I’m not asking which two candidates you want to get to the final debate, or which are most representative of their party, or anything like that. I’m asking which two would make for the most interesting debate.
Today, being a liberal is almost entirely a symbolic project.
By which he means it’s about believing and saying things that don’t actually matter. Like being all worked up about global warming, but then driving around in cars, using the electricity grid, etc.
Liberals are right not to go out of their way to fight global warming. Assuming the alarmists’ models are correct, terminating all emissions of CO2 from the United States, which would require not just cessation of all transportation and industrial activity, but the death of all Americans, would affect global temperatures only imperceptibly. Liberals don’t yammer about the climate because they think they can do something about it, they are merely taking a symbolic stand, mostly to distinguish themselves from conservatives.
Yes, of course there are a couple conservative news outlets: Fox News and The Wall Street Journal. And there are a couple influential conservative websites, like Breitbart. But by and large, the media is liberal, and the media actively covers for the Democrats.
But the trend these days is for people to get more of their “news” from social media. So … does social media have a bias?
A little bit, it seems, at least in this respect: liberals are more likely to get their news from social media.
I’m not sure exactly why that is, but I have my theories. My main theory is that liberals are far more aggressive about their political views than conservatives are. Most of my liberal Facebook friends post far more political junk than my conservative Facebook friends do, and my observation is that liberals get far more incensed — i.e., they are far more likely to grab the rhetorical tomahawk and go on a scalping raid when somebody dares to offend their sensibilities — than conservatives are.
This would naturally make conservatives less likely to want to bother with all that. Most people want to be in places where they are affirmed, not in places where they are attacked.
I think that’s part of it, but I realize there’s a bit of a problem with that theory, which is the confirmation bias inherent in a Facebook feed. IOW, Facebook tends to show you (a) posts from your friends, who are more likely than average to share your views, and (2) things that you will like.
But that’s the feed itself, not the comments, where the real jihad takes place.
Anyway, what do you think about social media? Does it have a political bias, and if so, how and why?
I think the attitude exemplified in the title of this post — that is, the ability to see that another person is being reasonable, even if you disagree — is at the heart of civilized dialog. That kind of broad-mindedness is one of the aims of education. Or it should be.
But that doesn’t seem to be the way things are going. We’re getting more narrow-minded all the time.
In the modern world, if people disagree with you, they shout you down. They browbeat. If they can, they ruin your career, your prospects, and your life.
It’s my completely subjective impression that the left does this more than the right. At least these days. In the past it may have been different, and it may be different in the future.
It would be interesting to design a study to test that hypothesis, and I think this could be done online. For example, on sites where you can both like and dislike a post (or plus or minus, or whatever), it seems you could get a sense of who is trying to shut down the opposition by noting how many people dislike the remarks of their ideological opponents.
That might not be the best way to measure it, but … there should be a way.
I’ve read a bit about the Civil War, and I have to confess that I really like the Confederacy. I like underdogs. I think the South was right on the question of its right to secede. I admire the courage of the South. I like General Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. There are, quite simply, lots of things I admire about them.
But then there’s slavery, which far outweighs any of those virtues.
It’s past time to be done with the confederate flag.
I know that people defend flying the confederate flag by saying it stands for state’s rights. Okay, it does, in part. But it also stands for slavery and racism, and it will always be interpreted that way. So when you fly a confederate flag, people will interpret that way. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.
So let’s make a new flag. A “states’ rights” flag. Or, let’s use an old flag, like the “don’t tread on me” flag.
But let’s be done with flying the confederate flag.
I listened to Donald Trump on CSPAN radio today, and he makes some good points. I’m not saying that I like him, or that I agree with him on everything, but like Bernie Sanders, he brings a new voice to the tired, stale, Democrat-Republican script we’ve been hearing for so many years. It will be interesting to see him in the debates.
John Matthews' pleasant, newlywed life is about to go completely sideways when his formerly pagan wife, Jillian, finally tells him the secret she's been keeping for years. The new threat to their marriage and their future sends both their life into chaos.
Pipe Dreams is an urban fantasy / psychological thriller set in and around Washington, D.C. When John Matthews starts smoking his grandfather’s pipe (mysteriously obtained) he starts to see visions of his dead wife. Is he going insane, or has he discovered a dark family secret? Can John beat the forces that conspire to send his life into a downward spiral? And can he break the constraints of time and space and re-unite with his lost love?
The Hidden Village
Warring clans, a missing son, and a mysterious role-playing game at the center of it all. Geof Franklin gets the late-night phone call every parent dreads and learns that his son has been missing for weeks. As he relentlessly searches the city for Alek, he gets pulled into the orbit of a cult-like sub-culture of clans that live by their own rules and think nothing of killing anyone who stands in their way. To have any hope of reaching his son he has to keep digging, but he's digging himself into more and more trouble -- with the mysterious clans, and with the law.
Do star-crossed lovers share the same fate in all possible worlds? No matter what world they find themselves in, John and Jillian can't seem to help falling into each other's arms, but the tale isn't always the same. This collection of two novellas and one short story explores how these two lovers interact in three parallel worlds. It includes The Witch's Promise, Pipe Dreams, and A Collision of Worlds.
