Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We all have a lot to be worried about this Thanksgiving. Family and friends out of work, wars, terrorism, myriad crises, economic uncertainty.

But we will have one more, very important thing to be thankful for at our house this year. My wife’s sister (who lives with us) went into the hospital two weeks ago. We didn’t know whether she would live through the night.

Two weeks in intensive care, and many times things did not look good. More than once we discussed funeral plans.

Her problems multiplied and cascaded into nerve-wracking days for all of us – my sons and me, but even more so my wife, who has spent copious amounts of time at the hospital.

But now, my sister-in-law has been transferred out of the hospital into a long-term, acute care facility. And although it is still a long road, there is light ahead.

And this Thanksgiving, when we sit down to give thanks, we will all have something special to be thankful about.

Monday, March 29, 2010

NRO: Criticism Just for the Hell of It

Arthur Herman is the latest example of the once-mighty National Review Online’s fall from intellectual powerhouse to "National Enquirer" status. His article on the NRO website criticizes President Obama for – get this – pissing off Europe by not offering Airbus the chance to compete for new air-refueling tankers for the US Air Force.

NRO has gone to the dregs in its ‘criticism just for the hell of criticism’ meme. I can see the article if the multi-billion dollar contract award had been made to Airbus over Boeing: “Obama Abandons US Industry!”

Truly, their masquerade as intellectual elite is well past the expiration date. And their true agenda is showing…

Friday, March 19, 2010

Conservatives & Science: “Choosing” Which “Facts” to Believe

Global warming is now on trial in the conservative community—actually, I should be more precise in saying climate scientists are now on trial in the conservative community. And the kangaroo court of conservative opinion, from the lowliest unscientific hicks like Sarah Palin to no less than George Will, has found them guilty before the trial even starts.

The key fact to remember here is their motivation: global warming is an inconvenient fact which will necessitate Americans change their decades-old energy-guzzling ways.

It will also change which businesses are profitable. Like the Pony Express, the coal and oil companies will become obsolete. Unlike the owners of the Pony Express, however, they can see alternative energy companies coming, and are doing everything in their power to discredit climate science.

Such groups as Information Council for the Environment, the Heartland Institute, and The Advancement of Sound Science Center, with high-sounding names but which are fronts for Exxon, the Western Fuels Association, National Coal Association and Edison Electric Institute, have done their best to make suspect the science.

It hasn’t worked, so they're trying a new tactic: if you can’t find a way to discredit the science, find a way to discredit the scientists. By any means necessary.

The larger question here is what conservatives think of science. What it comes down to is they believe science, but only when convenient or it supports their worldview. The “hard” sciences, like physics, engineering, chemistry and astronomy, are no problem. But others, like biology, psychology, and especially climatology, are open to scorn and ridicule.

Why? Because they discover things conservatives don’t like, like homosexuality is a genetic rather than a learned trait. Like evolution. And, like climate science.

By picking and choosing what they acknowledge as fact, conservatives are rapidly destroying the value of science in our culture.

Maybe some people are okay with that. I’m not. Only believing what you agree with is intellectually dishonest, and will irreparably damage our society.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the mud god is my new god

the mud god is my new god,
because it never expects adoration
never demands virgin crimson
nor a glorious edifice

the mud god is my new god,
because it never clutches at gold
never crusades against the infidel
nor sends souls beneath it

the mud god is my new god
because it only wants rain

© Joseph E. Arechavala 10/5/09

Friday, November 13, 2009

What’s For Dinner

I read recently that Natalie Portman, the actress, decided to change from vegetarian to vegan.

I find the worldview of vegans to be quite interesting. Only in the late 20th and early 21st century we live in would this view now even be considered, let alone put forward as a moral choice.

Vegans ignore the basic, fundamental fact of life on this planet: everything alive - except plants - consumes something else, also alive, in order to live itself. So, we have grass eaten by gazelles, who are then eaten in turn by predators like lions, cheetahs and hyenas. We have ants who survive on various foods, which are in turn eaten by frogs, who in turn are eaten by snakes, who are then in turn eaten by birds like hawks.

In nature, mice function pretty much solely as food for other animals: snakes, owls, coyotes, foxes, lizards, etc. To claim that mice serve any other function than food other animals isn't really looking at reality. That’s why they breed so fast and have so many baby mice in each litter. In fact, this strategy applies to most of the animal world. Produce many young because most of them will get eaten.

I could go on, but you get the point. And while I’ll agree with vegans we should do our best to treat animals humanely and minimize their suffering, it’s more than a little ludicrous to claim that humans shouldn’t be eating meat and eggs, drinking milk or wearing leather on some moral ground when every other creature on this planet lives that way. Nor have I noticed predators being particularly 'humane' to their prey; in fact, some animals eat while their victim is still alive.

Argue your case on environmental grounds. Argue your case on health grounds. But arguing your case on moral grounds is inherently stupid.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Short November for Yankees? Or Maybe a Very Long One...

It’s positively revolting to watch the national sports press slobber all over the Yankees like a dog greeting his long lost master. They do the same thing with the Cowboys and Lakers.

They anointed the Yanks champs before the first pitch was thrown.

And you could tell, even though none of the Phillies said anything about it, they were pretty angry about being dissed.

Last night’s game one was their statement to the Bronx Bombers (and please excuse the paraphrase): “You can have this trophy when you pry it from our cold, dead hands.”

The Yankees couldn’t hit Lee, Sabathia couldn’t find his spots and the Phils waited him out. The NY relievers were anything but. And Chase Utley put an exclamation point on the proceedings with two homers.

Tonight we’ll see how Pedro pitches. And how the Yanks respond. They’ll have to if they want to stay in this, or they're done. But I have a feeling the Phils are coming back to Citizens’ up 2-0.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brought to You by the Letter L

I’ve noted in the last few years the growing intensity and shrillness of conservative voices. In the media, on the net, and in newspapers. People like Michele Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have become louder and more piercing, the volume knob turning higher and higher with each infraction of the left they perceive.

Here’s why: they're losing.

The country voted for a liberal Democratic president. Society is ever so gradually loosening restrictions for gay marriage (it’s legal in six states now). Abortion is still legal after over 30 years of struggle to outlaw it. The struggle for religious tolerance continues, but it has become more widely spread. Our society is becoming more secular and less dependent on religious leaders.

They're losing in every sphere of the culture war they declared.

All of this bodes ill for the screechers. So they screech all the more loudly. But apparently, fewer and fewer are left to listen.