Thursday, February 28, 2008

70 million dollars

and more. That's how much money the two leading democratic presidential candidates have raised in the month of February, we are told they will announce later today.

That is crazy. That is just a hell of a lot of money. Can't we find something better to do with $70 million?

On the other hand, ... I can think of worse things to do with it. We could have spent it on cluster munitions, small arms ammunitions, pornography, sex with prostitutes, heroin, or promoting the "bomb Iran" agenda of John McCain and his latest endorser, the (not so) reverend John Hagee.

By the way, there is a remarkable *difference* in the methodology of the way the two leading
candidates raised the money. The Obama campaign recently passed 1 million donors, something my friend Chad tells me is unprecedented in the history of presidential campaigns. Their average donation is less than $200. I haven't seen the numbers, but my impression is that the Clinton campaign has far fewer donors and the average donation is way higher than that.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Colliding Mice!

Yesterday's Astronomy picture of the day was really beautiful, I thought. And the thought of the distances and forces and time frames involved in the collision of these two galaxies is a bit mind boggling. Makes one wish for FTL, so we could go visit places like this. Ah well. Maybe in some other iteration in the multiverse some other Benjamin actually *does* FTL, or even discovers it. =)

If you click on the photo, you'll go to a bigger version, and if you click the + sign on that version, it will get *very* large.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shame on you

I have this gnarley little invisible blue electric force field which I sometimes make use of. I just flick a mental switch, and it goes on all around me. When words come my direction, I send out a little piece of it to catch them. They get trapped in there, and the blue electricity forms a ball, which sits there and spins while I ponder it from safely inside. And then, if I choose, I let it in. And if not, I flick another mental switch, and the electric blue spinning ball, words inside, just goes off at right angles to everything, never to be seen again.

Yes, I'm a bit wierd. But it works for me.

When people do the "shame on you" thing, to either me or others, I generally don't even have to don that thing. I already instantly know they're wrong, and I verbally take it back off "Nope, actually, no shame on me (or him, or her, or you). I reject that. Bye bye shame. Go away, you've been rejected, like a big old friggin' rejection by an NBA basketball player".

Is the following as offputting to others as it is to me? Why or why not? It seems to not be working super well from a political perspective, as since it hit the top of all the headlines this morning, Hillary's chance of winning the nomination, according to those who bet money on these things, has dropped below 15%, the lowest hillary shares have traded at since the '08 presidential market's opened in late 2004.

And now?

After yesterday's *very* strongly worded statement, today, in light of the fact that Mr. McCain's "Straight Talk" doesn't exactly match the facts, we get:

"What's the difference"


"It doesn't seem relevant"


"It's not that big a deal"

So which is it? "I'm a hundred percent honorable, righteous, and straight talking" or "Details aren't that big a deal"?

Can I just say I actually love this? Because this is the man who doesn't give a flying fuck about bombing one of the oldest cultures on the planet. So I'm happy for him to stumble in his attempts at very high power.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Too strongly worded?

“At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust or make a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest or would favor anyone or organization.”

--John McCain, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Angry white men

A beloved not-too-distant relation of mine recently sent me this article entitled "In Election 2008, don't forget angry white man", with the comment "Perhaps this will help you see our point of view". The wierd thing is that, although I see things very differently now, I used to totally be inside the in group that things this way. Which is to say, I used to think this way. It seems really clear to me that the way-of-thinking expressed in this article leads direclty to the way-of-acting demonstrated in the above video. Your thoughts?

(Oh, by the way--score one against very unkind people everywhere. The officer in the video, Salvatori Rivieri, has been suspended and angry white guy John "Bomb Iran" McCain trails the presumptive Democratic Nominee by 4-8 percentage points in multiple polls)

The article says, among other things:

Each candidate is carefully pandering to a smorgasbord of special-interest groups, ranging from gay, lesbian and transgender people to children of illegal immigrants to working mothers to evangelical Christians.

There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man. The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.


The victimhood syndrome buzzwords — “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” — don’t resonate with him. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him. He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the company Christmas party, three sets of braces, three college educations or a beautiful wedding.


