This'll sound like a joke, but it's a genuine question: in the U.S., we drive on the right side of the road, and we also walk on the right side of the sidewalk, and move to the right when we're getting out of each other's way—so, are the rules the same in England (where I've been several times, but haven't paid attention), and Australia and New Zealand, which is to say, do y'all drive and walk on the same sides?
Dreamt last night that I was on a swim team, and the coach was displeased. He wanted us to go faster, and said we had shave off all our body hair. He looked at me long and hard and said, "Yeah, you too." Who was the coach? Tom DeLay.
It's really too bad that I blew all my "she totally wants me" credibility with the Grad Student story, because my self-esteem is so fantastic that I could post bunches of those, and y'all could hate on me endlessly, and everyone would be happy.
Today, at the grocery store, she was cute but too short, and (more importantly), was wearing loose fitting pant-things, and you know I'm risk averse. But after we went our separate ways, I thought, "Wait! If I get a date on Day 4, it would be mad props for a month." But she was gone.
Zachary comments about the possible 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.
Even if the 100,000 casualty figure is true, remember this:
1) @1.5 million dead from Saddam's rule.
2) 20,000 (low estimate) to 90,000 (UNICEF estimate) children killed *every year* from the sanctions.
When we think about the fact that those sanctions weren't going anywhere anytime soon, the calculus kind of changes, doesn't it?
It's an argument I hear a lot, and it's not wrong, but it's only part of the story. Saddam was terrible, but surely any means used to remove him aren't justified by his terribleness. The question of whether the invasion was, in retrospect, "justified" or "worth it," isn't just about Saddam's removal, but about what that removal has cost; it's about what else was possible.
One of the reasons I don't do much politics is that other people do it so much better. One of those people is Mark Schmitt. I assume you're all reading him regularly. You should be.
All this talk of basketball reminds me of one of life's great mysteries. About half the kids at my grade school were Jewish; my ex-fiancee is a nice Jewish girl; I know Jews, some of my best friends...etc. But I have yet to witness that defining Jewish ritual: teaching the son the running hook shot. Speak up, Tribesmen! Are y'all born shooting that damn shot or what?
It never gets old, does it? No new posts today, but here's one from last year, complete with comments that could be pulled wholesale into any recent thread here.
Matthew Yglesias, not a HORSE player.
I don't know if this is of local interest just to Chicagoans, though I'd hope not: every story I've seen about the murder of Judge Lefkow's husband and mother says something like "Hale tried to have her killed after she ruled against him..." That's incorrect. She ruled for him. Her ruling was overturned, and the case was sent back down to her to determine punishment. As Eric Zorn wrote,
In other words, even though Judge Lefkow was simply doing what she had been ordered to do by the appellate court that overruled her when she found in Hale's favor, Hale turned his intemperate fury on her -- not the appellate justices -- simply because he believed she'd married a Jewish man (her husband is an active Episcopalian) and he believed there was a racially mixed marriage in her family.
This is blind, stupid, vicious, self-destructive, utterly unreasonable and thoroughly poisonous hatred.
I'm surprised so many in the media have failed to play this up: The fact -- obvious from the undercover recordings -- that he wanted Lefkow dead even though she was on his side is as spectacularly revealing as any of the toxic nonsense he spews.
I meant to link to this last week: Jesse at Pandagon has taken a break and brought in three guest bloggers (with six--count 'em!--six ovaries between them). Go there for all your smart partisan needs.
And I still can't mention Pandagon without also linking to Ezra.
A hearty congratulations to Ben W-lfs-n, who's been accepted into a PhD program at Stanford. We don't know in what, or even if it's his first choice, but it sounds like good news.
Yes, I wrote his personal essay.
I'm so excited that links to comments are working properly now. We can go straight to such comment classics as "gayatollah abu-labs;" or girl27's disturbing proficiency at creating porn titles (keep scrolling down); the apostropher's insight into W-lfs-n's member; Glenn Reynolds' one and only comment on this site; and Kotsko's iconic "cry cry masturbate cry." Woohoo!
Ben W-lfs-n mentions a problem I haven't been able to solve: links to comments often don't go to the correct comment. Specifically, if you're already in a comment thread, the links work perfectly, but if you link to a comment that requires the comment window to open, it doesn't work. I suspect this has something to do with the code that you all hate so much that automatically takes you to the last, rather than first, comment in a thread when the window opens. But, frankly, it's been so long that I don't remember how I set that up either.
Hooray! W-lfs-n solves the problem. Links to comments now work. And you won't be taken all the way to the end of a thread when it opens.
