"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Wonderland Fortress

Concept album for a psychedelic Red Dawn fantasy rock band. Working track list:

Trip Narnia

Rockin' Out in Xibalba

Sleep With Your Third Eye Open

Rebel Unicorns

I can't claim any more than collaborative authorship. I'm just a conduit, one of many tiny condensing cells of consciousness, small sparks in geological time, looking to do battle with entropy. Maybe the b-side will feature dirty-beat and dub reggae remixes.

The Autumn is upon us. We are honest outlaws. We've got a shed full of wood and we're not afraid to use it. We recognize decay and even calamity as parts of every life-cycle, and we're not afraid of a little turbulence.

Most of all, we're winning.

It's a very two-steps forward one-step back kind of winning, but you have to recognize progress when it happens. Is it enough? Of course not. It's never enough, but it's something. We're winning feet and inches with miles to go, but that's a hell of a lot better than giving up ground, because in addition to (slowly) making progress, we're also getting stronger.

What do I mean, "we," white man? I mean the forces of hope for the 21st Century.

It's easy to see the apocalypse around every corner. Seductive even. The undercurrent of doom runs strong throughout our world, and it too is a real thing. Stock markets crash. Carbon dioxide accumulates. Our lives slip away in a fitful series of fluorescent flickers, gasping for traction. As the good word says, "it’s so easy to be sad."

But there's light out there. There's promise in the sun, in snowflakes on mars, in the premise of a Black President and Millennial Power. Every year there are more people like us, and not just because people like them are dying off, but because we're right about a lot of things. We're right and we're passionate and passion+truth is a powerful combination. We win converts every day.

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I actually watched tonight's debate in full down at Humbrews. I would call it a draw overall, which favors Obama. Considering he needed to change the momentum and this was supposed to be his zone, that's good.

TV coverage is somewhat unhelpful to me. It's mostly fluff and drek. The debate itself was pretty interesting though. The format was good in terms of getting into the weeds. I liked that.

Other notes:

  • McCain broached the idea of cutting Pentagon spending. That was the first surprising thing for me.
  • Neither candidate said anything bold or interesting about the Wall St meltdown. The next time I hear someone do the Wall St/Main St contrast, I may go on a killing spree. Such a cliche.
  • Obama does a lot of good things overall. He may not be a zinger kind of debater, but he speaks well. The Kissinger bit was strong. The "you were wrong" was also strong.
  • McCain did a lot better in all the talking-over moments. He doesn't back down. Obama does. That scores points for McCain; it shows him pushing Obama around a bit.
  • Both candidates show that media narratives trump facts: McCain brings up "Iran's Republican Guard" and Obama answers in the same words. Those were the boogymen in Iraq from back in the day, y'alls. Iran's crack paramilitary forces are the Revolutionary Guard.

Overall, it was surprising to me how narrow the terms of debate are here. Reagan is great. You can talk about the "freedom fighters in Iraq" without noting that, uhmmm, those are some of literally the same people who dropped the twin towers. Nobody calls any serious bullshit on the finance thing.

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More Random Dribbles

Serious writers block going on here it seems.

So, notes.

  • Krugman. Essential reading. Again.
  • I made it back to the gym for the first time in... forever. I've decided I should be exxxtra hot by the time I make the trip out to NYC for Alex and Laura's wedding. So, more lifting heavy objects, less drinking heady beer. For a while.
  • I've really started to loathe my dirtstyle site design, and I desperately want to update to Drupal 6.0 and slap on a new theme (I like the feel of this). I'd like to keep my big juicy picture style, but the rest of the business is just depressing to look at at this point.

Overall it feels like I am confronting yet another crisis of identity, trying to figure out who I'm trying to be as a grown up, or perhaps if I want to take my last possible (or at least socially plausible) detour from that track.

I also learned from RadioLab that I need alternative activities to outlet my unhealthy levels of stress. Simply relaxing is probably not enough.

Seems like there should be a connection there. I don't have it yet, but I feel like its out there.

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Flex It

So, debate #1 is on Friday and the expectations game has begun. How will the Wall St. moneygrab play in? We'll see.

Also: attention students: Vote were it counts: http://www.countmore.org/

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Big Money

I have a lot of thoughts about this big bailout plan that's been unveiled. My interest is hopelessly nerdy and political, but what we're seeing right now is totally, like, crazy.

  • First of all, $700B?!?!? For a sense of scale, that's more than the Iraq war has cost to date (though Iraq will cost much more over time in terms of support for wounded, replacing equipment, etc). It's also about $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
  • Secondly, the treasury secretary gets to do whatever the fuck he wants with it: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Bold.
  • Gotta love capitalism.

The most interesting thing here to me is how this jives with what I recall from Polyani's The Great Transformation. What this appears to be is a move to protect people from the market, except that unlike in the past when those being protected were workers or families or the like, the entities being protected here are banks themselves.

