The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

McCain is a good man

In the supermarket check out recently, I noted again the five or six women's magazines, all with specific articles about how to turn a man out sexually. You know? I'd just about bet that the average woman is better in bed than the average man. Women seem to be ahead of the game on that one...I don't really know of any source of information for men on the same subject, as available. Penthouse or Playboy? Maybe, but they aren't sold as widely...or in any common venue I know of where women's magazines aren't also available. I remember a friend whose doctor father advised his daughter on her wedding day to keep her husband's stomach full, and his prostate empty. Wise words.


Jason's first day of kindergarten today. It's only a few blocks away, so we walked him there with some of his local friends. Looks like a great school, with a park for a playground. I'm jealous. Sure hope he likes it...this is the beginning of an entirely new phase of his life.


The lust for revenge is purely animal and basic. I love the rule of law, and the Nuremberg trials. I don't think they were hypocritical (due to things like slavery), but would have if, for instance, Germans were being prosecuted for slavery AT THE SAME TIME that America embraced the institution. Humans work very hard to raise themselves up, and the trials seem to me an example of people trying to live at a higher standard.

The highest example of this in my lifetime was the Truth and Reconciliation panels in South Africa. I was stunned by the wisdom and humanity of these proceedings, even as I was nauseated by some of the facts that emerged (white South Africans were absolutely trying to develop a germ or toxin that would kill only blacks. Brrr.)


Why hasn't a movie been done about John Brown or Nat Turner? We know the answer to that, of course. When was the last movie made about any aspect of slavery? "Beloved"? How'd it do? The audience isn't there, friends. Endless movies about the Civil War (or depictions of it--most recently "Wolverine") but virtually nothing about the single most important trigger. If slavery had happened in some other country, we would have jumped all over the endless tales of courage. Blacks would have the heroic figures that all other groups have to help them through the night. Oh, well. We'll get through this.


John McCain was drowned out by boos when he defended President Obama. When attendees basically claimed the Prez was pissing on the Constitution, he replied: "Wait a minute. Wait a minute," he told the crowd in Sun City, Airzona. "He is sincere in his beliefs, we just happen to disagree. And he is the president. And let's be respectful. I just believe, my friends, that there is a fundamental difference in philosophy and about the role of government. That is why we have competition for public office and competition amongst parties, and competition about different ideas and vision for the future of America. I'm convinced the president is absolutely sincere in his beliefs."

ᅠWow. McCain is a good and decent man, that much is clear. We could definitely have done worse in a President.


There's a brush fire couple miles north of here, and the air is borderline opaque. Jason's doctor says he has a mild form of asthma, and even if I've heard no wheezing and see no evidence, I guess I'd better pay attention.



Pagan Topologist said...

I have never doubted that McCain is a good man. I do not feel this way about many other conservatives. It has occurred to me that conservatives are more often motivated by fear than are progressives. We tend to be more motivated by hope. I still know people who will not fly since the September 11, 2001 attacks. They will drive; they will get medical care. Each of these is more likely to kill a person than a terrorist attack, statistically, but the irrational fear of terrorism seems to motivate people to behave in really weird ways. To me this disconnect, which is to say the fear that someone is out to hurt them, is the irrational root of conservative politics.

I will await someone who can tell me the irrational root of liberals' political beliefs; we no doubt have one, too.

Christian H. said...

The problem with movies about John Brown\Nat Turner is that you have to be careful how many black people kill white people and why.

Not because of white people but because of the perception amongst execs as to what people will or won't see.

As far as women being better at sex, I hope not as I've found some unaware women. but that sounds abotu right looking at the couples I see.

It maybe that men refuse to try because they set up a society where they have to do all the work in the relationship.

Yet another reason why it's either abstinence or a harem. For me anyway.

Marty S said...

Steve: Here are some signs of breathing difficulty you might look out for in Jason. An obvious one is getting out of breath more quickly than you might expect when exerting himself. Another less obvious one is dizziness when bending over for more then a couple seconds. So if he is say looking for a toy in his toy box and complains he is dizzy this would be a sign.

Pagan Topologist said...

