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Archive for October, 2004

Election Update: How Long, Lord? How Long?

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Might as well pull my head out of the sand for a moment. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be wallowing in schadenfreude and trepidation no matter who wins next week, but I’ve been curious to see which way (if any) Jane Galt would go. I won’t spoil the surprise.

Last-Minute Ballot Measure Rundown

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

Measure 31: YES
This one’s a tough call. Under current law, if the challenger dies during a campaign, the incumbent keeps the office. This encourages an incumbent running a losing campaign to murder the challenger and retain office. If 31 passes, though, it’s more of a gamble. A murdered challenger would be replaced by another challenger — a total wild card for the incumbent. What if the new guy’s an even better candidate? Would any incumbent risk it? So vote YES and discourage political murder.

Measure 32: NO
This is pretty cut and dried. You can argue till the cows come home about how mobile homes are no longer mobile. They all stay in the park and some are even triple-wides with a patio. Fine. But as long as getting them from Palm Harbor Homes to Shady Acres involves clogging up both lanes of I-5 on my Friday afternoon, you bastards are gonna have to pony up some highway funds. Deal with it.

Measure 33: NO
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against marijuana, or honest efforts at legalization. But as long as we’re stuck at this “medicinal” dog and pony show, which offers very little for me personally unless I catch glaucoma, I’m gonna be skeptical. And skeptical Danimal doubts very much that Granny Mae, dying of cancer, really needs to have 10 plants and a pound of wowie kicking around the convalescent home. Nobody needs a pound. Not even Damon Stoudamire.

Measure 34: NO
Dude, you know what would be cool? What if we just, like, once and for all split the forests right in half? Just right down the middle like that Suleiman dude did. Just half for us, half for the lumberjacks. Then there’d be no worries, man. Gold mine and shaft. That’d be tight.

Measure 35: NO
I guarantee, you’d all feel differently about limiting “pain and suffering” damages if a doctor recklessly cut off your third leg instead of your left one. Half a million starts to sound rather paltry when you’re in that trench. I could go on but I’d get less funny. Leave it to juries.

Measure 36: YES
Psych! What I meant was no, no, no, no, no. Wait. Actually, sure, YES. Why not? Let it pass, so that any court case brought in Oregon to declare gay marriage constitutional will have to go forward on federal grounds. In federal court. To the 9th Circuit. Then, instead of just having gay marriage legal in Oregon, under Oregon law, we’d have ourselves a ruling with some effect over the entire western end of the nation. Which would just go to show: jumping the gun can cut both ways on this issue.

Measure 37: NO
If you understand what this measure means, and you support it, please get out of my state. If you don’t understand it, vote no. That’s the Basic Rule of these here ballot measures: If you don’t get it, don’t give it to them. This measure is such a disaster I can’t even joke about it.

Measure 38: MEH
I’ll be honest: I don’t know shit about SAIF one way or the other. I suppose I detest state monopolies, which would command a YES vote. But I’m also fearful of unintended consequences. And, as I said, I don’t know shit. And, again, if I don’t get it, I’m not giving it to them. But that’s just me.

New Issue Is Out

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

Alright, I just sent our brand spanking new 32 page BTTB to the printer. It looks pretty nice from what I can tell (the glaring mistakes don’t appear until it’s been printed). I’ll be getting the issue up online tomorrow, so check it out.

Porn VS The DoJ

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

[Via Fleshbot] NYC Artist Barbara Nitke is suing the DoJ over the Communications Decency Act. (of 1996). Good, sue on naked soldier. What’s really getting my goat is this “Artist Sues Ashcroft” meme that seems to be making the rounds.

The CDA was passed and signed into law by 1996, a quick trip in ye olde way-back machine shows that Bill Clinton was President, Janet Reno was Attorney General. Ashcroft and Kerry probably voted for it, as it was approved 84-16 in the Senate. The Prophet or somebody else out there with a Lexis/Nexis subscription can probably find out. I am lazy. But, anyway, wasn’t the CDA already struck down in Reno vs. ACLU? Are these lawyers and this porn lady just totally clueless? Is there something I’m missing like a second CDA?

