Category Archives: Politics

Discussion Concerning the Anti-Gay-Marriage Argument from Tradition

The cosmos is about 13.8 billion years old.
The human is about 200,000 years old.
The first recorded marriage involving a human occurred about 2,674 years ago.

Marriage contracts were first recorded in the Late Period (661-332 BC), and continued until the first century AD. They were often drawn up by the husband to establish the rights of both parties to maintenance and possessions. The law did not require a marriage to be recorded.


Appeal to Tradition

The argument supports a position by appealing to long-standing or traditional opinion, as if the past itself were a kind of authority.


Marie  I suppose you don’t consider Adam and Eve to’ve been married?
Mark  Did you snope this already? j/k
Joseph  Whoa whoa whoa … I thought everything was only 6,000 years old. Check your facts, heathen.
Clifton  Marie, this hadn’t actually occurred to me. From what I can gather, the thinking behind such a position is that Eve was "wed" to Adam because she was taken from a part of his body and then added back to him to complete him. If that is what it takes, then I would imagine that no marriage since has been valid. No?

Mark, I didn’t. As always, I am open to contradiction. I claim no expertise. Incidentally, Snopes generally does an excellent job of avoiding the argument from authority, which seems to me to be one of the human’s most abused fallacies.

Joseph, I’m glad you responded. I always wonder why my irreligious friends get married. Perhaps you can explain it to me. From my perspective, if you want to be with somebody, you will do that. Fidelity shouldn’t be a problem because you both agree to certain terms prior to formally entering into your relationship. Continue reading Discussion Concerning the Anti-Gay-Marriage Argument from Tradition

Obama Electoral Fraud?

If you’re like me, you get your news from religiously. So, you probably saw this recent post about alleged fraud:

These numerical aberrations can only occur through electronic vote rigging. This means that an Obama presidency was pre-determined, while Romney—or any other Republican nominee–would be cheated out of the presidency. In Cleveland-area Cuyahoga County Barack Obama received 100% of the votes in 20 precincts, amounting to 5978 votes versus zero for Romney. Yes, zero. There were 2 votes for Gary Johnson also ‘recorded’ in those precincts, while none for any others.


I wanted to see if this had happened in any of the Republican-leaning counties in Ohio, but not one of the top five Republican-leaning counties has posted a detailed, precinct-level count of votes. Cuyahoga County is good about posting detailed records, though.

Here’s a slice of Cuyohoga County’s Democratic votes since 2000:
2000: in 273 precincts, 90+% of votes were for Gore,
in 24 precincts, 98.5+% of votes were for Gore;

2004: in 263 precincts, 90+% of votes were for Kerry,
in 8 precincts, 98.5+% of votes were for Kerry;

2008: in 310 precincts, 90+% of votes were for Obama,
in 64 precincts, 98.5+% of votes were for Obama.

Here are the materials I used to draw these conclusions:
[Can be viewed with MS Excel, Excel Viewer (free), or OpenOffice Calc (free).]

Raw Data 2000 (txt file)

Raw Data 2004 (txt file)

Raw Data 2008 (txt file)

Professor Doyle Burke

If anybody is voting for the Maricopa County Community College District 1 Governing Board, I encourage you to vote for Doyle Burke. I took two film classes with this guy. One of the classes was on Japanese film and I was the only student. The guy loves film and was willing to share that with just one interested student. Pretty cool. I have no idea where he stands politically and don’t really care. I don’t have any such data to share about his rival. Hope everybody has a nice vote.

“Meryl Streep rechaza las críticas de David Cameron por película sobre Thatcher”


PARÍS.- La actriz estadounidense Meryl Streep, que encarna a Margaret Thatcher en “La dama de hierro” (“The Iron Lady”), rechazó hoy en París las críticas del Primer Ministro británico, David Cameron, que cuestionó la oportunidad de esa película, que retrata a la ex gobernante vieja y enferma.

“Es una película más sobre el envejecimiento y elementos de demencia que sobre una primera ministra estupenda”, lamentó Cameron, que unió su voz a numerosos conservadores que deploran que se presente a Thatcher como una anciana frágil y aquejada de demencia senil.

La premiada actriz de 62 años respondió destacando que el retrato de la mujer que gobernó Gran Bretaña con mano de hierro durante diez años busca “penetrar en el ser humano, en un momento de soledad, al final de su vida”, y que las críticas tienen que ver con el “estigma” que acompaña la senilidad.

“El retrato que hacemos de ella, que sufre 41 tipos de demencia, no es irrespetuoso. Es doloroso, pero es verdadero. Es la vida”, afirmó Streep en una rueda de prensa celebrada en un lujoso hotel de París.

“Si la hubieramos mostrado tosiendo, o cojeando, nadie hubiera protestado. Pero hay un estigma especial que acompaña la demencia. La gente la considera vergonzosa”, afirmó Streep, una actriz extraordinaria que lleva casi exclusivamente en sus hombros la película dirigida por la británica Phyllida Lloyd.


Cover of Henley/Hornsby’s “The End of the Innocence, Rick Perry Edition

ZD YouTube FLV Player


I was revisiting this song by Bruce Hornsby and Don Henley recently when word was circulating that Texas governor Rick Perry might end up with the Republican nomination for president.

If you investigate the lyrics a bit, you encounter lines like,

O beautiful for spacious skies
Now those skies are threatening
They’re beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales

If these lines are a bit too opaque, you might be tempted, as I was, to look into what Henley thinks they mean. I turned up the following, from “The White Paper: Don Henley’s ‘Inside Job,’ ” Billboard Magazine, April 8, 2000:

What do you think of [the album] The End of the Innocence from 1989?

I still love the song “New York Minute,” and “The Last Worthless Evening” is just straight-ahead pop, but it’s good. And of course, “The End of the Innocence”: that song is very fixed in time. I think it has enough universality that it could still apply to today, but it was about the whole Reagan era.”

Continue reading Cover of Henley/Hornsby’s “The End of the Innocence, Rick Perry Edition

“Abortion and crime: who should you believe?”

First, let’s start by reviewing the basic facts that support the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis that legalized abortion in the 1970s explains a substantial part of the crime decline in the 1990s:

1) Five states legalized abortion three years before Roe v. Wade. Crime started falling three years earlier in these states, with property crime (done by younger people) falling before violent crime.


“Peddling Without a License”

The fall of 1956 temporarily separated Lynn and Carl. Sagan began work at the University of Chicago’s astronomy school in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. This is the home of the Yerkes Observatory. Completed in 1897, the forty-inch Yerkes refractor was housed in a brick-and-terra-cotta domed building. It was by then a storied relic.

Williams Bay had a population of barely 1,000. For city-bred Sagan, it presented a culture shock. For the first time in his life, Sagan encountered anti-Semitism. He also ran into trouble with the law. He attempted to raise funds for the Democratic party, asking householders for a dollar each. As Sagan told it,

I spent all morning going door to door. And I got the most amazing responses: “The what party?” or “Shh! the master will hear!” or “Wait right here, young fellow, and I’ll get my shotgun.” Finally I was arrested by the sheriff, who had had innumerable complaints, on the grounds of peddling without a license. They figured I was peddling receipts at a dollar each. And I was remanded to the custody of the observatory director, who I don’t think understood anything about it, but just said to me, “Be a good boy.”

Carl Sagan, 1999, by William Poundstone, p.33