Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why my hands smell funny II

I was just chopping garlic, making vegetarian sloppy joes (sloppies joe). I kind of like the smell of garlic on my hands days later. Others hate it, and are all, gross my hands smell funny. Not me. I kind of dig it, and will revel in it. I also like the smell of gasoline. And skunks. No shit. Skunks. That deep acrid. Its everything a waft of tobacco smoke should have been, only less bitter, and cancerous. Surely this is a genetic mutation, no? Is there any other possible explanation for why one would like skunks? I bet its adaptive, like enjoying the taste of a hot pepper, so you can enjoy its nutrients. Maybe my children will be able to draw nutrients from skunks.

Right, so the ingredients:
1/2 an onion, chopped but not minced
1 head of garlic. (Or one clove. Fine. Whatever. Baby)
1 tomato, chopped well beyond tomatoeyness, into a juicy oblivion
That hot pepper we've been having so many laughs about
Vegetarian ground beef (soy)
Jerk pepper
Chili pepper
Tomato paste

Surely you can figure out the rest.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Welcom Fred!

And thank you GOP! You guys had me worried there for a minute. For a minute I thought you were thinking clearly and were going to nominate Giuliani. But whatever mass psychosis has been afflicting you since 2005 appears to be well in place.
A President now widely recognized as a complete reactionary is struggling to crack to 35%, and you were about to nominate one with an image as a social moderate. The one election in which pro-choice groups could legitimately rouse the base by telling them, truthfully, that a Republican president would mean the end of Roe (Stevens is 87, people!), and you were about to nominate a candidate who is at least nominally pro-choice. Hillary carrying a double-digit lead in the primaries, and you were about to nominate a candidate to whom "centrist" men with hang-ups about women could flock without guilt. And most of all, with an electoral map that hinges on, oh, about 40 swing electoral votes, you were about to nominate a candidate that could have taken fucking New York. Think about that, a Republican who is a threat in New York. If the nominee were anyone but Hillary (and lord I hope it is), that would have been crushing.
But no, you took a good long hard look in the mirror and said, I want to nominate an ultra-conservative, untested, generic republican with all the gravitas of a TV celebrity, in the most liberal electoral environment since Watergate. And he doesn't even have foreign policy experience!
Congratulations on sticking with the crazy that got your here. I knew you had it in you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And another goddamn thing

You can tell where a politician's loyalties lie by looking at who he or she lies to -- unless the base is enough to win an election (or the politician thinks it is) rhetoric is directed outside the natural constituency, while policy is directed at the natural constituency. What troubles me most about Obama's plan is not that it doesn't go the full way on universal health insurance, a uniform national system, or mandatory community rating, its that he said it was universal. From

Democrat Barack Obama is offering a sweeping plan that would provide every citizen a means to have health coverage and calls on government, businesses and consumers to share the costs of the program.
Obama said his plan could save the average consumer $2,500 a year and bring health care to all.

"The time has come for universal, affordable health care in America," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday in Iowa City.

He bills it as more favorable to the left than it really is. That tells me his loyalty is to the center.

Obama's wormy health plan

This sounds better than the status quo but the segmentation it creates in the insurance market is absolutely baffling from a policy perspective. First, there is the inscrutable decision not to merge the buy-in program available to the uninsured and small businesses with medicare/HCFA. I can understand, I guess, a desire to preserve a different package available only to seniors, but why not have the single (or at least the largest) agency acting as a public insurer at least administer the program? I can understand this only as an incredibly nimble or overthought dog whistle to the right -- as if the right had decided that any expansion of medicare would be equated with single payer. In this respect its the opposite of Richardson's plan, which modestly expands medicare eligibility in an effort to bring support from those committed to single payer through the expansion of medicare, but, you know, without all that yucky universal coverage. Second, the Obama plan preserves some barrier between the regulated insurance market and the public plan. This basic differentiation tracks the Edwards plan, and there is, I guess something to be said for allowing the systems to compete. But I dont see any reason for Obama to restrict access to the public plan (he does so), which exaggerates the bureaucratic segmentation of his plan, and minimizes the sense of competition between public and private models. Third, the plan also preserves a distinction between the well-regulated insurance market, to which large businesses may buy in, and the wild and wooly private sector, which is restricted only by the long-overdue ban on the use of pre-existing conditions.
So we have got, in effect, five systems under Obama:
1. The British analog, the VA and other government providers
2. The Canadian analog -- HCFA/Medicare/Medicaid
3. A second indistinct Canadian analog managed by another agency (for no reason) -- the new public system to which the uninsured and small businesses may apply
4. A system of managed competition that employers could voluntarily join, with robust community rating practices, and
5. The wild wild west, where anything goes except pre-existing conditions.
The segmentation is not necesaarily a bad thing, but it is a puzzling thing. I suppose you could argue that, again, it allows us to test different models in the American context. Personally, I think the world has given us enough diversity in health care finance to allow us to rationally evaluate our options. I see more politics than policy here. Which isnt to say that it wouldn't be an improvement...

