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Try Not to Stare

Posted by Ogged
on 09.18.04

What the hell happened to locker room etiquette? I hadn't been in one in over a decade, but now that my body is getting creaky, I've taken up swimming and signed up at my local health club. When did it become totally OK to check out other guys' penises? Or, when did subtlety and discretion die? People, if you have to look, do it when I'm washing my face in the shower, not as I'm walking toward you, looking you in the eye. Jiminy crickets.

Do note: It's not a club full of gay guys (though there are some, including Mr. Subtly Whistling A Tune As He Walks By And Turns To Look), and there's nothing special to look at, especially given the damn freezing temperature they keep the pool.

Also: Thinking about it, I don't really mind; everyone's curious and insecure, after all, but it does seem like the etiquette of the thing has changed.


 

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No more apologies

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.18.04

Belle's got a post on her changing Iraq position, and it's spawned some interesting responses. If you're wondering-- and, really, who isn't?-- I endorsed, to some extent, her Reasons for War 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, which is not to say that I took them to be conclusive, but that I thought they provided a fairly serious prima facie argument in favor of the use of force. I think Yglesias is right to think that being surrounded by some bad anti-war arguments (it's obvious that Saddam is deterrable, we endorse sanctions as a long-term solution except when we don't, e.g.) made the other side seem a bit stronger. Ben A. provides a fair accounting for the other side.

Of course, some people have to be that way:

Just one point about johnny-come-lately mea culpas here and elsewhere: Over 1000 US soldiers are dead because you supported this war in the first place. Their blood is on your hands. Period.

Because Colin Powell likes to put on a dress after hours and blog as "Belle Waring."


 

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And Don't Forget the Food

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

My friend, who's getting married next week and is a consultant who travels a lot anyway, just sent me his itinerary for the past ten days.

Wednesday - Dallas to New York

Friday - New York to Anchorage

Sunday - Anchorage to San Francisco

Sunday night - San Francisco to Los Angeles

Monday - Los Angeles to Virginia Beach

Tuesday - Virginia Beach to Washington D.C.

Wednesday - Washington D.C. to Baltimore (drove)

Thursday - Baltimore to Chicago

Friday - Chicago to Milan

Does it get worse than that?


 

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Recognized at Last

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

I don't watch Survivor, but apparently it's in Vanuatu this year. Ah, the memories: I represented Vanuatu at Model U.N. in high school. The largest source of income, as I recall, was money laundering. No great moralizing speeches for me.


 

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Blogdom is a Rough Neighborhood

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

Well hell, if we link to Gary Farber kicking ass, you can bet we'll link to Farber getting his ass kicked. Grammar--it's ugly.


 

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No Need to Call Superman

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

Gadzooks. This is my public service announcement for the week: if you own a Kryptonite U-shaped bike lock, you're almost better off leaving your bike unlocked and trusting the "this is too easy, someone must be watching" deterrent effect.

MORE: Best comment: "Well, at least all those nuclear warheads are completely safe in their little silos..."


 

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Logic

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04
Let's review: it's the administration that treats our soldiers like indentured servants:
Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.
And can't be bothered to acknowledge them when they're injured or incapacitated:
Nearly 17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers, according to military data reviewed by United Press International.
But if you make a video using an actor to show the position the soldiers have been put in, your "sinking rhetoric of a defeated America send[s] a signal to our allies and our enemies that America is not willing to finish the job." I think I understand: If Bush screws our soldiers and you criticize him for it, you're undermining the war effort. Makes perfect sense. To some people, anyway.

 

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Progress

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

Here's something nifty. Check out Icerocket search; do a search and click on Quick View next to each result. Pretty neat, eh? Not sure I like it better than tabs, but it's nice to see folks trying to improve search technology.


 

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Opportunism

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

Ben Hammersly, writing partly in jest, but making a very interesting suggestion.

The greatest thing the European Union could do on the day after a Bush election win would be to declare free work visas for anyone who pledged to come over and stay for the course of the term.

Now, I'm generally not for just leaving: you do have to fight for what you believe in, and you can't run forever if the world is going to pot...but...I think a lot of people would go for this, and I know I'd be very tempted--I'd like to live in Europe for a while anyway, and an opportunity to do it without the massive rigamarole of normal immigration procedures would be just the chance.


 

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Dishonor

Posted by Ogged
on 09.16.04

Ugh, this is just depressing. If you've ever read the late John Rawls, you know what a nuanced and careful thinker he is. And you probably know of his reputation as a gentleman. I suppose that being his kid could be a bit burdensome, and well, you might crack, just like Alec Rawls. Via Brian Leiter, I see that Alec sent an email to Eric Muller, who's been demolishing Michelle Malkin's defense of Japanese internment during WWII.

