As the article points out, this is all one big exercise in fantasy baseball.
But it's still fun!
Start by considering the electorate's six broadest demographic groups -- white voters with at least a four-year college degree; white voters without a college degree; African-Americans; Hispanics; Asians; and other minorities.
Now posit that each of those groups voted for Barack Obama or John McCain in exactly the same proportions as it actually did. Then imagine that each group represented the share of the electorate that it did in 1992. If each of these groups voted as it did in 2008 but constituted the same share of the electorate as in 1992, McCain would have won. Comfortably.
The article goes on to project how McCain would fair in 2020:
Imagine that the major demographic groups voted as they did in 2008, but cast a share of the vote equal to their expected share of the population in 2020. (For argument's sake, let's divide whites among college and noncollege voters in the same proportions as today.) In that scenario, Obama beats McCain by nearly 14 points -- almost twice as much as in 2008. Demography will indeed be destiny if Republicans can't broaden their reach.
I love this article because it tells me stuff I already want to believe. But of course, whites get split up into two subgroups, but everyone else gets to votes as a bloc in this model. There's an outside chance that as the minority populations become mainstream-sized, they may cease to act in perfect unison.
What I wonder is: Would becoming a bigger chunk of America have a Republicanizing effect on minority groups? Or will Republican racism sink itself? I'd guess that gaining a bigger chunk of America's wealth would have a Republicanizing effect, just because people tend to pull the ladder up after themselves. But that doesn't necessarily go hand-in-hand with gaining bigger numbers.
It kind of depends how the Republicans re-brand themselves after this butt-kicking. Which ethnicities would be alienated by the evangelical God-hates-fags arm, and who would be wooed by big business, and who simply doesn't want the government to take away their guns?
Ingrates, the lot of you!
I was roundly ridiculed today by cow-orkers who found me out as the kind of person who writes thank-you notes for my holiday presents. It was, I was informed, archaic and—get this—effeminate. And the latter from a lady!
In explaining my apparently odd folkways, I noted that it was something my mother always insisted I do, even through college. And, disobedient brat though I am, this was always a rule, nay, a tradition, that just seemed sensible and polite.
After this explanation I was reminded that I probably just had a weird upbringing: remember, after all, I was told, that your mother baked a birthday cake for Jesus every Christmas, a cake we rugrats had to take outside and feed to the birds (so they could carry it up to Jesus, you see) prior to any opening of our gifts.
Possible hypocrisy here: I kind of think sending Holiday cards is lame.
Is Budweiser the Easy Listening of beverages?
Let's talk football.
First, is the Budweiser "Drinkability" ad campaign the lamest campaign ever? Targeting everyone who finds beer really hard to drink? Really, wine-coolers have cornered that market. I myself drank apple-flavored Boone's Farm when I was a lower-case heebie. (But now I'm a Big Heebie. The girls see I got the money. Hundred dollar bills, y'all.)
♫ If you were from where I'm from...
More importantly, the fabric of our very household is being ripped excitingly apart tonight, as Jammies takes the Sooners half of the fabric onto one side of the couch and I take the Gators half of the blanket with me and curl up on the other side of the couch. You know why the sky is blue and the sunset is orange? That is because God is a Gator. Now you know.
I got disappointed by someone new
My native optimism could only hold out for so long.
Let us turn now to happier things. Like my red zip-up fleecy robe with kitty-cats all over it.
What kind of ex-president do you think Bush will be? My first instinct is that he'd be like his dad, just bumming around his ranch living the rich life and mostly staying out of public life. He doesn't really give a damn about any charitable causes (hell, he seems completely bored by the presidency) and he's been ostracized by almost everyone in his party.
And yet, he has a terrible legacy and I can see him wanting to find a way to rehabilitate it. It's not like he's going to win it back in the international arena by brokering peace deals or some such and, like I said above, there doesn't seem to be a logical charitable path for him to take. The only one he could credibly claim as his own enough to non-hypocritically continue out of office is AIDS in Africa, but Clinton's kind of got that sealed up legacy-wise. Marine preservation isn't going to cut it. What could he possibly do to salvage his reputation? And will he care enough to do it?
Uninformed Link: Dennis Blair
Blair, has I understand, been named as Obama's National Intelligence Director. At the link, Gary Farber draws attention to all sorts of Clinton-era wrongdoing on Blair's behalf. I know absolutely nothing about the guy -- anyone else know if this is the sort of appointment we should be hoping gets blocked?
Resolved: Vain People Are Pleasant To Have Around
Mostly because they care what you think about about them, which makes them attentive to your reactions. Also, they tend to dress either well or at least interestingly, so they're fun to look at.
But there was a "hard cyc", so that was neat.
