Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Medicine Cabinet Recommends

A few items that have recently caught my eye:

1. Michael Shermer on Why Darwin Matters to Creationists.

2.Dan Gilbert talks about the evolution of Happiness:



3. David Horowitz talks about the backlash he got from suggesting that his fellow conservatives should start thinking rationally about their opposition to Barack Obama.

4.The Equestrian in the Can, by Rebecca Schjumeda

5. Christopher Hitchens takes Mos Def to school, but I don't think Mos will be graduating:



6.Doubt. I just got around to watching this movie; great performances, great writing. It doesn't waste a moment, and is still with me the day after.

7.50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice, by Geoffry K. Pullum

8. Bill Frisell's Ron Carter. Enjoy yourself:

17 comments:

GbiZ said...

That was disappointing to see Mos come off that way. Hes a great musician but hes clearly too paranoid for his own good, too proud, and too ill informed, even though I think his heart is in the right place. It was embarrassing the way Maher tried to protect him from Hitchens too. Hes always willing to let blowhards get taken down, but I guess not when that blowhard is Mos Def.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Seems to me that Mos hates Hitchens so much that its blinding his sensibilities.

On another topic, that Bill Frisell sure is cool, eh? Thanks for posting Spence. I had to step away for a minute, was there ever a bass solo in that tune?

Spencer Troxell said...

Gbiz: thanks for stopping by. I can't say I disagree with anything you said, except that I thought Maher was trying to keep things civil. He has a way of reeling things in when they get too hot.

Lodo: Mathematics is a great song, and the Boogey Man was great in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and The Woodsman. He was clearly outgamed here though.

Frisell is awesome. I usually play a couple of his CD's per week, while I'm doing homework, or getting the kids ready for bed. 'Blues Dream', 'Good Dog, Happy Man', and 'The Willies' are my favorites. No bass solo, but a pretty spacey guitar solo. That's funny, too. You would expect a tribute to a bassist to contain a bass solo (especially a tribute named after one), but not so. I still think it's a good song. I especially like the little pick-up at the end.

Oscar said...

I didn't see where horowitz was suggesting that any thought different from his was irrational. He did say that it was a rejection of democracy and conservatives should not want to be apart of that. In that, I think he is wrong. The attacks on Bush were directed at the man, claiming he was stupid, incompetent, a liar then against his policies. I believe that the democrats worked very diligently to cause failure anywhere that Bush put his name, even if it meant hurting the country. The attacks that I have seen on obama have been on policy (yes there are probably some attacking him personally as well). Yes they compare him to leaders that no one wants to be compared to, but its a comparison of policy. The greatest thing this country has is a way of peacefully throwing out a leader. When you give the government more power, you give the next leader more opportunity to abuse it. Maybe obama isn't Hitler, but the next guy may get just enough power from obama to become worse than hitler. I would say that more than 63 million Americans are idiots, their votes did count and that is why the discussion. but discussing openly the feelings about the elected officials IS DEMOCRACY, not a rejection of it. Please be more careful in your wording, rational is determind by perspective and very subjective. Horowitz is entitled to his opinion, which is only his. Those who do not write for a living may not be as eloquent and more commonly communicate by comparison, so they find the historical figure that best represents the point. To them comparing quarterbacks is a depiction of style, comparing politicians is a depiction of policy, neither is a depiction of the man's character, kindness, or if he is a good or bad person. I believe that belittling these comparisons are just an arrogant outcry to silence dissent, and in turn, horowitz is falling into this trap because he either can't argue against it or is incapable. It is odd how many do not want discussion of this administration.

Willie Y said...

I think that Oscar is way off base about what happened to President Bush. The Democrats did not cause Bush to fail, Bush had that all rapped up himself. When a large group of historians ranked President Bush as one of bottom 10 worst presidents , I think that says something about his policy's and the way he ran the government. Attacking another country, illegal wire tapping of US citizen, people being held in prison with no chance of a trial. These are not personal attacks. When people stand up and shout about losing there rights as Americans that's not personal attacks, that standing up for our rights. If you want to hear personal attacks listen to Fox news, or any to the hundreds of right wing radio personalities. You want personal attacks you will hear them.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Oscar is completely off his rocker. One small example (of at least a dozen in his comment): "Maybe Obama isn't Hitler."

