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April 25, 2008

hello japandra

You may think that we're taking the election pretty seriously over here, with our respective racism/misogyny, but in Japan, where an old friend is currently residing, they are taking the presidential race serious like a heart attack.

Here, have a look for yourself.

I wish it were video and not just a still, as they say that the best thing about this very serious coverage is the soundtrack.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:16 PM

merge records hearts obama

Readers in the general Mid-Atlantic area, please feel free to avail yourself of a fringe benefit of the primary season that so frustrates Paul Krugman, as the unholy forces of the Arcade Fire and Superchunk ally to deprive the Clinton dynasty of its birthright get out the Obama vote.

I love the Arcade Fire (as is required), but I been loving that Superchunk for eleventy-something years.  Plus also, they contributed "Slack Motherfucker" to the world, which counts a whole awful lot to me.  You know, as a slack motherfucker.

Hey, maybe the Clinton campaign will have Elton John or Fleetwood Mac or something.  Wouldn't that be cold-- I mean, cool?

Posted by mrbrent at 1:14 AM

April 24, 2008

of course, if you're no DFW fan, you might want to pass

It'll take me longer to type this than it will for you to read it, but, while you're catching up on your Fantasy Baseball, please enjoy the result of comic strip doing donuts on the lawn of David Foster Wallace.

Is it time to reread "Infinite Jest" yet?  All I need's a little twelve day flu, and I'm there.

[Via Maud, et al.]

Posted by mrbrent at 2:12 PM

electability

Is funny -- I was lying in bad this morning, thinking about getting up, and outta nowhere the thought came to me that the fallacy of the "candidate can't win state in primary, therefor cannot win state in general" assertion was worth a post.  In fact, my thought as I leapt from between the covers was, "Hmm.  Look up 'axiomatic' again."

And now, I fire up the information machine and see that the NYTimes filed a story discussing the very same thing, approaching it as a function of polls and reality:

According to surveys of Pennsylvania voters leaving the polls on Tuesday, Mr. Obama would draw majorities of support from lower-income voters and less-educated ones — just as Mrs. Clinton would against Mr. McCain, even though those voters have favored her over Mr. Obama in the primaries.

Yes, well and good.  But, the premise is also flawed conceptually, and you can rip it apart without having to poll a single Pennsylvanian.  Basically, to compare [X]'s success in an election wherein both the candidates and electorate are substantially similar ideologically with [X]'s prospective success in a wider election that has a more robust spectrum of political leanings is just crazy people talk, plainly.  There is no correlation.  The primaries and the generals are two different contests in two different arenas -- it's like saying a baseball team, after losing a football game, is not very good at baseball.  For a more concrete example, Gov. Mike Huckabee did very well in a handful GOP primaries, but is far too cuckoo for cocoa-puffs to take these states against a Democratic opponent, whether Obama, Clinton or the ghost of Harry S. Truman.  But did his good showings indicate an "electability" problem for Sen. McCain?  The argument, it does not work.

Which has not prevented certain campaigns from citing certain other campaigns as "unelectable" for their failure to carry certain states -- citing frequently, and with a straight face, to the extent that this "unelectability" meme is being repeated by members of the press as if it was some First Law of Politics.  It is a very Bush Administration -- repeat pernicious lie aggressively until it cannot be distinguished from the truth.

Which is why this fallacy must be called bullshit in public enough times to eradicate the gloss of truth it has acquired.  Whatever electability problems Sen. Obama may have, not beating Sen. Clinton in OH/PA is not one of them.

Posted by mrbrent at 7:27 AM

April 23, 2008

i thought every day was world intellectual property day

Boy -- Wednesdays, huh?  Wednesdays.

Which is why I'm eagerly awaiting this Saturday, which is World Intellectual Property Day.  What is World Intellectual Property Day, you wonder?  Why, World Intellectual Property Day is only the most clumsy fake holiday ever!  After all, how can the World Intellectual Property Organization be a bloodthirsty sockpuppet/attack dog/lobbying steamroller for the big media conglomerates of the planet when, once a year, they throw a boy-girl party for all the chidren, with soda pop and cake!

Nope.  Not kidding.  And if you're not sure how you are going to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day yourself, go here for suggestions:

• Stage concerts or other public performances centered around the around the World IP Day theme, with the performers delivering messages which encourage respect for creators and creativity.

• Mount exhibits at shopping malls explaining how consumers benefit from IP systems (for example, how reliable trademarks can ensure consumer confidence, or how pirated or counterfeit goods can cause problems for consumers).

• Run essay competitions for young people on themes relating to IP, innovation, piracy and counterfeiting etc.

