Daylight Saving Time: The Rant

March 11, 2008

It has come to my attention that not everybody hates DST.  They should, but they don’t.  Some people like it.  Ken Jennings, f’rinstance:

The return of daylight saving time (not “savings”–it’s one of those often incorrectly pluralized things like “the book of Revelation” or “the Stanford Cardinal”) is always big cause for celebration around my house. Nobody gets up early enough to have to endure dead-of-night commutes, and everyone likes the longer, lighter evenings.

I would be the first to admit that Ken is entitled to his opinion. And although DST is an irrational, insane practice that makes no sense and only creates the illusion that humans have control over something—the rising and setting of the sun—that we in fact have no control over, I will not sink to the level of personal attacks by pointing out that people who like DST are bobo-headed doody faces. Because that would be wrong. Accurate, but wrong.

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Why I can’t get excited about the election

March 10, 2008

There are certain things that would have to be true before I could get excited about this year’s presidential election.

The people would have to form their preferences based on the best available information, without relying on their ignorance, prejudice or superstition.

Everybody who’s eligible to vote would be able to do so.

The votes would be counted accurately.

The results would reflect the will of the people.

Naturally, there are a lot of other things that have to go right before an election is proper and democratic in any meaningful sense. For me, though, these are the fundamentals. If even one is missing, what you’re left with is an empty exercise.

I’m not sure if any of this has been true of past elections, and I’m not confident that future elections—including this one—will be any different. People are already hard at work forgetting the lessons we learned from our most recent elections, in an apparent attempt to preserve their Confidence in the System™.

Well, I haven’t got any Confidence in the System™ left to preserve, and I honestly don’t know what restoring it would require. But I don’t see it happening any time soon, and certainly not before November.


News You Can’t Use

March 7, 2008

The Associated Press: Atheist Soldier Says Army Punished Him

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A soldier claimed Wednesday that his promotion was blocked because he had claimed in a lawsuit that the Army was violating his right to be an atheist.

According to the lawsuit, Hall was counseled by his platoon sergeant after being informed that his promotion was blocked. He says the sergeant explained that Hall would be “unable to put aside his personal convictions and pray with his troops” and would have trouble bonding with them if promoted to a leadership position.

“We’re not going to dictate which religion he picks. That would be unamerican,” the anonymous sergeant said. “But he’s got to pick one. Hell, flip a coin. How hard is that?”


Excuses 67 and 68

March 7, 2008

Usually I would have finished doing the taxes by now. Warmer weather is my cue to hunker down and get busy. Today it’s 25° and snowing. It doesn’t feel like it’s time yet.

Doing taxes is also my excuse to avoid going outside when I don’t feel like it just because it’s nice outside. When spring comes, everybody who can’t wait to go out thinks everybody else feels the same way. I don’t.