Sick, vile, and disgusting

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

And yet undeniably funny, if your brain is warped as mine:

Costume Ideas

The Outer Capillaries of Darkness

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

This alleged stranger-in-a-strange-land foray into the hearts of Red and Blue America has been making the rounds lately, noted below, somewhat impugned here, and very rightly mocked over yonder.

Well, count me in on Bryan’s mockery, which is first worth just quoting:

Actually going into the heart of Red Country would have meant going to certain regions of Texas, or plenty of other states, where I’m certain he’d have risked being pulled over on a back road and been made to feel a lot less comfortable than he did after being halfheartedly called an asshole by some vegan in a coffee shop. Trust me on this one. Or rent Easy Rider.

Exactly. The hack at the helm of this piece clearly couldn’t be bothered to venture outside his Southern California cocoon, and the two places he bothered to poke his lil nose into strike me as downright moderate:

My journey to Red America carries me to the antipodes of today’s Republicanism.

Antipodes? In California? You gotta be kidding me. Let’s see what they are.

I first visit Newport Beach, Orange County’s last bastion of wealthy white country-club Republicans (population, 70,032; 94 percent white; 61.6 percent registered Republican; median household income $111,166).

Pull over. Yes, this may be the last bastion of wealthy Republicans in Orange County. Yes, 61.6% affiliation with the G.O.P. is something like double the national average.

But let’s see how Newport Beach stacks up against some real Red Country. And party registration is cheap. Money talks. So let’s talk money. Among the four-odd Newport Beach zip codes, individual donations to George Bush’s campaign this year have totaled $511,575 (73%). (Source: Color of Money; look up 92657, -660, -661, and -662.) That is a fair drubbing of the Dem’s fundraising there — $190,300 (27%). {Note: in all zip codes I looked at, 3rd party candidate contributions were too small to factor in.}

But this disparity looks downright modest in comparison to the sort of numbers you see in actual Red Country. Take, e.g., the breakdown of political donations in a single zip code in central Houston, Texas: Individual donations to Bush total $816,556 (86%), to the Dems’ measly $133,636 (14%). The numbers get even more red when you hit hoity-toit suburbs like the Woodlands (zips 77382 & -384), where Bush beat the Dems $47,235 (91%) to $4,900 (9%). That, my little Angeleno, is a bastion of wealthy Republicans. But onward; our intrepid reporter has another nearby “antipode” to explore.

I then travel to Bakersfield, the heart of California’s agricultural Central Valley two hours northeast of Los Angeles (population 247,057; 69 percent white and 29.4 percent Hispanic; 49.2 percent registered Republican; median household income $39,468). To give you a sense of the lion’s den I was entering: In 2000, Bakersfield voted 60.8 percent Republican versus 41 percent statewide.

My, that’s some lion’s den. I hope you’re packing heat and have the ACLU on speed dial, you miserable little creep — they may well throw you in the hoosegow while they rustle up a lynchin’ mob! For the love of God, at least get out of Southern California. Ever heard of the State of Jefferson? It’s not perfect Red Country, but in a pinch it’s at least better than Bakersfield.

But if you really want to impress me, keep heading north east until you find yourself in the Oregon outback. Does a 60% showing for Bush really blow your little Venice Beach mind? Check out Malheur County, which went 73% for Bush in 2000, 22% for Gore. Try Harney: 75% to 21%. Wander over to Lake: 76% to 19%.

And finish up your tour, if you make it that far, in charming little Grant County, where 3,078 of the 3,846 hardbitten ranchin’ folk cast their vote for Bush, a mere 589 for Gore. 80% to 15%. That, you lazy, craven doofus, is Red Country.

{Too much name-calling in this post? Meh, the douche deserved it. Douche.}

Okay, This Is Just Great

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

The Instastandin Megan McArdle (Jane Galt) links to this fairly old video of Bush. I have no idea when it’s from, but from the look of it I’d guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 or 20 years.

I’m sure a lot of people will latch on to this as some example of how Bush lacks a sense of propriety and blah blah blah be serious on TV cakes. Me? I think it’s hillarious. Bush doesn’t take a TV appearance seriously, he knows he’s not being broadcast, and he does something pretty random that’s not too dissimilar from what I might.

As an aside: I have, many times, flipped the bird at the sun.

Bush’s Website Says No! to Foreigners (and Absentee Voters)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Lauren pointed me to this Boing Boing post on internet users not living in the US who are unable to access President Bush’s campaign website.

