Monday, November 5, 2007

Writers of the World Unite.

Yay, Writing. I suppose I should be doing more of it.

Here's an excuse (not that I'm making much progress on this either).

I'm pretty reflexively anti-union, but knowing people on the picket lines does build sympathy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Immigration Solved

Quite simple really.

The bar at the bottom will bring you through the years. 20 years from now we are going to be hurting for cheap labor. I say pack 'em in now. Next Issue?

If you've not seen the film describing this tool, you should.


The guy in this video is clearly meant to be a Thriller-era Michael Jackson.

Two Views of Los Angeles.

Found a Seductive post on LA through Dynamist on Thursday.

Everything there somehow precedes you, even new construction sites, and it's bigger than you and more abstract than you and indifferent to you. You don't matter. You're free.
Read the whole thing. I sent this to a friend, suggesting that it made me want to visit LA. Her reaction was interesting.

Really? I thought it was a cute piece, but I have to say I disagree. Yes -- eating your cheetos and watching a soap opera marathon on the TiVo is oh so glorious -- but the truth is this town judges you constantly -- in every possible way. The guy was right when he calls LA the void and the apocalypse. It is certainly those things. But I don't find anything to celebrate in that. It is existentialism solidified. If nothing matters then life is worthless, and I'd rather not go through life in hopelessness. To Apathy I say "meh..". The reason people just do whatever the fuck they want in southern california is because they don't give a fuck about anyone or anything else. That's a bad thing.

Terrorism's Silver Lining.

Terrorism gets governments all antsy and overbearing. Serious people start justifying all sorts of hogwash. Torture, abandonment of Habeus Corpus, wiretaps, and all manner of rot. It seems like we're coming to the other end of this distasteful fashion in this country. Big Brother is getting fat in other arenas however. The next terrorist attack in the US will further erode civil liberties.

The sad fact is that if the large-scale, inclusive, social safety net model of nation-state is to survive in an asymmetrical era, an erosion of civil liberties is inevitable. Richard Rorty delivered a fascinating and gloomy talk on this. Part 1, Part 2.

Silver lining: Things do not have to develop in the way Rorty outlines. We already have the tools to deal with this. Federalism and local power diminish the power of bloody-minded non-state actors. Taking out New York becomes less useful if you still have to deal with LA, Boise, and Framingham, Mass. Goliath will never beat David, but David ain't about to mess with an army of Davids(apologies to Glenn Reynolds)

We may look back at the terrorism of this era as the first indication that the nation state had had its day in the sun. As we think further about systemic resilience, new models will become necessary. Some people are already thinking about this. Neal Stephenson wrote a great novel about it, among other things.

Hey, I'm as patriotic as the next guy. On the walk home tonight I talked a busker into playing Ashokan Farewell on his fiddle. But If the choice is between a more Orwellian future, or a less centralized one that is truer to this country's best ideals, I think the choice is easy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

World War III

OK probably not, but this is the kind of thing that sets the doomsday clock forward a notch or two. The article doesn't make enough of Turkey's current precariousness in my opinion.

One thing is for sure, you would not be reading an article this high-keyed without the help of Nancy Pelosi, and her one-woman crusade to renew Republican Dominance.

Updated Tick

Since When do the French Rock so Hard?

This is le merde. Found the video on someone's facebook profile. I'm embarrassed to admit that Justice first came to my attention through a New York Times Article. They had me at Daft Punk. This video reminds me of my life around the turn of the century. What's with all of the thuggish hairy French people lately? Is this the rebirth of Gaul?

David Simon One ups Charles Dickens? That is how he do.

One of the things I find most frustrating about quality cultural production is its crafters' reluctance to publicize it. Neal Stephenson, our best contemporary novelist, hasn't published in years, and is pretty vague about what he's working on. It seems that only a medium with an inferiority complex will bother to keep people informed.

This phenomenon is the reason I was delighted to find (via Matthew Yglesias(Those who find left-wing thought traumatizing should not click here) ) this New Yorker article on David Simon, and his show the Wire. The Wire is the best thing on TV, and it was a pleasure to catch up with Simon and his not completely fictional universe. The article is worth a complete read. Simon's work tends to boomerang into reality. Sometimes tragically. Sometimes (in what I hope is the only link to the NYT's Vows page you will ever see here) happily.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Damn Lies and Statistics.

The most hilarious item in this week's Economist is, as is frequently the case, an advertisement, found on page 77. It was taken out by the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, which is apparently a group dedicated to exposing the evils of psychiatry. I'm more sympathetic to this sort of thing than the average pill-popping denizen of the 2nd 20th of the 21st Century, but the statistics here are ludicrous.

"Every 10 Days a mental health practitioner is jailed for fraud, rape or murder" My god that's over 36 a year!!!!!

"The Number of mental health practitioners jailed in the United States in the past five years is more than double the number of Colombian drug cartel members recently imprisoned"

And my favorite. "A review of 800 convictions of mental health practitioners internationally found that 43% of the convictions were for fraud... 32% for sex crimes, 7% for patient assault, 6% for drug offenses, and 6% for Murder." Signifying what exactly? Were the other 6% of convictions for jaywalking?

These statistics wouldn't convince a 3rd grader. Whoever writes their copy should be canned forthwith.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Something Great

Updated Link Fixed. The idjits at EMI apparently do not recognize free publicity when it bites them in the ass.

Two Americas

One of the most interesting things about being right-wing fella in a socialist town is the look of shock and horror that comes when I express an opinion. Nowadays, in our infinitely personalized media universe, it can get difficult to find a discouraging word. This gets to James Lileks' idea of non-contiguous information streams (not to be clicked if you find right-wing opinions traumatizing). If you get all your news from the New York Times and the Huffington Post, you are living in a very different world from someone who reads only the Wall Street Journal and Pajamas Media. It is completely understandable that I sound like a crazy person.

Apparently we are now taking this a step further. Virginia Postrel has an illuminating article on how real estate zoning laws are creating actual non-contiguous worlds.

Democrats Make Friends

In a move designed to convince the American people that the Democratic party is hopeless on foriegn policy, house majority Leader Nancy Pelosi is pushing for a motion accusing Turkey of Genocide during World War One. This is beyond idiotic. The Armenian Genocide has long been recognized by any non-Turk with a brain. Is rubbing Turkey's nose in it the right thing to do? Maybe. Is it at all sane? God no. The Democrats have made much of the Republican's abuse of our allies. Clearly they want in on it.

What exactly is the thinking Here?

"Turkey is a sane , secular Islamic country, with troops massed on the Iraqi border , and a pretty decent Casus Belli... Hey let's piss them off!"

Karl Rove may yet have his permanent majority.