Posted by Rojas @ 2:15 pm on August 30th 2012

In 2008, the LP candidate for President decided to get in a public fight with Ron Paul.

I think this might be a marginally smarter strategy:

Posted by Brad @ 10:03 pm on August 29th 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ron Paul

This happened. Tonight, at the Republican National Convention.

Posted by Jack @ 12:54 am on August 29th 2012

But Not Today

A few years ago I was suprised by my father’s suddenly developed comfort with technology, as evidenced by his use of phone texting well before I adopted it. Perhaps worthy of greater surprise: today he sent me a pic of himself atop Mount Lincoln. Which is a fourteener. He did three of them that day, bringing his personal record to 12 ascents of 14,000 foot peaks. He turns 70 next year.

He said: “Someday before long I will have to stop doing this. But Not Today.” Emphatically.

Posted by Brad @ 4:33 pm on August 28th 2012

Music Video of the Week

I give in. H/t Andrew Sullivan and 68 million YouTubers, but the video really is too awesome to pass on posting. For some reason, although it’s an entirely different medium and country, dude reminds me of India’s Rajinikanth. Like when you go from awesome to kitsch to self parody and then back again, in a never-ending loop.

PSY – Gangnam Style

Posted by Brad @ 2:26 pm on August 28th 2012

The Faces and the Arguments of the Parties

As the conventions are now beginning and the general election will be, momentarily, officially underway, I wanted to at least have posted this once, for posterity. I’d like to just take what might be the last chance to pull the camera back for a moment.

There are a few things, in the heat of September/October, that you will know to be true of this election.

It is the Most Important Election in recent memory/history. It will be the Most Negative Campaign in recent memory/history. The other guys will be the Most Dangerous Candidates ever seen in recent memory/history. We are at a Critical Point/Crossroads, and the decision we make this November will have uniquely impactful consequences in either preserving, advancing, or redefining What America Means.

At some point, most of us, particularly those with partisan leanings/behaviors, will have a hard time fathoming how any reasonable person could possibly Obama/Romney – they are clearly objectively wrong/insane/bad! The central platform of the mainstream spectrum of both parties, as represented by the candidates, will not only seem like something you disagree with, but as almost a form of mental illness – something objectively insane, and you will wonder how any person could POSSIBLY support them without being stupid, malicious, corrupt, or any combination thereof. You will also find, within both parties, campaigns, and philosophies, many objectionable and risible things – and your estimation of their centrality to the true “agenda” of that candidate and the true likelihood of their impact if your guy loses will usually correlate pretty strongly to how objectionable or risible you find them.

All that will be true for most of us – I count myself in that number.

More specifically, this has been a political moment in our country wherein both sides view the others as some kind of space aliens. On the one hand you have Obama, who just doesn’t seem American at all (across the full spectrum of that position, from “doesn’t share our values” to “wasn’t born here”). We have been told time and time again about how radical he is, how his entire political philosophy can be read not by his record or stated intentions, but rather as being borne of some weird combination of socialism, anti-colonialism, elitist intellectual snobbery, black liberation theology, hatred of capitalism and private enterprise, etc. etc. So, there’s that.

We’ve also had the Tea Party, and the Republican movement/reaction that was borne when the dark cloud of the Bush years passed in a moment of stimulus and bailouts. We have been told time and time again that these people don’t have ideas so much as racism and knee-jerk reactionism. We have been told time and time again how radical Republicanism has become, animated not by its stated agenda or record but by but by a weird mix of neo-confederatism, Christianist theocracy, right wing militiasm, vigorous anti-science ignorance, corporate cronyism and fat cat astroturfing, etc. etc. Obviously, any Republican running is a slave to this.

We will see many data points in support of both those views, and depending what set of glasses you’re wearing, data set X will seem like crazy over-reaches, out-of-context bastardizations, or deliberate lies, while data set Y will seem clearly reasonable, direct line connections, and besides I’m just asking questions.

