Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Evolution Of A Concept



All Gayed Up!

News Flash! Poor Minortity Women Not Stupid!

This will only be news for those who have bought the harsh GOP spin and their Randian friends. The Brookings institute published an abstract of a study that shows that paying for birth control through Medicaid reduces the rate at which those on Medicaid have children.

Who would have thunk it? It turns out that even poor, uneducated, minority women can make good decisions and act on them when we do not withhold the means to do so from them.

I am going to make a new category to label posts of this kind of information under. It will be 'NO SHIT'. I will reserve it for studies that tell us what should be common sense but that entrenched political and societal forces fight against.

Thanks to Matthew Yglesias.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Proof That Women Are Less Competent Than Men

With her reply to one of my comments over at Womanist Musings Renee got me to thinking about suicide. I have been making this tongue in cheek observation for years but did not look up the statistics. Women actually perform worse than I had been saying. One only needs two statistics to prove that women are grossly less competent than men. Attempted suicides and the suicide rate.

Women were three times as likely to attempt suicide in 2001. In that year 24,672 men committed suicide compared to 5,950 suicides committed by women. That means that men commit suicide 4 time as often as women do with 1/3 the attempts. That means that men are 12 times as likely to succeed at trying to kill themselves.

Killing a human being is not a difficult task. It is no secret what it takes to end a life. It is especially easy to do if the victim is co-operative. In a suicide the victim is by definition co-operating with the killer because they are the same person. How incompetent does one have to be to fail at such a simple task.


Statistics are from suicide.org.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Veep Stakes

There is rampant speculation about the VP choices on both sides and timing. There is now speculation that McCain is going to make his pick tomorrow. I guess we are going to see that one every other day or so untill some one is right.

Here is my guess. Obama knows who he is going to pick and whenever McCain makes his choice Obama is going to stomp on the news cycle by announcing his choice. I also believe that the oposite is true. So each candidate is trying to out wait the other. Who ever moves first loses.

They should save the announcement for the conventions. Conventions have become non-news events but not knowing who the VP choice is would make it a real event that people would actualy watch.

Unless McCain is stupid enough to let Obama stomp on his news cycle we will be waiting for a while yet. (I hope he announces tomorrow. but doubt that even he is that dumb.)

Has A Surfer/Snowboarder Who Lives In A Van Rewritten Physics? Maybe.

I would love to be educated enough to have an opinion on wether this guy is right.

The Last Lecture

This is all over the net so you have probably seen it. If not push play.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good Comeback

KAREN TUMULTY - Was there anything that you saw on this trip that changed your mind? John McCain, as you know, is saying, "Well, he already knew what he was going to think before he got there."

BARACK OBAMA - Well, I thought John also suggested that I'm always changing my mind, so he's got to make up his mind about what he says about my mind.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I am a citizen of Memphis.
I am a citizen of Tennessee.
I am a citizen of The United States of America.
I am a citizen of The World.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Speech

I just watched the speech for the second time. I watched it live during my lunch today. I watched it again with my daughter just now. I was spell bound even upon the second viewing. This speech laid out Sen Obama's vision for our place in the world and it is a grand vision. He is the kind of leader who can sell that grand vision to the world. He will get us more cooperation from the other nations in securing our future by making it clear that it is their future as well. If you doubt what he will do - - - watch him tell you.

Misplaced Mistaken Outrage

... over Sen. Kerry's use of the term 'tar-baby'. You will note that I did not say false outrage. I do not think that Renee over at Womanist Musings is being disingenuous when she claims to be outraged. She is outraged. But she is outraged in error. She has the video posted on her blog so you can watch it there to judge for yourself.

She is acting like he called someone a 'tar-baby'. He did not. He used the word in its original meaning - a sticky problem that only entangles you more them harder you struggle. What he did was not like calling a black man a 'spade'. What he did is like using the word 'spade' to refer to the black card suit with pips shaped like spear heads. This is an argument that will likely turn out to be a tar-baby for me but we must stop running from the difficult topic of race. People of good will must speak about these things in the effort to increase understanding across the color line for so long as it exists.