The Angry White Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun to defend his home and his country. He is willing to lay down his life to defend the freedom and safety of others, and the thought of killing someone who needs killing really doesn’t bother him.

The Angry White Man is not a metrosexual, a homosexual or a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina — he got his people together and got the hell out, then went back in to rescue those too helpless and stupid to help themselves, often as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter.

His last name and religion don’t matter. His background might be Italian, English, Polish, German, Slavic, Irish, or Russian, and he might have Cherokee, Mexican, or Puerto Rican mixed in, but he considers himself a white American.


He’s not a racist, but he is annoyed and disappointed when people of certain backgrounds exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their race. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they work hard, play by the rules and learn English.

Most important, the Angry White Man is pissed off. When his job site becomes flooded with illegal workers who don’t pay taxes and his wages drop like a stone, he gets righteously angry. When his job gets shipped overseas, and he has to speak to some incomprehensible idiot in India for tech support, he simmers. When Al Sharpton comes on TV, leading some rally for reparations for slavery or some such nonsense, he bites his tongue and he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.

I'm not making this up

This is the kind of attitude, and the kind of preaching, with which I grew up. And there are *lots* of churches, scattered throughout this nation--the U.S. of A., which do this. Every Sunday.

So here's my question: What's your reaction? Is it laughter? Or something else? I'd love to hear.

H/T Joe

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Make that 10 in a row.

smile =)

Or to borrow a turn of phrase from this blogger, in the past two weeks Obama has won over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Book tag

Joe tagged me in a game whose rules are these:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five other people.

Here goes, page 123, sentences 6, 7, and 8. And 9 thrown in for good measure:

"The previous chapter described one such nineteenth-century movement and its effects on a Jerusalem musician. Poets, novelists, and playwrights of the nahda sought to rejuvenate Arabic literature to recover it from what that described as inhitat (decline). They experimented with techniques to simplify forms of expression, expand the reach of their works among Arabic speakers, and shatter literary conventions by infusing their workds with new, sometimes borrowed, forms. Similar literary ventures were undertaken by belletrists writing in Turkish and Persian."

(Hyperlink added by me)

I tag Helen, Rachel, Megan, Byron, and Jonathan.

Halfway there with superdelegates

Yesterday we passed the halfway point for endorsements by superdelegates in the democratic presidential nominating process. There are a total of 795 superdelegate votes. Half of that is 397.5. As of today, 402.5 of them have endorsed one candidate or the other. That only leaves 392.5 who can all flock to Obama after he wins today and in Texas in two weeks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ice Cream and presidents

Help for the undecided. Ben and Jerry, co-creators of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (yum!) have endorsed Barack Obama for president. This is my favorite: If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. =) Find out where to buy it here.

Albanian/Serbian--a ? of languages.

Why, I wonder, if one was either a Serb *or* an Albanian in Kosovo, would one not take steps to learn both languages?

I ask this question because it leads me to another. What language should *I* (and you) be learning, outside our first? And what excuses shall we (or do we) offer for not learning it?

(Please note: The previous paragraph was a blatant attempt to put an oughty-should on you. Consider yourself warned.)

Here's another related question. Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God (one presumed this trumps "the children of Serbia, or Albania, or the U.S., or the U.K., or _________"). What other practical ideas do you have for being/becoming a peacemaker?

The Kosovar Declaration of Independence

This strikes me as beautiful:

Convened in an extraordinary meeting on February 17, 2008, in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo,

Answering the call of the people to build a society that honours human dignity and affirms the pride and purpose of its citizens,
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (right) and MPs applaud during parliament session (17/02/08)
Kosovo's parliament unanimously approved the historic declaration

Committed to confront the painful legacy of the recent past in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness,

Dedicated to protecting, promoting and honouring the diversity of our people,

Reaffirming our wish to become fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic family of democracies,

Observing that Kosovo is a special case arising from Yugoslavia's non-consensual breakup and is not a precedent for any other situation,

Recalling the years of strife and violence in Kosovo, that disturbed the conscience of all civilized people,

Grateful that in 1999 the world intervened, thereby removing Belgrade's governance over Kosovo and placing Kosovo under United Nations interim administration,

Proud that Kosovo has since developed functional, multiethnic institutions of democracy that express freely the will of our citizens,

