Love Letter

I wrote this silly, sappy thing. 


Care hugely and deeply and largely and until it hurts. Care until you talk and research and rant. Write pages of blog posts and 140 characters of dissent. Protest and change things, because when you care enough, why the hell wouldn’t you want to change things? The world is entrenched and stuck and evangelizes apathy, but fuck shit up anyways. Demand things change, demand more. Expect more.

Care for one another, in the way that means memories so strong they ache and photos with worn corners. Make cross-country phone calls and send silly pictures across email. Make ridiculous faces and make a point to say good morning. Care for one another and for the Other you don’t know, because cars and feelings can’t always weather the things in their paths.

Care with letters and words and kindness and the one time you took the trash out, even though it was their turn. Do it five times.

Do it with gusto. Do it because you’re lucky enough to have interlocking bodies, and it would be a shame not to interlock them. You don’t have to love them all–that’s a myth–but I hope you love someone and someone loves  you. And more than that, I hope that at least once, those two things line up in a perfect way that sounds like music and looks like rainbows.

Care for the jagged ones, the ones that can’t tell you why they hurt, but do, the ones that owe you an apology, and the ones that refuse yours. Care magnanimously, because Ms. Johnson told the fourth grade it was a big dollar word, and because every time you say ‘I love you’ and really mean it, it gets easier.

And love. Love. It’s not a bathtub. It’s not the half of your sandwich you traded for Emily’s chocolate milk at lunch. Pass it around.  Make each other dinner and be that friend at 2 am. Love yourself enough to remember you need your sleep, too.

But mostly, care.

Love Letter

Your Waffle Fries

[Content note: aggravated homophobia]

You might remember when Chick-Fil-A was in the news a few months back. WinShape, the ‘charitable’ arm of the corporation had been donating to anti-LGBT groups for a while, but Dan Cathy, CEO, had just reaffirmed his inability to understand the meaning of charitable in a few paragraphs of biblical-family-and-tradition nonsense.

You might also remember it from the way your facebook lit up with people FREEZEPEACHing like it was going out of style. (Extra discount available if you add in claims of hypocrisy and constitutional ignorance!) It wasn’t okay to boycott CFA! Cathy was just expressing his opinion! You can’t change your behavior based on what people say! It’s FREE SPEECH and I/we/’Murica have to support it!

Overlying this constitutional illiteracy (tl;dr: Anyone can have their opinion; it’s also totally fine to say it’s a horrible hateful opinion and you don’t get my money if you hold it.) was some sort of belief that it wasn’t that bad. I mean, it’s really hard to find a chicken sandwich, and those waffle fries! To die for, amirite? Besides, who cares where a little money goes–so many corporations are unethical, and you can’t expect me to avoid all of them!

I would hope that when I tell you that Uganda is about to pass their ‘Kill the Gays’ bill as a vile ‘Christmas present’ for the population, you are repulsed. Enraged. I would like to think that you consider the death penalty for so-called Aggravated Homosexuality–being gay and a parent or HIV positive included in this definition–to be immoral and unacceptable.

But if you’ve been arguing for treating CFA as any other restaurant you can’t say you didn’t help it happen. You can’t say that you know that a few cents of your delicious vanilla milkshake didn’t go to a campaign that would make it okay to murder someone for their sexuality. You cannot say you didn’t know. You can’t say it was an accident–WinShape is well aware where their money goes. And one of those places is the Family Research Council which has spoken in support of the Ugandan bill.

So…what if there’s other horrible businesses? I know there are. I know that they will have business practices that appall me. When I find out about them, I will avoid them too, most especially if they shamelessly brag about their commitment to stripping the rights of others. You get a fixed amount of choices in this world. When your chargrilled chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries (only $4.95!) is worth more than the right of people to just live, you’ve lost me.

Your Waffle Fries

Bad Psychic Gordon Smith

Alright, admittedly “bad psychic” is redundant, but this morning I got a comment on my old blog from a post I did about seeing a psychic where I used to work:

Ashley, people do not pretend its a gift. It is a gift. Because you do not have the gift is why you respond in this way. Its not a technique anyone can learn from a book. Its called altered consciousness. Do your research before writing about Gordon Smith in such a negative fashion. He is a top of the range medium. The real deal. Not the best of articles, very poor in fact. Go and see Gordon Smith live, you will not be disappointed. Then you will see his accuracy. Street names, names etc. – Mystic Kaz

Because the comment was clearly so traumatized by the idea of bad publicity for Gordon Smith, I thought I would share the story again, for a wider audience at FreethoughtBlogs.

