Thursday, August 30, 2012

No Chris

I was listening to the MSNBC coverage of the Republican National Convention (RNC) between innings of a baseball game and Chris Matthews was trying to make a point about Mitt Romeny's religion (Mormon) and why it doesn't matter. He said we all inherit our religion from our parents, "It's given..."

Sorry Chris, it's not given, it's a choice when we get old enough to choose for ourselves if we're smart enough to learn other religions and seek to find the one which fits our thinking and beliefs. It's not given. My parent were protestants, and while they weren't particularly true, faithful followers, we still went to church and often Bible study.

But when we reached the age of 12, they let us decide if we still wanted to go to church beyond the few holidays a year when attendence is expected. Of the three of us kids, only my sister kept going and later became an evangical Christian. My brother found parties and alcohol to be better than God.

And I decided nothing until I was in my late teens I read Alan Watt's book, "The Watercourse Way", and have ever since been, although more lazy than not, a follower of Taoism. Not my parent's religion. Sorry Chris, you couldn't be more wrong if you tried, so stop talking as if you know more than the rest of us. You don't. You're just guessing.

And yes, I'll keep my Taoism thank you. It's better than Mormonism any day of the week, even holidays.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Thought

Here's a thought for consideration. Every white person in this country should be required to carry an official copy of their birth certificate at all times and when asked by any law enforcement officer, any government official and any non-white person they have to show they were born in this country, and if they can't, then they are arrested as an illegal alien.

Or have we all forgotten we are all immigrants to this country. Even Native Americans came there from somewhere else, but then they were the first. What if they were smart enough to have a Ellis Island to screen us to ensure we were all good people? How many of us would have been allowed into this country?

No, Mitt

Mitt, giving 10% of your income to the Mormon Church is not giving the money to charity, it's giving it to the Mormon Church. Charity is helping people, not an established religion become rich(er) and restrict their work to just Mormons. Charities don't discriminate, religions and churches do. That's what your money supports, discrimination by a church.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Choice

We have with the 2012 presidential election a choice, one more divergent than we've had in many elections. We have the choice between the sitting president who weighs the full range of choices, hears all the voices for reason, and then decides. Someone who then explains his choice with reasons.

And we have a presidential candidate who simply cites rhetoric and says, "Trust me." Does he explain anything? Has he explained his religion in his life, his decision and would be in his role as president? Has he explained his financial wealth and income and his income taxes?

Has he told us who's backing his campaign and why he has private, secret meetings with wealthy donors out of the public eye and media? Has he told us who's all in his campaign staff and everyone he's listening to for advice? Has he full explained his position besides rhetoric and attacking Obama?

In short, we have a choice between a President who listen, thinks, decides and then explains and we have a candidate who simply says, "Trust me." Like all those companies Bain Capitol bought and sold and all those employees who lost their jobs, their health insurance and their pensions?

It's our choice, choose wisely. Rememer George W. Bush's "Compassionate conservatism", where did it go with the tax cuts, annual deficit, national debt, two wars and more so the economy and jobs? Did he say, "Trust me"? And how did that choice go for us?

News Bits

Every Sunday I buy three newspapers, the Tacoma News Tribune, Seattle Times and the New York Times. They don't sell other Sunday papers on Sunday anywhere anymore, but I'd love to read the old Seattle PI and the Washington Post. Yes, it's the age of on-line and download newspapers, and yes I subscribe to the New York Times download edition (great for daily paper).

But I really like print. I love to take over the table, get the endless pot of coffee, some snacks and feast on reading every page. Ok, scanning every page, reading the headlines and the opening paragraphs for the gist of the article, and then more if it's interesting. it all makes for a good Sunday morning.

Anyway, there were two articles of note in the New York Times, one which I'll address directly and one indirectly. First, the article by James Gleick, "Auto Correct Ths!", about how we rely on autocorrection of grammar but mostly spelling to not just help us but save us from our own stupidity.

There is a very simple solution which I do all the time. First, I turn off all automatic checks in all my applications for anything, spelling, grammar, html code, etc. I see what I type and then reread and edit or run checks to correct the errors. It's why there are typos in my posts. Sometimes I catch them while typing, some while editing and some later when reading them after they're posted.

This requires me to think more than just type and hope. I also keep my Oxford American-English dictionary application open on my desktop as well as a print edition of the same dictionary by the desk to access when I write. The app is part of Mac's software for Mac's. I also have the Oxford American-English dictionary app on my iPhone and iPad.

Dictionaries are useful, especially if you actually use them.

Second is the article by Matthew Hutson, "Still Puritan After All These Years." Well, if there is anything I've learned about psychological or sociological studies reported or used in articles, it's not to accept those done by university professors on college students. Why?

We're not college students anymore.

As adults we are far different than we were in college, if we went to college. Doing psychological research studies on college students is a captive and biased audience and population base for studies. They're not normal people from anyone older than 25 years old.

And so any results don't apply beyond being interesting, and any article citing those studies isn't worth much more than interesting and totally useless for the general population. I read the article for their conclusion then ignore those conclusions for the same reasons, just a biased study to prove a point.

And what's more is that all too often the study is a small, very focused study where they or the writers extrapolate big conclusions about all of us. Really? In implying conclusions from the results they forget the rule about assuming too much. And in this article, they simply stated the obvious which they didn't need to cite the study.

Anyway, that's my reading for this Sunday.