Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A "debate" in our inane press corps

It's like Krugman's a biologist and Okrent can't understand why he won't concede ID is an arguable alternative.

The thing that pisses PK off about the Bushies is that they're not confining themselves to the debatable issues in economics, of which there are (doubtless?) many. Instead, they're denying that 2 + 2 = 4. Okrent can't understand why PK has such strong views on this "addition" thing & won't allow for opposed strong views.

Posted by: Anderson | May 31, 2005 01:25 PM

From the comments at Brad Delong's page here: Delong's Blog

That pretty much sums up my opinion in the "debate" between Krugman and Okrent. Krugman is a PhD. Okrent is a malevolent idiot.

EDIT: Another good comment

This really is a case of differing norms. In opinion journalism, saying that someone selectively uses statistics without any corroborating evidence counts as making a substantive criticism as long as other people have also made the same charge. In that case, it’s a reference to emerging conventional wisdom, not a controversial claim that needs to be backed up. Similarly, in such circles, it is considered appropriate to defend the original charge by accusing that person of being defensive. Again, what’s at issue are different norms. In Krugman’s world, you can’t call into question someone’s intellectual integrity and expect it to end there. But in Okrent’s, where everything is just combat, it’s expected that everyone is a little bit intellectually corrupt and such accusations are par the course.

Posted by: pjs | May 31, 2005 02:11 PM

Monday, May 30, 2005

Star Wars

So this ordinary, middle-class American male walks into a bar. "Gimme a beer, whatever you have on tap," he says, slapping down a fiver. The bartender, smiling, reaches below the bar, audibly zips his fly, and a moment later produceds a tall glass that looks suspiciously as if it might be full of warm urine. But our guy is a trusting soul, and he gulps it down anyway. Big mistake. He retches, curses, and them storms out, furious.
Three years later, the same guy walks into the same bar and asks the same bartender for a beer. No problemo, says the barkeep. Zzzzip. Handed what again looks like something better suited to a specimen jar, the guy barely hesitates. Down the hatch it goes, and then halfway back up the hatch again. Tears of rage are shed; a lawsuit is threatened. Exit the dude, livid.

Three years later, the same guy walks into the same bar and asks the same bartender for a beer.

You're waiting for the punch line. It's not a joke, I'm afraid. It's a parable. The guy is you, the bar is the neighborhood multiplex, and the third steaming glass of piss you're about to be served with a smile is called Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith. For God's sake, don't drink it.

Courtesy of Esquire.


That's about how I feel.

It was also lame to listen to Wesley Clarke and Jeffrey Lehman make Star Wars references in their convocation and commencement speeches, respectively.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Religious Right as a "Terrorist Movement"

I'm disinclined from labeling any group as "un-American" or "terrorist" because then one gets into binaries of good versus evil. However, Carolyn Baker argues forcibly how the religious right wants to control the United States. I think the best part of the article is the author's autobiographical content - i.e. growing up in a fundamentalist Christian family, but breaking from that ideology and learning to think critically.

Monday, May 23, 2005

This guy is funny

Lately, though, Mr. Havens has been contemplating steps that would take him away from Brown and campus ministry. After a chaste romance - "I didn't kiss her until I asked her to marry me," he said - he recently became engaged to a missionary colleague, Liz Chalmers. He has been thinking about how to support the children they hope to have.

And he has been considering the example of his future father-in-law, Daniel Chalmers, a Baptist missionary to the Philippines who ended up building power plants there and making a small fortune. Mr. Chalmers has been a steady donor to Christian causes, and he bought a plot of land in Oregon, where he plans to build a retreat center.

"God has always used wealthy people to help the church," Mr. Havens said. He pointed out that in the Bible, rich believers helped support the apostles, just as donors to the Christian Union are investing strategically in the Ivy League today.

