Edward Fiske had an interesting article a couple of days back on the anniversary of the "A Nation at Risk" report on the state of public education. One point that stuck out to me:
One of the main ideas enshrined in the document -- that quality of schooling is directly linked to economic competitiveness -- has also shaped the way Americans think about education. This particular theory, however, hasn't been borne out by history.
In 1983, the causal connection between education and the economy seemed obvious. Americans were living in awe of the Japanese "economic miracle" and assumed that it was made possible by a school system whose students consistently routed ours on all those comparative international achievement tests. But then the Japanese economy soured -- even though it still had the same education system -- and we began asking ourselves another question: If American schools are so bad, why is our economy doing so well?
How much of a link is there between an education population and the economy? Have we just been lucky the last few years because our economy has been based on selling homes to each other at inflated prices instead of making things? Or is it because the "badness" of our schools isn't a uniform mediocrity but instead extreme inequity?
You liberals say you don't hate freedom, but are any of you marching for Wesley Snipes' freedom? No, you are not. Hypocrites.
On Josh's recommendation, I went to Get Mortified tonight. People read from their childhood diaries, stories, poems, etc., and it's completely hilarious. Particularly good tonight were a woman who'd grown up in a strict Christian family and decided at thirteen that what she really wanted to do was booze and slut it up and described her plans in her diary in very frank language, despite never having had a drink or a kiss, and a guy who had elaborate teenage fantasies of inhabiting a Beach Boys song, and wrote a long story that lingered with horrible metaphors on every "base" that he got to with his dream girl. The whole crowd was laughing for pretty much the entire 90 minutes. It's in several cities and there are video clips of some of the performances on the site. Great stuff.
We've often noted the sheer brazenness of old guy locker room nudity, but I think I have some insight to share. I swim with The Coach just after he coaches his age-group team (8-18 year-olds) so there are kids around when I'm changing or showering, and last night I was in the locker room with two boys who were around ten. (No, I didn't molest them.
You have to win their trust first.) I'm not a super-shy locker room guy, and don't turn away or hurry up awkwardly to keep from exposing myself, but being around these kids made me realize that I'm still aware that other guys my own age will look each other over, not just, or not even, to size up their wangs, but just to see how fit the other guy is, what he looks like, etc. And I realized this because I couldn't have cared less that these kids were in the locker room with me. I walked around naked as if I were totally alone, because the gaze of a ten-year-old just doesn't register. This, I imagine, is how the geezers feel. They're beyond proving themselves, and don't give a shit what any of us think.
In other Sessions With The Coach news, bpl has joined me in training with him, and actually went by herself last week when I was sick, and stuck around to swim masters after her lesson. The previous week, we'd both spotted a super hot woman coming in for masters as we were leaving, and this time bpl got a chance to chat her up and told me about it.
-You talked to her?
-Well, we were in the locker room together.
-You saw her naked?!!
-We were in the shower and chatted while we lathered each other up...
...and I rubbed her breasts...
[realize I've been had]
It wasn't funny, obviously.
Fact: It's a zillion times easier to open a stubborn jar lid if you have some rubber between your hands and the lid to give you a better grip.
Fact: Everyone in America will soon be eighty.
Fact: If you market a thin, durable slice of rubber, about the size of a washcloth, with an attached no-muss 3M-style adhesive hook for hanging it somewhere, you'll become a millionaire.
One of those youthful conversations that stuck was being told that someone was rich because his dad had invented twist-ties. Now that I'm mature enough to realize that I'm far too lazy to make anything of my own twist-tie millionaire ideas, I feel free to share them with you.
I guess we are made in his image after all. Be sure to check the mouseover text on the strip.
On NPR yesterday, I heard something about a recent Supreme Court ruling that said that if police arrest a driver for a misdemeanor that is actually non-arrestable but find proof of another crime in the process of arresting them (e.g., drugs), the second charge can stick.
