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Probably Not What Milton Friedman Had In Mind

Posted by Becks
on 03.18.06

I read Julian Sanchez's theory of the Bush Administration's appeal a couple of days ago and ever since I keep coming back to his idea whenever I see some Kool-Aid drinker on TV with the latest GOP talking points:

A friend who I'd never otherwise suspected had a sadistic or misogynistic bone in his body once surprised me by confession, of his penchant for buggery, "You know, the truth is, I kind of like anal sex more because she doesn't." Well, if this analysis by David Boaz is right, George W. Bush is conservatism's answer to rear entry: For all his failings, his core supporters stand by him less for his own merits than because he manages to so infuriate the loathed left....[C]onservatism is a broad and diverse coalition. Often the only thing they really have in common—the thing that gets them excited and united—is that the left pisses them all off more than any one group annoys another. So there you have it: This is the Painful Anal Sex Administration.


 

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May record sales be upon him

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 03.18.06

Friends, I bring you good news: Ogged has a hit UK single. Details.

Video.


 

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Probably Not What Betty Friedan Had In Mind

Posted by Becks
on 03.17.06

I was talking with a (straight male) friend earlier this week and the topic somehow turned to threesomes. The ground covered was fairly predictable (most every guy's fantasy, etc.) until he stated the following, as if it were plainly obvious:

Of course, I would only participate in a threesome with two girls. I would never be part of a threesome involving two guys and a girl. You know, because I'm a feminist.

I'll just give you a second to let that last part wash over you a bit.

 

Ready? OK.

His response to my stunned "the hell?" was that two guys together could easily overpower a girl so that would be unsafe for the female participant. "But", I said, "you're not the type of guy who would take advantage of that situation and would surely stop another guy if he tried to overpower a woman. And, anyways, a girl could easily kick your ass." He said that while those points were both true, the dynamic in a 2M+F threesome is inherently one of unequal power and, therefore, one that reinforces the patriarchy so, as a feminist, he could not in good conscience participate in one. Or...something. He wasn't exactly making much sense and it was hard to follow his logic, what with my mind so full of "How did we become friends with this guy again?" thoughts. He then tried to argue the point (again, as a feminist) that the dynamics of a threesome involving two women and a man were empowering because it was all about girl power and female bonding. So, really, he was just trying to help out the sisterhood.

Dude, next time just say "I don't want to see another guy naked or risk catching teh gay".


 

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It's A Wonder I Manage To Get Out Of Bed In The Mornings

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.17.06

I just went to the gym for a lunchtime workout, and realized as I was changing into my gym clothes that I had no sneakers with me.

Nothing makes you feel more pathetic than squatting very, very light weights, in a pair of loafers.


 

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Those who fight monsters...

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 03.17.06

I think the following timeline is illuminating:

(1) Reading NRO, I see a link to this horrifying story, "Man severs penis, throws it at officers."

(2) I immediately think "aha! I can scoop Mr Severed himself!"

(3) But some preliminary research reveals that he'd already claimed the prize.

And so my glee turned to sadness. What have I become? What have I become?


 

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And you thought I had given up

Posted by Tia
on 03.17.06

Okay, I don't know anymore Two Minute Mysteries. Perhaps later I'll fall on my sword and browse among the web resources for another, but until I decide to do that, let's play Botticelli! I'm not sure how well this will work, given the complicating Google factor: let's try it out, at least for the first time, with both questioners and answerer forswearing use of Google (unless you're the answerer and you want to clarify some detail about your mystery person for the sake of the questioners). This is the honor system, people!

These are the rules of Botticelli: It's like Twenty Questions, only the answerer has to pick a person for simplicity's sake. Then the answerer gives the questioners the first letter of the mystery person's last name (or, if the person has one name, or a last name no one could be expected to know, it can be the person's first or only name). Normally, the rules are that the answerer has to pick a person she's reasonably sure everyone playing has heard of. Since this is a big old blog, I'll reduce the standard to reasonably sure 85% of the people have heard of.

There are two orders of questions the questioners ask. Second order questions are traditional yes or no questions to get information about the mystery person. But to get the right to ask a second order question, the questioner asks first order questions. The form they take is easier to describe by example, so here goes.

