Goose the Blog 2.0

"Oh, ha! Sarcasm: The last refuge of sons of bitches!"

11/30/2004

Now a Word From Our Sponsor

by Wendy at 11/30/2004 08:55:00 AM

4 1 day-old chicks @ $2 each: $8.00
Gas for car trip to Baltimore to pick them up: $7.45
Heat lamp for brooder: $11.65
Lumber, paint and hardware to build coop: $400
Feeder and waterers: $16.66
Wood shavings for bedding: $8.50
3 #50 bags of organic chicken feed: $48
Grit and oyster shell: $25

First egg: Priceless

That's right, we found the first egg this morning! Its the smaller one on the left, set side by side with a store bought egg for comparison. The first few eggs the chickens lay will be 'practice' eggs, so they're expected to be a little smaller and perhaps more misshapen than an egg laid by a mature hen. Its a green egg (a little hard to tell from this photo), so Junior must be the culprit. All this on her five month birthday!

By the way, I'm declaring Bill the winner of the chicken pool. Even though John picked the closest date, December 1, he obviously cheated off of Bill who, guessing blind, picked a date only 2 days off the actual date, and a full week before the earliest expected laying date. Good job, Bill, I'm sure John is sending you your prize money right now.

11/29/2004

"Have you tried Hare Krishna?"

by John at 11/29/2004 04:19:00 PM

No?

Okay, how about this: "Even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or ought to consider practicing."

Huh. I got:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Secular Humanism (98%)
3. Liberal Quakers (79%)
4. Nontheist (79%)
5. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (76%)

I kept jiggering my answers, but I always got 100% Unitarian Universalism. I suspect that anyone with an aversion to dogma and intolerance will, because as far as I can tell the UUs basically just get together on Sundays (or whatever day they like) and agree to respectfully disagree, which is alright by me. On the other hand, to get a high nontheist score, it seems to me you just have to not care about anything (try it - mark as much as you can "Not Applicable") which, in my opinion, falsely confuses ethics and morality with theism.

So, let a web quiz help you make important life and death decisions. Fun stuff!

"Warning: Belief-O-Matic™ assumes no legal liability for the ultimate fate of your soul."

11/26/2004

hobbits back in the news

by John at 11/26/2004 08:27:00 PM

Remember the hobbits?

Well, as with most new theories, there was not universal agreement in the scientific community that the 18,000 year old bones of the the meter tall humanoids found on an Indonesian island represent a separate species of humans. Some paleontologists think that they are merely microcephalic Homo sapiens dwarves.

Professor Teuku Jacob of Gadjah Mada University in Jakarta is one of the doubters, and to prove his point, he has locked the remains of the seven individuals in his safe and will not let anyone else examine the bones.

The Australian researchers associated with the original discovery are asking him, very nicely, to please let them examine the bones. They hope to extract DNA that may help determine the ancestry of the prehistoric humans.

The discovery of these bones potentially threatens a lot of current scientific beliefs, including the developement of the genus Homo, our relation to other primates like chimpanzees, and perhaps even the physiological requirements for being human. All very interesting stuff. The solutions to the questions raised, however, will only be found through scientific cooperation.

11/24/2004

no surprise

by John at 11/24/2004 01:49:00 PM


I suppose it is not surprising that people who have only recently and tenuously wrested power from an autocratic ruling elite would be willing to hit the streets and fight for their democracy, while we piss ours away because "CSI" is on.



um... buy gold?

by John at 11/24/2004 08:51:00 AM

Euros? Yen? Yuan? It probably doesn't matter if the whole thing is going down the crapper.
Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, has a public reputation for being bearish.

But you should hear what he's saying in private.

Roach met select groups of fund managers downtown last week, including a group at Fidelity.

His prediction: America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic "armageddon."

Press were not allowed into the meetings. But the Herald has obtained a copy of Roach's presentation. A stunned source who was at one meeting said, "it struck me how extreme he was - much more, it seemed to me, than in public."

Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that "we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual armageddon."

The chance we'll get through OK: one in 10. Maybe.

