The Botereid

Sunday, November 28, 2004

high ate is

The first step is admitting that you've got a problem. The second is blogging it.

I'm going on a leave of absence to better attend to my schoolwork. In fact, I'm giving up altogether on playing Internet. It will no doubt improve my studies. Until then, my friends. I shall return.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

the not-so-daily quotation

Montaigne, "Of Experience"

And so I doubt that my hearing is on the verge of growing dull, and you will see that when I have half lost it I shall still be blaming the voices of those who are speaking to me. We must really strain our soul to make it feel how it is ebbing away.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Kant: 1 Visitors: 0

Man...when you aren't inclined to do what's right and you do it anyway...

Oh, how it definitely deserves some serious moral props...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

damned good line

M Lileks says that an anecdote he gave spoke against "those who think the rest of the world has flaws, but we alone have sins."

Beautiful. Did he rip it off someone?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 "Residents: School strafing 'unacceptable'"

Yeah, I mean, come on. 25 rounds and he didn't hit a single kid!

At the online Met...

Does the Met have the most amazing system for viewing paintings on the web or what? Try clicking on that fop...

Things that interest the whole world because I'm a solipsist

It happens to the best of us

My uncle, 18. My father, 25. Me, 21. Correcto. I'm going bald at a rataplaniferous pace. I think it may be expediting on account of stress. The stress of going bald.

What a viciously circular ring-type thing.

Junk Bonds

Colin Farrell's not interested in being James Bond. Boo-hoo. The last time I watched a James Bond movie, I was a sophomore in high school. I went with my friend and his older brother, who had driven us. I woke up as the credits ended, and they were gone. I stumbled out of the theater to find them sitting in his Explorer, listening to the Devils game, and I didn't know whether I should cry.

I know, that's way more interesting than Colin Farrell.


"My old colleague in Times columny" is the funniest bit of wit I've seen in this long:
> _____________________________________________ <

The new cradle of philosophy

Of the 30 or so philosophy majors at Yale, 2 hail from Flemington, NJ. That's a significant portion, according to 50% of those Flemingtonites.

Xavier: "I guess we're just pretty damn good at philosophizing in Flemington."

Monique: "That's because there's nothing else to do."

When you're right, you're right.

Question: Why does Flemington, county seat of Hunterdon, 59.86% of which voted for Bush, have a "COST OF IRAQ WAR" ticker on their main page, courtesy of the Center for American Progress? Somebody let the techies loose again...(Hey, I can excoriate, belittle, ridicule, denounce, castigate, condemn, censure, and smear them because I'm one of them. I do it out of love or something.)

UPDATE: Ah, it's because that wasn't Flemington's OFFICIAL SITE. Or shall I say -- HISTORIC FLEMINGTON (!!!).


My younger brother just graduated from basic training. I spoke to him for the first time in months earlier today. I asked him about how hard it was. He said the worst part was the sleep.

Little Bro: "We have to be up at four-thirty. We stretch first, then we go out at five --"

Xavier: "Wait, you stretch for half an hour?"

Little Bro: "Well, when I say 'stretching,' I mean 'push-ups.'"

Congratulations, bro.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Just because.

the not-so-daily poem

Mind by Richard Wilbur

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

It has no need to falter or explore;
Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.

And has this simile a like perfection?
The mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Sullivan & Chomsky

I just watched Sullivan and Chomsky on Maher's show after talking with a friend about it and seeing Jeff Jarvis post on it. My friend sent me his thoughts on how Sullivan treated Chomsky, and I thought that I would quickly answer them. But I found myself writing at far greater length than I expected and felt that it would be good to post my response here.

To my friend: I apologize for posting this without your approval. If you want it off, just let me know and I'll pull it in a second. It just embodies so many positions I hold right now that I thought it would be good to post it here.

Overall, I think that Sullivan didn't come off that great. Then again, I think the fact that the crowd went mad almost every time one of the others spoke wasn't too conducive to him coming off well. Did I think he sounded dumb? No. But I think he sounded defensive (e.g. all the stuttering, the talking over people), and at times he was reaching.