With those examples and his own father in mind, Mr. Havens chose medicine over campus ministry. He scored well on his medical school entrance exams and, after another year at Brown, he will head to St. Louis University School of Medicine. At the Christian Union conference in April, he was pleased to hear doctors talk about praying with their patients and traveling as medical missionaries.

From the same Times article as below. I wanted to quote more of this guy. A few remarks/questions:

1) I hope Havens and Chalmers do not have many children. They are serious nutjobs, and they, no doubt, will groom their children into nutjobs. Unfortunately, they probably do not believe in birth-control, so it would not surprise me to see the future Mrs. Havens giving birth to 5-10 kids.

2) A chaste romance? WTF? Sounds crazy.

3) Would you want your doctor to believe in faith-healing? Would you want your doctor to believe in creationism or intelligent design? Me neither.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Christians at Cornell?

Read this article for some background: Class Matters - Social Class and Religion in the United States of America - The New York Times.

Choice quote: "The Christian Union has bought and maintains new evangelical student centers at Brown, Princeton and Cornell, and has plans to establish a center on every Ivy League campus. In April, 450 students, alumni and supporters met in Princeton for an "Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action." A keynote speaker was Charles W. Colson, the born-again Watergate felon turned evangelical thinker."

Another choice quote: "When he arrived at Brown, in Providence, R.I., Mr. Havens was astounded to find that the biggest campus social event of the fall was the annual SexPowerGod dance, sponsored by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Alliance and advertised with dining-hall displays depicting pairs of naked men or women. "Why do they have to put God in the name?" he said. "It seems kind of disrespectful.'" Why do evangelicals want to ban gay marriage? It seems kind of disrespectful.

Then look at The Christian Union's Cornell Site.

Choice quote: "Our current ministry at Cornell University consists of a ministry center called the Mott House, our partnership ministry with other Christian groups on campus, and an evangelistic media campaign through Tennent Media and Campus Crusade for Christ at Cornell. In addition we publish the Cornell Christian Observer."

Another choice quote: "PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY - ITHACA, NEW YORK - NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT - As part of Tennent Media's (a ministry of Christian Union) evangelistic campaign, we are handing out thousands of copies of Christian books on the Cornell, Princeton and Yale campuses. We are partnering with Yale Students for Christ, Campus Crusade for Christ at Cornell and Manna Christian Fellowship (at Princeton) to hand out John Piper's The Passion of Jesus Christ, Phillip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew, Ravi Zacharias' Jesus Among Other Gods and Armond Nicoli's The Question of God. We will be handing out a total of 6,550 books in the next few weeks. Please pray that those who receive them have open and eager minds to know God better."
Do you really need an open mind to know God better? Or maybe a scared, intimidated, despairing mind?

Finally look at The Christian Union's Board.

Choice quote: "Matt Bennett serves as the president of the ministry. He grew up in Houston, Texas and attended Cornell University, graduating with a B.S. in Hotel Administration in 1988. He stayed an extra year as part of a joint degree program and earned an M.B.A in Finance from Cornell in 1989." A hotelie and an MBA student. Must be a really smart guy. In fact, he's so brilliant he has spoken to God! Quote from the Times article: "The Christian Union is the brainchild of Matt Bennett, 40, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Cornell and later directed the Campus Crusade for Christ at Princeton. Mr. Bennett, tall and soft-spoken, with a Texas drawl that waxes and wanes depending on the company he is in, said he got the idea during a 40-day water-and-juice fast, when he heard God speaking to him one night in a dream.

"He was speaking to me very strongly that he wanted to see an increasing and dramatic spiritual revival in a place like Princeton," Mr. Bennett said."

Or maybe, just maybe, you were hallucinating because of low glycogen stores in your liver. It's called bonking in the cycling world. I sometimes get the feeling at the end of a 4 hour tempo ride. It's a bad feeling.

