“Following instructions from Obama HQ, almost no Obama supporters have shown up to protest, amplifying the impression of the alternate Hillary universe. But around the edges, a few small signs of the other universe peek through, the one in which Barack Obama leads and most Democrats don’t suspect him of multiple felonies.”—THE NEW REPUBLIC | Blogs
I’m watching the Democrats debate the fate of Michigan and Florida. Apparently this is how politics actually happens. It looks like they’ll seat Florida at half a vote each. Michigan is currently beign debated.
Edit: It looks like Michigan will be seated in some random fashion. It sounds like Clinton’s supporters are chanting “Denver! Denver! Denver!” I’ll start writing my congratulation note to John McCain.
“A gesture cannot be regarded as the expression of an individual, as his creation (because no individual is capable of creating a fully original gesture, belonging to nobody else), nor can it even be regarded as that person’s instrument; on the contrary, it is gestures that use us as their instruments, as their bearers and incarnations.”—
Milan Kundera, Immortality. Is it disheartening to note the myth of individuality (in a behavioral, not experiential, sense), or is it liberating? (via mills)
I think disheartening and liberating are the wrong words to use when talking about limits to individuality. Both focus on the individual as individual. I would instead ask whether it empowers us, as I believe, by allowing us to connect into something greater than ourselves or diminishes us by making us part of a faceless collective.
Just saw an ad for Implantable Defibrillators. That’s kind of badass.
My brother has one of these. If you have reason to believe your heart might suddenly and inexplicably stop, it’s a nice thing to have. Additionally, if it goes off … in coitus your partner might feel “a slight tingle.”
I think most people, including politicians and political journalists, are confused by why that “flip-flopper” label was so damaging to Kerry in 2004. Afterall, shouldn’t nuance and changing your position when you’re wrong be a good thing?
The “flip-flopper” label stuck not because Kerry changed his mind, but because people thought he frequently changed his mind for political expediency. It wasn’t about lack of conviction so much as lack of credibility. Positions were reliably changed in a manner percieved to be politically expedient. Romney had the same problem. McCain will probably suffer for it also—though it will probably be a different buzz-word.
Hillary Clinton was hurt by the same sort of thing. She insisted first that Michigan wouldn’t count for anything and now is invoking universal sufferage and raising the flawed Michigan vote to the level of a moral crusade. She didn’t pick up “flip-flopper” but she did pick up “would do anything to win.” Curiously, “flip-flopper” seems to invoke traditionally feminine qualities where as “would do anything to win” seems to invoke a more masculine image. I doubt this is coincidental.
“… Whereas the humerus (upper arm) and femur (thigh) bones of the average horse are no longer than the equivalent bones in the average human body, the total length of the equine limbs is much greater. The horse’s limbs have “telescoped” in proportion, gaining more length the farther down the limb you look. The increase is most marked in the horse’s cannon bones and pasterns, which are the anatomical equivalents of th bones in the palm of your hand and fingers. The “knee” of your horse’s front leg is the anatomical equivalent of your wrist. … This telescoping - and the absolute size of the long-legged beast - is what confers speed upon horses.”—
Deb Bennett, Principles of Conformation Analysis, Volume I. (via larkspur)
This snippet sort of highlights why racehorses seem to break down more frequently than we might expect.
When angry, people have a tendancy to tendancy to say stupid things. They say they hate their friends or parents and wish various forms of death on people they may not sincerely want dead. We call it venting. Blowing off steam. Perhaps extreme statements allow us, even in frustration, to achieve some critical distance from the immediate problem and contextualize our current pain. Perhaps it’s a way to reach a temporary, emotionally-exhausted state and start over another time. Whatever the case, it’s generally considered either healthy or not a really big deal. Afterall, the ill-thought statements disappear once said—and anybody who overheard them will forget them or ignore them once they realize what is happening.
Then there’s the Internet. It has no ventillation. Stuff written on the Internet stays there. Publicly. Forever. There may not be any indication that something was written in a frenzied, angry state. It may not even be readily seperable from more reflective statements. It could appear years later, perhaps in a job interview, or be stumbled upon, out-of-context, by whomever was fleetingly hated or wished dead.
The problem gets even worse when every phone has a camera and everybody is an amateur videographer. There are fewer and fewer spaces where it is safe to say idiotic things.
The Democrats have a somewhat impossible problem with Michigan and Florida. On one hand, it looks really bad to disenfranchise entire states—so excluding them is impossible. On the other hand, neither election was even remotely democratic. Clinton won Florida on name recognition and Michigan by being the only person on the ballot. The Democrats can’t count Michigan and Florida but also must count both.
I solved it.
1) Michigan and Florida delegations will be seated with half a vote each (as the Republicans did.)