That view may be a little pessimistic, but meanwhile, Republicans are planning on increasing the deficit by partially privatizing Social Security, which incurs a current cost to the government equal to the amount that is put in private accounts. This increases the year over year deficit and the total debt because no new sources of revenue have been put in place. Only, here's the good part, no one will actually see the deficit increase because they won't put it on the books. That's really clever. MaxSpeak explains it this way:

For academics, this will be a grand experiment in neo-classical fiscal policy, founded on the premise that anything that doesn't change inter-temporal budget constraints has no effect on behavior. Yuk yuk. By this logic, if the Gov borrows to pay me a billion dollars today and simultaneously passes the Revenue 3000 tax act, which levies a wealth tax on the inhabitants of Jupiter in the year 3000 to offset the accumulated debt, everything is hunky-dory. Don't laugh. These people are running the country!

MaxSpeak goes on to say that there is some bullshit argument about how this plan is actually an investment that will pay out in the future through the higher rate of return received on individual accounts relative to the government's earnings for Social Security funds. Don't believe it - no other government expenditures are accounted for this way, including ones that are also real investments, like education, child healthcare, infrastructure, or research and development.

The only reason they are making this so complicated is that GWB promised to half the deficit by 2009. Only, he also promised not to "raise" taxes (which actually means that at best, taxes won't return to their original levels when the tax cuts expire), and he also wants to privatize Social Security, and have wars, and GOP legislators cannot stop spending or they might lose their seats because voters (especially red-staters) like government spending when the money gets spent on them. The only way out is for the economy to grow so fast that revenues increase (despite tax cuts) faster than our spending grows. This isn't going to happen, so instead they invent rationales for hiding the borrowing and contemplate what would be probably be criminal behavior if the government was a public business.

Pretty soon, to our creditors out in the real world, we start to look like a giant-sized Argentina that they have to stop trying to rescue unless they drown with us. Which of our leaders is going to stand up and recognize that we can't go on like this? Two-thirds of Americans (and even half of Republicans) already know it.

Anyway, I think I'm partial to the Euro, because it's more fungible than gold (maybe?) and the EU hasn't been propping up US monetary and trade debt, so they are less tied to our collapse than China or Japan. However, if things gets really bad, my best investment might be a shotgun and a basement full of toilet paper and beef jerky. Those last two are the currencies of the future, I hear.

11/23/2004

Paying Attention?

by Wendy at 11/23/2004 06:29:00 PM

OK, all these maps John and I have been posting were just a ploy to get you to study up for this test. You should all do pretty well at it by now.

I, unfortunately, am mentally challenged, and even managed to screw up the placement of my own home state. I redeemed myself with some of the easy ones (Hawaii and Alaska) and ended up with 88% correct and an average error of 33 miles.

Good luck and Godspeed.

Even More Maps

by Wendy at 11/23/2004 09:59:00 AM

Here are some more interesting maps detailing one of the most hotly-contested debates of recent years.

Once again, I am firmly in the blue camp. I hope you are too, especially because calling all sweet carbonated beverages 'Coke' indiscriminately is just too strange.

XYZ, PDQ!

by John at 11/23/2004 08:58:00 AM


He makes us so proud...

11/21/2004

chicken pool

by John at 11/21/2004 11:07:00 AM

Steve suggested that we have a chicken pool to see who could guess which one would be the first layer and when. I was all set to get this started when Wendy reminded me that, most likely, we'd never know which one layed the first the egg, unless it was Junior. You see, Junior is likely to lay green or blue eggs, while Cookie and Buffy will lay brown eggs.

We can still bet on the date the first egg is laid. I suggest $1 per bet, winner is closest guess and winner takes all. Start your betting in the comments!

Anyway, here are their current photos: Buffy, Cookie, and Junior.

11/20/2004

won't you help?

by John at 11/20/2004 08:00:00 AM

The Hand Up Project:

Right now, 30 percent of all hermit crabs on our shorelines are living in shells that are too small for them. In the springtime, when the animal has its growth spurt, this shortage skyrockets to 60 percent. Hermit crabs, whose own bodies provide only thin exoskeletons, must scavenge and appropriate hard-walled shells abandoned by marine gastropods for shelter. The problem is that there currently are not enough shells left on our beaches for hermit crabs to use. This situation is not only uncomfortable but dire.

...

Based on what we know about the new needs of these animals in their current environment, the Hand Up Project proposes to manufacture alternative forms of housing, specifically designed for use by land hermit crabs, out of plastic. This solution offers multiple benefits. Not only will the project afford the animal badly needed additional forms of shelter, but we also contend that, by utilizing current technology, we may now be better equipped to meet the needs of this life-form than nature ever has.

