Quote of the Day

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, October 30, 2008 10:59 AM

"One morning I woke up and got his tea ready and his breakfast ready and stuff and said, 'Hey, I need your opinion on something. I want to wear this dress to your wake.' And so I put it on and I stood up on the bed and I said, 'How do I look?' And he started to cry. And I said 'Oh God, I'm so sorry, I'll take it off. I didn't mean to upset you at all.' And he said, 'No, it's just that you look so beautiful. I'm so glad I got to see you in that dress.' And he kept crying, and I held his hand and sat down on the bed next to him and said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'It's just that I woke up this morning more ready.' And I asked him what that felt like, and he paused and looked at me, and he said, 'Well, I guess it's the same thing you felt when you put the dress on this morning.'"

--Andrea St. John, StoryCorps 83: "Dressed for the Occasion"

Obligatory Words on Tragic Events

Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:07 PM

I'm sure everyone has heard about the shooting here at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, whether you are living in a dorm on campus or live in the Serengeti - if you get CNN and have caught a snippet of the 24-hour news cycle, you know that there's been a tragedy on our campus.

I wasn't even on campus when it happened, so I can't comment on any hysteria from my friends and fellow students, or really on any tangible signs of grief. I had never either heard or known, perhaps even seen, any of the boys in question. On that basis, I can only offer my weak condolences to the families. I hope you are all able to find peace in the weeks to come.


Arkansas has had an awfully rough news week. First it was the brutal attack and subsequent death of Anne Pressly, a 26-year-old KATV news correspondent out of Little Rock. Then the shooting at UCA happened. On top of all of that, police arrested two Neo-Nazi idiots for an assassination plot to kill presidential candidate Barack Obama and, more frighteningly and plausibly, 110 black students at a mostly black high school (though this school went unnamed). One of the Neo-Nazi jerks was from West-Helena, which is in - you guessed it - Arkansas.

This isn't to say that horrible things don't happen here, just like they do anywhere else. It just seems that we've gotten the lion's share of it in a very short period of time.

Thought of the Day

Posted by Whit Barringer 4:05 PM

If you ask someone if they are voting for Obama or McCain, and they answer with a third party candidate, it's the equivalent of choosing "or."

I don't begrudge anyone their right to vote whatsoever, but thinking of it this way tickles my funny bone.

A Nearly Tragic Incident on the McCain Bus

Posted by Whit Barringer , Wednesday, October 22, 2008 7:21 PM

The Most Extensive Effort to Disenfranchise Voters since Jim Crow

Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, October 21, 2008 4:22 PM

I'm a bit irate right now.

You all may have heard of the organization ACORN by now. In short, they are a multi-facted organization that has a lot of focus on registering voters. They have come under fire recently because there have been many fraudulent forms filled out - with names from "Mickey Mouse" to the entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys. However, ACORN claims - and does - flag the suspicious registration cards for the state, as they are still required by law to turn all registration cards in. (For a more in depth explanation of ACORN and past problems, here's a brief article.)

Yet the people who have pointed fingers over this - GOP officials, conservative bloggers, and generally outraged citizenry - are actively disenfranchising voters.

What have they done? Well, here is a list of articles that touches the tip of the iceberg.

  • Block the Vote: Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?[Rolling Stone]
  • Report: Operatives Will Use Internet to Suppress the Vote [Wired]
  • Challenging voter rolls, misinformation campaigns, and matching rolls as part of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), among other things. [The Nation]
  • Voting Machines Switch Votes; Officials Blame Voters[Wired]
  • Kansas GOP Boasts of "Voter-Caging" in 2007 - and he's still chair. [Crooks&Liars]
  • Undermining voter confidence with deliberately misinforming mailers. [St. Petersburg Times]
  • Ohio Republicans filed a lawsuit to keep people from registering and voting on the same day - which directly affected the homeless.WSJ]
  • Voters purged from the rolls because of clerical errors; many were not notified until they showed up to vote and it was too late. [CBS]
  • McCain-Palin supporters show up and protest early voters' right to vote. (with Video) [Washington Times]
  • Michigan Republicans admit to illegal foreclosure scheme, in which Republicans tried to use the foreclosure crisis as a way to block the foreclosed from voting. [Emptywheel]
Please God someone bring more attention to these despicable efforts. Please.