I had the unique opportunity to see a psychic called Gordon Smith.  I hadn’t heard of him until today, but I took the liberty of google searching him before seeing him and learned a bit about him.  He’s not just a psychic, he’s also a medium, which means that in addition to seeing the future or reading your mind he can talk to dead people.  He is quick to reassure that this isn’t scary, because spirits are nice.

He once amazingly predicted that the body of someone last seen trying to cross a dangerous river would be found somewhere downstream, but his normal schtick is telling people that their recently deceased relatives love them and are happy on the other side.  Whether you find that to be taking advantage of people who are desperate and grieving or as comforting them is up to you.

But when I see things like he read about a dead kid in the newspaper and then used that information to do a hot reading on the parents and put it on TV to get publicity and money, I confess I get a little queasy.

It turned out to be a group reading for a crowd that was probably half hostile, half believers.  He started with a directive to be open and communicative with him if he talked to us, not to be afraid, and that it was all to do with love.  We were directed to try to make mental contact with a person who had passed.

He started by talking with an older woman I know who is well known for her love of all things woo — she likes to do astrological charts and thinks aliens built the pyramids — and who dresses that way as well.  I believe I saw her talking to him beforehand, but if not it would have been easy for him to get info on her or just guess it based on her looks.  She was an ideal target because she obviously wanted to believe.  Also, as much of the crowd was young, she was more likely to know people who’d died.

I won’t bore you with the cold reading details, suffice to say they were pretty standard.  ”An Older Man?  Your Father?  He loves you.  He had a nice smile.”  He went into histrionics and said that her father had had trouble breathing when he died.  How vague and necessarily true.  He said there were connections in Boston or NY, which really implies the whole northeast, which is how much of the population of the US?  She didn’t seem to know specifically what it was referring to nonetheless.

He said the name “Michael” was coming through, but this didn’t mean anything to her.  He insisted it would.  He started talking about wallets, photographs, and “the house”, all of which was incredibly vague.  He ended with “He’ll be with you in September.”  The entire thing was vague and banal, but she seemed happy with it.

Then he pointed to a group of three men standing together, and said he was sensing a man who’d had a heart attack and died and it was connected to “You, sir”, but he pointed so vaguely that it could have been any of the three.  Alas, it was not a hit with any of them.  He kept pressing and said someone had lost an older man, father perhaps.  A skeptical man in a mustache said, “Yes, about a year ago, but he didn’t die of a heart attack.”  Oh, snap.

Then Gordon proceeded to pretend that he’d heard about the one year thing from the ghostie, not from the guy, and the guy wasn’t buying any of it.  Gordon said that he had unfinished business, there was so much they never did.  There was a single rose, a symbol of love.  And the guy said, “I understand what you’re saying, but you’re way off the mark.”  Snickers.

GS: There are many unfinished things…
M: Like what?
GS: He’s telling me something about phone calls…
M: …
GS: He’s proud of you, he’s happy with your life.  Something about photos on a computer…
M: That doesn’t mean anything to me.
GS: There’s a dog with him?  He loved being with family.

I imagine had we been a less polite crowd, had we paid to see this, or had alcohol been involved, there would have been jeering and heckling at this point. Flop sweat is not a pretty thing, and as much as I wanted him to crash and burn, it was difficult to watch.

He obviously couldn’t end on that, so he pointed to a different trio of guys and said he was sensing an older woman. A guy I know pretty well took the bait.

