Back to work

By Phil Plait | November 7, 2012 12:07 pm

A few people – including my pal Deric Hughes – put together this non-partisan and nicely done video in honor of democracy:

If you like it, give it a thumbs-up on YouTube and Like it on FB.

And they’re right. As I wrote last night, there is much work to be done. I don’t think we can or even should put our differences aside – we need them to keep a check on runaway beliefs. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to move things forward.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Piece of mind, Politics
MORE ABOUT: Deric Hughes

Comments (23)

  1. Awesome! I use that word too often sometimes, but in this case I mean it.
    Our country is like a 3-legged race: it only works when people learn to work together.

  2. Renee Marie Jones

    Nice sentiment. It describes the country I thought I grew up in. It describes the country I wish I lived in. Too bad it changed. People only believe that stuff as platitudes and slogans. When it comes down to actions, they don’t believe in any of it anymore.

  3. solarspace

    im still rather dismayed by how close a religious fanatic corporate yes-man can get to being the leader of the free world, but i guess we’re still clinging on for now. but you all seem to have delayed america’s descent into a new scientific dark-age for another four years, so good job with that anyway. but rest assured, as the global economic and environmental situation continues to decay (and it will), more and more people will turn to collective religious delusion as an escape, and you’re all going to have to deal with that–dont let your guard down yet.

  4. Infinite123Lifer

    “but rest assured, as the global economic and environmental situation continues to decay (and it will) … ”

    Environmenatlly speaking I know your not suggesting Mitt Romney, Jill Stein, Ron Paul or Mickey Mouse had the ability to fend off 100+ years of American and really worldwide environmental disasters. Human created environmental disasters are like freight trains and cannot be stopped unless the tracks are ripped from the ground and the locomotives launched as artifical reefs. You know what people will do to protect their freight trains? k, bad analogy but clearly any POTUS does not have the power to end environmental disaster.

    “more and more people will turn to collective religious delusion as an escape”

    Wikipedia says:

    6.9 billion world population

    2.1 billion christian
    1.6 billion Islam
    1.1 billion Hinduism

    and Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism and Animist religions make up another billion and in case you were wondering the Rastafari Movement is listed at 625,000.

    16% or 1.1 billion people wiki says are no religion. Thats not a lot of room for collective delusional escape. This little insignificant stat might be more of what you mean:

    From wikipedia “Despite a high level of religious adherence, only 9% of Americans in a 2008 poll said religion was the most important thing in their life, compared with 45% who said family was paramount in their life and 17% who said money and career was paramount.”

    I guess if stuff were to hit the fan … which you suggest … people might become more religious in every day Life. I can see that happening i guess. But going back before Copernicus as a world? I think the progress of science is too immensly overwhelmingly glaringly obvious to let the world slip too far back in the sense that reality could be lost forever. I hope anyways.

    “and you’re all going to have to deal with that–dont let your guard down yet.”

    Per the wikipedia articles on religous populations worldwide I don’t see how we are not dealing with it now or how we are ever going to stop dealing with it in our lifetimes.

  5. I’m very partisan and spent the last week making phone calls and canvassing on foot for President Obama and down-ballot candidates. We had an excellent night last night, even on the local level in a red area.

    And now another reward: Space.com says that President Obama might announce manned missions to the moon:
    http://www.space.com/18380-nasa-moon-missions-obama-election.html

  6. Good clip, seconded by me FWIW. Cheers. :-)

    Heard on the news that each candidate spent 4 billion – yes with a ‘b’ – on their 2012 election campaigns. Eight billion dollars all up on the political circus, attack ads and partisan fear and hate mongering and counter-fear and hate mongering.

    What other uses could that money have gone to in space exploration /astronomy alone?

    How much did it cost for Curiosity and New Horizons and a Space Shuttle again?

    Meanwhile in the southern hemisphere, heard last night that an astronomer named Purvinskis (sp?) is just about to lost his job – the only person actively conducting a (Sthn hemisphere?) survey for potentially dangerous near Earth asteroids. :-(

    Reasonable priorities and good values for money? :-(

  7. quantumac

    Actually, our republic (we don’t have a simple democracy) does NOT give us the right to live, the right to love, the right to dream or any other basic right. Our founders ascribed to the theory of natural rights, which says these rights are innate in each and every one of us. Our republic has given us a framework which maintains codified laws which limit the government’s power to forbid or otherwise restrict these natural rights. If tomorrow Congress declared the freedom of speech to be null and void, that wouldn’t mean the right had suddenly vanished. The right would still exist, it’s just that out government wouldn’t be recognizing it anymore. It’s a subtle distinction but an important one. The way the video put it, one could believe government gives us privileges called rights, whereas as the founders intended, government has recognized rights which were already present.

