Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Say What?

Balimore's own is stepping down as head of the NAACP. What's odd is just a few weeks ago some of my coworkers I were wondering why he hadn't already done so and run for Mayor.

Slight Return

Sorta local news post, but something that concerns us here, and it's big news round these parts.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation published it's annual state of the bay report. The health of the Bay gets a "D" this year. The part that strikes a resounding chord - since our governor in Maryland, Robert Ehrlich, is a school-of-Gingrich Republican who posed as moderate to get elected(sound familiar?) - is the following:

Government has failed to meet written commitments and even to enforce existing laws. The Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers, as well as all of the people of the region, are paying the price for that inaction.

This is sounding more and more like "government as usual", not just at the state level, but the national level. Laws get passed, courts make orders, but somehow the elected officials manage to blow that stuff off. It's depressing as all get out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Staff Notes

Hiya everyone! Sorry for the lapse between posts. It's not as if we don't have anything to talk about. However, we've stumbled into a few problems attributable to three words: Four Day Bender.

Ah, if only it were true. Jay's been laying on his couch for the last 3 days trying not to hack his lungs up (punishment for the ID post? You decide...). Dave is busy with his real life where he does very important things which at some point soon you'll hear about, and DisappearingInk is busy getting my back in comments. Jo Momma keeps putting off posting because, well, I don't know. Wish she'd get down to it, however.

We will resume regular posting in the next few days.

We'll leave with this: We just heard that US forces are launching a new offensive in an area of Iraq called "The Triangle Of Death." ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Good lord. You can't really launch an offensive in a worse place, can you? Enough of this effin' garbage. We need to get out of there now.

Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving. Cheers!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Artificial Intelligent Design

Intelligent Designis the latest wrinkle in the Creationist movement. It's a blatant attempt to give scientific/intellectual underpinnings to Creationist theology. The teaching of it has recently been mandated in Dover, Pennsylvania. Attempts are also being made in Georgia, where a sticker has been placed on textbooks that claims "Evolution Is A Theory, Not A Fact". The folks in the ID movement claim that this is quite reasonable science, and it's really ideologically neutral. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?

If we really want to take the IDer's claims to scientific legitimacy to their logical conclusion, we may as well say that "Human Beings Are A Theory Not A Fact". The point is that ID isn't science, it's philosophy. Darwin's theory of natural selection is in fact sound science. It basically says, "given what we know, we can deduce that the system works this particular way." ID basically says "we don't know enough, so it is possible that a system works in any number of ways, one of which is A and another of which is B." It follows that there's no point in distinguishing between A, B or C or so on ad infinitum(literally).

As a software engineer, I have a little expirience in this matter. If I want to analyze a software system and I don't have the source, I have to look at the the outputs given in response to inputs, and perform a series of deductions as to what the software is doing. If I were to take the ID approach, I would say, "well, given that I have no way of knowing aside from the inputs and the outputs, the software could really be doing anything." Now if it's imperative that I know what the system is doing, the ID approach is totally useless. However, the ID approach does serve a purpose. If I accept the ID viewpoint, then any inquiry is pointless, right? I mean, how the hell am I supposed to determine what the system is doing, since it's possible(however unlikely) that it's doing an infinite number of different things, and since I can't distinguish between them, I may as well not even bother.

This leads us to the "ideologically neutral" question. There is no point in proposing a "methodolgy of inquiry" that invalidates inquiry itself unless you want to destroy the legitimacy of science. I think this is their ultimate goal. All scientists must of course accept some notions as primitive, but the goal is to eventually understand or refine our understanding of notions we used to consider primitive. But the ID approach doesn't help, and it isn't meant to. Much like modern conservative calls for "balance" over objectivity, it's meant to cloud and confuse issues. The goal is to reduce debate over competeing ideas into just so much noise from one side or another, and make it impossible to distingish between the quality of one over another. This leaves one with faith as the only option.

We must ask ourselves, "What interest does it serve?" I think the answer is obvious. If you have a political system that is nominally democratic, but the people can't distinguish between good ideas and bad ones, then they're easy to control. If a populace accepts things only on faith, then they have no reason to question their leaders. It's a great little racket they got going, ain't it?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Have You Seen My Moral High Ground?

We've had some resistance to comment on shooting of the wounded guerrilla by a Marine. The event happened on Saturday, November 13 and many people on the left have claimed it's "murder", and many on the right claim they'd like to kill the guy who shot the footage. I've resisted comment because my initial urge is to smash objects around me and write angry emails to my congresspeople in all caps saying "NO EFFING MORE OF THIS GARBAGE! GET US OUT OF THERE NOW!!!!"

On the "definition" of what happend, I'm inclined to agree with MajorDad:

...I think that the Marine in question is entitled to a trial before he's convicted of being guilty of ANYTHING.

Total agreement on this. I've never served in the military, and I've certainly never seen urban combat during a violent insurgency, so I'm in no position to judge this Marine. Yes, it's pretty effed up to shoot someone who's lying on the ground wounded and from our comfortable vantage point looks harmless, but we weren't there and we don't know why that happened. In an intense situation full of - oh god I hate to use this term - moral ambiguity, I don't know how I'd react, and unless you've been there, you don't know either. So you won't hear me calling for the head of this Marine.

My beef is with the folks on the right who either want to shoot the guy who shot the footage, or who claim that if one is disgusted by this event (or those of Abu Gahrib) one is immediatly "siding with the enemy" or "not supporting the troops". ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?

Yes I am outraged and all of us should be. Not at the people who perpetrated the acts (the troops) but at the people who have arrogantly and cynically placed our troops into situations where not only their lives are at stake, but their souls as well.

The way ShrubCo went about this escapade - from Rumsfeld's ambivilance towards preventing the looting to Gonzales' "torture memos" to the ideology in favor of competence CPA to the inadequate troop strength - created the conditions under which people who want to serve their country are often forced into moral degredation, and it's not anyone in the administration who is going to have to live with the consequences. It's the members of our armed forces who will.

On the shoot the messenger front, did these guys want to kill their mommas when they found out there was no Santa Claus? Besides, they wanted to sit comfortably in their armchairs watching CNN or Fox or whatever and cheer our war machine like it was a football team. So they should deal when the going gets ugly and effed up stuff gets on film too. As Rush is so fond of saying, "This is war! Things get ugly!"(Although I'm not sure how Rush knows this, he's never heard a shot fired in anger).

