Opportunity Knocks!

Wonderful result!

This is, it seems, the long-awaited return of reason. The return of an atmosphere where ideas, and careful, thoughtful, nuanced argument and persuasion can become the centerpiece of how we go about solving our collective problems and shaping and reshaping our world. So among all the great things said yesterday about the meaning of it all, it is worth noting that it was a good day for Science.

Well, the initial phase is over, and now it is time to start the restoration work, the strengthening of the foundations, and then the true building anew.


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15 Responses to Opportunity Knocks!

  1. Thor says:

    Yes it is a good day. For some reason I thought you were being sarcastic with those predictions in the second paragraph. For many, this is joy laced with cynicism… or cynicism laced with joy?

  2. Jude says:

    The 6 Democrats at my school were gleeful, but our colleagues are depressed. This is what I heard from high school students today. 1) I suppose Obama might be okay, but I don’t know why he wants to take away our guns (keep in mind, I live in Rifle). 2) I don’t believe in global warming (as though global warming is a religion to be believed in).

    When I said that my only objection to Obama is that he isn’t enough of an environmentalist for me, this student said, “I hate environmentalists.” Then a teacher dropped by and said, “I don’t believe in global warming either. It’s just natural climate cycles.” So for me, the election victory, while a marvelous thing (look at Colorado and New Mexico on the map–blue surrounded by red) is tempered by the entrenched conservative values of those around me.

    Last night as we watched Obama’s speech, I said to my children, “Guess what? He’s the son of a single parent.” That too seemed like a victory; you can’t imagine how frequently I’ve had to defend myself to people for leaving my abusive ex-husbands instead of staying in those marriages. Single parents won last night too. Obama proved that even the kids of single parents can grow up to be president.

  3. Yvette says:

    A good day for the country. Now all we have to do is wait and see how he does! (I confess I get irritated when people start comparing him to past presidents when he’s not even sworn in yet).

    Funny thing, I noticed last night by accident that I’m leaving for my trip around the world the day of the inauguration (and connecting in DC to boot!). I could make a few good jokes about how “I’m leaving because my candidate didn’t win,” but some people would think I’m actually serious…

  4. Elliot says:

    This was a great day for America. After 43 consecutive white male presidents, we have finally new broken ground. I hope to see a woman president in my lifetime. (if not sooner) I sincerely hope that Obama appoints scientists to key positions. Over on Berube’s blog I suggested Sean Carroll for DOE secretary. It got changed to Department of Dark Energy fairly quickly.

    The most compelling image of the day for me were the tears in Jesse Jackson’s eyes after the announcement was made.

    Yes it was a great day for America.


  5. Carol&Co says:

    It was a great day for the whole world. I’ll be watching with great interest to see how everything gets shaped and reshaped. In South East London where I am strangers spoke to each other on the streets – trust me that is not usual custom! It is an exciting time for young and old.

  6. Belizean says:

    “This is, it seems, the long-awaited return of reason.”

    A peculiar form of reason

    that believes that an economic downturn is best addressed by increasing the tax burden on the economy,

    that believes that national security is increased by losing a war, and

    that the collapse of the housing bubble is best addressed by the senator who received the greatest average annual contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the very institutions at the center of the crisis.

    Okay. Maybe this sort of reasoning is somehow correct. But can you at least see why those of us who are not dyed-in-the-wool leftists might be a tad skeptical?

    [No, I don’t want to argue politics with you. My point is simply that you might want to concede that it’s entirely possible to have supported the other candidate without being an irrational dolt (as your post seems to imply).]

    — Belizean (One of the 14 Black people who did not vote for Obama)

  7. Clifford says:


    It seems you’ve almost entirely missed the point. I said absolutely nothing about his opponent, actually. You seem amusingly sensitive about him to rush to such a conclusion. I’m talking about the last eight years. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to go through (again) the long list of assaults on reasonable discourse (among other things) that we’ve been through under the outgoing administration.

    Furthermore, I don’t see what your or his being black has anything to do with this issue. It is, I hope you can see, totally irrelevant.



  8. Belizean says:

    I said absolutely nothing about his opponent…I’m talking about the last eight years.

    So had his opponent won, you would have also described the election result as the “long-awaited return of reason”. Clifford, there’s no point in fooling yourself.

