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Saturday, November 08, 2003

It's about time. 

Yahoo! News - GOP Plans 'Marathon' On Judges

They should have done this long before now. Pretty much as soon as the USS Lincoln left the gulf, I'd say. Now they look like opportunists, with the primary season coming up. (Despite all the claims from bloggers on the right that the Rockefeller memo is something new, I think that things have been this way for most of my lifetime. Gasp, the shock, a political party placing their own advantage over the country's best interests?) The good news is, at least they're doing it.

That being said, I do think that W is pushing the envelope a little bit with some of these judges, but it'd be nice to see more of them get a vote in the full Senate.

(Oh, and anyone who thinks this judge smearing and filibustering stuff started with Robert Bork and it's therefore all the Democrats fault needs to look up Abe Fortas. That was before I was even born.)

This will be interesting 

Yahoo! News - Howard Dean to Skip Public Financing

I think this is the right decision for Dean, provided he can make it through the primary wars that are upcoming. He'll be at a bit of a disadvantage for a while when the other Democrats are picking up their campaign welfare checks. It has a big upside for him if he can still get the nomination, though.

I'm starting to think it'll take a non-political scandal to get him out of the frontrunner's seat, like Gary Hart in the 80's. All the Democrats except for Lieberman (well, and Kucinich, but I don't think it's a good thing in his case, because he's insane) have been waffling back and forth on various issues, so the fact that Dean is doing it too doesn't really hurt him. I was hoping that Joe Lieberman would make it through to the nomination, because he's probably as close to the Scoop Jackson mold as any of them, and he has argued against an instant repeal of the W tax cuts, but I don't think he's going to make it.

I wish Governor Dean luck with his decision, because I think it has a lot of potential to improve the political landscape. As it was, whoever won the nomination on the left was going to have to run a cash-poor campaign against W for several months from after he sewed up the nomination until the convention, and that would probably have been a fatal weakness. I'm a big fan of the President being in opposition to Congress, because it helps keep the country closer to the center, so I wouldn't mind seeing a decent Democrat win. I'm not sure if Dean is it, but he's certainly not the worst of the lot.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Men and women 

Kim du Toit went on a bit of a rant (link currently busted) about how we're turning into a bunch of wusses, and how we're effeminizing men. I think he's on to something, although he's probably exaggerating.

It also brought to mind something Steven den Beste wrote some time ago about wanting to be treated like a man, by women who like being women.

I have some thoughts about this...

Just for the sake of clarifying my viewpoint on this, a bit about how I got where I am now. I was raised a moderate Democrat in Seattle. I had a fairly sheltered upbringing, and the first time I was offered drugs was when I was 19 years old and already in college. I went to a Jesuit high school, and attended (but did not graduate from) the University of Washington before I enlisted in the Navy in the nuclear power program.

I am just about as big a geek as den Beste is. Not necessarily about all the same things, but I can talk semi-intelligently or better about just about anything you want me to. I'm pretty sure I have an edge on him in sports, but he certainly has an edge on me in military technology based on a few email conversations we've had, which is pretty funny since I'm the one who was in the service. It's probably a forest/trees thing.

Anyway, since I'm such a geek, I grew up getting teased. That probably doesn't surprise you, but I should clarify. I went to a private grade school for gifted kids. The dumb kids were smart. Still, I was just about the biggest geek in the school, except that I could always play sports.

Obviously, after that, I was doomed at high school, socially. It didn't help that I had no interest in partying on weekends anyway, so I had essentially no common ground with the average kids at the school. As a result, I arrived at college with basically no social baggage.

Going from 600 people in your 4 year high school to 30,000 or so at your university is a big change. Not only wasn't I the biggest geek (by a mile,) there were actually people like me. With a very few exceptions, all my best friends are people I met while I was in college. Not all of them were people I was going to school with, but it was during that time period, for all but about 5 people.

Probably the most popular hobby among my friends is the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA. It is an attempt to recreate the middle ages as we wish they were.

The funny thing is, in the SCA, chivalry is damn serious business. You treat women with respect, but as women. (And the way some of them dress encourages you to remember that they are female...hmmm hmm hmm) Either because this has become instilled in us, or because we were all drawn to this, nobody among my friends has ever made the serious suggestion that there was something inherently wrong about being a man, or inherently superior about being female.

My politics have become more conservative as I get older. Most of my friends are now, just by standing still, far more liberal than I am. My wife went to Evergreen State College (home of Rachel Corrie), as did another of my best friends. Another works in the Washington State DSHS. A couple are or want to be veterinarians (and are correspondingly big on animal rights). So clearly, they are evil liberal fringe leftists who want to castrate me and take my guns and all that stuff, right?

Nope. Not a one of them. They're not all big on guns, but in Seattle that's no surprise. I doubt that if I was a social worker I'd be a big fan of guns, considering the demographics of most of her caseload match up with the gun violence demographic just about perfectly. But they've never behaved as though I was bad because I was male. I read about people who are like that, and it's like someone's writing science fiction at me.

I mean, I'm living in (well, just outside, technically) Seattle, for crying out loud. Surely there's no more "L"iberal city on the left coast except San Francisco? The only tax we vote against is the Starbucks tax! Those people *have* to be here if they're anywhere! But I've never met one. Where do you find these folks? I'm at a loss.

Oh, maybe they're in the media? That must be it. Let me tell you something. The people that make this country work do not take their cues from what the media says, no matter how much AP, AFP, Reuters, and the rest wish they did. For that matter, the people that make the whole damn world work don't, either. Not here, not in Europe, not in China, not in the Middle East. The people that are building buildings, keeping the lights on, raising their children to be functional adults, etc., are just going right on along doing it while the other folks puddle in self pity and collective guilt. Just ignore them, folks. There's nothing to see there, and what are you going to do by shining a light on it? All that can happen is they get more piteous, and try to spread the guilt around more. Toss them a rope and move on. They can either pull themselves out, or hang themselves. Either way, it's a victory for the rest of us.

