Sunday, February 26, 2006

John Edwards is the solution to everything

That's basically the theme of my posts today over at Ezra's blog. First, I've got a post on red-state regionalism and how not to respond to the South Dakota abortion ban. (Justin, I've copied your November 2004 comment yet again.)

Then I've got a post on how to beat John McCain. This is the post with more Edwards content, so my fellow Edwards fans might want to look at it first.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Amsterdam Replacement Blogging

Ezra's off in Amsterdam on a blogging junket with Amanda, Lindsay, and Jeralyn Merritt from TalkLeft. So I'll be filling in for him over the next week-plus. Here's what I've got:

I respond to Lindsay's praise of Russ Feingold in this piece on Edwards, Civil Liberties, and Abortion.

I love scientists! They're on their way to finding a vaccine for Ebola.

Duke Cunningham is quite possibly the most corrupt Congressman ever. I can hardly believe this stuff.

I have a long post on why you shouldn't blame Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer for intervening against Paul Hackett in the Democratic primary.

I post on the history of the top tax bracket at 2:30 AM, and when I get up at 10:15 I've got 18 comments! Lots of them are good.

Belle Waring posted about guns, and it was funny, so I linked. I put in a link to Bunny's hot gun pictures too.

Don't believe the hype. Boring stuff actually brought about the fall of Larry Summers.

[Update] Ezra's back now, and I've moved this to the top.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Public displays of hotness

I'm sitting on the porch of the Spider House, a cool coffee shop / student hangout here in Austin, and a pair of pretty girls have just finished making out with each other about fifteen feet in front of me. There was lots of kissing and meaningful looking into eyes and face-caressing.

I'll have to be a very good liberal boy for the rest of the week to repay the world for this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Amanda is awesome.

Witness this key metaphysical point. Carrie Lukas writes:

Whether it’s done by men or women, V-Day reduces women to their sex organs. How are women being helped by that?

Amanda responds:

I’ve seen “The Vagina Monologues” and I don’t recall anyone saying, “I am a vagina.” In fact, there were constant references to “my vagina”, which implies to English speakers that the vagina is something women have, as hold in possession, not that we are. If Lukas is confusing possession with being, she must be confused all the time. Her day is probably one interaction after another like this:

“Oh, I like your green skirt.”

“I’m not a skirt, I’m a human being! How dare you reduce me to a skirt!”

As Amanda points out, the Lukas view of reduction has some deeply counterintuitive consequences.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The key to understanding everything

Okay, maybe not everything. But it explains a lot of the dynamics you see between left-wing bloggers. I'd often read people on Kos and elsewhere dissing on Harvard when bashing Matt Yglesias, and wondered, what the hell is going here? It's the GOP who's supposed to be all anti-academic and stuff! After reading this excellent piece by Chris Bowers, I see the sort of intra-progressive class dynamic that was going on. The association of Harvard with the activist elite was strong, and that explained why people were going crazy.

My general theory is that if the world of progressive activists is understood as a discrete entity, one can look inside of that entity and see massive class stratifications based upon the greatly differing levels of power over that entity. My theory goes on to postulate that almost the entire audience of the progressive political blogosphere is drawn from the world of progressive activists. While progressive activists of all classes of power use the blogosphere, those with comparatively little power over the direction of the progressive movement greatly outnumber those with moderate or high level of power. It is from this perspective that one can understand why the blogosphere is so regularly angry at what it calls "the establishment" of the Democratic Party and the progressive movement...

The outrage comes from the very real fact that the activist working class places the blame for the nation's continued conservative backslide squarely on the progressive activist elite.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Observations on identity politics

Two Ezra offerings this weekend -- the first one is on the possibility of getting scientists to vote as scientists by making them totally aware of the horrors of creationism. The second one discusses Condi Rice, and explores some of the ways that Republicans think about race.

Also, you won't want to miss the first picture of the guy Cheney shot.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

stereotypes of the day

Canadian girls like gun control.

Southern girls like guns.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Music last night

Amanda and I went to Beerland last night to see a benefit show for KOOP radio. Apparently the radio station had burned down because somebody was smoking, and they're trying to rebuild it.

