Endless Curiosity

December 30, 2009

Person of the Decade: Osama bin Laden

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 12:46 pm

It’s hard to imagine anyone who has more responsibility for the events of the last decade than Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush runs second, but he only gets his place in history because of bin Laden.

If it hadn’t been for bin Laden, Bush would not have had the opportunity to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. If he hadn’t been a “War President” and thus able to cower a cowardly and compliant Congress , Bush would probably not have been able to cut taxes for the rich. It’s unlikely he would have won a second term, and thus we probably wouldn’t have had the financial crash and resulting recession, which is causing untold suffering to Americans.

Flying would be easier and we wouldn’t be wasting countless hours and dollars waiting in security lines. Instead of getting ever deeper into debt, there would be more money available to solve the seemingly unsolvable problems facing this country – you know, things like healthcare, infrastructure, education. Sure, there would be political differences about the best way to solve the problems, but taking money out of the equation does complicate things.

Of course, choosing bin Laden as Person of the Decade would be highly unpopular, which is why I doubt any major magazine or newspaper is going to do it. But in terms of influence and impact on the people of the world, it’s difficult to see that anyone had more than Osama bin Laden.

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December 26, 2009

CPF: Groupthink

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 8:06 am

Kishore Mahbubani’s first systemic failure is Groupthink. I’m not sure I agree with him, but I’ll first let him describe his idea.

The first systemic failure America has suffered is groupthink. Looking back at the origins of the current financial crisis, it is amazing that American society accepted the incredible assumptions of economic gurus such as Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin that unregulated financial markets would naturally deliver economic growth and serve the public good. …. In short, the financial players would regulate ­themselves.

This is manifest nonsense. The goal of these financial professionals was always to enhance their personal wealth, not to serve the public interest. So why was Greenspan’s nonsense accepted by American society? The simple and amazing answer is that most Americans assumed that their country has a rich and vibrant “marketplace of ideas” in which all ideas are challenged. Certainly, America has the freest media in the world. No subject is taboo. No sacred cow is immune from criticism. But the paradox here is that the belief that American society allows every idea to be challenged has led Americans to assume that every idea is challenged…

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Conceiving the Possibility of Failure (CPF)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 7:41 am

I read an interesting article in The Wilson Quarterly called Can America Fail. No, I’d never heard of the magazine either and can’t remember how I found it – some link from somewhere. But I rather like the full title: The Wilson Quarterly – Surveying the World of Ideas. Here’s what the article is about:

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December 23, 2009

Climate Change: Copenhagen, Failure or Folly?

Filed under: Climate Change, Politics — Alec @ 10:01 am

Of course, by now you’ll have read all sorts of things about Copenhagen and the agreements made there. So I’m not telling you anything new. But here are a couple of articles that perhaps you should read (okay, three articles).

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December 16, 2009

Liberals and Conservatives: Relics of the Past

Filed under: Politics, Psychology — Alec @ 3:59 pm

The battle lines have long been drawn between liberals and conservatives – or so myth would have it.

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December 15, 2009

God and Social Darwinism

Filed under: God — Alec @ 5:05 pm

I just came across an interesting article called Bringing Creationism to Heel Requires Making America Less Socially Darwinistic.  Here are a couple of exerpts. I’ve blogged about this subject before, and you can read the posting here, or read the article here.

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December 13, 2009

The Rich get Richer

Filed under: Economics, Politics — Alec @ 3:32 pm

I can’t blame the rich for wanting to hang on to what they have, and I can’t blame them for framing the issues in a way that benefits them. That said….

Supposedly the free market is the best hope for a good life, the best hope for freedom, the best hope for humanity. It’s faster than a speeding bullet… oh wait, that’s something else. Anyway, it’s supposed to be pretty good.

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December 2, 2009

Think it’s bad here? Try Pakistan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 3:59 pm

It’s easy to think that things are bad over here: serious recession, high unemployment, endless war, problems with healthcare reform, yada, yada. Sometimes it’s good to look at how other people have it to realize how good things are here.

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December 1, 2009

The Cowardly Supreme Court

Filed under: Politics, Republicans — Alec @ 8:56 am

I wrote a long blog post about the Supreme Court but it was somehow lost, and I’m not going to rewrite it. So here’s a shorter version.

The Founding Fathers distrusted power – they believed, with Lord Acton, that power corrupts. The whole Bill of Rights (Amendments 1 – 10 for those who have forgotten their civics lessons) was intended to protect individuals against power, especially the power of the State and the majority.

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