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Clinton said the nation should be proud that the Republicans have a woman on the ticket, but argued that returning Republicans to the White House “is like asking the iceberg to save the Titanic.”

But would it satisfy Timothy Burke?

(This post will self-destruct shortly.)

Will some generous soul read over my Twain chapter for 1) typos and 2) egregiously stupid statements?*  I wouldn’t ask, but I have to turn this thing in on Wednesday and have the editorial near-sightedness which comes from being too close to a text.  The chapter is barely this side of awful—fitful pacing, signposts everywhere, ghastly prose—but at this point I’m more worried about done than good.**  I’m trying to avoid this is all.

You can download it here.  I found me a mensch. If you would like to read it, send me an email.

*Cut-and-paste errors mostly: lack of transitions, re-introducing something already introduced, not introducing something I seem to be referring back to, &c.

**That’s not false humility.  The chapter is truly awful for reasons which I could (and will in the future) describe.  But it is not good.  Nor is it representative of my work generally.  (In conception, maybe, but not in execution.)

I had to read this article three times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Am I? Ezra and Matt add their kudos to a proposal to cap the speeds at which cars can go at 75 miles per hour. The reasoning?

30% of all traffic deaths can be attributed to speeding.

Note the lack of absolute speed mentioned. The deaths could be caused going 40 mph in a 25 zone on a rainy night and sliding on wet leaves, or blowing through a traffic light at 50.

I’m guessing that the writers here don’t drive much, and when they do, they’re either in a city, where they’re not driving fast because they’re stuck in downtown traffic, or they’re driving on the highway, where they’re going fast and enjoying the open road. They’re surely not going to speed while gridlocked; ergo, the speeding crashes must be happening at highway speeds. But there’s a lot of driving that doesn’t fall into those categories: small towns; rural roads; commutes in from suburbia, to name a few. One doesn’t have to be going 75 to be speeding, or to end up squashed.

(It’s not that there’s no risk to going fast, or no risk to speeding. There are, but this is reminding me of nothing so much as junior high sex ed, where perky adults theorize that kids are having sex because of a lack of ideas on what to do for dates, and propose mini-golf. )

How long will Vance have to suffer the misappropriation of his heritage? Barack Obama is campaigning for your vote, Vance. Now that’s retail politics, folks.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’ve a long history of wading into hostile waters without floaties and I’ve no intention to stop doing so, but if I ever did, it’d be because of statements like “I see no difference presently between the terms democrat and progressive.”  Or claims that almost-imperceptibly-left-of-center candidates are socialist, communists, Marxists, &c. On the entire internet, this conceptual sloppiness is the only thing that ever threatens my equilibrium.  Stupidity I can handle.  Ignornace doesn’t bother.  Willfully ignoring what I’ve said will only earn you my titular faux-Hulk.  But play fast and loose with categories and you’ll piss me off so much I’ll have no choice but to ignore you.

Revising my dissertation, I think I’ve come to understand why: in my “professional” life, that’s all I do.  I define, re-define, pre-define, counter-define, retroactively define, retroactively re-define, retroactively pre-define, retroactively counter-define, &c.  The dissertation has taught me to put items in proper boxes because almost no one will be able to tell when you don’t.  Items and boxes entail a responsibility people who put Obama in the Marxist box (or Ayers in the Leninist box and Obama in the Ayers box) don’t understand, except unlike shifting London from the Darwin to the Spencer box, the actions of irresponsible bloviators have a measurable impact on our lives.  Stuffing Palin in the feminist box allows a host of anti-feminists in as well, as evidenced by the past week of Republicans in deep dudgeon over the “sexist” attacks on the VP candidate.

My metaphor, on the other hand, teeters on actual sexism, so I’ll stop while I’m behind.  Wait, can’t stop there either.  I don’t mean to say that there were no sexist attacks on Clinton, or that there haven’t been sexist attacks on Palin.  I’m simply saying the hypocrites who crow about “sexist” attacks on Palin care not one whit about sexism per se — that is, had McCain not tapped Palin, conservatives would’ve avoid women’s issues for the forty-fourth Presidential election in a row.

