Jittery Joe's revenge

I feel like I'm having a two-day hangover - my head feels constricted, my temper is short, I'm having trouble concentrating, etc... It's all for a greater good though, right? RIGHT?!?

Jittery Joe off my back

Today is the first day of my caffeine-free existence - cold-turkey, in honor of thanksgiving. There were two days in Nebraska this weekend that I went without coffee and they were painful - headaches, shakiness, etc - which made me realize the level of my addiction. I really enjoy the taste and smell of coffee though, so I don't think that Espresso Royale will see much of a impact on their bottom line.

Nebraska blogging?

Missy and I are leaving for Nebraska early tomorrow morning, so unless I get a chance to some Nebraska-blogging, the site will be inactive for a few days.

Happy thanksgiving, and may Santa Turkey bless us, every one!

With the Lights Out

Nirvana's 3 CD, 1 DVD box set came out today, full of unreleased tracks, early demos, acoustic versions, live versions, random screaming, etc. I don't have a great first-time-hearing-Smells-Like-Teen-Spirit story, but I do remember watching MTV for hours at a time to see the video (crazy sweaters! Evil cheerleaders! That opening riff!), and I remember my Mom telling me that "some rock and roll guy" whose name sounded familiar to her had committed suicide.

You should share your Nirvana memories too - here, on a semi-random website, where no one will make fun of you when you talk about crying every time you hear All Apologies.

I'll be in the car for 9 hours on the way to Nebraska tomorrow, so I think I'll go pick it up for company. You'll get a full review when I return.

What's the Matter with Kansas redux

I know of three readers of this site who are in the middle of this book, so I'll keep my comments brief and abstract - I don't want to shape their opinions. I will say, though, that my earlier praise may have been given in too much haste. Frank's book is divided in two sections - Part I (which I had just finished when I wrote the last post) is an argument for why the economic interests of rural Americans lie with the Democratic party. Part II is about how conservatives have used social issues to build grassroots support for economic programs that hurt the people voting for them. Before reading the book, this second topic was far more interesting to me than the first. Frank can't pull it off, however, and I'm a little disappointed in him for it. I'm going to wait until other people finish the book to elaborate.

Hee.




Breaking news out of NW Wisconsin

**Five Dead, Three Injured After Confrontation Between Hunters**

This happened yesterday afternoon and is getting some national attention today. It looks like the entire story isn't out yet, but you can find some of the details here.

The story so far:
The violence began in Sawyer County in the Township of Meteor, also known as the Blue Hills area. Just before noon Sunday, a group of hunters staying at a private deer camp was heading back to its cabin, when they saw another hunter occupying their tree stand.

Sheriff's deputies say a confrontation ensued and shooting followed. “One of the men was injured, he had a walkie talkie and was able to radio back to the deer camp what was going on, people from the camp went to the scene where they were shot and killed,” says Sawyer County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle.

Officials say the victims were shot with a semi–automatic assault rifle. Four men and one woman died in the shooting.


What's the Matter with Kansas?

I'm planning to write a much longer post when I finish Thomas Frank's new book, but I wanted to quote a representative passage. He's writing about the battle between wealthy, moderate Republicans and less wealthy, conservative Republicans for control of Kansas - from U.S. Senators to local committee chairs. In the end, however, the economic policies of the latter serve the interests of the former, so "the moderates win even when they lose."

From page 109:
The angry workers, mighty in their numbers, are marching irresistably against the arrogant. They are shaking their fists at the sons of privilege. They are laughing at the dainty affectations of the Leawood toffs. They are massing at the gates of Mission Hills, hoisting the black flag, and while the millionaires tremble in their mansions, they are bellowing out their terrifying demands. "We are here," they scream, "to cut your taxes."

I'm about 1/3 through the book so far, and it's been exceptionally good. Not only well-written and humorous, but thoroughly researched and well-argued. It's $14.40 at Amazon right now - click the link above, buy a CD so that you get $25 SuperSaver shipping, and order it for yourself.

Some bad goings-on in the Washington Post today

Today's Washington Post contained an advertising supplement written and paid for by BothSides.org, which bills itself as, "a magazine created for the sole purpose of giving the faith community a voice in the issues that impact our family, culture, and world. We offer a perspective that is widely held by millions of Americans, but is often not well represented in the media." Is about about the teachings of Jesus - feeding the hungry, helping the poor, aiding the suffering, loving the outcasts? Nope - it's about how those damn gays think they're entitled to rights.

Download the pdfs here:
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

There are some choice bits of race-baiting and some laughable scientific misunderstandings - for example, did you know that homosexuality can't - simply cannot - be genetic, because same-sex couples can't reproduce? I think I remember covering recessive genes in high school, but maybe I went to one of those liberal, hippie rural Nebraskan high schools. In the Q&A, you'll find tolerant Christian teachings such as:

Q: What's wrong with letting homosexuals get married?
A: Everything.

Q: Isn't it true that what kids need most are loving parents, regardless of whether the parent is a mother or father?
A: No.

You'll also be interested to know that a same-sex marriage ban in the constitution wouldn't restrict the rights of anyone! After all, "a heterosexual man and a homosexual man both have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, and many have." I...uh...I...wow. I don't think I even have a comment for that.

Right now on CSPAN2

This is sweet. The Democrats and lots of moderate Republicans are railing on the leadership for amendments to the must-pass spending bill - including one amendment that would exempt hospitals and doctors from providing abortion counseling and another that would allow Senate committee chairs to request individuals' IRS returns. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) just said, "If one party is shameless, the other can't afford to be spineless," and then spoke at length about women's rights while showing a photo of GOP senators standing around Bush as he signed the D&E abortion ban. Now McCain is talking about the larger problem - must-pass omnibus spending bills that are hundreds or thousands of pages long, with amendments slipped in the night before a vote. I don't know why more people don't watch CSPAN.

pearl jam - rearviewmirror

Pearl Jam released rearviewmirror, a two-disc greatest hits collection, on Tuesday and I can't decide what I think of it.

On one hand, I get new remixes of Once, Alive, and Black, all of which sound better than the original album tracks. On the other hand, does it mean that my favorite band is washed up if they're releasing a greatest hits album? U2 and REM just did, and I suppose I wouldn't call them washed up. I guess I have to resign myself to the fact that Pearl Jam just isn't cutting edge anymore, and probably haven't been for over a decade.

Every fan has to play the I-can't-believe-they-left-"blah"-off game, so I will too. Even though the album has my favorite fast song (Rearviewmirror) and my favorite slow song (Betterman), as well as studio versions of State of Love and Trust and Yellow Ledbetter, I was disappointed not to see Crazy Mary or Thin Air. I would have been more than happy to see Last Kiss ditched for either one of those.

