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Preferences

Posted by Ogged
on 11.19.05

Thanks very much to Tom, who has added options to the comments to let you decide whether you're automatically taken to the top/bottom or last read comment. Scroll to the bottom of a thread and click on Set Comment Options to try it out.


 

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Small Head, Small World

Posted by Ogged
on 11.19.05

A senile barber, though he act friendly, is not your friend. Shit.

In other news, you doomsayers, the ex just scored a place she loves in Chelsea for $1375/month. Woot!

Which brings us back to the barber: tentatively, I'll be in NY from, I think, December 11-17. Perhaps people would like to have some kind of Unfogged get together, since it seems a lot of you are in The City. Comments are open.


 

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Grrr

Posted by Ogged
on 11.19.05

When the plan is for me to meet people here at work at 8am on a Saturday, and then the plan changes, it would be fantastically nice for someone to let me know.

At least there's plenty of time left in the day for me to find a dog to run over.


 

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No One Else Is Going To Do It

Posted by Ogged
on 11.18.05

Last year, Defamer opined,

Note to the burgeoning Cinematic Jailbait aficionado scene: We know you've been a little starved the last couple of weeks, but it is way, way too early to start perving on Hermione. Just cut it out.

Fair enough. But this year, Hermione is fifteen, and soon it won't be perving anymore. I hereby declare that the time is just right to start perving on Hermione.


 

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We Need To Motorize This Shit

Posted by Ogged
on 11.18.05

This post is more a place-marker for me than anything else, but you can look at it if you want.

Swimmers do sets that are described as R x D @ T (S), which means some number of repetitions of some distance, in a fixed amount of time to both swim (in the specified stroke) the distance and to rest before starting the next repetition . (It's always struck me as diabolical that if you want more rest between repetitions, you have to swim faster.) So, 10 X 50 @ 1:00 (free) means you swim 50 meters of freestyle 10 times, and have 1 minute to both swim a 50, and rest before you swim the next one.

One of the sets that I do occasionally is 5 X 100 @ 1:40 (free). At the end of the fifth repetition, I'm ready to die. There isn't enough oxygen in all the world. (I'm ok after a couple of minutes, and do breastsroke sets or whatever, but if you asked me to add a sixth set, I would not be your friend.) Anywho, I was reading my big swimming textbook the other day, and in the sample workout for Kieran Perkins, former world record-holder in the 1500m freestyle, there was a set of 30 X 100 @ 1:40. That is beyond demoralizing. I'm not sure I could do that on foot.

Still, I'm hoping that this post, like the post about the Ex kicking my ass, will be an occasion for future chortles at my own past incompetence. Keep hope alive.


 

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Asylum

Posted by Ogged
on 11.18.05

I've been poking around a bit on the Iraq / Al Qaeda link, and while it's not definitive by any stretch, this 1999 (i.e. Clinton-era) report from the Guardian is pretty damn interesting.


 

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One Unfortunate Man

Posted by Ogged
on 11.17.05

Slate has a very good, and totally disturbing, review of the history of the CIA's "experiments" in torture. Note that there's nothing about truth there.


 

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Let us make art

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.17.05

Another ObWi link-- a call for some right-wing rock-n-roll:

So here's the deal: if anyone wants to write a parody right-wing rock song, do it. Better still, if anyone wants to record a parody right-wing song (paging xanax), do it, put it on the web somewhere, and post the link. If you don't have space, email the music file to me (within reasonable limits), and (since I have some space on my .mac account) I'll host it and link to it here. We cannot allow the unintentional self-parodies of the right to go unanswered. Best entry wins a virtual gold star.

Surely this is a task made for the Unfogged Community.

Strangers on the right

Exchanging tax breaks

Let's stay in Iraq

until the pax takes...

