hymnia: (Shuurei in wind)
All right, now I'm ready to write about the books I'm currently reading. I have a tendency to jump around between several different books at the same time instead of reading just one, so all of the below are books that I'm still in progress on reading:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I like the narrative voice in this story. I think Chobsky does a good job of capturing the essence of a certain type of introvert—an INFP, if I were to classify him by the Meyers-Briggs standard. (This is also, incidentally, my own personality type. I think it's fair to say I identify with the narrator quite a bit.) I'll be interested to see how the film adaptation, starring Emma Watson as Sam, the narrator's love interest/crush, turns out. My only complaint is that it does tend to fall into the tendency of a lot of slice-of-life stories about adolescence of being hyper-focused on sexuality and drugs. Yes, those things are parts of adolescence, but there is so much more. My favorite moments are when the book focuses on the other things, like the narrator's feelings about his extended family, especially his deceased aunt, or the extra books that his favorite teacher assigns him to read and write essays on. The parts that are about sex and drugs are kinda boring in comparison to the rest. I wish the ratio was a little more balanced. I may be biased because my own adolescent experiences—and even the experiences of many of my close friends, at least as far as I knew—were less characterized by those things than what you usually see portrayed in media.

  • Republic, Lost by Lawrence Lessig - If you have me freinded on Facebook, you've probably seen me post at least one link on the topic of corruption/corporate money in politics and/or at least one link to a presentation by Larry Lessig, either on this topic or on copyright law. Anyway, this book is Lessig's latest, and it is about how Congress has been corrupted by a dependency on campaign funders, rather than remaining dependent “on the people alone”, as the founders intended. It is an excellent book. I agree whole-heartedly that this problem is the “root” of the majority of bad policy that the US Congress has produced in the last several decades, including the decisions that led to the current financial crisis. I used to think campaign finance reform was just another issue, probably a good idea, but not any more important than any other issue. I now believe it is absolutely essential in order to restore the republic of the USA back to what it was meant to be—a republic dependent on the people, and not the funders. I urge every US voter to learn as much as they can about this issue. This is a good place to start: http://rootstrikers.org/ Also, I've linked several versions of Lessig's presentations on Facebook, but the one below is of his talk at Seattle's Town Hall, which I went to see a couple of weeks ago (and where I also got my book signed). I felt like it was a good remix of his best material. I know it's long, but Lessig is a very entertaining speaker, and this is an EXTERMELY IMPORTANT MESSAGE. So please take the time to watch it:



  • Lady in Waiting by Debby Jones & Jackie Kendall - This is a Christian book that addresses the struggles of single Christian women. It is a bit dated, and some of the advice feels a little stale to a 30-something woman who has read lots of similar books in the past. But overall, I've enjoyed reading it and felt encouraged by its message of living for God and serving him now rather than waiting for some fairy tale happy ending, as if life only starts once you're married.

  • Christian Universalism: God's Good News for All People by Eric Stetson - This is the third book on the topic of Christian universalism that I've read now. The first, The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbot was the most convincing, IMO. This one uses a lot of similar arguments, and seems to be a bit more confrontational against those who hold a more traditional view of God's judgement. I like Talbot's book for being more gentle toward opposing viewpoints. Anyway, I'm not 100% sure what I think about Christian universalism. I lean toward thinking that Biblical teaching on what happens to human beings after death is sufficiently ambiguous that no one ought to be too dogmatic about it; I think the Christian universalist view (which is NOT the same as pluralistic universalism, BTW) is a reasonable one, and I think it does a better job of reconciling seemingly conflicting Bible verses on salvation and the sovereignty of God than traditional views such as Calvinism and Armenianism. I don't think we can deny that people will face God's judgement after death, but what exactly that judgement entails is open to interpretation.

  • A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower by Kenneth G. Henshall – This is a book I picked up at the library recently because I wanted to read a general history of Japan. I haven't read very much of it yet, though, so I don't yet have much to say about it.


*yawn* For some reason I'm really tired tonight, even though I had a pretty easy day and took a nap this afternoon. I'm glad to be going to bed a little bit earlier than usual tonight. (And yes, 11-ish is pretty early for me!)