Overall though, I think it's a solid collection, even though I'm clearly not the target audience. The most troubling part of listening to it was the track order - I can't help singing the opening bars of Glorified G after Daughter, or Oceans after Jeremy, etc - basically the same story for every song on either disc.

lame-o-rama

Man, my blog is lame, huh? Want evidence? I just pasted a quote from an MSNBC anchor that I took from another blog, so you're actually thrice removed from the action. I need more original material.

The Rude One - funny and/or/but insightful

Two quotes from the Rude Pundit that I want to share - the first about some people on the right using Rice's race as a smokescreen (I'm not sure that's the word I want - I may be editing this post) for ineffective advising, and the second about a fine bit of editorializing by MSNBC's Dan Abrams. The first is funny and the second is insightful - but that's not to say that the first isn't insightful and the second isn't funny. OK, the second isn't funny. Well, not funny in a ha-ha kind of way. More like funny in a hey-he's-right-and-it's-so-rare-that-you-hear-someone-say-that-kind-of-thing-on-TV kind of way. Is that a way of being funny? If not, then the second isn't funny. But the first is still insightful.
Logic might dictate that opposition to Rice and Thomas actually demonstrates an ability to look beyond race, that color doesn't matter if your views are radical or your actions are pathetic. But you would be living in a world in which logic is an answer to batshit insanity, and that is not Coulter's, nor, indeed, the rest of the right's world.

Abrams explained, "When you hear a media figure attack or snidely remark about the elite media, ask yourself, is this person really part of the blue-collar media? Is his or her salary about what mine is? Can he or she really understand what I have to endure or is this just a faux populist charade? Most of the time it is an effort by some to pretend that they are different, that they are just average Joes fighting for the little guy. It's like a lifelong politician accusing his or her opponent of engaging in politics as usual." Abrams ended with, "I regularly criticize certain lawyers and TV hosts, but I don't try to pretend that I'm not one of them. I'm going to be straight about it. I'm a member of the media and I'm a lawyer, two of the most hated professions around. I am what I am."

Boo.

This is lame. If you don't have the legs to ride a double, then don't spend $5,000 on a bike.

NOVEMBER 15, 2004 -- HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN)--Shimano just laid out an ace with the announcement of a upcoming Dura-Ace triple crankset, playing to the hand of riders who want top-end equipment but whose legs don't match their mountains.

"We all want to ride like a pro, but let's face it: Not everybody has the legs for it," said Harald Troost, press officer for Shimano Europe.

"Since the introduction of our new Dura-Ace group last year, we have been receiving strong requests for a triple version. Well, it will be there," Troost said.

This post was elitist and judgmental. More people on bikes = good.

Scorcher

Here's a completely different type of bike porn. No carbon or titanium bits here, just old-skool steel - steel, history, and tradition.

From USA Today's gift guide -
"Before the Wright Brothers learned to fly, the Dayton, Ohio, residents made and sold their own line of high-quality bicycles. One of the most-popular models was the Scorcher, a fixed-gear, no-brakes speedster that earned its name by 'scorching' through traffic, which at that time consisted of horse-drawn wagons and pedestrians. Now another Dayton resident has revived the Scorcher, but with some modern upgrades to keep it rolling safely through the packs of Hummers and Hyundais that now crowd the roads."


Gaansari Scorcher


Bike porn friday

Atrios blogs cats, Dan Drezner blogs his baby - I'm present to you Bike Porn Friday!













aka fist-bump

McSweeney's has recommended the fourth-year fist-bump, which they've titled, "Punching it in" - it's nice to see that something our cohort invented has such widespread popularity.
Punching it in
When something good happens or someone says something you firmly agree with, invite them to bump fists with you, knuckle to knuckle. All the fun of giving five, but less dorky. Addictive.

Certain readers should note that they have also recommended the .5mm mechanical pencil. They don't mention its vast superiority to the .7mm version, but some things are so obvious that they need not be stated.
PaperMate Clickster .5 mm mechanical pencil
Comfortable in the hand, with excellent lead advancement via index-finger clicking. Very little wasted lead. Top notch.
After apparently reading over my shoulder, Stephan just told me that it's "hilarious that [I] have a blog."

I should be working

Blogging is my break from working - read NYT articles for an hour, post for five minutes.

The New Republic has a really fascinating article on undecided voters in Wisconsin (!). If you have an account with TNR, you can read the full text here, but I'm posting a few of my favorite excerpts below -
Undecided voters do care about politics; they just don't enjoy politics...The mere fact that you're reading this article right now suggests that you not only think politics is important, but you actually like it. You read the paper and listen to political radio and talk about politics at parties. In other words, you view politics the way a lot of people view cooking or sports or opera: as a hobby. Most undecided voters, by contrast, seem to view politics the way I view laundry. While I understand that to be a functioning member of society I have to do my laundry, and I always eventually get it done, I'll never do it before every last piece of clean clothing is dirty, as I find the entire business to be a chore. A significant number of undecided voters, I think, view politics in exactly this way: as a chore, a duty, something that must be done but is altogether unpleasant, and therefore something best put off for as long as possible.

To be sure, maybe they simply thought Kerry's promise to bring in allies was a lame idea--after all, many well-informed observers did. But I became convinced that there was something else at play here, because undecided voters extended the same logic to other seemingly intractable problems, like the deficit or health care. On these issues, too, undecideds recognized the severity of the situation--but precisely because they understood the severity, they were inclined to be skeptical of Kerry's ability to fix things. Undecided voters, as everyone knows, have a deep skepticism about the ability of politicians to keep their promises and solve problems. So the staggering incompetence and irresponsibility of the Bush administration and the demonstrably poor state of world affairs seemed to serve not as indictments of Bush in particular, but rather of politicians in general.

Occasionally I did encounter undecided voters who were genuinely cross-pressured--a couple who was fiercely pro-life, antiwar, and pro-environment for example--but such cases were exceedingly rare. More often than not, when I asked undecided voters what issues they would pay attention to as they made up their minds I was met with a blank stare, as if I'd just asked them to name their favorite prime number...The undecideds I spoke to didn't seem to have any intuitive grasp of what kinds of grievances qualify as political grievances. Often, once I would engage undecided voters, they would list concerns, such as the rising cost of health care; but when I would tell them that Kerry had a plan to lower health-care premiums, they would respond in disbelief--not in disbelief that he had a plan, but that the cost of health care was a political issue. It was as if you were telling them that Kerry was promising to extend summer into December.


Now, back to work for both of us!

So Cynical and sarcastic, so yummy...