Which reminds me of a joke: lounge pianist gets a gig in a mob bar. One of the heavies comes up to him and says, "Boss wants to hear 'Strangers in the Night' in 5/4 time." "What? I can't--" "Boss wants to hear it..." "OK, I'll give it a shot." So he starts playing. From across the bar: "Strangers in da fuckin' night...exchanging fuckin' glances..."


 

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Trial

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.17.05

Update: be sure to read this post of Hilzoy's. It contains some excerpts from the transcripts of the earlier-mentioned Adel's trial. Recall that Adel was found to be a noncombatant. Adel's lawyer:

Here's what I saw on July 14th. A slight, gentle man with a shy smile chained to the floor, a man sitting in a box that had no windows. As far as the guards were concerned, he has no name. They refer to him by his number. When he wanted to go to the bathroom, a guard had to come in and put on green rubber gloves --

From the transcript:

THE COURT: You're not talking about your client?
MR. WILLETT: I'm talking about my client.
THE COURT: He was chained to a floor?
MR. WILLETT: He had a leg shackle that was chained to a bolt in the floor, Your Honor, in Camp Echo. Both of my clients.
I thought I knew something about what this imprisonment meant, but I was wrong. I really found out Friday of last week. You see, there had been a newspaper article that had been written about this story, and it had been picked up by the Uighur diaspora and made its way to Europe.
And late Thursday came an extraordinary telephone call, and on Friday, through an interpreter, I spoke by telephone to Kabsur Abdul Hakim, who is a refugee living in Sweden, and she is Adel's sister. And while Mary Turkel, the interpreter who was in the room, and I listened to her weep, she told us that the thought her brother was dead.
You see, she was right. These people are dead to the outside world. They're dead to their children, they're dead to their wives, even their names are a secret. And but for the fortuity that my clients happen to have outside lawyers, the fact of their acquittal, or whatever you call this, would be a secret.

Hoowee!

UPDATE: quote fixed. Thanks to the meat man. (The first paragraph was uttered by the lawyer, but not in the trial.) Nevergoddamnedmind. Read the whole thing.


 

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Swedish Dentists: Not Wizard Cocksucker

Posted by Ogged
on 11.16.05
"You should avoid having oral sex," dentist and researcher Kerstin Rosenquist, who headed the study, told Swedish news agency TT.
Why? Because it will give you cancer. The death of God was one thing, and we seem to be doing ok with that, but it's finally time for us all to lie down on the ground and wait for death to overtake us. I know that what the study really says is that you shouldn't have oral sex with people who are infected with the human papilloma virus, but it's too late for fine distinctions. Once you've put cancer and oral sex together, you can't just take them apart again. At least we've all got something to do while we wait for death to overtake us.

 

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Much Safer Indoors

Posted by Ogged
on 11.16.05

At the pool today, a few of us regulars were resting and chatting when a man showed up with two big bags which he just cut open and started dumping into our lanes. "What's that going to do to my hair?" called out one guy, who must work for Homeland Security. In a deep voice and central casting menacing accent came the reply, "Yu vont hav any."

I swam to other end, through the white cloud, took a long look at the bag, then looked at the guy, who was standing over me with a wry smile. He said, "Don't be afraid." Then (gratuitously, IMO), "I am not going to kill anyone."

I survived, only to be approached by an Italian from Italy guy (he showed me his passport) at the gas station on the way back to the office, who gave me a schpiel about being a distributor of men's fashion, and having three suits that he couldn't take back to Italy because of a high import tariff, which meant that he was offering me all three of the suits, if I'd just pay for one. If he hadn't shown me his passport, I would have sworn he was Nigerian.


 

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The Case For Invading Syria

Posted by Ogged
on 11.16.05

While it's become conventional wisdom that our troops are "tied down" in Iraq, in fact, we stand at a unique moment of possibility. After the exposure of their involvement in the death of a Lebanese minister, the Syrian regime is tottering, and our troops are already "in theatre."

Of course I'm kidding. Geez, people.