Before I continue, I should add that I am not one that tends towards the fair and balanced approach, or beholden to any generalized tendency towards false equivalency. On discrete issues, I often (though not always), think there is a right and a wrong, and I think in many (though not all) cases, one side really IS acting like bigger bastards/lunatics and proffering worse ideas or more untruths than the other. But I do want to pull the camera back for a moment, and since we’re on the eve of the RNC specifically, and spend most of time/energy criticizing Republicans (from either without or within), I’d like to speak to them specifically.

Over the next two days, the Republican campaign will kick off by marquee speeches by the following (top two speakers for each night):

Chris Christie
Ann Romney
Susana Martinez
Paul Ryan
Marco Rubio
Mitt Romney

This is following a primary season when the following candidates or figures all appeared, at one point or another, in play:

Sarah Palin
Donald Trump
Michelle Bachmann
Herman Cain
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Newt Gingrich
Rick Santorum

It is indeed worth noting that these people were all at one point considered (although to what extent they were considered by actual voters versus primarily as media-driven candidacies is something we can argue about).

But the important point here is all were considered, and summarily rejected, by Republican voters. And instead of that list, the party has chosen, amongst themselves, to go with that first slate. I suspect many people will remember primarily that second list, throwing in a host of other figures (Rep. Akin, currently), and will read the Republican party as clearly belonging to them.

But I would like you to again look at the first list. And again remember that, when the fat lady sung, those are the people who are representing the Republican Party in 2012. When it came down to it, the following are the faces of the GOP in this campaign:

Chris Christie
Ann Romney
Susana Martinez
Paul Ryan
Marco Rubio
Mitt Romney

And if you’d like to go down the list of notable surrogates and other speakers, again, here it is.

These people are not lunatics. These people are not demagogues. These are, by and large, serious, qualified, well-intentioned, intelligent people with specific, articulatable, and perfectly reasonable ideas about how America should be run. And, in Romney and Ryan, they are both smart, serious candidates by any measure qualified to run the country. All four men at the top of these tickets pass any smell test you can muster regarding being qualified to be President.

That’s not to say there isn’t much in that vision to disagree with. But it is to say, for many of us, the Face of the Party is whoever the boogeyman figure of the day is, and he’s the one who REALLY represents what “they” all stand for.

And that’s fine, and you can argue that, but you can’t, I think, do it without at least recognizing who the ACTUAL faces of the party are, as selected by the top of the ticket, the national party, and the grassroots voters who elected them.

And they are, again:

Chris Christie
Ann Romney
Susana Martinez
Paul Ryan
Marco Rubio
Mitt Romney

There is extremism in both parties, of course. But my point here is to at least pause for a moment before our partisan instincts and passionate political philosophies take over, to recognize that what this campaign represents is not Truth vs. Evil, or Pragmatism vs. Extremism, or Reality-Based vs. Deceitful Demagogues. There will, of course, be plenty of that.

But by and large, this campaign consists of those kinds of men and women representing above. And largely, the platforms on both sides are perfectly thoughtful, reasonable cases to make at this moment. There will be many, many 24-hour-news-cycles about peripheral things that suddenly become totally central in the heat of the moment and the glare of the spotlight – gaffes, “this guy didn’t denounce this other guy that said this”, small issues that are true in their own right but will suddenly seem like the central platform on which the guy is running, etc. But by and large, we know what the kernel of the argument is about, and both sides have completely reasonable, mature cases to make.

The Obama administration will argue that, to generate economic security and prosperity, government needs to step in to fill the gap that private enterprise either can’t, won’t, doesn’t want to, or is openly hostile towards. That a purely capitalistic society runs the danger of becoming mercenary, but that government exists to give everybody a fair playing field, to give voice to the voiceless, and to protect against the dangers of Big Business or the wealthy preying on those who lack the means to fight back on the same level. They will argue that we all need to sacrifice some – and those of us with more sacrifice ought to be asked to sacrifice more – for the sake of ensuring those values are upheld.

