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November 07, 2008

“Humanity” And “Decency”

We must not forget.  And this must change.

Full text from Andrew Sullivan:

Re: “Humanity” And “Decency” :

Michael Gerson manages to write a column about George W. Bush's humane side without noting that this president subjected, by lawless fiat, countless individuals to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, tortured at least two dozen individuals to death, and launched a war where hundreds of thousands of innocents died because of his negligence and hubris. Yes, PEPFAR is an achievement. But set against the legacy of the first American president to authorize torture against mere suspects, to adopt the techniques of the Khmer Rouge and the Gestapo for the US, PEPFAR is sadly overwhelmed.

No president's record - in its treatment of helpless prisoners under his total control - has ever been as indecent as this president's. Gerson was an integral part of the administration that brought torture into the American system of government. He has yet to address this - and the challenge it presents for Christians in particular.

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Barack Obama: How He Did It

Re: Barack Obama: How He Did It:

“Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.”

Or, more succinctly: Revolutionary change must be preceded by an attitude toward change coming from the people.

Election 2008: what really happened

Re: Election 2008:  what really happened:

5. The red/blue map was not redrawn; it was more of a national partisan swing. See this state-by-state scatterplot of Obama vote in 2008 vs. Kerry vote in 2004:

2004 2008 Actual

The Obama Agenda

Re: The Obama Agenda:

Anyone who doubts that we’ve had a major political realignment should look at what’s happened to Congress. After the 2004 election, there were many declarations that we’d entered a long-term, perhaps permanent era of Republican dominance. Since then, Democrats have won back-to-back victories, picking up at least 12 Senate seats and more than 50 House seats. They now have bigger majorities in both houses than the G.O.P. ever achieved in its 12-year reign

... Mr. Obama ran on a platform of guaranteed health care and tax breaks for the middle class, paid for with higher taxes on the affluent. John McCain denounced his opponent as a socialist and a “redistributor,” but America voted for him anyway. That’s a real mandate.

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November 06, 2008

How to End the Recession

Re: How to End the Recession:

The recession is certainly here, so the question now is how to diminish its length and severity. A large-scale federal government stimulus program is the only action that can possibly do the job.
President-elect Obama as well as most members of the newly elected Democratic-controlled Congress seem to recognize the urgency of such a large-scale stimulus program above and beyond any financial bailout program. Even Bernanke, whose term of office continues through January 2010, has offered his endorsement. But despite the near consensus, questions remain, including: How should the stimulus funds be spent? How large does the stimulus need to be? Where do we find the money to pay for it?
Recessions create widespread human suffering. Minimizing the suffering has to be the top priority in fighting the recession. This means expanding unemployment benefits and food stamps to counteract the income losses of unemployed workers and the poor. By stabilizing the pocketbooks of distressed households, these measures also help people pay their mortgages and pump money into consumer markets.

Beyond this, the stimulus program should be designed to meet three additional criteria. First, we have to generate the largest possible employment boost for a given level of new government spending. Second, the spending targets should be in areas that strengthen the economy in the long run, not just through a short-term money injection. And finally, despite the recession, we do not have the luxury of delaying the fight against global warming.
To further all these goals we need a green public-investment stimulus. It would defend state-level health and education projects against budget cuts; finance long-delayed upgrades for our roads, bridges, railroads and water management systems; and underwrite investments in energy efficiency--including building retrofits and public transportation--as well as new wind, solar, geothermal and biomass technologies.
In today's economy, an economic stimulus equivalent to the 1983 Reagan program would amount to about $300 billion in spending--roughly double the size of April's stimulus program, though in line with the high-end figures being proposed in Congress. A stimulus of this size could create nearly 6 million jobs, offsetting the job-shedding forces of the recession.

State forests face hard choice on logging - Oregon Environment News - Oregonlive.com

So although the state is harvesting unsustainably, they want to cut more to boost revenue.  This is taking from Peter to pay Paul.  In this market you can't make up in volume because the price is so low.  The revenue will be low no matter what.  The problem is that expectations are too high, not that harvest is too low.

Re: State forests face hard choice on logging:

But it hasn't worked. The latest evidence: Calculations by the state show it has been logging more trees than the state forests can sustain under the 2001 strategy that also set ambitious goals for improving fish and wildlife habitat.

The findings deal a serious blow to the 2001 blueprint, which was billed at the time as a revolutionary way to satisfy increasing demands on the state lands in the Coast Range.

State forest officials are now recommending that the Oregon Board of Forestry lower its expectations for providing large, older trees valuable to wildlife. They say that would allow a small increase in logging, but still not enough to provide as much revenue as cash-strapped coastal counties have hoped for.

County presidential electoral map

Today the Oregonian published a map purporting to show that the country hasn't become more “blue” based on the blue-shift of counties, using this sort of map:


It seems from the map lie most of the country is “red”!  This supports the false meme that the US is a “center-right” country.  But it flies in the face of reality: not only did Obama win, but Democrats took many more US House seats, Senate seats, and strengthened state positions.  It was a rout!  But you wouldn't know it from this map.  Why is that?  This is because they ignore the fact that we are NOT a “geocracy”, but are a democracy (leaving aside the Electoral College and the fact that the presidential race is not the only way to define red/blueness).

When a cartographic projection of the counties is made, which adjusts the county size to make it proportionate to the population of the counties, it becomes much more obvious why Democrats did so well across the board:


Most of the county is in fact “blue”.  When viewed this way, it is much clearer why a so-called “red” state of Montana just reelected a Democrat as governor.

In fact, except for the presidential Electoral College county, areas aren't red or blue, they are purple -- a Democratic vote counts toward a Senator wherever in the state it is.  Here's what the real balance looks like:


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November 04, 2008

FInal EV prediction

My final prediction, 9AM on election day.  There simply isn't momentum to get the remaining swing states, like Missouri over the hump.  So unless voters feel a more urgent need for change when actually in the voting booth, we should see.  On a bad day, Ohio and Florida will go to McCain; on a good day, North Carolina, Missouri and North Dakota will go to Obama; on an extraordinary day, Montana, Indiana and Georgia will go to Obama.

2008 Ev Final

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