Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'd Have Gone With Bush Continues Annoying Habit of Hiding His Lips

Today, Bush gave the nation more of the same news on how we're winning in Iraq.

On the front page of has a picture linking to the article. This morning, the original caption was President Bush's speech today at the U.S. Naval Academy did not break new ground or present a new strategy.

About 15 minutes later, it was softened to President Bush steadfastly refused to set a timetable for withdrawing American forces as some of his critics have demanded.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

They Have This Feature, But Outlining Is Still Horribly Broken

Microsoft Word 2002 corrects gobbledegook to gobbledygook.

Vatican III

The Vatican releases an Instruction that gays — unless they've "clearly overcome" their homosexual tendencies — need not apply for the Catholic clergy.

After releasing the instruction, Pope Benedict XVI asked for a high five from somebody, anybody.

...but they all totally left him hanging.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mary Matalin Has Man Hands

I'm only going to say this once, but it needs to be said.

Mary Matalin has man hands.

If you look closely at that picture, I think you can see an extra knuckle.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

We Know How You Feel Mr. President. We Wish We Could Escape, Too.

Goofy. Not Oh-Look-At-Our-Zany-President goofy. More like Dear-God-He's-Hanging-On-By-A-Thread goofy.

I imagine that Jon Stewart has video. Until then, Atrios has photos of Bush's failed escape.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Senate

(crossposted from the Columbia Law School — American Constitution Society blog)

I want to start by telling you that I’ll get back to you.

You see, I’m writing this as a 1L who has not yet taken Constitutional Law. It’s entirely possible that the problem I outline below won’t seem like much of a problem after taking this class, but it sure seems like a problem now.

30 Seconds of History
Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress was a unicameral body with each state represented equally. In part because this body was not particularly effective, a Constitutional Convention was convened in 1787 to address the federal government's status quo.

At the convention, the small states largely supported the New Jersey Plan for Congress, which called for a unicameral of equal representation, similar to what had existed under the Articles of Confederation. The large states supported the Virginia Plan, with the lower house directly elected by the states and the upper house elected by the lower house.

Ultimately, both plans were scrapped in the name of the Connecticut Compromise, a deal which resulted in a House of Representatives based on proportional representation and a Senate with each state represented equally.

Even in the early days of the republic, it was clear that equal representation of the Senate was a great deal for the small states. My concern is that the population disparity between the largest and smallest states has resulted in a Senate more skewed towards the small states than the founding fathers could have possibly imagined.

The Most Populous States
Click on the Image for a Legible Version of the Graph

As you see, Virginia was the most populous state around the time of the Constitution. By the 1820 Census, Virginia had given way to New York, which was the most populous state for the next 140 years. By 1970, California became the most populous state, a position that it holds today.

The Least Populous States
Click on the Image for a Legible Version of the Graph

For the first 50 years after the Constitution, Delaware was the least populous state in the Union. Then, after having become a state in 1845, Florida was the least peopled state in the 1850 Census. Oregon became a state shortly before the 1860 Census and briefly claimed the title, yielding in turn to Nevada, the least populated state from the 1870 Census through the 1950 Census.

After joining the Union in 1959, Alaska was the least populated state until the 1990 Census, when its population overtook Wyoming, the current least populated state.

While I'm sure you find this history gripping, the ratio between the most and least populated states is the point of all this.

The Ratio between Most/Least Populated States
Click on the Image for a Legible Version of the Graph

In the time shortly after the Connecticut Compromise, the most populous state had 12.7 times the population of the least populous state. Over the next 40 years, the population growth rate of Virginia and later New York vastly outstripped Delaware — by 1840, New York's population was 31.1 times the population of Delaware, a 245% increase from the time of the Constitution.

The next 110 years saw wild fluctuations between the most and least populous states as territories were given statehood. Nevada (now the 35th most populous state) was sparsely populated throughout the second half of the 19th century, resulting in a wide disparity between the most/least populated states. In 1900, the population imbalance between Nevada and New York peaked when New York's population was 17300.1% of the population of Nevada. Yet both states had two Senators.

With the period of western expansion completed, the population difference between the most and least populated states appears to have found a new normal. However, this new normal is one where California has more than 70 times the population of Wyoming — as of 2002, the gulf between large and small states is 452% wider than it was during the days of the Connecticut Compromise. Yet both states have two Senators.


Next week, I'll have Part II of How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Senate, where I'll discuss how the country might deal with the increasing imbalance in democratic representation in the Senate.

The data used for the graphs above is available here (all links are to US Census PDF files):
Present Day through 1900
1890 through 1860
1850 through 1790

Friday, November 18, 2005

295 Centers of the Universe — NYC Neighborhoods

They tell me that New York City is a city of neighborhoods. Wikipedia lists 295 of them.

A handful of the neighborhoods don't have definitions, but all are included in the list of Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, or Staten Island neighborhoods.

