The Grand Canyon

January 12, 2007

It’s really amazing for being just another hole in the ground. Thank you Colorado River.

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Obama on Globalization

January 7, 2007

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Before reading Dreams From My Father, I knew that Barack Obama had a Kenyan father and an American mother, and had assumed from that that he would have thought out issues of international relations in greater depth than many American politicians. Reading his book, I was pleasantly surprised. Prior to his multiple trips to Kenya, Obama actually spent about three years living in Indonesia as a child. His time in Jakarta has, at least from some of the thoughts he included, given him a level of healthy skepticism regarding globalization and economic development. Also, for what it’s worth, his degree from Columbia was in international relations.

Based on his experience and study, I think Obama is at least more likely to understand the complexity of international economic developments. The greater question is whether a nuanced view of the effects of particular U.S. foreign policy decisions would really lead to substantively better decisions when he’s placed in a position where the accepted thing to do is to promote U.S. interests (i.e., the presidency, or the U.S. Senate).

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Guadalupe Pass

January 7, 2007

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Dreams From My Father

January 6, 2007

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My friend Bethany gave me Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance for Christmas. I was deeply grateful, and proceeded to demonstrate my gratitude by reading it over a 3-4 day period. The book was surprisingly long (over 400 pages) yet held my attention strongly throughout. Obama, writing ten years ago after being named the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, describes the development of his own unique racial identity as the son of an African man and American woman. He uses flowing, descriptive prose that is unsentimental yet thought-provoking, while avoiding many clichés.

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Face to Face With an Idiot

January 2, 2007

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I’m am American under the age of 23, yet I’ve never seen a Michael Moore film. Well, tonight I finally broke that streak and popped in Bowling for Columbine. The conclusion: Michael Moore’s only redeeming fact is that he is media- and culture-savvy enough to understand how to connect with young people. That conclusion also carries a scary correlate: the American public, especially it’s young, must be incredibly naive, paranoid, ignorant, disrespectful, hateful, and tasteless. Read the rest of this entry »


Newton Remakes the World

January 1, 2007

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In A History of God, Karen Armstrong does a great job of narrating pivotal shifts in theologies. She doesn’t do quite as good a job at describing the gradual shifts that naturally occur over long periods of time (somewhat analogous in ecology to genetic drift in isolated populations), but that’s understandable as the eras of big change tend to have the famous characters and striking moments that dominate the study of history. That said, some of Armstrong’s finer moments come while describing how Isaac Newton’s science and theology led to the preeminence of creation in Western theology.

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