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Norms

Posted by Ogged
on 06.16.07

I'll just steal this whole Atrios post, only adding, "heh."

Watching "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and it occurs to me that while the interracial relationship is perceived as freakishly weird, the fact that the 37 year old distinguished doctor picks up a young 23 year old thing at a "Dean's party" after lecturing at a university is seen as perfectly normal.


 

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Science Saturday!

Posted by Becks
on 06.16.07

I was poking around the Discover magazine website trying to find an article that caught my eye in the bookstore and, while I couldn't find what I was looking for, I did stumble across a few other interesting articles:

* How Merck and the CDC priced the HPV vaccine. I was a little surprised to find out they worked backwards from how much money they thought the vaccine would save the health system instead of forwards from how much it cost to develop. Will it really save that much money, given that women still need to get annual exams? Hmmm.

* How did humans evolve to become the one species that goes through menopause? What might be the evolutionary advantage?

* How do Muslim astronauts pray when they're on the space station, where days last only 90 minutes?


 

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Legit

Posted by Ben
on 06.15.07

Nearly two years after Unfogged ceased operations as a blog and became a web magazine, we're finally getting some credit with the MSM:

No side of the conflicts in Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone asked for a diamond boycott from the west even when those countries were ravaged by civil war. Neither did the lack of the diamond trade stave off AK-47-toting warlords in Rwanda and Uganda, as analyst Daniel Davies summarises in several posts at Unfogged (an eclectic web magazine).
The author of that article deserves praise for being on the cutting edge, but really, what took so long?


 

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Jessica Biel: Rejected!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.07

By Justin Timberlake! We all know that immigrants are only interested in white women because having a white woman, much like having a black M5 with tinted windows and sweet rims, is the ultimate sign that you've conquered the adopted homeland. And so, I must move on.

[Timberlake] called Jessica, 25, his "very dear friend" and said she texts him all the time. But when asked who the love of his life is, he replied: "I haven't met her yet." Ouch!

(The constant texting would also be a problem.)

And although he claimed he couldn't say no to her "pretty face" when she asked to accompany him to Europe while he toured with his FutureSex/ LoveShow, he has now put his foot down and told her it's business before pleasure...
Justin said: "She truly insisted that she came with me on tour. I don't know how to say no to a pretty face. But it wasn't really a good idea. This time I'm putting the machine before everything else. Jessica met up with me in Manchester, but for Paris I told her categorically no. This tour is very important for me. I'm doing it really seriously so there's no question of playing sweethearts!"

Don't cry for me, I think I understand who I'm supposed to crush on next.

Asked what he dislikes about his body, [Timberlake] bragged: "Physically nothing. I'm well proportioned and nothing offends me when I look in the mirror."

He added: "I defy a girl not to fall for me if I'm on a surfboard or snowboarding. It's my secret weapon if a girl resists me." And he also reckons he's irresistible to men saying that "plenty" of male stars hit on him, too.

And Justin says things like "told her categorically" and "playing sweethearts," which means I can love him for his way with words, too.


 

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Brazen

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.07

We need to be wary and alert. And we need a leader. Someone strong, resolute, and merciless. Because they're already here, and they're going to make al Qaeda look like a bunch of disaffected Arab engineering students.

BERLIN - An aggressive squirrel attacked and injured three people in a German town before a 72-year-old pensioner dispatched the rampaging animal with his crutch.

The squirrel first ran into a house in the southern town of Passau, leapt from behind on a 70-year-old woman, and sank its teeth into her hand, a local police spokesman said on Thursday. With the squirrel still hanging from her hand, the woman ran onto the street in panic, where she managed to shake it off. The animal then entered a building site and jumped on a construction worker, injuring him on the hand and arm, before he managed to fight it off with a measuring pole.
"After that, the squirrel went into the 72-year-old man's garden and massively attacked him on the arms, hand and thigh," the spokesman said. "Then he killed it with his crutch."

 

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Friends and Neighbors

Posted by Becks
on 06.15.07

Robust McManlyPants has a great post up today about talking with one of his co-workers about gay marriage and how hard it is to get even like-minded people to realize the progress that still needs to be made.

