« April 2004 June 2004 »




Is poo sexy? I don�t think so, but seems to me that a lot of my callers find it a huge turn on. They want to lick my ass after I�ve shit, or reach their tongues into my ass to feel my turds. They love to feel it squish on their dick and some even like to eat it. This one guy was super turned on by poo � he actually asked me to say these things to him:

�Lick my ass and taste my lunch.�

�Fuck my ass after I blow diarrhea.�

�Pick the peanuts out of my shit and eat them!�

So I did. And he came. And believe it or not, I didn�t laugh until after the call was over. Guess I�m a real grown-up phone girl now.

posted by
My 69 Cents Worth ... Permalink




Was the Nick Berg decapitation video staged? At least one forensic expert thinks so.

Echoing Dr Simpson's criticism, when this journalist asked forensic death expert Jon Nordby, PhD and fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, whether he believed the Berg decapitation video had been "staged", Nordby replied: "Yes, I think that's the best explanation of it."

Questions of when the video's footage was taken, and the time elapsed between the shooting of the video's segments, were raised by both experts, reflecting a portion of the broader and ongoing video controversy. Nordby, speaking to Asia Times Online from Washington state, noted: "We don't know how much time wasn't filmed," adding that "there's no way of knowing whether ... footage is contemporaneous with the footage that follows".

While the circumstances surrounding both the video and Nick Berg's last days have been the source of substantive speculation, both Simpson and Nordby perceived it as highly probable that Berg had died some time prior to his decapitation. A factor in this was an apparent lack of the "massive" arterial bleeding such an act initiates.

"I would have thought that all the people in the vicinity would have been covered in blood, in a matter of seconds ... if it was genuine," said Simpson. Notably, the act's perpetrators appeared far from so. And separately Nordby observed: "I think that by the time they're ... on his head, he's already dead."

Providing another basis for their findings, in the course of such an assault, an individual's autonomic nervous system would react, typically doing so strongly, with the body shaking and jerking accordingly. And while Nordby noted that "they rotated and moved the head", shifting vertebrae that should have initiated such actions, Simpson said he "certainly didn't perceive any movements at all" in response to such efforts.

The sources go on to describe some other logistical problems in the video consistent with fakery. Did anyone positively identify the physical remains of the body found on May 8? Anyone independent, that is?

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink



I basically gave on comic books as a serial medium about a year and a half ago, roughly when Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan ended, though not as a result of it. Since then I have followed things only through the news that filters through to the discussion fora I inhabit.

A couple days ago I heard about a recent series called Avengers: Celestial Quest, which I'd never heard of. The title sounded really old school, but I was sure it must not be, because my nerddom is such that I'd at least have a passing familiarity with it if it was actually that old. So I Googled it and discovered that it came out sometime in the last couple years, after I'd pretty much stopped paying attention. Where I got this information was at the home page of the writer, Steve Englehart.

Englehart's been around for a long time -- his first work appeared in the early 1970's -- and he's written a ton of stuff for both Marvel and DC, though Batman is the only major franchise he ever wrote much for. His style is, shall we say, very much of an era gone by. Lots of high concept stuff, lots of exclamation points, lots of shocking twists and high drama. So, you know, okay -- but the amazing thing is that Englehart all but uniformly describes his work as mind-blowingly brilliant and innovative and if it weren't for those damn editors, blah blah blah. The only reasons that comics don't sell as well as they used to are apparently, that Steve Englehart isn't writing them and that editors won't let Steve Englehart do what he wants when he is writing them. Observe this description of Celestial Quest:

Third time around on THE AVENGERS. The main point here was to resurrect Mantis from the drek forced upon her at the end of WEST COAST AVENGERS and FANTASTIC FOUR, but I also wanted to provide the vast epic Marvel no longer knows how to do.

That was an interesting challenge because I had eight issues, no more, and the original Mantis epic had run more than twice that. In addition, that first epic had run long because new avenues kept opening up and I followed them wherever their stories led; this time, eight issues, no more, so I had to consciously cover over new openings in a way that, hopefully, no one would notice.