Here's Digby's take on Bush's plan to give small businesses one less incentive to provide health insurance -

the administration is thinking of dropping the business tax deduction for empoyer-provided health insurance in order to pay for making interest, dividends and capitals gains tax free.

I don't know what he's so unhappy about, though. George W. Bush is just trying to empower the working man here. With those fancy new medical savings accounts, the guy who works at Pep Boys and his wife who works in the hospital gift shop will be able to save the 10k a year (tax free!) to pay for his wife and 2 kids' health insurance. Then he'll be a member of the ownership society because he'll own his own health insurance policy. Isn't that great?

I'm assuming, of course, that if employers drop health insurance they will then be required to give their employees a raise in the amount of what they were paying for their health care, less the tax break. They will do that, won't they? Of course they will. Otherwise, these working people will be forced to "save" money that they don't have. That wouldn't be right.

But if that happens let's face it, if you can't afford to make ends meet that's what churches are for. Be good and maybe you'll be allowed some charity. (Or you'll be allowed to pray for some, anyway.) Meanwhile, just work harder. Like our good ole boy, Real American president who knows the meaning of hard earned dollar. He's tough, tough, tough and we have to be tough just like him. Why, a real man would rather gnaw off his leg or put his wife out of her misery than have his boss pay for his health insurance. This whole issue is an excuse for lazy Democrat losers looking for a handout.

Bush and Biscuits

"Well, hello there! What are you - some kind of a duck?"




Who's out of touch?

You're waiting patiently to find out how to finish putting your watches on, but you're going to have to bear with me while I post about another story. I believe Spice will enjoy this -

Candy Crowley of CNN notes that we have to take green tea states into account as we draw the post-election map. If you said, "huh?" you're on the right track -
During a luncheon speech Monday to the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley shared an early memory from the campaign trail that may explain why John Kerry will not be president next year.

In January 2003, when his campaign was still young enough that Kerry would actually sit down with reporters in a relaxed setting, he and Crowley met for breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Dubuque, Iowa.

"I'd like to start out with some green tea," Kerry told the waitress, who stared at him for a moment before responding, "We have Lipton's."

Lipton's would be fine, Kerry said, but the memory stayed with Crowley.

"There were many green tea instances," she told the sell-out crowd of 450 at the Kravis Center's Cohen Pavilion. "There's a very large disconnect between the Washington politicians and most of America and how they live. Bush was able to bridge that gap, and Kerry was not."

If the Democrats hope to regain the White House, she said, they will have to close the green tea gap.

As MediaMatters notes, however-
But green tea may not be quite the highbrow delicacy Crowley seems to think. In fact, Lipton itself makes more than a half-dozen different varieties of green tea. Lipton's website even reveals that green tea accounts for 20 percent of all tea produced. And, according to Lipton's product locator, you can buy green tea in Dubuque, Iowa, at that gourmet market known as ... Kmart.

So, who is the real out-of-touch elitist -- John Kerry, for drinking green tea, or Candy Crowley, for assuming that simple Iowa folk couldn't possibly be familiar with the beverage?

it's like magic, but magic that any fool can do

I took off my watch in game theory tonight so that I could put it on the table upside down (because I look at it too much during Scott's lectures - that's why). When I put it back on a few minutes later (because I realized that time doesn't really go any faster when I'm not looking at it - that's why), I realized what a complicated hand movement it takes to do a watch strap. It's so fluid and graceful though - like watching a tiny little acrobat at the Cirque du Soleil, but my fingers are the acrobat and my watch is the giant watch that the acrobat is putting around a giant wrist.

As an exercise in frustration, I'm going to try to describe it in steps. If you know anyone that uses a slip-on watch because they don't know how do do a belt-type band, feel free to share this how-to guide.

1) Drape the watch over your left wrist so that the sides of the band are hanging down. Your wrist should be parallel with the floor and diagnol with the trunk of your body(note: I'm assuming you're right-handed and wear your watch on your left wrist. If that's not right, you're a circus freak.)

2) Place the pad of your right middle finger on the side of far side of the band, your right index finger on the other side of the far band with the band pressed between the nail of your index finger and the pad of your middle finger. With the pad of your thumb, press the close side of the band toward the pad of your index finger. You should now be making something that looks like a double-decker sandwich - thumb-band-index-band-middle.

Missy wants to go eat, so this will have to be continued later. Practice this part so that you have it down before we get to step #3 (which looks like it will be really complicated).

ipod pressure

I'm being pressured to buy an ipod, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like the idea of easily-accessible, highly-portable music, but I don't like the idea of digital music replacing music in forms that I can touch. Also, Travis tells me that the biggest benefit of owning an ipod is becoming part of the white-cord community - with the knowing nods and the snobbery and such. But here's the question - does my music snob cred really benefit from joining this community? Or am I better off pretending that I won't buy anything that's not on vinyl and listening to it on my hi-fi?

But don't stare at the sun while you're out there

Turn it off and go outside.

Researchers warned that there could be a drastic rise in the number of glaucoma cases if action was not taken to evaluate people who spend long time in front of screens and have existing eye conditions. "Computer stress is reaching higher levels than have ever been experienced before," the team from the Toho University School of Medicine in Tokyo said.

Drink the Kool-Aid - it's grape!

In a post about the recent self-immolation outside the White House, the authors of Powerline suggest that, "if the Michael Moore brigades had any decency, they would follow this gentleman's inspirational example"

Some text from the Washington Post article:

Mohamed Alanssi, 52, approached the northwest guardhouse on Pennsylvania Avenue about 2:05 p.m. and asked the security detail to deliver a note to President Bush. When uniformed Secret Service officers turned him away, he stepped about 15 feet from the guard post and used a lighter to ignite his jacket, according to the U.S. Park Police.

Secret Service officers wrestled him to the ground and doused the flames with fire extinguishers. Alanssi was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he was listed in critical condition with burns over about 30 percent of his body, authorities said.

In the recent interviews, Alanssi expressed anguish over not being able to visit his family in Yemen. He said that he suffers from diabetes and heart problems and that his wife is seriously ill with stomach cancer. Alanssi said he could not travel to his native country because he has no money and because the FBI, which is expecting him to testify at a terrorism trial in New York, was keeping his Yemeni passport.

I'm gorgeous

I wore my new single-breasted, three-button navy sportcoat to school today and I have to say that I looked fab-u-lous!

Welcome to reader #3!

Please welcome Gabby to the fold! Gabby is an illegal Mexican immigrant who cleans houses and cooks tacos for rich white people. Or she's a law student. But illegal either way.