1) Why am I not finding this anywhere else? (Link, please)
2) Is there anything to prevent cops now from arresting anyone who has committed a misdemeanor that shouldn't be an arrestable offense if they want to search them? What are the consequences of a bad arrest like that? Do they just get to say "my bad", let the person go, and the person arrested has no recourse? Or can an arrest like that open them up to a civil suit or something else?
The cafe where I buy my morning coffee has two identical dispensers: one for sugar, the other for parmesan cheese.
Anyone out there have experience with Amazon's EC2? Or any of the other nascent cloud platforms? What do you think? Satisfied? The geek in me thinks it would be cool to move my personal mail/webpage to my "own" server, rather than having it hosted more traditionally.
It's not as satisfying as Dick Cheney being drawn and quartered, but here's Thomas Friedman being splatted with a couple of pies. The real appeal of something like this is that moment where the public mask drops, and you see a silly flailing man. It's a power equalizer, and it's worth noting that that effect, of being able to pierce the civilized, controlled layer, is a big part of the appeal of real (not fictional) violence.
Not exactly what you'd call rigorous research, but pretty funny anyway.
If explicit reasoning about morality promotes moral behavior, as Kohlberg and many ethicists have suggested, then one might expect ethics professors to behave particularly well. However, professional ethicists' behavior has never been empirically studied. The present research examined the rates at which ethics books are missing from leading academic libraries, compared to other philosophy books. Study 1 found that contemporary (post-1959) ethics books were actually about 25% more likely to be missing than non-ethics books. When the list was reduced to the relatively obscure books most likely to be borrowed exclusively by professional ethicists and advanced students of ethics, ethics books were almost 50% more likely to be missing. Study 2 found that classic (pre-1900) ethics books were more than twice as likely to be missing as other classic philosophy books.
John Emerson is banned from this thread.
I just walked by someone who looked for a moment like Carver from The Wire and I nearly and truly almost burst out with "Oh my god! How are you?" before I realized, in order:
- It wasn't Carver.
- Carver isn't a real person.
- Carver doesn't know me.
Did LB really do a whole post on Eli Lake's bloggingheads appearance without noting that Lake is incredibly ugly and looks like he's smoking a roll-your-own made from unregulated Chinese pig intestines? Sadly, yes.
Britta Steffen has fabulous arms, which you can see most clearly at 1:50+ when she goes into a back bend. They look pretty normal otherwise, which just makes them more fabulous.
If your roommate cheats on you by writing to another advice column, does that make him UNWORTHY OF A LINK?
Recent searches that brought people to the site:
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malcolm gladwell "jewish girls"
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"law firm" and "caste system"
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pictures of boys with erections in public
love is patient, etc.
"woman fucking man"
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did bill clinton ejaculated inside monic ?
he didnt orgasm during sex does this mean i am bad
A man is mugged by a 15- and 18-year-old. He fights back, killing the 15-year-old. myladyeve comments,
This is tough love at its best!
I have yet to see an NBA game this year, but this kind of first-rate commentary might make me a fan again.
I think they are pretty amazing to watch. Especially Obi Wan Ginobili, aka The Sickness. What makes him most amazing is that in South America he is right-handed.
The late, great Fontana Labs just sent me this Times article on American rates of incarceration (highest in the world, both absolutely and proportionally), but in response to my ready snark about racist honkies, my late, great correspondent pointed to this paragraph.
Many specialists dismissed race as an important distinguishing factor in the American prison rate. It is true that blacks are much more likely to be imprisoned than other groups in the United States, but that is not a particularly distinctive phenomenon. Minorities in Canada, Britain and Australia are also disproportionately represented in those nation's prisons, and the ratios are similar to or larger than those in the United States.
How 'bout them apples? Of course it's true that all those other countries have reputations for racism, but given this paragraph, it's also true that "that's because we keep locking up black people" is an insufficient response to our abnormally high rates of incarceration. And the article does a pretty good job of considering other explanations.
But I will note that race could still be the most important factor insofar as it conditions our response to crime: we're more likely to favor harsher punishment as long as we think of crime as something done by people not like us, and I think that kind of thinking remains common in the US. So, America: still notably racist.
Oh, and: Of course, another explanation might be that we just have a lot of criminals. And that, of course, is because we have a permanent poor and neglected underclass, and that, of course, is due in large part to racism. You honkies really can't win on this one. The only thing keeping my outrage in check is that some of the most racist people I know are Iranians.
I listened to this Bloggingheads.tv piece with Phil Carter (whose Intel Dump has always been good stuff, and is now at the Washington Post) and some guy named Eli Lake who writes for the New York Sun. I find that one of the main values of listening to those things is that I end up actually listening to the right-wing end of the conversation, and checking my stereotypes, rather than just relying on my general sense that they're all loons.
And it's good getting confirmation that yes, they are all (or at least Lake is) loons. There was this fascinating bit where Carter referred to having been hoodwinked by the case for the Iraq war, and Lake went off, insisting for about ten minutes that absolutely no one had said or done anything deceptive before the war, other than the leaders of Iraq. I hadn't realized anyone was still fighting that one. But that wasn't what set me off.
For the entire thing, Lake was rhapsodizing about the moral beauty and wonderfulness of our occupation of Iraq, because we're protecting civilian populations from Al Qaeda. All right, I know there are people who think like that. Towards the end, though, Carter made a very reasonable, sensible point, that the US has abandoned the idea that we can try to make people in other countries more favorably disposed to us by, you know, helping them -- building schools and so forth -- something which we do very little of. And Lake went off again, gabbling about how that sort of thing was very important, but we couldn't possibly do it with taxpayer money and the US government's hand directly on it, because we don't "have the credibility".
We've got the credibility to shell neighborhoods, and have it perceived as a humanitarian intervention, but building a school or two is right out because people don't trust us? How does any human being think like that? Of course they don't trust us, and rightly shouldn't, but that might have just a tiny bit to do with the all important schools to mortar fire ratio, don't you think?
Anyway, I've said what I think on the matter. I think drowning Pakistan in idealistic young Americans in some sort of Peace-Corps-ish but more risk-accepting program would be the best thing we could do for national security. It might do some actual humanitarian good, but the main benefit for us is that it's really hard to get a strong dislike on for the bumbling idiot who's trying to teach your kid to do long division.
I'm hoping Clinton gets spanked and this is all wrapped up by 9 o'clock but I think that's unlikely.
In the heels thread, Gaijin Biker linked to this great article about shoes. Short version: almost all shoes alter the natural human gait, which has us landing on the sides and balls of our feet and reducing shock throughout the feet and legs, in favor of a hard heel strike onto padded soles, which actually jars us and does long-term damage. There are now some shoes, including quite normal looking ones that are tempting me right now, some totally funky ones that I don't have the insouciance to wear, and some sneakers that try to mimic walking barefoot.
These are very tempting, and if you've walked barefoot at all lately, you know exactly what a huge difference in gait and feel for the ground being barefoot makes. But I also realized that the modern padded shoe makes the long, confident stride possible, and switching to a near-barefoot shoe would mean giving that up for a shorter, "softer" stride. I wonder how many people try on (or would try on) these shoes and reject them because they feel, for lack of a better word, emasculating.
Kaus has a very good post up where he tries to think through a difficult issue: he criticized Obama for the condescension of bittergate, but Kaus realizes that he himself partakes of the same condescension/attribution of false-consciousness when he considers places like China and Pakistan. The question for Kaus is how to balance belief in the need to treat people as equals with his belief that not only are their beliefs determined by their situation, but that they'll come around to his point of view when their situation frees them to do so.
This is genuinely difficult problem: how to explain social phenomena without condescending to the people being described. And I know that Kaus is frequently horrible, but very few other writers, particularly nationally read writers, do this kind of self-reflection.
So Hillary said,
In the next ten years, during which [Iran] might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.
And followed that up later with this.
[we should] make it very clear to the Iranians that they would be risking massive retaliation were they to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.
This isn't about Clinton. In the comments to his own post, Yglesias writes,
I don't think the policy Clinton is outlining is unreasonable.
And yes, the threat of massive retaliation is a time-honored peace-keeping strategy. But the American view of the situation in the middle-east is insane. Israel is the country with nuclear weapons, not Iran. Israel is the country that has for years now been engaged in a full-throated propaganda campaign to goad the world's superpower into "dealing with" Iran, a country with a third-rate military and no nuclear capability.
I know someone who is a member of AIPAC and meets with the various Israeli representatives who come through the Bay Area; people like the Israeli ambassador to the US, or Bibi Netanyahu, etc. I might have mentioned that he said that their last such meeting was devoted entirely to discussing Iran. Nothing about the Palestinians, or Lebanon, or anything else. And he said that's the first time a meeting had been devoted solely to one topic. And this kind of pressure works. When I rolled my eyes and dismissed the possibility of Iran attacking Israel, he was noticeably agitated, in a "how can you be so sanguine about this!" kind of way.
The framing that has Iran as the unpredictable aggressor is what you see within the walls of the empire. To everyone on the outside, things look very different.
The food cart in front of the building next to mine, advertising halal food, also sells egg and bacon sandwiches. Now, I'm certainly not the sharia police, but something's not right there.
I'm trying to figure out how to organize my to do list in a way that I can access it from both my work and home computers and maybe my cell phone. Anyone have experience with Remember the Milk or Ta-da List or some other site for doing that? Or do you have another suggestion, like creating a Google Doc? How do you manage them?
I really don't understand women who wear stilettos with pantsuits. Pants cover up the curve of the calf that is the benefit of wearing heels, so what's the point? Also, I keep waiting for the spiky point of someone's heel to get caught in the hem of her pant, causing her to trip down a flight of stairs and die.
Not "waiting" as in "hoping". "Waiting" as in "dreading the inevitable". So, please, for my sanity, stop wearing them.
The haircut lady just asked me if I wanted my eyebrows trimmed. However, I proved spry enough to strangle her with my bare hands.
On Saturday, Maury County Sheriff's department was called to a home on Jacobs Lane in Columbia. When they arrived they found James Bargy, 29, dead.
Authorities said he had a ball gag stuffed in his mouth with duct tape wrapped around his mouth and eyes.
Bargy was also found with an Ace bandage wrapped around his entire head.
Maury County Sheriff's department said the victim had his hands and legs bound together behind his back so tightly that he couldn't move.
Authorities arrested Bargy's 25-year-old wife, Rebecca, who admitted she did all of this as part of a sexual act, which ended up killing him.
Boy, you really have to be careful and use some common sense with those kinky sex games.
She told officials that she tied her husband up and left him home alone for nearly 20 hours.
Nevermind. Not exactly the perfect crime, sis.
I liked the movie; it made me laugh. Showing cock as a sight gag was, as I expected, comedy gold. Now you can tell me how it reinscribes repressive patriarcapitalist norms.
And speaking of capitalism, it seems that some Northern California retailers are now rationing some staple foods. This is exciting. What are the ethical norms of hoarding, anyway?
I hadn't realized, but Cancer Boy hasn't released his medical records yet. For someone who's had multiple melanomas, and on his head, yet, that's a big deal. So, two questions: if he releases his records, and they're bad enough to make him unelectable, who is the GOP going to tap as the candidate? Romney? And in any case, the VP is going to be much more of a heir apparent than usual; who gets it?
I fear that this recent trend of not terrible Modern Loves is going to be my downfall. What will I have to look forward to each week?
I just showered with a bunch of gay guys. How have you frittered away your Sunday?
Sephardic charoset kicks Ashkenazi charoset's ass -- apricots and pine nuts, mmm. Also, I can eat a really alarming amount of Hillel sandwiches, which makes eating the actual dinner part tricky.