But the reader response showed a real pent-up hunger for a story that would stretch the current limits, even with constrictions. People want a "House of Ideas."

That's really just the tip, though. Not only have Englehart's stories directly or indirectly contributed to eight Hollywood productions (as he reminds you at every possible opportunity), they are also frequently cited as legendary influences on the rest of the industry. For instance, Coyote:

COYOTE was the first series to show where creators could go if they thought beyond comics as they were, and has been cited by dozens of comics pros as an influence on their careers.

Of course, one can only produce legendary work if one is able to get it published. Unfortunately, one such surefire legend is still waiting on some editor's desk:

Finally, I wrote a "prestige" album introducing a new Mad Hatter which was a poster child for where things have gone with comics. First, "Top Hat and Nails" was a complete album. Then I was asked to split it in two so it could go in BATMAN. Then it was knit back together to go in CHRONICLES. Then CHRONICLES got cancelled. Now it sits on a shelf, even though a top Bat-editor called it "the best Batman in the last five years."

All I can do is write 'em.

Ultimately, it appears that Marvel's hardline stance against quality is what has doomed the industry to low sales:

Mantis returned, but Marvel was embarked on its anti-creator crusade, so her dialogue was rewritten without my knowledge. This continued through the two remaining stories, until midway through #39, where her story, already written, was dumped completely and a whole different one substituted. I moved her to FANTASTIC FOUR but the crusade continued. It was a sad end for Mantis and the Swordsman, stars of the greatest AVENGERS epic ever, but I was able to rectify it later in AVENGERS CELESTIAL QUEST. Unfortunately, Marvel has never rectified itself, and now sells one-tenth of what these books sold.

I've been having all kinds of fun reading these things. They're pretty much all this self-aggrandizing. Here's one more, just for fun.

The Night Man came out the other side of Black September as two distinct people. To this day I think the possibilities of this are astounding, but Marvel was not and never has been interested.

On the one hand, he was the new, more magickal guy seen in Volume 2, issues 1-4...in what really wasn't a bad story under the circumstances...

...and at the same time, he was the original guy, now lost in the Marvel Universe, where he fought Wolverine. And both were real.

As a writer, I love the idea that this guy was now living two separate lives in two separate universes. He had developed as one being until Black September, but now that one being was facing two separate sets of circumstance, and each would develop differently thereafter. I proposed to Marvel that there be two ongoing series about The Night Man, one a Malibu book and one a Marvel book; it would have been so cool and, well, innovative (they said no).

Damn you, innovation-haters! You've got some nerve! Why, I oughta!

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Comics ... Permalink




Question for psychologists: Is there a clinical pathology with which a person cannot accept blame or responsibilty under any circumstances?

President Bush took a spill during a Saturday afternoon bike ride on his ranch, suffering bruises and cuts that were visible later on his face just two days before he was to deliver a major prime-time speech on his Iraq policy.

The president was nearing the end of a 17-mile ride on his mountain bike, accompanied by a Secret Service agent, a military aide and his personal physician, Richard Tubb, who treated him at the scene, said White House spokesman Trent Duffy.

"It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose," Duffy said. "You know this president. He likes to go all-out. Suffice it to say he wasn't whistling show tunes."

Meanwhile, Kos checks the weather in Crawford -- no rain since May 14, with temperatures in the 80's. But hey, if we keep records of the weather, the terrorists have already won.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




The Feds want to know who's talking about the secret "voting" machines:

In the past 20 months, Harris has become America�s leading critic of electronic voting. Her reporting on the problems with new computer voting machines has been a key component in a national, grassroots movement to safeguard voting. Her astounding discoveries have resulted in important studies by distinguished computer scientists. She has been leaked thousands of pages of internal memos from Diebold Election Systems, one of the country�s leading electronic voting companies. She is frequently cited by newspapers across the country and is a guest on national and local television and radio stations. Thousands of people visit her Web site and participate in its reader forums. Now, Harris claims, the government wants our names, forum messages, and computer addresses.


