Rants for Reason

Exploring logic, skepticism, freedom, tolerance, and knowledge

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Politicians I’ll vote for:

  • think that taking care of the needy is more important than holding onto every dollar they earn
  • realize that social stability and protection for all citizens is a more important goal than a higher GDP
  • feel that consenting adults should be free to marry another consenting adult
  • allow women to make their own healthcare decisions

I find it ridiculous that most of the political right’s ads that I’ve received at my home have pointed out that the left believes in one or more of the points above. So thanks, Republicans — you’ve successfully advertised Democrats I want to vote for.

Written by nelsonlu

November 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

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A few weeks ago, my friend called and told me that she thought there was a mouse in her house.

 
I went to her house to try to help her. We searched around the floorboards, in the cabinets, around any entry points, and any pile of debris we thought could house one. We saw no hair, droppings, or mouse-related damage. We put out some baited traps and waited. After a week we had caught nothing. We eventually rented a blacklight to search for urine stains or anything else that would indicate there was a mouse. We couldn’t find any evidence at all to support the thought of there being one.
 
I asked her why she thought there was a mouse in her house, and she said that her parents and all her older relatives all thought there was. She asked me to prove that there was no mouse in the house. I thought for a moment and realized I couldn’t. She took that to mean there must be a mouse. I took it to mean there probably wasn’t one.
 
Yesterday she called to say she thinks there’s a God.

Written by nelsonlu

January 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm

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Election 2012

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Here’s a rundown of why I’m voting the way I am in 2012. In the Missouri Senate race, I’m voting for McCaskill. I don’t even think I need to explain why, considering she’s running against a frighteningly ignorant misogynist.

For President, I’m voting Obama. Here’s what I like about him:

  • He supports equal rights and the ability to marry regardless of sexual orientation
  • He supports a woman’s right to choose
  • He supports universal health care (though I know I’d like him more if he supported single-payer universal health care) — and I’m not talking about the ER
  • He realizes regulation is absolutely essential for the economy to operate properly
  • He believes the role of government is to assist those who need the most assistance
  • He supported a reasonably aggressive plan to get us out of Iraq, and seems to be leaning toward peace with Iran
  • He supports clean energy and thinks it’s a better way forward than oil
  • He understands the importance of preserving our land and environment for future generations rather than using it to get us out of a temporary hard spot

Here’s what I don’t like about him:

  • He’s far too comfortable killing foreign civilians in drone strikes
  • He signed off on a bill allowing indefinite detention of American citizens without a trial
  • He’s against legalization of marijuana

So he’s not perfect. But even in the areas I don’t like about him, I feel like he’d do a better job than Romney.

Thankfully, I’m in a nice position here in that I can find good in either candidate winning. My sense of social justice and altruism will be pained if Romney wins, but I think I’ll benefit financially. So I’m trying to remain upbeat. I’m glad we don’t have a Palin or a Bush to worry about this time around. Romney is bad, but he’s not a far-right moron.

What is truly disturbing this election cycle is how many insane whackjobs there are on both sides spreading lies about the candidates. I think I just need to boycott Facebook on election years. There are some disturbing people in the fringes.

Written by nelsonlu

October 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

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It’s an electi…

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It’s an election year, friends, and the bullshit is flying high. I side with reason, as I hope the title of the blog indicates clearly. As such, I’ll try to post a rare two-sided post.

First, what is up with people angrily clamoring for Mitt Romney to post his tax returns? He complied with the law, or at least the minimum request for information. If he were evading taxes or doing something illegal, guess what — the IRS would be investigating him. This is exactly as ridiculous as the birther controversy and I am disappointed in my fellow liberals that are going on this shameful witch hunt. Additionally, there is a bit of a storm over some comments Romney recently made in Europe. Who really cares? He’s not espousing a major campaign standpoint here. http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-to-spot-b.s.-political-story-in-under-10-seconds/ is a great article — and the first item, #5, is so, so true.

And lastly, the Chick-Fil-A controversy. I won’t give that place any money. The founder openly says he is against gay marriage. To me, that is him saying he’s an ignorant homophobe, and I’m damn well not going to be providing money for him to further those kinds of causes when there are plenty of alternative restaurants to patronize. Here’s an analogy — if I were pro-life and thought abortion was murder, I would most certainly not give money to anyone who I thought was going to use it in full or in part to kill babies. As far as my own viewpoints, I won’t willingly give money to anyone who has said their organization is taking an official stance of homophobia, racism, xenophobia, religious persecution, sexism, or any other bigotry. Life’s too short to be giving money to that sort of hateful shit. If other people want to keep eating there, fine, but I just hope they know that by doing so, they’re supporting an anti-gay cause.

