October 2008 Archives


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Over the past couple of weeks the country at large has started to notice that the McCain/Palin campaign looks less like a campaign than like folks with torches and pitchforks raising a mob.

My friend Gemma wrote this:

What scares me is that I don't feel like McCain and Palin are trying anymore. These Ayers smear tactics are not working with anyone but their base, and they know it. Nor will a rerun of the Wright ridiculousness do anything productive with swing voters. They are not trying to win right now. They are trying to incite hatred. Serious, vociferous hatred.

In a comment I cited the above article by digby and said this:

The short version is that they're actively laying the groundwork to delegitimize Obama over the next four years, by planting in their base now the narratives that will keep them chanting "not my president" until 2012. ...

While I'm sure the GOP planners would like to imagine staging a replay of 2006 in two years and maybe even trying for another impeachment (on charges of being a terrorist sympathizer, no doubt), they are realistically trying to set up Palin (or maybe Jeb or Huckabee or some Bush III empty suit who isn't on anybody's radar yet) to run in 2012 on a narrative of reversing a stolen election and taking the country back from the anti-American Arab Manchurian candidate.

And it's not just the occasional outburst from someone in the crowd after applause lines, either. Yesterday TPM posted this video of the people waiting to get in Palin rally:

So yeah, be frightened. All that seething class, race, and ideological resentment that the right wing has been stoking for years in its base? They've decided it's now okay to bring it out in the open. If Obama wins and brings with him the down-ticket landslide that everyone's expecting, the right wing will have little left to lose, so expect them to play the next four years scorched-earth style.

On the other hand, like a smoldering coalseam or root fire, bringing all this out in the open and exposing it to fresh air may be the only way it will ever burn itself out for good.


And to follow up on yesterday's post, I have in fact voted.

At my suggestion, today after our lunchtime group meeting we staged a lab field trip -- the Minneapolis residents hopped a bus to city hall (and the St. Paul residents did the same going the opposite direction in the advisor's car) to vote at the early voting desk. Discounting the slightly creepy spectacle of the grandmotherly window clerk who only seemed able to address us in baby talk ("You filled out your whole ballot now? Oh, who's such a good boy!" *shudder*), the process went smoothly and probably quicker than standing in line on election day would have been.

Minneapolis folks: sendoff party at my place Sunday afternoon!


I suppose I should mention, one reason why I've been terrible at blogging lately is the chaos that is my lab right now. The experiment I work on is designed to hang underneath a giant balloon, so as you might imagine, assembling it requires something like a hanger bay. We don't have one here, but our collaborators at Columbia have one north of New York City. And so now that we're ready to try putting all the pieces together (pretty much just to see if they fit), we're preparing to pack up the lab and head to New York for several weeks.

I leave on Tuesday. There are a number of things I have to do, pack, ship, etc., before then.

Fun fact: this will be the second presidential election in a row in which I will have had to vote absentee due to science-related travel. (Last time I was in Israel.)

Also fun: It is twice the distance to walk from the lab we'll be working in to the apartment we're renting than to walk to goodguyseatpie's place in Dobbs Ferry. I foresee outings to the tasty vegetarian Mexican restaurant he frequents there.


It would seem that I am just bad at blogging this year. Maybe the world has finally surpassed the level of ridiculous that I even feel able to comment on. That, or I'm just doing other stuff at the moment.

However, I would like to take a moment to mention that my alma mater just scored a 28th Nobel Prize in Physics.

Also, I think it's pretty neat that we're starting to spot relatively ordinary meteoroids before they hit the atmosphere. If I read the ephemerides right, it was still something like three times as distant as the Moon when discovered -- the robo-scopes are getting pretty good if they can pick out a truck-sized boulder at that distance. No pictures of the fireball yet, but spaceweather is reporting now that the explosion was picked up by an infrasound array in Kenya and maybe seen by a jet liner over the Sahara.

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