It reminded me of the last election and some conversations I had with my then roommate. She has gay friends and didn't support the anti-gay amendment my state had on the ballot, but not enough to actually vote. It wasn't until the day of the election, when she realized that the amendment was written so vaguely that it might unintentionally affect the rights of straight people, that she IM'd me in a panic to find out her polling place.


 

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Durden Roundup

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.07

Sometimes the posts at What Would Tyler Durden Do? are so well done. Respect the craft! You can decide for yourself whether you want to click through.

Such a cruel irony that gay dudes run the fashion industry and therefore the fashion models, yet have no idea what to do with them once they're naked. Who the hell is this for? Navajos? You want a hot fashion show, you should let high school jocks and the staff at GameSpot run one. Those are the dudes who know how a girl should dress. All Laura Croft and cheerleaders and Laura Croft as a cheerleader. Repetitive? You bet, but the fashion dudes had their chance, and they took the model and made her look like the dollar. I'm not a Free Mason, I'm trying to jack off, not crack the code to find Nazi gold.

***

I can say without hesitation or exaggeration that this is the most amazing god damn thing I've ever seen. It's a dog that looks like a panda. It's a panda AND a dog. Danda? Pog? Doesn't matter - if you could make these you'd rule the world. You'd make billions. Fuck those sick ugly bastards in their wigs with cancer, science needs to make these if they wanna get paid.

***

Also from Durden, but in a different vein, this six-year-old girl's voice will make you cry, you pansies.


 

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The best candidate

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.14.07

It's not as great as "gettin' freaky just like abu ghraib" but "you can ba-rock me tonight" has a certain charm.


 

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Pants

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.14.07

What sort of pants are formal enough for office use yet do not require ironing? I'm tired of dry cleaning the slacks. More broadly, I want a new teaching look. Will anyone be helpful, or is it all links to bear photos? I have little faith.


 

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Your Political Discourse

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.07

Chris Matthews on Fred Thompson.

Gene, do you think there's a sex appeal for this guy, this sort of mature, older man, you know? He looks sort of seasoned and in charge of himself. What is this appeal? Because I keep star quality. You were throwing the word out, shining star, Ana Marie, before I checked you on it. . . .

Can you smell the English Leather on this guy, the Aqua Velva, the sort of mature man's shaving cream, or whatever, you know, after he shaved? Do you smell that sort of -- a little bit of cigar smoke? You know, whatever.

Look, it's a fine point. Insofar as Thompson has anything going for him, it's that he comes across as manly and resolute. But, well, what's to add, really?

Oh, I remember: Thompson looks old and not so tough lately. I don't think he's going to do quite as well as expected.


 

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The Office

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.07

We're having real live office politics at work, which is to say, griping about who gets which office. We recently acquired a couple of nice (view of the Bay!), large (corner-ish) offices because an adjacent company moved out, which should mean that the guy who by rights deserves an office should now be able to slide into one. Ha HA. I wandered over while he was griping to someone that he hadn't been given the ok to move yet, and hadn't been given a good reason why not. Because I serve only one master, and that master is the Truth, I pointed out to him that the vacant offices are all nicer than the offices of the people who already have offices, so he's not going to get one. I further speculated that the one woman who has an office will get one of the nicer ones, and he'll get her old one, because then all the guys will have equivalent offices, and only the principals and the woman will have the nicer offices.

This stuff is, of course, totally absurd, but there are ways in which your perceived status in a company affects what you get to do and how much you get paid, so even if you recognize the absurdity, you can only opt out at some real cost to yourself.


 

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Great Moments In Pedagogy

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.07

How to make sleeping with students seem discreet.

...a photo taken at the school's prom on May 11 appeared to show Coogle taking a candy garter off a female student with his teeth.


 

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Talented

Posted by Ben
on 06.13.07

Youtube claims that it will be undergoing "scheduled maintenance" starting more or less now, but since I just happened across this video of Labs singing a Lyle Lovett song I thought I'd share the link. Seems his talents aren't limited to production.


