Our own Matt Yglesias, unable to resist the lure of bloggingheads.tv. Points for staying awake the whole time he was talking to Robert Wright.
My host says that the site should be running at speed again, so let me know if you're still having problems loading and posting comments.
On a different topic, this article by a Times writer who worked as a waiter for a week is pretty entertaining.
Shared Server Blues: Someone whose site is hosted on the same server was running a script that was hogging resources. They've told him to cut it out, and things seem to be working properly now. I'll keep an eye on it over the next few days.
Pwned: I noticed things slowing down again, and the load creeping up on the server, so I emailed my host. Response:
The load appears to be going down now, however it should be noted that one of the biggest resource users at the moment is the unfogged account. It appears to be your movable type installation, notably the mt-comments.cgi file.
Years ago, a co-worker and I were feeling up a what was then new-fangled gel-filled mouse pad. Co-worker said,
--Oh, that feels just like a sixteen-year-old's tits.
--Really, you think so? That's awfully firm.
--But that's how they feel when they're sixteen.
--I hear you, but that's just too firm.
--Ok, a twelve-year-old's ass.
So the DOJ has subpoenaed Google's record of searches, and now we're going to have congressional hearings on Google's decision to submit to the Chinese government's demand to censor their Chinese results. So riddle me this: why doesn't Google relocate to some lax-lawed little country? Surely there's some place that has, or could have, the connectivity that Google requires, and also is basically lawless. And surely Google has enough money to make the move and keep attracting top talent. So why not?
Said, in passing to a coworker this morning:
"Something smells good."
She looked at me like "Duh, here I am."
"I meant baked goods."
Does anyone have any opinions on the topic of DSL vs. cable Internet service? If the adverts are to be believed, DSL service (assuming you're willing to pay a little extra) can be just as fast as cable. And perhaps more reliable as well? An impending move to sunnier climes gives me the opportunity to, hopefully, upgrade the speed of my home connection.
When my brother was 14, he played bass in a hardcore band, and had the straight edge. Sometimes he would rebuke me for my more wavy-edge tendencies. My response: no one wants to have sex with you, you can't buy booze, and you don't know where to score any drugs. If any of this changes, well, we're going to lose the straight edge. He scoffed, but I was totally right. Sour grapes, indeed.
Let's all rock some 7seconds:
Yeah, you do drugs, you know I don't
Yet it's a trend just 'cos I don't
Leave me be, can't you see
I hate the way it fuckin' smells
I hate the way it makes me feel
Thumbs down to all those drugs you need
'Cos I'll just stay high naturally
Just more false starts, it tears apart
Your heart, hour head, your soul, your brain
It helps the feeling, eases the pain
Aww, they're sweet, ain't they?
Drugs make you a man
They help you understand
It's a cheap escape and it's nothin' great
But you do them when you can
Drugs make you turn on me!
Drugs will not set you free!
Your money buys you dope
Say you just can't cope
But friends are cheap, when drugs can keep
A buzz inside your head
Big ups to the natural high, foggies. Big ups.
This article from the LA Weekly detailing the sins of an alleged memoirist who parlayed tales of woe and (false) claims of Navajo identity to the big time, is well worth a read. But I thought we would all appreciate his past as a gay S and M novel writer:
Yet another Google search, this time for Tim Barrus [the purported "Nasdijj"'s actual name], brings up the heading "Sadomasochistic Literature" and the following: "Some of the best pornographic fiction to come out of the leatherman tradition is by Tim Barrus whose Mineshaft (1984) describes the sexual exploits of the infamous New York S/M palace of the same name." The site is GLBTQ: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and queer culture. The section in which Barrus' name appears is titled "Gay Male Writers Since the 70's."
Can I put a copy on some kind of sidebar wishlist? I mean, to give to Labs?
Finally, the issue is settled in a fairminded and unobjectionable way. Check out parts 1 & 2 for that fine "I'm halfway pretending to be an impartial observer" feel.
wait for it
(a) Hurray for Cala, here and elsewhere.
(b) It's funny to scroll through a very long comment without reading it, think "hey, I bet it's Burke" and find vindication in the signature.
(c) One important point made at various points in that thread is that it's a bad idea to look at single decisions apart from their broader context. (Analytic ethicists tend to be guilty of this a lot-- "hey, let's consider a prototypical abortion" or "imagine a completely ahistorical, asocial act of assisted suicide.") It's useful both pedagogically and otherwise to stress that these decisions are connected to other facts that are in danger of dropping out of sight-- the availability of job protections or childcare (etc.) in the first case, the economic pressures of healthcare or demands on family members (etc.) in the other. (A funny instance of these facts disappearing and then re-emerging is in the exchange between John Hardwig and Felicia Ackerman on whether there's a duty to die.)
(d) PS. One of the strengths of Rosalind Hursthouse's somewhat unsatisfying essay "Virtue theory and abortion" is that it passes up the well-trod "permissible/impermissible" ground in favor of a more subtle discussion of which reasons for choosing an abortion are good and which are bad. What a surprise-- virtue ethics tells us that there are cases and then there are cases.
Damn, Jill at Feministe bitchslaps some Will Saletan. Go thou, and read the whole thing. A sample (but really, read it all):
The reality is that, even if every single person uses contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies, there will still be a need for abortion. There will be extreme fetal abnormalities. There will still be life-threatening pregnancies. There will still be pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. There will still be contraceptive failures. There will still be mid-pregnancy personal tragedies that turn a wanted pregnancy into an impossible one. This is life. Abortion, like sex and pregnancy and childbirth and miscarriage, will always be a part of it.