2) To get Obama to agree to this plan, a half-dozen or more neutral or Clinton-leaning superdelegates will endorse him. They can cite Obama’s selfless leadership as their reason.
This should keep the delegate totals roughly where they were, include two states, and ensure that the two rebel states ultimately don’t matter at all.
“We learn that Sadr was once nicknamed ‘Moqtada Atari’ for his love of video games and that some of the locals see him as a little ‘thick.’ He was ‘known in his youth for stuffing himself with as many as a dozen falafel at a time.’”—
While our differences are many, Sadr and I both made poor students, and I’m sure this sentence will resonate with my dad: “Moqtada was the source of great concern and discomfort for his father.” It’s amusing how details like that can temporarily humanize people as detestable as Sadr, a phony and violent zealot incapable of earning even the esteem of his peers.
“The celebrated novelist, screenwriter and playwright Hanif Kureishi has launched a withering attack on university creative writing courses, calling them “the new mental hospitals”. Kureishi, himself a research associate on the creative writing course at Kingston University in London said, “One of the things you notice is that when you switch on the television and a student has gone mad with a machine gun on a campus in America, it’s always a writing student.”—
The circulating 60 minutes segment on “millenials” has drawn a host of negative reactions, as well as some thought-provoking discussion of what exactly distinguishes our generation. If we’re not “narcissistic praise-hounds,” what are we?
I don’t think our values are fundamentally different than our parents—but our perspective is. The stereotype of “them kids with their cell phones and iPods” suggests a more materialistic affluent youth—but I’m not sure it’s accurate. Sure, we have technologies that didn’t exist when our parents were our age—but our parents had their own record collections and cars and bits of materialism. Nor do I think we’re particularly selfish or adverse to civic-participation. Supporting your country may mean joining the army for one generation, protesting a war for another generation, and building bridges with other countries for a third.
I think the biggest difference is that we see things in different contexts. The corporations we grew up watching are larger and less personal than the previous corporations. We might feel loyalty to a small company we’re working for—but when a corporation’s sole loyalty is to its shareholders, we don’t understand why its workers should be loyal to it.
We’re also used to a lot of multi-media input. If we want to listen to an iPod at work, it’s not because we’re spoiled but because we’re used to having music and feel more comfortable with a sound-track.
And it’s true—we probably do move back in with parents after college more frequently than our parents did. Alternatively, we might move in with eachother. This isn’t out of laziness or moral turpitude but because of economic pressure. Remember those real estate prices that have been going up and up? College costs? Remember how wages have stagnated? It’s harder and harder to cut the cord, not because Mr. Rogers told us we were special but because years of fiscal mismanagement force many of us to cut expenses however we can.
“…if his abilities in government are in any way similar to the skills he has shown in managing – and brilliantly not managing – his campaign, then this is a candidate not to be underestimated. Clinton has been sideswiped. And, privately, most Republicans I know are terrified.”—
“McCain opposes the measure, as does the Pentagon, out of concern that providing such a benefit after only three years of service would encourage people to leave the military after only one enlistment even as the U.S. fights two wars and is trying to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. McCain said he worries it would reduce the number of noncommissioned officers.”—
Apparently, somebody is trying to cover up Hillary’s electability. It must be a vast right wing conspiracy! Or perhaps a vast left wing conspiracy!
Of course, swing state polls are now showing Obama winning at least as many electoral votes as Clinton. But electability not the real issue. The Democratic voters have indicated a clear preference for one candidate—and it’s not her. If the democrats are looking for the most electable candidate, they should give their nomination to John McCain. Then he’d be almost guaranteed to win.
Errorgorilla’s continuing refusal to put comments on his tumblthing is nothing more than a grotesque scheme to hold his followers to ransom, by forcing us to reblog everything he posts. It gives me no pleasure to admit that I’m as guilty of submitting to his diabolical plan as anyone else.
What is to be done?
As an American, I suggest unfollowing him, sanctioning him, and occasionally threatening to obliterate him. This will get the message through and force that evil-doer to change his ways. Additionally, I suggest adding him to the list of terrorist blogs. This is a good way to persuade people to do what you want.
I’m don’t think population density will solve all the problems it is supposed to. For one thing, you need to truck things in to feed, house, and cloth that dense population. Purchasing local goods doesn’t work if few local people are producing goods.
I see a problem less with where people live and more with the environments that they work in. If (for reasons of preference or mental health) you need to live somewhere that green things live and produced oxygen, a metropolis is a horrible place to live. You have to choose between cramped and close or spacious and remote. If hundreds of thousands of people are all working within a few blocks of eachother, it will inevitably create transportation and housing problems.
