“[Elizabeth] Edwards has given a series of speeches in which she has pointed out that neither she nor McCain himself, who is a three-time melanoma survivor, could buy individual insurance under [John McCain’s] plan, since insurers would disqualify both of them for pre-existing conditions.”—The Folly of McCain-Care
I’ve talked a big game on supporting Obama. I’ve made my small donations and encouraged others to do the same. But a few things have happened in the past few days to help me realize that I might need to do more.
Obama’s had a rough few days poll-wise. He’s falling behind in Indiana. His lead is slipping in North Carolina. Most polls have him running better or even with Clinton against McCain, but a widely reported outlier poll gave her the advantage.
Obama’s within shooting distance of wrapping this up. According to his campaign, he needs 134 more pledged delegates to lock in a majority of the pledged delegates. Once he does that, he should get enough superdelegate support to cinch the nomination. If Obama gets half of Guam’s 4 delegates this Saturday, he’ll need 132. On May 6, there are 187 delegates at stake. He’d need just over 70% to get there. It’s a half-court shot—but possible. A week later, the bulk of West Virginia’s 28 delegates should go to Clinton—but perhaps Obama can pick up another dozen if he gets 60% of Tuesday’s delegates.
On the other hand, if Clinton can do well enough in Indiana to stay in the race, there really won’t be another good opportunity to convince her to go away. Obama should still get the nomination, but the convention would likely be internecine. McCain’s an almost comically weak candidate when you look at him—but if he’s teamed up with Clinton until the convention, the Democrats are in a lot of trouble.
So I’ll step it up a bit. I’ll go to Indiana for a few days to canvass or see what else I can do to try to seal things up on Tuesday. Can anybody else help? If this election goes too poorly for Obama, there is a very real chance of President McCain and his hot-headed stances toward Iran. If you can’t make it to North Carolina or Indiana to help out on the ground (and I’m realistic—not many people are going to alter their weekend plans because some guy called Squashed told them to—think of something else you can do to help out. Call your North Carolina or Indiana friends. Guess what it would cost you to get to North Carolina or Indiana (if you were so inclined) and donate the transportation cost to Obama’s campaign. Or donate half of it, or even a few dollars. (I’m pretty quick to suggest donations today because it’s the last day to get in on April numbers, which should be released just in time to capture the headlines before the May 6 primaries.)
(On a side note, if you’re one of the three or so readers I have who supports somebody else for President, feel free to get involved in that campaign as well. It would probably be fun.)
I should have guessed she was the type to combine the unnecessary, conspicuous consumption of the S.U.V. with the envirocred of the hybrid. The hybrid S.U.V. is sort of like ordering a Diet Coke with your triple bacon cheesburger. It sort of helps…but it misses the point.
Why are we falling all over ourselves to excuse factually inaccurate statements and asinine pseudo-science? Are we Creationists now?
I favor Obama and am rather livid to see Wright back in the news, but I think it does Obama’s cause a disservice if we pretend Wright is somehow different from one-world-government-fearing right-wing lunatics, or Moral Majority reactionaries, or Stalinists, or extremists of any hue anywhere on the spectrum.
When speaking neutrally about Wright, I should emphasize that I speak not to support Obama (though I do support Obama), but because I’m concerned that Wright is getting lumped in with the Weathermen or the KKK or the extreme and violent fringe when he actually (peacefully) represents a much larger portion of the population. I’m perfectly willing to lump Wright in with the Moral Majority reactionaries. But I consider them a part of the national discourse also. I think it’s important to include the radicals in the discussion. We’ll always have a few extremists who we can’t accomodate—but I think Wright has too much support to be an extremist.
