Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dueling Headlines

Headline #1 (from Nature)

Cloud formation may be linked to cosmic rays

Experiment probes connection between climate change and radiation bombarding the atmosphere.

Headline #2 (from Forbes

Sorry, But With Global Warming It's The Sun, Stupid

The lead author of the research referenced in both articles is quoted in Nature about the implications of the research for global warming: "At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I am Holy Disappointed

I was a visitor at a Catholic service today. The sermon was delivered by a remarkable priest from Nigeria and was meant to be positive, but it still depressed me. He began by thanking the church and United States' generosity, then later recommended the wonderful restaurant McDonalds and the even more affordable soup kitchen a few blocks away. He praised America for being a nation blessed by God, admiring the "sea of drugs" in Walmart and CVS pharmacy when so many of his countrymen are sick and malnourished with no access to medical care. He condemned the "enemies" of the church such as the media for sensationalizing the pedophilia scandal and HIV crisis in Africa, and for not covering the persecution of Catholics by Islam in Nigeria. He went on to describe horror stories of the conditions in Africa, and how people are being shot or burned alive by Muslim fundamentalists while leaving church, and said of the church's enemies, "we are better than them."

I'm sure if I had even experienced a fraction of what this man had gone through, I would probably be even more hostile to Islam-but fortunately for me, I am not. I'm wary of any religious message that includes "we are better than you," or "this country is blessed by God," which logically means Nigeria must be cursed by God.

The comments I heard from others after the service were "he hit it out of the ball park" and "he spoke The Truth!" I'm sure the congregation was uplifted by his message - and donated generously to the second offering specifically for charity. One visitor to the church said she wanted to go home to get her check book so she could come back to the next service and donate more. A cynical thought occurred to me that the sermon, with its lavish praise of America, might be a well crafted fund raising appeal. Even if it was, there's nothing wrong with persuading people to donate money for good works. What bothers me is how this message would translate to another religious group or setting. Condemning another religion entirely as an enemy, dismissing reports of abuse that has happened in one's own religion, and claiming this one true denomination's people are better than everyone else is arrogance.

Monday, October 8, 2012

If Only She Were Still Around

President Obama has been accused of being an extreme liberal and a socialist. Unfortunately he is neither. His description of his mother as a New Deal Democrat is one made by a Third Way pragmatist. It is affectionate but still has a touch of non-partisan dismissiveness of her liberal idealism.

One of the sleaziest aspects to the WND/birther conspiracy crazies are their attacks on Stanley Ann Dunham. How history will judge President Obama is uncertain, but the crackpots who spread rumors about his mother will be grouped along with the Klan and Neo-nazis for their desperate trash talk.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Out of Control


The Associated Press reports:

Russian girl band Pussy Riot on trial for anti-Putin stunt

Charged with hooliganism for staging 'punk prayer' protest at church

The line in the story that caught my eye was:

Patriarch Kirill has condemned the rockers' act as "blasphemous" and denounced those believers who called for the church to forgive them. 

It's sad to see another religious leader denouncing those preaching forgiveness.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wisdom of Doctor Doom

Dr. Doom (Nouriel Roubini): "Karl Marx Had It Right. At Some Point, Capitalism Can Destroy Itself. You Cannot Keep On Shifting Income From Labor To Capital Without Having An Excess Capacity And A Lack Of Aggregate Demand"

 If You Redistribute All of the Wealth Upwards, the Free Market Capitalist System Self-Destructs 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012



— Jul. 22 3:14 PM EDT
US poverty on track to rise to highest since 1960s

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Most Arrogant Man In The World?

The GOP got creative with their latest anti-Obama ad, but the humor falls flat due to a few inherent flaws. If a Paulite had created this video it might have had some bite. The parody begins by pointing out that newly elected President Obama had done nothing to win his Nobel Peace Prize, but rather than continue pointing out that he expanded the war in Afghanistan and joined in a third war in Libya, it moves on to imply the President Obama isn't being sufficiently warlike with Iran. Pointing out that President Obama pushed the health care individual mandate isn't amusing either, considering he's running against Mitt "Romneycare" Romney. Mocking Obama's choice of Biden might have been amusing if the Republican VP nominee had been someone other than Sarah Palin.

Here is my response to the most arrogant party in control of Congress.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raising Questions

This week the Chicago Tribune Watchdog published an analysis to outrage the Illinois taxpayer:
CEO pay hikes raise eyebrows
Average raise in 2009-10 for CEOs of 18 nonprofits double that for private-industry workers
June 21, 2012By Matthew Walberg and Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune reporters
During the height of the recession, employees at one of the area's biggest nonprofits were not supposed to get pay raises greater than 6 percent — but that didn't apply to the CEO. The board for the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County gave CEO Robert Wharton a 10 percent raise in 2009, followed by a 15 percent raise in 2010, boosting his total compensation to $275,000 to run a nonprofit that gets more than 90 percent of its money from taxpayers.
What bothered me about the article is that it didn't compare non-profit CEOs raises and compensation to those of other CEOs-just workers. Of course, executives at the biggest Chicago area corporations receive annual compensation packages worth more than the entire operating budgets of the non-profits listed in the article. Last spring the Tribune ran an article identifying
the median pay for top executives in Chicagoland's 100 biggest companies as $5.3 million. Executives at the top saw their compensation more than double.
Certainly it's not a fair comparison to contrast compensation between Greg Brown of Motorola Solutions Inc. who received $29.3 million last year (up 113 percent from $13.7 million in 2010) and Robert Wharton of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County who received $275,107 in 2010 (a raise of 12.3%). It's also not fair to compare the pay of a nonprofit CEO to the pay of a private industry worker-as the latest Tribune article does.