Sunday, October 31, 2004

workbook: coincidence, or causality?

1. For the last 17 Presidential elections, when the Washington Redskins have won their final home game prior to an election, the incumbent has won. When they have lost, the incumbent has lost. Coincidence, or causality? Explain.

2. Last night I was driving near the State Street Halloween storm, and I accidentally ran over what looked like the better part of a six-pack of beer bottles. When I went out to use my car today, the tire that had run over the bottles was flat. Coincidence, or causality? Explain.

3. As I was changing my tire, I had only the dimmest idea of what I was doing, but I was not going to be troubled by reading the manual or anything like that. As I was trying to get the spare onto the wheel, the car slipped off its jack, with the underside of my car bouncing unpleasantly and then coming to rest on the asphalt. Coincidence, or causality? Explain.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Thursday, October 28, 2004

what we're reading here in indiana

I'm staying with my friend Kathryn while I am here in Bloomington. I brought her a present: that book He's Just Not That Into You that everybody is talking and blogging about. Kathryn and I are both reading it.* The male co-author, Greg Behrendt, speaks partly with a voice of authority because he was one of those guys who went around not being into women for years but then found a woman that he was into and has been married for a couple of years. Kathryn refused to take me up on my offer to bet $100 that Behrendt will be divorced from this woman and with someone else within a decade. I say, if somebody writes a whole book whose repeated message is that if a guy's really into you, he won't let Absolutely-Anything-In-The-World-Even-Momentarily get in his way, his wife can't really expect him to let marriage-vows-and-children get in his way when he starts to feel into a secretary or publicist or groupie 5-7-10 years down the road. You can take it to the bank that it will happen. You can stick a slow-roasting fork in that marriage, because eventually it's going to be done.

Twenty pages into HJNTIY, I have one observation for any social science faculty or graduate students who are enthusiasts of this book: unless you're the type of revels in hypocrisy, you better not be one of those kneejerk knaysayers of evolutionary psychology. There are some people around here who look askance at my moderate stance on evolutionary psychology, but Behrendt is working with premises way-WAY more into evolutionary psychology that I've ever been. I mean, already he's gone on about:
Guys don't mind messing up a friendship when it comes to sex... I hate to tell you, but that whole 'I don't want to ruin the friendship' excuse is a racket. It works so well because it seems to wise. Sex could mess up a friendship. Unfortunately, in the entire history of mankind, that excuse has never ever been used by [a man] who actually means it. (p. 11)
We know there was a sexual revolution... We know women are capable of running governments, heading multinational corporations, and raising loving children... That, however, doesn't make men different... If you can trust one thing that I say in this book, let it be this: When it comes to men, deal with us as we are, not how you'd like us to be. I know it's an infuriating concept--that men like to chase and you have to let us chase you... It's unfortunately the truth. (p. 17)
* Kathryn insists that if I write a post about HJNTIY, I note that (a) she didn't ask me to buy it for her and (b) at least from what she's read so far, she thinks it is a mostly stupid book written around a kernel of truth.

jeremy, how did your talk go?

Awful. A disaster. It's unclear whether I would have made a more favorable intellectual impression (a) giving the talk I gave or (b) had I just stood up there, wet myself, and stared vacantly at the audience until someone came up and helped me out of the room.

And, yet, still not as bad as the presentation I gave at the CDHA* brownbag a few weeks ago. There, my presentation has been officially classified by some agency in The Hague as a crime against humanity, and I have been instructed to assemble a list of attendees so that I can send them all reparations.

* [C]enter for the [D]emography of [H]ealth and [A]ging, at the University of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

nelson mandela? colin powell? jon stewart? OR... should we go all-out and try to get john elway???

A friend of mine at Stanford sent me the following list of their student body's eleven finalists for who to recommend as commencement speaker:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Larry Paige/Sergey Brin (Google)
John Elway
Colin Powell
Conan O'Brien
Sally Ride
Jon Stewart
Ted Koppel
Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

what's got jeremy so neurotic today?