...

The project is currently soliciting corporate and commercial sponsorship to fund manufacturing and distribution costs by licensing the houses for advertising. In exchange for financial support, each plastic shelter may be readily produced bearing a corporate logo.

This is a joke just art, right? Although, I'm sure beaches and tide pools covered in tiny red plastic Coke cans is someone's idea of a good thing.

(Yoink! Boing Boing)

11/19/2004

Hey, I Agree With Ralph!

by Wendy at 11/19/2004 07:54:00 PM

Probably Mark is aware of this, since Ralph Nader has been on the case for years, but it was a surprise to me to find that AAA is not as benign as it seems.

According to this article, everyone's favorite source of free maps, motel discounts, and roadside assistance supports a powerful lobby which fights against things like the Clean Air Act, safer autos, funding for public transportation, and public policy meant to limit urban sprawl.

What can you do? Well, for one thing, instead of joining the evil empire, you can try out the alternative auto club, the Better World Club, supported by Mr Nader himself, as well as two guys you may know as Click and Clack. Better World not only supplies the requisite emergency towing and free maps, but you can also get roadside assistance for your bike, for a small extra fee.

There's a nice article about a Better World (including more information on AAA's agenda) here.

objectively pro-crime

by John at 11/19/2004 08:35:00 AM

Josh Marshall has been chasing down all the House Republicans to try to find out how they voted on the recent GOP rule change that would allow indicted Republican Representatives to serve as committee chairpersons or House leaders. The Daily Delay has put together a running tally of objectively pro-crime Republicans, as well as those who are too ashamed to admit their pro-crime position. Only a handful have spoken out against the rule change.

The rule change is meant to protect House Majority Leader Tom Delay from being forced to give up his leadership position when he is indicted by a Texas grand jury for using a political action committee to illegally collect corporate donations and funnel them to Texas legislative races.

Meanwhile, Delay's minions are busy smearing District Attorney Earle in order to deflect criticism of their hypocrisy and proactively call into question Delay's culpability. As usual, their smears are groundless and false.

11/18/2004

Greetings from MarkJumblie

by MarkJumblie at 11/18/2004 11:23:00 AM

Mark Heng, actually. My band's called The Jumblies, thus the moniker. I grew up with John, Bill, Steve, and the notorious J.E.F.F. in Littleton, CO. The more I remember those formative years, the more I'm reminded of Freaks&Geeks...I'll reminisce about just one of the weirdo things we did which was to dig for clay in the sandbox during recess. We never made anything with the clay, just horded it like dwarves.

I live in Boston with my girlfriend, Ruth. She's currently trekking about Australia and NZ until Christmas. If anyone needs accomodation in Boston, lemme know, I'll hook ya up.

You can check out my art at http://markheng.com/
And my music at http://www.thejumblies.com/

Nice meeting y'all and keep up the good fight! Nader in 2008!!!


new co-blogger

by John at 11/18/2004 11:16:00 AM

Watch out for our new co-blogger, Mark. Mark is an old friend from elementary school and upwards, and he plays in a rock and roll band! He is also a professional artist in Boston.

Welcome!

11/17/2004

Mom's Thanksgiving joke

by John at 11/17/2004 09:43:00 PM

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. In desperation, John threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arm and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriateness and transgressions, and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

11/16/2004

| power |*

by John at 11/16/2004 09:32:00 PM

I was thinking about that quote about absolute power and that thing it does to people who wield it when I was reading about the fast one House Republicans are trying to pull by passing a rule change that will allow Tom DeLay to keep his job as Majority Leader even after he gets indicted by that grand jury in Texas. They want to change the same rules they put in place in 1993 when they were punishing Democrat Dan Rostenkowski.

Anyway, the quote I was thinking of was by a guy named Lord Acton (1834-1902). I'll start with the obvious one, but he said some other interesting things, too:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

"And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

"Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity."

"Machiavelli's teaching would hardly have stood the test of Parliamentary government, for public discussion demands at least the profession of good faith."

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections."

"The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority."

"It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason."

"The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities."

"There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."

"If some great catastrophe is not announced every morning, we feel a certain void. Nothing in the paper today, we sigh."