I'm going to be really unhappy with Cornell if they give much support to these fools. I don't think its acceptable for people to have dogmatic beliefs without any empirical/falsifiable evidence, especially in a university setting. I think university-educated people have to start going after politicians and the public when they justify policies or opinions on faith. Policies and opinions must be grounded in empirical evidence. My tolerance for people who justify major policy decisions on what a "trascendent book" said is nil. Policy and opinions must be grounded in reality - i.e. empiric evidence and unconfused reasoning. We really need a reality-based world.

On a more sophomoric note: I had a drunk hook-up with a girl from the Campus Crusade for Christ. Ha!

La Philosophe Paul Ricoeur est mort

"If I had to lay out my vision of the world ... I would say: given the place where I was born, the culture I received, what I read, what I learned (and) what I thought about, there exists for me a result that constitutes, here and now, the best thing to do, I call it the action that suits." - Ricoeur

The Dangers of Downloading!

Go to this website and download the two mp3s. They are fantastic.

Re-discover the TRUTH!

Chemical Design, a new theory that holds that an unspecified superior intellect is the only reasonable mechanism to account for the complexity of chemistry, is increasingly appearing in science forums and journals as an alternative to Chemical Periodicity.

Chemical Periodicity has been widely accepted in scientific circles ever since Mendeleev proposed it in 1869.

However the new Design Theory's support by a handful of chemists and non-scientists has put Mendeleevists on the defensive, while encouraging those who consider Chemical Periodicity something akin to a religious belief. Recently the Cobb County Board of Education, representing a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, scheduled a vote on whether to place warning labels on Periodic Tables. The Kansas State Board of Education has voted to reconsider the role of Mendeleev's Theory of Chemical Periodicity in their curriculum. Although these actions are causing consternation among Mendeleevists, Dr. Azo Mazur, a Fellow of the reDiscovery Institute, notes that the goal is to allow teachers to teach the best science. He believes teachers need to teach that Chemical Periodicity is simply a theory and that other theories can also explain the data.

Friday, May 20, 2005


I finished my last exam as an undergraduate at Cornell University yesterday. Now it's the limbo of senior week and I'm in ABD (not all-but-dissertation, but all-but-degree) mode. I don't have any work to do, so I will be riding my bike as much as possible. I think I am doing 80 miles tomorrow and 130 miles on Sunday. The 130-mile ride will be a ride around both Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake. The training stress score should be in the 300s or 400s - i.e. it will be a really really hard ride.

I will also be drinking a bit, but I don't want to feel like a total waste of life, so I will be try to blog a lot. I have about 7-10 drafts saved. I will develop those ideas and publish them this week.

I'm glad he told the joke

There were some humorous moments in the presentations, but the evening's least successful joke was delivered by Al Franken, who made the final award presentation, to Ivins. He opened with a funny bit claiming that Dan Rather had told him a great story about Ivins during the cocktail hour that would make a perfect anecdote for his introduction. "Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to confirm it, and there's just one source, so I can't use it," he said to laughter. "Too bad; it's a good story."

Then he turned toward The New York Times table in the front of the room, where sat Judith Miller, best known these days for two things: her articles on weapons of mass destruction that didn't quite pan out and the possibility she will go to jail for not revealing sources in the Valerie Plame case. "Judy,"" Franken said, "maybe you can find some WMD in your cell." Silence. "OK, I shouldn't have told that joke."

Prison Rates

Major findings:

Wisconsin has very high black prison admission rates which rose steadily through the 1990s, while Wisconsin's white incarceration rates rose modestly. Graphic Display
A major source of the rise is increased probation and parole revocations, which rose for both races but more rapidly for blacks. Graphic Display
Whites are primarily sentenced to prison for violent offenses and white prison admissions for violent offenses grew in the 1990s, while drug sentences actually declined somewhat. Graphic Display.
By the late 1990s, most black new prison sentences were for drug offenses. Black sentences for drug offenses rose in the 1990s while sentences for serious crimes declined. Graphic Display

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Seems like a typical business

Their business model is only slightly farcical compared to the shit you see on some marketing/investment banking/design websites.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

An Accurate Internet Quiz!

