systems that cost about $20 and have old arcade games from the 1980's installed in them). Hell, I don't even have a Hi-Def TV yet. In other words, I still have quests to complete on my journey to Nerdville. But my friends, I'll get there.

And along the way, I hope you'll follow me as I learn new things while on this journey. In the meantime, I sit here feeling a little closer to my goal of Total Nerd Connectivity - in which I will be wired to the teeth able to access the Internet anywhere and everywhere I go. And you'll know when I've reached that lofty goal, because...

...I'll be IMing you to tell you! ;-)

But for today, come celebrate with me as I enjoy this little step on the journey to Nerdville. I think I can see the spires of Nerdville from here!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Questions to ask regarding legalized abortion

Later on this month, I'm going to answer the following questions regarding legalized abortion:

1.) If the unborn is not human (or not human yet), then what is it?

2.) If the the status of the unborn's humanity is not yet established, when will it be? What standards will determine when we know whether the unborn is human or not?

3.) If the unborn is human, then how is legalized abortion justified?

I'm going to let you all think on that a bit, and then I'll give my take on these questions later. In the meantime, feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the above questions.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hillary video

Check out this video of Hillary almost breaking down describing the pressures of campaigning: Hillary

Now, is it me, or do you also get a feeling that Hillary is telling us, "I could do so much if you just weren't so stupid. It's so obvious that I am the one who should be your candidate, and it hurts so much that you can't see that. And yet, I'll be a trooper and hold out hope that you will come to your senses."

I want to say this: I am perfectly willing to vote for a female candidate - just not Hillary Clinton. She goes from tough to weepy and back far too much and too easily for my taste. Hillary wants so badly to take advantage of being a female candidate, but she's going about it in wrong ways doing more harm than good. If the other Dem candidates would stop trying to be so chivalrous to her, they would have already blown her out of the water. At some point, though, they're going to have to decide how much they want to be the candidate and stop being so nice to Hillary just because she's a girl.

Someone had to be the first female candidate, and it's Hillary Clinton, but unfortunately, she is making it difficult for the next female candidate to be taken seriously. She is making quite a hill to climb for the next female candidate, and the higher that hill gets, it means that the next female candidate has to be that much better and impressive to overcome that hill. Hopefully Hillary will get the hang of being a female candidate before she makes a hill that is virtually insurmountable for the next female candidate.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Huckabee, Obama win!

Huckabee and Obama won! The election's over! Thank goodness! It was starting to wear on me!

What? What's that? My assistant is telling me that the election's not over, that Huckabee and Obama only won the first primary of 49 more still to come. Well, rats.

I think that the selection of both Huckabee and Obama signals at least somewhat of a desire for change. It was assumed that Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were going to run away with it, but Iowa apparently felt differently. I hope this proves to be the case in the other primaries. All the more reason, folks, that you need to be out there voting. That's the only way that we can make the "powers that be" stand up and take notice.

By the way, part of me wondered if, for one brief second after hearing "The former governor of Arkansas has won the Iowa primary", Bill Clinton thought that the story was referring to him. ;-)