They lie and get away with it…healthcare, wire taps, etc.

First, here is Trump’s claim that President Obama released 122 prisoners from GITMO who returned to the battlefield. Uh, 113 of these were released by President Bush:

But none of this will matter to a Trump supporter.

What about Trump’s claim that he was “wiretapped by Obama”? Well, here is what they find convincing. I actually agree that an impartial investigation is called for; let’s see the evidence used for the relevant FISA warrants. But this article does have a useful list of good article about intercepted intelligence between Trump campaign officials and the Russians.

Here is a more thoughtful article about KremlinGate and what happened. Upshot: you don’t have right to privacy when discussing things with potential spies.

And we move to healthcare. Yes, the Republicans want to give the wealthiest another tax cut and repeal some of the unpopular things from Obamacare..but things that were necessary to make it work. And they want to allow companies to charge older people 5 times more (rather than just 3) and end out of pocked subsidies. My guess: Senate will filibuster and the Republicans will say “we tried” (while breathing a sigh of relief).

March 7, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, republicans, tax cuts | | Leave a comment

Whores: attention, political and otherwise

Workout notes
Leg weights followed by an 1800 yard swim.
Legs: 3 circuits of: push backs (130), adduction (190) abduction (190)
lunges + squats with 45 pounds: 10 front, 10 back, 10 squats, done 3 times with hip hikes inbetween
Then toe raises
Then 4 x 30 sit ups.
Yes, I got sweaty! I didn’t realize it would take 55 minutes.

Then the swim: 1000 in 19:38, 5 x 100 on 2 (1:50-52 each), 3 x 100 IM.
Not good, but it felt good.


I am not sure as to why they were those tiny little spandex bun huggers that creep all over the place, but I am not complaining. 🙂

Sex and fetishes A couple of days ago I mentioned finding this photo in this stream of photos.

Well, it turns out that this has nothing to do with yoga; some of the so-called poses in this stream are terrible! But that isn’t the point; these women are from an outfit called (the site is NOT, NOT safe for work; it is a soft-core porn site). That is unremarkable. But what is remarkable is what they list as fetishes. They have the usual…and then they have this:

That’s right: glasses!!!! I admit that I’ve always liked women in glasses but I didn’t know that was a common thing to like. Yes, I know; Sarah Palin wears glasses…and visually, I admit it. I find her attractive….physically.

Political Whores
I am enjoying the Republican race to see who is going to lose to President Obama this fall. One has Willard “Mitt” Romney:

Watch him run away from his successes in Massachusetts!

Then there is the “converted” Newt Gingrich (who is trailing badly in the Florida polls). He caught on with the right wing religious types in South Carolina (New York Times):

n 1999, shortly after the Senate voted to acquit President Clinton on two charges of impeachment stemming from his affair with the intern Monica Lewinsky, Paul Weyrich — mastermind of the union of the Republican Party and the Christian right, a founder of the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the Free Congress Foundation — threw up his hands in despair.

In a letter to his ideological allies, Weyrich declared: “I no longer believe that there is a moral majority. I do not believe that a majority of Americans actually shares our values.”

Weyrich declared defeat:

Cultural Marxism is succeeding in its war against our culture. The question becomes, if we are unable to escape the cultural disintegration that is gripping society, then what hope can we have?

In the face of this onslaught of moral corruption, Weyrich counseled withdrawal from society at large. A “legitimate strategy for us to follow is to look at ways to separate ourselves from the institutions that have been captured by the ideology of Political Correctness, or by other enemies of our traditional culture,” he wrote. “We need to drop out of this culture, and find places, even if it is where we physically are right now, where we can live godly, righteous and sober lives.”

What would Weyrich, who died in 2008, make of the fact that Newt Gingrich — who was himself having an adulterous affair during the Clinton impeachment proceedings (one of several conducted by the former speaker, according to his own testimony and a number of lengthy journalistic investigations, including this one from CBS and that one from the Daily Beast) — won the 2012 South Carolina Republican primary with a plurality of voters who described themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians?

Exit polls show that Gingrich beat Romney by 44-22 among born-again and evangelical Christians, and by 46-10 among voters who said the religious convictions of the candidates mattered “a great deal.” His margins were equally strong among supporters of (and sympathizers with) the Tea Party, a constituency that closely overlaps with religious conservatives.