But what about the use of pseudoscience? Mills is pretty harsh on pseudoscience. Sure, it’s frequently abused—but the arts and the soft sciences are built with the bones of discredited science. A pastor isn’t publishing in science journals—nor is he speaking at science conferences. A bit of pseudoscience or popular but dubious science in a sermon shouldn’t hurt science as an institution, and I’m willing to forgive non-scientists for getting confused about science. The question is what use the “science” is put to. In Wright’s case, it was a message about understanding differences without looking down on those who are different. He apparently turned to science to explain the differences. He probably should have turned to sociology. It’s a mistake—and a stupid mistake—but getting your science confused is not the same as preaching hate even if those who preach hate also get their science confused. Similarly, he’s got some wacky beliefs about AIDS that seem to stem from an extreme mistrust of the U.S. government. I can’t defend it—but I can contextualize it. Remember back when people saw a volcano and they thought the simplest explanation was that there was a sleeping god belching fire? Today a lot of people see something seriously wrong in the world and think the simplest explanation is that the CIA was meddling where it shouldn’t. They’re probably wrong at least half of the time. The belief is a symptom of, but probably not the cause of, an extreme mistrust in the government. It’s ignorance and mistrust—but ignorance and mistrust requires malice before it turns to hate.
Why do I worry about the plight of Wright? Politically, I wish he would sort of go away—because he’s mucking things up. But I think he represents a significant voice on the left that often goes unheard. The comparable, demogogic voices on the right get all sorts of airtime. However they’ve somehow managed to marginalize or silence the same group on the left. When Wright claims to speak for the black church, where were the other prominent black pastors saying, “He doesn’t speak for me?” A lot of white pundits said he doesn’t speak for the black church—but the truth is, much of the black church would support Wright’s ministry, even if they wouldn’t support everything he says. I disagree with Wright, but I do think enough people think like he does that they should be heard. They may still be the left. They’ll probably remain the fringe—but we need to be aware of both our right and our left fringes if we want to proparly identify the center.
Finally, I should note that I don’t think it’s just the evil right silencing the left. Obama took a bit of heat from the left for even appearing on Fox news under the idea that this somehow lends legitimacy to Fox as a news source. (Apparently it’s massive number of viewers doesn’t do that?) Much of the left would happily silence as much of the right as possible—it’s just not very good at it.
Reverend Wright’s reappearance in the news is unfortunate for those of us who support Obama. By and large, we’d sort of like him to go away. But politics aside, his appearance raises a larger issue. The man has said some uncomfortable things—but does he have a point? He claims he is descriptive rather than divisive. Let’s look at his claims.
The most outrageous claim, of course, is that the U.S. Government somehow created AIDS to wipe out poor people. It’s a bit paranoid-conspiracy-theoryesqe. While the government didn’t create AIDS, it was notoriously sluggish to respond to it. There were large segments of the population that considered it divine judgment on homosexuals. But eventually we got things sorted out. And the government didn’t deliberately spread it. At least, not AIDs. Small pox infected blankets to wipe out Native Americans? Well, that was a long time ago. We didn’t have a government then, at least the first time it happened. The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male? Um…well, it’s not quite as bad as creating and deliberately spreading AIDS.
But what about the claim that 9/11 was “America’s chickens coming home to roost”? In fairness, he didn’t say that God was punishing America (like a few prominent people on the right said about Katrina) or that 9/11 was a good thing, but it still seems to point a lot of fingers at the victims. And yet, the U.S. did materially support Bin Laden back when he was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. We supported Saddam Hussein when he was fighting Iran. Some of our questionable dealings have…come back to roost.
Then there is the history of slavery and racism. We’re still pretty proud of the greatest generation winning World War II. The Civil Rights movement happened about twenty years after that. McCain’s much touted POW experience happened at the same time MLK Jr. was assasinated. We are not so far from our history. Even now, we have rampant economic inequality and a shameful opportunity gap.
And then there’s Iraq.
In his Philadelphia speech, Obama said that Wright’s failing was that he exclusively focused on the dark parts of America’s history and present. Wright could be a spokesperson for the much maligned “blame America first” crowd. On the other side, we could have Cindy McCains who are “always proud of their country.” There’s the group that apparently believes that America can do no wrong, so long as it is acting in its own interests. Or in their own interests. There’s a gulf between the two groups.
I wish we could have a political dialog that recognized that America has done both great and terrible things. It’s a lot easier to learn from our mistakes if we can talk about them. Am I being unfair to America? To Wright?
johnbrissenden, wrote, “The other thing that puzzles me, especially these days, is the way that “patriotism” is conflated with miltary service. Why do invaders of foreign lands have a special claim to patriotism? Surely, given the nightmare of Iraq for all concerned and its undermining of prospects for US “security”, the patriots are those who oppose the war?”
