Archive for May, 2008

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No contact

May 30, 2008

An arial photograph made headlines today, as researchers say it depicts something very rare: People with absolutely no contact with the outside world.

If you haven’t seen the photo, it’s amazing–check it out.

Kidding! Here’s the real story.

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Noisy dining? No thanks.

May 29, 2008

So it’s not just me! A few days ago, I heard food critic Tom Sietsema on NPR talking about increasing concern over the incredible noise level in many restaurants.

I absolutely hate the fact that four out of five restaurants that I might go to are what I would consider too loud for easy conversation–and some are absolutely absurd.

One thing I didn’t like about Sietsema’s bit on the radio, though: When asked about the cause of the noise increase in recent years, his first response is? Technology. That’s right, it’s not that restaurant dining rooms are made from all hard surfaces. It’s not that they have televisions and music above which everyone must talk. No siree! It’s them ding-dang newfangled Blackberries, iPhones and laptops!

I frickin’ wish the noise I was hearing in restaurants was laptop use. C’mon, that’s really weak.

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White Racism and Right-wingedness

May 28, 2008

Are most white racists also Republicans?

Please understand that I did not just say most Republicans are racists, or that most whites are racist or anything other than: Are most white racists also Republicans?

I realize that it’s a touchy subject. But several people have recently suggested to me that Barack Obama’s campaign will suffer because some white people will not vote for a black person. That’s certainly true, but I doubt very much whether this fact can influence the election.

For one thing, it’s looking at the cup half empty instead of half full; some people will vote against him because he’s black, but others will vote for him because he’s black. But there’s even another reason. And this brings me back to the title of this post: Most white racists aren’t Democrats and, therefore, wouldn’t be voting for him no matter what his skin looked like.

When I suggested this to some hardcore right-wingers, they cried foul. Can you prove that, they asked? Do you have evidence that more white racists are on the right half of American politics? After all, they said, remember the Southern Democrat phenomenon?

But that is a spurious argument. It’s true that 50 years ago the Democratic party had big strongholds among white southerners. But then came a little thing called the Civil Rights Act, losing for Democrats, as president Johnson famously said, the south for a generation. The fact that most of Americans white racists were Democrats in 1950 is no more useful than pointing out the fact that it was Lincoln–a Republican–who freed the slaves. Today’s political divisions have been rewritten completely, and these things have little meaning for our current party labels.

Here’s what bugs me, though: I don’t have any data to demonstrate what I and many of my left-leaning friends take as an obvious fact. Even though it seems intuitive and obvious to me, I can’t prove that most white racists are righties.

Why not? Could it be that I’m wrong? Possibly. Or it could be that such data are hard to come by in a 2 minute Google search. Maybe you can find something I didn’t.

By the way, please don’t bother sniping at me by saying that most racist blacks are also lefties. Of course they are. But that’s not the issue here. We’re talking about white folks who won’t vote for Obama because he’s black, not which party (or race) is more racist than the other. Racism, I believe, is a weakness we are all prone to. We are wired to be more comfortable with people who look, talk and think like us; those who eat the same foods, know the same lullabies and listen to the same music. That’s nothing new.

What I’m talking about here is whether racism against blacks will hurt the Obama campaign at the ballot box. I say it won’t.

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Dressed for the theater

May 23, 2008

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Phones on a plane!

May 22, 2008

If ever there was an opinion poll destined to change radically over the next few years, this one is it.

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Smiley Face Killers crossing Wisconsin? I don’t think so.

May 21, 2008

Creepy. But I’m still not convinced.

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Best. Chase. Ever.

May 19, 2008

What’s your all-time favorite chase scene? The Blues Brothers? The Terminator? The Matrix?

I have my own favorite. Select the invisible text below to see what it is.

My favorite chase scene is Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers. Watch the scene here.