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The Server

Posted by Ogged
on 12.22.07

No idea why the site keeps going down. We have a ticket in with the host and hope it'll be resolved soon. Sorry.

UPDATE FROM BECKS: In case any of you have any ideas, this problem is different from the other problems we've had in the past. Before when the site would go down, it would be because something was going nuts using all of the memory or CPU and we couldn't even SSH into the box. This seems to be an issue with the web server -- we can SSH into the box just fine and the server isn't slow.

The tech support dudes say that there are all kinds of httpd processes or semaphores or something and they have to kill them and then restart apache. So if you have any clue as to what might have caused that or what we can do about it, feel free to pipe up.


 

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I Am Legend

Posted by Ogged
on 12.22.07

Kinda bad.

A few good moments, but the basic problem--shared with movies like the recent War of the Worlds and Hotel Rwanda--is that if you kill off most of humanity or just most of a country, no decent person can give a shit about what happens to the two or thirty people who are left. The dramatic technique of having a protagonist just isn't that powerful.

In addition, the monsters were lame.


 

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Id

Posted by Becks
on 12.22.07

Three theories on why people keep journals, updated for the internet:

The ego theory holds that maintaining a [blog] demands a level of vanity and self-importance...It obliges you to believe that the stuff that happened to you is worth writing down because it happened to you....
The id theory, on the other hand, states that people use [blogs] to record wishes and desires that they need to keep secret, and to list failures and disappointments that they cannot admit publicly have given them pain. [Blog]-keeping, on this account, is just neurotic, since the last thing most people want to do with their unconsummated longings and petty humiliations is to inscribe them permanently [on the Internet]....
And the superego theory, of course, is the theory that [blogs] are really written for the eyes of others. They are exercises in self-justification. When we describe the day's events and our management of them, we have in mind a wise and benevolent reader who will someday see that we played, on the whole, and despite the best efforts of selfish and unworthy colleagues and relations, a creditable game with the hand we were dealt. If we speak frankly about our own missteps and shortcomings, it is only to gain this reader's trust.


 

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Prisoner's Dilemma

Posted by Becks
on 12.21.07

I want to grab the people who rush the ticket desk when the gate agent announces that our flight is overbooked and you can get a $150 travel voucher if you agree to be bumped by the shoulders and shake them. Don't be so stupid! If nobody volunteers now, they'll have to offer more money! Don't let the airline get off this easy!

I dream of organizing the crowd and getting everyone to agree not to volunteer until they up the amount to $600 or start offering cash. I don't do it because they'd probably call some "Jack Bauer of the DMV"-type who will get me thrown into custody for a trumped up charge of trying to incite a riot but a girl can dream. Maybe I can just print up subtle leaflets.


 

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The 28th, DC Edition

Posted by Becks
on 12.21.07

I've been getting some emails from people trying to plan some informal get-togethers for Friday the 28th in DC (the night before UnfoggeDCon). Let's hash it out here.

UPDATED AND BUMPED: Catherine and I are saying the Brickskeller near Dupont Circle starting around 6ish. We picked the Brickskeller instead of the other places that had been discussed because it serves food and that means latecomers won't have to try to track us down as we moved from a bar to a restaurant and then another bar, as we'd probably need to do if we went with one of the other options. If we get there at a reasonably early time, we might get lucky and be able to snag the upstairs.


 

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I killed a man with my syllabus, just to watch him die

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.21.07

The most dangerous college courses in America, ladies and gentlemen:


10. Collegiate Sexualities at Occidental College.

9. Body Politics: Power, Pain, and Pleasure at Williams College.

8. Issues Dividing America at Columbia University.

7. Whiteness and Multiculturalism at Ithaca College.

6. Truth, Lies, Politics, and Policy at Portland State University.

5. Introduction to Labor Studies at the University of Washington.

4. Speaking Out at Bucknell College.

3. Imperialism in American History at the University of California, Irvine.

2. Movements in Social Justice at Occidental College.

1. Islam in Global Contexts at DePaul University.

The awesomest part is that I know this author:

Take, for example, the sole reading assignment on the syllabus for the topic of gay rights: From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States by Craig Rimmerman.

