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October 27, 2008

This week

I read...

Drunk, and Dangerous, at the Keyboard by Alex Williams
"The experimental program requires any user who enables the function to perform five simple math problems in 60 seconds before sending e-mails between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on weekends."

Sorry, Dad, I'm voting for Obama by Christopher Buckley
"Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America."

The Global Cities Index from Foreign Policy
"The world’s biggest, most interconnected cities help set global agendas, weather transnational dangers, and serve as the hubs of global integration. They are the engines of growth for their countries and the gateways to the resources of their regions. In many ways, the story of globalization is the story of urbanization."

A Six-Pack of Joes from BBC News
"The next president of the United States will not be called Joe, but Joes of various kinds have been all over the news from the campaign trail."

The Comprehensive Argument Against Barack Obama by Guy Benson and Mary Catherine Ham
"As the saying goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Questions abound: Is this man prepared to be president? Does he hold mainstream values and policy preferences? Who has influenced his thinking, and where does he want to take the country? Has he been honest with the people from whom he seeks votes?"

It's hard out here for a Mom... by Susie from the blog What Was I Thinking?
"So, yea, ever since her third grade teacher had her reading about how messy ejaculating boys are, I’ve tried to screen teacher-recommended books. (...) I guess my somewhat pessimistic view that there is no one who is going to look out for my kid’s well-being the way I do, was reinforced (...) there is nothing in the world more precious to me than her brain (...)"

And in Norwegian...
Om å gjøre det slutt med andre enn kjæresten by VirrVarr
"Når du begynner å date noen, kan du backe ut. Når du begynner å henge ut med noen, har du ingen høflig retrettmulighet."

Posted by Julie at 12:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 23, 2008

Countdown to Election Day

November 4th! It's not that far off anymore! I don't want to go to school; I want to stay home and read articles and polls and blogs. And I want to blog about the elections myself. As always, life gets in the way. So I'll recommend some sites:

RealClearPolitics - all the polls, links to articles and blog posts from everywhere. This site was my curriculum when I studied American Presidential Elections in Paris.
CNN's America Votes - facts and background on for example how the election works, CNN's state-by-state predictions, plus of course news articles and video clips.
Monticello Society - election coverage in Norwegian, including poll updates every day (I recommend subscribing by RSS) and comments on the Norwegian media coverage.

Posted by Julie at 12:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

Capitalism is dead - Buy souvenirs!

capitalism is dead - buy souvenirs

From The Economist print edition October 18th-24tg 2008

Posted by Julie at 10:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 19, 2008

This week

I read...

The Things He Carried by Jeffrey Goldberg
“The whole system is designed to catch stupid terrorists,” Schnei­er told me. (...) “We defend against what the terrorists did last week,” Schnei­er said. He believes that the country would be just as safe as it is today if airport security were rolled back to pre-9/11 levels.

Canadian Immigration Problems
The possibility of a McCain/Palin election is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and agree with Bill O’Reilly. Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

Posted by Julie at 10:17 AM | TrackBack

October 16, 2008

American politics translated

As requested by Julie Balise, here is a pretty direct translation of my article explaining American electoral sociology to Norwegian readers. Until she succeeds at learning Norwegian through Facebook, I promise to blog in English as much as possible.


This article was published in Argument 3-2008. It is based on a midterm exam in the subject "American Presidential Elections". The exam question was: "Who will win the Democratic primary elections in Ohio and Texas - and why?" I predicted the results - that's how predictable American politics can be.

I took a break from studying for my midterm in "American Presidential Elections" to read the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. Their website about the American elections was depressing: rumors about Obama using cocaine, and Obama's wife described as the sexiest woman in American politics. Fortunately Aftenposten writes good articles about the elections too, but they don't write much about the candidates' politics. It's not Aftenposten's fault if Norwegians get the idea that American presidential elections are all about rumors, polls, support from the right people, dramatic media coverage, scandal and only the vaguest of political statements. That's the way it is.

