Talking points for 30 April

Good morning, first up I’ll ask you if now is the time to put our debate about race being good or bad for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign on the radio. The Illinois senator has finally had to put some personal distance between him and his former pastor after a couple of recent speeches – Obama said he was outraged and saddened by Rev Jeremiah Wright’s comments.

The New York Times has had a look at what blogs are saying. What have you been reading about this issue? Who would you like to hear from if we do put it on air?

The other contenders that stand out today are two issues we have covered a bit lately – the election crisis in Zimbabwe and the global food crisis.

It’s a week and a half since we discussed Zimbabwe, talking about Thabo Mbeki’s response, but the MDC has appealed to the UN in New York but South Africa and China kept the matter off the Security Council’s agenda. Is the time it takes to resolve the mess less fine as long as Zimbabwe remains calm?

On food, we talked through ways to bring prices down a couple of weeks’ ago. Afghans are the latest people to have their anger boil over, and the UN has set up a task force to tackle the crisis. Can science and senible trade policies solve the problems or is this a chance to reform global agriculture?

And a quick suggestion from Steff, who wonders about “the role of social networking in younger peoples lives and how that may affect how they interact with immediate neighbors.”

She writes: “I am in San Francisco, where there are a large amount of younger urban dwellers, who spend a lot of time online and meeting up with others of common interests, but many can’t name more than 3 people in their own building. Are we removing our local social interaction with virtual interaction?”

It may be one of the pillars on which WHYS is built, but do you think virtual interaction is damaging the world outside your door?

20 Responses to “Talking points for 30 April”

  1. 1 selena
    April 30, 2008 at 12:19

    Barack Obama shunned his pastor. It has now come down to tit for tat. For anyone who thought that Obama represented change, his performance yesterday gave short shrift to that notion.

    If, as Obama says, his pastor is going through a hard time because of his retirement from the church, surely Obama should be supporting him, rather than vilifying him. This is where ‘turn the other cheek’ would have been appropriate.

    If Obama had taken the high road and had continued to support his pastor that would have given a strong signal of change. It would have told the world that if he becomes president it will not be business as usual.

    Do you throw away your friend of twenty years because of personal ambition? I don’t think so!

    When we come to the end of our lives, I am certain we will all look back and know that the things we thought so important were not so important, after all.

    To your question? Yes it would be good to have a discussion and I would turn the discussion around the Christ’s instruction to “turn the other cheek”. Hey, but that’s just me! 🙂

  2. 2 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 12:26

    YOu do throw away racists even if you’ve known them for 20 years. Especially if you want to be President.

  3. 3 Brett
    April 30, 2008 at 13:17

    Who would you like to hear from if we do put it on air?
    Obama – Wright
    The above two are the ones I would like to hear from. Anyone else is just commentary, like the pointless re-hashings of football games on ESPN where four guys sit around and talk about whats going on on the screen, making comments about what the players are doing, like the viewers can’t see or tell with their own eyes.

    Can science and senible trade policies solve the problems or is this a chance to reform global agriculture?
    Reform aggriculture and our consumption!!!

    Social Networking Sites
    They’ve been a nice suppliment for my daily life and allowed me to stay in contact and regain contact with friends I havent seen or spoken with since childhood. I have no personal problems with them.
    I can see how kids may get far too carried away on there though.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  4. 4 Xie_Ming
    April 30, 2008 at 14:21

    The food, environmental and economic situations call for an action that would greatly help.Gglobal mathemematical models would be a step forward.

    People have vague ideas about the application of this in weather forecasting and in national economics.

    A tiny example: if the USA bans the import of Mexican tomatoes to politically aid producers in Florida, what is the overall effect on the American economy?
    Certainly, Mexican producers receive a body blow, but the American economy suffers because of a much higher total food cost, etc.

    Now, apply such thinking globally to a great range of products!

  5. April 30, 2008 at 14:28

    It would be great to talk about problem before they happen instead of debating what to do about them after they happen. This is especially true for those who seem to lack the depth if thought.

    Here is the thing. If the children, many of them already grown, of this sick man in Austria do not get proper help, they will become the monster they were tormented by. This is a 90% truth of children of this caliber of abuse. Untreated they will become abuser and everybody concerned will one day find themselves discussing how much of a degenerate they have become. MAny with out knowing where tese children came from. This guy is a monster, no doubt. I don’t know what his background was. It most undoubtedly wasn’t a healthy one.

    If you don’t want to start with letting this guy blame his upbringing, then can we at least consider what these children will do? What will be the extent of their fault in their future actions? Do most people believe children are born blank slates and become products of their environment?