Wait, a scholar of gay and lesbian rights is named...? Yeah. And he's...? No, not one bit straight.

But that aside, two things jump out from the list: this guy's a crank, but the courses look pretty lame (at least on the surface). Caveat: I don't think we really have anything like a systematic understanding of what educational practices at the college level would be most effective, and I suspect that if we did have this we'd be pretty shocked by what it said. With that out of the way, these classes look like the sorts of things that are popular to teach because they're an alternative to dry "survey of the big hits of the field" sorts of courses that can be hard to do well year after year. But that stuff remains new to students and can be more useful than a course that coheres only given background knowledge that students don't have.


 

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And Free, Too

Posted by Ogged
on 12.21.07

John Quiggin's piece on aid to Africa is pretty much a perfect blog post: informative, engaging, clarifying, convincing.


 

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Growing Up

Posted by Ogged
on 12.21.07

Last night a friend told me that the biggest source of conflict in his marriage is the disciplining of their one-a-half-year-old daughter, with one of them for being more strict, the other more lenient. They seem to be stuck replaying the same roles in each new situation, and can't figure out a way to get along without resolving what seems to be a fundamental difference in approaches to parenting. I'm not after parenting advice here, but marriage advice. How do you arrive at a workable compromise where parenting is the issue?


 

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Unfunkked 3: The Booty Loosens

Posted by Apostropher
on 12.21.07

Just a week to go 'til the locust descent on DC, so here's something for the drive. Plus, I need to post this so I'll quit fiddling with it and go get some work done. The goodies are here, the info is beneath the fold.

Update: Crap. Three tracks got left out of the .zip file. I'll fix the .zip when I get home tonight, but for now here are the three missing files. Okay, a new .zip file is there with all 22 tracks and the missing tag info fixed on track 7. Apparently I'm not at my sharpest at 2:00 am.

unfunkked3.jpg

01 Shotgun - Mutha Funk
02 Spontaneous Simplicity - Road Man
03 Betty Harris - There's a Break in the Road
04 Sugar Pie DeSanto - Soulful Dress
05 Jerry Combs - Get Yourself Together
06 Cane and Able - Toe Hold
07 Mandré - Masked Marauder
08 Sun - Organ Grinder
09 Maxayn - You Can't Always Get What You Want
10 Darrell Banks - No-one Blinder (Than a Man Who Won't See)
11 Spencer Wiggins - He's Too Old
12 James Knight and the Butlers - Fantasy World
13 Claudi Lennear - Goin' Down
14 Groove Street Band - Shake Your Pants
15 Bettye LaVette - Do Your Duty
16 Aldora Britton - The Hard Way
17 Ann Sexton - Color My World Blue
18 General Caine - Can I Get a Little Bit More
19 Sky - Boogie
20 The Blackbyrds - Supernatural Feeling
21 The Kay-Gees - On the Money
22 Marva Whitney - What Do I Have to Do to Prove My Love for You

134 MB, 79:11


 

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History Comes Alive

Posted by Ogged
on 12.20.07

Rauchway finds Jefferson's inner Napoleon. With bonus historical video.

(Unfogged has no official position on the Louisiana Purchase.)


 

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Total Request Live: Sestina Edition

Posted by Alameida
on 12.20.07

The unfogged masthead tree is bare of leaves
and crowned with snow; the sky behind it, stone.
Newcomers surely wonder how to read
this wintry budding into hover text
and sudden hostile joking from some clown
or other--are they fighting about mice?

And who would want to stamp on mice,
or heap contumely on ogged as he leaves
to swim? And who's this W-lfs-n clown
who genuinely seems to want to stone
the ungrammatical to death, and read
with little-bitchy eye each text?

Too frightening, for sure, to offer text,
and so they lurk and silent hide, like mice.
Fourteen hundred comments! Will they read
them all? Exciting when somebody leaves
--for good! You might fare better made of stone.
A point for Emerson, and he's no clown.