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

40% Yankee

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Monday, May 16, 2005

More Heidegger's "What is Called Thinking?"

The thought of the eternal recurrence of the same remains veiled – and not just by a curtain. However, the darkness of this last thought of Western metaphysics must not mislead us, must not prompt us to avoid it by subterfuge. Fundamentally there are only two subterfuges. Either we say that this Nietzschean thought of the eternal recurrence of the same is a kind of mysticism and does not belong in the court of thought. Or else we say: this thought is already as old as the hills, and amounts to the cyclical world view, which can be found in Heraclitus’ fragments and elsewhere. This second bit of information, like everything of its kind, says absolutely nothing. What good is it supposed to do us to ascertain that some thought can “already”” be found in Leibniz, or even “already” in Plato – if Liebniz’ thought and Plato’s thought are left in the same darkness as this thought that is allegedly clarified by such references!

But as concerns the first subterfuge, according to which Nietzsche’s thought of the eternal recurrence of the same is a mystical fantasy: The coming age, in which the essence of modern technology – the steadily rotating recurrence of the same – will come to light, might have taught man that a thinker’s essential thoughts do not become in any way less true simply because we fail to think them (109).

Comments later.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

So I'm not the only one sick of his own prose

I feel like I have end-of-semester exhaustion, even though I didn’t teach this semester (don’t tell David Horowitz!), and just over a week ago I figured out why. All this time I’ve been blogging and blogstanding and blogtending, I also wrote three talks, three academic essays, and one newspaper opinion piece, while editing a special issue of a journal, turning in the long-overdue first draft of Liberal Arts, and finishing up work on a bunch of other things as well. I don’t think I’ve ever done so much writing in a six-month span. And it turns out that my long-overdue first draft needs a whole lot of work, and you know what that means—more writing. Honestly, I’ve just gotten sick and tired of reading my own prose. If you’ve sensed a certain lack of snap, crackle, or pop in recent posts, well, that’s why. A friend recently remarked to me that when Janet guest-posted here two weeks ago, it was a “breath of fresh air” on the blog. “Mm, m’fren’,” I replied. “For you and me both.”

Although I have certainly not written as much as Prof. Berube, I have written a senior thesis (50 pages!), a 10-page essay on political Islam, and now I'm writing a 10-page essay on Borges' "Emma Zunz."

I need to get away from my own writing. My ideas feel so stale. Yet here I write.

The Eternal Return of the Same

From Heidegger's What is Called Thinking? :

The thought of the eternal recurrence of the same remains veiled – and not just by a curtain. However, the darkness of this last thought of Western metaphysics must not mislead us, must not prompt us to avoid it by subterfuge. Fundamentally there are only two subterfuges. Either we say that this Nietzschean thought of the eternal recurrence of the same is a kind of mysticism and does not belong in the court of thought. Or else we say: this thought is already as old as the hills, and amounts to the cyclical world view, which can be found in Heraclitus’ fragments and elsewhere. This second bit of information, like everything of its kind, says absolutely nothing. What good is it supposed to do us to ascertain that some thought can “already”” be found in Leibniz, or even “already” in Plato – if Liebniz’ thought and Plato’s thought are left in the same darkness as this thought that is allegedly clarified by such references!

But as concerns the first subterfuge, according to which Nietzsche’s thought of the eternal recurrence of the same is a mystical fantasy: The coming age, in which the essence of modern technology – the steadily rotating recurrence of the same – will come to light, might have taught man that a thinker’s essential thoughts do not become in any way less true simply because we fail to think them (109).

Modern technology, modern economics, and modern politics sure seem cyclical. There seem to be technological possibilities of newness, but economics and politics seem to be going nowhere and seem to shut down technological possibilities.

