Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's not too soon to talk about guns

Jon Stewart makes fun of people who say that it's too soon (after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado) to talk about guns in America. They don't want us to "politicize" this incident.

How long must we wait after a mass shooting to have a serious discussion about guns?  The discussion will likely not result in stricter laws, based on how America reacted to other gun-related atrocities, but let us at least have a serious discussion about it. No it's not too soon.

Syria now a magnet for Sunni extremists

Naturally, without an American invasion.

NYT via MSNBC: "The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution, with a growing although still limited success that has American intelligence officials publicly concerned, and Iraqi officials next door openly alarmed.

While leaders of the Syrian political and military opposition continue to deny any role for the extremists, Al Qaeda has helped to change the nature of the conflict, injecting the weapon they perfected in Iraq — suicide bombings — into the battle against President Bashar al-Assad with growing frequency.

The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda. An important border crossing with Turkey that fell into Syrian rebels’ hands last week, Bab al-Hawa, has quickly become a jihadist congregating point."

Human trafficking is a world wide problem

I received an email from a journalism student and fan of the blog asking me to write a post about his efforts to raise funds for his upcoming project to document human trafficking in Papua New Guinea. When I first read it I thought "human trafficking in Papua New Guinea? Really?" When I think of human trafficking, I think of places like Thailand and Vietnam. Dubai and India. Iraq. Even California. But tiny Papua New Guinea? Yes it is true. As this UN article points out, "Cases are seen in all parts of the world and victims are targeted irrespective of gender, age or background."

Please help Corey's efforts in his project. Good luck Corey!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Global warming is real and terrifying

More evidence that if humans continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, we are headed for global disaster. Germany is the only rich country that seems to be serious about minimizing its carbon output:

"Germany is one of the only big countries that has actually tried hard to change its energy mix; on one sunny Saturday in late May, that northern-latitude nation generated nearly half its power from solar panels within its borders. That's a small miracle – and it demonstrates that we have the technology to solve our problems. But we lack the will. So far, Germany's the exception; the rule is ever more carbon."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I like Barack Obama

I haven't posted in a while, readers have reminded me. Thank you, faithful readers! I am flattered that you are interested in my writings and the articles that I link to, even though you may disagree with them. But I have lost the motivation to blog. I'm not sure why. I used to enjoy writing and expressing my thoughts about all kinds of things I thought were important. I still think about those things, politics especially. I watch at least one hour of MSNBC (usually Lawrence O'Donnel) almost every night. I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Real Time With Bill Maher is a must. It's why I got a DVR.

I like to watch shows about history and science. I'm reading "The House of Wisdom" for a second time. I have learned new things at work. Very interesting things that involve math and science. But somehow I have lost the motivation to write about all the interesting things I have learned. My life is changing. I am shifting priorities. I am busy with my job and my social life. I am riding my bike everywhere.

I have often started writing posts without finishing them and never published them. The other night I wanted to write a post about John McCain and his defense of Huma Abadin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I thought it was a noble thing that Senator McCain did, and it reminded me of the time he shook his head and grabbed the microphone from an old lady who had heard that Obama was an Arab. "No, no he's not, ma'am, He's a decent family man citizen whom I just happen to disagree with," Mr. McCain said respectfully yet assertively. I was going to call that post "I like John McCain.

On another night I started writing another post about Michael Moore's movie "Capitalism: A Love Story". It was a great movie that featured part of Jimmy Carter's 1975 speech about a crisis of confidence in America. I wrote the post, even embedded the YouTube video, and then I fell asleep in my bed before finishing it. 

Really the only thing I would like to say tonight before I fall asleep is that I like Barack Obama and I hope he will be reelected. Obama did not grow up rich like Mitt Romney did. Romney refuses to release his tax returns, even as a growing number of Republicans demand that he does. Mrs. Romney got on TV and said today "we've given all you people you need to know." I think that is one of the most condescending things I've heard a rich person say in a long time. I would be very surprised if Mitt Romney is elected President, but it may happen, given the ignorance and prejudice of many American voters today. But I hope it doesn't happen and I hope Barack Obama is reelected President.