  6. April 30, 2008 at 14:33

    i agree on the obama talking point
    or more specificlly the clinton fan who organised the pastor to speak at the press club recently

    ””Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds,” The New York Daily News’ Errol Lewis begins Tuesday.

    “A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity,” he adds. “It also turns out that Reynolds – introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club “who organized” the event – is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.
    [more at the link]
    sure sounds like a well organised set up to me


  7. April 30, 2008 at 14:41

    I would still like some discussion about Zimbabwe especially since ZANU-PF has accused MDC of using violence

  8. April 30, 2008 at 14:58

    Certainly, black people have an historic chance to vote for a black president, the same way women have an historic chance to vote for a female president. It’s mind numbingly ignorant to pretend that votes aren’t going to break this way. (And hypocritical of Clinton’s supporters to not acknowledge the female vote that has buoyed her.)

    Certainly, people are ignorant of black liberation theology and this is another case of “your Jesus isn’t my Jesus so you must not be Christian.” It’s as if the plantation owners just discovered their slaves are mixing voodou and Catholicism, and they’re hopping mad. They don’t see the two-shot combo of racism and religious bigotry when they blast Reverend Wright and ignore McCain’s disgusting, gay-hating “spiritual adviser” Hagee. It’s the damned 18th century all over again! Racism and religious bigotry are so pervasive in this country that people are putting the words of Wright into Obama’s mouth but they’re NOT with McCain and Hagee. Conservative Christian websites are blasting away at Wright but remaining silent on the atrocities that were being committed by the FLDS Church in Texas. Can’t say anything bad about them nice white “Christian” folk, now, can we?

    I’m saddened that Obama had to distance himself from a personal family friend to escape the blind idiocy of our country’s citizens. I’ve never heard a word out of Obama’s mouth that sounded like Wright, so I’ve never worried a moment about that friendship. But then, according to a recent Newsweek poll, 13% of the respondents STILL think Obama is Muslim and 26% don’t know his religion at all. I wish people would just ignore the religion question because IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. But whatever.

  9. 9 John in Salem
    April 30, 2008 at 15:13

    Rev. Wright is an irrelevant sideshow, a clown who cares more about seeing his own face on tv than the damage he does and most definitely not someone worthy of sacrificing any goals for.

    The people of Zimbabwe need to deal with Mugabe and no one else can or should do it for them.

    Anytime is a good time to reform global agriculture policies.

    If having more virtual friends than real ones bothers you then next time take the BLUE pill.

  10. 10 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 15:33

    The social networking trend I personally find funny. It’s kind of like “friends” at dance clubs, they aren’t really friends, but phoney friends. I think many out there do myspace and facebook just for attention and narcissistic reasons. I don’t really think the people on myspace are really likely to wind up being shut ins, but they will probably be less likely to experience a real friendship, but rather more phoney friendships. Think of pictures of girls together at clubs, with phoney smiles, you know they are all thinking nasty comments about each other, but pretend to like each other. A real friend is someone that would help you move, or drive you to the airport at any time. Do you think your myspace “friends” would do that?

  11. 11 Virginia Davis
    April 30, 2008 at 16:28

    Senator Obama’s skin color is a problem because the USA is a racist country. But HOW much of a problem? We’ll find out.

    Will the November vote, should Obama be the Democratic nominee, prove that McCain’ skin color – war record, congeniality with Hegee, McCain-Feingold legislation, gender, etc. – prove more weighty?

    I bought SOUL ON ICE in hardback because I didn’t want to wait for the paperback edition. As an oppressed person – because for 40+ years I have been upfront about being labeled mentally ill – it was an easy call for me that change in the society I lived in had a lot to do with skin color.

    Senator Obama is moving on from what Reverend Wright terms “liberation theology.”

    Did anyone note that on Moyers’ PBS the Reverend taught music at Howard University and not until Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, did “gospel” music become a part of the curriculum? And Wright was there to witness that? How much has Wright witnessed?

    Life is complicated. How many votes will Senator Obama gain because he is “tall.” Tall people are more successful, statistically, than short people.

    How many votes for Senator Clinton gain because she is a woman?

    Did anyone note the comment that Reverend Wright became a “father figure” for the Senator? Good comment.

    As this (the election) all plays out, we will find out which “politician” (the Greek word is “polity” for city, therefore one who is focused on the city) with which profile becomes the President to follow George W. Bush.

    I find Senator Obama a thinker and a orator who can move political thought on from “liberation theology” which is based on historical wrongdoing and a deity Who does not condone wrongdoing to political thinking which widely defines “all men are created equal” as all people are created equal and moves towards a society in which this is true.