More to follow when I figure out what the hell this has to do with Borges' "Emma Zunz."

UPDATE: It's amazing when we realize that the thoughts one has thought have been thought by another. Adorno was right:
“Whatever was once thought, however, can be suppressed; it can be forgotten and can even vanish. But it cannot be denied that something of it survives. For thinking has the momentum of the general. What has been cogently thought must be thought in some other place and by other people. This confidence accompanies even the loneliest and most impotent thought” (from the essay "Resignation" on p. 203 in The Culture Industry).

I'm thinking along similar lines as Macherey's thoughts as described here: Literary Encyclopedia on Macherey I need to read Macherey pronto!

UPDATE: It's funny how my mode of reading unwittingly aligns with my mode of politics. Both could essentially be described as Marxist.

The Myth of Countries

" I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries. I mean, why should I think of myself as being an Argentine, and not a Chilean, and not an Uruguayan. I don't know really. All of those myths that we impose on ourselves – and they make for hatred, for war, for enmity – are very harmful. Well, I suppose in the long run, governments and countries will die out and we'll be just, well, cosmopolitans." -- Jorge Luis Borges, 1980

To which I juxtapose with Walter Benjamin:

"The realization of dream elements, in the course of waking up, is the paradigm of dialectical thinking. Thus, dialectical thinking is the organ of historical awakening. Every epoch, in fact, not only dreams the one to follow but, in dreaming, precipitates its awakening. It bears its end within itself and unfolds it – as Hegel already noticed – by cunning. With the destabilizing of the market economy, we are begining to recognize the monuments of the bourgeoisie as ruins even before they have crumbled" (Benjamin, Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century, 44).

Indeed, many political theorists see the nation-state era crumbling. When will the market crumble?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Not that I use it, but I like reading up on the stuff

I watched Scarface yesterday so I decided to read up on cocained on Wikipedia. While the pharmocology is interesting, the economics are just mind-blowing. Here's a quote:

The estimated U.S. cocaine market exceeded $35 billion in street value for the year 2003, exceeding revenues by corporations such as AT&T and Starbucks. There is a tremendous demand for cocaine in the U.S. market, particularly among those who are making incomes affording luxury spending, such as single adults and various professionals. Cocaine's status as a club drug shows its immense popularity among the "party crowd". Cocaine's high revenues may be due to the drug's psychologically addictive nature, which makes the cessation of use quite difficult when compared to less addictive drugs such as marijuana or alcohol. It has become much more popular as a middle class drug in the United Kingdom in recent years.

So Americans create a huge demand for a drug that mostly poor people (excluding the drug lords) in South America grow (coca leaves). Then billions of our tax dollars fund the DEA and South American governments to destroy as many crops, including non-coca leaves, as possible. End result: average South and North Americans get fucked over.

But hey, at least, The Ashleys and The Connors have a fun time at the party, right?

Friday, May 13, 2005


Well, I'm listening to OCDJ on WFMU.ORG right now, and I'm thinking about my paper on political Islam. I tried really hard to organize my thoughts, write clearly, and forcibly argue my thesis, but I think I failed in all three. It was due on Thursday at 4PM, but I could probably have gotten an extension and done better. But I didn't want one. I arrived at a crux in my paper that I cannot break through at this point. I needed a break from it. Maybe I can fix it later, but I cannot do it now.

Oh... and I really want to race Owaso Stage Race, but I have to write a narratology paper.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I like bikes.

Just so you know, I like bike riding for other reasons besides seeing women in skirts riding bikes. In fact, I like bike racing, which is what I do. I'm fairly good at it. Racing is fun, but riding is even more fun. There's something about being on a bike that is so relaxing and liberating.

So here's a funny moment in the third stage of the Giro d'Italia.

"As I mentioned before, this is my first Giro d'Italia. I've ridden the Tour de France before, but this is different. On the surface, the racing is much more relaxed. You have the attacks at the start, then maybe a break forms... and then everything is pretty much controlled until the end, when they pull the guys back and then you see this rush to the line.