In fact, the Gingrich campaign reveals the current state of the Christian right, its status anxieties, its desperation, its frustration and in particular its anger. The extreme volatility of Gingrich’s primary season bid reflects not only the success and failure of his own tactical maneuvers and those of his opponents, but also the ambivalence of the Republican electorate in choosing between ideology and pragmatism — an intraparty struggle dating back to the candidacy of Barry Goldwater in 1964.

But not all Tea Party types in Florida are buying it: (Christian Science Monitor)

A straw poll of Florida tea party supporters taken Sunday night, following a tele-forum hosted by the Tea Party Patriots with three GOP presidential candidates, showed Mr. Gingrich ahead with 35 percent of the vote. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania came in second with 31 percent, and Romney was third with 18 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is not campaigning in Florida and did not take part in the tele-forum, got 11 percent.

But more-scientific polls of likely Florida GOP primary voters show a different picture. A Quinnipiac poll released Monday shows Romney beating Gingrich among self-described tea party supporters, 40 percent to 35 percent (and winning among all Florida Republicans 43 percent to 29 percent). Although an NBC/Marist poll released over the weekend shows Gingrich slightly ahead of Romney among Florida tea party supporters, 36 percent to 34 percent, it also found Romney winning in Florida overall 42 percent to 27 percent.

And there is even some word that some Sarah Palin supporters are unhappy with her supporting Mr. Gingrich.

I still think that Mr. Romney is the heavy favorite for the nomination.

Attention Whores: no, not Ms. Palin:

Donald Trump’s camp says he’s talking to “high level political operatives.”

I can confirm that over the past two weeks I have spoken with many high-level political operatives, campaign managers, finance directors — some of whom I have spoken to in the past. Most are new people from all over the country,” said Michael Cohen, executive vice president at the Trump Organization and special counsel to the reality TV star.

“Until the time Mr. Trump decides to either endorse a candidate or run himself, I am exploring on his behalf the possibilities of ensuring Mr. Trump appears on the ballot in all states, and to develop a team of professionals who could ensure a potential victory,” Cohen added.

If he runs, I wonder if he can make 1 percent of the popular vote. Will he pick Sarah Palin as his running mate? 🙂

Oh yes, here is one of the best:

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has long held a tight grip on the marionette strings of the GOP. Wielding undue influence as the head of the Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist ensures that Republican lawmakers sign his anti-tax pledge and threatens them with electoral defeat should they even think of deviating from it. Norquist has marked a successful few years, killing the deficit super committee agreement, batting down a tax increase on millionaires, and, of course, ensuring the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Pleased with his headway, Norquist is now mapping out how he can ensure further anti-tax victories by securing Republican majorities. In an interview with the National Journal, he mused that a GOP mandate would obviously enact an extension of the Bush tax cuts, work to maintain a repatriation holiday for corporate profits, and even pass House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan that jeopardizes Medicare. But when asked what Republicans should do if faced with a Democratic majority that won’t keep the tax cuts, Norquist had a simple answer: “impeach” Obama.

NJ: What if the Democrats still have control? What’s your scenario then?

NORQUIST: Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress.

I am not sure as to which “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” he is talking about. But hey, he can talk about anything he wants…and I can talk about making the New England Patriots football team. 🙂

On a more uplifting note

I’m not sure when “giving back to the country that gave you so much” ceased to be a conservative virtue. But today’s conservative political leadership is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, big butts, bikinis, economy, human sexuality, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, politics, politics/social, republicans, spandex, swimming, tax cuts, weight training | Leave a comment

19 September 2011

Frogs Several new species of frog were discovered in India, and some species that were thought to be extinct are not extinct after all:

Years of combing tropical mountain forests, shining flashlights under rocks and listening for croaks in the night have paid off for a team of Indian scientists which has discovered 12 new frog species plus three others thought to have been extinct.[…]

“Frogs are extremely important indicators not just of climate change, but also pollutants in the environment,” said the project’s lead scientist, biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju of the University of Delhi.

Many of the newly found frogs in India are rare and are living in just a single area, so they will need rigorous habitat protection, Biju told The Associated Press on Saturday. “Unfortunately in India, conservation has basically focused on the two most charismatic animals – the elephant and the tiger. For amphibians there is little interest, little funding, and frog research is not easy.”

(Professor S. D. Biju took this one of the meowing night frog; see 14 more photos starting here; go up to the right hand corner to start the slide show. They are beauties!)

