Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Vegetarian Recipes

If you have a favorite vegetarian recipe, I'd appreciate having it. Especially if it's pretty easy to prepare (I'm not a very experienced cook). Email is good, as are comments. Thanks!

Good women and bad women

Single women are more likely to vote for Kerry, while married women are more likely to vote for Bush. That's from a USA Today/Gallup poll. Focus on the Family (how I love them!) got ahold of this data and published the following proposed explanations for it:
Janet Folger, president and founder of Faith2Action, said unmarried women tend to be more focused on themselves. "Married women, on the other hand," Folger said, "are more concerned about their children and the future and what (that) future might hold." ... Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, said it may also be about a need for security. "When (a woman) doesn't have a husband to help her support the family," she said, "she looks to government to fill in the gap."
There you have it -- married women are properly dependent on their husbands and caring, and that's why they're Republicans, while single women are lazy and selfish (after all, why else would any woman be single?), and that's why they're Democrats.

Yeah, we vote values too.

I've been subscribing to several conservative email newsletters, including Focus on the Family's Citizen-Link since July, mostly because I'm interested in what kind of rhetoric is going out around the nation. I was actually kind of impressed by a setup they had yesterday. Here's what they sent:
Send an 'I Vote Values' Message to Your Elected Officials, Party Leaders Election Day is fast approaching, and as those running for office seek to secure your votes, there's an important message you can send them. This year, I'm voting my values. Don't underestimate the importance of this simple statement: Politicians need to know that when they look to line up your support, you're going to look past the slick advertisements and election-year promises and focus instead on how their values line up with yours. And that's going to be the criteria on which you cast your ballot. We've made it easy for you to send this message, loud and clear, to a host of people who need to hear it: your U.S. congressman and senators, your governor, your state elected officials -- and Ed Gillespie and Terry McAuliffe, the chairmen of the Republican and Democratic National Committees.
They have a form on their web site where you enter your address, and they figure out which officials represent you and automatically send your message to all of them. The default message, which can be modified, is just the single line, "I'm voting this year -- and I'm voting my values." The Religious Right has really done a bang-up job convincing the public that to be moral is to be conservative. I do vote values, but my values are somewhat different from FOTF's. I used the form to send to my elected officials the following message:
I'm voting this year -- and I'm voting my values. I believe in honesty, liberty, freedom from religious tyrrany, respect for the rule of law, and consideration for all life. That's why I will vote against the Bush administration and the GOP at large this year. Sincerely, Jonathan Ichikawa
For anyone who may be interested, the form is here.

Winning the war on terror

I'd just like to announce that I find the current controversy about who believes that, and who is correct about whether, we can "win the war on terror", annoying. It looks like the closer we get to November, the more meaningless and inane the rhetoric will become.

Safe in Providence

In case you were wondering.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

8/04 Road Trip

I'm leaving Houston early tomorrow morning for Providence. My itinerary, with all times very approximate:
5:30 a.m. Friday: leave Houston late p.m. Friday/possibly early a.m. Saturday: Find a hotel hopefully somewhere northeast of Georgia. 12:00 noon Saturday: visit Savannah in North Carolina for lunch, hang out for a little while. 9:00 p.m. Saturday: Meet Paul and Marsha in D.C. Spend the night at their place. The day Sunday: Visit D.C., drive to Philadelphia, visit Philadelphia. 6:30 p.m. Sunday: Meet Tyler and Rebecca for dinner. 10:00 p.m. Sunday: Find hotel in New Brunswick. a.m. Monday: Visit Mandy. Possibly go to the beach, weather permitting. Monday evening: Get into Providence. Do paperwork with new landlord.
Obviously, I'll be driving a lot. Give my cell a call if you feel like chatting -- I won't be busy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Navbar

I noticed when I got back from my trip that Blogger had changed things around a little bit. Instead of a banner ad at the top of my blog, I now have the "Navbar". My initial response was one of annoyance -- it obstructed the top half of the title of my blog. This, of course, was easily fixed with a minor modification to my template. And once I started looking at its features, I started coming around -- it's smaller and more attractive than the old banner ads were, and the search functionality is something that I will actually use. I also thought it might be fun to use the "Next Blog" function to go visit random blogs, and maybe find some more sites worth reading. In that, I've been sorely disappointed. I've clicked through to dozens of blogs, and found none at all that interested me. Very few of them have anything substantive to say at all, and many are not in English, the only language in which I'm fluent. Blogger may be out of luck here; I'm afraid the random blog button will not be very useful to many -- it may be that bloggers just don't have all that much in common with one another (or, possibly, most of them just don't have much in common with me). But Google is good about associating pages and topics with one another -- couldn't the 'next blog' button send me to another blog that statistics suggest I'd be interested in reading? They can see what topics I'm writing about, what blogs I'm linking to, etc. I wouldn't think it'd be too hard to give me random targeted references. Then browsing new blogs really could be interesting and fun.