The Romney/Ryan ticket will argue that our path has become unsustainable. That, in an era of states and cities going bankrupt, entire European nations going down, and an economic recession based on bubble economics, that we can no longer blind ourselves to making choices, and that attempting to have your cake and eat it to is an illusion we can no longer afford. That it is time to make difficult choices, or we tempt the same fate. They will argue that government is ill-equipped to “solve for” market failures that, in many cases, previous “solve for”s probably created in the first place, that doing so will only continue pushing the snowball faster and further down the hill resulting in much more pain and suffering once it hits the bottom, and that the time has come to divest ourselves of the notion that government is equipped enough, capable enough, or well-meaning enough to take choices away from us and make them more intelligently, compassionately, or efficiently.

There are many, many, many side issues to those core arguments, or course, and depending on where your own passions lie, you will in all likelihood “hear” those issues louder than they’re actually being communicated, and you will judge them as more important or likely to be in play as they actually are – and that’s fine. That the voting calculus we all make. You can also quibble with my representations of their arguments, for sure – that’s just a free association version of it – but I think it’s a fair off-the-cuff representation, and one that both campaigns would agree with as their central message.

But I do want to highlight, in addition to that speaker list, those two core arguments, which both campaigns have clearly and explicitly articulated as the main things that THEY care about, that they would care about if elected, and that they would seek to represent in law and governance. In other words, just as we might like to argue abut who the faces REALLY are, so too will we like to argue about what the arguments REALLY are. But, as with the faces, I think, to even begin to make that argument, you have to begin by acknowledging what the ACTUAL argument is – as in the stated and not-hard-to-discern central justifications for both candidacies. What’s actually kind of refreshing about this election, is it really does boil down to two fairly straight-forward, non-obfuscated, and primary arguments that both candidates clearly believe is the central promise of their campaigns. We don’t particularly have to guess, or to read tea leaves, or whatever. Just as it with the faces of the party, the argument of the campaigns is right there, in front of us.

And, like the faces, neither of their arguments are objectively insane. They are both perfectly thoughtful, intelligent, and well-intentioned cases. Neither is demagoguery or deceit – neither is extreme or evil. They both have their merits, and their potential blind spots, and reasonable people, both with the best interests of the country at hard, can reasonably and thoughtfully disagree on them. And there will be plenty of other issues on which to argue, around the edges, which is after all where much if not most of policy comes in anyway.

But as the general election kicks off, I thought it worth explicitly recognizing that neither party is being lead by extremists or charlatans, and that both campaigns are running on clear-eyed, well-intentioned core arguments. For all our fears about whichever side we dislike more, the system, by and large, has worked, and both parties have proffered a mature, intelligent, and honestly-arrived-at choice for us to consider.

This isn’t a reality you’ll find much represented in the coming months. So let’s take a moment to recognize it explicitly, before jumping back into the fray about how beyond-the-pale extreme, insane, evil, stupid, dishonest, or potentially devastating Candidate/Party/Ideology/Campaign X is.

Posted by Cameron @ 5:35 pm on August 25th 2012

What a cool idea

Hey you! What Song Are You Listening To? Utrecht Holland Edition from Frans Hofmeester on Vimeo.

Posted by Brad @ 10:51 am on August 24th 2012

Retraction of the Day


Pretty bad when The Onion gets scooped.

Posted by Brad @ 1:58 pm on August 23rd 2012

The Pauls at the RNC

Rand is speaking in primetime on Monday, and Jesse Benton seems to suggest the RNC is putting together a video tribute to Ron Paul for Tuesday (although Ron himself was not invited to speak).

Posted by Brad @ 6:44 pm on August 20th 2012

Obama and Gitmo

We still hear how Gitmo still being open isn’t really Obama’s fault – it’s Republicans, those jerks, so vote Obama!

But read this, which isn’t even particularly in depth and certainly not going to generate controversy, and explain to me how any of this doesn’t rest squarely on the executive branch and as such is a conscious, active decision squarely on the President.