The study of American elections involves as much statistics, media studies and sociology as it does political science. Scholars predict election results based on average age and average income in states. This is called "electoral sociology". Norwegian media publish humorous articles on the typical SV (Socialist Left) or Høyre (Right) voter, but this kind of knowledge is essential for the study of American politics. Some demographic "laws" have turned out to be myths. (For example, it's not true that Latin Americans always vote for Hillary Clinton.) Politicians still pay specialists to tell them which groups of people support them and where these people live. Add changes in constituencies and varying election rules from state to state and party to party, and commenting politics in the US turns out to be all about numbers.

Every vote counts

According to Steven Ekovich, professor in Political Science and History at The American University of Paris, Americans choose a President according to these criteria: The individual candidate's personality is the most important, party identification comes second, and political views and issues are third. For Ekovich, who describes himself as a "poll junkie", no day is complete without the newest polls, election results and political commentary. But every vote counts, whether it comes from a political expert or someone who votes by gut feeling and tradition. And most voters in the US belong to the second category.

The importance of personality is not surprising, given the President's political and symbolic power. It explains how important it is for Americans what Obama's pastor thinks, and how common it is for candidates' families to become public figures. American presidents are not just elected representatives; they are symbols of the American people.

Voting like their parents

Isn't party identification an expression of political views? Not necessarily. The ideological differences are not as clear in American politics as they are in European politics. Both the major parties are on the right, and the differences between representatives within each party can be just as important as the differences between the parties. Both the Republican and the Democratic Party are coalitions of local parties and state parties with varying views. Presidential candidates should not provoke the different factions of their own party, and this explains how vague the candidates often are about where they really stand. Because of this, identification with one or the other party is often a result of tradition and demographics.

Over a third of Americans are independents. In other words, they are not party members. Even so, almost all identify with either the Democrats or the Republicans, long before they are old enough to vote. Most vote like their parents. American election scholars talk about "red states" and "blue states", where one party always wins. With only two effective parties, switching to another party is far more dramatic than it is if there are more parties - it means you're going over to "the other side".

Demographic laws

Identification with individual candidates is obviously not as stable as party identification. You can be born into a Democratic family, but you're not born knowing who Barack Obama is. Even so, there's a lot of electoral sociology within parties.

In this year's primary elections there are only minor political differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But political views do not decide the election. Style, personality and image do. Here the candidates differ, and this determines who will vote for them.

In general, women, those over 65, those with low income, and people without college degrees, vote for Hillory Clinton rather than Barack Obama. This group has been called "Clinton's coalition". Obama also has a coalition: black, college-educated, rich, but liberal (as in not conservative), and independent. With one exception - Nevada - Obama has won all caucuses.

Between February 5th (Super Tuesday) and March 4th (primary elections in Ohio and Texas), Obama won all primary elections. The media used the word "momentum". Momentum happens when it looks like you're about to win. The more Obama won, the more likely it was that he would win even more. In a political system where there is only one winner - the opposite of our own proportional representation system - cheering for the winner is a good option. Some commentators wrote that talking about momentum was exaggeration - until the primary election in Wisconsin. After Wisconsin, articles where written with headlines like "It's Over" - many people believed Clinton was finished unless she won Ohio and Texas.

Predictable in Ohio and Texas

Wisconsin broke the demographic rules. Women, Americans without college educations, and members of the Democratic party voted for Obama. Among the groups where Obama usually finds support, he was even further ahead of Clinton than before.

The results in Ohio and Texas were no surprise, however. Clinton won Ohio by more than 10 percentage points. In Texas, where primaries are held both by primary and caucus, the results are complicated. Clinton got 50.9% of the votes, against Obama's 47.7%. He still won 99 delegates, while she only won 94.

Demographically Ohio is a Clinton state. Compared to the US as a whole, Ohio is older and poorer, with a lower percentage of women and people with college educations. Obama's coalition is not strong in Ohio. However, there are a lot of students in Ohio, and young voters tend to support Obama. On the other hand, young voters tend to vote less. The rules for the primary in Ohio meant that many Ohio citizens had already voted when Obama won Wisconsin, weakening the impact of momentum. Ohio voted by primary, not caucus, which is also good for Clinton.

Texas was less certain, and the result itself turned out to be uncertain. Compared to the US as a whole, Texas has a lower percentage of white people and black people, and far more Latin Americans. One demographic "law" which has turned out to be a myth, is that Latin Americans vote for Clinton. Texas did well under Bill Clinton, and Clinton has strong ties to Texas, particularly among Latin Americans. On the other hand, even though there are fewer black people in Texas than in the US in general, the percentage is twice as high as in Wisconsin. Demographically Texas is similar to California (which Clinton won by 8 percentage points), but with a larger black population.

The voting rules in Texas are complicated, but they worked to Obama's advantage. The delegates were selected both through primary and caucus. Extra delegates were given to areas with a previous record of high voter turnout. These are the areas where Obama's traditional supporters live. Clinton's Latin American supporters generally live in areas without extra delegates. So Clinton could get more votes, even though Obama "won".

Texas is a Republican state. In Texas the wealthy and educated whites - who would have supported Obama - probably don't vote in the Democratic primary at all. And it will be almost impossible for the Democrats to win Texas in the actual presidential election. Ohio is one of the few states where the choice between a Democratic or a Republican candidate could go either way.

New rules?

Obama has mobilized new voters. He is popular among the young, but he has also gotten older Americans who have never voted before, to register as voters for the first time. That means he has changed the demographics of American voters. The old rules don't necessarily apply. When Americans choose their President, many of these new voters might not vote at all if voting for Obama is not an option.

"To draw a new political map, you need to believe that the demographics have changed," says Ekovich. "Obama does." This is one of the most important differences between him and Clinton. In other words: even when you describe the candidates' political views, you're talking about demographics.

Posted by Julie at 1:04 AM | TrackBack

October 15, 2008

Fall 2008 Soundtrack

Thinking of music as the soundtrack to my life is just so white. Oh, well. Some of these songs are new, some are very old, but if this fall were a tv series, they would all be in the soundtrack.

Hello Saferide - Anna

Andrew Bird - Tables And Chairs

Emiliana Torrini - Heartstopper

Tori Amos - Raspberry Swirl

My Little Pony - Skipping Down The Street

Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe

Erykah Badu - Soldier

Posted by Julie at 4:29 PM | TrackBack

October 13, 2008

In an alternate universe, I'm American

"I was so nearly an American," writes Stephen Fry. So was I, as everyone knows. Stephen has an American alter-ego he calls Steve. Steve is confident to the point of rudeness, eats jelly, wears jeans and calls his mother "Mom." I can pronounce Julie in English or in Norwegian. The idea of an alternate life - a Julie who moved to the US at age four and never went back to Norway - is fascinating. Whenever I speak American English with real Americans, or find myself saying "we" and meaning "all Americans", I wonder who I could have been.

I've lived two incomplete lives - I was an American child without a future and a Norwegian teenager without a past.

It sounds dramatic, but I thought this idea for the first time when I was still an overly dramatic American little girl. "Julie can be a bit over-dramatic sometimes," my kindergarten teacher wrote on my first report card. I didn't care about report cards. I had an active imagination, and people who didn't play along with the story line in my head, annoyed me. Every now and then, I would go to school and introduce myself as someone completely different - a princess, a witch, my own older sister. I spent at least an hour reading alone in my room every day. No one (except my sister who wasn't allowed in my room during "quiet time") seemed to think this was a problem. I had plenty of friends and prominent positions in several "secret" playground clubs. I was the girl who got the lead in school plays. I took writing classes and acting classes after school, and my short stories were five times as long as the other students'. I was bad at math - I got the answers right, but I was too slow. I didn't care what my friends wore to school, as long as my own outfit was just the way I wanted it to be. I preferred dresses, but my mom made me wear sneakers to school, and sneakers with dresses was a fashion crime to me, so I started wearing jeans. I was a Girl Scout, which meant crafts and sleeping over in the Science Museum. Because I was Norwegian, I couldn't eat candy except for Saturdays, my parents didn't want me to watch TV as much as I wanted to, and I got the day off on May 17th. And I knew I was going to move away from everything and everyone soon.

This American girl didn't grow up. Some time between age ten and eleven, she stopped existing. When I turned 13, I was a Norwegian teenager. I studied my classmates' back pockets and learned that there were at most three acceptable brands of jeans in the world. I was thrilled when fashions changed and wearing skirts was finally "allowed". I was the girl with "too many opinions", the girl with the best grades in the class, serious, professional - elected into the student government every year, despite never running for office. I was really good at math. I still didn't care about report cards, but I worried about seeming like a nerd. I was a walking dictionary, but I didn't know the words to children's songs. I got lost in places where my classmates had grown up. My friends had a shared childhood which I couldn't remember.