GRE FAIL, Thesis All-Nighters, Forgotten Midterms, and Other Happenings

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, October 20, 2008 2:38 AM

Oh, hectic I am.

So many things have happened in the last few weeks that it's hard to recount them all, so I won't. However, there are a few major things.

  • The GRE and my inability to speak of it without great acrimony (thanks, GRE guide makers, for giving me over 490 of the most often recurring words on the GRE and it being completely useless in application): Without disclosing too much, the GRE is hard. Though I only studied for a day, I came out ahead of where I could have been, but I can't help feeling that $140 I spent wasn't worth the plastic I put it on. We'll see once I start hearing back from grad schools. There's always window-washing if things don't work out, I s'pose.
  • Two all-nighters later, and I have somewhere around half of my thesis done: You may think that I've done well from that alone, but keep in mind that the rough draft was due last Monday. God, someone shoot me. I just want it to write itself already. It almost literally does except for pesky things like "continuity" and "chronology."
  • The "Oh-my-God-how-does-someone-forget-a-midterm-*headdesk*" moment: I'm varying back and forth between being disgusted and being apathetic about this, but I let a Monday-after-Fall-Break midterm sneak up on me and bite me pretty hard. From the looks of the study guide, I could wing it and make a passable grade (the first identification term is "Hernando de Soto" - hellooooo, sixth grade!), but why on earth do I need to take that chance. I'm filling out the study guide and studying before class tomorrow, but I am not happy that I forgot.
I've had an otherwise eventful weekend, but it's been one of those survive-now-and-live-to-tell-the-tale type weekends. I will say that it's been one of my most interesting as well as one of my most (negatively) enlightening weekends of my life, and that's excluding the GRE.

I'm planning on starting either a new blog or posting a new page with .pdfs of some of my work (papers and such) so that grad schools have URLs to access my presented-but-unpublished papers and articles. What do you all think? .PDFs and a new blog, or .PDFs on this blog? My only worry about this blog is the possibility that it's inappropriate. I don't think it is too much so, but it is certainly not professional. Let me know what you think soon so I can take your thoughts into account when I decide this week.

Oh, and the top five list changed.

1. UT at Austin
2. Vanderbilt
3. OU at Norman
4. Ole Miss
5. Duke

Now to contact professors in each history department! Hurray for the most time-consuming high-risk activity I've done thus far in my academic life.

Edit: Also, a review of the Fall movie Blindness is up at VDCC.


Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, October 07, 2008 10:31 PM

This... is beyond stupid.

Red State: "Intervening in the Holocaust?!"

Barack Obama suggests we need to consider moral issues in intervening with combat forces. He mentions intervening in the Holocaust and how we should have done that.

Um Senator, we did intervene in the Holocaust. It was called World War II.
As one of the comments on the above post states, the Holocaust was not, I repeat, not the U.S. casus belli for entering the war. That was called Pearl Harbor.

Yes, you can argue the entire f*cking live long day that the U.S. could not have stopped the Holocaust if it had not entered the war, but that would assume that the U.S. was solely responsible, as well as that the U.S. had been itching to get in the war to help. In fact, it tried to remain isolationist, and only fought when provoked. By that logic, it was the Germans who wanted the U.S. to liberate the concentration camps and decided to give them a reason to get involved. It also ignores that the Holocaust was going on eight years before the U.S. even joined the war.

Were there humanitarian concerns? Of course there were, but they were most certainly a secondary objective. To claim that the U.S. interevened makes it sound as if the U.S. intervened in the nick of time, which makes the 6 million Jews and four million Gypsies, Christians, Slavs, and other ethnic and religious groups into what, exactly? Unworthy of liberation? The necessary prelude to provoke action? How ridiculous and demeaning.

To Red State and Erick Erickson: When you go out of your way to make someone you don't like look like an idiot, make sure you don't trip all over yourself.

Exxon-Mobil Presents!

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, October 02, 2008 4:03 PM


I should totally submit this to FailBlog.

Note: You have to click on it to see the whole thing, because my column widths are mos' definitely FAIL.