Saturday, November 06, 2004

Twas ever this

Matt gets into the Wayback Machine (because 8 months is like a lifetime in blog years) and remembers just what some people were saying about the Spanish election back then.
The lesson of all this is of course -- blogs are the best medium for very stupid people to mouth off about things they know nothing about and have given no thought to.

Liberal airhead

Via the whining rotter Green Fairy, The F Scale test:
Fifty years ago, the Authoritarian Personality studies attempted to "construct an instrument that would yield an estimate of fascist receptivity at the personality level."
This online, interactive F Scale presents that instrument in its final form.
It's probably more interesting as something that prompts thought on the nature of the personality that's receptive to authoritarian ideas rather than as a test of whether you possess it yourself - the phrasing of the questions, for instance, makes it easy to work out which end of the scale will give you a higher rating - but not a bad way to waste a few minutes, should you desire to. I scored 2, by the way.

Homosexual Redneck Prairie Dog Killers

From Brilliant at Breakfast, because we all need a laugh right now:
Even with a promised legal tussle ahead of them, it was a night of celebration for Dean and his supporters. As Nevada pushed the electoral-vote tally in Dean's favor at 11:47pm EST, a moment indicated by a panicked furrowing of Dan Rather's brow, the scene at the former Vermont governor's campaign headquarters in Burlington could not have been more orgiastic had Bacchus himself been onstage singing "It's Getting Hot In Here," instead of a shirtless Al Gore. Carol Moseley Braun, bombed on Cristal, was spotted french-kissing Bill Bradley, then disappearing into a smoke-filled room with him. Campaign guru Joe Trippi swaggered around in a leather g-string, swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels as two Smith girls smeared his chest with VapoRub and implored him to "drop E with us, baby." Muslim-American women ululated with abandon, though they did not partake of the liquor. The President-elect's wife, Dr. Judy Steinberg Dean, passed around nitrous masks to dozens of giggling Deaniacs, many of them stripped down to nothing but their sports bras and J. Crew skivvies (some wore rep ties). A fully nude Ben Affleck was doing push-ups in the middle of the dance floor as dozens of Homosexual Redneck Prairie-Dog Killers--a key Dean constituency--clapped with joy. Janeane Garofalo swung from a chandelier clad in naught but a bowtie--stolen, she bragged, from Tucker Carlson.
It's worth reading the whole thing though you might end up wondering how you can travel to this alternate univers:
During his famous "Guns and Gays" speech in January 2004, Dean bridged a theretofore vast gap between Chelsea Boys and Good Ol' Boys when he said, "The Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, and I support that right with all my heart--I like to shoot things, and I like things that have been shot. I also believe that we, as Americans, have the right to play butt-bongo with whomever we chose, and who among us can say we haven't wondered what it's like on the old 'down low?' If you are gay in this country, I suggest you arm yourself. If you don't like gays--I suggest you look deep into your heart and ask yourself, 'What's with all this phallic imagery in my gun-rack?'"

The speech struck a chord, made it okay to be gay and gun-loving. Before long, a new pro-Dean organization had formed. Homosexual Redneck Prairie Dog Killers crystallized what the campaign was all about--a campaign not afraid to point out cultural, political, and yes, sexual connections between previously polarized groups of Americans. It was an area none had dared tread before, except when Dick Morris went on his toe-sucking rampage during back in the Clinton years.

Which 60s were you living in?

I mentioned the general pointlessness of the UK Music Hall of Fame before I went on holiday, but for an example of the utter pointlessness and stupidity of the concept the fact that The Who aren't even on the shortlist of ten for the 1960s really says just about all you need to know about it.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Just a teensy bit late

In my referrer logs I found that someone came here last night to find out 'can you write in Nader?'

Because someone had to do it

Who is the most reliably wrong-headed?
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
Stephen Pollard
I always vote for Ralph Nader on principle

Free polls from

See here for why.

On the bright side...

Cheap holidays in New York!
The dollar continued its decline in global currency markets yesterday, intensifying worries among some economists that mounting U.S. budget and trade deficits could send the U.S. currency into a tailspin.

But John B. Taylor, the Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, defended the Bush administration view that the deficits pose no danger of a dollar collapse. He issued a detailed rebuttal of what he called "scare stories."

The dollar fell yesterday to within a fraction of a cent of its all-time low against the euro of $1.2930 , trading as low as $1.2898 before rallying slightly to close at $1.2867. It fell modestly against the Japanese yen, and continued a sharp slide against the Canadian dollar, which rose to 83 U.S. cents yesterday for the first time in 12 years.

It was the second straight day that the dollar has fallen despite a surge in the stock market, continuing a trend that began in early October when it started slipping against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners. The declined rekindled the fears of some analysts that the dollar could be headed for a severe sell-off unless the White House and Congress make a major effort to shrink the budget gap.

"As the dust settles after the U.S. elections, the one theme that is developing is the growing recognition [in the markets] of the need for more dollar depreciation," economists at J.P. Morgan told clients yesterday, citing as one major reason the likelihood that "there will be no serious new policies to trim the U.S. budget deficit."

Behind such sentiments is the belief that the U.S. economy is too dependent on foreign investors, and that they may balk at pouring money into U.S. securities if the country's debt continues to soar. Foreigners have provided much of the money the government borrows to cover its deficit, which was $413 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

"One of the big drivers in the whole big picture the markets are looking at now is our being dependent on foreign sources of funds," said David Solin, managing partner at Foreign Exchange Analytics in Essex, Conn. "Obviously, if the foreigners step back [from investing in U.S. bonds and stocks], there are going to be serious problems, not only for the dollar, but for all financial markets."
(via TPM)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Conceding gracefully

Via just about everyone, if you haven't already you should go read this:
I concede that I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. Though the people disagree with the President on almost every issue, you saw fit to vote for him. I never saw that coming. That's really special. And I mean "special" in the sense that we use it to describe those kids who ride the short school bus and find ways to injure themselves while eating pudding with rubber spoons. That kind of special.

I concede that I misjudged the power of hate. That's pretty powerful stuff, and I didn't see it. So let me take a moment to congratulate the President's strategists: Putting the gay marriage amendments on the ballot in various swing states like Ohio... well, that was just genius. Genius. It got people, a certain kind of people, to the polls. The unprecedented number of folks who showed up and cited "moral values" as their biggest issue, those people changed history. The folks who consider same sex marriage a more important issue than war, or terrorism, or the economy... Who'd have thought the election would belong to them? Well, Karl Rove did. Gotta give it up to him for that. [Boos.] Now, now. Credit where it's due.

I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth. With 8 out of 10 of you opposing the President, with your friends and classmates dying daily in a war you disapprove of, with your future being mortgaged to pay for rich old peoples' tax breaks, you somehow managed to sit on your asses and watch the Cartoon Network while aging homophobic hillbillies carried the day. You voted with the exact same anemic percentage that you did in 2000. You suck. Seriously, y'do. [Cheers, applause] Thank you. Thank you very much.

There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together. Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Los Angeles. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue state split. The reasoning was this: We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about 'em. We in the blue states are the only ones who've been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling "Oh, yeah!? Bring it on!"

More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I'm impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it's not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it's not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury. I concede that.

Healing? We, the people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us... we wanted some healing. We spoke loud and clear. And you refused to give it to us, largely because of your high moral values. You knew better: America doesn't need its allies, doesn't need to share the burden, doesn't need to unite the world, doesn't need to provide for its future. Hell no. Not when it's got a human shield of pointy-headed, atheistic, unconfrontational breadwinners who are willing to pay the bills and play nice in the vain hope of winning a vote that we can never have. Because we're "morally inferior," I suppose, we are supposed to respect your values while you insult ours. And the big joke here is that for 20 years, we've done just that.

Meanwhile, back at home

Via Chris, please take a moment to sign No2ID's petition and to spread the word about it:
We, the undersigned residents of the United Kingdom, petition the Prime Minister and the government to immediately cease all further development of, and legislation for, national identity cards and the National Identity Register.

We believe the proposals constitute an attack on individual rights and freedoms. We believe they will lead to institutional discrimination and to unfair and unlawful denial of benefits and services. We believe the proposals will lead to an increase in state control and surveillance over the individual, and that they will create an unacceptable imposition on every citizen. We believe the proposals are unlawful under the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights that guarantee every person the fundamental right to privacy.

We believe the identity proposals will lead to an endemic loss of privacy and freedoms. We believe they will present dangers to marginalised, disenfranchised and disadvantaged people. We also believe that an identity scheme will imperil the relations between citizen and state.

Furthermore, we believe that even if these principled concerns had been fully addressed, that the government's proposals would still constitute an enormous waste of financial resources and would achieve little or no tangible benefits.

For these reasons we urge the government to fully abandon the proposals.


Just a quick note - can everyone who claims that Bush has a mandate because he had the most popular votes of any Presidential candidate ever, please also note at the same time that John Kerry got the second largest total of all time? If the number of votes received is more important than the share in determining the hypothetical 'mandate' then Kerry has a greater mandate than Reagan in 1984. Though maybe we'll have to wait for the USC for him to exercise that mandate.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Later, the poll results were adjusted for irony

Looking round CNN's site for some of the other results from yesterday's elections in the US, I found the exit poll data from the Illinois Senate race which may be of use to future pollsters in discovering just how many voters are either rather confused or just flat out taking the piss when interviewed by pollsters.

This was perhaps the biggest win in a contested statewide election last night with Democrat Barack Obama (who I believe one is now officially obliged to refer to at all times as either 'the rising star of the Democratic Party' or 'potentially the first black US President') beating Republican Alan Keyes by 70% to 27%. Given that this was a Democrat gain, that's a pretty big win.

However, the important figures come when you look down at the 'vote by party ID' and 'vote by ideology' figures where 5% of Democrats (40% of the sample) and 8% of liberals (23% of the sample) say they voted for Keyes. In both cases that means that comes out to approximately 2% of the total sample. Coincidence? I think not.

An appeal

From Duck Throat, my source within Florida and the Disney Imperium:
To the fabulous citizens of the United Kingdom,


It has been made monumentally clear that we are not capable of governing ourselves. After screwing ourselves over in the most royal fashion four years ago, one would think that we would have learned something. But nooooo, not us! Not the "Great Liberators!" Not the "Planetary Policeman!" Not the "Leaders of the Free World!"

We did it again! We still cannot seem to choose a President in a timely and orderly fashion. So, here is my request to you, Great Britain.

Take us back!!!!

We will learn the lyrics to "God Save the Queen." We will learn to speak proper English and affect a more pleasing accent- no Southern drawls, no "Spenglish", no redneck twangs or Bostonian brogues. We promise. We shall (very) happily give up our Ray Romano and Drew Carey for the comic stylings of Eddie Izzard. We will trade in our Ford Focuses for Mini Coopers (despite the fact that they've been bought by the Germans). Speaking of other countries, we will faithfully study world geography so that we can automatically locate each country on the map- whether we are at
war with them or not!
So, if we behave ourselves and promise to be good little boys and girls, would the UK consider taking us back. Please? Pretty please!?!

Calling it

Four more years of American soldiers being used as cannon fodder.

Four more years of scientific decisions being made by people who believe in a ghost in the clouds.

Four more years of debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

Four more years of racists and lunatics for judicial appointments

Four more years of looting the treasury and squandering it on corporate cronies.

Four more years of making enemies faster than we can kill them.

Four more years of fear and darkness and racism and hatred and stupidity and guns and bad country music.

I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I've been locked in a room with the slow learners. We have become the country that pulls a dry cleaning bag over its head to play astronaut.
Should Kerry win, I will post an important statement called "A Time for Healing," or something equally noble-sounding. Should Bush win, I shall post a statement of philosophical resignation tentatively titled "Good, Go Ahead, America, Choke on Your Own Vomit, You Deserve to Die." The latter will probably require a little more tweaking.
And I've just got this running through my head:
Say a prayer for us
That we don't lose
Our way
While freedom lies
There dying
We are there to hold
Its hand
Take all the children holy
To the river of the dead
Make them drink its waters
Lonely so they can learn what we had
Media children pacified
Information classified
Governments hide behind religion
Kids like us get thrown in prison

Deja vu all over again

Well, I went to bed about 3.30 as nothing seemed likely to be determined for a while, and then I get up early to discover that there's still nothing been determined really. Tere's lots of talk about absentee ballots still not counted in various states (and those could make a difference, even in states that are already called) but it looks like it's all coming down to Ohio this time, rather than Florida, and the lawyers for both sides have been having a fun night.

Somehow I don't think this is going to be settled for a good few days/weeks/months (delete as applicable) though one thing I suspect may happen is that the Electoral College will finally be gone by 2008. But who knows.

Waiting for Godot's vote

There's really just a lot of virtual thumb twiddling going on right now, isn't there?


Anthony reminded me of this over in Matt's comments and I've set up a chatroom on the IRC network called #UKBloggers.

Nightstar is one of the listed networks on mIRC, if you have it (and it's not a long download and install) or you should be able to log on to a web version of it here.

The lights are going out

I mentioned earlier tonight in Matt's comments that an interesting sweepstake would be on when Daily Kos's servers went belly up tonight. Well, they've already done it once tonight (and Talking Points Memo was down for a few hours as well) so tonight could be interesting. I think I should be safe though and Blogspot and Livejournal both seem stable so far.

Watching BBC News, it's interesting to note that Peter Snow keeps referring to Virginia, which was widely expected to be a Bush state. I think this is going to be an interesting anyone expected anything different.

Exit polls

This is my memory for trivia coming to the fore, but does anyone else remember the 1992 General Election when the early (pre-Basildon) predictions were for a hung Parliament? I can still remember Jack Cunningham saying that 'the Tories have lost the moral right to govern' - luckily for him, that was a quote forgotten about the next morning.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The really important issue

So, while I was gone, many things happened, but perhaps most importantly Wolves sacked Dave Jones as manager. It's interesting to catch up with the Wolves fans' opinions I've missed which seems to regard it as havin been pretty inevitable for the last few weeks - barring a sudden Arsenal-esque unbeaten run beginning - and there's surprisingly few objections to the idea of Gary Megson as the next manager.

While he was manager of West Brom until recently (for those of you unaware of English football, the Black Country rivalry between Wolves and West Brom is one of the oldest and most bitter in sport) I don't see that as too much as a problem. After all, by far the best way for him to show West Brom what they've lost is to take their ancient rivals back up, and I remember a certain striker we bought back in the 80s from WBA who went on to score just a few hundred goals for us.

Comment on other superficial matters that occurred while I was gone, or are ongoing at the moment, will come about later.

In case anyone was wondering...

I´m still alive, and just catching up with the world in an internet
cafe in Malaga while I wait for my train to Madrid after walking up
Monte De Gibralfaro this morning to see some fantastic views of the
city and the coast. There´ll be no pictures from this trip
unfortunately, as my camera was nicked in Barcelona.

Apart from that, I´m having a great time and I´ll be back in Britain
on Tuesday afternoon, just in time for a long night watching the US
elections. As a quick thought, as I´m sure there´ll be quite a few
people up late watching it, anyone fancy setting up a chatroom to
gather in and talk about it as the night goes on?

OK, time for a quick lunch before I get my train. This is the first
time I´ve tried email-to-Blogger, so hopefully it´ll work...