At the start of ninth grade, I came back from a summer in the US, with layers in my hair, an unknown brand of jeans and "power bead" bracelets on my wrists. I had gotten a glimpse of American high school, and I desperately wished I knew which clique I should have been in. I didn't fit in at my small town Norwegian school, but I wasn't an outsider either. Because I had grown up in the US, there was a convenient excuse whenever I stepped outside the line. My clothes weren't European designer brands, but they were American. I didn't drink alcohol, but I organized Halloween parties and brought candy corn to class. Of course I was "good at school" - I got a head start by being bilingual. I was never going to do drugs, because that might make it difficult to move back to the US some day. My classmates seemed to accept these excuses. I did too. I had a single explanation for every difficult teenage emotion: I don't really belong here.

As I write this, I'm wearing clothes from France, Sweden and Spain, and shoes from Germany. I'm listening to Swedish music. In Fake Plastic France - the American student community in Paris - I was so European. I didn't wear flip flops, I didn't go running and I would never drink soda with food. I casually paid a small fortune for underwear. I didn't know what beer pong was, and I preferred wine anyway. In journalism class, I argued against the public's right to know the names and addresses of crime suspects, but I impressed my teacher by knowing about Rawls' veil of ignorance. I joked that I wished there were no other Norwegian girls at the American University of Paris. Being the only one would have given me another convenient excuse for weirdness. 

But I know that I'm not me because I'm European or because I'm American or because I'm both. I like my Swedish indie pop, French lingerie, Italian coffee, and American television because my friends do. People don't belong in places. People belong with people. As a Norwegian girl, I've met people who are so important to me I can't imagine a life without them. Dreaming of an alternate reality in which these people don't exist to me, actually hurts. But I still do.

I wonder if over-dramatic Julie would have gotten in to Harvard. If she would have followed American dating rules - if those rules even exist. If she would have been more confident, more ambitious, more naive than me. If she would have had an easier life, a more interesting life. She would have known what to vote in elections. She would have longed for Freia milk chocolate rather than Ben&Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. Her classmates wouldn't have held her responsible when the US went to war. She would idolize Norway, because she only saw it in summer. Her relationship with her grandparents would be uncomplicated, but distant. She wouldn't ski, but she would ride a bike. It would take her longer to learn that race and culture are not uncomplicated outside of elementary school classrooms. She might have worried about being too average rather than too much of an individual.

Moving away from a friend is the least painful way to lose one, and having grown up in the same place as your classmates doesn't mean you'll never be lonely. American Julie might have learned that before I did. But she would have missed out on most of my friendships. It's hard to imagine anything in her alternate reality life making up for that.

For Julie Balise, probably the closest I'll ever get to meeting my American adult self.

Posted by Julie at 7:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 8, 2008

Amerikansk politikk - presise fordommer

I en pause mens jeg leste til en eksamen i “American Presidential Elections”, åpnet jeg Aftenpostens nettsider om det amerikanske valget. Forsidesakene var deprimerende: rykter om Obamas kokainmisbruk og kåring av Obamas kone til mest sexy kvinne i amerikansk politikk. Heldigvis skriver Aftenposten også gode artikler om valget, men de skriver lite om hva kandidatene mener politisk. Det er imidlertid ikke Aftenpostens feil hvis norske lesere får inntrykk av at amerikansk presidentvalg handler om rykter, meningsmålinger, støtte fra de riktige menneskene, dramatisk medieomtale, skandaler og kun vage politiske uttalelser. Det er i stor grad det amerikansk politikk dreier seg om i praksis.

Artikkelen ble trykket i Argument 3-2008. Den er basert på en midterm eksamen i faget "American Presidential Elections" der spørsmålet var: "Who will win the Democratic primary elections in Ohio and in Texas?" Jeg forutså valgresultatene - så forutsigbart kan amerikansk politikk være.

Amerikansk valgforskning er like mye statistikk, medievitenskap og sosiologi som det er statsvitenskap. Valgforskere og statsvitere spår valgresultater basert på gjennomsnittsalder og gjennomsnittsinntekt i enkelte delstater. Dette kalles “electoral sociology”. Norsk media skriver ofte humoristiske omtaler om hvem som er den typiske SV-velger eller den typiske Høyrevelger, men i USA er slik kunnskap svært viktig i studiet av valget. En del demografiske “lover” har riktig nok vist seg å være myter. (For eksempel er det ikke sant at latin-amerikanere alltid stemmer på Hillary Clinton.) Likevel betaler politikere rådgivere for å undersøke hvilke befolkningsgrupper som støtter dem, og hvor disse bor. Endringen av valgkretser og varierende valgregler fra delstat til delstat og fra parti til parti, betyr at å kommentere politikk i USA i stor grad er å snakke om tall.

En stemme er en stemme

I følge Steven Ekovich, førsteamanuensis i statsvitenskap og historie på The American University of Paris, kan man rangere amerikaneres kriterier for å velge presidentkandidat slik: Først kommer den individuelle kandidatens personlighet, deretter partitilhørighet, og på tredjeplass kommer politiske synspunkter. For Ekovich, som beskriver seg selv som “poll junkie”, har ikke dagen begynt før de nyeste meningsmålingene, valgresultatene og politiske kommentarene er sjekket. Men en stemme er en stemme, enten den er avgitt av en politisk ekspert eller en som stemmer etter magefølelse og tradisjon. Og de aller fleste som stemmer i USA tilhører den siste kategorien.

Betydningen av personlighet er ikke overraskende, gitt presidentens politiske og symbolske makt. Det forklarer hvor viktig det er for amerikanere hva Obamas prest mener, og hvor vanlig det er at kandidatenes familie også blir offentlige personer. Amerikanske presidenter er ikke bare valgte representanter; de er symboler for hele den amerikanske befolkningen.

Stemmer som foreldrene

Er ikke partitilhørighet et uttrykk for politiske synspunkter? Ikke nødvendigvis. De ideologiske skillelinjene er ikke så klare i amerikansk politikk som de er i europeisk. Begge de store partiene er på høyresiden, og forskjellene mellom representantene innen hvert parti kan være like store som forskjellene mellom partiene. Både Republican og Democratic Party er koalisjoner av lokale partier og delstatspartier med varierende syn. Presidentkandidater må ikke provosere de forskjellige delene av sitt eget parti, og dette forklarer hvor utydelige kandidatene ofte er om hva de egentlig mener. Identifikasjon med det ene eller det andre partiet er derfor ofte et resultat av tradisjon og demografi.

Over en tredjedel av amerikanere er independents, dvs. ikke partimedlemmer. Likevel er nesten alle knyttet til enten Democrats eller Republicans, lenge før de er gamle nok til å stemme. De aller fleste stemmer slik foreldrene gjør. Amerikanske valgforskere snakker om “røde stater” og “blå stater”, der det ene eller det andre partiet alltid vinner. Med bare to effektive partier, blir det å bytte partitilhørighet langt mer dramatisk enn det er i et land med flere partier – det blir i større grad å gå over til “den andre siden”.

Demografiske lover

Tilknytningen til enkeltkandidater er selvsagt ikke like stabilt som partitilhørighet. Man kan bli født inn i en Democrat-familie, men man er ikke født med kunnskap om hvem Barack Obama er. Likevel er det mye electoral sociology også innenfor partiet.

I årets primærvalg er det kun små politiske forskjeller mellom Hillary Clinton og Barack Obama. Men det er ikke politisk syn som avgjør. Det er stil, personlighet og image. Her er det forskjeller mellom kandidatene, og dette avgjør hvem som stemmer på dem.

Generelt stemmer kvinner, de over 65, de med lav inntekt og de uten college-utdannelse på Hillary Clinton fremfor Barack Obama. Denne gruppen har blitt omtalt som “Clinton's coalition”. Obama har også en koalisjon: svarte, de med høyere utdannelse, rike, men liberale (i motsetning til konservative), og independents. Med ett unntak – Nevada – har Obama vunnet alle primærvalg som har foregått ved caucus.