Personal blogs
I am not a business person, but this person’s story on how they got a service going is interesting; it talks about web sites that link people to services and how out of control pricing can get (when there is a downward spiral in pricing).

I subscribe to the New York Times and therefore got a notice for this article that defended an attack on naturalism:

Before taking up Professor Williamson’s challenges to naturalism, it’s worth identifying some of this success in applying science to the solution of philosophical problems, some of which even have pay-offs for science. Perhaps the most notable thing about naturalism is the way its philosophers have employed Darwin’s theory of natural selection to tame purpose. In 1784 Kant wrote, “There will never be a Newton for the blade of grass.” What he meant was that physical science could never explain anything with a purpose, whether it be human thought or a flower’s bending toward the sun. That would have made everything special about living things — and especially us — safe from a purely scientific understanding. It would have kept questions about humanity the preserve of religion, mythmaking and the humanities.

Only 25 years or so later, the Newton of the blade of grass was born to the Darwin family in Shropshire, England. “On the Origin of Species” revealed how physical processes alone produce the illusion of design. Random variation and natural selection are the purely physical source of the beautiful means/ends economy of nature that fools us into seeking its designer. Naturalists have applied this insight to reveal the biological nature of human emotion, perception and cognition, language, moral value, social bonds and political institutions. Naturalistic philosophy has returned the favor, helping psychology, evolutionary anthropology and biology solve their problems by greater conceptual clarity about function, adaptation, Darwinian fitness and individual-versus-group selection. […]

Naturalism faces these questions because it won’t uncritically buy into Professor Williamson’s “default assumption … that the practitioners of a well-established discipline know what they are doing, and use the … methods most appropriate for answering its questions.” If semiotics, existentialism, hermeneutics, formalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction and post-modernism transparently flout science’s standards of objectivity, or if they seek arbitrarily to limit the reach of scientific methods, then naturalism can’t take them seriously as knowledge.

That doesn’t mean anyone should stop doing literary criticism any more than foregoing fiction. Naturalism treats both as fun, but neither as knowledge.

Amen. Jerry Coyne weighs in and his response is worth reading.

I’ll add this: I almost never get in these debates and frankly I care very little about what philosophers have to say. I really don’t see them of having much of value to add.

Dr. Coyne also points us to a…yep, New York Times article on Richard Dawkins. There is a video too.

I found it delightful reading; there are some things that the Dawkins follower might not know.

Paul Krugman explains that our economy needs help now and not some “some pain now for some good later” type stuff:

And the austerity has been real. In Europe, troubled nations like Greece and Ireland have imposed savage cuts, even as stronger nations have imposed milder austerity programs of their own. In the United States, the modest federal stimulus of 2009 has faded out, while state and local governments have slashed their budgets, so that over all we’ve had a de facto move toward austerity not so different from Europe’s.

Strange to say, however, confidence hasn’t surged. Somehow, businesses and consumers seem much more concerned about the lack of customers and jobs, respectively, than they are reassured by the fiscal righteousness of their governments. And growth seems to be stalling, while unemployment remains disastrously high on both sides of the Atlantic.

But, say apologists for the bad results so far, shouldn’t we be focused on the long run rather than short-run pain? Actually, no: the economy needs real help now, not hypothetical payoffs a decade from now. In any case, evidence is starting to emerge that the economy’s “short run” troubles — now in their fourth year, and being made worse by the focus on austerity — are taking a toll on its long-run prospects as well. […]

Oh, and the brunt of those cuts in public spending is falling on education. Somehow, laying off hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers doesn’t seem like a good way to win the future.

In fact, when you combine the growing evidence that fiscal austerity is reducing our future prospects with the very low interest rates on U.S. government debt, it’s hard to avoid a startling conclusion: budget austerity may well be counterproductive even from a purely fiscal point of view, because lower future growth means lower tax receipts.

What should be happening? The answer is that we need a major push to get the economy moving, not at some future date, but right now. For the time being we need more, not less, government spending, supported by aggressively expansionary policies from the Federal Reserve and its counterparts abroad. And it’s not just pointy-headed economists saying this; business leaders like Google’s Eric Schmidt are saying the same thing, and the bond market, by buying U.S. debt at such low interest rates, is in effect pleading for a more expansionary policy.