It would be one thing if it was a simple political stance — if he’d openly said he was Republican or something. But instead he’s saying he wants to oppress a class of people. That raises the stakes tremendously.

Written by nelsonlu

August 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm

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Republican budgeting

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I’ve become very irritated lately with Republicans harping on Obama about his plan to cut $4 trillion from the budget over the next 12 years. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/us/politics/14obama.html) Mostly, I’m not irritated by the Republican politicians. I’m used to their tricks. They’re tools of the rich and influential in Congress, and act accordingly. (The Democrats are too, for the most part, but they do have at least some bit of concern for people in need.) I’m irritated by the Republicans who put those politicians in office.

I’m just aghast that anyone could possibly look at the Republican plan and think it was a good idea. What does it do? Preserve tax cuts for the rich and cut social welfare programs. It helps the people who least need help, and fucks the needy. Why do people think this is such a good idea? I can understand the rich liking it out of pure selfishness, but most Republicans are not rich. Along comes Obama with a plan that would increase taxes for the rich, and the Republicans call him out as saying it’s a terrible thing.

This is like trying to save money at a pool by telling the lifeguards only to look after the people who aren’t drowning. It’s like cutting money out of the household budget by continuing to buy luxury cars but deciding not to feed the kids. It’s completely absurd on its face and I have no idea why anyone (but the rich) would support it.

And lest you read between the lines, I can say I would understand why the rich would support it, but it would definitely not be just.

Written by nelsonlu

April 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

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Obama bad on economy?

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This shit infuriates me: AP Poll: Obama at new low for handling economy.

Apparently 56% of respondents disapproved of Obama’s handling of the economy.  That’s their business — in my opinion, they’re quite wrong, but they’re entitled to their opinion, sure.  Maybe they feel he’s been too light on reform or hasn’t been aggressive on repealing Bush-era tax cuts, something like that.  Whatever — I can handle that.  What irks me is that 61% said that the economy has stayed the same or gotten worse during Obama’s term.  Uh, what?

That is objectively wrong.  The recession officially started in December 2007.  That means GDP was contracting.  Around the time of the election and Obama’s inauguration, huge financial institutions were dropping like flies — Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, etc.  Now, perhaps it’s poor wording on the pollster’s part, as I think the worst part of the recession did happen during Obama’s term, but for fuck’s sake, we’re obviously better off now than we were a year or a year and a half ago.  The US economy is growing, stocks are back above 10,000, housing sales are up, deflation is backing off, and so forth.

What bothers me most is that the idiots that think Obama is driving the economy into the ground while he’s fixing things are so damn successful with the media.  The Tea Party is a group of morons, and I’m terrified at what’s going to happen in the upcoming midterm election.  I don’t love Obama at all, but I’m also 99.999% confident that he’ll be better than whatever dolt the Republicans throw up against him in 2012 — let’s hope Obama’s reforms show more obvious signs of working by then.

Written by nelsonlu

August 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm

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Mosque at Ground Zero

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Two days ago the Jewish Anti-Defamation League made a statement opposing the construction of a mosque and Islamic community center near the former site of the World Trade Center towers.  The only argument I can see for why it should not be built is in appeasing bigots.  I don’t think that should be any sort of priority.

Why allow them to build a mosque there?  Well, the reasons are extremely solid:

  • The Bill of Rights.  Did everybody so against this forget about Freedom of Religion?  Clearly they’re legally allowed to do what they want.
  • It will promote healing.  What better olive branch to try to heal the rift between Muslims abroad and America?  We should be doing everything we can, as a nation, to signal that our wars are not against Islam, but merely against specific terrorist groups.  (Really we should be stopping those wars, but that’s too strong a signal for Washington to handle.)

What arguments could possibly stand against them building a mosque there?  That the attackers were Muslim?  Is that not judging them simply by their religion and encouraging bigotry?  To back this argument is to say that Muslims are interchangeable to some degree — that because they shared some part of their religious beliefs, the hijackers are similar to peaceful Muslims the world around.  The attackers were all male — does that mean a boy scout building or camp near the site would be insensitive too?  What if some of them liked to play tennis?  Better not build a tennis court.

I’m disappointed that the Jewish Anti-Defamation League felt it necessary to butt in with their wrong-headed opinion.  The only thing that will quell violence on this planet is peace and love, as hippy-ish as it sounds.  Building a mosque there might just convince the rest of the world that America is not a country of bigots.

Written by nelsonlu

August 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm