Dr. Forbush Thinks

Look at the world through the eyes of Dr. Forbush. He leads you through politics, religion and science asking questions and attempting to answer them....

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crazy Right Wing World

Listening to the Rush Limbaugh Radio program is normally a call to duty for me, not a pleasure trip. But today the radio program made me smirk, then smile, then outright laugh out loud – LOL. The reason for this is my view of Republican politics from the outside looking in. Callers were complaining about how Mitt Romney “unfairly” beat-up on poor old Newt Gingrich in the Iowa caucuses and how Newt is retaliating with “unfair” ads in New Hampshire. The callers were complaining about the lies and untruths being thrown back and forth. But what made me actually laugh was when one caller actually said that these guys should hold back on all these lies until after the convention when they can throw them at the Democrats. They didn’t actually use these words, because that would mean that they actually would need to acknowledge conservatives’ modus operandi is to lie about those with whom they disagree.

The Republican candidates have been telling their constituents for almost a year now that this is the most important election of our lifetime. Since it is so important we should make sure that we get it right. But, when conservatives say “get it right” they mean, “get it RIGHT.” They don’t want to measure what the American people want and use that measure to create a policy that it acceptable to the majority of Americans. Instead they want to explain to he electorate why the minority on the far right should impose their will on the rest of us by describing utopian visions of a right wing world that they imagine existed in the minds of our founding fathers. If only the founding fathers had this one vision. Unfortunately the reality is each founding father had agreed to compromise their personal visions to create a unified vision that no one agreed with 100%. And, the irony of today’s conservative situation is that these people have not learned the lesson of this compromising principle used to form their sacred documents of “The Constitution,” “The Declaration of Independence,” “The Magna Carta,” and the “Federalist Papers.”

Now the rest of us are present as conservatives battle each other with lies, misunderstanding and misinterpretation. It is so nice to have them throw these things at each other instead of the rest of us. But it also makes me worry about the future. With all these lies going back and forth it is obvious to me that they will eventually settle on one version of “The Lie” they come to believe as true. It is frustrating for me to see the process laid out in plain sight watching people make bad choices. There is an opportunity to point out another world view while conservatives are searching for their own. There is an opportunity to point out how compromise is supposed to work. There is an opportunity to point out the futility of fighting each other for purity of vision and hopefully their fight will result in failure. But, of course failure is not guaranteed.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have always had a question in the back of my mind nagging me to answer it. But, it has always been hard for me to figure out how the question should be asked. The problem, as it turns out, is in the formulation of the infrastructure needed to understand what the question means. The problem is in trying to understand the abstractions that describe the question and in the end formulate the answer.

In simple terms, the question isn’t really that complex. It starts out as – “Who am I?”

The question could have a simple answer if I am sufficiently satisfied with knowing my name and address and perhaps a few facts about my personal history. But, I was me before I had a history. I was me before I lived in this place. I was me before I had my name. So, the question remains – Who am I?

I have had this question nagging at me since before I was able to talk, let alone be able to express it. I tried to ask it when I was young, and before I realized that it was a philosophical question. I had this question in my mind before I knew about Rene Decartes and before I knew that other people might be trying to answer the same question on their own terms. I may have asked my parents when I was young, but I had already known that the answer would be disappointing by the time I was a teenager. The problem always was that, the answers, know matter who came up with them were always disappointing.

The problem was that the question in itself assumed that the words “who” “am” and “I” were predefined and held a certain understanding in themselves. They “sort of” defined themselves in the way we define them. Therefore the abstraction of these words always defined what the answer to the question was before it was asked. In order to answer the “real” question one needs to redefine what these words mean in a more complex and specific fashion. We need to understand that “who” does not really mean “which person?” out of any available persons. Instead, “who” means the entity of being and existing as distinguished from the rest of the universe. The “who” is the distinction made between being and not being. The “who” is the distinction made between my being and your essence of being which is different from the matter that I occupy currently. In fact, I could take each atom of carbon in my body and exchange it for another completely different atom of carbon from a completely different location in space. I could continue to do this with every type of atom that makes up my body and I contend that I would still be me even if all my matter were replaced. That is because we believe that every single atom is exactly the same as every other atom of the same type. Nothing distinguishes one carbon 12 atom from another carbon 12 atom. They could all be exchanged. And such is the case for every other type of particle in our bodies. So, the “who” I refer to is an abstraction that means more than any single body that “I” may occupy.

And, while I am at it, we have problem with the ways in which the words “am” and “I” are abstracted in our thoughts. What do we mean by “am?” Am in English is a manifestation of the being verb. Being is a short cut for describing our existence. And, the heart of this question lies in the fundamental reality our existence. How do I exist? How is it that I exist? What does it mean to exist? All of these questions mean address slightly different aspects of the idea of existence even though none of us has any way of knowing anything other than existence. Why is it that I exist here and I don’t exist there? Why is it that I exist now and I don’t exist then? Will I exist again after I have exist now? This idea of existence becomes the abstraction for the concept of Heaven and Hell. When I exist after I have existed then I will exist in another place and time for eternity. Or, so we are lead to believe. The entire idea of the word “am” is caught up in the complex abstraction our understanding of being and not being.

And finally the reflexive understand of “I” is asked with the abstract understanding of the “I” that we refer to. I is understood to be the one asking the question. However, the I asking the question is no longer the same I after the question is asked. The whole abstraction of who the questioning I is is caught up in the belief that an entity exists longer than an instance. However, we all know that we change in time. We are no longer the same person that we were 1, 5, 10 years ago. The fact is that we really can never be the person we were a moment after we make a choice and we are those choices moment after moment. In fact the totalness of our story from birth until now are need to understand who the "I" refers to.

Even though the question “who am I?” seems like a simple easy six letter question in English it is perhaps the most complex question that we will ever ask. It is the personal accumulation of a life’s work. The question may never be answered because the effects that we have on those around us may effect generations. We can answer the question with a name and an address because that name and address are a place holder or an abstraction for who we are and the effect that we may have on the future. But the true answer is still left to be written.


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Myth of American Meritocracy

I will admit that I am a glutton for punishment. Whenever I have a radio nearby and I remember that Rush Limbaugh is on the air I have an uncontrollable urge to check in for 10 to 20 minutes and find out what he is ranting about. It almost always kicks up the ire in me and reminds me why I can’t get too complacent. It reminds me that there are people out there that believe this garbage and they will continue to believe it until they have an alternative point of view to put it against.

Today was another one of those days. I flipped on the radio and began to listen.

After all the commercials for the “fear” products. (Gold to hedge your bets on the economy, Privacy software, etc…) I heard Rush tell his audience how in America we live in a meritocracy. The definition of a meritocracy is given to be how one rises to the top based on ones merit. This idea fits into the capitalist myth that the best products survive, the best ideas survive and the weaker things fail. The problem with this assertion is that counterexamples abound. Just look at Unix, Microsoft Windows and Apple OS to name a one. Windows trudges on in this capitalist system regardless of the fact that it is by far the worst of these three operating systems. The real truth is that the product with the most aggressive marketing wins, regardless of whether the marketing is true or false. And, products that have a market presence are more likely to maintain it than an equal newly introduced product. The bottom line is that products do not excel merely on their merit and neither do people.

In the case of people, marketing and prior standing are more important than merit. Now, I am not saying that merit does not mean anything. Of course merit is part of the equation. But it is certainly not the only nor the most important parameter in the equation. We can envision society having positions to fill in the shape of a pyramid. As one rises there are fewer and positions with higher and higher value. If we imagine that those at the top award the vacancies as they appear then they award them to there family and friends before they fill them with those who truly merit the positions. Therefore some of the positions will be awarded by merit, but for the most part family and friends will be rewarded first.

Imagine a simple example. I don’t believe that I need to specify names and companies, but the general family business is founded, grown and eventually passed on to an heir. In general, do you believe that the heir has earned the company through merit? It may be the case that some heirs may have made daddy proud, but to the point of being better than the average MBA? If a classmate to an heir had applied for the same position do you think that daddy would have used merit to determine who would get the job?

The point is, America is not a meritocracy. America has some aspects of a meritocracy, to the point that for positions in the upper reaches of society there are some open spaces for some new people to rise into that society. But by all means America’s upper reaches of society is not occupied exclusively by people who have earned the right to be there. This is a myth, and we all know this. The heirs to the “old” money in this country more than likely do not deserve their positions in the upper class. They were born into their positions. And, we all know this, because we know that Paris Hilton did not merit her money or her fame. And, neither do many other lesser known rich folk.

Every single one of us knows that people get hired because they know someone. Every single one of us knows people who are employed that do not deserve the position that they are in. Every single one of us knows that money talks and if you already have the money then you are more likely to be able to persuade people to do what you want regardless of the merit of an idea. The old boys network is a prime example of this in action. The old men in society are connected because of their interactions with each other. These networks are powerful enough to influence city councils, mayors and other politicians regardless of the merit of a project or proposal. Merit is secondary to the will of the few people who pull the strings. Perhaps when a couple of the old boys can’t come to an agreement, then they may give it to the people to decide. Then each side pours in the money in order to persuade the people to their side of the argument.

The conservative right knows this too. Rush Limbaugh knows this. Because, if they really believed that people in America rose in society because of merit, and they supported this idea, then they would certainly be advocating the inheritance tax as a means to force those freeloaders to earn the rewards of upper class positions in society by the merits of their actions and accomplishments rather than the wealth of their daddy. You just can’t rationally support the idea of a meritocracy and be for any form of passing wealth on to the next generation through anything but merit. And, the next generation should be given equal rewards for equal merit. Students who excel should earn free education. Jobs should be awarded based on merit, not who you know. The old boys network should be seen as the Mafia network that it really is. Our society should not perpetuate the myth of a meritocracy until there is evidence that supports this as fact.

Anyway, thanks Rush for inspiring me to write another blog after being quiet for so many days.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just One Question – Why?

Anger is in the air. Listen to right wing talk radio and it is as if we have been attacked. Read the conservative opinion pieces and we can learn that the world has changed for the worse. On Sunday night the vulgar language spewed out of the mouths of the minority in the sacred halls of congress. So, if conservatives have so much respect for tradition and the sanctity of the halls of history then why have they reacted as if the institution is crumbling before their very eyes? Why?

In order to answer this question one needs to understand how the levers of power are pulled. One needs to understand what is the real issue and what are the facades built to give the illusion of freedom, liberty and democracy in our country.

The real fight in the USA is between the property owners and those who are exploited to serve the property owners. This is a fight that has existed since the dawn of time. In ancient times when people first left their nomad ways and began to farm someone needed to control and oversee the operation of these farms. And, controlling the property had the advantage of controlling the flow of wealth not only to their family and friends, but also to future generations. The American Revolution was a struggle between the property owners in England placing claim on their property in the new world. When the Americans revolted the English property owners lost control and lost huge chunks of property.

Of course there will always be an owner to every bit of property, because property is needed to conduct business or provide a place to live. Property is a renewable resource that insures personal livelihood as well as future generations success. As our society has evolved from an agrarian society to a modern society our concept of property has expanded to include homes, factories, buildings, companies, intellectual property and other forms of capital. In a similar evolution the means to protect these things have evolved to into a complex set of laws and regulations that insure that property is passed on to future generations, and the rest of society is molded into a type of property that these property owners can use for the means of production.

If you have any doubts into what I am saying, them imagine the typical “company town” of the 19th or 20th centuries. A property owner has land in some remote location that he wishes to exploit. He advertises for people and brings them to his company town where every business is controlled by the land owner. Freedoms and liberty are sacrificed for the success of the company. However, the workers are paid a “fair wage” and never share in the profits in a boom year. The workers are treated as replaceable pieces in a machine and they are replaced when they are worn out. This is the ideal situation for a property owner, and to believe otherwise is to ignore history. If the property owner were allowed to capture people and force them into labor they surely would. Only anti-slavery laws stand in the way of this being a common practice. Slavery still exists in places where the property owners are able to hide the practice from the government's prying eyes. This is because this is the natural proclivity of the property owner – to find the cheapest and most efficient way to secure and expand his property for future generations.

Republicans are and have been the party of the property owners since the 1960s when the civil rights movement captured the Democrat party. The civil rights movement was mainly about saying that people who didn't own property had rights as well as those who did. Of course these ideas existed long before the 1960s, but these ideas had no real power because of the political illusions that existed to make people believe that they had a voice in government. Even today it is much more difficult for a laborer to gather support and be elected than it is for a property owner.

Laws have been made in very creative ways that limit the number of non-property owning law makers in government. This result in few law makers that are willing to change the status quo. And, as a result workers are treated as pieces in a machine where the cost of maintaining the pieces needs to be balanced against the cost of buying a new part. Some parts just wear out and that's just the price of doing business. Isn't it understandable then that property owners would become upset when they are told that the government wants them to maintain their machines?

Of course property owners are going to be upset with the situation. But they can not easily put voice these views in the public. This is because property owners are now a very small fraction of the population. Most people don't own their home and have few real assets. If these people realized that they were being exploited as they truly are, then they would rebel as the slaves of Haiti once did. The results wouldn't be great for anyone, but the property owners might suffer the worse fate – being stripped of their property.

Property owners have instead created a complex array of illusion and double talk to explain the situation. They have created the illusion that anyone can easily become a property owner with enough hard work, while they pay the average worker just enough to shelter and feed themselves. They have created the illusion that one brilliant idea will move a worker to riches beyond imagination while protecting the company's right to all intellectual property produced within the company. Property owners use the legal system to litigate any challenge such that the person with the deepest pockets prevails. It could even be argued that the quality of education in property owning communities is better than non-property owning areas. This discrepency in education allows the property owners to maintain control of the power structure.

As the curtain is pulled back from the levers of power it becomes more obvious as to why some people are angry about the passage of health care reform. The real problem however is how this anger is transmitted to the rest of society. People who are non-property owners should not be upset about this. Even small business owners should be happy that there will be a safety net when the banks call in their loans. Small businesses should realize that they are not the property owner for the most part, the bank is. If there is a possibility that you could find yourself begging for a handout, then you should realize that this health care reform law could help you in the long run.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Friday, February 19, 2010

After the Fact

After the Fact

Faith vs. Reason is the basic cultural divide in the US today. This divide isn’t as clear-cut as one might guess at first glance. “Faith in science” and “reasoned theology” have both surfaced over time. Faith and reason are tools that people have used to forward their personal self interest over the years as well. The details of what one believes to be faith becomes murky as time separates the epiphany event from the eager student new to the faith. Similarly new students in science need to believe that the previous scientists have used the proper methods and reasoning as they learn the lore of science. No modern scientist can reproduce every experiment that has built the edifice of knowledge that has given us the shoulders of giants that we now stand on. So, when we stand back and look at the regular people who are neither experts in religion or science we should be able to empathize with their confusion as to which they should pledge their allegiance.

The problem with this debate between faith and reason is that we all carry our personal bias into this debate. We have all learned how to look at the world from an early age and we carry that world view into the argument. We find it easy to persuade others with our same world view by using our common basic assumptions about the world as we argue for a world view that we already believe to be true. These two world views do not matter in our day-to-day living, and therefore they are not challenged on our day-to-day existence. However, these grand world views do have an impact on how we should govern ourselves, and how we view our purpose in the world.

The truth of the matter is that there really isn’t a dichotomy in world views. Instead, there is a plurality of world views. The reality is that there really isn’t a debate between faith and reason. Reality is not known by any of us, no matter which side of the debate that you fall on. Those on the reason side can only know for certain what we can measure for certain. But one knows that knowing everything is futile because we have limitations to those measurements. Those on the faith side of the argument are limited to communications with the supernatural no matter what faith one believes.

The bifurcation between faith and reason quickly breaks down into multiples of different communications with the supernatural and multiples of informed reason biased by the cultures from which the reasoner was born into. Even if one who reasons could understand the observable world one would certainly need to concede that there does exist an unobservable portion of the universe. And, finally ethics and morality can not be based solely on reason. Biology or mathematics can not tell us that stealing from our neighbor is wrong. We may observe that when someone steals from us we feel loss, but we can not prove that the loss is not a good thing. We know from example that pain can be good for us. We could even use logic to determine how to minimize human suffering, but we can not prove that this is a good thing in the long run.

For example, if we believe that evolution is the process in which humans have become reasoning beings. And, if we believe that reasoning beings can evolve into something even better. Then we must believe that beings that lack the new desired trait will eventually need to die before they can reproduce, because this is how evolution works. So, reasoning people are faced with a dilemma that can not be reasoned – Which is more important, the evolution of the species or the weak individual lacking the superior-trait? Our current culture biases us toward the individual, but it is only faith in this culture that prevents us from sliding into another way of looking at this. This faith has nothing to do with a superior being. Ancient societies believed that culling of the weak offspring would make the tribe stronger in the long run. With all of our understanding of the science of evolution we have chosen to allow our tribe to get weaker because of our cultural bias toward the weak.

It is our Christian culture that teaches us to feel pity for the weak in our society. If it wasn’t for Jesus telling us to feel pity for the poor, the sinners and the lepers then we might have continued to put these people out of our society for the good of our society. Today we take it on faith that Jesus was right, but God told Moses differently. This is a very complex argument with implications on our society for thousands of years into the future, but most of us haven’t thought about it. Even if we were to learn by some scientific method that there was a group of people that harm our society because of the genes that they carry, would we decide to make our future society better by removing them from breeding?

We can look at this problem from the other side as well. Those of faith believe in their hearts that a supreme being is molding our society with his hand. If the weak in our society can’t cut it, then this supreme being will put those people out of their misery. The more powerful are smiled on and they are able to have more children and pass their heritage down through the generations. Whether one believes in genes or evolution, this is how society has been working for eons. Believing in faith alone would be to continue this process. There are rules that are taken on faith and they can not be challenged, because to challenge the rules would be to challenge the whole system.

Our society exists in four dimensions, on earth in three dimensions, plus its projection into time. The question is – How long will our society exist into the future and why?