While it is more relaxed on one level, that changes things down the road, so you end up with some moments when you're totally bored and others when it's complete panic. Take Tuesday for example.

We were pretty relaxed and just riding easy. Suddenly everyone decides to start tossing water bottles, making a little game of it, throwing them at signs at street signs or whatever. Well, Rory (Sutherland of Rabobank) and I are just riding along and he suddenly decides to pitch one at a police car! He hit the damn thing square on the grill."

PowerPoint rocks!

PowerPoint sure makes the Gettysburg Address easy to follow.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

FAQ on God

Exhaustive FAQ on God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Best. Quote. Ever?

"I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops." — Stephen Jay Gould

I want to respond to this, but I have to write a paper on Islam!

Monday, May 09, 2005

I like bikes.

A person on a bike makes me infinitely happier.

"Technique to alleviate low self-esteem

The advent of spring in Amsterdam, combined with my ride into the office this morning has brought on a phenomenon that I always seem to forget about during the extensive, cold winter months. What is this observable fact? It is a sure way to make a woman (and some men, if they're interested) feel like the most attractive person on the planet. It leaves one with the feeling of being a celebrity, of being devastatingly beautiful and desirable. What could this craze possibly be? Plastic surgery? Hours of grueling time in the gym? A full-body makeover, complete with expensive clothes and make-up? No! It's much simpler than that. All it takes is a skirt and a bike.

Ladies, put on a skirt - any length will do, but the shorter the better - then hop on your bike and ride around the city. Men will hoot (“Goeiemorgen schatje!” – “Hola mamacita!”), holler (“Hello there, hey!”), and literally dive into the road to catch a glimpse of... well, whatever it is they're looking for.

But: take caution. It takes a great deal of skill to balance atop an "Oma-fiets" (grandma-bike) while peddling with your knees somewhat together. So practice first with a long coat, or even in your jeans, because if you don't know what you're doing, the salivating dogs, er, men will probably drop dead of heart failure.

So remember: if you're feeling blue, unattractive, or just bored - remember my recipe for instant self-gratification. A skirt and a bike."

And the truth comes out

"When I think back on my favorite teachers, I don't remember anymore much of what they taught me, but I sure remember being excited about learning it." - Tom Friedman

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The proper way to speak to cranks

Mathematicians don't give cranks an opportunity to speak. Nor do physicists. Nor do chemists. Nor do humanists.

Why do journalists pay attention to crazy people?

Well, it's somewhat complicated, and I don't feel like explicating it right now. But I think the proper response is to be as much of an assclown as Coulter, Horowitz, etc. Their kind don't deserve an intelligent reply. They take advantage of intellectual discourse by lying, cheating, shouting, etc. Intellectual discourse only works when people are intellectually honest. Coulter, Horowitz, etc are not intellectually honest.

So act like a joker when facing a joker.

Open Letter to Anyone Who Gives a Shit About Justice
by Ajai Raj

I'm writing this in response to the spectacle that occurred in the LBJ Library on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005, when Ann Coulter, a diabolical, ignorant, but nevertheless charismatic right-wing pundit, came to speak at the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Coulter--yes, Ms, I'd personally think such a vocal female conservative would be making Bubba a meat loaf instead of addressing a politically-minded collegiate audience, but whatever--is the author of relentlessly mendacious anti-liberal books, such as Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right and Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. She's famous for having an ass that stores so many lies it makes clown-car designers envious. Like her or not (and if you do, I'm surprised you can read) she's a Big Fucking Deal.
The title of the Daily Texan front-page story covering Ms. Coulter's speech was "Arrest Made at Coulter Speech." You could also have caught it on CBS or in the Austin-American Statesman. The general idea is that some jackass made a scene, and Ann Coulter was also there.

I am Ajai Raj, and I am a jackass.