In her post and comments she argues that the common vernacular meaning of the word is the racist word. I cannot argue with that because I am not a part of her vernacular community. Neither is the Senator. He has probably spent less time in his life around openly racist people who use racial insults than I have. And I do not recall hearing this term used as a racial insult, even though I have been exposed to an amazing variety of these terms. I have encountered people who refer to it as one but not heard it myself. I have also not heard it used in its original meaning very often. It is rapidly falling out of use all together.

She also argues in the comments,

BTW what I deem to be racist against WOC is far more accurate than your determination simply because I inhabit the body that I do. This is one of those times Larry when you listen to views of POC and put aside your inclinations.
This is the sort of argument that by design is racist and shuts down the discussion rather than opens it up. She may be able to more accurately say what a WOC finds offensive than I am, but she does not have any special insight into the way that Sen Kerry and his peers use language and that is at least as central to this argument as how she feels about it. It is obvious from the context that the over-educated elite white male was ignorant of the racial implications of the word he used. He used it in a clearly non-racial context in its original meaning. He is likely to issue an apology because of the controversy that his ignorant choice of words caused but that firestorm has only served to distract from the actual content of what he was saying. He was defending Sen Obama from a scurrilous attack and no one will note his defense of our candidate because we had to digress into the language of personal affront.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Black In America (Hour One)

I intended to watch the full two hours of this CNN special tonight. I was defeated by its glacial pace. It was as if it was the producers goal to give the viewer as little information in as much time as possible. I simply could not force myself to sit through another virtually content free hour this evening.

The first hour gave me the following tidbits.

1. There are families that have both black and white branches to their family tree. This was no news to anyone who is paying attention to the world around them. We are all mutts. It is only the retarded white supremacist and melanists who claim that they are pure bred. I am not the sort of credulous individual who will buy their con.

2. Education is important. They told of the program that is paying children for grades. I think it is a fantastic idea.

3. More and more children are being born out of wedlock. The single mother rate in the black community is 70%. No news here. They had no suggested solutions either.

4. There are some otherwise intelligent people who believe a pseudo since theory that blacks die younger than whites because of "Salt tolerance". Why look to research when we can just make some good sounding crap up and BELIEVE!

That is four tidbits of information in an hour of "reporting". Only #4 was news to me and I really did not need to be exposed to that bit of misinformation. Just like I have no need to hear the BS arguments for young earth creationism except to be able to refute them.

McTrolling For Votes

On TPMCafe There has been much discussion of late about what makes a person a troll or a comment trollish. It is my opinion that the essence of what constitutes trolishness is the dishonest insult. If a person hurls hurtful invective that they know to not be true then they are a troll.

Sen McCain gave an excellent example of this behavior this week. He chose to try to gain political points by saying that Sen Obama wants to lose in Iraq. Sen McCain knows that this is not true. He knows that Sen Obama wishes for us to succeed in Iraq. He has a policy difference with Sen Obama. He thinks that Sen Obama's policy will lead to failure. Saying that is an honest critique of Sen Obama's positions. But he chose not to make a principled attack on Sen Obama's position. He instead claimed that if you disagree with his policy positions the you are in favor of losing. That is how he became a troll for a day.

We all make trollish comments from time to time. What makes a troll is consistently making trollish comments. I will be watching to see which personality wins. Will we see the campaign of the straight shooter McCain, or will we be treated to three months of Troll McBush?

You Ain't Cool...

till you do your thing on Sesame Street.

Tattooed White Trash Correction

I got the link wrong in my first post. It is fixed now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

GOP vs Democrats

I saw this in a comment by likelydemented over at TPM.
I say what is going on here is some kind of split--separate emotional universes. On one side are people who are essentially authoritarian by nature and who want rules, clarity, and predictability. They support cops, the military, and President Pinocchio. On the other side are people who, for whatever reasons, are able to put up with ambiguity and the messiness of democracy. They don't understand us; we don't understand them.
That is an excellent observation. My libertarian friends are missing the point by hanging out with the GOP which is the authoritarian party.