  8. dcurt

    “Back to work”..definitley worth a laugh. Considering the fact that a large number of people that voted for Obama don’t.

    Not like the same liberals you so lovingly adore had anything to do with our current economy. In ’94 Clinton and the Democrat controlled Congress passed that atrocious Affordable Housing Act. Back when it passed we all heard about the damage it would cause. Then we were blessed with watching CSPAN in ’04 as the regulators were begging Congress to do something about the coming crisis…while those morons Franks, Pelosi, Waters and the rest of the Dems repeated “what crisis”…”there’s no bubble”. Then turn around 4 years later claiming they were the ones trying to warn us all. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxMInSfanqg).

    Then again…isn’t that the liberal motto. No accountability. Beleive me…we’ll all be ready in 4 more years as we listen to you blaming others.

    Do I care if two men or two women want marry each other….no.
    Do I care if anyone smokes weed…go ahead, get blazed.
    Do I care if a woman wants to get an abortion….nope. (Seems odd though…how is it put…it’s my body, don’t tell me what to do with it. Makes me curious what business it is of the gov’t to be concerned with what others do with their body….cigarettes, trans-fats, salt, soda, etc).

    So, go ahead…keep telling yourself you’re on some greater level of understanding. Keep pretending that Obama isn’t the same type of CRONY trash that exists on both sides of the aisle. Then take a look at the Wall Street, tax dodging, lobbyist trash that fills his cabinet.

  9. Don

    Messier, no that wasn’t $4B each for each of the two candidates, that was an estimate of the total amount spent for all campaigns across the country. That’s the money raised and spent by 10 or so presidential candidates over the past two years, 30 Senate candidates and 435 House members. Plus all the outside money from private groups.

  10. Wzrd1

    @ quantumac, incorrect on a few points.
    “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” Fifth amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Congress can’t “change its mind”, it must fall to the populace.
    Before an amendment can take effect, it must be proposed to the states by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention called by two-thirds of the states, and ratified by three-fourths of the states or by three-fourths of conventions thereof, the method of ratification being determined by Congress at the time of proposal.
    AFTER a 2/3 majority of both the Senate and House, it must then be either approved by a convention of state delegates (only happened once in US history for the 21st amendment) or through through a popular vote and it must be approved by 3/4 of the states to become ratified.
    Congress can change its mind whenever it wishes to, but the constitution has protections built into it to prevent just what you suggest.

    @dcurt, I’m sorry that you don’t approve of my 82 year old disabled father not working. I really don’t care that you don’t like my three year old and 3 month old grandchildren not working. It’s really too bad that you don’t like it that my disabled wife isn’t working. It’s a shame that 27% of that 47% of non-working people are retired. It’s a further shame that 16% of that 47% are children.
    As you and your party of drones apparently believe we should revive workhouses for the elderly and children.

    It’s a dirty, rotten, crying shame that you confuse campaigns to educate the populace to cease smoking, eat a healthy diet and live a healthy lifestyle with prohibition of the same, which the GOP flat out promised to enact for religious reasons under the false color of “morality”.

    It’s even more disturbing that you complain about “Wall Street” being on the cabinet, when such has ALWAYS been on presidential cabinets, I guess it’s only OK if it’s republican presidents who start wars in the Middle East to keep Haliburton happy, the former employer of Bush the Lesser’s master, Cheney. Tax dodging? Thy name is the GOP, per our IRS court records, but facts are irrelevant to some people.
    Lobbyists in the cabinet, that is amusing. Shall we discuss various republican cabinets? Shall we examine the history of that, such as the political term kitchen cabinet? Again, shall we discuss a Haliburton former executive who gained considerably from a war in Iraq that had no valid cause, other than Bush the Lesser’s “He tried to kill my dad”?
    Shall we discuss the history of lobbying in the US, something that STARTED with our constitutional conventions?
    It’s people like you that give me grave reservations as to the viability of this nation, for you follow nonsense and obey your betters far too efficiently and never give a real thought to it or check the FACTS OR HISTORY. Just like some really nice folks in Germany once did.
    When Hitler ran for office.

