Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Wal-Mart Kool-aid

To see The Who. To see the Rolling Stones. To get a deal on DVDs. All stupid reasons to kill. And nobody makes that choice. But you push because the person in front of you is moving and you're sure it's not fast enough. And you have no idea that you're all pushing against one person. That you're pushing 4 people whose feet are about to step on a neck. You don't know. And so people die.

But mobs are not responsible for logistics. They can't be so they shouldn't be. They trust that someone else has it all figured out. Someone who has worked their way to the top of the Wal-Mart morning shift.

The stupidest thing about all this is that in our nation full of mindless action, people are in such a rush to go out and spend more money than we have to. Please let me spend. Please. That stupidity is the individual's responsibility. The material gotten in exchange becomes the only measure of success. Material that usually isn't wanted, isn't requested, isn't kept, certainly isn't needed.

My wife likes to defend a lot of her purchases by saying that without them she wouldn't have gotten the great deal. And when I protest against what is valued by that logic she hears me and understands me. She really does. Because we respect and admire each other. And we both think about our values and the actions they lead to.

But society doesn't listen. And mobs eventually act like the stupidest person in the lot. We're sick.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's for the Children

via Davo

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mom! Tell Her to Stop Making Me Look Like a Bigot!

Newt Gingrich speaking to Bill O'Reilly:

Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use us violence, to use harrassment—uh—I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it—uh—I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.

It's the ol' we-don't-respect-them-so-we-should-be-allowed-to-oppress-them argument. And all while he's unwilling to accept that the votes and values of a growing culture should count for anything. What kind of family did he grow up in? Why, its the same family that his sister grew up in.

And it turns out Candace Gingrich has a few words for her big brother at The Huffington Post.

[W]e've seen these tactics before. We know how much the right likes to play political and cultural hardball, and then turn around and accuse us of lashing out first. You give a pass to a religious group -- one that looks down upon minorities and women -- when they use their money and membership roles to roll back the rights of others, and then you label us "fascists" when we fight back.

And she adds

You should be more afraid of the new political climate in America, because, there is no place for you in it.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These People Are Serious. And On Their Way Out

Thank you for bringing the power of the Religious Right that much closer to its demise.

courtesy of these fine folks

What Am I Missing?

Could somebody tell me why I should be more interested in Malcom Gladwell?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Civic Literacy

Do you have it? Take this quiz to see what the Intercollegiate Studies Institute thinks.

More important to me than your score (I got a B) is how well you can argue any of these points. I have a problem with multiple choice questions asking Why does _X_ work? or What's most likely to happen if…?

via Jon

Saturday, November 22, 2008

...otherwise I wouldn't get it.

John Darkow, The Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

My horrified reaction on reading this had nothing to do with the assassination joke. Lincoln is fair game already.

No. What I find so distasteful is how the joke is spelled out. Darkow does all the work for us. He throws every clue he can think of into the first bubble. And it's not even a real observation.

Then he klutzes up Lincoln's line. Instead of 'I need that' he goes with the awkward I'd need that.

Lastly: the suitcase/luggage with baggage written on the side… Can we ask for another joke from these cartoonists. It's like a competition to see who can tell the joke last.

See more of Darkow's work.

† I've even heard some good James A. Garfield jokes. But it's still too soon for McKinley.

Then Why Isn't Stuart Smalley Winning Minnesota?

From the British Psychological Society Research Digest Blog:

Voters are more willing to vote for male political candidates whom they perceive to have high self-esteem - a finding which could help explain President Elect Barack Obama's electoral success.

Uh really? How about the fact that he ran a better campaign and organized more voters and pretty much perfected internet outreach? And McCain stumbled around like he was drunk. Both ideologically and physically. And more importantly he alienated most of the country with his fundamentally ignorant and backwards VP choice. The most mockable choice for VP since James Stockdale.

But wait. What was that about male candidates? The study was conducted by Virgil Zeigler-Hill and Erin Myers in the Fall of 2007. 209 undergrads rated 8 Democratic and 10 Republican potential candidates.

As you'd expect, the students' own political affiliations played a key role in their willingness to vote.