Chomsky sounded reasoned and articulate, as he always does. It would have been entirely useless to have him on to debate because I'm sure a conversation between him and Sullivan wouldn't even get off the ground. What did I think of him as far as substance goes? Well, first I agree with Sullivan's statement that Maher was treating him "like a folk hero." Second, I strenuously disagree with some of his fundamental assumptions, so it's hard to take him seriously. I'll address those below, as I go through your points. I won't comment on everything, but just because there's always a lot I agree with you on and it's getting late anyway (I have to be up at 5 tomorrow).

... Chomsky, I feel, is not comparable to Jerry Falwell and others who are far right. I think Chomsky uses facts and then draws conclusions from those facts that are wrong. I don't think that anarchism would ever, in a million years, work, but I don't think Chomsky "sucks" for thinking what he thinks. Sullivan has no right to compare Chomsky to those on the far right such as Falwell. I would never, in a million years, listen to what someone like Falwell has to say. I would listen to Buckley, but not Falwell. Falwell doesn't use facts to conclude what he says, everything is just plain dumb. I don't like Michael Moore; in fact, I don't even respect him, but I do respect Chomsky, even if I don't agree with him.

I disagree. My assumptions: there is a "far left" and a "far right" in the US. Whether the center of these positions is correct is entirely moot. But it's nevertheless reasonable to say that the center of these positions is as reasonable a compromise as you can draw from them. Why are they "far" either way? I would say because neither of them draws too much support in the bigger picture.

I think Chomsky occupies the far left to Falwell's far right. Does Falwell's hate-mongering and irrationality immediately make Chomsky also wrong? No. So are they incomparable? Not necessarily. To think that two polar opposite moral and intellectual positions would be wrong in the same ways is unlikely though. I've already detailed how Falwell is wrong. How is Chomsky?

We agree that Michael Moore is an asshole. Why? One of the reasons I do is that he abuses the facts so vigorously. E.g. he takes one shot of someone speaking, cuts to another shot while they finish the sentence, then cut back to an entirely different speech, concatenating two sentences that have nothing to do with each other. If that's not abusing the factual information and actual representation of the world, I don't know what is.

Chomsky similarly doesn't just draw wrong conclusions from the facts, he abuses them. Worst of all, he never admits when he's been wrong. That's the sign of someone who's making a bad argument. I've seen Sullivan, for example, admit when he's been wrong on subjects as varied as why Bush won the election (originally he stood by the "gay marriage bans drove people to the polls idea," but he bowed in the face of the statistics) to the job the Bush administration has done conducting this war. Chomsky on the other hand has supported the Soviet Union, Pol Pot, Cuba, and others, while eviscerating the United States at every opportunity. And he never admits that he's wrong. Only in recent years when documents have shown the depravity of Stalin's Soviet Union has he admitted that they had problems. But they're still nowhere near what he accuses the US of. How can that be? We've never murdered between 7 - 25 million of our own people (estimates of the amount of Russians killed under Stalin's purges). How is that even a comparison? If you want to abstract "national morals" (i.e. is the US as a whole "good") from actions, I don't see how the US, with all its flaws, can be compared to that. And has he ever conceded how wrong he was about the Khmer Rouge? When the Cambodian genocide became clear, he clammed up.

In sum: Hold the US to high moral standards. But I will have little respect for someone who is not willing to hold the rest of the world to far lesser standards. I think Chomsky is indeed comparable to the far right. Do I think he "sucks"? Do I have respect for him? I'll answer these below.

You know as well as I that Chomsky isn't in this for the money. You know as well as I that he was a professor at MIT before any of his writings on policy; he had already made an indelible impact on his field when he wrote At War with Asia. It's not fair when Sullivan said he was lying and that he is making millions of this. I don't know how much Chomsky makes, but you know he answered our emails, and why? Because he wants to aid his image? Come on, you know that's bullshit. He believes in what he is doing and you and I have differing opinions from his but we can't degrade his position.

First, I agree with you about Chomsky's reasons for doing what he is doing, and I agree with you that he deserves a lot of respect for his effort. Remember what I said when we sent him those emails? "How many congressmen and senators would get back to us personally within a day?" I stand by that. I think Chomsky believes what he says, and I respect him for the sweat he puts into efforts that he believes will make the world a better place. When I was first introduced to politics, it was very much via Chomsky. I was distraught by what he was showing in his books, and I did feel so much solace when he personally responded, and in a heartfelt way, to what I wrote him. He didn't have to do that. He's a ridiculously busy man. He did it because he knew it mattered to some poor confused kid out there. That deserves respect no matter who you are.