This was also a learning experience about bookmarking things you want to comment on. It took me forever to find this again today because I did not.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Matrix vs Metamucil

You will hate yourself if you do not look at this picture.

Tattooed White Trash For Obama

I want to show that, contrary to the lie repeated in the press, the working class is supporting Sen Obama's bid for the White House. If you would like to pitch in to sell this message then donate to the working class fundraiser - Tattooed White Trash For Obama.

Friday, July 18, 2008

McCain Tries To Get Obama Killed

Sen McCain appears to have decided that his chances are so slim for winning this fall that he should make life as dangerous as possible for Sen Obama. His first move in this new strategy is announcing Sen Obama's travel plans for Iraq.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

IRV (Instant Runoff Voting)

A charter amendment for Instant Runoff Voting will be on the ballot here in Memphis this fall. Under IRV when you vote you select your first second and third choices. In an IRV system voters would be allowed to rank candidates in order of preference "1", "2","3","4",..etc If a candidate gets a majority of the 1st place votes then he or she wins. If not then the candidate with the fewest 1st place votes is eliminated. 1st place votes for that candidate are then redistributed to the remaining candidates based on the 2nd place votes. If there is a candidate with a majority, he/she wins.

This will solve some of our election problems here in the city. Under our current system the candidate with a plurality of votes wins. This allows a candidate who has no chance of winning to enter the election and split the vote of the most popular candidate and act as a spoiler. IRV will prevent the Nader effect from plaguing our elections in the future. If you live in Memphis please encourage your friends to vote for this ballot item.

Whoose Children Count

I had managed to remain mercifully unaware of the number of Brangalina's children until I read this post.

I cannot understand our fascination with who is poking whom with what in Hollywood. It is in my eyes a defect of our society. To me an artist should be judged by their work and their lives are completely uninteresting. Angelina's pregnancy, lovers, habits, humanitarian efforts, vices, are irrelevant to my life and the fascination that others have with it is as unintelligible to me as some peoples fascination with who wins a child's game played by grown men who never grew up and do not know how to behave in public.

Independent of that, the points made in the post about our societies failure to provide basic services, like education and health care that includes reproductive services to the least fortunate among us are dead on. It is our national shame. That does not mean that it is wise to have children at a young age and out of wedlock. Trying to convince the young of the truth that they should pursue an education and try to lift themselves up before having children is a service in and of itself. It is hard enough to raise a child with all the support in the world. Alone and in poverty it is a challenge that none of us should have to face.

If Sen Obama or Mr Cosby tell someone to get an education first and try to find a mate that will stick with you for life because the work is lighter when it is shared they are only giving the same advice I give my daughter. Do you advise you child to get pregnant as young as possible by an anonymous father? Why would you rail against these men for giving sound advice. Our nation clearly needs to do more but in the mean time each of us should try to make the lives of the young we have influence over as easy as possible by giving them sound life advice.

E-mail Lies About Taxes

There is an e-mail going around claiming that Obama's tax proposals will hurt the working class more than McCain's. It is simply not true. There are articles about the two plans here and here. You can find these and more by Googling "Obama V McCain tax". You can also tell that this is BS because it says that families have lost farms and small business because of the Estate Tax. It simply has not happened. The right has been telling this lie for years. They know that most small business men and farmers over value their assets and do not sub tract their liabilities when thinking about how much their business or farm is worth. That is what estate tax is paid on the market value less liabilities. You have to subtract the seed loan, the equipment loans and the mortgage from the value of the family farm. Once that is done most farms have little or no value.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

McCain Cannot Tell The Difference

Between -

Sudan and Somalia
Czechoslovakia and The Czech Republic
Sunni and Shia
Leaving and Losing

Every time someone talks about combat forces leaving Iraq as part of a stabilization plan he screams "That's surrender". He obviously cannot tell the difference between leaving and losing. If leaving is losing how do we ever get out of any conflict? Why will no one ask him to give an example of what victory would look like? He has nothing to say about how he would win. He has become a caricature naysayer.


