Archive for February, 2006

you can’t handle democracy

February 28, 2006
i’ve intentionally avoided saying anything about the danish cartoons, largely because i’ve found the debate around them fairly lacking, but then i read this:

it may be safer, in trying to explain why a free press is so important – and a press that is free to give offence – not to fall back on the word ‘democracy’. Many people who think like the demonstrators, and millions who don’t, remember the Islamic Salvation Front being denied their victory at the polls in Algeria in 1991 (it was the wrong result); they see all the tut-tutting about the recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections (wrong result); they watch as the murderous gift of democracy is bestowed on Iraq. In these contexts, you would be likely to approach democracy in the way a scientist examines a dangerous virus or a villager circles the wreck of a downed aircraft. [here]

the hypocrisy of those who proclaim ‘the west’ to be wiser and more experienced with democratic values is increasingly irksome, particularly when it exposes such thinly veiled racism. and being completely ignorant of any context these protests occur within doesn’t make the situation any better.


south dakota…

February 26, 2006
the south dakota legislature has not only decided to outlaw abortion, but also to… well, see for yourself:

abortions terminate the constitutionally protected fundamental interest of the pregnant mother in her relationship with her child and abortions are performed without a truly informed or voluntary consent or knowing waiver of the woman’s rights and interests. The Legislature finds that the state has a duty to protect the pregnant mother’s fundamental interest in her relationship with her unborn child. [here]

i’d like to take a moment to thank these sexists for at least being explicit about their power-grab for the patriarchy. usually media-saavy republicans try to soften their sexism. but this bill outright declares that women are incabable of excercizing choice over reproductive rights, since abortion is inherently coercive. for a society that defines ‘people’ as those having autonomy, this is huge. (another sign: the bill penalizes doctors, not women – women couldn’t commit crimes, after all, that’d require they be ‘people’ first.) the next step: women are fundamentally about babies and motherhood. which is just so upsetting, i don’t know where to start.

but wait, it gets worse…

the legislature apparently decided not to let the citizens of south dakota vote on the measure, presumably because it would fail. however, they are currently accepting donations for the $1 million or so in legal fees they expect. so basically, unless you have tons of money, the south dakota legislature doesn’t care what you think.

and, oh no, the worst is yet to come:

If a woman who is raped becomes pregnant, the rapist would have the same rights to the child as the mother [here]

this, apparently, “delights” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Roger W. Hunt (shocker: republican), who thinks that exceptions for rape/incest/health would “dilute” the ban.

great minds

February 22, 2006
at a meeting today, i had the insight that our conversation could be described as the product of aristotle, hobbes, and foucault meeting to discuss finance:

boss 1 (aristotle): as a community, we all know what an investment project is, but what we really need to do is think about our definitions, so we can refine them just a bit.
boss 2 (hobbes): i don’t see why we’re meeting about this, i defined project in the data collection system. and that is the end of that.
coworker (foucault): what is it we mean when we say ‘project’? isn’t that to privilege one viewpoint over another? and there can be no basis for such an action of violence, so project has no meaning.

the interaction, of course, was nothing but a dostoyevski comedy. the aristotelean sought consensus in a world of myriad diversity, the hobbesean mechanistic approach collapsed under its own reductionism, and the foucaultian might as well have stuck dynamite under our reporting process for all the good it did. i have my background in philosophy to thank for being the only one to get something out of the meeting. alas, i couldn’t think of any way to share my insight.

reductionists define race

February 22, 2006
minorities: individuals of non-White racial ancestry.

yes, that is how my bureau decided to define minority in the glossary to our latest report. i had the definition deleted from the report, only to discover that this may be the “official” definition.

pre-washington ideals

February 20, 2006
so alexander pope thinks i should stop writing a blog. and all of this is about a week after i tried to post it at first. silly me.

juan cole (who i now love reading) notes that there are already laws on the books regarding warrantless searches in war time, and that constitutional avoidance and the expansive executive are bunk.

but don’t talk too loudly, the enemy might have forgotten. and more importantly, you never know who is listening. but don’t worry, we won’t investigate