It really is astounding that you can continue to grasp at straws in order to make scurrilous attacks. Are you ever going to vet one of your own charges for accuracy before you post it? You are such an incompetent asshole. Crawl back in your hole. Or let Michelle keep chopping your limbs off like Monty Python's Black Knight. Either way, moron. I presume you are taking comfort from all the brain dead bigots in law schools across the nation who don't want to know the truth about internment. You are their champion! Enjoy it, because amongst honest people, you are exposed as a complete fraud, now and forever.

That hurts to read. Even assuming Alec Rawls is right (which he's not), it's just ugly. Daddy wouldn't have done it that way, Alec, but I guess that's the point.

Cracked, I say: Check out A. Rawls's page of editorials. He rates them himself: "How important; How Right; My competence to speak authoritatively as to the rightness of the article: accuracy of representations of cited sources; Moral logic."

How right? It might seem self-congratulatory to give yourself a 10/10 on rightness, but it's just tautological, given that you're judging your own opinions. What's truly bizarre are the ratings that are less than 10/10. Wrong, but unfixable? Wrong, but ran out of time? Being right is just an ancillary goal? What a thoroughly weird dude.


 

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Old Pals

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.04

But, you know, Harvard is a bastion of elite liberalism, and this was all before he was born again anyway. Yoshi Tsurumi was one of W's profs at Harvard Business School. He thinks back.

"I don't remember all the students in detail unless I'm prompted by something," Tsurumi said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "But I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget. And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite."

Read the rest, for more from a guy who really isn't charmed by our President.


 

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Highbrow

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.04

I really should be doing more political blogging, but my heart's just not in it right now. I probably wouldn't feel so bad if I weren't constantly tempted by totally juvenile humor (note: contains barfing teenagers). Asian boy, 90% of your people are lactose intolerant: now you must die.

'Tis true though (I shudder at the stories I'm inviting in the comments, but hey...), sometimes the only way to reach your goal is to barf a few times before you get there. The night my friend turned 21, we vowed to have 21 drinks each. Philosophy majors on the town, lookout! Now, of course, I'm tipsy after a glass of wine. Maturity.

via attu


 

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Thanks for the Memories

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.04

Is it funny yet? Or: is there any bad thing you can say of the Bushies that won't turn out to be true? That dread villian, Yasser Hamdi, the American citizen detained without charges, is about to be...released.

The agreement to free Yaser Esam Hamdi represents a stunning reversal for the Bush administration, which argued for more than two years that the former Taliban fighter was potentially so dangerous that he had to be detained indefinitely in solitary confinement with no access to counsel and no right to trial.
But in a landmark ruling last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Hamdi, an American citizen, be allowed to consult with his lawyer and challenge the basis for his imprisonment. This pushed the case back into federal court and forced the Justice Department to mount a hasty retreat.
The result, officials say, is a highly detailed agreement that is expected to be made public later this week. It will result in Hamdi being flown back to Saudi Arabia on a U.S. military aircraft without ever being charged with any terror-related activity—a symbolic victory for critics who have long pointed to the case as a prime example of what they see as the Bush administration's overreaching in combating the terrorist threat.

Symbolic victory my ass. When a man goes free and the government is shown up in its bullying, it's just a victory.


 

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Who Shot JFK?

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.04

I thought the case really was closed. I was wrong?

In a remarkable passage in "One Hell of a Gamble," a widely praised 1997 history of the Cuban missile crisis based on declassified Soviet and U.S. government documents, historians Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali wrote that on Nov. 29, one week after the assassination, Bobby Kennedy dispatched a close family friend named William Walton to Moscow with a remarkable message for Georgi Bolshakov, the KGB agent he had come to trust during the nerve-wracking back-channel discussions sparked by the missile crisis. According to the historians, Walton told Bolshakov that Bobby and Jacqueline Kennedy believed "there was a large political conspiracy behind Oswald's rifle" and "that Dallas was the ideal location for such a crime." The Kennedys also sought to reassure the Soviets that despite Oswald's apparent connections to the communist world, they believed President Kennedy had been killed by American enemies. This is a stunning account -- with the fallen president's brother and widow communicating their chilling suspicions to the preeminent world rival of the U.S. -- and it has not received nearly the public attention it deserves.

I'll say. The whole article is fascinating.


 

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Jamais Vu Has a Name?