Oh yeah, before anyone bothers to throw the tired old "where's the Liberal outrage over the beheadings, the burned bodies the...?", let me answer that with the following. I believed David Frum when he put the word "evil" in the President's mouth to describe our enemies. If they're evil, then we should expect them to do the most evil thing. However, we're the effin' United States, we should be better than that.

Update: And for a completely different take try reading Obey.

We Thought We Was The Subversive Ones

Fixer over at Alternate Brain suggest something Dave G. and I should be ashamed we didn't think of first.

We Heart Obama Too!

Check out this post on Dunner's. Then we can ask again, "What effin' mandate?"

Microsoft Still Acting Like Mob Family...

Via BOP we learn the NYT is reporting that Microsoft is threatening Asian governments that use Linux. Specifically, Microsoft claims that since SCO is correct in sueing IBM over supposed intellectual copyright infringement, governments are going to be in danger if they use Linux. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?

First off, this is a new low, even for Microsoft. I wonder if they are learning they're diplomacy skills from ShrubCo. But seriously, do we really want to tolerate a corporation going around threatening other countries?

Second, if one follows the timeline linked above, it's quite clear that SCO hasn't come close to winning it's case. This is clearly another instance of a big bully attempting to use ignorance to its advantage. Sound familiar?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

When Non-Techs Try Talking Tech...

Today, the good folks at the Howler rightly chide one Anne Applebaum for a column in the Washington Post wherein she claims people who are skeptical about computer voting machines are paranoid conspiracy theorists. The Howler makes a few very salient general points. However, there are a few technical things they missed, and they are very important.

As the Howler pointed out, we trust banking software because it's verifiable externally(paper trails). However, the banking vs voting comparison is apples and oranges. It's not the conceptual similarities that matter(I use a computer to do task A so I should also use a computer to do task B), it's the aspects of construction that should be compared.

Diebold's software was demonstrably faulty. The fact that Bank Of America may not have faulty ATM software does not change this fact. In Anne Applebaum's world, driving a Pinto is just as safe as driving a Volvo. They're both cars after all.

This woman has a platform from which to speak? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?

Update: And as if that weren't enough, dull as dirt topics like adequate training crop up too. Of course, reasonable people know better than to criticize something so perfect as our electoral system. But those pesky software engineering types just won't let us get on with our important lives without bringing this kind of thing up. It'd be so nice if they'd just shut up and let me get back to praising someone I don't really know anything about.

Law And Order? We Prefered Homicide...

Seems like actual law enforcment practicioners don't quite have our sense of humour when it comes to faith based law enforcement. We suggest someone stick Ashcroft in the box.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

You Want Values? We Got'em!

So yeah. For some reason it's been a "big ideas" weekend, so we've instituted a "core values" program(as you might have noticed from Dave G.'s splendid articulations this weekend and yesterday). With that in mind, we beg your indulgence for some bad philosophy on my end.

The function of government, at least as far as I see it would be twofold, and I'd like to take it straight outta that old socialist tract (no, I am not effin' kidding you, it is a socialist tract, despite what Hastert and Delay and all those seriously perveted hacks pretend) the Pledge Of Allegiance. Specifically this part: "With liberty and justice for all." (Emphasis mine).

You want values? Those are mine. You can't have one without the other without some form of tyranny, so you need them both, and you need to ensure both for everyone. So it follows that the purpose of government is to ensure one without endangering the other, and vis versa. Anyone who has a problem with that is, well, un-American.

We thank you for your indulgence.

Wise Guy Still Being Smart, Ideas Still Important!

One internal promise I made (not that anyone cared) was that after the election, no matter what, I wouldn't say - like a disgruntled yet deluded Deaniac - "if they had just run MY GUY we would have won!" Partially I think all of that is pointless whining. I also think that it's pretty clear it didn't matter who "we" ran.

Although I was saddened Wes Clark didn't get the nomination, I am overjoyed that he is still shooting his mouth off in public. I've been scrambling for days to come up with a reaction other than depression regarding Fallujah. Lucky for me, Wes comes through. Go read it.

How To Misunderstand The Class Thang

I apologize for the fact that this isn't totally current, but it dovetails nicely with our new commitment to talking about class. New Donkey claims that it's "palpably, demonstrably wrong" to assert that "economic issues, if you scream about them loudly and abrasively and "populistically" enough, will trump cultural issues, which are essentially phony...". He then goes on to quote from Brad Carson in The New Republic, who lost a Senate race in Oklahoma to a "conservative wild man". Donkey agrees with Carson on the point that the "values voters" really do care more about restraining the more amoral aspects of our culture and thus vote with the party they think will perform that function. Carson even claims that:

Pace Thomas Frank, the voters aren't deluded or uneducated. They simply reject the notion that material concerns are more real than spiritual or cultural ones.

ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? The voters are delusional and uneducated if they think voting Republican is going to get them what they want. The values side of the Republican party is only the public face. The heart of the Republican party is uninhibited markets, and the act of its pumping is the flow of money from wherever possible to a small group of people. I remember back in the heydaze of the DotBomb when I lived in its very throng and worked just peripheral to the industry that spawned it, we were all encouraged to vote Republican. We were told by various publications: "Hey, don't worry about that family values crap, you want all forms of market restraint gone so YOU TOO can make your millions at a startup. Once you're rich, you can buy your way out of family values anyway..." That is the real Republican party.

And btw, these guys clearly missed an important part of Frank's argument. He lays it very plain, at least in the audio version. He says that "people are right to hate this culture, people are right to be angry with the coarsening..." He agrees with the values voters on the issues - he just disagrees with who they choose to vote for. Personally I disagree to a large extent. I don't think there's much wrong with our culture, but then again, I make my living serving it in its degraded state, so...