-----
* The title is a math geek joke

11/15/2004

Apologies

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 11/15/2004 03:44:00 PM

I just saw this site of apologies re: the election and am looking through the hundreds of photos during lunch. If you want another view, it looks like there's this too...but I refuse to look.

even more 30 second book reviews

by John at 11/15/2004 10:50:00 AM

The River Why - David James Duncan
(Recommended by Bill) I read this book in a weekend. I really flew through it because I was enjoying it - it was funny and clever and I wanted to learn what the book was trying to tell me. But when I finished it, I thought that ultimately it didn't have much significance for me. Maybe I didn't get it, or maybe it wasn't supposed to have any. Anyway, we should all be so lucky to find the meaning of life and true love at twenty.

Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross
This is a sequel to Singularity Sky, which I reviewed a while ago. It features two or three of the same main characters, but you need not have read the former to "get" this. It's an interesting story of megadeaths, mind control totalitarianism, and causality weapons research. Stross keeps the action fast paced, but the characters are fleshed out and empathetic (is that the right word?). It features occasional over-the-top brutality that reminds me of Iain M. Banks Culture novels. Good stuff for SF fans, if you don't mind your stories a little dark.

Camelot 30K - Robert L. Forward
This poor book. See, Forward is a pretty clever guy - a physicist, I think - and he writes "hard" SF that is based only on current science fact. No warp drives or transporters. His thing is coming up with outlandish but plausible alien worlds. This particular book has some neat ideas about life on a Kuiper Belt object, but it is so clunky and hard to read and THE MYSTERY is just lurking there the whole time that I just didn't enjoy it. I read the similar Dragon's Egg a decade or so ago and I remember liking that one, so maybe it is just this book. Or maybe it's me.

Distraction - Bruce Sterling
Bruce Sterling was, I understand, a kind of cyberpunk god. I never read much by him that I recall (probably some short stories) except for the very cool novel The Difference Engine that he wrote with William Gibson, another cyberpunk god. Thing is, neither The Difference Engine or this novel are cyberpunk, and that is OK because I hear cyberpunk is dead. This story is about US politics in the year 2040. He sets up a very plausible scenario about a bankrupt, fractured nation that is rapidly declining in world power (the USA lost the economic war against the Chinese when they just decided to give away our intellectual property rights and are currently involved in a cold war with the Dutch over rising ocean levels). Anyway, it's about what a New England political campaign director does after he gets his Senator elected, as he tries to confound the plans of a Louisiana governor/tyrant. It was pretty good.

America the Broke: How the Reckless Spending of The White House and Congress are Bankrupting Our Country and Destroying Our Children's Future - Gerald J. Swanson
This book has a very long, descriptive title that pretty much tells you all you need to know except the details. I've already talked about this book a bit elsewhere. It is an interesting, non-partisan take on the current fiscal problems facing the US. Is it alarmist? Maybe, but I thought it was mostly realistic. It makes me want to start saving some of my money in Euros. It even proposes some solutions to the high deficits, looming debt, and upcoming meltdown of Medicare and Medicaid. No, Mr. Bush, more tax cuts aren't the right answer.

The System of the World - Neal Stephenson
This is the last book of The Baroque Cycle. If you read the first two, why would you stop now? It's just as good as the last two. It features phosphorus time bombs, coin counterfeiters, Peter the Great, debate over who invented the calculus first, Logic Mills and The Engine for Raising Water by Fire, Solomon's Gold, and an escape attempt from the Tower of London. And that is just the first third of the novel. Joe Bob says check it out.

-----

Also, I'm looking for book recommendations. I've made a list of stuff to read, but on my own I have a hard time finding good stuff outside of specific genres, if you know what I mean, and I want to branch out. Maybe you could put some in the comments? No reviews necessary.

11/14/2004

Request for a post

by Bill at 11/14/2004 08:19:00 PM

Amy and I want chicken info, no not recipes. We want to know how the chicks are doing.

11/13/2004

a mean-spritied rant

by Bill at 11/13/2004 03:34:00 PM

I found this link on Tom Tomorrow's blog. Somwhat mean-spirited, but I essentially agree. Warning this post is not appropriate for children, small dogs, or parrots the might acquire an affinity for foul langauge.

