Observations.

Is Cuba an exemplar of U. S. foreign policy?

President Obama's Cuban plan started the process of normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba. President Obama's Cuban policy has components found in other of his administration's foreign policy efforts: To fix the present by symbolic attempts to mend the past. They are marked by a recognition that: incremental and indirect change can be just as important as more obviously interventionist moves can be; change in other parts of the world is usually shaped more by internal efforts and perceptions than external; dialog with other countries is a vital part of exerting influence on change outside our borders.

Observations, Politics-Government.

There is "spin", and there is bearing false witness

One of the most difficult things for me is to watch politicians, governments, corporations, and organizations of all stripes, tell lies in order to persuade their intended audience to support them. This is clearly a naive reaction on my part: Why be perpetually bothered afresh by something that is pervasive and nearly universal? After all, "everybody cheats", and the most important thing for these entities is that they survive, they prevail, or that their influence waxes rather than wanes, not that they do the "right thing". To this question I have no pragmatic answer, except to say that I believe that honesty has more potential to make people and organizations successful, to make the world that more loving place called for by the major religions, than does the selfish manipulation that is the lie. The lie all too often gets you what you want, but at what cost to others, and at what cost to yourself?
Observations, Science.

Large Scale Genomics in Beijing

Beijing Genomics Institute, BGI, situated in Shenzhen, on the border between Guangdong and Hong Kong, claims the title of the world's biggest Genomics institute. Their president Jian Wang said, 'For the last 500 years, you (the West) have been leading the way with innovation. We are no longer interested in following.' The scale of their sequencing capability is large, as are their goals: to crack hunger, illness, evolution - and the genetics of human intelligence.
Observations, Reviews.

Is the Lost Cause finally getting lost?

-CC BY 2.0, Maureen

Confederate flag with assault rifle superimposed and the message 'Come and take it'. Attrib: Maureen, CC BY 2.0.

In a response to the recent furor over the Confederate flag and its removal from public grounds, Kevin Drum just nails it:

Are we still arguing about whether the Civil War was really fought over slavery? Seriously? What's next? The Holocaust was really about Jews overstaying their tourist visas? The Inquisition was a scientific exploration of the limits of the human body? The Romans were genuinely curious about whether a man could kill a hungry lion? The Bataan death march was a controlled trial of different brands of army boots?
(Kevin Drum, Are We Still Yammering About Whether the Civil War Was About Slavery? Really?, Mother Jones
Observations.

The Sylmar Scribbler gets a new name

The Sylmar Scribbler has a new name:  The Oregon Scribbler.  

Cindy and I are preparing to re-locate back to Oregon, in the Portland area, next year.  We will be leaving Sylmar.  We love living here.  The weather is amazing.  But changes are afoot. My thoughts are already turning to Oregon, where we have deep roots; I felt a name change for my website was in order, to celebrate our impending return.

The new website address is oregonscribbler.com.  If you use the old sylmarscribbler.com address, it will seemlessly redirect your request to the new address, so no worries, but please change your bookmarks, etc. to the new address when you can.   Vielen Dank!