[Answerer is secretly thinking of Niels Bohr, and has given the letter B]

Q [1st order]: Are you a man with a much taller female partner?

A: I'm stumped, I can't think of anyone like that.

Q: No I'm not Sonny Bono, sucker. [2nd Order, now a question about the A's mystery person] Are you a man?

OR

Q [1st order]: Are you a man with a much taller female partner?

A: No I'm not Sonny Bono. Make it harder, fool.

Q: Damn, that's who I was thinking of. I'll just have to keep asking you 1st order questions.

OR

Q (1st order): Are you a man with a much taller female partner?

A: No, I'm not Boris Badenov.

Q: Alas, though I was thinking of Sonny Bono, your person equally meets my description, and I must keep trying to stump you in order to gain the right to a 2nd order question.

Questioners should try to make their 1st order question mystery people obscure, but they have to be reasonably in the public sphere of knowledge; no asking about your Great Aunt Marge.

Okay, clear?

I'll be the answerer first. My letter is F.


 

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"You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means."

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.17.06

President Bush released a new national security strategy yesterday, reaffirming the ‘Bush doctrine' of pre-emptive war.

Now, there are vastly more important things to complain about, obviously, but the redefinition of ‘pre-emptive war' just annoys me. Before 2002, ‘pre-emptive' was a technical term meaning an attack intended to forestall an immediate and certain attack by another country: in the words of Daniel Webster, where the "necessity of that self-defence is instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." The classic example is Israel in the 1967 war – it was absolutely clear that Israel was about to be attacked, and so by attacking first, Israel did not choose whether a war would occur, only the moment at which it would start. Wars started out of fear that something bad would happen at some indefinite future time were, in contrast, known as ‘preventive wars'. (For a comparison of the terms, see this paper delivered at a 2005 conference on military ethics). And yes, there are borderline cases – what does it mean to be certain that you are about to be attacked – but just like the fact that we can tell a bald man from a man with hair, even though no one can identify the number of hairs at which he moved from one state to the other, pre-emptive strikes and preventive wars are clearly distinguishable.)

Under the old definitions, the Iraq War was obviously preventive, rather than pre-emptive – whatever we were doing, we weren't forestalling a certain, immediate attack. But for sales reasons, the Bush administration decided to describe it as pre-emptive, and now it's impossible to use the two terms to identify a useful distinction. If they wanted to claim that ‘in the post 9-11 world', preventive wars, frowned on in the past, were now necessary, couldn't they have done that without screwing up the terminology?


 

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Be of good cheer.

Posted by Apostropher
on 03.17.06

I don't really have anything to add to this article about the "crisis of cheerleading," but it has so many odd facts and quotes—not to mention gender/culture war skirmishes—that it seemed like the type to start a mammoth comment thread. So, I thought I'd toss a little red meat into the Unfogged maw. Also, fess up: surely somebody here was a cheerleader.


 

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Lest we forget

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 03.17.06

Happy three-year anniversary, Iraq War! Via Atrios & Tom Tomorrow I read this classic from Reynolds:

Yeah, there has been a lot of pro-war gloating. And I guess that Dawn Olsen's cautionary advice about gloating is appropriate. So maybe we shouldn't rub in just how wrong, and morally corrupt the antiwar case was. Maybe we should rise above the temptation to point out that claims of a "quagmire" were wrong -- again! -- how efforts at moral equivalence were obscenely wrong -- again! -- how the antiwar folks are still, far too often, trying to move the goalposts rather than admit their error -- again -- and how an awful lot of the very same people who spoke lugubriously about "civilian casualties" now seem almost disappointed that there weren't more -- again -- and how many people who spoke darkly about the Arab Street and citizens rising up against American "liberators" were proven wrong -- again -- as the liberators were seen as just that by the people they were liberating. And I suppose we shouldn't stress so much that the antiwar folks were really just defending the interests of French oil companies and Russian arms-deal creditors. It's probably a bad idea to keep rubbing that point in over and over again.
Nah.

 

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Weird meat!