Second, I believe Chomsky deserves, and gets, the world's respect in the field of linguistics. He virtually created the field. He is as important to it as Freud is to psychology. But should that respect transfer to his political views? No, definitely not. If it turned out that Andrew Sullivan was actually a linguistics aficionado and decided to publish book after book explaining his radical new theories, would I suggest that they should be rejected out of hand? No. I'd be wary of them, but I'd say that, since he's earned respect in one field, let's give him a chance to show why he's right in another. Nevertheless, I would judge him on the rigor of his arguments, and not accord him respect for linguistic theorizing if he didn't deserve it. Chomsky has gotten forty years of chances on his political arguments. He has rarely proved himself right about anything.

I did think that Sullivan disrespected his motives more than he deserved, but I can also understand his anger. I would be careful about saying that you can't "degrade his position." I disagree. I think you can't degrade his motives. I wouldn't degrade Marx's motives either. Not even Karl Popper did. But good motives don't lead to right action. Believe me, the far right is not evil. They really think they're working to save the world. I am ready to degrade their position because it's wrong. Likewise, I will degrade Marx and Chomsky's positions because they're wrong. Still, for all the proof I wrote two paragraphs ago, I will not degrade Chomsky's motives. I don't think Sullivan trusts him, but Sullivan was never a confused kid who Chomsky took some time out for. He probably wouldn't have quite as much animosity for him if he had been.

Did Maher treat him like a folk hero? Yes, he did. You could tell Maher loves the man. ... Is that the way to interview Chomsky? No. I would like very much to see Chomsky's reaction to a deeper questioning: I would like to see what he thinks the implications of actual, in practice, Communism is. I don't pretend to understand where he is coming from when he speaks on behalf of Castro or Soviet Russia. But Sullivan was out of line when he said he hoped that Chomsky was smart enough to know that he was lying. To be honest, it really pissed me off. I've seen Sullivan on the Chris Matthews show and I liked him very much, and reading Sullivan I like him less. I still like him, but those were some foolish statements that he made.

I partially answered this above, but I just wanted to say that I agreed with this. Sullivan was out of line when he was so quick to jump on Chomsky's "lies." I agree with you. I think Chomsky believes them. And I think one has to know that something is wrong to actually be lying. (Another reason why Michael Moore is an ass. He has very little regard for truth that doesn't fit his position.) Sullivan was wrong to say that and Maher was right to jump on him for it.

You can't say that America is a great country when you look at some of what has happened. The American ideals, though they may not have been applicable in the sense we would like to think of them as being today, are wonderful; but America's leaders have, at times, made some decisions that couldn't have possibly been thought good at the time they were made. This country, at times, has been run like a business, with making deals here and there. Those deals are to ensure greater prosperity for its citizens, and I understand that, but for Sullivan to say Chomsky should be condemned is bullshit. Chomsky has a right to his opinion. Sullivan can disagree as much as he wants. That's what this country is about. It's fucking bullshit for Sullivan to suggest that he is right. Should we end all debate and follow Sullivan? Of course it's a dumb question -- its meant to be. Ending debate on what should be done doesn't mean that it will be done.

I think Sullivan's choice of wording was poor. He broke midway through saying "Of course Chomsky has a right to speak...," to say, "He has no right to besmirch this nation etc." Poor choice. I think the idea of "a right to besmirch" is quite strange. Clearly, Sullivan didn't mean to say that Chomsky shouldn't be able to speak. He was in the middle of saying just that when he cut himself off to pursue another thought.

