Author Archives: Norbrook

About Norbrook

I'm a pragmatic liberal, registered Democrat, with a science and technology background. I also have a warped sense of humor, and do not tolerate fools gladly.

A Bump In The Night

In the movie Hellboy, a young FBI agent is assigned to a very secret organization.  In his introduction to the unit, the founder tells him “There are things that go bump in the night, Agent Myers.   Make no mistake about that.  And we are the people who bump back.”   While the movie was about paranormal threats, there are large number of things in the real world of which it can be said to “go bump in the night:”  A wide range of diseases that most people in this country (or many others) have never heard of.  Every now and then, one of them comes out of obscurity to let people know it’s out there.  One of them is now in the news:  Ebola.   It’s been known about for almost 4o years, and there have been sporadic outbreaks over that time.  It’s not until recently, with a mass outbreak in Africa, and cases in this country that it’s become “news.” Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Science

Like Vampires

One of the myths surrounding vampires is that they can’t see their reflection in a mirror.    I’ve come to the belief that there’s a certain “vampiric” nature with conservatives, at least when it comes to seeing their reflection.   I started thinking about this while reading an article about Laurel County in Kentucky.

In southeastern Kentucky, hardship and need seem to spring forth from the cracks and crevices of the lush green rolling hills; they line the dulcet tones of the people who matter-of-factly recount their struggles to stay afloat. For the last half-century, the conundrum of calcified, generational poverty has stumped policymakers, with the luckless denizens of Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains one of its most enduring symbols.

I’ve seen the same story repeated in many of the rural areas where I’ve lived.   Jobs are few and far between, with those that are there often paying substandard wages.  People struggle to “get by,” and the young leave for better opportunities elsewhere.   Sad?  Yes.  But here’s the thing:  They’re also often represented by … Republicans.

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Politics

Religious Business? Some Thoughts

The recent Supreme Court decision about Hobby Lobby being able to deny contraceptive coverage to its employees, because of … religious beliefs … has caused a major uproar.  My opinion is that it’s probably the most weasel-worded, constitutionally questionable decision the Supreme Court has reached in quite some time.   As a concept, the idea of a corporation as a person has any number of good features.  The way conservatives, and in particular this Supreme Court, have extended that to the realms of free speech and religion are not among them.   But, if corporations want to claim religious beliefs as a reason not to provide a benefit for their workers, I have an idea for making them regret it:  Make them live up to it.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Politics

Regulations: The Conversation I’d Prefer To Have

One of the subjects I’ve devoted some time to here over the past few years has been the subject of regulations.    As I pointed out earlier this year, there are reasons we have regulations.   Most often, those reasons are remembered when … they aren’t followed, enforced, or not there to begin with.   According to conservatives,  regulations are “unnecessary” and the “free market” will behave properly or correct itself if left alone, all evidence from the past and present to the contrary.

One problems I have with conservatives is that they’ve turned the debate into defending the need for them in the first place.  I’d rather have a much different conversation.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Parks, Politics

Miscellaneous Thoughts On Recent News

Bob Cesca has a great post up about the right-wing politicians and pundits, and their relation to Las Vegas shootings and the Atlanta courthouse shooting.

Did they really believe they could talk like this for so long and at such an urgent fever-pitch, encouraging armed revolution and Second Amendment solutions, and believe that no one would act upon the nonstop join-or-die hype? It’s not just Alex Jones, either. We’re also told by our elected leaders — those we’ve tasked with passing laws and safeguarding our liberty — that we should take up arms against domestic enemies.

To judge by their scramble to paint the shooters as “socialists” and to point the finger anywhere else but at themselves, the answer is “Yes, yes they did believe that.”

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Politics