Man has evolved the ability to predict the future through reasoning. Or, man has been given the gift of predicting the future by reasoning from his creator. Either way, man has this ability and it should be used, either to honor his creator, or to further the success of the species. This fact should not be argued; both sides of the debate should agree on this. It is not a black or white question. Whether one believes in faith or science both camps should agree that man should further the existence of the species with reasoning. Man should exam the threats and reason for solutions to those threats.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this. Some believe that one should put complete faith in the supreme being. This attitude poisons the debate. And, in order to defend the position some on the side of faith will argue absolutes. This means that one should be absolutely sure of a problem before one should take preventative measures. This same argument would mean that no one should buy insurance even when the risk of danger is very high. Because, unless one is certain that their house will catch fire then one shouldn’t waste money on insurance. In addition, no one should repair a house unless one is certain that the house is going fall down. One shouldn’t learn to swim unless one is certain they will fall out of a boat, or into a pool. One should not learn to hunt unless one is certain that the stores will be shut down for weeks. One should just pray that nothing bad will happen, unless it is forewarned and certain.

The problem, of course, is that no one but God can be certain of anything. Even when a hurricane is baring down on the coast, it might just move to east and nothing happens to you. And by definition no one can be certain so no one should prepare for anything. This attitude ignores the gift of reason given to us by God or by evolution. It doesn’t really matter how we got the gift of reason, but it does matter that we use it.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Crazy Health Care

It drives me crazy every time I hear someone utter the factually incorrect statement that the US has the greatest healthcare in the world. I heard it again today on a radio talk show and the comment wasn’t even challenged. Of course this didn’t surprise me, because this assertion is never challenged.

Now, to be fair, there are certain ways that the USA could be ranked number one in health care. If by “best” we mean “most expensive,” then we might be in the running. However, if we would measure quality of health care as a function of healthy outcomes then the USA is not even close.

If we start by making the assumption that the goal of having a good health care system is to prolong life we might start by looking at the list of countries ranked by the number of deaths in a country per 1000 people living in the country. By looking at this list we see that the US is ranked about the center of the list ranked from highest to lowest -- 94th with a rate of about 8.1 deaths per 1000 out of over 200 countries. ( 2009 List by the CIA World Factbook) This does not tell us everything, but it does tell us that countries like Mexico have rates much lower than ours. Why?

There could be other problems just looking at this number, because some countries have younger populations than other countries. A younger country should have a lower death rate than an older country by the mere fact that everyone eventually dies. So, lets assume that the goal of health care is to allow people to live as long as possible. The measure of success then would be the life span of the average citizen in the country. If we rank countries from the longest life span to the shortest, we find the US ends up at 50th out of over 200 countries with an expected life span of 78.11 years, while Japan finishes near the top of the list with 82.12, Australia has 81.63 and Canada 81.23. With these numbers how can anyone still argue that the US has the best health care in the World?

What exactly is a person thinking when they claim that the US has the “best” health care in the World? How do they measure best? It is true that within the borders of the USA there exists some very good health care. And, it is true that if someone has unlimited resources they would be able to have access to some of this very good health care. The problem is that many people in the US do not have access to this care. And, hence these people pull the average life expectancy of the US down.

So, if someone asserts that the US has the best health care in the World they must be asserting that their own health care is part of the elite few that have access to this advanced health care. They are also asserting that they really don’t care what happens to the population that does not have access to this elite care. Of course this is sad and selfish, but in the USA we do not have laws against being selfish and most people are numb to the suffering of others.

But, even the assertion that a person has access to the elite health care that exists in the USA is suspect. This is because many people are covered by insurance that they have only rarely used. This is because many people in the US never go to a doctor for a yearly physical. Insurance companies don’t see any benefit in having people see a doctor on a yearly basis, because it costs them money and they are in the business of collecting revenue and figuring out ways to avoid paying any money out. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, and any layout goes against the bottom line. It isn’t in the interest of the insurance company to care about the health of its customers. In fact, it is in their interest to see that their customers die in the cheapest way possible.

A person normally doesn’t learn the effectiveness of their insurance until the insurance is needed. And, when the insurance is needed its too late to change coverage. And, when the insurance is needed the trauma of the situation clouds ones vision of the financial picture. Many people with what they believed to be “good” insurance find themselves bankrupted and embarrassed by finding out how poor their coverage was when they needed it. This embarrassment prevents them from sharing this with their family and friends.

The silent killer in the US health care system is the fact that health care costs have been rising over the last 20 years. People may have had favorable experiences with their insurance companies over the years, but their current situation may have changed over the years. Many procedures and drugs are no longer covered under some plans. Employers are buying cheaper coverage that covers less with higher deductibles and co-payment options. This means that more money comes out of your pocket before the insurance company pays anything.

Eighteen years ago the US was already a very expensive health care system. I know this from personal experience. My daughter was born in Germany in a private hospital. I was working for a US company and therefore my US insurance would cover the hospital and delivery costs in Germany. I just needed to get the bill and send it to the insurance company. As my wife went through prenatal care and through the birth of my daughter I submitted the bills to my health insurance company. The total at the end of the process was completely covered by my health insurance. And, the company could not believe that I had submitted all of the bills in total because the cost of my wife spending an additional three days in the hospital “should cost much more” as the insurance company wrote to tell me. The German bill noted each procedure and expense in meticulous detail -- even to the extent of pointing out that I was being charged an inflated cost because we were covered by private insurance.

The question we should be asking is -- Why was there such a disparity in cost between the US system costs and services and the German system? I would assert that it must be greed in the US system. I would also assert that greed itself is not illegal, but it preys on people when they are in very vulnerable situations. Greed in health care pushes suppliers to encourage patients to over spend. The emotional situation urges the loved ones of the ill to “do whatever is possible.” There is no natural limitation to this spending except the bottom of each person’s money supply.

I know that this greed is real from another personal experience. I was involved in a project to develop one of the first MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines. At that time we called it NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), because the technique actually causes the atomic nuclei to resonate. When we talked with doctors they told us many quite interesting things that gave me insight into the health care industry.

The first thing they told us was that the word nuclear needed to be dropped, because nuclear was a scary word and people would not want to subject themselves to a machine that used nuclear anything. Of course, MRI is one of the safest forms of imaging, applying a magnetic field and electric field and measuring the magnitude of the resonance signal of particular nuclei in order to map the density of water in the body for example. This is much less dangerous than using X-rays that can cause mutations when they hit the DNA in a cell.