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most of all, i’m overflowing with comments about the gang that couldn’t shoot straight

(1) dick cheney aaron burr
(2) quails are not republican lawyers
(3) oh my god, i didn’t know the VP had gout. how perfect aristocrat is that?
(4) no – wait, i shouldn’t laugh about this. but is it too early to yell “coverup”?
(5) what the? where did the beer go? story two doesn’t have it, but a screenshot and a google cache do
(6) but lets blame the 78 year old man who got shot in the face and then suffered a heart attack

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just in case you’d fogotten, though: corruption, corruption, corrption.

i’m spinning all of this

quick sorry

February 17, 2006

work, alas, has been fairly busy recently, leaving far too little time for me to, you know, “do” things. like post. though i’m not sure where the day goes once i get home. hm. anywho, read these

you’re an…

February 15, 2006

and a smoker

wait, same diff

verizon – totally founded in the 1750s

February 7, 2006
george washington had an ipod, and i want one too:

Alberto: President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.

as swattie emeritus pointed out to me yesterday, this has far-reaching implications for our nation’s history. was b franklin’s whole kite thing actually him spying on the redcoats? i’m submitting a foia request as we speak. but i’m willing to bet the material still falls under executive privilege

*** * ***

thank goodness for gmail packrats:

From: Ben Franklin ‘’
Date: Feb 6, 2006 September 10, 1789 11:25 AM
Subject: NSA Warrantless Domestic Wiretaps
To: George Washington ‘’

Madison and those other liberal ‘founder’ pansies are being un-American for disagreeing with us, they’re all French sypmathizers anyway. The Kite Surveillance Program is critical to the health of our fledgling nation. Do they know how long it would take for me to call up Attorney General Edmund Randolph for each and every kite I fly? I don’t even know who that guy is. They should go pass a Bill of Rights if they disagree, or create a system of checks and balances. Psh.

Heterosexually yours,
b franklin

* *** *

well, i guess if you can trust one george, you can trust them all. i don’t know about you, but that definately convinced me to agree with our emperorfearless leader… president

[update: void post, done much better here

we need a higher class of garbage here, people

February 7, 2006
it has come to my attention that i’m reading far too few news sources. nytimes, dailykos, and wapo are all in the same vein. so i’m trying out some new things: wired, wampup, wonkette, the note, tpm cafe,…

thus far, this has yeilded a news bombshell, a significant decrease in productivity, and other assorted nuggets

when did the catholic church become so cool?

February 6, 2006
it is always a good thing to be surprised:

How are we to interpret the scientific picture of life’s origins in terms of religious belief. Do we need God to explain this? Very succinctly my answer is no. In fact, to need God would be a very denial of God. God is not the response to a need. One gets the impression from certain religious believers that they fondly hope for the durability of certain gaps in our scientific knowledge of evolution, so that they can fill them with God. This is the exact opposite of what human intelligence is all about. We should be seeking for the fullness of God in creation. We should not need God; we should accept her/him when he comes to us.

the whole article is definately worth reading – i can’t remember the last religious leader who made sense of science. i wonder where this will be metabolized?


February 5, 2006

1. demanding distinction or praise, generally undeserved
2. show-y (see peacock)
3. this blog

February 1, 2006
in related news, the world is round

i’m stunned, really.

[update: i can think of a few errors in their methodology that would yield similar results. due to republican states being more segregated and having fewer visible minorities, individuals there – both parties – are more likely to rely on cultural tropes (stereotpyes) since they lack the experience to have their basis of interpretation in experience.]

** * **

anyway, this piece on race and ethnicity in casting is actually quite interesting. this is, after all, the meat of cultural feedback.

the issues, in brief? should writers do a diversity pass, intentionally casting against racist stereotypes? really, does the script become less “Whitey McWhite” if the writer just changes the color of the actor? is the diversity pass absurd and racist because these are simply new stereotypes created out of pity or noblesse oblige?

sorry to play 20 questions, but this is a microcosm of so much that i think about, and… definately a 3-pipe problem

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[here] makes me happy