Now, in the SCA, just because there's chivalry doesn't mean that a woman, if she wants to, can't strap on armor and try to bash your brains in with a stick. We don't make allowances for the lower average strength of women, or their smaller stature or shorter limbs, but they're welcome to play, just the same. And it's perfectly ok to smack them one back, on those terms. Which brings me to my next point...

What Kim said about Annika Sorenstam is crap. Pure, utter crap. The sponsor's exemption is there for the sponsor's benefit, not the players. Vijay Singh was talking straight out his ass when he whined about the poor pro who wasn't getting a chance to play. He wouldn't have whined if it was Jack Nicklaus who got the exemption, even though Nicklaus would have probably scored just about exactly what Sorenstam did, and brought less extra fannies to fill seats. It would still have taken away one pro who had a realistic shot of winning. The exemption is there so the sponsor can do whatever the hell they want with it. And Sorenstam brought the crowds. So the sponsor got a win, the PGA tour got a win, and she went back to the womens' tour and shot the lights out, so she got a win. Who loses? People like Kim lose. People who think that letting someone, anyone, try to be as good as they possibly can makes anyone else less. Life is not a fucking individual competition, it's a team competition, and it is not some 3rd grade boys against girls red rover crap. Grow the hell up.

So she didn't win. Big deal. So she didn't make the cut. Big deal. She beat David Duval, who isn't that far removed from his British Open victory. (Admittedly, he was playing some of the worst golf of his life, but nevertheless, his worst golf is still quite a bit better than most men's best.) Bringing golf into this make Kim disturbingly close to the male equivalent of Martha Burk. (Perhaps I exaggerate slightly...)

Whew. I got off on a bit of a rant there, but hopefully you can see my point.

What I'm trying to say is, I'm sure there must be these anti-male people out there somewhere, but I don't see what is being gained by paying attention to them. In theory, if they're anti-male enough, all we have to do is ignore them, and they'll be bred out of the gene pool. This is turning into the Last Temptation of Christ all over again (crappy movie, good gate because of free publicity from the church screaming bloody murder.) Human cloning isn't working yet, after all. Aside from bringing in Annika Sorenstam, though, I do think that Kim is almost entirely hitting the nail on the head here. Repeatedly. Very very hard.

And I think Steven den Beste should go to an SCA event or five. He might find a few real women there. (And a rather remarkable percentage of SCA folks work in the computer world in real life, so he has automatic common ground.)

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Boondocks and Condi Rice 

I've read a few people complaining about The Boondocks, and the storyline where Huey decides that what Condoleezza Rice needs is a good man to straighten her out. The people I've seen complaining are on the right, and think this is somehow an insult to her.

Assholes, it's a cartoon! He's making a complicated joke. The one who looks like an ass is Huey, not Condi Rice. And if you have no sense of humor, you should go be a Democrat these days. Sheesh.

The Senate sneaks to a win-win situation... 

Yahoo! News - Congress Sends Bush $87.5 Billion for Iraq
Now they can claim that they were trying to be fiscally responsible when they wanted to make $10B of this into loans, yet not be obstructionist because in the end they did the right thing and didn't burden a recovering country with loans.

Hopefully this will help lever France and Russia into writing off the Hussein-era debt that Iraq owed them, but I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I'm just not finding anything new and clever to write about these days. 

There's *another* suicide bomber every couple days...
It's an off year election...
The University of Washington football team couldn't find their ass with both hands and a map...
The Cubs and BoSox may both blow it...
My TiVo didn't even record the AFL Grand Final on Fox Sports World because it assumed that Grand Final:Brisbane vs. Collingwood was the same as the Brisbane vs. Collingwood playoff game 3 weeks earlier...(it was a thrashing anyway, so I didn't miss anything interesting.)
I'd still like to strangle some of my union leadership...
The stock market is back on the same straight line rise (log scale) that it's been on since the great depression, if you draw a line undercutting the internet bubble...
The Seahawks barely beat a fairly pathetic SF 49ers team...
Apparently now brigade commanders are distributing form letters to our troops in Iraq because their own words aren't good enough to paint the rosy picture they want...
The press continues to ignore the genuine good things that are happening in Iraq...

And so it goes. Nothing there is that is new under the sun...

Monday, October 06, 2003

Yes, I'm still here, barely. 

Unlike the Seahawks and Huskies (the UW type who failed to show up on Saturday, not the NIU ones who have been really impressive) who skipped a weekend.

Glad to see that my hopes of a "Just shut up already" World Series survived a scare today. (If it's Boston and Chicago, one of them has to quit whining about their respective curses. Of course, the other will probably whine twice as bad because they couldn't break their curse even against another cursed team...oh well, you have to start somewhere.)

Monday, September 29, 2003

Should I be embarassed for myself or proud for him? 

My 2 year old is way sick with a bad head cold and fever. He's taking it awfully well.

Probably better than I will when he gives it to me...I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

When it rains, it pours. 

Well, at work they've hired 4 people from operations into management in the last month. The result of this is that I'm going to be making a lot of money (yay!) by working a lot of overtime (boo!)...Since, unlike some people, I'm doing this for fun and not catharsis, blogging will be infrequent and sporadic until they hire more bodies. Which will be months at least.

So, um, go Mariners (you choking bastidges, you), go Huskies, go Seahawks (how 'bout them Seahawks?), and keep your helmet on out there, it's a crazy world. See you in a while.