11/11/2004

veterans day

by John at 11/11/2004 11:00:00 AM

"Dulce et Decorum est"
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. —
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, —
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

11/10/2004

Pretty Incredible

by Wendy at 11/10/2004 03:50:00 PM

John and I went to see The Incredibles Saturday night. We both thought it was pretty good though John liked it a lot more than me (probably a carryover from a childhood spent watching all those superhero cartoons). Its been said that a truly good animated action picture would be impossible to make, but I thought they pulled it off with the Incredibles

One of the trailers we saw was for the new Tom Hanks animated holiday flick, Polar Express. From reading this, it looks like the uncanny valley has struck again.

Though the Incredibles managed some amazing realism - some of the detail in the modeling of the characters' hair comes to mind as an example - at its core it was still essentially a cartoon with cartoonish characters, and managed to avoid all the creepiness. We would both heartily recommend it, though you might want to wait a few weeks to see if Pixar adds in the obligatory outtakes in the ending credits.

11/09/2004

more maps

by John at 11/09/2004 02:07:00 PM

Salon.com points out some really amazing maps concerning (what else) last week's Presidential election. Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman, researchers at the University of Michigan, have published a series of cartograms, which are maps in which the sizes of geographic regions are proportional to population or another property. Apparently, the construction of cartograms involves some serious mathematics - looking at the maps, I believe it!

Why is this important? Political: we vote by person, not acre, so the fact that 2.5 million sq. miles of the country is red and only 0.5 million sq. miles is blue is irrelevant. Analytical: these maps represent a fascinating way to visualize the available geographic, population, and voting data.

Other very interesting maps can be found here, including 3d maps of vote difference by county and county population, and a cartogram of state electoral votes. I think this one is especially telling - 140 years later and the same geographic divisions are present, even though the issues have changed.

woohoo!

by John at 11/09/2004 10:13:00 AM

Here's a tasty snack for you: Firefox release 1.0 is out today! Firefox is the rockinest browser ever, as I have said before, and it has the best logo of all browsers, too. Go download your copy and switch today - naturally, it's available for Mac (10.1 and higher only), Windows, and Linux.

Actually, the ftp server and mozilla.org site are a little hammered right now - maybe you should wait until this evening or tomorrow to get your copy.

Extra tidbit: about 1/4 of the browsers hitting GtB are Firefox. While this isn't a reflection of the general browser population (which I've heard is only about 4% Firefox), it is a reflection of the l33t status of GtB readers.

11/08/2004

pushing the lever

by John at 11/08/2004 04:01:00 PM

It occurred to me that faithful GtB followers hit the blog multiple times a day, just hoping for a treat full of crunchy bloggy goodness (I do it too, but sometimes, I am invisible to the counter due to my administrative superpowers...). Don't feel bad about it. This is just typical mammalian behavior.

I've read about studies about this. I'm not going to look anything up on Google because that would be too much work. I'm not even sure what to call it, which makes a Google search a bit harder.

It turns out that mammals are naturally addicted to gambling.

It works like this. If you never give the rat a snack when he pushes the lever, well, he won't bother pushing the lever at all. If you give the rat a snack every time he pushes the lever, he'll learn to push the lever whenever he is hungry. But, (and this is the cool part) if you give the rat a snack only some of the times he pushes the lever, he will sit in front of the lever and push it all damn day. Conclusion: rats like gambling!

This is the same psychology used in some kinds of dog training, slot machines, and annual personnel evaluations. You keep doing something incessantly and if it pays off once in a while, you feel rewarded beyond the actual compensation received. It's all in our primitive electro-chemical brains.

I have no idea what the evolutionary significance of this behavior is, although I'm sure that the evolutionary psychologists can come up with a plausible just-so story to explain it's usefulness. Something about remembering where we once found food, I bet.

I really hope I didn't alienate anyone. Give in to your lower mammalian instincts and keep hitting the lever and checking for a snack. I know I will!




Update: I have no will power. I looked up rats lever gambling on Google and found out it is called "partial reinforcement".

11/05/2004

feeling better

by John at 11/05/2004 07:57:00 PM

I just thought I'd share this story (via Boing Boing). It made me feel better about losing an election because a bunch of social conservatives imagine that homosexual marriages will destroy society.

Sometimes, it's more important to do the right thing than to be popular. A generation from now, when people think preventing homosexual marriage is as stupid as we think preventing interracial marriage is, I will be able to look back and know I was on the right side.

11/04/2004

a better map

by John at 11/04/2004 03:25:00 PM

Professor Robert Vanderbei of Princeton beat me by four years and several thousand style points.