To date, Harris writes, she has had five meetings with [Secret Service agent Michael] Levin. By April 29, she was completely fed up. �This investigation no longer passes the stink test,� she writes. �I�ll tell you what it looks like to me: a fishing expedition.� Harris states that the Secret Service claims it is investigating the VoteHere hack but never spends much time on it while interviewing her. �Most of the time is spent on the Diebold memos, which they claim they are not investigating.�

Harris sounds the alarm about what the government wants her to turn over. �They want the logs of my Web site with all the forum messages and the IP [Internet protocol] addresses.� IP addresses are unique, numerical pointers to one or more computers on the Internet, making it possible to identify, or narrow the search for, a computer that has visited a given Web site. Writes Harris: �This has nothing to do with a VoteHere �hack� investigation, and I have refused to turn it over.�

Don't these fucking hippies understand how much better voting is going to be thanks to the free market? Idiots!

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink




We are now registered at Target -- buy things for us.

Thank you.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink



There's a meme that says that suburbanites, specifically white suburbanites, specifically upper class, vapid, pop-head, white suburbanites, cannot like quality hip-hop. If they come to like any instance of hip-hop, it is a priori crap. Ironically, this attitude is most often expressed by white, affluent, indie rock snobs.

Apparently there is an exception made for the Streets, as the bulk of Mike Skinner's fans are British vapid, pop-head, white suburbanites, which are the very best kind. Somehow, "lad culture" has become the pinnacle of what we're all supposed to aspire to. I don't get it. But that aside, can people not hear the lack of skill on these records? A Grand Don't Come For Free is an improvement on Original Pirate Material, but it would just about have to be. The first Streets record featured such hollow-sounding production that, at times, I wondered if it was recorded live to two-track. Skinner's ability to rap is non-existent, and not in an amusing, Biz Markie-ish kind of way. When he breaks out of rap cadence and into spoken word, things get a little better, but a gimmick can't last the whole album.

Look, I don't follow hip-hop very closely these days, but even I know there's much better stuff than this out there, and it's not especially hidden. So when will the American indie community's collective NME genflect end?

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink




We're getting married for the free insurance. More to come.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink ...
Comments (1)




I've been having some server problems, which is why I wasn't able to discuss Colin Powell's attempt to flee the interview on Meet the Press, or any other salient issues over the past several days. Things will normalize soon.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Administration ... Permalink




Come along and tremble now
As you stop to ponder how
Institutions such as these
Could perpetrate such frauds on we

Better Angels uncovers a systematic violation of ethical standards at NPR:

Barbara Bradley Hagerty graduated from Williams College in 1981 with a degree in Economics. She then interned at the Christian Science Monitor and subsequently worked for the paper and its related media for 11 years. She joined NPR in 1995 as a contract reporter after having become a born-again Christian while writing a story for The LA Times Sunday Magazine. She eventually became a full-time employee, reporting on the Justice Department, the Clinton Impeachment, 9-11 and starting last year, religion, replacing Duncan Moon as religion reporter.

Her religion reporting for NPR has focused mainly on Christianity, including a report on the Christian Science Church, in which she did not disclose that she was herself a former member of the Church. (This little tidbit is revealed in "Citizen Bradley," a Washingtonian article from October 2000 about her multimillionaire brother, Atlantic owner David Bradley. The article isn't online, but is available through LexisNexis.)

In addition to her NPR gig and her deal with the World Journalism Institute, Hagerty has been keeping busy with other writing and speaking engagements. She is on the board of directors for Knowing and Doing, the magazine of the C.S.Lewis Institute, which "endeavors to develop desciples who can articulate, defend and live faith in Christ through personal and public life." (emphasis mine)

More troubling still is her association with Howard Ahmanson's Fieldstead and Co. and Fieldstead Foundation. Ahmanson is a California millionaire who uses his trust fund to finance right-wing Christian, anti-gay, anti-evolution groups and politicians. He was previously associated with Christian Reconstructionism, which advocates a Biblically-based governement for the U.S. (Neither Ahmanson nor his philanthropic endeavors have their own websites. Make of that what you will.)


Hagerty's outside work certainly seems to violate both her employers ethics and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Independence and Integrity II: The Updated Ethics Guide for Public Radio Journalism.