From the NYT:
A few districts around the country, from Indiana to Connecticut to Long Island, have begun to integrate breath-testing devices into the regular school day, a move that adds a new wrinkle to the ongoing struggle between students' privacy rights and a school's duty to limit drug and alcohol abuse.
Man, I would have failed that shit like a mug. This unemployed alcoholic friend of my family's used to live about four blocks from my high school, and when I had a decent block of free time, say 3 or 4 days a week, I would go over to his place and get drunk. I often woke him up at 10 or so, and he would shuffle out in his bathrobe, start in on the Maker's Mark, and hand me a cold brew. We'd chill out and listen to music, maybe I would smoke some of his gf's weed, and then I'd go back to Physics class (shut up, I got an A). I told my mom about it when I was in college, and for some reason she was really pissed off.
Update: you know, if I hadn't been such a wastoid, I probably could have gone on to get a degree in Chaucer.
You know, I bet your day was going too well. Just lemme change all that for you. From the Washington Post:
In November 2002, a newly minted CIA case officer in charge of a secret prison just north of Kabul allegedly ordered guards to strip naked an uncooperative young Afghan detainee, chain him to the concrete floor and leave him there overnight without blankets, according to four U.S. government officials aware of the case.
The Afghan guards -- paid by the CIA and working under CIA supervision in an abandoned warehouse code-named the Salt Pit -- dragged their captive around on the concrete floor, bruising and scraping his skin, before putting him in his cell, two of the officials said.
As night fell, so, predictably, did the temperature.
By morning, the Afghan man had frozen to death.
After a quick autopsy by a CIA medic -- "hypothermia" was listed as the cause of death -- the guards buried the Afghan, who was in his twenties, in an unmarked, unacknowledged cemetery used by Afghan forces, officials said. The captive's family has never been notified; his remains have never been returned for burial. He is on no one's registry of captives, not even as a "ghost detainee," the term for CIA captives held in military prisons but not registered on the books, they said.
Hypothermia. Right. And you know how guys beaten to death die? "No Longer Breathing Syndrome". But you know they had a good reason, right?:
"He was probably associated with people who were associated with al Qaeda," one U.S. government official said.
Fuck. And why did it have to be called "Salt Pit"? Kolyma was taken?
One great thing about the place where I swim: private shower stalls.
Not so great corollary: when you drop the soap, and it skids into another stall, it's not funny at the time.
I take it back. The Gates was brilliant. (The second frame is the best.)
Until I tear what?? (mp3, 516K)
hate lament the Papermate Sharpwriter mechanical pencil.
1. Instead of pressing a button to advance or retract the lead, you twist the conical tip (or, since a tip is a point, the conical collar subtending the tip) -- clockwise (as you look tip-toward-eraser) to advance, counterclockwise to retract. So instead of having to know only one thing -- press button to advance or retract -- you have to know two. Or if you're like me, you just get it wrong half the time and have to correct it.
2. I don't know if someone thought it would be a good idea, or if it's a bug-turned-"feature," but when you press the exposed lead against a hard surface, it gives. That is, you can push the lead back into the pencil, as if the lead were only held at its current extent by a stiff spring. Papermate calls this the "cushion point," and they suggest that it assures that you're always applying the ideal pressure to the lead. Fewer breakages, they say. I think it makes for a mushy feel, and I waste energy trying to get the line to be darker than I can get it. Or, I apply pressure to the lead perpendicular to the long axis, and that makes breakage more likely.
3. Even if there were a viable workaround, the arrogance drives me nuts: How can there be a single ideal pressure, as if there were a single ideal darkness of line? (Well, not single pressure, as lighter pressures are allowed. But it's definitely true that I often want to write darker than what's allowed.) It's not like people still regularly use pencils to write long blocks of text. Me, I usually use pencils to doodle during lectures and to write really, really small, for comments in margins and stuff. I'm not likely to break lots of leads doing these things, but I am likely to want near-complete control over line weight and the shape of the end of the lead.
4. Also, I don't like that it's yellow.
This is really weird. I wouldn't do it without some very compelling further explanation.
Sorry, my host is having some trouble with its servers, so the site is intermittently down. As always, if the site is down and you can't find a doctor or a priest and really need to reach me, it's firstname.lastname@example.org
By overwhelming popular demand, you can now find a phone-friendly version of the blog at http://www.unfogged.com/mobile.html. In consideration of the people around you, try not to snort too loudly. I'll add a link to the front page soon.
Suggestions welcome by the way, though, as usual, they'll probably be ignored.
As a freshman in college, I was living in the dorms, and there seemed to be a custom of everyone leaving their door open. Unfortunately, the guy across the way from us was really damn loud. So one day while he was blabbering on to a couple of girls, I went over and shut his door, and heard him saying--with his voice fading as the door swung closed--"What an asshole..."
I think I've mentioned that there's no wall between our suite and the suite adjacent to us. I'm this friggin' close...
So like us to miss an anniversary. Even with Labs noting that he's been blogging here a year, it didn't occur to me to mark Unfogged's two-year anniversary. Special thanks to those of you who have somehow toughed out Unfogged's devolution from sober political blog with sprinklings of liberal outrage to the compendium of its authors' failings and neuroses that it's become.
Thanks to all the co-bloggers, and readers. And thanks, once again, to everyone for the best comment section anywhere.
After the horrific killing of a judge's family members in Chicago, I poked around the website of some of the white supremacists on whom suspicion has fallen. This really ought not be funny, and the link isn't worth actually following, but I laughed out loud at this thread topic:
It's true that the ex called off our engagement about a year ago, but we've still been seeing each other several times a week, so I haven't felt like such a big loser. But we packed her up and loaded the U-Haul last night, and she's probably on the road now. Luckily, despite manifestly being a fairy, I'm emotionally stunted, so you don't have to imagine me crying or any gross shit like that. What I'm saying, of course, is that the clock starts ticking now: I have no excuses, I'm just being cranky and need to get my ass out of the house, Day 1.
AND: I forgot to mention my handicap du jour: the most absurd reverse-raccoon goggle tan you've ever seen. I have a bright line across each temple, and a disconcerting white ring around each eye. The Swede, of course, immediatlely recognized it: "You have a goggle tan!" But the much more common reaction has been, "Wha...is?..what the heck is that?"
I'm feeling downright Kerryesque. I supported the Iraq war partly because I thought it might spread democracy throughout the Mid-East, and now that that seems to be happening--at least a bit--I'm not focused on the "democracy" so much as the cost. There's very good reason to believe that the number of civilian dead in Iraq is around 100,000, and I can't imagine a realistic scenario that would make me think that 100,000 dead is justifiable. Which is just another way of saying that these baby steps toward freedom seem to be erasing the memory of the dead, but I haven't gotten over them just yet, and I'm not sure that I should, or even that I'm entitled to.
A federal district judge in South Carolina ruled Monday that President Bush had greatly overstepped his authority by detaining an American citizen as an enemy combatant for nearly three years without filing criminal charges....
"The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant," Judge Floyd wrote.Clear enough? And that's from one Henry F. Floyd, appointed by this very same president, in 2003. A "thank you" to Judge Floyd, and a reminder of how truly radical are the apologists for the executive's unfettered power.
Every time I think I've plumbed the depths of wingerdom, that chick at World O'Crap comes along and blows my mind. I didn't know about Vox Day before. He may be even more annoying than Kim Du Toit (that's admittedly improbable). He is an author of what I assume are apocalyptic Christian novels, sold through this fine site (sample:"Our mission at CAHABA PRODUCTIONS is to create exciting faith-based games and entertainment products for teens and young adults that minister and serve the needs of our community." Our god is an awesome god--who creates awesome video games! I don't know about you guys, but I'm on the edge of my seat till that shit comes out for the Xbox. Fuck a bunch of Grand Theft Auto!)
But check this out (I am sorry to say it comes from a page where the guy pretends to be a chick with an advice column. Uhhh, I'm not going there.):
The mental pollution of feminism extends well beyond the question of great thinkers. Women do not write hard science fiction today because so few can hack the physics, so they either write romance novels in space about strong, beautiful, independent and intelligent but lonely women who finally fall in love with rugged men who love them just as they are, or stick to fantasy where they can make things up without getting hammered by critics holding triple Ph.D.s in molecular engineering, astrophysics and Chaucer.
And in the world of female political non-fiction, the situation is arguably worse. Only Ann Coulter [!] even tries to write serious books, as the rest are ghostwritten autobiographies (which is to say literally more talking about feelings); a collection of complaints about Daddy (the Left sees the nation's president as a father figure, so all those anti-Bush books are best understood as the Daddy Dearest genre); complaints that there is no one to date them; and vapid ex post facto attempts to justify Granddaddy's hatred for those dirty Japs who raped Manila.
