11/25/13

State Fair

So apparently you enrich Uranium by centrifuging the atomic material until it separates into two distinct isotopes. The fission of one of those isotopes is particularly effective in creating heat/energy. And at a certain enrichment level, bombs.

Poetically, the nuclear deal with Iran, itself, is a little like a centrifuge. Or maybe that Gravitron ride at the state fair.

Centrifugal Ride

You better hope it keeps spinning. But, you’re face is going to look like this the whole time:

spies like us

In other words, it is in everyone’s interest that the agreement continues but we’re going to feel pretty queasy the whole time.

It’s an interim arrangement that is better than none at all and which creates significant transparency. But, what in the world is Iran’s endgame?

No weapon’s grade program? Forever?

About the odds of doing this:

Milk-Can

or of not enjoying a paper plate of Deep Fried Butter balls. South Carolina State Fair, son.

deep fried butter

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

Centrifuge

11/6/12

Color My Map

My wife couldn’t get over John King’s hands. (King, along with Wolf Blitzer, is one of CNN’s main electoral analysts on election night.) They were frozen in a sort of claw position no matter the gesture. I told her, “Uh. Everyone knows the molded action-figure-finger is the optimal hand positioning for manipulating the Magic Board.” Sheesk. She knows nothing about politics.

On another night where only “swing states” really mattered, John King’s crippled hands and political analysts, cable-wide, were literally swinging around digital states like misshapen blue and red pucks on ice. Grided counties and precincts and swirling percentages and exit polls and actual votes. It was like a math team had exploded.

This just in: I nailed my Montana prediction. Again.

The candidates have been campaigning relentlessly in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Virginia and Florida and Colorado for the chance that those states would swing to their ledger. Tonight Romney was only able to pendulum Virginia and Indiana and North Carolina, however. That was never going to be enough.

[For those of you keeping score at home, I went Obama, Romney, Obama on my predictions. Best 2 out of 3. Consider it “nailed.”]

I don’t mind the political striation of our country. It’s pretty amazing really. America is not comprised of drastically red and blue states, although such creatures exist. I mean, places like Florida and Colorado are literally split down the middle 50/50. And, that’s a real impressive thing. Our political differences live on top of each other. Don’t let the map and King’s hobbled hands fool you. It’s not red in the middle and blue on the edges. It’s a puzzle of both throughout.

I’m thankful for the mad theater of our national presidential race. It’s like the Super Bowl and Family Fued all rolled up into one. It creates real democratic energy and I believe we will see that turnout was up again for a fifth straight election.

My wife also wondered out loud whether John King was married for his incessant breathless and auctioneer style talking. Surely not. And, she vowed that she would certainly call to tell me to stop if I were ever in his position. Did I mention she plainly knows very little about politics?? Incessant talking like a precious treasure.

Congratulations to President Obama. I believed he had earned a second term. And while I don’t publicly endorse, I had privately hoped. As I indicated, we would have been in capable hands either way. But, I’ve always sensed in President Obama a discretion that I could trust even over policy I could not.

Forward.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced djclutch.

Today’s blong here:

Swing State

11/4/12

What it tis it taint and what taint it tis

There is a quantum principle that says you can’t know the velocity and the location of a subatomic particle at the same time. You can know one attribute or another but not both simultaneously.

And they (as in smart theoretical physics dudes) swear it’s not a technological issue. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is an immutable quantum attribute. Smarter people and better equipment will make no difference.

Although I learned about it in school and have since read it’s description countless times, I couldn’t swear that what I’m about to say is actually true of it. But, I believe that the reason the principle is immutable is that particles of that size are necessarily affected by observation. They are so small and “influential” for lack of a better word that to “see” them is to necessarily change them.

That’s what everyone (as in the Republican right) is screaming about Nate Silver and his election probability data, which suggests that President Obama has an approximately 85% chance of winning the election. Nate Silver is a statistician with a background in gaming sports lines based on high falutin’ math principles like adding and long-dividing and stuff. His critics say that to make such a lopsided observation about Obama’s chances of winning is to necessarily influence people to vote or stay home somehow.

Considering the vast industry which has formed just around the political “prediction” business it is a strange accusation for any side to scream that Silver, having assigned a roughly 85% probability of an Obama win even as many important states are essentially a coin flip, has somehow unduly “affected” the possible outcome.

