Nov 30, 2004

virtue ethics

In this paper I have argued that the best option in this time of great moral crisis is a return to the virtue ethics of the ancients. Moral rules are too abstract and too rigid, and it is difficult to apply them to complex situations and decisions. They, however, still retain their normative force for use the application of national and international law. Utilitarianism, on the other hand, fails to distinguish between qualitative values of the virtues and external quantities of pleasure, and sometimes the hedonic calculus produces unrealistic and even absurd moral obligations.

As opposed to a rule based ethics, where the most that we can know is that we always fall short of the norm, virtue ethics is truly a voyage of personal discovery. Ancient virtue ethics always aim at a personal mean that is a creative choice for each individual. Virtue ethics is emulative--using the sage or savior as a model for virtue--whereas rule ethics involves conformity and obedience. The emulative approach engages the imagination and personalizes and thoroughly grounds individual moral action and responsibility. Such an ethics naturally lends itself to an aesthetics of virtue: the crafting of a good and beautiful soul, a unique gem among other gems.
What's next--a quote from Socrates, Aristotle, or Jesus?


[thanks to Online Papers in Philosophy, a fantabulous site]

Nov 29, 2004

up in a puff of smoke

Angel McClary Raich doesn't seem to have much hope that her medical use of marijuana will be legitimized, Dahlia Lithwick notes. Drugs that destroy the body in order to save it are legal; for no good reason, a drug that helps far more than it harms is illegal. If we legalize medical pot, a slippery slope is inevitable, Fed attorneys claim:
Clement concludes his rebuttal with his best argument: California law undermines enforcement of the entire federal drug regime. There is no way to distinguish between those in genuine medical need and those who are exploiting the system. He cites a case mentioned in the briefs in which a man was busted with pot in his backpack, his pocket, his other pocket, and another pocket. And some scales. The appellate court nevertheless found that he might have legitimately been buying the pot for medicinal reasons; he was just carrying the scales to "keep from being ripped off."
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But one thing is certain: Angel McClary Raich should start packing, and hope she can find compassion somewhere else.

Update: Jason Kuznicki covers the breadth and depth of the legal aspects of the case.

Update Update
: Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy is cautiously optimistic.

Nov 28, 2004

this time, anyway

If you're concerned that the Mainstream Media (what we bloggers call the MSM) unfairly characterizes religious folks as ignorant, gullible, or ignorantly gullible, take heart: sometimes they get it right.

take a gander

As Ed Brayton points out, Pandas Thumb has a new contributor, with an inaugural essay well worth reading.

Nov 26, 2004

quibbling, as always

Via the Volokh Conspiracy, this blogger got word of Rolling Stone's pathetic attempt to list the 500 "Greatest [Rock and Roll] Songs of All Time." I won't comment on the stupid choice (#3, stupid!), and I don't have the experience (being a mere twenty-five years old) or expertise to discuss most of the rest (which I'm sure all deserve to be there, as influential as they are), so I'll limit my comment to the only album from the 90s to make the top 10: Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which sounds as fresh and shocking as the first time I heard it, way back in high school.

The eight-bar opening that blasts through the blues structure, Dave Grohl smashing the drums, the immediate hush to the first verse, the abrupt shockwave chorus, and Kurt Cobain's haunting, inimitable, indecipherable scream-singing....

And the words.
Load up on guns and
Bring your friends
It's fun to lose
And to pretend
She's over bored
And self assured
Oh no, I know
A dirty word

hello, how low? (repeated)

With the lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My Libido

I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

hello, how low? (repeated)

With the lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My Libido

And I forget
Just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
It was hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind

hello, how low? (repeated)

With the lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My Libido
Yeah, a denial
A denial
A denial...

No song better captures the ethos of our age, or better illustrates the paradox that Kurt Cobain's anti-pop screeds didn't destroy pop, but, in their time, became it.

Nov 25, 2004

running sacred

Chris Gregoire is not alone. My brother quotes her recent statement:
"Voters have a sacred right to have their ballots counted. That's been our goal throughout this process," Gregoire said in a statement. "We want every vote to be counted. But that hasn't happened yet."
Amazingly, a quick Google search reveals that the phrase "sacred right to vote" can be found on at least 676 different pages (both in serious and sarcastic references). Turns out it's a feminist catchphrase that may have originated at the "First Woman's Rights Convention" back in 1848.