Posted by Apostropher
on 03.16.06

As y'all know, I don't shy away when it comes to meat. I've had calf brains, pig feet, snails, frog, snake, alligator, steak tartare, hearts, gizzards, chitlins, scrapple, all manner of raw seafood, and so on. Haven't necessarily enjoyed all of them—sea urchin might be the nastiest thing I've ever had in my mouth—but I've tried them. If I ever make it Scotland, I'm totally eating some haggis. Peru? You bet I would. I fear no prions! Intestinal worms be damned!

But once you get outside the Western Hemisphere, folks will eat anything, including all sorts of dishes that really give me pause. I do find it fascinating, though, which is why I was thoroughly jacked to discover Weird Meat, a blog by a former vegan from California who is chronicling the strange dishes he encounters during his world travels. Barbecued chicken heads! Duck blood soup! Fish poop! Vertical pork bone! He's a braver man than I am.

(via BiomesBlog)


 

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Sicko

Posted by Becks
on 03.16.06

I went in for my yearly checkup last week and got a voicemail from my doctor on Monday saying that he had some test results back and I should call him back that night, right away, having the service page him if necessary. Of course, I didn't get that message until Tuesday morning and he's been out of town for a conference. Given the urgency in his voice, I've spent the last three days wondering what horrible disease I have, with the most logical guess being cervical cancer given the type of tests performed. He finally just called me back and told me the big news. A culture he took showed signs I was developing...strep throat. That's it? That was the cause of the grave message on my voicemail? Next time, be a little more specific to keep from freaking people the fuck out.

It reminded me of a time in college – my boyfriend and I came home after classes on Friday and there was a message on his answering machine from the New Orleans Blood Center saying that there was a problem with the blood he had donated and he needed to call them back ASAP so they could advise him to seek medical attention. The Blood Center was, of course, closed for the weekend and we got to spend Saturday and Sunday wondering if he had tested positive for HIV or hepatitis or god knows what else, only to have them (finally) tell him on Monday that he was...anemic. That's why you ruined our weekend?

Also, because it must be said: the on-hold music was while I was waiting for my results from the gynecologist? Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach".


 

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Flirting and Mentorship

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.16.06

I recently gave a friend some career advice which may have been misguided and counterproductive – it was ‘do as I say, not as I've done' advice, and I'm not sure of my ground.

She's an associate, less than a year out of law school, and asked for advice on building relationships with older male lawyers in her firm; particularly, she was noticing that a male first-year associate seemed to be more successfully achieving an easy camaraderie with the partners than she was. The words "Boys' club" were used. This isn't a professional issue – professionally she kicks the other associate's ass, and is unambiguously recognized as doing so.

I've had similar concerns: very little difficulty getting respect for my competence and work product, fine working relationships with peers of either gender, but uncomfortably distant relationships with male superiors. (How do I do with female superiors, you ask? I'm a litigator. While female litigation partners certainly exist, they're still awfully thin on the ground, and the question hasn't come up much.) This is a real problem in a law firm, as it's very much an apprenticeship system, and interesting work is handed out on the basis of personal relationships.

The conclusion that I've come to, and that I passed on to my friend so that she can avoid making the same mistakes, is that I don't flirt enough. As a professional, I work on keeping my demeanor in the office friendly, but unsexualized, which works great trying to get along with male peers. Unfortunately, the kind of behavior that male associates use to bond with male partners is pretty much same-sex flirting – eagerly projecting wide-eyed admiration and awe, hanging adoringly on the partner's every word, laughing at the partner's jokes, developing a fascination with the partner's recreational interests… you get the picture. While I hadn't really put it together consciously until I was asked for advice, I don't do those things – certainly not with the intensity male associates often do – and I don't do them because they seem inappropriately flirtatious, like a come-on rather than an attempt to step into the ‘disciple' role.

So I told her to try flirting. That is, to keep it clean, of course, but to work on lowering her inhibitions around behaving in a manner that might be taken the wrong way, and to start dishing out the sort of wide-eyed flattery and emotional warmth that male associates give to the partners. She should pull back if she starts getting misinterpreted, but short of that, to go for it. I'm now worrying, of course, that I've destroyed her career.