Jeremy Mitchell is a refugee from a separatist, anti-technology community who is a fish out of water in the high-tech society of the 21st century. He recklessly plunges himself into his new environment and finds himself caught in a confusing web of technology and intrigue. Powerful forces try to make him a pawn in a contest between rival intelligence organizations, but he doesn't play along with their game and makes his own rules. His loyalties are tested by a budding love affair with a young college student, who, along with her computer geek girlfriend, are unintentionally pulled into the conflict. Paperback: $9.99 Kindle: $2.99
Maybe your spouse just bought you a brewing kit and you want to learn a little more about this home brewing thing. Or maybe you're just curious. If so, this is the book for you. There are a lot of details in brewing and sometimes it can get overwhelming. Beginning brewers often say they worry they're not worrying about the right things. That's why they need this book. The general rule is -- don't worry. There are a few things you need to pay attention to, but by all means, chill. Home brewing ingredients are so good these days that if you're moderately careful you can make really good beer at home. Without worrying.
Beginner's Guide to All-Grain Brewing
If you've tried basic homebrewing and are curious about all-grain brewing, this is the book for you. It's a quick and easy introduction to the essentials. It covers what you need to know without going into too much detail or the geeky specifics. It explains the basics about grains, what goes on in the mash and lauter tun, what you need to know about equipment and process, and provides practical tips, schedules and calculators to make sure you know how to brew your first all-grain batch.
Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap: 50 Politically Incorrect Thoughts for Men
When it comes to love, sex, dating and marriage, the world has gone crazy. The modern view is both stupid and destructive, but it's rarely questioned. It's thrown in our faces from every angle and has so infiltrated our culture that we don't even recognize it. We just breathe it in with the air. Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap asks young men to stop and think about it for a while, and presents a completely different view of how the sexes should relate. Available on kindle for just $2.99. (Note, this book was formerly titled "Before You Marry.")
The Head Game
Janet is a thoughtful, introspective geek with a ditzy friend who doesn't grasp the significance of the life-threatening mind game Janet has talked herself into.
Awkward Ollie and the Stolen Banana
Mix a weird boy who mutters, won’t stand up straight and has no friends, with a vindictive, nasty girl and what do you get? Spells, curses, trouble with the principal, detention, and … a trip to the hospital.
If you were in middle school you’d stay as far away from Awkward Ollie as you could manage.
Allison Warren is a washed up lawyer who is trying to make a career as a female detective / PI. Her first case involves a college friend who got in over her head with some neighborhood toughs. The cover illustration is by my pal Jake Warrenfeltz. Get it now for $0.99.
The Security Breach
This is a very short story about a chief security officer at a government contractor. He's hauled before a panel investigating a sexual harassment complaint -- against him. While he's away from his desk somebody is taking advantage of the opportunity and hacking the company servers, which contain sensitive government information. Is the accuser in on the attack? Was the harassment claim part of a larger gambit? Get it now for just 99 cents!
Tales from Crow Hill
This collection of exciting short stories explores a wide variety of themes and settings. A patriarch is stuck in a world ruled by women. A murderer is troubled by a religious tract. A hat transforms a shy man into a chick magnate and lands him in trouble with the mob. A possessed woman struggles to find meaning to her life after her demon is cast out. A nightmare experience in the office. A "family values" guy caught in a sordid affair. A man who fathers a child on a witch. You never know what you'll find in Tales from Crow Hill. Get it now for just $2.99.
Shy Hans can't make any progress with the lovely Sara and is afraid to approach her, but then a mysterious hat gives Hans the skill and confidence of an experienced pick-up artist. As he learns how to use the hat he discovers that he has his choice of many beautiful women. Will Hans stay devoted to Sara? Is there a secret price that comes with use of the hat? And has Hans gone too far in dating the fabulous Julia, the girlfriend of a dangerous gangster? Get it now for just $0.99.
Sam is a patriarch caught in a world ruled by women. In this dystopian future, men can't go to college, work white collar jobs, or even own books. They do all the hard and dangerous work that keeps the economy moving, while a select few of the most gifted women rule society and lead ostentatious lives of privilege. Other women are left to breed. Sam isn't the kind of guy to take this lying down. Kindle: $0.99 The cover art for this eBook is from delafo at fiverr.com.
The Inner Voice
Al knows exactly what Johnson is up to, and he isn't going to allow him to get away with it any longer. This human cancer has to be stopped before he ruins even more lives. Justice has to be done. But Al has to move carefully. Purchases for the job need to be discreet, and untraceable. He needs to learn how to make his own weapons that will leave no evidence at the scene of the crime. All the while, the tech guys at the office are watching, ... and Al wonders if he'll ever resolve his inner turmoil. Get it now for just $0.99.
Attack of the Tinkers
This is a collection of short stories based around the concepts in The Hidden Village, an (as-yet) imaginary game for city dwellers to play in their off hours -- at lunch or happy hour, or as they wander the city streets. The participants join a guild and compete with one another for members, points and territory. But there’s a secret purpose to the game that the players don’t know about. Get it now on the Kindle.