Archive for September, 2008

three succinct explanations for the current financial maelstrom

Monday, September 29th, 2008

i’ve found these very helpful:

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New York Times’ Paul Krugman article

Wall Street Journal article

in other news…

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008


right now: pbs palin poll

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

a friend just sent me this:

PBS is doing one of those instant online polls to ask “America” if they think Sarah Palin is fit to be Vice President.

The GOP has launched a successful all out blitz to get Republicans to go on the site and click “Yes”. As a result right now it looks like 62% of “America” thinks Palin is qualified. The Republicans are going to be milking this for all its worth in their press efforts.

You don’t have to enter your email, or any personal information, just think and click.

i, as not a task.

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

i met some colleagues from other countries and noticed that i introduced myself like this: “hi, i’m a professor.”

to which my foreign colleagues replied, “hi, i work at a university.”

big difference.

absentee voting is for anyone, and may be a great option for you

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

any registered voter may vote as an absentee.

a person must be registered to vote in order to cast an absentee ballot

here is a great site for get everything you’ll need in just a few minutes.

i can think of two compelling reasons to vote as an absentee:

this article suggests that ‘racial misgivings’ in the minds of otherwise democratic white voters may cause them to either not vote at all, or to vote for McCain because he isn’t black. this is extremely discouraging.

i wonder if the atmosphere of the polling site and voting booth, the environmental psychology of those spaces, if you will, won’t encourage the expression of such misgivings in the form of a vote based on them.

I’m imagining that in the isolation of the booth, within the unfamiliarity of the polling site, some may become a bit anxious. a vote cast at that moment, in those strange surroundings, may be more a reflection of that specific moment than a well considered gesture made with a clear mind for a better future.

perhaps, in the quiet of your home, you might be able to take a bit more time to think, and allow your choice to be a reflection of who you think is really the better candidate, and to acknowledge that a vote based on inner, hidden fears, biases, and stereotypes is essentially a vote for the continuation of hidden fears, biases, and stereotypes.

an absentee ballot may be the thing for you.

if you’d like to vote but know deep down that the prospect of leaving your apartment, going off-campus, waiting on a line, etc., are things that you won’t be able to get past, yet you feel this election is something you’d like to participate in, PLEASE consider an absentee vote. it is easy, and you can do it, basically, from your sofa.

a few things:

it seems most absentee ballot requests need to be received by mid-october.

a person must be registered to vote in order to cast an absentee ballot

here’s information for maryland:,

submit the phrase: absentee voting to google and you’ll find appropriate information for your location, or, go here for a one-stop shop to get all the information you’ll need delivered via email.

confidence games/the people’s republic of wall st. ?

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

What we are witnessing may be the greatest destruction of financial wealth that the world has ever seen — paper losses measured in the trillions of dollars. Corporate wealth. Oil wealth. Real estate wealth. Bank wealth. Private-equity wealth. Hedge fund wealth. Pension wealth. It’s a painful reminder that, when you strip away all the complexity and trappings from the magnificent new global infrastructure, finance is still a confidence game — and once the confidence goes, there’s no telling when the selling will stop.

Steven Pearlstein, from Scrambling to Clean Up After A Category 4 Financial Storm

obama waffles

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

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i am deeply saddened.

“I think of nature in a pretty simple way;

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

it is something close to me.” hiro yamagata

i think i completely mis-understood this quote when i just read it on yamagata’s site. i took him to mean that nature is, literally, and simply, whatever is close to him at any moment. that idea blew my mind because it suggest that the understanding of what nature is, is an ongoing process that varies over time and is not embodied in specific things, like trees or birds, but is everywhere and the realization of the natural comes from understanding the essence of nature within whatever is closest, whatever is pressing most firmly against one, at any given moment. to me that seems like a rewarding, knowledge enhancing practice.

but then i settled down and realized he was stating, simply, that he feels close to nature. oh, well… i think i’ll work with my misunderstanding for a while.

Less Palin, more (National, Global issues)/(McCain v. Obama) = Future.

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

McCain and his crew are brilliant strategists. Palin has become a national fascination, how couldn’t she be? All the questions, all the resulting “huh?” from trying to parse her record with her story.

With no resolution or concrete understanding in sight, the din of the resonating media feedback loop she’s in the center of, and we’re pouring energy into, has hijacked this campaign and stymied the meaningful and very important national discussion about the differences between McCain and Obama, and where each plan to take our country if elected.

To me, I can’t help but think this was exactly the effect McCain et al wanted, and we are all complicit in allowing this to continue.

Of course it is important to know who the VP pick is, and what they stand for, but it’s also essential to know when we’re being played, and to respond accordingly.

A brilliant political maneuver, feeding us Palin, but inciting and leveraging our folksy and ignorant bravura, fears, and addiction to gossip as a means to become president suggests one candidate is doing this not for us, but for himself. If he’s willing to select a VP who’s moment of national fame probably should have come from a brawl with her family on the Jerry Springer show I strongly suspect that his behavior as commander and chief will be equally manipulative and self-serving.

Reaching out to our lesser selves will produce a lesser country.

We’ve already had eight years of that.

I don’t think McCain wants to be our president, I think he wants to preside. There’s a huge difference.

He has an agenda and, based on the way he’s run his campaign and political life over the past several years, seems to be willing to do whatever is necessary to make it to the oval office.

For the sake of our future I think it is essential that we bring the focus of the national discussion surrounding this campaign back to the essential challenges facing our nation, and how the two nominees plan to deal with them.

Taking four years off from working through the serious issues to be potentially amused by the antics of a politically savvy grumpy old man prisoner of war hero, and an inexperienced, say whatever it takes to win politician who seems to really believe not only her own bullshit but the bullshit others write for her, will be, in my opinion, a terrible, terrible mistake.

The more I think about it the more McCain/Palin = Bush/Cheney, and I don’t want four more years of that for you or me.

Less Palin, more (national, global issues)/(McCain v. Obama) = Future.

Thank you, Rob Caldwell, for a fine interview with John McCain

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Maine TV/McCain Interview

Reporter does a fine job interviewing John McCain, follow the link, please.

For some additional analysis, see this.