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I had my first-ever "Forgot to Register/Drop classes" nightmare last night.  I all of a sudden realized I had been enrolled in a freshman-level math class all quarter and could no longer drop it, having not done any homework or taken any midterms all quarter.

I've never come close to doing something like this in college, so I have no idea where this dream came from.  I know it's a common one, but I'm <i>so</i> confused as to why.

End of dreamlog.


I seem to be on to something

My third diary over at the Daily Kos.  It is about why I (and young voters) am inspired by the broad sweeping oratory of our favorite Democratic Presidential Nominee.

It had 27 comments and 16 recommenders in under an hour.   That's pretty awesome.

Dreaded November

Oh, by the way, I AM participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  You can read my author and story info here.  Bug me to let you read it!

You know...

You know it's going to be a long line for smoothies when the two counter girls can't figure out the special order "but can I have strawberries instead of mangoes?"

New essay

Come read my first-ever diary over at the Daily Kos! (Intro cross-posted here):

College campuses are always a great venue for extremist views and spiteful slogans, and I've seen my share of them in the last four years.  I believe in respecting others' views, even if I don't share them, but once and a while I find myself disturbed by an activists' sign or the flier on the cafeteria table.

If your argument is honest, there should be a way to persuade your audience by complimenting them instead of insulting or scaring them, and as the election nears I have seen more of the latter than I care to remember.  Through these observations, I'm reminded that the extremists who aim to perpetuate fear and rage and reason-less ideology exist not only at McCain-Palin rallies, but on the far left flank as well.  And I can't stand it.

We admonish right-wingers who use tactics that misinform, intimidate and shame voters, but I think we must be cautious in those admonitions.  We must also be prepared to disavow those who share some of our beliefs, but whose goals are ultimately to undermine genuine and serious concerns.

More below the fold.

Live Debate Blogging - The Last

6:04:  John McCain says Americans are angry.  Have you noticed that at your rallies at all John?  The angry seems to manifest as calling Obama a terrorist, not in calls for cuts in capitol gains tax.  And speaking of cap gains taxes, who exactly is paying them right now?  My impression was that stock prices are falling faster than those brass parachutes.

6:14:  I hardly believe my ears.  McCain just said we SHOULDN'T spread the wealth around.  Yes, let's let those CEO's become billionaires while people in south central LA starve and struggle with crack addiction.  They don't need our help, they can lift themselves up by their boostraps if they try.

6:18:  John McCain insists that big government is bad.  He says big government has never been bigger since the era of "The Great Society."  So, we're no longer aspiring to be great?  Bad choice of words, if only that.

Aside: Yes, I'm snarky tonight.

6:39:  I've been yelling for a while now.  I can't BELIEVE McCain wants to validate his campaign's idiotic claims about Obama associating with terrorists by bringing them into this debate.  Every outlet has cried foul about how exaggurated and alarmist these claims are.  I did like Obama's response--basically, "you guys are being dicks and you should shut up."

6:44:  The question was, why would Sarah Palin be a better president than Joe Biden, John.  Not whether or not she's your "partner."

6:46:  John McCain doesn't think that requiring accountability and oversight in government is going to cost any money.  Wow, that's mavricky.  He's reached across the reality isle now.

6:48:  In case anyone didn't know this already, and you can take my word on this as an engineer with three internships at Hanford, nuclear power plants don't spring up overnight.  They take ten years OR LONGER to build and cost lots and lots of money.  We don't have the capability to do it immediately.  The Alaska natural gas pipeline won't work immediately either, because we don't have a lot of power plants that burn gas.  No solution to high oil prices is implementable RIGHT NOW.  McCain needs to stop deceiving people, it's mean.

7:01:  McCain thinks that if you like Obama's healthcare plan, you must like Canada and England.  I think there are plenty of people out there that are fond of Canada and England, if for no other reason than that their accents are cute.  Although Canada's healthcare system has many problems, John, England's is ranked among the best in the world.  As is Germany's--and universal healthcare doesn't interfere with the profitability of drug makers.  Germany's pharmeceutical and medical technology industries are booming.

I can't believe he wanted to use the same tired line of criticism when Obama stomped on it so thoroughly in the last debate, and is doing again.

This Joe guy is really convenient.  Is his last name "Sixpack"?
7:05:  Senator Government.  Yeah, That One.  He's not Senator Maverick.  Boo.

7:09:  John McCain says that any judge supporting Roe v. Wade is not qualified to be in office.  I don't want to remind my audience about that whole partisan judge scandal thing that the white house is being investigated about right now, so I'll just say that Obama...should answer the question.

7:12:  McCain wants to change the nation's view on abortion.  Pro-life people understand that everyone needs to think that abortion should be banned.  Speaking as a "pro-abortion" (who calls themself that?) movement member, take a read-through of the first amendment, will you?  Also?  Only 10% of people in this country believe that abortion should be absolutely illegal.  Why does EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM seem to work for the government?