So a higher self-esteem probably didn't affect choice between competing parties and it had the opposite affect among female Republican students, who were less willing to vote for male candidates rated with a high self-esteem. Furthermore, the female Republican subjects

also said they were unwilling to vote for [Hillary] Clinton regardless of how they perceived her self-esteem.

But still! Self-esteem explains a lot, right?

Zeigler-Hill and Myers' article1 includes another study in which the self-esteem level was provided: low, moderate, or high (a made-up quality based on a fictional analysis) and 293 students responded on their willingness to vote for each candidate.

In this study, Democratic females were not affect by Clinton's self-esteem level. Democratic males reported the highest levels of support for Clinton, but only when told that her self-esteem was low or moderate. They reported less support for her if she had high-self esteem (when their support is compared to Democratic females and also when compared to their own support based on the other levels).

Male Republicans reported uniform unwillingness to vote for Clinton regardless of her esteem level. Comparable to female Republicans except in the case of low self-esteem. Female Republicans were similarly unwilling to vote for Clinton if told that her esteem was high or moderate, but if told that her esteem was low they were more willing to vote for her.

Overall, the findings are consistent with Zeigler-Hill's implicit theory of self-esteem, which states that we (perhaps subconsciously) assume that people with high self-esteem also have other positive traits.

I tend to ignore claims of overall and consistent with unless we were expecting the opposite in a study. Consistency can also mean that it adds nothing to our knowledge of a system. Consistency can be a waste of time. And when we have to rely on overall to qualify that claim we're highlighting strategic disregard for significant results from a study.

The most telling result is probably the anomaly regarding Clinton. It's the one result that goes against the theories and the other outcomes.

If [women] are portrayed as having high self-esteem, they may be disliked. … However, if they appear to have low self-esteem, [they] may be viewed as less competent than their male counterparts.

That focus probably would have made a more interesting lede. Study shows that undergrads are sexists. Republican females being the worst.

Not any more accurate. But it's got a nice kick to it.

There are a lot of confounds that haven't been accounted for here. In the first study the students were simply shown an image and told to rate the esteem level of the individual. How did physical appearance affect the rating and the opinions. What of existing opinions and attitudes towards the candidates? And other issues that are invariably considered in a vote, such as policy positions, qualifications and intelligence. How about the definition and implications of self-esteem? How high is high and what does it mean? Does it mean that they think they're better than me? 'Cause I hate arrogance you know. Does it mean that they have the confidence to be humble? 'Cause kindness is a turn-on you know.

† The important difference being that Stockdale was much more capable and intelligent than he seemed and Palin is probably far less capable than she seems. Really.

1. "Is high self-esteem a path to the White House? The implicit theory of self-esteem and the willingness to vote for presidential candidates" Personality and Individual Differences, 46 (1), 14-19

(image from here)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Authorial Intent

Minnesota Public Radio is asking you to do the Coleman/Franken recount.

Go vote on some of the contested ballots. (Easy now. Your decision won't affect the outcome.)

Some are obvious.

Some are less so.

-via mxrk

Monday, November 17, 2008

No one else could do this

Now for the controversial stuff

I really don't mean to offend anyone. But the most overrated people on Saturday Night Live over the years:

Dan Akroyd: I'm sorry but he has never made me laugh. Not as Elwood Blues. Not as Jimmy Carter.
Dana Carvey: "Well isn't that special" is not a funny punchline and neither is "Satan!?" Chopping Broccoli was a high point. But not enough to justify the legend.
Adam Sandler: C'mon. Are you really going to defend his sketches?
Darrell Hammond: I know. He isn't that highly rated. But his impressions are. And they're really not that good. His McCain is quite bad. His Clinton was good but Clinton's so easy to do. His Regis is passable. His Sean Connery: meh. His Geraldo: surprisingly good actually.

The Most Underrated:
Rachel Dratch: her characters were consistently very funny. But even just her Debbie Downer character is enough for me.
Joe Piscopo: A journeyman not a genius. But he doesn't deserve the ridicule he gets. His Sinatra was really good.

Most Deserving of The Adulation:
Gilda Radner: You'll burn in hell if you disagree.
Bill Murray: His lounge singer made me who I am.
Tina Fey: One of the best writers the show has ever had. And she saved Weekend Update.