 

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Fucking Oppressors

Posted by Ogged
on 06.13.07

After watching the seven billionth eharmony ad, I figured I'd at least see what the questions they ask are like. I got as far as "Section 1."

What is your ethnicity?
White, non-Hispanic


Hispanic or Latino


African-American


Asian/Pacific Islander


Korean


Japanese


Chinese


Indian


Arab


Native American


Other

What is up with that haphazard shit? There's Asian and then a separate breakdown for Korean, Japanese and Chinese? So Asian is for what, Mongolians and Hawaiians? And there's Arab but no Middle-Eastern? Turks, Kurds, Iranians, Armenians are...what? White? Other? There's Indian, but no Pakistani? What about Bangladesh? You forgot Bangladesh! Fuck you, eharmony, you straight stupid cracker.


 

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Question, A Couple Of Years Late

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.13.07

This has been bothering me as long as I've been thinking about the prisoners at Guantanamo, and it comes to mind that I've never actually asked anyone about it. Possibly one of you can explain -- either that I've misunderstood the Administration's position, or that there's an explanation for why it makes sense, or that it really is weird.

Taking the Administration's claims at face value, some of the prisoners at Guantanamo are 'unlawful enemy combatants' that we're entitled to imprison because they are members of or otherwise affiliated with non-state actors with whom we are at war: Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Now, while I have all sorts of problems with that reasoning with respect to Al Qaeda, I can follow it. But how does that work for the Taliban? At the time we captured the prisoners in Guantanamo, the Taliban was the political party controlling the government of Afghanistan (or immediately in the process of losing control), which was, last I checked, a real state. Wouldn't anyone in the Afghan armed forces be likely to be affiliated with the party controlling the government of Afghanistan, as would lots of people not in the armed forces? How can affiliation with the entity ruling a state constitute, without more, being an 'unlawful enemy combatant'?

To invoke Godwin's law at the outset of a conversation, isn't this rather as if, in 1945, we had declared ourselves at war with the Nazi Party as well as with Germany, and then declared every party member an unlawful enemy combatant -- not for fighting us as Germans, which would be legal under the laws of war, but for fighting us as Nazis, which was inherently illegal because the Nazis were not a state?

I may be completely misunderstanding either the Administration's position or the facts of the Taliban's status in 2001, and this isn't a central issue in our government's misdeeds. I just find it completely perplexing. Can anyone explain?


 

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Whales: Not Easily Bored

Posted by Ogged
on 06.13.07

This is amazing.

A 50-ton bowhead whale caught off the Alaskan coast last month had a weapon fragment embedded in its neck that showed it survived a similar hunt -- more than a century ago.

Whales can, apparently, live to be 200 years old.


 

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Low Hanging Fruit

Posted by Ogged
on 06.13.07

There is only one true charity, and that's the Monongahela Area Historical Society.

Giving sultry looks and sexy smiles to the camera, 12 Pittsburgh-area women recently posed at Monongahela historical sites, baring it all -- or almost all -- to create a charity-driven calendar.

Aside from the fact that "monongahela" sounds like the biggest cock ever, there's this:

The nearly nude ladies are all in their 70s and 80s ... "One of the advantages of being old is that you can do anything you want and get away with it," said 80-year-old Lois Phillips, who as Miss September was photographed in the back seat of a 1968 Mercury convertible.

I haven't been able to find any of the pictures online yet, but you'd better believe I'll post them when I do.


 

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How generous

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.13.07

Via Brian Leiter, an interesting column from the president of Philander Smith College about charitable giving to marquee institutions.

I am becoming less and less tolerant of people who pass wealth on to the privileged and masquerade it as philanthropy. Philanthropy is the voluntary act of donating money, goods or services to a charitable cause, intended to promote good or improve human well being. When a billionaire gives money that will benefit people who are more than likely already well off or who already have access to huge sums of money, attending the ninth richest university by endowment, this is not philanthropy. This simply extends the gross inequities that exist in our country -- inequities that one day will come home to roost.

