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The Time is Nigh

Posted by Ogged
on 11.08.03

Take this, then look at this, and what you have is one totally screwed Democratic party and four more years of George Bush. I'm about to become an anyone-but-Dean man and John Edwards or Wesley Clark will be getting my support very soon.


 

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Black Dog

Posted by Ogged
on 11.08.03

This is quite a post by Tacitus.

Ever been depressed? I mean really, really down? So down that you don't function well -- or at best, function in a dulled, inarticulate, semicompetent haze -- for a period of time? If you have, you know it. You know how the end of the relationship, or the death of the loved one, or the loss of the job affected you. You remember well the lack of feeling, and, paradoxically, the simultaneous abyss of black sadness that enveloped you. You remember not eating much; progessively alienating friends, family and co-workers; losing interest in routine pleasures; sleeping two to four hours a night if you were lucky. You remember losing five, ten, fifteen pounds if it lasted. You also remember knowing on some level that all this was highly irrational, that life was not so bad, and that you just needed to summon the strength of will to pull out, buck up, and be a man about things. But it was terribly, terribly hard.
Stretch that state out to two or three years, and you've got my experience as a United States Army officer.

Read the whole thing.


 

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Look At Your Watch, Good

Posted by Ogged
on 11.08.03
Your parents can try very hard to make sure you're a level-headed, reasonable sort, but this has got to mess with your head. Great picture.

 

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Word

Posted by Ogged
on 11.08.03

Make your own.

via myirony


 

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Understanding

Posted by Ogged
on 11.07.03

BAA has come across a quotation that's really astounding, both for its profundity and the fact that it comes from FDR.

Kierkegaard gives you an understanding of what it is in man that makes it possible for these Germans to be so evil.

Go here and to footnote 12 for details.


 

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Past Time

Posted by Ogged
on 11.07.03

During the baseball playoffs, I was having trouble explaining to people who know nothing about the game why it's called the "World" Series when only North American teams play in it. It'll be a much harder thing to explain next time around, considering the US baseball team just failed to qualify for the Olympics.


 

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On Principle

Posted by Ogged
on 11.07.03
I haven't thought this through yet, comments are welcome (as always), but Keith Burgess-Jackson thinks this "southern whites should really be supporting Democrats" talk is ignorant. (I made the argument here, KBJ is responding to Paul Krugman's version.)
But why must one vote one's economic interests? Can't one vote on the basis of principle rather than prudence, on the basis of what's right rather than what is likely to redound to one's benefit? By implying that Southerners vote only their selfish interest, he calls their intelligence and integrity (not to mention their honor) into question. What Krugman doesn't grasp is that many white Southerners (that's the group he's trying to explain) reject the welfare state. On principle. They despise the "vote for me and I'll give you goodies" mentality represented by the Democrat party.

 

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Sweep those mines

Posted by Bob
on 11.07.03

A study out of the University of Utrecht has found that computer games may increase office-workers' productivity.

Simple computer games like Solitaire and Minesweeper have social advantages because they are fun, they provide distraction, involvement, and elements of competition against yourself and others, he says.

Next: Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.

Via Jill.


 

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Fully Automatic UBS

Posted by Ogged
on 11.07.03

I had no idea.

via Attu


 

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Keeping Mouth Shut: B+

Posted by Ogged
on 11.07.03

Phillip Greenspun thinks universities and their students might be well-advised to reconsider their views on free speech.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees that the government won't interfere with your right to free speech. Private employers, however, are free to say "You will continue to receive a paycheck so long as you stay in your cubicle with your head down and your mouth shut." Only a tiny fraction of Americans have a practical right to free speech and these are primarily the very rich and the very poor. A primary mission of a college is to prepare young people for the real world. Does it really make sense to delude kids into thinking that they can say whatever they want and still have a paycheck and health insurance? Perhaps it would be better for a university president to address the incoming freshmen thusly... "This is my plantation and if you want to stay here for four years you'll learn to say 'Yes, Massah'".

He's right, of course. You can agree in the comments.


 

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Note: Buy New Wallet

Posted by Ogged
on 11.07.03

The IRS gets a lot of grief, but this form is going to make my filing a lot easier this year.

1m, About Time

Full form availabe from the IRS here. (pdf)

via Boing Boing


 

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Brian Leiter Gets Spanked

Posted by Ogged
on 11.06.03

But I may be biased; you probably want to see for yourself.

AND: Leiter responds.


 

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Coup

Posted by Ogged
on 11.06.03

You would think no more needs to be said.

On Oct. 21, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that could require university international studies departments to show more support for American foreign policy or risk their federal funding.

But there's quite a bit more.