I doubt that being able to see Bush’s website would change the mind of any U.S. soldiers who are going to vote for the voice of KITT or other talking cars, but I wonder how other absentee voters might feel about this.

The military vote

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

I just got an email from my brother, a specialist in the 1st Armored Division, who as I’ve mentioned here before is disgusted with both sides of The Most Important Election Ever (boom, boom, ba-boom, boom!).

Anyhoo, I had assumed his vote for the voice of Kit was an abberration among the military absentees, usually a stalwart GOP bloc, but among the mechanized grunts in the 1st Armored Division, at least, it’s fairly typical:

{D}on’t fret about the absentee military vote. It won’t be nearly as Republican as usual. It’s hard to find anyone who spent 15 months in Iraq who is voting Bush. There’s a machine-gunner down the hall with a t-shirt picturing our Commander in Chief, bearing the inscription “Operation Enduring Stupidity.”

Can’t say how true this holds for the military as a whole. (If any bunch of soldiers has a good reason to hate Bush, it’s the 1st Armored: their Iraq tour was extended at the last minute by 90 days, a move that had some transport planes turning around mid-flight and some other soldiers enjoying a few hours of false relief on the ground in Germany before they were told they had to go back. I’d be bitter, too.) But I thought I’d pass it on.

Wearing Red in Blue Country

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

A commenter over at Asymmetrical Information points to a Slate article where the writer dons a Bush/Cheney t-shirt, tote bag and “W” button and saunters around LA’s hip Silverlake district. Horified looks, muttered insults and glares follow.

Dining nearby is a young girl who looks to be about 6 years old; she gazes at my shirt with a look so forlorn, I expect to learn that Dick Cheney just stole her crayons. Her mother arrives and gives her a hug of consolation. The girl starts to talk, but I can only make out “Bush shirt,” which she says to her mother as she points my way. The mother turns and glares, shaking her head at me. I start to wonder what sort of person I am to inflict this on a poor child.

Please just wake me on November 3rd

Monday, October 25th, 2004

I have seen this exact headline at Yahoo! News every time I open my web browser for about three months running now, and if I see it again tomorrow someone will be hurt:

Bush and Kerry Spar Over Iraq, Security

For what it’s worth

Monday, October 25th, 2004

If you’ve been feeling lately that going to college is a waste of time and you’re just burning up a whole lot of money for nothing more than a gilded piece of paper, rest assured: It is. You are.

After all, you could be getting a free education from MIT right now.

(Hat tip: Porntato!)

How Interesting

Monday, October 25th, 2004

One of the major points of contention this election cycle has been candidate stance on the economy. Supporters of both sides tend to claim that theirs has the answers whereas the other is, alternately, a pinko-communist or a tool of the corporate oppressor. Apparently, we’ve all been wrong this whole time.

“The economic impacts of the Bush and Kerry budget plans are so close as to be almost indistinguishable,” said Nariman Behravesh, [Global Insight]‘s chief economist.

Yet more evidence for a foreign policy only election? I report, you do what ever it is you do.

“Insufferable Enlightenment”

Monday, October 25th, 2004

It seems that the Guardian’s absurd, hubristic campaign to influence voters in Clark County, OH using only the plaintive cries of their readership is drawing to a close. Here are some responses. A cynic might suppose that the whole point of the exercise was to elicit abusive comments from semi-literate idiots, and there are certainly plenty of those. So the following is especially refreshing:

I understand the Guardian is sponsoring a service where British citizens write to Americans to advise them on how to vote. Thank heavens! I was adrift in a sea of confusion and you are my beacon of hope!

Feel free to respond to this email with your advice. Please keep in mind that I am something of an anglophile, so this is not confrontational. Please remember, too, that I am merely an American. That means I am not very bright. It means I have no culture or sense of history. It also means that I am barely literate, so please don’t use big, fancy words.

Nicely done there. And yes, I’d find it just as offensive if the Telegraph ran a pro-Bush letter-writing campaign. The thing is, they haven’t.

Headlines Of Splendor Department

Monday, October 25th, 2004

Alternate headlines for this story gratefully accepted. My submission:

Control of actions central in walking down flight of stairs

Control of actions central in going to the shops

Control of actions central in tying of shoelaces

And so on.