• I actually haven’t forgotten (!) my project on the New Right, having recently finished a book written by an adherent of the Faye–wing, Andrew Fraser’s The WASP Question. It’s a strange mish–mash of ideas and wild–eyed prophecy, alternately very interesting when it adheres to matters of law and legal history (Fraser taught in law schools for a time), cringingly malinformed (much of his discussion of theology and religious history falls under this category*), and highly inconsistent and strange. It was an interesting read, though not very illuminating, as Fraser seems to be a party of one to a degree unusual even for the political fringe.
• I feel far more investment in my game nights or watching baseball than I do the presidential election, but the collapse of Obama over the past week has been amazing. Since the morning after the debate (before new data could really be adjusted), Obama’s chance of winning has decreased some thirty percent on Nate Silver’s model, from 87.1% to 61.%; if he loses, it could be a historic collapse for a presidential candidate this late in the race.
• On the other hand, there is a realistic scenario where Obama wins the electoral college and Romney takes the popular vote. While the role–reversal from 2000 should provide some humor, the more significant outcome of that would be a decrease in the medium–term probability of a constitutional amendment passing that would put the US on a strict popular vote system for the chief executive. I am in favor of such an outcome. Cue the blustering about ‘a mandate’.
• Speaking of baseball, the Reds’s bad luck and offensive collapse in the NLDS has left my fellow Reds fans more understanding of my position that there should not be any playoffs in baseball at all, other than a World Series between the AL and NL regular season leaders. Regular season head–to–head records should suffice to break most ties; otherwise, an additional three game series would be acceptable. That said, go Tigers.
• Coursera and its ilk are going to hasten the bursting of the education bubble. Of course, the banks and universities will get the bailouts, rather than the students bamboozled into taking out loans to get worthless BAs.
• I’ve been overtaken the past few weeks with a desire to radically reduce the amount of stuff in my apartment. On the other hand, I am married. Perhaps this is the military brat coming out in me, but all I’ve been able to think of is how much we would have to move when we (eventually) do. (There is no reason we would be moving right now, though I would be happy for one to come along at any moment.) I did manage to convert this impulse into a few boxes of books and one large box of clothes being donated, however.
• I saw Looper this week. It was surprisingly well–done, the first sci–fi flick in a while to work. It’s not great or anything (so you can wait for the DVD), but it avoids the tackiness and bombast the genre has suffered from recently. Also, it isn’t a comic book movie. (I’m glad that Christopher Nolan is finally done with Batman.) Moon remains my favorite sci–fi effort of the past five years.
• Why isn’t it Thanksgiving, already?
* Some readers may be interested to know that he substantially follows the narrative of Orthodox England, with the good & bad that implies.