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Everything posted by Pangloss

  1. I think Fox is a bit to the right myself; some of it's people more than others. I've noticed that most folks who think that Fox is *extremely* biased are extremely biased themselves, and quote sources that are so far to the extreme left that most slightly-left folks would have serious qualms about citing them (Moveon, Democratic Underground, Al Franken, Michael Moore, etc etc etc). I've talked to very few people who actually think that who are middle of the road/open-minded themselves. The power of what Fox is doing is not that it offers a conservative viewpoint, but that it offers a *different* viewpoint. Don't get me wrong, I think most journalists *try* to be objective (I agree with Bernard Goldberg in "Bias" -- they're not trying to present a liberal agenda, it's subconscious). But the fact that Fox puts up a different viewpoint, and is slamming the other cable networks in ratings, has a huge impact on the business. Much more so than the conservative radio talk show phenom, which can be just pawned off as entertainment. Fox has a vested interest in presenting itself as fair and balanced. Everybody knows they're a bit conservative -- but if they go over the top, if *moderates* become convinced that Fox espouses a far-right agenda, then *everyone* stops watching. They have a serious, important interest in reaching that middle ground. What's gold about that is that because of that bastion mentality, because of the pressure put on Fox to not succumb to far-right bias, they go out of their way (*WAY* out of their way) to show both sides of anything they talk about. They have more left-wing analysts than right-wing analysts on their payroll, for example. I've heard plenty of valid concerns raised about Fox over the years, but nothing that can't be levelled equally at the other major networks. You have to take everything you hear with a grain of salt these days, no matter what the source. More choice, more competition, is almost always a good thing.
  2. I do. It ended with Khan Noonian Singh taking over the world and was quickly followed by a nuclear armageddon. The governments of the world collapsed, but then a guy in Montana came up with warp drive just before the Vulcans showed up.
  3. A few recent Jay Leno jokes: Happy "TGIF" everybody -- or as Republicans call it "thank God it’s a forgery". CBS has a new slogan, "truth, you can't handle the truth!" Actually there was one kind of embarrassing moment for President Bush when he heard that forged documents about him were discovered. Bush said, "What?!You mean they found my diploma from Yale?" The word is Ralph Nader will be on the ballot in Florida. Yeah, lot of good it did Al Gore.
  4. Yeah that's the counterpoint alright, and I respect it. I'm actually okay with Kerry as terrorism-fighter, partly because of his bipartisan "strength" support (namely John McCain). I'm keeping an open mind about it. One thing I am *not* holding against Kerry in this area are his lack of specific plans for terrorism and Iraq. There's no way he can talk about the details of, say, how he plans to help Iraq hold a peaceful election, because the enemy is listening, and would like nothing more than to screw up a new president just entering office. I want more detail from Kerry on other things, but he gets a pass on this one, and my full support if he wins, whether I vote for him or not. Tempting -- I'll bet I could put up some good counterpoint for that (do I have to actually disagree with you or can I play devil's advocate?). I love the moderated debate board you guys have here, but when I looked over the actual discussions it looked like a HUGE amount of work went into those posts. Which is a good thing, of course, but I'm not sure if I have the time for it -- I just started a new term today. I'll think about it. Thanks for the invite.
  5. Phi asked me to read this thread and add my comments, as a Florida undecided voter, so here I am. I've enjoyed reading your posts, and while I didn't really find anything totally unfamiliar in there, I did find them to be generally well above the average post quality on the other boards I've read. This is a pretty level-headed bunch and the quality of discussion here is high. (With one or two exceptions...) Douglas has an especially good post back on page 7 that I hope everyone reads. I voted for Bush in 2000, but I'm not a die-hard Republican. I'm registered as a Republican for primaries but that's because you have to be one or the other in order to vote in the primaries. I often vote for Democrats, and I'm campaigning for one this fall as a matter of fact (one who's acquired some national notoriety, in fact). I have voted for about the same number of Democrats for president as I have Republicans. But I do lean a little to the right of center. Several things over the last four years have lead me to second-guess myself on supporting Bush, but let me first list the arguments that do NOT persuade me: - "Anybody But Bush" -- that's no way to waste your vote. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with having a reason to vote against Bush (I have quite a few). What I think is is a waste are people who object to Bush on *every* grounds, regardless of the issue. I mean it's a free country, everyone can believe what they like; I'm just saying it doesn't work for me. - "Bush lied" -- to me there's a huge difference between "lie" and "mistake". This argument doesn't cut it for me. - Ideological partisanship in general carries very little weight with me in either direction. If something is a right idea, it doesn't matter where it comes from. The minute an argument strays away from truth and accuracy and into partisan assumption, you lose my interest. By all means, believe what you like, but I won't waste my time with it. (I do enjoy partisan rants as a form of entertainment. Michael Moore, Ann Coulter, Al Franken, Sean Hannity, etc. But I view them all as *the same*. But you'll note I don't include Bill O'Reilly with this bunch.) - Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (sic). See above -- this kind of reasoning doesn't cut it for me. Kerry has the documentation, stop wasting my time. - Memogate/Docugate/Rathergate/Killian Memos. Interesting for the media and blogosphere social aspects of the story, but not interesting from a political perspective. Bush has the documentation, stop wasting my time. - $160 million in shameful 527-group advertising with obvious ties to the Kerry campaign. As far as I'm concerned, Soros is wasting his money. (And I love being his worst nightmare -- an independent Florida voter who has no problem considering voting for Bush.) Here are the arguments in Kerry's favor that I *have* found convincing: - Decorated combat veteran. (Who am I to argue with John McCain?) - Kerry wants to cut taxes to 98% of Americans and 99% of American businesses. - Jose Padilla/Guantanamo Bay/personal liberties issues. (You'll note I do not include the Patriot Act, which after some analysis I am much less concerned about.) - Neo-conservatives and the Project for the New American Century. If you don't know what that's about, you should find out. These guys have stolen the Republican party from mainstream America, and most of mainstream American doesn't even know it. (See Pat Buchanon's new book.) - Iraq was a HUGE mistake. It's cost us a lot and it's going to