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This Is Starting to Get Interesting

We Are Racist, That's Why

Can Obama win the general election without Pennslvania? Yes.

Can the US admit to itself that we live in a racist society? Well, not in the media.

This makes me mad.

We have not achieved racial equality. In fact, we are nowhere near. Until we acknowledge that, we can never heal that rift.

The New York Times hints around at this fact.

For Obama, a Struggle to Win Over Key Blocs

It is the question that has hung over Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and it loomed large on Tuesday night after his loss to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania: Why has he been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination?

Lurking behind that question is another: Is the Democratic Party hesitating about race as it moves to the brink of nominating an African-American to be president?

Mr. Obama remains ahead of Mrs. Clinton in delegates, in the popular vote and in national polls, and Mrs. Clinton certainly has her own problems trying to herd Democrats into her corner.

But just when it seemed that the Democratic Party was close to anointing Mr. Obama as its nominee, he lost yet again in a big general election state, dragged down by his weakness among blue-collar voters, older voters and white voters. The composition of Mrs. Clinton’s support — or, looked at another way, the makeup of voters who have proved reluctant to embrace Mr. Obama — has Democrats wondering, if not worrying, about what role race may be playing.

“I’m sure there is some of that,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior political adviser, as he considered how race was playing among voters in late primary states. Mr. Axelrod said Mrs. Clinton’s biggest advantage had been among older voters, “and I think there is a general inclination on the part of the older voters to vote for what is more familiar.” He added: “Here’s a guy named Barack Obama, an African-American guy, relatively new. That’s a lot of change.”

While arguably critical to determining the viability of Mr. Obama’s candidacy, the role of race is difficult to disentangle from the other strands of the political debate surrounding him, encompassing topics like values, elitism, ideology and experience. Although some polling evidence hints at the depth of racial attitudes in this country and the obstacles Mr. Obama faces winning white voters, it has historically proved challenging to measure how racial attitudes factor into voter decisions. (Respondents do not tend to announce to pollsters that they will not vote for a candidate because he or she is black.)

It is also hard to discount that Mr. Obama has arrived at this place in his candidacy after winning big victories in very white states. The crowds at his rallies are as white as any at a Clinton rally, and many analysts in both parties believe that racial attitudes in this country are changing at a breakneck pace, particularly among younger voters, making it risky to impose models from even four years ago on this unusual election.

Complicating things even further are the high-profile episodes that have rattled his campaign.

His remark at a private fundraiser in San Francisco about bitter blue-collar workers “clinging” to guns and religion was the kind of assertion that would be damaging to a candidate of any race. Inflammatory statements by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., who is black, have been seized on by Republicans to present Mr. Obama as unpatriotic. An advertisement released by Republicans in North Carolina on Wednesday included that portrayal.

The statement by Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” has been invoked by Republicans in an effort to portray Mr. Obama as culturally unlike the people he is asking to vote for him, a historically potent line of attack.

“Race is intertwined with a broader notion that he is not one of us,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, which did an extensive examination of voter attitudes, particularly among Democrats who have an unfavorable view of Mr. Obama. “They react negatively to people who are seen as different.”

Geoff Garin, a senior strategist for Mrs. Clinton, said that while race may have had a role in Mr. Obama’s problems in Pennsylvania, his biggest problem was that these events underlined the image of him being out of touch.

“Voters came into the campaign with pretty big question marks about whether Obama gets them,” Mr. Garin said. “And those comments reinforced doubts that people had.”

At the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona, the likely Republican nominee, has sought to portray Mr. Obama as ideologically out of step with much of the country, focusing on his views on tax cuts, health care and the war in Iraq.

“The big question about Barack Obama from the very beginning has been, Is he safe?” said Peter D. Hart, a Democratic pollster not affiliated with any campaign. “Safe in terms of both the cultural values that he has, and about whether he is strong enough to be commander in chief.”

For Mr. Obama, race presents two potential problems: Voters opposing him simply because he is black, and Democrats who will not support him because they do not think a black man can win a general election.

The results in Pennsylvania suggest that problems exist. A poll of Democratic voters conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for the television networks and The Associated Press found that Mrs. Clinton drew 63 percent of the white vote while Mr. Obama drew 90 percent of the black vote, mirroring a pattern in many other states. More strikingly, the poll found that 18 percent of Democrats said that race mattered to them in this contest — and just 63 percent of those voters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election.

There is also a flip side to the increasing racial polarization in Democratic voting patterns: Should Mrs. Clinton win the nomination, some Democrats said, there is a risk that she would be unable to mobilize African-American voters to support her if she won in a way that was viewed as unfair by black voters. That would be a particular risk given the backlash to some of the things former President Bill Clinton has said about Mr. Obama.