He may be thirty-four, just playing clown:
performance art piece masquerades as text,
invites us all to roll away the stone
from North Dakota's tomb, where hungry mice
gnaw on the nation's corn-cob heart and leaves
grown sere--a winter's book already read.

But should we mock the president? asks read,
as though he needs defense, that coddled clown,
who cannot even talk when spoonfed text.
What mind he has is vanished when he leaves
a room, long gone, as if a heavy stone
were tethered to his thoughts, they weak as mice.

And that, my friends, is how he sees us: mice,
the distant white noise crisis you might read
about with breakfast. Dead as stone,
inert, impervious, a painted clown;
nothing can upset him, he just leaves
the world of stubborn facts, condemning text.

That still leaves your question, read.
If only like mice laboring to push a stone,
we can offer him text: fuck you, clown.


 

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Journalistic Ethics

Posted by Ogged
on 12.20.07

There's an interesting issue in this Drudge bit.

Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!

McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

...

[The reporter on the story] had hoped to break the story before the Christmas holiday, sources reveal, but editor Keller expressed serious reservations about journalism ethics and issuing a damaging story so close to an election.

My reflexive thought was that we should hang Bill Keller from the rafters, but I think I can understand his thinking, even if I still disagree. It's a fact of campaigns (or human psychology, or something) that damaging news on the eve of an election is much more damaging to a candidate than the same news would have been if reported earlier, when there would have been time for it to be assimilated into the candidate's narrative. My guess is that Keller is making a judgment that the story would have an effect out of proportion to its importance, so he's holding off.

That's non-crazy, but the problem, of course, is that it gives Bill Keller outsized influence. If Keller is right, then he in effect decides whether John McCain can win in Iowa. Even on his own terms, as a matter of journalistic ethics, this is troublesome; although editors (like all people, except for George Washington) are less likely to worry about the power they wield than how they wield it. The only responsible choice, absent some truly extraordinary circumstance, is to report the news as they come across it, and let the chips fall where they may.


 

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The Full Kafka

Posted by Ogged
on 12.20.07

In America. Horrible.

via yglesias


 

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Simpler Than A Sonnet

Posted by Becks
on 12.20.07

Oooh! This is great -- summarize an entire relationship in one paragraph.


 

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Chicago Meetup on the 28th

Posted by Ogged
on 12.19.07

Coordinated by Po-Mo Polymath and to be held at 9pm at Bite Cafe. Email pomopolymath at the G mail to give him a head count.


 

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Anarchy

Posted by Ogged
on 12.19.07

Drum says,

The Democratic primary has become more a Rorschach test than an actual contest. I suppose this is a banal proposition, but it's been remarkable lately watching so many people -- and I include myself here, though I don't always blog about it -- so transparently project their own desires and fears onto the top three candidates, often in completely contradictory ways.

Yglesias agrees, and provides an example.

Krugman has found an example of Obama doing his job as a state senator well, and decided to simply assume that he doesn't understand that being president is different from being a state senator. I see the reverse -- I see a guy who was an effective state senator, which I see as evidence that he'd be effective in other roles as well.

Either they're making a claim that really is totally banal, or I don't quite understand what they're saying. If the claim is that the candidates are being judged irrationally, then Matt's example doesn't really support it: there are adjudicable reasons for valuing or dismissing the experience of a state senator. If we're not strongly committed to those reasons, then we'll likely suffer from bias when assessing Obama's experience. But what makes this, as opposed to any other issue, an interesting example of "Rorshach" thinking? One of the lessons of reading blogs for the past several years is that the same set of facts can support contradictory interpretations, and which interpretation people find most plausible has a lot to do with their existing ideological/psychological commitments. Petraeus, or betray us? It's not just an incredibly unlikely coincidence that people who run conservative blogs react one way to any piece of news, and people who run liberal blogs react another way. So what am I missing here?