The New York Post figured out where all those 288,000 new jobs came from in April. 270,000 of them are fictional:

Back in the March employment report, the government added 153,000 positions to its revised total of 337,000 new jobs because it thought (but couldn't prove) loads of new companies were being created in this economy.

That estimate comes from the Labor Department's "birth/death model." You can look up these numbers on the Department's Web site.

As staggering as the assumption about new companies was in March, the Labor Department got even more brazen in April.

Last Friday, it was disclosed that these imaginary jobs had been increased by 117,000 to 270,000 for the latest month - because, I guess, the stat jockeys got a vision from the gods of spring.

Without those extra 117,000 make-believe jobs, the total growth for April would have been just 171,000 - sub-par for an economy that's supposed to be growing at more than 4 percent a year, but right on the pros' targets.

Take away all 270,000 make-believe jobs and, well, you have the sort of pessimism that the political pollsters are seeing.

Finally, you may have thought that systematic voter disenfranchisement was so 20th century. You would be dead wrong, my hipster friend. Rolling Stone has revealed a systematized attempt to keep college students out of voting booths:

But at the election office, a county official told Han that only "permanent residents" may register to vote. College students, she informed the clean-cut twenty-year-old, must vote where their parents live. "This is just how we've always done it," county election commissioner Patricia DiSpirito told Rolling Stone. "A dorm is not a permanent residence -- it just isn't."

In fact, DiSpirito is flat-out wrong. Federal and state courts have clearly established that students have the right to vote where they go to school, even if they live in a dorm. But interviews with college students, civil-rights attorneys, political strategists and legal experts reveal that election officials all over the country are erecting illegal barriers to keep young voters from casting ballots. From New Hampshire to California, officials have designed complex questionnaires that prevent college students from registering, hired high-powered attorneys to keep them off the rolls, shut down polling places on campuses and even threatened to arrest and imprison young voters. Much as local registrars in the South once used poll taxes and literacy tests to deny the vote to black citizens, some county election officials now employ an intimidating mix of legal bullying and added paperwork to prevent civic-minded young people from casting ballots.

"Students have been singled out for outright discrimination," says Neal Rosenstein, government-reform coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group. "If someone was challenging the voting rights of a military person who is stationed somewhere temporarily, we'd be screaming that it's not patriotic. There shouldn't be any less of a standard for students, who work and pay sales taxes in those communities."

But don't worry about this stuff. I'm sure John McCain will be along any minute now to bitch and moan about the cow flatulence studies that he seems to think are the absolute biggest domestic problem facing the United States at the moment.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink




Noted sometime-maverick pollster John Zogby says the race is John Kerry's to lose:

First, my most recent poll (April 12-15) shows bad re-election numbers for an incumbent President. Senator Kerry is leading 47% to 44% in a two-way race, and the candidates are tied at 45% in the three-way race with Ralph Nader. Significantly, only 44% feel that the country is headed in the right direction and only 43% believe that President Bush deserves to be re-elected - compared with 51% who say it is time for someone new.

In that same poll, Kerry leads by 17 points in the Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000, while Bush leads by only 10 points in the Red States that he won four years ago.

Second, there are very few undecided voters for this early in a campaign. Historically, the majority of undecideds break to the challenger against an incumbent. The reasons are not hard to understand: voters have probably made a judgment about the better-known incumbent and are looking for an alternative.

Third, the economy is still the top issue for voters - 30% cite it. While the war in Iraq had been only noted by 11% as the top issue in March, it jumped to 20% in our April poll as a result of bad war news dominating the news agenda. The third issue is the war on terrorism. Among those who cited the economy, Kerry leads the President 54% to 35%. Among those citing the war in Iraq, Kerry's lead is 57% to 36%. This, of course, is balanced by the 64% to 30% margin that the President holds over Kerry on fighting the war on terrorism. These top issues are not likely to go away. And arguably, there is greater and growing intensity on the part of those who oppose and want to defeat Bush.