There's a very simple way to talk about economic issues without screaming and without being condescendingly populist: You can have open markets and deregulation all you want, but the more of that you have, the more you'll get Grand Theft Auto, internet porn, and everything else you hate. Only a fool would stop making GTA, unless there were consequences for making it. In a system devoid of regulation of any kind, there are none. If you really value values, stop buying the lie.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Social Justice and "Equality"

In a comment about one of my recent postings, Major Dad suggested that I needed to define social justice. While the rest of his comment consists largely of straw-man arguments and right-wing vitriol that barely deserve response, I think that a definition of social justice is certainly in order. I should say here that for the sake of brevity, I've left questions of race, sex, and gender for another post, and focused mostly on poverty. It'll give me something to write about next time.

To put it simply, social justice as I conceive of it consists of turning a lie into the truth. "What lie is that?" you may ask. It is the lie of western liberalism (used in the classical sense, not the contemporary one,) that, to quote one of the self evident truths listed in the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal." As with all statements purporting to be "self-evident," this one just begs to be unpacked a bit. It's no secret that the signers of the Declaration were, for the most part, wealthy, well-connected white guys, and that when they said that "all men" are equal, what they really meant was, "strictly males who are white and own land." While this seems questionable from a modern standpoint, especially in light of the institutional slavery that existed in the late eighteenth century, it made quite a bit of sense to them, as they were trying to contrast themselves with the British aristocracy and royalty.

More recently, however, the meaning of this statement has been taken to mean "all people, with special relevance to citizens of the United States." It is a powerful part of the American myth that everyone born here (or even those who immigrate here ) has within her or his grasp the opportunity to pull themselves up from whatever desparate circumstances they were born into and become great, or at least rich. This assumption has guided much of the conscious and unconscious working of this country for over a century. I will even (generously) suppose that folks on the right who are against such things as social welfare or fair hiring pracitices believe the proposition to be true.

But the assumption is untrue on its face. Arguments of whether people are created notwithstanding, how is a child born into poverty , say, in inner city Baltimore, in any way on equal footing with a guy like me, born into a solidly middle-class family and educated well? Certainly, if the education system in this country was in some way equitably funded and staffed, and if we were somehow able to remove the barriers to hiring and promotion that our theoretical kid faces, we might approach equal footing. Perhaps, if the wealth in the United States was not concentrated so deeply in the hands of a very few people, and if they did not have near-total control over the day-to-day operation of the political system, we might draw even closer.

However, anyone who suggests that the majority of poor people - including the relatively small number of geniuses and athletic stars who are able to escape the trap of poverty and "make it big" - stand the same chance of economic success in this country is either fooling themselves or is lying. The point of continuously insisting, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that everyone is equal does serve a purpose, however. That purpose is to make failure seem to be the fault of those who fail, and to leave the wealthy and powerful, who regularly exploit their labor, blameless.

The grossly under-researched and underfunded "No Child Left Behind" program is a perfect example. The very name of the act allows the Bush administration to claim that it has somehow created a level playing field. By enacting an overwhelming series of laws and regulations that set schools up for failure and then failing to fund those requirements adequately, the administration has created a house of cards. When it comes down, administration officials (or, more likely ex-administration officials) will be able to point their fingers and say, in their collective fake Texas accent, "Its their fault - we didn't want to leave any child behind."

At any rate, the ideology and rhetoric of equality does not match the conditions of gross inequality on the ground. It really doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure this out. But as long as we go on believing as a nation that everyone has an equal shot at success and we continue to ignore the numerous and varied circumstances that prevent large groups groups of people from attaining it, we prevent ourselves from correcting the problems. Social justice, then, involves taking serious stock of ourselves as a nation and working to lift up those who need it. While there's a lot of grassroots heavy lifting to be done in this regard, we've also got to destroy the assumption that we're each born into this world with an the same shot at prosperity, and start to recognize that while we all should be equal, we're not.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Kill Yr. Forests

Given the distinctly reptilian nature of every environmental initiative this administration puts forth - "Clear Skies", "Healthy Forests"(we don't use Orwellian here, because it's an insult to Orwell, and it's getting tiresome) - this article outlining the administration's environmental policy certainly begs us to ask a certain question. But I also wanted to point out that this is yet another round in the never ending class war being fought by this administration. Let's put aside the importance of environmental protection, and the damage this administration has done and intends to do to existing laws and our environment. The class war implications come specifically from this:

In addition, the administration intends to accelerate conservation efforts by distributing billions of dollars to private landowners for the preservation of wetlands and wildlife habitats.

I get it. The idea is to federally subsidize rich people so they preserve land they already own. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?

This is welfare for the rich under the guise of environmental protection. I assume the logic goes something like this: "Property rights must be protected. It is immoral to make laws limiting the use of personal property. Therefore, if we want to encourage people to preserve land they own, we need to offer financial incentives." But the argument that taxpayer money - my money, your money - should be given away as a bribe to make rich land owners preserve land they already own is ludicrous. They have enough incentive already. If the government wants to devote public money for public causes, perhaps it would be better to use that money to enforce already existing laws. Or better yet, enact public policy that makes all of us equal under environmental protection laws. Following laws passed in the public interest ought to be a cost of doing business in any democracy. But the administration has no interest in that, they just want to stick their hands in our pockets, take the money, and give it to their rich friends. In fact, if one views all of their policy initiatives in this light, the insanity inducing illogic melts away, and you finally see what they're really up to.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Actually, No - More on the Culture War

Despite J's promises that his word on the culture war was the last one, I'd like very much to discuss this whole "moral values" thing for a moment. What I think I want to ask is this: why do moral values, as expressed so recently by the electorate, involve stopping abortion and gay marriage, but not social justice or stopping the war or other issues that liberals claim to have morals about? Why doesn't the "moral issues" crowd care about social injustice, poverty, or despotic regimes other than that of Saddam Hussein? I mean, why are those values particularly conservative values? Another question we could ask ourselves, but that we will reserve for another time, is that of why members of both "sides," myself included, typically favor one type of intentional death - abortion on one hand and capital punishment on the other - and abhor another.

But lets start with the moral values issue. What is it about gay marriage that so galls the right? Is it really, as they say, a threat to the sanctity of their own marriages? I suspect not - certainly enough public figures on the right and left have done plenty on their own to spoil the sanctity of the institution. I think that the real quesion is one of power. French social theorist Louis Althusser has argued that the foundation of state power rests on a series of "naturalized" or "obvious" power relationships. Certain institutions serve to legitimate the operation of capitalism. They make it seem as though unequal power relations are right and good, or they make the relations seem so completely natural that they ought not to be (or can't be) questioned.