I ponder this when my employer asks for my donation: is that really the way I should be dividing up my meager philanthropy? This line of reasoning leads to Singerian madness, I grant, but there's something to the thought that giving to benefit the well-off is an odd way of distributing goods.

Also from Leiter I learn that Antioch College is closing. The cheap joke involves reference to their sexual consent policies and will be left as an exercise for the reader.

UPDATE: reflection prompts the thought that "how could I give to beloved Alma Mater when millions starve?" raises familiar issues about impartial moral obligation, agent-centered options, ground projects, and whether I should shoot this one guy so that Pedro doesn't shoot 20. The poor: holding us hostage, forever.


 

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Lost Childhood

Posted by Becks
on 06.13.07

One advantage I see of digital photography is that family photos are safe from the clutch of elementary school teachers. I can't tell you how many times in grade school that I had to bring in a collage of my family and then lost the photos. Teachers: don't put someone's precious family record in the hands of a second grader! And, of course, as an insecure young child, I only wanted to bring in photos where I looked good, meaning that all of the best pictures of me are now lost to some educational dustbin.


 

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Wizard

Posted by Becks
on 06.12.07

RIP Don Herbert AKA Mr. Wizard.

I grew up watching Mr. Wizard every morning and he did a great job of making science interesting and exciting. As silly as it sounds, there were frequently times in my college engineering classes when I'd think back to old Mr. Wizard episodes when we were studying a topic I first heard about from him. Inertia isn't about silly things like "force" and "mass"; it's about thwacking a styrofoam brick with a broom handle.


 

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Backcountry Ogged

Posted by Ogged
on 06.12.07

Even though Timbot, who runs on solar power and extraterrestrial resentment, will make fun of me, I declare HTI water filtration packs very cool. You pour in dirty water, add a gel pack, and out comes drinkable gatorade-like liquid. As far as I can tell (but don't sue me) it filters out pretty much any damn thing that might make you sick. (As in, you could have drunk the water slopping around post-Katrina New Orleans.) They even have a model that makes sea-water drinkable (given the requirements of osmosis, the drinkable sea water is super-sweet). Seems like just the thing a crazy survivalist, or someone in the Bay Area preparing for the big one, might want in the trunk of their car.

Also very cool is the Lifestraw, made by a different company, that cleans water as you drink. It's pretty amazing that each straw costs just three dollars and is supposed to provide one year's worth of clean water. They have a link on their website for donating Lifestraws to places where they're needed, although I have no idea how efficient the distribution is. Also note that it doesn't filter giardia, which is all over North America, so don't get it for your camping trip.


 

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MAGMA

Posted by Ben
on 06.12.07

Magma is so awesome. You can't tell from that little excerpt, because it's only ~2 minutes out of the entire 40-minute "song", whose name can't be written in the Roman alphabet (as you see, there's a diacritical mark over the "w") but they totally are. Anyway Magma is way more awesome than Kuhn.


 

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Shockingly, His Thumbs Aren't Bloody Stumps

Posted by Becks
on 06.12.07

Good thing he just got a bunch of graduation money -- my brother's about to get a hefty bill. He went over the family's text message limit by 1200 messages last month.


 

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Anthropology

Posted by Ben
on 06.12.07

According to catherine, Armsmasher will attend this Mickey Mouse event if he receives $101. So I say, in the "language of bloggers": come on. You know what you doing. Someone with more organizational XAM than I needs to set up a paypal account, and everyone else needs to put in cash.


 

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Never Happened

Posted by Ogged
on 06.12.07

This is pretty funny. It looks for all the world like someone in the crowd in Albania swipes Bush's watch; the administration, naturally, denies it.

Huh: Not stolen.


 

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Go Back! I'll Be Waiting!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.12.07

Sad and hilarious.

Tyler Whitney, the webmaster for the right-wing antigay Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo's presidential campaign, has been outed [as I understand it, after he outed himself to some co-workers] ... Last November, Whitney...went to a a YAF-sponsored protest against a pro-gay, pro-trans human rights ordinance and held a sign that said, "Go back in the closet!"