 

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Less honourable throats

Posted by Ben
on 12.19.07

There's a part of the trailer to the new Sweeney Todd movie, you know the one, I'm sure, depicting what would be the close of act one in the stage version—the only part of the trailer to include song—with Sweeney offering his services to London passers-by. On stage Sweeney faces the audience when he does this, at least in all the productions I've ever seen, which is nice both because it is (theoretically anyway) more intense for the audience and because it makes the silliness of what Todd's doing less obvious. (It could be, also, that he's just gesticulating expressively within Mrs Lovett's pie shop, which would also be not very silly.) But in the trailer Depp's actually out on the street apprehending people who both ignore him and are clean-shaven anyway. It makes the whole affair seem rather bathetic.

I also think it's funny that a Jew best known for pretending to be a wigger is playing the part of an Irishman pretending to be an Italian.

I'll probably see it anyway, though I doubt Depp's got quite the pipes of the last person I saw in the role (Bryn Terfel).


 

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Attention

Posted by Ogged
on 12.19.07

Maybe not everyone read deep enough into the thread to see W-lfs-n's villanelle about Jonah Goldberg's new book. Good stuff.

***

These liberals are all fascists through and through.
Organic food, health care, the smoking ban?
What they don't tell you is that Hitler did it too.

They'll barricade the church and overturn each pew,
Atheistic unbelievers to a man.
These liberals are all fascists through and through.

They'll teach your kids what Darwin said is true:
But unnatural selection's their real plan.
What they don't tell you is that Hitler did it too.

They'll cant sensitivity to those with another view,
And turn around and then oppress the Klan.
These liberals are all fascists through and through.

They'll say animals are with human rights imbued,
And try to keep your steak from out your pan.
What they don't tell you is that Hitler did it too.

It's time we gave these little Eichmanns what is due,
Then maybe go to war, just to prove we can.
These liberals are all fascists through and through.
What they don't tell you is that Hitler did it too.


 

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The Road Less Traveled

Posted by Becks
on 12.19.07

The neighborhood where I grew up, and where my parents still live, is a middle-class suburb where the assumption is that all students will attend college when they graduate from high school. Over in the education thread, there has been some discussion on the very valid point that not everyone has to attend college to find a job they enjoy and pays well, and I agree. I just don't know how one goes about figuring what to do if you aren't doing the traditional college path.

I've been wondering about this lately because of my younger brother -- it's sounding more like he might not want to go to college right after graduation, and I think that could be a good choice for him, but I don't know how he's supposed to figure out what to do next. When I was in high school, we were presented with all of the options that we had if we went to college and the careers that a college degree could help us enter, but not ones that didn't require a college education. How can he learn what's out there and what he might like? Theoretically, the guidance counselor should be able to help but, from my experience, they treat any kid that doesn't choose college as a waste of their time. (Or even with contempt, as that child is making the school look bad by harming their statistics of the percentage of graduates who go on to college, after all.)

I'm thinking this failure in knowing what to do with a kid that doesn't want to go to college right away might be one of the reasons people are pushing him to go into the military -- it's one of the best publicized non-college options. I don't think people are necessarily thinking that the Marines would suit him but thinking that's your only other respectable option if you don't go to college. There are a lot of other things he could do, though -- cooking school, become an EMT, learn a trade, etc. but where do you start with that?


 

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Classic

Posted by Becks
on 12.18.07

Kriston asks:

How much would you pay to see the Beatles play live?
All alive and in full vigor of youth, of course. Playing at a mid-sized venue.

After answering that, I ask: what band that is no longer touring would you most like to see? And how much would you be willing to pay for the opportunity?


 

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It's As If She's Already Reading

Posted by Ogged
on 12.18.07

Nothing remotely related had come up previously when the bpl said to me, "So, what are your pet peeves? Asian drivers? Smelly hippies?"


 

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Articulatibilitiness

Posted by Apostropher
on 12.18.07

From the White House transcript of Bush speaking to the Fredericksburg, VA Rotary Club yesterday.

