The Hawkeye State gets it

by lestro

There was a great article in Sunday’s New York Times about Iowa and the reaction of the citizenry to the Iowa Supreme Court’s allowance of gay marriage. I’ll be honest with you, it was not what I expected, but it really sounds like Iowans get it; they understand the whole idea of America.

I am not sure of the history of Iowa and have only been through there once (I spent a great night in the Quad Cities where I attended a BYOB strip club where I was actually told by the stripper to “grab some titty, boy”), but there seems to be a real libertarian streak that runs through the countryside.

Take this woman, for example, from the town portrayed in the painting “American Gothic.”

“To be honest, I would rather not have it in Iowa,” said Shirley Cox, who has spent most of her 84 years in this old railroad town. Ms. Cox said she had always been proud to tell people what state she was from, but now was not so sure.

“But the thing is,” she went on, “it’s really none of my business. Who am I to tell someone how to live? I live the way I want, and they should live the way they want. I’m surely not going to stomp and raise heck and campaign against it.”

Because I think the visual only adds to it, this is Shirley:
isn’t she great?

What a truly American view on life: it’s not right for me, but what business is it of mine?

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truth, justice and punk fucking rock

by lestro

Punk rock is the true American art form.

In its purest forms, punk rock is simply a rage of personal freedom and anti-authority that is at the very heart of the American idea. That simple reflex – “fuck you, I don’t have to do what you say” – is what not only founded the nation, but continues to permeate every aspect of American life.

That challenge, that question, that pushback against being told what to do and how to live, it IS the American experience.

Every culture that comes into the melting pot comes here for the same reason: the simple freedom to question.

And no matter what, through even the tightest of home cultures, America – the idea of America – persists and infects.

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America the purple

by twit

via Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan, “a cartogram, a map in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population.”

Here is what the normal [county-level election returns] map looks like if you [use red, blue, and shades of purple in between to indicate percentages of votes]:

And here’s what the cartogram looks like:

As this map makes clear, large portions of the country are quite evenly divided, appearing in various shades of purple, although a number of strongly Democratic (blue) areas are visible too, mostly in the larger cities. There are also some strongly Republican areas, but most of them have relatively small populations and hence appear quite small on this map.

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My Selfish Racism

by the squid

I am not a sentimental person; but Tuesday night I was rocked to the core.

My wife and I are raising three mixed-race children; I am the black, she is the white.  We have a nice life, but sometimes I worried. I worried about how our children were going to identify themselves to others and I wondered how they will feel about me and their mother while growing up.

In our community, I am still a minority; however there is a wide range of people and experiences with which my children interact; but to know going forward, for the next four years, they will see a man of color – one the same hue as their father and uncle – being articulate, being vigorously debated, having state dinners, making decisions that matter for millions of people and who has a wife which reminds them of one of their grandmothers really affected me.

After Obama was elected, my wife and I spoke about race (as it occasionally comes up in our lives) and she said, “He is not African-American, he is half white…”  For the record, she said the same thing years ago when Halle Berry won the Oscar.

My wife’s point asks: What about the mother?  My wife doesn’t consider our children Black, but hers, and she feels the mother’s genes should be considered as well.  So my wife and I came up with a name for my wife’s condition: White woman with Black kids syndrome.

For the first time, Wednesday night, my five year old daughter said she was African-American; but to be accurate, our kids may have to identify themselves as half Black, a quarter Irish and a quarter Italian.

However,  America considers them Black because of me.

Now my children will see someone, who looks like me and who is not an actor, or a sports star or an entertainer, but as a person who has to make important decisions about life and limb much like their father, but only on a smaller scale.

It was a selfish racism which, I felt, would deter America from electing a person of color. There have been times in my life where, as a father, I have held myself back with feelings of inferiority and hoped that my fear would not translate or be seen by my children.

Now I feel I have a little bit of help from Mr. Obama.  He won’t be able to pay my mortgage, but he may be able to alleviate a burden my children would have to bear because of me – and that was a point on which both my wife and I agreed.

The Boss for Obama

by twit

via the Viral Video Chart

Alaska is a microcosm of America

by twit

Every state is “like a microcosm of America.”

That’s the point of being the United States…

And then there are these recent Alaska poll numbers reported by McClatchy on September 30, 2008:

Above 80 percent approval for parts of her term — she was at 82 percent in a key local poll twice this year — Palin’s popularity has swooned [to a 68 percent approval rating] as new information about the local abuse-of-power investigation known as troopergate has trickled out, and as national and local media pick over her track record as a governor and small-town mayor.

and just look at that microcosm:

Inside those numbers was a dramatic drop in support from Democrats and independents, although support from Republicans remained strong at 93 percent. Among Democrats, her approval rating dropped from 60 percent to 36 percent, a 24-point drop. Among independents, it fell from 82 percent to 64 percent, an 18-point drop.

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Wake up and dance, America

by twit

America’s sexiest man, now set to music:

via Threat Level, which has more info on how you can make your own mashup.