On one hand, it's good to embarrass Republicans on this issue. On the other hand, it can't be good to go through this on the national stage when you're eighteen.

via atrios


 

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What, And Leave Show Business?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.11.07

I just had a lovely evening sitting in a park a half block from my house, picnicking on roast pork and the first local strawberries while the kids ran around with a pack of other urchins, and a wind ensemble played what, in my musical sophistication, I can describe as a concert of Peter and the Wolf and some other stuff, The actors from a troupe doing a production of Romeo and Juliet in another park nearby acted out the characters from Peter and the Wolf, to the great entertainment of the little ones.

I found myself thinking two things: First, there are lexicographers lurking around the outskirts of this event snapping pictures to illustrate the word 'bourgeois'. I'm okay with that, but it hits me sometimes. Second, it must be so weird trying to make it as an actor, even in New York. You're a serious person, meaning to be a professional and an artist, and yet somehow the path to that involves pinning a feather boa to your ass and bouncing around a park pretending to be a duck, and passing the hat afterward for donations. I respect people who want to be actors that badly, but I don't think I could hack it.


 

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Academe

Posted by Ogged
on 06.11.07

What do y'all know about Norman Finkelstein, who was just denied tenure at DePaul? He's a Jew who decries "the Holocaust industry," but I have no idea if he's a bad scholar or the victim of a witch hunt. Anyone?


 

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Assimilation

Posted by Becks
on 06.11.07

Still in the Midwest. Went to the Mall earlier today and was waited on by a woman wearing an abaya and headscarf...at Victoria's Secret.


 

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I Love You 10,001, Plus Tax

Posted by Ogged
on 06.11.07

This Slate piece about the rise of the diamond engagement ring tradition is very good. Something I didn't know: ring sales started to creep up even before the great DeBeers marketing campaign, and the uptick seems to have been in response to the fact that women saved themselves for marriage, but gave it up during the engagement, so, with a decline in their ability to successfully sue for breach of promise, they needed a way to be sure that a guy meant it when he proposed.

The engagement ring problem is conceptually so easy to solve: cut it out, fools!--but so difficult in practice: my friend dropped ten grand on his sweetie's ring, so I'm going to give mine some hippy-dippy siltstone monstrosity? I think not! (You Europeans stay away, away! from this thread. You just don't understand.) Seriously, the status pressure is so proximate and powerful, I can only hope that when that strange day arrives, I won't be perpetuating the silly custom, but I'm not making any promises.


 

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Standpipe Bridgeplate Movie Recommendation Service

Posted by Ben
on 06.11.07

Little Murders: Good!


 

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The Little Old Lady In Switzerland

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.11.07

Last week, military judges dismissed indictments against two Guantanamo detainees on the grounds that military CSRT panels had found them to be "enemy combatants" rather than "unlawful enemy combatants" as the Military Commissions Act requires to establish jurisdiction. There's been a fair amount of discussion of what this means, politically and legally; CharleyCarp, who's been working on these cases for quite a while, explains.

A quick summary is that the government has, in Guantanamo litigations, taken the position that an "enemy combatant" is an incredibly broad category, including anyone down to a Little Old Lady In Switzerland (a 'LOLIS') who donates money to Al Qaeda under the mistaken impression that she's giving to an orphanage. The MCA seems to have required a finding that detainees are "unlawful enemy combatants" in order to tighten that standard enough to rule out trying LOLIS's under the MCA; however, it failed to give the CSRT's enough guidance on what the standard should be for finding someone an "unlawful enemy combatant", and they just went ahead with the broader standard. As Charley says, this sort of glitch is what happens when you try and set up an entirely new system of legal procedures from scratch.

Go read his post; it's really informative.


 

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Culture

Posted by Ogged
on 06.11.07

There's a Sopranos story near the top of every news site I've checked this morning. Are you willing to count this as a victory for public interest in art, even if we're talking about a viewership of about 10 million people? Of course, I'd rather there were this kind of talk about The Wire, but that's too much to hope for.


