is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


holiday road

welcome to the holidays. I managed to live through Thanksgiving; it was a trial but I survived it. My mother in law is from a family of alcoholics and so every family event that would ordinarily involve a **responsible** amount of imbibing usually requires something close to an injunction to permit such without a fight, or at least a cross word. This is not the only issue that I differ with her about when it comes to feasts. She is also against the very concept of pre-meal savory snacking, and I am of the opinion that if the meal is going to be a couple of hours away when one arrives, then it is nigh on to a moral imperative to provide something to graze on.

But back to the subject of the demon liquor; I am a responsible chap when it comes to such things, and just because I might enjoy a pre-meal aperitif, or a glass of beer while watching football (worthy of a further post in its own right) or a spot of wine with the meal, or a digestif afterwards, or perhaps a drop of port (or, preferably, a bit of each), does not make me out of control. Indeed, I know what an alcoholic looks like, as I know at least one person who quite literally cannot handle his liquor. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say, and if you give this unnamed person a drink he will not stop until he is doing incredibly self-destructive things and then not remembering them the next day.

That being said, I am looking forward to going to North Carolina to visit my mother for Xmas; my brother will be there and based on our normal consumption patterns and remembering history, my mother will be in for a fun trip to the recycling center the week after we leave.*

*Mom lives in a small town in Western NC, and she inevitably sees someone she knows when visiting the dump; last time she got some funny looks when she deposited a couple of cases worth of beer bottles right after Xmas

Anyhoo, if the holidays get you down (or Despair Time, as we are now entering into, with the no sun and the no fun and the soul-crushing cold darkness of winter) remember this trick, gentlemen: when no one is looking, go visit Google Image and do a search for Monica Bellucci. You won't be disappointed, although you may get fired if your work keeps track of your smut trolling. I often have said there were two good things about the last two Matrix movies, and both of them belonged to her...

In other 'news'

Argument framing for liberals!
Harvard falls for Yale prank.
Good for headaches, good for depression! (possibly not-so-work-friendly)
Your regular coffee has far more caffeine than your mocha. FYI.


make the world safe

At eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918, the Great War ended, as the Germans signed the armistice.

The PBS website of the Great War is pretty good, as is the worldwar1.com site.

Also, the BBC 80th anniversary site from 1998 is still up and good, with letters back home.

Speaking of letters, the Harry Truman letters from the front are absolutely priceless.

It's my opinion that we'll stay there until Woodie gets his pet peace plans refused or okayed. For my part, and every A.E.F. [American Expeditionary Force – NPH] man feels the same way, I don't give a whoop (to put it mildly) whether there's a League of Nations or whether Russia has a Red government or a Purple one, and if the President of the Czecho-Slovaks wants to pry the throne from under the King of Bohemia, let him pry but send us home. We came over here to help whip the Hun. We helped a little, the Hun yowled for peace, and he's getting it in large doses and if our most excellent ex-mayor of Cleveland [Secretary of War Baker] wants to make a hit with us, he'll hire or buy some ships and put the Atlantic Ocean between us and the Vin Rouge Sea. For my part I've had enough vin rouge and frogeater victuals to last me a lifetime. And anyway it looks to me like the moonshine business is going to be pretty good in the land of Liberty loans and green trading stamps, and some of us want to get in on the ground floor. At least we want to get there in time to lay in a supply for future consumption. I think a quart of bourbon would last me about forty years.

HST is hard core.
better read than red

The speech that sent Eugene Debs to prison for 10 years. That will aid me a little in not thinking that we’re suddenly slipping into a dystopian future.

Gloating isn’t very nice.

But be fair! (A liberal whine, I know. Sorry.) Don't assert the prerogatives of victory and then claim the compensations of defeat as well. You can't oppress us and simultaneously complain that we are oppressing you.

A less apologetic approach.

Name the next US military operation. (I mean, Operation New Dawn? Puh-leaze.)

Sooners fans, please be nicer to the sportswriters. They don’t like it when you write nasty emails. I swear what they say won’t affect the way the team plays. You’re making me look bad.



I have been complaining since May 2001 that I wasn't the top "Nathan Hobbs" in google. Well no longer! Sometime in the last few months Google finally moved me up past the long dead "Nathan Hobbs Seaver" into the top position. I am so honored. *does a little jig*

"Ted" got a very funny "birthday" when the "agents" decided to show up at a "bar" and give him "presents" and a "cake" and stuff. Snark pointed that out.

Can you stand to read another article about the USA's cultural divide? I think something snapped this year, I really do; I just don't know what the loser blue states plan on doing about it. Thanks for giving us the finger, red states.

I don't feel like playing nice anymore. I know that I will inevitably get visits from the branch of my family that voted for Bush, and I suspect I will get the reaction that I have seen from other Bush supporters-- a gracious, measured response, recognizing our differences and willing to support our freedoms and willingness to dissent-- (right). The truth is that the Republican coalition of 2004 is held together by bile and hatred and fear. I will be interested in seeing more paranoia from the right, and expect that we will continue to see the charge that the media is controlled by the left and that God is being swept aside in the culture wars. I will be ready to point it out.