keep on costing us. - Better chance to fix our strained relations with the world. - Better shot at a balanced budget. - PBA Ban. (I'm pro-choice.) - A good start on healthcare -- but I think we'll get this whether Kerry's in office or not, via the potential compromise between Kerry's and Bill Frist's plans. (See http://www.centrists.org.) Here are the points I have in Bush's favor: - Globalization. Kerry makes me nervous -- I think he'll blow it with protectionist measures and pandering to the unions (just as Clinton almost blew it). Can't fight this stuff, we're in it now, it's free trade or die. - Bush has shepherded us from a recession *and* 9/11 back to a surging economy producing numbers we didn't think were possible a year ago. - Many of the reasons why the world "hates us" have nothing at all to do with Bush. Frankly I'm sick of it being a policeman and a scapegoat and getting stuck with responsibility for the world's problems no matter what their real fault may be. (This isn't really so much a point in Bush's favor as it is a reason not to "change ships in midstream" as it were.) - Osama would love for me to vote for Kerry. That's almost enough to vote for Bush right there. - No Child Left Behind. Someone posted above that this is underfunded by $27 billion, but that's just a Kerry talking point -- that's a triviality, a drop in the bucket. This is a much, much larger issue, and I have no problem with Bush's handling of it. There's more but I think that covers the basics.
  6. I saw the thread and read part of it; I'll go ahead and finish it since you ask. That's an interesting method of persuasion, which carries particular value with me, I must say. Personally I wouldn't object to more suasion, in the proper forum, but I empathize with your desire not to go too far with it. My sister lives in Colorado, by the way. She's up in the moutains near Aspen; one of the local, non-wealthy year-rounders. And I have cousins in the Colorado Springs area who are a military family. It's fascinating to me how people from Colorado know, just from my telling them that small amount, *exactly* what both my sister's and my cousins' political leanings are. (grin)
  7. I've been lurking around here for a few days so I guess it's about time I introduced myself. I'm a graduate student, working on a PhD in Computer Information Systems. I live in South Florida and I'm one of those scary "undecided voters". So be nice to me on the Politics board! (hehe) I've been in the computer business since the mid-1980s (actually majored in Physics at Georgia Tech but never finished that degree and went into computers instead, just as the industry was exploding). Been doing consulting in South Florida since '95, and I was in network administration (PCs) in Atlanta before that, and desktop publishing (Macs) and before that. I got into teaching around 2000, first as an MCSE/MCT and now shooting for the college professor thing. Basically just looking for a good discussion board to hang out on that has some smart folks who are interested in science and the odd socio-political debate from time to time. (PS, I edit my posts a lot. Bad habit, I know.)
  8. I hope y'all don't mind my bumping this somewhat older thread, but I just wanted to compliment Kenel on the board software and (especially) speed. Considering the amount of traffic here, this is an amazingly fast board. Great job.
  9. Fair enough. I try never to find fault in people's honest opinions. You're welcome to pull my chain, though -- I'm here for the humor as well. (grin) Fair enough as well, and well put. I suppose I'd have to agree that I did exaggerate a bit at that. Wow, I thought we were headed towards an ideological brick wall, and I come back to find reasonable points and open minds (and a little embarassment on my part). I'm starting to have a good feeling about this forum. Yah, I understand your point here. I just meant "QED" in the general sense of having demonstrated my point about another perspective. QED does have that connotation in general, I agree, so it was a bad choice of words on my part.
  10. I've seen a lot of discussion boards, but this one just seems amazingly fast to me, especially given all the traffic. What's your secret? Some kind of quantum computer running things?
  11. Doh! Forum newbie alert (me), bweet bweet.... (Goes to the chalkboard) "I am only an egg" "I am only an egg" "I am only an egg"
  12. Hehe, now there's a forum where you and I would be on the same side. (grin) That's horrid. I need a shower now. That's as bad as Democratic Underground. (shudder) The recent BBC and CBS controversies are quite well documented. The part about all three sources showing bias was, of course, opinion, but it's opinions we're talking about here, so "QED" is valid -- I've backed up my assertion to an equal degree as the person I was providing counterpoint to. "Thus it is demonstrated" that I had a valid point (but nothing more than that). Whether it was exaggeration or not, of course, is a matter of opinion, and I respect your (and budullewraagh's) right to disagree.
  13. Ah, some of my favorite sources as well. But all three of those have demonstrated bias, and two of them have recently been mired in serious, credibility-challenging controversies. Q.E.D. Thanks for answering my question, though.
  14. There's a brief description of Fermat's Principle on this web site at the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermat%27s_principle It's a good starting point because it links to a lot of other stuff so you can investigate a bit. Others may have better links than I. Good luck.
  15. So what impeccably objective source do you get your news from, budullewraagh? ;-) Personally I agree with Dave that FNC shows bias, but no more so than any of the other major outlets. Just in a different direction. (chuckle) At any rate, BOR is not a news program, it's commentary, so isn't bias to be expected? But as bias goes, BOR seems like a pretty independent guy. He may be slightly to the right, but he's no Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity. (Ugh, Ugh, Ugh!) For what it's worth, I'm a fiscal/economic conservative and social liberal type, and overall slightly to the right, but I go back and forth a lot (I'm helping campaign for a Democrat in a major race this fall). I voted for Bush in 2000 but opposed the war in Iraq and have been trying to decide what to do in 2004. So I've been hitting a lot of web site discussion boards over the last few months to try and get some perspective. (Sadly, mostly I just encounter a lot of ideological bias.)
  16. A lot of people think that. Others think he'll give Kerry a free pass and mess with Bush. Neither is really his style. That's the funny thing about O'Reilly. I think he's a little right of center myself, but only a little, and he's imminently fair to the other side of any argument.
  17. Starting Tuesday night and split over three days. (O'Reilly airs on Fox News Channel weeknights at 8pm Eastern time, re-running at 11pm and 4am. Not sure how that varies by time zone.) To some extent it'll be softball, but I expect a few interesting questions. More to the point, you will not likely see any more challenging questions asked of the president between now and the election. (From what I've seen of the debate format, that's looking pretty tame as well.) He's reportedly trying to get John Kerry in for a similar interview.
  18. Pangloss