The next thing they told us was that the MRI pictures were three dimensional and multi colored. The colors did not look like the colors in the body, so it would be much better if we could make them look more like X-ray pictures. Obviously the doctors could not recognize the advantage of the new technology and they would prefer that the new technology was only slightly better than the older technology so that the doctors would be more likely to adopt the new technology. Obviously this is something to keep in mind whenever one takes a trip to the doctor.

And the most frightening revelation of all was that the doctors told us that they were happy that the new technology was cheaper to operate than the previous technology. But, it was new technology, therefore they could charge more for it. The most important implication was that the profit margin would be larger with the new technology.

The summary of this is that the doctors were willing to make the technology less effective, they were willing to lie to the patients by changing the name of the machine and they wanted a higher profit margin. I have to tell you that I have had a very skeptical view of all doctors because of this experience. I think that we should all be more skeptical.

When I was in Germany I noticed that the doctors were much more friendly and willing to share what they didn’t understand as well as what they did understand. I felt more connected with the process. I felt like my questions were listened too and thought about. In the US this is much less frequently the case.

Anyway, I am still very confused at the assertion that the US has the best health care in the World. If anyone knows of any evidence that supports this I would love to read it. Please tell me what you know I am all ears.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


In order to understand multiculturalism we need to understand culture. Culture is a word that gets thrown about by the common man and has a specific definition by anthropologists. But, culture is a confusing concept to understand from a member of a culture. And, of course, everyone of us is a member of our own personal culture.

Culture is a collection of beliefs, traditions, shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize a group of people. Sometimes that group of people is an ethnic group. Sometimes that group of people is an organization. Sometimes that group of people is a nation. Culture can be referred to as a positive attribute when it is addressing the finer things of a self proclaimed “advanced culture.” Culture can refer to an attribute of a particular culture. But, no matter how we look at it we are immersed in our own culture and we are bias when we compare our own culture to other cultures.

Since culture is a collection of shared beliefs -- shared by the members of our own culture it is difficult to find members of our culture that disagree with these “shared” beliefs. With this in mind it is quite well understood in abstract how difficult it is to change a culture.

When two cultures come in contact with each other it should be clear to understand how conflicts will arise. Lets look at two cultures -- jocks and nerds. I chose these two cultures because I know that most of my readers are not members of either of these cultures and therefore will not be biased by their personal membership in one class or the other. If you are a member of either of these cultures, then you may need to skip this example. In a typical jock culture we could easily understand that the way to solve a problem is with brawn, muscle or strength. And similarly we could imagine that the credo of the typical nerd is to solve every problem with brainpower. With this in mind we can easily imagine that working together to solve a problem might not work out so well. And in addition we can also imagine that creating a fair way to solve conflicts might also run into trouble. Any measure of strength of culture will be greeted with calls of cheating from the other side. Any member of one of these groups will find difficulty in understanding the values of the other group.

Most of us might actually realize the value of both muscular strength and brainpower. This might be a cultural value shared by many westerners -- the value of power and strength no matter what kind it might be. This might be extended to the power of money, the power of learning skills, the power of knowledge… And now we see the problem with understanding culture. No matter what the issue, when we look at different cultures we are always comparing them with our own culture. Even if we don’t identify ourselves with jocks or nerds we still have our own cultural values. We might have decided our own “best strategy” for dealing with problems. We might have a priority list of ways to deal with problems. We might believe that the best way to deal with a problem is how we feel like dealing with it when we meet it head on. We might have already concluded which culture is superior to the other based on own culture.

Ironically, one cultural attribute is the value that a culture places on cultural beliefs and traditions. Some cultures value these above common sense or scientific studies. Other cultures are willing to adjust these values. And, then there are cultures that see these beliefs and traditions as old and outdated. In the United States currently there is a “culture war” based on the value of cultural values themselves.

In light of the “culture wars” it might be interesting to think about the origin of cultural values themselves. If we think about it, people are always telling stories about their personal experiences. When these experiences offer life lessons, then the stories will be repeated again and again. Life lessons are important ways to learn about the dangers of the world. Repeat the good things and avoid the bad things. But, just because it appeared that a story turned out one way because of an action or inaction does not mean that there really was a connection. And, the stories that proved on repetition to be wrong will eventually be dropped from the list of useful stories. Over time a culture of stories emerges and propagates. But, because the story exists does not mean that the lessons are the right ones. The evolution is always in progress. Jumping up and down on the left foot before battle does not always insure victory. But, the story and tradition might continue “just in case.” However, storing food for winter tends to work more often than it doesn’t.
After the end of the Second World War the world was poised to accept a huge number of scientific breakthroughs and studies. Many traditions were proven false and brought all tradition under scrutiny. Science could be applied to many aspects of our lives. Scientific method was used to break down additional traditional ideas. The zeitgeist suddenly questioned tradition in general. Traditions suddenly needed to defend themselves. The World War II soldiers came home after being exposed to a world of different cultures. The time was ripe for change.

Traditions don’t change quickly. The older people were brought up with the older traditions and the like what they know. Even obvious problems, like segregation, don’t change easily. The act of embarrassing the southern tradition with live broadcasts of civil rights demonstrations might have brought attention to the inequality in this foreign society as seen from around the world. But when one is brought up in this culture biases are still hard to overcome. The spirit of the 1960s was a powerful force, but it was by no means universal. As the traditions of each cultural group came under attack these groups reacted as expected -- to defend the traditions of the group. Society became divided into the traditionalists and the progressives. Traditionalists sought to propagate tradition regardless of the reasons for those traditions. Progressives sought to change traditions. Each group has a different problem. The traditionalists needed to defend their traditions in the light of scientific inquiry. Progressives needed to invent new traditions to replace the old if they could. This is because when a tradition is removed, then something new usually is needed to fill the void.

As time has progressed the situation has become more clouded. In the beginning the traditions like segregation and discrimination were easy targets for progressives. The next obvious target was the tradition of polluting the environment. It turned out that this was much more difficult to fight. Some traditions seem to be stupid and easy to fix, but for every tradition there is a group that the tradition belongs to. And that group will always fight to retain the tradition no matter how stupid it looks to the rest of us. As laws were written to clean up pollution in the 1970s, they also included loopholes intended to preserve the traditions of dumping and destroying as much as the public would tolerate.

