AbortionThe "classic" hot button issue. My personal feelings on it are as layered and complicated. I lean to the side that says, "It doesn't affect me, I don't have to live with myself after doing it, so if you think the child's life will be absolutely unlivable, then I guess it's your call." Ultimately though, I just lie in the "never say never" camp. If abortion laws changed to be severely locked down, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. It's just hard to fit that on a bumper sticker.
I just want the ability to make the call, or have the doctor be able to decide, that my wife Sarah's life is in danger if something isn't done about it. I mean shouldn't that be what "choose life" is about? I don't want to see a law where we have to bullheadedly charge into a situation where Sarah has a 15% chance to survive and the baby, in turn, has even less of a chance. I want the option to choose Sarah at 95% and baby at zero. It just makes sense. The biggest argument against the "mother in danger loophole" is that of course doctors across the land would automatically start declaring pregnant women with a cold "in danger." This argument is preposterously ridiculous. Of course their COULD be unscrupulous doctors but it would be dealt with the same way doctors who abuse handing out prescriptions.
No issue is argued more black and white in America than abortion, and no issue I can think of has more gray area.
Girl A - 14 years old, 70 pounds, raped by her father 2 weeks ago, currently residing in a halfway house, battling crack addiction, would almost certainly die if pregnancy is carried to term, and the baby would have severe birth defects, if it survived at all.
Girl B - 28 years old, healthy, well off, carrying her devoted husband's perfectly healthy baby, hours away from going into labor.
I don't care if you are the biggest right wing, born again, abortion clinic bombing, nutcan; or the biggest left wing nazi feminist. You can not tell me that those two girls are in the exact same situation. You can not tell me they should be covered under the same "No abortions for anyone, under any circumstances" laws. Likewise you would have to concede that there should be some line, somewhere, that unless superseded (like by health complications), abortion is no longer an option for you. There has to be a place we can put that line that would appease 90% of the population, don't you think? We're never going to get anywhere if the people we're aiming to please are the abortion clinic bombers and the people who think a woman should be able to change her mind right up until the umbilical cord is cut.
Clearly the answer is abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.
Gay MarriageThis is one of those issues where I can't fathom how there is even a debate surrounding it. In a land where Church and State are supposed to be separate there are virtually no non religious reasons out there to not allow it. Any non-religious arguments are generally cherry picked statistics from religious groups attempting to make a secular argument. I guess they apply the same cherry picking skills that allows them to dislike homosexuals because the Bible says God is against them, but conveniently gloss over the "Judge not, that you be not judged," and the numerous "love everyone, even (and especially) your enemies" passages.
At any rate here's the thing, and where we can meet in the middle. It's true that some gay couples want the recognition of their marriage because they think they should be the same. However many just want the practicalities of being married. They want to share insurances and the like. I really don't think that is so much to ask.
Churches are private organizations. They should/could/do exercise their right to marry or not marry anyone. The priest that performed Sarah and My wedding could have told us to take a hike for any reason, or no reason. I don't think anyone is arguing that Churches across the land should be forced to marry gay people. If someone is arguing that they are way off base. These would be legal in the eyes of the government, not in the eyes of God.
I guess I really don't understand why 2 people that have been together 20 years can't be on the same health insurance, but a guy and a girl who met yesterday, don't know each others names, and don't live on the same sides of the country, can, if they get married. Perhaps the solution is to allow any two people to legally declare each other "roommates," for the "paperwork" benefits.
The "Amnesty" BillAdmittedly I don't know a whole lot about this bill. The only coverage of it I've seen is Lou Dobbs, and something in the back of my mind makes me think I'm not getting both sides of the issue. It's subtle maybe, but something told me he was leaning to the "against" side.
Again, I don't know a lot, but here's what I'll say. I think the bill errs on the side of "let's just not be naive." I mean, what good would it do to pass a bill saying they all had to go? That's already the law. If the illegals weren't given some incentive to out themselves, why would they?