GS: The last 18 months a lot as happened. Are we near some sort of anniversary?
M: … Yeah.
GS: She says you need to tidy your mess. Her hair is lovely, she got her hair done.
M: OK.
GS: Feeling something in my throat, she loved to sing?
M: Yeah
GS: She’s saying three’s company, two’s a crowd.
(What kind of embarrassingly trite bullshit is that, btw)
M: OK.
GS: She’s saying there are wires everywhere. You need to clean up the wires so there’s not a fire — that’s not a prediction, just a worry. There are too many phones.
M: OK, yeah.
GS: She’s saying the name “Anne” or “Annie”?
M: Yeah
GS: There’s a ring… she’s saying wear the ring so they’ll remember her
M: I don’t know of any ring.
GS: There’s a ring, look for it.
M: K.
GS: She had trouble with her legs, or her feet, difficulty walking in her old age
(Who doesn’t?)
M: She had a walker.
GS: She’s saying don’t worry about the money.
(Because like no one has money problems)
GS: She’s saying there’s a connection to Ireland?
M: … sure
GS: She’s saying get a passport to Europe, someone’s been talking about Europe
M: Italy
GS: That’s in Europe!
GS: There’s something to do with the fourth of July, or near the fourth of July, not American Independence day, but something different
M: Yes.
GS: Complaining about a sore back?
(Everyone ever)
GS: There’s a spaniel, a little dog
M: … no
GS: You love animals
M: Yes
GS: There’s a watch?
M: Not that I know of.
GS: Maybe your grandfather’s. The name Tom, does that mean anything to you?
(Can’t they ever just use an interesting and uncommon name for shits and giggles?)
GS: Look for the watch. She’s saying that you’ve had two lives, that you’re very different now. The year 1981 does that mean anything?
M: No…
GS: She’s saying look to the early 80s. You’re a different person now than you were then.
(No shit, it’s been 30 fucking years)
GS: She says something about Rose? Not the flower, she’s with Rose?
M: Don’t know that…
GS: She says the best is yet to come.

At this point, he said no more spirits were coming to him but he’d take questions about what he did. There were a few questions and he told a lot of stories, including a particularly good one where he contacted someone named Jared and the lady said that was her husband, and he wasn’t dead, she’d just left him, and he said sometimes he made mistakes, but when she got home he was dead on the couch.

Then he said dead people were like angels, or light beings, and they were kind. Sometimes they’d apologize for abuse. All humans are spirits. Everyone has a sixth sense (I assume he means everyone has some sort of extra sense, because people have more than just five) but not everyone is a medium.  And then we were dismissed.

He was a perfectly pleasant man with a Scottish accent and a sense of humor, but I just don’t understand how people can do this and pretend it’s a gift not a technique anyone can learn from a book.

Bad Psychic Gordon Smith

Ron Paul: Corrupt

Ron Paul, hero of wackaloons everywhere, was just determined to be one of the most corrupt Congressmen according to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The report says Paul “double-billed” his travel expenses a number of times over the last decade, meaning he may have been reimbursed for the same flights both under his official allowance as congressman, and by either non-profit groups under his control or his campaign committee.

The revelation would be ironic in part because Paul made fiscal responsibility a central tenet of his 2012 presidential campaign. The congressman celebrated a major victory in July when his bill to audit the Federal Reserve for greater transparency passed the House.

Apparently Roll Call has been on the Paul double-billing money-making scheme since last February, but apparently people have been noticing since 2004.  Paul and his team, unsurprisingly, have not responded.  Paul was getting money from both the official allowance given to him by Congress and by Liberty Committee, the libertarian group which is run by one of his relatives but parted ways with Paul in 2006.

Now, if cronyism and self-paychecks are his deal, that is what it is, but it seems rather absurd that he would then also make the American people give him money for no reason.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Liberty Committee President David James told Whispers of the double-billing.

James and the Liberty committee apparently first noticed 8 years ago, when Paul didn’t provide copies of his travel tickets — at which point Paul stopped billing them, apparently realizing he was caught or going to be.  60% of his travel was double billed, the committee discovered when they did an audit.

“We have contacted Congressman Paul to look at the records and repay the amount,” James told Whispers. “But our last communication was not even responded to.”

Despite the money he owes them and the fact that they aren’t working together, Liberty Committee still supports Ron Paul as the bringer of the best message in politics — probably because they’ve had the Kool-Aid.


Ron Paul: Corrupt

Skepticon: Come Say Hi!

Kate here.

I’m at Skepticon today! If you are too, come say hi. I like people very much, and I’d love to meet you. I look very much like my picture (scroll down on the right side of the page), and my nails are painted bright yellow. Especially come say hello if you want to talk about Foundation Beyond Belief–in fact, I hear they’re looking for spring interns.

I’ll also be at the FtB get together at Farmers Gastropub tomorrow–hope to see some of y’all too! Until then, workshops and lectures and friends, and best of all, not being stuck in the university bubble.

Skepticon: Come Say Hi!