Well, this day and age you're going to use -- mortgages have been bundled, so the savings and loan doesn't own the mortgage anymore, or the bank doesn't loan [sic] the mortgage anymore, the local lending institute doesn't loan [sic] the mortgage anymore: it's owned by some international group, perhaps, or it's been bundled into an asset. And so there's hardly anybody to negotiate with. And so some lenders [sic] aren't sure where to turn. [...]

The [sic]s are in the transcript, by the way.

My dream is for all of us to have a medical electronics record within a decade. My only caveat is I want to make sure that your material is private, that nobody can access it [...]

That's why I'm against raising the gasoline tax. In other words -- we need to raise the gasoline tax. [...]

Here's the thing about highway funds, a couple of points. First of all -- I don't know if you know this or not, but the Public Works Committee I guess is the largest in the House; is that right, Eric? Yes. And the way they get the bills out of the House onto the floor is everybody gets a special project.

Y'know, even if the Democrats pull their perennial snatching defeat from the jaws of victory routine next year, I'm still going to feel a certain sense of relief just to get a president who can speak English as if it were his native language.


 

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Jihad For Breakfast

Posted by Ogged
on 12.18.07

Via oudemia, the source for all things Muslim rock, an article with the priceless quote,

I think all the prophets and imams were punk rockers

And another where the kids start chanting "Pigs are haram!" when the cops break up the show. So great.

You might also want to check out The Kominas, and, of course, the classic jihadi rap video, Dirty Kuffar.

To be slightly serious for a moment, I think it's a little sad that angry young muslims so readily play to type and adopt violent rhetoric. They want to shock and express their anger, but they're still playing the man's game, I think. Lord knows that anti-muslim sentiment is totally mainstream in the US right now, but I think shaming and articulate anger works a lot better than "I'ma blow you up."


 

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The First Thing We Do, We Kill All The Teachers

Posted by Ogged
on 12.17.07

I hate school.

Update: Looks like that first one isn't totally legitimate. But this will not save the teachers.


 

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We should kick this guy's ass

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.17.07

The Tyler Durden wing of the Republican Party grabs the spotlight.

The thing that's killing me, though, is that the group promoting conservative sexual mores on campus is called "the Anscombe Society." If there's anything that could make my attitudes toward sex more conservative, it's thinking about Peter Geach naked.

And with that I'm back to grading.


 

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Coaches Are Mean II

Posted by Ogged
on 12.17.07

Here's my correspondence with The Coach, as I tried to arrange our next session.

Hi [Coach],
Hope you're feeling better. I'll still take any evening time you have.
___
I can do monday at 4:30 at [place we've never met before].
___
Ok, I can make this, if you're still available.
Where should we meet? (And where do you park??)
___
should be fine
___
Great. Where should I meet you?
___
on the pool deck

 

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Please let this be real

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.17.07

Sadly, No! claims to have some pictures of the long-awaited Jonah Goldberg masterwork Liberal Fascism: [insert subtitle here]. Too good to be true, really.


 

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Help Me Buy Myself Stuff

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.17.07

So, my laptop is emitting horrible grinding noises. Given that it's mostly functioning, my guess is that the horrible grinding noises are a fan going bad, and I'll probably spend some time over Christmas trying to figure out how to fix it. But should it be unfixable, or even if it isn't, I'm daydreaming about a replacement.

What I really want is something small, light, and cheap. All I do is wordprocess and read blogs. I don't need a lot of memory, I don't need a big screen. I'd take a non-standard size keyboard, as long as it was big enough to type properly rather than with my thumbs, and of course it has to have wireless. But I'm really thinking of something on the borderline between a notebook and a palmtop. I have literally no idea if there's anything in this category, particularly if there's anything cheap in this category, but some of you must know.

(Also, for a friend -- does anyone know anything about (1) what documentation you need to drive a motorcycle across borders in Mexico and Central America -- particularly if you need the title with you, and (2) anything about buying motorcycles in Mexico?)

Update: The first couple of comments were suggestions that I buy myself an EEE. Given that that looks like exactly what I want, I'd now like people to tell me why it's a bad idea, or generally what's wrong with it.


