Minneapolis/St Paul are good cities and good places to live. This state was largely occupied by German Catholics and Scandinavian Lutherans, so it may be 80% white, but they also have increasingly diverse populations, with rising numbers of African Americans and Hmong and Somali people — it’s a city where a Muslim, Keith Ellison, can get elected to congress, and that, as the largest by far population center in the state can get a fairly liberal state legislature elected. Hey, Prince lives there!

The rest of the state…well, I can say that the people are generally laid back and well intentioned, and friendly as all heck. Lake Wobegone isn’t a total misrepresentation. But it’s also poorer and much more conservative.

This is Minnesota’s 6th congressional district.


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Oh, hi, Ben Stein. I had almost forgotten that you existed.

But now that you’ve reminded me, could you please go away again? You’re simply an awful little man.

He has a question about Barack Obama.

I think the question is why is he so angry at America? I don’t think there’s much question that he does not wish America well. He has a real strong hatred of America. Is it because he’s part black? I don’t know. Is it because his father was mistreated by the British in Kenya? I don’t know.

Obama is a bad leader because he doesn’t realize that being black means you hate America? Clearly, Ben Stein is the new voice of the Republican party.

Krugman + Schneier + Cracked

Someday, the people in power (who will not be Republicans) will accept the wisdom of an economist, a security expert, and a humor site. I’m not holding my breath, though.

But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to not panic every time two Muslims stand together checking their watches. There are approximately 1 billion Muslims in the world, a large percentage of them not Arab, and about 320 million Arabs in the Middle East, the overwhelming majority of them not terrorists. Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance political careers or increase a television show’s viewership.

That’s harder than playing Pick the Bad Guy, though.


I’m getting bits and pieces of the dreadful coordinated terror attacks in Paris while socializing at a meeting — I don’t have much to say, and the news sources I’ve checked all seem to reflect a state of chaos: at least 100 dead, at least 6 simultaneous attacks, France has closed their borders, and who knows where this is going to lead.

Talk among yourselves. I’m going to be checking the news at every break myself.

The Conservative Future is a paradise for parasites

Let’s hear some clueless raving about how conservatives are more pro-science than liberals.

Joshua Jacobs, the smug libertarian being interviewed, believes in using the unbridled force of the free market to bring America back to unrivaled prosperity. The interviewer, Nick Gillespie, thinks that sounds good. It took a real effort to control my gag reflex so I could listen further.

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OK, Canadians, you can stop crowing at me now. Message received.

Yeah, they’re all sending me messages bragging about the new Trudeau cabinet: gender parity, diverse, and representative of all of Canada. I am duly impressed.

Now can we get the American presidential candidates to pledge to do likewise with their appointees, once they’re in office? It would be the right thing to do.

I do worry a bit, though, about all the token men they’d have to sign up for positions, taking away slots from better qualified women.

I give up, Ben Carson, you have defeated me

01 pyramids_crossection_600

I can’t. I just can’t anymore. Ben Carson Knows Everything.

My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain, Carson said. Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.

There are Americans right now who hear that, and think, “Well, that’s a mighty sensible theory, I think I’ll elect that man to be President of this here United States!”, and I just don’t think I can bear the widespread stupidity any more.

I think I’ll just close my eyes and pretend he doesn’t exist. But if I open them a year from January and discover that this flaming nincompoop has actually been elected, I’ll have to spontaneously combust.

Non-debaters arguing for a non-debate

I am a very reluctant debater. I definitely don’t think I’m the best debater around, and I also don’t think that debates are very good at resolving differences or even necessarily clarifying ideas. I’ve put together a set of my personal debate requirements that are just as much intended to discourage casually drafting me into debates as they are to making it as productive and informative a process as possible.

But I am lackadaisical and encouraging compared to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates. Take a look at their demands.

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