"This is a horribly unfortunate story," said Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner.


"It is terribly unfortunate that a member of the bush administration got caught selling access. That is supposed to stay out of the public eye."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Comedians' Gravy Train Comming To An End

Let's face it. Bush has made our Comedians weak. They have had seven years of low hanging fruit. They are terrified that Obama will win with a less than completely ridiculous vice president. The Bush administration has made them into lap dogs who are not able to fend for themselves unprepared to be released into the wild.
“The thing is, he’s not buffoonish in any way,” said Mike Barry
Our likely next president will not be writing the jokes for them and they do not know what to do.

The Most Insightfull Comment I Have Read All Day.

From Markg8 commenter at TPM.

anyone who sits in front of the computer all day commenting on blogs is or is on his way to being an over-weight, middle-aged white guy. Even if he is a 11 year old black girl. It's a little known drawback of combining the computer revolution and evolutionary biology.

Words to live by.

Obama's Problem With Former Hillary Supporters

Humanity Critic sums it up. "it doesn't exactly take a Mensa member to figure out that when 4 out of 10 West Virginians readily admit that race was a factor when they voting in that states' Democratic Primary, chances are Obama will have a extremely rough time capturing the coveted 'toothless rube' vote."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Coffee Beverage Treat

1 cup strong coffee
2 table spoons NutellaTM
1 ripe banana

Blend thoroughly. Pour into pint glass. Enjoy!

My Favorite Argument

An Oil Man Is My New Hero

Who would have thunk it?
This add ran during MTP this morning. Here in Memphis it ran just after an add for a local candidate for the house who is trying to get elected based on arguing that we should try to drill our way out of our energy problems. It really blocked his message to have his add followed by Mr Pickens add saying that, "I have been an oil man my whole life, but this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of."

His plan is not without its problems and will not be the solution by itself, but his advocacy moves the debate in the right direction. We should be debating how to get off oil instead of how to get another fix for our addiction.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Whining Crybaby Clintonite Losers

Damn it. A bunch of whining crybaby losers are trying to tear the party apart because their candidate of choice lost.

They are trying to make the convention into the nominating contest it used to be. That is a losing strategy. I hope they are told to take their damn ball and go home.

Hillary Needs to make a shermanesque statement and shut these people down. If she will not she is just another Lieberman Independent Democrat Buddy-F*cker. The primaries are over. She lost and she should tell this bunch of spoiled kids to grow up and get with the program.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Second Biggest Bank Failure Ever

There was a run on the bank IndyMac Bancorp. Do you hear that? A run on the bank! I guess it is just all in our heads. Because every one knows that Republicans are good for the economy (not).

Does Obama Still Seem Nutless To Y'all?

He kicked Hillary's ass with one arm tied behind his back and some doubted he had what it took to get tough because he did not tear her down. His new radio add shows he is swinging away at McCain. Do you still think he's a wuss who can't punch?

Flashy Clothes = Insecure Person

In her post Clothing, What It Really Costs Renee over at Womanist Musings was complaining about the amount we spend to to be walking billboards to show off our status at the expense of the downtrodden poor who labor for slave wages so that we can have the latest designers add on our back. She is complaining for the exploited. They do deserve our sympathy. But even if the price you paid for these goods was going to workers who were paid a living wage, my question is why would you stoop to advertising for someone who is paying you nothing for the work you do promoting their brand?

Brand consciousness just marks you as one generation away from poverty as much as to much as flashy jewelry does. You might as well drive a car or truck with rims that cost more than the vehicle wearing jewelry that cost more than the rims. You could get the same effect by painting your truck to match your boat. It is all the same motivation that makes a four year old yell "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT MEEEEE!!!".

