Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It’s Not Just Muslims: Christians Play the Victim Card, Too

That provocative title is from a blog entry at PajamasMedia, a conservative blog. I completely agree with the author. In short, he is disagreeing with a Brithish court which sided with a Christian who refused to perform civil unions for gays (they are legal in Britain.

Conservatives have long railed against Muslims winning concessions in the British court for exceptions based on the Muslim religion or even granting victim status to Muslim's who are restricted from the free exercise of their religion due to British laws. And, keeping with that principle, the conservative author of this entry decries the court's finding. And I agree. Full article here

Addendum to Women and Science (7/15)

Just saw this at Scientific American:

Remember when Barbie whined that “math is hard.” Maybe you got annoyed at hearing a popular female doll say that to little girls. Or maybe you also had a nagging suspicion that, in fact, boys are better at math. Well, the latest research is in, and the answer is a resounding no: boys are not more math savvy. The finding appears in the July 25 issue of the journal Science.

Janet Hyde at the University of Wisconsin-Madison led the study. The group dug through piles of information from seven million students tested through the No Child Left Behind program across ten states. Researchers had detailed personal info on the test takers. Researchers checked out math tests in different grades. They took the average. No difference. Some critics have said that the difference only shows up among the highest levels of math skills. So the team checked out the most gifted children. Again, no difference. From any angle, girls measured up to boys. Still, there’s a lack of women in the highest levels of professional math, engineering and physics. Some have said that’s because of an innate difference in math ability. But the new research shows that that explanation just doesn’t add up.

—Cynthia Graber


Those who think that math and science are just in male or male-like genes, how do you explain away this finding?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama's wailing wall prayer..let me be the first to twist this one

Here is the story: Sen. Obama visits the wailing wall in Jerusalem. Leaves a prayer as is the tradition. An Israelis student takes it, gives to Israeli newspaper. Full story here

The comments are predictable, what a terrible thing to do, invasion of privacy, the simple, routine prayer will sound very familiar to many Christians. Many wait, of course, for the attack from Sen McCain or his surrogates. One I've already seen, where Obama asks to be an insrument of God's will, already that is being seized on as what terrorists say before they do their evil deeds. Yet I recall the same line in a hymm sung in my Methodist church last week or perhaps the week before.

the Israeli student and press are being criticized, but let me be the first to spin this in this way: It is an Obama set up. He arranged to have his simple prayer taken and turned over to the Israeli press because it will show Obama's true heart (he didn't ask to be elected President, after all). Now, this is pure spin. I voted for Obama in the Indiana primary, but I expect to see more serious attacks like this to occur with this event.

I think this event is what it is. And the note does reflect a most private moment of Sen Obama's. But it will be spun to be a negative, you can be sure of that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

According to today's blogs, the katie couric interview disqualifies both candidates

I really like it when the blogs concentrate on the same event. so much of the blogosphere is divided into right and left, and they rant on about different things, but apparently today, katie couric (CBS) interviewed both Sens McCain and Obama. here is a bit form the Huffington Post on McCain's performance:

John McCain made a mistake this evening, which as far as I'm concerned, disqualifies him from being president. It is so appalling and so factually wrong that I'm actually sitting here wondering who McCain's advisers are. This isn't some gaffe where he talks about the Iraq-Pakistan border. It's a real misunderstanding of what has happened in Iraq over the past year. It is even more disturbing because according to John McCain, Iraq is the central front in the "war on terror." If we are going to have an Iraq-centric policy, he should at least understand what he is talking about. But anyway, what happened.

What did Sen McCain do? mispell potato(e)? point to Kansas when speaking of Saudi Arabia? Nope, got his timeline screwed up:

The surge wasn't even announced until a few months after the Anbar Awakening. Via Spencer Ackerman, here is Colonel MacFarland explaining the Anbar Awakening to Pam Hass of UPI, on September 29, 2006. That would be almost four months before the President even announced the surge. Petraeus wasn't even in Iraq yet.

So, scratch Sen McCain, he doesn't know his history.

Over at Instapundit, they are ranting about Sen Obama's disqualifying remarks to katie couric:

That was an amazing segment! CBS did an excellent job. Congratulations.
This could very well be a turning point in this year's election!
Obama came off cocky, confused and crazy. McCain was wonderful- honest, humble and smart.

