Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Election 2012

Today I'd like to talk about the election.  Not that anyone really cares about my opinion, but this is my blog and if you're here, you get to read my're welcome.

But seriously, as it stands today, things are looking promising for Obama.  Nate Silver's model currently gives Obama a 79.7% chance of victory, and Romney's campaign is quickly turning into a joke (albeit a disturbingly frightening and callous one if you're a little light in the bank account).  I think that's what happens when you run for president after holding only one prior elected position and are the least bad choice in a primary filled with incompetent hacks.  Romney's just not ready for the big leagues, and it shows.  Maybe I should be thankful this election is showing that being rich can't buy you the presidency...or at least not yet.

I'd be lying if I said I was feeling this confident back in January.  With the slow economy and the promise of unlimited Super PAC money supporting the Republican party, it seemed Obama faced an insurmountable hurdle.  As it turns out, lots of Americans seem to disagree with the Republican fantasy that cutting all assistance to the poor and lowering taxes on millionaires will magically fix the economy because job creators will suddenly have "confidence".  As I see it, if business people need to feel confident all the time in order to run a business, then maybe they shouldn't be in business, but maybe that's just me.

With the Super PAC spending, it seems to have discovered the point of diminishing returns.  There are only so many commercial slots one can buy, and after a while people just tune it all out.  In some way this has been the silver lining of the Citizens United ruling.  Let the billionaires waste their money.  It wouldn't make it into the economy otherwise.  But I am glad I live in Germany at the moment so I don't have to suffer through the barrage every time I turn on the TV.

As for Obama, I will gladly vote for him again even though being a Texas resident will render my vote mostly harmless.  Still, I've been generally pleased with Obama's first term.  Sure, he hasn't done everything the liberal in me would like, and he has done little to relax the police state atmosphere that arose after 9/11, but from the beginning Obama has presented himself as a centrist candidate so it shouldn't be a surprise.  Moreover, he's accomplished far more than any Democrat since LBJ.  He managed to get health care reform through Congress.  No, it wasn't perfect and was more of a give-away to the insurance industry than I would have liked.  Still, it's a start, and it finally allows the US to join the rest of the world in providing some degree of socialized healthcare for its citizens.  That alone is a monumental achievement, but then the stimulus was the greatest investment in alternative energy in US history, gay and lesbian service members can finally serve their country without having to hide who they are, and Obama was the first president to publicly support gay marriage, which finally pushed the Democratic Party to make the issue a plank of its platform.

Of course, the Tea Party came along halfway through and put the breaks on everything.  I know the media tries to claim that both parties are responsible for the gridlock, but when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, says his number one goal is "to make Obama a one term president" even when there's a severe recession and two ongoing wars (at the time), you know there's something seriously wrong with a party's priorities.  My greatest concern at this point is that Democrats will not be able to retake the House, and we'll have two more years where the only thing to make it out of the lower chamber will be Ayn Rand fantasies masquerading as "serious" ideas.

Back to Obama, I have been deeply disappointed with his growing use of drones to assassinate individuals, even US citizens, without due process.  While the world might be better off without those killed (especially Bin Laden), it is a disturbing milestone in our nation's long slide away from the ideals of justice and fairness for all.  Still, the Republican Party's opinion on the matter is even more ruthless, so I guess I can thank the President for showing a degree of restraint.

Sorry about the long post.  I know I'm jumping into the race at the home stretch, but I felt like airing my thoughts before moving forward.  For what it's worth, I endorse Obama for reelection, and I wil be voting for him in November.  Please go out and vote, and let's run up the score to get Obama some help from Congress.  And if you're a Republican, I still want to encourage you to go out and vote for your preferred candidates.  It's your right as an American and the best chance you get to have a say in what happens in this country.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello Again!

So a friend of mine Tweeted me tonight (yeah, I know...I resisted for so long) asking about the lack of posts on this blog, and I must admit I have felt the urge of late.  Last week I was reading through some of my old posts, and in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago.

Looking back, I see the original incarnation of this blog was a means of self discovery for me.  I suppose I was looking for a way to reject the overwhelmingly Conservative Christian atmosphere at my school, and I was frankly horrified at the creeping theocratic urges of the Republican party during the Bush era (if only college me could see Republicans now...).  I also discovered my atheism at that time.  It was the beginning of the atheist blogosphere and the books by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins had just been published.  It was an exciting time to be nonreligious because I no longer felt like I was alone in my beliefs or lack thereof, and the atheist blogging community seemed like a window into a wider world.

Once I graduated from college, my first job's responsibilities set in, and I felt like I had less time for blogging.  Now it feels like it was just more of an excuse.  Regardless, it felt like things had taken a turn for the better in the country.  Obama had won the presidency, and the Democrats were in charge.  I blogged a little bit during the rise of the Tea Party, but it just felt like more of the same.

What about now?  I'm just as atheist as ever, although I think I have a more nuanced position on it (I call myself an Agnostic Atheist to anyone who asks, but I'll save that for a future post).  I'm still a registered Democrat, and, though I am often disappointed in what they produce in Washington, they're far better than the alternative.  Plus, I feel Obama has been a good president who's done the best he can under the circumstances.

From here on out I'm going to make this more of a personal blog.  I'll still post plenty on Atheism and politics like before, but I'd like to get into my other passions as well.  Expect to see posts on science, hiking, and scuba diving.  I'm also a huge nerd, so you may see a fair amount about video games, sci-fi, fantasy, and other nerdly pursuits.  I may even post chapters from my nearly completed novel.  Hopefully, this will keep me posting more often, we'll see.

On a final note, I've decided to do away with my pseudonym all together.  From now on, my actual name, Justin Logan, will accompany my posts.  I have nothing to be ashamed of in any of my posts, and I really don't mind who finds this blog.

Anyway, thanks for visiting, and I hope you find whatever I write mildly interesting.