Most overrated hosts:
John Goodman
Tom Hanks: looks too much like he's playing a comedian for the night. He hams it up. If you ever saw Bosom Buddies you've seen all the goofy faces and voices he relies on.

Best Host:
Alec Baldwin: His timing is perfect. He never looks like he's trying to be funny so he plays straight well. But he can broaden his performances. He plays the melodramatic comedy easily. He makes fun of himself. He can carry a scene.

Most Surprisingly Good Host:
Justin Timberlake (Almost a tie: Donald Trump isn't as good, but he's more of a surprise.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Worry, Oprah's Fine

© Copyright 2008 Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle's cartoon accompanies a post he wrote about the California fires.

The media’s celebrity obsession has little to do with actual events on the ground. Most of the homes that were lost belong to regular folks. I inherited my house from my mother who spent her career working for the local school district. The homes of 14 teachers at Westmont College were lost. I don’t know where those celebrities live.

In 1977 the media’s trivial obsessions had a tangible effect. President Jimmy Carter refused to declare a federal disaster area, noting that the people here are wealthy and can take care of themselves. A disaster declaration would have meant that my mother and I could have lived in a FEMA trailer for a year, while our house was being re-built.

Who knows if the media can be blamed for Carter's decision. But they really do suck sometimes. The more expensive a house is the more likely the owner will be fine if it burns down. And the more likely that it'll make it into a story.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Ceiling That Has Already Been Shattered

The rumors have resurfaced that Clinton is a top-contender for Secretary of State. The AP reports:

The two Democratic officials who spoke Thursday did so on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering Obama and his staff.

More specifically, to keep Obama from getting mad at them. I wonder what the stare looks like coming from Obama.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't Let Him Turn into Another Politician

Here's a comment left on a friend's blog. From his father. I have nothing to add.

I was thinking about what to say to you, my son, and to your sister about this election. History in the making, the black guy won, and all that. This election will only be meaningful if the spirit that got everyone out to vote stays alive. In the 60's we were spirited but naive; and when the war was over we went back to sleep. We don't want to know about the mechanics of government--that's why we hire politicians in the first place. I know that this election was a popular--and populist--uprising of sorts, but unless we keep awake and keep watching these bastards, Barack will be a one term president and an asterisk in history.

If it doesn't turn into something beyond "the black guy won" and "it's history in the making" after January 20th, in 2050 it's going to look a lot like 1950. My generation pissed away our '60's. Don't let your generation piss yours away.

Do you remember the day I made you both stop what you were doing to watch Nelson Mandella get out of prison? Barack's election is just as important from a civil rights point of view; but it's more important to me in terms of the policy changes that BO (god, are we gonna call him that?) espouses than about his ethnic background. It's what he's been all about, and that's one reason I am hopeful.

If you looked at the speeches--just the text--of the campaign of 2008, you could tell the color and gender of all the candidates except for Obama. Hillary never failed to mention herself as the female running for president--the glass ceiling, the 18 million women, and so on. McCain and Palin of course have the white codewords embedded in their genes; they don't even have to try to be white. Only Obama was the candidate you wouldn't be sure about--except in a few speeches that were aimed at racial topics. Remember that stunning speech on race that he gave early in the campaign? Best stuff since MKL. But the rest of the time he was the man of ideas, resisting the flow of negativism and ad hominem attacks. He proved that he is a better man inside. Fuck race and gender. It really is about character.

All that being said--watch him. Don't let him turn into another politician. Stay active and alert and educated. He's still a politician and that makes him a suspect. Keep his feet to the fire and keep voting for an enlightened congress. Dennis Kucinish, vegan congressman, was reelected in Ohio. Dennis might still get that impeachment going before W. retires.

I wish Molly Ivins had lived to see this day.
I wish Dr King had been here.
I wish Obama's grandmother had lived to see him win.
I wish my dad had lived to see him win -- it would have killed him.
I wish all the martyrs who died in the civil rights movement had lived.
I wish John Lennon had lived to see this day.
Jimi too.

I wish Al Gore had won in 2000, in which case much of this would have been unnecessary. Oh, wait. Al DID win. Well, you know what I mean.

I'm glad my grandson will never know a time when we didn't have a history of integration in the White House. I'm glad my children grew up wise enough to understand the importance of this election. Fucking radicals--your hippie father is proud of you.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Do You Think of This New Guy?