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.04

This Times article on deja vu sometimes seems to get it just right,

"The way the coffee cups were lined up on the table," said Gretchen Purcell, 24, a business consultant in the Washington area who felt this so strongly during a conference-call meeting last month that it made her laugh out loud. "The whole scene was so familiar I thought I knew what people were going to say before they said it. It was like I was in a movie I'd already seen."

But then veers into whether people think they're recalling things that have only been suggested, or are vague recollections, etc. But the odd thing about deja vu isn't the sense of familiarity, but the very odd sense of exact repetition, which is different from plain remembering.


 

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With Honors

Posted by Ogged
on 09.15.04

This one goes out to Fontana: a collection of high-school senior photos found on the web, with a taxonomy of types. Hilarious.


 

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No Lyin'

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

Men are more efficient than women!

The average working woman, for example, spends about an hour and a half a day caring for other members of the family, the average working man barely 50 minutes. Likewise, the average working woman spends more than 1 hour 20 minutes on household chores, the average working man less than 45 minutes.

Though you might read that differently. It's a great survey, with nifty nuggets, including this scary one.

The survey found that adults - some working , others not - had a little more than five hours of leisure time a day and spent about half of it watching television. By contrast, the average adult devoted only 20 minutes of leisure time to sports and another 20 minutes to "relaxing and thinking.''

The only thing people do less than exercise is think. Great. Seriously, five hours of leisure each day seems like quite a lot. Is that really typical?

UPDATE: Ok, here's the survey page. And leisure really seems to mean leisure. I can't imagine what they mean by "sleep."

On an "average day" in 2003, persons in the U.S. age 15 and over slept about 8.6 hours, spent 5.1 hours doing leisure and sports activities,

worked for 3.7 hours, and spent 1.8 hours doing household activities. The

remaining 4.8 hours were spent in a variety of other activities, including

eating and drinking, attending school, and shopping.

Echoing LarryB: on what planet?

HMM: Ok, my guess is that that 3.7 hours of work is our clue that the results are seriously skewed by the elderly. I can't make sense of the numbers otherwise. (This is a helpful table. More schooling, more time spend working. Ha!)

BAH! jam, who is NO FUN, explains all in the comments.

This is averaged over all days, saturdays, sundays and holidays included. A person with an 8 hour a day, five days a week job averages about 5.25 hours of work a day if he gets two weeks of vacation a year. You would end up with an average of 3.7 hours work a day if your population contained about 30% non-working people and 70% 8 hour a day, 5 days a week working people. Which seems about right: the employment to population ratio is a bit over 60%. Heavy overtime is probably compensated for by part-time workers.
This is not the modal day, which most of the reaction has assumed; it is the mean day.

 

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Unbound

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

I've pretty much stopped reading Wonkette, but it's nice to see Ana Marie Cox writing real sentences and paragraphs, especially when they're in a pan of Kristin Gore's new novel.

The sloppy prose that pervades the book is an unfortunate reminder of its genesis. Its off-the-rack plot, running together B-grade chick-lit with campaign-trail policy talk, is the predictable outcome of a publishing focus group. It's not bad, it's just not any good. God knows, an astringent romantic satire is long overdue in a town where work is foreplay and the vibrating object in a couple's bed could easily be a two-way pager. ''Sammy's Hill,'' however, lacks buzz.

via 11d


 

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Gear

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

I'd just like to share a little slice of deep geekdom with y'all. I don't think anyone fetishizes techno-gear more than some digital photographers, and those folks like to hang out in the forums at Digital Photography Review. They love cameras, sure, and they love photography too, but what they really really care about are specs; so when some enterprising soul navigates Canon's bizarre web site and finds a manual for the latest gear, well...

I'm not buying a 20D but have been *very* anxious to read the manual...thanks for the link!

Emphasis in the original.


 

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Robust Results

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

I think they forgot to add, "Optimized for IPO participants." According to the Google Weblog, Google's local search has been upgraded. The demo provided is "cheap restaurants in palo alto."

The first result is a place called Bistro Elan. Click through a few times...entrees are between $15-$21. Oy vey.


 

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Pick 'O The Litter

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

I was away and missed the September 11 remembrances, and for that I should be thankful. But Belle's post is really very fine.


 

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Gurgle

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

Perhaps not ideal for convincing swing voters, but it sure cracked me up.


 

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Clout

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

Yes, it needs to be confirmed by others, but Ezra is exactly right: for that to happen it needs to get lots of attention. Did GW use his power as governor to help Ben Barnes (the man who now admits he pulled strings to get W into the National Guard) land a no-bid contract?

