Inter Symbol Interference

Open Up Your Eye Diagrams!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Clift's Big If.

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift drools over the prospect of post-Clinton-victory headrolling:
I'm beginning to think Hillary Clinton might pull this off and wrestle the nomination away from Barack Obama. If she does, a lot of folks—including a huge chunk of the media—will join Bill Richardson (a.k.a. Judas) in the Deep Freeze. If the Clintons get back into the White House, it will be retribution time, like the Corleone family consolidating power.
So there's her thesis, all predicated clinging bitterly to this opening 'if.' I submit that she's awful wrong-headed in thinking Sen. Clinton might pull this off. Her closer:
Now the burden is on Obama to win the next round of primaries on May 6. He has said publicly that Indiana could be the tiebreaker, a prediction he could come to regret. If Clinton can win Indiana, hold Obama to single digits in North Carolina, and then run up a big margin in Kentucky on May 20, where she's leading in the polls, she could overtake Obama in the popular vote.
Emphasis mine, because that's just a lunatic excuse/reason she's come up with to write the column. You really have to chain a bunch of if's together here for this to be anything but rank fantasy. If Obama underperforms, Clinton might overtake him in the popular vote. Except the nominee isn't selected by popular vote. Clinton would, presumably, still be behind in the pledged delegate count, and would have to use her popular vote lead (a lead that, I'm fairly sure, would disregard the uncountable and Obama-friendly caucus goers) as a tool to woo superdelegates. If that actually worked, and superdelegates piss off the black vote for a generation by overturning the pledged delegate lead Obama put together, Clinton would still have to, you know, win the election before this Corleone enforcement could commence. (I paraphrase an old Atrios post when I say that if either Democrat winds up losing this in the general, s/he'll instantly become the most hated person in the party, and that's hardly a position from which one can take down one's new enemies.) Since step three involved losing your black vote, step four here is no dunker, even despite the otherwise-all-important fundamentals.

All four conditionals fall into the 'unlikely' category. Chain them together and you're so disconnected from reality that those seven paragraphs are just about as serious as "Who would win, The Hulk or The Thing?"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

OHHHH The Humanity

Charming ad for Visa's Check Card:

The whole thing creeps me out. You couldn't ask for a better example of why certain types see conforming to the mainstream is dehumanizing. Especially the choice of score: that tune, "Powerhouse," is what the old Looney Tunes would use for conveyor-belt type scenes. The whole message becomes "You, too, can be a cog in the machine, with a little help from your friends at VISA!" Goosebumps.

I originally wanted to tie this into some comment on the state of the public domain (like my man Matt Yglesias), thinking "Powerhouse" fell into that, thus explaining by economics the questionable choice. Turns out it don't, which just means they're stupid.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Martian Microbe Multiplex

Blogs is great at the aggregatin', so here I am bringing you links to twin Martian posts.

From Slashdot yesterday, we have this -- there's bubbling speculation that we maybe made First Contact with life on Mars in '76! Except the life was protozoan, and the contact was fatal. Our probe unwittingly killed the poor dears, goes the hypothesis. This is mostly good for sadly funny irony with a law-of-unintended-consequences bent.

Then I see from Scott Adams today the headline Life On Mars. Lampooning managed failure being his bread and butter (and also being the kind of guy you can find on Slashdot), I just kind of assumed he'd seen the same story and was going to talk about That. Instead, he's independently come up with a horrific twist: even if those Martian microbes were intelligent, we'd still kind of not care about their deaths beyond having some fun at the expense of another botched NASA operation.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dismal Scientist

New study out (warning -- Canadian):
[A] University of Manitoba researcher suggests women with disabilities may be up to 40 per cent more likely than other women to be abused by their partners.

Douglas Brownridge with the department of family social sciences based his research on more than 7,000 Statistics Canada interviews.

He says disabled women reported higher rates of being threatened, pushed, slapped, choked or sexually assaulted over the five years before the interviews were conducted in 1999.