"Maybe" Oscar? You're still leaving open the possibility?

Spencer Troxell said...

It's pretty easy to argue against the Obama=Hitler trope, because it's stupid. People who compare our president to Adolf Hitler are betraying a sad ignorance to history, which I suspect is actually a willful ignorance. Barack Obama is closer in policy to any number of American progressives (Truman, FDR, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, William Jennings Bryan, Walter Mondale, etc.), and worldwide progressives (Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, Stephen Harper, etc.), than he is to Adolph Hitler. Comparisons to Hitler are meant to encourage a primal fear response in the audience. They're not accurate, and any person who has any degree of critical thinking skills will catch on to this ruse eventually. That's what Horowitz is warning about. He's not arrogant, he's realistic. He wants conservatives to win, and he realizes that bloodshot eyed hyperventillation will not win over the majority of the thinking public (the portion of the public that votes). So, by all means Oscar, ignore Horowitz's warning. I don't want the republicans to win in the next two elections either.

Oscar said...

There are many places where President Bush failed, there are many places where the democrats condemmed policies as failures constantly without evidence saying otherwise. I also believe that EVERY adminstration allowed or promoted some loss of liberty, the current administration is well on their way to setting a record. I do enjoy that when Bush was in office and people complained against the loss of freedom, and Bush = Hilter was not only ok but promoted, that was OK, maybe even the righteous rising against injustice, but rise up against similar or even more dangerous policies that Obama does and these people are betraying a sad ignorance to history, which I suspect is actually a willful ignorance. I believe that your list of progressives are big government socialist and did more damage and stole more freedom with their policies than they restored. In other words, their policies were bad as well. Attach any name you want, if it makes you feel better about it, comparing Obama to Carter, I like that. And yes I am allowing for the possibility that Obama could become a Hitler like figure. As I allowed for ANY president to become one. Any person that rises to that office may be dangerous, and the more power that is taken by the government increases that possibility. As I see it Reagan was more likely than Carter, Bush more likely than Reagan, Clinton more likely than Bush, Bush more likely than Clinton and Obama more likely than Bush, and the person following more likely than Obama, all because each change in congress and each administration takes a little more power. Reagan and Bush restored some freedom by lowering tax rates, but allowed others to go. Now please take a couple of days then reread your responses, I perceive anger and disgust, hardly the basis for a well reasoned discussion and the biggest focus seems to come back to Hitler = Obama, which I did not state. The two names in the same sentence seems to cause quite a bit of anger, almost like its hitting to close to home. Willie hates Bush, that's fine. There's enough blame to go around. You may not like his policy to take captured combatants to Gitmo, but I like it better than Obama releasing some of them into the US because thay are considered criminals in their own country and may face the death penalty. Again Obama may not be Hitler, but no other president has proposed indentured service because you wanted a school loan. So you would not only have to pay back the loan but also give years of your life to some government approved service. Obama may not be Hitler, but no other president has forced the resignation of a CEO of one the largest corporations in the US. Again, I am not saying Obama is Hitler. Each president has to PROVE they are worthy, each must prove they can be trusted, I will decide on each policy if it is good or bad, and when this bum is out of office, I will rate him overall as a president. Obama may not be Hitler but you guys need to not let the comparison upset you so much. When someone angers you because they said something negative about Obama, go watch some cartoons and have a sandwich or whatever you do to relax. Try to remember that he is not a God, and because of his office, must have every thought and choice of policy discussed, shredded, analysed, by everyone. I have no interest in inducing primal fear, I do want people to think. It has been my experience that when comparisons cause fear or anger, it is from the accuracy of the comparison. Obama may not be Hitler, I hope you are correct.

Spencer Troxell said...

Oscar, I'm not upset or offended at all. If you'll remember, the point of Horowitz's piece is to suggest moderation and thoughtfulness in your critique of the enemy, and not to over state his badness. He's arguing against emotionalism and hysteria. That's all. He would probably like the country to go in a similar direction as you would. He just thinks it's better to win on ideas than emotion, and I agree with him. You can only stay worked up for so long before you either just go back to sleep, or kill someone. Libertarian/capitalist arguments are legitimate, and deserve consideration. So are concerns with spending. These are legitimate grounds to have a debate on. Horowitz is only cautioning against bringing up associations with concentration camps, and setting the stage for some kind of armed revolution. I think he's right to do so.