To understand why Americans place the premium on “patriotism” during election years you need to understand what it connotes. We have no royalty, symbolic or otherwise. The patriot is thus the model of civic virtue that every American should strive to be. To love the country, you should be willing to die for the country. Thus, you should be part of our country’s wars—even if the wars are misguided.
But the real reason we talk about patriotism is that it gives us a chance to validate our prejudices. Reverend Wright is pointing out some pretty nasty stains on American history. We could emotionally wrangle with our checkered past—or we could say he’s not patriotic. He also highlights that Barack Obama grew up in a largely black community. This community looked a lot different than ours—and white America is a bit uncomfortable with that. He’s also aware of the country’s imperfections—and he looks a lot different than George Washington. We can’t say he’s too black to be President or that he’s too concerned about the less priviledged portions of society. But we can question his patriotism.
In short, we use patriotism as a semi-irrational way to separate the American from the Other. At the beginning of the race, people asked whether Obama was black enough for the black voters. Now we’re asking whether Obama is patriotic enough for the white voters.
A week from today Indiana has the next seriously contested primary. This is Clinton’s chance to prove that her hard-scrabble, somewhat-inexplicable working-class cred resonates with somebody outside Appalachia. She’s done very well in Ohio—particularly that part that Southeastern part that the rest of Ohio is sort of embarassed by. She did very well in the portions of Pennsylvania one of my Philadelphia friends called Pennsyltucky. This suggests that Kentucky and West Virginia should be sure things for her.
But Indiana should be different. It’s midwestern rather than Appalachian. Obama has a slight advantage in that a good chunk of Indiana is Chicago suburb.
Clinton had a rough spot in the campaign where she lost 11 or so contests in a row. Obama’s now coming to the end of his Ohio-Texas-Pennsylvannia rough spot. He should win North Carolina by enough to make up for upcoming Kentucky and West Virginia losses. Indiana will probably be close—but I suspect he’ll come through.
In my continuing search for historical evidence of Pierre Bousquet, aka Pierre the Pansy Pirate, I have come into possession of a fantastic book by B.R. Burg called Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition. If Pierre the Pansy Pirate is documented anywhere, it should be in here.
“We have always trusted in ourselves to meet any challenge that required only our ingenuity and industry to surmount. Any solution that robs us of that essential sense of ourselves is a cure far worse than the affliction it is meant to treat.”—
Preach on, Brother McCain! I was going to have that inflamed appendix removed by a hospital, but with a bit of ingenuity and industry I can take it out myself! Besides, the sort of paternalistic treatment I’d get at a hospital or through an insurance company with hospitals and all their anesthesia, expertise, and antibiotics would rob me of that sense of myself I’d get when my appendix ruptured.
If he’s not, he can’t be President. He was born to American parents in the Panama canal zone—and if you wanted to be obnoxious, you could try to argue that “natural born” somehow means born in one of the fifty states. Apparently the senate is going to consider a non-binding resolution on whether or not McCain qualifies sometime this week. I’ll be very disappointed in the Dems if they try to fight this point. It would be unseemly.
Are looking cute and being looked at so great a difference? (Give me a chance to explain this—an as usual, I’d welcome somebody explaining why I’m wrong. It’s entirely possible that I don’t understand something—particularly when it’s related to fashion.)
Looking cute seems to require onlookers. Granted, the desired onlookers could be of any gender, could be restricted to a subset of people, and could include the self. But isn’t fashion in large part about communication? Isn’t communication about tying your narrative into the narrative of others?
The knowledge that you are being watched (whoever you are and whatever you are wearing) should be both exciting and unsettling, disturbing and affirming. On one hand, it’s a constant reminder that you’re not the only person out there—and that you’re a small, though significant thread in a larger tapestry. On the other hand, it’s a constant reminder that you’re not the only person out there—and that you’re a small, though significant thread in a larger tapestry.
Wearing a dress (not that dresses are unique in this matter), at its most tautological seems to be about wearing a dress and all of the history and meaning that comes with it. Even if you alone in your room for the entire day, haven’t you mentally linked yourself to a history of those who wear dresses, those who admire them, and those who envy them. You become part of that history. You change it, and it changes you.
