Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Is the Party Over?
We've all seen the scenario where after a wild, drunken night of partying the protagonist wakes up with a hangover, a trashed apartment, and just when they think things can't get worse--they've got a stranger in their bed and they can't remember how they got there. Cut to an expression of Oh, shit, how the fuck did I get here?

Which may be what the saner members of the Republican Party are now feeling. First there's voter remorse--realizing that while George Bush (or that sixth shot of tequila) seemed like a great idea at the time, it was a mistake. Then comes the realization that the Christian Right they had in bed wasn't just sort of crazy, they're certifiable.

But will this lead moderate Republicans to more temperate ways--e.g., not getting into bed with everyone willing to support a certain economic policy? Not taking shot after shot of sickly-sweet platitudes?

Do frat boys become moderate drinkers?

I once noted in a course paper that political parties function almost as religions; neurological research indicates that people achieve similar states when participating n religious ceremonies as they do when under the influence of certain drugs. If a political party can become a religion, could it also become an addiction?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Dr. Wolfowitz Goes to the World Bank
The President is recommending everyone's favorite Deputy Secretary of Defense to be head of the World Bank. While I'm not a big fan of The Wolfster, I'm relatively optimistic. First, as Yglesias points out, the World Bank doesn't have the capability to start wars. Secondly, Wolfowitz has already done some work on development, namely, his Ph.D thesis analyzing nuclear desalinization in the Middle East. It's wonky, chart-filled, and obsessed with oranges--perfect for a World Bank President.

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Fun with Memes
Bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama (Space Center)/ Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida (the six weeks after my birth)/ Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa (just passing through)/ Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee (still my permanent address)/ Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go generate your own!

Friday, March 11, 2005
Fast Times at the CLSC
1. When it is muddy out, do not try to walk downhill in the mud, unless you want to wear mud on your pants.

2. A UC ID is an efficient tool for scraping off said mud off pants.

3. On second floor of Cummings (e.g., where the elevators always stop even though there's no one there): a flyer visible from the elevator showing a rendering of the molecule, and an e-mail address to send identification of the molecule. First right answer gets a beer.

Thursday, March 10, 2005
Creation of a Blog Think Tank?
I've realized I'm not effective at changing the world by myself through this blog. Yes, I'm linked to and complemented by fellow travelers, but I don't have the firepower to change the world by myself. Frankly, none of us in the left blogosphere do, even the famous ones--"Yglesias who?" is the response most non-bloggers would give to the question, "So, what do you think about Yglesias's last post on Social Security?"

So there's obviously a surplus of creative progressive voices without real power. On the other hand, there's a deficit of progressive think tanks and other ways of grooming young progressives.


Let's create think tanks.

Each town could have its own little blogging thinktank, comprised of a bunch of affiliated bloggers who meet for coffee or something every week and discuss politics. No, it's not the Brookings Institute. But it's more than we've got now.

Friday, March 04, 2005
You can take away my blog... FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!
(Via Mouse Words): The FEC may soon consider blog links to political donation sites as political advocacy subject to campaign finance laws.

Which has me wondering: Just how much is a link worth, anyway? Obviously a link from Daily Kos to the Dean campaign would be worth more than a link from me to the Dean campaign, as Daily Kos has about a million eyeballs daily and I'm lucky to break a hundred on the Sitemeter. But what about a link from Kos to me (e.g. "Maureen has more information on donating here") and about a million other bloggers? And how do you clearly mark the line between advocacy and information? "I'd really like you to support the Dean campaign... oh, by the way, here's the link to my Dean for America site."

Maybe we'll have Scalia asking what a blog is.