Matthew Ford’s Infernal Blog

Politics, games, computers, philosophy, human nature, Australia, and general rabbiting on

Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Iraq Solution: Impeach and Pass to Rice

I propose here the best of all bad options regarding Iraq. It’s obvious that nothing will really change until the new President takes office, meaning a truly new course can only start in 2009. This is obviously much too long to wait, in light of lives lost, money spent, damage wrought to reputation, and fuel supplied to terrorist enemies. The USA is a house on fire. So: I do not support remaining in denial, which is the Republican plan. I do not support waiting it out for political gain, which is the unspoken center Democrat plan. I do not support the left Democrat plan, which is a cutoff of funds to force Bush to start a pullout immediately. Here is the solution I support: In Congress, make a bipartisan deal. In exchange for immediate impeachment of Bush and Cheney, all the Democrats in the line of Presidential succession let it pass over them. President Condoleezza Rice leads the best possible pullout effort until the next elected President takes over in January 2009. (continued »)

Rusted flagpole at USA school kills girl

Sometimes it takes a random, horrible event to symbolize a larger, more complex problem. If illustration of such an event were called a cheap shot, it mistakes my intention. The flagpole could have been anywhere, so the event in itself does not prove anything. And replacing all the flagpoles in America won’t address the underlying problem. All the same, I find this story about a rusted-out flagpole falling and killing a child at her primary school a potent symbol of the inside-out, slow, but entirely visible destruction of a great country, threatening not to end its supremacy with the bang now being so strenuously, and justly, if not efficiently, prevented, but with the whimper at the end of a downward spiral. Citizens of America, please join me in my call– to politicians, neighbors, and friends– to take a new look at all that threatens the country; and to give solutions– even the non-sexy, non-spectacular solutions– their proper due. Ending with a whimper is just as much an end as ending with a bang. Let’s prevent both.

Australia moves closer to allowing stem cell research

It’s quite telling, and a bit sad, that I am categorizing a story about a medical issue as a “news and politics” issue. But that’s the world we live in.

Australia is thankfully tilting in a way different from the USA when it comes to stem cell research. Vigilance is still required, but it’s not bad at the moment. Here is a political excerpt I wish I saw more often: “Both these positions are moral positions and both deserve respect.”

Hurricane language

Some observations on Katrina sparked by Kanye West’s outraged speech at a fundraiser and the media coverage of “finding” versus “looting” food.  Interesting stuff, though it’s ill advised to make sweeping claims based on two cherry-picked photos out of thousands. Snopes did an admirable job of showing all sides of this.

I believe that overheated claims of racial bias ultimately help propagate true racial bias. I’d like to see people restrain themselves and stick to facts. There are plenty of indisputable facts which show racial bias in America; to fling around accusations without very good backup just makes the substantiated claims suspect. As promised, I’m all too willing to call out the foolishness of the Left as well. ;)

A related, interesting, and more substantial discussion is about the media’s use of the term “refugee” to describe the victims of the hurricane. (continued »)

Fahrenheit 9/11

Good god, another blog entry on this movie, who needs it? But at least I have the somewhat unique experience of being a Yank seeing it in Oz. Went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 today with Kat. I think was quite good and also depressing, it exposes so much misery and wrongness. I can’t believe that Bush is not already ridden out on a rail; the fact that this election is looking like it will be close is horrifying. Even if Kerry wins, it will not be by much it appears, and what does that say about the American people, that they have not turned against Bush and his cronies?

Here is Oz there is a great deal of concern about the direction the USA is going, (continued »)

Letter to the Editor

I read an article in the Brisbane Courier-Mail about a crime victim group’s protest against the game Hitman, and decided to write my first letter to the editor here. I wrote:

Monday’s article “Hitman game strikes nerve for crime victims” struck a nerve with me, because I care about social ills and I make video games for a living here in Brisbane. I want to defend my industry and art, which employs hundreds of skilled people in Queensland. As a father, I and most in the video game business strongly support the use of game ratings, and Hitman’s “MA 15+” rating is the game maker’s strong assertion that it is not to be played lightly by the young. Parents should monitor game playing just like TV watching and web surfing. Crime victims naturally want to find a cause, and it is easy to blame entertainment as the cause of crime. Unfortunately the solution is more challenging than suppressing works of fiction. Politics and misinterpretations aside, no valid study has shown that violent video games cause violent behavior. Past panics about comic books, cowboy matinees, and pirate storybooks similarly proved unfounded. Lastly, I plead the case that video games should enjoy the same freedom of expression as any form of entertainment. Violent video games often explore and provoke thought about themes of violence, crime, and lawlessness– not merely glorify it for thrills. These games are recreation and not of huge social merit, but they also are not the cause of violence. Let’s focus on the real causes of crime and not divert ourselves by blaming the mirrors held up to society.

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