More mind vomit

For your reading pleasure:

"Almost everyone is aware of how low the United States of America's (US's or America's) voting turnout has been, whether they found out by word of mouth or by having a course designed specifically to provide political information and awareness. This is a very interesting thing considering the US has had one of the most effective forms of political government, Democracy with allows its people to have an electing voice in politics, for years now. With this in mind one would think otherwise, not every country give it's citizens this right, yet here in Americans sometimes over half of the people eligible choose not to vote and/or are ignorant to the American electorate. Amongst other things this is a huge problem that causes reactions all around the world. There have been many documented and undocumented opinions with this very problem as its muse."

I'm having the urge to vote!

I spent the entire weekend - around 20 hours - grading my undergrads' first six-page essay. I have a hard time believing some of them have ever put finger to keyboard before, and I'd like to write a letter to their respective high school english teachers.

Problem 1 - Overwrought, flowery language
Let's say that I'm an undergrad and I want to write, "I was surprised that Bush and Kerry didn't refer to civil liberties more often during the debate." Through the combination of trying-desperately-to-make-my-paper-six-pages-long and wanting-to-sound-more-intelligent-than-I-am, what comes out is, "I, along with all American Citizens, were shocked and appalled at the irrefutable fact that President George W. Bush and Democratic Nominee U.S. Senator John F. Kerry failed within regard to their constitutional duty as president nominees to speak about Civil Liberties, which are a fundamental and unarguable portion of the American political scheme."

Problem 2 - Mind vomit
Here's an answer that I was given to a question about whether non-voters give voters more influence -
"If more people new more about politics then more people would go out and vote. Part of the reason that poeple do not vote these days is because they just don't care anymore. The reason that they don't care is that they do not have any idea who it is they are actually voting for. Not a whole lot of people now what political views Senator John Kerry has or what political views make him different from President George W. Bush. The problem is this country does not seem to care what views each candidate has because in general the public does not care about politics. The public should care about politics because they got the right to vote for their leader. Many countries do not have this right. The right is one of the greatest rights we have and is one that not many people care about these days but should. The voter turnout is so low these days because people do not know enough about politics to care about voting. If more people knew more about politics then more people would vote. In many cases, many of the people that don't vote don't even know who they could vote for or even what position it is for. This is an issue that is absolutely disgusting and hows that people just don't care who is in power of this country. I am sure that deep down inside they care who actually is in power in this country. We are lucky that we actually get to pick our leaders. Other countries are not so lucky and have to live with evil dictators. The opportunity to be able to vote in the country, however, is wasted because people in the general sense do not know enough about politics to have the urge to vote"

John Ashcroft - gone, but not so much of the forgotten, you know?

From ABC News about an hour ago:
Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.

In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called "a profoundly disturbing trend" among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war.


Ashcroft added, "These decisions should be left to someone with years of experience in constitutional review...errr...who has read the const....who knows what the constitution is...uh...er...someone who is steadfast in his resolve and knows a bad idea when he sees one."



I'm not sure I can (or want to)

Tyler Hamilton has failed three blood tests - and only passed a fourth (the one that allowed him to keep his Olympic gold medal) because someone in the lab froze his sample. That's enough proof to suspend a lesser rider - I suspect the UCI is being extra careful with this case because it's so high-profile. Tyler Hamilton has always maintained his innocence, though, and now his friends and family have set up a site to help him fight the "allegations" - BelieveTyler.org

Oh, Tyler, how can I trust that you didn't do it? I can't take your word for it, just like I couldn't take Marco Pantani's, or David Millar's, or the entire Festina team's. If it makes you feel better, you're in good company - I'm not taking Lance Armstrong's denials as proof that he hasn't had a push or two from a syringe either.

This morning I dropped in on some cycling friends I work with at my summer job, and we chatted about poor, poor Tyler Hamilton. I found out - and this really shocked me - that people I've raced against have admitted to doping. Wha?!? This is really troubling - I can just about understand taking blood products if sponsorships and international wins are on the line, but local amateur races in Wisconsin? Come on! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, now that I think more about it - who's expecting to get tested after an amateur race that he paid $20 to enter?

Apparently on the live coverage of Ironman Hawaii, the announcers commented that Nina Kraft (who recently admitted to using a blood booster called EPO - see post below) looked dejected when she crossed the finishing tape. When Natascha Badmann crossed in second 17 minutes later, they made a comment to the tune of "Nina should look at Natascha - that's how you celebrate an Ironman win!" Nina Kraft knew that she cheated to win, and what's particularly troubling to me is that we probably would have never known if the EPO only got her to sixth place instead of first. She wouldn't have been tested, and I don't think she would have admitted it without the threat of a positive B-sample to back up the A-sample.

I'm disillusioned - professional wrestling is the fake sport, not cycling! Not triathlon!

Alberto Gonzales

Are we going to look back fondly on John Ashcroft and his wacky statue-censoring ways? This entire article is available in this month's Atlantic Monthly, but you have to be a subscriber to get to the online content.

A close examination of the Gonzales memoranda suggests that Governor Bush frequently approved executions based on only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute...[One] summary refers only fleetingly to the central issue in Washington's clemency appeal—his limited mental capacity, which was never disputed by the State of Texas—and presents it as part of a discussion of "conflicting information" about the condemned man's childhood...Most important, Gonzales failed to mention that Washington's mental limitations, and the fact that he and his ten siblings were regularly beaten with whips, water hoses, extension cords, wire hangers, and fan belts, were never made known to the jury, although both the district attorney and Washington's trial lawyer knew of this potentially mitigating evidence[...]

The miscarriages in the Washington case were also precisely the kind of thing Bush claimed to want to be told about. "I don't believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own," he wrote in his autobiography, A Charge to Keep (1999), "unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow unfair." Such information had indeed come to light in Washington's case, yet Gonzales's memorandum did not tell Bush about it.




soop

I think you'll agree that New England clam chowder is so superior to Manhattan clam chowder that the latter barely deserves the "clam chowder" title, with the anticipated goodness that it connotates. Lobster bisque, however, is still Generalissimo of the soups.

Welcome!

A warm Taming of the Blog welcome to our newest reader - Jelena! Jelena hails from Serbania, which I'm told is somewhere in another country. Congratulations on your big trip to America - we'll speak slowly and loudly!

EPO-man

This is disappointing, and more surprising to me than doping in the Tour de France. Professional triathletes don't do it for the money - their sponsorships, even for the very top athletes, typically come in the form of free and/or discounted equipment and the winner of Ironman Hawaii - the world championship, mind you - only goes home with a few thousand dollars. From what I've read, most of them are supported by spouses, parents, or evening jobs.

Nina Kraft, winner of the 2004 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii, has tested positive for EPO.