I was forced—FORCED! I tell you—to participate in a band photo shoot this evening. And shit for nickels do I suck at posed photography.
I can do "ZANY!!!1!!one!" just fine, but "serious" and "casual"? Nope. (As a sidebar, these traits probably explain why I've so often found trying my hand at acting so awkward.)
The whole experience made me feel like I was back in middle school posing for class pictures.
BONUS DOUBLE ENTRY! By heebie-geebie
At what age do boys get trained to stop smiling in their ID photos? Do the men of Unfogged smile in their ID photos? Is smiling dippy?
Usually if I happen to see some kid's student ID, I roll my eyes if he's not smiling. But Colt McCoy, the UT quarterback, did look pretty dippy with his big good ol' boy smile in the mugshot they flashed on the screen all during the game yesterday.
Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Stop Following Elections
I know you've all been fretting -- sure, last fall's elections are over, and turned out well, but who will I donate money to now? Problem solved.
Tom Geoghegan is running for Congress, in the special election to fill Rahm Emmanuel's seat. He's a labor lawyer and writer, and I've posted enthusiastically about his books before. If you care at all about labor issues, I can't imagine a more useful thing to do than to donate money or volunteer to get him elected -- if I were a Chicago local, I'd be doing whatever I could to get involved in the campaign.
As it is, all I can do is donate money. If you've got some to spare, it's a great place to send it. The election is April 7, so send money now if you're going to.
I knew that today, being the first workday after New Year's, was going to be busy at the gym but holy hell. It had been crowded even before the onslaught of resolutioners but lines were multiple people deep for every piece of equipment. To top it off, there were so many new people touring the gym and still wanting to join that they were herding them through in groups of 10.
Surely there comes a point where you have paid someone for a service, that service you have paid for degrades to the point where the provider is no longer holding up their end of the deal, and charging for the service they are no longer providing constitutes fraud or some other blamable offense. For a gym, it's hard to prove that line has been crossed but I feel there must be some kind of recourse.
Sure, I could quit and join another gym (and still might) but it really pisses me off because I was one of the charter members and locked in a rate much lower than any of the alternatives in the area. Although, if things continue as they are, I'm probably going to get my membership revoked anyway because I'll start screaming at the manager or something because going to the crowded gym is so stressful and I can't burn off any of that stress because I can't get on a fucking machine.
If you put the razor blades in the apples a full year early...
...then it's not your fault if the trick-or-treaters cut themselves on them.
Via Snarkout, comes this bit from LGM, (and originally from the Times), about the scope of precedent which has been set by the Lily Ledbetter case:
The Idaho plaintiff, Noll Garcia, uses a wheelchair. He said his apartment violated federal standards because it was not readily accessible. Under the law, he had two years to challenge a "discriminatory housing practice" in court.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the majority, said this two-year period began when construction of the building was complete. Mr. Garcia lost out because he filed suit in 2003 -- within two years of renting the apartment, but 10 years after it was built.
I can only assume that this is the type of result which is so egregious that it will travel up the court system and get the precedent overturned?
She mighta took my car keys, but she forgot about my old John Deere.
What if cars had "drunk-mode"? In other words, you flip a switch and it puts on some modified hazards to alert everyone else, and caps your speed at ~15 mph.
You're still charged for reckless driving if you damage anyone's property, and you're still charged with vehicular injury/manslaughter/homicide if you hurt anyone. You're still responsible for your actions. But a car going 15 mph won't generally kill anyone, and here's the key: you are then going slow enough that your reaction time matches your speed.
(Why do I feel like I'm violating something super sacred?) Obviously the best scenario is that we fully subsidize public transportation and everyone can safely get home.
This came up because Jammies' grandfather would drink to excess and get his liscense taken away all the time, and when it got taken away, he'd switch to his old John Deere. And, well, on a certain level, doesn't that sound good? You can't do much damage in a John Deere.
Counterpoint: only if it will make you miserable should you do it
Much is written nowadays about childbearing and correct procreation, and that is quite right; it must all be worked upon and the best results obtained. Only I believe we expect too much of the process and are too anxious to think that an immiserated parent is contrary to the demands of nature. I take the other view. The immeasurable advantage which miserable parents offers to the upbringing of children consists, it seems to me, in substituting the hard truth of the world rather than substanceless and false pleasantries.
