Drew at the Border

May 28th, 2008

Drew Carey investigates the situation at our southern border and offers a reasonable and obvious solution. You should definitely watch the video.

Georgia Aquarium

May 25th, 2008

Earlier this month I visited the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. While there I took these pictures:


Beluga Whales


An octopus.


African penguins.


Barrier reef, complete with a shark.


Hammerhead shark.


Alligators.


Horseshoe crabs.

Click here for a video of jellyfish changing colors.

Great Minds Read Alike?

May 24th, 2008

Barack Obama and I are reading the same book.

Go East, Young Man

May 24th, 2008

Blogging has been MIA for the past week as I have moved halfway across the world–literally. I am now living in Mokpo, South Korea, where I teach English to Korean kids. My profession makes me either an agent of globalization or of cultural imperialism, depending on your point of view.

My decision to come here was motivated by a desire for some change in my life, the chance to travel, an excellent job offer, and the opportunity to teach. My first week in the country has been very nice and gone much more smoothly than I expected. Although most of the people do not speak much English, they are very friendly and helpful.

I will blog in greater detail about my adventures as well as get back to discussing politics over the next few days. But rest assured this blog (as well as Podcast Appalachia) will continue!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

May 14th, 2008

Did I mention I’m moving to South Korea tomorrow?

Tough Times for the GOP

May 11th, 2008

The Politico has a depressing article on the trouble the Republican party is in.

Aliens in Monroe County?

May 9th, 2008

For the second time in two years, crop circles have appeared in Monroe County.

Quote of the Day

May 9th, 2008

An anonymous Roane County citizen on the alleged gay nudist “resort”:

“We have between $40 and $60 Million dollars in school needs and a haywire $10 million jail project and you don’t hear much of a peep out of folks, but let gays and lesbians threaten to take their clothes off at a private resort…”

Estes Kefauver Was a Blithering Idiot

May 8th, 2008

Interesting article at CNN on a nearly forgotten chapter of twentieth century history: the Great Comic Book Scare:

World War II was over, but as the 1940s gave way to the 1950s, a new evil lurked in the land. Ten-Cent Plague

It attracted a youthful audience — boys, mostly — who fell victim to its colorful images, dripping in red, and gave money to its purveyors.

Authorities took notice. The United States had a new menace, they said, one whose name started with “c” and whose first syllable rhymed with “bomb.”

Comic books.

At the time comic books were very popular among youth, perhaps because they were quite good at pushing the envelope. Comics of the time frequently featured gory violence, attractive (if unrealistically drawn) women, and controversial social commentary. A few years before Elvis shocked the world on the Ed Sullivan show, do-gooders and politicians believed comic books were corrupting the youth. A well-meaning but goofy psychiatrist named Frederic Wertham even wrote a book (sensationally entitled Seduction of the Innocent in which he argued that comics were responsible for juvenile delinquency.

Across America comic book burnings were held. Entire cities banned the sale of comic books. Tennessee’s very own Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver, fresh off his hearings on organized crime, took the logical next step in his anti-crime crusade and launched a Senate inquiry on comic books and their effects on children. He brought in Wertham himself, as well as Bill Gaines, boss of the popular and controversial EC comics line, proving that the wasting of taxpayer money by the federal government is hardly a new problem.

All in all, it was a very strange time. If any of this sounds interesting, you should definitely read The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu. I read it over the weekend and loved it. A true story of mass hysteria, it is both amusing and frightening.

UPDATE: No, I don’t really think Kefauver was an idiot. The title of this post is a bit of hyperbole. Kefauver did some good things while in the Senate, but on this issue I do think he was out to lunch.

Clinton for VP?

May 8th, 2008

George Stephanopoulos thinks Hillary Clinton is staying in the race to position herself for a VP spot on Obama’s ticket. Obama supporter (and unorthodox conservative) Andrew Sullivan also thinks Hillary might settle for the number two spot. Given that a significant number of Hillary supports claim they won’t vote for Obama there is a certain logic here.

If Hillary Clinton is, by some miracle, able to win the Democratic nomination, I suspect she will almost have to pick Obama as her runningmate to blunt the anger from African-Americans over what would almost certainly be seen (probably correctly, in my opinion) as a stolen nomination.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Obama does pick Hillary, but I would be very surprised. One of Obama’s great appeals is his status as a “unifier”. Now given Jeremiah Wright that status has diminished somewhat but not completely. Picking a figure as divisive as Hillary would almost certainly destroy this selling point.

Then off course there’s the fact that Obama and Hillary despise each other. That isn’t a deal killer; after all, we all know Bill Clinton and Al Gore were not great friends. Neither were JFK and LBJ or Eisenhower and Nixon. But the Obama-Hillary hatred is out in the open. No one is ever going to believe they’re best friends.

And finally, there’s the Bill Clinton problem. Need I say more?

So as you can see, I don’t put much stock in the idea of Obama picking Hillary as his runningmate. It’s possible, but not very likely. Of course, I have been wrong before.