(Note: The level of sarcasm I'm dishing out about how male associates relate to male partners is mostly sour grapes. With the kind of work we do, the apprenticeship/strong personal bonds manner of handing out work really does make sense, and in that context, the way they build those bonds is inevitable. I just haven't done well with it.)

Update: Becks had an excellent post on similar issues a while back


 

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Inanimate Nude Girls

Posted by Tia
on 03.16.06

Also from MeFi, because I wouldn't want Unfogged to fall down on its reputation as the premiere web portal for doll sex news and analysis, comes the news that some brothels in Japan are employing dolls instead of live prostitutes. Says one patron:

Even the temporarily relieved Takuya pondered after his exertions, "It made me realize how futile it can feel to convey love that doesn't get reciprocated."

Hey, at least he's not claiming it's better than a real woman, like the Real Doll fans.


 

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Birth of an Ocean

Posted by Tia
on 03.16.06

Check out this article about the rifts opening up in the Afar Triangle in Africa. The photos are amazing. In a scant ten million years, the Horn of Africa will be entirely separated from the continent.

via MeFi.


 

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Guide to Constitutional Interpretation

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.16.06

Katherine at Obsidian Wings has a short guide to interpreting the Constitution as the Bush Administration does. It's worth reading.


 

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Ask the Mineshaft: A Problem No One Here is Going To Identify With

Posted by Tia
on 03.16.06
okay, tia, i'm taking you at your word. advice please!
i've just started writing my dissertation, as in literally just ended the empty blank page by writing some sentences for chapter three a few days ago (yes, i'm starting in the middle). last night, i got a phone call from my mother in which she nagged me to get my dissertation done already, because i was probably not working hard enough. i'd like to point out that i'm ahead of the game in my department, and even as i continue to move along at a good pace (god willing) it will be at least another two years before i finish it, and that's completely normal.
it's super-unpleasant to be nagged about my dissertation by my mom, who doesn't take not understanding something as a reason not to criticize it. also, i'm worried it will have a negative effect on my continued progress. i genuinely like my work. but if she started nagging me to eat ice cream and read the ny times all sunday afternoon, i probably wouldn't want to do that anymore either. the idea of being nagged about this for the next TWO TO THREE YEARS is appalling. how do i gracefully, kindly, firmly, and 100% successfully get her to stop the nagging on this issue (she actually told me she had heard that 95% of abds do not finish the dissertation, and paused for my response - so horrible!) and never mention it again?
thanks!
"ready to cut the phone lines"

Dear Ready,

Tell her what you told me: that you're doing better than most of the people in your program, but that feeling like you're being monitored (probably a less confrontational word than "nagged") is demotivating, and if she really wants you to finish your dissertation, the best way to help is not to make you feel like she's keeping tabs on your progress. She should understand that. If it doesn't seem to sink in, I, Tia, the Victor Virtue of online advice columns, advise you to get strategically mad at her. The level of mad you should get depends on your usual interactions, but it should surprise her into realizing you're serious. When I was in college, whenever I called my mom to talk about how I was lonely (my freshman year) or lovelorn (my sophomore), she would tell me I should go on antidepressants. Once she even said to me, "If the Health Center tries to tell you you don't need them, tell them your mother says you do," prompting no small rueful amusement from me that my mother was in all seriousness suggesting I argue to a therapist that my parents were the ultimate source of authority on my well-being. No matter how many times I told her I was confident I didn't need antidepressants, she didn't stop with the refrain, until one day, after I'd heard this for the eighty vigillionth time, I got mad. I yelled. I swore. I told her just how stupid and undermining she was being. And later she said she was sorry and she never did it again. Hopefully, if gracious honesty doesn't work with your mom, getting mad will.

Yours in resistance to nagging moms,

Tia


 

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New York: Newer York

Posted by Ben
on 03.15.06

Out of deference to Jackmormon, a clear statement of the plans for the second unfogged NY-area gathering: Wednesday, the 29th, at, as I understand it, the place mentioned here.

This thread should probably be used to settle on a finer-grained time than "Wednesday".


 

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Animate dead

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 03.15.06

"In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history lived a strange race of people: the Druids. No one knows who they were, or what they were doing, but their legacy remains, hewn into the living rock... of Stonehenge."

