Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The other stuff I posted last weekend

Between getting in fights with other bloggers and traveling to DC, I didn't get around to crossposting stuff this weekend. So here's what I have for you at Ezra's blog:

If You Can't Find a Donkey, Ride the DINO - Sometimes which party a Congresscritter belongs to is more important than what they actually think. Majorities are really strong.
Cantwell: Not So Bad - Maria Cantwell, who was being dissed for some genuinely bad votes, isn't as awful as jedmunds would have you believe.
Who Was David and Who Was Goliath - I link to some excellent quotes about Israel and Palestine that Laura Turner found.
Don't Invest In These Internet Scams - Here's the post about Jerome Armstrong's stock-touting scandals. The 70 comments that follow include Armando from Daily Kos going completely bonkers on me. Later, Ezra would back me up.

There probably won't be any more posting, here or at Ezra's blog, until July 6 when I return to Austin. Until then I'll be hanging out with all sorts of exciting folks in DC.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oil and Those Western Governors

You hear a lot of talk about the West being a fertile ground for Democratic gains, and a lot of it is connected to the high approval ratings of Democratic governors in the Mountain West. Brian Schweitzer in Montana is the big star here, and Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming figures as well. Less remarked is the fact that Western Republican governors are doing quite well too. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Jon Huntsman of Utah have higher net approval ratings than Schweitzer and Freudenthal. The Republicans leading Idaho, South Dakota, and Nevada are also among the top 20 most-loved governors.

Rumor has it that there's oil out in the hills, and I'm wondering if this is a big explanatory factor in the governor-love that pervades Western states. High oil prices are good for oil-rich states, keeping the treasury flush with money, spending high, and taxes low. What Democrats really need to do is go back to the Cretaceous Period and bury a bunch of dead dinosaurs underneath Michigan and Oregon. That'll get Granholm and Kulungoski out of trouble in no time.

Schaller's Strategy vs. Schaller's Conclusions

When I first read Tom Schaller's piece on how Mudcat Saunders is all wrong and the Democrats can't win in the South, it seemed to me that he had argued against his own conclusion (and spent too much time getting back at Mudcat for being a jerk to him at YearlyKos). He lays out a strategy for how to win in the South -- win the votes of blacks and enlightened urban/suburban whites, and don't go too hard after the rural vote. Matt Yglesias charitably says that we should regard this strategy as the actual message of Schaller's piece, and I guess that's right.

Then Schaller says this:

And it is this model writ large -- winning outside the rural areas and then taking a record of smart, progressive policies to rural voters for their inspection -- which ratifies the strategy of Democrats first building a non-southern majority, governing confidently and successfully, and then appealing to the South, the nation’s most rural, poor, and conservative region.

There are massive differences between winning state and presidential elections (the electoral college, the presence of a regionalist Southern identity) that make me suspicious of this argument. Furthermore, if Schaller's right and you can win with blacks and suburbanites, why not go ahead and try to chip off some Southern states that way from the beginning?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Score one for nurture

Via Lennea, this sheep raised by dogs seems to have taken on doglike behaviors.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

When Intimidation Backfires

You get these right-wingers claiming that the American demonstration of "resolve" is a good consequence of the Iraq War, the idea apparently being that we'll be better able to intimidate bad countries into changing their ways.  If we actually were getting these benefits, I'd be impressed -- there's plenty of ways I'd want to make North Korea and Iran change their behavior.  But look what's actually happened.   North Korea looks to be test-launching long-range missiles, breaking a moratorium on launches that started in 1999, and Iran has moved ahead with its nuclear program.  There's still plenty of hope for diplomacy in Iran's case, but we're in a much worse bargaining position than we were in three years ago. 

Rather than frightening other countries into knuckling under, we scared them into improving their nuclear defenses against future American aggression, making the world a much more dangerous place.  Just one more reason to avoid wanton invasions. 

Saturday, June 17, 2006

In Philly again

Back from North Carolina, where I met with many old friends, smart UNC kids whom my brother knows, the previously mentioned girl who bites, and fellow Edwards fan Bora, who convinced me to crosspost more things from the Ezra-blog to this one. On that note, I thought this was amusing enough to share:

Via Boltgirl.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

In defense of biting

Yesterday afternoon, I met a pretty drunk girl who bit, hit, hugged, and kissed me within five minutes of meeting me, in that order, and without any substantial provocation. It's interesting how an early bite can put me at ease -- once a girl has bitten me, nothing I do in the ordinary course of interacting with her will count as a major faux pas, and it's good to be guaranteed against that possibility. Most guys are probably not like me, so I don't generally recommend this tactic to women, but it has its advantages in some situations.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Telcos and travel plans

I've got a piece on Net Neutrality up at Ezra's blog. He's going to be off at YearlyKos until Sunday, so the weekend officially starts now! At least, for blogging-at-Ezra's-site purposes. The post should also appear at the One America Blog sometime soon, except without minor edits including the "invisible hand" joke that occurred to me after I mailed it off to Edwards' staff people.

In other news, I'm going to North Carolina, where I and my brother Robin will be from this Friday to next Friday or so. Tentative travel plans are to return to Philly at some future point, then visit Charlottesville VA, and then go to Washington DC until July 5, when I fly back to Austin. Readers in these areas who are interested in hanging out are welcome to contact me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Abstinence suckers

I'd put the over/under on the number of jokes Amanda can get out of this item at 4.5. And yes, the flavor is cherry.

via righteousbabe at DailyKos

[Update]: Amanda comes through.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Jesus is running a little late

My friend John Ku, who was raised in a cult, describes the time that Jesus didn't come [link dead]. (I suppose there are lots of times when Jesus didn't come, but this is the time they were expecting him, and he didn't show up anyway.)