Of course, in some cases – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, for instance, or the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden – wherein the President simply told those that report directly to him to change the way they do things, we have lauded Obama for his bravery and changiness.

This kind of stuff we just wave off as really nobody’s fault. Which is, of course, bull.

That story is true because President Obama wishes it to be true. Simple as that.

Any Obama supporter who used to care about such things but is now wishes to parse and compartmentalize is doing nothing more than letting themselves be herded into a partisan tribe and, when the rubber hits the road, believes in nothing more than rooting for the home team based mostly on social and cultural totems.

Posted by Brad @ 6:38 pm on August 20th 2012

Two Quick Thoughts on Rep. Akin’s Statement

First of all, the statement, because I love it.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

There is just so much awesomeness to unpack in that statement, I won’t even bother. But it makes me laugh out loud every time it plays on T.V. I don’t know how the interviewer didn’t immediately respond with “Da fuck?”

And, of course, it’s not like this is an incredibly rare way of thinking. I am not one to tie one dude’s incredibly marginalized boneheaded remark into a “statement on his party” or whatever, but we’ve seen this sort of thing roughly reflected in legislation in states across the country, and there is a healthy minority of mostly Republican congressmen that I think at least sort of think along those lines.

But after that, my SECOND thought is:

This guy is in charge of your HEALTH CARE.

Thanks Democrats!

Posted by Brad @ 5:42 pm on August 13th 2012

Music Video of the Week

Not to step on Cameron’s awesome submission, but…

Inspired by Kutiman, Gotye decides to take the slew of YouTube covers of his own song (“Somebody that I Used to Know”), and remix them into an original.

The result is…well, maybe the best YouTube cover of “Somebody that I Used to Know”.

Gotye – Somebodies (A YouTube Orchestra).


Posted by Cameron @ 1:27 pm on August 12th 2012

Music Video!

The song, Casimir Pulaski Day is by Sufjan Stevens but the vocals (wow) and arrangement are by Mikaela Davis. Enjoy.

Posted by Brad @ 3:19 pm on August 11th 2012

So It’s Ryan

Damn. Got that one wrong.

I have to say, although Ryan’s name has never NOT been mentioned as potential VP, I’m more surprised than I thought I’d be at his selection. If Romney thought his campaign was on pretty solid ground, I don’t think he’d have selected him – a Portman or Ayotte or Jindal would make imminently more sense. A Ryan selection represents a gambit of sorts, but what’s interesting – and uncharacteristic – is what kind of gambit it represents. Namely, it signals a full intention to clarify and advance the argument, rather than settle for trying to coast on generalities and vaguely articulated discontent.

Which I have to say I sort of admire. And, before we get into the vagaries of it, I think the selection is ultimately a good thing, for the country, the party, and the election. What we will now be presented with is a very clear contrast between two well-intentioned and articulated ideologies. There is no Trojan Horsing here, on either side. On the one hand you’re going to have a campaign that is very upfront about what vision of government it represents – real fiscal reform, spending cuts, a real rejiggering of the national entitlement system and a real battlecry saying our currently system and structure of government is unsustainable, fundamentally, not just around the margins. On the other hand, they’ll be challenging a campaign that will rest fundamentally – and more clearly tomorrow than they were yesterday or would have in other VP scenarios – on the notion that attempting to scale back government in virtually any sector is a harm, that if something is good the government needs to spend money to do it, and that the fundamental function of government is not to referee but to run the plays.

And in a weird way, that’s…refreshing. It represents a very clear, clean choice, and the decision made here may have implications a lot more far reaching than who holds the Oval Office for the next four years. It really may define for us how Americans view the role of government – as a distributor or as an arbiter. As something intended to protect or something that is intended to provide. It really does pit the core of liberalism against the core of conservatism.

