Jun 28, 2012

Is is Time for Scalia and the Conservatives to Eat Broccoli Now?

In an affirmation of federal power, the SCOTUS upheld the individual mandate and expansion of Medicaid today, but, seriously, this is not a long-term solution for our health insurance and health care delivery problems. The best approach in my opinion still is universal health care paid by the general taxes, with a public option, and measures to control the costs. That's the general principle, the details can be debated--not that they don't matter, they do, but as a society we have to form a consensus that the marketplace shouldn't be the sole arbitrator of who gets to live or die.

The political aspects of this SCOTUS decision are interesting. I think it's good news for the president as he gets his "Obama care" validated by the supreme court. The tea partiers who have argued that the federal policies strangle the states' freedom, lose another one, and the blow came from a conservative court too. Likewise for the conservative states who sued the fed government. It's becoming a settled issue that the fed has the authority to provide for health care, social security, consumer safety, scientific research, immigration policy, national highways, and electrification!

Romney and the conservatives will now campaign against this law and may get some support from their loyal base, though I don't think this will be a pivotal issue that will win extra votes. People who have a strong opinion on Obama care will not change their minds. Much of the public sitting on the fence today will accept this decision, and their ultimate view will be determined when and how this new law will be fully implemented in a few years.

The progressives would have been more motivated had this law been rejected by SCOTUS, though I'm not sure of this either. Many of them do not like the way to get most Americans insured is forcing them into private insurers while there are too many gimmicks on how to pay or how to get exceptions. I  know of some who wanted the mandate part to be thrown out, so, as governor Howard Dean argues, universal health care coverage should be provided by the state/fed via a primarily public pool of insurance. Again, if we don't curtail the rapidly escalating costs of coverage, drugs, and services, there won't be enough money eventually. Maybe that's what some conservatives want, to destroy any public safety net, and then only those who have the money can have benefits. Everything for a price....

Jun 12, 2012

Prometheus Lacks the Alien Movies Quality. Raises Questions About the Creator and (Un) Intelligent Design

I saw Prometheus but it was a let down; having seen the Alien movies, I expected a better movie.  However, there was an intriguing premise in Prometheus: the creators of the human race saw what we became and decided to destroy us!  Hold on, don't leave yet. This gets interesting....

Let's skip the faulty science (that pesky theory of evolution), and ponder whether the creator(s) should destroy the human species. The earth has been trying to do this all along, and 98% or more of all species that have appeared have also gone extinct. The average life span of a species is 3 million years. The dinos survived for 30 million. We, humans, have been around for a few hundred thousand years only.

So, let's say there was a creator! Look around, study human history and soon you'll realize that there's so much misery, anguish, death, torture, short, brutish life. If the creator provided the seed and then let things evolve, I could give him/her/them some break. It's very probable that if humans manage to survive a while longer, they'll create a new life form, possibly a combination of artificial intelligence and organic, human matter. 

The Rise of the Hybrid Machines
I think that one day humans will merge with machines. Imagine replacing faulty body parts with artificial constructs. Even microchips in the brain are possible. At which point, what percentage, can we say such an entity is human or a machine or a hybrid? 

Unless there's another way, interstellar travel, or galaxial travel takes a very long time, thousands of years, even when traveling at the speed of light. It's some 25,000 years, double that to get to the other side and you don't want to go through the center anyway because of a massive black hole lurking there.

Thus, this kind of travel would probably be done by many successive generations of a self-perpetuating species, traveling in space for eons. They could or will evolve into something we won't be able to control or even forsee at the time of the creation. If they turn into monsters, then how much responsibility do we have? 

Now, let's suppose the good humans have advanced to such a degree that they can catch their creation. Should the humans destroy this new species if they behave like most "primitive" humans have done?

How about the Intelligent and Omnipotent Designer?

On the other hand, if the creator is every present, all powerful, who can design perfection, responds to prayers and being worshiped, then he has a lot to answer for given what we've seen since humanity began to keep records.

This theme of the creator destroying his own creations isn't new. The xtian God did it twice, and, if we are to believe the religious nuts, he brings measured destruction almost every day somewhere on the planet.  Because, he can't effectively use the "free will" argument, since he made us faulty to begin with. Unless he was interested in a sick experiment, where he made us sick, and now commands us to get well by giving up all critical thinking, rational inquiry, and surrender to fear, servitude, and credulity. Hmmm.

As for the movie Prometheus I wouldn't recommend it, especially if you liked the Alien movies (supposedly this is a sequel); it's not even terribly scary. The acting is very good, though the plot is not all that good.