On Wednesday, the 35-year-old Kraft acknowledged the result of a test on an A-sample taken immediately following her October 16 victory in Kona. Kraft's confirmation came even before the completion of tests on her B-sample. Kraft faces a two-year suspension from the sport of triathlon[...]

"The mistake cannot be rectified _ I am going to bear all the consequences," she told the Hesse state radio Thursday. "I never really rejoiced over the victory in Hawaii. I was ashamed the entire time, especially in front of my family. I cheated."




And one more way to look at a red and blue country





In this map, each state is shaded red or blue to represent the percentage of votes won by Kerry or Bush. I don't think it's as intuitive as the purple map or as telling as the cartographic map, but I'm committed to making this point.

No one flies over Madison unless they're going to Canada

Ted Rall and my friend Stacey would get along swimmingly! Oh, wait, no they wouldn't. Not at all. I'll write it again - 46.25% of Kerry's vote came from red states. Perhaps we shouldn't be quite so quick to dismiss them as ignorant, backwater hicks who've only seen gay men on Bravo.

Inland Americans face a bigger challenge than coastal "cultural elitists" when it comes to finding high-quality news coverage. The best newspapers, which routinely win prizes for their in-depth local and national reporting and staffers overseas, line the coasts. So do the cable TV networks with the broadest offerings and most independent radio stations. Bush Country makes do with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity syndicated on one cookie-cutter AM outlet after another. Citizens of the blue states read lackluster dailies stuffed with generic stories cut and pasted from wire services. Given their dismal access to high-quality media, it's a minor miracle that 40 percent of Mississippians turned out for Kerry.


So our guy lost the election. Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world. If you voted for Bush, we accept that we have to share the country with you. We're adjusting to the possibility that there may be more of you than there are of us. But don't demand our respect. You lost it on November 2.


I do agree with this part though -

Firstly, living in the sticks doesn't make you more American. Rural, urban or suburban--they're irrelevant. San Francisco's predominantly gay Castro district is every bit as red, white and blue as the Texas panhandle.

Bridget Jones?

Despite what the Bridget Jones ads claim, I don't think it's a movie I would enjoy. While my wife sees it with friends, my options are to

(1) go along so that I can contribute Renee Zellweger-related snarky comments
(2) see Shaun of the Dead
(3) see Team America-World Police
(4) see The Incredibles
(5) ignore vaguely threatening people in the lobby

Since I'm not abandoning Missy to watch it alone, there shouldn't be any relationship-related pressure to see it, right? There's also no reason that I can't do some combination of 2, 3, or 4 with 5.
Playing Whak-a-Mole in Iraq -
And while U.S.-led troops fought for the upper hand in Falluja, insurgents in the northern city of Mosul set police stations ablaze, stole weapons and brazenly roamed the streets.

Residents said Iraq's third largest city seemed to slide out of control as grenade blasts and gunfire rang through empty streets and smoke billowed from two burning police stations.

Mosul is ten times the size of Fallujah.

Kerry voters in red states

After a really quick calculation, it looks like there were 26,156,785 Kerry votes cast in red states. That's 46.75% of the 55.9 million that he received overall, so I think we owe the red states a little more credit than we're giving them. This map is right - we're a purple country, not a red and blue country. There's not something so fundamentally different about places like Nebraska, Mississippi, and Montana that we simply can't understand how their basic thought process works.





In this map, purple represents counties that had a slim Democratic or Republican advantage. There's an even better map at but it's a .png file and I can't get freepichosting.com to accept it. The final map on that page is a purple cartogram - states are not only colored shades of blue, red and purple, but sized by population.

True dat, yo!

From Paul Waldman at Gadflyer:

If I hear one more journalist say that red-staters are treated with condescension and scorn by those elitist urban dwellers on the coasts, my head is going to explode.

I have never heard a single liberal commentator or Democratic officeholder express anything resembling scorn for the good people of the "heartland." No, what we get is paeans to their strong values, their work ethic, the small towns where virtue bubbles up from the very earth on which they walk. The only expressions of contempt I ever hear are directed from red-staters at places where there are lots of Democrats. From "Massachusetts liberals" to "liberal Northeastern elitists," the only regional prejudice allowable is that directed at the coasts. When the DNC chose Boston as the site for its convention, Dick Armey said, "If I were a Democrat, I suspect I'd feel a heck of a lot more comfortable in Boston than, say, America." Can anyone imagine a Democrat saying such a thing about Kansas? His career would be over.

But conservatives need something to bitch about. Do we control all three branches of government? Then it must be the liberal media keeping us from telling the truth! Do we control the business world? Then Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins must be oppressing us, with their scathing open letters and satirical one-act plays! Do we have a stunningly well-funded network of conservative organizations pushing our cause? Then damn those liberal college professors, forcing Gramsci and Foucault down our kids' throats!

Here's a little challenge for our nation's journalists. The next time you glibly assert that liberals hold regular folks in contempt, see if you can find an example from a prominent liberal to back up your claim. And if you can't find one, then maybe it isn't true.


Why do we roll over for this kind of stuff? Aren't we already the party of limp-wristed, cafe au lait-drinking pansies? Where is our Karl Rove? It's not Michael Moore, despite what some conservatives would like to believe, because he's not behind the scenes, not making policy, not directing campaigns. It's probably not Mary Beth Cahill, who looks like she's be about the nicest woman you could meet (maybe she's insidiously mean - I'll leave that option open).

I'm not pro-death

This is pretty scary stuff. There was a recent story in Madison about something similar - a pharmacist refused to refill a young woman's birth control pill prescription because his religion doesn't allow him to encourage sex outside marriage. There was no one else there at the time to fill the order for her, so she had to speak to a manager the next day. In the grand scheme of her sex life, I suppose it doesn't really matter, but that's not the point. I don't have the exact numbers at my fingertips, but something like a dozen states have legislation pending that would make this legal. I've always said that I'm willing to support freedom of religion as long as the religious practices of others don't affect my civil liberties. This doesn't pass the sniff test.

President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years, during which time its charter lapsed. As a result, the Bush Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members. This position does not require Congressional approval.

Dr. Hager is the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing women with case studies from Hager's practice. His views of reproductive health care are far outside the mainstream for reproductive technology. Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women.

In the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an editor and contributing author of "The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality Reproductive Technologies and the Family," Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the medically inaccurate assertion that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient.

Someone's cranky!

F*ck the South

Well then - don't I feel like a latte-sipping pansy for writing that we should try to understand why conservatives vote the way they do. I need to grow a spine too! Ummm...oh-here's one! How about you red-staters start ignoring party framing and vote based on rational, utility-maximizing economic preferences?! Wow - I'm not very good at that.

