Knowing In Part 

 A collection 

of differing political viewpoints

 that revolve around the

 geographic and political

center of America.

 

Benton Rogers

Samuel Morton

Sidney Collins

Andrew Jones

     
 
 
Monday, February 07, 2005
 
Ender's Game
Thanks to the Blogfather for the link. One thing that struck me as a young reader of Ender's Game was the way in which Ender's earthbound childhood was described. Massive encapsulated cities teeming with life like so many Manhattans and families sitting at home eating dinner and reading the news on their dining room tables. Not just in a paper but on the screens that covered the dining room table. The net was an integral part of the everyday life of the average family. And best of all the net was a place where everyone could interact. You had your Net ID and your opinion and you could wade into the debate. If you were good and other people listened to your ideas you could get syndicated on the net. You could be invited to participate in virtual debates between other noteworthy indivduals. This is a kind of distributed media nirvana, where the debate is no longer controlled by the big papers or stations.

Now look at this article by Ed Driscoll. As more and more instances of the "power of the tail" appear on the national radar and as more people follow Glenn's advice and read more than just Instapundit or Daily Kos we may get a chance to see the media empires crumble. Maybe, just maybe, the blogosphere is on the road to the distributed media paradise that was envisioned by Orson Scott Card.

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Monday, November 22, 2004
 
Fareed Zakaria joins the "Crappy Article Club"
I have found that much of my desire to blog comes from three main sources: (1) a really though provoking unique article/post/story, (2) something peaks my interest in conversation, or (3) a really BAD article/post/story I come across.

Today's post (from the 3 category) is dedicated to Fareed Zakaria. Normally I seek out articles by Mr. Zakaria because they are thoughtful, educated, and well constructed. Unfortunately he seems to have forgotten how to be correct and to the point in his most recent article published in Newsweek titled "Rejecting the Next Bill Gates".

The article is about the difficulties looming for American science due to the decrease in foreign born researchers coming to the States. He makes a number of good points, (1) competition from steadily improving international institutions, (2) improving work conditions in the home countries of many potential visitors, and (3) the hurdles placed in the path of international students trying to come to the States. Of all of these the third one is the most important in his article (and in my opinion). Back when I was president of the Graduate Student Association at the University of Tennessee the issue of visa restrictions was getting a lot of play from the administration and the international student body. For all the information I was privy to, the concerns were valid and the long term damage was being predicted.

My problems with Fareed's article is due to some misstatements:

"Yet that research is now done largely by foreign students."

"The dirty little secret about America's scientific edge is that it's largely produced by foreigners and immigrants."

"Americans don't do science anymore."

My big problem with the above statements is that it not only doesn't jive with what I know personally but it is promptly invalidated by a statement Fareed makes:

"The National Science Board (NSB) documented this reality last year, finding that 38 percent of doctorate holders in America's science and engineering work force are foreign-born."

Its a classic overstatement to make the suggestions that America is going to the dustbin of history because we no longer have our easy foreign researchers to save us. That is offensive to me for a thousand different reasons. Perhaps the biggest is that I DO do science.

I think the visa issue is a very complicated matter. Security after 9/11, issues with intellectual property rights, and worker health and safety come to mind as mitigating factors on a large part of the problems facing the visa hungry hordes.

But lets get one thing straight Fareed, American is not the leader in science and technology simply because we piggybacked on the work of others. The reason is because we foster the work in the first place.

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Saturday, November 20, 2004
 
Congratulations!!
A good day for football related to my academic existence. Put another check in the win category for both the University of Tennessee and Lafayette College.

Even though the MSSM (mainstream sports media) has forgotten about the oldest, continuously played rivalry in college football, fortune has not, as Lafayette goes on to a potential Division I-AA playoff berth by defeating archrival Lehigh by a score of 24 to 10.

UT has scrapped past a better than normal Vanderbilt team, 38-33, to clinch the SEC East championship slot against Auburn. I fear that game will not go as well for UT unless little brother Clausen really improves or one of our broken QBs return.

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Shields... SHIELDS!
As if someone needed to pat the back of the science fiction authors anymore, it appears that MIT is working on shields for spacecraft! I used to read the New Scientist avidly (as Andrew can attest), perhaps I should see if Lafayette subscribes.

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The loneliest blogger of them all
As best I can tell there have been less than 20 "hits" to this blog since Ben posted on the 6th of November. I also think that most of them might have been me.

Oh well. Perhaps it was all the political blogging or the really long posts. I will endeavor to publish a few non-political posts for a while. Maybe my co-bloggers will reappear and/or our handful of readers return.

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Friday, November 19, 2004
 
I feel SO much better now.
Ahhhhhh...

I feel so much better, now that the following three issues of global importance are being handled so promptly:

(1) Tom Delay no longer has to worry about temporarily NOT being the majority leader of the House of Representatives due to his indictment by an obviously partisan and evil Democrat District Attorney in Texas, thanks to a quick House rules change [Hat tip Josh Marshall].

(2) There is serious work being done of the pandemic of porn addiction I feel so much better.