Sen Obama's mistake? Other than a refusal to say he was wrong about the surge (wasn't mcCain wrong about Iraq to begin with?)....here is the reasoning:

Couric: But talking microcosmically, did the surge, the addition of 30,000 additional troops ... help the situation in Iraq?

Obama: Katie, as … you've asked me three different times, and I have said repeatedly that there is no doubt that our troops helped to reduce violence. There's no doubt.

Couric: But yet you're saying … given what you know now, you still wouldn't support it … so I'm just trying to understand this.

Obama: Because … it's pretty straightforward. By us putting $10 billion to $12 billion a month, $200 billion, that's money that could have gone into Afghanistan. Those additional troops could have gone into Afghanistan. That money also could have been used to shore up a declining economic situation in the United States. That money could have been applied to having a serious energy security plan so that we were reducing our demand on oil, which is helping to fund the insurgents in many countries. So those are all factors that would be taken into consideration in my decision-- to deal with a specific tactic or strategy inside of Iraq.

Couric: And I really don't mean to belabor this, Senator, because I'm really, I'm trying … to figure out your position. Do you think the level of security in Iraq …

Obama: Yes.

Couric … would exist today without the surge?

Obama: Katie, I have no idea what would have happened had we applied my approach, which was to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation. So this is all hypotheticals. What I can say is that there's no doubt that our U.S. troops have contributed to a reduction of violence in Iraq. I said that-- not just today, not just yesterday, but I've said that-- previously. What that doesn't change is that we've got to have a different strategic approach if we're going to make America as safe as possible.
So, now Obama says the Bush surge in troops worked but defeating Al-Qaeda and Iran in Iraq was not worth it? And, if Obama believes that his plan of fleeing Iraq during the worst of the violence would have brought peace in Iraq, he is delustional.

Meanwhile, Jake Tapper is reproting on how Obama stole the victory away from the troops in his interview with ABC.
Here is Obama explaining the surge to Terry Moran:

"Well, you were saying that it would not make a significant dent in the violence," Moran said.

"In the violence in Iraq overall, right," Obama acknowledged. "So the point that I was making at the time was that the political dynamic was the driving force between that sectarian violence. And we could try to keep a lid on it, but if these underlining dynamic continued to bubble up and explode the way they were, then we would be in a difficult situation. I am glad that in fact those political dynamic shifted at the same time that our troops did outstanding work."
That must be Barack Obama's way of saying that he was wrong.

So, both are wrong and disqualified to be president. Whoooo, hoooo....Bob Barr or Ralph Nader???

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cartooning the candidates

Maybe one reason it is hard to make fun of Candidate Obama is because, well, at least cartooning him, he cartoons very similar to our current president. Now, routinely President Bush is referred to as a "chimp" but to refer to Sen Obama as a chimp, no matter how chimp-like the cartoonist might make him, would create a firestorm, right or wrong.

Notice the resemblance to cartoons of President Bush:

Cartoons of John McCain are not too simian:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maybe one reason it is hard to make fun of Candidate Obama is because, well, at least cartooning him, he cartoons very similar to our current president. Now, routinely President Bush is referred to as a "chimp" but to refer to Sen Obama as a chimp, no matter how chimp-like the cartoonist might make him, would create a firestorm, right or wrong.

Notice the resemblance to cartoons of President Bush:

Cartoons of John McCain are not too simian:

Do social networks actually curb individualism?

previously published in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, 7/20/08

Is a new generation gap opening? While the term “generation gap” is often used to describe the different tastes, fashions and generational experiences of children and their parents and grandparents, the term originally arose in the 1960s referring to the differences in the Baby Boom generation and their parents and grandparents. The best explanation for it, other than the incredible size of the Baby Boomers, is that the Boomers were the first generation to be raised on television, that the gap was a case of the influence of television.

Have advances in computer technology and the growing presence and importance of the Internet created a similar gap with today’s youth and its Baby Boomer parents and grandparents?

I admit sometimes to being baffled and amazed (amaffled?) at how high schoolers and college students utilize the “social networking” sites. If I already sound like I am sprinkling in a foreign language, then that is more evidence for the presence of a gap. Social networking Web sites are just Web-based software where communities of people can share information through a variety of means: e-mail, text postings, pictures, videos, chatting, file-sharing. At this point, I will not be surprised at the first pregnancy conceived entirely through some kind of file-sharing breakthrough.