Recalling the years of internationally sponsored negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina over the question of our future political status,

Regretting that no mutually acceptable status outcome was possible, in spite of the good-faith engagement of our leaders,

Confirming that the recommendations of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari provide Kosovo with a comprehensive framework for its future development and are in line with the highest European standards of human rights and good governance,

Determined to see our status resolved in order to give our people clarity about their future, move beyond the conflicts of the past and realize the full democratic potential of our society,

Honouring all the men and women who made great sacrifices to build a better future for Kosovo,

We, the democratically elected leaders of our people, hereby declare Kosovo to be an independent and sovereign state. This declaration reflects the will of our people and it is in full accordance with the recommendations of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and his Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement.

We declare Kosovo to be a democratic, secular and multiethnic republic, guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal protection under the law. We shall protect and promote the rights of all communities in Kosovo and create the conditions necessary for their effective participation in political and decision-making processes.

We accept fully the obligations for Kosovo contained in the Ahtisaari Plan, and welcome the framework it proposes to guide Kosovo in the years ahead. We shall implement in full those obligations including through priority adoption of the legislation included in its Annex XII, particularly those that protect and promote the rights of communities and their members.

We shall adopt as soon as possible a Constitution that enshrines our commitment to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all our citizens, particularly as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights. The Constitution shall incorporate all relevant principles of the Ahtisaari Plan and be adopted through a democratic and deliberative process.

We welcome the international community's continued support of our democratic development through international presences established in Kosovo on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). We invite and welcome an international civilian presence to supervise our implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan, and a European Union-led rule of law mission. We also invite and welcome the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to retain the leadership role of the international military presence in Kosovo and to implement responsibilities assigned to it under UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and the Ahtisaari Plan, until such time as Kosovo institutions are capable of assuming these responsibilities. We shall cooperate fully with these presences to ensure Kosovo's future peace, prosperity and stability.

6. For reasons of culture, geography and history, we believe our future lies with the European family. We therefore declare our intention to take all steps necessary to facilitate full membership in the European Union as soon as feasible and implement the reforms required for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

7. We express our deep gratitude to the United Nations for the work it has done to help us recover and rebuild from war and build institutions of democracy. We are committed to working constructively with the United Nations as it continues its work in the period ahead.

8. With independence comes the duty of responsible membership in the international community. We accept fully this duty and shall abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, other acts of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the international legal obligations and principles of international comity that mark the relations among states. Kosovo shall have its international borders as set forth in Annex VIII of the Ahtisaari Plan, and shall fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all our neighbours. Kosovo shall also refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

9. We hereby undertake the international obligations of Kosovo, including those concluded on our behalf by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and treaty and other obligations of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to which we are bound as a former constituent part, including the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. We shall cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We intend to seek membership in international organizations, in which Kosovo shall seek to contribute to the pursuit of international peace and stability.

10. Kosovo declares its commitment to peace and stability in our region of southeast Europe. Our independence brings to an end the process of Yugoslavia's violent dissolution. While this process has been a painful one, we shall work tirelessly to contribute to a reconciliation that would allow southeast Europe to move beyond the conflicts of our past and forge new links of regional cooperation. We shall therefore work together with our neighbours to advance a common European future.

11. We express, in particular, our desire to establish good relations with all our neighbours, including the Republic of Serbia with whom we have deep historical, commercial and social ties that we seek to develop further in the near future. We shall continue our efforts to contribute to relations of friendship and cooperation with the Republic of Serbia, while promoting reconciliation among our people.

12. We hereby affirm, clearly, specifically, and irrevocably, that Kosovo shall be legally bound to comply with the provisions contained in this Declaration, including, especially, the obligations for it under the Ahtisaari Plan. In all of these matters, we shall act consistent with principles of international law and resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, including resolution 1244 (1999). We declare publicly that all states are entitled to rely upon this declaration, and appeal to them to extend to us their support and friendship.

Word of the day:

"Demonym": a word that denotes the members of a people or the inhabitants of a place. (see also "gentilic")

Learned today while reading about Kosovo. People from Kosovo are "Kosovar", as people from Canada are Canadian. Very kewl.