Further, I will defend Sullivan as far as your last point. I don't think Sullivan has ever even implied that we should end debate and listen to him. Does he think he's right? I hope so, just as I know Chomsky thinks he's right before he says something. I don't think it's bullshit for him to stand by his arguments. But I would challenge anybody out there to find someone more willing to entertain an opposing viewpoint than Sullivan. Was he defensive on this show? Yes, I would be too if I had three speakers, a host, and a studio audience all against me. The deck was stacked against him. Nevertheless, as far as blogs go, I've seen no one out there more willing to print cogent and completely opposing arguments on their site. That's one of the big reasons why I like Sullivan so much: when he hears a good argument for why he was wrong about something, he immediately posts it. And when he himself is fully convinced, he will admit that he was wrong. Want immediate proof? Just look at his page. The last three emails of the day, emails from his readers, are refuting points he made. If you read his other posts, you'll see that he slowly adjusts his opinions on what they are saying because they do make good points. Sullivan, more than anyone, makes the best opposing arguments he can find available to his readers, and, more importantly, he himself takes them into consideration.

As regards greatness, if America can't be called a great country, I propose that no country can be. Every nation has its closeted and revealed skeletons. But what American ideals, and actions on those ideals, have meant for the world is remarkable. Did we have a My Lai? Did we have an Abu Ghraib? Did we have a Pinochet? Did we have slavery and racism? Yes. I lament them all. But we have also liberated concentration camps, employed Marshall Plans, thwarted Communism, and defended liberty more often than not. You can attack the last for being an obsolete Enlightenment idea, but it's only by those same Enlightenment ideas that we condemn the US for those other atrocities. And while our scandals must be revealed, our just actions are borne up by our citizens. That we argue so forcefully, from you and me to Sullivan and Chomsky, about how to make this a better nation, should be a sign of how great a nation it is.

Flawed? Of course. But that is no reason to say something isn't great. Let me use what Sullivan said: "You don't have to believe this country is perfect to have it be a force for good in this world." Show me a great person, and I'll show you a flawed one. If we can apply greatness to nations, I wouldn't expect it to vary from that.

I know this is eight-tenths incoherence, but I'd love to hear comments from people in response.

The Hard Time Changing

I've been at Yale for two months now. I'm deliriously happy here, and tired. Let me speak of the latter.

Miami-Dade Community College was well worth my last two years. When I was ready to square off with my indolent ways, it was waiting with open doors, not to mention decent prices. It was the opportunity I sought. The teachers were wonderfully supportive. The atmosphere was congenial to my nascent philosophy. And so on.

Yet, as I foresaw but couldn't admit, MDC couldn't prepare me in full for the next step. Despite my independent travails -- my pursuit for knowledge beyond the campus gates -- I have had to brawl with the schoolwork here. It's winning.

I'm no longer working fulltime; in fact, I don't work at all. I'm taking only five classes. The subjects don't feel overwhelming. And yet, I'm not sure that I have a single "A." This is remarkable and frustrating, for it isn't for lack of effort. I toil sunrise to sunset, but I progress at pedestrian speed.

I've narrowed it to two poor study habits: (1) Bad reading and (2) inefficient attention.

The first shocked me. I knew that my interest, philosophy, was no home of light reading. In fact, I was fairly well-read for the time I had to give it in Miami, I thought. I knew what these texts were like. But the mammoth attention to detail that I've been forced to teach myself has been incredible. To survive, I've had to give "close reading" an entirely different meaning in my months here.

But it has been rewarding. Only when I began to creep over the page did I begin to glean real understanding from these works. I believe that I'm finally becoming adjusted to the pace; the difference between now and the semester's start in terms of how much time I need for, and how much I comprehend of, a philosophic work astounds: I am spending less time now and gaining far more. In the first week I must have spent ten hours reading Charles Stevenson's "The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms." It's a fairly clear piece, and still I struggled for weeks to grasp its general points. Last week I read "Values and Secondary Qualities," by John McDowell (famous for his esoteric style); it took two hours, and I came away from it with great confidence. As they say in Spanish, "Dress me slowly, for I am in a hurry." (Damned aristocrats.)

My second cause for being ill-prepared, "inefficient attention," is a curious one. What I mean by it is that I was putting too much attention on certain harder classes at the expense of others. At MDC, I could spend two weeks working on an essay for one class, then spend three days catching up for a test in another, then switch to a third to write another paper, etc. At Yale, this resulted in fruitless and numbing embroilment in one subject while falling far out of touch in others. It was a disaster. Juggling doesn't work here; everything must be carried together. It was as if I stood in one place as I juggled at Dade, but as soon as I had to walk and maintain the act, I dropped all the pins.