War on Poverty Genes

This news is a couple of weeks old, but I was abroad and missed it. I can't believe it's real. James Hart has won the Republican Nomination for a U.S. Congress seat in Tennessee. Hart's platform appears to be based on the genetic superiority of white people. Yeah, I'm serious. From his campaign website:
Our cities are being destroyed by dysgenic welfare and immigration. Why does Detroit look like it was hit by a nuclear bomb and Hiroshima look like it was on the side that won the war? Everyone knows the answer but is afraid to say. Because genes have a more devastating effect on civilization than nuclear bombs, and the reason for Detroit's decline is that there are less 'favored races' in Detroit with an average IQ of 85 and more 'favored races' in Japan with an average IQ of 104. (It is noted there are less 'favored races'* in Africa south of the Sahara with an average IQ of 70-75, which accounts for the extreme poverty there.) ... If we had integrated with less 'favored races' centuries ago, there would have never been an electric light. There would never have been an airplane. Unless we stop dysgenic welfare and immigration policies, the US will look like one big Detroit.
I have absolutely nothing to say about this person.

McCain-Feingold and "Coordination" with candidates

Jeremy Pierce posted last night a suggestion that if President Bush were to ask "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" to stop running their lies against John Kerry, that would constitute "coordination" with them, which would be a violation of the McCain-Feingold Act. At first I was prepared to simply offer a small laugh at a clever legal joke, but as I read on, it appeared as if he was serious. The McCain-Feingold Act, as I understand it (which is, regrettably, not very thoroughly), classifies "coordination" between certain advocacy groups and candidates for office as a "contribution" to that candidate, and therefore subject to regulation. At this stage in the game, such a contribution would be illegal. So Jeremy is suggesting that if Bush said to the Swift Boat people, "stop lying about John Kerry", this would constitute coordination, and therefore a contribution. Are we speaking the same language? If Calvin is throwing crab-apples at Suzie and his mother tells him to stop, has she coordinated with him? Common sense shows that there is obviously no coordination in these cases. So do dictionary definitions, which focus on harmonious action. A cease and desist request clearly does not qualify. Of course, lawyers sometimes define things technically and oddly. I dug into the actual act, which is not a simple thing. This is what I found:
2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(7)(B)(ii) [E]xpenditures made by any person (other than a candidate or candidate's authorized committee) in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a national, State, or local committee of a political party, shall be considered to be contributions made to such party committee.
If the Swift Boat people were to stop airing their add at Bush's request, they wouldn't be expending at his request, they'd be ceasing to expend. So I don't see any reason to think the request would be a legal liability. Nor should it be.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Badass Photography

According to this site, a photographer named Don Frazier was trying to capture images of a bridge being demolished yesterday. He got a little too close, and his cameras were destroyed in the explosion. But his flash cards survived, revealing amazingly cool photographs. Here's the last thing his first camera ever saw: And here's a shot from his second camera of that first camera milliseconds later: I think that's *awesome*. Check out the linked site for higher-resolution images.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Dreaming in Color

Eric Schwitzgebel has, along with Changbing Huang, a new paper on color sensation in dreams. I've discussed before Schwitzgebel's treatment of the surprising sociological data, that in the 1940s and '50s, most experts and laypersons in America believed that dreaming was an exclusively black-and-white phenomenon. Today, of course, most people report dreaming in color, as, apparently, did people before the mid-twentieth century. Schwitzgebel's explanation is that our reports of dreams track our experiences of film media -- that in the '40s and '50s, people took their dreams to be in black-and-white because they generalized their experiences of black-and-white films to their experiences of their dreams. (That's why I'm so interested in this theory -- it fits very well into my view, according to which to experience a dream *is* to experience a fiction.) The new paper, Do We Dream in Color? Cultural Variations and Skepticism, marshals new data for Schwitzgebel's view that color reports in dreams tracks exposure to black-and-white media. He considers survey results from students in various regions of China, who have had various levels of exposure to black-and-white and color film at various points in their lives. I have not looked thoroughly at the data itself, but Schwitzgebel takes it to corroborate his theory. I take this also to count in favor of my theory. Thanks to Brian's papers blog for the link.

Philosophy of Art blog

I see a new weblog dedicated to the philosophy of art. It is called philosophy of art. Theoretically, that's kind of one of my interests. I'll plan to start following it... although my blog-following has not been up to form since my return from England (nor, obviously, has my blogging). I expect to get back into things before too long -- next week when I'm back in Providence, if not sooner.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I'm back

I'm back in the U.S. after an amazing time at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. I hope to get back into the blogging swing of things in the next day or so. I've been writing about the festival here.