The family, particularly the nuclear family, is one such institution. Although the power structure of a family is demonstrably arbitrary, it is made to seem true and right through its association with certain symbols and metaphors, particularly those of blood and semen - real world , "natural" substances. Now, the structure of the family is somewhat parallel to that of the state, and metaphors of paternity (father of the country and and so forth) are often used to describe those in political power. In fact, Althusser argues, the apparatus of family and the apparatus of state power are interchangeable, and to some extent rely on each other.

So gay marriage, to those interested in maintaining capitalist domination, is a direct challenge to their ideological control of the country. Gay marriage breaks down the substantialized correctness of the family which is the foundation for creating obedient little citizens. If it can be demonstrated on a cultural scale that the traditional understanding of marriage is not the only natural or available option, then it might follow that capitalism is not the best or most appropriate way of running an economy, and that the people in charge might not really deserve to be.

I think that the abortion issue is similar. Women having control of their own reproductive cycles messes with people's conception of what is right and natural. Its not an issue of life and death but one of power.

I should make it clear here that I think that there probably are a lot of convinced, religious activists who believe that abortion and gay marriage are really wrong -an affront to god, if you will. I'm arguing that it is in the interest of a few much more cynical elites on the right to have them be so. The question is really one of how they do it , and ultimately how we undo it. In order for folks like Bush to keep power, they have to convince people not only that they share interests with the right-wing elites, but that they are on the dominant side of the dominant/dominated scheme that makes up our current political structure.

Historically, this feat of cognitive wizardry has been accomplished by creating perceived or social divisions in a population of the dominated. From the seventeenth century on, race has been one of these major divisions. When the pool of poor white people got too large for this to work in the 19th century, nationality and lineage became another. Most recently, with the increasing failure of race as a workable metaphor, these divisions have been constructed along the lines of ideology and sexuality. This is where we see the current debates over gay marriage and the popular villification of liberals enter the public discourse. Replace the word "liberal" in something that Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly says with the word "black" or "jew" and you'd have a speech worthy of a Klan rally. By creating arbitrary divisions in the populace, right-wing elites not only split them into more managable numbers, but also get half of them on their side.

While the promise of lower taxes might have garnered Bush a few extra votes, I think that the promise to be culturally linked to the political leadership was a more powerful motivator. The question for the left now becomes how we go about convincing folks that they've been taken advantage of, voted against their own class interest, and that liberal political leadership will do a better job of defending them. Does it start with values? Do we all have to start going to church on Sunday and joining the altar guild? Hopefully not. I think that what it really involves is dismantling the operative metaphors that make the Bush II reign seem right and good, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Final On Culture War Etc...

First, a prescription for a tonic to any last feelings of anger and cultural resentment towards Red State America. Get your hands on a copy of Selected Prejudices by H. L. Mencken, and read the essay "On Being An American". It's a funny as hell description of the America we just might be living in now. Go ahead, chuckle along with Henry. You know you secretly feel that way too. It might also give a clue as to why Red Staters feel the way they do about those horrible ol' liberal elites. They probably know we secretly feel that way about them. Actually, Ted Rall says it's not such a secret.

(--and now we get pretentious. plz excuse the intrusion--)

Second, it's time to ditch triangulation, electoral strategy and talk of which direction to "move the party". Being on the left isn't about winning elections. It's about being right about important things and then convincing people we're right about them. After that, winning's easy. Liberty and justice for everyone is a pretty damn simple message. It should be a straightforward matter to show how issues like civil liberties, racial and gender equality, the environment, health care and the social safety net - hell, even national security - fall under that rubric. So if we're going to attempt a new direction, it ought to be simple, and it ought to be consistent with our values, because that's where real political movement starts.

(--we apologize for the pretension, now we'll get back to the important issue of how much we hate things--)

Finally, as will be repeated many times over on this here blog (and you won't hear it anywhere else), it's time for America - and especially main stream leftists - to talk frankly and openly about class. One of the favorite themes of the Republican Party is they claim they don't engage in class war, but liberals do. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Every single economic (and let's not forget foreign) policy of this administration is a giant round of mortar fire in the name of class warfare. It needs to be talked about frankly, openly, and with the word CLASS bold and in all caps. So yeah, Thomas Frank was right. Asshole.

In Danger Of Accusations Of Far Left Wingnuttery

When Sullivan went on Maher and accused Chomsky of "supporting the Soviet Union", what he meant was that Chomsky was insufficiently virulent in opposition to the Soviet Union. Seeing this get started again takes me back to the glory days of the Net when I was an avid reader of and poster to various Chomsky and Anarchism related newsgroups (oh for simpler times), where threads would continue for literally years in debate about wether Chomsky was a quasi-facist, a liar, an anarchist saint and so on. In one of our earliest posts I said I realize he's contributed more to computer science than to politics(ask me sometime and I'll spend the next three of your hours explaining it to you), but every so often says exactly the right thing.

We have a fairly clear idea of what [Bush’s] planners want, but what we can expect depends on circumstances, including those we create. That’s what should concern us, not speculating about what we cannot know.

Sweeping Up The Trash After A SullyWatch Party

Minor, but watching that vid of Sullivan on Maher made us want to shake fists and ask the, well, obvious. So we avoided the topic altogether. Instead, let's pick at something lame.

SullyWatch gives a little noogie to Andrew Sullivan for his lame use of the "mandate" joke. They did fail to point out the fact that the joke is so old it's got hair on it. So much hair that Conan O'Brien used it at the start of the first Bush term. It was an hilarious bit with the TV set head of Bush, and Conan said to him, "So lots of people are saying you don't have a mandate." And TvHeadBush replied "Well Conan, I don't think I've EVER had a mandate! Well, there mighta been that one time back in 1976 but..."

Our question is, did 9/11 change so many things that it just wiped away obvious jokes(especially from the first Bush term)? Can we start re-using all the old Bushisms like they're brand new? Can we now take credit for everything we saw on the Daily Show or the Simpsons between January and September 2001?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I Hate You, David Brooks

I swore I'd never read one of his columns again. I swore I'd never tee off on him in public again. But read Brooks's take on exurbia:

"On the other hand, they are taking a daring leap into the unknown, moving to towns that have barely been built, working often in high-tech office parks doing pioneering work in biotech and nanotechnology."