And to be fair, some policy players seem to get it. President Obama’s new jobs plan is a step in the right direction, while some board members of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England — though not, sad to say, the European Central Bank — have been calling for much more growth-oriented policies.

What we really need, however, is to convince a substantial number of people with political power or influence that they’ve spent the last year and a half going in exactly the wrong direction, and that they need to make a U-turn.

Don’t expect Republicans to buy any of this. They are the party of all things Voodoo; no evidence is required for them to stick to their beliefs.

They’ll howl and bellow about socialism which for them means taking money from the deserving and giving it to the unworthy (psst: it isn’t that; it is pooling money for the collective good. Of course they are just fine doing this when they dream up a war that simply MUST be fought to “keep us safe”…but for things like schools and health care….ooohhhh nooo, THAT’S SOCIALISM!!!!!

Yes, I admit that the government sometimes makes a bad decision (e. g., Solyndra company decision; a company was touted as a successful green energy company, got a loan and went bankrupt; it turns out that someone dropped the ball on economic fact-checking). Yes, we sometimes blow it though it helps to keep our failures in perspective.

Clueless liberals Yes, let’s waste money on a primary challenge to President Obama. Did I tell you that I am planning on making the Chicago Bulls? 🙂

Oh yes, how could I forget: President Obama is coming out with a “let’s pretty please ask the millionaires to pay some more tax…pretty please?”

With a scrappy unveiling of his formula to rein in the nation’s mounting debt, President Obama confirmed Monday that he had entered a new, more combative phase of his presidency, one likely to last until next year’s election as he battles for a second term. […]

He uncharacteristically backed up that stand with a veto threat, setting up a politically charged choice for anti-tax Republicans — protect the most affluent or compromise to attack deficits. Confident in the answers most voters would make, Mr. Obama plans to hammer on that choice through 2012, reflecting the fact that the White House has all but given up hopes of a “grand bargain” with Republicans to restore fiscal balance for years to come.

“I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share,” Mr. Obama said. “We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.”

Mr. Obama also seems to have given up on his strategy of nearly a year, beginning when Republicans won control of the House last November, of being the eager-to-compromise “reasonable adult” — in the White House’s phrasing — in his relations with them. He had sought to build a personal relationship with Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, a man the White House saw as a possible partner across the aisle, in the hopes of making bipartisan progress and simultaneously winning points with independent voters who disdain partisanship. Even if the efforts produced few agreements with Republicans, the White House figured, independents would give Mr. Obama credit for trying.

Many of those on the left (myself included) thought that while he had to try, he went too far. I think that he underestimated what greedy, power hungry, entitled amoral people that he was dealing with. He needed to have just a little of…that’s right, George W Bush in him. Of course the assholes Republicans are screaming “CLASS WARFARE”, blah, blah, blah.

September 20, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, atheism, Barack Obama, biology, economics, economy, evolution, Fox News Lies Again, frogs, nature, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, science, tax cuts, taxes | Leave a comment

14 May 2011 posts

Workout notes I did these in the afternoon due to graduation.
Swimming: 10 x (25 side, 25 side, 25 free); couldn’t quite do these on the 2:15; this set took about 22:30 to do. Then I did 5 x 50 free on the 1: 54-55 mostly. Goodness, I am SLOW. But that is what one expects coming back from being off for so long. And no, I don’t anticipate getting faster anytime soon.

Weights After swimming. I didn’t superset much but rather did rotator cuff between sets…and did the exercises for BOTH shoulders.
Incline bench press: 10 x 115, 7 x 135, 6 x 135, 5 x 135
dumbbell curls: 4 sets of 10 x 25 lb.
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 140 (shoulder friendly grip)
rows (Hammer machine): medium grip: 10 x 200, 10 x 200. Narrow: 7 x 230, 7 x 230.
Sit ups: 4 x 25 (varied incline)
hip hikes, back stuff, etc.

Assorted things
Graduation: lasted 3 hours, 10 minutes. The student name readings lasted about 2 of those; that is 1 hour of preliminary yick-yack.
Ray LaHood (Secretary of Transportation and former Representative of IL-18) was the featured speaker.
He reminded us that politics in the United States has always been divisive (and featured actual fist fights at times). But he said that he is serving in President Obama’s administration because he wants to do good for America and that this is a calling that goes beyond Republican or Democrat (that got applause).
Ok…that is fairly standard “let’s all get along” boilerplate.