In my early 20s, I began using the computer to communicate through e-mail and an early form of “instant messaging.” Both were crude compared to today’s remarkable technologies. And while I am not on the cutting edge of these technologies, I do utilize them both professionally and personally. Things, however, are changing.

Ten years ago many of my college students were computer illiterate and I spent time introducing them to the use of e-mail and simple file-sharing. I don’t have to do that anymore. Just a few short years ago, I could contact any student, quickly, with e-mail. But today, students don’t check their e-mail as much as they used to, because of the use of the social networking sites and text messaging on their cell phones.

The social networking sites are everywhere on the Web. A quick Google search shows hundreds and hundreds of social networking sites with MySpace and Facebook among the most popular. Given less press, however, is AdultFriendFinder, which has over 20 million registered users, where adults seek adults for pleasure.

Most of the press coverage of the networking sites are about the perils of such sites for their mostly young users: stalking by online predators; vicious gossip; faux sites that caricature authorities; and harassment. Recently, the fundraising prowess of Sen. Obama and the use of social networking sites in political campaigning received more positive press coverage.

I also see something of a “borg”-like quality for those who use these sites as a central means of communication. The “borg” were an alien menace species from the Star Trek television series which was technologically connected to each other to create a single shared consciousness. All borg heard the thoughts of all other borg. No individuality, which is what the scary part of them was.

I am not a practicing member of a social networking site and do not maintain a Facebook or MySpace page (I do maintain a blog, however). Observing my high school-age daughter and her college-age sister integrate these networking sites into their lives is a sharp contrast to my own experiences. Information flows heavy and fast through these sites. It is borg-like.

For instance, when my older daughter came home for the summer and appeared to have snagged a job, she immediately posted something to her social networking site, saying something like “I am now selling X.” It seemed almost instantaneous that her network of friends identified the company, had experience with it, and warned her off working for them. I don’t need convincing of the power of social networks, but the integration of the network into what seemed almost like real-time decision-making is incredible to me.

Indeed, the daily (hourly?) updating of personal information on these sites, about oneself and others in one’s community, and the volume of text messaging, creates a crude form of shared consciousness. The collective impulse of today’s high schoolers and college students is showing up in many ways, from the party bus for proms (instead of the limousine) to a redefinition of romance. The collective is in, and individualism (not necessarily individuality) seems out.

When will we have implantable transceivers in our heads so we can hear each other’s thoughts?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Drill here, drill there, or drill anywhere

I hate politics, I really do. The vote yesterday on opening up more drilling in the US is a good example of how stupid our elected officials can be.

Let me see if I have this straight: Republican position is to open up everything to drilling, so what about the externalities. A local republican running for congress in my district just spent a weekend in Alaska and says the people there want drilling (here). All Alaskans or just the ones he met? Apparently some Alaskans support no drilling in ANWR So, the republican solution is to open up no drilling areas, such as ANWR and the near coastal areas of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, while the Dems want to protect those areas but accelerate exploration on the areas that are open but not yet explored. And open up an area of Alaska that was set aside in the 1920s for national security reasons (you;ve got to be kidding, as long as it takes to get the oil pumping, I can't imagine what National Security purposes it would hold).

So, the Repubs only solution is to open up these no drill areas, something they have been after for a very long time and are now just using this "crisis" (I don't see any gas shortages, just high prices, not like 1973) to open up Alaska and the coasts, because why? they despise any regulation of any kind.

Dems, well, they seem to be trying to actually solve the problem. A use the lease or lose it, I don;t follow President Bush's veto threat at all on that one (except to block any movement whatsoever).

The White House expressed a similar view in issuing a veto threat against the bill. “By blocking some firms from competing for new leases, this legislation would further increase gasoline prices that already exceed $4 per gallon and result in unintended consequences due to litigation,” the White House said

My understanding of the bill is that it would not allow firms to sit on leases and not explore them. Let those companies who want to explore do it:

Democrats said they were calling the bluff of Republicans on their persistent demands for more domestic production. “Drill on the leases you have or let somebody else do it,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader.