The neurosis that this talk has induced is hard to describe. Suffice it to say that going back to one's Ph.D. institution to speak is intimidating--or at least is wildly so for me. I'll be glad when it's over, especially since it ends the gauntlet of presentations I scheduled for myself to kick off this fall semester.
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 08:42:49 -0500

From: "Platter, Susan J"

Jeremy Freese from the Department of Sociology, Univeristy of Wisconsin

will be presenting at this week's Social Psychology, Health and Life
Course Seminar.
The title of this presentation is:

"Studying Social Psychology and the Life Course Using New Data from the
Wisconsin Longitudinal Study: Overview and Three Swift Illustrations."
The seminar meets in Room 100 of the Schuessler Institute of Social

Research Wednesday, October 27, 3:45-5:30. Hope to see you there.

no no-vember no-vel

Yes, I know that National Novel Writing Month* is next month and that all sorts of people are using the month to finally start/make-big-progress-on/finish that novel idea that have had rattling around in their heads forever. Yes, I know that some are planning on even using their blogs for this purpose. And yes, it is true that I am presently consulting with at least one person on their mystery novel writing efforts, even if she is rather headstrong about taking my plot advice.

No, however, I will not be using the month to write up my own Mystery Novel Idea. Despite the incessant demands from my public, all will have to wait indefinitely for me to embark on production of my meticulous-mostly-outlined Problems of Selection, which involves a pair of murders (one quantitative, one qualitative) that take place in a sociology department that is highly-ranked, wildly-divisive, and completely-dysfunctional (only the first of these actually reflects a department I have had first-hand familiarity with, but I know enough horror tales of academe from all over to be confident I can fake the latter two).

If only somebody could knit me more time, I would do it. But it would have to be a lot more time. And all the knitters around here are too preoccupied with things like scarves and sweaters to use their yarn something truly useful, like a distortion of space-time that would give me a free month or two.

* NOVel in NOVember, get it?

readers: help this man before he drops his donuts!

One of the many anonymous JFW commenters just left the following as a comment to a recent post:
Dear Mr. Freese: I am an older student, part time, and I am ultra conservative. You seem like a fair man so I feel you can give me sound, objective advice. I am a freshman and I think I am falling love with a Sophmore who is a self avowed ultra Liberal. How can I break the ice with her? Should I get a sack of donuts, approach her and ask if she dropped them? I don't want to talk politics as I fear she is smarter than I am. I am very lonely, please help.
I have considered changing the format of this blog so that the entire theme is me providing advice to the lovelorn. And, if there is any group about which I would think I would have special insight to offer, it would be sophomoric-ultra-liberals. At the moment I'm too preoccupied with some other matters and so won't have time to answer this one until maybe tomorrow. But, considering the libidinal urgency of the request, can someone else help me out by offering some counsel here?

Monday, October 25, 2004

hey jeremy, what's your schedule look like for next week?

consider perhaps letting somebody who can compose coherent sentences cast stones on your behalf?

Given the way-leftness of many/most sociologists, it is commonly claimed that there is a bias against students who choose to do papers that adopt conservative positions on issues of the day. I'm sure this probably happens, sometimes, although I'm equally sure its incidence rate is massively exaggerated. Myself, I have always found it more interesting when students take positions that disagree with my own, and, besides, I think that, if anything, I personally may be more likely to give conservative papers more of a benefit of the doubt because I am paranoid about being unfairly biased.

In any event, of the common conservative stances taken in undergraduate social science classes, perhaps none is so popular among white students as to argue against race-based affirmative action in college admissions. This is all fine, except students should recognize that there is some irony to their passionate opinion if the paper they turn in is completely ineptly and lazily done. Put yourself in the professor's shoes: imagine reading a paper that sloppily manages to make every junior-high and high-school compositional error as it sounds off on how there are all these hyperdeserving white kids who are being denied admission to your university because their spaces are being devoured by that enormous proportion of students--maybe here at UW as high as 3-4 percent!--who are black. You can perhaps understand how a professor might wonder whether these hordes of deserving whites denied admission are instead being more obviously wronged by whatever admissions policy happened to let your seemingly-undeserving-sorry-self through the door.

(Post prompted by/pilfered from a conversation with DH)

physics vindicated

I was reading this NYT article on a poll of physicists of what they thought were the most beautiful equations. I was dismayed that Euler's theorem was not on the list, which to me seemed akin to leaving Mount Rushmore off a list of South Dakota's top tourist attractions. What kind of imbeciles do we let do physics, anyway, I thought. But then, in the gallery side-feature, I saw that Euler's theorem did indeed have enough enthusiasts as to be the co-winner of the poll. It was only the biased NYT reporting that caused them to omit Euler, perhaps because his name is pronounced OY-ler, and thus might subliminally influence some of the math-undecided vote in Bush's favor.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

yo! raise your hands if you love careyoke!