The first band, the Nervous Exits, were not very impressive. I especially didn't like the singer, whose signature vocal effect was a scratchy "aaaaa" sound that anybody can make. Most people don't make this sound often, though, because it is annoying. [Update: that's "aaaaa" as in "caaaaat", not "aaaaa" as in "faaaaather"]

Then the Ugly Beats came on, and they were really good. Lots of people were dancing, and there were also go-go dancers up on stage. Somehow one of the guitarists got into the crowd without my noticing, and it was a neat surprise to suddenly have him push forward from behind me, playing his guitar, on his way back up to the stage. Another time, two of them came down from the stage, and I started doing the lotus-position knee-walk in the space that opened up behind them. At the end of the show, one of the guys was grinning at me and tapping his head in a gesture I didn't really understand. But he looked like he liked it, and I yelled that his band was awesome.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Michael Brown fails again

He was a failed Arabian horse lawyer. He was a disaster at FEMA. And now we see that he's incapable of even being a proper Bush Administration fall guy. I guess this is what happens when you hire completely incompetent people.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Midterm Madness!

Just in time for the end of football season, the good folks at TAPPED have started a new blog called Midterm Madness, which covers the 2006 election. It's got all the news on polls and fundraising and everything else.

I try not to spend too much time reading about scandals, since knowing that kind of information loses its value a lot quicker than knowledge of, say, the kind of stuff that Brad Plumer writes about. But horse-race political coverage has massive sport-like entertainment value. I guess that's one reason why most of the media covers races that way rather than trying to be genuinely enlightening about the positions of the candidates.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ten views

Nicholas has tagged me to name ten views I hold without evidence. It's been a reasonably productive day, so I guess I'm free to play...

1. Ezra Klein could beat over 85% of male right-wing bloggers in a fight, provided that he was sufficiently pissed off.
2. Coldplay's Chris Martin is basically a nice guy, but not very bright.
3. 100 years from now, people will regard Reasons and Persons more highly than A Theory of Justice.
4. The Suns have the best shot to beat the Pistons, since they can get downcourt before Detroit can set up its defense.
5. There's an innovative and successful NFL offense to be constructed around running quarterbacks, but nobody has tried it yet.
6. I'll be content with what I get from the philosophy job market next year.
7. Feminist bloggers are significantly prettier than the general population. (Okay, pictures are available on the web, and I have some evidence, but not enough.)
8. Brian Leiter isn't too irritated that I'm taking extra time working on the intro to Nietzsche and Morality (sorry it's taking so long, Brian. It'll be good!)
9. The girl I eventually marry will either be from a small town in a red state, or from another English-speaking country.
10. In increasing tragicness of assassination: John, Bobby, Martin, Abraham.

I'm a latecomer to this meme, so I think most of my friends have done it. If you're on my blogroll or you've commented on one of my posts and you'd like to do this one, consider yourself nominated.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Go big D! (And human-animal hybrids)

I explain why the Alito nomination means that you should mindlessly vote for Democrats (well, not quite, but it's pretty close) over at Ezra's: The (D) Is the Part That Matters.

Werewolf that I am, I have a couple things to say about human-animal hybrids.

Don't worry, Nicholas... meme-response coming soon...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Live-Action Hungry Hungry Hippos!

I've returned from my travels, and now it's time to tell you all about Live-Action Hungry Hungry Hippos, the game I invented and oversaw at this year's Vericon.

To play, you need a table with rims around the edges, and a large number of gumballs. Also, it's good to have some gentle disinfectant and paper towels if lots of different people will be playing on the same surface. It's a game for at least 2 players, with the maximum being determined by the size of the table.

Each player takes 6 gumballs (the smaller the better; I used the 1/2 inch size). At the start of the game, everyone throws their gumballs across the table, and tries to gobble up as many as possible before they're all gone. Players can only use their mouths, but they may move around the table as they please.

The winners are the players who get at least as many gumballs as they want. (Defining the win condition this way is useful, since it prevents people from having to spit out gumballs and count them. Also, it's cool to have a victory condition defined in gustatory terms.)

A dude from Connecticon came by and announced his intention to run Live-Action Hungry Hungry Hippos there, except using cheese balls instead of gumballs. I wish him good luck, and encourage the spread of this wonderful game across the land!