Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Journalists don't know logic

From The San Diego Union Tribune , October 29,2008, defending Sarah Palin's position on illegal immigration," Boringly sensible":

Now, in a recent interview with Univision, the Spanish-language television network, Palin has staked out a perfectly reasonable position. We know that her position is reasonable not because she agrees with our point of view, though she does, but because she immediately came under fire from the extremes at the right and the left.

No, esteemed journalists of the Tribune, we do not know that to be true. You're committing a logical fallacy called the middle ground fallacy. The centrist position is not always correct, and sometimes the "extremists" are right. Would the Tribune argue that in 1860 we should have taken a middle ground between freeing the slaves and leaving them all in bondage? Maybe Lincoln should have only freed half of them. Perhaps—dare we say it—he was an extremist! He wasn't in the sensible center! What about genocide? How about in Darfur we let half of the people die. That may sound horrible, but we don't want to be extremists!

Please don't post comments on the merits of Palin's position. That's not the point

Sarah Palin—Socialist?

Alright, my Republican friends, here's a test of your intellectual honesty. If you're against "spreading the wealth," how can you vote for a candidate who says: "And Alaska—we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs." (Source is The New Yorker, 9-22-2008). I'm curious how you can vote for a socialist like Governor Palin.I know what you're saying: This is different—well, because she's a Republican.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama supporter makes great case against him

I highly recommend this blog. The blog is written by a brilliant man, Melvin Konner, who is an anthropologist,professor at Emory, an M.D, and author of numerous books, most recently a history of the Jewish people. Like me he doesn't like either candidate. But he is very reluctantly voting for Obama. (I am endorsing Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party). But, in the blog explaining his vote for Obama, he makes very strong criticisms of the Democratic candidate:

Obama, I believe, is not ready to be president. He is objectively the least experienced nominee for president in over a century. He has said much, but done very little. He has policies and rhetoric, but no experience. He went to Harvard and excelled there; he gave up a chance at a lucrative law career and did good work in the streets of Chicago. I know many people who fit this and similar descriptions. This doesn’t qualify them to be president.

He served as a state senator and performed acceptably. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in an easy race and he did practically nothing in the Senate before he began the all-consuming run for the White House. His greatest accomplishment by far is winning that race (so far), and I don’t find that reassuring.

As for his eloquence, I find it rather empty. I am not persuaded that he is capable of standing up to the truly evil men in this world, and I am not persuaded that he is a true friend to Israel. With the exception of his initial opposition to the war, I think he has been wrong on Iraq for years now. I think he is foolish to propose negotiations with Iran at the level of the presidency, and I doubt that he has the resolve to do what may be necessary to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

I agree completely with Dr.Konner's assessment of Obama, though I wish he would join me in voting third party. I would urge anyone voting for Obama to read those paragraphs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My take on the mortgage crisis

I'm feeling somewhat tired so I'm simply going to reprint a letter I wrote to my local paper(responding to a conservative who blamed it on ACORN and minority lending.):

Many of the institutions that spurred the massive growth of the subprime market were companies such as Argent and American Home Mortgage, which were generally not regulated by the Federal Reserve or other entities that monitored compliance with the CRA. As the conservative but honest American Conservative magazine has asked: Did community organizers really force lenders to infect all financial markets by repackaging their bad mortgages into securities? Did poor blacks invent credit default swaps? The mortgage crisis is the fault of the easy credit policies of the Federal Reserve and industry recklessness; it is absurd to blame it on loans to poor minorities.

There are lots of villains in this crisis: Barney Frank, who was bought off by Fannie and Freddie, President Bush, who stopped state attorney generals from going after unscrupulous lenders,homeowners who took out loans they couldn't afford, irresponsible lenders, the Fed which lowered rates way too much and caused overspeculation, etc.. Not a lot of heroes here.