OK, 10 points for hating on Michelle Malkin, but still. Oh, and he also thinks de Vere was Shakespeare. God, I want to kick this guy in the nuts. I guess if he really had a triple PhD in molecular engineering, astrophysics, and Chaucer, I'd be willing to go for a kick just under the kneecap with a steel-toed boot, on the assumption that I should cut him some slack due to the Asperger's syndrome he suffers from out there in the rarefied air at the tail of the bell curve. I guess I'll just go listen to the cooing of the pre-Oedipal mother for a while and recover my equilibrium.
During the Ward Churchill Two Minutes' Hate, it occurred to me that it was only a matter of time before someone on the right said something as idiolicious as Churchill's remarks, thus giving us a chance to play the disavow-your-crazies game.
Thank God Rep. Sam Johnson showed up to advocate a nuclear strike on Syria. I'm still ill, so I'll save you my more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger Glenn Reynolds impersonation. Feel free to construct your own, though.
Dark Bilious Vapors thinks the same thought.
Wampum made some predictions about response to the Oscars:
Some blogger will write that Hollywood is out of touch with the values of real Americans. That post will fail to explain why millions of real, red state Americans continue, year after year, to plunk down their hard earned cash in order to have their values insulted for two hours. It will also not explain why market forces do not result in people making millions of dollars by making movies that do share the values of real Americans.
Our friends at Power Line give us what we need. Deacon:
To me the Oscars represent another example of the left's march through our institutions. The left has captured nearly all of the organizations and phenomena that meant something to me when I was growing up -- the New York Times, CBS News, the NAACP, the ACLU, the professoriate, Hollywood, etc. etc. But it's a meaningless triumph because these institutions have lost their authority precisely by virtue of their leftward tilt. To illustrate, a Zogby poll shows that 39 percent of Democrats, but only 13 percent of Republicans, watch the Oscars. (Hat tip: PoliPundit).
It saddens me to think that the great moral and political authority of the Oscar statuette has been compromised. It saddens me more to think that anyone, anywhere, grew up thinking about CBS news, but that's another story.
Unfortunately, I missed the Oscars, but Ted Barlow has what seems like a good roundup. But I'm linking because Ted writes, "Sean Penn, Jude Law is a big boy." To which Daniel Davies responds,
Jude Law is a big boy
You are not kidding, by the way. He used to go to the kickboxing gym down the road from me. I joined it with the express intention of beating the crap out of him for Wings of the Dove. I quit after three classes as it was obviously never going to happen. I am not a small bloke, but despite looking all fey and weedy on camera, Law was a muscly 80kg and really quite tidy with his fists. Just to clarify matters, I never saw his cock, so I cannot comment on whether he is a "big boy" in that regard; I suspect not.
That's fine work.
I hadn't realized before hearing Hilary Swank's acceptance speech just how self-serving effusive gratitude can be. The more HS gushed about how honored she was, the more she hammered home the point that winning this Oscar was an accomplishment of incomprehensibly enormous magnitude. And for what did she thank people? For inspiration and for providing her with an opportunity to give her stupendously wonderful, Oscarworthy performance. So yes thanks for sending her the script in the first place, but make no mistake: she still did the heavy lifting.
How to express gratitude with grace? Check out Thelma Schoonmaker, who won Best Editing. She kept it short, and she articulated very convincingly how work in film is fundamentally collaborative, and not just in the inspiration way or the giving-me-the-job-in-the-first-place way:
Thank you so much. This is really as much yours as it is mine, Marty [Scorsese]. Not only because you helped me edit the movie, but because you think like an editor when you shoot. And you gave us an incredibly dazzling ride on this film. And gave us a fantastic group of actors. I truly loved editing your footage and theirs.
I even liked Thelma's outfit better, though you couldn't see her butt.
Overdetermination. My humanities-girl girlfriend thinks it's a Freudian, or maybe Althusserian, thing where several interpretations or forces simultaneously explain one dream element or political situation. I, of course, think it's a linear-algebra thing where one tries to solve m equations for n unknowns, but m>n and there is no solution.
Now, they're sort of the same thing: something is defined or explained by too many different things. What makes overdetermination overdetermined, though, and not just a single useful concept that's broadly applicable, is that the Freudian overdetermination is a good or neutral thing -- it lets you accept more than one otherwise contradictory interpretations -- while the linear-algebra overdetermination is a usually-unavoidable hassle. It's sort of a trick that makes life easier for psychoanalysts, while it's a problem that requires tricks (like least-squares) on the part of mathies.