Joie
hymnia: (shi aya making fun)
The NY Times has an online game where you can choose what spending to cut or taxes to raise in order to balance the US Federal Budget: Fun for the whole family! XD

I fixed that sucker in less than 15 minutes. OH, IF ONLY IT WERE REALLY THAT EASY!

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
I just heard two great speeches. I was getting a bit impatient for Obama's, but it was worth waiting for.

"I will listen to you, especially when we disagree."

I'm going to hold you to that, Mr. President.

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
Not two hours after telling [livejournal.com profile] blpurdom I still had a few days to decide, I made up my mind to go ahead and get it over with.

Guess what this is! )

So...Obama-Biden '08, though I say it with less glee than many of you.

Joie

P.S. I can haz peace of mind now?
hymnia: (Default)
I should be getting ready for bed, but instead I'm typing an LJ entry. 'Cause I just feel like it.

So first off, I want to say that Avatar: The Last Airbender is pretty much rocking my world right now. I am very nearly done with the series now--about halfway through Book 3, just after tiny spoiler )--and I am incredibly paranoid about spoilers. This is very odd for me, because usually I don't mind getting mildly sullied with spoilers, but I think that since I'm in a position where I am able to mainline this series, I feel a strong desire to stay pure and encounter the story naturally. Tonight, I very nearly got caught by a spoilerdragon in a comment thread in a friend's unrelated-to-Avatar entry, but I averted my eyes just in time; so I'm feeling a little panicky about spoilers right now. 0_0 Anyway, in about a week's time, when I finish the series, I am going to be asking any of you who are into Avatar for all your spoilerific thoughts/opinions/pervious posts, etc.

BUT NOT YET! kthnxbai

Second, the election. Still undecided. Right now, my main hang-ups are these:

1) Is my main attraction to Obama that it seems like the cool thing to do, or is it really for legitimate reasons (like, that he seems like a more capable leader)?

2) FOCA: It really sucks. More than that, I feel that most people in this country could and should agree with me that it sucks, including moderate pro-choicers. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE, PEOPLE?! And more importantly, can he really do it? Would such a thing really be able to pass all the checks and balances of the U.S government? It seems to me that it shouldn't be able to, but I can't be sure. :(

Okay, now I'm off to get ready for bed. Well…maybe watch creator commentary on an episode or two of Avatar, and then get ready for bed. ^_^

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
Because it seems like most of the people who support the pro-choice candidate in any election don't get what the problem is. Mr./Ms. Casual Pro-choicer just seem so ignorant about what the abortion rights movement actually does and tries to do. And it feels like anyone who speaks up and tries to explain is dismissed as just some right-wing nut-job. Tonight I have seen two recent threads on LJ-land that are exemplary of this.

The first was some complaints about McCain's debate explanation of what is wrong with having an exception for the mother's "health" in a late-term abortion ban. Guys, I'm not a right-wing nut. I still haven't decided which "side" I'm on in this election, and as you'll know if you read my last political post, I'm pretty evenly split on the issues. Listen to me: McCain was right. Here's my C&P'd answer to the above complaints:

Read more... )

So come on, Obama supporters. Answer these complaints if you can. Tell my why his opposition to the IBAIPA and the partial-birth abortion ban, and his promises to appeal the Hyde Amendment and enact FOCA if elected somehow don't add up to him being an extremist, partisan JERK, at least when it comes to this issue. Tell me how I can possibly, POSSIBLY give him my support in light of my feelings on this issue. Because as far as I can see right now it sure looks like an Obama presidency, especially if FOCA is enacted, would deliver a deep wound to the hearts and consciences of roughly 40-50% of all Americans. And the silence, ignorance, and casual dismissals of his supporters only make me feel more inclined to take a stand against his candidacy.

Joie, now with a mail-in ballot waiting and more torn than ever
hymnia: (Default)
So last time I posted, I was in the 60% range for McCain and still in love with Sarah Palin. I still like Palin (and *really* don't want to hear any more criticism of her, esp. since she's not the real issue), but I'm having doubts about the ticket. This week all my political quiz results are coming out 50-50 again.

BTW, my hypothesis on the quiz that was going around earlier was that most people would score in the range of 60-70% vs. 30-40%. I haven't gotten around to tallying up the results yet, but really, you guys didn't give me much to go on. It's probably wrong, anyway. I think it was more wishful thinking that I'm not the only person in the country who feels this torn about presidential elections.

