Down the Ballot

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is there a Doctor on the ballot?

Kasier Foundation Poll Results 2013
The 2014 elections are in full swing here in Oregon. Candidates and campaigns are setting their messages and starting to get feedback from voters and the electorate. Something the more astute political observers might have noticed was the large number Republican doctors coming out of the woodwork to run against Obamacare (ACA). Never before has there been an election in recent history that has attracted the response from health care industry workers as 2014 has this year.

There seem to be two generalized positions Republican candidates are taking for federal office: 1) Repeal Obamacare or 2) Modify Obamacare. My guess is the rhetoric required to win competitive Republican primaries will skew most candidates towards option 1 of repeal it all. Republicans that don't have tough primaries will probably not be quick to sound the alarm for a full repeal. Blue state Republicans will have to do a tricky dance of not overtly praising the most loved aspects of Obamacare and trying not to get lost in minutia of how they would make Obamacare better without ruining some of its signature aspects.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cosmos Episode 3

Halley & Newton meeting with Hooke
I thought I wasn't going to make it last night for episode 3, but I made it with a half hour to spare. Episode 3 wove several interesting threads together to tell the story of comets. This COSMOS series has been trying very hard to take several separate threads each episode and weave them into one story. This episode was about more than just comets or Edmund Halley. It was about taking our skeptical and mystical past and recognizing the moment we overcame the fear of what we didn't understand.

I especially loved the critique of modern society and how people like Jan Oort are largely ignored or unrecognized by the vast majority; yet, most of know details about mass murders, and other similar personalities that did not contribute any where near the level of accomplishments that of Oort.

The other fun note was the plug for cannabis smack dab in the middle of the episode! What a hoot.  Sagan would have been pleased.

De Historia piscium is a wonderful book. Please buy it to support COSMOS ;)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cosmos Episode 2

Cosmos aired the second episode of thirteen planned tonight and it was pretty solid. There were some common elements from the previous series. I can see Carl Sagan sitting around the campfire in good company. The stories of natural selection and artificial selection were well done and brought back the animation we saw from the first episode.The wolves at the campfire added a great dramatic flair that set it apart from the original series.

The artificial selection of the dogs wasn't as interesting as the Heike Crab example Sagan used, but still on point. The polar bear example was also well used for natural selection.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cosmos off to a Good Start

The first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered tonight and it was great. I was pleased to see Carl Sagan's work continue in the 21st century. This was the first of 13 episodes to air on 10 channels related to the FOX network. Neil deGrasse Tyson had a great on screen presence. The script was wonderfully updated and written by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter should be proud of their new work and new partners in Tyson and Seth MacFarlane.

I especially loved the infusion of the animated sequences into the mix of computer and live action shots. I think had the ability to do so with the class that was done tonight, it would have been done in the 1980s original.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fisher Postcard

In the last post I shared my reactions to getting a postcard advertising a upcoming television program on NBC. Here is the actual postcard. Like one person on the previous post had shared, I too believe that postcards can still be effectively used to communicate ideas, and generate hype for important causes. We use them all the time in political campaigns to direct your attention to candidates and events.

Monday, March 3, 2014


I've been waiting for some political buttons to arrive in the mail and went out to the mailbox today to see if they had arrived and found something rather odd instead. A postcard from The Fishers. It turns out a show is coming to NBC or has arrived on NBC called Growing Up Fisher. It is co-produced by some folks: including Jason Bateman, and David Schwimmer. The postcard reads "all of us Fishers have to stick together! Can't wait to see you Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on NBC." 

The photo on the front includes the family sitting at a table in a pool of water. Did the house flood or something? It got me curious enough to go look them up on Wikipedia. The premise of the series is listed... I kid you follows: A kid grows closer to his family after his parents divorce and his blind father gets a guide dog named Elvis. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

G'Kar Declares It.

 Perhaps some of the finest writing to come from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski during the 5th season. This was the Declaration of Principles, set up for the new Interstellar Alliance. In our age where we constantly find reasons to divide each other, it leaves you kind of hopeful that maybe things will get better. 

Kudos to Bruce Boxleitner, and Andreas Katsulas for a great delivery of the lines.

The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.

The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim or Minbari.

It speaks in the language of hope;
It speaks in the language of trust;
It speaks in the language of strength,
and the language of compassion.

It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.

But always, it is the same voice.

It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born.