Friday, August 29, 2008

Take Me Out of the Ball Game...

via Boing Boing

Apparently there is a rule in place at Yankee stadium that during the national anthem and "God Bless America" you are not allowed to leave your seat to go to the bathroom. If you do you will be forcibly removed from the stadium. Now, Yankee stadium is privately owned and when you purchase and use your ticket you agree to a whole host of regulations that I'm sure you know nothing about (see my post on never talking to the cops) and can easily get you ejected. But with baseballs rapidly declining popularity I really doubt this will help bolster that nostalgic feeling for anything other than being a child and having to do the pee pee dance while your parent talks to an old friend they just happened to run into while en route to the restroom. 

Now Yakee stadium is being sued by NYCLU, though it seems like the only case they have is to argue that the use of uniformed officers, even if off duty, takes this case back into an issue of a state prohibiting free speech - or the freedom to not engage in speech you disagree with when your bladder is pounding at your door. 

The Rational Moderate

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good thing/Bad thing... Joe Biden

In this latest installment of the subtle and brilliantly titled Good thing/Bad thing... I will examine Joe Biden as the vice presidential candidate. This brief article will not focus on whether or not he is a good or bad choice for Obama, but rather or not he is a good or bad choice for us/US.

Good thing... He'll call McCain on his B.S. One thing we don't need as a country is the one side ignoring the blantant problems with the other side. This might sound like an issue that is good for Obama, but it really is good for the voters. If one side lets the other side get away with saying something factually wrong, inconsistant, or stupid, then it can be played up later as a tacit agreement and become ingrained as a positive thing with voters. I don't see Biden letting that happen. 

Bad thing... Are you disgusted with the fact that 1% of the american population is in prison? How about that a large portion of those incarcerated are on drug related crimes, you know like the mary jane? Biden is responsible for such things as using RICO laws on drug offenders, the position of "Drug Czar," and many of the international anti-drug positions that screw over smaller nations by forcing them to join the US in this pointless war on drugs. And one more for the drug war... "Biden crime bill" which is the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This increased the number of crimes that could lead to the death penalty including the nonviolent offense of drug trafficking. At least he's trying to get that 1% number down.

Good thing... 86% score from the ACLU. I know some people have a problem with the ACLU, but  this is a group who will defend the crap out of you to be able to complain about them. They're big on the constitution which is one of the few reasons I like Obama: he was a constitutional lawyer which means that, unlike 99% of the rest of out government, he's read the constitution. 

Bad thing... voted for the Patriot Act...twice. Want to know why you have to fill out a form with your name, address, driver's license number and promise to donate three goats to the local non-demoninational aztec congregation just to buy a box of Sudafed? Yep, it's that pesky worst law of the 21st century. The worst part is how vocal he has been against it, yet here it is.

Good thing... Supports sending troops to Darfur. If we really want the world to be a better place, and not just a better place for Halliburton, then we should be involved in real atrocities and not manufactured ones like Iraq. Too bad we're occupied elsewhere at the moment. (And it seems to me that if Bush/Cheney/McCain have their way will be occupied with Iran and Russia)

Bad thing... Supported DOMA and the federal anti-gay amendment. I know that politicians are supposed to try and screw up they're opposition, but I'm just not sure I understand why Biden doesn't want Larry Craig to be happy. Seriously, I'll never understand why people are adamantly in-favor of 1)getting themselves involved in other people's love life and 2) stopping the spread of loving and caring relationships. Well, I understand if you have stock in Halliburton, but otherwise...

The winner is... based on one more bad thing (support for a federal ban on smoking and so trying to ruin my cigar walks with my dog) I'm going to go with good for Obama, bad for us/US and my dog.

The Rational Moderate

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Fun with the TSA

Here are four, count 'em, four more horror stories to add to your collection of the modern monster that gives us the shivers when the lights are low: The TSA

2. A TSA agent who think he knows best about how to inspect a plane. I'll give you a hint, it involves climbing up on really delicate and expensive equipment. On 9 different planes. But don't worry, the TSA is here to make you safer.

I can't help but feel a certain connection between the current practices and abuses of the TSA and Homeland Security in general and the classic Stanford Prison Experiment.  If you are unfamiliar with it, the experiment went like this: 24 students were given the roles of guards or prisoners in a fake prison setting. The idea was to test if abuses by prison guards, and I imagine acceptance by prisoners, was based on previous personality cues. To sum up: it wasn't. The experiment was shut down early because of the sadistic tendency of the guards and the emotional distress of the prisoners. If you have blanket power and authority over someone, you will abuse it in a way that would make you sick to your stomach outside of that situation. 

The Rational Moderate

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

McCain, you owe me a decent election!

(Ok, maybe not owe...)

I really thought this presidential election was going to be great.

I believe that the reason we have the presidential race we do is that both sides were sick of the 20 year fight between the Clintons and the Bushes. Republicans went with McCain because he was so different than Bush. He spoke the truth and stood up for what he believed in even if it went against his party or what his base wanted to hear. I think that earned him some respect, not just from moderates and lefts, but from the rights who were anti-neocon as well. 

That’s why this turn of events is so saddening. We really had a chance to have an amazing election between two wonderful candidates who weren’t like other politicians. We could actually have conversations about the best way to solve the problems we have without resulting to misleading information. The facts could be agreed upon by both sides and the difference could be up to the voters about which approach would be the one we wanted. But here we are, brought down into the same muck we’ve had to endure in the past. 

McCain knows that offshore drilling won’t help the energy problem we are having. He said as much in the past. So instead of having a debate about the best way to solve the problem, we actually have to debate on the facts of the problem. The same problem is happening with the GOP ragging on Obama telling individuals to check their tire pressure to help reduce their gas consumption. The fact is that it will. But instead of agreeing on the facts and disagreeing on what should be done about it, the Republicans are stomping on the facts again. 

So right now I blame McCain for not giving me and the American voter a presidential race to be proud of. I’m sure Obama will tick me off again too sometime soon, such as with the FISA compromise, but that was not about the presidential race - at least not directly. What McCain is doing right now is, and it needs to stop.

The Rational Moderate

Monday, August 4, 2008

Congratulations Phil Plait!

Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, has just been announced as the new President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. I've been wondering for a few years who would be a good choice to take over Randi's role as the face of the JREF and I pretty much drew blanks. I stand corrected. Phil Plait is a marvelous choice for the job and I look forward to him making the media rounds. What's great about Phil is that he has such enthusiasm for science and critical thinking that he never seems to come off as cynical. If you can track down the old Penn Jillette radio program that had Phil debating Joe Rogan on the Moon Hoax you'll see what I mean. Even though Joe is off his rocker, Phil never gets angry (though he does get exasperated at Joe's Gish Gallop).   

I think this is good news for Sekptics, rationalists, and critical thinkers.

The Rational Moderate