Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Honor of J

J, who commented on my last post, has noticed that people in big cities are not polite. As an example, she mentioned holding doors open and thanking others for doing so. It generally doesn't happen in big cities.

Since then, I've been observing behavior between strangers closely for politeness. Here are my observations, in order of precedence:
  • Black people are exceptionally polite when white people hold doors open for them. White people are quiet when the reverse is true. Reasons for this discrepancy will be left to the comments.
  • There appears to be a correlation between politeness and kilometers from a city's center. Suburban strangers say thank you almost always, while those in the city are usually quiet.
  • Gender roles are still expected: Women holding the door for men will be taken advantage of grudgingly and silently. Men holding the door for men will be taken advantage of with an accompanying strange look (and silence).
  • Men hold doors more often; women say thank you more often. When a man and a woman encounter a door, the male is most likely to hold it open for the woman. The woman will almost always say thank you. A man will hurry through doors held open by anyone, often at the expense of a proper thank you. However, it should be noted that men often exchange nods of acknowledgment/thanks which cannot always be reliably observed.
  • Finally, suburban men are the most likely to hold doors open for as long as people flow by. Perhaps city dwellers have learned when to give up looking for the end of the line and sneak by early to find their groups.
I am a habitual doorman and have not learned to ever abandon my post except at the conclusions of large meetings, such as at church. But, if it weren't for my duty of accompanying my grandparents, I don't think I would particularly mind being stuck for a few minutes holding a door. It would be an excellent opportunity to observe thankful people, if nothing else.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Republican Debate

The past couple weeks have been extremely busy with the U.S. Open tennis tournament. That's over, sadly, but it means I have some more time on my hands now that I'm not constantly watching. And that means I might update a bit more often.

Like tonight, while I'm watching the New Hampshire Republican Debate I missed earlier. It's a bit sad at times, but I'm at least learning a few people's positions. I just wish Fox News was a quality news service/site. I can't watch the entire debate in one video. In fact, I can't watch the entire debate. They have it broken up into pieces which don't follow each other exactly. Portions are missing, one part 2 video was just a duplicate of the part 1 video, and many descriptions had spelling/grammar errors. That's not even mentioning the crappy moderators and questions.

I cringed every time I heard Giuliani speak, even though he did have a couple good points. Actually, everyone except Sam Brownback had at least one good point. So, on the Republican side, I'm now stuck between Ron Paul, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson.

Fred Thompson hasn't been in the race long enough for me to know what his positions are, so he will remain in the undecided column. Mitt Romney has some nice things to say, but there's the recent controversy about his campaign staff and illegal activities - I will again reserve judgment for now. Mike Huckabee has my support for the Fair Tax plan, but I worry about some of his other issues, like abortion and gay marriage (among the reasons why I don't call myself a Republican).

John McCain did very well in the debates, but I didn't feel like he answered any tough questions, or answer with any real details. So, he did very well, but didn't provide any information. Until he does, there's nothing of substance to believe him on. Speaking of belief, Ron Paul remains the only candidate so far that makes me believe he's telling the truth. One of his major problems, I think, is that he has detailed stances on all his issues. It's like when I took tests in school and I'd answer each question very thoroughly, but run out of time and leave some blank. He doesn't have the option of leaving some blank, but isn't given enough time to fully answer questions, either. I would love to see him answer some detailed questions about a number of issues.

For instance, he's talked extensively about economic issues and foreign policy issues. I haven't heard him talk about all the plans for handling the effects of eliminating many of these governmental functions. He wants to eliminate the income tax and reduce spending (yay!), but wants to do so by eliminated the Department of Education (in addition to a few intelligence bureaucracies and the IRS, which I'm mostly in favor of). I'm wondering how he envisions education happening, and if left up to the states, how he plans on that being funded. I'd like to know exactly what he expects to happen in Iraq after a rapid withdrawal of forces. Most Democrats need to answer this question more thoroughly, too.

Among the Republicans, I like Paul's views on gay marriage and abortion the best so far: Gay marriage isn't the real issue after we start treating human beings as human beings, regardless of individual attributes, and leave abortion up to the states. In fact, Paul thinks most things should be left up to the states. Which is good in a lot of ways, but I want to hear his answer on what happens when people have motivation to move to a particular state that allows them to live the life they want. This would seem to lead to a segregated population (that portion of the population that can afford to move, anyway), makes buying a house a riskier proposition tied to political futures, and changes state governments' focus to passing laws that result in a larger population in order to get more tax revenue to spend. We'll switch from Red and Blue states to gay and straight states, pro life and pro choice states, war and peace states, druggie and straight-edge states, etc. Some of the unity of a strong central government is a good thing.

So, it's a good thing there's more time before I have to decide who to support, because I need it. Of course, who I support at this stage makes little difference since Kansas has no primary. Oh well.