Daring? DARING?!? Unknown? UNKNOWN?!? I hate you, David Brooks.

"These exurbs are conservative but also utopian - Mayberrys with BlackBerrys."

"Mayberrys with Blackberrys"; oh, so the peasants have moved past the printing press, have they, Brooks?

YOU'RE SO EFFIN' CLEVER. I hate you, DingleBerry.

"The Republicans won in part because Bush and Rove understand this culture. Everybody is giving advice to Democrats these days, and mine is don't take any advice from anybody with access to the media - including me, just to be safe. Get out into the sprawl, into that other conversation. Take your time. It's a new world out there."


"...don't take any advice from anybody with access to the media - including me, just to be safe." Wha?!? You, David Brooks (whom I hate), are the ultimate irony: a self-loathing conservative.

"Get out into the sprawl." Get out into the sprawl? You think we were born on the Upper West Side? Why do you think we're so pissed off? We've effin' been there!! I grew up in it! Guess what? These effers ran off to the exurbs with their tails between their legs because they wanted to keep all worldly complications at bay. That's it. Find one person with a defensible reason for moving out into Pave-the-Earth land. One! You won't. These effs would go to the moon if it meant they'd be guaranteed to be surrounded with people EXACTLY LIKE THEM.

Last year, I went to see the brother of a good friend of mine who lives in a brand new McMansion in the exurbs. After I negotiated my way through the roundabout at the entrance to the neighborhood--that's right, there's an effin' roundabout at the top of the neighborhood...god forbid these Blackberry-wielding mouthbreathers have to wait an extra millisecond on their way to the five minute (soon to be fifty minute, thank god) commute to their suburban branch of T. Rowe Price--he showed me everything I'd been missing for the last year:

"Hey man, I gotta show you some stuff. Here's my new Mercedes. Isn't it sweet? It's a Kompressor. Come on into the kitchen. Isn't this a great bar? It's granite. Hey, you want to catch a buzz? Cool, man. Come on downsta--oh, hey honey."

"Isn't this flower arrangement great? I had it custom designed. I'm going to put it on the piano in the piano room." ("Piano room?" RUFNKM?)

"Yeah, so I've got this great home entertainment system in the basement. Here sit down, I've got the new Sting Live DVD."

[30 minutes of visions of ropes, razors, ovens, cars in closed garages]

"Cool, let's go upstairs. Isn't this bed great? And the intercom system plays in here--I can even play [my lame ass] CDs on it.

"Oh, and here's my new son."

That's the exurbs, David Brooks. I dare even you to spend 15 minutes there.

The Horror, The Horror

You'd think what with judges over ruling his legal analysis left and right, Gonzales would be the last choice to replace Ashcroft. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? This administration has the best sense of humor ever.

As Kos notes, this is the man who brought you the legal basis for Abu Gahrib and what's turning out to be a humanitarian catasophe at Guantanamo. It appears that no matter how abject the failure, it's better to put into positions of power people that will loyally attempt to grant more power to the Executive Branch, no matter what the cost to our nation and it's moral standing.

Our Great Neighboor To The North And Liberal Hate Speech

In the past few days several of the blogs we read regularly have had something to say about one Adam Yoshida and his recent post. We read it too, but dismissed it. Like everything else he writes, it's clearly the work of a deranged mind - perhaps a backlog of jingo macho male aggression has built up because maybe he didn't make the hockey team, or maybe Canada, the largest Blue State in the hemisphere just doesn't have a large enough manly jingo culture for him, or because he's such an effin' pig(scroll down for picture, or just read the blog) he can't get any you know what(apologies to everyone who's already used that joke, but really, why pass it up?) - or he just likes to tweak "liberals" by using infalmatory language. After all, he lists Coulter as a columnist you should read, and she uses inflammatory language as a means to distract people from the fact that she actually has nothing to say.

As everyone knows, we here at RUFNKM just love inflamatory language, especially when talking about conservative columnists. In that spirit, we offer the following. Hey Yoshida! Why is it that fat fucks like you, Bill Bennet, Roger Ailes(not the cool blogger, the one who runs Fox) and Limbaugh - who seem to be on the "values" train - don't know gluttony is a sin?

If You're Feeling Bored Or Blue...

If you haven't done so already, do yourself a favor and go read yesterdays Howler. Actually, read Saturday's and Monday's first.

Let's Shoot The Pundits

So I'm listening to Inside Maryland Politics this morning, and Steiner has some guy on to talk about what we learned about Maryland as a result of the election. His first sentence is "Despite what the skeptics said, the computer touch screen machines worked." There is a bit of polite back and forth between the guest and Steiner until Steiner changes the subject. See, this is why we here could never be radio hosts on civil radio. We would have grabbed the guy by his lapels and said "ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? You moron! It's not an emotional skepticsm! there is no way to know if they worked or not without A) open sourcing the code for the machines and B) providing some means of external verification!" Then we would have thrown him out of the studio.

If you think I'm complaining about a localized problem, I'm not. I've heard utterly fatuous arguments like this on CNN before. All pundits ought to be locked together in a single large room for a never ending panel discussion that is never broadcast. This gives them purpose but saves us the trouble of their existence.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Our Eyes Were Too Welled Up With Tears...

We also note that commerce Secretary Don Evans has also resigned, and that also makes us sad. Not only was he the most charming and sincere member of the administration, he looked the least like a Marvel Comics style radioactive melding between a newt, a grizzly bear and a middle aged stockbroker - which seems to be the choice of physical features in this administration with Karl Rove favoring newt and human, Andrew Card more human but still newt, and Cheney all three equally. Evans looked more like what we imagine to be the "ideal Texan", all jawbone, nose and hair. Well, that's what he looked like before 9/11 anyway. Also, seems like Evans didn't really end up in too much trouble, although it seems that unless you're black and die in a freak plane crash, it's a fairly safe and anonymous position.