There’s been a lot of hating on biofuels lately—and I’m not sure it’s warranted. Sure, filling up the tank of an SUV with the dinner of hundreds of children is a story perfectly crafted to make liberal hearts bleed, and the claim that environmentalists are starving children makes warms the icy cockles of the conservative heart, but I’m not sure the criticism is warranted. I wouldn’t suggest that we keep our biofuel policy the way it is by using subsidized corn rather than cellulostic ethanol, but I do think it is way too early to call the whole biofuel experiment a failure.
The big criticism of biofuels is that they drive up the price of food. The evidence is food riots. However, there are a few other major causes of rising food prices that frequently get ignored.
Australia, usually the worlds second largest exporter of grain, is in the middle of an epic drought. It’s a bad year for grain in general.
Many food-supplying countries have been limiting exports to protect domestic consumers, causing unrest among farmers.
China is eating more meat. Being able to afford meat is a status thing. Unfortunately, cows eat way more calories in grain than they deliver in meat.
Oil prices are way up. This makes farming and transporting way more expensive because energy costs in general are way up.
There is also the inefficiency problem. Corn ethanol currently seems to take about as much energy to produce as it yields. But this overlooks a few problems.
Other forms of ethanol (like Brazil’s sugar ethanol) are much more efficient. Using corn for ethanol is a more “Biofuels: ur doin it wrong” than it is an objection to biofuel in general.
One claim is that all the grain in the country would supply only a fraction of the country’s energy needs. The problem is that nobody I know of is really proposing we turn ethanol into electricity or heating fuel. Wind energy or geothermal energy or tidal energy or any number of other renewable sources work for stationary energy. Ethanol has the advantage of being portable. Nobody has invented a wind-powered car.
We’re just getting started on the ethanol thing. Any technology improves—and in a few years, we can do a lot better.
A final objection is that biofuel requires land to grow and that that increased land value could lead to destruction of the rain forest. This problem seems pretty avoidable. Increase protection of the rainforest. Or eat less beef.
Feel free to tell me I’m wrong on any of this. Right now I’m having trouble believing that biofuels are worse for the environment than hamburgers are.
“We’re going to hit some of those balls out of this stadium and out of our country stadium. We’re going to round the bases, we’re going to score a lot of runs and we’re going to feel really good about the home team, namely the American team, the team we’re all a part of!”—Hillary Clinton, attempting a rhetorical technique known as “metaphor.” What’s she talking about? My guess: bombing Iran.
I have it on good authority that my previous post contained an implausible hypothetical about tomatoes. I might refer interested parties to recent efforts to boycott fastfood restaraunts due to poor conditions for tomato pickers or argue that an oversupply of unskilled labor is a large part of the reason we have the border tension we. Instead I’ll restate the argument. I haven’t become an economist overnight—and I’d hate to bother any of my actual economist friends over an Internet dispute (but Keith, if you happen to be reading this by RSS anyway, shoot me an email and let me know how I did.) Here is why a minimum wage makes economic sense:
In a properly constructed society, everybody should be able to afford their basic needs if they are willing to work. Needs include (at least) food, clothing, housing, medical care, and whatever it takes to secure these. Willing to work means merely willing, not both willing and able.
For those who are willing but unable to work enough to meet their needs, we’ll need some sort of wealth transfer. People might be unable to work because of permanent or temporary disability or because there aren’t enough jobs out there. In either case, they’ll need some sort of wealth transfer.
Three bucks an hour isn’t enough to meet the conditions in (1), so if you’re paying employees $3/hr to walk behind and fan you or pick up trash behind you or hold a sign for you or whatever sort of labor you’d pay $3/hr for, they will have to find the rest of their needed money somewhere else. You are getting the value of that person working full time, but somebody else has to pay for it. It may be welfare. It may be a charity. Either way, your menial labor is being subsidized by the rest of society.
A properly set minimum wage should avoids this by ensuring that full time work leads to enough pay to live off.
I’ll save Jakob the time and point out myself that this could leave the $3/hr jobs undone. This is partially true. But there are a lot of jobs worth $3/hr. The real question is who gets to offer them. I would let the government offer these jobs—but instead of $3/hr it will pay minimum wage—because it would have to pay that money out later anyway. Think of the Hoover Dam and the CCC. These are large projects undertaken at times when there weren’t enough jobs to go around. Jobs created for the sake of creating jobs is not the most efficient solution—but it may be more efficient than a straight wealth transfer. And if the government can’t think of enough jobs to create, it can tweak the minimum wage down and allow some people to get sub-subsistence pay somewhere privately. If the economy is working as desired, this shouldn’t be necessary. Everybody should be able to find a paying at least minimum wage. In that case, the law would just be redundant.