Keith Olbermann's Comment on Proposition 8

A direct transcription of the full text of Olbermann's comment on 10 November 2008:

Finally tonight as promised, a special comment on the passage last week of Proposition 8 in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry and tilted the balance on this issue from coast to coast.

Some parameters as preface. This isn't about yelling and this isn't about politics. And this isn't really just about Prop-8.  And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay. I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is. I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting prejudice that still pervades their lives. And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart. And if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed I have some questions, because truly I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want: a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them 'No. You can't have it on these terms.' Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble.  You'll even give them all the same legal rights, even as you're taking away the legal right which they already had. A world around them still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying 'No, you can't marry.' What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term redefining marriage. If this country hadn't redefined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not redefined marriage, some black people still couldn't marry other black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad history of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property they could not be legally husband and wife nor mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not 'Until Death, Do You Part,' but 'Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.' Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized. You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women forced by society into marrying the opposite sex in sham marriages or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing—centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man could not marry another man, or a woman could not marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the sanctity of marriage rather than render the term meaningless?

What is this to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace that love? The world is barren enough. It is stacked against love and against hope and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us, all of us, to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against each other for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your G-d and the universal love you believe he represents? Then spread happiness—this tiny symbolic semantical grain of happiness. Share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand on a question of love. All you need to do is stand and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it. You don't have it applaud it. You don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know, that love is in fact the ember of your love for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts too.

This is the second time I have found myself in ten days concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said fits what is really at the heart of all of this. He said:

I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam. This is what he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Good to Be King

This image is for Casey. He has always wanted a philosopher king. And now in Bhutan they have a philosopher king who stops to smell the flowers in the middle of his coronation.

We already know that Casey has a crush on Bhutan's idea of Gross National Happiness. This image of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck should have him teehee-ing like a little girl.

(image from The Big Picture)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

When Religion Goes Too Far

Then again maybe the government should be allowed to restrict some religious expression.

Doppler Politics

I'm following the advice of a friend and feeling pretty damn good about it. His advice: remember they're in a shrinking minority. And what's better than that? They're even in a shrinking majority. There's no denying the movement. Just take a look at this map: further evidence of movement. Prop 8 passed by a margin of 4 points: 52/48. That's only three minds out of a hundred that need to change. 8 years ago Californians passed Proposition 22 defining marriage as heterosexual by a much uglier margin: about 22 points. 61/39. Gaining 18 points in 8 years. We're getting closer. There's a lot of stupid ideas dying.

Indiana hasn't gone Democrat since 1964. It went for Bush by 510,000 votes in 2004. And this is a state that had previously been growing stronger and stronger in it's Republican leaning.

43/37 for incumbent G.H.W. Bush over Clinton in '92.
47/41 for Dole over incumbent Clinton in '96
56/41 for G.W. Bush over quasi-incumbent Gore in '00
59/39 for G. f—ing W. Bush over Kerry in '04.

So Obama's slim win by little over 25,000 is actually much bigger.

We have to feel pretty good about the opportunities of 2010. North Carolina was served the palled-around-with-the-godless argument and they did more than turn away from it. They threw it back at the cook. Nice job moving them around over there, Casey.

Yeah yeah. Minnesota's Michele Bachmann won her congressional district even after her re-Red Scare interview with Chris Matthews. Those cold temperatures can cause temporary brain freeze on even the sturdiest Norwegian. And if we go even further north we get to Alaska. Look what they've been churning out lately. Ted Stevens winning after his felony conviction has part of me saying WTF? and a better part knows that it's embarrassing for Alaska but not for me. There's a warming trend that's going to make it north eventually. A good one. Those aren't only polar bears clinging to the shrinking ice floes out there.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Is This Thing Off?

Casey's right. I need to lighten up. (See previous post.) 'Cause really Olbermann is really just gloating and doing the 'We won! Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah' dance. And we've all done it and we haven't hurt anyone.

And really, tuffguys like Limbaugh and O'Reilly can take it.

So I really need to watch this whole sense of humor thing because I'm starting to wobble at the wheels. One minute I'm arguing that humor and snide comments are fine. Necessary even. The next I'm saying they're meaningless and possibly even harmful. What's safe with me?