Zogby himself admits that he likes making risky calls and that they don't always pan out, but this is a pretty strong statement, much stronger than the claim that 2000 was Al Gore's to lose (which I never quite bought). The optimist is me believes pretty much everything Zogby says. The only problem I see is that he says, "The President's problem is further compounded by the fact that he is now at the mercy of situations that are out of his control." I think this is true, but that it's hard to see this as necessarily a problem -- the Bush administration has made patently wrong decisions on everything over which they have had control, which is why Iraq is such a mess, which is why the economy is a joke, which is why people are losing access to health care (affordable or not), which is why global terrorism is up -- the official "terrorism" figures don't include anything that's going on in Iraq. Furthermore, I think we're likely to see an even bigger than usual break of the undecideds (though there are relatively few of them) to the challenger. George Bush has made no secret about what his second term will look like. If you haven't been swayed to his side yet, chances are you won't be by November 2.

The pessimist in me thinks it might not matter because popular opinion is obsolete. Kerry's lead in the blue states in bigger than Bush's lead in the red states, but targeted marketing is the one thing that Karl Rove is objectively good at. The absolute most important thing the Kerry campaign can do is get every possible vote squeezed out of the Florida electorate. Before we even get to the fall, the campaign needs to scrutinize the voter rolls and make damn sure that thousands of likely Kerry voters have not been disenfranchised. And when Election Day rolls around, there are millions of Floridians who didn't vote last time that need to be drawn out. One thing to keep in mind is that polls of "likely voters" are often just polls of "people who voted in the last Presidential election." I would argue that there are a lot of people who are likely to vote this year that didn't in 2000, maybe as much as a 5% bump in turnout. That would amount to about 5,000,000 additional voters, and I can't think of a compelling argument for them voting for Bush -- see also "A Kerry Landslide?" in Washington Monthly.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




The story starts in Slate, then takes an interesting new direction from Matthew Yglesias, expands at Political Animal, and winds up here, where no one will ever read it.

Yglesias asks the most important big question to go virtually unasked in the past three years: Why is George Bush President? This isn't another SCOTUS screed (if it were, the answer would be that almost being elected President is now considered statistically equivalent to actually being elected President), it's a question that attempts to find Bush's own qualifications and electability. It probably goes without saying that Bush is found lacking:

Compare George W. Bush to the list of potential GOP nominees, however, and you'll see that he's nowhere close. Leave aside the Senate moderate whom I'd prefer for ideological reasons. Consider folks like Sens. McCain, Hagel, Lugar, and even the very orthodox John Warner, all of whom have the great virtue of knowing what they're talking about. Tommy Thompson (currently HHS secretary), Tom Ridge (currently DHS secretary), and George Voinovich (currently a Senator) were all governors of big states during the 1990s, much like GWB. But the states weren't Texas -- they got re-elected by much less ideologically friendly electorates, faced real responsibilities, and accomplished some real things. Even Jeb Bush is (and was at the time and always has been) regarded as the smarter, sharper, more substantive Bush brother whose political accomplishments (again, Florida vs. Texas) were much more impressive than GWB's.

Yglesias's thesis is that Bush, whatever you think of his Presidency, had no reason to be considered for the Republican nomination in 2000, nor even for the Texas Governorship in 1994. This idea, that his presence in the Oval Office is an aberration of the highest order, is something I've been trying to articulate ever since his inauguration. I disagree with the politics of everyone who ran for the Republican nomination in 2000, but victories by the likes of John McCain, Orrin Hatch or Elizabeth Dole would not have made me question the long-term viability of democracy in the United States. How could rank-and-file Republicans, most of whom still actually believe in their party's claimed tenets, have thought this was a good idea? How could they still?

I fear that the answer lies in the ever-expanding fundie/evangelical voting bloc. Conservative Christians might have liked Hatch, if they didn't think Mormons were a godless cult. They might have liked Gary Bauer, if he didn't look like Eddie Munster. Where else were they going to go? The percentage of Americans describing themselves as "born again" appears to be somewhere in the low to mid-40's. Is it a coincidence that, even before he became our God-sent warrior-king, Bush's job approval never dipped below that? In the summer of 2001, Bush pushed his tax cuts through, despite projections that showed them exacerbating the economic downturn; he spent all kinds of time hemming and hawing about stem cells, only to come out with a decision that pleased basically no one; and he spent a month on vacation after having been in office for only half a year, all while sharks decimated our beaches. He'd gotten down to about 50% when the planes hit, just 5-10% above his fundie baseline.