I've been going through old posts in order to bring the site up to speed. I thought you might be interested in seeing my first Unfogged comment and the thread it sprung from. It's hilarious to see who's in those old things, and what we were saying.


 

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March Madness

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.15.06

Collegiate roundball thread. Go for it.


 

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iPod Question

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.15.06

I was listening to my iPod on shuffle, and wondered why you can't weight the probability of different songs showing up. There are some songs that I wouldn't mind having, say, a 1/20 chance of showing up -- I could listen to them any time happily -- and others that I'd enjoy being surprised by once a month, but really don't want to hear more often than that. In fact, there are quite a few songs in the latter category, which means they show up much, much too often. Is there such a feature that I'm just not aware of?


 

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Sucking 'Em Dry

Posted by Tia
on 03.15.06

This article was mentioned in comments, but I'd been meaning to blog about it anyway, so I'm going to. Nyah. It's about a theory that conceives pregnancy and childrearing as a competition between mother and child, with the child trying to extract as many resources as it can from its mom, and the mom trying to minimize what she allots to the child, so she has sufficient resources to raise more than one. Pre-eclampsia is hypothesized to be caused by a protein the fetus injects into its mother to raise her blood pressure, and so direct more blood to the placenta. It also explains "genomic imprinting"--the deactivation of the mother's or father's genes in a gene pair--as mother-father competition: the paternal genes direct the fetus, and eventually the baby, to get everything it can from the mother, and the maternal genes tell it to slow down.


 

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The odometer rolls.

Posted by Apostropher
on 03.15.06

It isn't clear exactly which comment did it, as different indicators show slightly different counts, but at some point during the past day, the 100,000th Unfogged comment was posted.

You all need to get lives.


 

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Talents

Posted by Becks
on 03.15.06

The oddest compliment I received (OK, second oddest) was that I pour things really well. I had never thought about it but it's true – my mother would call me into the kitchen to pour things for her instead of digging around and finding a funnel. (By proclaiming this, I will surely now spill a pitcher of beer on someone at the meetup.) I guess that makes up for the fact that I have no ability to judge container volume whatsoever. Not infrequently, you'll find me in the kitchen looking back and forth between the leftovers in a pot and the inside of an empty bowl for 5 minutes trying to judge whether the contents would fit and then just giving up and grabbing a bowl that's two sizes too large.

I have no sense of direction but I have a well-developed sense of time. I'm very good at estimating how much time has elapsed since a point earlier in the day. I am also an excellent packer – not packing a suitcase for a trip, but packing boxes to move apartments or packing a bunch of stuff into a trunk of a car.

Not the most useful talents, I'll admit, but I'll take them. What are you good at?


 

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Impeachment

Posted by Tia
on 03.14.06

This is a little old, I'm sorry, but I'm usually kind of tentative about expressing opinions about politics any more flavorful than the standard "torture is bad, abortion rights are good" fare, and only with time did this opinion cheese ripen into a nice sharp cheddar. Last week MY endorsed a Harold Meyerson op-ed arguing against impeachment talk, and I don't think it makes sense. Meyerson wants us to cut out impeachment talk, but the only argument I can discern that he makes in favor of keeping mum is that we won't be able to impeach with a Republican-controlled congress. That's a reason why it might not end up happening, but not a reason not to urge it in the strongest terms. (If he thinks that setting our dogs after impossible quarry would make us look weak, that would be a legitimate argument, but it's not one he makes explicitly.)

He goes onto say that

[it] doesn't necessarily mean that impeachment would become a good idea even if the Democrats had the votes to push it through. That's an empirical and political judgment that would have to be made at the time. As a general rule, though, bad faith and worse policy should be subject to political remedy, not criminal prosecution, unless there have been crimes so unambiguous and momentous that no political remedy is suitable.

But impeachment is a political remedy. And why can't we lay the groundwork by talking about it now? The louder and the more mainstream impeachment cries become, the more politically viable impeachment may become.

Ack, a fire alarm. If this post is sketchy, blame it.