Cool purple map. (Yoink! Boing Boing)

Take off! To the Great White North!

by John at 11/04/2004 01:13:00 PM

There's been lots of talk about moving to Canada from disgruntled reality-dwellers. We briefly floated the idea of selling our two acres and the mule and moving to Vancouver. Calgary is nice too - it looks like Denver, but there isn't a city full of religious wackos 60 miles to the south. It's also easier to keep warm in the winter than it is too keep cool in the summer. Plus, that nice Patterson family lives up there.

Well guess what? Canada wants you! They need 1% immigration per year to keep their population from dwindling. All you need is a B.A. (or two years as a tradesperson), some proficiency in English, and it helps to be less than 49 years old.

This is another option, though. Maybe you wouldn't even need get a moving van!

fear and hate

by John at 11/04/2004 08:41:00 AM

If you look at the same exit poll I cited yesterday, you'll see that 19% of voters thought the most important issue was terrorism - and 86% of those who thought terrorism was most important voted for Bush. 1/6 of all voters voted for Bush out of fear.

When asked the specific question of whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry or form civil unions, 37% of all voters thought that there should be no legal recognition of homosexual relationships. Of those, 70% voted for Bush. 1/4 of all voters voted for Bush out of hate. That's more than the fraction that choose moral values as the most important election issue. I think it's safe to say there is substantial overlap between the two categories.

So, we have fear and hate. 1/3 of all voters voted for Bush primarily because of fear and hate. 2/3 of all Bush voters chose him because of fear and hate. That's quite a base you've got, Mr. Bush.

11/03/2004

why Kerry lost?

by John at 11/03/2004 09:25:00 PM

Or, why we thought he might actually win?

According to the same exit polls that predicted narrow Kerry wins in FL, OH, IA, and NM (certainly within the margin of error), 22% of those voting said "moral values" was the one issue that mattered most in deciding how voted they for president. Of those 22%, 80% voted for Bush. This means that nearly 1/5 of the all voters (preferring Kerry or Bush) turned out to vote for Bush because of moral values. "Moral values" is, of course, mostly media double-speak for anti-gay and anti-abortion sentiment (leaving out values that say, for instance, not permitting gay marriage is immoral). The next most important issues were economy (20%), terrorism (19%) and Iraq (15%).

Where were these people before the election? I found a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll from before the election that said that the top issues concerning voters were terrorism (31%), Iraq (28%), and the economy (27%). Moral values (or anything similar) wasn't even one of the choices.

Kerry probably lost because 1/5 of all voters thought hating gays and loving fetuses was more important than anything else at stake in this election. Congratulations on well-played politics, Mr. Rove.

on a lighter note

by Bill at 11/03/2004 02:54:00 PM

Maybe there is hope for the Springfield tire fire.

silly Democrats

by John at 11/03/2004 01:40:00 PM

Unlike a previous presidential candidate who lost the popular vote, Senator John Kerry has conceded the race to Bush. Instead of prolonging the decision through lengthy court battles and multiple appeals, Kerry has taken the statesmanlike and democratic course of action.

Silly Democrats. Always doing what's right for the country instead of themselves.

binary vs. continuous

by John at 11/03/2004 01:29:00 PM

When I was looking at the USA map this morning, I was struck by how divided it is. Blue in the Mid-Atlantic and N.E., blue on the Pacific coast, and red everywhere else.

A lot of people would like you to think these are the real divisions between Americans. That the liberals live on the edges, and the conservatives live in the middle. But that can't really be the case, can it?

So I made the following chart (clicking makes it bigger). The blue and red bars represent the traditional binary representation of the electoral split - all or nothing for Kerry and Bush, respectively. The grey represents the actual difference in the popular vote. Anything greater than +25% for Bush is black, and greater than +25% for Kerry is white. Lots of grey in the middle.



I made a map, too (click to enlarge).




I didn't supply a color bar, but the four darkest shades correspond to >25% Bush, 20-25% Bush, 15-20% Bush, and 10-15% Bush (22 states). The middle four are 5-10% Bush, 0-5% Bush, 0-5% Kerry and 5-10% Kerry (21 states). The lightest three are 10-15% Kerry, 15-20% Kerry and >20% Kerry (7 states + D.C.).

a beautiful day

by John at 11/03/2004 07:39:00 AM

This morning was beautiful. The sun was out, the wind was up, and the last colorful autumn leaves hung tenaciously to exposed branches as their siblings were blown madly down the street. It's almost enough to make you forget that the country is going to hell.