The idea that women are better at sex than are men is puzzling. As a heterosexual man, I have more experience with how women are sexually than how men are, but I have so often heard women complain that men don't know what to do during sex. Furthermore, these women are offended and angered when a man tries to find out what they like, since asking questions spoils sex for them. A man should just know; it is his moral failing if he does not. So, they withdraw angrily and complain that men are no good in bed. Personally, I find this crazymaking, but it is very common.

I have recently married one of the few women I have known who does not behave this way.

Reluctant Lawyer said...

I attended a lecture during law school given by Albie Sachs, a South African Judge who was heavily involved in the movement. He was injured while in exile by a bomb set by the SA security forces which resulted in the loss of one arm and sight in one eye.

His discussion of the truth and reconcilliation hearings was amazing. One of the things that he pointed out was that the victims frequently just wanted closure - they wanted to know where the body of their loved one was buried, how he or she died, who was responsible. This seemed more important for many than actual revenge.

In dealing with the issue of torture, he quoted another judge who said, in discussing the issue with others (words to the effect of) "Oh, I see now. Regime torture is horrible and must be punished, but revolutionary torture is acceptable."

Probably the single lecture that I remembered the most about during law school. And it wasn't even for a class.

Anonymous said...

"The idea that women are better at sex than are men is puzzling."

It's not that puzzling. By dint of natural selection, women and men are significantly different in sexual physiology and psychology. As both neuroscience and common experience attest, women are more comfortable with and attuned to their emotions than men. Unsurprisingly, sex seems to be a far emotionally richer experience for most women than for most men. And, from this male's perspective, woman's bodies simply seem equipped for greater erotic enjoyment. For straight men, sexual pleasure's centered on the penis, with some help from tiny nipples, lips and such. Women by contrast have nerve-rich breast with huge nipples, larger lips, nerve-rich labia, two enormous erogenous zones (i.e. the clitoris and G-Spot) and their asses to receive sexual stimulation. And women get to enjoy unlimited orgasms, while men have to make do with one per sex-apade. Frankly, this man's envious.


Christian H. said...

For straight men, sexual pleasure's centered on the penis, with some help from tiny nipples, lips and such. Women by contrast have nerve-rich breast with huge nipples, larger lips, nerve-rich labia, two enormous erogenous zones (i.e. the clitoris and G-Spot) and their asses to receive sexual stimulation. And women get to enjoy unlimited orgasms, while men have to make do with one per sex-apade.

I only hope you're kidding. All of that would mean that sex is boring since if they don't - or can't - get it "all," they won't be that excited. Especially since I'm still not sure where erogenous zones are in a rectum.
I don't think women have a prostate.

poltergeist said...

War Crimes Trials. Funny things in the ironic sense. No counter charges by the defendants. The deck's rigged by the victors, and naturally so. But then too, not rigged or unjust categorically and down the line.

Take Otto Skorzeny's; Hitlers go-to guy for special operations, war crimes trial. He was charged with behind the lines deception by using (not the actual charge, just grouped as such)using perfect English-speaking Germans to raid, create havoc and disinformation, and sabotage while wearing US Army uniforms. Many of those participants were subsequently caught and quickly and summarily shot by firing squad. Skorzeny himself would have most certainly been convicted had not former SOE (Special Operations Executive) operatives come forth in his defense and state they had done the very same thing in German uniforms all though the war where Skorzeny had only done it during The Battle of The Bulge.

Now, for some REAL hijinks, a look into the Pacific Campaign war cimes trial is very revealing. By all rights Japan's Emperor should have swung. Instead, Gen. Hideki Tojo took the six-foot drop. In a perfect world, Gen. Douglas McArthur, Adm. Chester Nimitz, the Marine Corps Commandant, and perhaps President Roosevelt himself would have dropped alongside him.

Why? The Island Hopping Campaigns. The Phillippines, Guam, Saipan, Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, etc., etc. To the unknowing eye they all seem like great battles and victories. They were, but that's not all they were. Anytime you have very verrrrry few enemy wounded count and low low enemy POW figures there was a LOT of no prisoner taking going on. Black Flag. No Quarter. Executions. I had too many of my early career Pacific veteran instructors mention this and they weren't joking. To be fair about things that kind of warfare didn't lend itself to a lot of chivalry. No time. Nowhere to house and care for prisoners. Too much manpower involved and especially when every man you sent onto the island hit the beach fighting for his life.