Traditions can limit our freedom. But, traditions can also provide a time to go wild and allow chaos in a controlled way as well. Progressives have often been branded as having loose morals, because they have often fought to introduce additional forms of families, including divorced couples, same sex couples and multi-generation families. But, progressives have also fought to reduce drunken driving accidents by questioning the traditional holiday party culture. Some of these activists may not have considered themselves to be progressives, but anyone who fights tradition is a progressive. Ronald Reagan was a progressive when he determined that the tradition of a balanced budget wasn’t as important as borrowing money to pay for military programs even though building the most powerful military possible might be his tradition to trump all others.

Some people do not understand the scope of traditions. Some traditions encompass very small groups of people down to the size of an individual family. Other traditions cover people living on the entire planet. Some traditions cover religious groups while other traditions cover entire nations. Each individual orders the traditions he is exposed to by personal importance. When a person that values traditions differently or has different traditions altogether, then conflicts may arise. When individuals value these differing traditions very highly, then these conflicts may become very serious, resulting in wars and death. When one values their own traditions above all others, then these conflicts may be unavoidable. So, it should be clear that traditions are quite important.

Now, the United States is not one culture. In fact, in reality no country is just one culture no matter how hard people try to create one. The problem is that each individual has a choice in honoring each tradition. The existence of a tradition does not determine its value as a tradition. The observance of a tradition is what gives a tradition value. Just because Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on the calendar doesn’t mean that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed by the majority of people in the US. Where are the parties and the celebration?

Tradition is more than its very existence. Tradition can not be forced on anyone. But, when one tradition replaces another it surely scares people, because it signals that thing are changing and they may be left behind.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Monday, June 15, 2009

Value, Time and Money

In the innocent times of childhood we once believed that money was the reward for hard work. Based on the idea that the more hours that you worked then the more money you earned.

But, those were innocent and naïve times. Many have come to believe that fortunes were made by other means. Making a quick buck by buying a lottery ticket and having your numbers selected is one of these ways, but the same principle applies to day traders, real estate speculators and even opportunists hoping create the next marking fad. None of these characters remotely care about the social good of their actions and many destroy our society bit by bit with their actions.

In America today we still have many people who dream about working hard and creating wealth through the sweat of their brow. However, the reality of this picture is people like Bill Gates who happened to be in the “right place” at the “right time.” Microsoft products were there first and captured a huge market share, but they have never been the best products on the market. Similarly clever slight of hand was able to create a good deal of wealth in the real estate market by providing cheap high risk loans to people and lying about the actual risk of the loans. The cheap supply of cash created a demand for real estate and drove property prices to unrealistic values. The property wasn’t actually earning value. The value was created by the demand of people who didn’t make enough money to actually pay for the house that they wanted. Everyone saw their house value increase and they advised to borrow money against the equity in their house. The initial lie about the risk of these loans propagated through the economy. Risk could no longer be trusted, but everyone was happy because they saw the value of their houses increasing over time.

No one asked themselves where this extra money was coming from. Everyone assumed that money in the form of value in their houses was a “good” thing. People believed that they were richer than they actually were. This is because the value of their house was based on what people were willing to pay for their house if they were to try to sell it. And, people were willing to pay lots of money that they didn’t actually have because banks were willing to loan tons of cash to people who could never really keep up their end of the bargain.

In America we have a belief that those who scam the system will pay the price and demonstrate to the rest of us the folly of their ways. People will see the risk and will no longer be tempted to repeat these activities. Unfortunately time is involved in this process. There is always a window of opportunity in which people are able to game the system, make their money and get out before the activity becomes illegal. Some people are able to amass great wealth and pass it down to their heirs for many generations. Once one has this wealth one is able to live off the money “earned” from the principle itself and hard work is no longer required. Money earned in this way and propagated through the generations is actually contrary to the American ideal of working hard to become successful. But, the protection of this capital in this system allows people to take very low risk and earn a high return if enough capital is put into play. Special laws have been written to protect these special fortunes. We can look at the Disney empire as an example of how copyright laws have been changed to protect the Disney interest in Mickey Mouse because Mickey is still such a cash cow. Special laws continue to be written to protect other industries as well – mainly to assure that these wealthy families like the heirs to McDonald fortune will never really need to work at a McDonald’s restaurant.

The whole system works in such a way that creating a perceived value for a commodity which is much higher than the actually work involved in creating the commodity. So, creating a demand for a virtual item by advertising and marking an imagined device without actually creating the device is one way to create an artificially high value. Even if the object does not really exist one could create demand for it based on hype. A quick fortune could easily be made by selling an envelope filled with sand if the hype is great enough. Maybe many people won’t buy their second envelope of “magic sand,” but then again some people will continue to believe the hype well into envelope number ten. Imagine how much money could be made if one percent of all Americans are convinced to buy one envelope of “magic sand” for $29.95. Should the “hard work” and “innovation” of the “magic sand” dealer be praised or punished?

The free market system tells us that the people will learn that magic sand is just ordinary sand and they won’t buy it any more. But the magic sand dealer knows that he can make some money and move on to magic tonic and magic rocks and continue to make money by exploiting the gullibility of the people. Regulation is one way to put a stop to this. And, arguments between free market advocates and regulation advocates continue while the magic sand dealer figures out new ways to sell his wares cloaked in new ways until he amasses enough money to never need to sell any more. Then he passes his wealth to his children and he can loan his money and demand extremely high rates of interest until there are regulations. Those who have no morals or sense of guilt will find ways to take advantage of the free markets and live perfectly comfortably while those of us who espouse to be caring members of society will continue to be taken advantage of while the regulation free market debates continue to waste time.


Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Last week I took a trip to France. When I got home I proceeded to tell people about my trip. As I was telling someone about the trip she had a very bipolar response. “How wonderful to have the opportunity to visit Paris -- not that I like the French.”

France, in my opinion, is a wonderful country. On the other hand the French actually prioritize a bit differently than the good ol’ USA. It seems like from the time that I could understand money I was taught through social interactions that money was the most important thing in life. Some people actually put God first, and others might say love or health are more important, but in practice Americans tend to behave as if money is goal number one. In fact, people who say that health is more important continue to reward those with the most money by giving them the best health care available. Those who say that love is most important continue to look down on the wealthy person who chooses a poorer lover than themselves. Women continue to seek money over love in our entertainment media. A happy ending in our culture is when everyone has enough money. Money can buy lovers, comfort, health, homes and businesses to make more money. How could anything else be more important?