Mellom 5. februar (Super Tuesday) og 4. mars (primærvalg i Ohio og Texas), vant Obama alle primærvalg. Media brukte ordet “momentum”. Momentum er effekten man oppnår når det ser ut til man er i ferd med å vinne. Jo mer Obama vant, jo mer sannsynlig var det at han ville vinne enda mer. I et politisk system der det kun er èn vinner – i motsetning til vårt eget proporsjonale representasjonssystem – lønner det seg nemlig å heie på den som vinner. Enkelte kommentatorer skrev imidlertid at å snakke om momentum fortsatt var å overdrive - frem til primærvalget i Wisconsin. Etter dette ble det skrevet artikler med overskrifter som “It's Over” - mange mente at Clinton var ferdig hvis hun ikke vant Ohio og Texas.

Forutsigbart i Ohio og Texas

Wisconsin brøt demografireglene. Kvinner, amerikanere uten utdannelse og medlemmer av Democrat-partiet stemte på Obama. Blant de gruppene der Obama vanligvis har støtte, lå han enda lenger foran Clinton enn tidligere.

Resultatene i Ohio og Texas var ingen overraskelse. Clinton vant Ohio med mer enn 10 prosentpoeng. I Texas, som avholder primærvalg gjennom både primary og caucus, er resultatet komplisert. Clinton fikk 50,9% av stemmene, mot Obamas 47,4%. Likevel vant han 99 delegates, mens hun bare vant 94.

Demografisk sett er Ohio en Clinton-delstat. Sammenlignet med USA som helhet er Ohio eldre og fattigere, med en høyere andel kvinner og en lavere andel innbyggere med høyere utdanning. Obamas koalisjon er ikke sterkt representert i Ohio. Det er imidlertid en del studenter i Ohio, og unge velgere pleier å støtte Obama. Til gjengjeld stemmer yngre amerikanere langt sjeldnere enn de eldre. Reglene for delstatsvalget i Ohio førte dessuten til at mange Ohio-borgere allerede hadde avgitt stemme før Obama vant Wisconsin, slik at en eventuell momentum-effekt ble svekket. Ohio stemte gjennom primary, ikke caucus, noe som også er til Clintons fordel.

Texas var mer usikkert, og resultatet ble også usikkert. Sammenlignet med USA som helhet, er det i Texas en lavere andel hvite, en lavere andel svarte, og langt flere latin-amerikanere. En demografisk “lov” som har vist seg å være en myte, er at latin-amerikanere stemmer på Clinton. Texas hadde imidlertid en god periode under Bill Clinton, og Clinton har sterke bånd til Texas, spesielt blant latin-amerikanere. På den andre siden, selv om det er en lavere andel svarte i Texas enn i USA generelt, er det dobbelt så høy prosent svarte i denne delstaten som i Wisconsin. Demografisk sett er Texas ganske tilsvarende California (der Clinton vant med åtte prosentpoeng), men med en større svart befolkning.

Stemmereglene i Texas er kompliserte, men de virket til Obamas fordel. Delegater ble fordelt både gjennom primary og caucus. Ekstra delegater ble gitt til områder i delstaten som tidligere har hatt høy valgdeltagelse. Det er i disse områdene Obamas tradisjonelle tilhengere bor. Clintons latinamerikanske tilhengere bor stort sett i områder uten slike ekstra delegater. Dermed kunne Clinton få flest stemmer, selv om Obama «vant.»

Texas er en Republican delstat. I Texas stemmer velstående og høyt utdannede hvite – som ville støttet Obama – sannsynligvis ikke i Democrat-valget i det hele tatt. Og det vil være nesten umulig for Democrats å vinne Texas i selve presidentvalget. Ohio er imidlertid en av de få delstatene der valget mellom Republicans og Democrats er vanskelig å forutsi.

Nye regler?

Obama har klart å mobilisere nye velgere. Han er populær blant unge, men han har også fått eldre amerikanere som aldri har stemt før, til å registrere seg som velgere for første gang. Dermed har han endret den demografiske sammensetningen av USAs velgere. Det er ikke sikkert de gamle reglene gjelder fremdeles. Når amerikanere skal velge president, er det imidlertid mange av disse nye velgerne som ikke vil stemme på noen hvis de ikke får mulighet til å stemme på Obama.