With oodles of liberty and scads of justice for all

An addendum to my last post -

My students' assignment in section today was to write a letter to the editor of either the Wisconsin State Journal or the Cap Times about (1) whether third parties have a place in U.S. politics or (2) whether and how the Democratic party needs to change. I just got this from a student with a request that I look it over and let him know what I think. I'm not even sure where to start - "These policies clearly hold the interest of our society and stand as definitive democratic values that will forever gauge support"? It's undergraddy over-writing at its very finest!

After the results from last week’s election, there is one clear underlying sentiment; the Democratic Party needs a change. The Republican Party have gained control of the house, senate, and of course the presidency ultimately causing all democrats left wondering their parties stand on policies and social issues. The Democratic Party has lost a sense of their value system thus portraying them as hyper liberals whose viewpoints are not unique and solely are based in opposition of the Republican’s. Surprisingly George W. Bush stated this fact the best as he referred to John Kerry as a “flip flopper” and his views as ambiguous and undefined. Clearly a problem has been presented thus causing the question to be asked of where the Democratic Party goes from here.

First of all there is a necessity to resort to their initial values that kept Bill Clinton in office for two terms: the economy and the social need to pay attention to the lower and middle classes. Bush, along with the rest of the Republic Party, has maintained a focus on the upper class and the establishment of programs that help only a specific amount of Americans while marginalizing the rest of society. The Democratic Party needs to establish their policies on Medicaid, Medicare, and Welfare in order to build more support from those classes that are being marginalized and ignored. Also there is a need for inner-city developmental programs that provides subsidized housing, more funding for schools, and family services. Moreover the democrats need to focus their attention on the lower and middle classes while confining this example of liberalism in a manner that still gathers the attention of the upper class. The issue of gun-control and pro-choice are more policies that need to be highlighted. These policies clearly hold the interest of our society and stand as definitive democratic values that will forever gauge support.

In conclusion, with a clear separation of values and policies from the Republics the Democratic Party will thrive. The answer does not lie in opposition but rather in a form of confined thought where the overall thesis or goal is clearly defined. It is only for the future to tell if these downfalls of the Democratic Party will be fixed or if its problems will only further.

Statistically significant section

Why, assuming that sections are random samples of undergrads, are some of them such a pain in the ass? My Tuesday 9:55 section is statistically significant, and I would reject the null hypothesis that college students politically active if it was my only sample. Today we talked about (1) whether the Democrats could ever win another election ever again ever, and (2) whether third parties were useless in a U.S.-style winner-take-all democracy. Even though (1) over 3/4 of UW-Madison students voted and (2) some of my students told me they voted for Nader in 2000 but Kerry in 2004, they had nothing to say. Not interested in talking to me about it - not at all. In the two following sections, however, the students were interested, engaged, and had reasonably intelligent things to say about both topics. How is one section such a crapfest?

Pahked my cah

I'm officially on the Harvard payroll now, so add extra authority to my posts as you see fit.

Dan Drezner says I should stop

Dan posts a link to a group blog by a half-dozen Chicago grad students, but with the caveat -

"I confess to some guilt at linking to them -- because I'm not convinced that it's a great idea for graduate students to be blogging. This is not because they have nothing to say -- quite the opposite. The problem is that for grad students, the opportunity cost of blogging is less time spent on their own research and reading -- activities that are kind of important in terms of getting their advanced degrees.

Of course, I'm sure my senio colleagues have the same attitude towards this little enterprise, so consider this a "pot calling the kettle black" kind of disapproval."

...then I'm confused

From a letter sent to Andrew Sullivan:
"What you are seeing here, Andrew, is a backlash against the government, not against gays. The vast majority of Americans view the institution of marriage as a private institution, and they are repelled not so much by the sight of gays getting married as by the notion of a government agency -- judges -- changing the meaning of that institution by fiat, without discussion, debate or input."

If you really do believe that marriage is a private institution and that government should keep their hands out of it, then how about - and just humor me for a second here - we don't amend state constitutions to prohibit it? Judges that support gay marriage aren't wacky leftist activists - they're applying a strict interpretation of the fourteenth amendment. If you're going to play the libertarian card, you'd better make sure it's facing the right direction.

Why is my baby crying?

Baby: Wa-Wah-Waaaahhh!

Translation: "Your feeble attempts to convince me you've 'got my nose' are belittling at best. What sort of illusionist do you take yourself for?"

Analysis: Well, honestly, who really believes a thumb looks anything like a nose? Your child is quite young and green behind the ears, but do you truly take him/her for a fool? If your goal is to amuse, we suggest the recent collection of New Yorker cartoons, or other such material that would be suitable for children.

More here
I've been thinking a lot lately about how red staters perceive blue staters (that was exactly the type of oversimplification I should try to avoid, huh?)Kos argues, and I agree, that we need to (1) change the right's image of our party as a bunch of latte-drinking, wishy-washy, let-France-decide, class warriors and (2) join in the chorus that this election was about "values" - and then stress that the primary one was homophobia. Let's frame the right instead of being the framees.

"Frankly, we don't get angry enough about this depiction, and if we don't start raising our voices, pretty soon Sean and Bill and Ann will have the rest of America invoking as a referent, whenever they hear the words "Democrat Party," the image of a thirty-something, black, gay UCLA professor of postmodern studies who works a few hours a day indoctrinating his students with Che Guevara mantras, before knocking off early to go home for some hot gay sex with his unionized, Hispanic postal worker husband, as they watch pornography on the widescreen and their three adopted sons sit nearby taking notes."

Kos doesn't say it, but the sons are Chinese, Korean, and Bangladeshi when I picture them. Also, their neighbors got a divorce because of their open homosexuality.

Maybe things don't really change at all

The U.S. just prior to the civil war - red and orange represent slave states/territories, green represents free territories. Maybe our country hasn't changed all that much since the middle of the 19th century.





flicks

Take a break from the library of posts below to check out What to Rent. Fill out a medium-length personality quiz and answer a couple questions about your mood - out pops a movie recommendation! Already seen it? Here's another one! The first five movies it recommended were ones I had already seen (and enjoyed), so I'm going to take its advice to rent 25th Hour.

eew.

Washington Post:
Conservative radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh, 53 who has announced his speration from wife Marta in early June, is dating CNN anchor Daryn Kagan, 41 a spokesman for Limbaugh has confirmed to us.

The two were spotted at a party Limbaugh co-hosted at a New York restaurant, where guests included VP Dick Cheney, NY Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Bill Frist.

The coupling came as a surprise to some friends who consider the Atlanta based Kagan as part of the liberal media axis and a feminist-but then again, opposites attract.