The More Things Change

Via Kos we hear that Ashcroft has resigned. We're going to miss him. His career in the executive branch - from the day he lost his election to a dead man, to the performance of "Let The Eagle Soar" to covering up Lady Justice's boobs - has provided us with endless "ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?" moments. In fact, "Let The Eagle Soar" was the germination of the phrase that lead to this blog, when Dave G, Jo Momma and myself were watching it on the internet and all said it out loud at roughly the same time. Of course, it took us a while, but we move slow in Hampden. So it's with sadness that we bid farewell to him, but on resignation he leaves us with this gem:

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved," Ashcroft wrote in a five-page, handwritten letter to Bush.

(deeeep breath...)ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME????? As Lester Bangs wrote about Peter Laughner in totally different circumstances, we say to our good friend Johnny: "good-bye baby, and amen." Lucky for us, they still have Paul Wolfowitz in the administration someplace.

And Lest We Forget To Thank Kevin Philips For All He's Done For Our Country

This horror comes from eebmore(apologies to Baltimore readers who already saw it...)

Nota Bummer: although we here at RUFNKM love the new and economically populist Kevin Philips, it's him we have to thank for that amoral southern strategy which helped to bring about our current electoral morass. It's the same reason we don't blogroll The Bull Moose. Economics are right on, but the notion that cynically pandering to the pulpit is a legitimate form of politicking smacks of, well, elitism of the worst sort.

We'll Secede And You Can Have Your Carpetbagging President

So, we've joked on this blog about secession in both directions. I have always had a great laugh any time I go in to piss in the bathroom at The Sidebar and see the "Baltimore Secede!" sticker. But now more than one person seems to be talking about it. I hope you are all effin' kidding me. I like to think that the states in the People's Party Of God And Markets ought to have to suffer the next four years(and beyond) effin' well stuck with us. I mean, we all know they live off our backs(well, not Maryland, actually, we're a deadbeat state, but at least we have the good sense to know it and vote our damn interests). So we should remind them of that every chance we get. And we should remind them of it with a big flag with a picture of two guys kissing on it.

What Liberal Consensus?

So now that electoral shock and awe is over, I wanted to make a few points that were sloshing around in my head this weekend...

For those of you claiming you don't recognize this country anymore, ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Here are a few things from our history that really ought to give the lie to any kind of real "liberal consensus"(or even basic sensibility in our general populace or government)

  • We enshrined the illegality of drinking in the Constitution.
  • We joined WWI based on phony news stories about Belgian babies being impaled on German bayonettes.
  • Joe McCarthy commanded national attention and we had an actual Red Scare.
  • We had a homosexual transvestite as head of the FBI, but he was held in esteem as a paragon of traditional America.
  • Only 50 years ago, segregation was legal.
  • Less than 100 years ago, women couldn't vote.
  • People thought War Of The Worlds was actually happening.
  • Rush Limbaugh has listeners, Ann Coulter has readers, Fox News has viewers.

In short, America has always been an inconsistent bizare country where people are credulous and where change in the name of social and economic justice only occurs when people act like they want it. But those causes are not the causes of our government, nor are they the causes of the majority of the populace. It just so happens that for a brief period, it seemed different. But really, the bad old days are here again because they've always been here. I'm not sure what to do about it, I'm just taking a little comfort in the fact that as a nation, we've been here before and yet good things have happened.

What Us, Obnoxious?

Ok, so I thought it was a little obnoxious for me to make the previous post(sorry Newport News, your port is of significance!) I was wrong. These guys really have a bone to pick. Lucky for us Baltimoreans I don't think they're talking about us.

Triumphalist Effin' Jerks

I wouldn't normally link to these people since they actually give Ann Coulter space. The author suggests expelling the "blue states" for the usual reasons - moral depravity, liberal snobbery yadda yadda. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Where the eff do these people think they're going to get their tax base? Also, anyone else notice the Red States don't have any ports? Let's face it. They may hate us, but they need us. So if they want to kick us out, and we want to leave, I say fine. Let's make sure the taxes on goods leaving any of our ports to Red States are high. And let's make sure that our airspace is expensive too.

Update: These are moved up from comments. Some people should post pissed-off less often.

Anonymous said...
I don't have a map in front of me but Houston, Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, and Newport News are ports. I don't know their significance but they are ports. OQUAGA

1:55 PM
jayinbmore said...
Good point. My bad. I should have said "ports of significance[to me - added]". Although I think if you look at the regional breakdowns within states, it appears most port/coastal cities went blue, although I'd have to double check those you list.

2:17 PM

Friday, November 05, 2004

Was Thomas Frank Right?

He himself seems to think so. He's been saying this since at least 1994 . Once the class discussion gave way to questions of culture, liberals lost. So let's bring on the class war, yo!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hedonia, or "What would our country look like if the Northeast seceded?"

Just a little device for the Democratic party to use as it reconstructs itself. Just forget that 51%, stop pandering to them, and steal their good ideas (for instance, in the "ownership society," the Democrats would own their ideas, not rent them from intellectual slumlords). Then once we've decided what the problems are, how we intend to solve them, and how we're going to communicate them, then--THEN--we can once again engage the majority.

And I'm with jayinbmore--until then, tell them to stay the eff out of our lives.

Now I'll break one of the bloggers' ten commandments: Thou Shalt Not Post An IM, You Lazy Bastard.

Someoneelse: For a while I was devising ways for the district to succeed from the union, but I'm starting to enter the acceptance phase.
disappearingink: hahaha! I'm all for secession. Did you see that nice, contiguous blue block of states in the Northeast?
Someoneelse: All the borders were conveniently touching. Would make for a tidy, new republic.
disappearingink: What will we call it? We could take a note from Alan Keyes and call it "Hedonia."
disappearingink: 1000 square miles of rampant atheism, homosexuality, weak-kneed pacificism, and much worse. what fun!
disappearingink: our official language could be French, and our flag could be plain white.
Someoneelse: A blue utopia, with taxes on everyone... even the rich!
disappearingink: Yes, 50% flat tax, with a little box you can check that says, "I'm so rich, and I like taxes so much, that I'm going to pay 80%."
Someoneelse: I'm telling you, I think we may be on to something. I was thinking Canada but this is much more convenient.
disappearingink: And our capital won't be in the contiguous blue states. Hollywood. Michael Moore Secretary of Fine Arts.
disappearingink: Tommy Chong, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Someoneelse: Obviously most of our country (at least 51%) is residing in a parallel universe. It's time we created one of our own!
Someoneelse: And in this country, Clinton can be president... again!
disappearingink: Wow, what a liberal heaven!
Someoneelse: I don't know why I didn't start thinking outside the box (and the 50 states) before.
disappearingink: I think it's a worthwhile heuristic starting point for the Democratic party to begin rebuilding itself: "What would our country look like if the Northeast seceded?"
Someoneelse: For all intents and purposes, it's where they should probably start.