Proponents of the bill like to pretend that what's at issue is ideological "balance" in Middle-Eastern Studies departments. But the bar is much much higher for them. They have to show that "imbalance" is a threat, propose an effective remedy, and then, and most importantly, explain how the magnitude of the threat and the efficacy of the solution justify the repudiation of a long tradition of academic freedom, which tradition distinguishes academia in the West from academia under those regimes which we claim to want to reform.


 

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Hello, It's Me

Posted by Ogged
on 11.06.03

This may be a first. A gadget everyone will think is cool but no one will want.

The prototype gadget, Finger Whisper, consists of a wristband that converts digital signals into vibrations that are transmitted into the bones of the hand New Scientist says in next Saturday's issue.
The user puts his finger into his ear for the vibrations to be picked up by the eardrum, which then transcribes them back into sound signals for the brain.

Yes, it's a phone you use by sticking your finger in your ear. This makes Christmas shopping a cinch. via Gizmodo


 

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America speak strange English.

Posted by Bob
on 11.06.03

Brits say, "The committee have decided to expel you." Americans say, "The committee has found you to be an idiot." British committees are plurals, and American committees are single entities -- at least for when it comes to verb-agreement.

Going by logic, I think we Americans have it right: the committee is just one committee, and the ability to treat groups as single actors in higher-level interactions is the first step to ordering the world. Individuals aggregate into interest groups, populations, institutions, species, economic classes. It's useful to be able to treat institutions like individual actors, and it's nice to have language that goes along with that kind of thinking.

On the other hand, we're inconsistent. Congress has enacted a debate-limit measure, but a dozen of the members are brandishing weapons in protest. The police are on their way. How many? A couple are coming now, but the rest of the force is right behind.

It's no wonder that people from non-Anglophone countries learn to speak British English. I imagine classrooms full of ESL students memorizing which nouns go in which column, and in what context: A couple of cops are on their way to the sex club, where members are complaining that one couple has gotten overzealous.


 

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My two cents

Posted by Bob
on 11.06.03

The numismatic lobby has got to be one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. It gets results, even when no state (save maybe Louisiana) reaps any pork benefits and despite the time- and money-drain that is war. Or is new coinage opium for us masses? It's true that I drop my copy of The Nation every time a Missouri quarter crosses my desk.


 

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Nod, Nod, Dead

Posted by Ogged
on 11.06.03

Kevin Drum has a great and totally depressing post up on the anti-evolution crowd and its enablers in the press.

And also this tidbit about textbooks that should be jaw-dropping except that it's not anymore.

A reference to the Ice Age was changed recently from "millions of years ago" to "in the distant past" in a nod to people who read Scripture literally and believe the Earth is just thousands of years old.

 

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Not Today, I Have a Headache

Posted by Ogged
on 11.06.03
You can be scared in combat, but not too scared.
...on Friday, Sgt. Georg Andreas Pogany will appear in front of military court here to face charges he was a coward.
The Army says he is guilty of "cowardly conduct as a result of fear" and not performing his duties as an interrogator for a squad of Green Berets in Samarra, Iraq.
But Sergeant Pogany says he did not run from the enemy or disobey orders. The only thing he is guilty of, he says, is asking for help for a panic attack.
On his second night in Iraq, one month ago, Sergeant Pogany, 32, saw an Iraqi cut in half by a machine gun. The sight disturbed him so much, he said, he threw up and shook for hours. His head pounded and his chest hurt.
"I couldn't function," Sergeant Pogany said in an interview on Tuesday in his lawyer's office in Colorado Springs, not far from Fort Carson. "I had this overwhelming sense of my own mortality. I kept looking at that body thinking that could be me two seconds from now."
When he informed his superior that he was having a panic attack and needed to see someone, Sergeant Pogany said he was given two sleeping pills and told to go away. A few days later, Sergeant Pogany was put on a plane and sent home.
It sounds as if there's a bit more to the story; that "a few days later" covers a lot.
[Sgt. Pogany told his superior] that he was not fit to work and needed help.
"I wanted to speak to someone who could tell me what was going on," he said.
A few days later, after he was confined to his room and put on a suicide watch, he was taken to a bigger base where he met with a psychologist who evaluated him and wrote, "the soldier reported signs and symptoms consistent with those of a normal combat stress reaction."
Sergeant Pogany said the psychologist recommended he rest a few days and then get back to work.
Instead, Sergeant Pogany said he was told by a senior officer that he was a coward and he was going home and his fate was sealed. On Friday, he will appear at a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for a court martial.
And I don't think the sergeant is through being scared.
Now he faces a possible court-martial. If convicted, the punishment could range from a dock in pay to death.
UPDATE: The charges have been reduced.

