What Stern said was this: "If a city builds a symphony hall, there is a cultural benefit to the city, despite the fact that the hall is not likely to make money. The same can be said for having an NBA franchise." (More)
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Thus far I have tried to remain fairly nonpartisan in my political commentary, but the time has come to take a stand. I have been a Democrat all my voting life, although I’ve been gradually coming to realize that the party I thought represented compassion and liberty acts in reality as if it cared no more—and in many ways less—about such things than the Republicans.
George W. Bush has sufficiently disappointed and embarrassed me that the Democrats probably could have saved my vote by putting forth a moderate candidate who would present himself as a positive alternative. Instead, they chose John Kerry.
Without detailing the intellectual and visceral internal debate behind my voting choices, I include some brief comments on the issues both candidates seem to think paramount, based on their advertising rhetoric:
As I have written previously, I believe that Florida's voting procedures in 2000 were as fair and accurate as any in the country, and better than some.
I have no such assurance this year. Four years ago, any irregularities were minor and mostly attributable to innocent mistakes. Now everyone knows that Florida matters, and the stakes are so high that I no longer trust either side to resist the temptation to pretend that the ends can justify the means. The negative ads, on both sides and at all levels, have convinced me of one thing: that neither side can be expected to take the high moral ground on anything important.Between "early voting" and the misuse of the absentee ballot system, chances of fraud, collusion, and coercion are high, and the chance of knowing the results in a timely matter is low. (More)
Get your news first, from Crickler! Their nifty little puzzles often alert me to interesting news stories, which I follow up with my favorite overall news source, Google News. Today's intriguing tidbit has been a little hard to pin down, as the full story at Salon.com requires a subscription. Supposedly you can get a "one day pass" to read it if you watch an advertisment, but I sat through the thing twice and still was asked to register, so I gave up and will wait till a free news source covers the story. However, since I was asked my opinion, I'll quote the beginning (free) part of the story:
George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."
Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.
Did you know that? Do you care? Probably not, unless you live in Boston.A senator from Boston, with a name like Kerry? Of course he's Irish! At least that's what everyone thought, and—Boston politics being what they are—Kerry did not dispel the illusion. It was only when the Boston Globe hired a genealogist to look into Kerry's ancestry that it was revealed that he is not Irish at all, and that the Kerry name is only as old as his grandfather, who changed it from Kohn. (More)
That's not how I customarily describe our houseguests, but this one is a friend from Rochester, NY whose purpose in visiting is primarily to work for the success of the man I would like to see defeated in the upcoming presidential election. Are we "giving aid and comfort to the enemy"?
Well, an opponent does not need to be an enemy, and I have to admire our friend's willingness to work for what he believes in, giving up his vacation time to boot. I haven't actively campaigned for someone since I worked for the Humphrey-Muskie ticket, and that was before I could vote. That's a little embarrassing, since we have a friend who ran for the U.S. Senate, but it's the truth. We vote, we talk, we provide financial support—but Don's actually down there at headquarters, working. You have to respect that.
And the dinner-table discussions are definitely stimulating!
I also like Florida's paper ballots. (We had paper ballots in Massachusetts, too.) We've used both the punch-card ("hanging chad" style) and the fill-in-the-circle (standardized test style) ballots, and despite what you've heard on the news, they are not hard to understand! I'm old fashioned enough to think that someone too clueless to understand the simple ballots, or too lazy to take the time to make sure he has filled his out correctly, or unwilling to ask for help if needed, probably shouldn't be voting anyway.