Where do Republicans want to move if Obama wins?

I've already been hearing the same sentiment from my liberal and progressive friends that I heard in 2000 and again in 2004: they're going to want to move to Canada if McCain wins the 2008 presidential election. So I got to wondering, where would right-wing conservatives and fundamentalists want to move if Obama wins the… Continue reading Where do Republicans want to move if Obama wins?

Word Cloud for Palin’s Convention Speech

I'm sure there's already a million of these on the intertubes this morning, but here's my word cloud for Palin's Republican convention speech. I like the few key words that seem to be falling off or floating away from the main mass of words. See the full-size image or the original Wordle creation of the… Continue reading Word Cloud for Palin’s Convention Speech

“Africanization” Disappears from NYT Headline

I've written before about the way Africa still functions for the news media as a "dark continent" of primitive savagery. So what a sad gift this headline was the other day in the New York Times: "Warming Leads to Water Shortage and 'Africanization' of Spain." I was getting all psyched up to write about this… Continue reading “Africanization” Disappears from NYT Headline

The CIA, Interrogation, and Mortimer Snerd

I've written before about the creepy interrogation manual the CIA issued in 1983 on "Human Resource Exploitation." The precursor to this manual is the infamous Kubark report, written in 1963. This CIA document outlines various coercive and non-coercive methods of gathering "counterintelligence information" from uncooperative sources. Over forty years later, some of the coercive techniques… Continue reading The CIA, Interrogation, and Mortimer Snerd

The CIA on Effective Arrests

My current research project revolves around the use of torture in the so-called "War on Terror"---and I'm uncovering a wealth of astonishing, depressing material, much of it compliments of the U.S. government. Here is a page from a top secret CIA manual on "Human Resource Exploitation," distributed by CIA trainers in Latin America in the… Continue reading The CIA on Effective Arrests

More Political Tag Clouds

It doesn’t attempt the kind of analysis I try with the State of the Union addresses, but chir.ag has a great visual tool that builds tag clouds for hundreds of important presidential speeches and texts, all the way back to the Declaration of Independence and George Washington's State of the Union speeches. The site has… Continue reading More Political Tag Clouds

Word Clouds for the State of the Union

Pattern Recognition has a word cloud for Bush's State of the Union address, in which words are weighted according to frequency. So, "terrorism" and "security" appear very, very bold, because Bush mentioned them time and time again in his address. And the word "plan" is much smaller, indicating that it was rarely used in Bush's… Continue reading Word Clouds for the State of the Union

Fly the Fiendly Skies

This is the scariest freaking business I've read in a long time: Christopher Soghoian, a computer science student who had created an online generator for fake boarding passes--solely to point out how ludicrously ineffective airport security is--has been visited several times by the FBI, most recently, with a 2am warrant that allowed the Bureau to… Continue reading Fly the Fiendly Skies

The Origins of Totalitarianism

The same thought trajectory that brought me to Le Bon's work on crowds has led me to something I should've read a long time ago: Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. The Origins of Totalitarianism is Arendt's thoughtful and relentlessly critical dissection of totalitarian movements and nations. In a later chapter called "Totalitarianism in Power,"… Continue reading The Origins of Totalitarianism

Don’t Hug that Tar Baby

It's been widely reported (and not just on the Daily Show) that new Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow used the racist term "tar baby" in his first televised press briefing. Responding to a question about the NSA's secret wiretapping program, Snow answered: I am not going to stand up here and presume to declassify any… Continue reading Don’t Hug that Tar Baby