“For å tegne et nytt politisk kart, må du tro at de demografiske skillelinjene er endret,” sier Ekovich, “Det gjør Obama.” Dette er en av de viktigste forskjellene mellom ham og Clinton. Med andre ord: selv når man beskriver kandidatenes politiske overbevisninger, handler det om demografi.

Posted by Julie at 1:11 PM | TrackBack

October 7, 2008

Kaffebarguiden: Kaffe Gram

Julie drikker kaffe spiser gulrotkake.

Det er latterlig at jeg ikke har tatt turen  (fem minutter til fots) opp til Sagene for å teste Kaffe Gram før nå. Det er snart et år siden jeg leste om stedet, og et semester i Paris er egentlig ingen unnskyldning for manglende kaffebarblogging. Unnskyld. I anledning Kaffens Dag i september, var jeg på Sagene for å få gratis kaffe (i mengder) fra Kaffebrenneriet. Og først da!

Jeg vil egentlig ikke si noe definitivt om kaffen før jeg har testet den mer enn en gang. Min enkle cortado var god.

Så spiste jeg gulrotkaken.

Gulrotkaken på bildet er ikke gulrotkaken på Kaffe Gram. Å fotografere den ville nesten vært uanstendig :-)

Gulrotkaken på Kaffe Gram bør ikke spises offentlig, i hvert fall ikke hvis man er sjenert. Man mister konsentrasjonsevnen fullstendig, enhver samtale stopper opp og det eneste man kan tenke på er hvor fantastisk det føles. Mmmmmmmmmm! Det er det eneste man kan si, og det sier man - høyt - enten man vil eller ikke.

Ellers er det forfriskende med en café som ikke velger en av to caféstiler - minimalistisk eller påtrengende jeg-er-bare-tilfeldigvis-så-koselig. Kaffe Gram har flamingotema. Og et bad som må oppleves.

Jeg kommer tilbake. Om et år eller noe.

Posted by Julie at 6:22 PM | TrackBack

This week

This Weeks are normally a Sunday thing, but let's just say I was busy/tired on Sunday. This is technically a combined This Week for this week and the last one.

I read
Fear of fairy tales "There's a very important reason why these tales stick," says Jack Zipes, a German professor and folklorist at the University of Minnesota, who has written such books as "Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion" and "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry." "It's because they raise questions that we have not resolved." What happens if we clean away unresolved conflicts in fairy tales? Joanna Weiss writes: It's a great way to sell just about anything, but it's also precisely the opposite of what makes fairy tales compelling in the first place.

Spare me the sermon on Muslim women
It's easy to forget that Muslims are not inherently more sexist than folks in other religions. Muslim societies may lag behind on some issues that women in certain economically advanced, non-Muslim societies have resolved after much effort, but on other issues, Muslim women's options run about the same as those of women all over the world. And in some areas of life, Muslim women are better equipped by their faith tradition for autonomy and dignity. writes author Mohja Kahf. I don't even know if this is true, but it's certainly very interesting. The main point is that faith in itself is not to blame - culture and interpretation of religion are the causes of the problem. (via Foreign Policy Passport)

Is the Vice Presidency Necessary?
The Vice President has only one serious thing to do: that is, to wait around for the President to die. This is hardly the basis for cordial and enduring friendships.
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote this in 1974, and today, it made me feel a little bit better. By the way, I like that I can read articles from the seventies online. (Via Foreign Policy Passport)

Will somebody please leave this woman alone? (Via Foreign Policy Passport again.)

Ooh... a soft computer screen! (blog by Eirik in Norwegian, video and NYT article not in Norwegian) Could this be a way for newspapers to handle the layout problem?

And in Norwegian...

God gammel hårgang
Nesten alle eldre norske kvinner velger samme frisyre, skriver Benedicte Ramm i Dagens Næringsliv fredagsmagasin D2. Hvorfor det? Å gjøre en reportasje ut av det temaet er egentlig genialt. For en stund siden blogget jeg om en annen god reportasje i D2. Jeg er offisielt glad for at jobben min abonnerer.

Posted by Julie at 10:10 AM | TrackBack