Saturday, September 13, 2008

Is Sarah Palin reviving the Annie Oakley movement? (Hat tip: Ace)

The un-Walter Cronkiting of American politics

I read an excellent article in Forbes this afternoon by Peter Huber, senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute and coauthor of The Bottomless Well. The piece, entitled Cronkite vs. the Web takes a look at the role of the web in political elections:

....the more polarized and divided the national election, the worse the dot-com candidates will ultimately serve the parties that they crash and capture. The Web doesn't bridge divisions; it multiplies and sharpens them. It doesn't build consensus or national coalitions; it grows factions. Truth be told, the Web doesn't network people at all--it lets them network themselves, which is quite different. The Web is the place where people can roll their own, and given that freedom, people tend to coalesce in relatively small, insular groups.

The real genius of the Web, in short, is that it lets people disconnect. That's why it has obliterated the old media. During the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson is reported to have said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." Nobody would ever say that about anything posted on a or a CronkiteTube. There are too many celebrity sites, scattered all over the digital landscape, and they're all saying different things.

The un-Walter Cronkiting of American politics of course dismays his would-be heirs, but their opinions hardly matter anymore, and they will have all but disappeared from view four years from now. Few of them will be missed, because America, it turns out, doesn't much trust them. Plummeting audiences for network news have made that clear. The challenge now is to get disconnected people to accept how little they can trust themselves and their closest friends. People who live overwired lives--which means the young, especially--may easily suppose that they have a very good picture of what all the rest of America is thinking. Quite a few of them are going to find out otherwise in a few weeks...

That's the danger of echo chambers. Perhaps it's best for blog readers that they read a number of blogs and other sites that do not necessarily agree with their viewpoint. That way, one can get a better understanding of a variety of opinions, not just the ones that agree with one's own.

Psychologist is one of the first on the scene of an L.A .train wreck

An L.A. commuter train crash killed at least 12 people last night:

Emergency crews worked desperately through the night and into Saturday morning, ripping into a mangled train car to search for an unknown number of people trapped in a horrific train wreck in Los Angeles.

A Metrolink commuter train carrying 222 people collided head-on with a freight train Friday afternoon, killing at least 12 people and injuring about 135. The death toll was expected to increase as firefighters dug deeper into the wreckage....

The train wreck shocked those who first saw it.

Leslie Burnstein heard screams of agony as she ran through a smoky haze toward a wrecked train where dozens of bloodied passengers were still trapped inside. She pulled victims out one by one, some weeping as they looked about at the destruction.

"It was horrendous," said Burnstein, a psychologist who saw the train crash from her home. "Blood was everywhere. ... I heard people yelling, screaming in pain, begging for help."

Luckily, Ms. Burnstein saw it as her duty to help and not to walk away.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Is Sleeping Alone Good for Marriage?

According to this CNN article, more and more married couples are sleeping separately (Hat Tip: Newsalert):

How many couples sleep solo in a double bed?

A 2001 random telephone survey of 1,004 adults conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 12 percent of married Americans slept alone; a similar 2005 survey of 1,506 people found that number had jumped to 23 percent.

In addition, a March online survey of 1,408 couples conducted by the Sleep Council of England found that 1 in 4 people regularly retreats to a spare room or sofa to get a good night's sleep.

The preference for separate spaces has even begun to affect home design. According to the National Association of Home Builders, there's been a steady increase in the number of requests for "two-master bedroom" homes since 1990, prompting the organization to predict that by 2015, 60 percent of all custom upscale homes will be built with two "owner suites."

What do you think, is sleeping alone good or bad for marriage?
Neo-Neocon at PJM asks, "Is Obama Buckling Under Pressure?" What stood out to me after reading the piece is her observation about McCain and Obama's different ways of handling the enormous pressure of this election:

Much has been made of McCain’s propensity for anger, and it was the subject of constant early speculation. When would the famous McCain temper make its appearance, and how bad would the melt-down be? The race isn’t over yet and anything is still possible. But the fact that it has failed to materialize so far is an indication that McCain is holding up surprisingly well under the strain....

If Obama’s star seems to be fading, it may be due at least in part to his reactions to the situation of finding himself suddenly behind in the polls, threatened by opponents he previously underestimated. It is a question of character, stamina, and judgment. He doesn’t seem to be “keeping his head” now that he is being tested in this new way.

Which candidate sounds more ready to lead?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson has a good article in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled "Palin story teaches us what media thinks is feminism" (Hat tip: Joe Manthey).

Is Sarah Palin really a woman?