Kosovo Independece

Confession: I'm totally naive. And I realize this is a very nuanced, complicated story. But can someone explain to me why so many people are freaking out over Kosovo independence? From what I've read, it seems like a reasonably good thing.

Help me out here. (Yeah, and while you're at it, explain, briefly, why quantum physics and relativity theory don't mesh up =)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Maybe I'll become a Christian again =)

Relevant Church in Tampa Florida is promoting a 30 day sex challenge (H/T Hemant)

The church's web site says of the challenge:

People are not having enough sex. An epidemic of breakups prove the needs that lead to a great sex life are being overlooked. Dirty dishes, frumpy clothes, and a lack of authentic connections are killing the romance. A great sex life is a challenge and takes focus, determination, and planning. Some say it’s an unrealistic goal, but we disagree. We believe you can have a great sex life, in fact we believe God wants you to have a great sex life.

Relevant Church is proposing a challenge encouraging married couples to purposely engage in sexual activity for 30 days and singles to intentionally forgo sexual activity for 30 days. We know, it sounds crazy. However, we believe this challenge will not only improve sex lives, but also strengthen relationships. In this series married couples will review the obvious needs of him and uncover the forgotten needs of her and singles will cut through the illusions and consider the qualities that result in healthy relationships.

illegitimate means

So here's a promise, along the lines of "I will chop off my nose to spite my face."

If Hillary Clinton, whose policy ideas I am mostly in line with, somehow ends up with the democratic nomination by means which strike me as being in any way illegitimate, I will absolutely vote for and campaign for John McCain, whose policy ideas I am almost entirely at odds with. (I'll be doing so with two broken legs, which my friend Russell has promised to provide should I pursue such a course. Alas =)

As it happens, I have two escape valves from this (often depressing) country. So I can kind of get away with this sort of stupidity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama and the end of modernism?

So today Hillary Clinton said: "I think we need answers, not questions."

It's an interesting quote. It very much touches on the transition from modernism to postmodernism. Answers vs. questions. The monolithic vs. the organic. The metanarrative vs. the personal narrative. Do you think it's reasonable to frame the difference between Obama and Clinton/Mcain in such a way? Is Obama the fist truly postmodern candidate for president of the U.S.?

For me, I *much* prefer questions. They help keep me less arrogant and less depressed (two things I struggle with). I find they much more easily engender personal relationship, which is something which (as my ideal self), I highly value.

Monday, February 11, 2008

small grin

From the AP today

"I'm still ahead in the popular vote and in delegates," Clinton said, though the numbers do not fully support that statement.


So I guess you know you've reached success when those who spoof you are themselves successful. This video is a spoof of Yes We Can, in case you haven't seen the original yet.


"Hyde and Jenkins (1973) found that incidental and intentional learning conditions produced equally strong memories provided that subjects in both conditions were engaging in equally deep processing."

-John Miyamoto, 2008.

Why do I care? Because it points out something of enormous importance. Seligman and Csíkszentmihály have demonstrated that engagement is *deeply* related to happiness. And Hyde and Jenkins pointed out that it doesn't matter if students *want to learn*, as long as they are engaged in the material, they *will* learn.

So why the hell do we arrange school in such a way that it's *so* deadly boring/unengaging? They can still learn if they *want* to, but ... they're not going to be as happy.

Mr. Miyamoto is doing a relatively good job of teaching some deadly boring subject matter in my congnitive psych class this quarter. So Clinical psych is too depressing, and cognitive too boring. Social psych, on the other hand, both quite fascinating and not super depressing. =)

In five weeks, I'll be done with *all* my undergrad psych courses, and I can move on the the really beautiful stuff--the mathematics. Hooray.

Plural of the day

Hippocampi, the plural of hippocampus. Most people have one.

Let's say, theoretically, that your hippocampus was removed by an evil doctor in India who was selling them for enormous profit. What would be the biggist effect? Here's a hint: HM (So watch out for evil doctors)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Obama cruises to victory in Washington

So obviously the numbers aren't in yet. So the above is a prediciont. 100's of people showed up at my caucus location today. There were 8 precincts meeting there, and 78 people for my one precinct alone. We had 6 delegates to the next level, and they went 4 Obama, 1 Hillary, 1 Edwards.