Nov 24, 2004

open letter to Christine Gregoire

Dearest Chris,

Tie goes to the Republican.

Your pal,


peril, grave peril

Gregoire loses again--this time by a mere 42 votes. Should she concede, or call for a manual recount?

Democracy hangs in the balance...

Nov 23, 2004

missing the mark

I hadn't even heard about it until yesterday, but apparently Target has banned the Salvation Army from bellringing outside its stores.

Now, I don't have a problem with Target's decision on moral or legal grounds. They have the right to allow, or disallow, any sort of solicitation on their property. If Target wants to brighten its public image, it should contribute back to the community the $9 million the Salvation Army will lose. (Target, it should be noted, is already a leading corporation as far as charity work goes.)

I have no beef with the Salvation Army, either; they may be a sectarian organization, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't continue helping those in need, or that they shouldn't ask for donations. No one's forced to give.

What bothers me, though: articles like this one, a kettlefull of overblown rhetoric.
Throughout the night in Uganda, thousands of children dubbed "the night dwellers" roam the streets in fear, seeking refuge from vicious bands of kidnappers. Despite their pain, hunger and loneliness, they are considered the lucky ones, unlike the other 20,000 Ugandans captured by Lord's Resistance Army insurgents over the years, doomed to a life of prostitution and guerilla warfare.

Thousands of these children spend their nights sleeping in churches and shelters run by non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is a humanitarian organization that relies heavily on its annual holiday drive to sustain these shelters. Every year, thousands of bell-waving volunteers take to the streets in the spirit of selflessness and generosity. They raise millions of dollars crucial for spreading goodwill to more than 109 countries and territories that the Salvation Army serves....

...we are left with only the facts: The Salvation Army is $9 million weaker today, and tonight, perhaps as you're reading this, the sun will set in Uganda.
This is an egregious example of the Appeal to Pity, and here's why:
A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army’s national office, Teresa Whitfield, told C&F Report that those interested in such an effort should contact the Salvation Army unit in their local community.

“The kettle funds are all budgeted locally and stay in the community where they are collected,” Whitfield said.
Perhaps it says something about Americans--or at least Michael Darling--that we have to mention Ugandans to get people to care.

Nov 22, 2004


A while back, after reading a thought-provoking article by Michael Beran, I blogged about poetry memorization:
Certainly, teachers need to foster "active" learning--not just passive acceptance of time-honored screeds--but memorization is a form of sinking-to-swim, being tossed into literacy. Constructivists tip the balance too far in favor of anarchic learning, where the desires of the child form the philosophical center, conflating wants with needs, and forgetting that any form of progress requires an attainable goal--an objective, not subjective, position. While ostensibly in the pursuit of self-empowerment, pure constructivism is self-constricting folly.
Over the last couple days, I've put theory into practice, with mixed success. I tried to satisfy my inner anarchist by letting students have a wide berth, choosing any poem or song of at least twenty lines. Most students chose good poems, but there were a few country songs in there, and some Silverstein. I realized, too late, that I didn't set clear enough limits on subject matter.

The best moments came when previously unrecognized students became stars, giving particularly dramatic or nuanced readings. Amazingly, even some of the country songs didn't sound too bad when read aloud rather than sung over a twanging guitar.

There may be hope for poetry in this world.

democracy on the march

They're cheating, Hugh Hewitt, and they're getting away with it!

Nov 21, 2004

"when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed"

Last night I dragged the wife to Olympia High School's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. As high school theater goes, it was pretty darn good--fabulous sets and costumes, mostly decent line readings, and a show-stealing performance by Patrick Rayment as Nick Bottom.

Tonight, though, the wife is watching Michael Hoffman's A Midsummer Night's Dream, perhaps to get back at me for making her suffer through amateur hour. Sadly, it's a tedious, despicable, melodramatic, soporific hack job that includes:

1. "Italian" characters speaking English (in either American or bad British accents), along with Italians speaking, of all things, Italian
2. Bicycles in starring roles (at least they don't act badly)
3. Rapid-fire, overly rhythmic line readings
4. Mud wrestling
5. A horrible mix of moods--comedy that isn't funny juxtaposed with romance that isn't romantic, followed by laughable tragedy and pedestrian magic.
6. A classic score, the only redeeming feature
7. Bare bottoms (and, worse, a bare Bottom)

Put in perspective, Oly's version is a triumph of adolescent genius.