In his article, which I enjoyed and commend him for, Mr. Sampath quoted the former president of the Student Events Center, the organization which arranged the event. He wrote:

"The person had been disruptive the entire event," said Matt Hardigree, former Student Events Center president. "He took the opportunity to say something lewd and offensive and then made masturbatory gestures as he exited."
And what do I have to say in rebuttal? Not a goddamn thing.

Matt Hardigree got it spot-on! From the beginning I was yelling obscenities along with my friends, roaring at Ms. Coulter's right-wing bullshit festival the way no one else had the balls to. Mr. Sampath writes in his article that (and this is my take) the protestors were told to be good all along. They were told to sit in the back and hold their signs and leave quietly. No wonder hippies get such a bad rap nowadays; protestors today might as well be ornaments on the Rightmobile. When I want someone to know I'm pissed off, I'm going to throw down and give them a good shit-ruining. I wanted to show Ms. Coulter that people are down if she wants to hold a circle-jerk, but we're not gonna do it her way. Not me, at least.

So yes, the Q&A session came around, and it was pathetic. Her slack-jawed fans got up and licked her face so she could pat them on the head--one schmuck offered to be her bodyguard, and she smiled, doubtlessly making a mental note that she wouldn't touch his nether regions if she were King Midas. Liberal protestors posed well-intentioned but woefully timid questions and got shot down in a hail of ignorant shitfire from the She-Dragon. Standing in line awaiting my turn, I watched her send a moderate Republican, who had questioned the sheer incendiary magnitude of her rhetoric, walk away in tears when she tore him apart for daring to question her.

So yes, I saw my "opportunity to say something lewd and offensive." And I took it.

She had just said something about gay marriage, the typical rightwing bullshit spiel that is still convincing people that the Bible is really the Constitution. Knowing that taking the time to say something insightful, specific, or even slightly critical would get me a lame comeback and a ticket back to my seat, I realized that the only way to win this battle was to fight fire with fire. Or bullshit with bullshit. So, as reported in yesterday's Texan, I fired:

"You say that you believe in the sanctity of marriage," said Ajai Raj, an English sophomore. "How do you feel about marriages where the man does nothing but fuck his wife up the ass?"
And the crowd fell silent. Ms. Coulter stood stunned atop her stage, unprepared for a jackass to say something so utterly crude and to the point. Her pompous and mean air is enough to stump questioners into timidity; I wasn't about to let her stop me. The audience members looked at me with raw disbelief; later, even friends who know me well admitted that they'd been surprised at how vulgar I'd been. The others in line for Q&A, mostly liberals, looked at me like I'd set their cause back forty years.

Did I give a shit? No. If I had a message, it's that the whole thing was a joke--hell, our whole political scene today is a fucking joke. Everyone's out to either pat themselves on the back for being right or whine about how they're being wronged without ever lifting a finger to fight for it.

So rather than dignify anyone else, I "made masturbatory gestures" as I exited. Again, bingo! I danced a jig and set my hand a-jerkin' at crotch-level, sneering for the crowd and letting them know I was ready to roll. I yelled to my friends that we were gonna split and made for the door.

Two cops approached me. I figured they were going to tell me I had to leave, so I said "You can't fire me, because I quit!"

"You're under arrest."

It was my turn to be shocked. I tried to ask them what for; saying "fuck her in the ass" at a college isn't a crime, last time I checked. They apparently mistook my inquiries for aggression, and grabbed me roughly and slammed me into the door. Within seconds the backmost two or three rows were surging forward, following the scene as the cops dragged me out the door. They yelled and chanted; my friends were more outraged than I'd ever seen any of them before. As they pushed me into the car, I heard my good friend Jeffrey Stockwell scream, "THIS ISN'T A JUSTICE SYSTEM! YOU CALL THIS PROTECTING AND SERVING?!" The crowd took up a chant at the UTPD officers: "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Shame is fucking right. When I asked the cops why they thought I needed cuffing, they told me that they didn't even see anything that happened, they were just doing as told.