Reports of Obama winning delegates 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 from all over the state.

including this:

43 - 2230 Delegate Count

Obama: 5
Clinton: 1

(The final tally was 4.44 for Obama and 1.44 for Clinton with a few undecideds. Had to have a coin flip to figure out who got the last delegate. Tails it is, Obama wins!)

Sometimes luck and everything else is just going your way =)

You gotta feel bad for the Hillary people. =) They were nice. It went pretty well. I had some fun discussions with neighbors I'd never met before. I got elected delegate to the javascript:void(0)
Publish Postcounty convention.

I predict of the 78 delegate to the national convention today from Washington today, Obama gets 50 or more =)

Guess we'll see.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Which is worse?

Can someone help me understand this?

People in Missouri are having prayer vigils over 5 civilians shot by a criminal lone gunmen there yesterday, and are apparently rather shaken up over it. It's at the top of national headlines.

But are they, or anyone else, or the national media, particularly concerned that gunmen whose salaries *we pay* continue to kill civilians, incluiding children, every week in Iraq? (The correct and bloody obvious answer here is: "NO")

Which is worse? (I know my answer. What's your answer?)

Is a reasonable explanation for this that Americans are essentially more human than Iraqi's? If you say not, can you justify your answer or provide an alternative explanation?

Proof that Brits can be just as silly (and rude, and horrible) as Americans

I just want everybody to know I'm *totally* on Archbishop Rowan William's side on this (which, based on my record, probably doesn't bode super well for him, in one sense).

Obama in Seattle

Today I went over to Key Arena in Seattle for the Barack Obama rally.

Wikipedia says it holds 17,500 people for concerts in the round. Major news outlets are reporting there were 20 to 21,000 people there. The building was packed. Mayor Greg Nickels, who was also on the podium, said he gave the fire marshall the day off and that we were over capacity.

I bused over on Metro from University of Washington at about 10AM. All the buses leaving UW for Seattle Center/Downtown were *packed*. I guess Obama is popular among the 30,000 undergrads at UW. =) I got down there a litte after 10 to be greeted by a *really* long line. I joined a friend in line (the brilliant Russell and his two brilliant daughters), and he had another friend who had been queuing since 8:30, who got in very near the front and saved seats for us. The seats were *awesome*. We were in the first row of seats just behind the state--about 20 feet from the candidate--separated only by a couple rows of people standing down on the floor.

Video here. If you look carefully near the beginning--the thin guy sitting on the left side of the stage is U.S. congressman Adam Smith. You can see my rainbow colored sweater behind him if you look between his legs. =).

I had some friends who got there a little after 11 and were turned away because the building was too full.

Obama finally came out after 1PM. After his speech, the traffic was crazy, and I had to catch a bus home and it took forever--I got home at around 4PM. Crazy long day. But definitely worth it. Hillary had *maybe* 6000 last night here in Seattle. McCain, who admittedly is a Republican in an extremely democratic town, is at the Westin Hotel in Seattle at a $2300/person dinner and then will address "the public".

I was yotta stoked to see Washington state governor Christine Gregoire there to announce her endorsement (and more importantly her superdelegate vote) for Obama. I'd written to her a couple weeks ago, and gotten all my friends here in Washington to write to her, asking for her endorsement. Obama is making huge headway against Hillary's lead in superdelegates over the last week or so.

Obama was just as kewl in person as he is on television, only more so (not that I've seen him on "television" per se. I watch stuff on the internet though). His smile lights up the whole arena. His speech was very very ... connective. It just *works*.

The secret service guys are even scarier in person than they are on television. They hardly look at Obama. Their eyes are roving, roving, with this unbreaking intense concentration. One feels he is safe with them around--that they'll spot any baddies before anything can happen and take steps, rather quickly and decisively, to prevent it.

Obama said if we raise fuel efficiency requirements to 40 miles per gallon, we could save all the oil we import from the persian gulf. How simple is that. Crazy! Let's do it. Go Obama. The caucus here and in 2 other states are tomorrow. So tomorrow we'll have 161 delegates allocated.

