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> > Scientific journal 'Nature' endorses Obama (as do I)



TroutnutOctober 31st, 2008, 12:02 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
I just had to share this bit of news, because scientific journals are not in the business of endorsing political candidates. This year there's such a good choice that Nature -- probably the most prestigious overall journal in science -- has spoken up in his favor.

You can read Nature's endorsement here.

They explain why they chose to endorse:

...science is bound by, and committed to, a set of normative values — values that have application to political questions. Placing a disinterested view of the world as it is ahead of our views of how it should be; recognizing that ideas should be tested in as systematic a way as possible; appreciating that there are experts whose views and criticisms need to be taken seriously: these are all attributes of good science that can be usefully applied when making decisions about the world of which science is but a part.


And why Obama:

On a range of topics, science included, Obama has surrounded himself with a wider and more able cadre of advisers than McCain. ... The advice of experts is all the more valuable when it is diverse: 'groupthink' is a problem in any job. Obama seems to understands this. He tends to seek a range of opinions and analyses to ensure that his own opinion, when reached, has been well considered and exposed to alternatives. He also exhibits pragmatism — for example in his proposals for health-care reform — that suggests a keen sense for the tests reality can bring to bear on policy.


They do a great job describing the #1 reason I support Obama. He is not a blind ideologue; instead, he makes decisions by weighing the evidence after hearing the best arguments from both sides. I've read his books and various objective biographies, and that is the one glaringly obvious feature of his character: he is fair-minded.

There are plenty of other reasons:


  • Policy. McCain and Palin talk about buzzwords like 'maverick' instead of policy details, because none of their plans differ from Bush's in any meaningful way. We've had 8 years to experiment with their philosophy and the verdict is pretty clear.

  • Personal finance. I'll pay lower taxes under Obama. Most readers here will, too, which means more people will have loose change to spend at fly shops, which improves my ad revenue on this website. I can't imagine how much fly shops are hurting, because they're barely spending half of what they were a year ago on advertising.

  • Character. Obama is unshakeable. I can see McCain losing his temper and doing something rash in a crisis. Obama never acts without carefully considering the consequences.

  • Inspiration matters. A President can't just offer good policies--he also has get them passed into law. A wave of public support is the best way to do that. Obama can make those waves. Inspiration will also matter if an unforeseen crisis requires the next President to call people to national service, military or civilian.

  • Sarah Palin. She comes from the dangerous "ignorance is a virtue" side of the Republican party. She and McCain both mock important scientific studies as a waste of money. The other day she made fun of fruit fly research, which is like making fun of astronomers for looking into telescopes because the stars are up in the sky and not in that tube they're lookin' through. It bothered me on a more personal level because my girlfriend works with a similar "model organism," the nematode C. elegans, which is (like fruit flies) used to study fundamental genetics questions with tremendous applications to humanity. How dare some useless, phony bimbo from Wasilla (a town so backward, it was a punchline within Alaska before her nomination) belittle that kind of research.

Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfOctober 31st, 2008, 2:09 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3167
To Jason's clear views, I would add that I believe Obama will be a much stronger advocate for clean air and water than McCain. Obama's plan to increase manufacturing and other jobs by putting green industries on a fast track so we, for example, not only compete with Toyota and others, but become a leader in producing clean, efficient, dependable cars is the right way to achieve economic prosperity. He is smart enough and well-enough organized to make things like this happen; his efficient, dynamic campaign alone shows this. I continue to canvass for him, and he certainly has my vote!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
KonchuNovember 1st, 2008, 5:10 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 503
I did a little research on the fruit fly remarks, and apparently they were intended to refer to an earmark for research conducted in France on an olive pest. Not 100% sure this is right, I must admit. I had to look into the topic because I was a little surprised that I hadn't heard about the remarks yet, as I work with Drosophila at a university. If they were intended to refer to the earmark for research on foreign pests, that might explain why I hadn't heard about it, and it makes a little more sense. Regardless, the comments were cavalier.
TroutnutNovember 1st, 2008, 7:20 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
Konchu, according to the campaign her fruit fly comments are supposed to refer to a study about fruit flies as olive pests. In the video, however, she omits those details and her tone makes it obvious that she's speaking of "fruit flies" as if their study is so self-evidently wasteful it's a punchline... even adding "I kid you not!"

It's likely she didn't even know to which study her speechwriters were referring, and mocking fruit fly research in general sounded fine to her ears. Her tone certainly gives that impression, and she hasn't done anything to earn the benefit of the doubt.

It's really surprising that any speechwriter would put something so stupid in a policy speech in the first place. I don't know if her words have been checked against her prepared remarks or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if she went off-script there and decided to say something that was written more tactfully in her own ad-libbed, folksy way.

Maybe after the campaign some insider will spill the details on that screw-up, but none of the possibilities reflect well on Sarah Palin.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
KonchuNovember 1st, 2008, 7:30 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 503
This link sheds some additional light.

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2008/04/09/news/local/doc47fc6ca1ad0ee555305173.txt
GONZONovember 1st, 2008, 9:06 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
I think that "cavalier" is an appropriate characterization, Konchu. I doubt that Gov. Palin bothered to research anything about the study she mocks. Instead, I think it was just a callous speechwriter's ploy. If you want to ridicule fruit fly research, make the fruit flies French.