Nov 19, 2004

how the grinch stole christmas

The recount won't be over until then, in all likelihood.

"Two coffins. No, maybe three."

It hasn't been posted on their website yet, but I'm hoping New Scientist will feature "A billion brains are better than one," in which Mark Buchanan delves into a topic I'd never even considered before: bacterial communication. I'd always assumed that bacteria are microscopic Yojimbos, beholden to no other organisms. Turns out that's not exactly the case; bacteria can communicate chemically in a process called "quorum sensing"--and, if one Israeli researcher is right, their language is "more than a metaphor."

Read up on the phenomenon at the Quorum Sensing Site, which summarizes it better than I ever could.

As Buchanan writes,
More and more researchers agree with [Eshel] Ben-Jacob's assertion that microbes have the kind of social intelligence previously considered to be the exclusive preserve of the most intelligent animals. Microorganisms recognise the social groups to which they belong, and readily pick out strangers who might pose a threat.
Too bad they can't sense when I'm about to wash my hands.

feed thy brain

Looking for enlightenment, but don't know which blog to turn to? (Obviously not this one.) Ed Brayton points the way.

Nov 18, 2004

information overload

Huge shout-out to PZ Myers for pointing his readers to Google Scholar, which looks like an invaluable resource. I've already started trolling for new works about the current Lincoln-Douglas resolution, and have discovered articles that aren't even in Proquest yet.

Some articles aren't free, though, so don't get too excited. But it's a great complement to traditional research venues. All hail Google.

it ain't over...

...'til the recount is finished, next Wednesday. But Dino Rossi, as I predicted, has won the first count--and if history repeats itself, will walk away with the win in a week. (Yeah, that's alliteration.)

Nov 16, 2004

too much to do

With a three-week hiatus from speech tournaments, I was supposed to magically discover more time, and thus embark on a voyage through the social contract (to discuss my brother's all-too-important, all-too-weighty question as to "what grounds rights"), re-reread The Open Society and its Enemies, revitalize bibliocracy (by actually writing about reading), and continue in my moral obligations to blog, to blog constantly, to blog well.


A history prof I had in college once talked about having rocks in your box of time--the big obligations: marital life, family, job, etc.--and finding useful sand to fill the rest. Those are the intellectual pursuits I wish I were pursuing more. I've been plowing through all sorts of material on philosophy, morality, and global politics, but all in the name of Lincoln-Douglas debate. I've perused fine poetry, but for scholarly motives. I've kept up with current events, but mostly to keep my classes and my conversation fresh.

And now, my wife leans over the laptop screen and asks an imperative interrogative: "Are you going to make coffee?"

Yes, I am, even if it means unhitching from the cyber-wagon.

But I'll be back.


Atlantis found!

Need proof that Plato was divinely inspired? Look no further.
Robert Sarmast said sonar scanning of the seabed between east Cyprus and Syria revealed man-made walls, one as long as 3 kilometers (2 miles), and trenches at a depth of 1,500 meters (1,640 yards).

"It is a miracle we found these walls as their location, and lengths match exactly the description of the acropolis of Atlantis provided by Plato in his writings," Sarmast said, referring to the ancient Greek philosopher.

"We have definitely found the Acropolis of Atlantis," he affirmed, adding the site was 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Cyprus.

Darn--the news came in just too late for the Plato discussion.

Update: Brendan Koerner explains it (away?).

Nov 15, 2004

heather has two mommies

This, I'm sure, will prove nothing to James Dobson.

trade makes people better, right?

Timothy Sandefur has this little snippet from Democracy in America touting the moral benefits of trade. Of course, Alexis de Tocqueville never heard the Enron tapes.

though I've belted you and flayed you

Principal Steve Unfreid, who said he was inspired in his choice of disciplinary tactics by the actions of Jesus, asked teacher Joe Brost to whip him in front of two male students in the school's basement last month after the boys were caught kissing girls in the locker room for the second time in a week.

Unfreid, in an interview Friday at his home, acknowledged he should have called the boys' parents first but expressed no regret for his behavior.

The school's board of directors unanimously decided in a closed door session Sunday to fire Unfreid.
Way, way weird.