Election: Good News from Around the Country (and some bad)

Same-Sex Marriage:

Maryland and Washington voted to uphold laws that legalized gay marriage, Maine voted by referendum to legalize gay marriage, and Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man, one woman.

California Criminal Law

California failed to end the death penalty, but revised it’s overly harsh and prison-crowding three strikes rule to only apply to serious crime.

Marijuana Legalization

I don’t smoke pot, but boy do I approve of taxing it and ending the war on drugs.  Medical Marijuana was rejected in Arkansas, but approved in Massachusetts and Montana.  Full legalization and taxation was rejected in Oregon, but approved in Colorado and Washington.

Rape Gaffes Kill Campaigns

Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, John Koster, Linda McMahon, and Tom Smith were easily defeated in their races, some of which weren’t even close before their mistakes.  Steve King unfortunately managed to win his race.

Puerto Rico to Become a State?

Currently the vote to become a state is in the lead, and Obama has said he will accept a decision with a clear majority.  The US could have 51 states soon!

Unhappy News:

Bachmann and Paul Ryan won their races.  Pete Stark, the first open atheist in congress, lost his seat.

Happy News

Elizabeth Warren won!  Tammy Baldwin will be our first LGBT senator.  West Virginia elected an LGBT person to their state government.  Kyrsten Sinema, atheist, looks like she’s going to win her election.  Amendment 8 in Florida, which would allow government funded religion, was rejected.  Big Bird is safe.

NATE SILVER IS A WITCH and the rest of the world loves him as much as I did back when he was lowly dude on DailyKos.

Election: Good News from Around the Country (and some bad)

Election Liveblog

I give up on trying to get real work done, I’m just going to have to give in to the election addiction. Updates will be here!

12AM Some are too close to call, but it appears right now that all the pot and gay things are going the right way.

11:38 Colorado legalizes pot yeyah

11:17 There are other races I care about — the pot and gay stuff — but i feel safe walking away from the race now.  <3

Fox News is calling it.

11:13 NBC called Ohio, Obama has won the election.

11:11 “Where Cubans go to live, and Jews go to die.” – Florida according to TDS

11:10 McCaskill to audience: “you wanted nothing more complicated than your government to reflect your values”

Iowa to Obama — in my opinion, that’s the election.

11:08 Kyrsten Sinema (atheist from AZ) has a slight lead

11:06 Right now gay marriage, pot initiatives across country all winning (for now)

I wonder how horrified Dick Morris is at how wrong he was.  Oh wait, he’s always wrong.

11:03 Denver Post calls CO for Obama, one more state and he’s got it.

11PM CA, Hawaii, WA going to Obama; ID and Montana to Rmoney.

10:57 NC finally going to Rmoney; Tim Kaine (D) wins VA

10:56 Elizabeth Warren acceptance speech.  So happy for her.

10:54 11PM is going to make this look better.

10:50 David Axelrod gets to keep his mustache.  This is important.

10:43 Obama in Minnesota official.

10:39 Rape publicans have all lost their seats. I would feel sorry for them but they kind of asked for it.

10:37 zefrank ‏@zefrank

you know what would be a funny prank? if romney wins we should all go on unemployment…right?

10:36 FOX still talking about how it seems the Dems focusing on women seems to have worked.

10:34 AZ officially to Rmoney

10:30 Megyn Kelly: “Is this just math you do as a Republican to make you feel better, or is it real?”

NOW FOX news reporting illegal voting in Ohio

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, petition candidate Katrina Shealy is holding onto her 51-44 percent lead over incumbent S.C. Sen. Jakie Knotts (R-SC).

10:25 New Hampshire elects America’s only female Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan

10:23 If I understand this map correctly, if Obama wins Ohio, where he’s ahead, he will be at 269 in electoral college.  Meaning tie at worst.

10:18 A Scientologist is interviewing Sarah Palin on Fox News right now. Their conversation is as rational as you might expect. – Guy Adams


Dear Todd Akin, don’t worry, your state has ways of shutting you down in a legitimate election. #ThankYouMissouri

Some great exit polling on ending marijuana Prohibition in Colorado 57 – 43. Yay!

10:14 Emmett:

FOX: There are a lot of liberal moderates in this country and people overplay the idea of Obama as a Socialist/Marxist.
Sarah Palin on FOX: Bain Capital / auto bailout ads seem to have been bad for Romney
my McCaskill post the most popular of the night
Sarah Palin is so so sad.