The kewlest thing was the way Obama took responsibility and time, right in the middle of his speech, to pause and get some help for a young lady standing on the floor near the front of the stage who was experiencing some medical difficulty. I mean he *noticed*, and stopped his speech to ask that a chair be brought for her, and to ask that an EMT come and help her. I just thought that was profoundly kewl. It's *so* easy in such a crowd to assume that someone else will help.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Zen Candidate

In case you haven't seen this, or heard of him, here's presidential candidate Mike Gravel. It's an official campaign video. I found it made me peaceful for the first while, and then astoundingly tense. I don't think any of the other candidates could pull this off. What would it be like to have this guy for president of the U.S.?

Your reactions?

The candidates in Seattle

Tonite Hillary Clinton is in Seattle at the Pier 30 Events Center: seating capacity 6,000

Tomorrow morning Obama is in Seattle at Key Arena: seating capacity 17,500


I'm going to see Obama in the morning. Hope there's room to get in. I'm going early =). I'll write about it for you =)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Great Turkish Bombard

So a mysterious Hungarian (or possibly German) fellow named Orban, a master founder, offered to make some of these for the city of Constantinople, who declined the offer. So Orban moved on to offer his services to Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed paid to have a bunch built. The could shoot 1500 pound granite rocks a mile. It took 60 teams of oxen and 400 men to move one of these puppies. Mehmed set them up a mile or so outside Constantinople, and after 90 days of firing 7 rounds per day from each cannon, he breached the walls, and thus ended the Roman Empire, and thus did Constantinople become Istanbul.

They have a 30 inch bore. Dude. For 1453, pretty seriously awesome engineering. Nearly 500 years later, future engineers would design the first atomic bomb. Is that forward or backward progress?

Slicing and dicing

In "The Audacity of Hope", the 2004 Democratic National Convention speech that vaulted him into the national attention, Barack Obama said this:

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an "awesome God" in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end -- In the end -- In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?

So how right is he? Show me one national media outlet that's not slicing and dicing the electorate into conservatives, independents, liberals, white, black, hispanic, men, women, rural, urban, heterosexual, homosexual, blah blah blah etc. Astounding. Have "they" (we) been doing this all along? Why hasn't someone pointed this out before? Is it harmful?

from Mars Hill Church today

In the back page of the U.W. daily's (the student daily newspaper) annual sex edition today: A full page ad from Mars Hill Church (for the unitiated, that's the Seattle fundamentalist megachurch we love to hate) which says in *really* big font:

Does God think you're a pervert?

(For the record, their answer is *very* likely something like "Yes, God thinks everyone is a pervert. And unless you pray the formulary American Christian prayer to become "a follower of Jesus", you are going to Hell. And you deserve to)


What do *you* think? Does God think you're a pervert? For the record, any God I believe in does *not* think about me that way =).

Barack Obama wins Super Tuesday-More States, More Delegates!

Note--please keep in mind that the delegate totals you are seeing in the media include the count of superdelegates, who were not popularly elected, and can change any old time each superdelegate chooses. Clinton has a 91 delegate lead among the super delegates.

Which means that, for intance, right now Obama has an 18 delegate lead over Clinton among popularly elected delegates.

Go Obama!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

And yet more notes from Super Tuesday--In Iraq, and Gaza

In Iraq on Tuesday,

78 civilian deaths, including:

Adwar: 4 family members (parents and 2 children) during raid by US forces.

The U.S. spent another $500,000,000+ to continue our occupation of Iraq. (that's just for Tuesday, February 5th)

-Israelis killed 9 Palestinians in retaliation for attacks on Monday that killed one Israeli and 2 Palestinians. No mention was made in press articles of how many Gazans have died recently due to Israeli blockades preventing heat and food from getting to many Gazans in the middle of winter.

Nighttime lows in Seattle this week are around 3 degrees celcius, or 38 fahrenheit.
Nightimee lows in Gaza this week are around 3 degrees celcius or 38 fahrenheit

Number of homeless in Seattle: 6000

Number of people in Seattle who will sleep tonite with no heat: probably much lower than than.