That's just the way it was. Vae victus. Screw the loser. The winner calls the shots.

Marty S said...

In the health care debate comparisons keep being made between us and other countries with UHC. Well this discussion on WWII brings up a pretty good comparison. Compare the lives of the people of East Germany after roughly 45 years of a government run economy and the lives of West Germans under that terrible system called Capitalism when the two halves were reunited.

Shady_Grady said...

I'm no expert on the German health care system but I do know that Germany has one of the oldest universal health care mandates in the industrialized world.

Germany has always had a pretty good mix of private/public partnerships in health care. This was true of postwar West Germany as well.

Even today most Germans still choose to be covered under the public insurance option.

I don't think that wanting health care reform means that anyone necessarily supports government control of the entire economy, East German style.

German Model


Anonymous said...

"I only hope you're kidding"

Objectively viewed, woman's bodies do seem vastly better equipped for sexual enjoyment than men's. Honestly, what thoughtful man hasn't envied female multi-orgasmicality. Instead of being limited to a single cumming that may be either a fizzle or Big Bang, imagine being rocked by a long orgasmic detonation building to a thunderous crescendo.

Nonetheless, men do have one mighty sexual advantage over women: a much larger and insatiable sex drive, as well as generally more aggressive "go-getting" sexual behavior. Perhaps "Butch" lesbians have the best of both sexual worlds in having a woman's greater capacity for sexual pleasure AND a man's roving, untiring, conquest-oriented sexual desires. Am I kidding? I don't honestly know. Just following a rational train of thought to its logical conclusion.


Reluctant Lawyer said...


I think the comparison between East and West Germany is inapplicable to the UHC debate. I do not think that there are many, if any, people suggesting that the U.S. should move to a full government run system for everything. Obviously, East Germany was a failed state and as of 1998 (when I was there last), that part of Germany was still suffering from its time under Communist Rule. However, West Germany, and now Germany as whole, despite being capitalist, has a very strong social safety net and guarantees of worker's rights that just do not exist here. For example, they have UHC and my limited contact with the Germany Hospital in Bamberg was not the horror that people portray UHC as. Further, workers have guaranteed vacations.

Capitalism with a safety net.

Marty S said...

Shady: I found your link to the German model interesting. The link says the German model is based upon the concept of social solidarity. Not being entirely sure what that concept was all about I googled and ended up on Wikapedia where it was described as a concept associated with the political system of socialism. This is interesting since when Republicans say the public option for health care is socialist they are called liars.

Marty S said...

Reluctant Lawyer: I've already stated in previous post that I believe neither pure Capitalism nor pure socialism works, the question is where best to draw the line.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Social Security is socialism too. So's Medicare. So are the police and libraries. I don't care what word you use, there's a social sphere in American life and always has been.

But I still don't know any Republicans who hesitate to call the police when they need help.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Actually, if you want to know where I think conservatives are dishonest, it's not in calling the public option in healthcare socialism; I don't think that's accurate, but it's not worth quibbling over.

But I want conservatives to stand up and honestly say what they believe: that social security and medicare are socialism, and they want to get rid of them both, because socialism is bad'n'stuff.

Scott Masterton said...

On the subject of males knowing less about how to please a woman than a woman knowing how to please a man. I think it's not really an apples to apples comparison.

Using a puzzle analogy: most men tend to be the same puzzle (with a few variations). In other words, when a woman learns to make love to a single man, she can be pretty sure that the techniques she develops with him will mostly work on other men. I realize that this is a sweeping generalization and therefore not true when fully applied to an individual, but in GENERAL this seems to be true.

Women on the other hand are generally their own puzzle. One can be a 1000 piece puzzle of a corvette, while the other is an ocean landscape with 4500 pieces. When men spend a long time with a woman, they basically learn how to make love to that woman...they are a good lover for her and her alone (hence the reason that most women find that they have more orgasms in long term relationships). Should that relationship end through disolution or death, the skills that the man learned in this relationship don't necessarily carry over to the new woman. He basically needs to start from scratch and learn to build a new puzzle. Which can be fun too.