I see a sustainable model in cities of about a hundred thousand people. Everybody could live within a reasonable walk or bike ride of downtown. Food can be grown relatively locally. There could be healthy trees and enough dirt and plants to mitigate the carbon footprint. Things like gardening and composting could be practical and easy. There could even be space for windmills or solar panels or whatever other sort of renewable energy we wanted to invest in.
It’s the sort of comment that looks kind of malevolent if it’s dark and you squint at it funny. Perhaps it invoked some real fears people have. But this flap is really about people reading too much into a clumsy comment. I assume Clinton meant to highlight that there have previously been nomination fights going into June.
Here’s an updated map on the margins of victory map. If you look carefully at it, you’ll notice there’s not a whole lot of unexpected wins and losses. Obama has a few areas (Southeast and Northwest) where he does very, very well. Clinton had an edge in the Southwest and Appalachia. I expect Obama to win South Dakota and Montana.
Ultimately, Clinton’s recent victories aren’t Obama losing momentum but are the states we would expect to swing ot her, swinging to her.
CNN just released an article that claimed Clinton polled better than Obama in “swing states.” There is a major problem with this claim. It pays attention to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—but leaves out the other swing states. Obama does better against McCain than Clinton in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and California. In many of those states, Obama would win and Clinton would lose.
(Clinton also appears to do better in Missouri—and other potential swing state polls like New Hampshire look about even.)
In fairness, both have a commanding lead in California—but the same is equally true of Pennsylvania. Saying Clinton has a lead in swing states pays attention to three prominent swing states hand chosen by the Clinton campaign.
I wish CNN would take a bit of critical perspective before reprinting either campaigns press releases.
I once thought that allowing unfiltered comments was a critical element to allowing free speech, healthy discourse, and so forth. As I’ve taken an increasing pride on what I’ve put up on the web, my thoughts have shifted. Part of free expression is my ability to control the entirety of my message—and if I don’t want it polluted with inane comments, that’s my perrogative.
I would still like postiive and negative feedback—because it’s good for me to have people tell me I’m wrong once in a while. But I think responding by email or in a separate web space works better for my desires.
Of course, the feature I would really like is some sort of universal-reblog sort of thing. So that if somebody responds on Wordpress to what I write on Tumblr, I can easily find it and, if I want to, direct my readers to it.
What did I put in with my washing to make the machine sound like it’s about to explode?
This happened to me once. The dryer was going click-rattle-thump, click-rattle-thump, as if it was particularly disappointed. The click sounded like a metal button on jeans, which made since, since I was doing a load entirely of pants. The rattle, sounded like a housemate had left empty bottles on top of the dryer, which were bumping together. The thump sounded sort of like a shoe or a boot, which I couldn’t explain because, as previously mentioned, this was a pants-only load. I stopped the dryer to investigate. It meowed.
The cat emerged, warm, wet, and wobbly. (No lasting harm was done to the cat—which is fortunate. Do not put cats in the dryer.) When I was loading the dryer, I had stpped out of the room to hang something and the cat had jumped in because it was an agent of Murphy’s Law.
The moral of the story? Never own a pet small enough to fit in the dryer. Caboo has never tried something like that.
This article, along with the accompanying video, is awesome in a lot of ways. Perhaps most impressively, Obama’s comments reflect both an understanding of and a comfort with the unique government-to-government relations that comprise the U.S. governments interactions with the tribes.
“Congress is considering a major reform of copyright law intended to solve the problem of ‘orphan works’ — those works whose owner cannot be found. This ‘reform’ would be an amazingly onerous and inefficient change, which would unfairly and unnecessarily burden copyright holders with little return to the public.” — Lawrence Lessig (via NYT)
Usually Lawrence Lessig is insightful on copyright matters—and I’m persuaded by his argument. Legislative copyright reform tends to be extraordinarily clunky.
I would suggest protection from statutory damages for wilful infringement to people who made an attempt to contact the copyright owner that is reasonable under the circumstances. Perhaps factors to consider for what is reasonable could mirror the factors already in use to determine whether something is a fair use. An attempt at attribution for orphaned works would be an additional factor.
“Why don’t you meet me for dinner on Wednesday in my South parlor. I assume somebody of your talent will have no problem getting into the estate? I’ll even set my bionic arm to “stun” in case there are any misunderstandings.”—
- Part of my latest response to Uchenna Hilary, the spammer in Ghana who says she will kill me if I don’t pay her. Apparently I’m supposed to meet her in person in Ghana to pay her off. I don’t understand why I have to go to Ghana so she can kill me.
(Also, if you found this post by searching Google for “Uchena Hilary,” as I’m sure somebody will, I’m pretty sure you don’t need to worry about being killed. And if you are Uchena Hilary, please stop spamming people with death threats. It’s impolite.)
The problem with anonymity is that you can’t take credit for it. There are all sorts of posts that I would love to reblog into a private group (like, “here’s what I ate for dinner tonight” or “I got a new couch!”) but there’s no way to step out five seconds later and say, “Just kidding. I’m not actually a stalker.”