Then again, how can you not love Careyoke herself when she has the kind of audience rapport that you can see in this two photo sequence:

Which is not to say that Careyoke is the only sociologist capable of making special connections with audience members through song:

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

moments before the first pitch...

...the wagering market, at least on, is giving the Red Sox about exactly the same probability of winning tonight's game as they are giving Kerry of winning the election (between 40-41%).

BTW, if the Yankees lose, I'm going to blame it on a Yankee-fan colleague of mine, who with the Yankees up 3 games to none earlier this week, jinxed his team by thanking a group of us for scheduling a dinner party so that he wouldn't miss the Yankees "in the World Series." On the farm, we refer to such behavior as counting one's chickens before they've hatched; I'm sure in New York they must have some cute urban equivalent.

this, this is what so many people think is the attitude of a great leader taking a country to war

"NEW YORK (CNN) -- The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties...

"I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.'"

Robertson said the president then told him, 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.'"
Update: Word on is that the White House denies that Bush said this, and Robertson--while affirming very much his endorsement of Bush--is standing his ground that Bush really did say this. Personally, to be honest, if I had to guess what really happened, I would guess that Robertson is either stretching the truth or outright lying, even if whatever motives he might have for doing so are obscure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

some handy translation advice

Certain aspects of certain conversations became more intelligible once I realized that "Whatever," when said in isolation as a whole turn of talk, was just Dorothese for "Yes, you are correct." Indeed, the precise level of dismissiveness used in saying the "Whatever" is Dorothese for just how totally and completely correct the speaker is. Clip-n-save this post, in case you ever find yourself in a befuddling conversation with a Dorothan.

Monday, October 18, 2004

that's it! i've had it with his wanton cruelty!

Over the weekend, I learned of someone who used to read my blog, but then stopped immediately-and-forever upon reading this post. Specifically, they canceled their JFW subscription because they felt I was being unforgivably "mean" to Professor Sue by linking to her website. For one thing, the person didn't even follow the link to see that he was mistaken about me linking to at all; instead, while I can see why someone would think it was a link to her site, it was actually just a link to an earlier post of mine that has nothing to do with Prof. Sue.. For another, if you read the post, you might wonder how exactly providing a link to another person's site, without any particular comment about it, would be "mean." I'm not sure if the person regards the site as in some way self-evidently embarrassing (I don't), and so I am being "mean" to Professor Sue by calling the attention of others to her site. Really, I just don't get it. Anyway, this would be one of those episodes of somebody getting offended by something on my weblog that I would adjudge to be Not My Problem, and I note it here merely as an another example of the weird-and-unanticipated ways you can anger people out there if you have a weblog.


A while back, I was hallwaychatting with a couple of my colleagues when the question arose of whether there was anyone on the Wisconsin Sociology Faculty who would be voting for Bush in the upcoming election. When we could not come up with anyone in our 40 or 50 member department that seemed like even a plausible Bush voter, someone remarked that it was probably a good thing that the general public was not aware of just how massively ideologically uniform our profession is.* Yesterday, I told this story to an acquaintance of mine who is in the newspaper business. She replied that everyone she knew in her newsroom was voting for Bush, and for that matter the same was probably true for every newsroom she had ever worked in. She then noted that it was probably a good thing that the general public was not aware of this, either.

* Yes, I thought this was a little naive of the person to say as well. Then again, given the number of people who know I am a sociology professor and yet have asked me who I am for in this election, the overwhelming leftishness of sociology appears not as universally known as some might suppose. And, yes, as I have said in previous posts, I do not believe the ideological uniformity of sociology--even though my own political beliefs are consistent with it--is a good thing.

blinded by the right? blinded by the site(meter)?

Not that Ann is getting Really Out There in her unrelenting quest to maintain the fickle affections of the InstaPundit faithful, but now she equates Jon-Stewart-being-serious to Alanis Morissette. Despite his obvious intellect and informedness, Stewart is supposed to know that his place is as just a comedian, and serious commentary about the issues of the day is to be left to Tucker Carlson, Paul Begala, and us professors-cum-bloggers. Who does Jon Stewart think he is, using an appearance on CNN to be anything other than Tucker Carlson's monkey?