Also, as far as the "we should keep them out at all costs, 'They turk urrr jurrrbss'," people, I have this to say:
People are clever, no matter what you did to keep out a populace given sufficient time and motivation to get in, it wouldn't be good enough. ANY border locking down to help drive down the number of illegal immigrants would have to be accompanied by a massive "unlocking" of the legal path to citizenship to have a snowball's chance in hell of being effective.
I do understand where the bill falls short, namely by rewarding people who did the wrong thing to begin with. However, I think the bill is also a way of saying, "They are already here, they are going to stay no matter what we do, and they are going to keep coming. We need to get these people on the books and in the system."
In an ideal world, this bill wouldn't need to happen, I do however, from the admittedly little I know about it, think it's a realistic assessment of what few options we really have in the matter.
MicrosoftOk now perhaps this is a little out there, and shoehorned into this article, but live with it - I'm sick of all the Microsoft hatred out there. It's reached the irrational point. It's reached hate for the sake of hate. Microsoft isn't my favorite, but I think the anti group has become a little too out of control.
First of all Microsoft is hardly an "evil empire." Bill Gates gives away money like he can't give it away fast enough.
Microsoft code is "buggy", "vulnerable to hackers," etc.
If your computer is on the internet it is vulnerable. Your mac is vulnerable, your linux machine is vulnerable, and us Firefox users are vulnerable. The reason you hear about exploits against Microsoft products are because:
1) Why write an exploit that will affect like 3% of the population when you can affect almost everyone? (Microsoft is the US and hackers are the illegal immigrants. They are too clever and too determined to get in to hold them off.)
2) Because every Microsoft shortcoming that is found due to the world gunning for them (See #1) is then discussed ad nauseam by all the haters (Hurrrr, I used a $ for the S, aren't I just the epitome of cleverness), creating new haters and spiraling ever downwards.
Internet Explorer doesn't follow the standards
Ok, now in the interest of full disclosure, IE is the bane of my existence. I can't stand it. IE sucks when it comes to implementing the WC3 standards, I don't think you'll find much of a debate there. However, as good as theoretical standards are, if 90-95% of web browsing is done in IE, doesn't that make how IE renders it the "standard?"
It is indeed frustrating to have a website look perfect, and as expected, in Firefox, only to check your page in IE and wonder (sometimes with out-loud expletives) how it rendered what you told it to do into that. However, sometimes I wish the browsers just rendered the same, even if that meant Firefox took a step backwards on the standards, so you didn't have to come up with lame hacks to get your site to work in both.
BETA was widely considered to be a superior product to Video Cassettes, but in the end everyone was better off and life was that much easier because we "chose a standard." Even if that meant everyone lined up behind the inferior VCRs. When it comes to the browser market sometimes I feel like the market has spoken but us nerds just refuse to let go of our "Beta" because the "VCR" doesn't work with a completely arbitrary list of features some other nerds pulled out of thin air. If 95% of cars used one part and 5% used another would a mechanic ever have the gall to call the one that's used 5% of the time the "standard" part?
It's just humorous to me how many people, myself included, plug our ears and go "la la la la" and plow forward with these Utopian standards and then 'blame' the IE users for using an 'inferior product' when the site looks like crap - to 95% of the internet. Any time it comes down to choosing between needing to break standards to make something look perfect in IE, and sometimes maybe less perfect in Firefox, we say "screw those IE n00bs, rabble standards!, rabble WC3 rabble rabble! What other industry would put up a fuss about needing to do something fairly insignificant to cater to 95% of their clients?
The Monopoly ArgumentWindows comes on almost every machine purchased.
What's your point? So the market has spoken. People do have other options. THEY just aren't choosing to take them. If there was something fundamentally non functional about Windows people would have moved on.
Windows comes with a lot of software. This hurts competition because no one will pay for, say WinZip, now that Windows handles zip files natively
Fair enough. However, what other industry would we argue so fervently for LESS to be built into a product for the same price. Imagine the business auto makers are taking from the after market stereo companies by having the audacity to include a sound system right off the line!
Microsoft has even been accused of actually crippling competitors' software in the past.
