Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Righteous Anger

Harry Reid is officially no Democrat in my book. Without wanting to sound too melodramtic, he has sold us the fuck out for no good reason and he is a fake, a poseur even.

Write your senators right now (presuming they're democrats - I know most of you are locals so they will be Murray and Cantwell). Tell them you want them to support Chris Dodd's fight against telecom immunity and that you want them to oust Reid from his position of Majority Leader in the Senate.

I am just sick to death of this shit. No more god damned fake Dems. We need more Chris Dodds, Russ Feingolds, Patty Murrays, John Edwardses, even Barack Obamas. No more Hillary Clintons, Harry Reids. We are not the party of the god damned middle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Hot 100

Point one: I've been spending a lot of excellent time reading the Passport blog from Foreign Policy lately. Apparently the world is going completely backwards: the US is outspending Europe on green technology, France has banned smoking in public places, and Iran and Hamas are encouraging women to take part in athletics and policing, respectively.

Point two: It seemed pretty outlandish and crazy at the time, but given how things have been going in Pakistan lately, is anyone starting to think that maybe Barack Obama's comments about the possibility of military intervention there were more prescient than, as many had called them, naïve?

Point three: My birthday is in thirteen days.

Point four: This is my hundredth post here at Wizard Belt. Go me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blog Attack!

Huckabee is insane, Limbaugh is predictable, Russians are dorks, and Citroën's marketing department is hilarious.

On the other hand, there's less controversial news. Ultra thin laptops coming out, basses are being made out of 9,000 year old wood (see second bass down and also note the MAMMOTH IVORY for the nut), and I have been introduced to the work of Andy Mckee. I'm also in another band now, the Teapot Dome Family. Show to be played soon.

And after all that I leave you with some more Andy Mckee, this time playing with Michael Manring, one of the best bass players in the universe, and Don Ross, who is also pretty cool:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Full Frontal Assault

I swear, if I hear one more band play sped up Iron Maiden riffs and scream over them, I'm going to have to go back in time and kill Adrian Smith. I won't like doing it, but I just might have to. Not Steve Harris, though. Can't live in a timeline without him.



In the wake of the New Hampshire primary, there has been much talk about the polls beforehand and where and how they had failed by predicting Obama as the winner. One suggestion tossed around is that the "Bradley Effect" (a specific example of the Social Desirability Bias, itself an example of Observer Effect) caused people to say they would be voting for Barack Obama because they thought the interviewer wanted them to be willing to vote for a black candidate. I see some problems with the assumptions behind this conjecture. First and foremost, there is no evidence so far to suggest that the polls were wrong, per se; they were probably right at the time they were taken. there were lots of undecideds and independents in New Hampshire. Who decided it was time to be surprised when things changed the day of?

But additionally, there is a problematic cognitive process that would have to accompany this turn of events. The first assumption here is that people associate the willingness to vote for a specific black candidate with willingness to vote for a black candidate in general. This particular assumption would be logically followed with the connection between voting for Hillary Clinton and voting for a woman in general, so it also must be assumed that those polled dependably believe that it is more desirable to be seen as non-racist than non-sexist.

This thinking also assumes that race is the only reason claiming to support Obama would appear more favorable than claiming to support Clinton. One must not forget that Clinton is widely thought of with some amount to a lot of disdain. So can we safely assume that the reason that responding in Obama's favor would feel expected by respondents has to be race?

It raises lots of questions: how much does Obama's race factor into people's thinking, compared to Clinton's gender? Are Americans more racist than sexist? Does a genuine dislike of Hillary Clinton overwhelm any such problems of race and gender? What voting patterns in general are thought of as the most socially desirable?

Of course, all of that ignores this. Oops. So much for Observer Bias.

Update: Another possible factor. The primacy effect is one of those things that makes you question how we as people don't just die from forgetting to breathe more often.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More like 200GAY ...t.

Hello 2008ers! A new year is upon us and there is much to see and hear.

First off, we have the beginning of primary season. My main man Chris Dodd is out and Barack Obama is quickly becoming the force to be reckoned with, with a big win last week and the possibility of another today. I'm fairly pleased with that. However, there is this excellent story from New Hampshire. After reading this, I really don't know what to think about Hillary Clinton. I think I'm sort of impressed? I kind of would have preferred it if she had just slapped Matthews. Or just kicked him in the nuts.

Then, in the rest of the world...

In India, male prostitution is on the upswing. This story is an interesting example of gender relations. One could easily read from this that, since male sex workers are treated basically exactly like their female counterparts, the domination of one gender over another is completely situational, as opposed to (as so many have suggested over the years) being biologically mandated in some way. Quite an interesting turn indeed.

Naples, Italy is now becoming what many already thought it to be: a festering pile of garbage. Good times!

What rapidly growing western musical icon has immediate family connections to Sri Lankan radicals? Why, it's M. I. A.! This isn't news, I just happened to have learnt it the other day. Also, I am not making any insinuations about her. I don't believe she has any particular interest in over-throwing the Sinhalese Sri Lankan government or anything like that. All she wants to do is shoot us and take our money.

And we're off! Back soon. Sooner than last time.