[thanks to the obscure store]

gubernatorial update

Based on these numbers, I'm calling the election for Rossi, although a recount seems likely.

Come on, Gregoire, concede already, you weasel.

Update: the numbers are swinging toward Gregoire again, but I'll bet it's just like last time, when a sudden rise led to a quick turnaround. King County's ballots are nearly all in, and there won't be enough to overcome all the smaller (Republican) counties--for once.

Update Update: Yep. Back to a slim Rossi lead. Tennis neck, anyone?

Update Update Update: So Gregoire's narrowly in the lead, and Stefan Sharkansky is giving up predicting the outcome because of the 10,000 "magical mystery votes" that appeared out of nowhere (it seems) in King County. I'm still calling it for Rossi.

Update Update Update Update: I can keep this up as long as they update the state's site. The looming recount seems a sure bet; a day before the results are certified, Rossi's up by 19 votes. If you've been watching closely, Bennett's numbers have been inching up with each new tally, no matter how Rossi or Gregoire have fared. (Too bad she's only 47 percentage points behind either.)

Okay, last update, really, to this post: Things just got even more convoluted.

the death of the blogger

Yes, my words get twisted and mangled by those who misunderstand me, and I don't even write exactly what I mean when I think it--but does that mean I don't own my words, and that their meaning is utterly independent of my intentions?

My students read Roland Barthes's The Death of the Author today, and tried to wrap their brains around the question. From the opening paragraph, the work challenges all who hold a literalist hermeneutic:
In his story Sarrasine Balzac, describing a castrato disguised as a woman, writes the following sentence: ‘This was woman herself, with her sudden fears, her irrational whims, her instinctive worries, her impetuous boldness, her fussings, and her delicious sensibility.’ Who is speaking thus? Is it the hero of the story bent on remaining ignorant of the castrato hidden beneath the woman? Is it Balzac the individual, furnished by his personal experience with a philosophy of Woman? Is it Balzac the author professing ‘literary’ ideas on femininity? Is it universal wisdom? Romantic psychology? We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing.
Barthes takes T.S. Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent" a step further:
We know now that a text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the ‘message’ of the Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture.
And tears apart the fabric of discourse:
Once the Author is removed, the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing.... In the multiplicity of writing, everything is to be disentangled, nothing deciphered; the structure can be followed, ‘run’ (like the thread of a stocking) at every point and at every level, but there is nothing beneath: the space of writing is to be ranged over, not pierced; writing ceaselessly posits meaning ceaselessly to evaporate it, carrying out a systematic exemption of meaning. In precisely this way literature (it would be better from now on to say writing), by refusing to assign a ‘secret’, an ultimate meaning, to the text (and to the world as text), liberates what may be called an anti-theological activity, an activity that is truly revolutionary since to refuse to fix meaning is, in the end, to refuse God and his hypostases—reason, science, law.


Nov 13, 2004

do the puyallup

Why am I awake at 5:15 on a lustrous Saturday? Because it's debate season, silly, which means I'll be gone all day. Sorry, loyal readers (or is it reader? I've lost count); the font of unwisdom is closed for the next day. Your questions will be answered or ignored, your doubts dispelled or reinforced, your misconceptions laid to rest or given a parade upon my return.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this: progress is being made in at least one war.

Nov 11, 2004

unborking Gonzales

In a weird about-face, a Christian group is decrying Alberto Gonzales for being not judicially activist enough.


The quote, from Judie Brown of the American Life League:
"When asked if his own personal feelings about abortion would play a role in his decisions, Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times in 2001 that his 'own personal feelings about abortion don't matter... The question is, what is the law, what is the precedent, what is binding in rendering your decision. Sometimes, interpreting a statute, you may have to uphold a statute that you may find personally offensive. But as a judge, that's your job.' Gonzales' position is clear: the personhood of the preborn human being is secondary to technical points of law, and that is a deadly perspective for anyone to take.
Gonzales offers a clear strict constructionist position--the law over my personal opinion. That should be commendable, right? After all, "judicial activism" is the culprit, isn't it?
The time has come to put words and promises aside. The time has come for action. If the pro-abortion zealots will not yield and if those in charge of the Senate will not take the lead, use your powers to recess appoint pro-life judges to our federal courts and undo the judicial activism our legal system has suffered from over the past decade.
ALL even cites Robert Bork on the matter:
Bork shows the difference between interpreting the law and using court decisions by judges to in effect dictate new law which could not pass through Congress. He shows the disadvantages (similar to those of a dictatorship) of permitting elite judges to dictate unpopular changes in American law. "Decisions are precedents; doctrines are applied to new cases; and what begins as an attitude of `Let's do it just this one time' grows into a deformation of constitutional government."
More evidence that "judicial activism" is wrong only when it threatens your principles.