Go to France and look around. Now, don’t get me wrong; money is still important in France. Fancy restaurants and hotels still cost money. But, people tend to find happiness in other things as well as money. For example, the simple ease to move around the country is subsidized by the government. The government decided that for the greater good of the society money would be collected from taxpayers and spent on an organized collection of connected transportation systems. In the USA the patchwork of inefficient transportation shows how non-directed capitalism fails at the higher level. Maybe after a thousand years the US system will evolve into something more efficient, but simply thinking it through at the beginning could have resulted in something much better. In this case efficiency ranked above money on the priority list, and it was a good thing.

Now, France is not Germany and efficiency does not always take priority. Many have argued that the French transportation system is not as efficient as the German one. All I can say is that both are much better than the US system. In France one thing that stands out above everything else is the regard for aesthetics. In the US many people do not even know what this word means, because it has been given such low priority in our culture. But, in France aesthetics ranks quite high among considered priorities.

One simple example of this contrast came at lunchtime the first day I was in France. The reason for my trip was to attend a biotech conference. I have attended many conferences of this sort in the US and Canada. A free lunch is usually served to encourage the participants to eat and wander around the booths belonging to the various companies specializing in biotech supplies. A typical lunch in the US consists of a cardboard box with a sandwich, chips, fruit, brownie and a set of plastic utensils. Lunches in Canada tend to have sandwiches stacked on a table, a fruit bowl, a couple of side dishes and a fancy desert table. In France, at least at this conference, there were place settings on a large number of tables. The plates were ceramic; the glasses were glass. Water was placed in the tables and the food was excellent. The difference between these lunches has to do with the value of aesthetics in the given cultures. Each culture defines the value of putting in the little extra effort required to make things pleasing above the practical value of nourishment alone. If the goal is nourishment and money takes priority, then we end up with the cardboard boxes filled with sandwiches.

Most people that complain about French socialism have never experienced French socialism. Socialism is a contract between the people and the government to do what is best for the people. American conservatives believe that laissez faire government is the best form of government. Of course the French actually invented the term laissez faire and the meaning has drifted over the years. Conservatives tend to think that laissez faire means let businesses rob the customers at will, and if they go to far, then the customers will realize it and stop doing business. The balance has to do with the amount of robbery a customer is willing to tolerate before the business loses that customer. Government regulation on the other hand draws lines in the sand as to where profit becomes robbery and cheating. Poisoning your customers is no longer limited by how fast they die, but by a reasonable expectation that customers should not be poisoned. After all, the government holds a stake in the outcome of businesses poisoning their customers, because the government pays for the healthcare of these poisoned customers in France.

The balance in France is between efficiency, aesthetics, social contract and laissez faire capitalism. And, because there is a balance there they don’t have the nightmare shortages of Soviet era socialism. Instead, France is actually a vacation place for many of the American wealthy who are willing to enjoy the French aesthetics, while they are unwilling to pay the small price in their taxes to have the same aesthetics at home in the USA. Its funny how that works.

Money certainly motivates the animal needs in a person. If you don’t have money and you live in the United States of America, then you could certainly find yourself living on the streets. Without money, food may only be found at a religious organization that will give you food if you listen to their pitch for their religion. Without money, you may get sick and die before you are able to get a doctor to help you recover from your illness. To a conservative, the threat of living without these basic needs should be the motivation to live the conservative lifestyle -- because it is safe.

Even after one has all one needs there are people who want more power, more things and more money. These are the people who value money very highly. And, in American culture it would be strange not to value money highly.

Another value that is often prioritized higher than money in France is education. The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge instead of for the sake of earning power after graduation is evidenced in France by the number of bookstores doing a brisk business. A large number of titles were concerned with philosophy and art rather than business and investing. Obviously this is not a scientific study of what people study in school, but it seems apparent from bookstore displays that a large number of people seem to be interested in philosophy and art -- subjects not especially high paid or even desired in America. In the 1990s America lost the will to build the Superconducting Supercollider. Europe on the other hand has just completed building the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as they spend money simply pursuing the question: What is matter?

America was not always like this. John F. Kennedy told us that we “…do not do these things because they are easy but, because they are hard” in his speech about landing a man on the moon. This was not the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of wealth and riches. Instead America went to the moon in an adventurous trip to appeal to the human imagination. Since the 1960s America has decided that the value of money trumps the value of discovery and exploration prompted by the pursuit of knowledge. Our American culture continues to suffer on these accounts as well. Slowly money has become value number one -- above knowledge, aesthetics, efficiency and even human compassion.

When I look at France I see that there is another way to order our priorities. Money does not need to be the number one issue at the top of our agenda. After all the greed that we allowed to percolate through Wall Street and the financial industries are the result of putting money ahead of everything else. The result was a few extremely wealthy people and the rest of us paying for their success. We are blamed because we wanted to be able to afford a home for our family, and they are praised for their imagination in creating new and exciting financial instruments. It only makes sense that a situation like this was bound to happen when we put money above all else. I hope that we learned our lesson.

Financially France is suffering like the rest of the world. Sales are down and people can’t afford everything that they might desire. But, I found that they are not suffering as much as we are, because they don’t place money at the top of the list. Instead they still have the love of family and friends. They are still able to share moments and build relationships. And, these things mean more to them at a cultural level than the money that they might have lost in the stock market or in the paper value of their home. In fact I witnessed a wonderful sight on my visit that proved to me that money was not the top priority -- at least for French students. I saw hundreds of students gather on the banks of the Seine a couple of hours before sunset to sit, eat and enjoy each other’s company. No one charged them to sit there. The police were not shooing them away so that the local businesses could make money off these hungry and thirsty students. The counterparts to these students in the USA are sitting around the computer or TV watching videos or playing video games -- they are working on their anti-social skills as opposed to their social skills. But, that’s what we can expect from a culture that is driven by the almighty dollar.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Friday, November 14, 2008

Trial and Error

One of the major assumptions that we have in a capitalist free market system is that people acting in their self-interest will react for the greater good of our society. This assumption is flawed in several ways.

