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    • Inequality is Unnatural
      I’ve been reading UltraSociety, by Peter Turchin. Turchin’s a biologist turned to mathematical models of human society, and he’s done interesting work, not all of which I agree with (or agree is quite as radical as he claims.) But one of the points he makes in UltraSociety, which has been made by many archeologists and […]
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Nitecap- I’m so much cooler online

hey, guys, I went to see a live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion the other day and it was just as good as you’re thinking it is. Garrison Keillor runs around in a suit and red sneakers over a stage covered with oriental carpets. The sound effects guy wears a pair of wooden lasts around his neck and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band is nothing short of perfection. Last week’s guests were Jean Redpath, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and her husband Brad Paisley. I only knew him by name and hadn’t heard any of his songs. But he has to be the funniest country singer around. Some of my new favorites are his song about how he shows his wife he loves her by putting the toilet seat down. And there’s one about being a guy that didn’t take it too seriously. One of my favorites was this one about suddenly being cool online. I can relate. Er, not to the Mazerati and the three way, of course. Just to the concept of being the latest cool thing. We hit 200,000 hits yesterday. Thanks to Katiebird, Bostonboomer, RonKSeattle, Tucsonlynn, Shainzona, Ghost2, MABlue, UpstateNY, Ufa, campshunk, and all of the other fellow travellers, we are tres cool. Here’s the video…

Set’em up, Joe. I’ll have a Knob Creek OTR. Hey, you wanna see some cool pics? (fun with photobooth. I love soft focus)

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Barack Obama’s Double Bind

Awhile back, RonKSeattle challenged us to find out about Barack Obama.  Who is he really? 

Obama is the unknown quantity. He’s a big deal, but is he the real deal? In his meteoric rise, the usual questions haven’t been faced. The usual record hasn’t been demonstrated. Will his bubble simply burst, leaving Wolcott’s puddle of melting iridescence? 

For an individual approaching the presidency at a defining moment — not to mention leadership of our Party at a critical juncture — we know precious little of Obama the man, or Obama the plan.

I’d like to explore this with the help of the rest of you wonderful Conflucians.  For the first time in long time, I feel that I’m in a place and among people where I can safely express my real thoughts and feelings about Barack Obama.  This post is a starting point only. Continue reading

Race Card Trumps Obama Delegate

Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski is no longer an Illinois Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Obama’s campaign called Ramirez-Sliwinski and persuaded her to step aside as a delegate because the campaign felt her remarks were “divisive and unacceptable.”

We discussed it with her and given the incident, she decided to step down,” said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Obama. “She will be replaced as a delegate.”

“The incident” also earned her a $75 ticket for disorderly conduct, a scolding from the ACLU, tut-tutting’s from assorted academics, and it placed her career as a member of the Carpentersville Board of Trustees in grave jeopardy.

Ramirez-Sliwinski’s next-door neighbors, Dametta Stewart and Georgia Lockett … [their] sons were climbing a tree in front of the Stewart house … Georgia Lockett, who lives next door to Stewart, said she heard the whole thing and called the police.

“Why would anyone speak to a kid like that? I feel that was a racist statement,” Lockett said Sunday. …

“My comment was, ‘This is not a tree for them to be climbing in like monkeys,'” she said, adding that she calls her own grandchildren monkeys. “I would have said the same thing if they were Mexican kids.”

The Board’s only Hispanic member, Ramirez-Sliwinski was already on thin ice as a result of her opposition to English-only and anti-immigrant crackdown measures … plus, her failed attempt to expel a member convicted of assaulting his wife with a baseball bat.

In these times, it should be all about respecting people’s differences and staying away from words that could set them off, said Tim Johnson, a sociology professor at Judson University.

Some people just don’t fit in.

Hillary says it’s time to start withdrawing our troops from Iraq

Today, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, both members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, drew sharp distinctions between their positions on the occupation of Iraq by US forces. At a hearing on the troop surge as lead by General Petraeus, McCain favors staying indefinitely because he thinks the surge is working. Hillary is more realistic. From Reuters AlertNet, Hillary said:

“I think it’s time to begin an orderly process of withdrawing our troops, start rebuilding our military, and focusing on the challenges posed by Afghanistan, the global terrorist groups and other problems that confront Americans,” said Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady who would be the first woman president.

What Hillary recognizes is that our troops are overcommited in Iraq and around the world and that our national security is endangered by an army that is exhausted both physically and logistically. It is going to take time and much diplomatic effort to get out of Iraq. Bush made a real mess of things and like a game of Doctor Tangle, untying the knots is going to take time and skill. But we must do it so we can cycle our troops effectively and go after the bad guys where they live- in Afghanistan. Good job, Hillary. A president must keep troop readiness at the forefront for effective national security.

Tuesday- tasty tidbits

Hi guys, I have teleconfernces this morning. But I have found some interesting things to chew on and mull over in the meantime.

  • There is a reason why we don’t let children vote. It’s because they seem to treat candidates like teen idols. In the New York Times this morning, there is a piece on how children have persuaded their parents to register as Democrats and vote for Obama in Obama’s Young Backer’s Twist Parents’ Arms. And these parents have relinquished all parental responsibility and are following their children’s directions. Bad, bad, bad. It is time we re-established our parental authority and told our kids to eat their vegetables and clean up their rooms.
  • This American Life had a recent podcast you may want to listen to. The Audacity of Government tells the stories of several people who were directly affected by the Bush Administration’s grab for power. This will leave you bewildered at what is motivating their decisions. And disturbed.
  • Terry Gross, the best interviewer on radio, has had a number of superb podcasts lately that I highly recommend. Find out about derivatives and “instruments” that are screwing up our economy in Our Confusing Economy, Explained. In “Bush’s Law”, Secret Surveillance Efforts Revealed, Eric Lichtblau details what the Bushies were up to with the FISA court. Black Liberation Theology, In its Founder’s Words, defines and explains what it’s all about and what is really going in in Obama’s church. Very informative and highly recommended.
  • Eriposte at TheLeftCoaster provides more evidence that the progressive blogosphere 1.0 is less about pro-Obama and more about anti-Clinton in Stories of Love and Hate.  Is this a real political difference with Clinton or is it indicative of the higher number of men in the blogosphere and therefore, a greater propensity to support one of their own?  And if it’s the latter, isn’t “progressive” a misnomer?