Well thank the gods that there's a part of me that thinks maybe the jokes just need to be funnier.

I recently ran across this one on a social network from an acquaintance:

To my friends out there​ who do not support Barack Obama,​ I have good news for you. President elect​ Barack Obama has released his first tax cuts, effective Jan 20 2009 the following items​ will be tax exempt.

Grape​ Soda
and Fried​ Chick​en

I could have blamed and said 'You are a racist and you must stop! You are what's wrong with America!' But instead I went with the calm and even tempered and non-judgmental approach.

Is this the best you've got? If you'​re going​ to spread a racist joke at least​ try to find a funny​ one.

And that attempt at even-handed redirection was met with the following.

Sorry​ every​body I was trying to make light​ of a scary​ future. I will try not to ever smile​ again​,​ will that make you happy​?​ What a typical liberal democrat,​ no measureable [sic] sense​ of humor​.

Well the writer obviously missed my point. I'd be happy to see him to smile again. Just not about lame jokes. Laugh. Laugh away. But tell a joke that I haven't heard 255 times from the 4th graders who stumble over passages from the Dick and Jane reader.

And this it got me thinking. I have to admit that my comment was pretty damn pissy. I probably should have just bumped his shoulder and said Aw shucks you got some clever joking there. Or maybe just moved on. Because when it comes to funny I have always argued that you can't argue with laughs. And he got some laughs on the post. No question.

So is it the funny/not funny issue. I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, and I'm pretty hard to offend, and still there are some jokes that I just don't find funny. I mean really. Highlights for Kids has been fucking weak lately. Do I speak up every time I hear a really stupid knock knock joke? No. That'd make me an asshole. Especially since it's stupid little kids telling the stupid little jokes. They'll grow out of it. They'd better. I've got nieces and nephews and I'm kinda getting sick of the act.

And when I'm around adults that tell stupid jokes. I'm not a jerk, rolling my eyes and groaning not...funny... after every lame punchline.

So what the hell is driving me to respond to these joke with disapproval? Have my liberal views in fact killed my sense of humour? Or even a little part of it? And if so, what part?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

This Is Not What We Were Hoping For

What's the difference what he said? Really Keith? You have never been the only voice. And you're still not. You know that's how it should be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coup de Grâce

It's not because I can't let it go. It's because there has been talk of Palin in 2012. I suppose that does give her enough time to get to a fourth grade level. Yeah. That's not gonna work for me.


I want to believe
In the mercy of the world again
Make it rain
Make it rain

Posted by Alan Taylor at The Big Picture

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This was The New York Times map image that first called the election for Barack Obama. The next map switched California to reflect the expected win. Sometimes what comes next is clear. Sometimes not so clear.

When McCain's crowd goes into its boos I'm reminded that the vote tally doesn't reflect only one side. There are voices that will be determined to speak up more than ever against ideas they oppose. And perhaps they should. But I feel some dismay alongside Shepard Smith who just commented on FOX: The Boos were…disturbing. When does this end?

Mxrk commented nicely on what can come next. But what has been happening and what has ended? As I said in the previous post, whatever has happened has passed. And we probably need to move on from a lot of it. But there are reminders that still…

We are reminded that some issues have to keep moving no matter the outcome of a 'gatekeeping' moment: that is, such an occasion where we see what shall pass.

Neither the passing or failing of a proposition nor the victory or defeat of a candidate silences a movement. Because these are not horse races. We like to call them that. But those lines assume that we loosen our grip and let go. There are still fists in the air blaming a qualified man for not minding his place. And that saddens me.

The Proposition 8 issue is symbolically central to many of my views. I don't support sanctioned marginalization of specific groups and I keep hoping to see that the voters feel the same way. This is a representative government, so those moments when the voters are given an opportunity to directly vote on an issue are fascinating. And scary. What happens if the constitutional limitation of marriage rights fails? Surely a movement to deny rights by other means. And if it passes (which at this hour looks likely)? Well a movement to repeal of course.