Monday, May 28, 2007

We are all going to hell

Sometimes its important to remember exactly how much blood is on our hands. But the important thing, 16 year old girl forced into prostitution because your father was killed, is that we were able to kill Saddam. So, remember that a bad man died the next time you are having sex with a disgusting stranger to feed yourself, instead of living at home in a functioning village.

The lesson I will never learn

is that people are not rational actors, even in politics. Cindy Sheehan withdrew from the anti-war movement, attacking it as ego-driven and slavishly beholden to the democratic party. She cited health and financial problems as part of her retreat from public life.
Sheehan was at times a brilliant activist -- she recognized the strength of her moral position and used it to achieve a political result in which she believed. She expertly dragged herself as a public figure through several news cycles, building momentum for herself and her cause without allowing the criticism of her to overshadow the story.
The withdrawal from the anti-war movement, or public life generally, is certainly not irrational, but the parting shot seems incredibly poorly designed to advance the anti-war movement. The statement is simply one of despair -- it does not seek to drive the anti-war movement away from the democrats, it simply encourages others to withdrawal from activism. But as she has clearly not renounced her personal opposition to the war, the statement seems blind to the fact that it is itself a component of her position in public life and in the anti-war movement.
It is, in other words, not designed to achieve a goal. It has, then, one virtue missing in public life -- an honesty about the extent to which political involvement, even by the highest, most professional actors, is a confluence of personality and axe-grindings, rather than a game of chess. They may dress themselves as detached, but, more likely, they are, like Sheehan, expressing a public passion.
Well wishes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Impact of the Compressed Primary Schedule

In any other year this would not cause me much anxiety -- yes the double digit leader in the national polls is both the least progressive top tier democratic candidate and the one who to my mind presents the most serious questions of electability. But in any other year I would look at these polls and just add all the numbers together that aren't leaning to Hillary and assume that every single one of them was going to vote for someone other than her. I honestly don't see a single Edwards, Obama, or Gore vote (well maybe a few Gore voters) pulling the lever for Hillary as a second choice in the primaries. This year, however, I just don't see any realistic chance that Edwards or Obama (or Gore if he runs) drop out after the first two weeks merely because they haven't cracked second place yet. Indeed, with Edwards polling ahead in Iowa, and enjoying a significant Union advantage in Nevada, I doubt that he will fail to score an early victory. Early victories will not serve the same function -- they will tend neither to winnow the field, nor to build momentum for low-budget candidates.
Primaries dont have run-offs, and most are winner take all. This means that Hillary could win an overwhelming number of delegates even if she never draws 40% in any state. These features strike me as failures of democracy, and, in this case, major liabilities in the general election.
And shit.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why my hand smells funny...

Kind of a mix between metal and that way your hand would smell if you soaked it in a used mop bucket used to scrubdown the Superdome after Katrina. The surface of my desk at work is made of two blocks of wood, with a large crack in between them. I noticed that quite a lot of paperclips had gotten lodged in there, so I ran another paperclip in between the blocks to get them out.
A substance that can only be described as "grime" fell out onto my lap, and my hand will never be the same after brushing it off.
It was... so...horrib... so...
I don't think want to talk about it any more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

John Edwards Just Keeps Getting More Attractive...

As a candidate.

