I'm not sure what to make of this, but I was just reading some movie reviews and noticed that if a critic described a movie as "pretentious," I immediately dismissed the review and moved on. I do it with book reviews too--this isn't a plan, I just noticed that I do it--I take use of the word "pretentious" as a signal that the reviewer is anti-intellectual. Surely this is unfair of me--after all, there are pretentious books and movies, but almost as surely, I know reviewers aren't going to be interested in doing the work to make the criticism stick. I guess this means I'm pretty deep, huh?
Who the hell is Vlatko Stefanovski and how did he get into my iTunes library? I haven't a clue, but he is one seriously funky guitar playing Macedonian. I defy you to listen to this song (5.5MB mp3), then a few clips from his acoustic work, and not want one of his albums. Good lord.
I used to think that Brad DeLong's posts ending "Impeach George Bush now" were a bit of over-the-top fun. Not anymore.
[Former White House terrorism advisor Richard] Clarke was briefing the highest government officials, including President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in the aftermath of 9/11. "Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq....We all said, 'but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan," recounts Clarke, "and Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.' I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with [the 9/11 attacks]
What more is there to say?
GO FIGURE: Brad agrees.
With the recent brouhaha over whether academics ever get to complain -- given that they're not miners, after all -- it seemed appropriate to post the pictures from an email I just got entitled, "Quit Complaining About Your Job."
It's kind of neat that they made this work, but what's it good for?
Erin O'Connor links to this odd incident: a faculty member fakes a hate crime by vandalizing her own car.
The Claremont Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this afternoon that they have completed their investigation into the alleged vandalizing of a Claremont McKenna College faculty member's car on Tuesday, March 9, 2004. According to their report, two witnesses have come forward to positively identify the faculty member as vandalizing her own vehicle. Additionally, interviews with the faculty member revealed inconsistencies in her statements regarding the incident. Based on this information, as well as other information revealed during the investigation, the Claremont Police Department will present its findings to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office for review.
UPDATE: I had intended to comment on this story, not merely to link it, but I was interrupted in mid-post, and I wanted to preserve my secret identity. The one ogged uncovered in like five minutes? Yes, that one. Anyway, I'm in mid-trip (paper went well, thanks) at the moment, but I'll say more on this in a few days, including, I hope, a list of similar cases of fraudulent hate crimes. Contrary to some of KF's commenters, this sort of thing is not at all unprecedented.
Listen, you only think you were a troublesome teen.
What the men in the funny suits found was that the potting shed was dangerously irradiated and that the area's 40,000 residents could be at risk. Publicly, the men in white promised the residents of Golf Manor that they had nothing to fear, and to this day neither Pease nor any of the dozen or so people I interviewed knows the real reason that the Environmental Protection Agency briefly invaded their neighborhood. When asked, most mumble something about a chemical spill. The truth is far more bizarre: the Golf Manor Superfund cleanup was provoked by the boy next door, David Hahn, who attempted to build a nuclear breeder reactor in his mother's potting shed as part of a Boy Scout merit-badge project.
For several years now, I've had a hankering to live in New Zealand, at least for a while. Now I see that my desire betokens great wisdom. New Scientist did a mildly interesting story explaining that people are more likely to lie on the phone than in email. Then they received a letter from Yvette Astre of Wellington, New Zealand.
I was intrigued by the article about how people lie more in phone conversations than in emails (14 February, p 23) as I have found a similar difference between phones and email in my business.
I am a prostitute, and to get clients I advertise in the local newspaper. Normal practice is to provide a phone number as an initial point of contact. Using my cellphone was getting rather expensive, as was advertising several days a week. I also work as a volunteer for several non-profit community organisations, and there I found many people preferred emails to the phone or postal services. So I decided to try an email address instead.
The difference really surprised me. With my phone number, guys would sometimes make bookings then not turn up. Others sounded very creepy. However, using email I have had only two cancellations, and in both cases I was paid in full for the time they booked with me.
As Tyler Cowen notes, "prostitutes who read New Scientist and volunteer at non-profits? Johns who pay for services not rendered?" Well yes, just another day in lovely New Zealand.
A little paean to technology (specifically, to Kenmore and TurboTax Web): last night, in just under an hour, I did my laundry and my taxes. This stuff used to be hard.
Spent my morning at the DMV and was crushed in battle.
[holding my best steely mug shot face]
Then I burst out laughing, and she snapped my picture.
Next time, little Filipino lady, next time.
Kevin Drum has made the move from CalPundit to the Washington Monthly, and he's the main show. Nice.
I don't know how I missed this. A poll (taken before the Madrid bombings) of Americans, asked,
If there's another serious terrorist attack within the United States this year, are you more or less likely to vote for President Bush?
I thought the results were quite a surprise.
Much/somewhat more likely -- 29%
Much/somewhat less likely -- 45%
Have no effect -- 22%
Just a few quickies from me.
I'd like all the people saying that the Spaniards have encouraged Al Qaeda to tell us since when they believe that Al Qaeda can be discouraged.
Did this really happen?
[Jessica Simpson] was introduced to Interior Secretary Gale Norton and gushed: "You've done a nice job decorating the White House."
And this, unbelievably, seems to be happening even now.