For Guys Who Have To Read Sullivan Every Day

SullyWatch has more than enough uplift. To do them meta-right, money quote:

To put it another way, the animals can now be let out of our cages. There is no more reason to hold us back.

And we will make them curse the day they left the left with nothing left to lose.

You, dear readers, are hereby drafted as soldiers in the opinion wars. You must strike early, strike hard and strike often. Go for broke.

Read the whole thing. They have tons of great advice.

Once Again, It Is On.

David Rees tells you everything you need to know.

We're smarter than those motherfuckers.
We can learn more quickly than those motherfuckers.
We can be more ruthless than those motherfuckers.
We can be some six-million-dollar motherfuckers ourselves.

Chin up.
We're more American than those motherfuckers.
We're more responsible than those motherfuckers.
We're more compassionate than those motherfuckers.
Hell, our atheists are more Christian than their Bible-thumpin' motherfuckers.

There's an election in two years.
There's nothing we can't do.

Chin up.
Because it's on, motherfuckers.
It is on.

Our new fighting techique will(must) be unstopable.

No He Didn't...

But I think he did. Some choice quotes from our Preznit today.

The campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I will reach out to every one who shares our goals.

I earned capital in the campaign and now I intend to spend it. And I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I would spend it on.

Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions .

Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously you didn't listen to the will of the people.

ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Clearly not. I think Thomas Frank was right. Asshole.

Geeks Like Us...

It's too little, too late for this round, but engineers like to fix problems.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Mandate

Kos had it first, but let's look at it for real. There is no mandate.

Update: Kos has more.

Gently Telling You To Buck Up...

Via Alternate Brain, more wisdom from Molly Ivins.

Let's Hope More "Moral Values" Folks Think Like This Guy

If it were possible to do this don't you think far fewer Christians would have died in Ancient Rome?

More Thoughts

Matthew Yglesias, who is both more of a wonk and more of an insider than any of us, has a few things to say too.

Jerome at MyDD has questions for us on progressive values.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

M-m-m-m-m.... MORALS?!?!?!

Where the eff did this story come from? I mean, really. All the media talked about up to the election, as far as "primary reasons" for voting go (and really, does anyone rank their reasons for voting? do you?), was terrorism, Iraq, and the economy. Gay marriage was just a wedge issue to get bigo--er, underrepresented conservatives out to the polls, but people were really voting about terrorism, Iraq, and the economy. That was the story. Don't tell me it wasn't. You saw the pie graph in every newspaper: 20% terrorism, 21% Iraq, 22% economy.

Now it's the "morals" election? Just like that? Bill Bennett congratulates himself in print, just like he does everyday, and suddenly it's a "morals" election?

And where are they getting this data on morals? EXIT POLLS?!? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?!? How can you have one story that says "Exit Polls Blow It Out Ass, Will Never Be Used Again" sitting right next to a story that says "Exit Polls Show Election Was A Referendum On Morals"? H-h-h-h-how?!

I know one thing. My morals are offended watching these jackasses gloat. Nothing offends my sensibilities more than a circle jerk involving 55,000,000 people, even if Karl Rove is in the middle.

More Important Thoughts

DemVet is trying not to scream. I feel ya man, I feel ya.

And More Sentiments We Should Get Behind

Via Atomic Books, we get this from B. Tragic Gaitey. It beats getting all Wonkette about it.

Moral Values - Turning Our Backs On The Culture War

Chronic gambler and former boyfriend of Janis Joplin, William Bennett, writes that the election is a victory for moral values. As we listened to NPR all night and through the morning, we heard this emanate from the speakers over and over, so we'll have to agree. My girlfriend, however, made a rather startling observation. "There's a war on. Our people are dying in Iraq, and we're about to invade Iran. But more people cared about effin' gay marriage. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?" It would appear they aren't.

Just in case anyone isn't sure, remember what "moral values" means:

  • Gays shouldn't have rights

  • "Abortionists" should be killed

  • The poor do not deserve your help

  • It's better to be sectarian in all aspects of life

  • None of the above applies to rich people

We all know how ridiculous these ideas are. We all know how evil they are. But we can't convince the majority of the country of our case. Why? I don't know. There are millions of reasons, but whatever they are, the majority in this country believe these issues are paramount.

So I say let them have their moral values, but whenever someone says "moral values", we need to remind them to stop speaking in code. We also need to remind them that they don't want America The Republic, they want something else. They should stop pretending they give a damn about what this country used to be.

With that in mind, I say it's time to stop trying to argue. The culture war is lost. But the Constitution still stands. The line is drawn. These people can have their moral values, but whenever they step across the line, they need to be fought tooth and nail. We need to say we reject their values and there is no compromise or accomodation. The Constitution was created to protect the minority from the majority as much as it was to give the people power. I wish I had more specifics, but I think as time goes buy, the time for countering the conservative argument with reason has gone. Instead, it's time to ask "ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?", flip the bird, and tell them to just stay the eff out of our lives. We have blue states, let's use'em.

Update: Eric Alterman, kos and Atrios come to similar conclusions about the problem, if not the way to solve it.

I Knew I Liked Edwards...

"You can be discouraged, but you can not walk away. This fight has only just begun."

He said that a minute ago.

They Say It Best In Baltimore

Rachael over at Atomic Books says it even better than us. And yeah, eff Canada. I love those guys.

I should point out that if you're reading this from a state that might be a little red colored, consider this: challenges to Democratic incumbents(the only kind of incumbent in Baltimore) came from Greens. Is this not The Greatest City In America?

More Advice We Should Follow

Over at Winning Argument there's a specific reference to something I only alluded to. It was 40 years ago today...

Being On The Far Left You Get Used To This Sort Of Thing...