So Obama has won. What happens? A lot of people will feel empowered. Wonderful. A lot of people will move past criticism and towards more trust. Some people will focus more on criticism and accountability. That's necessary. What of those who will settle more determinedly into their traditions of disregard for entire groups? We have heard their hissing throughout the campaigns. We have hoped to see their arguments rejected and discounted. And after an election that speaks loudly against those arguments we can only be assured that they will feel the pressure to counter.

But the co-occurrence of competing voices is not division. And the fear that individuals feel for a group is not division. But it leads to division when they are given no assurance that the fear is ill-founded. I could simply hope that my hopes for equality naturally infuse all minds. But despite the religious indoctrination I've slogged thru since childhood, I know that my conviction is not an argument.

Casey has been dedicated to a more staid discourse for a while now—much longer than he's been blogging here. And argue as I did for the value of snaps and dozens I do think a new tone needs to start sounding louder alongside the expressions of ridicule and disbelief. Not to drown it out, but to clarify substance.

Hours later McCain has conceded. The necessary total has been surpassed. So why am I still watching the numbers for Indiana? Why am I hoping my state speaks as my vote did? Why should it matter that Ralph Nader wouldn't back down from his choice of words in saying that Obama can be either Uncle Sam or a corporate Uncle Tom? Why is a friend's comment that these are now the United Socialist States of America so much more frustrating after the election than before?

Because we hope for a defining moment but we don't have one. We are constantly on a verge.

In Summation...

What must we put behind us? Relatively recently the Hartford Courant retracted a series of criticisms that might have been unfair towards one candidate:

One particularly gloomy outburst from Mr. Burleigh predicted the following outcome under your presidency: “Neighbors will become the enemies of neighbors, fathers of their sons, and sons of their fathers. Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practised, the air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”

See Craig Silverman's post at Regret the Error for more on the paper's change of mind.

I recently had an online discussion with some friends who disagree with me on some issues. But I'm not absolutely sure what those issues are. I offered a criticism of the 'socialist' argument by saying simply that McCain is as much a socialist as is Obama. And by the way, neither candidate is a socialist. My friends offered the view that Democrats unduly reward those who are less willing and less able to contribute to society. I criticized corporations and they agreed. They criticized government efficacy and I agreed. In the end it wasn't that clear where the lines between us were drawn.

One friend said You truly​ are a Liber​al Democ​rat.​ And I responded i am a liberal.​ yep. when it comes​ to civil​ liberties i definitely take the 'liberty' part seriously.

Later today I spoke on the phone with another friend who had just voted for McCain. The only time I got upset was when an argument relied on misrepresentation. Obama didn't 'lament' the Warren Court's lack of financial activism. He didn't say it was a failing that the court didn't redistribute the wealth. The Warren Court was not a radical court. Should Obama be criticized for knowing that and saying it. But these are now old arguments. And up to this point the ranting rhetoric has been geared at ultimately affecting an imminent decision. That decision is now pretty much made. So for just a moment we look back.

Throw away all the false arguments. Did you still support McCain? I can respect that. We all voted for the statement we wanted to make.

So my next statement. I'll publish a retraction right now. Mr McCain, I'm sorry that I recently posted an image of such a dismissive and disrespectful expression. I may have lost respect for your campaign but I don't have to be a jerk too.

Well I'm not taking it down, but I will take it back.

Monday, November 3, 2008

1st Amendment Prohibits 'BOO'?

At The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, Dan Slater provides the following quote from Sarah Palin:

If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.

What is the censorship by intimidation that Palin sees looming on the horizon?

The media’s suggestions that it’s going negative may threaten a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, she said.

Does she really think that the First Amendment is about not being afraid? Is it freedom from fear that free speech promises? That's not how I read it. How does the Alaska Constitution see it? According the an update on Slater's post:

§5. Freedom of Speech: Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

These abuses might be illegal abuses like fraud. They might be legal abuses like bad jokes. You might end up in jail or you might lose an election.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From my house I can see Belgium!

Fake Sarkozy: We have the equivalent of Joe the plumber in France. It's called Marcel the Guy with bread under his armpit.

Real Palin: Right. That's what it's all about. It's the middle class and government needing to work for them. You're a very good example for us here.

Look -- if your system can't weed out crank calls to make sure that it really is a head of state that you're speaking with…

Come on. This joke's gone on long enough. Let's get to the punchline already. Two days…