Tweeting the State of the Union

I love tweeting events (except for the Oscars; I’m not a fan unfortunately). Not only is it fun to give my insight, it’s fun to read and respond to what other people are saying about the event. Especially if the person tweeting is actually present at the event.

One of the people I follow is @johnculberson, a republican representative from Texas. While I do not agree with a lot of what he says, I can always rely on his updates to get the mood and feel of Washington. Check out some of his tweets:

We are all reading thr official copy of speech and waiting – these lights are blinding

All our seats are first come first serve – we sit wherever we want – the Congressmen on the aisle got here real early

This is always an awe inspiring experience no matter who is President – we celebrate our Republic and our great institutions tonight

It’s a type of live reporting that you cannot get on your TV screen. Politicians with mobile devices that connect to twitter can give you a feel of the speech that no reporter can accurately duplicate. The same goes for the Oscars (although I don’t know of any celebs up for nomination who tweeted during the event).

The only thing I wished was that I had a group of politicians at the event grouped in a search bar so I could interact with more of what they were saying. That would be a new direction Twitter could go in: featured groups that aggregate the tweets of prominent people at an event that tweet (like tweeting congressmen and senators at the State of the Union) . 

I found that tweeting from my iPod touch was the most effective way for me to watch the event and make updates and commentary. @johnculberson used TwitterBerry, which didn’t allow him to look at replies. I’m interested to find out how people tweeted from their computers (for example, if they watched it live of and had a client like tweet deck running in the background). 

Tonight helped me realize that tweeting can make political events more democratic. It can give us a platform to interact with our politicians and political events, and it also provides a medium for us to voice our opinions to politicians that listen.

Justice: My Interpretation

What is Justice?

Justice is accountability to the law. Being brought to justice is being held accountable for actions as the law mandates. The only fairness that Justice needs to adhere to is that everyone be accountable to the law.

While fairness is relative, justice is not. When questioning whether a law is just or not, the only criteria is if the law adheres to the rest of the laws in a given system.

All that social justice should imply is that everyone individual is held accountable under the same set of laws. It never should imply fairness or equality except that everyone is equal under the law.

Negative political ads: Do they work?

I think they do.

As appalling as I find them, I think people respond to them whether they like them or not. Take, for instance, Jeff Merkley and Gordan Smith’s ads. Smith, in an add running on TV, criticizes Jeff Merkley for spending money on redecorating offices in Salem.

Even though I dislike these type of ads, I felt that Merkley’s response was poor. I couldn’t find his video on YouTube, but he called Smith’s attacks vague and accused the Senator for running the ad. While I agree, I felt Merkley’s response was… well, weak.

I feel that we as people react negatively to weakness, whether we know it or not. When we critically evaluate situations, we see weakness in discourse as a sign of an inability to lead.

Why Philosophy is Important

I studied philosophy informally for the better part of a year. And even though at the time I was infatuated by philosophy, I could never find any pragmatic application for it.

But I feel that dabbling in the writings of Nietzsche, Marx and Mill (along with Locke, Descartes and Humme) forced me to critically analyze my political, personal, and religious beliefs. Most of my beliefs at those times were products of what my family and friends believed. And while environment plays an important factor in shaping beliefs, I don’t think that people’s beliefs should be a product of their environment alone. I think they need to critically analyze what their environment presents them with. Otherwise, I don’t think their beliefs can be their own.

What I enjoyed about philosophy was that it exposed me to parpdoxes and conflicts in life. And while plenty of perspectives were offered on how to ‘solve’ these problems, I somehow doubt that finding the solution was the underlying intention of any philosopher. Even when Descartes used his faith in God to come to terms with his understanding of objective reality, I think he was calling his readers to further analyze and critique his findings.

If I had never studied philosophy, I would still have my mother’s morals, my father’s God and my roommate’s politics. My understanding of the world would be through other people’s perspective and not my own. And while I’ve decided to not devote any significant amount of time to philosophy anymore, I’m glad I spent time studying it.


Dependency Theory- The theory that the underdeveloped world is behind that of the developed world because of Western/developed world hegemony. Not %100 complete, obviously.

It’s also the subject of International Communication (J396 for all you UofO kids).

By the end of the class, I’m sure my professor will be expecting me to be able to talk about why the developed world has defeat modernization’s approach to communications development. Of course, there are all sorts of underlying assumptions and value judgments made in this assertion which I hope to bring to light.

We’ll see how it goes.

Do you REALLY believe that?

Something I’ve noticed: in 95% of the arguments I’ve witnessed or partaken in, any of the two positions the debaters take is logically defensible. Excluding the irrational arguments I’ve witnessed, arguments generally center around a small group of positive statements with the disagreements being concerned with normative statements.In high school forensics, we always, always played devils advocate as an exercise in argumentative discourse. The point was not so much as to understand the other side’s view as much as it was to see how easy it was to construct a defensible position on almost any public policy question.