Anyway, Ann seems all excited about how Matt Drudge (Matt Drudge, Ann?) is reporting that Stewart lost viewers between August and September, as she takes this as evidence that--despite various other indicators of Stewart's continued A-list-ascendance--he's lately been turning off more viewers than just her.

Here's a trivia question: When did the supposedly-wiltingly-popular Daily Show with Jon Stewart record its biggest audience ever? Answer: Right here in October, following one of the presidential debates. (Not that you'd ever get a skewed view of reality from relying on Matt Drudge as a primary news source.)

Ann, you used to write stuff I disagreed with but that I read because it was careful rumination on issues of the day. I know you've got way more readers now than you did back then, but please-please don't let yourself turn into--to borrow the phrase that Tucker Carlson used with Jon Stewart in their recent exchange--another InstaPunditButtBoy. Halloween is scary enough without you using the season to continue a costume change into Ann Coulter Althouse.

the apocalyptic dreamworld of jeremy freese

I took a nap earlier this evening (I know, I know), and I had this dream that now has me completely freaked out. Especially because it may be the first Current Political Events dream I have ever had in my life. In my dream, it was maybe three to five days before the election, and these four photogenic Americans, three men and one woman, were taken hostage in Iraq. The threat was issued by the dark-hooded terrorists that the four would all be beheaded if Americans did not elect John Kerry President. Immediately, this was proclaimed as settling once and for all the question of which candidate was the one Officially Endorsed By The Terrorists. For another, it led to a spectacular amount of handwringing and speechgiving about how the United States cannot give in to terrorists, and yet, even so, many voters were expressing concern about how hard it would be to cast a vote that would be effectively sending these innocent people to their deaths. The day before the election, however, the electoral dilemma was solved, as the hostages were rescued by American soldiers in a daring nighttime raid. America rejoiced. The next day, Bush swept to a huge victory, carrying practically every state. But, then, in the dream, I alone had this information that it was actually Republican strategists who had staged the entire thing, and this was the October Surprise they had been planning to pull for months if needed. (This was, to my knowledge, the first time that Karl Rove has ever shown up in a dream of mine.) I was trying to make the information I had public, but everybody kept thinking I was just another unpatriotic conspiracy nut, and then these people were also after me to kill me for what I knew. I think this was about to result in one of those chase scenes that occur quite often in my darker dreams, but somewhere around here is when I woke up.

Weird, I know.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Saturday, October 16, 2004

maybe i should hook my tv back up and get cable

Have you seen this clip of Jon Stewart on Crossfire?* Quit reading blogs for a minute and check it out.

I wonder if Tucker Carlson feels like a moron. I wonder what it says about him if he doesn't.

*Via Brayden.

what can take a nothing day and make it all suddenly seem worthwhile?

there. that's done.

evidence of the republicans getting scared

The Kerry Wins Ohio scenario appears to have moved from possibility to plausibility to (gasp!)probability. Evidence? Flailing statements from Republican pollsters to try to put a better face on it. From
"'You have to trust the general trend, which has us doing better in Ohio,' said Matt Dowd, a top Bush-Cheney strategist. 'They just pulled out of West Virginia with their advertising, and they've now stopped their trips. If they were winning in Ohio, then they wouldn't be pulling out of West Virginia. It's an area of the country that's very similar.'"
Here is a couple numbers from the Census Bureau regarding the similarity of the two states: Ohio, 13.7% African American; West Virginia, 3.4%.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

true stories of contemporary research ethics

Confession: I have on occasion contracted the services of someone to help clean the RV. Earlier, I had some qualms about doing this, but those subsided when I realized how many colleagues I know (in sociology and elsewhere) hire cleaning help, including colleagues who have fewer square feet of living space than I do. She is, like many people in her line of work, a woman of color and low socioeconomic status. While there may be wonderful souls out there who would clean my house for free, this woman is not one of them. Instead, when I asked how much it would cost, she said $40. However, it is possible, had I played hardball, I could have told her that I wasn't paying more than $25 and she still would have done it, as she does need the money. As turns out, I actually pay her $50 because, for whatever reason, that feels more like the right compensation to me (the job takes her a little more than 2 hours to do).

Meanwhile: Some fellow scholars are currently involved in a project that will involve surveying many persons of color, a large portion of whom will be of low socioeconomic status, like the woman who cleans my RV. The interview is long; for complicated reasons, it may take some people 2 hours to complete. My colleagues would like to pay respondents $50 to do this survey. However, it is very possible that this plan will run into trouble from their IRB* by virtue of being judged as potentially "coercing" poorer respondents to do the survey. The idea being that if respondents do the survey because they feel like they can't pass up the money, then they are effectively being coerced into participating and so they are not really consenting research participants.