Well, first of all, again there was no gun to the customers head when they chose windows in the first place. Given that, couldn't one argue it's within Microsoft's right to disallow, or allow, whatever they want? You can't just toss whatever car part you want into your Dodge, you need to use Dodge's parts. (Mopar? Anyone? Mopar?)
It's time to tone down the irrational hatred. No, they aren't a perfect corporation. However, the fact that Microsoft is still releasing updates for software you bought 4 years ago should be considered a good thing, not a sign of the end times. Anyone who has any experience doing any significant programming will tell you no software is every really done, or as perfect as it can be.
Global WarmingAnytime I hear someone debating whether or not global warming exists I always come back to the same thought. Does it matter at all? Most of the things that Global Warming advocates want put in place are things that should be done regardless of their benefit to the planet, because said benefit is one of many long term and short term benefits. Doing a cost-benefit analysis with the environment may make you look like a bastard, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. At the same time, the argument "We should make no changes to the status quo if Global Warming doesn't exist" doesn't make sense either.
Should we cripple our automakers with outrageous emissions and fuel economy standards? No. That would just drive the price of cars up, and hurt the 'little people'. Is it unreasonable to set our emission standards at or above what other countries set theirs at 20 years ago? No, it isn't.
Is there any reason to not replace every light bulb you can with a more efficient version? Sure, they cost more today, but they pay for themselves in a few months and you don't have to worry about them for years. I think it's funny that people, in their minds, assign energy usage importance in order of the "importance" of the appliance. The appliances are energy efficient, so that's all that matters. Meanwhile most of the country is still lighting their homes with what is, in essence, an open short producing as much heat as it does light.
We now find ourselves at the Tree Huggers' least favorite two words: Nuclear Power. Despite the battle cries of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island (which by the way led to zero deaths or injuries) nuclear power is our safest, and yes, cleanest, option. There is no green ooze to hide. "Toxic Waste" is actually little gray pellets. Those pellets are transported in drums that might themselves be able to survive a nuclear attack. If a drum was spilled en route to being stored you know what you do? You just pick the damn pellets up. Oh, Jeremy you mean they quarantine the tristate area while a Hazmat team comes in. Then the area is rendered unlivable for 30 years, right? No. While I'm sure suits would be worn for precautionary sake, the pellets really aren't that dangerous. (Unless you plan on filling your pillow with them for a week.) Besides, once the waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain is done the idea of toxic waste is moot. We could just as well consider it gone forever. This hasn't, however, stopped people from protesting nuclear power, and the facility at Yucca mountain. One of the talking points against nuclear is how unsafe the plants are, but thanks to their protesting all our Nuclear plants are from the 70's. They are also likely being more overworked than they would need to be, if state of the art plants were allowed to open.
I think what bugs me most about the anti-nuclear people is that they don't have any solutions of their own. Coal? Oil? The closest they can get is solar and wind energy, but those are far from being viable options. Besides, nothing is for free. Any energy those turbines take from the wind is just that, taken away. That has to effect something. (Not to mention the birds that are killed.) Also on a size-per-power-output basis they are horrible. First off, I think people see a field of them, without any thing to scale off of, and don't take their sizes into account. The things are freaking huge and the footprint to make any real power out of them is as well.
There has to be some compromise out there, regardless of your opinion on global warming. Lowering your "carbon footprint" can save you money. Lessening our dependence on Middle Eastern oil is important. Whether or not global warming will soon kill us all, or is a complete myth.
In ConclusionHopefully I accomplished my goal of reminding everyone that compromises are necessary in everything, even the hot button issues. Nothing is as black and white as some people make it out to be. Perhaps though there are, in fact, a lot of people in the gray area. Maybe the problem is you only get a voice if you reside in East/West Crazy Town.
Maybe, almost by definition, living in the gray means lacking the strong convictions the two fringes have on the same issue. As such, maybe then it just seems like there is no one left defending reason because no one can hear us in our "Who ever yells the loudest, or has the catchiest slogan, wins" society.