(MSNBC projecting her win)

10:05 Massachusetts approves Medical Marijuana!

10:04  FOX saying 246 – 187 to Obama and then map out how Romney can come back and win #fairandbalanced?

Lieberman loss. HA.

10:02 Utah, Montana, to Mitt.  FL, OH, NC, VA, CO, AZ, MN, MO too early/close to call

9:58  FOX literally just said….”sure Elizabeth Warren won but you can’t compare her to some of the rising stars in the Republican Party like Rubio and Paul Ryan”



9:53 Favorite FB friend update: 10,000 people in Florida voted for Roseanne Barr. Wat.


9:48 Twitter touching my heart a little here.

9:47 FOX calling Tammy Baldwin. Say she comes out of liberal stronghold of Madison. Then quickly talk about Republicans keeping control of House.

FOX: Big night for Dems in the Senate

9:45 Ohio still up in Ohio.  John Courson beating Robert Rikard handily (59-38).

Fits: BREAKING. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has just been elected the second president of the Confederate States of America.

9:41 Nate Silver: On The Wall, The Writing.

Nate Silver: In every presidential election since 1960, the candidate who prevailed in Florida’s Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, has also prevailed in Florida. More than 80 percent of the vote has been reported in Hillsborough, and President Obama leads Mitt Romney by five percentage points.

Best I’ve felt all night.

9:39 From Palmetto Public Record

Voters returned approximately 400,000 absentee ballots this year, surpassing the 2008 record of 342,000 absentee ballots. Voters showed the same enthusiasm at the polls today, with anecdotal reports from across the state indicating heavy turnout. The State Election Commission expects total voter turnout to be similar to the record-setting 76 percent turnout of 2008.  Participation may even surpass the 2008 record.

“The passion and dedication of South Carolina citizen for the electoral process was on display at the polls today,” said Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission. “We’re grateful to voters for their patience as they waited to cast their ballots, and we want to thank the 20,000 poll workers and election officials across the state for their tireless work to ensure that every vote counts.”

9:36 With Wisconsin going to Obama, Romney has 24 ways left to win. Obama has 230. Romney-Ryan becomes first presidential ticket to lose both candidates’ home states since McGovern-Shriver, 1972.

9:30 Really good news out of Florida regarding separating church and state

9:28 O’Reilly be racist: “Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.”

9:27 AP miscalled Baldwin, Warren still not called by NBC is the current update.

Megyn Kelly: Auto industry bailout “apparently important to some folks there.” In Michigan, she’s saying. You see.

9:25 People are still in line to vote in the already called state of South Carolina.  I’m just a little bit proud of the people in my state right now.  Now that is news.

9:24 Twitter tells me we have our first LGBT Senator: Tammy Baldwin.

9:23 New favorite tweet of the night:

9:22 Nate Silver saying that, if Obama wins in Florida, it will be largely due to the fact that Cubans and Hispanics generally like him better than they did in 2008.

9:20 The state of disenfranchisement in the state of Florida is horrific, according to HuffPo:

A stunning 23 percent of African Americans, the highest figure in the nation, cannot vote due to laws on felon disenfranchisement in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott (R) has made it harder for ex-felons to restore their eligibility and in 2011 signed a law cutting early voting days nearly in half. The result has been chaos during early voting in places like Miami-Dade County, where people have waited in line for as many as eight hours. Florida also has a photo ID law.

9:18 Emmett says we are going to win Florida.  He is confident.  That is why I love him.

9:16 11 point lead for O in OH

Ohio polling places ran out of provisional ballots

9:15 PA is officially Obama’s. Electoral college avenues closing for Rmoney.

9:14 Home states Massachusetts and Michigan go Obama instantly. To know Mitt Romney is to dislike Mitt Romney. – pourmecoffee

9:13 I’m hearing that Massachusetts called for Elizabeth Warren. SOOO EXCITED

9:12 Think it’s bad news for Rmoney that NC hasn’t been called.  I was *certain* he would win that handily.

9:11 Obama up to 85 percent on InTrade.  Romney 7/1 Betfair

9:10 FOX now talking about how married women and religious people vote for Romney and single women and heathens vote for Obama. This is making my heart hurt. I want to change the channel.


9:08 FOX talking about how Romney needs more white male voters than he’s getting!!

NJ officially projected for Menendez and Obama.

