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Bush wedding open thread

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 05.10.08

So, Jenna. What weirds me out is that watching her talk prompts me to see her face as sort of morphing into her father's, which is super-creepy because she's then simultaneously a moderately attractive young woman and that guy. Second, if one were hitting that, would this still happen? If so, would the effect be ardor-extinguishing or would the awesome power of sexual arousal merely transform the gestalt shift into something hot? And if the latter, would there still be a sort of meta-level awareness that something deeply unsettling is going on? Or would it be inexplicably alluring chimpy-faces all the way down?


 

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Ill Considered

Posted by Ogged
on 05.10.08

So, the Greek guy who fell at the pool does indeed have a fractured hip and is facing months of rehab. He's a nice guy, and that sucks for him. However! According to people who saw him at the hospital, he's now saying that he wasn't really running when he fell. Oh my. He might have thoughts of a lawsuit brewing in his head, and sadly for him and for me, I was looking right at him as he ran and fell, and another guy two lanes over from me said "why was he running?" Don't do it, Greek guy! I don't want to testify against you!


 

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I Wanted More About How An Ostrich Can Kick A Man To Death

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.10.08

Yglesias's Heads in the Sand is very much worth reading as a political history of the foreign policy debates during the Bush administration. It's a more substantive version of all of those "Democrats need to fight harder!" arguments, laying out exactly how congressional Democrats and our presidential candidates simply abdicated the foreign policy field to the Republicans by failing to offer any positive alternative to the Republican program of creating American hegemony through the aggressive use of our military power. The Republicans had a foreign policy plan, the Democrats had none, and any plan looks more serious than no plan, regardless of how lunatic that plan may be. For this alone, buy the book. You can still get a copy for a Mother's Day present if you go to a bricks and mortar bookstore, and there's plenty of time before Father's Day.

Now to start griping about it.

As a record of the Democrats' failure to advocate for some alternative foreign policy paradigm and the political damage they took as a result, it's great. As a description of and advocacy for "liberal internationalism", Yglesias's favored alternative (and, roughly, mine), on the other hand, it's a little weaker."Liberal internationalism", as set forth by Yglesias, is a policy of international engagement subject to international law and to legitimate international institutions: Truman's foreign policy of engagement through treaties, and NATO, and the UN. And of creating and strengthening international institutions where they don't exist, or lack legitimacy, so that they can govern and support international engagement. The soft spot in this definition, though, is pinning down what makes an international institution legitimate. This same soft spot is the foundation of the right-wing critique of the UN: that it lacks legitimacy because it gives all those annoying little third-world countries that we disapprove of votes in the General Assembly, and superpowers that we disapprove of like China a great deal of control over what the UN can do.

Yglesias addresses this soft spot by talking about the US bombing in Kosovo, as a hard case that led a lot of liberal foreign policy thinkers to discard reliance on international institutions, and so to be open to the Bush administration's advocacy for war in Iraq. In Kosovo, the Clinton administration decided that the UN's refusal to authorize intervention was itself illegitimate, and intervened anyway because the arguments for intervention were so powerful.

This is really where I wanted more from the book: what, in Yglesias' eyes, is the principled distinction between Kosovo and Iraq, that made intervention in Kosovo so compelling for someone advocating a liberal foreign policy despite the fact that UN intervention wasn't forthcoming, while Iraq was just insane? The liberal hawks Yglesias describes (and which, of course, he was before the Iraq War) were Iraq War supporters because they didn't see any distinction; Kosovo was legitimate despite lack of UN authorization, and so was Iraq. I can see a fair argument that there isn't a distinction, and that we shouldn't have bombed Kosovo for many of the same reasons we shouldn't have invaded Iraq. But Yglesias seems to see Kosovo as a really hard case for a liberal internationalist, but Iraq as clearly ruled out, while not satisfyingly setting forth the principles that make Kosovo a hard case.

Obviously, those sorts of questions are difficult to answer, but advocates of liberal internationalism need to have them on tap -- I think lack of answers on that sort of point explains both the existence of the "liberal hawks", and the political effectiveness of accusations of blanket pacifism against anti-war politicians. I'd really like to see more from Yglesias on how he would deal with situations where the actions, or refusals to act, of international institutions are arguably not legitimate, and generally of what constitutes "legitimacy" in an international institution.

(Minor stylistic notes: First spelling error isn't until page 14 -- "loathe" for "loath." Kudos to the copy editor. And the writing isn't quite stylistically up to Yglesias's standard in short-form pieces: it's kind of starchy, rather than his fluently informal blogging and magazine style, but the increased formality level isn't as smooth as it could be. That's probably not something I'd even have noticed to gripe about if I didn't think so highly of his writing before reading the book.)

(Also, I have a couple of other book reviews backed up -- this one jumped the line because it was timely. More to come.)


 

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This is why I go to San Andreas to set people on fire

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 05.10.08

Someone really just argued (take-home exam, considered opinion) that the reason it would be bad to have some kind of market for transplantable organs is that black people's organs would be cheaper because less demand because fear of getting sickle cell anemia.


 

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Burned

Posted by Becks
on 05.09.08

Somebody please explain the attraction of St. Elmo's Fire.


 

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Happy Birthday, O!

Posted by Unf
on 05.09.08

DSCF1250.JPG

Sometimes six months seems like forever, and sometimes shorter than a single day.


 

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The Issues

Posted by Ogged
on 05.09.08

Maybe I should move to Australia. They've spent a week discussing why one of their swimmers looked fat in a post-race photo. Not only that, but he's been forced to answer questions about it. Sweet. Anyway, the answer seems to be that spending a lot of time in salty water makes you bloated.

via scaq


 

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The standards of evidence remain what they were.