 

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Redux

Posted by Ogged
on 11.06.03

Everyone and his spammer (check out xottbeck on the grid) is taking the Political Compass quiz. I took it back in May, forgot about, took it again last night, and realized that the results graph looked mighty familiar. Bloggers are plotted here. Knock yourself out.


 

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Hey Moron. Not you.

Posted by Ogged
on 11.05.03

There are a dozen indignities in every day and, if you're not hungry, you just let them go.

So we were driving to dinner tonight and came to a four-way intersection with a two-way stop. I stopped, as I was supposed to, and so, mistakenly, did the car approaching from my right. I waited for it to realize its mistake, then I noticed that the driver was motioning to me, almost frantically, and with a look that said, unmistakably, "go! you fucking idiot go!"

I don't mind being called a fucking idiot, but, dude, not when I'm so right.

So I passed through the intersection and the other car, which had turned right, came behind. I pulled over, let it pass, and followed. Soon we were in a lot where it parked and I pulled up behind, rolled down my window and yelled,

"Hey, Moron."

Its window wasn't down. And out of the car beside it popped up some other person's head.

"Not you."
"I know."

The car door opened. I said,

"There's no stop sign there, sir."

It's a woman.

"Ma'am."

She says,

"Oh, get over it. Go home."

Nervy, if you ask me. But she's right, and I'm over it. Pull out, go to dinner. Later, my fiancée notes, "that 'hey moron' thing sure made your night."

Yes indeed.


 

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Rebel Oops

Posted by Ogged
on 11.05.03
Talk about stealing my thunder. I was cooking up a long post on Howard Dean's bold attempt to gain traction in the South by making and standing by his "Confederate flag" comment, and I was going to use this post by Mark Schmitt as a foil. Then Mark went and revised his post, adding,
Or perhaps the nit-picking over language here is so subtle that Dean was just trying to make exactly these points, albeit awkwardly.
Indeed. It was clear from Dean's responses in last night's debate--saying that Democrats need to reach out to poor whites, in response to a question from an African American offended by Dean's invocation of the confederate flag--that Dean is gambling that he doesn't have and can't get much black support and needs white support to keep his momentum in the South. (Should he win the nomination, he can safely assume that the blacks who do vote will vote for him, but he risks low--maybe fatal--voter turnout.) As Mark, Al Sharpton, and John Edwards have all pointed out, Dean's choice of the confederate flag as a metonym for poor southern whites was stupid. Mark explains,
...there is the confusion of "poor whites" with "confederate flag," ... Some percentage of low-income whites might be drawn back to the Democratic Party, but the confederate flag crowd will not -- and that's fine, they're not the modern South and in the South, we can build majorities without them, mainly through huge black turnout and economically advancing areas....
In fact, Dean, by appearing to assume that "poor southern white" means "Confederate flag," has probably alienated the very southern whites who might have voted for him. But about Dean's goal in general, I do disagree with Mark when he writes,
there is in [Dean's] view an attitude that poor whites "ought" to be supporting Democrats, and that our task is to figure out why they're not behaving in their own interests. Sorry, but there's no "ought" in politics. People support who they support, they believe what they believe.
I know Dean said "ought" but I think framing this as a matter of "ought" is misleading. Dean's position, as I understand it (note, I'm no Deanie), is that Democratic economic policies align far more neatly with the needs of most southerners than do Republican policies. And if Democrats can overcome the extremely successful campaign by Republicans to paint the Dems as hostile to southern culture, then voters in the South would vote for Democrats. I think that's right. Of course, this is a fight that Dean will lose. His use of the confederate flag will overwhelm the point he's trying to make. But we shouldn't want him to lose too badly. The confederate flag crowd is just a subset of the southerners who don't trust yankees; cut the rebels loose, but the rest of those votes should be ours. UPDATE: Dean apologizes.

 

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Maher Arar

Posted by Ogged
on 11.05.03
Chun writes,
If you live in the U.S., you bear responsibility for a government that tortures people.
And, if you read the article he links, it's pretty clear that no one disputes the facts: the US grabbed a Canadian citizen transiting through JFK and sent him to Syria, where he was tortured for 10 months, before being sent--unconvicted, uncharged--to Canada.
Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Arar case fits the profile of a covert CIA "extraordinary rendition" -- the practice of turning over low-level, suspected terrorists to foreign intelligence services, some of which are known to torture prisoners.
I challenge anyone to make a distinction between the morality and propriety of torturing Mr. Arar in Toledo and sending him to be tortured in Syria. What fictions let people sleep at night! And please note, whether Mr. Arar in fact had any ties to Al Qaeda is irrelevent to whether his "rendering" is outrageous. First, because his rendering occurred without even minimal due process. Second, because our government hasn't been authorized in any democratic way to use torture--it hasn't even asked for permission. Also note, there is no need to make a slippery slope argument here. What happened is already at the bottom of any reasonable person's slope. The government of the United States grabbed someone and, without charge or conviction, sent that person to be tortured for almost a year. I'm well aware that the mistreatment of an Arab-Canadian isn't an issue of obvious political import in the US. But here are the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and here's the House. I promise I'll contact my representatives, you really should too. There is, of course, much more on this case, particularly in the Canadian press.