My new study method is a combination of what has worked in the past and the adjustments I've had to made. I'll go into it further tomorrow. Hopefully someone will find it useful in their own transition up from community college.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Homero's Painting At the Student Exhibition

My mother in her pearl nightgown hovers
By the green glass table. Her hands
Push in her bloodless face. Her mouth
Gapes like a flooding drain, and so her scream

Doesn’t sound. The burglar, wearing my brown
Sheepskin coat and faded green jeans,
Browses through our dull property
With a smile borne by his well-done work.

The tiny portrait of my mother’s young
Dead brother, with his dumb finch face,
And the wooden car in his hands—
He who had the decent sense to start well

And leave early—it still hangs in the hall,
By the door. Yes, I know that howl
Cresting over the audience.
I always bring it for Homero’s work.

the not-so-daily poem

Because You Asked About the Line Between Prose and Poetry
by Howard Nemerov

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned into pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn't tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.


Like I said, there's no damn mandate. (Tip, Glenn.)

Steve's making the argument from rationality, however. But by merely appealing to the idea ad nauseam, the Republicans are creating their own mandate. Eventually it will just be common-sense that there is one. I know non-Bush voters who already assume it.

Left & Right - 1. Liberal Solace

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

- Abraham Lincoln

Actions beget reactions. Those of us who aren’t thrilled with the extreme right and left can keep lamenting that. The pendulum is swinging high one way, but believe me -- it's going to swing back, and viciously.

The religious conservative's tide has come. The long work of Buckley and Co. has borne this cresting wave to victory, though I'm not sure that this is exactly what Buckley had in mind. But before liberals google "noose-tying", they should try to search for such thing as an uncrashed wave. Remember, in victory one can always find the roots of defeat. Here, I think it's simply time. The Republicans lost the youth vote, and while youth tend to be more liberal, I think their animosity towards this extreme religious conservatism is going to make it a hell of a lot harder for the Republicans to convert these folk as adults.

Now, some may object to some of my premises here. E.g. "religious conservatism." (I know some take it as granted, but this argument is not directed towards them, naturally.) Let's put it this way: I am pretty conservative in certain areas. I believe we should conserve individual liberty, though maybe I am not so extreme as some libertarians. (I think taxes are necessary and that some government helps to guarantee liberty.) I also believe in the strength of tradition. Intellectual history is not a long line of puissant pseudo-intellectuals dominating the discourse with an iron gauntlet. That seems to assume the idiocy of most of our forebears: hence, I find it arrogantn. Finally, I'm a conservative when it comes to the environment. I do not agree with our careful dismantling of it.

Today's Republican conservatism is primarily religious. It has no qualms about stripping individual liberty in the name of morality. Where does it acquire this morality? Either tradition founded from religion, or directly from The Good Book, cutting out the middleman. These morals rule all, which is understandable considering that they're morals. I think we can agree that conservative morality is heavily laden with to-be-doneness.

The religious conservative scene is also short-sighted, which is completely antithetical to the Buckley crowd. This is why it brushes off how it's seen by youth, foreigners, intellectuals, and minorities; namely, others. It is shining off its "mandate" won in a hotly-contested election where a choice was made because we had to make a choice, where approval ratings show that we didn't want either guy. It's arraying its shoulders with it like a cape and epaulets, and it's writing its legacy across the national walls for all generations to behold and despair.

The Republicans have a strong base of voters. But it was built by consuming on the foundation of their future. Every dog has its day, and every day has its sunset.

Note: This is the introduction to a longer argument I'm working out. Thus, the "1" in the title and the vagueness of parts. I will be going into this further, and linking all the posts together eventually.

Philosopher's dont know everything

Brian Leiter really needs to stick to philosophy.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

"If any man have an ear, let him hear."

And I thought my friend was hurting. The comments on the left hemisphere of the tenth planet, Bloggos, are beyond belief.

Note, as Glenn Reynolds wisely does: THIS loses elections.

Great Relearning?

Does this sound to anyone else like the ravings of a coherent lunatic?

Having restored decency to the White House, President Bush now has a mandate to affect policy that will promote a more decent society, through both politics and law. His supporters want that, and have given him a mandate in their popular and electoral votes to see to it. Now is the time to begin our long, national cultural renewal ("The Great Relearning," as novelist Tom Wolfe calls it) — no less in legislation than in federal court appointments. It is, after all, the main reason George W. Bush was reelected.