9:07 Chris Matthews excited about the accuracy of polls and the fact that those still in line in VA may well decide the election.  Rachel Maddow telling people they HAVE TO STAY IN LINE.

Fox can’t understand why abortion is an issue for anyone when some people aren’t employed. -_-

9:04 Wisconsin ran out of ballots.  WHAT

9:03 NBC officially projecting the House will be controlled by Republicans.  Boehner continues.

9:01 MI to O; WI, MN, CO too close to call on FOX

8:54 In Maryland, same-sex marriage referendum is currently up 58-42!!!

8:52 Laura Ingraham: the Republican Party should be beating Obama handily, and if not, WE need to take a long look at ourselves.

8:46 Florida writer and blogger Joy Reid tweets: “Long lines and poor management of all three South Florida counties will be a major storyline in this election. #election2012”

FOX: Exit polls are often turned around by actual vote which will be great for Romney

8:39 Arkansas going Republican in both houses for first time since Reconstruction. FOX lady seriously talking about how white people voting for MItt, all people of color for Obama…Huckabee saying Rebublicans have not reached out well enough to people of color

FOX saying that Romney crushing amongst people who go to church. Huckabee saying Obama is trampling over Americans religious liberties
8:34 All reports are saying that Bill O’Reilly is near tears.

Exit polls show 74 percent of Asian-Americans voting for Barack Obama

8:33 Former mayor of Miami emails BBC and says Miami Dade County margin for Obama has exceeded what he won the state with in 2008.

8:28 Nicol: There is an app for the Washington State election results, I just downloaded it. It is called “Washington State Election Results”.  There you go.

8:26 Nicol: electoral votes getting closer. Btw, electoral votes are still dumb.

Local news is interviewing Jim Clyburn (who won 96% of the vote) who says the Obama camp is fairly comfortable right now.

8:23 Huge turnout in Virginia. Bigger than 2008.

8:22 Emmett: Joe Donnely crushing Mourdock!!! Donnelly winning the not-dick vote

8:21 Angus King wins Maine = good news for Dems; Bill Nelson Senator in FL wins

Friends on Facebook claim there’s nothing on TV tonight and/or they’re stress-baking.

8:20 Mitt Romney says he didn’t write a concession speech.  Interesting.  Does he write any of his speeches though, I mean really.

8:17 Obama has taken an early lead in Ohio with a strong showing with early voters. Romney will need a very strong showing with election day voters. by Nate Cohn 8:12 PM


Erin Burnett saying this about OH…..
Obama leading early voters in OH by 100k
CNN Official: GA to Rmoney

8:13 Twitter keeping it real.

Rocky Anderson posting sweet and futile updates on FB.

8:10 Andrew Sullivan is now officially liveblogging.  Life is good again.

8:08  Emmett: FL making me feel very very good. As does the late voters in VA who are mostly in Northern VA…might as well be in DC.  Obama people seem to be very worried about the popular vote

My old ward, at Dreher High School, had 75% turnout!

8:06 Nicol: I feel like if I had nails to bite, I would be biting them.

Mom: I don’t even think it’s going to be close.

Stepdad: I still think Romney’s going to win, unfortunately.

8:04 CNN saying Obama people saying O doing very well in Pennsylvania and Candy Crowley’s hair looks great!! O still crushing in FL. CNN projection wall is all Obama!!! all predictable… right now 64-40 Obama from CNN exit polls….. O 50-49 in FL MO 53-44 R New Hampshire 50-48 O NJ 53-45 O PA 52-47 O

Wolf Blitzer is required to remind us that exit polls mean nothing after every exit poll number he gives. (Update courtesy Emmett)

8 PM Rachel Maddow’s calls: Illinois, Massachusets for Obama; TN for Romney; Maryland for Obama; Alabama for Romney; Oklahoma for Romney; Conn. for Obama; Miss. for Romney; Maine for Obama (interesting); Rhode Island for Obama, also Delaware; DC for Obama; Jersey too early to call, because of extenuating circumstances, won’t call until Friday (what?!); Ohio and Missouri also too early (poor Ohio); (Update courtesy of Blog Reporter Nicol)

7:58 From NPR: Virginia elections officials say they’ve paused releasing vote results because “many voters remain in lines in certain areas of the Commonwealth.”

7:53 Tweet of the night

7:51 Pete Strom, former US Attorney for SC, “I have been made privy to national exit polling from a Republican. If they are accurate, Obama is going to win the electoral college decisively…but exit polling has been wrong before.”

