There’s been a lot of talk about Edward Snowden and the NSA, specifically whether he should be hanged by his neck till dead or treated as a whistleblower. I lean towards the whistleblower side, largely because it’s really hard to take the side of a monolith like the NSA over one human being. There are a few points which have been bugging me.
Archive for the 'USA' Category
Two of this years ‘best’ movies are films I don’t really want to watch. Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Both feature a fictionalized focus on the American military and I just don’t feel like the protagonists are really the good guys. The ‘War On Terror’ is a fundamentally abusive war and canonizing little victories therein just doesn’t ring true, especially from here. Having the Argo award presented by Michelle Obama (otherwise an excellent dancer) is just weird. As film (and film profits) get more and more global, this type of jingoism is more and more out of place.
Phew. The Republicans really are crazy, and Mitt Romney was a bit of a cynical liar backing some awful policies. Still, it was close, but not really close. The networks are all projecting an Obama win, and he does it with states to spare, ie, without Florida called. Despite the numbers being close, the game actually wasn’t close in the end, as predicted.
So, I woke up as it’s getting dark in the United States. Voting time. What’s the best place to watch the results? Me, I’m watching the New York Times. I grew up with the old grey lady and they have Nate Silver, the statistics wunderkind who’s FiveThirtyEight blog predicted 49 of 50 states last time and is now folded in to the Times.
Elections are unpredictable. That’s why we have them. That said, modern polling and meta-polling do give a pretty decent sense of how the US Presidential election is going to play out. Added to that, their electoral college system also means that relatively few states (and votes) will make the difference between win or lose. The gold standard prognostication comes from Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. Despite an incredibly tight national race, he’s predicting an 85% chance that Barack Obama will win.
Sorry for the long radio silence. I took a bit of a long weekend and my main computer melted down. Working on an iPad’s not much fun. The main thing about this long weekend was that it rained, and rained and rained and rained. And now that rains have stopped here, we see that a hurricane has struck New York, flooding subways causing insane amounts of damage. Bit of a deluge.
I’ve embedded video of the first US Presidential Debate above, but I can’t even watch it. It’s both painful and dull. Barack Obama is just boring and un-engaging to watch, like he doesn’t want to be there. It looks like he got in a fight with his wife on their anniversary. Seriously, what is going on. Mitt Romney comes off as comparatively more human. It’s honestly been like this since the Democratic convention, where Bill Clinton defended Obama coherently while Obama, again, was boring.
I would honestly feel bad for US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney if he wasn’t such a dangerous douche. By all accounts he seems to be a smart guy pretending to be dumb to get votes, which points to an underlying lack of character which is frankly a dark and evil abyss to look into. The US Republican party is actually insane, completely backwards on social issues and clinging to this weird elitist economic policy that crashed their economy in the first place. The result is that Mitt Romney gets distorted into a contradictory idiot of a human being, because this modern Republican theology isn’t correlated to reality, or even internally consisted. I’ve enjoyed watching him get pilloried for a while, but now it’s actually getting painful. I mean, nobody likes him.
Throughout history, elites have taken or tried to take resources from societies. In all societies there is inequality, but in different ones the elites take more. When the elites take too much, the society often collapses, as researchers like Joseph Tainter have compellingly shown. Rome is one example. Basically, when an elite grows out of control it’s like the society has cancer, it burns resources too much and dies. But elites will always take. The trick is to not take too much, and to certainly not tell the plebes about it. This later bit is what Mitt Romney has just messed up, in style.