But is the problem just the high cost of oil? Oil is actually coming down in price....will that lead to any relief at the pump? Not if the capacity to refine gasoline isn't increased, and I dont hear either party discussing that. Nothing dramatic or seemingly quick solution to that problem to score political points.

Here is what I want to know: if we open up everything, including my backyard to drilling, and next year when prices are even higher, what explanation will be given to the American people then? What dumb bunny solution will Congress offer then?

And what about that deep water find in the Gulf of Mexico from two years ago? It was purported to be, quite possibly a bigger find than the biggest fields in Saudi Arabia. Here is an article on that find, a year later, just about a year ago.

Deep water exploration is seen as the immediate future of the oil exploration business. but it is hard...read the article and see why. In another place, the deep water stuff accounts for over 70% of our offshore drilling amounts. But, again, it is expensive to do this. Assembling just the rig to do the drilling is over a half billion dollars and the cost is in teh hundred millions to keep it going. Here is a telling quote however:

Even as Chevron and other oil giants earn record profits, they also face record expenses. For example, the company has commissioned two new deep water rigs that will be able to drill 40,000-foot wells. But at more than $600 million each, they can't exactly be snapped up on boats.com. "The costs of developing a new oil or gas project are about 65 percent higher today than 30 months ago, and the greatest escalation of costs has been offshore," says Daniel Yergin, chair of the consulting firm Cambridge Energy Research Associates. At today's oil prices of $70 a barrel, the current exploration makes sense. But if oil drops below $40 a barrel, Yergin says, the cost of exploring this high-risk frontier will become prohibitive

Remember this was about a year ago. At $70 a barrel this makes sense...why then at $140 a barrel the oil companies are not going whole hog for it? If capital is a problem, let the government provide the loans or loan guarantees. The technology will develop there, too.

Instead we squabble for the cameras, and deceive the public into thinking that if we open up these set aside areas, which have competing econonmic value that could easily be DESTROYED by an environmental accident (the Exxon Valdez wasn't supposed to happen either) and gas prices are going to come down so we can continue to guzzle gas at an exorbitant rate driving around in Stupid Useless Vehicles.

Addendum. This is a good piece of new media journalism here. This is more like it, real reasons why Congress failed to pass anything yesterday and why the easier things to do, such as conservation measures, aren't pursued.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What if the flip flop were on the other foot?

No surprise that Sen. McCain opposes the adoption of children by gay folks. The bigger surprise is that he flip flopped on the issue

If this flip flop were on Sen Obama's foot, the McCain campaign would be all over it, suggesting that Obama was flipping in face of pressure from an interest group. Gay civil rights groups, even the Log Cabin types aren't usually the type of group Sen McCain cares much about...so why the flip flop? To appease the state's rights types?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Women and Science

An interesting article in the NYT regarding "findings" on the disparity of women in science.

The article suggests a looming Title IX for science, similar to the parity men and women find in college athletics.

As with most press treatments of such complex issues as gender and careers and the effects of "discrimination" therein, the article sets up everything as either/or.

I'm an academic. I see the culture, hell I am the culture.

I am not going to reproduce the article here, but I am going to reproduce a couple of paragraphs below and comment on it:

In this debate, neither side doubts that women can excel in all fields of science. In fact, their growing presence in former male bastions of science is a chief argument against the need for federal intervention.

I agree with this, in part. However, while women may be making inroads in academia (in part because the professoring profession is changing and men are as much abandoning academics as anything else...with certain areas still laregly male, especially the physical sciences and math). Also, in one particular area, call it information technology (includes computer science), women are LEAVING the area, when 20 years ago, it was not "gendered" or associated with a particular sex. That fact is not addressed by the psychologists who try to explain away the disparities.

But the institute found that women with physics degrees go on to doctorates, teaching jobs and tenure at the same rate that men do. The gender gap is a result of earlier decisions. While girls make up nearly half of high school physics students, they’re less likely than boys to take Advanced Placement courses or go on to a college degree in physics.

This is stated as though, well, "discrimination" is not occuring. But what about at that point? Part of the problem is that we always want to look for a particular model of discrete discrimination....a sign that says, women not wanted, for instance. When, it has as much to do with one's identity as anything else. And at the crucial age of middle school, we see girls falling off and moving away from such pursuits.

