Wednesday, 16 March 2005

So just give me one good reason, tell me why I should stay

Had a nice early dinner tonight with my colleagues-slash-friends Suzanne, Peter, Kamilla, and Kelly at Hal and Mal’s to celebrate some good employment news, the precise details of which I’m not ready to share with all the readers of Signifying Nothing just yet.

Topics of discussion included such eclectic topics as hair (Kelly’s good, mine bad), the spatial properties of glowingness (I made an argument that glow is a multidimensional concept that has, at least, romantic and vocational axes, while others disagreed), coattail effects, the incumbency advantage, metrics of success, whether “free love” and pot was all it was cracked up to be in the late 60s and early 70s, sumo wrestling as a career option, and the geography of Ann Arbor. Damn I’m going to miss these folks.

A weird time to go wobbly

Like many, I’ve had my doubts about the potential success of the war in Iraq. In fact, I had them last Fall in Cass’s comments section back when she was at Jet Noise. I never thought I would see Michele go wobbly, though.

Michele is apparently experiencing buyer’s remorse over having voted for President Bush back in the Fall. She’s even starting to question us going to war in Iraq. Coming from one of the founders of The Command Post, a post I manned in the runup to the Iraq War, it’s more than a little astonishing.

Here’s Michele on her reasons for experiencing buyer’s remorse:

Social Security. Bankruptcy. The insistence of the far right that they have some kind of religious mandate now and we need to revert back to our Christian roots and morals. And yes, Iraq.
One at a time:
  • Social Security: it’s not clear to me why there should be any remorse here. Bush’s support for private accounts is one of the worst kept secrets in the world. He’s favored them since the 2000 race. Lately, I’ve started to question the need for the accounts myself, but I can’t claim that Bush’s support for them is a surprise.

    According to Zogby, this is part of a political realignment that Bush is attempting to engineer. Maybe so, but it seems like a far more difficult solution to the problem than is needed (for more see here, here and here) and that the effort to reform Social Security would be better spent working on Medicare, which is a far bigger problem.

  • Bankruptcy: this is a little more bothersome, but not as much as Michele seems to think. From what I’ve read, the credit card companies are refusing to accept any responsibility for the people they give cards to. This seems a bit unfair, and I would like for it to be different, but it’s not something to get worked up over. The best solution is to limit your use of credit cards and you won’t have to deal with the bankruptcy bill. If there’s more to it than that, please let me know.
  • The religious right: Michele and I apparently read different publications. Even if the religious right thinks it has a mandate, what are they gonna do? Throw people in jail for going to the wrong church, or for not going at all? I’ll be in there with all of the other sinners.

    On gay marriage it seems that they mostly want it to be handled at a state level. Some want it outlawed nationwide, but it’ll never happen. They couldn’t even get the FMA out of the Senate last Fall and it doesn’t outlaw gay marriage; it simply guarantees that it’s left to the states. The optimal answer here is to let the states decide and that appears to be what is happening.

    Abortion is another item, but again, the religious right doesn’t seem to be intent on outlawing it nationwide; they simply want it returned to the states, which is all that would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned. The real problem is that the courts intervened in this process thirty years ago and tried to fashion a consensus where none existed. And it’s still a huge issue today precisely because the Court intervened, rather than leaving it to the states. If someone tries to do the opposite and outlaw it nationwide before a consensus exists, I’ll be screaming about it as well. Until then, I won’t worry about it.

  • The Iraq War: this is the most inexplicable of Michele’s gripes. Finally, after months and months of nothing but bad news, the idea of freedom in the Middle East seems to be getting a bit of traction, and part of it can be traced to the reelection of President Bush. By reelecting President Bush we told the rest of the world that we can’t be rolled and that we’ll remain committed to what we started. The people in other countries in the Middle East have taken this to heart and are acting on this and other events to work for freedom. How is this sneaking past Michele?

    Like Cass said, it’s gut check time. All we have to do is be resolute in our jobs as computer jockies and let the troops know that what they are doing is not in vain. I can do that.

It’s weird. Right now I support Bush more strongly than I ever have and seeing others get buyer’s remorse is a bit confusing.


I love my students most of the time, but I’ve got to hand it to the guy who sent me an attachment today with the title IMFUCKED.WPS. Actually, the title is very appropriate, as I wasn't able to open the file using OpenOffice, Word, or WordPerfect; you can’t grade what you can’t read. Thankfully (for the student, at least), a bit of googling implicated Microsoft Works as a possible producer of this document, so maybe I can figure out a way to get it into OpenOffice so I can print the thing.

Mystery group gets half-mil state loan

I love Mississippi politics sometimes. Case in point: yesterday, the idiots we elected to our House of Representatives approved a bond package that features a $500,000 loan to some newly-incorporated outfit without even an office:

M-Quality Inc. is a “humanitarian group” and will perform work in the Caribbean, House Ways and Means Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, said about the 4-month-old company. Watson said that is all he was told about M-Quality by one of the firm’s incorporators, Dr. Roy Irons, president of the Mississippi Port Authority board of commissioners.

Corruption? Pshaw. Nothing to see here, move along.

Catfight 2008

I’ve been a big fan of Condi running in 2008 for some time now. The issue has been popping up everywhere since Sunday and has never really gone away at all (Condi's rather lengthy, and tortured denial didn't help).

Condi has some negatives for a Republican—she’s pro-choice and supposedly supports affirmative action—but the positives outweigh that by a great deal. Foreign policy is a great starting point and I’ve seen no indication that she would be all that different than most free-market Republicans.

On the abortion issue, which is usually a deal killer for most Republicans in the primary, Condi isn’t nearly as far out as many Democrats, which usually involves abortions on demand up until the baby crowns. Also, she won’t get elected in a vacuum and will have to pay attention to the pro-lifers. When it comes down to it, Republicans are far more reasonable than the Democrats on the issue and I hope the Republicans aren’t marginalized in the same way the Democrats have been due to their hard-headedness on the issue.

Outside of Condi, the Republicans have a very shallow bench for 2008. In fact, the best candidate outside of Condi seems to be Jeb Bush. If Hillary runs, that will do away with a lot of the nepotism charges and make a run for Jeb easier.

As for Hillary, Condi could whip her with a corn stalk.


I’ve never been a fan of the phrase “state’s rights” since I view individuals as rights holders, so I generally use the word federalism instead. The Professor points to an article that makes the distinction. I’m simply marking it for later reading, and hoping it will be of interest to you.

Sacrilege (but funny)

Ryan dredges the Dead Parrots archives and finds this gem from last year (þ: Begging to Differ). Good thing I don’t have any reason to have any Cameron Crazy pride or anything, or else I might be insulted.