"Long, national cultural renewal"? "In legislation" and "in federal court appointments"? Mein gott. This guy is the definition of conservative bogeyman. What's happened to the libertarian strain in the right? Sounds like it's being bled out...

Also, Tom Wolfe or not, "The Great Relearning" sounds like something authored by Mao.


People didn't think he would do it, but Bush has already started instituting major changes in the White House.

And now, the bitterness...

I took a six hour nap yesterday to convalesce. A mere interest in our nation can be hard on the body. But now it's the melancholy rather than the fatigue that's set in.

Kerry conceded gracefully, even warmly. Laugh if you will, damn me if you will, but this seemed to be the highlight of his campaign: he never seemed more human than yesterday. For this alone we can remember him with some warmth.

I knew about the concession before going to school. I mentioned it to my professor after class. He said curtly that he already knew. I had a favor to ask -- extension on a paper -- so I tried to explain that I was up all night watching the results. "I'm somewhat addicted to politics," I said. "Yeah," he said, "I stopped watching around eleven-thirty or twelve. It was pretty clear which way it was going." I nodded and responded that (despite my posts to the contrary) I had held out a little hope right up until Ohio was wrapping up. "It's days like this," he said, his voice sharpening, "that I don't even know why we have a fucking democracy. It just doesn't work."

It does, I thought, though I understood the emotion. It just didn't work too well this time. Kerry, I believe, would have made a better president. My instinct and my reason tell me that. I believe the US made the wrong choice there, despite Andrew Sullivan's claim to the people's "deep wisdom." Yet what would I take in exchange for our form of government? While I can see improvements that need to be made, as far as full swaps go the alternatives are slim pickings. As Churchill said, this is the worst form of government besides everything else.

I got home and saw an email from a good friend, one of the most intelligent, level-headed, and decent that I know. It's a complete screed, which I won't print because it's so vehement that I think he wouldn't appreciate me putting it here, though the tone is such that for the next few weeks I'm sure he wouldn't care if I did. I've never seen anything like it from him. It hit me hard.

I said that I already support Bush on what needs to be done. I do. But let me defend myself for a moment. Why will I recommit myself to supporting the President? I didn't support his election after all. Yes, but it's contingent on something I said yesterday: the president's fortune is our fortune. We have him for four more years. We need to have some hope.

I don't admire President Bush's intelligence or wisdom, but I believe that he does want what's best for the nation. This "best" I may not entirely agree with, but I believe that we can agree on problems enough for more than a few presidential terms. It's here that we need to work. Are we going to waste these four years on accusations and recriminations? I've got to give Bush a chance at a fresh start. He's going to be there regardless. It seems to be the optimist's only choice.

So what scares me is that I'm not sure Bush is going to listen. Many people out there are sure that's he's not. The emails Sullivan is posting today are alternately disgusting and heartbreaking. In the face of nobility, some on the victor's side are revealing themselves as pigs. I refuse to be one, even if I get spit in the face. But...well, Jon Stewart said something last night that I have to agree with. He said that he never understood the Culture War until today, until looking at that map. I have to agree with that. While there are so many things that pull this nation together, modernity keeps working to batter it apart. I believe in reflection, science, and I have no faith in a god. The beauty of America is that I should be able to live in peace next to someone who objects to all that. It feels today like that's no longer the case.

Lotta leaves on the ground already. Seems as if autumn has flown by night. I swear the colors were only up on the trees for a day or two. But at least the sky is refulgent. Can't forget that. Not like the cold. Three years in Miami and I'd definitely forgotten what that felt like. But I'll dress warmly and hope that it passes quick.

optimism ...

Oh, what a useful survey:

A post-election poll indicates most of those surveyed are hopeful the country will be drawn together during President Bush's second term. Just over half -- 51 percent -- said they were pleased with the outcome of the election; 38 percent said they were upset.

Seeing as 51% voted for the guy, I should hope they're pleased...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

CNN, just making a further ass of itself

Umm...from the Kerry concession article:

Ahead in the popular vote by more than 3.7 million votes, the president moved tantalizingly close to winning an Electoral College majority with a lead in the key battleground state of Ohio, though the Buckeye State remained too close for CNN to call. (Electoral College)

Shall we resume the drinking game?