So wear your designer threads and carry that handbag that cost you a weeks pay. You look like the unctuous used car salesman flashin' his Rolex, or the woman showing off her diamond engagement ring that paid for the guns in the hands of child soldiers raping other children.

Today's Postmodern and Jokey

Tomorrow's old fashioned and hokey

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My First Obama Event

I have just set up my first event for Sen Obama's Campaign. If you are going to be in Memphis this Sunday join us at Glenview Park and register some voters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Womanist Musings

I was chasing time down a link-hole yesterday and found the excelent blog Womanist Musings. It makes for good reading and I have added it to my bloglist. I do not agree with all of her positions but she states them well.

Memphis For Obama 08

I went to a meeting of Memphis For Obama 08 tonight where we planned our continuing voter registration efforts. It was good to actually do something which might effect the outcome of the race instead of arguing pointlessly on the intertubes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Conservatives Continue To Get It Backwards

Andrew Sullivan pointed out an interview of Ross Douthat at Newsweek from which he got the following quote.
If you look at the marriage rates in the 1950s and 1960s across social classes, the upper-middle class, the working class and the poor all got married and divorced at about the same rate. The all had children in wedlock or out of wedlock at about the same rate. That's changed dramatically over the past 50 years. So upper-middle-class Americans are still behaving like bourgeois, 1950s surburbanites. They're getting married, they have low divorce rates, they're very unlike to have children out of wedlock. That's not true for the working class. What you see in the white working class, in fact, is a trajectory that parallels, in alarming ways, what the black working class went through in terms of collapsing marriage rates and out-of-wedlock birth rates in the 1960s and 1970s. So we argue that that's one of the biggest challenges facing the American working class, and it's at the root of a lot of the inequality and a lot of the economic anxiety that are big factors in this election year.
They claim that the divorce rate is a big factor in the inequality in our society. But research indicates that they have got the direction of causation backwards. The prime causes of divorce are low income and income volatility. The union busting done by Regan and his successors that increased job insecurity, and the wage stagnation caused by our increasingly regressive tax structure (if you look at all taxes and not just the income tax) championed by the GOP cause the family breakdown they try to blame on liberals.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

How Stupid Are Journalists?

Look at this video of the Palestinian going on a rampage with a "buldozer".

I have been hearing about this on the radio. Then tonight I saw it on BBC's this week. Imagine my surprise when every reporter in the world was proved to be a dumb ass who cannot tell the difference between a bulldozer and a front end loader. Here are examples of each piece of equipment.

Front End Loader


Can you tell the difference? I know I can. Why can't a single journalist in the entire world get that name of a piece of equipment right?

Monumentally Piss Poor Governance

The Sinkhole

This sinkhole which has gotten a small amount of attention for our piss poor local government here in Memphis reminded me of another argument our city council had about who was responsible for the cost of maintaining city property. This sinkhole was caused by the collapse of a storm drain. It has rendered our passenger train station unusable because it is underneath where the track left the station. The city is saying that the railroad is responsible even though the damage was caused by the collapse of municipal infrastructure, ignoring the fact that the land is owned by the city and only leased by the railroad.


This reminded me of another conflict our city had a few years ago. The parks commission had put a statue of Elvis up in front of the MLG&W (Memphis Light, Gas, and Water) offices downtown. The statue had been damaged by people breaking the fringe off of it and marking it with graffiti. The MLG&W argued that the city was responsible for the upkeep on the statue and the city argued that it was MLG&W's responsibility.

Elvis's Hero; Prince Mongo

A local crazy man/hero/shaman/alien monarch/pain in the ass (depending on who you ask) Prince Mongo decided that it was time for him to take a break from running for mayor or senate and come to the rescue of Elvis (who is represent by his statue in this tale). He decided that if the city did not own the statue and MLG&W did not own the statue he would move it to his house. He announced that he would be claiming the statue on a sunny Monday Morning. When he showed up with a crane to claim the unclaimed statue the city suddenly decided that they owned the statue. They found the money to renovate the statue and place it indoors at our visitors center and install a less delicate statue at the MLG&W offices.