 

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The Case For War

Posted by Ogged
on 11.15.05

I think no one is going to like this, but partly for my own peace of mind, partly because I'm just not sure the congealing liberal consensus is right, here's a review of the case for invading Iraq as I saw (and endorsed) it.

1. It would be really horrible for a nuclear device to go off in one of America's cities.

2. The main lesson of 9-11 was that there are people who are willing to set off a nuclear device in an American city.

3. Saddam would like to have nukes.

4. Saddam can't be kept from getting nukes by inspectors, because he will only allow inspectors in under credible threat of force, which force is not sustainable over the long term.

5. Whether Saddam and Al Qaeda (or other terrorist groups) have had contact is largely irrelevant, because there's very little to keep them from having contact in the future, especially given that they have a mutual enemy in the U.S.

6. The only way to ensure that Saddam doesn't get nukes, and doesn't pass them on to people willing to use them in the U.S., is to invade.

7. Iraq is invadable. Unlike Pakistan, it doesn't already have nukes. And there's some reason to believe that Iraqis might welcome an invasion.

Nothing about chemical and biological weapons, certainly nothing about humanitarianism and democracy. The absence of humanitarian and democratic considerations among the "liberal hawks" I talked to, incidentally, is one reason I'm not sure I buy the argument that lamenting "incompetence" is a dodge. Maybe bringing democracy to Iraq was an impossible job, but that wasn't the job in mind.

Let's avoid one discussion: This was certainly not the administration's case for war, which was a jumble and muddle of things like this, along with stuff about WMDs, and democracy, and freedom, and ponies.

1-7 still seem non-crazy to me. The one that looks most vulnerable is 7, but that's precisely the one that the "incompetence" argument is meant to address. Of course, there are counterarguments to most of the points, but forgive me if I'm not convinced that those arguments are dispositive.


 

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Duck And Die A Horrible Death, Infidel!

Posted by Ogged
on 11.15.05

[Update: this might be a crock.]

If you live in earthquake country, you've certainly heard that you should "duck and cover" (stand in a door frame, get under a desk) in case of an earthquake. This dude, who has done lots of earthquake recovery, says duck-and-cover equals almost certain death. And he has such a wonderful way of saying it.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under their desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones.

...

Everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE is crushed to death -- Every time, without exception. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are always crushed.

...

If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

...

Never go to the stairs ... The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads. They are horribly mutilated.

Now you know! He recommends a totally straightforward and intuitive survival procedure (that he manages to obfuscate by talking about "triangles" and "the void of life"): get down into the fetal position right next to something big and solid.

Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

That makes a lot of sense. More details at the link.

via marginal revolution


 

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Funny

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.15.05

Dilbert the comic strip is slightly funny. The Dilbert Blog is much funnier, albeit in a very different way. Via--haha!-- Vox Day.


 

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The Inner Circle

Posted by Ogged
on 11.15.05

I hate to admit that there might be anything personally interesting about George W. Bush, but this is hard to overlook.

Sources close to the White House say that Mr. Bush has become isolated and feels betrayed by key officials in the wake of plunging domestic support, the continued insurgency in Iraq and the CIA-leak investigation that has resulted in the indictment and resignation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.
The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.

So the only people W talks to daily are varyingly mean and dykey women? Is there something about Bush that makes it impossible for him to deal with men, or is it just that these women are the only ones who have stayed loyal, which he values above everything else?

In any case, you do have to wonder, as I heard someone on TV say, why anyone ever runs for a second term as president.


 

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Well, someone is clearly procrastinating

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.15.05

I think Glenn is linguistically confused-- by "interesting point" he means "complete non sequitur."

UPDATE: Reader Sylvia Lutnes makes an interesting point:
Two days after 9/11 78% of Americans thought Saddam had something to do with the attacks according to a Washington Post poll (note prior polls at the bottom):
Could it be that Clinton and the Democrats had led us to believe Saddam was dangerous and capable of such a thing? Nah. They'd rather blame Bush.
I think it's about time the 'Bush led Americans to believe Saddam was connected to 9/11' meme has to die.
As I say, interesting point.