He's acknowledged the risk of genocide that accompanies withdrawal from Iraq. He's proposed the creation of a small stabilization reserve that seems calculated to prevent massacres elsewhere. And now he has suggested a willingness to re-invade Iraq from positions in Kuwait and Baghdad in the event that genocide does in fact occur in Iraq; specifically:

I believe that once we are out of Iraq, the U.S. must retain sufficient forces in the region to prevent a genocide, deter a regional spillover of the civil war, and prevent an Al Qaeda safe haven. We will most likely need to retain Quick Reaction Forces in Kuwait and in the Persian Gulf. We will also need some presence in Baghdad, inside the Green Zone, to protect the American Embassy and other personnel.

There is legitimate question as to the feasibility of invading Iraq again after we have left, and perhaps an even better question about our ability to summon the political will-power to do so. But a limited deployment to a single city or sector as an atrocity unfolds is not so wildly implausible as to be rejected out of hand, and there is always the possibility that the worst might be deterred merely by a declared willingness to do so, especially if the would be offenders have some stake in continued US backing.

I am not fully convinced, but this is the central issue of the campaign to me and Edwards is the only one on the democratic side (yet -- the field may be incomplete) who seems to acknowledge it. Moreover, Edwards is so dramatically more progressive on virtually every other issue of concern to progressives, and so very far ahead of everyone in terms of electability, that he is starting look pretty good to me.

I'm totally straight.

Hat tips to TPM and Ezra Klein and Electoral Math

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Edwards -- Am I seeing what I want to see...

or is he prepared to use force according metrics that transcend national self-interest?
Edwards today proposed the creation of a ten thousand person military reserve "to stabilize troubled nations" and for "humanitarian purposes."
The striking thing about American military policy since the end of the Cold War has been its steadfast insistence on ignoring the world's ghastliest, most widespread massacres. Congo: 3-4 million; Sudan: 180,000 at least; Rwanda: pushing a million. Yugoslavia is the exception, but only after an absurd parade of identical cease fires sopped the international conscience while Serbian troops and militias raped their way through the federation.
There is a real question as to whether a 10,000 reserve "stabilization force" could do much for any of these expansive geographic traumas after genocidal civil war has begun in earnest. But such a force might have real preventive value, if only as a kicker for multi-lateral interventionist forces.
It would be enough for me if the proposal showed only that the value of a human life -- and the evil that accompanies a rape or murder -- does not depend on its country of origin.
It would almost be enough to ignore his vote to precipitate the impending series of massacres in Iraq.
Almost, motherfucker.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Minimizing the financial and legal power of zombies

Brian at Incertus critiques a NYT editorial by Mark Helprin at the title link. The editorial argues for dispensing with limitations on the posthumous duration of copyrights, or, in other words, to treat intellectual property just as we now treat real and personal private property. Brian points to differences in the intensity of labor needed to maintain the useful life of real as opposed to intellectual property, arguing that these differences justify their different treatment.

I am by and large persuaded by Brian, but I think the critique doesn't quite go far enough. Brian argues:
Helprin concludes his Op-Ed by claiming that "No good case exists for the inequality of real and intellectual property," but his argument fails simply because real and intellectual property are so significantly different that you cannot honestly equate the two. Real property requires continued maintenance and expense in a way intellectual property does not, and further, is subject to the very confiscation that Helprin claims it isn't. I want copyright protection like any other writer, but I don't think it should extend forever. Why should my descendants reap the millions my poetry will no doubt bring? Let them write their own.

This reasoning is persuasive, but the force of it extends to real property as well. Lord Snootypant's descendants have done as little to merit the continued enjoyment of Snootypants Manor as Brian's descendants will have done to merit the continued financial benefits of his poetry. There is a fine argument for allowing a limited inheritance to minor children as a means of support, and perhaps for complete spousal inheritance based on principles of community property. And there is probably a pretty compelling efficiency (pro-growth) argument to be made that people work harder for their children than they do for themselves.
But there is simply no principle of distributional justice suggesting that children have a right to property because their parents worked for it. You aren't a better person because your parents were good people, and you dont necessarily have the mental faculties of a sharp 12 year old just because your Daddy could almost speak in complete sentences (See e.g. Bush, George W., see also Bush, George H.W.)

But thats not what really interests me about this dispute. What really interests me about this dispute is Helprin's acknowledgement that his proposal (such as it is) is more or less explicitly forbidden by the text of the constitution, Article I, Section 8. Who knew?