It won’t play out that cleanly on the day-to-day, of course. Romney will mush-mouth his way around Ryan’s budget, Obama will continue to gave paeans to fiscal conservatism (what he means by that will be all we need to do is repeal the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy), and we’ll still have all the 24-hour cycle crap. But, Romney, in choosing Ryan, has chosen to not run away from that contrast, but embrace it. I think that makes him more likely to lose – it’s really hard to run a campaign based on Americans getting less goodies – but I do have to give him some credit here in embracing it.

How does this play out then? Well, it’ll be interested to see to what extent Ryan’s selection puts entitlements back on the table as a core GOP argument. I think this also pulls in the Republican intelligentsia and grassroots to being fully behind Romney – watch that SuperPAC money come rolling back in, and watch those people who six months ago ran anxious features about a directionless cipher winning the Republican nomination to running glowing features about the dawn of a new era in conservatism. Some of that would have happened anyway, but I think this really does invest a lot of Republicanism in Romney’s campaign in a way that perhaps no other selection would have.

It does the same for progressives too, of course. But it’s here that I think the left has to be careful of overreach. I’ve already been surprised at how aggressively negative the left has been – both Obama’s team personally as well as the other quarters of liberalism. We’ve been told for months that Citizen’s United will open the doors to shadowy Republican financiers running huge smear operations, but I strongly suspect when it’s all said and done it’ll be the left that winds up pursuing a scorched earth approach here. Progressives have long wished Obama would get aggressive, and they are going to be falling all over themselves to go after Romney/Romney, but if I were them I’d be careful what you wish for. The Obama campaign runs a real risk of putting itself so far in the tank that it may wind up losing the middle, nevermind the prospect of governing or working with Congress over the next four years. I think a big part of Obama’s strength in 2008 was that he seemed a different kind of politician, as being nobler and smarter than your run-of-the-mill “Say Anything” candidate. He was also able to pull in the left while seeming basically acceptable and pretty unthreatening to moderates and even soft Republicans. That may change. It may be very, very hard to make the “conservative case for Obama” this time around, without redefining conservatism to mean liberalism. I have a feeling that the campaign may get nasty fast, and I have a feeling that nastiness is going to come primarily from the left, and all those things that NPR style liberals fretting about after Citizen’s United will play out primarily from THEIR quarter. That will be an interesting wrinkle to watch play out. Prepare for Mediscare – Napalm Edition, Occupy Madison writ large, The Private Sector is Inherently Evil, and so on and so forth. On a week-to-week or issue-to-issue basis it might, in the narrow view, seem perfectly justified, but I also have a hunch that, taken together, en masse, when it’s all said and done, the left have to be very, very careful of not drowning themselves in their own echo chamber and defining themselves, for a generation, as the party of Government Is Awesome and Everything Not Government Sucks! Which, if you’re operating under the premise that the reality of the next generation is that government is going to be breaking down more and more and that the days of avoiding hard choices on the local, state, and federal level are over, may play out violently.

I also think that liberals need to be careful for what they wish for in another sense. They’re going to jump all over themselves to vault Ryan as the Mastermind of conservative vision. And, in so doing, they might wind up doing Romney and Ryan a favor. They’re essentially going to be building the case that Romney would want to build anyway. And when Ryan steps forward and seems smart, able to articulate a vision, and nonthreatening, all that fervor that Ryan is the GOP Idea Man may be a double-edged sword in terms of character assassination. Ask Chris Christie how that worked out for him, when Democrats ran on a similar argument against him and turned him into a guy with a reputation for being a problem-solver rather than platitude-server. Romney’s problem from Day 1 is that he seemed like a guy that would say anything to get elected, but who had no core values or vision and could never be trusted to not go the way the wind blows. With Ryan, liberals are suddenly going to fall all over themselves in shouting from the rooftops “THESE GUYS BELIEVE WHAT THEY SAY AND ARE TOTALLY COMMITTED THE VISION THEY’RE ARTICULATING!”, and suddenly that problem, for Romney, is solved – a nice bit of jiu-jitsu in perhaps dissolving the central drag on his candidacy, from a character standpoint, almost overnight. You will not being hearing that argument from the left anymore, which, again, may wind up a gift for Romney. This is something he hasn’t been able to overcome in a decade of campaigning for the job – now, the left may be tripping over themselves to overcome it for him, and throw that baby out with the bathwater. Watch as, in a week or two, the Romney ticket is transformed into True Believing Crusaders and you never again hear the phrase “I just don’t know what he stands for and don’t trust him because of that”. A neat trick, and the left will do all the work for him.

