Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

[S]ubjects were randomly assigned to view a picture of a woman or a picture of this same woman wearing a headscarf in the style of some Islamic women. . . .

What is the meaning of this hypothetical exercise? These pictures of unfamiliar people encourage subjects to engage in a common cognitive process: categorization. They subconsciously place the woman in a group and then impute to this woman the perceived characteristics of that group. These group characteristics are also known as stereotypes. Obviously, the sense that this woman lives a traditional life, is not lively or warm, and keeps to herself is quite in line with common stereotypes of Muslims.

This kind of experiment, despite its artificiality, actually has a great deal to tell us about the real world. Many Americans will see a woman wearing a headscarf only in passing, without any substantive interaction. Given only a brief "snapshot" of the person, people will probably then engage in the same kind of categorization process that these experimental subjects engaged in.


Outside the White House, few have been as supportive of the Bush policy in Iraq as John McCain. He helped sell the war before the invasion; he was an enthusiastic supporter of “staying the course” for several years; he heralded the so-called “surge” policy a year ago, and he’s now talking openly about leaving U.S. troops in Iraq for decades to come. McCain continues, as recently as last night, to mock anyone who’s even hinted at disagreement over the war.

It’s paradoxical, then, that Republicans who oppose the president’s Iraq policy most end up voting for the one candidate who’s done the least to oppose the policy.

As the sun sinks on Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter and the rest of the gang, we might want to pause for a minute and ask what made them run and what, if anything, they brought to the party.


Though I absolutely, positively adore Obama, and think he's a wonderful speaker, there is a nit I really need to pick during his oratory. He has this facial expression that he falls back on all the time. I call it his "stare of destiny." After a bit of soaring oratory, during the roaring applause, he looks a bit upwards and off to the side, staring intently with vision out into the distance. It's the Barack Obama equivalent of Magnum. He does it compulsively, and it's actually beginning to scare me. If he could find some new expressions to mix in with that one, I'd be very happy.


Senator Edward Kennedy has decided to endorse Barack Obama for President, saying he wants a President who "can make us believe again." Over the weekend John F. Kennedy's daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, announced her support for Obama, saying he reminded her of her father. Kennedy's speech writer Ted Sorenson asked what he could do for Obama last year, hoping no doubt that after the election Obama will ask what he can do for Sorenson. Like Kennedy, Obama is young, handsome and inspiring and he represents the passing of the torch to a new generation. But it is not just that Obama reminds them of Kennedy, it is also that the Clintons remind them of Lyndon Johnson. And if there is anything that the Kennedys don't like, it's a bunch of hillbillies in the White House, which is being kept in trust until a competent Kennedy can be groomed to take it back for its rightful owners. Until that time Obama will do.


President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems.

The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the National Security Agency, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies -- including ones they have not previously monitored.

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