KCRA, our local NBC affiliate, had a pretty well researched and thoughtful report on the history of (mainly) GOP complaints about the press hating on (mainly) Republicans. Too bad they ruined it by interviewing some random goofball live at the end.

SPOILERS below the fold.
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The best part is really McCain’s reaction.

hat-tip: neddy.

On this day in 1900, long before the advent of weather satellites or Doppler radar, there could be no detailed predictions about the storm’s path as it raged out of the Atlantic and grew more powerful over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But there were warnings from the Weather Bureau in Washington, insisting that Galveston, Texas’s 40,000 residents should find high ground. The highest available was in the center of town, less than 10 feet above sea level. Thousands headed there and increased their chances of survival. Thousands of others did not.

The 1900 hurricane, equivalent to a Category 4, slammed into Galveston early in the day. The ceaseless noise from the storm was maddening, “a runaway freight train that wouldn’t stop howling” through town all day long. Debris flew through the air. Stately trees snapped. Grand mansions collapsed into heaps of kindling. No anemometer survived to take accurate wind readings; gusts likely reached 200 mph.

The sea began rising. It swept into town. Slowly at first, faster later in the day, it was inexorable and terrifying. It was everywhere. By early evening, salt water stood 10 feet deep in the city center. Then it rose higher.

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Of her tumultuous, nomadic life, Tina Modotti spent only eight years in the United States. She was born in Friuli, northern Italy, in 1896, and spent her earliest years in Austria. Her father emigrated to San Francisco, and in 1913 she followed him. She worked as a seamstress, but soon began acting, rising to stardom in the local Italian theater. In 1918, she married a bohemian aspiring artist named Roubaix de l’Abrie (“Robo”) Richey, and they moved to Los Angeles. They had some success in crafts (e.g. batik), and Modotti made some first steps in a film career, appearing most notably in The Tiger’s Coat (1920). But in the same period, she met Edward Weston, and they began an intense relationship, both a love affair and an apprenticeship, which turned her toward the work for which she is now remembered.

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Race or class?

Patterns of Support among White Voters

Region Obama McCain
South 31 60
Midwest 42 46
West 44 47
Northeast 46 42

Yes, as Stephen reminds us, there’s racism throughout our great nation. But looking at this, and remembering all the stuff I stuck in the first three paragraphs of this post, it’s very, very hard to believe there’s not something special about the Republican electorate in the South, where racial attitudes and class are inextricable.

See also.

UPDATED with better link for that argument.

Rest assured, Sarah Palin won’t entirely crowd out the Muppets*. At least not on my watch, she won’t. Because in the end, a blog has to stand for something.

* Though she’d like to. Because Sarah Palin hates Muppets. Pass it on.

So I’m performing all the piddly tasks attendant to filing while I wait for word of signatures when I come across this:

You may choose to copyright your manuscript by including the copyright notice but not formally registering your copyright. However, to fully protect your rights in a copyright dispute and to be eligible for damages caused by infringement, you must register your copyright. You can register your copyright at any time within its term.

If you are submitting a Ph.D. dissertation, you may have the copyright registered for you by UMI Dissertation Services (a division of ProQuest Information and Learning Company). To do this, submit the UMI form and required fee (certified check or money order—UMI does not accept personal checks) to the University Archives when you submit your manuscript. UMI will register your copyright and submit your manuscript to the Library of Congress.

I’m no copyright lawyer—nor do I understand commonplace copyright law all that well—but it seems excessive to have to pay someone else a fee to secure the rights to my own dissertation.  I’m inclined to slap a Creative Commons license requiring attribution, noncommmerical use, no derivatives and share alike and not pay anyone anything.

