Democrats in Texas are coming back.

Last night the Texas Republicans got what they wanted, and more than they bargained for. They have given Democrats in Texas something to rally behind other than reproductive rights.

We will rally around each other.

Republicans in Texas–and I do mean the voters too–have been so sure they are right because no one has challenged them here; a sort of we win all the time so we must be right mentality. But their wins are not as big as they think. Like a cocky football team, they believe their own press too much and stopped paying attention to what matters. Politics isn’t about abortion. It’s about education, helping people improve their lives and by so doing, improving our communities, state and country. This is what we will challenge Republicans on. We will revive the greatness of our State rather than boast about it.

Through this fight, Democrats found out that there were more of us than we thought here in Texas. We found new leadership in Wendy Davis and Kirk Watson. We found something to fight against and to fight for. We have also reminded the rest of the country that we are here, and we will have allies because of this.

Republicans in Texas assume that because they are in power they always will be. That could not be farther from the truth.

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Big Changes coming this weekend (UPDATED)

I am separating my personal (mostly political/cultural musings) blog from my business blog. I want to keep the two neatly intermingled, crap, I mean separate.

The new blog will be up soon. This blog will continue as if nothing happened.

UPDATE: So this weekend turned into next weekend as cases and a database development snafu took most of my time.

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Passing this along: Why science and the Republicans don’t talk anymore

One of the Republican Party’s new traits is anti-intellectualism. Think about Santorum talking about how going to college makes you an elitist1, Tom Coburn’s one man battle against climate science, or Rick Perry in general.

This morning I was directed to and read Mano Singham’s article, “The cause of the conservative turn against science” I think it’s a good analysis of what’s happened to the Republican Party and science. I am mostly posting it because it is a good plank in a larger piece I am working on about how conservative thought became predominant in politics2

Look forward to incorporating this into my arguments.

  1. That was rich coming from a man with a law degree, but Rick was always good for a laugh.
  2. It is the dominant political belief now, evidenced clearly by how Democrats act now as a center right party and are not liberal by any definition except the far-right’s.
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Quickhit–Something intelligent about Israel-Palestine

This article from Bloomberg, “Seven Truths About Israel, Hamas and Violence” has some good points. It reinforces my idea that there is no solution to this mess without someone doing something they are not expected to do.

The core of the problem: Truth “No. 6. There also is no direct political solution for Israel.”

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Things I know nothing about

I wish I could talk intelligently about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I took an honors class about the region back in college. I read Friedman’s book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, and I did some research and wrote my own paper.1 Since then, I have read about the region with curiosity and think I have a good grasp on the players.

But in the years since that class, I have also met people from both sides of the conflict. Actual displaced Palestinians, and Israelis of left and right political stripes have both been my friend. They talked to me about what they think is happening there and I am more confused than enlightened having talked to them.

My real confusion though comes from another class I took, long after the first one. I took a class on game theory. It was eye-opening and thought-provoking, plus it was one of the most challenging things I ever studied. I remember learning about the basics of the discipline including something called tit for tat theory. Without getting too much into any of it2 I was struck by the irrationality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when viewed through that lens.

The history of the conflict is not even agreeable between the sides. However, by looking at the general tone of events, from far above as it were, we can see a tit for tat pattern.3 The Palestinians, or the Israelis—it doesn’t matter who moves first—does something bad, unforgivable, or just mean to the other side, and then the other side retaliates, followed by umbrage and more retaliations, truly ad infinitum, or really, ad insaniam.4

Which brings me back to wishing I could talk intelligently about the conflict. I have what should be a well-developed toolkit for doing so. I have actual personal knowledge gained from talking to real people. And, I just can’t do it. I see too much right in theory on both sides, and far, far too much wrong on both sides.

I feel like the world needs to tell both of them to go to their corner and to work it out, quickly, among themselves, or we’ll work it out for them. Draw all new lines and tell them, either make this work or we won’t talk to either one of you. Of course, that won’t happen.

So, I can’t talk intelligently about it. That doesn’t mean I won’t try. I just really hope that I don’t have to talk about a war. Those are much easier to talk about—everyone loses.

  1. I don’t remember what it was about, and the file is in some long-dead format, but I did get an A in the class, so it must have been at least adequate for an honors course.
  2. Although you should, it’s a really great way of looking at human problem solving.
  3. In fact, it would be more accurate to call it a two tits for tat pattern. However, I can’t remember if that is an actual strategy that Axelrod looked at, it sounds reasonable.
  4. I don’t know latin, I used Google Translate, so if it’s wrong, take it up with them; the point is that it’s nuts.
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