I hear CNN's still waiting to call Texas.

the concession

BREAKING NEWS Sen. John Kerry calls President Bush to concede presidential election, CNN has learned. Details soon.

Well, it hurts a little more, even though I've already said it's over. At least our guy went out with some honor. That certainly means something. Thank you, Senator Kerry, for doing this with grace.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's over: The Sequel

Seriously, it's done. Cuyahoga couldn't pull a needle through thread at this point...

Congratulations, President Bush. As I said before, I'm behind you. We're at war. Our economy is feeble. And we are harshly divided. The immediate future is dim. You've got to lead us through it. Tell us what you need from us.

"I'm returning it for spite."

Hmm. I don't know whether I'd like to see Kerry win Ohio more because I prefer him as a candidate, or because Fox would have to eat some serious crow.

General Trends

Is it safe to say that late results go Democratic?

Here's the logic. Late results are the product of precincts taking a long time to report. The more precincts, the more voters, the longer it will take to get results from certain counties. Voters and precincts are concentrated in cities. Cities tend to vote Democrat. So, late results should go Democrat.

This certainly wasn't what we saw in Florida. But at first bleary glance it seems to make sense, and it might even be happening in Ohio. If this model pulls Kerry through there, I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more about this soon-to-be "truism."

Can I say he's done now?

Ohio's trending the other way. I still think Cuyahoga's going to pull it closer to Kerry, but there's no way that county's going to make up 140,000 votes.

Florida Absentee Ballots

Lots o' ballots left yet in Florida, but I don't think there are nearly enough to make a difference.

Botero Learns A Lesson

See Xavier look at a popular vote. See Xavier look at precincts voted. See Xavier screw eeeeverything up.

I'm no longer certain at all that Ohio is going to Bush. Without that, he loses it all, it seems. Why the loss of confidence?

Well, actually looking at the areas that are still largely unreported, they're going far more for Kerry. While I wouldn't say they'll definitely be enough to give it to him sans doubt, I'd say they're enough to declare me ignorant once again.

While there are plenty of counties with precincts to be counted that are falling head over heels for Bush -- e.g. Clermont, Defiance (love that name), Greene, Lawrence, Medina, Miami, and Warren -- the real heavy hitters are pro-Kerry, and they have plenty of counting left to do as well. Which are these? Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, and Summit. And while a tremendous amount of votes have left to be counted in Hamilton, which is slightly Bush, those should be discounted by Stark, which is going the other way in similar numbers.

I see Kerry picking up steam towards the end, and as I said: I'm moving back to "toss-up."

the Fat Lady is in the can

Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan have all flipped to Kerry in the last half hour. While I predicted Michigan, losing the other two would put my prediction at B 273 - K 263. The leads are very slim, but now it's heating up...

UPDATE: Somewhere along the line, my countin went awry. The proper current counts are B 274 - K 263. That's still doesn't add up right, but I'm using C-SPAN's numbers and that's what it comes out to. So there.

Any idea why more networks haven't called Florida for Bush yet? Don't want to dissuade voters from going to the polls? (Knowing how the media thinks, I wouldn't be surprised...)


Wow, no spam at all for hours. We should have elections every day!

It's over

Bush is taking it, and pretty convincingly.

Of the still uncalled, my predictions:

Bush - 288
Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska

Kerry - 248
Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii

You heard it here first.

NOTE: For those wondering about my methodology, I use the See-Which-Way-They're-Going-And-Count-Em-Up Method. I find it pretty reliable.

NOTE 2: I suppose we should all call up Bush to concede. Anyone have that number?

...and so goes Ohio

Looks like Ohio is following Florida's lead:

10:20PM B +97,626 34% of precincts
10:35PM B +103,524 36%
10:57PM B +149,483 46%


Bush has Florida. I wasn't sure which precincts had reported before -- i.e. whether Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach had affected things yet -- but I don't think it matters anymore. (Besides, with the number of precints having reported, I think they've been counted.) The numbers are wavering, but the lead is far too big for Kerry to overcome in the last 13% of precincts:

10:20PM B +257,563 80% of precincts
10:27PM B +275,024 85%
10:35PM B +259,517 87%

Florida a lock for Bush?