    Virginia in Portland, OR

  12. 12 Xie_Ming
    April 30, 2008 at 16:51


    One can emote or act. To act, a map and plan is useful. A mathematical model is such a map.

    Models exist for aspects of global weather and for the macro aspects of national economies.

    World agricultural and economic models are needed now. (And would be better than military/industrial complex expenditures).

    If politicians seek to aid tomato farmers in Florida by banning Mexican tomato imports, then the Mexican producers are hurt, but the total food cost to consumers in the USA is much higher.

    Vast models on a world scale are needed now to assess such interactions.

  13. 13 viola anderson
    April 30, 2008 at 19:21

    If there actually is a food crisis, it is likely a result of a fuel crisis (read, oil) because the increased productivity of farmers is due largely to the use of machinery that runs on fuel, at least in those countries widely called first-world, Also, the food distribution system depends on adequate, reasonably priced fuel. No distribution, no food. Playing politics with fuel supplies is one of causes of fuel crises.

  14. 14 Virginia Davis
    April 30, 2008 at 19:33

    Xie-Ming: is it only US politicians who would ban Mexican tomato imports?

    Are “statesmen” or “stateswomen” those who would concoct vast models on a world scale. “Globalists?” “Generalists?”

    WHYS people out there: are there those among us who could map out a plan for the rational growth and distribution of tomatoes?

    When Al Gore was Vice-President I sent him an email about the rational planning of glass container factories. Say 6 in the entire world. All recycling. Located geographically for efficient distribution. Now, of course, green energy and construction. Very automated. The glass containers produced culturally appropriate.

    Oh, yes. Several conversations with a “high tech” new magazine editor about an article regarding “natural pharmaceuticals.” Based on chemical analysis of shamanic practices.

    Virginia in Portland, OR

  15. 15 Xie_Ming
    April 30, 2008 at 19:53


    The tomato example was something that I observed many years ago.

    Such micro-economic models will require large investments when, for example, we consider world production and consumption of all agricultural products and attempt a global model.

    Of course, today, we see individual nations banning exports of rice. Apparently, wheat will soon be involved, too, etc.

    If you remember that assertion of chaos theory that the flapping of a butterfy’s wings in Brazil may affect a tornado in Texas, a big computerized model is certainly required.

    Such a model seems to be a much wiser and more needed investment than feeding the industrial/military complex.

    Globalization is both inevitable and under political challenge. We need those models!

  16. 16 selena
    April 30, 2008 at 21:04

    Hey Steve, you mean social networking sites can never achieve the goal of true, real life friendship like Obama and Rev. Wright?

    Perhaps we should have a discussion about the meaning of friendship?? 🙂

  17. 17 Emile Barre
    April 30, 2008 at 22:24

    Many a slip between a cup and lip and by their friends shall you know them aside, Obama has already lost the nomination. Clinton has won the four biggest states in the campaign. Bush won the presidency chads aside by being governor of Texas, the biggest US state. The wisdom goes that if you can win big states or run them, you can be popular enough to win the country. The contest will go to the Democratic Convention where Clinton will be nominated by the usual bureaucratic manipulation that goes on at all big party conventions worldwide. Obama will accept the VP and the joint ticket will defeat McCain and Huckabee in November.

  18. April 30, 2008 at 23:29

    speculators on food should be required to pay a special tax [if they arnt in the industry] its criminal speculation
    it is well known that in times of crisis food hoarding is a criminal offense
    well guess what folks we are in a food [and energy ] crisis thus food speculaters hoarding food futures are defacto criminals.
    not sure what punnishment is civil for those hoarding scarce food and thus artificially increasing world wide shortages but suggest forfeture be a minimum

  19. 19 Xie_Ming
    May 1, 2008 at 12:39


    Fuel costs are indeed playing havoc with all sorts of prices.

    Our World is now globalized, so the global interactions must be understood. Without mathematical models, this cannot be achieved.

    WHYS could ask a couple of British academics to tell us why this can or cannot be done, and some diplomats to explain how they plan to solve the current crises without them.

    One could then contact the President of MIT for a quick response on what it would take to make such models. Her response could then be proposed to
    Bill Gates for comment and funding.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

    Virgina’s point (above) is very pertinent:

    (1) politicians would be uncomfortable with this kind of rationalization but
    (2) statesmen ought to be.
    (3) global rationalization (a long step beyond global modeling) is illustrated by her suggestion that six glass factories could serve the World and the environment at the same time.

    These things can result in more rational and sane (and global) economic activity, but the first step is to have the map of how things fit together and affect each other.

  20. 20 Xie_Ming
    May 1, 2008 at 15:02



    Your points concerning global rationalization are quite valid.

    If my response has been lost on WHYS, I will attempt to rewrite it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: