Thursday, 8 July 2004

Crosses and flags


Rather, just like “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Confederate battle flag motif used in Southern state flags, it was a belated addition of the Eisenhower era. Both the cross and “under God” were added as part of a wave of religious iconography that swept the nation in the 1950s in response to fears of “godless communism,” while the Confederate flag was added to demonstrate contempt for the growing civil rights movement — and to rally local support for continued enforcement of Jim Crow laws.

(Minor) point of fact: the Confederate battle flag emblem was first incorporated in the Mississippi state flag on February 7, 1894—Mississippi’s legislators must have been quite prescient to forsee a conflict over civil rights arising in another six decades or so.* The only other state to incorporate the battle flag “motif” into its own was Georgia, which did so in 1956; however, the use of Confederate imagery in the Georgia state flag dates back to 1879. No other state adopted the battle flag in part or whole, although South Carolina put up the flag in 1962 over its statehouse, but never incorporated the design into its flag.

Sex and the single mom

Dan Drezner is having trouble figuring out why Nicole Kidman is going through a bit of a dry spell on the dating scene. My working hypotheses:

  • Men think she looks like Virginia Woolf when not wearing makeup.
  • She’s too young for Russell Crowe.
  • Her gaydar is broken (insert your own Tom Cruise joke here).

Update: Xrlq in comments points to this Kim du Toit post, which blames the drought on her previous association with Lenny Kravitz.

When is a hypothetical not a hypothetical?

James Joyner ponders at a distance the following hypothetical exchange:

  • A says to B, “I have X.”
  • B says to A, “So I’ve heard.”
  • A says to B, “And I have to offer it to someone.”
  • B says to A, “Funny how that works.”
  • A says to B, “If I offered you X, would you take it?”
  • B says to A, “No, I wouldn’t take it.”

Here’s your ontological question: did A offer X to B? If not, what is the substantive difference between “If I offered you X, would you take it?” and “Would you like X?” if A intended to offer X to B had B answered in the affirmative?

The benefits of not being pivotal

My advice to Dan Drezner: move to Mississippi (or Utah or Massachusetts), where your vote won’t matter anyway. (Of course, the cynic might say that the likely prospect of massive voting fraud in Chicago makes Dan’s vote not much more likely to make a difference.)

Having said that, casting even a meaningless directional vote for Michael Badnarik is going to be tough, for reasons explained by Jacob Levy* (via Will Baude), even though—if push comes to shove—I’m slightly more inclined to write in “Stephen Harper” (q.v.) or “Condi Rice” than vote for either Bush or Kerry in the event I don’t vote for Badnarik.

Pondering counterfactuals

Matt Yglesias, Brad DeLong and the Volokh Conspiracy (at the moment, Tyler Cowen and Eugene Volokh) ponder the “alternative history” question of what the world would be like without a successful American Revolution. I don’t have much to add, but it’s an interesting concept to ponder. My gut feeling is that separation was inevitable by 1820 or so; the resources of the period (most notably, the lack of real-time communication and fast intercontinental transportation) probably just couldn’t sustain any form of unified government over an area separated by thousands of miles of sea.

More Edwards

Innocents Abroad has an interesting guest post from Steven Teles about what tangible benefits John Edwards can bring to the Kerry campaign. Chief among them: quite possibly the Florida panhandle.

Also, the Clarion-Ledger wastes ink interviewing a bunch of people* who agree that Mississippi isn’t in play, so Edwards being on the ticket isn’t going to change the disposition of the state’s six electoral votes. But at least it gets this quote:

Hinds County Democratic Party Chairman Claude McInnis said he hopes Edwards will attract Mississippi voters to the Democratic ticket.

“This is a strange voting state. Almost every need in the state is Democratic — Medicare, public education, social services — yet voters vote Republican,” he said.

“I hope Edwards can reach people here. We’re ready for something different.”

One suspects that if the average Mississippi voter didn’t think the national Democratic party stood on a platform of abortion-on-demand, gun-grabbing, and letting the Supreme Court decide every other issue that ought to be decided through the political process, they might be willing to pull the lever (or dimple the chad or beat the hell out of the touchscreen, as the case may be) for Kerry-Edwards.