Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Palin And Huckabee Will Never Be Serious

Isaac Chotiner points out the obvious reason why neither Palin nor Huckabee should ever be let near the White House. The reason they are popular with much of the grassroots is that they quite happy in their ignorance.
"The first problem with this argument is that, er, Palin is unlikely to become a policy wonk because she is not very smart. What's more, Douthat's argument is tautological. Sure, it would be nice for the GOP if Palin and Huckabee were interested in policy. But if they were interested in policy, then they would not be so appealing to the GOP base. In other words, the problem is that a large part of the right has no interest in a policy wonk, and sneers at intellectuals and elites and the types of people Douthat would like to see running the party. A candidate who was interested in learning the ins and outs of the welfare state and health care policy is unlikely to ever achieve Palin/Huckabee levels of popularity with the grassroots."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Paul Krugman Debunks the Debt Scare

While the Republican chicken littles are trying to scare us into not finishing the job on getting employment back up Paul Krugman bursts their bubble.

The way out of Afghanistan

As President Obama ponders what to do with the mess that is Afghanistan it seems that a way out has been placed at our feet. In 1993 Greg Mortenson was lost in the Karakoram mountains after having failed in his attempt to climb K2. Dehydrated atd disoriented he stumbled into a village that was about as remote as one can get. While he recovered overnight the villagers sent word to where the rest of his team were waiting in vain for him in another village miles away. As he waited for his comrades he watched a group of children practicing their multiplication tables by scratching figures in the dirt with sticks. They were so eager to learn that they worked hard to show progress to a teacher who could only see them a couple of times a week. He had wanted to place an amber necklace on the top of K2 in memory of his deceased little sister but the mountain attempt had failed. Now he could see a bigger and better memorial in front of him. He was going to build these earnest children a school. To make a long story short that school was just the start of an amazing adventure that has now empowered hundreds of villages in Pakistan and, yes, Afghanistan to take charge of their future by giving their children a basic education.

We have all heard about well-meaning, do-gooder efforts at "helping" the less fortunate that have become disasters. But almost miraculously, Greg seems to have come upon a formula that actually works. It has two key features. He goes where a relationship has been established. No just dropping out of the sky. The leaders of the village provide resources and manpower to build the schools and other projects. The sweat equity makes all the difference in the world. And he focuses on educating the girls. They tend to stay in the villages and pass what they learn to future generations more effectively than the boys.

So I invite you to check out the Central Asia Institute and learn more about it. Greg has a new book called Stones Into Schools coming out at the beginning of December. I think it will show a genuine way to final peace in Afghanistan and many other troubled places in the world.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Texas outlaws marriage

In their zeal to ban gay marriage in Texas the lawmakers manage to ban all kinds of marriages. Par for the course I say.

Prelude to the Coming Abortion Nightmare

The Stupak amendment could very well end funding for medically indicated abortions across the board. It's too bad we can't make two sets of laws, one for the folks who want to turn back the clock to the days when every pregnancy could be a threat to a woman's life and another set for the rest of us. In the recent fooforall about the permit for a local Planned Parenthood clinic one woman testified that the life of her unborn child was so important that she continued her pregnancy against her doctor's recommendation. I'm sure she had insurance that covered the heroic medical care that kept her and her baby alive. That unborn child was more important to her than being a live mother of the two children she had already. I think that was a stupid choice but I didn't try to make laws that deprived her of that choice. But these anti-abortion activists are making laws to deprive others of the kind of choice they themselves are permitted to make. They want to deny funding for certain medical procedures with which they don't agree. By taking these procedures off the table they are making sure that only the rich can have them. The rest will just have to suffer and potentially die. Somehow that doesn't seem very "Christian" to me.

It Ain't Just CO2

While working to reduce CO2 and methane emissionns is commendable, there are a number of other industrial chemicals that could strongly contribute to global warming.