Archive for October, 2006

What conservatism is for me

October 31, 2006

A self-described leftist writing in to Andrew Sullivan summed it up well:

[Y]ou see classic conservatism as the defense of liberty from brutality through doubt, caution, common sense and rigorous self-examination[.]


The right-wing paradox

October 31, 2006

The right wing in America is stuck with the paradox of holding a philosophy of “conserving” and an actual order it does not want to conserve. It keeps trying to create something new it might think worthy, someday, of conserving.

— Garry Wills, Confessions of a Conservative, pg. 211.

Parties and libraries

October 30, 2006

There is a Multnomah County library levy on this year’s November ballot.

When a library levy was last on the ballot (November 2002), there was a decided split in who supported it. In the ten precincts that would be John Kerry’s best two years later, 73.93% of voters supported the levy. In the ten precincts that would be Bush’s best, 39.69% supported it.

Narrow the comparison to the best five precincts for each, and Kerry’s precincts gave 75.88% of their votes for the levy while Bush’s gave 36.20%.
(Kerry’s precincts, in order: 4027, 3151, 3274, 4106, 3097, 4022, 2099, 1025, 4041, 3004.)

(Bush’s precincts, in order: 5602, 0158, 5604, 5846, 0547, 5842, 5425, 5855, 5851, 5201.)

Too little, too late

October 28, 2006

Peggy Noonan has not left her President. Her President has left her.

I left the Republican Party three years ago because the truth of every one of Noonan’s criticisms of Bush (and several other criticisms as well) was obvious by then, and I was disappointed and disgusted that no one in the GOP was willing to challenge him. Every major Republican political figure (Noonan included) was content to stay silent and let things go to hell. I wanted someone to have the courage to run against Bush in the 2004 presidential primaries; to take a stand for a different vision of what the Republican Party could and should be. No one did.

That’s why I have no sympathy for Noonan and her ilk. They made the bed in which they are about to lie.

My ballot

October 24, 2006

The votes on my November ballot:

U.S. House (3rd): Earl Blumenauer (D)
State Governor: Joe Keating (G)
State House (42nd): Diane Rosenbaum (D)
State Supreme Court: Virginia L. Linder
State Circuit Court (4th/28): Ulanda L. Watkins
State Circuit Court (4th/31): Cheryl Albrecht
State Circuit Court (4th/37): Charles Henderson [write-in]
State Measures (39, 44): Yes
State Measures (all others): No
County Measures (all): Yes

When literacy was entertainment

October 23, 2006

For an American coming of age in the last third of the nineteenth century, one of the surest ways to gain prominence or to secure it was to become a fine public speaker. Oratory was an indispensable element in both politics and religion, on every public holiday and anniversary, at every unveiling of a statue or laying of a cornerstone, and at the banquets obligatory for any group able to hire a cook and rent a hall. Dozens of lecture circuits had sprung up by midcentury, enabling farmers as well as city dwellers to hear the best-known politicians, writers, actors, and preachers in the land.


[…N]early every adult had been able to witness a variety of oratorical performances. They thus elevated public speaking with much the same mix of canny criticism and admiration we now apply to professional athletes and movie stars. Newspapers routinely published the full or nearly full transcripts of major political speeches and sermons by celebrated ministers; editorial “impressions” accompanied the texts.

— Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, pgs. 10-11.

Question for my Houston readers

October 23, 2006

Does this logo look familiar?

Ohio State echoes: comic and tragic

October 23, 2006

Comic: The Daily Show will be taping next week in one of my freshman-year hangouts.

Tragic: A student was crushed to death in an elevator at a residence hall I worked at my sophomore year.

Mascot suggestion

October 17, 2006

The University of Puget Sound sports teams are called the Loggers and their colors are maroon and white.

With a domain name like, though, should those be “the Shippers” and “brown”?

Here comes the rain again…

October 15, 2006

The rainy season in Portland began this morning, at the crack of mid-October. As a fair-skinned pedestrian, I don’t mind the gray skies, but the driving rain can impede me.