Number of people in Gaza who will sleep tonite with no heat: no idea. More than before the Israeli's tightened their blockade. Probably a *lot*. Way too many.

Number of people in Iraq tonight who will be mourning the violent loss of a loved one during the past 5 years: in the millions.

Number of people in Iraq tonight who will be morning the violent loss of a loved one during this last week: in the thousands.

Notes from super tuesday.

-Heard being chanted at Mitt Romney's speech: "They haven't!" Is that his campaign slogan? Nice ...

-Ann Romney said, referring to herself and immediate family: "Now I can say: we've been everywhere." (well, everywhere in America works out to everywhere, at least from a republican perspective, doesn't it?)

-Ann Romney also said, referring to her husband: "I can't wait for him to get his hands on Washington" (maybe I just have a dirty mind ...)

-Ok, help me out here. Is Mike Huckabee's wife taller than him? Can't they do something about that? I mean it looks like only an inch or so. Someone should get him some shoes that boost him a little, if his wife is going to be on the podium. Or something. Maybe it's really sexist. But ... well ... what can I say? Doesn't work for me. =)

-Janet Huckabee: "People have been giving [to our campaign] from resources that they didn't have"

-What is she not telling us?

-Can anyone understand what McCain's fans are chanting at his speech? I just can't tell what it is.

-Huckabee said "the pundints"


-"Keep your oil--we don't need it anymore than we need your sand" (huh?) (what are the sand

-Go Huckabee. The vision of an Obama v. Huckabee contest is beyond delightful.

-Obama wins 13 and maybe 14 of 22 states, leaving 8 or 9 for Clinton. And probably hold nearly even with her in delegate counts. Pretty freaking amazing for someone who was trailing Clinton by 8 to 12 percentage points in national polling a mere month ago.

-McCain emerges as the republican front runner--a man Obama I think can easily beat in the general, but who will pose a much more difficult obstacle for Hillary.

-By the way--is McCain crazy? He's 70 freaking years old. why doesn't he relax and take it easy? Being president for 4 years has got to age you at least 10 years, so he's gonna be like 80 by 2012, if he gets in. That's crazy.


Holy criminy! 30 tornadoes touched down already in Arkansas and Tennessee this evening, and counting.

Dude. Maybe I'm completely nuts. But I wish I were there. =)

The official "truth"

"Well we *only* tortured *three* people ... umm ... parasites. And they were really really "bad" people ... umm .. parasites"

or, Byron adds, maybe this:

"We only tortured, er - [whispers] how many did we decide?"
[whispered reply] "Three, sir"
"Three terrorists."

Monday, February 04, 2008

For my Washington State friends

Please be aware that if you want to vote for Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee, and want your vote to count, you have to attend the Washington State Democratic Caucus this Saturday, Feb 9th, at 1 PM. The primary ballot, which you may have already gotten in the mail or sent in, for the primary on Feb 19th is absolutely meaningless. All the Democratic delegates to the Democratic national convention are being elected at the caucus.

Yes, we are the weirdest state in the union. Every other state has a caucus *or* a primary. But not us! NO! We must have both. But the primary *doesn't* count--only the caucus on February 9th.

You can find your caucus location here.

You can register to vote and/or change your address at the caucus location. And you can vote as long as you're going to be 18 by election day, November 4th.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Yes We Can

Holy criminy, this video kind of blew me away. It's largely because he can inspire this sort of artistry, and the hope that drives it, that I'm more excited about a presidential candidate than I've ever been in the 16 years since I've first became elegible to vote. Go Obama!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

One upmanship

This conversation with my not yet six year old daughter a few weeks ago led me to to imagine what it shall be like to attempt to keep up with her intellectually over the next few decades.

Eowyn: I'm a tiger. I'm going to eat you up.

Benjamin: Well I'm a bear, and I'm going to eat *you* up!

E: Well I'm a *bigger* tiger!

B: Well I'm a virus!

E: What's a virus?

B: (short explanation of virus)

E: (after *briefest* of pauses to digest virus explanation) Well *I'm* a black hole!

Thus does Benjamin's ship sink, having been disintegrated in whole by my lovely daughter. What the *hell* was I supposed to say next? Completely and utterly speechless I was. A black hole!?! No fair!