Fall Break Procrastination
Today's topics are
- Trip to Illinois Amish Country
- Yoga and opposite sex friendships
- Politics: heath care, and was Kerry simply a bad candidate?
- Politics: some words from "the right".
- Trip to Illinois Amish Country
I was told that the Amish practice of conformity in dress is one of the ways that they surrender self will. Believe it or not, that makes sense to me. If one takes a look at the world that I live in (what they call the "English" world), it appears that we raise little egomeniacs. You see this quite frequently in a university setting; students acting with swagger even if their accomplishments are skimpy (at best) and their abilities are modest (or worse, as is frequently the case!)
But on the other hand, I also learned that an Amish education is quite basic; strictly "need to know to exist in this world" stuff. I couldn't stand that; to me, having intellectual curiosity is one of the things that keeps me alive!
- Yoga, and opposite sex friendship.
On Sunday, my yoga teacher (Vickie Culbertson) and I drove from Peoria to Galesburg to attend one of Larry Langley's yoga classes. We have done that a couple of times before, and I've gone on my own a couple of times more. Afterward, we got a bite to eat at the Packing House in Galesburg. Because Barbara (my wife) had told me that she was going with a group of church friends (Peoria Universalist Unitarian Church) to Galesburg to eat at the Landmark and then go to a concert, Vickie and I stopped by the Landmark to say "hi". It turns out that the church friends were there, but Barbara wasn't as she had to back out with stomach trouble.
When Vickie and I walked in together, the group of church friends got very quiet and uncomfortable, except for the friend that knows me the best. I wondered what was wrong; then it dawned on me! The ironic thing is that when Vickie first picked me up, she stopped by our house, came into our living room, and had a nice conversation with Barbara! There was nothing clandestine about our short yoga trip.
Oh well; the only way others are going to trust me is for me to live a long, trustworthy life.
Today saw me attending a yoga class (with Ms. Vickie) and then doing a 12 mile racewalk workout which included three 5K repeats with 2:30 active rest in between repetitions. Each 5K segment was done at a 11:42-11:45 mpm pace (36:15-36:20) which is my marathon race pace and my technique felt good. My concentration was a bit off however.
There was a nice diary entry at the Daily Kos which discussed health care issues; namely it made the point that a lack of ability to pay for basic medical care can directly lead to death in poor people. To me, that is a source of great shame to my country and I am glad to see Governor Rod (Blagoivich) addressing this in Illinois.
Also from the Daily Kos: people are still venting off on John Kerry. Why, I am not sure. Yes, he (we) lost the last election. Yes, he wasn't a perfect candidate. But come on; people are acting as if we would have won had we run the right candidate or had our candidate ran a better campaign. What few of us seem willing to accept (as Kathern Pollitt of the Nation did in her column "Mourn") is :
I also don't want to hear carping criticisms of John Kerry. Given that he is a fallible mortal, he was a pretty good candidate. Sure, he made mistakes--not responding instantly to the Swift Boat liars, wearing that silly goose-hunting get-up, letting Bush get away with saying drugs from Canada will kill you--but Bush committed his share of gaffes as well. Any candidate does.
The Kerry campaign may have been a broth with too many cooks, but it did a lot of things right. It raised a ton of money from small and first-time donors instead of relying on big donors, as the Democrats have tended to do for the last decade. It had fantastic labor support. It had MoveOn, America Coming Together and the other 527s, which mobilized intensity, creativity, time and cash and evoked a surge of grassroots progressive activism like nothing in living memory. Hundreds of thousands of people--Democrats, leftists, Greens, independents, Deaniacs, even a few stray Republicans--knocked themselves out registering voters, phone-banking, going door to door; for many, like me, this was the first time they'd volunteered for a presidential campaign.
It's an article of faith among progressives that moving to the left wins votes, and I have written many columns in witness to the creed. But what if it isn't true? What if it wins fewer votes than being a liar and a bigot? [...]
Similarly, some were impatient with Kerry's "nuanced" position on gay marriage, but is there any reason on God's earth to believe there are lots of gay-friendly swing voters or nonvoters out there just waiting for a candidate who wants to let Mary Cheney wed Rosie O'Donnell? Everything we know--the passage of all eleven state bans on gay marriage, for example, some of which go so far as to ban civil unions as well--suggests that Kerry understood quite well where the people were.
OK, you say, that's one of those pesky newfangled cultural-elite issues that alienate the heartland, which yearns for the old-time religion of "economic populism." Kerry's health insurance plan wasn't perfect, it wasn't single-payer, but it would have insured all children and about half the adults currently uninsured--26.7 million people!--and it would have been paid for by canceling Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, something populists should go for. No sale. His plan to help young people pay for college wasn't perfect either, but it was a lot better than what young people are getting now. Result: Young people constituted their usual pathetic proportion of the total vote. And this is after the best efforts of P Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Eminem and virtually every other pop icon except Britney Spears.
The logic of the "Left Is More" position seems to be this: What people really want is a Debs or La Follette who will smite the corporations, turn swords into plowshares, share the wealth and banish John Ashcroft to a cabin in the Ozarks. But since the Democratic Party denies them their first choice, they will--naturally!--pick a hard-right warmaker of staggering incompetence and no regard for either the Constitution or the needs of the people. Better that than settle for a liberal centrist who would only raise the minimum wage by two dollars. In other words, these proto-progressives will consciously choose the greater evil out of what--spite? pride? I scorn your half-measures, sir! Keep your small change!
This makes no sense to me as an explanation of the recent election. It doesn't explain, for example, why Republicans gained in both House and Senate. It doesn't explain why Californians rejected a referendum to amend their three-strikes law so that twice-convicted felons wouldn't get twenty-five years for shoplifting, or why Arizonans voted solidly to bar undocumented aliens from obtaining a wide range of essential public services and to require public servants to report them if they try. It doesn't explain why the Kansas school board is once again a chorus line of creationists.
Maybe this time the voters chose what they actually want: Nationalism, pre-emptive war, order not justice, "safety" through torture, backlash against women and gays, a gulf between haves and have-nots, government largesse for their churches and a my-way-or-the-highway President. "
She said exactly what I thought and felt at the time. And still do.
- Stuff from Conservatives
A nice article at Redstate.org which talks about how we are squandering our opportunity to win in 2006 and 2008. We ignore this message at our peril:
An entertaining post at Captain's Quarters which urges conservatives to oppose the Miers SCOTUS nomination on principle. I don't know how I feel about this; right now my reaction is to "grab the popcorn" and enjoy the spectacle of conservatives fighting with each other. But if she is really a mediocre candidate, our whole country will suffer if she gets confirmed.
- Page 3: "behind" the scenes at women's beach volleyball! Ok, this has nothing to do with anything, but anyone who waded through this post deserves a reward. Oh, all right, I am posting these photos to, uh, "protest" the fact that these poor oppressed womyn are forced by our patriarchal society to use sex (or sexual attraction) to market themselves. Ok?