Stanley recently wondered, regarding Santa Claus, whether the typical adult habit of inculcating, or omitting to inoculate against, the belief in such a sprightly elf does not, like the Parthian, work more disenchantment in its departure than it ever did enchantment in its presence, not merely spreading disbelief immediately but fostering resentment, suspicion, and recalcitrance to give credence even to innocuous proposals, for, having once been wounded, the child is twice protected. The same proposal was made to me by another acquaintance of mine, shortly before Stanley made known his thoughts; thus I conclude that the general idea is not without currency, and yet, no application of it is made to the more familiar deceptions we practice on our children at all seasons of the year, if, at least, we are what is called, no doubt with a tip of the hat to the proverbial unshining grove, a loving parent. When first the deception is discovered, the fall reaches greater depths than if there had never been a rise.
When I think of all the happy youths, with happy parents, who will on emerging from Mother's apron see this dank, horrid, merciless world for what it is, my heart comes near to breaking! Let us not deceive ourselves as cruelly as those blissful fools are deceived by those who above all owe them the truth: not everyone can, on encountering death, disease, and despair, make as philosophical response to it as did Siddhartha—nor is the retreat to philosophy an example to be lauded! And when I think of the fewer but apparently—only apparently—happier youths whose adulthoods will be similarly joyous, who will reach their deathbeds without ever having experienced crushing injustice, having been been wracked with guilt or shame or suffering for no reason, who will, in short, lead from egg to apples thoroughly delightful and enviable lives, then my heart cannot bear up any longer, then, indeed, does my heart break! Yes! On their behalf, I rend my clothing!
What has gone wrong in these peoples' lives? The proverb has it that dotage is nonage again, but that implies a discontinuity, a break, an interval of maturity; for these people, senex is indeed puer—etiamdum! We cannot be certain where blame lies in all cases, but is it not likely that the root from which these evil flowers have grown is—parents who weren't miserable when they thought of childcare? Had things only been otherwise!
My tone may make you think I am being facetious but I am dead serious.
If It's Going To Make You Miserable, Don't Do It.
Sherry (formerly of Stay of Execution, now of Rhubarb Pie with Megan) has a post on probably not wanting to have children. She sounds as if she's got her thinking on the subject pretty clear -- no strong desire for kids, and a clear sense of the things she sees as the negatives:
When I articulate some of the things that put me off about having a child, I sound rigid and fussy: I don't want a house stuffed with bright plastic objects; I don't want to carry six bags around with me when I move from place to place; I don't want to fixate on someone else's excretory schedule for the next four years; I want to be able to choose where and when I direct my attention; I want to be able to listen to my friends without distraction; I want to be able to live spontaneously. I know that I am smarter and happier and healthier when I get enough sleep, and I don't want to be chronically crabby and dull and draggy.
(She goes on to say some things about the hormonally caused changes in personality and intellectual capacity caused by pregnancy and motherhood that are, IMO and E, complete nonsense -- if that's actually a primary part of her motivation for not wanting kids, she should do some more research and rethink. But it doesn't sound as if it's a central part of what she's thinking.) Broadly, she's absolutely right -- there's no reason at all to have kids if you don't want to, and having kids does involve a lot of lost sleep, and about twenty years of total responsibility for someone who can't take care of themselves. If spontaneity and control over your life is important to you, it's a strong argument against having kids.
Still, I found myself reading the post and wanting to argue that it's really not so bad. The kids talked Buck and me into taking them to see Marley and Me yesterday, which for those of you who don't go to cute animal movies is about Owen Wilson as a reporter/columnist and Jennifer Aniston as his wife, originally also a reporter but then staying at home with their children, and their poorly trained and badly behaved Labrador retriever. And there's the maddening scene where the Aniston character, who has returned to work after her first child, decides to stay home because she simply can't do an adequate job of being a mother and still working, and then the subsequent scenes where she's miserable and resentful because of the nightmarish difficulty of caring for three healthy children on what's presented as a more than adequate income.
The movie made me cranky, and Sherry's post hit a bit of the same note; I have the impression that people believe that if parenthood isn't making you miserable, you're being irresponsible somehow. And this really isn't true. If you don't like bright plastic objects, don't buy any. Your kids will do just fine playing with unpainted wooden blocks (says the 1970's architect's daughter who was plastic-deprived herself as a kid), or with whatever else suits your fancy. If you don't want to carry six bags around with you everywhere, don't. For an infant, you need a couple of diapers and some wipes, and a bottle if you're bottlefeeding. For a kid older than that, you don't need to carry around much at all (e.g., if you don't have a baggie of snacks with you at all times, your three-year-old will not suddenly become malnourished on the playground). Mostly, you can take care of your kids with the approximate level of fastidiousness and care that you take care of yourself with, and they'll live, and really they'll do just fine.
I very much don't want to sell parenthood to anyone who isn't enthusiastic about the idea -- if you don't want children, you really shouldn't have any. But the sense that anyone who isn't making themselves insane with the demands of parenting isn't doing it right irritates me. Honestly, on a day-to-day level, it's not that bad.