Monday, 26 April 2004

As I leave [redacted]

I need to get to bed in a few minutes, since I have an appointment with an American Eagle plane at oh-dark-thirty. So I’ll leave you to ponder this Dan Drezner post and the linked article on Larry Diamond’s experiences in Iraq attempting to promote democracy there.

More when I’m safe and sound back in Oxvegas, sometime late Tuesday.

Thank you for your liberal patronage

Lily Malcolm catches Washington Post writer David Finkel using a tone of “bemused ironic distance” in reference to a Texas suburbanite, in addition to commiting the cardinal sin of perpetuating the Red State-Blue State myth. I mean, at least Finkel could make himself useful and perpetuate obsolete but at least empirically-based theories of political culture, rather than crap peddled by two-bit media-hound hacks whose research doesn’t dignify the term.

Head to toe

Brian J. Noggle thinks an MSN dating column is giving erroneous advice. Given my recent focus on womens’ footwear, I might say “speak for yourself.”

Brian also is hat blogging, following Brock’s lead. I’m afraid my hat collection is limited to two Ole Miss baseball caps and a Linux “Tux” penguin hat; my fashion fetish is represented by my burgeoning collection of ties, including my find of the month, a nice silver-and-grey tie that cost me all of $2. Of course, it was probably made by Chinese political prisoners or some such…

At least Diebold isn't tabulating American Idol votes

Alex Knapp is not at all impressed with the spread of touchscreen voting and thinks it will ultimately create more problems than it solves; I generally agree, especially given the less expensive and superior alternative: optical mark recognition (OMR) machines, which are essentially glorified Scantron machines that read ink circles instead of pencil marks. Put an OMR scanner or two in each precinct, and the only other equipment you need are some pens and the proper machine-readable paper ballots. Not to mention that the audit trail is trivial: all you need to do is hang on to the ballots after they’re scanned.


Hei Lun of Begging To Differ wonders why conservatives are so worked up over the Specter-Toomey showdown in Pennsylvania. At some level, I suppose it’s the question northern liberals had to ask themselves in the 60s and 70s: do we continue to support conservative southern Democrats, and thereby retain our numerical superiority in Congress and keep the tent “big,” or do we follow our principles and try to get northern-style liberals to win the primary—and risk losing our majority by getting outflanked by the Republicans in the general election.

That said, a Specter defection to the Democrats would only be harmful to the GOP if it was a trigger for defection by the other northeastern Republicans (and therefore tipped the balance in the Senate), and the strategic calculus for Bush is such that the Olympia Snowes of the world will wonder—quite rightly—whether they would be next on the ideological purity “hit list” if Bush had endorsed Toomey over Specter.

On balance, I think both parties benefit from having moderates on their rosters—both for the public relations benefit of being able to claim something is “bipartisan” (a label that the media will apply to any legislation that has even one across-the-aisle supporter) and because they allow the parties to be competitive in areas that they otherwise wouldn’t be; Santorum-style conservatism may be viable for both Senate seats in Pennsylvania (though I suspect many Pennsylvanians think one Santorum is plenty), but it wouldn’t fly as well in other swing states.

Invisible in the Chronicle

Eugene Volokh links an interview with the departed (from the web, at least) Invisible Adjunct.

Hooray for hats!

Will Baude anguishes over the apparent demise of men’s hats as a fashion accessory.

Have faith, Will! One day, men’s hats will come back in style, and you and I will be ahead of the fashion curve.

Everyone who knows me “in real life” knows that I’m a big fan of hats. My wife has compared going hat shopping with me to going shoe shopping with a woman.

Right now I own three hats: a straw Stetson, a felt Bailey, and my newest hat, a straw Scala. Here’s a picture of me wearing the Bailey in San Antonio in January. The lovely lady in the picture is my wife.

A word of advice to men shopping for hats: do not buy a hat over the internet. Two hats of the same brand and style will fit slightly differently. You have to try each of them on to find the one that fits you best.

In Memphis, the place to shop for a hat is Mr. Hats.