Here's what makes me a sociopath: this is good news to me. Men are more likely to hit a woman in a wheelchair, a woman with obviously heightened levels of dependence. I read this, and I picture a society where abusers respond to their environment rationally. There's a cost-benefit running through their mind, and the economics dictates, "Yeah, it's okay to hit this wife. She's way less likely to leave or cause trouble!"

Which is to say, this is evidence that the laudable feminist goal of increasing the cost side of the wife-beating equation should work! Increasing women's agency through increased access to better education, the workplace, support systems -- these all move a woman further from the dependent/disabled side of the spectrum. Stiffer penal codes for domestic abuse, zero tolerance policies, etc -- great ways to make a dude think twice. And this helps prove that there is a thought process behind it all, which is a much better society to be in than one where the certain guys who beat up women will continue to do so no matter what.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Denny Hastert Makes It Too Easy

As Foleygate continues to blaze a trail through the House GOP leadership, folks is starting to pick up on the Gay angle. At first it was mostly referred to inappropriate contact with "a minor" or "a page" or any number of genderless references. That lasted about 36 hours. Now, it's pretty much SOP to bring up that Foley and the page are both dudes. (This coincides precisely with my exposure to right wing takes on the scandal.)

So the gay-baiting shoe's dropped, and folks is starting to make with the funny and all, so I'm left wondering: how long into the scourging of Hastert will it take before someone remembers Denny was a junior high wrestling coach? Used to coach the world's most homoerotic sport. Cute little butts bouncing in the air, and all that. This seems like an untapped goldmine.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More kvetching about Slate

You can take this post from C. Pierce, replace references to "Dana Milbank" and "television" to "John Dickerson" and "Slate," and suddenly have a very real idea of my opinion on this article. Basically, a new slew of journos working the political beat are engaging the "torture debate" without troubling themselves with actually recognizing the disgusting ramifications of legally sanctioned torture. Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong, and maybe it's important for Dickerson to refrain from making value judgements in the pursuit of cold, clinical analysis of politics. But does anyone work that way?

Even the dismal economists recognize the human costs of policy A vs. policy B on top of presenting the straight-up calculated and abstract results. Why can't Dickerson's conclusions not only involve "The torture debate is a political winner," but "Torture is a terrible affront to our values with a track record that shouldn't be trusted and consequences that leave us less secure"? I mean, jeez, even if he doesn't agree with that assesment of Geneva violations (making him barbaric!), he could at least take the time to sell the opposite position, where torture is magick and life is like an episode of 24. Torture has, sadly, emerged as a defining question for our time, and Dickerson is too wrapped up in the horse-race aspect to honestly weigh in. That don't make me feel good.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Comparing Abu Ghraib to Oranges

From Jacob Weisberg:
Strategically minded Republicans expect that soon after assuming power, the Democrats would launch a partisan jihad against President Bush, and that the hearings and harassment would backfire. Right-wingers also hope Democrats will initiate impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush, repeating the very mistake Republicans made with Bill Clinton in 1998.
Here's something to think about: Bill Clinton's approval rating prior to, during, and following impeachment was solid at 60%. George W. Bush's have hung tough at 40% for a long time now -- and let's assume he'll stay that way (America knows what his governance is all about, and he's not one to change course even in the face of obvious failure). Initiating impeachment proceedings against popular Clinton is widely accepted as a mistake. Even if initiating impeachment proceedings against unpopular Bush proves a mistake, it's improper to characterize it as the very same mistake. This without even going into the relative merits of the two cases for impeachment, which would only make more ridiculous any claims of equivalence between the two scenarios. Lying about breaking your marital vows is different from lying about breaking the fourth amendement.

On a different note, I recognize Slate gets off on being contrarian across the board, and this article continues the aggravating tradition. More on this later, but allow me now to simply confess: I pray to God no one in power of the Democratic party actually buys into this "Losing Is Winning!" meme. Losing means the country signing up for another two years of jeopardy. Just to take a subset, I'm confident that risking future OTC contraception hold ups, reduced stem cell funding, crony corruption, propaganda payola, and legalized torture aren't worth a 2% greater chance of winning in '08 -- or is it half a percent? Or is it a 2% greater chance of losing? You don't know. Go for the sure thing and make the country a better place.

UPDATE: Forgot the title.