What young person doesn't love an essay competition?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:49 AM

April 22, 2008

cameras don't kill people, photographs do

There is a new scourge sweeping the world, and it may be you -- photographers!  (And not the kind that are trying to kill Britney Spears).

You may have seen, trickling in over the past few months, reports of citizens, armed with cameras, foiled in destroying valuable property (by photographing it) by valiant security photos.  Why, just today, on Boing Boing, there are two -- two! -- stories on these terrorist photographers, posted nearly back to back.

First, Cory Doctorow is stopped from snapping pictures of the Disneyland parking lot, as the Disney/DHS staff shrewdly realize that just because an area has a lack of free-standing structures doesn't mean that Canadians should be allowed to take pictures of it.

Second, courageous employees of British retail establishments with the excellent names "THE MALL" and "BARGAIN MADNESS" catch two friends in the act of waving loaded cameras on a public street.  There are a number of grateful shoppers who remain unphotographed, thanks to BARGAIN MADNESS.

Think of all the times a terrorist was wondering how best to blow some place up, only to be tripped up by not having a photograph of the place.  I mean, how can terrorists possibly blow something up if they don't have a photograph of it?

Let's all follow the heroic example of BARGAIN MADNESS.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:52 AM

sorry for calling you racist, old codgers

I'm sure that this slip of the keyboard is inadvertent, but it does pretty much capture what I was thinking when I saw the headline "In Clinton vs. Obama, Age Is a Great Predictor":
In a campaign where demographics seem to be destiny, one of the most striking factors is the segregation of voters by age.

Cuz, yeah, "segregation" might be exactly what's on the mind of those old codgers who are not so ready to support the Obama candidacy.

Hey, I'm not saying it's true -- I'm just saying "segregation" is one of those rotten-egg words whose context you need to hyper-aware of, because if you drop it and it breaks, the stench will be overpowering.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:17 AM

April 21, 2008

sorry: popes don't drive

Not to paraphrase, but this evening the hardworking content-providers at Yahoo! usher in the "this-thing-is-not-like-this-thing" era:
Everybody realizes gas prices are skyrocketing, but you may not know these facts about the pope.

I don't know if that constitutes "not even trying", but whoever wrote that was not even trying.  So I guess that does constitute not even trying.

And!  This does not even appear in the old-saw, go-to Container of Headlines, but up in their tabbed Web 2.0 Rich Sticky Content With Graphic box (I forget what they call it), with the unwieldy headline:

Painful fill-ups & papal trivia

Which, while missing the obvious exclamation point, is as truthful as it is a confession to talentless-ness.

Though maybe this is Yahoo! implementing their version of Talent 2.0.  Somebody call my pager when they know.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:07 PM

nobama v. bitch

So I must confess that our household is "on tenterhooks" with regard to tomorrow's primary in Pennsylvania.  Maybe you haven't heard of it -- it's been kinda under the radar these past few weeks -- but the remaining two candidates, Sens. Clinton and Obama, each hope that tomorrow's results will provide closure.  On Sen. Obama's side, he hopes for closure in validation of his already-existing victory in the nomination fight.  For Sen. Clinton's side, she seeks closure in a victory enabling her advisors to continue to draw millions of dollars in fees before her inevitable awkward exit, which will go something like this: "Gotta go!  Think I'll take the Democratic Party's viability with me, if you don't mind."

That was a gloomy assessment, but I think anyone who cares about this is getting ground down by this land war in China.

So, until tomorrow, have a chuckle at the expense of everybody, which is as things should be.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:28 PM

pope: it's great to be here in new york city!

I know, all of you from outside of the NYC environs are wondering -- just what it was like sharing your city with the Pope for the weekend?

Well, for one, that dude does not take the subway.  I had to drive around the Lost Island of Manhattan a few times, and you'd basically have to keep the radio on the traffic radio, as, wherever the Pope went, something like forty thousand cops (and Swiss Guards, who are bad-asses) would close down a portion of the city equal to the entire downtown area of your basic smaller cities.  So, to avoid an extra hour of Pope-lock, you'd drive wildly out of your way, and cackle.

I didn't see him or anything, but I did see his Popemobile, which was on the back of a north-bound flatbed truck on the FDR.  It was no big shakes, as it resembles much more a bulletproof golf cart than a luxury sedan.  More like a Pope-Mobility-Chair than anything else.

Other than that, all I know is what I read in the newspapers, which were running special "Pope-only" editions.  He looks like a zombie, and he sounds like any of the characters on "Hogan's Heroes" (well, the Cherman one, of course).  And, between you and me, based on the reaction to the Pope, I suspect that this might be one Holy Father who will be more popular than Jesus someday.

Did he issue an Encyclical?  That would've been something worth seeing.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:08 AM