In my view, the wisest thing a male can do is to know that they don't know and allow their partner to guide them (either directly or indirectly) to where each puzzle piece fits.


Shady_Grady said...

It was before my time but Ronald Reagan did a commercial and LP talking about the evils of socialized medicine (referring to Medicare), which most people today seem to think works ok.

It's surreal how well this fits in with current debate.

Marty S said...

Dan: I have stated before that I am happy with my current medical coverage and unhappy that my company will force me to give it up for medicare next year. So I am one conservative who is unhappy with medicare. Similarly, give me all the money paid into social security for me, with the interest and I will gladly give up my social security payments. I would be much better off financially that way.

On the other hand I realize that without social security my parents would have been in worse financial straits and my sisters and I would have had to pony up more money to support them than we did with social security. On the whole for people in general I think social security is good, because most people would not have the discipline to save the money if it was given directly to them.
At any rate I do think we need a medical safety net for those who would have none without it, but I don't favor the public option approach to the safety net and I think the number of individuals who need it are fewer than advertised. The 47 million number includes people who are already eligible for medicaid but haven't enrolled and younger people who can afford to purchase their own insurance, but don't choose to.

Anonymous said...

"I believe neither pure Capitalism nor pure socialism works"

I confess to being uninterested and bored with ideology. In polices, I believe the ends DO often justify the means. By this I mean obtaining the aims of most rational people, maximum individual and collective prosperity, progress and happiness, are what matter, not, within sane limits, the mechanisms for achieving these. For instance, I categorically reject Leninism not from distaste for arguing the fine points of Dialectical Materialism, but from the unmitigated disaster the Party Vanguard + Collectivism model produces wherever it's implemented (Ukraine, China, Cambodia, Ethiopia..). Dido for Nazism and Theocracy. All else from Socialism through Quesi-Fascism and Corporatism and unto limited Anarchism's up for consideration. I'll consider championing whatever political system has a proven record of delivering the goods or a rational prospect for doing so. The results, not (again, within sane limits) the process matters. Or, as the celebrated Physicist and Futurist Freeman Dyson proclaimed at a SETI conference in the USSR: To Hell with Philosophy!


Mike R said...

>But I want conservatives to stand up and honestly say what they believe: that social security and medicare are socialism, and they want to get rid of them both,<

While the idea of abolishing those programs is definitly more popular in conservative circles, I don't think that the majority of people who self-identify as "conservatives" honestly _do_ want to get rid of social security and medicare.

Do keep in mind that those who self-identify as "conservative" outnumber those who self-identify as "liberal" in all 50 states, and if a majority of them wanted to abolish those programs I think we'd see more actual proposals to do just that then is the case.

One could argue that this means that those who self-identify as conservatives aren't being true to their ideology, but ultimately a group's ideology is what that group actually believes, neither more nor less.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Mike, I don't believe conservatives about much any longer. They believe in the Constitution, limited government, and fiscal responsibility, except that they trashed the Constitution, blew up the size of government, and bankrupted the country.

Do rank and file conservatives want to get rid of medicare and social security? No, not the ones depending on it, which is a large number. But the people running the party and setting the agenda surely do. Conservative working people didn't vote for Bush with the intention of having bankruptcy laws tightened for the benefit of rapacious credit card companies; it's just what they got once they voted Bush in.

It's hard for me to credit "conservatives," by which I mean the people actually running the Republican Party in this case, for trying to destroy Social Security and failing. Wouldn't Private Investment Accounts have worked out great, back when the DOW was at 14000?

Of course it's at 9500 now.....

Unknown said...

Not really directly related to this post, but here's a web site you might find interesting:

It's operated by Center for the Study and Improvement of Regulation at Carnegie Mellon University, and it provides calculations of the likelihood of dying, within the next year, which can be sorted in various ways. For instance, I plugged in my age, sex, race, and location, and got that my most likely cause of death was cancer, plugged in my husband's age, sex, and race, and got that he was about three times as likely to die within the next year as I was, and his most likely cause of death was circulatory problems, and then I checked likelihood of dying within the next year, for people my age, sorted by gender and race, and found that, with being male and black both increasing your risk of dying, being black increased the risk more (from which I infer that social causes figure a lot here, since it's more plausible to me that the sex differences in longevity could have a significant biological contributing factor, such as women being built to survive more pregnancies than we now need to, than that the racial differences would).