ROBERT Brown was just a 19-year-old from Glasgow when he was jailed for life for murdering a woman called Annie Walsh in Manchester in 1977. He served 25 years before he was finally freed in 2002, when the courts ruled him innocent of the crime. He is now facing a bill of around £80,000 for the living expenses he cost the state.
It may be just one Spaniard's opinion, but it's unequivocal: the PP lost in Spain because it dishonestly tried to use the bombings to its political advantage.
Here's a blog that's either a funny parody or a scary bit of weirdness. My vote is for parody, but it's hard to imagine keeping up the bright-n-cheerful homseschooled tone for so long. Via World o' Crap.
Business in the front, party in the rear. I think the world needs to see this:
Damn. That's one fine lookin' apostropher. Caption this picture if you dare.
UPDATE: let the record show that at or around 2:40 EST, I was making a solar flare come off of some dude's teeth while my coconspirator was outlining the Madrid situation's role in the war on terror. "Contrast" is more than a photoshop function, perhaps.
It's probably already too late to stop the people who just assume that the Socialist victory in Spain is also a "victory" for appeasement, but there are some excellent responses to this view.
Matthew Yglesias sums up the RNC party line.
The right would like to set up the following argument: If there are no attacks between now and the election, then Bush has defended us from terror and deserves re-election; if there is an attack between now and the election, then voting for Kerry would be appeasement.
Spain is just the dry-run.
Josh Marshall explains the difference between the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
Whatever else they thought of the Iraq war, very few people in Europe saw any real logic to the (terror war = Iraq war) equation. Some supported the Iraq war for other reasons. But few saw the two connected as the Bush administration tried to present them. And not a few saw the Iraq adventure as positively counterproductive to stemming the tide of Isalmist terror.
Whoever you think is right or wrong in this, that is the nature of the rift over the 'war on terror'.
Now, if that's the war as you see it, that Iraq war was either irrelevant to fighting terror or would itself produce more terorrism, then the apparent response of the Spaniards doesn't seem at all difficult to fathom. Nor is it reducible to facile claims of appeasements.
Mark Kleiman notes what seems to be the most likey reason the Socialists won.
If this means that the Spanish electorate just voted to surrender to the terrorists, that's a disaster. If, on the other hand, the voters were punishing the PP for the outgoing Prime Minister's swift and incorrect attribution of the bombing to the Basque separatist movement ETA, which he then made into a partisan attack on the Socialists for being friendlier to Basque demands for autonomy than the PP has been, then I'd say the PP got about what it deserved. (Update: Apparently some voters believed that the government had withheld information pointing to al-Qaeda as the cuprit.)
And Jacob Levy explains the difference between non-appeasement and spite.
Neither is it appeasement for Spain to decide to withdraw peacekeeping troops from Iraq simply because al-Qaeda wanted all western troops out of Iraq as well. It's a legitimate choice for Spain to make about where to concentrate its efforts. And if it was a legitimate non-appeasing choice before last Thursday, it remains one after.
All these posts are worth reading in full.
Ex Dead Milkman Dave Schulthise (aka Dave Blood) dead at 47, apparently by his own hand. Story here.
Before becoming a musician, Schulthise went to Temple University and Purdue University, where he was a Ph.D. candidate in economics.
He also had studied Serbo-Croatian culture at Indiana University and moved to Serbia in 1998 to teach English, but returned home to live with his parents in suburban Ridley Park during the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia.
The Bandarlog has some musings on the Dead Milkmen/They Might Be Giants dichotomy. It's important [no, it's not at all important, actually] to note, though, that the DM/TMBG split is deeper into the garden of branching paths than the more important angry rock/joke rock divide.
I was on the former side, finding both TMBG and Dead Milkmen annoying in different ways. TMBG had more clever, but the self-congratulatory geekiness made listening to them feel like some kind of marching band field trip. Dead Milkmen, on the other hand, were just lame, and not only for turning punk into even more of a punchline. "Bitchin' Camaro" is a terrible song that can't even be redeemed by its "Tony Orlando and Dawn" shout-out, and "Punk Rock Girl" has about three fun listens in it before it becomes intensely irritating. Added points for the "you'll dance to anything" bit, though.
Fortunately for my future earnings potential, my tolerance for angry rock went only as far as, say, the Dead Kennedys and the Crucifucks (ok, that was totally gratuitous, but I have the record, so I can name-drop with honor) and not as far as, say, Crass. Once you started listening to that in earnest, you were pretty much doomed to a life of squatting and bad haircuts. Instead, I turned to Fey British Men, dooming myself to a different kind of bad haircut and an embarassing taste for clothing of the sort once worn by Echo and the Bunnymen.
There might be a new planet. Why bother with telescopes when you can access it all by pure reason?
This just in: journalism now 40% easier!
The government also prepared scripts that can be used by news anchors introducing what the administration describes as a made-for-television "story package."
In one script, the administration suggests that anchors use this language: "In December, President Bush signed into law the first-ever prescription drug benefit for people with Medicare. Since then, there have been a lot of questions about how the law will help older Americans and people with disabilities. Reporter Karen Ryan helps sort through the details."
The "reporter" then explains the benefits of the new law.
Call me when new improved EZ lecture notes are available from the White House site.