7:21:  Did I just hear McCain propose that we deregulate teaching certification?  Oh dear god.

7:26:  McCain keeps trying to fight Obama on issues they agree on.  What the hell is this supposed to accomplish other than the impression that McCain has no idea where his opponent is on these issues?

7:28:  McCain's closing statements are so general that Obama could have made the exact same speech and his his demographic nodding.  Oh, but there goes the "country first" and "great honor/POWPOWPOW" thing.  Does his campaign really run on about 5 catchphrases?

EDIT:  A commentator on MSNBC declared the winner of the debate tonight to be Joe the Plumber.  Heh.

Live Debate Blogging

6:10:  Sen. McCain says that the new Secretary of the Treasury should be someone ordinary Americans identify with.  Knowing how bad the math skills of most ordinary Americans are, I don't want any of them NEAR the treasury...

6:13:  I'm really getting tired of this "greed and excess" line.  Greed and excess have always existed.  It's up to regulators to make sure they don't get out of hand.  Obama mentioned AIG a few minutes ago.  If the Feds had been paying attention to the loan money, that executive spa trip would never have been allowed to happen in the first place.

6:20: Obama: "We are mortgaging our children's future."  Effective line.

6:23:  McCain is anti-planetarium.

6:29:  There's the overhead projector again.  Does McCain not think that making kids interested in science is a good thing?  Education standards have gone up; with it the cost of educational equipment.

6:36:  McCain mentioned that the last time taxes were raised was when Hoover was in charge.  Weren't we talking about the Great Depression earlier?

6:40:  I kind of wanted to hear a full answer to that question about entitlements, but I think it's good that Obama's spelling out the tax plans.  Surveys show a lot of people still believe mistruths about Obama's tax plan.

6:41:  McCain: "It's not that hard to fix social security."  Oh yeah?  How come nobody's done it yet?
6:44:  McCain [On Nuclear Power]:  "Senator Obama says it has to be safe...or...something like that.  But look..."  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Not good John.  If you're going to tell the audience what the other guy thinks about the issue, you should probably know.  Also, dismissing nuclear safety?  A LOT of people in this country are still very uneasy with how safe nuclear power generation is.

6:53:  McCain counters Obama's accusation that his healthcare policy will combust employer-based healthcare is to....ignore it.  If you ignore it long enough, it goes away, right?

7:07:  Obama: we have a moral obligation to help others, if we can successfully convince others that that obligation exists.  McCain: Obama doesn't understand the complexity and delicacy of situations like that.  We could make things worse, or better.  These answers both reflect bad steriotypes of the candidates: Obama is young and niieve, and McCain is old and lacks conviction.

7:18:  ZOMGWTFBBQ McCain said Obama was right about stuff!!!!one!eleventy1

7:21:  Uh, Senator McCain?  I'm not sure that talking to Russia like the country's leadership is a bunch of criminals in need of reform is going to make them like us more.
Before I forget:

This week is National Banned Books week.  Take a few hours and read Harry Potter or Catcher in the Rye or (Really?) Huckleberry Finn.  Thank your librarian for fighting the power.

It's a low key commemorative week.

Edit: Check out this link from the American Library Association.


Quick Hit: Pakistan

John McCain said during the debate that Pakistan had not had leadership since the time of Alexander the Great.  He said he'd seen the tribal areas and that they were chaos.

I think there are  a lot of tribal leaders in Pakistan who would strongly object to the notion that the lack of a big centralized Western (dare I say imperial) government is the only kind of substantive leadership that counts.

I think there are plenty of tribal leaders who would disagree with him.

I have never been to Pakistan, but I do know people who have, who are actually from tribal areas of the middle east.  They get offended at the idea that tribal peoples don't understand the concept of leadership, that the lives they lead are full of chaos.  They balk at westerners who promote that westernized democracy is the only kind of government and deeply believe that such concepts are shortsighted and even prejudiced.

One of the big reasons that tribes in the mountains near where Al Qaeda is hiding have not helped the US more in removing the terrorist organization is an ancient custom in Islam stating that whether or not you agree with him, a guest in your village is your responsibility to protect.  It's a "good neighbor" sentiment, a type of "small town" civility that conservatives often tout.

A psychology professor I once had said that you can boil global cultural viewpoints into two main categories: that there is only one governing philosophy behind human action, or that there are multiple philosophies that are all valid.  John McCain's camp seems to believe very firmly in the former.

While I may not agree with Pakistani tribal leaders' decision to shelter Al Qaeda, as it ultimately undermines their safety as well as the safety of all people on Earth, I think John McCain's comments about a lack of leadership in the country are glib and even insulting.  We may not agree with these people, but we can't treat them as lesser human beings simply because of that.

Debate: first impressions

Obama: Things are complicated, and it will take a complex strategy and a complex and flexible government to address them.
McCain: Senator Obama doesn't understand.  I'm OBVIOUSLY the better candidate.

And who's the elitist here?