No, it's not an interesting point. It's a completely weird and stupid thing to say-- so when Cheney kept on about "the connection" it was sort of secret code for "well, he's capable of doing something like this"? Or is the idea that, since the public immediately (and not entirely unreasonably) suspected a SH connection, it was simply impossible to say: here is the evidence, and it doesn't support the sort of link that you might have expected? It turns out to be our own damn fault. I guess we get the government we deserve after all.


 

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Well where am I supposed to shop?

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.15.05

And here I was all excited because a Target just opened in the area. Where will I go for designer toilet plungers?


 

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Dialogue

Posted by Ogged
on 11.14.05

I urge you very strongly to check out this week's installment of blogginheads.tv. Seriously.

See here for background.


 

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Karma

Posted by Ogged
on 11.14.05

I probably should have told the guy who went into the stall with no toilet paper that there was no toilet paper. But he doesn't seem like the friendliest guy, so not only didn't I tell him, but I looked back at his expectant little feet and chuckled on my way out. And so it goes for people who don't think the world is a friendly place: the world repays their bad attitude with more the same, and it's a vicious spiral down. I give this guy twenty-seven months until he's panhandling downtown.


 

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I do not trust big government

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.14.05

Via Drum. There's no need for me to post this, really, but I wanted to add to the public shaming of people like Jon Kyl and Lindsey Graham.

P. Sabin Willett:

As the Senate prepared to vote Thursday to abolish the writ of habeas corpus, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl were railing about lawyers like me. Filing lawsuits on behalf of the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Terrorists! Kyl must have said the word 30 times.
As I listened, I wished the senators could meet my client Adel.
Adel is innocent. I don't mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken.
The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.
Only habeas corpus got Adel a chance to tell a federal judge what had happened. Only habeas corpus revealed that it wasn't just Adel who was innocent -- it was Abu Bakker and Ahmet and Ayoub and Zakerjain and Sadiq -- all Guantanamo "terrorists" whom the military has found innocent.
Habeas corpus is older than even our Constitution. It is the right to compel the executive to justify itself when it imprisons people. But the Senate voted to abolish it for Adel, in favor of the same "combatant status review tribunal" that has already exonerated him. That secret tribunal didn't have much impact on his life, but Graham says it is good enough.
Adel lives in a small fenced compound 8,000 miles from his home and family. The Defense Department says it is trying to arrange for a country to take him -- some country other than his native communist China, where Muslims like Adel are routinely tortured. It has been saying this for more than two years. But the rest of the world is not rushing to aid the Bush administration, and meanwhile Adel is about to pass his fourth anniversary in a U.S. prison.
He has no visitors save his lawyers. He has no news in his native language, Uighur. He cannot speak to his wife, his children, his parents. When I first met him on July 15, in a grim place they call Camp Echo, his leg was chained to the floor. I brought photographs of his children to another visit, but I had to take them away again. They were "contraband," and he was forbidden to receive them from me.

...

Mistakes are made: There will always be Adels. That's where courts come in. They are slow, but they are not beholden to the defense secretary, and in the end they get it right. They know the good guys from the bad guys. Take away the courts and everyone's a bad guy.
The secretary of defense chained Adel, took him to Cuba, imprisoned him and sends teams of lawyers to fight any effort to get his case heard. Now the Senate has voted to lock down his only hope, the courts, and to throw away the key forever. Before they do this, I have a last request on his behalf. I make it to the 49 senators who voted for this amendment.
I'm back in Cuba today, maybe for the last time. Come down and join me. Sen. Graham, Sen. Kyl -- come meet the sleepy-eyed young man with the shy smile and the gentle manner. Afterward, as you look up at the bright stars over Cuba, remembering what you've seen in Camp Echo, see whether the word "terrorist" comes quite so readily to your lips. See whether the urge to abolish judicial review rests easy on your mind, or whether your heart begins to ache, as mine does, for the country I thought I knew.