Comparing the US to Europe, for people about my age, this calculator says that you're more likely to die within the next year if you're in the US, and the breakdown shows that there are some particular causes where the death rate's much higher in the US (for instance, homicide and endocrine/metabolic diseases), and others not so much.

I just did those few quick comparisons only for people my age, but you could do a lot more with it.

Marty S said...

Ethiopian_Infidel: Given sufficiently important ends the means may justify the end. But without philosophy how do we determine the correct ends. People keep talking about life expectancy as the sine qua non of health care, but life expectancy is the average age at death of individuals who die in a given year. If I adopt a plan that results in nine people dieing at age 80 who would have lived to age 85, but allows one person who would have died at 20 to live to 85 this raises life expectancy, but is it really a better fairer plan. Also what about quality of life. Is an approach to health care that increases some peoples life span,but results in five times that many people being confined to wheelchairs for a significant portion of their life when another plan would have prevented this confinement better. Ask yourself this. You walk into a doctor with health problem. He informs you there are two treatments. One will make you completely healthy and able to perform normal activities for ten years after which you will die. The other will keep you alive for twenty-five years, but paralyzed from the waist down. Which would you choose. There is no one right answer. It depends on the individual.

Unknown said...

One will make you completely healthy and able to perform normal activities for ten years after which you will die. The other will keep you alive for twenty-five years, but paralyzed from the waist down.

In my case, beyond life expectancy, my biggest fear is Alzheimers. If I knew that different health systems made a radical difference in the probability that I'd spend a significant portion of my final years with significant dementia, that would make a big difference to me; I'd actually trade a few years of life expectancy to keep a sharp mind for longer (if such a trade off were possible).

I'm not aware that different health systems do make any significant difference to the incidence of Alzheimers, though, so it's a moot point.

Marty S said...

Lynn: Any system has a decision making mechanism. When you change the system, you usually change the decision making mechanism. This results in different decisions. So going to UHC will change the way we make medical decisions. Will this hurt or help the people with a particular problem such as Alzheimers. Who knows. We just know it will be different. Those who favor the change feel fairly certain it will be a change for the better at least in areas they are concerned about. Those who are opposed believe it will be worse in at least the areas they are concerned about.

Anonymous said...

Even more blatant is the fact that there has not been a single movie or documentary that I know of about the Haitian revolt. Yet, the Spartacus Rebellion, a slave uprising that occurred thousands of years earlier at a much farther geographical remove has gotten extensive Hollywood and scholastic attention. Both events were about human beings fighting against the forces of bondage. In the Haitain case, the victims of slavery prevailed, making for better dramatization than Spartacus' futile efforts. Yet, the annals of this event are sparse. A travesty.

Unknown said...

@Marty: In theory, yeah, a different decision-making point could make some sort of difference to the treatment of Alzheimers. But the only data that I know how to find, that compares outcomes between different countries, relates to life expectancy, infant mortality, and cost. The UN collects data from various countries on disability, but the site that reports that data says that, due to differences in data collection between countries, the data can't be used for cross-country comparisons.

Foxessa said...

Marty S -- There is one in production now. Danny Glover and some others we know are the driving forces for it. They've been working hard for several years to bring Toussaint to the screen.

More info here.

Love, c.

Foxessa said...

My apologies -- my comment should have been addressed to "anonymous."

Marty S said...

