Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Tour De France is Starting on June 30: Some Factoids that Might Interest You

By Tom Kando

When my knees became too creaky to run marathons, I switched to road biking. As a child growing up in France, I was  an avid road biker. The Tour de France was the greatest annual sport event, and I not only followed it fervently every year, but I saw it live many times, as the racers approached Paris on their last stage and rode through the small suburban town where we lived.
In the early 21st century, I picked up biking again both as a participant and as a spectator.  I spent some time researching the Tour de France on some websites. Read more...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's not a Bird, it's not a Plane, it's a Tax!

by Madeleine Kando

The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate took me so by surprise that I still cannot believe it. It looks like the Republicans’ appeal to try to overturn the Reform bit them in the ass big time. Whether the Justices came to their decision because they were trying to protect their own image, to follow the middle road or to try to convince the public that the Supreme Court hasn't been 'politicized', the bottom line is that this is a historic moment, both from a personal perspective and for America in general. Read more...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World

By Tom Kando

I just read David Deutsch’s The Beginning of Infinity (2011). It is  impossible to do justice to this masterpiece  in a brief review.

Deutsch has written a compelling opus  about humanity, our role in the Universe,  our future,  what is true and  what is nonsense among  the things  we believe, and most importantly, the hope that through science we shall continue to create true knowledge and thus progress ad infinitum.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Universal Health Care's Struggle Continues

by Madeleine Kando

I have tried to understand why so many Americans are against health care reform. To me, a country without universal health care is not a civilized country, it is a barbaric country. Is America a barbaric country? Maybe one has to go way back in history to understand why America is so reluctant to provide this most basic of human right to its citizens.

Germany was one of the first western European countries to provide compulsory sickness insurance back in 1883. Austria, Hungary, Norway, Britain, Russia, and the Netherlands followed suit. In the early 20th century Sweden, Denmark, France and Switzerland also adopted universal health care. The primary reason for these early programs was protection against wage loss due to sickness rather than payment for medical expenses. Read more...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ypologistophobia (a.k.a. Fear of Computers)

By Tom Kando

Ten years ago, Time Magazine came out with a hilarious list of hundreds of phobias, many listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.

I did not see 'computer phobia' in that list, yet I know that this disease exists, because I sometimes suffer from it.

Let me suggest a fine new name for the disease, and some of the symptoms. This will facilitate its inclusion in the APA’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual next year. Name of the Disease: Intermittent Cyberspace Anxiety Syndrome, or Ypologistophobia, which is Greek for “fear of computers”.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is Obama One of the Worst or Best Presidents?

By Tom Kando
On August 18, 2011, Matt Patterson published a vicious  hit piece against President Obama in the Washington Post.  It continues to be widely circulated on the  Internet, often  misleading the readers  that it’s the Washington Post  which feels this way about Obama. In fact, the paper only printed this  in an attempt to be fair to “the other side.” 

Patterson’s  thesis, based on what Norman Podhoretz had written  earlier, is that  Obama is an incompetent nincompoop, our first affirmative action President, voted into office solely because of his race. The claim is that  Obama may be our  worst President ever,  and that his election was the result of misguided liberal white guilt and  mass hysteria among the electorate.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A critique of Haidt's article: ‘Why Working Class People Vote Conservative?’

by Madeleine Kando

In an article in the Guardian of June 5th, Jonathan Haidt gives an alternative answer to the question 'Why Do Working Class People Vote Conservative?’. According to Haidt, the generally accepted ‘duping hypothesis’, which says that the Republican party has duped working class people into voting for them by putting the focus on cultural and moral issues rather than on economic issues, is not the real reason.

He points out that voting on a national level is more about a moral vision than about specific policies. That is true, but out of that moral vision flow the policies that a country adopts, so the usefulness of that statement is a bit doubtful. Read more...

Economic War On Spain

by Philip Kraske

I don't know what it is about history, but it always seems to get made without me.

I was just a boy during May 1968, though I remember it vividly: riots, hippies, protest marches, National Guardsmen with bayonets, Robert Macnamara on top of a car shouting at demonstrators, students burning draft cards. All very dramatic and exciting and scary -- and great TV. But the street outside my house in Kettering, Ohio? Calm as corn flakes. Hank the mailman did his daily rounds. Dad caught the bus into Dayton in the morning and the bus back in the afternoon. A skinned knee in a bike wreck was a far greater tragedy than Vietnam or segregation.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Politics, Money Is Everything

By Tom Kando

For progressives, the June 5 primaries were disappointing. The most crucial voting took place in Wisconsin. The failure to recall Gov. Walker was a serious defeat for Democrats, for President Obama and - in the end - for America. The only silver lining in that state is that John Lehman’s victory returns control of the State Senate to the Democrats. American politics have now reached a vicious cycle: Because politics are entirely determined by the power of money, progressives’ chances seem to be in irreversible decline.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Can Crocheting Make you Blind?

by Madeleine Kando

Ever since someone innocently mentioned the words ‘boobie hat’ to me, I have been obsessed with the idea of crocheting one for my brand new grandson. Contrary to what the words imply, a boobie hat is not a hat for a boob, it is a hat for the baby’s head, so that while the mother nurses, the gawking onlookers don’t see the real boob but the hat instead.

So I crocheted a nice little boobie hat, making sure all the flesh colored tones were incorporated, including the brownish tint for the nipple, which is supposed to sit on top of the baby's crown. I tried it on for size on one of my stuffed teddy bears and it looked quite boobyish. I was very proud of myself. Read more...