The paradox of falling love
-- from Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors
"Copia" is Latin for "abundance," and this blog explores my belief that abundance is all around us. We live in a world of infinite possibilities,
and we have the ability to choose our own paths.
I write about a wide range of topics, and common themes are politics, civil liberties, health, the environment, and science.
Who am I? I'm Torq Anvil...
-- from Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors
-- from Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Mr. Obama’s more than three-to-one edge in exit polls among the 5 percent of voters who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual was more than enough to give him the ultimate advantage, according to the study, by Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, in conjunction with Gallup....
Exit polls showed that 76 percent of voters who identified as gay supported Mr. Obama last week, and that 22 percent supported Mr. Romney. Among straight people, each candidate received 49 percent of the vote.
The central problem revealed by the tape is Romney’s theory of the 2012 election. It is that a high percentage of the electorate receives government checks and therefore won’t vote for him, another high percentage is supplying the tax revenues and will vote for him, and almost half the people don’t pay taxes and presumably won’t vote for him.
My goodness, that’s a lot of people who won’t vote for you. You wonder how he gets up in the morning.
This is not how big leaders talk, it’s how shallow campaign operatives talk: They slice and dice the electorate like that, they see everything as determined by this interest or that. They’re usually young enough and dumb enough that nobody holds it against them, but they don’t know anything. They don’t know much about America....
And his tone is fatalistic. I can’t win these guys who will only vote their economic interests, but I can win these guys who will vote their economic interests, plus some guys in the middle, whoever they are.
That’s too small and pinched and narrow. That’s not how Republicans emerge victorious—”I can’t win these guys.” You have to have more respect than that, and more affection, you don’t write anyone off, you invite everyone in. Reagan in 1984 used to put out his hand: “Come too, come walk with me.” Come join, come help, whatever is happening in your life.
You know what Romney sounded like? Like a kid new to politics who thinks he got the inside lowdown on how it works from some operative.
... You recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem.... We have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen and resolve it.Inspiring!
-- Mitt Romney
Forty-seven percent of the country, [Romney] said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.
It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.
The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.
When love beckons to you, follow him,I don't think I've really understood the full meaning of that until today.
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest
branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them
in their clinging to the earth.
-- Elizabeth Warren
Funny how a lonely day, can make a person say
What good is my life
Funny how a breaking heart, can make me start to say
What good is my life
Funny how I often seem, to think I'll find never another dream
In my life
Till I look around and see, this great big world is part of me
And my life
This is my life
Today, tomorrow, love will come and find me
But that's the way that I was born to be
This is me
Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia
Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of legislators in both parties who have adopted an unrelenting partisan viewpoint. This shows up in countless vote studies that find diminishing intersections between Democrat and Republican positions. Partisans at both ends of the political spectrum are dominating the political debate in our country. And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues. They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise. If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years. And I believe that if this attitude expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status. Parties don’t succeed for long if they stop appealing to voters who may disagree with them on some issues.
Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents. I believe I have offered that throughout my career. But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents. Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.
Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today — from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.
I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other. Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc. Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements. Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.
Depression is a disease. One frequently accompanied by feelings of shame, particularly among men, because society still struggles to differentiate between sadness and a condition that often requires medication to treat effectively. In severe cases, thought processes are so distorted, the only thing in focus is despair. It is incomprehensible that there’s anything positive in life to latch onto or anyone who cares enough to listen and help. Meld the ball and chain of depression with a prideful man like Seau, and it’s no wonder he didn’t confide in friends or loved ones about his inner demons.
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.
Fruit flies apparently self-medicate just like many humans do, drowning their sorrows or frustrations for some of the same reasons, scientists reported Thursday. Male flies subjected to what amounted to a long tease — in a glass tube, not a dance club — preferred food spiked with alcohol far more than male flies that were able to mate.
Life can bestow unexpected gifts, and sometime in her late 40s, Martin, a real estate agent living on Long Island, a busy working mother who had never been in a track meet, discovered a glorious secret hidden away in her body. Not only was she a good runner, she was also an outstanding one. In fact, she was one of the most remarkable female distance runners in the world.Before I rode in the week long AIDS/LifeCycle five years ago, I'd hardly spent anytime on a bike since high school. And after only putting in the bare minimum amount of training, I wasn't too sure midway through day 2 (my first 100+ mile ride) if I was going to survive the experience. But I got a second wind in the afternoon; by day 5, I was flying. I thought to myself, "This would have been the sport I'd have excelled at had I thought to try it when I was younger."
This discovery of greatness in her legs came too late for the kind of dreams a younger woman might have: intercollegiate championships, Olympic glory, being the absolute fastest of the fast. As decades pass, maximum heart rate slows, aerobic capacity wanes, muscle mass tends to dwindle.
But Martin has been redefining what is possible for an older body, setting a string of formidable national and world records.
Taken together, the increasing production and declining consumption have unexpectedly brought the United States markedly closer to a goal that has tantalized presidents since Richard Nixon: independence from foreign energy sources, a milestone that could reconfigure American foreign policy, the economy and more. In 2011, the country imported just 45 percent of the liquid fuels it used, down from a record high of 60 percent in 2005.As President Obama stated in January, oil production in America is at an eight year high.
“There is no question that many national security policy makers will believe they have much more flexibility and will think about the world differently if the United States is importing a lot less oil,” said Michael A. Levi, an energy and environmental senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “For decades, consumption rose, production fell and imports increased, and now every one of those trends is going the other way.”