He mentioned that the internet atmosphere sometimes allows for less civility, though the internet is also helpful at times (e. g., in spreading some of the pro-democracy movements in the world).

He then talked about the generation of undergraduates. He mentioned that the New York Times had “almost a whole issue” devoted to “when will this generation finally grow up”…he then said “many people agree with that….but NOT ME.” I had to laugh…that is the old “hey, others say you are a scumbag but I don’t think that you are” sort of trick. Such “complements” rarely make the recipient feel good. 🙂

We also had the usual case of an administrator talking about the changes that he/she instituted; he/she wondered what the undergraduate experience would have been like without those changes……..then later, after the name reading and diploma receiving, we had someone come up and get their commission via R. O. T. C… the reserves…and got a standing ovation. My wife told me that she got tears watching this on the live stream; I got….well it meant that the exercises were over so I was happy.

Here is the President on energy policy and oil.

I don’t like all of this “new drilling” stuff as I don’t think it is a long term answer. Note: before anyone accuses me of being a hypocrite, be advised that I walk to work every day. So I do my part in conservation. 🙂

Back to the President’s program: He talks about the removal of the tax breaks, but in a letter sent by his campaign to supporters, he warns us that this tax subsidy removal will not happen with the current composition of Congress, so don’t expect it:

The CEOs from the five major oil companies — which together booked $36 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011 alone — went to the Senate yesterday to try to justify the $4 billion in tax giveaways they’re receiving this year.

It’s a head-smackingly obvious example of how broken Washington is that there’s even a question about this. These companies don’t need and don’t deserve taxpayer money — especially with a budget deficit to close and gas prices at or near record highs.

Even worse is the fact that when the Senate tries to strip these oil company giveaways, it’s likely that a minority of senators will block a vote from happening. And even if the Senate manages to pass a bill eliminating the giveaways, there’s little chance it will be brought up for a vote in the House.

Here’s why: These five companies are expert manipulators of the money-for-influence game in Washington that the President is working to change. It’s simple math — they spent more than $145 million last year on nearly 800 lobbyists whose job is to defeat bills like this one. The $4 billion they’ll likely get to keep as a result represents a 2,700% return on their investment.

I’d like to be able to say with certainty that you can do something to help pass this bill, but the fact is that at this stage we may not be able to affect the outcome of next week’s vote.

What we can do is build a campaign that will keep a spotlight on issues like this and the fundamental reasons why Washington doesn’t work.

I enjoy the blog Conservation Report. Here is a video that a recent post linked to:

This is about how a colorblind fish (cuttlefish) manages to camouflage itself. Note that we see an experiment in which the cuttlefish is placed against a background that does NOT occur in nature.

Human evolution
New evidence has come in: it appears that Neanderthals actually lived as recently as 33,000 years ago; this is based on a tool find in the Ural mountains:

A Neanderthal-style toolkit found in the frigid far north of Russia’s Ural Mountains dates to 33,000 years ago and may mark the last refuge of Neanderthals before they went extinct, according to a new Science study.

Another possibility is that anatomically modern humans crafted the hefty tools using what’s known as Mousterian technology associated with Neanderthals, but anthropologists believe that’s unlikely.

“We consider it overwhelmingly probable that the Mousterian technology we describe was performed by Neanderthals, and thus that they indeed survived longer, that is until 33,000 years ago, than most other scientists believe,” co-author Jan Mangerud, a professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, told Discovery News.

Most anthropologists believe modern humans began to replace Neanderthals starting around 75,000 to 50,000 years ago. Project leader Ludovic Slimak said the study suggests “that Neanderthals did not disappear due to climate shifts or cultural inferiority. It is clear that, showing such adaptability, the Mousterian cultures can no longer be considered as archaic.” […]

Note: some of us actually have some Neanderthal DNA; evidently some mated with us in our distant past.

I wasn’t going to talk about this topic, but some philosopher posted the following comment on their Facebook wall:

Question of the Day: Why are most (not all) atheists so terrified to admit that their theological beliefs involve an element of faith?

