Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hiatus Ending

I know--you'll believe it when you see it. But I have made some changes that will allow me to reactivate this space. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I haven't had much reason to think about Fareed Zakaria before. I've read some of his pieces at the Washington Post and seen him on talking-head shows, but he never made much of an impression on me. That's changed now that he's decided to return an award to the Anti-Defamation League in response to their nonsensical position against the "ground-zero mosque."

Good for him. We need more people to speak out against this kind of knee-jerk stupidity. And Zakaria's gesture isn't just posturing. In addition to the prize, he's returned the $10,000 that came with it.


(via Matthew Yglesias)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I hate looking for work. Hate it. Beyond the obvious (that it means I don't have an income at the moment) it's a violation of almost every principle I hold. People aren't commodities, and I refuse to treat people like commodities, but here I am presenting myself as a commodity to just about anyone willing to put my skills to use in exchange for a barely-livable wage (if I'm that lucky). Also, I feel strongly that the work I do should mean something--I can't just exchange my time and effort for money, because that kind of treadmill makes my stomach churn--but there aren't even enough meaningless positions open, let alone jobs worth the effort.

Worst of all is the waiting. I look at job listings and find a few that remotely relate to me, and I apply to them. And then I wait for a phone call. And I wait. And sometimes I get a note back that "there were a lot of good applications . . . blah blah blah . . . somebody else is a better fit . . . blah blah blah . . . good luck in your search." I'm like a spider in a really poorly-built web who's trying to attract really wary flies. And there are a lot of other spiders in the area and very few flies.

This sucks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Julian Sanchez Does Good Work

Sanchez is a libertarian writer for the Cato Institute who also happens to keep a blog. In a recent post he addresses Ron Rosenbaum's essay in Slate that raises the tired argument that atheists are just as reliant on faith as theists are. It's bullshit, of course, but it can be frustrating to discuss. Enter Julian Sanchez, who writes:
The real argument is a variant on the familiar point that, of course, you can’t prove with mathematical certainty that there isn’t a God, supposedly making atheism (at least) as unsupportable a position as theism. But then, are there many self-identified atheists who would really pretend to such apodictic certainty? Believers sometimes claim proudly to have access to some kind of special revelation that obliterates the possibility of error. But when I say that I think there is no God, I don’t mean anything so grandiose. I mean just that I see no good reason to think that there is, and that all the various stories told about deities appear to me equally likely to be mythical. I don’t believe in basilisks or psychic powers either—probably neither do most religious believers—but few of us, on reflection, would be so bold as to say this is a belief we are absolutely certain about. It’s possible we could be mistaken, even if the possibility seems too remote to bother much about or, indeed, take all that seriously.
Read the whole thing. It's good stuff.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Conservative is Wrong on the Internet

This is Marc Thiessen:

He writes a weekly column for the Washington Post, and, like most conservatives, is wrong on the internet. This week he's decided to claim that Obama's support among Jews is slipping dramatically. The trouble is, he's wrong.

This is Glenn Greenwald:

He writes for Salon, among other publications. He points out in his column today that Marc Thiessen is regularly full of shit. But, more specifically, Greenwald completely owns Thiessen on the claim that Jews are abandoning the president, and along the way he points out how conservatives love this particular idea.

It seems small, but this is important work. If not for Greenwald and others keeping their eyes on this, the conservatives would be able to even more successfully fool the American citizens by misrepresenting the truth, by playing on fears, and by just flat-out lying.

It's a Crime Wave!

We've been in town for less than a month and already the homicide rate in Rosemount is up infinity percent from last year:
Authorities were investigating the fatal shooting Monday evening of a 22-year-old man at a Rosemount car wash, police said.
[. . .]
The homicide is the city's first since March 2008, police said.
First of all . . . the car wash? Murderer, you got some 'splainin' to do. Second of all, the victim was from Apple Valley. Has the rivalry between the two towns gotten so out of hand that it's come to this? Back in my day, we used to just antagonize them by losing football games.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Will Work for Dignity

Today Michele and I went to a job fair at Inver Hills Community College. It was a small one hosted by Congressman John Kline, a Republican for whom I won't be voting this fall*. I appreciate that he put this fair together, but almost all of his political positions are completely opposite mine.

The fair, though, was like others I've attended in the past, but this time I had two perspectives--my own as a job seeker and also as an observer when I crossed paths with Michele. The reactions to me were mostly pity. Kind of a "You poor dear" look on the representative's face as she tried to find a kind way to tell me that my skill set has no value in this economy, and probably not in any. Michele got more positive responses. People talked to her for long minutes, with smiles on their faces and expressions that said, "Here's someone who hasn't wasted her time! This is a valuable human who will prove useful to society--unlike others we could mention!" Needless to say I wasn't terribly encouraged.

That's okay. All I have is time.

*This has nothing to do with the story. Go ahead and unread it if you'd like.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Starting Up the Hill Again

This must be getting old. I’m sorry. But this is the last time—I promise. Years ago, when Jess started a new blog with each new phase in her life, I thought it was a great idea, a great way for a person to mark the end of a phase. The thing is, I’m all phases. I spend a lot of time in self-loathing, so I’m prone to wanting to shed. I guess I’ll just have to embrace the absurdity, accept it as part of who I am, and stay in one (blog)place for a while. So this is it. The title of the blog is a slanted reference to an essay by Albert Camus, and also a bloated “novel” by Ayn Rand. Maybe I’ll have more to say about that later.

The previous blog didn’t see much action. One hundred and twenty-eight posts in three years. That’s a slow week's production for Matthew Yglesias. Actually, the first year in Oklahoma I blogged quite a bit, partly because Oklahoma hadn’t killed my soul yet and partly because I had the election and its aftermath to rant about. But I posted exactly three times in 2010. I didn’t have anything to say that I felt like spending any energy on. I have more energy to say things now, and—even more to the point—I have the need to write. I’ll definitely have more to say about that.