“But what if you don’t have the energy to type a whole phrase? The quark of self-expression is the “current mood” emoticon on MySpace that says whether you’re angry, depressed, bored or embarrassed. It makes no sense to me that this system does not default to “embarrassed.”—Joel Stein, “Pride comes before a tumble” - Los Angeles Times
After her 9.2% win in Pennsylvania, Clinton is claiming that “more people voted for her.” I understand the need to spin results and to cast things in a positive light—but this distortion goes to far. This sort of claim is why I would have trouble voting for her if she wins the nomination.
She gets those numbers by counting the people who voted for her in Michigan and Florida and presumably not counting states like Iowa that don’t return popular vote totals. Florida was more a beauty contest than an election, but is fair game as a talking point. In Michigan, however, Clinton was the only candidate on the ballot. Even then, she only got 55% of the vote. About 40% of the vote went to “uncommitted.” However, in order to claim her “popular vote” lead she is discounting even the uncommitted votes.
In other words, Clinton is making her moral claim for legitimacy by flagrantly misleading people. It’s not that the claim is slanted, exaggerated, or merely incomplete. It’s fundamentally rotten. Making such a claim assumes 1) that Americans are stupid, and 2) that it’s okay for somebody running for office to dupe them.
“For a place itself is always a kind of motion,
A part of it artificial and preserved,
And a part born in a blur of loss and change—
All places in motion from where we thought we were,
Boston before it was Irish or Italian,
Harlem and Long Branch before we ever knew
That they were beautiful, and when they were:
Our nation, mellowing to another country
Of different people living in different places.”—from Robert Pinsky, An Explanation of America.
Dailymeh has called me to account for my claim that “Our words define how we think about things.” I should clarify that I did not mean that our words determine our thoughts. As suggested, I changed “define” to “influence.”
As I’m not a linguist, psychologist, or sociologist, I can’t speak with much authority on the topic of words and thought. Still, I find it very difficult to believe that language would not be extremely influential for societal thought and action. We cannot “surrender to terrorism.” Does the phrase even mean anything? Yet it’s tossed about to make certain courses of action all but impossible. The phrase “socialized medicine” set attepts at universal healthcare back by decades. Easily described concepts are easily and frequently talked about—which moves makes people more aware of them. Words are one of the primary ways of transferring knowledge. If there isn’t a word for something, you probably don’t know about it.
Our words influence how we think about things. They give us the ability to group things and people, often along arbitrary lines. These two words are used to conveniently divide humanity down the middle on gender lines. However, as fast food chains have demonstrated, what is convenient is not always best for us. While we can use this convenient divide to say, “Men view women as a commodities” or “Women are attracted to assertive men,” both statements are both over and underinclusive. Some men are also attracted to assertive men. Many women are not attracted to assertive men. Some might be attracted to assertive women. Not all men view women as commodities. The gendered terms don’t fit perfectly or even very well. The words aren’t the cause of sexist thought patterns—but they’re certainly enablers.
Stop using the words “men” and “women,” at least temporarily. Try it for a few weeks. See what it does to established thought patterns. Your brain will need some categories to work properly—and maybe you can come up with more appropriate—or at least more interesting—categories. Do we say “men” or “women” when we mean “creepy sociopaths” or “people I find sexually attractive” or “people who think differently than I do” or “people who intimidate me” or “people with money and power” or “irrational people”? Eliminating the use of two words should reveal gender stereotypes we weren’t aware we had.
Reading all the primary analysis tells me to look forward to the next major primary in Indiana. Thta sounded strange. I checked a calendar. Sure enough—there’s another, larger primary the same day. North Carolina. But Obama’s expected to win by large margins there—so it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.
In fairness, Indiana will be an interesting primary. It’s got tentacles of Chicago in it, which Obama should win. It also has the fringes of Appalachia in it, which Hillary should win. Polls are currently about even. If Obama can win both Indiana and North Carolina, Hillary doesn’t really have anywhere big left to catch up.
Want to change politics? Vote with your dollars. It sucks that the country is run this way, but it is, and contributing to a campaign is (sadly) the best way to make your vote count.
I’ll second Marco’s call for donations—though at this point I think the dollar amount is less important than the number of donations. Obama will be ahead when the primary season ends, barring something catastrophic. The goal is to demonstrate to the Democrats that Obama’s ability to reshape politics by bringing in people who have not previously been involved is something neither they nor the country can afford to cast aside. If Obama can show that he has two million individual donors (which is within the realm of possibility) he can effectively argue that he’s already shifted campaign financing from the rich to the masses.
Global warming, carbon neutral, low emissions, eco-friendly…
Are these things important because the health of the Earth itself is important, or because an unhealthy Earth is dangerous for humans?
That is: What is your highest value? Man or Earth? If you had to pick one, which would you pick? If what’s best for man is what’s worst for the Earth, would you do it anyway?
You cannot have two highest values, because when a conflict of interests arises, you have to pick one or the other. So if you value your marriage and you also value beer, how do you decide when your spouse says, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’m leaving you”?
Many people’s highest value is something external to themselves that has nothing to do with them, and may not even be real. From birth, they hear slogans from people who could benefit from their self-sacrifice. The obvious example of this is religion, and is why most religious people are so neurotic. When I see a raving crazy person in the city, who is invariably talking about God, I think to myself, “a complete Christian”. He has fully given himself up and with predictable consequences.
Fortunately, “green” is a mere craze that will soon pass. It is a marketing tool designed to prey on your guilt. Like any fad, people will soon get bored of it and move on to the next gimmick.
Normally I would truncate a longer post that I had a longer reply to—but I think I need to leave this one intact because…whoa. I’ll also let the slight at Christianity slide. I suspect a lot of people whose personal and intellectual experience of Christianity ended around third grade feel as Jakob does—so at least he has the intellectual honesty to say what he thinks, if not the intellectual rigor to examine what he’s saying.
The central question is an interesting one. What is more important, people or the earth? In a limited way, it makes sense. Sure, you can’t have man without the earth. If the earth deteriorates, so will human life. So the two are more linked than “your marriage or your beer.” Perhaps “your body or your mind” is a better analogy. You can still have a body if you’re brain-dead, and you can still have a functioning mind if your body is severely damaged, and I suppose you could rig up a ludicrous hypothetical where you have to choose between the two. Maybe there’s a fire in a chemical plant. One door leads to fire that will burn your body. The other door leads to vaporized chemicals that will rapidly damage your brain. Which escape route do you take!? (This sort of game gets silly quickly.)
With a better comparison, the answer to the main question is relatively easy. The two are intricately linked. Our mind is tied to our experiences and our perceptions, which come through our body. Still, the mind is, for most of us, the most important part. However, taking care of the mind does not mean neglecting the body. A bit of exercise can be good for both the body and the mind. Sometimes you need to compromise your mental exercise to take care of your body. In most cases, caring for one will care for both. Small sacrifices in things like time spent working on a (predominantly mental) project can lead to better overall health. Excesses in either field can compromise both. So my main goal is taking care of humans—but that rarely conflicts with taking care of the environment. And if I need to sacrifice some trivial convenience for humans (like aerosol spray bottles) for a larger environmental benefit, I will happily do that.
I saw a plastic bottle of water that advertised its new “eco-shape.” Apparently the eco-shape used less plastic. I suppose this is better than the non-eco-shape, but it’s still bottled water, which on the whole is terrible for the environment. Many green labels are largely gimicks—so it’s understandable and sad that Jakob apparently thinks that all of them are. As a general rule, if you don’t need something, it’s better for the environment (and usually for you) to not buy it, even if the label is painted green and made out of recycled toothbrushes. A Prius, while more fuel efficient than an SUV, still burns a whole lot more gasoline than a bicycle. When environmentalism starts looking like a gimmicky marketing device, blame gimicky marketing rather than caring for environment. Sure, there are gimicky ways to assuage guilt over environmental destruction—but the guilt is real.
But I think green labeling is not a passing fad. I think it’s the beginning of a social awareness about the impact of our purchasing decisions. The market is supposed to maximize value—provided everybody has full information. Green labeling is another bit of information consumers can use to make their purchasing decisions.