I’m not about to Doctorow the thing—no one’s likely to translate my dissertation into Romanian—but I’m fairly certain free copyright protection is better than expensive copyright protection.  Were I in the sciences and my research might one day mint some pharmaceutical company a forture I could see doing it.  But in the humanities?  Is it really necessary?  In other words:

Is my Jew showing or am I just being practical?

That is so not what Lincoln would have said.


I like how he keeps calling Senator McCain, “John”. That’s a nice touch.


Suppose you had tickets to a McCain event and suppose there’s a chance you’ll get to ask him a question. What would you ask?

I know, the opportunity for snark is hard to resist. But seriously. I think the question should be fairly broad-based, not quibbling, and it should bring a big flip-flop or contradiction into the spotlight. I was thinking of a question about hating war vs. saying “next stop, Baghdad,” but that’s just an invitation to talk about toughness and the surge and all that. Maybe the tax cuts? Eh.

Feeling anxious about the election? This should help. Have a good weekend.


UPDATED to say, Ari made me move this post up.
UPDATED further to say, this chart shows the change in voter registration, by party, for the period shown, for states that have this information available.

State R D Other Period
AK 2,836 2,628 6,825 March-September
AZ 32,141 68,480 4,359 January-September
CA 46,497 417,793 117,313 January-May
CO 13,352 66,516 23,437 January-July
DE 676 4,428 2,200 July-September
FL 77,196 209,422 26,100 January-June
IA 7,515 69,301 -62,922 January-August
KS 1,553 13,159 -1,704 January-March
MD 4,260 12,338 5,544 January-July
NV 1,230 51,547 7,550 January-August
NH -1,285 1,188 269 June-August
NY 1,526 102,559 -164 November-March
NC 20,363 171,955 123,605 January-August
OR -13,349 122,518 January-July
PA 289 98,137 15,907 April-August
WY 1,390 3,409 5,892 January-August

For states with information on partisan affiliation. Via Scott’s post. Scott subtracted older totals from later totals to reach these figures.

See original post for more detail.

On this day in 1972, a group of Palestinian terrorists*, members of an organization known as Black September, killed eleven Israeli athletes and coaches participating in the summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. Five of the terrorists, as well as a German policeman, also died in the attack. Above, you’ll find all of Kevin Macdonald’s One Day in September**, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2000 despite generating enormous controversy. Roger Ebert, for example, criticized it for sensationalizing the events in Munich and for providing only one side of a more complicated story. Having just watched the film again, I think Ebert is probably right on both counts. But I’m more interested in thinking about whether he would have penned his column in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Regardless, Steven Spielberg’s Munich, a drama about the Israeli assassins who hunted and killed the surviving members of Black September, provides an even more controversial postscript to Macdonald’s film.

* It’s odd how the War on Terror has forced me to think three or four times before writing that word. Orwell was onto something.

** Please ignore the text at the very beginning of the YouTube. Or don’t ignore it. But if you go that route, you’re on your own.

Hmm, how to spend a 90+ humid afternoon? Ah, sitting in the sun waiting to hear Obama speak. Pictures and ON THE SCENE (EFFETE) CITIZEN JOURNALISM below the fold.
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UPDATED by Eric to say: See the information in tabular form here.

Eric’s comment got me thinking about the effect new voter registration would have on the upcoming election. I looked high and low for some hard numbers but found none. So, being the “citizen journalist” I am, I scoured the internet and crunched them myself.

All the information comes from the states themselves. I’ve noted the period of time the numbers cover (as the data varies between states) as well as any circumstances preventing me from drawing firm conclusions. If you’re able to locate any of the data that eluded me, drop a note in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

If you don’t feel like digging through the numbers, here’s the short answer: if I were a Republican, I’d be very, very worried.

(Title updated to reflect the awesomeness of information contain within the post.)

(Many silent updates, but I thought I’d note this one: Alaska’s the first and, so far, only state in which mores Republican have registered than Democrats.)

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