• Ode to Eastern

    By Ezra I love Eastern Standard Time. Love it. Back in the day*, I always forced myself to begin posting by 9am, now that same ethic lets me sleep till twelve. Back in the day, I had to get up fairly early on weekends to write, now, I can wait till the early afternoon and still beat my old hour. Back in the day, there was little incentive to post after 4pm, everyone save my Pacific Timers had already left work. Now? You folks don't leave till I do. It's really beautiful. Tears to my eye and so forth. Nevertheless, time zones haven't made much sense to me, so I looked into them a bit. Apparently, we all used to grunt and tell time by the Sun God, a method that got fairly confusing with the introduction of railroads and telecommunications and whatnot, because time differed not only across vast distances, but from town to town. So a bunch of eager bean counters decided to impose an imperial cartography scheme upon the indigenous village folk, who calmly accepted their fate. Thus, time...
  • Abortions, Tattoos, and the Futures of Girls

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Defenders of parental consent laws often compare abortion to tattooing, ear piercing, or any of the medical procedures for which many states require parental consent. They claim that if we require parental consent for a girl to get a tattoo, we should also require parental consent for an abortion. What I’m going to show here is that our reasons for requiring parental consent for tattoos are absent in the case of abortion. If you believe that an adult woman has a right to an abortion, you should believe that a teenage girl has that right as well, even if her parents say otherwise.
  • Rocking Out to Global Warming

    Eugene Robinson is trying too hard: Since the sky seems too angry to have a civil conversation, let's seek answers in science and poetry. In two newly published studies, climatologists use graphs, formulas and carefully hedged sentences to explain how the interlocking phenomena that non-scientists call "global warming" may be turning little nuisance hurricanes into Katrina-style killers. And as for poetry, the party-hearty rapper Nelly (I use a broad definition of poetry) issued his warning years ago: "It's gettin' hot in heerrre. . ." Somehow I doubt there's a Nelly playlist on George W. Bush's iPod, so I'll stick to the science -- and hope some of this penetrates the president's adamantine resistance to inconvenient facts. Look, I know climate science can be a bit boring, but that's no excuse for such a gratuitous and unnecessary Nelly reference. Hell, Nelly's no longer even popular; so far as I can tell, he long ago packed up his band-aid and went home. And even if he hadn't, we've...
  • I Heart Huckabee

    This is fairly interesting. Via advertiser AltWeeklies, the Arkansas Times has an article on Mike Huckabee. It's a dirty laundry piece, but some of it seems well able to stick, particularly the Dumond story, which strikes as Willie Horton but with an element of Clinton paranoia: Another issue sure to come up if Huckabee contends for national office is his involvement in the 1999 parole of rapist Wayne Dumond, who went on to murder a woman in Missouri. A 2002 cover story in the Arkansas Times detailed Huckabee’s personal intervention in the Post Prison Transfer Board’s deliberations about Dumond’s release. Huckabee supported Dumond after being influenced by conservative activists who said Dumond got a raw deal because his victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton. I always knew they'd pin a killing on Clinton, I just didn't know the causal factor would be that their hatred for him had become so great they'd begun pardoning rapists whose victims were connected to the family. Huckabee'...
  • Big Media Me

    Over at Tapped, my first post is up. I probably won't be linking to many of these as about half my output is going to move over there, but the inaugural is a special occasion -- I want fruit baskets. Anyway, the piece is on the Hispanic electorate's resistance to tokenism, and since I know you're all salivating over that subject, off you go .
  • I Want Ignatius to Write My Biography

    David Ignatius has a totally bizarre op-ed today on why Americans have to stop desiring love from the rest of the planet because they just hate us no matter what we do -- counterintuitive, no? Unfortunately, in order to get there, Ignatius had to pen the type of op-ed in which the world warps and events are excised and the whole messy history of the five years gets distilled into a nice, clean, " America, FUCK YEAH! ", arc: For a people who want to be loved as much as Americans do, these are trying times. People around the world see our troubles in Iraq and say we had it coming. They hear us talk about Arab democracy and think we're trying to steal their oil. Some even take a kind of perverse satisfaction in seeing us battered by monster hurricanes. [...] An uncharitable world expects America to act in its own interests, and so we should. We promote democracy and anti-terrorism not because these are universal ideals, but because they serve America's need for a more stable world. We...
  • I Know, I Know

    I have approximately a million e-mails sitting in my inbox, so to all of you who sent me something and haven't gotten a reply, rest assured I'm trudging through the backlog. Finals/moving/life had the impudence to intrude till now.
  • A Vast, America-Transcending Conspiracy?

    I want Jeff Session to elaborate on this : “I think it is shocking that Democrats would treat [Soros] as a mainstream force of Democratic politics,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). “He has an agenda that transcends American interests.” Is Sessions picking back up on Hastert's implication that Soros is a drug dealer? Is he calling the world's most generous and committed financier of democracy projects in post-Soviet states a Communist? Is he calling him a Nazi, a one-worlder, a fascist, a founding member of the Bilderberg Group , an Annunaki lizard from the fourth-dimension? What does "transcends American interests" even mean? I'm giving Sessions' office a call to find out. When they give me an answer, I'll let you know.
  • Bleeding-Heart Bush

    Some days, you look at our government run by plutocrats, our media populated by faux-centrist hacks, and our agencies led by college-era cronies of campaign contributors and liberalism really does look dead. And then, some days you hear the President's animatronic press secretary justifying union-busting on grounds of affirmative action and you realize, no, it's not dead, it just went to a Republican kegger and ended up really, really, cracked out: MR. McCLELLAN: The Davis-Bacon. Well, what -- Q Which is a wage cut. MR. McCLELLAN: We suspended that act for the reasons that we stated previously. This will open up access to more business -- small businesses, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses. It cuts through the red tape and helps us move forward quickly to address the needs of the people in the region and to provide substantial savings. We're talking about savings here in terms of spending. That's an important part of that, too. Q But how does lowering people's wages...
  • Silly Rabbit, Growth is for Kids!

    To extend on this bit of Germany vs. India idiocy; rapid economic growth is quite a bit easier in very poor countries than in highly developed nations. Think of it in terms of human growth: a baby grows faster than you do, as does a tot, a child, and a teen. But they don't keep growing faster than you . At a point, easy growth gets tapped out and continued enlargement becomes markedly harder. In nations like India and China, where hundreds of millions live in abject poverty and the technologies that improve productivity have barely penetrated, there are a lot of easy gains to be made -- the poor work for cheap and improving their output is trivial. But once India or China or Singapore or Ireland hit Germany's standard of living, growth will slow to more earthbound rates. That's not to say Germany couldn't grow quicker, but it is to say that comparing it to India or China is like raging at your five year old for having more momentum on the height-chart than you.