“It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.”—
Bill Clinton on Obama’s campaign. Clinton brushed off Obama’s massive South Carolina victory by saying that Jesse Jackson also won South Carolina. While Jesse Jackson did win a number of Southern Primaries, many people (reasonably) thought this was a deliberate attempt to marginalize Obama.
To put this in context, Jackson’s candidacy could reasonably be compared to Mike Huckabee’s. It was impressive—but somewhat marginal. Just as Huckabee never quite escaped from being the “evangelical” candidate, Jackson never escaped being the “minority” candidate. Implicit in both labels is “who gets a block of voters but ultimately is too marginal to be credible.”
While it is perfectly acceptable to draw historical comparisons or to say that a candidate’s views are out of the mainstream, I think it’s reasonable to view Clinton’s comparison of Obama to Jackson as an attempt to marginalize Obama because of his race. If Clinton didn’t mean this, he should explain that and express regret for the misconception rather than accusing Obama of trying to inject race into the election when people associated with neither campaign reacted to comments he made.
This is Marco’s thought-provoking article on ways that unpaid internships contribute to the opportunity gap. My college (and law school) had grants you could apply to pay you for the summer if you were doing something that didn’t pay well. However, these only covered the public interest sort of jobs. The nonprofit probably can’t afford to pay you. But for the private company, there’s no excuse.
After a month and a half of excessive media coverage, Pennsylvania is finally ready to vote. Clinton has been way up in the polls—so her winning shouldn’t surprise anybody. The revealing thing will be the margin of victory.If Obama wins, Clinton should drop out of the race immediately. Her campaign would is certifiably dead in the water and is starting to smell funny.
If Clinton wins by 0-5%, she’s lost ground. It’s still as clear as ever that it’s over. The party’s over—and she can stay around to help clean up if she really wants, but anything else is overstaying the welcome.
If Clinton wins by 5-10%, Obama still comes out ahead. The election season is that much shorter and she’s not on track to catch up.
If Clinton wins by 10-20%, she ends the day roughly where she started it. She’s still way behind. She can claim a five to ten percent chance of winning the nomination—but she’ll still need Obama to screw something up in the next few weeks.
If Clinton wins by more than 20-30%, she’s starting to catch up. She’s still way behind—but she has enough of a margin to claim a legitimate victory.
If Clinton wins by more than 30%, Obama’s in a bit of trouble. He’ll still be ahead—but a loss of that margin will definitely make people wonder what happened and whether it might repeat itself in November.
It’s that day again. It happens every year. The sun comes out—and it’s time to be outside. It’s spring. And for the first time in months, I see my own skin in direct sunlight. Oh, winter, what hast thou wrought?
Um…you just judged half the world’s population on the comments of “anonymous Internet males.” While I’m more sympathetic to comments than Marco is, you really can’t take the comment trolls seriously. Flipping a coin will give you more meaningful feedback than they will. At least the coin is right half the time. And I’m being generous to the comment trolls. I’m assuming there is indeed some quasi-sentient life at the keyboard. In my view, it’s entirely possible that 80% of Internet comments are generated by a script some jerk wrote when he was having an misanthropic day.
He was talking about sustainability for Earth Day. He didn’t actually have much to say about sustainability, though he did have a lot of good things to say about religious tolerance. There were well over a hundred pro-China protesters outside. I also saw two pro-Tibet counter-protesters—except they were on segways.
This brings me to my second topic. Tibet. I haven’t been paying attention. What’s China doing there? Is it worse than what China’s doing in the rest of China? Finally, what’s the proposed solution? Independence? Autonomy? Enlighten me.
As the Democratic primary drags on and on and on a growing number of supporters of one candidate or another are proclaiming that they would vote for whichever candidate they don’t like. Recent polls show McCain running nearly even with Obama and even slightly ahead of Clinton. As the primary gets more negative, McCain gains.
I’m not worried, though. It’s easy for people (like myself) to say I would never vote for Clinton when the alternative is Obama. But when the alternative is McCain? Imagine John McCain as President, negotiating treaties, representing the country to the world, confusing his Shiites and Sunnies, driving the country as aggressively as he drives his car. It’s a scary thought.