Gov. Perry says President Obama is ignoring Texas

The governor of Texas is complaining that President Obama is paying more attention to Alabama than Texas:

“You have to ask, ‘Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?’ I know our letter didn’t get lost in the mail,” Perry, a Republican and frequent critic of the federal government, said after addressing a Texas emergency management conference.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Alabama, where storms — including a tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa on Wednesday — killed nearly 200 people this week.

Texas actually does get significant federal help in its fire fighting efforts, but I digress. The more interesting question here is, why is Perry only criticizing Obama for ignoring Texas? Shouldn’t he be criticizing God for not doing anything?

Six little planets, all in a row

Over the next few weeks all the planets except Saturn will be visible in the dawn sky along the path of the Sun through the sky:

For the last two months, almost all the planets have been hiding behind the sun, but this week they all emerge and are arrayed in a grand line above the rising sun. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are visible, and you can add Uranus and Neptune to your count if you have binoculars or a small telescope.

This sky map of the six planets shows how they should appear at dawn to observers with clear weather and an unobstructed view.

Counting this morning, the moon will also be lined up for four mornings (sorry my fellow EST people for the post-dawn post).

What socialism isn’t

People seem to have a hard time defining socialism. As one person recently told me, it’s become nothing more than a four-letter word. It’s this catch-all for things people find different and therefore scary, and some are willing to define it as all-things-bad. This recent article really captures the point:

I heard on the radio a host list several components of fascism, including tyranny, government laws are more important than the individual, glorification of the nation, no dissent allowed, racism and intolerance. So I paused to listen. To my shock, not a minute later the host labeled this list of traits as “socialism.”

The author also points out the confusion over Nazis. I once personally found myself in a debate with a routinely inane and dishonest individual who actually argued that Nazi Germany was a socialistic nation because they used the word “Socialist” in their party name. To be fair, I think that person was just plainly ignorant in that case, but it was still pathetic to read. As the article says:

“Those people who insist that Hitler was a socialist show their ignorance about Nazi Germany. During the first half of the 20th Century, socialism had many meanings. When Hitler talked about Nazi socialism, he was describing the average German’s supposed social responsibilities to the State. Real socialists- social progressives- were usually sent to the concentration camps.” Author Jonathan Maxwell, Murderous Intellectuals: Nazis and the German Elite (personal correspondence April 13)

Whether socialism works or not, or whether it’s a good thing or not, is one issue, but it’s difficult to get there. When people run around conflating it with things they just don’t like, we can’t even have a decent discussion.