Today is the one year anniversary of the protests in Seattle.
One policeman in Seattle said, "This year there's a sense that we won't tolerate nonsense, just make arrests if we have to, no half-way, non-lethal measures," as if to suggest that being tear gassed from three feet away is a "half-way" measure that they employed. 8:37:34 AM
Even after two years, the view outside my window can still sometimes astound me. 3:33:52 PM
Gore, translated. 6:37:24 PM
As we drove down Massachusetts Avenue, we saw around fifty people in front of the Vice President's house holding signs (mostly pro-Bush), and generally having a very ordered protest. I wonder if these same people would be there if there were consequences of their protesting.
Furthermore, as a supporter of both candidates I wonder why they're making the effort anyway. 12:47:30 PM
Happy Turkey Day. 11:01:47 AM
by Rainer Maria Rilke
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no."
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We're all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It's in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling. 6:33:22 PM
Well, if those pesky protesters keep raising such a ruckus, might as well start shooting them. 11:14:17 PM
This weekend, there is going to be a massive protest at the School of Americas, based at Fort Bennington in Georgia. Graduates of the school comprise an impressive "Who's who" list of dictators responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in the last forty years.
The school exists to train military personnel from Latin American countries in different military matters (such as intelligence gathering, commando operations and counter-insurgency).
After extensive protest and lobbying, certain manuals used by the school were released to the public. These manuals detail recommended interrogation techniques including torture, arresting relatives of those being questioned, and ultimately, execution.
Under intense pressure, a human rights course has been added to the curriculum at the school. The course is being taught by military personnel who served under Pinochet's regime in Chile, but only had 13 students in 1997, as opposed to 118 students who took a military intelligence class.
In a weak public relations move, the SOA was recently renamed (technically, the SOA was closed, and this new school was opened, but little has changed) to the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation". 12:59:33 PM
The way Java applets work on the web is that when a browser connects to the site contained an applet, it downloads the source code, and then compiles it on the spot. This is called Just In Time (JIT) compiling, and is why pages with Java take so long to load.
As one who takes great interest in web technologies, it seemed to me that this JIT paradigm could be applied to other things. Therefore, I have concocted my own application of this technology: Just In Time Dish Washing.
It goes something like this: whenever I need, say, a fork, and a bowl for my oatmeal in the morning, rather than slave over the entire sink full of dirty dishes, getting all sudsy and messy, I merely pick out the exact dish/utensil combination I need, squirt a touch of soap on it, give it a good dousing in hot water, and voila!, I'm ready to eat.
Interested parties in embracing this new technology may contact me for more information. 9:31:39 AM
Arrested for eating french fries. As a frequent violator of this law, I'm feeling lucky that I haven't been caught yet.
The ridiculous part of this event is that if I (22 years old) had been caught eating on the metro, I would simply have been issued a $300 citation, whereas a minor gets handcuffed and brought into custody. 7:46:04 AM
New photo up. 9:44:15 PM
Judging by the kid's responses, it's clear to me that being pushed on a swing on a cold November day while leaves blow through the playground is one of the best things ever. 3:48:26 PM
Mom, Dad, I'm in the newspaper!
While my zine is only briefly mentioned at the end, and in a rather stereotypically "skateboarders are rad, man!" sense, it's still exciting. So, if you're in the neighborhood on Saturday, come on up to the fair and say hi. 11:04:15 PM
Honestly, I was absolutely one of those people against the Electoral College. To take the power of electing the president away from the citizens seemed tyrannical and poorly thought out. Then I read this article.
Two passages especially affected my feelings about the system:
"In baseball's World Series, for example, the team that scores the most runs overall is like a candidate who gets the most votes. But to become champion, that team must win the most games. In 1960, during a World Series as nail-bitingly close as that year's presidential battle between Kennedy and Nixon, the New York Yankees, with the awesome slugging combination of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Bill "Moose" Skowron, scored more than twice as many total runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates, 55 to 27. Yet the Yankees lost the series, four games to three. Even Natapoff, who grew up in the shadow of
Yankee Stadium, conceded that Pittsburgh deserved to win. "Nobody walked away saying it was unfair," he says."