The exit poll found that 69 percent of white Democrats would vote for Mr. Obama in a general election campaign over Mr. McCain; 73 percent of black Democrats said they would vote for Mrs. Clinton over Mr. McCain.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama played down the racial aspects of the coalition Mrs. Clinton used to defeat him in Pennsylvania.

“Our problem has less to do with white working-class voters,” Mr. Obama told reporters Wednesday in Indiana. “In fact the problem is that — to the extent that there is a problem — is that older voters are very loyal to Senator Clinton.”

But the real test may come in the general election, should he win the Democratic nomination. Pennsylvania and Ohio will be two critical states this fall, and it will be difficult for any Democrat to win those states without the support from the Democrats that Mr. Obama is struggling to bring onto his bandwagon.

Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting.


Finally! A website...

Please peruse my first html attempt.

Accompanied by the first level of a flash game in development by me (concept), Elizabeth Crosbie (flash) and TingTing Wang (3D modeling).

Please play and provide feedback (Los Angeles will click through to email).



At War With Ourselves

Women's magazines join the gender war...only, they're fighting for the other side!


Everyone Wants to Break the Rules

Not everyone knows they can.

Explicit instructions are impossible, and irrelevant.

We worship those that know how as much as we despise them.

Take Steve, for one.

Or Neo.


Provocative Clothing

The fundamental trouble with males perceiving their own dominance: everything women do is provocative.

Who's wearing the pants in Armenia?

Tits sell games.

Boys who like boys, who like girls, who are boys.

Killer women kill themselves with guilt, not glory.

Rape of the warrior women.

A Watched CD Never Burns

Or, you know you're in the 21st century when...

We have an interesting relationship to time and timing. As an absolute construction, built by humans, we live in the tyranny of our own making.

Read the no-more-than-eight-paged chapters in Jms Glck's Fstr and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

So I'll blog while I wait for my CD to's taking an excessively long time. Something must be wrong.


Fuck Obama?

Boycotting the Olympics is a whorishly opportunistic media-attention play. Given the list of human rights abuses - domestic and foreign - for which the US [the neutrality of this article is disputed], our corporations and our allies [at least the wiki knows this is propaganda] are guilty, I find this revolting.

Screw you Hillary for starting this bullshit storm.

Can Obama continue giving the impression of substance?

I'm ashamed for the BBC, whose treatment of this topic is sensational, at best.



From an alert reader...

April 6, 2008

Our First Black President?

Will Americans vote for a black president? If the notorious historian William Estabrook Chancellor was right, we already did. In the early 1920s, Chancellor helped assemble a controversial biographical portrait accusing President Warren Harding of covering up his family’s “colored” past. According to the family tree Chancellor created, Harding was actually the great-grandson of a black woman. Under the one-drop rule of American race relations, Chancellor claimed, the country had inadvertently elected its “first Negro president.”

In today’s presidential landscape, many Americans view the prospect of a black man in the Oval Office as a sign of progress — evidence of a “postracial” national consciousness. In the white-supremacist heyday of the 1920s (the Ku Klux Klan had a major revival during the Harding years), the taint of “Negro blood” was political death. The Harding forces hit back hard against Chancellor, driving him out of his job and destroying all but a handful of published copies of his book.

In the decades since, many biographers have dismissed the rumors of Harding’s mixed-race family as little more than a political scandal and Chancellor himself as a Democratic mudslinger and racist ideologue. But as with the long-denied and now all-but-proved allegations of Thomas Jefferson’s affair with his slave Sally Hemings, there is reason to question the denials. From the perspective of 2008, when interracial sex is seen as a historical fact of life instead of an abomination, the circumstantial case for Harding’s mixed-race ancestry is intriguing though not definitive.

To anyone who tracks it down today, Chancellor’s book comes across as a laughable partisan screed, an amalgam of bizarre racial theories, outlandish stereotypes and cheap political insults. But it also contains a remarkable trove of social knowledge — the kind of community gossip and oral tradition that rarely appears in official records but often provides clues to richer truths. When he toured Ohio in 1920, Chancellor claimed to find dozens of acquaintances and neighbors willing to swear that the Hardings had been considered black for generations. Among the persuaded, according to rumor, was Harding’s father-in-law, Amos Kling, one of the richest men in Harding’s adopted hometown of Marion. When Harding married his daughter, Florence, in 1891, Kling supposedly denounced her for polluting the family line.