Like observing a gluon. To prognosticate is to dictate, apparently, the cry goes.

But, I suspect it’s more about one side not liking that their “guess” is getting less traction than the other guys “guess.”

Luckily, in two days the conjecture will all be through.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Sundance.

Today’s blong here:

Permanent Indeterminate

10/22/12

A Win Win: The Final 2012 Presidential Debate

Don’t miss it, America.

If you’re too frustrated or cracking too many jokes or screaming at your TV too loudly, you’re going to miss the most important takeaway of these debates:

Both of these men can run our country.

They have different policies and different philosophies and different annoying mannerisms. The “Excuse me, I’m still speaking . . . .” versus the “Um . . . look . . . .” But, they’re leaders. Differently but comparably qualified. They’re bright, fluent in the important issues of our time, and able to engage with conviction. They strike at fallacies with pointedness but concede some common view. They have executive experience and grassroots.

And this is all new, right? I think we would say that it’s been a while since we felt exactly like that about either or both presidential candidates. In fact, you might have to reach back to something like Nixon v. Kennedy to find any comparable blend of ability and moxy on both sides. It’s usually a dull one and a charismatic one. Or a bright one and a less than bright one. Romney is no Prom King and Obama’s cult of personality has long since dimmed. But, they’re legitimately sharp and full of meaningful energy.

Trust me, the differences matter. And, don’t be fooled by the closeness of position reflected in tonight’s foreign policy debate. It’s hard to be too far apart on issues like, “Is it good to kill bad guys from other countries?” or “Do you think America is worth protecting?” or “Which is your favorite color? Red, white, or blue?” Their Americas will in fact look somewhat different. And, whether you have a job, how much you’re making, and how much you’ll ultimately keep may very well hang in the balance.

But, we should consider ourselves lucky, USA. One of them will lose. But, we really can’t.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s song blog here:

The Adults in the Room

10/21/12

“YOU CAN’T WIN!”

This site doesn’t do endorsements.

Well, except of hair product and mythical creatures. I roundly support both. L’OrĂ©al and unicorns, specifically.

So the following is only a prediction and not an aspiration:

Obama will lose.

I believed a Romney victory was an effective impossibility until the last debate. In fact, I predicted an Obama victory. But, then, last Tuesday, it hit me. In the words of Adrian Balboa to Rocky right after his decision to avenge the death of his friend Apollo Creed by fighting the Russian, Drago, “YOU. CAN’T. WIN!”

“Oh, Adrian. Adrian always tells the truth,” the tired fighter conceded. “No maybe I can’t win.”

One could argue many hours, and we all have, about who is responsible for the last five years of economic ruin and subsequent stagnation. If the housing-market-bubble-securitization theory is to be believed, then really it is all to be pinned on many decades of legislative policy, republican and democrat, both as to securities regulation and mortgage lending. I would be hesitant to accuse any particular administration, Clinton, Bush, Obama, or otherwise.

But, whatever the cause, Obama presided over its consequences. And, it is clear to me at this point that it is simply too easy to criticize the numbers and to imagine what life would have been like if a Republican or really anyone else had been in the White House. For all Obama has accomplished in areas of national security and domestic policy, he can’t prove a negative when it comes to the economy: that things would have been much worse without him.

I long ago, made the case for Romney’s competence. For much of the primary season and into the general election, he seemed to have misplaced it. He has regained prior form in the debates. And that simple demonstration of composure plus a 4-year record of dismal economic activity, on Obama’s watch, all adds up to a loss. People are simply desperate that something new just might work.

It’s over.

But, Rocky knew that sometimes the fight itself was the winning and that your opponent has to be willing to sacrifice everything in order to beat a man willing, himself, to lose it all:

Maybe the only thing I can do is just take everything he’s got. But, to beat me he’s gonna have to kill me, and to kill me he’s gotta have the heart to stand in front of me, and to do that he’s gotta be willing to die himself. I don’t know if he’s ready to do that. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I have no idea what I’m talking about. I just hope that Obama has a black Lamborghini to drive at top speeds while Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out” plays to a montage of boxing memories — including throwing a motorcycle helmet at a bronze statute of himself and double-time jump roping shirtless — in his head.

Just saying. November 6 will be one for the ages.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by dave santos.

Today’s song blog here:

No Easy Way Out