Category Archives: politics

081202 Intelligence Squared Debate: Bush 43 is the Worst President of the Last 50 Years

I’ve started to post raw notes from events I attend. For more information, see the Notes Policy.

For the Motion

  • Simon Jenkins (SJ), journalist (The Guardian) and author.
  • Jacob Weisberg (JW), editor of Slate, author of The Bush Tragedy

Against the Motion

  • William Kristol (WK), editor of The Weekly Standard
  • Karl Rove (KR), former Senior Advisor to Bush 43

Pre-show makeup dusting

Once seated onstage, a make-up artist comes around to give them a final dusting of powder. While Kristol is immobilized by the artist, Rove reaches over and gives Kristol a wet willie. For real. Continue reading

Spot.Us Launches

I’m very proud to have helped design David Cohn’s Knight News Challenge-award-winning crowd-funded journalism site. Spot.Us provides a platform for ordinary citizens to commission stories from freelance journalists, giving (1) the public a say in what stories get written, and (2) creating a new revenue stream for journalists who’re confronting budget cuts and layoffs in almost every newsroom in America.

After months of behind-the-scenes action, Spot.Us finally launched, with nice write-ups in Wired, the Huffington Post, and TechCrunch. Go check it out—or better yet, suggest a story for journalists to tackle!

Post Election Graphics Roundup

This morning I woke up for the second time in a country with a President Elect Barack Obama. It’s starting to feel real. My endorphin and dopamine receptors are completely burned out, but at least I’m no longer spontaneously breaking out into tears, so let’s take a look around. There’ve been a lot of interesting graphics marking the close of this two-year-long election campaign.


Kottke takes a look at the NYT’s cover, which was my favorite by far of the major paper’s headlines. It was spare, powerful, and dignified.

Nyt Omama Cover

There’re galleries of other newspaper headlines here and here.

UPDATE: Another great gallery here.

It wasn’t long ago that Karl Rove was talking about America’s incipient “permanent republican majority”. He might have been speaking prematurely. The only region of the country to vote more republican than in 2004 was the Appalachian belt. The rest of the country went heavily Democratic, as the top-notch NYTimes Information Graphics department shows.

Blue America

Traditional red-and-blue election maps make the USA look much redder than it actually is because population density and geography are decoupled. Cartogram maps distort the size of counties to reflect their population. M.E.J. Newman has a series of maps that tell the story well, but there’s something beautifully kinetic about this map. I think I’ll have it framed.

Cartogram 2008

Patrick Moberg’s gotten a lot of attention for this whimsical and profound drawing that could be seen as a whipsmart take of Chernoff Faces.

Presidential Portraits

Finally, the image that best captured my bleary, awe-filled, humbled state of mind when I woke up for the first time in the country that elected Barack Obama:


Winning this Election

I just sent out a mass email, something I do very rarely.  (I think the last one announced my engagement / need for a new home for my cats when I got engaged to my feline-allergic wife.)  If it was important enough to send to everyone I care about, its important enough to reproduce here.  Full text of the email after the jump.

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Notes From the 2008 Personal Democracy Forum (Day 1)

I’ve started to post raw notes from events I attend. For more information, see the Notes Policy.

I’d like to add that I’ve recently found a highly cogent rationale/alabi for posting this raw, sloppy, first-draft-of-history note-taking in Clay Shirky’s notion of “first publish, then sort”.See? Its not just that I can’t be bothered to edit…it’s the 21st century way!

080623 Personal Democracy Forum

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Scott McLellan Makes Some News

Scott McLellan Makes Some News

George W. Bush Wrecked Your New Bicycle

Inspired by barack obama is your new bicycle as well as a few remixes of the same idea (e.g. McCain, Hillary, Steve Jobs) I felt like the meme was ignoring the elephant in the room. Hence, George W. Bush Wrecked Your New Bicycle

Note that (not unlike GWB’s presidency) the link doesn’t go anywhere. That will change as soon as I get around to it.

Questions? Suggestions? Angry screeds? email

Protecting Privacy With Data Promiscuity

The Badness of Dave’s Paranoid Brain led him to sound the alarm: get off facebook now! Get yr email onto a small ISP! Keep your data away from big companies that hold profits or subpoena’s above their user’s interests!The concerns are valid, but the remedy doesn’t scale. Its hard enough to keep the bits flowing without having to worry about the moral fiber of your service providers. There’s another way to play this: instead of taking on the task of policing everyone who has access to your data, let’s build systems to obfuscate our data. I’m thinking of systems modeled on Tor and spam. Yes, spam. More after the jump.

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The Nicest Thing I’ve Seen All Day

KivaKiva is so overwhelmed with lenders that its limiting loans so everyone has a chance.  Microfinance FTW!

Turn That Racket Down!

Shorter David Brooks: There’re two kinds of music fans: snotty kids and virtuous baby boomers.