If you don’t want to see changes to the healthcare system in this country, then there are two things that I can say with reasonable certainty:

1. You, your family, and those you care most about have good healthcare insurance

2. You don’t know (or simply don’t care) that millions of children don’t have healthcare insurance, thousands of Americans die every year due to a lack of healthcare insurance, the sickest often can’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions (even after paying into the system for years), and that costs are skyrocketing.

(more…)

Advertisements

Recently I was watching a clip from a McCain interview.  I’m not sure but it might have been from The View.  In any case, when asked about issues related to Separation of Church and State, he resorted to an old argument about how the founding fathers based the Constitution on Christian values, and specifically mentioned how “In God We Trust” (IGWT) is on the currency.

I’ll save the topic about the founding fathers motivations for another time.  There is good evidence to suggest that Jefferson in particular favored a secular state, but let’s just talk about the US Currency.

Many people cite the IGWT motto and attribute it to the founding fathers.  The FACTS are that the first instance of IGWT being on currency was in 1864 on a two cent coin.  According to the Wikipedia entry, this was in response to growing religious sentiment after the US Civil War.  IGWT first appeared on paper money in 1957.

In 1956, Congress adopted the phrase as the official motto of the United States as a Cold War measure: measure: “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper” to “remind all of us of this self-evident truth” that “as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.” (see Wikipedia reference [7])

So next time you hear someone making the IGWT falicy, feel free to correct them.  It’s not a matter of opinion.  It’s simply a matter of historical facts.

McCain and Obama were at the Alfred E. Smith fundraiser last night and each took some good-natured shots at each other and them selves.  It’s nice to get some humor in this tough election and especially good to see that these guys really are human beings and are capable of laughing at themselves.

Of course, the intertube is filled today with people saying how ‘their guy’ was funnier than the other.  Can’t we just let up on the bashing for a few minutes and enjoy the fact that these guys are real people too?

Neurologist Robert Burton just released a book entitled On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not which promotes a neurological reason behind our stubbornness.  I haven’t read it but it sounds like a very interesting subject.  He discusses it in an interview at SciAm.com.

The interview discusses a bit of his take on why it happens and examples, specifically the bias towards political candidates.

Are you a rabid supporter of a candidate and believe everything he/she says?  Do you have a ‘gut feeling’ that one is telling the truth or a suspicion that one is lying?  Dr. Burton would say that those feelings are neurological and have evolved as part of the brain’s reward system and it’s ability to avoid ambiguity.  He hopes that by explaining how the brain works to people, it will help them to understand why feelings of certainty exist and how to look beyond them to the facts.

Personally, I think that most people don’t so much care about why they think the way they do.  Most aren’t in the least bit curious why they think ‘everyone else is wrong’.  In my opinion, most would reject these ideas just as they do any others that do not support their assumptions, beliefs, faith, politics, and other ideologies.  Am I certain about this?  I suppose that I am.

Not much to say.  Both candidates held their own and avoided the mistakes their supporters feared.  Alas, no train wreck, BUT

As is often case in debates, numerous statements are made that are incorrect.  Why let a few facts get in the way of good rhetoric, right?  If you’re interested in the mistakes, check to see how your pick did here: factcheck.org

This political season has been  the most interesting one that I can really remember.  I have followed the primary season, conventions, and run up to the election closer than ever before.  I’ve tried not to get too caught up in the politics, irrational exuberance, or outright disdain that the media and public at large have displayed.  Rather, I have sat and watched, read, and listened to what people and the press have to say.  It’s been more of an exercise into understanding human nature.

Tonight is the much anticipated VP debate.  I admit that I have my opinions about the candidates and know who I’ll vote for but I also know that my vote will truly not count.  But that is another subject…

(more…)

Since John McCain picked Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, there have been numerous reports in the news regarding her faith, the churches that she has belonged to, and her public statements regarding religion.  Is this fair game?  You bet it is.

Separation of church and state is a fundamental principal upon which this country was founded. Trying to gauge any politician’s views related to religious freedom and separation issues is important.  Palin’s history makes this even more so because of her affiliation with fundamentalist Christian churches.

(more…)