Hope & Change

Nailed it!

What a night that was, eh?  Last night as I sat at my computer watching the states turn one by one the very colors that the stat wizard Nate Silver had predicted, I felt an excitement and relief of the sort that I don’t remember ever having felt before.  As much as the media has been overstating the importance of this election with their hyperbolic rhetoric and excessive punditry, yesterday’s election was indeed incredibly important in my opinion.  Disclaimer: I am not a political junkie, nor am I the most completely informed on all of the issues at hand, but these are my thoughts at the moment and I hope they make sense.

The defeat of the Republican presidential candidate, as well as a few notable Senate candidates (I’m looking at you Akin and Mourdock), signals a triumph against the vitriolic anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-women, and most importantly, anti-fact campaigning that became so prominent during the last few months.  The following is a very incomplete list of the things that really ground my gears this year:

  • You cannot demonize half of the nation (and I’m talking about both the 47% remarks, and the attacks against abortion rights / rape comments).
  • You cannot use climate change as a punchline.
  • You cannot threaten nuclear war.
  • You cannot change you positions to fit whomever you’re talking to.
  • You cannot say whatever it takes to get elected.
  • You cannot make up your own facts and repeat them until they’re true.

For the past two elections I have sided with the Democrats almost entirely; I am incredibly socially liberal, though there are some areas where I fall in line with “traditional” conservatives, such as decreasing government spending and bureaucracy.  As long as the GOP stands for religion over science, for war over peace, for restricting rights in the name of “morality”, and for trusting feelings over facts, I will never even consider voting for them.  The American people have shown, albeit by a slim majority, that they also do not stand with those who would think this way, and I really hope that those dictating the direction of the Republican Party realize this.  The GOP made a bet that such insidious tactics would pay off during this election; the fact that they didn’t means there’s hopefully going to be some soul searching, a re-evaluation or deconstruction, a subsequent emergence of a more moderate Republican party, and finally a more permanent ideological shift away from extremism.

Speaking of being socially liberal, how awesome is Washington state looking right now?  I’m a big supporter of gay marriage as well as the legalization of marijuana and the great people of the Evergreen State have gone and voted in favor of both.  Part of the reason I moved to California was because it was supposedly socially progressive, yet we voted against marriage equality in 2008 and against the repeal of the death penalty yesterday; if things don’t work out here, you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be looking at the Northwest as a place to settle.  Besides, everyone knows I love Seattle.

Of course, I can’t leave out Minnesota, Maryland and Maine who yesterday also voted to legalize gay marriage (EDIT: Minnesota voted to reject a ban on gay marriage; not quite the same thing).  Way to go, guys.  Maybe Michigan, Montana and Mississippi will join you!  (…maybe not, but for the sake of alliteration, I hope they do).  I could not be more proud to see this country moving in the direction of expanded civil rights, and maybe one day not long after that, away from the horrible “war on drugs” as well.

I can’t wait to see what Mr Obama does with the next four years now that he doesn’t have to worry about re-election.  Healthcare for all!  No more wars!  Who knows?  Sure he hasn’t been the Messiah people thought he was in 2008, but for my sanity, I have to be optimistic that the future in this President’s hands is looking pretty good.

By the way, how crazy is it that Puerto Rico voted to join the union?  We’re going to have to fix those flags!

So yeah, it’s been like a month since I’ve been on here; not much interesting has really happened in that time, save for a few events.  Eleven days ago I took the FE exam.  It was long and tedious, but actually not too difficult.  I was stumped by no more than 15% of the questions, and even then I had my choices narrowed down.  The rest of the exam was no sweat and I’m confident I got at least 70% of the it correct. Whether or not I achieved a passing grade will be determined in the coming weeks.  Somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t pass, but that’s just my way of keeping my expectations low.  Overall it was an experience I would rather not repeat.  Hopefully my months of preparation paid off.

My last post was about going to see A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin at The Warfield.  I gotta say, the concert was pretty awesome.  My camera underperformed in the dark, but I managed to grab a few good pics.  Alison Sudol is even more adorable in person.  I could listen to her talk forever.  I was slightly disappointed in her set though; she played almost the entirety of her new album “Pines” in order.  Now, the experience (it was kind of a journey) was absolutely incredible, but in the back of my head I was waiting the whole time for a few more familiar songs.  Still, I have a new love for that album and in retrospect makes the show not disappointing in the slightest.  Does that make sense?  Joshua Radin was just as hilarious as I remember, but this show was different than the small one in Connecticut.  It was much larger, his band was bigger, and he even seemed to be louder, at times playing unplugged and singing without a mic.  I captured his encore on film, a round song called “With Me,” and put it on YouTube.  Make sure you watch all the way through; the ending is pretty awesome.

Overall it was a great show and I’m very happy I went.  The next time someone I like is in town, I won’t hesitate to snag a ticket.

Well that’s enough writing for now.  Perhaps I’ll have some more thoughts on stuff soon, if my muse reappears later.

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2 thoughts on “Hope & Change”

  1. Um, yeah.

    Since you mentioned it, let me comment on something I know about – Maryland. Consider that, along with gay marriage, the state also past a referendum to expand casino gambling in an effort to compete with W. Va. and Atlantic City.

    As if the local politicians weren’t already corrupted by the monies.

    “I am shocked, SHOCKED! to see corruption in Maryland”, you say? Three words that might confirm that in your mind. Spiro T. Agnew. And if that’s not enough to convince you, two more words. Marvin Mandel (more info available on demand). MD. politics is as corrupt as it comes, and no referendum is exempt from that judgement.

    And re: Anthropogenic Global Warming, here’s a factoid for you, Jake. I went to school with one Sallie Balliunas. Not to name drop, but she was a friend of mine. Harvard Astrophysicist. Deputy Director at Mt. Wilson Observatory. Last of the hippies, not one to be reflexively conservative and she left a lasting impression. In the ’90s, Sallie and Willie Soon put a real crimp in the idea that Global Warming was showing up in the satellite data or in the historical data. Mann’s work (the infamous “hockey stick”) has recently been called into question based in large part on Soon’s work with Balliunas. From the first link:

    Defenders of the theory have long claimed that even if there are problems with Mann’s method or data set, we have independent results from other research, such as that at the CRU, that confirm it. But this was a point of contention. In addition to the unscientific behavior in attempting to silence critics and keep them from publishing, we also know that the climate “scientists” had been withholding data that would help to resolve the controversy (more unscientific behavior, because it makes it difficult or impossible to replicate claimed results, and behavior that continues to the present day by the University of Virginia), even in the face of numerous Freedom of Information requests, on both sides of the Atlantic.

    This article is a rather fun debunking of the “hockey stick” too, but you may not like the source.

    In other words, it ain’t so cut-and-dry.

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