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State of the Presidential Race: Close

Friday, July 27, 2012
Looking at the opinion polls right now isn't that helpful, and as entertaining as Romney's gaffes in Britain are, by themselves they aren't going to turn the presidential race. Of greater importance are the economic and political fundamentals. My favorite prediction model is Alan Abramowitz's which has had a pretty good record the last few cycles. With 2nd quarter GDP growth out (a measly 1.5%) , that model is now set. According to his "Time for A Change" model, Obama should receive 50.5% of the 2-party vote. Yikes, that's a nailbiter. I take it back - in an election that close, campaign effects really could sway the outcome. So let's keep rooting for Romney's continuing incompetence.

P.S. The even-money fundamentals also demonstrate why, as usual, you shouldn't read the mainstream press's political coverage. They've got no idea what they're talking about:

"If you look at the fundamentals of this race, Romney should be ahead. And the fact is, he’s not." - Chuck Todd, etc. at MSNBC.

Wrong Chuck. It should be a tie, and guess what? It is.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 10:21 AM

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Best Closing Line Of A Blog This Year

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
When Theodore Roosevelt is less racist than you are, you have some work to do.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 2:47 PM

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Catching Up

I haven't been much of a blogger recently (duh), for no good reason other than that I haven't had much to say. The driving impulse for this blog is to comment on politics, rather than to serve as a personal diary or anything. And frankly, contemporary politics is so dispiriting that it's hard to summon up the energy to write about it. I've been taking a personal break from it myself. Although I have every intention of getting involved in the general election, I must say it's quite difficult to pretend that the election is about much more than avoiding immediate catastrophe. Should Obama win re-election, he's almost certain to face a Republican majority in the house, which means another 4 years of stalemate as our country (and planet) continues to circle the drain. Sigh.

In any case, as I've taken a step back from the public domain, my private life has begun to, well, I suppose flourish is the only word I can use. I've gotten involved in Roller Derby, which is great exercise and a surprisingly good way to meet interesting people. I'm part of a real community for the first time in quite a while. I'm finally beginning to find my feet as a professional, and shifting from my old academic field into a new one.

I've also been tinkering with revisions to my first book.As might be expected, the changes are going to be quite extensive, but I think I've worked out how to solve most of the outstanding issues, with the exception of one rather glaring one that has so far stumped me. I suppose it really has been too long since I was an adolescent boy to figure out what would motivate one. Is irritating one's family and mentor sufficient reason for an arrogant 16-year-old to do rather reckless things and to associate with inappropriate people? Hmm, maybe the answer is a lot simpler than I thought.

Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:50 AM

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Friday, July 20, 2012
Yes I know that there is already tons of advertising at professional sports events, but there's something kind of creepy about putting ads on player's jerseys. It's almost as bad as naming all the stadiums after corporate sponsors. It used to be the Boston Garden (hooray!). Now it's what, the Fleet Center? Blech. I suppose this just fits in with my general exhaustion with advertising. Can I go 30 seconds without someone trying to sell me something (sorry Dad*).

*a marketing exec
Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:26 AM

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Behold, My Slovenliness is Validated!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Procrastinating is good for you. (h/t)
Posted by Arbitrista @ 5:00 PM

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Presently Fooling Just Under 60% Of The People

So the country with the world's highest inequality thinks its wealthiest actually deserve their wealth? Lovely.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:32 AM

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Indictment of the Political Elite: Exhibit A

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
It probably shouldn't be a surprise that a man that thinks women are biologically predisposed to be inferior in science would have a weak grasp of the problem of inequality. And of course here he goes again, arguing that since there's not much we can really do about about economic inequality (driven in substantial measure by financialization that has benefited Dr. Summers quite nicely, thank you), we should focus on "equality of opportunity." Summers' focus in on education (of course), claiming that the K-12 system needs to be improved and that colleges and universities need to do a better job of targeting low-income youth. This from the former president of Harvard University.

Well, I welcome Dr. Summers to the party. But I have to say, as someone who's spent a fair amount of time and effort on the problem of promoting equality in education: education alone is no panacea. Of course we should improve the educational system. Of course we should make sure that talented young people have a chance to join the elite. The problem is that Dr. Summers' vision is both too myopic (or self-interested) to recognize that straightforward means are available for reducing economic inequality, and too narrow in his moral concerns. For should young people who are 10% more talented/lucky/hard-working than their peers really enjoy vast incomes while their slightly "inferior" peers struggle by with meager incomes?

I think not.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:11 PM

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I Don't Even Have Words For This

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Now the Republicans are trying to cut food stamps. Food stamps. A quarter of the children in this country live in poverty, and now those bastards want to stop them from having enough to eat. They truly are monsters.

But hey, I've finally figured out the conservative approach for eliminating poverty is. Let's call, hmm. the "final solution."
Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:25 AM

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