 

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(Laughter)

Posted by Ogged
on 11.05.03

The George W. Bush management style, complete with real-world examples.



 

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Doesn't Everybody Have One of Those?

Posted by Ogged
on 11.05.03

It's Gary Farber's birthday, ignore him.



 

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Twisting in the Wind

Posted by Ogged
on 11.05.03

Last week, Salon wrote something of an alarmist article on "broadcast flags." What are they? According to the MPAA

The broadcast flag is a sequence of digital bits embedded in a television program that signals that the program must be protected from unauthorized redistribution.

Sounds fine, but the entertainment industry was pushing to "flag" as much data as possible, and, with the coming convergence of computers/entertainment centers, a rigorous broadcast flag law could have made things like open source software illegal.

But, according to jhp, although there will be a broadcast flag, it's something of a joke.

The good news is, they've decided on a broadcast flag so devoid of sense, relevance, and utility as to render it less of a threat to your TiVO than the spit-take you will be performing upon reading about it.

Check out his post, it does sound rather flimsy. I wonder if the FCC understood what it was doing and passed a nuisance measure as a sop to the entertainment industry or had no idea that the measure it was passing was basically useless. In either case, jhp has a name for it.

They should have called it the Masturbatory Bureaucrat Grey Market Enhancement and Offshore Electronics Factory Full Employment Flag.

 

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Grande or Venti?

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

Bah, my apologies to Internet Explorer users. I had completely forgotten that in IE, the default comment boxes aren't resizable (reminder credit to Kevin Drum). Now they are.


 

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Like With Worms?

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

My inner language scold is back and here's what's bothering it: bated breath. If you know the proper spelling, can you still use this phrase in good faith? Isn't it just an opportunity to spell it correctly? And how many of the people who are spelling it correctly know just what bated means? Don't look it up yet. If you're honest, you'll write down what you think it means, then look it up.

Here's my odd thought. Any other phrase this horribly clichéd would be far less prevalent than bated breath in fact is. I think its frequent misspelling is now keeping it alive as a signifier of educational status and achievement.

But this post changes everything, doesn't it? We're all on notice now. Sing it: we're sated with bated, and it's time to abate it.


 

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Was It Good For You (All)?

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03
If there is one lousy bit of life left to be sucked out of something, someone, somewhere, will do the sucking. (Ok ok, that's not fair: usually it's a 22 year-old woman from Iowa living in West Hollywood and doing it for about $500/shoot. I shouldn't have used such a broad brush.)

 

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No Joy In Mudville

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

About time and nooooooo!!



 

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And You Are (Not?) It

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

Maybe Unf, if he's alive, would like to spare us a few words about "dying declarations." I'd never heard of this before, but, apparently, the words of a dying person are admissible in court under the assumption that a dying person wouldn't lie. It's nice to know that our legal system, in this one instance, so underestimates our capacity for spite and self-delusion.

via Stay of Execution

MORE: A friend emails to add, "My other favorite is Aristotle pointing out in the Rhetoric that some people think that the evidence of slaves is only to be credited when they have been beaten, and that others think that the opposite is the case."


 

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But Each Has a "P" in Her Name

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

Instapundit and the increasingly unreadable Volokh Conspiracy are trying to make the "release" of information about Linda Tripp seem equivalent to the leaking of Valerie Plame's name and position. Eric Alterman counters with lots of inconvenient facts.


 

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Peace and Love

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

The Atrios/Luskin spat, now resolved.



 

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The Time is Gone

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03

I've never seen her sing or dance, but I think I'm Kim Mi-yeon's newest and biggest fan.

-Aren't you just pretending that you don't sing well?
"I am just faithful to momentary feeling. I leave my body to the rhythm."

-Is it your original voice?
"I was severely scolded quite often by my mother because of my whimpering since I was a child. In addition to it, I have a husky and low voice and Chungcheong dialect (her hometown is Chonan, in Chungnam). I almost never drink alcoholic beverage and never smoke. But my voice sounds like salting in the wine and tobacco. I am quite depressed about it. I had a throat endoscopy but nothing was wrong."