Allerton Annadale Arden Heights Arrochar Belmont Arverne Astoria Auburndale Barren Island Bath Beach Bay Ridge Bay Terrace Baychester Bayside Bayswater Bedford Park Bedford-Stuyvesant Beechhurst Belle Harbor Bellerose Bensonhurst Bergen Beach Beverley Square West Bloomfield Boerum Hill Borough Park Breezy Point Briarwood Brighton Beach Brighton Heights Broad Channel Bronx River Brooklyn Heights Brownsville Bruckner Bulls Head Bushwick Cambria Heights Canarsie Carnegie Hill Carroll Gardens Castle Hill Castleton Corners Charleston Chelsea Chinatown City Island City Line Clason Point Clifton Clinton Hill Cobble Hill College Point Concord Coney Island Co-op City Corona Country Club Crotona Park East Crown Heights Cypress Hills Ditmars / Steinway Ditmas Park Ditmas Village Dongan Hills Douglas Manor Douglaston Douglaston Hill Downtown Bklyn DUMBO Dyker Heights East Elmhurst East Flatbush East New York East Tremont East Williamsburg Eastchester Edgemere Edgewater Park Egbertville Elm Park Elmhurst Eltingville Emerson Hill Far Rockaway Farragut Fieldston Fiske Terrace Flatbush Flatlands Floral Park Flushing Fordham Forest Hills Forest Hills Gardens Fort Greene Fort Hamilton Fort Wadsworth Fresh Meadows Fulton's Landing Fulton Ferry Georgetown Gerritsen Beach Glen Oaks Glendale Gowanus Gramercy Graniteville Grant City Grasmere Gravesend Great Kills Greenpoint Greenridge Greenwich Village (also called the West Village) Grymes Hill Hamilton Beach Harlem Heartland Village Hell's Kitchen (also called Clinton) Highbridge Highland Park Hollis Hollis Hills Holliswood Homecrest Howard Beach Hudson Heights Huguenot Hunters Point Hunts Point Lenox Hill Indian Village Inwood Jackson Heights Jamaica Jamaica Estates Jamaica Hills Kensington Kew Gardens Kew Gardens Hills Kingsbridge Kingsbridge Heights Kips Bay Koreatown Laurelton Lefferts Manor LeFrak City Lighthouse Hill Lindenwood (housing development) Little Italy Little Neck Livingston Locust Point Long Island City Longwood Lower East Side Malba Manhattan Beach Manhattan Terrace Manhattan Valley Mapleton Marble Hill Marine Park Mariners Harbor Maspeth Meiers Corners Melrose Middle Village Midland Beach Midtown Midwood Mill Basin Mill Island Morningside Heights Morris Heights Morris Park Morrisania Mott Haven Murray Hill Neponsit New Brighton New Dorp New Howard Beach New Hyde Park New Lots New Springville New Utrecht Brooklyn Navy Yard NoLIta North Riverdale North Side Norwood Oakland Gardens Oakwood Ocean Breeze Ocean Hill Ocean Parkway Olinville Ozone Park Paerdegat Basin Park Slope Parkchester Parkville Pelham Bay Pelham Gardens Pigtown Pleasant Plains Plum Beach Port Ivory Port Morris Port Richmond Prince's Bay Prospect Heights Prospect Lefferts Gardens Prospect Park South Queens Village Queensbridge Ramblersville Randall Manor Ravenswood Red Hook Rego Park Remsen Village Richmond Hill Richmond Valley Richmondtown Ridgewood Riverdale Rockaway Beach Rockaway Point Rockwood Park Roosevelt Island Rosebank Rosedale Rossville Roxbury Rugby Saint Albans Sea Gate Sheepshead Bay Shore Acres Silver Beach Silver Lake SoHo Soundview South Beach South Jamaica South Ozone Park South Side East Harlem (also called Spanish Harlem) Spring Creek Springfield Gardens Spuyten Duyvil St. George Stapleton Stapleton Heights Starrett City Sunnyside Sunset Park Throgs Neck Todt Hill Tompkinsville Tottenville Travis Tremont TriBeCa Turtle Bay University Heights Upper East Side Upper West Side Van Cortlandt Village Van Nest Vinegar Hill Wakefield Ward Hill Washington Heights Weeksville West Farms West New Brighton Westerleigh Westmoreland Whitestone Willets Point Williamsbridge Williamsburg Willowbrook Windsor Terrace Wingate Woodhaven Woodlawn Woodrow Woodside Yorkville Zerega

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Girls Gone Wild

When is this country going to wake up to its wild girl problem? I've seen the late night public service advertisements on Comedy Central, now this happens. - Boy band incites 'girl frenzy' at mall - Nov 13, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Radical Christian Cleric Pat Robertson: Somebody Please Pay Attention to Me!

Pat Robertson — this is clearly a kooky statement cycle.

31 days ago, you claimed that frequent hurricanes and occasional earthquakes were signs of the end times.

76 days ago, you called on the US government to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Today, you're warning Dover, Pennsylvania — the town where voters just ousted their ID-promoting school board — that a vindicative God might send a disaster or two their way.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Big Brown Alaskan Things Safe for One More Congressional Session

My reaction to hearing that the House shelved a proposal to drill in ANWR: Good news.