Kagan, who has been with CNN for 10 years, hosts 'CNN Live Today.'









Last one

This one includes a reference to the book I mentioned...ummm...thirty-five posts ago (or so). I'm not sure I agree with Nick Kristof's assertion that "average American" or "ordinary voter" also mean "conservative", but the point of the first few paragraphs is important.


"But whether John Kerry's supporters are now celebrating or seeking asylum abroad, they should be feeling wretched about the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting - utterly against their own interests - for Republican candidates.

One of the Republican Party's major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for billionaires. Democrats are still effective on bread-and-butter issues like health care, but they come across in much of America as arrogant and out of touch the moment the discussion shifts to values.

"On values, they are really noncompetitive in the heartland," noted Mike Johanns, a Republican who is governor of Nebraska. "This kind of elitist, Eastern approach to the party is just devastating in the Midwest and Western states. It's very difficult for senatorial, Congressional and even local candidates to survive."

In the summer, I was home - too briefly - in Yamhill, Ore., a rural, working-class area where most people would benefit from Democratic policies on taxes and health care. But many of those people disdain Democrats as elitists who empathize with spotted owls rather than loggers.

One problem is the yuppification of the Democratic Party. Thomas Frank, author of the best political book of the year, "What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," says that Democratic leaders have been so eager to win over suburban professionals that they have lost touch with blue-collar America.

"There is a very upper-middle-class flavor to liberalism, and that's just bound to rub average people the wrong way," Mr. Frank said. He notes that Republicans have used "culturally powerful but content-free issues" to connect to ordinary voters.

It's like a "best of the liberal blogosphere" in here today -

Here's how we start understanding Bush supporters -

"Bush is a very simple man. You may think that makes him a bad president, as I do, but lots of people don't - and there are more of them than there are of us. If you don't believe me, take a look at those numbers on your TV screen.

"Think about the simplicity of everything Bush says and does. He gives the same speech every time. His sentences are short and clear. "Government must do a few things and do them well," he says. True to his word, he has spent his political capital on a few big ideas: tax cuts, terrorism, Iraq. Even his electoral strategy tonight was powerfully simple: Win Florida, win Ohio, and nothing else matters. All those lesser states- Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire- don't matter if Bush reels in the big ones.

"This is what so many people like about Bush's approach to terrorism. They forgive his marginal and not-so-marginal screw-ups, because they can see that fundamentally, he "gets it." They forgive his mismanagement of Iraq, because they see that his heart and will are in the right place. And while they may be unhappy about their economic circumstances, they don't hold that against him. What you and I see as unreflectiveness, they see as transparency. They trust him."

More

Amen, my brother:

"There are competing values in this world and you can't be all things to all people. The election was won with 130,000 or so conservative evangelical votes in one state. That is decisive enough to declare victory in the election, but it is far too slim a margin to make the sweeping decision that the Democratic party needs to shelve its values of tolerance and civil rights to accomodate certain religious beliefs that are incompatible with them. The religious people are welcome to their beliefs, of course, but it's something on which we cannot compromise and have any of our own values left. (Oddly, I think that the truly religious people, as opposed to the poseur majority of republicans, might just understand that.)"

Lots of reading today (you're welcome)

From the Rude Pundit:

"Kerry lost this election because the American media decided to try to appear "balanced." Unlike in 2000, when they eviscerated Al Gore for every minor transgression (and a bunch of made up ones) without ever attacking Bush for big, gaping holes in his life, this time the media, following Fox's lead, attempted to look "fair" by pointing out the great and giant fuck-ups that Bush had made and morally equating them with minor quotes from Kerry. Hence Bush could have lied about WMDs and other things, but Kerry was a flip-flopper because of his voted-for-then-against-the-$87-billion quote. It's like saying Bush ripped the intestines out of an old woman, but, see, Kerry tripped a dog. The Dan Rather-memo controversy was manna from heaven, because it pushed the media away from questioning anymore. Only in the last days, when the full horror of the Bush fuck up of Iraq became clear with the missing explosives, did some in the media attempt to call a crime a crime. Then again . . .

Ultimately the fault lies with the American people and how much they want blood and how much they hate fags....Being a liberal is so fucking hard because to be a Christ-lovin' fundamentalist drone means you never have to take blame for anything you do. You get to see the world in the comforting contrast of black and white. God, what an easy thing that would be."

Gadflyer isn't always right though

"I hesitate to aim barbs at John Kerry, an honorable, thoughtful man who has served his country well throughout his life. And Democratic primary voters have no one but themselves to blame for nominating him. But he couldn't beat a president who lied to the American people to start an unpopular war; who has the worst jobs record since the Depression; who hasn't done a thing about the most pressing domestic concern (health care); and who wasn't legitimately elected in the first place. Pathetic."

I think this is a rationalization - it's easier to blame Kerry for running a bad campaign than it is to blame non-voters for not caring or Bush supporters for voting out of irrational fear. It's us - WE'RE the ones who couldn't beat a president who lied to US to start a war that would kill thousands of us. Pathetic, indeed.

Convince, don't concede

Yeah, what he said:

"Finally, there is this. At the end of the day Republicans won close Senate races and the presidency principally by appealing to fear, hate, and prejudice. Well-meaning, non-homophobic Republicans may rationalize this by saying that it's a small price to pay for a strong leader who will keep them safe. (Ahem.) But they know better. They know better when they avoid the subject with their gay friends, and they know better when they hear the bile coming from the religious leaders and everyday bigots they depend on for votes but wouldn't be caught dead associating with. Deep down they know a tax cut isn't worth a soul, and security without principles is meaningless. They fought, and won, dirty. And they know it.

"Democrats may not be entirely clean on the subject – if one is not homophobic it doesn't make much sense to be against gay marriage – but the bottom line is we didn't try and get a president elected by pandering to hate. I'd rather lose every god damn election in my lifetime than win their way. But the beauty is, we can win without doing that. We did in 2000, and we came within a whisker of doing so this year. Remember that when the DLC tells us that we need to sell out gays (after telling us to sell out unions, and blacks, and the poor, and all the other, well, Democrats out there) to win the support of Bible-thumping bigots in Alabama that are never going to vote for us anyway. That's wrong, on every level.

"As my Media Law and Ethics professor at Northwestern said to us in her final lecture, at the end of the day all you have is your integrity. They don't have any; we do. And I'd trade the White House for being able to look in the mirror any day."