 

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More Thoughts On Talking About Abortion

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.14.06

The excellent comment thread to Becks' post below got me thinking about one way in which communication breaks down between advocates for abortion rights and people in the mushy middle, who don't necessarily advocate a total South Dakota-style abortion ban, but nonetheless identify emotionally with the pro-life, rather than the pro-choice, position (I'm going to call them moderate pro-lifers just to have a name for them).

Conversation has a tendency to break down because abortion rights advocates are focused on what the law regulating abortion should be, while moderate pro-lifers are focused on whether individual decisions to have abortions are made for moral or immoral reasons. The first is a general question – laws apply to everyone, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible, in the same manner, and need to be written so as to produce the best outcome for the people subject to those laws generally. The second, on the other hand, is a profoundly individual question: is the woman who wants to have an abortion a brutally sodomized religious virgin? a working-poor married mother whose birth control failed despite conscientious use and who will lose her job, sending her family into grinding poverty, if she has another child? or an irresponsible incompetent who can't be bothered to use birth control properly or remain abstinent, and relies on the easy availability of repeated abortions to keep her from suffering the consequences of her personal failings?

What pro-choice advocates need to make clear in conversations with moderate pro-lifers is that advocating free access to abortion is not contingent on a belief that every woman who decides to have an abortion is doing a good thing, or is making her decision on a moral basis. It depends on the belief that, if you are willing to agree that there are good and sufficient reasons for a woman to seek an abortion in some circumstances, that there is no one in a better position to decide whether those circumstances apply than the woman involved. She may not always be right, but there is no preferable decision-maker available. Discussions of what constitute good and bad reasons for abortion can still be interesting and important moral discussions, but they can't reasonably form a basis for restrictions on abortion that depend on the woman's justification, unless one is prepared to propose an alternative decision-maker who decides whose reasons for abortion are sufficient and whose are insufficient on a case-by-case basis.


 

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This is Tia from Unfogged Security. WMYBSALB?

Posted by Tia
on 03.14.06

O'Reilly wasn't just bragging when, after a caller uttered the unspeakable obscenity "Keith Olbermann," he said he had a security force that would keep tabs on callers.

But what perplexes me about this story is what a prissy little attempt at intimidation this is. Tony from Fox security leaves you a message and asks you to call back? Some goon. What's that supposed to accomplish? I'll bet Tony's real name is Howard, and he's an underemployed actor who puts on a Brooklyn accent to make his calls. Apparently it's worked, though:

And another caller did manage to get through. She did say your name on the air and she said, 15 minutes later, her cell phone rang. She was actually in the car with her daughter, and it was the gentleman who identified himself on my answering machine; and he was with Fox security. And she actually was reduced to tears, she was so concerned. Her daughter was in the car.

 

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Women Who Do and Women Who Don't

Posted by Becks
on 03.13.06

"Did you know that your grandmother had an abortion?"

So my mother told me this weekend when we were discussing South Dakota's recent abortion ban. My grandmother (now deceased) had had a pre-Roe abortion arranged by a sympathetic family friend when she unexpectedly became pregnant at 43. My mother said that she knew a number of women who had had abortions before Roe but none after. I wonder if that's really the case. That could really be the situation and it might be a function of her age but I wonder if it's just that after Roe, someone having an abortion didn't need to tell as many people. It's not like you had to spread the word to find someone who could help. Or perhaps with legal abortion women are able to have the procedure earlier so it might be easier to deal with emotionally and they don't need to talk about it as much for support. I'd like to think that one of these factors is at work and it's not completely attributable to our culture so stigmatizing it that people don't feel comfortable admitting it anymore.

It's too bad women don't tell people anymore -- if they talked about it more, I bet it would really help correct the perception that there are "good girls" who become mothers and "bad girls" who have abortions, when really the women who have abortions and the women who become mothers are often the same people, just at different points in their lives. People might be surprised to find out who has had one. I know I was.


 

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The Races

Posted by Tia
on 03.13.06

Ezra sez Clinton's inevitable for 2008 because of her support among black voters; commenters argue that since Iowa and New Hampshire are the first primaries, she could be seriously damaged in the primaries before she gets to a state with a significant percentage of black voters, and some are skeptical that she has such strong support among black voters just because her husband did.