My reaction to seeing the picture that accompanied the article: Whatever these things are, I had no idea that any of them lived in the US.

Wingnuts: A Picture of Human Resilience

Some people just don't let reality get in the way of a good story.

Here's an ad currently running on the Drudge Report. I'm tempted not to link, as their hokum doesn't deserve any additional attention, but here's the advertiser.

I believe we may have identified the core of Bush's 38% support.

Email, Predicting Bush's 12/31/05 Approval Rating.
Closest Guess Wins a Prize.

The new WSJ/NBC poll is out. Here's a synopsis:

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Democracy in Action... Texas

WHITE SETTLEMENT, TEXAS — Residents held on to their heritage Tuesday night and voted against changing their town name to West Settlement, despite proponents' arguments that the name has racial connotations.

In a record turnout, 2,388 residents voted against the name change and 219 voted for it in unofficial, complete returns.

The city got its name because it was the lone village of white pioneers amid several American Indian encampments in the Fort Worth area in the Texas Republic territory in the 1840s.

Mayor James Ouzts and other city leaders proposed the change, saying the current name is confusing, misleading and has hindered economic development in this 15,000-resident suburb of Fort Worth.

However, the ballot measure angered many residents who said the change was unnecessary and too costly. Signs across town urged folks to 'Be Proud! Don't Let Them Discard the Heritage of White Settlement. Vote No!'

Scientific American: Calling ID Like It Sees ID

Gotta love Scientific American.

I'm reminded why I subscribe to this magazine when I see them tout It's Over in Dover after all the Dover school board members who supported intelligent design fail to win reelection.

Their blog's reaction to the Kansas state Board of Education including ID in their state standards? Kansas, Where "Ignorant" is the New "Educated"

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dear Mr. President:
Please Come Clean Regarding CIA Leak.
Please Disguise Shock at Brazil Being Big.
Thanks, Andy

Why? Why must this US President say the first thing that pops into his mind?

"At one point, da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. 'Wow! Brazil is big,' Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding."


Today, in discussing the influence of organized Evangelicals on US politics, Andrew Sullivan refers to the movement as Christianism.

As of this writing, the word is sufficiently new that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry, but it's an apt coinage, especially since the West has been referring to political Islam as Islamism for some time.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Adolescent Fantasy Takes Uncomfortable "Reality" Form

Either we've all been transported to some Maxim Magazine-themed world, or a 14 year-old boy somewhere just totally wasted one of his three wishes.

Police: Two NFL cheerleaders arrested at Tampa bar

Friday, November 04, 2005

Kiva: Forget Teach a Man to Fish — Loan Him Money For a Fishing Net

If you don't know about microcredit, you should.

After the Bangladesh famine of 1974, a group called Grameen Bank developed the microcredit model. Microcredit is the practice of granting small, business-enabling loans to people so poor that they would not qualify for conventional credit.

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations proclaimed the year 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit, and the good news is that you can help this incredible movement — personally.

A friend of mine, Matt Flannery, has started Kiva, where you can personally loan money to individuals in the developing world who are bootstrapping their way out of poverty.

Currently, Kiva allows an individual to loan to another individual in Uganda. The terms of the loan (which can be as small as $25) are such that you are paid back in a 6 or 12 month term. You also get monthly updates about payment info and blog like updates containing business info. To date, Kiva has started 7 businesses in Uganda, including a fish mongerer, some butcher shops, and a clothes reseller.

Signing up with Kiva is easy, so get started today.

Comedian Greg Giraldo's act has a bit that goes something like this:

People say you shouldn't give homeless people money because they're just going to spend it on drugs or booze.

Well, that's actually what I was planning on spending it on, so what's the difference?
Kiva presents an opportunity to break out of that dilemma in a way that promotes lasting, global change for a pretty small amount of money.

Laura's Rock & Roll Lifestyle Comes Shining Through

Not quite sure what ol' Laura had in her drink at the White House gala to honor Charles and Camilla, but I'm pretty sure I want some.

Source: Getty Images, AFP

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush's Second Term Blows Out a Candle

For those of you keeping score at home, ThinkProgress has a rundown of the first year of Bush's second term.

According to Zogby International, the chart below reflects Bush's approval rating for roughly the same period. The question is, "Is President Bush's job performance excellent, good, fair, or poor? Excellent and good are positive. Fair and poor are negative." The answers are below:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All in Good Time, Mr. Frist. All in Good Time.

Those who live in glass houses ought not throw softballs.

Earlier today, Senate Democrats caught their Republican counterparts by surprise when they invoked Senate Rule 21, sending the Senate into a closed (to the public) session to investigate why Senator Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, had not begun Phase II of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the Iraqi WMD intelligence failure.

In response, Majority Leader Bill Frist remarked that "the United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership. They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas." (Emphasis quite obviously mine)

He is correct. Currently, they have no convictions.