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Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 04:57 AM PDT

I Made the New York Times!

by SteveG

My new book Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion got reviewed in The New York Times.  

Gimbel is an engaging writer. In demonstrating the obvious, he takes readers on enlightening excursions through the nature of Judaism, Hegelian philosophy, wherever his curiosity leads.
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Today is the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, a book that changed our view of biology, ourselves, and science itself. What is interesting about it is that it was a book that was never meant to be written. Darwin was working on his "big book" on natural selection when fellow naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace independently arrived at the idea of descent with modification, that is, Darwin's theory of evolution. With his hand forced, Darwin wrote The Origin as an introduction, an abstract to the more comprehensive work he intended to produce.

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Richard Cohen has written a column in The Washington Post asking that we have an open-minded fair consideration of torture. sure, he admits, Cheney has been a liar. But what if he was right?

If Cheney is right, then let the debate begin: What to do about enhanced interrogation methods? Should they be banned across the board, always and forever? Can we talk about what is and not just what ought to be?

I agree. The point Cohen is making is that this is a utilitarian calculation. We need to balance the value of lost human lives against one human feeling pain. Which is the least undesirable of bad choices? It seems a question for which we ought to set aside partisan posturing and engage in honest conversation.

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Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 05:35 AM PST

The Power of Radio

by SteveG

Today happens to be the birthdays of both Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Probably a good time to think about radio.

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It was 145 years ago today that Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the cemetery to hold those slain in the battle.  It is a spot I pass every morning.  While the old part of the cemetery has small markers arranged in a circle, the fallen grouped by state, the headstones in the newer section holding the remains of those who fought in later wars glow white with an eerie symmetry in the morning sun.  The pattern -- straight, offset lines of smooth regular beveled rectangles -- stands out against the trees and rolling hills of the battlefield on which it is set.  This artificiality, the unmistakable touch of man, contrasts with the beauty of Nature and gives a stark sense of the difference between the world we live in and that which we choose to do to it and to each other.  

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Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 04:24 PM PST

A Deal Lieberman Couldn't Refuse?

by SteveG

Seems to me that there are four possible explanations for what happened today:

(1)  The caucus believes that they are at 60 with Begich and Franken and the super-majority was more important than Lieberman's behavior.

(2)  Obama is serious about ending partisanship as we know it and used this as a symbol of that change.

(3)  The weak-kneed, spineless DC Dems collapsed yet again because that's just what they do.

or...

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Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 06:20 PM PDT

Alright, We'll Call It a Draw

by SteveG

Gimmick.  After saying the fundamentals of our economy are strong, after saying we have time for a commission, after saying it was just about greedy CEOs, suddenly John McCain calls for a suspension of the Presidential campaign because of the economic crisis cannot afford even another moment.  With poll numbers plummeting, with more and more coming to light about McCain's campaign manager's firm being paid millions of dollars for access to McCain specifically for the deregulation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, with the press not falling for the fake Palin UN photo op, with Palin's not so hot interview with Katie Couric (Couric rating only slightly more difficult an interview than Larry King and Barney the Purple Dinosaur), McCain now calls for the campaigns to be suspended.  It brought to mind one line:  Alright, we'll call it a draw.

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It is understandable in the midsts of a tightening race that the selection of Joe Biden would be seen first through the horse race lens.  But this is the wrong way to look at the selection.  Selecting Joe Biden as VP could have been the most important move Obama makes in terms of creating real change.

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As a philosopher concerned with logic and language, political speech provides ready to hand examples of standard fallacies from opponent caricaturing ad hominem attacks to position misconstruing strawman arguments.  But we should take note of a intricate rhetorical ploy that has that is dominating the discourse from the McCain campaign recently, specifically in the cases of off-shore drilling and the efficacy of the surge.  We can call this trick the "cage and frame" strategy.

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The postmortems of Hillary Clinton's Presidential run have all rightly mentioned the blatant and horrible sexism that was directed at her, often from major media figures. Where the racism question was treated in code words (with the exception of some like Michelle Malkin, of course), it was shocking to see how open people were in using misogynistic language and images.

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Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 04:42 AM PDT

John McCain is So Old...

by SteveG

Working on some new material:

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Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 04:02 AM PDT

A Copernican Election

by SteveG

Copernicus changed nothing in the universe. His heliocentric theory merely changed the way we looked at the universe. Sometimes that shift of mind is more radical than actual alterations in the world.

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