Matt thinks everyone is underestimating Feingold's chances, to which I say, there's a candidacy I might be able to get excited about. At least in manner, he seems perfect to me: tough and folksy. He is a senator, though. What say you, Unfoggedtariat?


 

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Should Be Webelopes, I Think

Posted by Alameida
on 03.12.06

The story Apo linked to below reminded me of the lamest thing I've ever smoked: dried banana peels rolled up in an empty paper tampon wrapper. That's the good shit, right there. It wasn't that I'd never smoked weed before, it was just that I didn't have any and it seemed like a good way to liven up the slumber party. (mission accomplished on that front, but teenage girls are pretty exciteable.) Interestingly, my brother and I had the same experience that smoking pot as a kid (like, 9, say) never really had that much of an effect, maybe because being a little kid is so confusing that you might as well be tripping anyway. It wasn't until I was 13 or so that I suddenly had this whaaaaa? experience, which was surprising and strange. I sort of think I've told this story already, so sorry if so. Relatedly, we went to a 5th birthday party yesterday, and I though, aww, my little girl's going to be 5 soon. And then I thought, wait I got drunk for the first time when I was 7? That is really messed up. I'm hoping she'll make it to 12 or something.


 

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The first time as farce, the second time as even funnier farce

Posted by Ben
on 03.12.06

Unf and Bob haven't been seen in months. Ogged (PBUH) has left us and proven faithless. Labs has decided that he's too delicate to stick around. Who remains here?

I do, and not only am I here, but my devotion is so strong that I will go to where you are—provided you're in NYC, where I'll be from the 25th to the 2nd. I'm no goggle-tanned Persian lothario, I admit, but perhaps there will be interest in some sort of gathering of people?


 

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"Hiatus" b/w "two images"

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 03.12.06

I'm taking a little blogging break. I've got some hand problems that would be better with less typing, and I've got some work that needs doing, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a vacation. I can't stop reading, of course, because I love you all so much.

Below the fold, some images to leave a vile taste in your mouth.

First, this graffito, found on an abandoned stretch of highway:

fuckthatwelivehere.jpg

Seems right.

Second, from mcmc, this mastery Kinkade depiction of Cthulu's savage revenge:

NoneMoreNegative.jpg


 

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Real Men March To Tehran

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.12.06

Fascinating Times article on what was going on in the Iraqi government right before the war. It's all worth reading, but what hit me particularly was this:

In December 2002, he told his top commanders that Iraq did not possess unconventional arms, like nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, according to the Iraq Survey Group, a task force established by the C.I.A. to investigate what happened to Iraq's weapons programs. Mr. Hussein wanted his officers to know they could not rely on poison gas or germ weapons if war broke out. The disclosure that the cupboard was bare, Mr. Aziz said, sent morale plummeting.

Can no one, ever again, try and sell an attack on another country as imperative because our intelligence tells us all kinds of otherwise unconfirmable secrets about their capabilities? Please?


 

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He gets paid for this?

Posted by Apostropher
on 03.12.06

Cliff May:

In a conventional war, if one side has tanks, fighter jets, submarines and similar weapons, while the other side does not, who wins? The answer is obvious.

In an unconventional war, if one side has suicide bombers, license to kidnap, torture and violate the laws of war while the other side must refrain from deploying such weapons and abide by all the rules, who wins? The answer, I'm afraid, may be equally obvious.

My Scripps Howard column on this theme is here.

Given that start, I see only two logical conclusions. Either May believes we should just give up, or he believes we should adopt kidnapping and suicide bombing as military strategies, having already thrown in on torture. I've read enough of May's previous inanities to feel certain it isn't the former and can't make any sense of the latter. Unfortunately, his "column on this theme" doesn't really develop the theme much and, in fact, the only practical advice I can infer from it has something to do with the Academy Awards and perfidious Hollywood producers, but even that is left murky and unspecified.

"A democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back," wrote Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, "as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it."

That's right of course. But if at some point democracies must fight with both hands tied behind their backs, the likelihood that they will prevail can not be high.

Is this some sort of roundabout defense of torture as a national policy? Because otherwise, I can't figure out what the hell he's proposing. Any help?


 

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