This means that we would have to either 1) grossly circumvent the express words of the nation's foundational legal document, in the service of, uh, the pressing need for an adjustment in intellectual property standards, or 2) amend the express words of the nation's foundational legal document, in the service of, uh, the pressing need... you get the idea.

On an abstract level, I have some sympathy for Helprin -- there are an awful lot of fairly banal provisions in the constitution, that have little or nothing to do with the structure of governments or parts of government, or with the relationship of government to the individual. And I don't see a very good reason that a tiny minority of white male property holders from two hundred years ago should be making copyright policy, nor choosing the age limits for representatives, nor assigning bankruptcy jurisdiction, nor determining who has the power to switch us to the metric system, nor determining the permissible geographic limits for D.C.'s municipal annexation, nor limiting the right of the treasury to repay debts in precious metals other than gold and silver, nor... again, you, with the idea getting.

One needn't indulge our Nation's quasi-religious fantasy of A Perfect Constitution to think that probably none of this shit is worth pulling at the constitution's threads. But here the irony is exposed -- Helprin seeks relief from the arbitrary hand of those long dead, in order to extend his own arbitrarily through the ages.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dolphin Petition IV

Ted Danson understands the moral imperative owed toward dolphins as a consequence of their unique cerebro-anatomy. You're not telling me you are dumber than Ted Danson are you?

Dolphin Petition III

Number Three!

Dolphin Petition II

Number Two!

Dolphin Petition

Number One

Are Ethical Obligations Toward Cetaceans Owed to the Individual Animal, or to the Population?

Cognitive biologists from Emory have recently issued an impressive survey of the anatomical and behavioral evidence for intelligence among dolphins and whales (and maybe porpoises?). You can link to it from the title, and should read it, but before I go much futher down this thread, let me give you the upshot:

I added the following language:

"Dolphins exhibit a range of behavior consistent with higher order consciousness, including knowledge of syntax, vocal imitation, and complex social grouping. Moreover, the physiological evidence is similarly consistent with a capacity to perform high order cognitive thinking. For an impressive survey of the cognitive biological literature, consult .

In most cases, it is entirely appropriate for policy makers to consider animals as resources. In the case of dolphins, it may not be sufficient to conserve them as a population; a strong ethical argument can be made from scientific sources that they have a moral entitlement to protection as individuals."

to cyber pro-dolphin petitions and letter writing campaigns, which you can link to in subsequent posts (sorry for the techological putzery, still working on the embedding link task, my own capacity for higher order thinking may be in question).

Marino and company have indeed produced an impressive survey of quite varied evidence -- anatomical, experimentally driven behavior in captivity, and behavioral evidence in the wild-- that cetaceans are capable of some form of higher order cognition. A number of environmental thinkers have produced persuasive arguments about the immorality of extinction, and a moral duty owed to the elements of the environment generally. If you go for them, you have embraced an argument for protection of the population generally, an argument for making sure that their overall numbers do not approach zero, and that they are allowed to flourish as beings in an environment that we do not have a right to manipulate without limit. Personally, I don't really go for them -- extinction produces sadness and a sense of waste, and there are strong utilitarian/human centered reasons to be against wastefullness -- but this is not the same as the kind of moral duty we owe to other humans.

A moral duty to consider the consequences of our actions (or inactions) on other people, however, must come from somewhere, and in my mind the answer is a nervous system. We do not know exactly what produces consciousness, but it sure seems to have an awful lot to do with the neurons that can send information into complex processing centers. I dont eat animals or participate in their death or torture, but neither do I regard them as the moral equivalent of human beings, because of the limited order of consciousness they exhibit. Once a certain level of self-awareness has been reached, however, killing becomes a profound act, the extinguishment of an independent perceptual universe, an event the object of killing can fear and contemplate, and with which we can and should empathize. Feeling creates a right not to suffer; feeling with greater acuity creates a stronger right not to suffer; thinking, at least thinking about the self, creates a right not to be killed.

