September 30, 2008


Republicans are claiming that a 'partisan' speech by Nancy Pelosi (puh-leeze - read the speech yourself here and tell me what you think) made them not vote for the bail-out bill. Barney Frank counter-offers: "Give me the names of those 12 people and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they'll think about the country."

September 29, 2008

tangible reasons the credit crisis matters

Farmers generally harvest on credit - no credit means they can't pay their employees or run their machines and, the year after record food prices, the harvest is at some non-negligible risk from the financial markets.

Which, by the way, is a time-sensitive issue. Warren Buffet also sounds worried, which always makes me nervous. I've also been thinking about what Obama should have said about how a potential bail-out package would affect spending priorities (**cough**Keynes**cough**) - Lawrence Summers mentions the case for Keynesian stimulus about two-thirds of the way through this article.

sentences you're not expecting

"Mainland China’s stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen are closed this week as part of a national holiday marking the establishment of China as a Communist country in 1949."
(Article here.)

September 26, 2008

problems with pricing schemes

I've always wanted to be able to subscribe to cable stations individually, because dude, $50 a month for a giant package including Lifetime? Not worth it. There's also the small problem of me not having a TV. However. That means I can't watch the Daily Show, and that's a problem. Because I almost did not see him say, in response to McCain's decision to 'suspend' his campaign, "John McCain: the only one who can impulsively overreact to something ten days old."

Later in the show he makes the moderator of the third, hypothetical debate laugh so hard he can't talk.

September 25, 2008

disconnected thoughts on campaigns and bailouts

McCain suspending his campaign seems kind of desperate to me: "I campaign and campaign, but people don't want to vote for me! If I stop campaigning, maybe they'll like me better?" Also kind of pathetic. Not to mention dishonest, since he's claiming he doesn't have time for the debate but he does have time to tape an interview with Katie Couric.

$700 billion is about $2,293 per resident of the United States. In case you were wondering what the bailout plan had to do with you. Zephyr Teachout (whoa 2004 flashback) has some more examples of what $700 billion actually means. I'm pretty appalled by the idea of giving any member of the Bush executive branch a blank check for that much cash.

It doesn't look like I'll have much time to volunteer for the Obama campaign, and I feel like I'm shirking my civic duty.

September 17, 2008

real != fake

After all those articles about how eating unprocessed, nutritious foods and being active are more important for your health than losing weight, the New York Times prints an article about how more people are eating unprocessed, nutritious foods that includes the following sentence:

"The real question, is whether better eating can translate into weight loss."


The article also positions what it calls 'positive eating,' in which you choose to eat things that are good for you and taste good (usually organic, unprocessed, natural - real - food) as a diet fad, which, if you were really reductionist, it might be. But it's not. Why? Because unlike other diet fads, real food is sustainable: it feels good, it's reasonably affordable if you cook for yourself, it provides both pleasure and health, it does not rest on some bizarrely contorted idea of how to eat.

This is part of my view about how you change the world. It has to be sustainable, which means that whatever method of changing the world you choose, you have to be able to keep doing it. Virtue and pleasure need to be connected, which is my fundamental problem with all the non-profits that expect you to work for them all the time for practically no money because you're doing what my grandmother calls good works. That model is how people end up quitting their non-profit gigs at 28 to get a corporate job. The positive eating (positive working?) model is how people keep on doing good.

(Somebody call Aristotle! This is all shamelessly ripped from the pages of the Nichomachean Ethics.)

September 11, 2008

three unrelated sections

Oy, I seem to have dropped off the face of the planet. I don't have much to say about Sarah Palin, other than what a nasty sleazy dishonest politician she is, the kind of person I wouldn't call a bitch because what an insult to bitches. And McCain, with all that stuff about honor? And a campaign based on flat-out lies? I'd feel sorry for him, seeing his reputation destroyed like this, except he's doing it to himself. Voluntarily, too.

On the more funny end of things, here's a picture of something true:

Via Wronging Rights, which is the sort of gallows humor best appreciated by students of wartime atrocities. Political Schmientist, I'm looking at you.

Now I'll go back to thinking about how I'm going to spend hundreds of dollars and all year applying to grad school, and I won't get in because I have bad grades my first two years. In an utterly bizarre twist, the fact that I read a lot of old books as a kid seems to be my best hope for acceptance letters.