Further, while there's clearly a huge amount of elites looking out for themselves here, the really striking thing is that the moral justification here is that if the whole shitpile were allowed to tumble, the impact on regular folks would be really bad. So you're going to see people making the argument shortly (if they're not already) that we're protecting the finance sector from the workings of the market in order to maintain the current standard of living for regular citizens.

Fucking crazy.

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For The Ladies

I've long enjoyed the static version of Get Your War On's sardonic humor, and this animated/voiced version made me laugh out loud, but it's pretty sick shit.

Incidentally, the most plausible rationale for Palin's insistence that victims of rape pay for their own forensic kits (rather than the police doing so, which is the humane norm) is that these kits contain emergency contraception, which Palin likely equates with abortion, which she also staunchly opposes as an option for victims of rape or incest.

McCain, also not so much into choice, btw. Loud and proud about his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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The Kids are Coming Up From Behind

Quick meta-notes: my prestigious google ranking for the keyphrase "authentic experience" is not long for this world, methinks. Couldn't be eclipsed by nicer folk though. ;)

I did some good work today on the Drupal for Firebug project, which my colleague Matt has been rocking. It's interesting getting into new technological territory in terms of writing extensions for Firefox. Still following reliable trailblazer John Reisig, one of the real shining lights of the internet. Big ups and terrorist fist-jabs for him.

It's got me thinking about how much I'm over this old Dirtstyle website. Coming into the Autumn, I feel the need to start living the dream a bit more, even if that means experimenting around the margins of what the dream might entail. Fortune favors the bold, and I think it might be fun to work on my own website as a project. My entrepreneurial activities of the past two years have sucked a lot of the joy out of the web for me, and that's a real shame. Doesn't have to be like that.

This might also a good way of getting back into a regular writing pattern. I've realized that this (writing) is something I'd like to keep up, and that in the longer-run, maybe I can have some of my career based around writing english rather than writing code. That or I'll hit the high grade one of these days and can start living that charmed boho life that suddenly becomes possible when you've got a pile of cash on reserve. Ah, dreams.

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Power In Numbers

Just wanted to back up my previous post about the upcoming election w/a quick look at polling numbers. These are from the current national averages where internal demographic breakdowns are publicly available.

Age McCain Obama
Research 2000
18-29 32% 61%
30-44 50% 43%
45-59 46% 47%
60+ 55% 39%
18-29 32% 60%
30-44 46% 46%
45-59 48% 45%
60+ 49% 41%

It's interesting to see the continuation of the work I did last cycle, watching the Millennial wave grow. It makes me wonder how much of a generation gap we're seeing, as it's hard not to think about how differently media-savvy kids see the back-and-forth that goes on vs. Gen X'ers and Boomers.

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And the Race Is On

So I was out of the world for the Democratic National Convention, and experiencing re-entry for the Republican shindig, so it's been catch-up on the politics front. It's definitely game-on at this point, with McCain taking his first ever national polling lead (slim, but statistically significant) and the state-by-state electoral college picture shaping up to look a lot like 2004, except perhaps with Colorado and Virgina as alternate "keys to the kingdom" from Florida and Ohio.

I've got a number of thoughts on the VP choices, so I thought I'd give a run-down of those before my take on the overall scene as it shapes up for the home stretch.

Vice Presidents

It's clear that Sarah Palin's selection shook up the campaign, something the McCain campaign needed badly, and they took a risk to get. While I doubt she'll peel off any meaningful numbers of Hillary Clinton fans from Obama -- they're not stupid -- she serves a much more important purpose for Republicans: as a devout Pentacostal Christian with strong socially conservative bonafides, she brings home many of the evangelical voters who put Bush over the top in 2004.

Palin also shook up the scene by virtue of her novelty, both in that she's relatively unknown, and in that she's a telegenic woman. It's a story, and conservatives are excited again. Paradoxically, while she brings home a devout demographic, she also gives more secular red-meat Limbaugh-lovers something to get excited about. VILF is the term, which sounds silly, but the anecdotal evidence is strong.

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Another glorious time-compressed post from under the Embarcaderro.

It now looks like I'll be in SF through early next week. Got some important meetings to handle. I'm more or less dust-free now (though the back of my pickup is a hazard zone) and I'm enjoying being out and about on my Mission Bike here in the watered-down SanFranSwelter of summer part two. We slung out 41 bikes in August, and got ourselves on Current TV. Pretty neat!

It's back to the grinder though out here, and looks to be that way for some time. We're sort of at a critical make-or-break point with the biz: can we get our process solid enough and score enough high-quality Drupal work to last through the winter, or will we be the proverbial Grasshoppers of the internets, starving and shivering our way through the cold and dark.

Time will tell. Hard work until then. Here's comes the train again.

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