There is an alternative viewpoint, associated with abortion opponents, opponents of euthanasia, and opponents of animal rights, that locates the source of moral value in humanity. Respectfully, this position is simply not intuitive, and confounds a descriptive account of human behavior with a set of normative principles. I know that individualized experience is good because I experience it, and I like it, and want it, and can feel, implicitly and directly, its identity with value. While individualized experience has great overlap with humanity, humanity is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for experience, particularly the experience of self-hood. Dead bodies have no experience, and while there are good reasons, perhaps spiritual reasons, to treat them respectfully, I suspect few of us would have much difficulty choosing between allowing harm to come to a live and a dead human. Moreover, treatment of humanity as valuable in itself -- independent of its capacity for consciousness -- is either without logical support or dependent on larger principles that are problematic in themselves. That is to say, either the notion that humanity is the reference of value is completely empty, or it leads more generally to the conclusion that we should treat humans well because they are like us. We have seen where likeness to self goes when it is treated as the source of value, indeed we have exhibited an ugly propensity to label virtually group we (and by we I mean "Europe" but probably also humanity generally) wish to abuse as not quite human.

Now, if you agree with me that all creatures that exhibit sufficiently complex patterns of neural activity as to achieve a threshold of self-awareness are worthy of moral weight, you should really consider the case for elevating cetaceans (dolphins and whales, and maybe porpoises) above this threshold.

Marino points to:

Experimental Behavior Evidence, including:

1. They exhibit mimicry, both vocal, which is useful for complicated patterns of social organization, and bodily.
2. They exhibit not just semantic understanding (the capacity to associate a sound with a meaning) but also, I shit you not, syntactical understanding. I actually have read the Herman studies that Marino cites, and they exactly what Marino says they do. The sound for ball followed by word for hoop can, to a dolphin mean something different than sound for hoop followed by sound for ball (bring the ball to the hoop vs. bring the hoop to the ball).
3. Their semantic skills extend to events as well as objects.
4. They can identify themselves in a mirror, a skill previously seen only in some primates and elephants.
5. Unlike most other mammals, they can understand the significance of pointing and gaze, specifically that it refers not merely to a direction but to an object.
6. Dolphins can themselves point, either by echolocation or, if trained, by orienting a portion of their body.
7. Dolphins can understand, in abstract terms, the difference between repetition and non-repetition of a behavior, independently of the behavior itself.
8. Dolphins can even relate their knowledge about certain conditions, using pitch if trained to do so, in terms of their certainty about it, certainly a behavior that practically screams self-awareness if ever there was one.

Behavioral evidence in the wild:

1.Dolphins exhibit culture, both linguistic and behavioral, and can spontaneously learn the culture of another grouping. Some of this is directly related to food gathering, but other is simply the spontaneous use of the body for play and social relationships, without a direct relationship to safety or sustenance.
2. Like their human counterparts, especially those on the right (/snark, /hypocrisy), they can express group loyalty, and can form alliances between groupings.
3. A variety of non-vocal communicative acts accompany vocal exchange, including flipper touching, flipper orientation and gesturing, and something called "teeth raking." (I would love to see those off the coast of Sicily, surely they must be among the most gestural).
4. Most suggestively, the significance of the sequence of auditory emissions is retained in the wild and, Marino points, auditory emissions evolve over time. Surely a species exhibiting vocal behavior this similar to human language in the wild cannot be totally lacking in self-awareness.
5. Dolphins can teach each other foraging behavior.
6. Dolphins can use tools e.g. sponges to scrape crevices of the ocean.

Anatomical evidence:

1. Their brain size is comparable (bigger in fact) than every other candidate for higher order thinking, in both absolute and relative terms with respect to the overall mass of the body, and it evolved at a time when environmental pressures would have predicted a reduction in brain size in the absence of some ecological advantage.
2. The architecture of the brain is segmented to a degree comparable with that of other higher order primates.
3. Those aspects of the brain responsible for "attention, judgment, intuition, and social awareness" in primates are expansive in the cetacean brain, albeit in different regions.
4. The particular cells (large layer V spindle neurons) thought to be responsible for neural networking and complex awareness are expansive in the cetacean brain.

This shit, in short, adds up.

Holy Macaroni -- It's working?