My mistake was getting a little hope. After Iraq went so badly, after the economy didn't really recover, after the presidential debates where Bush the man was revealed to be Bush the image and Kerry the image was revealed to be Kerry the man, I thought that we might have a chance to start setting things straight. I was wrong. I should have known that Americans have been trained to prefer image over reality any day.

Congratulations other half of America - you are going to get the government you deserve. It's too bad that you will be dragging the rest of us along with you.

-----

On the other hand, it's just politics. The Republicans play the game better than Democrats. They have for more than thirty years, and that's not going to change overnight.

Personally, I'm going to keep bitching about the Bush administration, and working in my small way to make the changes I want to see in the world happen. Today is just another day like the last 1461, or the next 1461. Keep up the good fight.

11/02/2004

the blame game

by John at 11/02/2004 08:04:00 PM

Well, the polls have closed here in Pennsylvania, and soon enough they will be closing where you live as well. You have done all you could - you have voted (or not, see below). Once a winner has been determined, it will be time to sit back and point fingers at those you would blame for the mess we are in.

Just make sure no one is pointing any fingers at you by printing out this handy bumper sticker I designed. You can stick it anywhere you like!

never send to know for whom the bell tolls

by John at 11/02/2004 01:25:00 PM

It tolls for thee.

Or your chicken. Sadly, yesterday, our most outgoing and prettiest chicken, Doori, unexpectedly died. The cause is still a mystery.

As a chick, she quickly learned to jump and climb to the highest spot she could reach - usually the top of someone's head. Even as a nearly fully grown bird, she was still trying to do that.

Oh, I am no good at eulogies - it is something I plan on never being good at. She was a nice bird, and fun to watch. It is too bad she didn't live a longer time.

11/01/2004

the conservative case for not voting

by John at 11/01/2004 06:27:00 PM

Everywhere you look people are saying "Vote vote vote! It doesn't matter who you vote for, just vote!"

Well, I'd like to point out that, as conservatives everywhere know, our Founding Fathers did not approve of voting in federal elections for Senator and President. For starters, unless you are a white male, they didn't want you to vote at all. In many of the original states, you would have to be a landowner for some years duration as well, which means they didn't really want renters or transients to vote, either. More to the point, they didn't believe in popular election of the highest offices. Senators were to be chosen by the state legislatures, not by direct vote. Presidents were to be chosen by an appointed electoral college of wise and trustworthy men, and there was no suffrage requirement, as the wise Justice Scalia has recently made clear. The founding fathers did not think that ordinary citizens, busy with their farming, hunting, trapping, and smithing, could take the time to be knowledgeable enough about national affairs to make informed decisions. Moreover, they believed that common men would be too easily inflamed by demagoguery and rum to make the truly dispassionate choices required to staff such powerful offices. Has much really changed in our modern-day world?

As conservatives, I encourage you to stand up for our Founding Fathers' Constitutional beliefs. Sure, some "Amendments" have been added, allowing non-whites and even women to vote, and providing for the popular election of Senators, but if the Founding Fathers had wanted it that way, the Constitution would have been written thusly.

Stand up for your principles. Stay away from the polls this election day. Don't even drive by to see if the line is long and if it is filled with activists who would interpret the original Constitution to mean whatever they think it should mean. If you must vote, be sure to vote only for local elections and your Representative in the House. It's what the Founding Fathers would've wanted you to do.

the rise of pseudo-fascism

by John at 11/01/2004 08:25:00 AM

I've been waiting for David Neiwert to finish this series of essays, and he did, just in time for election day. So tomorrow, after you vote, you can sit back and read it while waiting for the returns to come in.

Although he sometimes seems a little over-the-top, I think he makes a compelling case.

Part 1: The Morphing of the Conservative Movement

Part 2: The Architecture of Fascism

Part 3: The Pseudo-Fascist Campaign

Part 4: The Apocalyptic One-Party State

Part 5: Warfare By Other Means

Part 6: Breaking Down the Barriers

Part 7 [Conclusion]: It Can Happen Here

The conservative movement has transcended policy and is pursuing only power. No matter who wins tomorrow's presidential election, we are in for rough times.