Apparently not to Professor Wendy Doniger who teaches at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School who states about Palin:

Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

I have read a lot of whacky things in the media about Palin but to deny someone's biology based on political beliefs that disagree with your own is definitely out there. Fortunately, other women feel the same. Here is a good response to this diatribe from a commenter named Kelly:

I hate to drop this bomb on this idiot, but if you have a vagina you are a real woman. That includes even this moron. Just because a person does not agree with your political views, especially abortion on demand, that does not excommunicate them from their biology. Being a woman is a biological fact. However, being an individual trapped in their own political dogma frothing at the mouth about any woman who does not agree with them is simply deranged. It is amazing how one attractive, intelligent woman with conservative views has set the feminist crones spinning. I sit back and enjoy the show. Although abortion is the holy grail of the feminist crones, the majority of American women don't vote on a singal issue, such as myself. I believe in abortion in certain instances but it is not my singular issue and does not decide my vot. The feminists are revealing their blood lust for the murder of unborn children anywhere anytime for any reason. Keep it up feminist, we women of the heartland are watching and we are not approving.

What is amazing to me is how many liberal gender feminists think that they know what is best for all women, just because they have a womb. Maybe it's time they woke up and realized that the women of America are not buying the crap they're peddling.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What would you do?

I read this article today in the Philadelphia Daily News about a hammer-wielding "psycho" who almost killed a man on the subway:

As the SEPTA subway train rocked forward, a thirty-something guy leaned over near the doorway and gently planted a kiss on the little boy at his side.
When the train neared the Fairmount Avenue stop shortly after midnight on Thursday, the man reached out like an adoring parent and directed the 3- or 4-year-old tyke to an open seat.

Then he flew into a monstrous rage.

Without uttering a word, police said, the unidentified man whipped out a double-claw hammer and began bludgeoning a 20-year-old man who was dozing off in his seat.

For five long minutes, SEPTA surveillance cameras captured the deranged attacker - who was still on the loose late last night- digging his hammer into the man's head and neck.

Through it all, disgusted investigators said, at least 10 passengers stood by and did nothing as the random attack moved from the train to the platform, when the hammer-wielding maniac tried to push his victim down onto the train tracks.

I remember riding the subway in Manhattan when I lived there and how many obnoxious people there were on the train. Sometimes people would come up and scream in my face as well as others and no one would do a thing. I once looked around for help during one of the episodes and everyone kept reading their newspaper making clear that no help would be forthcoming.

However, one day I saw a brave act of courage that changed my perception of how cowardly I thought people in NYC were at that time. A man was trying to steal some possessions from what looked like a homeless man and a small woman, maybe 5 feet tall and 90 pounds grabbed her umbrella and hit the predator and knocked him off the train at the next stop. A large well-dressed man went to help her but only after she had already successfully defended the homeless man. My jaw dropped in awe. Once the incident was over, the woman put her umbrella down by her side and seemed nonchalant, as if it were no big deal. If only we had more people like her.

On a positive note, it seems that they caught the predator responsible for the hammer attack, naturally he had a long criminal history. The police say that it might have been best not to intervene and just to call for help or be a good witness to an event like this. What do you think?

Update: Commenter randian points out that there is video of the incident. One thing that struck me is just how methodical the perpetrator was, just sort of like he was at another day at work. He puts his bag down, takes out the hammer and starts wailing away.


Barbara Oakley, author of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend has an interesting interview at EducationNews.Org. Some highlights:

Academicians are as bad as fundamentalists in some ways—they believe that acknowledging the effects of genes somehow kills our free will.It doesn't, of course.Having a better understanding of what we are won't change what we are.But like religious believers who thought it might disrupt society to know that the earth revolves around the sun, some academics today don't want society disrupted by what they believe to be harmful knowledge about the effects of genes on personality.Obviously, I find this attitude repugnant.I thought that people should know what researchers have been discovering, because this knowledge can be extraordinarily empowering.That's why I wrote the book.

You can read the whole thing here.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Another reason to be wary of "experts"

The Anchoress at PJM: Psychologists Want to Purge Your Brain of Un-Green Thoughts.

Monday, September 08, 2008

"She’s a redneck at heart, don’t you see.."

Neo-neocon on why the liberals hate Palin:
Cries that the Democrats have engaged in sexism towards Palin are not misplaced. Palin is also hated for her social conservatism—even by feminists, who acknowledge she’s a woman, but a woman from the wrong side of the issues.

But perhaps even more important to many liberals is that she’s a woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Or at least, that’s the way she’s been perceived.

Forget that she’s a college graduate, with a father who was a teacher. She went to the wrong college—or colleges. She’s a redneck, even if she’s from the far North where the sun hardly shines for half the year. She’s a redneck at heart, don’t you see, with the “mess” of a pregnant daughter and five children herself. How very gross.

If being a redneck at heart means freedom-loving, supportive of gun rights, low taxes, less pork, personal responsibility and smaller government, then count me in too.