...

-Why did you give up the Dance Company and chose to be a comedian?
"I love to see people laughing at me. The time is gone when only the ugly can be comedians."

 

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I Still Like You, Haha

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03
Noam Chomsky suffers through a short interview with the New York Times. Best exchange:
Have you considered leaving the United States permanently?
No. This is the best country in the world.
Now that's how you say "fuck you."

 

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Shark Attack

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03
Surely you've read the story of the young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. But have you seen the picture of her surfboard? My god.

 

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The next biotech revolution begins Sunday on FOX

Posted by Bob
on 11.04.03

In 1890 Shakespeare fan Eugene Scheiffelin decided to introduce to North America every bird species mentioned in Shakespeare's works. Hence starlings in Pennsylvania. Now Simpsons fan Rob Baur has introduced tomacco to the non-animated world. Mmmmm. Pigeonrats next?


 

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Quit Being a Ham

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03
I won't try to excerpt, but here's a fascinating article about the roots, in religious texts, of the association of dark skin with servitude.

 

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Damn Turkish Coffee

Posted by Ogged
on 11.04.03
So, was Hayrettin Demir a victim of cultural mistranslation, third-world barbarism, or just one really stupid thug?
A Turkish man was stabbed to death after hawking T-shirts depicting U.S. rap superstar Eminem because a man mistook the sales pitch as an insult to his mother, Turkish newspapers said on Tuesday.
A knife fight broke out in an Istanbul suburb after 19-year-old Dilaver Akkurt told T-shirt vendor Hayrettin Demir his mother was named Emine and lived in the area, Hurriyet newspaper said.
"Eminem" means "my Emine" in Turkish.
Final question: is that last bit an explanation, or a punchline?

 

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Cheese!

Posted by Ogged
on 11.03.03

Can a photo be partisan? Only if you don't think it's true. Jeepers.


from here


 

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Leave it to the Voice

Posted by Ogged
on 11.03.03

I knew they existed, but didn't really know where. The Village Voice has a round-up of sex blogs.

via Buzzmachine


 

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Teacher, He Pricked My Conscience

Posted by Ogged
on 11.03.03
Dahlia Lithwick tries to understand Antonin Scalia's insanity.
Is this brilliant jurist losing his mind? Is he so frustrated by 17 years of failure to sway an allegedly conservative court to his side on social issues that he no longer cares who he offends or how biased he may appear? Has he become so swept up by the Coulter/Limbaugh/O'Reilly game of court-bashing that he cannot see how damaging it is when played by a justice? Or is he running for elected office? What possesses Justice Scalia to eschew the reclusive public life of many justices, or at least the blandly apolitical public lives of most, to play the role of benighted public intellectual and knight gallant in the culture wars?
Her short answer: Scalia is sincerely trying to save civilization from secular collapse. Well, here's a note to Mr. Scalia and his co-proselytizers: you'll have greater success in convincing people of the wisdom of your ways if you live exemplary lives that bear witness to the power and truth of your beliefs. Generally, ranting that everyone else is doing it wrong and will therefore go to hell isn't an effective, or even noble, approach. The ethical precepts of religion are ways for believers to incorporate and evidence their faith; they are not themselves faith and bear no essential relation to faith. If not a single penis ever again goes astray, Mr. Scalia-nine-kids, the world will not be made one bit more religious thereby.

 

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The Meaning of the Gun

Posted by Ogged
on 11.03.03

We had a discussion here of whether liberal voters care nearly as much about gun control as conservative voters. Jack Balkin gets specific.

the gun control question is about much more than the specific issue of gun regulation. It is a cultural indicator or cultural signal-- one of a small number of highly resonant cultural symbols that people use to ascertain a person's larger set of values and commitments. The Republican Party has understood and manipulated this feature of human psychology particularly well since 1968, deliberately choosing appeals on a key set of issues that allow many Americans to feel that the Republican party stands for their values, even if Republican candidates by and large are not working in their economic interests.

There's much more and it's one of the best posts I've read in a long time.


 

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Howdy Ma'am

Posted by Ogged
on 11.03.03

Maybe on the whole it's nice to be rid of them, but for simple dignity and a prop to aid in the many ritual communications of daily life, it's tough to top a hat.

image from this (subscriber only) article


 

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I Give You Money, I Get Rich, Right?

Posted by Ogged
on 11.03.03
Oh god, what a pathetic story. Some guy fell for the Nigerian spam scam (and kept falling for it). It hurts to read. But, please, by all means... via Holbo

 

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