[thanks to Hit and Run]

Update: Ed Brayton has further thoughts.


Mere Orthodoxy, the site run primarily by my brother, is moving off life support and back up to full blog status. The Darwinian Project has been ropped off the roll, simply because it was a flame that flickered out too soon.

I may add other links later--but who has time to read them, anyway?

Back to grading papers.


This little bit of idiocy is worth quoting in full:
AMHERST - Vladimir Morales, who helped organize a Puerto Rican flag-raising ceremony in honor of Puerto Rican month, is asking for a formal apology from the woman he said took the flag down.

Friday, the flag was raised on the Town Common with more than 100 people gathered to celebrate and sing the Puerto Rican national anthem. But on Sunday, Town Meeting member Patricia K. Church apparently thought the flag was the state flag of Texas. Upset with the results from last week's presidential election, Church later told Morales it was she who took it down, Morales said. Bush is from Texas.

Both flags have a single star set on blue background. But the Puerto Rican flag has red and white stripes and the star is set in a triangular background, while the Texan flags is half white and half red with the star set in a rectangular background.

Morales said when he heard the flag was missing his first thought was that it had been vandalized.

"It gives you a bad taste," he said. "We had a good thing on Friday. ... We felt aggrieved."

When he heard the flag was found and what happened, he said, "It was a misunderstanding," but he said the act still surprised him. "The point of taking it on themselves. I think the folks need to be a little more careful."

He would like Church to apologize formally to the whole community. Church could not be reached for comment.

The Puerto Rican flag, meanwhile, was back up yesterday in front of Town Hall.
Why would Patricia K. Church confuse Puerto Rico's flag with the Texas flag? For the same reason the paper has to explain that "Bush is from Texas." Because too many people are ignorant, uneducated dunderheads.

[thanks as always to the obscure store]

Nov 9, 2004

shifting the balance

In a race that keeps see-sawing between Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi, Ruth Bennett, the Libertian candidate, wants her party to be known as a real political force in Washington state.
"The Republicans have always dissed us (Libertarians) because they think we take Republican votes," Bennett says. "I have just proven that we can also take some Democrat votes."

So far, Bennett has garnered 45,000 votes, enough that could have swayed the election either way.

"It's important, I think, for both the Democrats and Republicans to realize that we (Libertarians) can be the balance of power," Bennett says.

Bennett admits she went into the race knowing that it would be close, and that she probably wouldn't win. But that wasn't the point of her candidacy. She simply wanted to be an option that wasn't currently on the table.

No matter who eventually gets the gubernatorial nod, Bennett has some conversations planned.

"If Dino Rossi wins, we'll go in and say 'look, we want you to stay off same-sex marriage.' If it's Christine Gregoire, we'll do the same thing. She wasn't exactly a ringing endorser," Bennett says.
Here's to Bennett, and a viable third party in a state that finally has an election worth talking about.

by jingo if we do

Woe betide us.

This morning's Veterans Day assembly marked a new low in the year's sad excuses for edutainment. We've had boring assemblies, and pointless assemblies, and rah-rah sports assemblies, but never before had we endured the use of an assembly as a political platform. The music, the light show, the movie, the skit--all fine, all respectful. But the speech... the speech.

It's one thing to remember veterans, to honor those who have served and fallen in the cause of liberty. It's another to turn the time for remembering into a bully pulpit for the War on Terror--and, worse, to trivialize the whole affair by reminding all of us to come out Friday night to "show what we stand for."

That's right. Football.

Nov 8, 2004

thinking outside the circle

Is this the next big step toward a cure for schizophrenia?
The study participants were asked to look at either of two images containing four 'Pac-man' figures - circles with a quarter missing.

In one image, the four shapes were arranged to optically suggest a square in the centre. The participants were asked to press a button to show if they perceived a square or not.