The question is, how can we best give all people the widest range of options possible? That's what the pro-choice movement is truly about. And Saletan is right when he says that the vast majority of women — I would even go as far as to say all women — would prefer not to have an abortion if they could avoid it. We'd rather not get pregnant unintentionally in the first place. We'd rather not have health- and life-threatening pregnancies. We'd rather not have severely deformed fetuses, or fetuses who die in utero. We'd rather not be two months pregnant and then lose our job, or have our spouse die, or experience all the other situational things that sometimes turn a wanted pregnancy into an unwanted one. But in recognizing that these things happen, we must defend the right to abortion. Further, we must assert the right to abortion as a basic human rights issue — that anyone who says that it isn't inherently up to the woman to decide which eggs she grows to term isn't challenging the right to abortion, they're challenging the very notion of women's self-sovereignty and individual autonomy. Our internal organs are not political chesspieces. They are ours, and anyone who suggests otherwise does not believe that women are complete individuals who are, by their simple existence as human beings, worthy of shaping their own lives and making decisions about what does and does not happen to their physical selves.
Clearly, if you're going to have your body (or, for the cheapskates, your head) frozen in the hopes that future scientists will both be able and care to revive you, then it clearly makes sense to harness the power of compound interest to ensure that you wake up a billionare. On the other hand, people so often say about this kind of thing that "in the future, doctors will know how to cure cancer!", when the relevant question is, "sure, but will doctors know how to raise people from the dead after each cell in their body has been exploded from within by the mighty powers of ice?" I incline to think, not so much.
I wanted to note for the record (since the conversation got a little heated, and since I'm feeling bad about that) that my issue with the "covering" discussion in Yoshino's article had to do with a distinction between two kinds of preferences or commitments. The point I want to hold on to is that some instances of covering reach further into the core of an individual's identity than others. This, as comments such as BitchPhD's make clear, is not the same as the degree to which some instance of covering is a pain in the ass. (It's physically easy to remove a yarmulke, more difficult to give up an easy hairstyle.) And some core violations might be less harmful than some non-core-violations. But, I think, it's still something worth retaining.
This is not to say that prohibitions against cornrows are a good idea. It's more a point about the kind of harm done by them. And my intuitive sense that there's an important distinction there might turn out to be faulty. But I didn't want to be "anti-cornrows" guy. More like "'anti-cornrows' might be stupid, invasive, and motivated by a sort of racism, but not quite the same as cases where an individual is pressured to compromise some core commitment, though I have not yet explicated this concept."
Kobe shoots 59% from the floor, 50% from three, and finishes with 81 points. But only two assists! Fire Phil Jackson!
Just to lighten the mood. I thought this was pretty funny:
We were at a restaurant somewhere in Shaker Heights and laughing over this absurd remark or that when he leaned back in his chair and jumped the conversational tracks. "I've got one," he said, an evil glint in his eye. "How does every joke about black people begin?"
Which pretty much stopped the laughter dead. Thing was, see, he wasn't known for this sort of joke. At all. Thing is, though, how well do you ever really know someone? —Final scheme, and all that.
"Okay," said someone, after a bit too long. "How?"
And he rested his elbows on the table, looked ostentatiously over his left shoulder, ostentatiously over his right, and then leaned forward, mouth open as if he were about to speak.
We got it.
Would that some guardians of our discourse had the shrunken, shriveled enlightenment of the butts of that particular joke.
A fair and balanced look at the Bush presidency through the lens of a text adventure. Via DeLong.
> READ BOOK
You read "My Pet Goat."
In the distance, terrorists attack the United States.
> READ BOOK
You continue to read "My Pet Goat."
> READ BOOK
You continue to read "My Pet Goat."
> READ BOOK
You continue to read "My Pet Goat."
UPDATE: my inner baa prompts me to point out that this is funny mainly because of the funniness of text adventures, not because I'm Michael Moore. Don't pretend you don't know what I mean. Dangerous timewasting available here.
My stepdad is posting comments on my blog. Why is my stepdad posting on my blog? Even reading my blog, vague creepy rays are coming out there, but posting comments? Now, here's the crazy part. I thought to myself while I was out for a run today, well I could always ban his IP address...and then I realized that I would feel bad about doing that! How can it possibly be the case that you could go from plotting for frame a person up on a drugs charge or shooting him to feeling bad about his not being able to comment on your blog? But damn, there he is down there in Shithole, South Carolina, all crippled by the stroke and the wrecks, still drinking, and his wheelchair got all fucked up by a car hitting it a few weeks ago, and he told the driver to go on because "he was fine" (and who was that asshole who agreed to drive on?), so now he can't claim insurance for a new wheelchair. Did he win the "I'm a fucking moron" get out of ethical jail free card or something? But then, if everything bad I ever wished him has already happened and more, and he's living in some shitty place, alone, on public assistance and in a broken wheelchair, what's the point of subjecting him to the attenuated but real pain of seeing his comment has been rejected because I banned his IP address? From the public fucking library? Shit. Also, this reminds me that I want my s33krit identity to be super-s33krit. Err on the side of obfuscation, friends...
UPDATE: relevant Pavement lyrics: "you can never quarantine the past." and
"Keep my address to myself because it's secret
Cuz it's secret cret cret cret" So, keep it se-cret cret cret cret.