    @Don, what I heard on election night was a one billion dollar campaign total for both presidential candidates. Said anchor then went on to comment what a nice start that money would’ve made to curing a disease. Didn’t check the validity of the statement though.
    However, factcheck mentioned 200000 attack ads in Ohio, 53000 in Colorado and 55000 in a state I don’t immediately recall. I’d look it up, but I have to run out right now. :/
    It was mentioned on their awards page for the various ads, under the 4 year old crying over hearing so much about “Bronco Obama and Mitt Romney”.

  11. Cory

    @dcurt. Sorry your team lost. Maybe your team should start to look at changing the way it looks at the game and the people in the stands, and the other team. You might also want to consider getting some better players -

  12. @8 dcurt: Back to work”..definitley worth a laugh. Considering the fact that a large number of people that voted for Obama don’t.

    Got any evidence to back that up, chief? Obama voter here, working two jobs (as are many of my friends). I don’t even know anyone who’s unemployed (barring disabled people), and my whole town leans very much toward Obama. Of course, thanks to years of systematic sabotage of the labor movement in this country and outsourcing of manufacturing jobs by the profits-first crowd, I and many folks like me are making just above minimum wage, meaning I’m in that evil 47% who don’t pay Federal income taxes. But come here and call me lazy to my face. I dare you.
    It’s ridiculous that this Republican meme of poor = lazy has survived this long in the face of all evidence to the contrary. America is the hardest working nation on earth, and we have some of the lowest unemployment numbers in the world. The vast majority of our lower class are working poor. And yes, we tend to vote Democratic, because we’re not blind and deaf and we pay attention when people like Mitt Romney write off half the population based on income. If that isn’t class warfare, I don’t know what is.

  13. @Wzrd1: I hope I get a chance to buy you a beer one of these days. Hell, a whole case :)

  14. Matt B.

    @8 dcurt said – “Seems odd though…how is it put…it’s my body, don’t tell me what to do with it. Makes me curious what business it is of the gov’t to be concerned with what others do with their body….cigarettes, trans-fats, salt, soda, etc”

    The difference is that in one case the government would be teling you what you can do with your body, and in the other case it’s telling corporations what they can do to your body. Limiting, say, salt content of food doesn’t mean you can’t buy a can of salt and pour it down your throat. So you still have your freedom of action, but you don’t have a right to the existence of a corporation that makes a particular product.

  15. Wzrd1

    @Joseph G, what was funny was, I had just finished reading a WSJ article about the drop in stock prices before replying, only to see here that article turned 180 degrees.
    ” Christian Tegllund Blaabjerg, chief economist at FIH Erhvervsbank in Copenhagen, said the initial rise in equity markets was a relief reaction after months of political uncertainty.

    “Markets do not like uncertainty and all of a sudden clarity was offered and we don’t have to wait for months for recounting of votes,” he said.

    “There was a lot of uncertainty about the [U.S. Federal Reserve] and [Ben] Bernanke’s third term. Romney had indicated in his campaign he was going to sack Bernanke and whether he was serious about it or just against monetary easing was unclear,” Mr. Blaabjerg said. ”

    I’d say that was pretty clear. But, some insist on not studying matters and ascertaining facts, but instead, show sour grapes and obey their betters in parroting information that is totally opposite of reality.

    “As far as broader trading sentiment across Europe, investors initially cheered President Barack Obama’s victory in Tuesday’s election. ”

    “Fitch Ratings said after the election that the U.S. must fix the fiscal issues in order to maintain the country’s AAA credit rating.

    “Now the sideshow of the election has passed, politicians need to tackle the fiscal cliff. The markets won’t accept any more excuses—this needs to be top of the agenda,” said Oliver Wallin, investment director at Octopus Investments, in a note.