I spent yesterday evening at the house of a friend who's a film-studies prof, and who was throwing a small Oscar party. At almost all the coworker-hosted parties I get invited to (and whom am I kidding -- it's not like I actually know anyone, save my parents and sister, who's not a coworker), I'm the only scientist. Why? Proximate reason is that I live downtown, along with 70% of the humanities and social-science youngish people at my institution and 0% of the science people except me. Ultimate reason: scientists are (verifiably) from Earth and humanists and social scientists are (metaphorically) from Venus. Here's a little breakdown of the two-cultures culture-clash at my college:
(Don't ask me why everything's capitalized. It's a Movable Type thing.)
Humanities and social sciences:
- Most live downtown. (We're lucky enough to have an easy public-transit commute to our suburban workplace.)
- Most all are child-free.
- Most are car-free.
- Hardly any are married.
- About half are lesbians or gay men.
- At parties, everyone stands around talking about prosciutto, or whatever.
Natural sciences (except me):
- All live in the suburbs, near work.
- None are child-free. Almost all have exctly two kids.
- All have at least one car, often a minivan.
- All are married, many to stay-at-home wifemoms.
- None, to my knowledge, are gay.
- At parties the kids (who all know each other) play while adults sit on couches and talk about youth soccer.
(By the way, I do enjoy going to scientist parties. Especially at the computer-science parties, where people play interesting card games.)
When right-wing blowhards get all bunched up over the radicals on the tenure track, generally they're not referring to chemistry departments. Yes, every natural-scientist I know is hard-left as far as electoral politics go. But as far as lifestyle goes they seem little different from the loyal Republicans who are most of their suburban-Philly neighbors. For the most part they want the classic American Dream -- kids, house with yard, burb with good schools -- with all the troubling issues of sprawl and ethnic uniformity that come with it.
I say that only as a minor dig -- I'm trying to be less outwardly critical of people for perfectly justifiable life decisions, like reproducing. And it's not like my pork-eating, hobo-kicking humanities friends are great models of living by their politics. But what's the deal?? Is it that college kids with American-Dream dreams (but who aren't so far gone as to opt immediately for marketing degrees) gravitate to molecular biology? Or is it that humanists and social scientists are better at making their politics personal?
No, it's not a post about Ted DiBiase, though by God it should be. I haven't even seen Eastwood's movie.
Clicking to read more reveals spoilers, too, just in case you care about that kind of thing.
I just wanted to make a bitchy medical ethics point, since, hey, if the Man is gonna make me teach it, I reserve the right to get pedantic. (God, I hope I'm right. This could turn into such an embarassment.) Anyway. The story is that Hilary Swank gets paralyzed and asks to be taken off the respirator that keeps her alive; Clint "they call me 'unforgiven'" Eastwood complies, and much weeping ensues.
My small and not-too-significant point is that this doesn't count as euthanasia and it's perfectly legal. It's not some big controversial thing. It's not a hard case. Competent patients have the right to refuse treatment. Without consent, medical treatment is an elaborate form of assault. (Hence DNR orders, etc.) No consent, no right to mess with the body. (It gets trickier without competence, but we can ignore that here.)
What grounds this right is controversial. Ronald Dworkin et al. argue that it's based on autonomy, while the Supremes see it as simply an extension of the right to be free from physical assault and coercion. (The difference is significant because the Dworkin position is naturally extended to euthanasia and PAS cases, while the SC position draws a distinction between refusal of treatment and active euthanasia.) But it seems pretty clear to me-- ha! it's been a year or so since I thought about any of this, and, as I mentioned, I haven't seen the film-- that the Swank case is one that's considered permissible by prevailing standards.
You might wonder why the film should botch this (supposing that I'm right, and so on). My best uninformed guess is that it has to in order to create a heartwrenching but morally explicable moment without too much ham-handedness early on. Consider: we think it's ok to withdraw treatment because it's the patient's competent wish that we do so. What would make this a harder case is (a) inability to express competent wishes, either because of an inability to communicate or a failure of competence, or (b) the need to actively kill, rather than passively to allow to die. But this leads to aesthetic dilemmas-- can you imagine a scene early in the movie where one character happens to remark to another, "in the event of my total paralysis..."? Hokey. And crossing over the active/passive distinction would raise serious problems with the audience. Anyway, that's my guess, but, as I keep saying, don't take my word on it. It'd be interesting to know if this came up during the making of the film.
Awesome google searches that brought people here today:
"gay sex blogging"
"did thomas hobbes think interracial marriages were right?"
It's all you need to know about Unfogged, isn't it?
I just realized that a friend was featured on This American Life (in act four). It's a story about MoveOn canvassing-- hearing him in action reminds me that I'm so, so bad at door-to-door. Remember those good old days?
Another reason to be envious: A-man is headed to Italy during his sabbatical.