My colleagues will be much less likely to have these problems with the IRB, they've been told, if instead they only ask to pay respondents $25, since $25 is less money and so less coercive. Consider the following scenario: the interviewer tells a low-income respondent that she will receive $25 if she does the survey; she says she will do it for $50; the interviewer tells her that $25 is the most she can get; she agrees to do it for $25 since, in her situation, any money is better than nothing. In the IRB best-case scenario, my colleagues would only use respondents who were willing to do the survey for nothing, but IRBs do recognize that people will often not part with two hours of their time if some compensation is not involved.

If you asked the woman who cleans my RV whether she would rather get $50 by cleaning my RV or by sitting and doing a survey, I would not be surprised if she chose to do the survey. However, in the view of many IRBs, it is unethical for her to be tacitly given this choice.

I should note that when the woman cleans my RV, I'm not really fussy about whether she does every little thing that someone might expect as part of her job. However, I'm sure there are people who are far more demanding and insist on everything being done properly before the person is paid. There could be tasks that she really dislikes doing, but she has to do them if she is going to get her $50. On the survey, meanwhile, compensation does not depend on the person answering every question. Instead, the person can refuse to answer any question that makes her feel uncomfortable or which, for whatever reason, she'd rather not answer, and she will still get her $50.

Curiously, IRBs would likely have less problem with offering respondents $50 to do the survey if the respondents had higher incomes. The common view is that the less people can use the compensation that researchers might be able to provide them, the more compensation you can ethically give them.

(I might add, incidentally, that I would understand the logic of the "coercive" argument better--which is still not to say I would necessarily be convinced of it--if we are talking about research that places the subject at some kind of risk, as some medical research does. Offering someone money they desperately need to assent to research that implies a health risk is a different ethical matter. Doing a survey does not add any risk to health or well-being. It is true that surveys sometimes ask people questions they don't want to answer, but, again, respondents can be told and re-told during the interview that they can refuse to answer any questions they want and they will still receive their compensation.)

* [I]nstitutional [R]eview [B]oard

Saturday, October 09, 2004

reprinted for your convenience

The Dred Scott answer from last night's debate:
QUESTIONER: Mr. President, if there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose and why?


Let me give you a couple of examples, I guess, of the kind of person I wouldn't pick.

I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. I think that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process as opposed to a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.

That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.

Friday, October 08, 2004

signs of an energized base, as well as the words of a seemingly potential swing voter in a battleground state

Tonight, immediately after the debate:

Then, I called the Freese Family Farm to get my dear mother's assessment. Note that my mother's 1968-1988 Presidential votes were for Nixon, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Reagan, and Bush. In my most objective-reporterly voice, I asked what she thought. She started laughing. "Boy, it's sure funny to watch, isn't it?. I keep thinking, Are Republicans stupid? They actually feel safe with this guy?"* She says she wouldn't miss the third debate for the world.

* Really, truly, these were the first words out of her mouth.

another brief debate assessment

Bush was better this time than last, although this would translate into a draw of the debate only by dint of the low standards of expectations for him in forums where he has to articulate his perspective on matters he is supposed to have been working hard on for the last four years. Kerry continued to be impressive and has made me now truly and genuinely excited about the idea of him specifically being President, as opposed to being just enthusiastic about how he is Not Bush.

In any case, I watched the debate alone here in the RV* and Bush's invocation of the Dred Scott decision in his answer about Supreme Court decisions made me laugh out loud until I started to cough. What on Earth was that supposed to be about? The truly bizarre thing about it was that it seemed plainly part of an prepped answer--I wonder if Bush muffed the answer he'd been given or if the people prepping him muffed the idea of what would be a good answer. In any event, I'm sure that was a moment of beaming pride for the various lawyer-bloggers out there who are so enthusiastically supporting Bush.

* Yes, this means that I hooked the antenna up to my TV and tuned in to the one channel for which I get reception in order to watch it. Indeed, until I could get things hooked up correctly, the only way to get picture and sound simultaneously was to hold the antenna to the plug on the back of the TV by hand, meaning that I watched the first twenty minutes or so of the debate with my face about three inches from the TV screen.

the harry potter dead pool is on!

