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Total number of comments: 4 (since 2013-11-28 16:50:57)

Cascadian

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  • Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense
    • Hagel isn't perfect and doesn't match my views on many issues, but he is about as progressive on military issues as a Secretary of Defense can be within the current bipartisan consensus on military and foreign policy.

      As a Democrat, I would ideally prefer that the President select a Democrat with similar views. But I think it's a realistic assessment that for the policy views he holds to have any chance of success, his party identification is a plus. And in any case, where are the equally progressive choices among Democrats? Maybe John Kerry, but he's going to State.

      And that brings up another point: John Kerry and Chuck Hagel were friends in the Senate and have a good working relationship on military and veteran's issues. They'll work well together in the cabinet, and be more effective than either alone.

  • President Obama's Speech to the UN General Assembly
    • I agree with almost everything in this speech. However, the remarks about Israel struck a dissonant chord against the rest of the speech.

      Israel does have a right to existence, but not necessarily as a Jewish state. The idea of a mono-ethnic state, or a state that privileges one religion or ethnicity above others, is completely at odds with the universalist themes of the larger speech. Practically speaking, a two-state solution might be the most just achievable alternative. But a multi-ethnic single state that eschews both apartheid and occupation and offers security and full rights for all people would be better.

      Also, on the matter of nuclear weapons, if we are to be motivated by opposition to nuclear proliferation, then we need to start with countries that already have nuclear weapons. It is unseemly for the country with more nuclear weapons than every other country save possibly one, that is the only country to use such weapons in war, to lecture other countries about the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In the Middle East, proliferation starts with the hundreds of nuclear warheads possessed by Israel. Until Israel joins a regional disarmament process, any call to prohibit other regional powers from seeking a deterrent ring hollow. And it's worth pointing out that so far, Iran is *not* seeking nuclear weapons, but is in fact pursuing its treaty rights to peaceful nuclear weapons. Lying about their current intentions because of a fear that their long-term goals might shift to militarization is not helpful.

  • The Gospel of Jesus' Wife and Sacred History from Judaism to Islam
    • It's not news that some Christians taught that Jesus was married, going back to the early days of the church.

      Thinking through the implications if he was married, the big question is why there wasn't a fight over his legacy through his descendants or those claiming direct descent, as with Muhammed. Aside from Holy Blood, Holy Grail type conspiracy theories of relatively recent vintage and dubious historicity, you don't see this much at all. So I would conclude that either he was not married, was married but had no children, or (and this is what my gut tells me) that he is not a historical figure but a literary character created by early Christians that were synthesizing a new religion from Jewish and surrounding pagan influences.

  • Climate Change Disaster looms despite Durban Agreement
    • Those estimates for sea level rise appear to be well above scientific consensus. The IPCC, which admittedly is probably too conservative, nevertheless predicted a range of outcomes with a 4 degree Celsius change equivalent to 59 centimeters at the high end. More recent projections go as high as one meter for this century. Cataclysmic predictions an order of magnitude higher require substantially higher melting at the poles than the most common models predict. The multi-century long term rise is likely to be in the 4-6 meter range--not 10-30 meters.

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