Now, here comes the psychologists who too often seem to be incapable of understanding culture:

These numbers don’t surprise two psychologists at Vanderbilt University, David Lubinski and Camilla Persson Benbow, who have been tracking more than 5,000 mathematically gifted students for 35 years.

They found that starting at age 12, the girls tended to be better rounded than the boys: they had relatively strong verbal skills in addition to math, and they showed more interest in “organic” subjects involving people and other living things. Despite their mathematical prowess, they were less likely than boys to go into physics or engineering.

"organic" subjects? Then accounting is more organic? What about economics? 25 years ago similar arguments were made for why women choose nursing over medicine, and still today, the specialities within medicine, this same line of reasoning prevails. It has to do with gender....the allocation of men and women to roles...not surprising that we learn our lessons well, and come to like what we are supposed to. Furthermore, the operational items here, working with people, data, or things,,,,is from the Dictionary of Occupatoinal titles, the only comphrehensive analsis of job skills, but it has considerable problems, too.

Take physics, the straw dog set up to make this argument seem plausible. Physics is perhaps the ultimate in "inorganic" studies. But most people with a phsyics doctorate teach. Most of their time is teaching, which is, perhaps, the ultimate in organic.

But what about all that research? yes, but physics is still about people and working with people. Many men who puruse these studies becuase they think they can avoid working with people, are dumbstruck to find that so much of their success hsa to do with negotiating people.

What we need is a more realistic and consciously gendered (or perhaps a very gendered presentation....a presentation of science that fits the prevailaing notions of masculinity as well as a presentation of science that fits the prevailing notions of femininity as well).

Lastly this little nuggest of sophistry:

Ms. Pinker says that universities and employers should do a better job helping women combine family responsibilities with careers in fields like physics. But she also points out that female physicists are a distinct minority even in Western European countries that offer day care and generous benefits to women.

Ugh, what about Asian countries, where the gender definitions and allocations are different? Women pursue quantitative studies in greater numbers.

I don't agree with a quota system and I don't agree with a Title IX like approach to science....sports is very different and there is no question that title IX has created women's sports and all the good things (and bad) that comes along with them. But sports is for most athletes a temporary pursuit and a way to pay for their university education. Why not be equal on that one?

A career is a life long choice...but continuing to make excuses for male priviliges in the most lucrative of fields makes no sense whatsoever.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

If everyone follows the script, war will serve certain domestic interests

here is a different (and more thorough) analysis of the recent Iranian missle tests.

this analysis suggests, as I wish more would, that provocative displays of military force and claims of dangerous weapons development are more about domestic consumption than anything else.

It sounds like a script. The Iranian president who won his closely contested election playing on the problems of the regular Iranian people.... well, he has done nothing. So, he and the mullahs need to do something to distract from those issues as well as send messages to the people that they are beyond challenge. To me not much different that Saddam's WMDs. He had to keep the illusion in order to maintain power at home.

So, Iran's internal politics leads to more bellicose rantings toward Israel. Israel, on cue, responds with military training which could be s rehearsal for a strike against Iran. On cue, Iran fires off missiles, which our intelligence suggets demonstrates no additional capability and some faked pictures to suggest more capability than they have.

The "Great Satan" (what the extremists in Iran call the US), then on cue begin sabre rattling, all for Iranian domestic consumption.

Now, when the missile tests occurred, the Bush administration, especially Secretary Rice used it as an excuse to call for the missile shield in Europe and Georgia...all of which irritated the Russians who oppose the defensive missiles. McCain was ready to launch the invasion now. Obama, however, his response was to wait until the intelligence anaylsis shows if Iran has shown additional military capacity (which in the end, it didn't, and as this article suggets may actually show weakness). So, on the matter of judgement...who is showing the best judgement? Sen. McCain or Sen Obama? Who is eager to play the role being orchestrated by our enemies? More bellicose threats from the US actually serve the interests of the extremists in Iran. But what domestic interests does such bellicose respones here serve domestically?

The diplomatic pressure, however, looks like it is beginning to work on Iran.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More straight talk from John McCain

You'd think after the "nation of whiners" comment from his close friend and economic advisor, former Senator Phil Gramm (TX) and economist, that McCain might not be so dumb as to call the greatest anti-poverty program, certainly in US history and perhaps one of the best in the world, a disgrace:

"Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed," he said. article here

Yup, Social Security has a demographic problem, no doubt. It requires a temporary fix which might be required for 30 years, but eventually the boomers (of which I am one) will die off.

