April 29th, 2008

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Jesus Made Me Puke

There's an excerpt from Matt Taibbi's new book about the psychochristian right. It's the kind of thing that should have "Yakety Sax" playing under it if it weren't such scary shit, because most of the participants buy into it hook, line, and sinker.

I'm not usually one to make fun of other people's religious experiences. But for Christ's sake, if you take something seriously that involves the command "In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I cast out the demon of the intellect!" followed by "In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of anal fissures!", you are Seriously Fucked Up™.

Intellect is a gift, motherfuckers...
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State math coverage

Eric Zorn covers the ICTM State Math Contest, which I see has been moved to UIUC from its original home at ISU. Eric's excuse is his son is a senior on the Payton Prep math team. There still oughtta be a story about it each year. Naperville North's 10-year run in the 4A division came to an end this year. Glenbrook North finished 9th, just a point behind 8th place Lyons Twp. And South was 27 points behind us in 10th.

I see they've updated the rules a bit. Back In The Day™, the rule was students were allowed "one handheld, non-printing calculator". Now, the rule reads:
Each student is allowed to use any number of calculators that are self-contained and battery operated; however, each student may use at most one desk. No computers are allowed in the competitions. Removable or interchangeable parts are permitted. Electrical outlets in the room may not be used.
I guess you can't bring an HP Libretto or an Oqo running Mathematica.

IMSA still blows. :P
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The transformation of black America

That I'm a moderately-old fan of Barack Obama is old news. That I find fuel in literate, elegant speech is old news. So it shouldn't be any great surprise that I've carried a sense through this primary season that we're experiencing a turning point in history. I suppose that's obvious, too, given the "black man/white woman frontrunners" situation. But it goes further than that. If Obama is the Democratic nominee, that's historic. If he wins the Presidency in November, it will be an irrevocable change in the state and environment of black people in America.

Look at this week's events. Jeremiah Wright gets up in front of a crowd and displays damned near every stereotype we know of the angry black community leader. (The US government is behind AIDS? Please...) He's no neophyte, he knows exactly what it's doing, and you can't question that his intent is to attack Obama for not standing tall for him. His prior objectionable comments were not made in this context, there was some room for debate as to why he made them. (Was he making a point? Trying to fire up a crowd?) These were not. These were prepared and measured. This was all the justification needed for Obama to cut Wright loose. Then he calls for calm and peace in the aftermath of the Sean Bell verdict in New York. That drew Al Sharpton into the fray. Obama is not playing the same old game many black politicians have played for years. He is not playing their game of victimhood--indeed, he rejects it. There's a poster over on TPM Cafe that sees it. Andrew Sullivan sees it too. Even Rush Limbaugh sees it.

What it means, for a black candidate to occupy the highest elected office in the land, is that the (white) Man didn't succeed in keeping him down. The game of paranoid racial victimization will be an empty shell, and those who cling to it will be left behind as the rest of the nation moves on. Not that all ills will be cured overnight. But the game and its rules will have changed. That's very much the kind of world I'd like to live in. And soon.
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Busted

Six Rancho Bernardo HS students suspended for hax0ring teh grad3b00kz. I'd bet a nickel to a dime that someone either shoulder-surfed a password, figured out a weak teacher password, or just took advantage of a machine left logged in. I really doubt any 'leet skills were involved.
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