As a good friend pointed out to me, it's a scary thought that people who are given weapons and the authority to forcibly detain people can act without knowledge of a situation.


I have no regrets. Was I jackass? Yes. Oh Christ, yes. But here are the questions people ought to ask themselves: Did I deserve to be arrested? Did the cops need to rough me up for saying bad words at what was at least masquerading as an open dialogue? Do the people of Texas--hell, of America--feel that "potty mouth" belongs on the list of punishable crimes along with "aggravated assault" and "armed robbery"?


This isn't about politics anymore, however it might have come about ... This is about drawing a line in the sand. It made me proud to see people standing up and calling bullshit when bullshit needed to be called. All politics aside, people ought to ask themselves, how far should our representatives of "justice" be allowed to go? Do the American people believe in censorship rights for the rich and famous?

I know I didn't slay the insidious evil that is Ann Coulter, but I did give her pause. She can easily go to another college or hoedown or whatever and spew her tired rhetoric without worrying about me. But I'm not the only one who feels this way. Other people will call her on her shit.

And hey, Ann, don't come back to UT. We're better than your bullshit here. And I can think of at least one jackass here who can dish it out better than you.

I prefer Krugman.

Bob Herbert
You are Bob Herbert! You're not the most sparkling
writer, but one of the most solid and selfless
on the Op-Ed staff. You focus on New York
politics, the poor, race issues, and civil
liberties. You like to quote others, and rarely
place yourself in your columns. You keep it
real. Seriously.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I thought I was a bigger Geek.


Your Geek Profile:

Academic Geekiness: Moderate

Internet Geekiness: Moderate

Movie Geekiness: Moderate

General Geekiness: Low

Fashion Geekiness: None

Gamer Geekiness: None

Geekiness in Love: None

Music Geekiness: None

SciFi Geekiness: None

Do you watch The co-BEAR ra-PORE?

"It's about a man and his forum," Mr. Stewart said of such shows, including Mr. Colbert's. "And by the way, he's not doing it for himself. He's doing it for the people. As a public service."


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Am I a bad blogger?

Wow... almost done with my senior thesis. It was probably the most intellectually rewarding experiences of my four years at Cornel. But I need more time to digest it.

Am I a bad blogger for always saying, "If I only had more time, I would discuss..." or, more simply, "More to come later."

Do I procrastinate blog entries that procrastinate school work?

Woah... Layer upon layer of procrastination. That's impressive.

The Left

The thoughtful-left needs to save itself from the self-loving-left, self-hating-left, and the self-loving-but-lazy-so-right-biased media.

Clearer comments to follow.


"Today, I think I'm the happiest man in the world," Botero told Cyclingnews at the post-race press conference, his piercing green eyes glimmering with joy.

"In the sport, you need everything to be perfect. That hasn't happened the last few years, but now I am healthy and I trained very hard in Colombia during the winter [16,000 kilometres to be exact - ed.]. This is the result of all my efforts."

McGee, who came into the race with sizeable expectations but failed to deliver until today, told Cyclingnews almost the exact same thing: "It's just one of the crazy things about this sport," he lamented with a wry smile before the start.

"Everything has to be right, and if it's not, then forget about it. I'm not sick, I'm feeling healthy, but I'm having trouble breathing sometimes - it could be an allergic reaction, so I'm having some tests done... we'll see what they say."

Well, Brad, maybe today was the best test you could have done.

"I was the one who stuck my hand out and said I want to be a GC rider, so the pressure's on me," said McGee. "But sometimes the best thing for me is to have that little bit of pressure, and I'm going to continue livin' my dream."

The analogies between cycling and life are astounding.

Why are you hating on cancer?

"You better hold on tight because even cancer needs a home." - Frog Eyes, "russian berries but you're quiet tonight "