Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Partisanship is a Drug

It turns out partisans get a hit from ignoring facts about their candidates:
The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.

Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.
Read the full story.

Congressman Seuss Speaks Out

I wish I knew who to attribute this to. It's great. A full confession from Congressman Seuss:

That Abramoff!
That Abramoff!
I do not like that Abramoff!

"Would you like to play some golf?"

I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.

"We could fly you there for free.
Off to Scotland, by the sea."

I do not want to fly for free.
I don't like Scotland by the sea.
I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.

"Would you, could you, take this bribe?
Could you, would you, for the tribe?"

I would not, could not, take this bribe.
I could not, would not, for the tribe.

"If we strong armed corporations
Into giving you donations?
They'd be funnelled to your PAC.
Would you then cut us some slack?"

I would not, could not, cut you slack.
I do not care about my PAC.
I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.

"A plane! A plane! A plane! A plane!
Would you, could you, for a plane?"

I could not, would not, for a plane.
Not for a bribe, not for the tribe.
Not for donations from corporations.
Not for my PAC, not for some slack.
Not from any schmoe named Jack.

"Would you help us buy some ships
Perfect for quick gambling trips?
Talk to people in the know
For a little quid pro quo?
Oh come now, don't be a snob.
Let us give your wife a job."

I will not help you buy some ships.
I do not wish for gambling trips.
My wife does not need a job
Even if she is a snob.
We do not like bribes, can't you see?
Why won't you just let me be?

"You do not like bribes, so you say.
Try them, try them, and you may.
Try them and you may, I say."

Jack. If you will let me be
I will try them, then you'll see.

Say.... I do like playing golf!
I like it, I do, Abramoff!
I do like Scotland by the sea.
It's such a thrilling place to be!
And I will take this bribe.
And I will help the tribe.
And I will take donations
From big corporations.
And I will help you buy some ships.
And I will take quick gambling trips.
Say, I'll give anyone the shaft
As long as it involves some graft!

I do so like playing golf!
Thank you! Thank you,

Friday, January 20, 2006

Christianity and War, Again.

A nice comparison between competing versions of Christianity in America:

Some preachers tried to link Saddam Hussein with wicked King Nebuchadnezzar of Biblical fame, but these arguments depended on esoteric interpretations of the Old Testament book of II Kings and could not easily be reduced to the kinds of catchy phrases that are projected onto video screens in vast evangelical churches. The single common theme among the war sermons appeared to be this: our president is a real brother in Christ, and because he has discerned that God's will is for our nation to be at war against Iraq, we shall gloriously comply.

Such sentiments are a far cry from those expressed in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974. More than 2,300 evangelical leaders from 150 countries signed that statement, the most significant milestone in the movement's history. Convened by Billy Graham and led by John Stott, the revered Anglican evangelical priest and writer, the signatories affirmed the global character of the church of Jesus Christ and the belief that "the church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology."
Read the full story at the New York Times website. (WARNING: Registration required...sorry.) The sermon that informs my faith on this can be found here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What I Heard

I heard that the President’s uncle, Bucky Bush, had made half a million dollars cashing in his stock options in Engineered Support Systems Inc, a defence contractor that had received $100 million for work in Iraq. Bucky Bush is on the board of directors. I heard Dan Kreher, vice-president of investor relations for ESSI, say: ‘The fact his nephew is in the White House has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Bush being on our board or with our stock having gone up 1000 per cent in the past five years.’
You can read the full thing here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How Much Is It Worth?

My decision to change jobs has brought up a serious question: how much is job satisfaction worth to me?

When my previous office closed, I took about a 6K paycut per year for my current job. Turns out, I took that pay cut to do menial tasks and be unhappy a good portion of the time. Now I have the chance to get into a great, and I mean great, place to work, but if I do I will lose perks that have serious monetary value. If they don't offer me enough to make up the difference, is it worth it to go anyway to be happier? Or will it change our life so much as to make us miserable? If they don't offer me quite a bit more, I will have gone backwards in real earnings two jobs in a row.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's Pat!

Oh, I can't resist:
Pat Robertson said Israeli PM Ariel Sharon "is being punished by God for dividing the Land of Israel"
Are you serious?! Strokes are a sign of God's anger? Seriously, when God wants you to know he's angry, he doesn't covertly strike your health, does He? One of the GOP's chairmen just went under the knife for lung cancer...don't you wonder what sin he's being punished for?

Pat Robertson is a thinly veiled GOP militaristic reactionist hack.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"It Couldn't Be Anymore Beautiful"

Listening to: "Can't Take It In" by Imogen Heap
Number of protein shakes so far today: 2
Bowls of cereal: 1
Caffeinated products: 1

L and I are watching our Lost: Season One DVD set. Last night we watched the episode where Jin's (sp?) dad tells him "the world is good." I agree. We're still reading N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God for book group at church, and implicit in Wright's interpretation of the resurrection is that this life, not some life after death, is good and beautiful, and we will be restored to it in the life after the life after death.

The world is so beautiful. And it's as good as we make it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Be It Therefore Resolved...

...that I will NOT make a resolution this year. Resolutions are made to be broken. Instead, I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing: working out, eating right, loving my wife. Good times. Anyone else making resolutions to break?

My parents' treadmill is psycho! It knocked my mile time down to 00:06:15 on the same settings as the one at my complex's gym. It's nuts! That's like a 20 second difference. Ouch! Looks like I didn't gain/lose any weight over the holiday! Whoohoo!

I do have one goal for the first few months of the year: change my career. Let's see how it goes.