To change subjects slightly (I’ll bring them back around in the end… I promise), my own personal beliefs have been constructed via the following process: investigate the positives, reconcile my normatives with the positives, and form my own beliefs around them. But after starting college, I noticed an interesting trend; friends started adopting other friend’s normatives, then seeking out positives to support them. While I feel my normatives are based on a philosophical structure (in which I hope none of my opinions cause me to ‘backtrack’), I felt because my friends normative values were unstructured because they weren’t a result of their own investigations. In listening to their opinions on various public policy, I’ve found them to have stances on an issue that cause them to contradict a stand on another. I’m by no means saying I’m not guilty of the exact same thing; in fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say I have one or two beliefs that may contradict each other (but when they come to light, I’ll do my best to reconcile them). My concern is that I feel people are taking positions on policy because their friends are taking them. Just because a person can defend a piece of public policy doesn’t mean they’ve thought out how that piece of policy reflects their own personal philosophy. In other words, I really feel that people advocate positions without contemplating how those policies, or what those policies imply on their moral/ethic/philisophical structure (the dashes are ‘or’s because some people have no ‘moral’ structure for philosophic reasons).

In one sense, I really don’t believe it matters, based on my own personal philosophy, but on another level, I think it’s sad for the person because having been easily swayed one way, it’s simple for a person who is adapt at arguing to sway the other person, and that person’s position based on their own highest values is never realized.


No, I’m not talking about the website.

I feel like almost all of the presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican, are almost all the same. Each quibbles over minor issues, and their overall stances are ambiguous at best, save perhaps the issue of foreign policy.  The economy is the issue I think is the issue where most candidates’ stance is ambiguous at best.

The only two people I’m comfortable supporting are Ron Paul and Barack Obama, and even so, I feel Obama is too similar to the other candidates in that his stances are ambiguous. Obama seems to have the demeanor of someone who will make good decisions in office, but this is only a guess at best.

Clinton over Obama

Clinton defeated Obama in the New Hampshire primary.

Clinton is the LAST person I’d vote for given any of the candidates running for president. That’s right. I’d take Mike Huckabee over Clinton.  Fortunately, Obama still looks like he’s going strong into Michigan. It’s a good thing too because it’s looking less and less like Paul’s going to get the Republican nomination. He has my support in the primary, but realistically, it looks like Obama is my only choice candidate who can take the White House.

Limbaugh- “…don’t tell me he’s Ronald Reagan”

Rush Limbaugh is apparently caught up in another moment of nostalgia in wanting to compare every every presidential candidate to Ronald Reagan. In a recent WorldNetDaily article, he made his latest Reagan sound-off by adamantly denying that Republican presidential candidate and Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee is anything like the former President.
“I don’t support open borders and amnesty. I don’t support the release of hundreds of criminals. I don’t support repeated increases in taxes. I don’t support national health care, whether you call it a children’s program or whatever it is. I don’t support anti-war rhetoric. I don’t support Republican Candidates trashing the war in Iraq when we’re winning it. I don’t support Republican candidates claiming the president doesn’t read the National Intelligence Estimates as an excuse for him not knowing what the hell is in one. And that’s Governor Huckabee,” said Limbaugh in the WorldNetDaily article.

Ah, but does Limbaugh support an increase in government spending like Reagan did? If so, Huckabee might be Limbaugh’s huckleberry! Maybe the two are more alike than you thought, Rush. And if that wasn’t enough Reagan nostalgia to get you excited for brining in Huckabee, maybe this will get you going.

Ron Paul

An Oregon Daily Emerald columnist writes an article not exactly bashing Ron Paul. Within 24 hours, 64 comments, most of which attack the columnist’s criticism of Paul, have been posted on the Emerald’s website. The only other article receiving this sort of attention was the one bashing Anime.

Screw Liberals posts “Ron Paul sucks” repeatedly. 73 comments.

In fact, search Google blogs “Ron Paul sucks” and take a look at the number of reactionary comments received (I’m expecting a huge increase in the number of hits I receive for typing “Ron Paul Sucks.”)

All this despite the man not even being one of the top 7 candidates. Barack Obama, despite being ahead in the USA Today poll, doesn’t have nearly the internet presence of Paul.

So even though Paul doesn’t have much of a shot winning this term’s election, what does this mean for internet candidates in the future? With the rise in the number of people using the internet and an increasing number of older people logging in constantly, will the internet play a larger role in which candidate is selected? If Paul were to be the most popular candidate on the internet four years from now, would he have a significantly larger fan base?