Red states

From dailykos and salon:

_____________________________________________________________________

By the time I had gone to bed, the chorus of pundits had fixed on a single tune, as they always do, and remarkably quickly, too. (Do they watch one another's feeds in the green room?) They had dusted off the old theme that the Democrats need to "reach out" more to the "heartland." Reach out? How, exactly? Forget that these folks blindly ignored all objective reality -- and their own best economic and national-security interests -- and voted for Bush. Look what they did at the Senate level. In Kentucky, they refused to use even basic sanity as a litmus test, and reelected a guy with apparent late-stage dementia; in Oklahoma, they tapped a fellow who wants to execute doctors who perform abortions, who was sued for sterilizing a woman against her will, who pled guilty to Medicaid fraud, and who largely opposes federal subsidies, even for his own state; in Louisiana, they embraced a man who has made back-door deals with David Duke and who was revealed to have had a long-running affair with a prostitute; in South Carolina, they went with a guy who thinks all gay teachers should be fired; and in Alaska, they reelected a woman who was appointed by her father to the job after a spectacularly undistinguished career as an obscure state senator. And compared with the rest of the GOP Class of '04, she's the freaking prom queen. These are the stellar elected officials that the "heartland" has foisted on the rest of us.

"Reach out" to these voters? Yeah. Then boil your hand till it's sterilized.

Democrats, liberals, etc have been trying to make inroads for decades only to be called "baby killers" "heathens" "spendocrats" etc. Its sad, but its real. Get over it and fix your communities. Keep your state legislature from going red. Its a big country, you arent responsible for all of it, because when you try you will see the ugly face of bigotry, hate, and theocracy. It will break your morale. These people will never change, they are not rational and care not for better government or a better tomorrow. Write them off because their culture war is more important than retirement, overtime, or even food in their bellies.

______________________________________________________________________________


I'm not so sure that I agree with the argument of the last paragraph. I found out that my parents voted for Bush this year, and I'd like to think that they're not irrational, hate-filled bigots. I just ordered a book called "What's the Matter with Kansas?" that asks the same question posed above - why do rural voters let social issues trump economic ones?

However, while I think it's important to understand rural voters, the solution is not - IS NOT - to give up issues like abortion, gay rights, etc just to win. Let's show them that we're on the right side of those issues and win that way. We'll feel better about ourselves in the morning.




e-mails

Below are two e-mails sent to Andrew Sullivan, a gay Republican who supported Kerry. Over the last couple days, I've been struggling to understand how conservatives think - how they see the world. There's been a conservative groundswell the past few years, and I'm at a loss as to why.

I sincerely hope that it's not people like the author of the first e-mail though, because his is a position that I won't ever be able to wrap my mind around. "True Americans do not like your kind of homosexual deviants in our country..."?!? Let's go to the exit polls....self-identified gay voters supported Kerry 77-23%. Now maybe the 23% that voted for Bush were delirious - their feverish little gay minds too worried about what shoes other voters were wearing to pay attention to who they were voting for. But maybe - just maybe - gay voters aren't one-issue voters. Maybe they're just like straight voters - concerned about terrorism and tax cuts and health care and social security. That's quite the "radical pro-gay agenda"!

E-mail #1

"I wonder if you noticed that yesterday all eleven states that considered the question of gay marriage voted to ban it. ALL ELEVEN. I think this sends a very clear message -- true Americans do not like your kind of homosexual deviants in our country, and we will not tolerate your radical pro-gay agenda trying to force our children to adopt your homosexual lifestyle. You should be EXTREMELY GRATEFUL that we even let you write a very public and influential blog, instead of suppressing your treasonous views (as I would prefer). But I'm sure someone like yourself would consider me just an "extremist" that you don't need to worry about. Well you are wrong -- I'm not just an extremist, I am a real American, and you should be worried because eleven states yesterday proved that there are millions more just like me who will not let you impose your radical agenda on our country."

E-mail #2

"I'll tell you, being a 16 year-old gay kid in Michigan just got a hell of a lot worse. When I woke up this morning and saw the anti gay marriage proposal had passed, I was shocked. I realized the situation I'm faced with everyday in school - the American people have just shown my classmates that it's perfectly fine to discriminate. A direct quote from a 'friend' at school today: 'It's so cool that all these states just told all the faggots to eat shit and get the hell out...' Because of the above events, I am at a crossroads ... I'm the youngest card-carrying Republican in the county, and am constantly asked to get others involved for Bush/Cheney. Herein lies a problem, I can't bring myself to do that. Bush totally lost all my support (I know I can't vote - but I make a hell of a campaigner) when he supported the amendment to ban gay marriages, and I felt bad that in straying from Bush, I was abandoning Cheney, who I have an amazing amount of respect for. Many would say go Democrat... but I can't do that (that signals the absence of a spine up here), and in the next year, I'm considering dropping my membership to the party. Especially this year, despite how undercut and violated I feel as a gay person, I couldn't be happier that I am. I've got a stronger will because of it, and will lead my life just as strongly.

Post-election

America has been lost to....the Americans, I guess. My favorite post-election analysis is from the Rude Pundit (although, fair warning, it is awfully rude).

IEM Update

Kerry is down on the vote share market, but barely - .500 vs. .501. Things are looking really good on the Winner-take-all market though - his last sales have been above the daily average, while Bush's have been well below.

All the cool kids vote

Missy and I live next door to our polling place, so we walked over a few minutes before 7:00 this morning. And we waited in line. A long line. We asked for it though - we thought about voting early, but I wanted to have this experience. Just after 7:00, I saw some of the first voters leaving and overheard them say that they got to the school just before 6:00. I was glad to see so many people out, but I was particularly encouraged by the people standing in the also-long registration line. If you've never voted before, you don't stand in line for an hour to vote for the incumbent! Between that, the IEM's new prices, the Kerry-heavy early vote #'s, and the Kerry-leaning exit polls #'s, I'm feeling pretty good. I suspect that I'll go through a number of mood swings today though.

If, in fact, Wisconsin is key to the nat'l outcome, and if, in fact, student turnout will turn Wisconsin's vote, then my sections this morning were also a good sign. They were energized - ready to vote themselves (except for the 40-50% that had already voted), and ready to march friends and strangers to the polls. Library Mall was also a mess of liberals - Kerry, Feingold, Baldwin, ACT, Stix, etc. I felt like my Kerry/Edwards lapel sticker was a badge of acceptance - they knew I was an ally and I knew that I was around good people.

I voted yes on the pool referendum, but now I'm thinking there was probably an environmental explanation for the lakeshore law in the first place. Dammit - why did I vote for something I hadn't researched?

Matt Drudge is an ass. I hate him with the fiery, burning passion of a thousand angry suns.

Big Mo'

Candidate futures on the Iowa Electronic Market are TIED, bay-bee!

Howard Zinn

My new favorite phrase - "absorbed by the already poisoned bones of the victor"