In a fair election, he saw, each voter's power boils down to this: What is the probability that one person's vote will be able to turn a national election? The higher the probability, the more power each voter commands. To figure out these probabilities, Natapoff devised his own model of a national electorate--a more realistic model, he thought, than the ones the quoted experts were always using. Almost always, he found, individual voting power is higher when funneled through districts--such as states--than when pooled in one large, direct election. It is more likely, in other words, that your one vote will determine the outcome in your state and your state will then turn the outcome of the electoral college, than that your vote will turn the outcome of a direct national election. A voter therefore, Natapoff
found, has more power under the current electoral system.
Lastly, as my mom said, a popular election would ensure that the candidates spend all their time in California, Texas, New York and Florida while virtually ignoring the rest of the United States.
It's a good thing that the candidates have to visit lots of different states and deal with different people's opinions and politics in order to get elected president rather than pandering to a few, heavily populated states.
As a citizen of a rather small state, a popular vote would mean my vote would be even less meaningful than it is now, and that the most I could do was hope that the majority views of the people in these populous states correspond well enough to mine that they vote (and thereby elect) the same person I do. 1:59:47 PM
Hear Clinton get pretty damned angry as he defends his administration. 3:19:41 PM
Example #17 of the election bringing out the best in people:
"Nader's vote in places such as Wisconsin and Minnesota and Oregon looks almost exactly like my margin of victory in those states. It's obvious the bulk of those votes would have gone to Gore. If he keeps Gore from winning them, I'll strangle the guy with my bare hands." -Michael Dukakis
Nothing makes me feel better than a past, unsuccessful presidential candidate trying to make press again by threatening physical violence against another candidate. What a sad, little man he is. 5:10:42 AM
Nader doubled the number of votes he got from last election, that's a good thing, though it was still far from his magic number.
I went to bed thinking Bush won, and realizing just how genuinely disappointed I was about having to see his frat boy smirk for the next four years.
If it still turns out that this guy wins the elections, I think it will be a wonderful way to politicize millions of pissed off young people who solidly voted for "Anyone but Bush." 4:27:31 AM
I love it. Cigarettes for votes.
Given their respective pasts, it would seem more appropriate for Bush's supporters to be giving out alcohol, and Gore's, some assorted products of petroleum distillation. 1:20:11 PM
Some memorable quotes from my class today before the teacher arrived:
"If Bush wins because of Nader, I'm going to assassinate him." (really, someone said that)
"I think Nader should drop out." (to which it was rather artfully responded by someone, "I think Gore should drop out.")
Still, a poll of my school showed 71% for Gore, and 12% for Nader which are relatively hopeful numbers. 1:13:26 PM
I was talking to Charlene tonight, and she proposed a rather novel theory regarding the upcoming elections on Tuesday.
In watching Saturday Night Live last night, we observed that the person who impersonates Gore looks a bit like him, and has his mannerisms down pretty well. On the other hand, the guy doing Bush, who is generally quite funny, does not look anything like Bush, nor does he have the act down to any degree of competency.
So, the theory goes like this: Bush can't possibly win, because that would subject SNL viewers to four years of terrible political comedy skits. Therefore, it must be that Al Gore will win the election.
Go Nader. 8:01:05 PM
In the DC area today? Then by all means, come out to the Nader Rally! More info here. 6:48:08 AM
Today at school, Jimmy gave me a picture he drew of an alligator shooting flames at someone.
After some prodding, he assured me that I wasn't the person in the picture. 6:44:40 PM
Has anyone seen this film (warning: flash required)? It's about these people in NYC who have made homes in unused Amtrak tunnels. If you have some time, the site is worth it, the movie looks unreal. 4:26:27 PM
I forgot how amazing the light is in the morning, just as the sun comes up. It's a warm light that softly paints itself on buildings and wet sidewalks. 4:05:04 AM
Bush Sees Reagan Traits in Self.
Interesting stuff. Bush has been increasingly forgetful with noticeable memory loss. He certainly exhibits mild personality changes, and he frequently uses words inappropriately.
Oh, they meant before Reagan got Alzheimer's. 11:34:47 AM