At the same time, the scientists monitored the participants' brain waves using EEG, which gives a trace of the brain's electrical activity.

Both groups were able to respond to the images within a second, but those with schizophrenia made more errors and took about 200 milliseconds longer to process the image.

When the researchers looked at the brain wave patterns they found the patients with schizophrenia showed no activity in a certain wave band when performing the button-pushing task.

However, the healthy volunteers had visible gamma wave activity, indicating that their brains were processing the visual information to guide their response.

Lead researcher Dr Robert McCarley said: "There was a pretty dramatic difference. The schizophrenics did not show this gamma-band response at all.

"If the most efficient communication between assemblies of neurons is at 40 hertz, and the schizophrenics are using a lower frequency, it's likely they have defective communication between cell assemblies and brain regions."
Add this to the re-working of the epidemiology of mental illness, and we're talking a diagnostic and therapeutic revolution, away from broad-based drugs toward targeted treatments and anti-bacterial warfare.

This isn't just the Decade of the Brain or the Century of the Neuron. We live in the Age of Neuroscience.

atto margin

Dino Rossi's closing the gap behind Chris Gregoire in the Twiggy-thin Washington gubernatorial race. First it was Rossi winning, then Gregoire by 15,000, then Gregoire by about four grand. The margin's in recount territory, at any rate.

Oh, and no Democrats, to my knowledge, are calling Rossi a weasel because he won't concede. Yet.

Nov 7, 2004

eat, crow

If you haven't seen this yet, you're missing out. As I blogged about earlier,
It's a credit to humans' basic anthropocentrism that this--the idea that other animals might be as wily, deceptive, and crafty as we are--comes as a surprise.

he regresado

After 13 rounds of Champ level Lincoln-Douglas judging over the past three days, not to mention dealing with adolescent angst, malnutrition and sleep inertia, my brain is more than a little frazzled. So don't look to my blog for inspiration or amusement... visit Dispatches from the Culture Wars instead.

I'll be back, really, as soon as I can. But no sooner.

Nov 4, 2004


Yeah, I'm headed out too.

By the way, Mr. G.K.C. (and I know you're reading this), it's your move.

Hasta la something.

Nov 3, 2004

hiatus from the hiatus

The sky didn't fall, porcine mammals didn't sprout wings, and the Beatles didn't reunite. All in all, it was a great night for America, regardless of the outcome. The system, creaky as it is, worked, and I missed all of it, enjoying quietness and comfort in the arms of a beautiful woman.

Down with media hype. Up with love.

Nov 2, 2004


I'm taking a one-day media vacation. I'm (nearly literally) sticking my fingers in my ears and saying "la-la-la-la-la" to the whole election, and enjoying a quiet evening with my wife when the work day is done.

"Why would you do that, today of all days?" one of my students asked.

Because it's out of my hands now, and I'm fine with that. And tomorrow, when the sun rises as I drive back to school, I'll turn on the radio and discover who won. Or maybe I'll wait until I see the moon turn to blood and the stars fall from the sky.

Nov 1, 2004

pre-election post-election burnout

I'm already worn out from tomorrow, and it's only tonight. I'm tired of the lawsuits and the exit polls and the projections and the state maps and the pundits and the "I Voted" stickers and I need an antacid again, again. I can't stop clicking through the channels looking for a football game, an infomercial, a Rise of the Lowly Ape documentary to take me away from the election, far away from the blogosphere. My fingers ache from mousing. My eyes blur in the hazy glow of a million tiny pixels blaring falsehood upon inanity. The radio drones--is this the jazz station? Maybe Wednesday.

Worst of all, I've brought it on myself. I love it, and I love it that I hate it in loving it. The ulcer throbs in passion, not in angst.

I can't be cynical, for too long anyway, because the Republic will survive no matter who wins. Honestly, it will, and you know it as well as I do. Osama bin Laden be damned; Michael Moore be unplugged.

I'd link to all the relevant articles, but I don't care anymore. You've already read them--and if you haven't, it's too late, and bless you for it.

Let the games begin.

academic... er... freedom

A foolish inconsistency is the hobgoblin of illogical minds.

throw it back

William Safire goes in search of the Liberal Media, and comes back empty, according to Slate's Jack Shafer. Welcome to the world of truth-by-database.