vendredi, avril 18, 2008

What is truth?

Read the linked article by one of my most adored NYT columnists, Nicholas Kristof, and ask yourself: how do my biases affect what I read or how I think or how I feel about others?

This psychodrama is currently being played out in the Democratic primary. It's scary how many voters tell pollsters they will defect to the Republicans if their boy or girl isn't the candidates.

If they don't get exactly what they want, they will take their marbles and go home to Dad.

Kristof's research-rooted comments really should provide a check for those of us who think we see clearly. We may be viewing facts through the clouded eyes of prejudice-or we may accept bias because it is one with which we we are comfortable.

If nothing else, read it for the last couple of sentences, which are hilarious. But to laugh at the tail end, you have to wade through the beginning. Enjoy!

mercredi, avril 16, 2008

Are you what you eat?

I'm having a problem with my cat Inky. In a world of microtargeting according to choice of food (see link), he's a tough guy to pin down.

I tried the cheap store brand, and he mews piteously at it. Then I tried the more expensive fish food for upscale kitties, and he got even more bent out of shape. We have now gone back to the cheap crunchy brand. After he takes one bite, and I allow myself to feel a burst of triumph, he walks away to the window, where he can lust after the potential lunches with gray tails and feathers running across our lawn.

Barack Obama's in a heap of trouble because he made the bad mistake of talking about arugula in Iowa. Everyone knows that most people don't eat arugula in Iowa-or anywhere else, for that matter.

Seriously, I find it difficult to believe that the people running campaigns are really that prescient about what we eat-and can bet who they think we will vote for.

I have white and red wine on my kitchen shelves-not to mention microbrews on the floor. There might have been days when we had cheese stuffed pizza in the refrigerator, and stopped at Starbucks on our way to buy trout.

What does that make us-a household of Barack-leaning Hillary-voting Democrats with a Republican fetish?

I'll get back to ya on that. There's a huge sale on arugula at the Acme, and I don't want the other snobs to beat me to it.

lundi, avril 14, 2008

Obama's Achilles Heel

Perhaps none of the remaining Presidential candidates (where are you, Mike Huckabee?) can avoid the stigma of the privileged life. The Clintons made many millions of dollars last year. John McCain has access to lots of money through his wife. Obama is a best-selling author. None of them, whatever Hillary claims about her roots in Pennsylvania, has a good sense of what ordinary people have to go through to pay for food or gas in their cars.

I'm guessing Obama hurt himself with his comments about "bitter" working class voters because they got suckered by a guy from Texas who assumed the mantle of the vox populi-and then turned out to be simply a redneck whose fortune comes, more or less, from a sales tax (and this from a man who professes to hate the idea of taxing anything). Hopefully people are going to be more discerning, this time.

The venue where Obama dug himself a hole-a private fundraiser- is important, because it shows that he might have let his guard down when he felt he was safe with friends. No one is safe in an election season. He showed not only a tin ear, but a lack of empathy for people's suffering-sad, yes, but perhaps to be expected.

Nonetheless, of the three, we have the most reason to expect that it is the Senator from Illinois who can best represent the very people whose beliefs he reduced to a couple of dismissory phrases. We don't know yet if he can show the people of Pennsylvania, and the country, that he is sincere about help for working people. Heaven knows they/we need it.