You think I'm being a jerk? Go read Marc Cooper. Here's a guy who's seen quite a bit of real electoral turmoil. He was in Chile when Allende was thrown out of power by a US engineered coup. He's been a real activist and a reasoned articulate hard core lefty for longer than I've been alive. I don't agree with everything he says, but I do have to point out that even under Clinton many of us realized our opinions were marginalized, even (and especially) on the left.

So for some of us, today is an old story. Extreme capitalist imperialism continues its inexorable march middle eastward while we argue about global tests and Mary Cheney's sexual preference. And then there's "moral values". I've got a lot to say about that, but it's coming later.

Moving To Canada, Buying Nooses and...


Hi everyone. This is your inner abusive parent speaking.

What did you do other than give money to your candidate and vote? Was it like most of my peer group including me, which was absolutely nothing? Then I hate to do it, but I'm gonna quote O'Reilley. Shut up. I don't want to hear it.

I know one person who engaged in get out the vote in a swing state (I raise my cigarette to you, Disappearingink!). I know two people (DC Yuppies in the Hizause!) who volunteered on election day. I know about 20 people personally who are either pissed, depressed or upset, and ready to flee the country or whatever, but like me, mostly sat around and hoped. So I say to those of you in that boat: you and I didn't do enough. Democracy requires active participation above and beyond voting and giving money, and if this election mattered nearly as much as everyone claims it did, there would have been more. I know we all gotta eat and pay the bills. I know there are - ahem - other priorities. I had'em, so did you.

Well, guess what guys, the far right in this country doesn't. It has spent 30 years building a propoganda infrastructure whose purpose is to convince people that their view is the only acceptable view(not a better alternative, but the only acceptable view). The left has never had that, because we had the concensus. We don't anymore.

Take heart! The country is still divided. 51% to 48% is not an effin' mandate, not by any conceivable measure. And there will be other elections, there will be more important ones than this one. There are ground games to fight and lessons to learn. If we really care as much as we say we do, there's far more to do than sit and complain. Me, I'm more inspired by Howard Dean today than I was the whole election cycle. He's got the right idea. Democracy will survive if we force it to. And we can, but it means we have to be less drunk and more pissed off and certainly more active.

Before making my next post to catalog some things that are reasons enough to stick around and work hard, I'll leave you with a quote from an author whom I really can't stand:

The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

And I don't plan to, anytime soon. Hope you don't either.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Spin Control

Not all of you read everything on our roll, so this is for those of you who don't. One of the major spin stories still hitting the air is that some voting machines in Philly somehow had votes counted on them before the election started. Talking Points Memo debunked this earlier . Have that at your ready when someone gets in your face about it.

Disappearingink Was Right

This is becoming ugly. I am, quite frankly, disgusted. Incidents like those reported here make me hope there is a purgatory after all.

Update: Over at The Corner from National Review, they have people writing in saying how wonderful it is that there is low turnout, but how terrible it is that the markets are somehow responding to a possible Kerry victory. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Since when was it a good day when people don't vote? And since when did a buncha political hacks have even the smallest iota of understanding of the mathematical nature of the market to begin to even prove a corelation between early exit poll numbers and stock prices? And how the eff can they get from there to causation?

Oh wait I get it. The important thing is not functioning democracy but their pocketbooks. At last, we know where these guys stand.

We Only Say This Due To Our Abiding Interest In Civility

If Laura Ingraham is going to insist on being this empty headed we suggest that if she's going to open her mouth, she ought to make sure something is in there to prevent this garabage from leaking out. Otherwise, we suggest she take her own advice: shut up and do something for which she is(subjectively) qualified.

Why The Eff Are We Giving A...

Nearly every blog I read has a comment today about how right wing pundits are suddenly deciding that Bush may not have it in him and so on, and thus this must be a sign of hope. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Please folks, this is the "Misunderestimated Presidency". They derive half their props from appearing to succeed under diversity and the lazy hack pundit class drives this bs narrative. Let's not give the administration this. Let's just give all TV and standard press pundits their just desserts and ignore them forever.

Science Can Wait, Democracy Now!

Good news out of Hampden(and Roland Park too). HUGE turnout here. I waited 2 hours to vote, and was quite late to work because of it(just got in). I've never had that long of a wait, and people were still pouring in. I spoke with one of the poll workers. He said that it had been busy like that since they opened at 7:00am. I asked if they'd had anyone in to "poll watch" and he said some "young Republicans came in early in the morning, but when they realized how busy it was and how hard it was going to be to challenge people, they left." Police presence has also helped, apperently. Everyone working - including the cops - were very friendly and helpful. Hope everyone else is having this kind of good fortune at the polls.

I have heard some bad things happening in both Ohio and South Dakota. This is pretty scary.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Excellent Election Day Advice

Head on over to Rittenhouse for it.

Update: Didn't realize as I was posting this, Disapearingink had posted even more excellent election day advice. See one post below this one.

Smile, Thug

Everyone voting, and especially those doing GOTV work: please take a camera, and certainly bring a video camera if you have one. Republican meddlers believe that their souls will disappear if you take a picture of them. (Just kidding--everyone knows Republicans don't have souls, haha.)

And here's some music to get you psyched up: ( link deleted for legal fears)
Rev. Charlie Jackson's "Something To Think About." Remember, vote suppression used to be a life or death issue.

There's A Reason Electoral-Vote.com Rules

Wow. So I've always thought the analysis on Electoral-Vote.com was clear and thorough. Turns out it's run by one of my heroes. No wonder. Prof. Andrew Tannenbaum is well known to those of us computer geeks as the author of some of the best text books on operating systems and networking. His writing style is always clear and concise, eschewing the usual obscure jargon lots of would be compsci gurus employ. Instead, he cuts through to the essential notions in clear unfettered language. He's always kept one hand in the interesting and theoretical, and the other in the practical. What a pleasure to discover that those same impulses evident in the electoral vote analysis were present because it was him.

What's Not The Matter With Hampden

Hampden, like much of Baltimore, is made up mostly of row-houses, and in many cases people have to share a tiny peice of grass for their front yards. This means that in some places people have had to put their Kerry/Edwards signs within 2 feet of Bush/Cheney signs. The fact that both sets of signs in situations like this have remained standing side by side throughout the campaign shows a civility I'd like to see a little more often.