The Question

How will we threaten our incompetent local government into fixing their crumbling infrastructure before we are removed from the list of cities served by The City of New Orleans?

Friday, July 4, 2008

GOP Tactics Explained

This comment was posted on TPM by Jumpy Jack. He has a fairly good list of the GOP tactics for discrediting Democratic candidates.

1. If he has a progressive/liberal position on something, accuse him of being "beyond liberal", "THE most liberal" or "communist".

2. If he has a more centrist/conservative position (e.g. a position the right agrees with), accuse him of political triangulation and opportunism.

3. If he changes position on something because facts have changed, accuse him of flip-flopping.

4. If his position depends on future events or future analysis, accuse him of having no position and no substance.

5. If he criticizes the current administration, accuse him ob being anti-American.

6. If he complains about any of the above tactics being used, accuse him of being angry (+ black, if he's black, for the added bonus).

7. If he doesn't complain, accuse him of being a wimp.

That pretty much covers every possible situation, twice. But just to be sure:

8. Always use all of the above, on every occasion, wherever you see fit, or not.

I have a single question. Are there still enough people left who have not learned how this works to win the GOP another election with this intellectually and morally bankrupt pack of lies?

Sen Obama's Remarkable Consistency On Iraq

Sen Obama has said from the start that, "We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in." He has said it so much that it is almost as much a theme of his campaign as Hope and Change. He has said that he intends to remove all American combat forces from Iraq as quickly as possible. He has said that he has been informed that two brigades a month is as quickly as is prudent and that if you remove troops at that rate you will be out in 16 months. It is also his contention that part of the problem with the current administration is their refusal to adjust to changing realities. He is not going to stubbornly stick to a plan regardless of the reality on the ground.

He has said this again and again. Check out the links or the embedded video below. Here he is explaining this position in March on Anderson Cooper. Here he is explaining it yesterday (7-3-8). During the primaries and now his position has been the same. But the know nothing reality denying punditry accuses him of waffling on both occasions. What is the deal with that?



Do you see inconsistency here? I do not.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Atheists Rejoice

When I read Sen Obama's speech on the faith based initiative today, the first things I noticed were his inclusion of secular community organizations among those that should be supported and including people of no faith when he was listing the religions that we should be tolerant of. This is not the first time he has included us. He has included us every time he has spoken of religious tolerance. This marks a change in kind not just degree. He has actually embraced us. No politician has done that before in my lifetime. There is something to complain about in this speech but not nearly as much as there is to celebrate if you are an atheist.

Green Update

I managed to make it the 15 days between paydays on a single tank of gas. I have simply been thinking about that WWII poster that asked if this trip is necessary. A little planning can help to eliminate trips. Planing so that you go to the grocery on the way home from Mom's and save a trip is no great burden.

I have also managed to continue to use the fan instead of AC. So far this summer we have had days that top out around 90°F and lows around 70°F. I am surprised at how comfortable this house is when it is that hot outside. It helps that the house was built in 1929 and has plaster walls which form a thermal mass. It gets cool enough at night that I need a blanket and the walls hold that cool in the day time. The house is also shaded by an old oak in the front yard. I am hoping it will still be tolerable in high summer but am not optimistic. It hits 100°F regularly here from late July to late September.

If you are reading this and have posted a blog about what you are doing to save energy let me know so I can link to you.

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro is one of my favorite children's movies. My daughter and I watched it many times when she was younger. It is the story of two sisters whose mother is in the hospital and the way they and their father deal with the illness. It tells children that things are seldom as bad as you imagine and parents that you should level with the kids because they are not comforted by a lack of knowledge. Besides the Cat Bus is super cool.