So, in talking through all that, I have to say I like the selection. I think it makes him marginally less likely to be elected than before, but it also makes the party a lot stronger, and the election a lot more interesting. Of course, where we go when he loses is a scary proposition – does it turn out to be a clarifying rallying campaign for the GOP ala Goldwater, or a “run for the hills” proposition that frightens GOP candidate from every again running on fiscal reform or going anywhere near entitlements? And, does Romney have the balls to stand tall next to the claim he just potentially just staked as the true reform candidate, or does he immediately start undercutting himself and soft-selling and backpedaling? Stay tuned.

Posted by Brad @ 10:02 pm on August 10th 2012

Fareed Zakaria Suspended for Plagarism

Man, writing columns is hard.

Posted by Brad @ 5:23 pm on August 10th 2012

Music Video of the Week

I feel like I’ve posted this before, but I can’t find it.

In any case, while I’m not an electronica guy per se, I’m definitely a fan of the Portishead/Massive Attach/Tricky/etc 90s “atmospheric trip hop” sort of movement.

This song in particular I could have on loop for an entire night, if I’m in a certain mood, which right now I am, as belied by my posts below.

Tricky – Christiansands (Imposter Remix)

Posted by Brad @ 4:13 pm on August 10th 2012

The Most Socially Acceptable Bigotry in America

It’s not against gays. It’s not against blacks. It’s not against Christians.

I can promise you that if black churches were getting burned down in the South, or Catholic churches on the Eastern Seaboard, or evangelical protestant ones in the Pacific Northwest, this would be a summer-long story, and the basis of an ongoing conversation at all levels of America.

To pick one example out of a hat, we have had a massive national outcry and conversation, with support, consciousness-raising, sympathy, and pushback from all corners, from Lady Gaga to random YouTubers to mainstream politicians – when gay teenagers were being bullied. Entirely appropriate.

As to this group, it registers, sure. But just. Meanwhile, a few years ago we had an open conversation as to whether the government should or should not be able to bar this religious minority from BUILDING these things in certain areas – with many people at least softly leaning in the direction of “should bar”, making the argument that the practice of this particular religion was offensive in and of itself that may justify (strong position) government intervention or (weak position) “voluntarily” relegating themselves to certain areas so as to not rile people up. Last year we had a conversation about whether private food companies ought to be boycotted for making products friendly to this religion’s dietary restrictions – with the implication being that catering to such a market proved a company was either consciously subversive (strong position) or not sufficiently pro-American. And this year, we’re having a conversation about whether they should be allowed to serve in government without a heightened level of scrutiny, and whether police have the right to surveil them, writ large, just because – essentially arguing, in what is effectively mainstream position, that their being this specific minority is, in and of itself, cause for reasonable suspicion.

Posted by Brad @ 3:36 pm on August 10th 2012

WikiLeaks, Anonymous, TrapWire, “AntiLeaks”, and the Fundmantal Battle for Privacy and Transparancy Not Being Fought by Any of Us

There is so much going on in this incredible story that I scarcely know where to begin.

But I think what most strikes me is twofold.