Of course the hypothesis of the question is completely wrong:
1. atheists, in general aren’t “terrified” and
2. not believing in some supernatural entity is hardly “faith”

What many will never understand is that atheism is really about “belief” and an atheist doesn’t believe in gods, deities, spirits or whatever. That requires no “faith”.
Not it is true that one might deem the atheist position to be “more likely” based on the fact that one uses evidence (e. g. lack of design in nature) to make one’s conclusion, and when one does that, one assumes that the laws of science operate consistently. That assumption might be false so accepting the laws of science might be considered some sort of faith by some. I don’t see it that way; I accept the laws of science because they have consistently worked…and I am happy to revise them when new evidence comes in. Science can be falsified….”faith” can’t.

True, one might see this process of revising the laws based on evidence to be based on a sort of “faith”, but I have little patience with this sort of word-salad play. I am not interested in it.

The other thing about atheism that many don’t get: when I say that I am an atheist I am NOT saying that I can prove that no god exists: that is impossible! I am saying “I don’t believe it”. But few atheists say that they know “for certain” that there is nothing beyond the ability of our senses to detect, or that there is something that we haven’t detected yet….not even Richard Dawkins! Here is an excerpt from a discussion between him and Francis Collins from Time Magazine (and I respect both of these men):

“DAWKINS: To me, the right approach is to say we are profoundly ignorant of these matters. We need to work on them. But to suddenly say the answer is God–it’s that that seems to me to close off the discussion.

TIME: Could the answer be God?

DAWKINS: There could be something incredibly grand and incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding.

COLLINS: That’s God.

DAWKINS: Yes. But it could be any of a billion Gods. It could be God of the Martians or of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small–at the least, the onus is on you to demonstrate why you think that’s the case.”

In short, if there is some “spirit of the universe”, it might have NOTHING to do with any deity that any human has worshiped.

It would be foolish for me to claim that I KNOW that no such entity exists, but I am comfortable in rejecting any of the gods that I’ve heard about.

The other topic of discussion was how pervasive religion is among humans. The claim was that “if so many believe this, then this belief cannot possibly be delusional”. It just so happens that Jerry Coyne talked about a similar topic (not as a part of our thread). He was talking about an Oxford University study about how pervasive religious belief is. Coyne critiques one of the conclusions:

“If you’ve got something so deep-rooted in human nature, thwarting it is in some sense not enabling humans to fulfill their basic interests,” Trigg said.

“There is quite a drive to think that religion is private,” he said, arguing that such a belief is wrong. “It isn’t just a quirky interest of a few, it’s basic human nature.”

“This shows that it’s much more universal, prevalent, and deep-rooted. It’s got to be reckoned with. You can’t just pretend it isn’t there,” he said.

And the Oxford study, known as the Cognition, Religion and Theology Project, strongly implies that religion will not wither away, he said.

“The secularization thesis of the 1960s – I think that was hopeless,” Trigg concluded.

That’s hogwash. As we can see from the tremendous secularization of the world over the past few centuries, especially in Europe, it is not impossible for religion to wither. The pervasiveness of a belief gives no warrant that that belief will be with us forever. Look how pervasive, only a century ago, was the idea that women were second-class citizens. This was true in nearly every society. Ditto for gays and ethnic minorities. And look how attitudes have changed! Granted, women, for instance, still get the short end of the stick, but in many parts of the world they’re much better off. Most of us now realize that people should be treated as equals, regardless of gender, color, and sexual orientation. That would have been inconceivable a few hundred years ago.

He is right of course; in fact some of the data about how secular much of Europe has become can be found here. Mano Singham points out that this change (from mostly religious to secular) has occurred in about one generation.

So we’ll see how long it lasts….I certainly won’t live to see religion’s extinction but perhaps when I am in my final days, maybe the United States will be like Europe is now.

May 15, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, alternative energy, atheism, Barack Obama, biology, economics, economy, evolution, IL-18, Illinois, lahood, nature, Peoria, Peoria/local, Personal Issues, religion, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, science, swimming, tax cuts, taxes, weight training | 3 Comments

Former Bush Adviser Hubbard Weighs in on Tax Cut Debate | PBS NewsHour | Sept. 22, 2010

In the first of several conversations on whether Bush-era should be extended, Gwen Ifill speaks with Columbia University’s business school Dean Glenn Hubbard, who helped craft the cuts when he served as an economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Former Bush Adviser Hubbard Weighs in on Tax Cu…, posted with vodpod

September 23, 2010 Posted by | bush-era, business & economy, deadline, Democrats, extension, glenn hubbard, gwen ifill, jim lehrer, newshour, north america, poor, Republican, rich, tax cuts | Leave a comment