(3) There are plans to give relief for the ultra-rich with their over burden of taxes, by reducing the taxes of money earning money. As an added benefit the proposal is revenue neutral, since the plan is to eliminate the tax credit on state and local income taxes as well as the employer tax credit for health insurance.

I bet old Taft is laughing his afterworldly ass off.

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Saturday, November 06, 2004
 
Exit Polls and Explanations
I've read several pieces by different people claiming that gay marriage was the issue driving people to the polls and to vote for Bush. I don't buy it. Here you can look over the national exit polls on many different issues. Let's take a look.

First I want to take a shot at some of the pundits and critics claiming that only stupid people vote for Republicans/Bush.

Vote by Education -
No High School - B - 49% K - 50%
H.S. Grad - B - 52% K - 47%
Some College - B - 54% K - 46%
College Graduate - B - 52% K - 46%
Postgrad Study - B - 44% K - 55%

No College Degree - B - 53% K - 47%
College Degree - B - 49% K - 49%

I could be wrong but it looks like the vote is pretty evenly split. You know, kinda like "Intelligent people can disagree about what is the best way to go with the country." In fact, it looks like Kerry was the one to benefit from the vote of the lowest education level.

Next, one thing that no one really seems to be talking about is the number of Democrats who voted for Bush. Maybe this wouldn't have helped in the swing states, but if you look at the numbers I can't help but feel that at least to some extent, Kerry's defeat was from his inability to convince his own party to vote for him.

By Party ID
Dem. - B - 11% K - 85%
Rep. - B - 93% K - 6%
Ind. - B - 48% K - 49%


Now the Big One - Moral Values

This is the one that lots of people are harping on. 22% of voters cited Moral Values as Most Important Issue. That was out of these options Taxes, Education, Iraq, Terrorism, Economy/Jobs, Moral Values, and Health Care. Notice that of those categories Moral Values is the broadest of the categories. Yes, it does encompass gay marriage but it also includes things like honesty, character, and commitment among many others. Now if we compare the numbers for Most Important Issue with the numbers for Most Important Quality in a Candidate I see a pretty clear connection, that doesn't seem to exist in the number for Support of Gay Marriage.

Most Important Issue

Taxes (5%) - B - 57% K - 43%
Education (4%) - B - 26% K - 73%
Iraq (15%) - B - 25% K - 73%
Terrorism (19%) - B - 86% K - 14%
Economy/Jobs (20%) - B - 18% K - 80%
Moral Values (22%) - B - 80% K - 18%
Health Care (8%) - B - 23% K - 77%

Most Important Quality

Cares About People (9%) - B - 24% K - 75%
Religious Faith (8%) - B - 91% K - 8%
Honest/Trustworthy (11%) - B - 70% K - 29%
Strong Leader (17%) - B - 87% K - 12%
Intelligent (7%) - B - 9% K - 91%
Will Bring Change (24%) - B - 5% K - 95%
Clear Stand on Issues (17%) - B - 79% K - 20%

Policy Toward Same-Sex Couples

Legally Marry (25%) - B - 22% K - 77%
Civil Unions (35%) - B - 52% K - 47%
No Legal Recognition (37%) - B - 70% K - 29%

So there are the numbers. It looks to me like there is probably a better connection to Honesty, Clear Stand on the Issues, and Strong Leadership than to opposition to gay marriage. I say this not only because of the numbers in Important Quality but also because Bush won a majority of the vote from people who support Civil Unions.

So anyway, that is my take on this particular issue.

Hope everyone is having a great day.

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The Solution to what is Wrong with Democrats
Hey... I am travel blogging (from the Lehigh Valley International Airport) so I won't have links in this post yet.

BUT... having read the internet to a detrimental level the last few day I have been reading various and sundry analysese of what went wrong with the Democrats.

I'll try to link to a few of the answers I have gleaned from the great jabbering mess that is he internet. It seems that everyone has a solution to fixing the Democrats, with most of the analysis coming from the right side of the political divide.

So I'll cut to the chase:

My fellow Democrats. It seems we were deluded in our beliefs. According to a great many if the backers of the winning team in this election, the solution to returning to relevance is...

...to become Republicans.

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Wrong
That would be me. I'll no longer think that the election was won based on "morals issues". Andrew Sullivan says so as well as David Brooks so I'll just leave off with the me being wrong bit.

The new conventional wisdom (is the old conventional wisdom) that the election turned on terrorism and security. Fine, that is better that my origianl fears that hordes of bigots just selected the President, and would now demand their just rewards. I look for over pandering still though as there is not reason to burn any bridges.


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Friday, November 05, 2004
 
Mandate and the Shaping of Government
Check out this article on Talking Points Memo (Josh Marshall). Its what I was trying to articulate, but I lacked the proper way of saying it.

Oh... that mandate... seems to have not really been about gay marriage, securty, or terrorism. Since Bush has now moved privitization of Social Security to the front of the list, it appears to have really been about the rights major agenda. Expect vouchers, significant tax code reform (national sales tax anyone), and maybe even the destruction of a few pesky Departments to be mentioned soon enough. If you can stand the MSM for a bit, here is an article all about it.

And so it begins.

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