There were rumors of other family scandals as well: the 1849 case in which “one David Butler killed Amos Smith” after Smith claimed that Butler’s wife, a Harding, was black; the suggestion that Harding’s father’s second wife divorced him because he was too much Negro “for her to endure.” In Chancellor’s book, such stories are relayed with a bitter, racist glee — ample reason not to accept them out of hand. But if none of this had any resemblance to the truth, how did all of these rumors get started?

In 1968, the Harding biographer Francis Russell offered an explanation: Harding’s great-great-grandfather Amos told his descendants that he once caught a man killing his neighbor’s apple trees and that the man started the rumor in retaliation — a rather weak story that Russell declined to endorse and that did not silence the mixed-blood rumors. Well into the 1930s, African-Americans claiming a family link continued to pop up in the press. (One decidedly dark-skinned Oliver Harding, supposedly the president’s great-uncle, appeared in Abbott’s Monthly, a black-owned Chicago magazine, in 1932.) As recently as 2005, a Michigan schoolteacher named Marsha Stewart issued her own claim to Harding ancestry. “While growing up,” she wrote, “we were never allowed to talk about the relationship to a U.S. president outside family gatherings because we were ‘colored’ and Warren was ‘passing.’ ”

Genetic testing and genealogical research may one day prove the truth or falsity of such claims. In the meantime, as the campaign season plunges us headlong into a “national conversation” about race, it’s worth thinking about why that truth has been so hard to come by for so long — about what makes it into our official history and what we choose to excise along the way.

Harding’s hometown, Marion, Ohio, provides a case in point. The town gained national fame in 1920 as the site of Harding’s “front-porch campaign”; for weeks, he delivered stump speeches from his well-tended home. Far less well known, as the historian Phillip Payne has noted, is what happened the year before, when a mob of armed white Marion residents drove more than 200 black families out of town, one of a wave of postwar race riots that served to segregate the industrialized north.

As he campaigns to become the nation’s first (openly) black president, Barack Obama likes to say that we’ve begun to put that divisive history behind us. The truth may be that we don’t yet know the half of it.

Beverly Gage teaches modern U.S. history at Yale University.


The Battle Rages On...

In the gender war, there are rarely philosophers. And then there is Alexyss

Genetic Ruthlessness

It's all true! Girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice!

And little boys are made of dictatorship. [I knew it!]


The Biological Singularity?

Read this whole article.

Search back through high/grade school biology vocab and work your way through. It's worth it.

Since this is the age of the internet, I'll give you a choice paragraph.

Tissue differentiation, agency and intelligent behavior were occurring for a billion years from the symbiotic origin of eukaryotes to the Cambrian explosion (Figure 1). What then happened? Was some critical level of intelligent behavior suddenly reached? Did consciousness then appear? Could primitive consciousness have significantly improved fitness and survivability beyond previous benefit provided by non-conscious agency and intelligent behavior?One possible advantage of consciousness for natural selection is the ability to make choices. As Margulis and Sagan (1995) observe (echoing similar, earlier thoughts by Erwin Schrödinger), " If we grant our ancestors even a tiny fraction of the free will, consciousness, and culture we humans experience, the increase in [life's] complexity on Earth over the last several thousand million years becomes easier to explain: life is the product not only of blind physical forces but also of selection in the sense that organisms choose. . ." (Scott, 1996).

By itself, the ability to make choices is insufficient evidence for consciousness (e.g. computers can choose intelligently). However non-computable, seemingly random conscious choices with an element of unpredictability may have been particularly advantageous for survival in predator-prey dynamics (e.g. Barinaga, 1996).



Last Kid on the Street?

Recession? That's old news. Question is, was he the last one to know or the last one to tell?

If consumer confidence is what keeps our mass-indulgent service-sucking economy afloat, why scare the cows now?[See for yourself.]

Hequality and Shequality: Same Difference?

An interesting article, actually talking openly about the differences in the way that gendered mentalities operate.

I wouldn't go so far as to align biological gender with gendered mentality - certainly, there are some biologically male beings who think from a feminine mind and biologically female beings who think from a masculine mind.

Hermaphrodites [politically correct = "intersexed"] exist. I would argue that's evidence of a scatter-plot diversity of gender in biological/genetic language as well as thought process.

But I digress...

Is "gender equality" something we are really seeking?
Is it equitable to promote the differences?
Is that furthering gender-based discrimination?


How Could They?

*whimper*Link: Fearsome avatar of my childhood.
Dead. Dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead.


By the way, IGN, get your embed code fixed.

In the past...