The first is simply that we, the United States of America – and I’m speaking specifically of the civic-engaged, conscientious voting public on either side of the question, nevermind America at large – are no longer active participants in the transformation of our country. The debate over the fundamental character of our nation-stage rages on, but the quarters where that debate actually meaningfully occurs (in actions as much as words) are now so small and so far buried as to be virtually invisible. More than that, we no longer are even privy to the TERMS of the debate, nevermind getting to weigh in on the outcome. The battle does rage – and for that I suppose we should all be thankful – but it is literally occurring, for the most part, between anonymous Mountain Dew hactivists and faceless contractors and invisible technocrats – and probably none of them have the full scope of it either. Our National Security superstructure is functionally autonomous, fundamentally unaccountable even to itself, and pretty much self-sustaining even if we ever mustered up the will to try to do something about it, which we clearly won’t or can’t. The debate over what kind of America we live in has gone so far off the grid that it is no longer a debate at all, and I do not believe that we have any recourse to that reality.

The second is something Glenn Greenwald has gotten at repeatedly, that being that the kinds of things that have become instantiated, normalized, institutionalized, and now rote are things that, even ten years ago – a blink of an eye – would have seemed unfathomable. It’s sort of like a foul odor being released in a room with people milling about in it – ten minutes later, they can’t even differentiate the smell anymore, whereas if somebody were to just walk in from the outside it would clean knock them out. We have gone from such basic questions as “does our government have the right to kill anybody it wants to for whatever reason it chooses to, without being subject to debate, review, or appeal” have gone from totally infathomable in one direction – I can literally not imagine that being a serious discussion even earlier in my lifetime – to a banal “political” debate and partisan issue – to now being infathomable in the other direction, where I can also literally not imagine that being a serious and actionable discussion NOW. We have reached a point where the disintegration of freedom, in the sense that the American experiment was founded on, is happening exponentially, approaching singularity.

And the nutty thing is, I’m sure me saying that leads to either eye-rolling or me sounding like a paranoid kook.

As a communicator, I characteristically shy away from hyperbole. During the period from 2001 to 2004 or so, I joined many in decrying the anti-war crowds, the civil libertarians, the dissenters, for marginalizing themselves by drifting into hyperbole, and instead felt the need to couch any of my critiques in the “well, one could argue…” hedging that has become the norm in all media – the recoiling from any potential slip or concrete statement that may lead to charges of having an opinion and thus not being trustworthy or not having the capacity for objectivity. There was plenty of mainstream debate in that period, over the direction of our country, but it happened on a sanctioned sort of field of play, and the 10% of us (if that) who came in with plain predictions or values where shunned and shunted off. I was embarrassed to share the stage with people who used words like “police state” (or “clash of civilizations” on the other side) and the like, just as I’ve been embarrassed, in the Obama years, for sharing the stage with people who ended sentences with “take our country back”, whether they were wearing tri-corner hats or holding town hall meetings one the pavement by City Hall. All that hyperbole seemed uncivilized.

But the more I look around, the more I think the hyperbolists were right, and were, if anything, not hyperbolic enough. And it was we idiots who ironed things into partisan debates or who bent over backwards to appear reasonable by the standards of mainstream debate who wrote ourselves out of the real conversation, the one with functional outcomes, entirely.

Posted by Brad @ 4:07 pm on August 6th 2012


Sometimes, you just have to step back and stare dumbly in amazement at the human species.

This is a photograph taken by the Mars orbiter of the Mars curiosity rover in its second to last phase of being dropped on Mars. The last phase, by the way, was when the rover was held aloft by a jetback, and that jetback lowered it to the surface by a self-contained space-crane.

This is how they did that.

Did I mention this was FUCKING MARS??! A fucking automobile-sized roving space lab, being parachuted, then held aloft via jetpack, then lowered by the jetpack on a space-crane, ON FUCKING MARS?! And we could get our fucking MARS RECONNAISANCE ORBITER to take a picture of it?

Sorry if the f-words get us caught in an adult filter, but really nothing else gets across the point.

Posted by Brad @ 9:01 pm on August 1st 2012

You’re Doing it Wrong

Current top headline on news websites:

Obama authorizes secret US support for Syrian rebels

Posted by Brad @ 1:45 pm on August 1st 2012

And the Keynote Speaker of the Democratic National Convention is…

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Eyebrow raise?