With 77% of precincts reporting, the President's ahead by 250,000 votes...

France vs. the Terrorists

And yet they're loved. What's the difference? Why are we maligned for less? Bad PR? Envy?

CNN Drinking Game

1 shot for every time someone says, "But we're not going to call it just yet. We're going to be veerry careful."

Epistle to the President

Dear Mr. President-Elect:

First, you should be ashamed. As a first-time voter, I was utterly disheartened by the vile campaign. This isn't meant to excuse your rival, but it's you, the President of the United States, whom I'm expecting better from in the future. You and your supporters are responsible for much of the discord in this election. Shame on you.

With that aside, congratulations and the best of everything these next four years. Your past may not be thrilling, but this is a new day. You have my trust because I must give it. I have to keep believing that my next breath will be sweeter than the last. I have to believe that we can mend this world together, with our ideas and our sweat. At this moment, this is all I have for you, but I don't think you could ask for more from me. You have me with you.

No matter what you do, some people out there will hate you. Some hold you to be an abomination and dream for your misfortune; some swear that you will never represent them. I won't be one of them. I know that your fortune is ours. I promise to defend you against falsity. All I beg is that you don't abuse this dedication. If you do, you'll hear from me.

You lead us in a perilous time, Mr. President. I believe that you can lead us through it safely. Be wise, for we are a world in tumult. Be bold, lest we founder. You are our champion. Make yourself worthy of it.


Xavier Botero

The Pledge to the President

Thank you, Mr. Jarvis. As others have said, those are words of great sanity -- rare in these days. And so, for these next four years, I promise to

(1) Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him.
(2) Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him.
(3) Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.
(4) Work to help us unite as a nation, putting country over party, even as we work together to make America better.

I also enjoyed Michael Totten's comments on this. And I found Megan McArdle's annoying. Like Jeff's in form, but far from his in spirit.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Leading into the election

I go to Yale, so it should be no surprise that most of the folk I deal with are liberal. I consider myself pretty liberal too, yet here I'm probably classified as a neoconservative of some strain. I had no problems with this until the other day.

I much admire Professor P-. She's extremely kind, open-minded, and funny. Indeed, all of her students seem to share that opinion. Yet one day last week I walked into class a few minutes before it was to begin, and written on one side of the chalkboard was


P- teaches a class that has nothing to do with politics and she's never stated her political views. The two or three times she's mentioned politics in class, it's been to illustrate a point, and the examples have been strictly non-partisan. The message felt like a prank.

When P- came in, I smirked. But then I saw her face -- so disconcerted. She put down her bag, laughed, and went to erase the message. "How did you find out my secret?" she said before laughing again. A few people giggled. Then someone nervously asked, "But is it true?"

Everything quieted. Calmly, she finished clearing the board. Then she came around her desk and thought a moment, before brushing off the question, joking about how we would cover her political views in another lecture. She walked back and took out her notes, but as she tried to segue into the material, another voice broke: "But is it true?"

I've never, not in all my life, been in a more awkward classroom. It was as if we had all emerged from an accident and were pacing a field aside some highway, bleeding and in utter shock. Deliberately, the professor put down her notes and began to talk about the different facets of Academic Freedom, and about how she DIDN'T agree with the premise of an academic freedom to assert superiority in all subjects, just because one is a scholar in a single field. She spoke carefully, but confidently, and slowly massaged the tension from the room. "And so ask me about anything," she finished, "except Bush or Kerry."

Don't get me wrong: this was hardly, to reverse Hitchens's allusion, Kristallnacht. But these are the small moments that augur more frightening times. If there's one common feature shared by the students in my class, it's that most are young Americans; and one of our great blessings and curses as young Americans is to have security. Some people call it being sheltered. Yet I can't leave it there, so simply explained when the the phenomena is anything but simple. There was a fear in the class that this professor was suddenly "different." There was the irrevocable feeling that she had somehow wronged us. Where are we going? Where happened to consideration for an opposing view?

In this political season, running headlong into the most important and confused election I've yet seen, I worry for tomorrow. And I'm ashamed of my peers, and of myself for not standing up to say something. If anything good has come of this, it's that I like this professor even more. The only grace was hers, after all.