Archive for May 19, 2011

2 years ago

Platescha­tol­ogy

The world as we know it is going to end on Sat­ur­day. That’s the sched­uled day of the Rap­ture, and all the true believ­ers will be whisked away to par­adise, leav­ing the rest of us to strug­gle along with­out them in a post-​​Rapture world. (On the bright side, there will prob­a­bly be a lot more Democ­rats in government.)

That’s all very well for the devout who, after Sat­ur­day, will be strum­ming harps and sun­ning them­selves on clouds. But what about their pet platypi? Who will look after all the aban­doned ani­mals left behind when their own­ers are trans­ported to heaven?

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Fighting Trim

This week brought two more “shock­ing” rev­e­la­tions of sex­ual offenses by promi­nent politicians.

For­mer Cal­i­for­nia Gov­er­nor Arnold Schwartzeneg­ger admit­ted to an affair with a mem­ber of his house staff, which pro­duced a now-​​14-​​year-​​old child. He and Maria Shriver had just cel­e­brated their 25 year wed­ding anniver­sary April 26 when the news came out. Rumors of infi­delity and sex­ual har­rass­ment had dogged Schwartzeneg­ger for years; Shriver famously defended him in 2003, call­ing him “an A-​​plus human being”.

Dominique Strauss-​​Kahn does the tra­di­tional New York City “perp walk”. Source: The Week (UK)

In more seri­ous alle­ga­tions, Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund head Dominique Strauss-​​Kahn has been charged with rape of a hotel maid (along with accom­pa­ny­ing charges of forced oral and anal sex­ual con­tact and false impris­on­ment charges) and is now await­ing trial on Riker’s Island. Strauss-​​Kahn had chal­lenged Ségolène Royal for the lead­er­ship of the French Social­ist Party prior to Nico­las Sarkozy’s even­tual 2007 elec­tion as French Pres­i­dent and was widely expected to run again in the next elec­tion cycle. In an ironic twist, it was revealed that Strauss-​​Kahn pre­dictedle fric, les femmes et ma judeite” (“money, women and my Jew­ish­ness”) would be his undo­ing as a can­di­date for President.

Should we be sur­prised? (more…)

Revolutionary Thoughts

Coun­ties in the United States, by dom­i­nant party

I had an insight the other day about how the ideas and ideals of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion have shaped our consciousness—or not. It started with a con­sid­er­a­tion of red/​blue differences.

A com­mon polit­i­cal stereo­type of Amer­ica is to see cities and urban areas as tend­ing toward Democ­rats, with rural areas being more Repub­li­can. Blue-​​collar work­ers are con­ser­v­a­tive, it’s felt, while aca­d­e­mics are pro­gres­sive. Minori­ties and the poor are cham­pi­oned by lib­er­als; wealthy élites lean toward the right.

There are excep­tions to these clichés, but the excep­tions are often seen as merely that—anomalies, noth­ing more. Sur­pris­ingly, these stereo­types are often in con­tra­dic­tion to each other. If Democ­rats cham­pion the poor, why are poor rural areas seen as Repub­li­can? If the Repub­li­cans are the party of the rich, why are the well-​​to-​​do col­lege edu­cated folk seen as Democrats?

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