A small note of dissent: it doesn't matter at all if Adel is a swell guy or a complete ass. What matters is that he receive due process of law.


 

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Notice

Posted by Ogged
on 11.14.05

Andrew Sullivan just linked to Obsidian Wings. Good work, Katherine and Hilzoy.


 

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Lalala

Posted by Ogged
on 11.14.05

Atrios writes what I've been thinking about the habeus corpus amendments.

I haven't written anything about this because I have this naive hope that there's some weird political jiu jitsu going on and the passage of the Bingaman amendment is inevitable.

Why do I think this? No idea. But it seems like something's up, and this is all some big secret dance that we're not in on. I'm going to enjoy the Y2K feeling of saying it's no big deal, while the rest of you prove me right by thinking I'm wrong.


 

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Daddy Likes To Watch

Posted by Ogged
on 11.13.05

Becks notes a dad expressing a seriously creepy sentiment about his daughter's sexuality. And I, for entirely innocent reasons, have just become familiar with "purity rings," which accompany vows of abstinence made by teens to parents. I assumed that the rings are meant to be worn on the fingers, but for some reason, they keep people from being able to hear themselves.

In the platinum ring he made for Carrie when she was 13, two sapphires represent his watchful eyes

It's almost funny how scared these people are of female sexuality. This other guy sounds like he thinks it's out to get him.

Now a 25-year-old English teacher in northwest New Jersey, Chey prefers the name "chastity ring" for the silver band he wears on his left hand. "Because it looks like a wedding ring, it's almost like a safeguard," says Chey, a devout Catholic. "If a woman comes up to me, her first thought isn't that I might be available for sex."

Of course, given that women seem more likely to hit on married guys, Chey just might be very wily.

Look, I'm not a big fan of teenagers having sex, but girls promising themselves to their fathers is creepy, and this notion that if a woman's vagina isn't under some man's watchful eye, it's going to run amok and cause widespread destruction is a bit antiquated. Maybe folks ought to try raising kids who can deal?

In a 2001 study published in the American Journal of Sociology, Peter Bearman, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, found that only 12 percent of the more than 2.5 million adolescents who had made a virginity pledge by 1995 remained abstinent until marriage. Abstinence pledges do delay sex for an average of 18 months, Bearman found, but those who break their pledges are a third less likely to use protection.

Anyway, it's clear that an arms race is brewing. The Leonkassian parents will give their kids purity rings, the rest will give their kids cock rings, and we'll see which have the greater power.


 

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Torture round-up

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 11.13.05

One final point on Gelernter, and some links.

1. Even granting arguendo that torture is something that is sometimes appropriate will do very little to support any kind of practical policy that's on or near the table right now (e.g., the CIA exemption). Fine, heavy G, suppose you convince me of this:

Of course, saying "never" instead of "almost never" is a trap that well-meaning, lazy people have been falling into for a long time

You still have some substantive work left: you need to show which of the indefinitely many "almost never" clauses is the right one. There is, for example, a vast distance between the much-beloved Ticking Time Bombtm scenario and a "let the CIA do whatever" policy. (Related thoughts from Kleiman.)

In other words, saying that a single permissible case of X demonstrates that X in general ought to be allowed as a matter of policy is a trap that well-meaning, lazy people have been falling into for a long time. (To echo Mangan and Bitch PhD on abortion, you have to evaluate the policy by looking at the totality of acts allowed or encouraged by the policy, not by pointing to innocuous single cases.) This is such an obvious point that I hesitate to post it, but, hell, we need the filler.

2. Speaking of torture...Hilzoy and Katherine at Obsidian Wings have been posting a lot on the upcoming vote concerning habeas corpus rights for people at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Latest is here but keep scrolling. And call your representatives if you go in for that kind of thing.


 

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