“Sometimes the expressed will of the voters is disregarded by federal judges, as in a 2005 case concerning an aggravated murder in the State of Missouri. As you might recall, the case inspired a Supreme Court opinion that left posterity with a lengthy discourse on international law, the constitutions of other nations, the meaning of life, and “evolving standards of decency.”—
What you may or may not also recall is that the case was about whether or not it is constitutional to execute juvenile offenders. The “discourse on international law,” as Jeffrey Toobin points out here, was Justice Kennedy’s observation that the only other countries to execute juvenile offenders since 1990 are China, Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
But apparently McCain is all for executing the juvenile offenders?
“On Sunday, U.S-Iraqi forces increased a parallel operation in regions between Mosul and the Syrian border aimed at intercepting fleeing al-Qaida figures, an official in the Iraqi security forces’ Ninevah command center said.”—
SDS and I have been having a comment discussion on whether Obama (who I think everybody will agree is left of center) could accomplish anything to end the partisan gridlock in Washington. SDS suggested that the differences many have with Obama are too great to overcome. I think these differences (commonly called “the issues”) are a relatively insignificant relative to the overall job of the President. However, they’re effectively played up by a number of groups to win votes, get pundits to yell at eachother, or classify candidates in seemingly-objective checklist fashion. These are the most black and white issues which seem to have the least room for compromise. They are the political places where we’re not all on the same side. These issues cast a long shadow, but a bit of illumination could tell us whether they are actually the roadblocks we think they are.
There are a number of wedge-issues I’d eventually like to talk about, but let’s start with Wedgezilla: Abortion. It probably has more one-issue voters than anything else out there. It keeps many people (once including myself) who would like to see a bit more government action on things like poverty and equal justice voting Republican. One way or another, it seems typically seems like a crystal clear issue. Choice. Life. I’m going to try to fuzz it up a bit.
(For full disclosure, I’m on the life side of all the wedge issues, which puts me in the minority of the people who will read this. I won’t go into why here.)
Most people agree that abortion is an undesirable thing. A few (likely including a few who will read this) might disagree—but most see abortion as, at best, a lesser harm than the alternative. It’s neither a pleasant thing nor something to be cavalier about. Even leaving the procedure aside, the undesired pregnancy is (tautologically) undesirable, particularly to the very young, those already in precarious health, or those with precarious finances.
(Hopefully) everybody can agree that it is tragic when an abortion occurs due to the unavailability of affordable prenatal care or economic duress. Additionally, nobody thinks that illegal back-alley abortions are an acceptable solution. And nobody thinks that the miscarriage of a desired pregnancy is good.
For those strongly opposed to abortion, the question is whether it is more important that abortion be rare or that it be illegal. I will grant that the legality of abortion is, for both sides, an important symbol—but with the stakes as high as everybody thinks they are, I think the pragmatic trumps the symbolic. I would rather have rare and legal than common and illegal. Here is why this issue breaks toward Obama for me rather than McCain. I think, Obama is more likely to support policies that:
Cover contraception for low-income women.
Increase pre-natal care for low-income women. (This would also prevent a lot of birth defects)
Make childbirth an economically viable option for more families with daycare, guaranteed maternity leave, increasing the minimum wage.
Since low-income women are three times more likely to have an abortion than their higher-income counterparts, steps like this could reduce the total number of abortions by nearly 50%.
McCain, on the other hand, has promised conservative judges. McCain is likely to get one Supreme Court appointment in four years. Maybe. And this judge might vote to overrule or restrict Roe v. Wade when the once-in-a-decade case comes up, which would let state legislatures criminalize abortion, if they wanted to and if their State Supreme Courts let them. There are a lot of ifs in here. And even then, it’s unclear what effect it would have on total numbers. I would be surprised if it came anywhere near a 50% reduction.
I would prefer a huge reduction in abortion through enablement and empowerment to an improbable and likely lesser reduction through coercion. Am I wrong on this? On the whole thing? Did I leave something important out?
On top of it all, my husband rearranged the kitchen, which made me temporarily unable to find the chocolate.
I once thought that chocolate was a tasty food, but that all the hype about its semi-divine powers was mostly a joke. Then I married Carolyn. She’s been writing a paper on transnationalism in 19th century literature—and it’s driven her to chocolate. She’s been eating 100% baking chocolate. (As a point of reference, Hershey’s “extra dark” chocolate is about 60%.) She says, “I’ve transcended sugar.”
Seriously. Are the Republicans trying to self-destruct? Because if we’re going after spouses in the general election, somebody’s going to run an ad about Cindy McCain stealing drugs from her own charity—and that wouldn’t be polite.