It's important to keep in mind that born again Christians are not part of a hivemind, and a lot of this depends on what individual survey respondents mean by "born again," but still, this is a group that Democrats and even moderate Republicans probably cannot crack in significant numbers. Moderate Republican Arlen Specter just fought a primary challenge from an arch-conservative foe, in large part thanks to support from Bush, whose people surely understand that the hardliner would likely have lost in November and cost Bill Frist a vote in the Senate. But the fact that Specter had to fight so hard illustrates the problem the GOP faces as the future screams into the present. 46% is enough get a hardliner nominated in some cases, but generally not enough to win an office.

The Bush case is a curious one not just because he's a hardcore conservative Christian, but because his religious fervor plants ideological rigidity all over the issue space. Here is a man who, by all accounts, abhors dialogue, nuance and deliberation. His mere presence in the public sphere is enough to undo 1,000 civics classes. So the question I must ask is: Is this what Bush voters wanted? He got about 48% of the nationwide popular vote in 2000; polls now show him generally ranging between 43% and 49%. His people seem to be sticking by him, for the most part. Can we take that as affirmation?

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Thanks again to BitTorrent and zany-fast Internet connections, I have witnessed the greatest piece of terrible television ever produced. NBC's two-part, four-hour disasterwank, 10.5, simultaneously follows all the rules for unremarkable, obvious drama and for stupendous post-modern comedy. I never liked Mystery Science Theater 3000, but watching that quake-fueled gorge follow along a curving railroad line, only to stop expanding just as it caught a distressed train, I so, so wanted some robots to jabber with.

Everything about the whole four-hour experience (well, three-hour experience if you're watching it via commercial-free download) is summed up in the last half-hour, as all hell breaks loose. A very important thing to keep in mind about filmmaking is that everything you see or hear is deliberate. Nothing happens by chance -- it's all planned. Everything that happens does so because somebody wanted it to. Which is why the extended sequences of extras running in circles, running in all manner of opposite directions, away from and towards nothing in particular, well, they were awe-inspiring. In a world crafted by the tightest kind of deliberation, these things made no rational sense. I imagine the director informing the extras that their motivation is to escape the giant chasm that is coming from the Pacific Ocean to consume them, and then telling them to run around in caffeinated ska circles.

In the early days of The Late Show, David Letterman liked to stop in the middle of his monologue and remind the audience that he was the only thing on CBS at the moment. Amazingly, I found myself mind-blown when I realized that Kim Delaney simultaneously detonating five nuclear warheads in order to fuse tectonic plates together was the only thing on NBC.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
TV ... Permalink



2 + 2 = BLUE.

Bruce Ackerman has made an interesting and almost certainly unworkable proposal for the strategic future of the Nader campaign:

In the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, electors will be named by each state's political parties. But Ralph Nader is running as an independent. When he petitions to get on the ballot in each state, he must name his own slate of electors. While he is free to nominate a distinctive slate of names, he can also propose the very same names that appear on the Kerry slate.

If he does, he will provide voters with a new degree of freedom. On Election Day, they will see a line on the ballot designating Ralph Nader's electors. But if voters choose the Nader line, they won't be wasting their ballot on a candidate with little chance of winning. Since Mr. Nader's slate would be the same as Mr. Kerry's, his voters would be providing additional support for the electors selected by the Democrats. If the Nader-Kerry total is a majority in any state, the victorious electors would be free to vote for Mr. Kerry.

In case this doesn't make sense, I will try to clarify. Ackerman is saying that, technically, we vote directly for a group of electors on Election Day, and not for a Pres/VP pair or even a group designated as "Kerry's electors" or "Democratic electors." He's saying the votes cast are cast directly for the electors named by each campaign or party.