Oscar said...

You have less faith in people than I. My only emotion on this subject is disappointment that Obama is trying to take so much from the people he is suppose to serve. I have never mentioned concentration camps, nor has anyone else that I've heard make the comparison. Hitler did far more than that. The majority of what he did until D-day was consolidating power, and scaring those who dared speak against him. All was done with the help of his country's press. I have no anger towards obama, but he does try to intimidate the opposition. I wish the media today was as willing to find fault here as they did with past administrations. No Im not paranoid. I do not believe he is listening to my calls, even though the NSA this past month have admittted to monitoring more American calls the past two months and not focusing on people who practice Islam who may or may not have some grudge or be prone to violence against innocent Americans because they are Americans (see, Im trying to be like Obama and not use terrorist). My turning point was when they didn't want a crisis to go to waste. That mentality must be monitored closer than most.

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

I believe that you have a greater chance for violence when people are forced to gather in secret to talk about how they were wronged. As far as Mos Def goes, celbritards try all the time to be an expert on some cause or idea, when the best they should hope for is to be able to tie their shoes with out help. Maybe if Mr. Def were to buy a real name instead of something he could spell, he might stretch his horizons and be able to say something meaningful without a script. On second thought, it's better for them to speak out, then we can identify the idiots who think Paris Hiltons opinions are important.

Interesting discussion.

Willie Y said...

Oscar I don't know where you got the feeling that I hate George Bush, because I don't. Matter of fact if he was standing next to me, right now, I would shove my tongue down his throat, just kidding of course. I guess you missed where I said I did not like his policies and the way he ran the country. I don't hate anyone. Ill leave that up to the Sean Hannity's and the Bill ORielly's of the world. It seems to me, from what you are writing, is that you must be a Fox News watcher because you seem to have the same take on the President as the unfair and unbalanced channel has. Try this for a week listen to the other side and see what they are saying. It could really enlighten you to another point of view. That's what I do. Give it a try.

Spencer Troxell said...

Sic Semper,

I hope you'll appreciate the humor I find in your criticism of Mos Def for employing a silly pseudonym.

crackers said...

on mos def. i've always liked that guy though thought his verse was limited. interesting to see him in a venue like that. he bumbled like a fool, which he didn't have to do. his initial comment would have enlightened a lot of people. he can rap though. best when it's about nothing.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Mos is a great rapper and has a lot to say. I believe that just like Spence and Horowitz argued, you cant let emotions get in the way of clear thinking, yet for some reason Mos seemed to really react to that panel in an emotional/confrontational way. And of course, look how poorly he came across.

Oscar said...

Willie, I do listen to the other side, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, et al. I don't listen to Hannity and don't watch fox. I don't have cable. I read alot, do research then form an opnion once things make sense. If you trust any news source, you are somewhat delusional, or at least easily swayed. From what I've seen, most of the emotion is coming from those infavor of Obama. Like a kid caught masterbating, it felt good, you've got nothing to brag about, you're embarrassed and your mom wants you to clean up the mess. Sorry, that seemed funnier when it first came to mind. Maybe you don't hate Bush, my mistake. So let's just move on (like those idiots at moveon.org want) and focus on who is dictating policy now. Let's take each policy, compare it to when its been tried in the past and estimate its outcome. Please don't be afraid to compare the succes of taxing and spending to Jimmy, gun control to Hitler, Lenin, Castro, Mayor of DC or Detroit, reduction of the military to Jimmy, Chamberlin, or how about lying to Bill. It's not a bad thing, it gives a point of reference, an idea of success or failure, and factors that will influence the outcome. You would think some policies after review, would seem like sticking a fork in an outlet. I don't have to do it, to know its a bad idea.

Oh and Great Rapper is a oxymoron

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

You're not missing anything by not having cable.

If Biggie Smalls and Tupac are indicators, great rappers are dead ones.