    “Although the Republicans have suffered a bruising defeat, retaining control of the House of Representatives means that they still have a significant role to play. A grand bargain is required and Obama will need all his negotiating skills to push through his agenda,” he said. ”

    Said article went on to European uncertainty, “After the close of the European markets Greece’s parliament is set to vote on a package of austerity measures seen as prerequisites to secure the next tranche of bailout money from international lenders. Failure to win approval could leave Greece on track to run out of money later this month. ”

    The latter causing much uncertainty in Europe since the financial crisis in Greece first started. Which is news to the poster, as the crisis is rather new, it started in 2009…

  16. Messier Tidy Upper

    @9. Don :

    Messier, no that wasn’t $4B each for each of the two candidates, that was an estimate of the total amount spent for all campaigns across the country. That’s the money raised and spent by 10 or so presidential candidates over the past two years, 30 Senate candidates and 435 House members. Plus all the outside money from private groups.

    Okay. Thanks. Still one heck of a lot of money that could’ve been better used that was spent to, well, what good end?

    Don’t have any answers to solve this situation but it does bug me.

  17. “natural” rights, eh?

    There are multiple, consilient lines of evidence that verify the existence of gravity, of atoms, of quantum & relativistic mechanics, of climate change.

    But where are the multiple, consilient lines of evidence that show that “natural” rights exist?

    Don’t get me wrong, as far as I can see, societies which define and defend human rights (person, privacy, property, speech, association, conscience, and others) are IMO far better than societies which don’t.

    But they are nevertheless socio-political-legal constructs. Valuable & useful constructs, but constructs all the same.

  18. @MTU: Shoot, for that kind of money, we could launch one or maybe even two more MSL/Curiosity-type missions. MSL cost about $2.5 billion, but quite a lot of that cost was engineering the rover in the first place, so I betcha they could build and launch two more for under $4 billion.

  19. MaDeR

    Eh, it is same as ads. They do nothing in fact. They, at most, influence what you buy from. They by themself do not produce anything worthwile, and in fact can be harmful, convincing people to buy subpar products.

    I know, I know, there will always be waste, inefficiency, corruption and parasiting in any and every system. We can however fight to keep it at as low level as possible.

  20. Joseph G

    @Wzrd1: That’s funny, I never would have thought of a drop in stock prices as a sigh of relief (or at least the end of suspense and uncertainty). But then, a lot of market movements are totally irrational. Ask the gun store owners who have had trouble keeping ammo in stock for the last 4 years despite the fact that the only federal gun legislation passed was to allow guns in national parks and on trains.
    In fact, when I went through my Libertarian phase (oh don’t judge, everyone experiments when they’re young), this realization was pretty much what snapped me out of it. The Randian school’s insistence on the 100% perfect efficiency of the invisible hand of the market runs up against messy reality pretty quickly when you reframe “the markets” as “lots and lots of random, panicky people, many of whom are idiots.”

  21. Silentbob

    @ 8 dcurt

    Do I care if a woman wants to get an abortion….nope. (Seems odd though…how is it put…it’s my body, don’t tell me what to do with it. Makes me curious what business it is of the gov’t to be concerned with what others do with their body….cigarettes, trans-fats, salt, soda, etc).

    Allow me to explain.

    1. The consumption of cigarettes, trans-fats, salt, etc. is not illegal. The pro-choice movement is not about encouraging abortion, but about preventing it from being illegal.

    2. Where smoking is illegal it is not because of concern about the health of the smoker, but concern about the health of others breathing second-hand smoke against their will.

    3. The consumption of cigarettes, trans-fats, etc. imposes a financial burden on society. Sick people need medical care and often cannot work. The opposite is true of abortion. Bringing unwanted children into the world that need care and financial support for twenty-odd years imposes a much greater financial burden on society than allowing abortion.

  22. Silentbob

    Oh, also…

    4. Pregnancy, labour and childbirth pose a far greater risk to a woman’s health than abortion. Banning abortion is not at all like banning smoking. It is more like banning quitting and forcing someone to be a pack-a-day smoker against their will.

  23. quantumac

    To those who thought the theory of natural rights absurd, consider this hypothetical: in the future a President is faced with a national emergency and issues an executive order declaring martial law. Under martial law, the freedom of speech is abolished. My question to you is this: would you (a) believe your freedom of speech went away because the government said it did, or would you (b) believe you still have your freedom of speech yet the government no longer recognizes it? If you chose “a”, you believe rights come from government. If you chose “b”, you believe your rights come from individuals.

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