Martin Luther King's letter from a Birmingham jail has relevance to today's gay rights movement.


against all odds

Here's why I'm unhappy about the Bush win.
  • The failure of our electorate to maintain checks and balances. History proves that having the same party in control over all aspects of the government is a bad thing, both in our country and in others. There is no one to check the Bush administration in anything they choose to do.

  • The likelihood of a further shift of the federal judiciary to the right. Most of the civil rights we enjoy are put in place by critical judges willing to make unpopular decisions to protect our freedoms (for example, see interracial marriage, the exclusionary rule, and the Miranda rule), but the Bush administration has shown its willingness to appoint judges willing to look the other way when the government oversteps its bounds.

  • The apparent unwillingness of the electorate to think critically about the policy issues at stake. Every observer from the far-right blogs on down agree the Kerry blew Bush away in all three debates-- the fact that he was still re-elected means that policy differences don't trump a religious based cognitive consistency.

  • The further alienation of the rest of the world. We've re-elected a president who is not willing to work with our allies and is interested mainly in making the America-basher's complaint true: we are a neo-colonialist power. We don't care what others think. We are an international bully and don't play well with others.

  • The continuing polarization of the country. I get the sense that the people in the Northeast and the West Coast (and to a lesser extent, here in the Midwest and Great Lakes states) have no idea what makes the rest of the country vote for Bush. Seriously, no idea. I have actually heard people suggest succession, in a not-joking fashion. That is not good.

  • I hate being wrong, and I was so wrong about this election. I really underestimated the breadth of the Bush electorate, and the degree to which the 'values' message trumps policy, and the willingness to forgive a disastrous war and the willingness to give massive tax cuts to the richest people to the detriment of the middle class. I didn't get it. I still don't.

Check out these maps of a proposed 'blue state'-Canada merger, by the way.

Not terribly productive, but funny.

Above all, I'm disappointed that attacking gay people seems to yield such tangible political results. What have they ever done to you? How is your marriage threatened by homosexual relationships? Why do you care?


Election link updates

Yesterday I posted links for places to go check out results and follow developing stories. Other places to go while you're nervously waiting for polls to close:

An MSNBC survey of developing stories for the day, including snow in New Mexico and a very cute rally in Boston (around 35,000, they think, although over 2 million showed up last week to cheer the Red Sox).

Both Wonkette and MyDD.com have been leaking exit poll results, as has Kos, although Kos has just been passing on what MyDD posted so far.

For tonight (and after, if 2000 repeats itself): the C-SPAN tracker map looks really sharp, and I doubt it will be as hammered as the major news sites like CNN. Also, don't forget the Robots.cnn mirror, if the main CNN site is too heavily trafficked.

*end public service announcements*


calm before the storm

The night before the election, and no one knows what the hell is going to happen (well, I have my suspicions). I remember it not being this way. The first election I actually remember is 1984 (I have vague memories of crying about Jimmy Carter being swept from office, but at the time I had conflated Ronald Reagan and the Ayatollah Khomenei, so that guy just scared me). Everyone knew that Mondale was going down in flames, and he cheerfully obliged, serving up notice to all candidates henceforth that telling the voters the truth will never get you elected.

Then there was 1988, which was a fait accompli as soon as Michael Dukakis got into the tank. 1992 was a funky, bizarre election (also the last one that I was unable to vote in; I was 17) that featured the peek-a-boo Perot game, but by the time the election rolled around everyone knew that Clinton was going to win. I remember my friend Marta and I rolling around Norman practicing the sound of "President Clinton" and deciding it would work great.

1996 was a boring, stupid election, and the Republicans rolled over and played dead by nominating the dessicated husk of Robert Dole to be served up against Clinton and his jug-eared Republican slayer. No, 2000 was the first election in my lifetime that featured any drama, and the first one that made me realize that dammit, politics is a dirty, dirty game.

Now, here are the things that are most bugging me about the election in general and Bush voters in particular:

  • I hear so much* that Bush voters are voting because of the abortion issue above any others. Folks, what is Bush going to do to stop abortion? He certainly didn't do anything about it the previous four years. The fact is, he has no interest in ever doing anything about it, because if he should, then a large group of single-issue voters will de-mobilize, and the Republicans don't want that.

  • Doesn't anyone else remember how Bush has lied to us on Iraq?

  • If, after four years of Republican control over the House, the Senate, and the White House, things remain in major disarray, doesn't that mean that the Republicans are the ones responsible for the mess?

  • Similarly, why does the Right generally have such a paranoia about how you think you're being persecuted and being swept by a liberal tide? What world are you living in? You've been winning everything for quite a while.

  • Doesn't anyone else think that it may pose a problem in the future should every other country on earth hate our guts for being insensitive, clumsy, and often brutal bullies?

*I hear from other people. My office is beyond liberal. If anyone admitted to being a Bush voter they'd get run out on a rail.

I'll be frequenting these sites tomorrow for updates and news:

Electoral-Vote.com and its mirrors, should the main site be busy (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9)
Drudge, for the proper schlocky finger on the pulse of the right.

Metafilter, of course.
Daily Kos, just because all the other liberals will be there.
Atrios, ditto.

I guarantee you I'll have found more places I like before polls close tomorrow. I'll try to update.

Get out and vote for Kerry, please.