Let us look at an interesting example. During the 1970s an interesting phenomenon occurred with the birth of the Pet Rock. An entrepreneur discovered that he could market and sell rocks packed in little boxes and make millions of dollars. He acted in his self-interest to create a fad that basically moved rocks from one place to new places across the country. What greater good did this provide for society? We need to admit that this fellow was clever and creative, but his activity must also be described as a great waste of resources as well. In the end I am almost certain that very few of these rocks have been placed anywhere other than the backyard, and the container in the dump.

We could argue that people don’t buy pet rocks any more, so the system worked. Maybe we should overlook the great waste of resources created by this venture as part of the price that is paid for progress. However, pet rocks are not the only venture that wastes time, money and resources. In fact, the idea that people can make gold by selling rocks is alchemy made real today. With the modern idea that economics isn’t about the product, but only about the marketing we realize that this alchemy is the rule not the exception.

If we take a step back and try to look at the big picture we should realize that there is more to life than trying to figure out how to put more cash in your wallet. If this were the entire story then, why do we waste time following the laws? Why don’t we just go around and rob people at gunpoint? The fear of violence and jail might have something to do with that, but I would hope that people actually know that working within the system is good for our society. Even so, many people opt to take the easy way out and rob people but by hiding behind the rule of law. The seller of the pet rock didn’t break the law, but he broke the contract with society in which we try to make society better with my contribution to it.

There are so many ways that people do make society better through their area of business. Businesses make these decisions every day when they determine how they are going to develop their product. Do they consider safety, efficiency, and impact?

We only need to compare the Windows operating system to just about anything else out there to prove the point. The superiority of Apple computers to Windows PCs does not match the number of computers of each type sold. But, Apple learned its lesson when it marketed the Hell out of the iPod when Creative Technologies already had a much better product on the market. All, of the capitalist arguments for a free market don’t seem to prove the point. Instead, example seems to suggest that the biggest player with the largest backing comes out the winner, not the best product. Patents have been infringed upon and stolen from much less affluent people. Not, many people are willing to put in the same effort as the inventor of the intermittent windshield wipers was.

The point of this piece is not to argue the free market system, only to point out a weakness in it. In a fair world the free market system would most likely be a better system. In a world where people valued products that were good for society above products that were a waste of resources the system could work to make the world a better place. If people were rewarded for making society better rather than being rewarded for making a clever comment on the stupidity of the average person people would work for a better world instead of working to think up new ways to cheat the gullible out of their money.

Whether you believe it or not the average temperature of the Earth is increasing. There is clear data showing this. Similarly, whether you believe it or not more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will trap more heat. This is also clearly proven with data. As we burn more carbon based fuel that was trapped out of the atmosphere millions of years ago the thicker the blanket we have over our world. Only an idiot would not see that this is a bad combination.

Of course, a supporter of the “free market only” system would conclude that when people got too hot they would realize that there was a problem and they would no longer buy the carbon-based fuels that are causing the problem. There are several holes in this reasoning. First, how do we know when we are “too” hot? Second, how do we switch to something new when we do realize that we are “too” hot? Third, a lot of the problem isn’t the final result, but the chaotic weather patterns that result from the sudden heating of the Earth, how do we prevent the destruction? Finally, when a customer has the option to pick between keeping the world just a little bit cooler or buying a new H2 Hummer -- what prevents the customer from rationalizing that the world won’t get “that much” hotter?

The purpose of the government is to protect us. No matter what your political persuasion is I am certain that I won’t find many people arguing with me on the assertion. The problems arise from the implementation of this idea of protection. Conservatives are the first to insist that a strong military will protect us from foreign threats and a strong police force will protect us from internal threats. Imagine if conservatives followed through on their idea that markets should be allowed to work to protect us. Everyone would put up as much money as they believed should go toward external and internal threats. Or, they should invent and improvise new ways of protecting ourselves. The markets would decide the best ideas. The best ideas would get the most money -- because they would be able to attach the highest level of support.

We all know that this would not work. Criminals would refuse to donate to the police force, because a weak police force is in their personal best interest. Many would refuse to send money to the military on ethical grounds as well as personal financial self-interest. Those who own the most property obviously demand the most protection, so the wealthy would need to beef up the various agencies and branches of the military. We would have everyone walking around armed because it would be cheaper to carry a gun than to hire a policeman to protect ones property.

If the job of government is to protect its people, then why is there a continuous argument about what the government should do? This is because the question of what protection of the people consists of. Should people be allowed to starve to death because they can’t afford food? Should people be allowed to die of a curable disease because they can’t afford the cure? Should diseases be allowed to spread through a community because the community can’t afford to pay for vaccinations? Should companies get money from the government to encourage development to spur job growth? What is protection and what is control?

Why should the government pay for education? What kind of protection is this?

With the election of Barack Obama there is a lot of talk about the new “New Deal” that this liberal Democrat is about to impose on us. I have seen people writing about the USA becoming the USSA -- The United Socialist States of America. Obviously I don’t agree with that. But, I do believe that there is a role for government to lead us as well as protect us.

If you are old enough to remember George H W Bush’s defeat to Bill Clinton you will also recall that he had a problem with “the vision thing.” In fact, if a country does not have leadership, then the country will grow in a random haphazard way. People need to be lead in a direction that will result in benefit to the common good, instead of benefit to the individual pocketbook.

Just think of the creativity that went into the creation of the Pet Rock. Or, for a more recent example, the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) and the pooling of high risk mortgages. The creation of these financial instruments was meant to benefit the creators and the cost to society was not even considered. The lack of government concern resulted in the collapse of many of our financial institutions. Because of the web woven by these institutions the government has finally realized that allowing nature take its course is much too high a price to pay for this selfishness.

I hope and pray that the last eight years has finally taught Americans a lesson in what the role of government should be. Government needs to lead its people. In order to lead a government leads vision and perspective. Government should not force and demand what its people should do, but rather it should lead by encouragement. Based on his campaign, Barack Obama’s vision includes a new green country and a lot of work that is needed to get us moving in that direction. With the proper encouragement there are many opportunities for new ideas, new jobs and new money to be made.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit