Halloween Moon

Halloween Moon

moon-10-31-09Tonight’s spooky nearly full moon, click on the thumbnail to see the full view.

From the Heavens or Nature? The Origins of Morality

From the Heavens or Nature? The Origins of Morality

This is an important lecture; it poses some ethical challenges, and demonstrates that some areas of our brains are directly involved in many moral decisions.

Half Moon in October

Half Moon in October

moon-10-26-09Tonight’s moon, taken a few minutes ago.

Why I Would Never Run for Office in Kansas

Why I Would Never Run for Office in Kansas

I’ve pondered if I should run for office; this because I am a life-long Republican in a red state with strong political opinions and in favor of reasoned action when it comes to politics. I speak well, debate well, and have convincing authoritative voice, and I could be a shoo-in. There’s a big however here…

My conservatism is staunch in most areas and my votes have been pretty much straight R most of my life, however I could never get past a primary in Kansas – the Sam Brownback religious wing would see to it.

There are several social positions they would torpedo my candidacy with rather than any true and meaningful policy positions that really affect the future of the country.

  • I support the 2nd amendment strongly; but they would counter that I am a godless atheist and therefor I must be some sort of  secret communist who wants to grab guns through stealth.
  • I support necessary, efficient, but limited government; they would counter that with my support of Gay marriage.
  • I support an abundant energy future for the world through science; but they would counter that with — get this — my support of science.
  • I support a strong military, strong foreign policy, and fiscal restraint in Government; they would counter that with my support of a woman’s right to choose with reasonable restrictions.
  • I strongly support the 1st Amendment and Article VI of our constitution; they would counter that with my support for real science in science classes over the pseudo-science of intelligent design and culture war crapola.
  • I support free trade and capitalism; they would counter that with my support of taking reasonable steps to limit our effects on climate.

The sad fact is that I could not win here even if I registered as Democrat – the reconstructionists have too strong a grip on political process in Kansas, and organized religion drives politics far more than it should. In other words, even the Democrats in Kansas are to the right of Republicans in NY, CA, PA, CO, OH, and FL on social issues.

Purposeful reasoned actions are what I strive for, and actions that are purposeless such as me running for an office I couldn’t hope to win are ridiculous – so that will never happen.

Could I win in some of those other states? Possibly, but not in current times.

Right now there is a huge putsch going on from the Religious right in the Republican party. It started with the Club for Growth tossing out Reagan’s maxim of never speaking ill of other Republicans back in 2005, grew into the “Great RINO hunt” and has continued ever since. The oxymoronically named “Club for Growth” pretends to be all about fiscal conservatism (which is all the rage now that Obama was elected as our president,) however I challenge you to point to a candidate they endorse who is not a dyed in the wool religious social conservative.

They have Rubio challenging Crist in Florida, and in New York 23 they are supporting a religious right third party candidate against Diedre Scozzafava, the GOP choice for the special election. In NY 23 we are quite likely to lose that seat for a good long time due to that third party support, and that’s in a few short days. In their quest for “purist” candidates who can pass all 20 of their litmus tests they are making it impossible for R’s to win in populous urban states. They seem intent on driving all moderates out of the party and they are succeeding so far.

Right now you have Michelle Malkin agitating against Dede from James Dobson’s studios, you have the nativist xenophobe minuteman lobby endorsing Hoffman over Scozzafava, and you have White Supremacist blogger Robert Stacy McCain blogging from NY for Hoffman’s campaign.

This strange alliance is a coalescence of desperation that gelled in the post election power vacuum, but they have set course for a Republican party that cannot govern at a national level. They favor the religious right combined with neo confederate and Paleo pup tents over the big tent, they favor freak show barkers like Glen Beck over putting together a consistent production  that can compete on the main stage of US Politics.

The loudest voices are rarely the ones you should follow, but these folks sure know how to make a lot of purposeless noise. We are set for defeat in 2010 – my prediction is that we will gain fewer seats than an out party in an off presidential election year should garner. They will trumpet the pittance we do gain to high heavens, but in these times and with this president our gains should be huge. You can come back and rub this post in my face in 2010 if I am wrong, but I suspect I am not wrong here.

*note: since I am linking to Little Green Footballs which is on the hater’s outcast list, comments will be closed the next few days. Workload prevents me from monitoring comments to stop jackanapery from the people after Charles for sticking to his principles.

A Walk Through the Leaves

A Walk Through the Leaves

We took Kasey and Chewey to Shawnee Mission Park today and they loved it. They met some new friends, including four Aussies. One of them was a double merle which most often results in birth defects, you will see her in the video. She got rescued by two kind ladies but is partially blind and deaf. For people who don’t know this: please do not interbreed two Australian Shepherds who are both merles either blue or red, it usually results in defects from the merle genes.

Update: Youtube disabled the audio track for reasons of copyright even though I am linking ELP’s Amazon page. Ah well, I guess they have to do that.

President Obama and I agree

President Obama and I agree

I usually have quibbles, reservations, or complete disagreement with much of what our President says, but here I am in 100 percent agreement. Like it our not we are a high energy society. If we want our planet clean then we must have abundant clean energy to keep it that way. Approximately 25 percent of our domestic electricity production is used to clean sewage and treat water, something few people are aware of. Increased Nuclear energy here creates better prospects for our future prosperity, but also better chance for prosperity in the rest of the world. The current world food security crisis is driven in large respect by energy constraints, and we need to remove those constraints to fight hunger and to enable poor nations to improve their lifestyles; which will lead to clean futures everywhere.

Autumn in Kansas

Autumn in Kansas

Every year I take a drive around a few neighborhoods to get pictures of the leaves changing color, here’s a gallery some I took at the end of last week. Click on the individual thumbnails to see the large size.

Complexity Complexity Complexity

Complexity Complexity Complexity

P.Z. Meyers boils Discovery Institute’s argument for design down to essentials.

Moon Pics That Didn’t Quite Turn Out

Moon Pics That Didn’t Quite Turn Out

The title pretty much tells you what the video is about, for every good moon picture I take I get 15 to 20 that end up blurry, black, or just F’d up… Sometimes they are oddly worth looking at however. The Soundtrack is the Bangles, a remake of Paul Simon’s “Hazy Shade of Winter” and you can’t go bad buying their greatest hits linked below.

Theme Change

Theme Change

I’ve backed out to the old version of my blog’s theme after a new upgrade of the Inanis theme I was using changed things to unreadable. I don’t have time to debug it over the next few days, hence the backout until I can spend some time on what went wrong.

UPDATE: There were some javascript files that needed updating that weren’t in the auto upgrade, I popped by Inanis net and picked them up so all is well. The new version allows you to widen the window to fit the page with a “full screen” button in the upper right corner of the header, give it a try while I add my customizations back in.