'Next Wednesday, say at 7.45. Dinner jacket's enough, as you know'.When I finished the book, I read that page again and again. And now, more than two decades later, I searched the internet for those words and found them on another blog... they'd been someone else's favorite part of the book as well.
They were [Clive's] last words, because Maurice had disappeared thereabouts, leaving no trace of his presence except a little pile of the petals of the evening primrose, which mourned from the ground like an expiring fire. To the end of his life, Clive was not sure of the exact moment of departure, and with the approach of old age he grew uncertain whether the moment had yet occurred. The Blue Room would glimmer, ferns undulate. Out of some eternal Cambridge, his friend began beckoning to him, clothed in the sun, and shaking out the scents and sounds of the May term.
But at the time, he was merely offended at a discourtesy, and compared it with similar lapses in the past. He did not realise that this was the end, without twilight or compromise, that he should never come across Maurice's track again, nor speak to those who had seen him.
It's takes a remarkably short time to withdraw from the world. I traveled, until I arrived at a life of my own.
What really makes us is beyond grasping. It's way beyond knowing. We give into love because it gives us some sense of what is unknowable. Nothing else matters... not at the end.
There is, perhaps, no more enduring critique of Mitt Romney than the one about him having shaky principles that shift with the political winds.
So it may not have been particularly helpful when one of his top advisers on Wednesday suggested that Mr. Romney’s campaign views the Republican race as an Etch A Sketch toy that can be shaken up and redrawn from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that after three years of daily aspirin use, the risk of developing cancer was reduced by almost 25 percent when compared with a control group not taking aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying of cancer was reduced by 37 percent among those taking aspirin.The University of Oxford also notes that one risk of taking daily aspirin--the possibility of stomach bleeds--reduces over time and is clearly outweighed by the benefits. Their story here.
A second paper that analyzed five large randomized controlled studies in Britain found that over six and a half years on average, daily aspirin use reduced the risk of metastatic cancer by 36 percent and the risk of adenocarcinomas — common solid cancers including colon, lung and prostate cancer — by 46 percent.
Cancer cells are able to replicate wildly, but there’s a trade-off: They cannot ward off infection as effectively as healthy cells. So scientists have been looking for ways to create viruses that are too weak to damage healthy cells yet strong enough to invade and destroy tumor cells.
The blind trust is an age-old ruse, if you will, which is to say you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.
-- Mitt Romney, 1994Chinese surveillance company.
-- Anaïs Nin
The end of a president’s first term is an important time to ask these questions, and not just because of the obvious bearing on his fitness for reelection. Hard as it is to have any dispassionate discussion of a president’s performance during an election year, it will be even harder once the election is over. If a year from now Obama is settling in for a second term, a halo effect will extend back to everything he did during his first four years. His programs will be more effective in reality, since he will get that many more years to cement them in with follow-up measures, supportive appointments to federal agencies and the courts, and possible vetoes of any attempts at repeal. And, through the lens of history, they will seem more effective, since whatever he did in his first term will appear to have been part of an overall plan that was ratified through reelection.And:
We judge presidents by the specific expectations they ask to be measured against: inspiration (Kennedy, Reagan, Obama), competence and experience (Eisenhower, the first George Bush), strategic cunning (Johnson, Nixon), integrity and personal probity (Carter), inclusiveness and empathy (Clinton), unshakable resolve (the second Bush). But eventually each is judged against his predecessors, a process that properly starts with a reminder that all begin their terms ill-equipped, in ways that hindsight tends to obscure.And then this really interesting insight into the inexorable growth of the U.S. national security apparatus:
The sobering realities of the modern White House are: All presidents are unsuited to office, and therefore all presidents fail in certain crucial aspects of the job. All betray their supporters and provoke bitter criticism from their own side at some point in their term. And all are mis-assessed while in office, for reasons that typically depend more on luck and historical accident than on factors within their control. These realities do not excuse Obama’s failings, but they do put his evolution in perspective.
Presidents fail because not to fail would require, in the age of modern communications and global responsibilities, a range of native talents and learned skills no real person has ever possessed.
It is no wonder that the “national-security state” in all its aspects has continued to grow throughout the decades since the beginning of World War II. Defense budgets, intelligence and surveillance networks, private military contractors, irregular forms of war: these and other executive-branch tools of international power work like a ratchet. Some presidents rapidly increase them in times of emergency, as George W. Bush did after the 9/11 attacks. No president scales them back. Thus the imbalance continues to grow between international efforts, where a president has an ever greater array of tools and weapons, and the frustrating domestic arena. Despite having run on his opposition to the Iraq War and overseen the formal U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Barack Obama has, if anything, expanded the range of executive military power, from his unilateral (and mainly successful) decision to intervene in Libya to his expansion of drone attacksFor the Obama-specific analysis, you're going to have to read it here at The Atlantic.
In a nationwide telephone poll conducted in October 2010 by Thomson Reuters and National Public Radio, 93 percent said if a food has been genetically engineered or has genetically engineered ingredients, it should say so on its label — a number that has been consistent since genetically modified crops were introduced. (New York Times)I first worked on the issue back in 2002 when I was active in the failed attempt to pass Measure 27 in Oregon. Somehow, despite the strong public support for labeling, it still hasn't happened.
Labels: being human