 

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Sopranos Finale Thread

Posted by Becks
on 06.10.07

Don't think you're getting off that easy, Ogged.

Spoilers allowed in this thread.


 

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Doublethink

Posted by Ben
on 06.10.07

Or perhaps just psychopathic inability to generalize, too-efficient compartmentalization, or self-loathing: who knows? (via.)


 

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Water Women

Posted by Ogged
on 06.10.07

Another unsolicited compliment from a cute young lady at the pool about my breaststroke. This would be a happier, healthier society if the proper formulation for such compliments were "You have a nice breaststroke...let's go make babies." I blame the state of exception.

And the Lifeguard was there today, and as I prepared to get out of the pool, I looked at her and it occurred to me to ask, "How old are you, Lifeguard?" With her chin in her hands, she flashed two twos. I smiled, but I don't think I successfully masked my shock. I thought she was twenty-four, for some reason, and those two years seemed important. Out in the world! Still smiling, with my eyebrows up, I said "You're young." She smiled back and nodded. I like to think we've arrived at an understanding.


 

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Reflections on Graduation

Posted by Becks
on 06.10.07

I don't like it when they have girls and guys wear different colored gowns at graduation. Everyone achieved the same goal so they should all wear the same gown. Unless there's a good reason or your colors look unusually superawesome, graduation gowns should be black anyway. Having the guys wear black and the girls wear a bright color makes the guys look like scholars and the girls look frivolous and decorative. And I know I would have been pissed because I don't look good in yellow.


 

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The Gamble

Posted by Ogged
on 06.10.07

Kotsko is totally right about this.

what allows the Bush administration to continue is the fact that everyone else is afraid of triggering an "official" constitutional crisis, that is, of bringing out into the open the actual constitutional crisis under which we live. So: vote to authorize the war because you don't want to find out what happens when the president goes ahead and starts a war that Congress rejected. And so on, and so on. The Democrats are now the party of continuing to have a constitution -- paradoxically, they think that the only way to do this is by refusing to face down Bush's gravest violations of the constitution. Hence no impeachment, no real investigation into intelligence manipulation, just this endless dithering with marginal scandals like the US Attorney thing. No one wants to "officially" expose the fact that the executive branch has been effectively treating the constitution as suspended for all this time, even though the information pointing to this conclusion is publicly available and overwhelming.

Insofar as there's a rational calculation behind the Democratic strategy, I've taken it to be that the acknowledgment of the suspension of the rule of law would undermine the necessary fiction that such a suspension would result in a horror unbearable to us as a freedom-loving people. Despite the facts that we're living under a suspended constitution and that many people prefer this system, the fiction of the horror of authoritarianism still has force--as evidenced by the legal machinations about concepts of "war time" "enemy combatants" and "commander in chief powers." The Democrats--again, insofar as they've thought about this--are hoping to maintain the force of the fiction and keep using it to ground the rule of law, which they hope will be restored when Bush is gone.


 

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Reflecting on President Clinton's graduation address at the Ohio State University

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.10.07

The new Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa, is one serious badass.


 

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The Old Testament God makes a surprise appearance

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.10.07

You've probably heard about Allison Stokke, the accomplished teenaged track and field athlete turned internet celebrity.

The always-rewarding Galley Slaves makes the connection: remember the OC gang rape? Al Stokke, Allison's father, represented Greg Haidl.

The defense niceties vanished immediately. Defense lawyer Al Stokke, who replaced lead trial attorney Joseph G. Cavallo, questioned any link between the rape and the victim's claim of mental anguish. Stokke also mocked the girl's physical injuries, finally conceding she was unconscious but then trying to use that against her. "There's [no pain] that is felt," he said, "because she was unconscious."

Sorry, kid. Yahweh doesn't give a fuck about collateral damage.


 

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Woo Hook'em Drunk Sober!

Posted by Alameida
on 06.10.07

I've been sober for one year today. Yay me!! In your face, demon rum!!!


 

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