And by this, I mean, using the threat of withdrawal to compel on the ground reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites. For those too lazy to hit the link and read some long boring article by the Washington Post, the upshot is that Sadr has ostensibly begun to purge elements from his leadership who express a generalized hostility to Sunnis rather than to Al Qaeda specifically.
This strikes me as a rather transparent sop to the West -- we shouldn't assume that he is saying the same thing to an Iraqi audience, nor to an audience of loyalists. I think he is seeing the inevitable end of the Weimar, er, Al Maliki government, and is positioning himself as something palatable to the West upon withdrawal. So, no, its no guarantee of the behavior of the Mahdi army, or Shiite loyal elements of the police forces in Baghdad. But it still shows at least one significant development -- Sadr cares who the Prime Minister is. Nothing could be more dangerous than the localization of sectarian politics in Baghdad

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Edwards Iraq Report Card: A for observation skills, D for problem solving

I confess some deep misgivings about the desirability of a rapid withdrawal from Iraq. I am always open to being persuaded that a coercive military occupation is a bad idea, and that the violent reality of that occupation has been obscured. And we should have absolutely no illusions that the troops are going to improve the situation, nor that the civil war is going to subside. There is absolutely nor reason for that – it is a nation full of cities where sectarian enemies live side by side, and where political loyalty is primarily sectarian.
But this does not mean that a withdrawal could not make the situation worse. I see precious little evidence that the militias that routinely deliver dozens of dead, mutilated, tortured bodies are primarily concerned with control of the central government. To the contrary, my strong suspicion is that they are driven by very local concerns – a grassroots ethnic cleansing movement. I don’t doubt that a “political compromise” between Sunni and Shiite elements in Iraq would be catalyzed by a withdrawal of U.S. forces, I’m just not convinced that anyone who is blowing up markets and gathering up every young Sunni man in the neighborhood for torture particularly gives a shit. And this situation – intense hatred, mixed cities, and weak control over paramilitary organizations – has a number of risk factors for efficient, state sponsored genocide. The role of U.S. forces, then, is simply to be the state, and so to prevent a centralized, managerial approach to genocide.
Or so it seems.
Kudos, then to Edwards for recognizing the risk.
I’m just not at all clear though, that his safeguard to this, withdrawing to Kuwait and Afghanistan, is enough to stem the tide. As Rwanda teaches us, it can happen quickly, and I don’t hear him or any other democratic candidate declaring a willingness to storm back into Baghdad in the event of the worst. It seems to me that they need to be in Baghdad.

If you keep telling me that they have marginalized you, I am going to start regarding you as somewhat marginal

Yeah, I get it, ok, I get it, the mainstream media is a bunch of sycophants. The Libby trial illustrated that control over access provides those in power with editorial control over the message. And reporters are cozy with government officials. They go to cocktail parties together. They have a milieu. And this is aptly symbolized by the white house correspondents’ dinner. Ok. I get it. And mainstream pundits, whose roles most closely overlap with those of the bloggers themselves, write under the influence of any number of professional incentives that distort the content. And when they happen to engage the more democratic elements of the blogosphere, they often do so disdainfully. They protect those incentives and the web of power, knowledge, and conventional wisdom those incentives create.
I believe you. Really. You are on to something, internet(s), you totally are on to something. It’s great that you’ve put this all in such sharp relief. It is. I love Digby. I will give my third testicle /ovary from the left for him or her, should the great testicle/ovary harvest of 2007 find him or her one testicle/ovary shy.
But seriously, folks, how big a freakin story is this? I mean, comparatively. This is America, and every single institution is corrupt, why is the media of such central concern to the enterprise of the political blogger?
And let me tell you what is not really great copy, what is sort of less than average in its revolutionary potential – a bunch of stories every week where you identify some half-obscure individual mainstream media figure who happens to engage the blogosphere, or some bloviating moderate, by his or her last name, tell us nothing at all about him or her, link to one more story or column that is just like every other piece of shit they have written, and then complain that their access to the mainstream audience is framing the national debate on some issue in a way that marginalizes a plausible and popular alternative view.
So, like, less of this then:
[Last name of a Guy with a blog I’ve never read but keep seeing everyone link to] absolutely flays [Sort of punditish Guy I’ve Never Heard of]’s most recent column in the [woeful newspaper/blog hybrid] on [name of issue, usually Iraq], illustrating once and for all the fundamentally [word they call you, e.g. unserious/uncivil/unthoughtful] nature of those who would limit political participation to the [opposite of word they call you, e.g. serious, civil, thoughtful].
And more of this:
Anyone who thinks we belong in Iraq another day is fucking crazy, and here’s why: [cogent argument, link to study].
Not there isn’t an awful lot of the latter out there. More please.