Archives For Off The Top

Random things that fly off the top of my mind

2015-02-25_09-04-10

Please Rudy just go away…… :)

Rabbit Hole Fox News

Let me start out with the theme for this post. The Internet is a double-edged sword. It allows the free flow of massive amounts of information but it also allow the free flow of massive amounts of mis-information. The crux of the interview that the PBS Newshour quote below comes from is about how people pick and choose which science to believe. Lets face it much the info you can find on the Internet is without any type of documented foundation. Anyone, including me, can put out their opinions on any topic they choose. Now let’s go to the quote:

I think one of the differences today is just the Internet. It has changed the whole information universe. It’s democratized, small-D, information out there. There are fewer sort of gatekeepers of knowledge.

Instead, people go out and seek information, and they often find what they’re looking for that reinforces their belief. The Internet, you know, it doesn’t facilitate consensus, as anyone has noticed who’s gone on the Internet. Instead, it creates these sort of filter bubbles, these rabbit holes, these echo chambers. And these communities of sort of alternative knowledge develop that are often in opposition to the scientific mainstream….

So that’s part of what we’re seeing, is that there are lots of attitudes that are influenced by longstanding values, religious beliefs, political beliefs, other personal experiences. And that’s actually a longstanding pattern we have seen many years, but we have new issues….

Well, I think that there are people who are demagogues in the media world that benefit from, you know, dividing and conquering. They want to have people who — they want to say, trust only me on this issue think the stakes are large for all of us in this more technological, engineered world, where we need to get this stuff right

SOURCE: Why we pick and choose which science to believe.

If we don’t take the time to parse through what we find on the Internet it can lead us to live our life in filter bubbles, rabbit holes, and echo chambers (I love that analogy). The Internet is kind of like the Bible, if we look hard enough and are willing to ignore everything else we can find a phrase or two to back up our current worldview no matter what it is.  The biggest example of this tunnel-vision mentality is Fox News with MSNBC not far behind. Fox News claims to be “fair and balanced” but most everyone, I’m sure even Fox’s regular viewers, know in their heart there is no truth to that statement. Sadly I do recognize that many get all their news from that source. Will Rogers, my hero, said that if you only have one source of news then you quickly become a fool. I think those words apply  maybe even more so today than they did almost one-hundred years ago when he said them.

I Love America, But…

February 24, 2015 — 2 Comments

I love America and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world. But I’m sure there are those out there that have a very different opinion  of me. Some who accidentally come across my blog here have flatly told me so.  They think I must not love my country because I say critical things about it. Sadly I’m pretty sure that is the mentality that prompted Rudy Giuliani to recently say our president doesn’t love America or anyone in it.

2015-02-23_10-17-18I do not believe that the president loves America,” the former New York City mayor said Wednesday. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

SOURCE:Obama Derangement Syndrome -Vox.

Maybe those of us who say critical things about our country need to say more often “I love my country, but it is not perfect.”  We need to always strive to be better tomorrow than we are today. In fact those who seem to have a blindness to that belief are more dangerous to our future than I could ever be.

Charles Blow in a New York Times Op-Ed made the comment that “In fact, that (criticism) is a measure of love. Honest critique is a pillar of patriotism”.   One of the main differences between the U.S. and say Russia is that we are allowed, some would say encouraged, to criticize the actions of our leaders.  We are different from most of the rest of the world in that regard. In Egypt a blogger much like myself who made some mild criticism of that country was recently sentenced to receive one thousand lashes which is almost a death sentence because he blogged something they didn’t like. We are a great country because at least some of us in an attempt to make our country better speak out where we might fall short of our founding principles and morality.

When Rudy said the quote above he was quickly admonished by several in his party but not all.  But there were some of the presidential-wants-bes who are probably afraid of offending those in the base of their party by defending President Obama and didn’t have the courage to do so. I think those few (Rubio, Walker, and Jindal) have a distorted sense of their party’s base, or at least I hope they do.

Rudy needs to go back to his Catholic roots to learn not  to judge what is in others hearts, that is the business of God and He said as much.  I love this country but it is not perfect….

 

2015-02-08_09-07-37Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah along with GOP Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan have put together a replacement for ObamaCare. And while neither their supporters nor detractors are likely to admit it, the plan bears a striking resemblance to, well, ObamaCare.

Health-care markets present a particular set of problems, with a limited range of possible solutions. So all realistic proposals for reform are going to have some basic structural similarities. The differences arise in what policymakers prioritize within those bounds.

That’s what really divides the left from the right on this issue. And that’s the reason Republicans seem perpetually doomed to keep offering replacements for ObamaCare that are basically suckier versions of ObamaCare.

SOURCE:  Why the GOP is forever doomed to try replacing ObamaCare with suckier versions of ObamaCare.

It’s nice to finally hear that after fifty some attempts to take healthcare away from millions, three Republican Senators have finally come up with a GOP alternative to Obamacare. But, guess what it is pretty much he same thing and I am not surprised given that Obamacare is nothing like we progressives would like to see. All the world, except us it seems, know that is a single-payer system is the only way to get our outrageously expensive healthcare system under control. But until we can wrench control of the congress away from the Republicans that simply will never happen.

But maybe we should salute those three guys for at least putting in an effort. I bet it took them and their staffs at least a couple of days to clip and paste their plan from all the GOP rhetoric and that was probably as much work as they did in the past year.  At least I see that they left the “preexisting conditions’ thing the same as Obamacare at least until your current employer lays you off and you lose your health insurance then it will go back to no insurance for you. Wasn’t that nice of them?

That moves on to the next topic as brought up by the editorial cartoon above. It seems that all these unregulated health supplement business are advertising things that are not in the products they sell.  These are billion dollar businesses supplying us with pills that consist of rice and wheat flour along with a minute amount of houseplants and calling them by whatever name they choose.  The GOP, who are big backers of Laissez-faire aren’t concerned about any of this. They say it is up to each of us to discover bogus things and that it is simply not the government’s business to get between businesses and their customers. Of course those progressives among us think that it very much is the government’s business to protect us from fraud and abuse.

Too bad we can’t label those in congress as “Bogus” “Misleading” and “Harmful”. In my mind those folks do more damage than anything else to our country. Let’s demand the truth in labeling both for the so-called health supplements and the people’s representatives.