7:47 HuffPo fixes it’s prediction without changing the numbers. Oh Huffpo.


Huffington Post is calling SC for Obama… what?

7:44 Emmett: “51-48 O in FL with 29% in.”

Even though Virginia is reddish right now, Obama looks to be outperforming in the counties compared to 2008.

7:39 Ohio, NC, and WV are now closed.  AHHHHH AHHHH. I think I should have more insightful comments, but I’m pretty much just freaking out right now.

Record voting turnout is exciting at least.

7:36 They’ve called SC to Rmoney, even though it’s currently at 75% for Obama here.  Lulz.

7:33 According to blog reporter Emmett Williams, CNN has NC as dead heat, OH and FL leaning Obama

7:30 Latino vote is up in Florida, white vote is down.  Interesting.


7:26 Dick Harpootlian (real name) is the head of the dem party in South Carolina — right now they’re reporting 86% OBAMA – 13% in South Carolina.  Got to be the place that is reporting, but holy hell that’s awesome.

7:25 I’ve gotten votes all over the country from my half-hearted digital campaign against Joe Wilson.  It’s kind of amazing.

I love Rachel Maddow.  That’s not strictly related.

My stepdad is calling it for Rmoney.

5 mins til the end of Ohio.

7:20 Virginia is the focus on MSNBC, where they are currently putting it at 3 – 19.  Some people are more willing to call based on exit polls and state history than others.  As much as I dream of a day of a blue SC and Georgia, I don’t think calling them for Rmoney is particularly risky.

7:15 They are starting to count the votes and calling them for people based on exit polls.  Weirdly, people are still in line and they’re calling already.

NPR has it 3 – 44, Romney leading.


6:50 More Exit Poll info:

On immigration, AP reports, 3 in 10 voters surveyed in early exit polls “said that most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported. Nearly two-thirds said such people should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.

“Six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased. … Just over one-third said taxes should not be increased for anyone.”

And I appear in this local news story about how much SC has flubbed the election process!  Hurray I’m in the FreeTimes!

6:45 Stole this from local SC right-wing libertarian site Fitsnews liveblog:

Looking for a place to follow tonight’s returns/ results?  Here’s a comprehensive listcourtesy of our friends at Gigaom …

6:40 Interesting information here at CBS: more voters want to keep/expand Obamacare than repeal it, majority of voters think that Romney’s policies favor the rich.

I am going to have to change locales, so I will be offline for more than 10 minutes in the near future.  Meanwhile, results slowly trickling in from Indiana and Kentucky.  At 7pm we’ll start getting Virginia and Florida.  And my home state of South Carolina — which no one is concerned about doing anything but going red.  I wonder if I’ll ever be able to find out how many people wrote me in?

6:30 Why early voting news is often more harmful than good, look at how many votes they’re counting:

6:25 Fact of the day: 22 percent of African-American adults in Kentucky cannot vote because of felon disenfranchisement laws.

JT is doing a live-blog as well, over on Patheos.

In other interesting fact news, The New York Times reported that, on Monday, 20% of the traffic was to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight

6:20 Virginia turnout is higher than in 2008, and the counties Obama depended on for his win then are seeing high turnout as well.  Not great news for Romney, Virginia is not a must win necessarily, but as a bellwether for the rest of the election it is grim.

6:15 Here is my favorite liveblog that I am following: Policymic.

Two images here, early exit polling and a picture of what Mitt will look like if he loses.

6:10 Lindsey Graham (Sen, SC, R) recognizes the problem his party has is due to demographics more than anything else.  Sometimes I find myself tempted to really like Butters.

We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.

6:05 Terrible news — Rachel Maddow is sounding a bit hoarse.  Palmetto Public Record did an excellent job covering the election debacle in South Carolina, where people were waiting in lines so long you’d think we were a swing state.  I’m quoted throughout.

6:02 To start with, this is Nate Silver’s prediction for the day, which is in our favor…

Election Liveblog

The Dodo Bird Verdict

Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.

First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (`the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no `One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?’

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.’

`But who is to give the prizes?’ quite a chorus of voices asked.

`Why, SHE, of course,’ said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, `Prizes! Prizes!’

(Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll)

The Dodo Bird Verdict postulates that different orientations of therapy (cognitive-behavioral, rational-emotive, etc.) don’t have significantly different outcomes. They’re all winners! They all get prizes! That is to say, it’s less a matter of which kind of therapist you go to…and more a matter of what kind of relationship you develop with them. Are you comfortable disclosing? Do you feel that they’re invested in your success? Do you feel like you’re being patronized or led in circles? Strong therapist-client bonds matter.

[Sidenote: the studies and analyses I’m going to run through didn’t examine therapeutic outcomes in children or in those with psychotic features as part of their disorder.]

[Second sidenote: psychotic and psychosis are specific scientific terminology, and not adjectives for people who do weird and/or disagreeable things. Also, having psychotic features does not necessarily equal having schizophrenia. /rant]


Luborsky, Rosenthal, et al. do a really fascinating meta-analysis of seventeen meta-analyses (a Meta-Meta-Analysis?). In essence, when research corrects for the allegiance of the therapist (who may prefer on type of treatment to another), there are small, non-significant differences between treatments across patient types. Really, I’d suggest reading that study in its entirety (it’s freely available!).

The point is one I’ve tried to make before, albeit with fewer citations: If you are able to go to therapy, how you feel about your therapist matters. Ask questions! Conversely, if you feel like your counselor just isn’t getting it, it’s not necessarily because therapy doesn’t work. It’s not even necessarily because your therapist’s orientation is wrong. You may not find them to be empathetic, or to fit your personality. In fact, one of the tangets of the Luborsky article presents evidence that while across patients, outcomes in different therapeutic orientations are different in non-significant ways, there is research to suggest that pairing subgroups, such as temperament and personality types with specific types of therapy may account for slightly better outcomes.

That is to say, if you want to be given concrete direction in your life, you might develop a better client-therapist bond in a type of therapy where the counselor is viewed as the expert or teacher for the client. As someone who studies psych services and likes to draw their own conclusions, I prefer therapy with a ‘team’ structure; the therapist and I are both working together to fix things. Current research suggests that if you and I switched therapists, we’d both do better than if we didn’t attend therapy at all, but we might be more frustrated and less fully involved in the process.

So. Go read that article!

The Dodo Bird Verdict

Klout: Free Stuff from Burt’s Bees

I work in social media and so, perhaps unsurprisingly, I follow my Klout score (and other people’s Klout’s scores) with more attention than strictly necessary.  Let’s blame my love of numbers.

With my busy-ness in grad school my number has dropped from a high of 74 to my current score of 69.  In any event, that was high enough to earn me a free package from Burt’s Bees, a package that came without conditions!

So, in my mind, Burt’s Bees is responsible for the little jars of lip gloss that are relatively popular and that is all I know about them.  I suppose they have bees or something that are really into soft lips.  Unsure on that front.  Here’s their mission statement:

Burt’s Bees is an “Earth Friendly, Natural Personal Care Company.” We create natural, Earth-friendly personal care products formulated to help you maximize your well-being and that of the world around you.

I am fairly indifferent to nature, which generally is trying to kill me, so “natural” isn’t a terribly big selling point.  But “free” certainly is.  So, I sent them my address to get my “perk” and this is what I got in the mail:

I was expecting a tiny package with lip balm or something equivalent — who sends out massive packages for free?  More pictures:

“In the fight against dry skin, Nature is your fiercest ally.”  I feel like it is necessary to point out that, if it wasn’t for nature, dry skin wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.  Nature is basically extorting you to pay for more nature to fix your dry skin.

I don’t actually have dry skin, so the product isn’t completely well targeted.  But… free!

So, I got a cleanser, a moisturizing treatment mask, and overnight moisturizer cream — like $50 of swag and I didn’t pay shipping.  If you have dry skin, they work extremely well.  The cream cleanser is very good, but the moisturizers are too heavy for my skin generally.  They aren’t greasy or anything, but my skin felt unnecessarily wet, like it couldn’t absorb the stuff.  Might be good as a body moisturizer for me.

The sage scent, or whatever it is, is also not my favorite, I vastly prefer unscented body products, but it is not an overwhelming smell and it doesn’t stick to your skin the same way a lot of scented moisturizers do.  It’s not Bath and Body Works, much to its credit.

RECOMMENDATION: If you’ve got dry skin or are looking for a facial cleanser that isn’t really drying, go for it.

Klout: Free Stuff from Burt’s Bees