 

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Today I visited Metafilter

Posted by Ben
on 12.17.07

I found some things there.

Komar and Melamid's Most Wanted and Most Unwanted songs are now available free gratis online. So far the Most Unwanted song is amazingly great and I haven't listened to the Most Wanted yet.

Abstinence works when used properly.

Here finds one sexy midwesterners.

And here a performance of "So What".

I also discovered that Fantagraphics is reissuing/has reissued the Complete! Fucking! Pogo!

I'd also like to inform everyone that on Saturday I went to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market and discovered that one outfit there sells a dozen eggs for $9. Just to be clear, chicken eggs, not, say, golden goose eggs. Those had better be some delicious fucking eggs, man.


 

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By Popular Demand

Posted by Ogged
on 12.17.07


Who Do You Want To Be President?
Biden
Clinton
Dodd
Edwards
Gravel
Kucinich
Obama
Richardson
Giuliani
Huckabee
Hunter
McCain
Paul
Romney
Tancredo
Thompson









 

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Showdown

Posted by Becks
on 12.17.07
BitchPhd: Becks, if/when time comes to volunteer for Hillary, focus on abortion rights. Should make backing her a lot easier.
Me: My problem with Hillary Clinton is that her position on rights seems to be "Enjoy your right to an abortion. That's the only one you'll have left by the time that I'm done."

The above exchange from a couple of days ago got me thinking about rights and which really are important to me and, if it came down to it, which I would choose over others. I decided the best way to figure it out was to put them head to head and ask, if I had to choose, which ones I would pick. So, below the fold, a Sweet 16 tournament of sorts. What are your picks?

(Brackets were randomly selected)

BRACKET 1:
A: Freedom of religion
B: Equal protection under the law

BRACKET 2:
C: Protection against cruel and unusual punishment
D: Protection from unreasonable search and seizure

BRACKET 3:
E: Freedom of assembly
F: Miranda rights

BRACKET 4:
G: Right to privacy (excluding abortion)
H: Freedom of the press

BRACKET 5:
I: Protection from quartering of troops
J: Right of habeas corpus

BRACKET 6:
K: Freedom of speech
L: Right to petition the government

BRACKET 7:
M: Right to an abortion
N: Right to a jury trial

BRACKET 8:
O: Right to vote
P: Right to keep and bear arms


 

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Shorter

Posted by Ogged
on 12.17.07

This Atrios post seems right on, in that it's correct about each candidate and really gets at why people might vote for one over another. And I don't think these are unsophisticated reasons, but reflect basic views of how American government is.

Obama: The system sucks, but I'm so awesome that it'll melt away before me.

Edwards: The system sucks, and we're gonna have to fight like hell to destroy it.
Clinton: The system sucks, and I know how to work within it more than anyone.

 

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>>

Posted by Becks
on 12.16.07

As I was walking home from the store earlier this evening in the freezing cold with a splitting headache, I started to wish that I had the superpower to fast forward time so that I didn't have to experience the misery of the next 10 minutes. Then I started to wonder, if I did have that superpower, would I be able to restrain myself from using it? How much of my life would I fast-forward if given the chance? Would I start out only using it when I was in real, physical pain and then progress to times I was bored and then, before I knew it, find myself fast-forwarding to find out if I got the job/if he was going to call/for the party to start already? This is probably one of those powers it's better not to have.


 

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You Can Do Better

Posted by Ogged
on 12.16.07

Isn't Slate's list of the top singles and albums of the year awfully...mainstream? All of it sounds equally forgettable to me, except that M.I.A., of whom I'd never heard before, seems incapable of making a boring song.


 

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Happy Days

Posted by Ogged
on 12.16.07

Does anyone post here anymore?

Megan has a fun post up about which stages of her life her various friends are from. My friends are mostly high-school friends, and I'm enjoying a brief reliving of high-school at the moment. One friend who lives across the country has a wife who's out of the country, so he and I have been calling each other up and chatting for one or three hours a night. Another friend is in the middle of a move and will be crashing with me for a week. Maybe we'll rent an original Nintendo.


 

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