Lynn: Here is where my concerns about changing plans come from. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimers, but there are drugs that will help. One of these drugs is Aricept. Now if you look at the sales for Aricept roughly 62.5% of worldwide sales is in the U.S. European sales are about a quarter of U.S. sales. I don't know why this is so, but if we start to model our health care after the European model, will that bring down our use of Aricept proportionally. If so will that result in less research into drugs like Aricept and also does that imply people in Europe with Alzheimers are getting less treatment. I don't have the answers to these questions, but I would like to see convincing evidence that we won't have the negative effects I'm worried about before we make any radical changes in health care.

suzanne said...

you appear to be all over the place
with worry about one health care model or another
Great Britain's system
is NOT the same
as the Canadian one

private insurance companies
already ration care

just ask anyone who has experienced
the denial of service
(after paying in gobs of bucks)
or the infamous "pre-existing condition escape hatch

we get it
you want to have your private cverage
but what about all the people weho can't afford private coverage
and all the people whio have been dropped

I have Medicare and private insurance
neither of which has cost either of them a single penny
in the last 15 years or more
even though I pay $134 a month
out of my SS for Medicare
and $50 a month
for my portion of the private insurance
which is through my ex's NY state
retirement benefit plan

having worked at a medical college
in the Office of Medical Education for 12 years
I am well aware of the problems such companies have fostered
and that so many people
much less healthy than I am
have no coverage
is downright EVIL

Marty S said...

Suzanne: There are two sides to every issue and you can pretty much find evidence to prove anything you want. See the following link

Which contains two scientific proofs, one that heaven is hotter than hell and the other that while heaven is indeed hot but hell is hotter.
Few if any systems are perfect and as you point out our current health care system is not. You point out that there the problems with the current system and therefore say we should change the system. Okay, but how do we know the new system won't be worse. It is very doubtful it will be perfect either. So I am not against some changes designed to fix the problem, but I believe they should be small incremental changes that can be evaluated and if necessary reversed. In other words gradual evolution of the system rather than radical change.

Travis said...

So, in a momentary complete aside from the main political/corporate/ we're right/you're wrong discussions. Steve, I really enjoy reading the tidbits about Jason and how you're helping him develop. I'm filing away little tidbits to help raise my son and enjoy hearing your perspective.

Anonymous said...

"But without philosophy how do we determine the correct ends."

I indulged in my unfortunate tendency to go overboard. Of course we need ideology and philosophy, which model and justify political acts, and that also orient these towards larger goals. However, all to often intellectuals become so enamored or repelled by elegant or horrific ideas and schemes, they loose track the real issues at stake. This fixation appears to have captured much of the Health Care debate, which here and elsewhere often degenerates into accusations of Corporatism! or Socialism! by the proponents of opponents towards each other, during which actual and important questions concerning the plan and care it would provide are frequently forgotten. In reading such exchanges, I'm reminded of Freeman Dyson's frustration at the USSR SETI conference, where enraptured theorists captured the proceedings, which degenerated into rarefied IDEAS about aliens, and suppositions about their ideologies (usually Leninist, given the orientation of the hosts). As Jerry Pournelle repeatedly warns: "The map is NOT the territory"!


Daniel Keys Moran said...

In other words gradual evolution of the system rather than radical change.

And another fifty years goes by with people dying for lack of care ...

Marty S said...

Dan: Okay we are back to the death thing. If you are worried about people dying, then be worried about cancer the number1 or 2 medical DISEASE killer in most countries. Now google "cancer survival rates by country." You will find the U.S. is above the UHC countries in cancer survival rates. However, the study at this link

indicates a clear difference in U.S. survival rates by race. Hence, my desire to make sure that through incremental changes we bring up the survival rates for Blacks and other disadvantaged, while not decreasing them for those who already have good coverage.

Steven Barnes said...

Not everyone calls Republicans liars for saying UHC is "Socialism." I've heard Liberals call it that. But there is an attempt to control the language ("single payer") which is tiring, but necessary. To me, one of the issues is that while I can't think of many PRODUCTS I would want government providing, there are definitely many SERVICES that seem appropriate, and Health Care is one of them.

Steven Barnes said...

Like I've said: if UHC was ten times better, and half as expensive as private, there would still be specific circumstances under which private was superior. Stats are like that. For me, I believe what the WHO says about infant mortality, life spans, and customer satisfaction and costs. I assume that Conservatives do not. I can accept that.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

while not decreasing them for those who already have good coverage.

Three trillion for war; barely any conservatives said a word. A trillion for health care (across ten years) ... trauma, fear from the conservative side of the aisle.

Terrible priorities from conservatives.