    Tesla Coil

    That's as good an answer as any. (grin) Wikipedia has a good article on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_coil
  19. Pangloss

    Fixing Iraq

    Yah, according to Yergin (in "The Prize"), the Grand Vizier granted the first Mid-East oil consession to the French on the same day that Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. Talk about bad timing. (chuckle) That consession was for the famous Mosul field, and after the war was over the French traded it to Britain in exchange for Transjordan (yeah, the whole thing).
  20. Yeah I liked the spin-on-Canterbury Tales aspect of it.
  21. Pangloss

    Tesla Coil

    I'm confused... why would you want to build one of these things?
  22. Just as an amusing side-note to this discussion, according to this web page... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter ... anti-matter can presently be produced at a cost of roughly $25 billion per gram. Of course, in theory you only need a few grams of the stuff to reach the amount of energy expended on a typical late Apollo moon mission, so perhaps that's not so bad! (hehe)
  23. I don't know if it's just because of current events, but I've been wondering lately about the similarity between hurricane path prediction and the problems with voter opinion polls (Gallup, Rassmusen, etc). In a sense the problems are similar, in that they both attempt to model essentially unmodelable problems. Both are dependent on essentially random events. Both make assumptions that those events will not, in fact, be random. The pollsters assume that voters will answer the poll accurately (why wouldn't they?), and forecasters assume that the winds will continue and not change their behavior (why would they?). But of course even the most die-hard ideologue is a free individual who might tell a pollster whatever he or she chooses, for whatever reasons they might have at that moment. In the case of hurricanes there's no free will involved, the problem is more one of being able to model in sufficient detail. You never know what you might be missing, such as a localized temperature change in an unmonitored area.
  24. Interesting points. One of the little (tiny, eentsy, fleeting, miniscule) bits of science I caught during the Month o' Hurricanes here in Florida was when one of the weather guys mentioned that the way they pick the "official predicted path" is by looking at all the different models and seeing which one has most accurately predicted the storm's path so far, over the last X number of days. I can certainly understand that approach, but I couldn't help but chuckle at the pessimism of doing it that way, essentially saying that they're not picking the most accurate one, but rather the least inaccurate one (so far), and to heck with all that wind data! (hehe)
  25. I'm sorry, would this have been better placed in the news forum? I'm still trying to get the hang of the place.
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