Pass it on.

via jack o'toole


 

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Pics

Posted by Ogged
on 09.14.04

Nice gallery of iconic and still interesting photos.

via marginal revolution


 

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Another One

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.04

Atrios notes one rather striking Bush lie: that he served in the Air Force. Now, Drudge says

But a form obtained by DRUDGE on Monday shows Bush was active duty Air Force, albeit for 120 days.

But the form (PDF) says no such thing. It's a "Statement of Understanding" and says only that Bush "will enter on active duty," not that he has, or did. (my emphasis)

MORE


 

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El-Amir

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.04

A fascinating profile of Mohammad Atta, with lots and lots of research, following him from kind-hearted devout Muslim to wacko anti-semite. Excellent work by the Trib. (bugmenot login: drgwandsp pass: calzephyr -- the Trib site is weird and you might have to login and then go back to the story).


 

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A List

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.04

Bitch PhD, she of the open marriage, seems to have a rather interesting life. Note: as far as I know, none of her paramours are Unfogged bloggers.


 

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CCCP

Posted by Ogged
on 09.13.04

In the long run, this could turn out to be the scariest story of the year.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday moved to significantly strengthen the Kremlin's grip on power, with new measures that include the naming of regional governors and an overhaul of the electoral system ... He said he would propose legislation abolishing the election of local governors by popular vote. Instead, they would be nominated by the president and confirmed by local legislatures -- a move that would undo the remaining vestiges of the local autonomy already chipped away by Putin during his first term in office.

Despite overheated rhetoric, terrorism isn't a mortal threat to us except insofar as we change our government in response to it. A strengthened (still nuclear) Russia, which needn't be our "ally" forever, after all, scares me much more, and the curtailing of democracy is always depressing, anywhere.


 

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Counterfactuals

Posted by Ogged
on 09.12.04

Home again. Something about possible forgeries. I don't plan to catch up. Also, if you have to sell some prized possession to pay for a trip to Alaska, do it. Spectacular, everywhere you turn.

baa wants to know what it would take for a Kerry supporter to become a Bush supporter (or vice-versa). It's an odd question, because in the particular instance, it leads either to silly hypotheticals "Well, if it turns out Kerry murdered a child, I might consider..." or what amounts to "If Kerry suddenly endorsed Republican positions, and Bush Democratic ones...."

I can tell you the things that don't much matter to me: foreign policy, character, economic policy. Lemme 'splain.

Foreign policy. Note that it's foreign policy and not foreign relations that I don't much care about. The fact is that there's no such thing as knowledge when it comes to foreign policy. When I manage to bracket my loathing for Chimpy (raising the tone at every opportunity...), do I really know that pre-emption isn't appropriate? No. I suspect it's not, and temperamentally, it strikes me as a not very nice way to go about things, and insofar as one acts as one wishes others would act, it seems foolhardy, but, I have to admit, I might be wrong, and it might be the way to go. If an administration convinces me that they're committed to solving the problems we have, I'm willing to let them try to do it in the way they think best.

Character. We have only the faintest inkling of what George Bush and John Kerry are like. Much of what we think we know, we just read back into the men based on their parties, their positions, their speeches. So let's talk about those.

And personal animus (except for my loathing of Chimpy) is really an absurd reaction to politicians. Because hypocrisy is an inevitable fact of politics, not a failing of particular politicians, every politician is easy to hate. John McCain's personal popularity has nothing to do with his "personality;" it's due to his success at portraying himself as not beholden to a party. Most people identify with one party or another, and from there, it takes nothing extra to hate the opposing candidate.

Economic policy. Frankly, I just don't understand economics well enough to have a solid opinion. There are issues of fairness that I react to (so Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy bother me), but I can't say that he's ruining anything, because I just don't know. Generally, I have to trust folks like Brad, with whom I have broad political principles in common, to tell me when someone is advocating policies that conflict with those principles.

As I've mentioned before, the issues I usually vote on are the ones where there's something like a straight line from the president's policies to what happens in the world: civil rights and the environment (I also care about the problem of poverty, but no one ever addresses that adequately, so it doesn't help me choose).

So, to answer baa's question, while trying to stay within the realm of possibility: if GW decided to play to the "libertarian" wing of his party (on this issue, the Bill Safires of the right) and made a strong case for civil liberties, that would give me pause. Leaving the realm of the realistic, if he also inaugurated a national plan to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, and committed himself to preservation, and restricted land use by corporations, I'd consider voting for him.


 

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