Mandatory Reading

This is a long piece, but you can handle it. You need to. This article is just part of the intro for an upcoming book, but it is an extremely fascinating look at The War on Terror as compared to and even as a result of the Christian Crusades of 1000 years ago.

As you read it, please consider that major historical events were rarely considered as such by the people who lived through them. It is only in retrospect that an event’s significance can truly be judged.


Yo Albert!

As we approach the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity (you have your party planned already, right?), how cool is it that some of his ideas are just now being proved as correct.

To be sure, he wasn’t right about everything. By physicist’s standards, he wasn’t terribly good at math, and he spent the last 30 years of his life chasing theoretical dead ends. But his ability to conceive the unimaginable and convey it clearly is unparalleled in history. From about 1905 to 1916 he was blessed with a clarity of thought that most of us can only dream about.

Election Day

It recently dawned on me that there was a larger election going on than just the presidential race. Arguably, none of the other races matter as much or have as much opportunity to directly influence your life and the health of the country over the next few years, but they deserve some attention as well.

I thought I’d share my election day philosophy with regard to these other races. It’s not how I typically choose candidates. I usually select carefully based on the individual’s merits, ideas, and relevant track records. But not this year. This year I am using my votes to send larger messages.

Message 1: To the NYS Legislature

You are a supremely disfunctional organization incapable of managing probably the most important task before you – the state budget. Year on year you demonstrate incomprehensible incompetence. Albany needs an enema. If you are an incumbent, you lose.

Message 2: To the Republican Party

Where have you gone? I used to laud Republican ideals of small government, fiscal conservatism, and “big stick” foreign policy. (Granted, your desire to encroach on my personal rights and sacrifice the environment for corporate interests were always disquieting, but those tendencies could be kept in check.) The Neo-Cons have transformed you into something I no longer recognize, no longer respect, and often fear. You have become masters of political marketing. You have constituted leadership by preying on the emotions and passions of those who would be sheep. You make policy for it’s political advantage alone.

While I recognize that the Neo-Con transformation is largely a national party happenstance, I need to get your attention. And that will only happen by influencing the local branches of the party. No Republicans will get my vote this year, regardless of their qualifications.

And finally, some advice on the presidential race. If you vote for Nader, you are an idiot. He is not electable. Given how close the presidential race is likely to be, voting for Nader is simply choosing to not vote. There have never been two more dichotomous candidates in a race for president. Pick one.

While you’re choosing, consider that presidents should not be chosen because they are tall or Christian or you like their wife and kids. Nor should they be chosen based on ideological issues which are largely outside the purview of the Oval Office such as homosexuality, religion, abortion, or stem cell research. There are ample substantive issues on which to base your decision. Frankly, it comes down to two of them: The war in Iraq. The economy. Boil it down to a handful of questions. Are you glad we went to Iraq? Are you proud of that? And to paraphrase Mr. Reagan during his campaign, are you better off than you were 4 years ago? Answer those questions, your choice should be clear.