So the polls are swinging back to Obama, and lately so is this swing voter in a big swing state. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE to lure me to your side. You know you want to. ;)

It might help if you know the things that resonate with me:

Critical issues that I believe need the most attention )

Issues I take great interest in (mostly because they affect me personally) )

Other issues I have fairly strong feelings about )

On most other issues I am not sufficiently convinced which approach is right; in some cases, I don't feel I know enough to decide.

Is it possible for me to decide on one candidate with true peace of mind? Help me out, flist!

Joie

P.S. Be nice. More flies with honey, remember?
hymnia: (Default)
First, a quiz gacked from [livejournal.com profile] thewhiteowl:



Your Issue Profile: 36% Obama, 64% McCain



When it gets down to it, you tend to best match John McCain.

But he's not the perfect candidate for you, and you may not be sold on him yet.



Obama shares a good number of your views too, so you might want to give him a second look.

It all comes down to which issues matter to you the most.



If you feel so inclined, please take the quiz and either post your results in the comments, or if you post them on your LJ, post a link here (JIC I miss it on my regular flist perusals). I have a little hypothesis I'd like to test.

And now, some reading material that should be of interest to the US-politics otaku on my flist. I've excerpted some of the most relevant bits, but you really should read all of it. (You may need to register--for free, but a bit of a hassle--to read the rest.) Please consider what it has to say carefully. If you lean to the liberal side, please note that I am posting this for your benefit. And I mean that, truly, in the sense that I want you to benefit from reading it. I support McCain/Palin, but I don't think it would be a tragedy for Obama to win this election--not least because I know it would mean a lot to those of you who have suffered so much frustration with the current leadership and would like to see the reins change hands to the Democratic party.

Okay, I admit, this is probably more than half of the column. Seriously, you should just click the link and read the whole thing.

Clive Crook writes in Financial Times:

This article is not the first to note the cultural contradiction in American liberalism, but just now the point bears restating. The election may turn on it.

Democrats speak up for the less prosperous; they have well-intentioned policies to help them; they are disturbed by inequality, and want to do something about it. Their concern is real and admirable. The trouble is, they lack respect for the objects of their solicitude. Their sympathy comes mixed with disdain, and even contempt...

It is an attitude that a good part of the US media share. The country has conservative media (Fox News, talk radio) as well as liberal media (most of the rest). Curiously, whereas the conservative media know they are conservative, much of the liberal media believe themselves to be neutral.

Their constant support for Democratic views has nothing to do with bias, in their minds, but reflects the fact that Democrats just happen to be right about everything. The result is the same: for much of the media, the fact that Republicans keep winning can only be due to the backwardness of much of the country...

The irony in 2008 is that the Democratic candidate, despite Republican claims to the contrary, is not an elitist. Barack Obama is an intellectual, but he remembers his history. He can and does connect with ordinary people. His courteous reaction to the Palin nomination was telling...

The problem in my view is less Mr Obama and more the attitudes of the claque of official and unofficial supporters that surrounds him. The prevailing liberal mindset is what makes the criticisms of Mr Obama’s distance from working Americans stick.

If only the Democrats could contain their sense of entitlement to govern in a rational world, and their consequent distaste for wide swathes of the US electorate, they might gain the unshakeable grip on power they feel they deserve. Winning elections would certainly be easier – and Republicans would have to address themselves more seriously to economic insecurity. But the fathomless cultural complacency of the metropolitan liberal rules this out...

They will have to develop some regard for the values that the middle of the country expresses when it votes Republican. Religion. Unembarrassed flag-waving patriotism. Freedom to succeed or fail through one’s own efforts. Refusal to be pitied, bossed around or talked down to. And all those other laughable redneck notions that made the United States what it is.


Hope that provides some good, nutritious food for thought--as opposed to the mental indigestion that often comes from reading political commentary, especially if it is critical of your own side or party.

To my friends of all political persuasions: please, please, be courteous. Think carefully about the language you use, and the attitude you take, when you address or talk about the other side.

Your friend,
Joie

P.S. On a totally unrelated note, can anyone tell me why my mood theme doesn't seem to work today?
hymnia: (Default)
Dear Flist,

I <333 Sarah Palin.

Just thought you ought to know.

Joie

P.S. It so happens I'm one of the (apparently) few people who had paid much attention to her in the VP speculation. Here's someone else who had hoped she would be the long-shot champion—and explained the reasons for that hope quite well: Sarah Palin is walking, talking, governing proof that feminism, motherhood, and conservatism aren't inconsistent.
hymnia: (Default)
Time to start talking politics. Election Day in the US is just a few weeks away. Unfortunatly, I've been too busy to ponder the issues as deeply as I'd like. But I do have some nice fluffy quiz results to share, and a link or two to some articles/sites that I think provide food for thought.

First, the quiz, which I grabbed from [livejournal.com profile] buongiornodaisy:

You scored as Old School Democrat. Old school Democrats emphasize economic justice and opportunity. The Democratic ideal is best summarized by the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

</td>

Old School Democrat

75%

Socially Conservative Republican

70%

Foreign Policy Hawk

65%

Green

60%

Pro Business Republican

60%

New Democrat

55%

Libertarian

45%

What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with QuizFarm.com


As happens to me often on political quizzes, my results seem to suffer from dissociative identity disorder.

Anyway...here are the links.

A couple of posts by Patterico about the Iraq war that I've been mulling over:

1. Phil Carter is back from Iraq, and has an op-ed in the New York Times that you can read here. Any supporter of the war needs to read it. Carter says:

The war I knew was infinitely more complex, contradictory and elusive than the one described in the network news broadcasts or envisioned in the new field manual. When I finally left Baquba, the violent capital of Iraq’s Diyala Province, I found myself questioning many aspects of our mission and our accomplishments, both in a personal search for meaning and a quest to gather lessons that might help those soldiers who will follow me.


2. I have probably never agreed with Goldberg as totally as I do in this opening passage. He puts into words several concepts that I have been thinking myself lately — namely, the war was a mistake given what we know now, but it was the right call based on what we knew at the time.

And a recent article from the Sojourners blog; the comments occupied my mind as much as, if not more than, the original article, so I recommend reading them as well:

But the wind is changing at Bethel, and among a new generation of evangelical students across the country. Yesterday was a dramatic demonstration of that change, one that will be most significant for both faith and politics in America.

I started my day at Bethel by speaking in chapel and asking a new generation to "clear up the confusion" in this nation about what it means to follow Jesus. I asked them if they wanted to be true evangelicals, defined by the root meaning of the word "evangel," which literally means "good news."


My own comment on the article debunks a false soundbite that has been a pet peeve of mine since 2004, so I'm reproducing it here for the benefit of my flist:

Abortions did not increase under Bush. Here is the article at FactCheck.Org debunking the claim: http://www.factcheck.org/ article...rticle330m.html

The article explains why the CDC's numbers are not helpful in determining the truth of the matter. Our best source of info on abortion statistics is the Guttmacher Institute, and their numbers show the claim to be false.

I don't necessarily disagree with the idea that there are important ways society can discourage abortion without totally prohibiting it (although I personally believe it should be prohibited legally as well as prevented by other means). I would like to see that position supported by facts, however, rather than information that is demonstrably false.


Joie
hymnia: (Default)
I've been hearing rumblings about the need to protect Net Neutrality, but I was having trouble understanding the issue until now. [livejournal.com profile] jediboadicea has laid it out in easy to understand terms in this post. This is highly recommended reading. This issue affects everyone who uses the internet. Pease do check it out, and when you're done, visit the site she links, Save The Internet, and consider signing the petition provided there and taking the other recommended actions.

Joie

Petition

May. 7th, 2006 05:16 pm
hymnia: (Default)
I'm not sure what the best compromise on the issue of file sharing and the RIAA is, but I thought signing this petition was a good idea. You might, too.

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
This poll is mainly for US citizens of voting age, but if that doesn't apply to you, and you have some knowledge of and opinion on the matter, I don't mind if you vote, too.

[Poll #599061]

Feel free to elaborate in the comments.

Joie
hymnia: (Default)
That politics quiz )

This quiz seems to think I need to change my party registration. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you do, too. ;)

Joie

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hymnia: (Default)
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