It is a shame that when the McCain campaign tries to make a point about wasteful spending they almost always end up slandering scientific research and education: Palin mocks fruit fly studies. McCain mocks the Adler planetarium's attempt to replace their 40-yr.-old planetarium projector (for which parts are no longer made) by ridiculing it as an "overhead projector" and jokes about whether a grizzly bear DNA study was "a paternity issue or a criminal issue" as part of his stump speech. (The study in question was a valuable and cost-effective way to evaluate the population dynamics and health of an endangered species. McCain made no attempt to cut funding for the study and voted for the bill containing it.)

Although it would be easy to find all manner of ridiculous-sounding studies that have actually contributed incredible breakthroughs and have incalculable value, I suppose it is always easier to appeal to ignorance and make fun of them. When the person that would be "a heartbeat away" subscribes to the Flintstones version of history ("dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time"), I suppose it is just par for the course. Personally, I hope for a more enlightened time...for science, for the environment, and for ALL of us.
MartinlfNovember 2nd, 2008, 5:38 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3167
Along with an army of volunteers throughout the nation I spent a good bit of yesterday knocking on doors. Even in my little Republican-leaning hamlet I found many Obama supporters who are waiting with quiet intensity to vote and bring real change to the country. McPalin's attack ads notwithstanding, I'm guardedly optimistic. I'll be back on the streets today. Come join me; it's not hard to find the Obama field office near you. Getting out the vote is essential.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPNovember 2nd, 2008, 3:23 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
I spent a good bit of yesterday knocking on doors.

you didn't happen by my door in Arlington, Virginia did you? we have three canvassers a week, plus 4 or 5 robo-telephone calls every day, and countless TV and radio ads. gee, it's nice to be wanted, but this is getting rediculous!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
MartinlfNovember 2nd, 2008, 6:17 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3167
No, Casey, I'm staying put in PA. But at least one person I talked with this evening had already been hit by another Obama canvasser. To me this shows how big the stakes are for those who want real change.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPNovember 2nd, 2008, 7:15 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
Louis, you're quite right. the excitement and commitment this time around are quite a lot stronger, it seems to me. our daughter has heard of plans to tailgate all night in front of the polls so as to be first in line ahead of the crowds. that's a new one on me!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
TroutnutNovember 3rd, 2008, 1:45 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
Here are some hilarious videos about Wasilla that call into question Sarah Palin's use of her time as mayor as a credential for vice-president:

An actor reads a Wasilla city council meeting transcript dramatically.

The Daily Show's coverage of Wasilla:

Understanding Real America (includes a VERY telling interview with the current mayor)

Debate Analysis from Wasilla
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyPNovember 6th, 2008, 9:54 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
i'd like to add just one more note of concern, now that we know the outcome: as far as i can tell, the man has never hunted or fished or even hiked or camped. the trend towards The Great Indoors is going to be very hard to fight. let's hope concern about pollution will continue, though.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
MartinlfNovember 6th, 2008, 9:31 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3167
Casey, Some might dismiss the information below from April 08 as just campaign strategy, but I'd note that having folks who hunt and/or fish at the top (i.e. Cheney and Bush) is no indication that anyone will care for clean water and air--or for us fly fishing Joes and Janes. I'll eat my flies if Barack doesn't work for cleaner air and water.

The Susquehanna around Harrisburg is dead. Where we used to catch bass after bass, there are only a few left. And trout don't like to bake in globally warming waters. Don't worry, the right man has been chosen, and we will be the better for it in so many ways.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/04/obama_forming_pennsylvania_hun.html

FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN....
PHILADELPHIA, PA—U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign today announced the membership of its Pennsylvania Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Obama Steering Committee. Avid hunters and anglers from around the state, the committee members lauded Obama for his understanding of and respect for Pennsylvania’s hunting and fishing traditions and his strong record on conservation.

“Barack Obama recognizes that hunting and fishing are time-honored family traditions in Pennsylvania, and we can trust him to protect those traditions as President,” said Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. “From keeping our waterways clean to finally making progress on climate change, Obama will fight for us.”

Members of the Pennsylvania Sportsmen for Barack Obama Steering Committee will advise the campaign and lead outreach efforts to other sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the state. The committee’s membership is listed below:

Frederica (Freddie) Antram

Paul Antram

Michael Aumiller

Arnold Brion

Robin Cole

John Fetterman

State Rep. Marc Gergely

Scott Harrison

Terry Havener

Kenny Jackson

Jeff Knisely

Richard Lanzoni

Tom Maglicco

Steve Naylor

Joe Rossi

Brian Stoltz

Dominic Surra

State Rep. Dan Surra

"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
TroutnutNovember 7th, 2008, 2:47 am
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
I'll eat my flies if Barack doesn't work for cleaner air and water.


I'll take that pledge, too.



The environment is going to be in good hands again. Even Obama can't magically reverse all the damage that's been done already, but we are going to see competent decisions, qualified appointments, etc. We'll be moving in the right direction for once.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyPNovember 7th, 2008, 9:13 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
thanks, guys. i'll sleep better, and in the end, fish better too, i hope!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra

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