Space Force (and roses called other things)

One of the places where I tend to disagree with other liberals is the defense budget. Attacking defense spending is a common hobby for many liberals. I get the appeal. I don’t like spending astronomical sums of money for the purpose of killing people. It doesn’t sit well with me. But what I’ve come to realize is that the defense budget is so much more than a killing budget. It’s a convenient way for Congress to allocate money to things we need, as a nation, but can’t convince many voters (or even Members of Congress) to support otherwise. How do some countries fight unemployment? They hire lots of people to work for the government. We do that too, through the military. Want to provide education and job training and healthcare for millions of Americans…put money for education and job training and healthcare into the Department of Defense budget and consider it done. Want to spend money on biomedical research, on materials research, on computing research, on all kinds of research…put money into the Department of Defense budget and consider it done.

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Nobody likes the smartest kid in the class…

 

Notre Dame burned yesterday. It’s a beautiful place, that I’ve only seen from the outside, but even if you’ve only seen pictures its beauty is impressive. The President of the United States responded with a tweet. A mind-numbingly dumb tweet.

In contrast, Pete Buttigieg (the democrat running for president) issued a statement in French (one of EIGHT languages he speaks: English, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari, and French).

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You can be anything you want to be…

The American spirit is about aspiration. We don’t talk as much about this as being uniquely American, but our society embraces the idea that we should encourage our youth to aim high. We can be anything we want to be. The problem is this, that idea has two parts to it: We can be anything we want to be, if we work hard to achieve our goals. It seems like the second part is too often overlooked. Donald Trump is a perfect symbol of this mistake.

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No more experts!

Image result for john brennan

I do not like politics of fear. I do not like making policies based on fear. I do not like using fear to play with people’s emotions. But, I am afraid. Genuinely afraid. I see a willful erosion of expertise in this country, and I fear the consequences will be worse than we can imagine. This is not a new feeling, but the removal of Brennan’s security clearance made it especially salient this morning. I recognize that this is a punitive act, and not directed at his expertise, but it’s all part of a bigger problem from my perspective.

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When our heroes fall

People aren’t perfect. We’re relatively safe when we idolize fictional characters, because they’re less likely to let us down, but when we idolize real people, we run the risk of being let down by their inevitable imperfection. From Bill O’Reilly to Christopher Columbus to Thomas Jefferson, people do unforgivable things, and we’re stuck trying to balance the good with the bad. What interests me is how people react when it happens.

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Another example of why FoxNews makes me sad (or want to vomit, depending on the day)

I’ve used a fair number of Facebook posts to vent my frustrations about the methods that FoxNews uses (intentionally or otherwise), to paint pictures of the world that aren’t true. The logical fallacies they throw around. This morning, while doing my usual flipping between news stations, I came across this lovely example of awfulness from FoxNews’s guest, Mark Levin. I couldn’t help but do a little fisking of the segment in a Facebook vent, and I’m cross-posting here.

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A new American crisis, a lack of uneducated people…a crisis Fox & Friends would have us believe is real

I went through my usual morning routine: Morning Joe playing on my iPad during my shower, and some flipping back and forth to Fox & Friends while getting dressed and brushing my teeth.
 
The contrast was typical: Morning Joe was wall-to-wall coverage about the cabinet meeting and the figurative kissing of the ring that all (except Mattis) performed; On Fox & Friends I caught a segment talking about the need for vocational training and there being paths for people other than college. They had clips of Ivanka Trump talking about the need for this, and had a clip from Scott Walker talking about all the available jobs in Wisconsin that created a need for skilled workers.

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