A close reading of the Constitution and the U.S. Code shows that basically the entire procedure, up to the point that electors actually vote, is left up to the several states. States get to decide how electors are chosen by the campaigns and how they are voted for by the electorate. Though each state will have its own statutes, it is conceivable that at least some would allow for these kinds of shenanigans. However, I think that the moment Nader made any noise about trying to do this, every such state would rewrite their election law to clarify that votes are cast for a Presidential ticket, and that the electors chosen by the winning ticket get to cast votes in the Electoral College.

It's a nice try, though; it's one of the few loopholes we have that, if left open, might show us that proportional representation isn't that scary after all.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Sunday, 4:50 pm. Fantasy X.

So, I was on the phone Sunday afternoon and this guy calls up and asks me where I�m from. Oh my gosh! We are from the same city! No way! Can you believe it? And no, he�s never called phone sex before, this is his FIRST TIME!

Click to read more

posted by
My 69 Cents Worth ... Permalink ...
Comments (1)



In a futile effort to get everybody to move on to something relevant, here are my thoughts on the Pat Tillman story-qua-eulogy that would not end:

* It doesn't matter that he played professional football. How many dead soldiers played college football? How about high school? How many were professional somethings else? The masses can be excused for thinking it matters. Media elites, who spend hour upon hour telling us that it doesn't matter, can't.

* He had to be kind of an egomaniac. How else do you come to the conclusion that one extra person joining the Army will have a more significant impact than the donation of the millions he would've earned signing a new NFL contract? Most people don't get the opportunity to put those kinds of resources into making a difference; that's why, for most people, military service seems like a chance to make that difference. Pat Tillman, as a multi-millionaire professional athlete, was not most people.

* God did not "draft" Pat Tillman. Fuck you, everyone who appropriates this to push a religious agenda. Here's what Tillman's brother said at the funeral/rally:

Pat isn't with God. He's fucking dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's fucking dead.

* Pat Tillman's funeral was broadcast all over the place. Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan, a theater that people generally still think we're doing a good job in. Sinclair Broadcasting refused to air Nightline's reading of the names of the Iraq dead. A majority now think we're fucking up in Iraq. I think we can expect more and more coverage on the Afghanistan "success" in the coming months.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Sporting Events ... The World at Large ... Permalink ...
Comments (2)



Josh Marshall has what I suspect is the most accurate and what definitely in the most amusing description of the neocon cabal running the American government:

In the popular political imagination we're familiar with the neocons as conniving militarists, masters of intrigue and cabals, graspers for the oil supplies of the world, and all the rest. But here we have them in what I suspect is the truest light: as college kid rubes who head out for a weekend in Vegas, get scammed out of their money by a two-bit hustler on the first night and then get played for fools by a couple hookers who leave them naked and handcuffed to their hotel beds.

This would also explain a lot about the people who are drawn to the College Republicans.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




We woke up this morning to a blizzard. A fucking blizzard! It's May 2, for Christ's sake! Now it's started to melt and there's a ton of water running off the roof.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink




I held extended office hours on Thursday, because my students had a paper due the next day and I hadn't been able during the two-day walkout. About a dozen or so came by with questions about their papers; one came to tell me he's being deployed to Iraq. He's leaving this Sunday or Monday and won't be able to finish the semester. When he gets back from his 12-18 month tour he'll have a few weeks to get his incompletes completed.

This is one of those kids who joined up not out of nationalistic fervor but out of financial necessity. Remember how everybody "Oh, you poor thing"-ed Jessica Lynch because she used the military to escape a relatively hopeless upbringing? It's like that, except he's not a telegenic, 19-year-old girl. He's been one of the most vocal students in any of my classes. Surprisingly, one of the consistent problems with his work is that he's let his anti-Bush fervor sometimes overwhelm his analysis of, for instance, the PR effort leading up to the war. He struck me as somebody who was anti-Bush to begin with, but just totally redlined when President Shithead wound up putting him in the face of personal harm.

He's feeling the pull of journalism and his ability to put abstract pieces together has already improved during the semester. I think he'll be applying to the j-school when he gets back and I hope he does as much as he can to document the situation while he's there. He may not be John Kerry, but somebody's eventually going to have to stand up and talk openly and honestly about what's going on.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink