What Does Ted Cruz Looks Like?

What Does Ted Cruz Look Like?

The above article is an entertaining read from Rolling Stone.  The article examines the public perception of several mainstream candidates over the last few years, based on their looks, and tries to discern how Ted Cruz’s looks will affect his candidacy.  (There is a pretty great side-by-side of President Obama and Sam the Eagle.)

One of my best friends has often said the following to me about Ted Cruz:  “Even if he was the greatest politicians ever, wouldn’t just the way he looked make you want to kick the shit out of him?” Yes, yes, yes….

The Obama Doctrine

The new New York Times interview with President Obama is an interesting read.  I am glad that he is our leader at this point.  He explains what his approach to Iran and other countries is.  He lays out his way of thinking about countries that have been deemed enemies of the U.S.  It’s being called the Obama doctrine.  It seems more than sane to me.  Here is a small snippet:

“You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies.”

And later:

The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”

The notion that Iran is undeterrable — “it’s simply not the case,” he added. “And so for us to say, ‘Let’s try’ — understanding that we’re preserving all our options, that we’re not naïve — but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change. If it doesn’t, our deterrence capabilities, our military superiority stays in place. … We’re not relinquishing our capacity to defend ourselves or our allies. In that situation, why wouldn’t we test it?”

This does not mean that his foreign policy is perfect.  I still am highly wary of his use of drones over the term of his presidency.  I also don’t like the way that whistle blowers have been treated.  However, the main policies that he lays forth seem to me that they are highly reasonable.  He seems to understand our place in the world.  We are militarily the most powerful country in the world.  Why couldn’t we try new approaches, especially when the downside, given our technological and military position, is small.  His approach to Cuba and Iran, at least at this point, seem like victories for peace.

I highlight two of the quotes that Huffington Post also highlighted.  

Injustice in Ferguson

Details From Ferguson

The details emerging from the Justice Department’s investigation into Ferguson are pretty ugly.  There is definitely racism is our criminal justice system and this is just the latest example.  If you don’t think there is, you are probably white, and you probably haven’t read enough.  Again, I think one of the best one stop shop reads you can have on this subject for modern times is Matt Taibbi’s The Divide:  American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.  But if you are somehow new to all of this just read the details in the above article, it won’t take very long.  A few samples:

  • Ferguson’s black drivers were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be stopped and searched, according to records over two years. Black drivers were also 26 percent less likely to be found in possession of contraband.
  • According to the police department’s internal records concerning force, 88 percent of those cases involved force against blacks. All 14 canine bite incidents involved blacks.
  • Blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed in municipal court. An arrest warrant was more likely to be issued for blacks.

Netanyahu Speaks to Congress

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Salon On Netanyahu Speech

Above is Salon’s take on Netanyahu’s speech to Congress today.  Although I tend to agree with them, my point today isn’t really to focus on this one write up.  At the end of the day it is one write up and you should be reading a bunch of them, mixing and matching, and trying to come to your own conclusion.  However, this is an event that you should be reading about.  A foreign head of state is trying to sway US policy.  This is highly unprecedented in the fact that this head of state actually spoke directly to our congress to try and change our policy.

I have long viewed Netanyahu as a thug and a bully whose intentions do not run in accord with the best intentions of our country.  Nor do I think that his intentions have long term Middle East peace at the heart of them.  I think he is someone that is about self-serving political and military power above all else.

But don’t take my word for it.  Read, read, and read some more.

Canada and Keystone XL

Canada and Keystone XL

Well looking up a little background information on the Keystone XL Pipeline, which Obama thankfully vetoed, I came across this Rolling Stone article.  It explains Canada’s politics in connection to big oil and to the pipeline.  It’s worth a read if you want to get a broader perspective on the topic.

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline!

NYT: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline

This is news I have been waiting a long time to read.  Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This is not only a great day for the environment, but a great day for our country as well.  Our President has made the only sane decision concerning this bill.

For those of you that aren’t sure why this is such a good day for our our country, here is one of the many articles that points out why Keystone XL was a bad idea:

The Pipeline From Hell

Climate Change Worse Than Terrorism

Climate Change Greater Threat Than Terrorism

President Obama recently stated that the news media overstates the threat of terrorism compared to climate change.  Despite some initial waffling by his press secretary, who also eventually answered the question in agreement, this statement seems like a no brainer.  Here is an article on islands that are threatened because of sea level rise related to climate change:

Islands Threatened by Climate Change

Or check out the the predicted future for one of our country’s biggest cities:

Why the City of Miami is Doomed to Drown

My point is not to scare you about climate change, though I wish more people would get motivated to make the smart changes that we absolutely need to make, only to give some examples of arising problems related to climate change, as it is a serious issue.  Overall, the threats we face from terrorism pale in comparison.

However, this is just another example of a mainstream media that entertains more than it informs and a human brain that is good at identifying localized or regional threats, but not large systematic ones.