    I don’t see what your or his being black has anything to do with this issue. It is … totally irrelevant.

    My blackness is relevant in that it induced a tremendous desire in me to see a black man elected. It was only through the application of reason (which your post seemed to link to an Obama vote) that I voted the other way.

  9. Clifford says:

    (1) You’d be much better addressing what I’ve actually written instead of your preconceived ideas about me.

    (2) I repeat: Your or his race are totally irrelevant on this issue of reason.



  10. Elliot Tarabour says:


    Your mis-characterization of the issues is startling.

    1) The tax burden will only increase on the top 5% of Americans who were given a tax cut during wartime. This has led to a significant increase in our national debt. Are you a fiscal conservative or do you want to continue to Reagan/Bush II tradition of running the national debt up to 10-12 trillion dollars?

    2) The war was an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation who did not pose a threat to the United States. It has cost 500-600 billion so far. This money could have been spent on a myriad of other pressing domestic issues. And I haven’t even touched on the human tragedy of this conflict.

    3) The total value of all the bad mortgages is 300-400 billion. The government could have purchased these and given the homeowners their homes for free if this was the problem. The problem is the 400-500 trillion dollar derivatives market that has thrived in the de-regulated environment that the GOP has championed. Was there democratic complicity in the relaxation of lending rules? Absolutely. But if you examine the record, Obama did no more or less than many GOP senators in supporting this.

    Do I think that Obama is the second coming? No. But in my mind he represents a clean break with economics of Bush who has run our economy into the ground by rewarding the rich and punishing the poor and middle class.


  11. Belizean says:


    1) The start of a recession is the wrong time to decide to pay down the national debt. Moreover, the economic effect of a tax increase on the top 5% is hardly limited to them. There are massive economic interactions between them and the other 95% (e.g. the former employs most the the latter). The economic effect of a tax increase depends not on the particular group from whom the wealth is confiscated, but on the aggregate amount confiscated as a fraction of GDP.

    2) Even the New York Times admits that losing the war will result in the creation of a genocidal terror state. Allowing such an entity to metastasize in an age of cheap WMD and porous borders could easily inflict trillions of dollars of damage to the US including the cost of re-invading and re-stabilizing Iraq. The cost of the latter will be vastly greater due to our re-established reputation for abandoning our Iraqi allies and by the inevitable Iranian presence there.

    3) The financial crisis would not a have occurred without Democratic coercion on banks to ease lending requirements. This coercion was not an incidental occurrence; it was the ultimate cause. The Republican supported deregulation (signed into law by President Clinton) would, in the absence of this coercion, have been entirely benign. Obama did much less than did McCain, who co-sponsored a bill to address the problem.

    But geesh!. The election is over. I don’t think that we want to rehash these stale arguments. Let’s just agree that there are two points of view, that a reasonable person could have adopted either, and that the next four years will tell us which of these is most valid.

  12. Elliot Tarabour says:


    Yes it is over. I agree that we need to see positive effects of the new policies before declaring them successful.


  13. HB says:

    Stop picking on Belizean!
    There are problems on both sides, with both parties and all administrations. For one person to think that their position is the truth and what THEY believe is Truth, is hypocritical. It is opinion only, and NOT absolute truth. I don’t care what you say to support yourself. There are always truths and half truths in every political position. PERIOD! It’s what YOU believe, and sometimes we have to agree to disagree. Or, go on fighting and hating each other without end. I mean no disrespect in this post.

  14. Elliot Tarabour says:


    I think we reached a common point of agreement that we need to see the positive effect of the policies. I don’t see either Belizean or myself or anyone claiming that this discussion reflects some sort of absolute truth.


  15. Plato says:

    Henry Ford once said “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning”.

    As a outside observer I was inspired by Barack’s words. I know the situation will need more then that. Considering the economics of the Chicago school, it will need to change the idea of printing more money, and changing the way society looks at the monetary system. It needs to be change to a resource based system?

    Seek to replace it with a “better ideal” then the one that has been operating and has charted the current course. The one that will continue to operate if the economists do not change tactics of the ole school Economists. Who does the Federal Reserve Represent?

    We might all be operating under an illusion when money is produced from nothing, creating indenture, over all society? Black or white. Money=Debt now?