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Little bitchery at a distance

Posted by Ben
on 02.09.08

I don't see why everyone's so impressed with Cosma Shalizi; the dude can't even accurately obfuscate his email address. "cshalizi@stat..cmu.edu" isn't even well formed.


 

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Involved Citizens

Posted by Ogged
on 02.09.08

Paul Campos, man after my own heart, attends a caucus.

6:45 p.m.: Three middle-aged Hillary supporters are talking about Ann Coulter. "It's sad that someone like her went to Yale Law School," one of them says. "She actually went to Michigan," I tell her. She gives me an annoyed glance, notices my Obama gear, and replies that she's quite sure Coulter went to Yale. "I went to Michigan and she was in my class," I respond. "You're wrong," she says flatly. I walk away speechless. I'm beginning to dislike Hillary more by the minute.

But seriously, a few cheap shots at Hillary notwithstanding, it's a good article for understanding what happens at a caucus. And makes me think that caucuses really are a horrible way to decide things.

7:00 p.m.: Chaos reigns. There must be close to 1,000 people in the gym, and there are still hundreds waiting to get in. The party has run out of registration cards, and supposedly you can't vote if you don't register for the caucus. I tell people to just write the relevant information on a piece of paper and hand it to me. "Are you sure that's legal?" a man asks. "I'm a law professor, and I can assure you it is," I tell him. Half that statement is actually true.

GObama!


 

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Under Our Noses

Posted by Ogged
on 02.09.08

Someone might want to ask our beloved candidates whether withdrawing troops means abandoning Balad, and whether Americans in Iraq will have to abide by Iraqi law.

In an echo of the Baghdad embassy, Balad has grown to become the largest US air-base anywhere in the world: a fifteen-square-mile mini-city with its own bus routes, fast-food outlets, two supermarkets and accommodation for 40,000 military personnel and contractors. The base - from which up to 550 air operations each day are conducted - is a permanent construction site; the latest addition is a $30-million command-and-control system that will integrate air-traffic management across the country as a whole.

In sum, the United States plan for Iraq is to establish a series of tight political mechanisms of control deriving from the original CPA-era agreements; a huge embassy-based structure in Baghdad to oversee and maintain these; immunity for over 300,000 foreign personnel; and continuing, direct authority over and access to Iraqi detainees. The entire operation is to be secured by the US military and its private contractors, increasingly protected by the use of air power.
This ambitious project is hardly consistent with the idea - still the official line propagated by Washington, and uncritically recycled by much of the establishment media - that the US's political objective is to bolster the independent governance of Iraq by the Iraqis themselves. Indeed, it goes further than the considerable power exerted by the United States in several central American countries in the early 20th century; its sheer grandeur might better be compared to some of the French or British colonial-era protectorates. In contemporary terms, it comes close to the establishment of a fully-fledged American colony in the heart of the Arab and Islamic world. Whether or not the George W Bush administration and its supporters realise it, the implications of that - for Iraq itself and for the whole region - are set to match even what has happened over the last five years.

via the arabist


 

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And The (Mostly) Posting Hiatus Is Over!

Posted by LizardBreath
on 02.08.08

My job offer came through, and I'm going to start posting again. The next month is still going to be a shitload of work to get out of here in good order -- I have a whole bunch of work I'm committed to -- but I can shake the dust of this place off my shoes in about a month.

Bonus: I'm out of the closet blogging at the new place, so no more worries about being outed. (Much less (no) commenting at work, but pseudonymity will be recreational rather than necessary.)


 

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With A Husband Named Shivbunny, Dare You Say No?

Posted by Becks
on 02.08.08

I know it's close on the heels of the Super Boozeday meetup but the mysterious Cala is going to be in NYC next Wednesday so I propose another one.

What say you, NYC?


 

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This Might Be Unfair

Posted by Ogged
on 02.08.08


 

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And They Did It Without Orange Post Titles

Posted by Becks
on 02.08.08

The Super-Delegate Transparency Project: tracking the pledge and eventual vote of every Democratic super-delegate, along with whether that vote aligns with the popular vote in that super-delegate's district. It sure sounds like a good idea. Anything I'm missing?


 

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Book Learnin'

Posted by Becks
on 02.08.08

Is it dishonest to use your bookshelf to project an image of the type of person you want to be? Or should they be limited to only books you've read, so that others can learn about you?

Then there's the category in which I belong:

[One] might purchase a book with the intention of reading it later, but at a certain point the timeline of future reading stretches out so far as to make it clear that some of these books will never be read.

Not intentionally giving others a false impression but doing so nonetheless.


 

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The Narrative

Posted by Ogged
on 02.08.08

The anti-Obama line is taking shape: don't join the cult, don't be a snoot. Regular Americans vs. the Democratic nominee, again. I think Obama is a good enough politician that he can beat this, but we'll see.

(Of course, this is the highbrow, reverse snobbery line. There's also the "he's a black Muslim" line.)

Ah: Kevin Drum notices this in more places.


 

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Yeah, Weird

Posted by Ogged
on 02.07.08

Foolishmortal needs our help.

I am constructing in my apartment an ego wall consisting of famous photographs of cruelty and injustice with my face photoshopped in. For instance, I've successfully put my face on the Vietnamese girl running away from napalm or whatever, and I'm working on putting my face on this. Any suggestions on other photos to photoshop? Surely the Vietnam war cannot be the only source of photographic horror?


 

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Fatties, Every Last One Of Us

Posted by Ogged
on 02.07.08

Even I can't become a male model nowadays.

Mr. Svetlichnyy's [not the guy pictured] top weight, he said last week, is about 145 pounds. He is 6 feet tall with a 28-inch waist.

That's just sad. The article is full of explanations about why designers or consumers or editors want this look, but isn't it just that fashion needs to change to keep being fashion? Is this convincing?

"I personally think that it's the consumer that's doing this, and fashion is just responding," said Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People's Revolution, a fashion branding and production company. "No one wants a beautiful women or a beautiful man anymore."

In terms of image, the current preference is for beauty that is not fully evolved. "People are afraid to look over 21 or make any statement of what it means to be adult," Ms. Cutrone said.

We could just as easily have seen bulkier guys and post-hoc explanations about this being the age of the military man.


 

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A Blog You Should Read

Posted by Ogged
on 02.07.08

I don't know if y'all read Michael Froomkin's Discourse.net, but you should really drop it into your feed reader. He covers law and politics, analyzing stories that other bloggers don't cover, but that are very important nonetheless.


 

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There Is No Truth About The Future

Posted by Ogged
on 02.07.08

A friend of a friend was apparently arguing that a US withdrawal from Iraq would give Iran a free hand there. My short response was 1) So what? Iran and Iraq are both desperate to sell oil and 2) Iran's influence in the middle east is self-limiting because a) Arabs don't like Iranians and b) outside of Iraq, there are very few Shia. I didn't bother with arguments about Iran attacking Israel, because I think those are alarmist nonsense. What say you?


 

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The least convincing blame-shifting in the world

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 02.07.08

A friend of mine has a sister who has a boyfriend who sometimes drinks beer with their gay landlord. The other night, during some beer-drinking, the landlord calls up the sister to ask if he can have the boyfriend because he's so cute. Sister says yes, because she's playing along with the joke. Boyfriend eventually returns, shaken, and confesses that the landlord just fellated him. When she gets mad about this, the boyfriend gets defense and claims it was all her fault for giving her permission. Something tells me this guy isn't 200% straight.


 

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A thread offering the chance to talk about Mitt's withdrawal

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 02.07.08

Anyone putting Hewitt on suicide watch?


 

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Hierarchy of Procrastination

Posted by Becks
on 02.07.08

Things I don't like to do but will to do to avoid the tasks beneath them, as revealed last night:

I will go to the gym before
I will clean my apartment before
I will I will look for a new job before
I will pay bills before
I will do laundry before
I will do my taxes.


 

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This is how I take my modernism! roared the pedant

Posted by Ben
on 02.06.08

Yeah, it's probably a horrible sin to present the third movement of a four- (and then five-) movement work in isolation, and probably an equally horrible sin in the eyes of certain agencies to present it at all, and it probably reflects highly poorly on me that I won't stop at considering the previous but will go so far as to bring them to perfection, and that I think this is a good idea (that I like the third so much more! that I myself listen to it in isolation despite having access to the whole work! all of these things reflect poorly on me). Nevertheless, I give you: the third movement of Berio's Sinfonia, Boulez conducting, the Swingle Singers singing, as it transpired one day in 1968, because it's just so awesome, even if it can't stop the war, can't make the old younger or lower the price of bread.

I would also like to praise these two entries by Kyle Gann mostly about Morton Feldman. Why not patterns, after all?

Update: commenter Brodysattva provides us with an annotated score to the Berio, in two parts.


 

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The O'Neal Trade

Posted by Ogged
on 02.06.08

As is so often the case, it's tennis great John McEnroe who gets it exactly right.


 

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Leaky Tubes

Posted by Becks
on 02.06.08

So five major undersea cables have been severed in the last week, knocking out Internet access for large parts of the Middle East, including Iran? (Although there's some debate/confusion about whether Iran is down or not and whether it's related.)

That seems...odd.


 

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Ready

Posted by Becks
on 02.06.08

The other day on the subway, my mind drifted and I started thinking about the election and the ridiculousness of all of the articles like: "Is America ready for a Black president?", "Is America ready for a Female president?", "Is America ready for a Mormon president?", etc. I started to wonder which other ones I'd see in my life and when they might happen and in what order.

Is America ready for a Jewish president?

Is America ready for a foreign-born president?

Is America ready for a gay president?

Is America ready for a human-animal hybrid president?


 

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Bleg

Posted by Ben
on 02.05.08

There's some book or short story during which we the readers overhear a young authoress talk about her own book or story interest in which some other I believe never met character, a professor or editor or anyway an older man of some sort, has taken, she saying that he approves of it but that they're going to go over it and he'll put the symbols in. That exact phrase, I'm certain of it, occurs—"put the symbols in". But what is it?

Also, if anyone has a still from The Conversation that shows Harrison Ford's lapels to advantage, I would like to see that still.


 

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Jesus: for ransom!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 02.05.08

We are holding Jesus ransom until you clean up the pooping from your wieners.


 

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The invention of happiness

Posted by Ben
on 02.05.08

Today, super food-day, seems like a good day to point you all via the front page to my favorite over-the-top food blog (actually since I read very few food blogs of any sort that qualification may not be extremely informative). I confess that, taken as I am with the seriously nice cookware and food porn on display, the clincher is the advice dispensed in the commentary, in which François-Xavier tells us that "squids are members of the baggy animal kingdom", that, when it comes to giblets, "the ones that are liver shaped are the liver", and in some very sage and considered advice about substitutions, that

To make this dish a success you need a good rabbit. Here I used a farm rabbit from the Gruyère, and the flesh is juicy and delicious. Of course you might not have access to such quality rabbit, or just don't like to idea of eating the flesh of such a friendly furry animal. You can definitely substitute the rabbit by a well-fed pampered city cat. Choose one that has led a happy life of leisure- the last thing you want these days is to be accused of animal cruelty.
Also this? Looks delicious.


 

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Currency

Posted by Becks
on 02.05.08

If you haven't read the James Fallows article in The Atlantic on how China's economic policies affect the dollar, I recommend checking it out. While I knew the broad strokes of how China was propping up the US economy through buying Treasury securities, it does a good job of explaining the intersections and motivations in more detail. And unlike most of the articles I'd read on the subject, it talks about how this affects living conditions in China instead of just explaining the impact on the US.


 

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Bankrupt

Posted by Becks
on 02.05.08

I hope none of you wrote anything witty in the last two weeks or so. I keep things that I want to read (like online articles and blog posts and Unfogged threads) but am too busy to finish right now in my RSS reader for when I have downtime, like in airports and such, and catch up when I have the time. Today when I opened my reader, I accidentally deleted everything in it. This is far less satisfying than the email/RSS bankruptcy stuff you read about occasionally as I didn't mean to do it.


 

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Super Boozeday

Posted by Becks
on 02.04.08

Meetups confirmed so far:

* Boston at Deep Ellum (time?) at Seven! Thirty!

* New York at O'Reilly's Townhouse, 21 W. 35th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues from 6:15 on.

* Austin at Dog & Duck, 406 W. 17th St. (at Guadalupe) from 6:30 on.

* Washington D.C. I hear is going to one of these places but still needs to get their acts together.

Give a holler in the comments if you're coming so people can get a headcount. And get your act together, D.C.!


 

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Kobe

Posted by Becks
on 02.04.08

Witt sent me a link to this experiment that they're trying out on XKCD's IRC channel to improve the quality of their discussions -- they're banning non-unique sentences. I'm not suggesting that we do it here, but it's interesting to see the different ways people try to manage their signal-to-noise ratios and it should be no surprise that a cool one would come from XKCD.


 

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A Philosophy

Posted by Ogged
on 02.04.08

At the pool, there's a lot of talk lately about each person's Man Card. Fail to show up a cold day, for example, and you forfeit your Man Card. Of course, I don't participate in this talk, because I'm a motherfucking feminist. In fact, today I swam with my brand new snorkel, which looks at least as silly as that picture makes it seem. Cries of "turn in your Man Card!" were heard. Even I-want-your-speed lady offered "Your image is ruined." But a motherfucking feminist doesn't take anything lying down, you know. I argued that my willingness to wear the snorkel and suffer social opprobrium entitled me to an extra Man Card.

Of course, as anyone who properly internalized the lessons of fashion fuckwittery will know, my position was wrong and offered disingenuously. Acting with "style" or "doing your own thing" are absolutely Man Card forfeiting offenses. Now, sometimes it's ok to have style and do your own thing; if you're a beguiling foreigner, for example, or if you're universally acknowledged to be cool ("cool for Brooklyn" doesn't count). And, in certain circles, doing your own thing is rewarded (not that they'll sleep with you, you fool, but at least they'll make you think you have a chance), so you might want to do it anyway, but you'll still have to turn in your Man Card, because we're about 1) distinctions and 2) preserving the force of the most elemental words (right, Ben?). Man. Card. Hurrrrrrrr. That's some elemental shit.


 

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Biggie Smalls

Posted by Becks
on 02.04.08

Conclusions:

1. No wonder we have so many Daves on this site.

2. Barry Hussein Obama, eh?

[via]


 

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Grownup Playdates

Posted by Becks
on 02.04.08

When I read AWB's post wondering about how to help her mother find new friends, I thought very much of my own mother. She no longer works, isn't involved in a church (or interested in religion), and a lot of her friends have moved recently as they've retired. The simple answer is to join some organizations or volunteer or something, and she does do things like that, but even then it's hard to cross the bridge from "person I see at my class/activity" to "friend I see outside of class/activity" at that age. Does anyone have any advice for helping older folks who need to branch out and make new connections?


 

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Good

Posted by Ogged
on 02.04.08

The Giants' win is bearable because in the end it wasn't a realization of the Harrison Bergeronesque fantasies of those loathsome leveling liberals. The Giants played well, and, as has surely been noted everywhere, this throw and especially this catch are for the ages, so you can have your win, you bastards.


 

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W-lfs-n sucks.

Posted by Apostropher
on 02.03.08

This is a pretty exciting football game.


 

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Super Bowl live-commenting thread

Posted by Ben
on 02.03.08

Have at it.


 

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Game Day

Posted by Becks
on 02.03.08

Who are you rooting for and, more importantly, what are you cooking?


 

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The Decline Of The Romantic Comedy

Posted by Becks
on 02.03.08

A.O. Scott takes a look at Hollywood's path from The Philadelphia Story to 27 Dresses and tries to figure out how it came to be that romantic comedies now pretty much universally suck.


 

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