December 9th, 2007


[politics] A bit more from me on Romney and Huckabee, and the tolerance of atheists

Said by me in comments here:

I don't hold any brief against Mormonism at all, no more or less than I do any other religion. From a secularist point of view, it's all arbitrary doctrine which only makes sense seen through the lens of faith. My support for the right of you and anyone else to hold that lens of faith of absolute, whatever my opinions of it.

I find some people's doctrines more objectionable than others, but I find some people's food choices more objectionable as well. So what? I am required to neither pray nor eat as my fellow citizens do. One of my most profound objections to religion in politics is that it produces candidates like Romney and Huckabee whose rhetoric (and presumably beliefs) quite explicitly excludes me as an atheist from political and cultural equality.

Still, what I find fascinating here (and why I keep linking to these Romney stories) is this emerging clash of doctrines. "My religion is true and yours is a nasty cult" is the barely-concealed subtext. It's been implicit in the religious pandering of the Republican party since Reagan's team first began politicizing abortion to get out the vote in the late 1970s. As ye sow, so shall ye reap, et cetera.

The deepest irony is that it's secularists and atheists who won't judge Romney on the specifics of his religious beliefs. Only his own voters will. Tolerance is universal or it is non-existent.

[links] Link salad, Sunday morning

The Wall Street Journal discovers religious pandering in the Republican party — Almost three decades after the fact, unfortunately. Money shot:
There was one significant mistake in the speech. I do not know why Romney did not include nonbelievers in his moving portrait of the great American family. We were founded by believing Christians, but soon enough Jeremiah Johnson, and the old proud agnostic mountain men, and the village atheist, and the Brahmin doubter, were there, and they too are part of us, part of this wonderful thing we have. Why did Mr. Romney not do the obvious thing and include them? My guess: It would have been reported, and some idiots would have seen it and been offended that this Romney character likes to laud atheists. And he would have lost the idiot vote.

My feeling is we've bowed too far to the idiots. This is true in politics, journalism, and just about everything else.

The New York Times on the invention of the Internet — Specifically with reference to Al Gore's role -- his alleged "I invented the Internet" claim is another one of those conservative lies that will never die. Money shot:
IN the 2000 election, Al Gore, then the vice president, was derided by opponents who claimed that he had said he “created” the Internet. But many of the scientists, engineers and technology executives who gathered here to celebrate the Web’s birth say he played a crucial role in its development, and they expressed bitterness that his vision had been so discredited.

Railroad launched ICBMs

Binary timepiece — :: wants :: (Thanks to chriswjohnson.)

Star Wars, the baroque version

Eco-friendly kangaroo farts could help global warming

[writing] Reading

About to jump into writing Green, so I spent the weekend filling my head with good stuff. I read an early draft of a very excellent book which you will see in 2009 or so, then I reread Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light Powell's | Amazon ] One of the true classics in our field, in a number of senses, and covering ground that still feels fresh forty years later. Plus his writing:
The day of the battle dawned pink as the fresh-bitten thigh of a maiden.

What are your favorite classics in our field, and why?

[movies] Everything I need to know in life I learned from the cinema

Things I learned rewatching the Lord of the Rings extended edition Amazon ] with lasirenadolce:

  • Orcs apparently do not have cardiovascular systems

  • Experienced horsemen will in fact charge a pike line

  • Dwarfs were put into the world for sheer comic relief and to fulfill all your buffoonerific needs

Things I learned watching the The Golden Compass imdb ] with lasirenadolce.

  • Ann Coulter extends across multiple dimensions

  • A real king doesn't bring his army into battle with him

  • Sam Clemens was an airship pilot

[photos] Christmas tree shopping

This morning, the_child, lasirenadolce, Mother of the Child and I went Christmas tree shopping at Lee Farms in Tualatin. Highly recommended in part for the fact that they have the best Christmas tree stands I have ever seen in my life.

Collapse )

While walking over to the u-pick fields, I noticed Collapse )

The physics of this are non-obvious to me, except in the sense that there seem to have been small columns of water at or just beneath the soil surface.

As usual, more at the Flickr set