Categories
2004 US Election

if it can be boiled down to one issue

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: October 31, 2004 – November 06, 2004 Archives:

[A]cross the country, the Republican ground game is simple: prevent as many newly registered voters from voting as possible. It’s really as simple as that.

When you consider the two major parties, there are a lot of philosophical differences, a fair amount of spin, and it can be tough to work out which side really has one’s interests at heart. One simple question to ask: which party wants the voting franchise expanded to include more voters, more participation, and which would prefer to limit it? Say what you like about taxes or defense spending or any component of policy and process: we need an inclusive democracy before we can even consider these issues.

Now playing:Devil Song by Camper Van Beethoven from the album “Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart” | Buy it

Categories
2004 US Election

I like radio because the pictures are better[*]

So, with a little help from PDP-XI, I managed to grab 5 out of 6 episodes of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase, broadcast and streamed over BBC Radio 4. One of the files wasn’t usable so I managed to track it down with AcquisitionX. Listened to it all last night and, barring some weird mismatches in volume levels, it was a lot of fun.

Then I discovered a link to the 1939 production of The War of the Worlds, the infamous Orson Welles/Mercury Theatre[1] version.

I listened to some of it this afternoon (lots of similarly good stuff here ) and it was amazing to listen to; I understand how people tuning in might have feared a real invasion was underway.

I have always liked radio shows, though they were out of fashion when I was growing up: my father turned me onto The Goon Show, a late 50s BBC romp that still sets some kind of standard for audio-only fun.

Listening to the new HHGG series reminded me of how well a story can be told with words and voices (and the odd sound effect) and how important the story and the acting is.

There are a few more old broadcasts (the Mercury Theatre’s version of The 39 Steps, the canonical thriller, is queued up for a listen): try it for yourself and see how works for you.

[*]

Categories
2004 US Election

the planet you save may be your own

One of the blind spots I find when I read about climate change or habitat destruction seems rooted in the belief that no matter what happens, mankind will survive, as if the world were created for man and will cease to exist without us. This would stem from the faith-based world-view that has gained so much currency lately.

What has seemed obvious to me and seems to be borne out by more and more news articles is the fact that life on earth preceded us and will follow us. We have condemned countless species to extinction, both large and small, but we seem likely to do consign ourselves to the same fate.

NEWS.com.au | Giant squid ‘taking over world’ (archived):

GIANT squid are taking over the world, well at least the oceans, and they are getting bigger.

According to scientists, squid have overtaken humans in terms of total bio-mass.

That means they take up more space on the planet than us.

The reason has been put down to overfishing of other species and climate change.

The squid, even with lifespans of 200 days, make up more of the living biomass on the earth than we do with our 28,000 day lifespans. And their increased viability is directly attributed to human activity, ie predator reduction through overfishing and increased water temperature through climate change.

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Dramatic warming confirmed in Arctic:

The report’s authors believe Arctic temperature ranges will increase several degrees in coming decades, according to a summary prepared by Gunn-Britt Retter, a technical adviser with the council’s Indigenous People’s Secretariat. Winters are expected to become warmer, and wet periods in the Arctic are expected to become longer, more frequent or both.

If nations want to temper or reverse that trend, Corell said, they will need to act quickly because carbon dioxide, the gas that is the prime culprit in global warming, typically lingers in the atmosphere 100 years before being recycled.
[ . . . ]
It is not entirely clear why the Arctic is warming much more quickly than other areas. One factor probably is albedo, or the heat-reflecting value of ice. Once icepacks melt and that reflective power is lost, temperature increases can accelerate.

This last bit is important: this is where the increase can become self-sustaining and possibly unrecoverable. If enough of the icepack melts and exposes darker, more absorptive surfaces, allowing more heat to be retained and melting more ice, exposing more absorptive material, it may not be within our power to rectify it.

Theory or fact? We don’t know yet. But there are a few theories that we rely on every day: electricity — the harnessing of electrons through copper wire — is “a theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen.” Can we afford to pick and choose what theories we base decisions on, based on how they fit into a belief system, rather than basing our beliefs on observable phenomena?

Categories
2004 US Election

a uniter, not a divider

The Face of American Fascism:

Lisa Dupler, a 33-year-old from Columbus, held up a rainbow-striped John Kerry sign outside the Nationwide Arena on Friday, as Republicans streamed out after being rallied by George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A thickset woman with very short, dark hair, Dupler was silent and barely flinched as people passing her hissed “faggot” into her ear. An old lady looked at her and said, “You people are sick!” A kid who looked to be about 10 or 11 affected a limp wrist and mincing voice and said, “Oh, I’m gay.” Rather than restraining him, his squat mother guffawed and then turned to Dupler and sneered, “Why don’t you go marry your girlfriend?” Encouraged, her son yelled, “We don’t want faggots in the White House!

The throngs of Republicans were pumped after seeing the president and the action hero. But there was an angry edge to their elation. They shrieked at the dozen or so protesters standing on the concrete plaza outside the auditorium. “Kerry’s a terrorist! yelled a stocky kid in baggy jeans and braces. “Communists for Kerry! Go back to Russia,” someone else screamed. Many of the took up the chant “Kerry sucks”; old women and teenage boy shouting with equal ferocity

With four days to go until the election, you can feel th temperature rising in Ohio

Salon
Down with the Kerry haters
October 30, 2004

Hatred, Hitler had recognized, was among the most powerful of emotions. That was what he consciously appealed to. That it what drove so many of his followers. But there was idealism, too — misplaced, certainly, but idealism none the less: hopes of a new society, of a ‘national community’ that would transcend all existing social divides . . . Those who did not belong to in the ‘national community’ — ‘shirkers’, ‘spongers’, ‘parasites’, and, of course, those deemed not to be German at all, notably Jews – would be ruthlessly suppressed

Ian Kershaw
Hitler
1998

Love is stronger than hate but hate is closer at hand: we find it easier to hate, to objectify/demonize. If you’re not one of Us, you’re one of Them and may God help you.