LONDON, England (AP) -- "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling said Friday that one of her characters will not survive the next book in her series about the young wizard.

Asked on her official Web site whether she planned to kill off any more characters, Rowling replied, "Yes, sorry." But she refused to identify that character.
I'm not sure how we'll handle entries yet. I'm hoping it will be Dumbledore (nothing against him, but it'd be the best for the story), but I'm not sure Rowling has the guts to do that.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

junior faculty insecurity, early evening edition

I began sitting in on one of my colleagues' seminars last week. I made a few comments here and there, although nothing I thought was boorish or weird or annoying or anything. This week, for scheduling reasons, the seminar is/was meeting at 7pm tonight instead of its usual afternoon time. I have made a special trip up here, but the seminar is not in either of the locations where I thought I was told it might be. It's as though they are hiding from me.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

when you read 'potential students' and 'out-of-state students' below, substitute 'football recruits'

From Lincoln Journal Star Online:
Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee soon may be filming a reality TV show at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Lee, who helped Motley Crue record hard rock classics like 'Kickstart My Heart' and 'Smokin' In the Boys Room,' could be hoping to put the doctorate in 'Dr. Feelgood.' He just has to get the bachelor's and master's degrees first.

Rolling Stone reported the 42-year-old signed on to star in a reality series for NBC, in which cameras will follow Lee as he enrolls in college and experiences campus life. [...]

The university wouldn't profit financially from the reality show, Fitzgibbon said, but UNL would get its name out to potential students.

"They don't really know what we're about," Fitzgibbon said of out-of-state students.

"The more we can tell that story and get that story to people that don't really know about us, the chances are they'll understand what's special about Nebraska, and maybe they'll decide to come here."
For those who don't follow college football, Nebraska used to have a wildly successful national college football recruiting considering that they were asking athletes to come to Lincoln. The presumption of many observers was something Very Special must have happened to potential recruits (and/or their parents and coaches) on the recruiting trip to Lincoln. Trampolines, trapezes, trunks of cash have all been rumored to be involved, although I'm sure that's all just slander. Anyway, whatever it was that was so alluring about Lincoln, the magic has since been lost; Nebraska's recruiting isn't what it was and the football program has fallen into muddled disrepair. I knew they were absolutely desperate for exposure that would help put them back on the radar of recruits, but I had no idea they were Tommy Lee desperate.

brief vp debate assessment

I watched/listened to the debate on the web while multitasking in another window. Not exactly great for Getting Things Done, but part of my civic and bloggerly duty.

When Clinton was president, some would snipe about how Hillary was really the one running the show. With the current president, some snipe about how Cheney is really the one running the show. Key differences: (1) there is no reason to suppose that Hillary ever had anything remotely-remotely like the kind of power in the Clinton White House that Cheney has; (2) there is no reason to presume that Hillary would have been a better president than Bill. Cheney is a heartbeat away from the president; if the choice for president was just between Cheney and Bush, I would vote for Cheney in a heartbeat.

I thought the debate was a quintessential draw. Of course, I'm not sure I can say the debate was a draw without it sounding like I believe Cheney "really won" but refuse to acknowledge it because I am a Kerry-Edwards supporter. However, JFW is an actual no-spin-zone because I operate under no delusion that I am affective Public Debate by the things I type here. So, yes, a draw. I don't think either did an especially more effective job of helping his side win votes. The idea that Kerry now has the momentum was neither derailed nor fueled by what transpired. I generally think any time that Edwards and Cheney are on-camera at the same time is good for the Democrats; however, Cheney pulled off his dour schtick pretty well.

BTW, I thought some of the questions were remarkably ill-reasoned, but none worse than: "As the vice president mentioned, John Kerry comes from the state of Massachusetts, which has taken as big a step as any state in the union to legalize gay marriage. Yet both you and Senator Kerry say you oppose it. Are you trying to have it both ways?" Indeed, that may be the most poorly reasoned question I have ever heard in a Presidential or Vice-Presidential debate. (If Bush takes a position that contradicts some recent development in Texas, is he "trying to have it both ways"? At least Bush was governor of Texas at some point in the past.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

why hasn't jeremy been blogging lately?: a typology of accounts

There are four general causes of JFW slowdowns, which can be organized thusly:

The current sparsity of recent posts is a Quadrant IV matter.