Social Security never was and is not an investment program. If McCain is principled, he would also rail against saving money through life insurance or indeed, any kind of insurance system. It is a bad investment because the only way insurance works is if most never make a claim. Social Security, set up in the 30s, was a typical insurance system, where many of those who would pay in, would indeed never get any benefits out because the life epectancy then was much lower, lower than the retirement age.

that has changed and with it, changes are required...such as increasing the age at with folks can draw social security (that has already happened and needs probably to be increased again).

Privatizing social security wouldn't be such a bad idea if the old pension systems were still in effect, but increasingly retirments are private....there needs to be some kind of insurance system in place for failures of those systems. If the housing crisis right now doesn't show the wisdom in some kind of social insuracne, I don't know what will? In a week, my market based retirement fund lost several percent of its value...some of my private investments are to pay for my kids college education, but over nite it lost 3% of its value. Yes, it could increase tomorrow by 3%, but it seems to me, and maybe I am wrong, but losses seem to occur faster in the short run than do gains. So my 3% over night loss might take me weeks or months to recover. Not good for retirement planning. As least social security can be counted on...boring, steady, consistent. Geez, I thought those were conservative values.

But the deep seated hatred of Social Security among conservatives, especially ones of means, is well known. And it shows class resentment as well as a class war. No doubt, social security is a better deal for workers on the lower side of the income ladder. (Contrary to recent claims made by, Senator McCain about it being a detriment to African Americans).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Iraqis might achieve what our Democratic Congress can't

Iraq Wants Withdrawal Timetable In U.S. Pact

BAGHDAD, July 8 -- Iraq's national security adviser said Tuesday that his government would not sign an agreement governing the future role of U.S. troops in Iraq unless it includes a timetable for their withdrawal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Shudder. Are we really going to permit warrantless wiretaps? The immunity issue for the telecoms is one thing. They might have violated the law (well they did) but they also might have been forced into it by an out of control adminitrative branch of government. Of course Congress has no interest is really investigating.

This is a worth it read, a post from the HuffingtonPost.

If passed, and given the overblown political rhetoric, could a republican administration define the democratic party as a threat to the national security (or vice versa?) How about Justice Anthony Kennedy? Given Scalia's comments and Gingrich's comments regarding the ruling on GITMO, could a judge who disagrees with the current admin be surveilled?

Conservatives decry the nanny state? How about a police state?

Friday, July 4, 2008

To drill or not to drill

The debate in Congress to drill or not to drill, as far as I can tell, is a dumb debate. if we opened up all of our coastal areas to drilling, it would take years before any of that oil would be flowing. Even the relatively small areas that can be drilled, aren't.

Here is a BBC report from two years ago regarding the big discovery in the deep gulf of Mexico. This is a technological breakthrough to successfully drill that deep. But even then, without all the heated rhetoric and hyper politicized discussion, the oil execs even say, not much for years. What is interesting as you read about that particular find is that such deep drilling could not be profitable unless oil hit $40 a barrel, at that time is was 72 and now 140.

The fact is that we don't even know how much oil is in the coastal regions of the US. The closer to shore, the easier and more profitable to pump. The NYT ran a good story on this, laying out the arguments on both sides (repub and dem) here. It seems to me that both sides go overboard. Republicans are certainly not "conservative" when it comes to drilling...give the drillers whatever they want, too hell with the costs or holding them accountable for anything. Dems don't account for improvements in technology, and want to rely too much on ignorance...actually both repub and dems want to rely on ignorance for their arguments. When we don't know the extent of oil in these locations, when the 20% of the coasts open for exploration has not been fully explored, this seems to me to be an obvious approach:

1) commit to exploring those areas that are open for exploration;
2) why does the argument have to be over whether to lift the ban completely on offshore drilling or keep it? We need exploration ultimately to tell us if there is any oil there or not....with all the incentives provided to the oil producers under Bush, strike a balance between environmentally sensitive/tourism areas and potential for a rich site. Why not very limited exploration and when we know more about the potential size of what is there, then continue with the debate and when we know where a potential site is, evaluate it for both its upside and downside and then work through that problem specifically.

Instead, we have this dumbass argument of all or nothing.
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