Thursday, October 30, 2008

Does reading make you stoopid?

I love to read. I read voraciously as a child. When books were being chosen for book reports, teachers would try to steer me away from my selections, afraid I was overly ambitious. They'd chide me when they saw me reading some other book halfway through the designated reading time, asking why I wasn't reading my assigned book. Then they'd be shocked to know that I had finished the assigned book and was reading something new.

In fifth grade, I won the spelling bee for my elementary school. Not because I practiced, but because I read constantly. I hardly ever had to study spelling words because I'd already encountered them numerous times in the books I read.

But now, much of my reading is online. And it doesn't matter whether you're reading newspapers, magazines, websites, or blogs, it seems that online, spelling doesn't matter anymore.

I try to fight the culture, but it is very pervasive. I try to spell correctly whether I'm writing a technical document or typing with my thumbs to send a text message. But now I find myself uncertain of the spelling for simple words. They just don't look right. And I know it's because I've seen them butchered so many ways that there is no consistent image in my head for how they should look.

So to answer my own question, Yes, reading, at least reading online, does make me stupid.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm not stumping for McCain

I'm still undecided on who to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. Since Ron Paul dropped out, my choices seem to be Bob Barr (Libertarian), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), and Alan Keyes (Independent).

Barr is a recovering Republican and his position has changed on several issues. I too am a recovering Republican and my position has changed on several key issues in the last few years. I generally like the Libertarian position, so he's probably going to get my vote.

I've supported Keyes in the past, in fact, he's the only candidate to whom I've given financial contributions. But mixing politics and religion bothers me more than it used to.

I still believe that my faith and my beliefs should influence my politics. I don't, however, believe in getting enough Christians in office that we can create a theocracy. I'm also quite comfortable with the idea that some things are morally wrong without having to make them illegal. Christianity was born and thrived in a place where its morals were not the law of the land. I think Christians in the U.S. might need to actually live out their faith, rather than wait for Washington to legislate it.

So I'll probably vote for Barr. And two of my three brothers accuse me of wasting my vote, I believe that my vote is one of principle, theirs are more pragmatic. I know either McCain or Obama will be elected, not Barr, Baldwin, or Keyes. But since neither McCain nor Obama represent my political beliefs, I believe that I waste my vote if it is cast for either of them.

I did find some interesting online videos. I believe they point out some of Obama's issues pretty well. I haven't seen them anywhere but online. They can be found here.