1) Cain dropped out. Finally. I'm still waiting for the moment I can also ignore Newt or Perry or Bachmann again. That day will come however. The thing that bothers me most about the Cain mutiny is that it took a supposed affair to sink him. Apparently payouts for sexual harassment, accusations thereof, and an accusation of sexual assault to boot are non-issues to conservatives. Cain's media and public defences were so ill-handled that this itself should have been judged as a basis for dismissal from the field of "candidates sane persons will support". Either I've over-estimated the number of remaining sane conservatives or there's a much greater insular tendency of conservatives to live in the world pre-determined for them by their faith and their faith in Faux News media worlds. Actually, given Cain's so implausibly stupid policy proscriptions, combined with powerful allergies to declaring a working knowledge of anything at all,, even the most basic facts available, I suspect both are true possibilities. Presumably he is much smarter than he was made to look by all of this, but I doubt the media bubble he has lived in and was working within that insulated him from having to think hard about issues was doing him any favours.
In related election cycle news, it's starting to sound like Gary Johnson may end up mounting a Libertarian candidacy because Republicans as a party haven't had his back in these debate exclusions. If so, I'll at least have someone to vote for for once. Which is a lot more fun than choosing between candidates whose policies I actively despise. I'd be happier if Huntsman was higher in the polls than Romney. But I'm not a conservative or a Republican either. Huntsman's non-foreign policy (with the crucial exception of Iranian policies), non-entitlement/defence cut related policies don't exactly enamor me to him either (everyone since Reagan, maybe even since Roosevelt, has said they would cut agricultural subsidies, I'll believe it when I see it. And running away from NCLB would be a whole lot nicer if he also backed tax credits for education to create educational markets. Turning it over to local and state boards terrifies me just as much as the intrusions of federal controls that Gingrich, for instance, wants). I'd prefer cutting and abolishing corporate income taxes instead of capital gains and dividends for instance. Income inequality being what it is after all. But he's otherwise the most solid candidate they have over there. I'm assuming his tone is why liberals aren't running terrified at his stances on social conservative issues (where he's more conservative than most) and also is why conservatives hate him (for the: he doesn't piss off liberals!, He must not be a conservative! logic). And hence why I don't have to think too much about him until 2016. This has been the post about Jon Huntsman for the year of 2011 in other words.
2) Georgia should not even be up for discussion as included in NATO. The fact that Rubio has been trying to bring that back up as a topic indicates that the neo-conservative base is still alive and well and strong. A puny disorganised country that picks a fight with a much larger and powerful nation on its borders under the logic that it has received assurances of support from distant and vaguely aligned nations (but who have no treaty obligations to fulfill and no actual national interests at stake) is not a nation-state that belongs in a mutual defence treaty of any kind. Much less a complex (and mostly defunct) arrangement like NATO. I don't care if the much larger powerful nation is Russia. In fact. That's probably an even better reason to ignore Georgia than it is to ally with it. The historical impetus to oppose Russian affairs diplomatically and militarily (for whatever military force projection Russia has anymore outside of regional affairs), is already strong enough without needing alliances with participants in actual shooting wars with Russia in the recent past. Particularly those who STARTED said wars. We should regard anyone who does that, that isn't us or China, as criminally insane.
3) I really liked the recycling toxic waste part. But then I'm already a nuclear power hawk. Personally I'd rather we have a use for the stuff we don't want relating to the already running nuclear power plants than have to figure out how to store the shit for 20000 years. Somehow this doesn't seem like a compelling argument to nuclear power doves. I guess I understand why people fear invisible neutrons bombarding their bodies, but when I look at the death tolls annually from coal and oil and even hydroelectric power, and I look at the cost of solar technology and the present utility of wind (and batteries), I have to say, nuclear looks a lot safer, cleaner than the carbon fuels, and it's at least cheaper than solar. And if we can expand it to include using military grade depleted fuel stocks, so much the better.
4) This is fascinating. Essentially justice and vengeance are viewed as the same by people who find apologies and forgiveness unappealing. Coincidentally, I would expect that these are exactly the sort of people whose main role model was putatively based around the concept of forgiveness. The self-esteem model makes intuitive sense. I'm surprised that people are that surprised that "justice" is viewed in conflict with "contrition" though. Considering the views many people have on crime and criminal penalties (death penalty for drug smugglers!), I would be surprised if people were able to hold these two concepts simultaneously.
Linky Friday: The Scientific Darkness
1 hour ago