Posted by Apostropher
on 05.09.08

I've had countless conversations where somebody has said that of course Iran is funneling weapons into Iraq. I always answer that I've not heard or seen a single shred of evidence outside of the Bush administration lackeys stomping their tiny feet and insisting that it's so. Now, given their performance since 2001, I've taken to assuming every word they say (including a, the, and God bless America) is not just wrong, but completely intentional, ass-backwards antitruth. Let's test that strategy.

There was something interesting missing from Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner's introductory remarks to journalists at his regular news briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday: the word "Iran," or any form of it. It was especially striking as Bergner, the U.S. military spokesman here, announced the extraordinary list of weapons and munitions that have been uncovered in recent weeks since fighting erupted between Iraqi and U.S. security forces and Shiite militiamen. [...]

A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin. When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all.

Hmm, how 'bout that? Perhaps they should check under the couch and in the areas just north, south, east, and west of it.


 

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Now That's How You Godwin

Posted by Ogged
on 05.09.08

Nobody else link to this, lest we inspire another sympathetic backlash.


 

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A Fine Question

Posted by Ogged
on 05.09.08

Tony Karon says "Israel is 60, Zionism is Dead, What Now?"


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Gentrification Edition

Posted by Ogged
on 05.08.08

Washer D. is concerned.

I've been skimming the archive of the blog Vanishing New York today, and am trying to get my thoughts in order on the topics he discusses, which seem thematically tied by New York gentrification. I'm very sympathetic to complaints that a) important pieces of New York history are being lost, b) communities that people valued no longer exist/people no longer behave as if they're in a community at all, and c) many young people act like entitled dicks. As to a) and b), it's difficult, as it always is for me in the gentrification context, to figure out who is doing something wrong, to whom they're doing it, and what kind of responses (other than supporting Mom & Pop type stores with your own dollars and encouraging others to do that) are justly available. And I take c) to just be a subset of "many people are dicks" not "young people from the suburbs who come to New York are especially evil," since I'm a young person from the suburbs who came to New York.


 

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Bottled Up

Posted by Becks
on 05.08.08

It's impressive how quickly bottled water has gone from being thought of as healthy to what is singlehandedly killing our planet. Here's what I want to know: how are Coke and Pepsi getting away with it? They sell their 20 oz. sodas in the same bottles as bottled water, yet you don't hear people calling bottled sodas evil when they condemn bottled water. Aren't they even worse, since they're bad for both you and the planet? Yet they're getting a free pass.


 

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This Is Not A Plan

Posted by Ogged
on 05.08.08

How many of y'all are in Portland, Oregon? What about Vancouver, BC? I'm kinda sorta considering a trip to both places in mid-August. Perhaps we could "meet up."

And we've already had a helpful thread about what to do in Vancouver, but what about places to stay? Ditto Portland. I don't really know the going rate for a decent room, but I don't need it to be fancy.


 

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And That, My Fellow Americans, Is Why We Need A Fence

Posted by Ogged
on 05.08.08

There's a gregarious Greek regular at the pool who shows up and heartily greets everyone in his thick accent and splashes around for a while before collecting his son for a joint swim. Yesterday he hopped out of the pool and started to run toward the building in a way that had "sudden diarrhea" written all over it. As I watched, he turned the corner, slipped, went down, and didn't get back up. After waiting about a minute for him to shake it off, he was still on the ground, so fifty-something-guy and I went over to check on him and it turned out that he was actually in pretty bad shape with a hip that was at least dislocated, if not broken. Of course, there's the weirdness of talking to someone who's in a little bit of shock. They keep returning to the same phrases over and over "I broke it. So stupid. I broke it." and muse to themselves in slightly oversharing ways "I'm so cautious in my life. I can't believe this happened to me." and become like friendly maudlin drunks "Guys, I'm so sorry I interrupt your swim."

Anyway, we covered him to keep him warm and I wound up calling his wife and then we just talked to him until the paramedics arrived. It turned out that he didn't have diarrhea, but just wanted to "do a little jog," and as I considered how very stupid that was, I thought about situations that make people much dumber than they normally are. We all have people, or situations, that have this effect on us--it goes beyond being flustered to actually making you inhabit the role of dumb person. I'm not sure how it works in each case; maybe it's some cue or trigger, or a way to avoid confrontation or competition, or habit, or etc. And surely some immigrants must fall into this role (all the ones I know are combative and self-satisfied, but there must be other kinds....) and do things--like run from the pool--that they wouldn't do as their self-assured native selves. Even more than the overt feeling stupid of not being totally comfortable with the language, this kind of identity-stealing self-sabotage has to be incredibly frustrating.


 

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People Of Good Will

Posted by Ogged
on 05.08.08

Let me try this again, in slightly more measured tones. I'm a moderately socially conservative guy who happily works at a place with "corporation" in its name, and who can be convinced to support the occasional war of choice. Nevertheless, I'm a yellow dog Democrat because the Republican party is, to varying degrees and with varying subtlety, the anti-black party. If the Democratic party also stoops to racism, not only will I not have a political home, but there will be no mainstream party in this country with a decent and respectable position vis-a-vis the nation's original sin, and that seems plainly and unacceptably disastrous. And if it's unacceptable, it falls to us regular folks to denounce it as clearly and forcefully as possible. You can do anything for votes (even glibly talk about obliterating the country where I was born), but you can't do that.

That said, this is a talk-about-uncomfortable-things blog, and taken apart from what the Clinton campaign has done, the question of what kinds of mentions of race in a campaign against a black opponent are acceptable, and what kinds are unacceptable, is an important one. We don't, presumably, want a rule that any mention of race by a white candidate is forbidden. Again, we need to take this apart from the Clinton campaign's actions, because I don't think we can assume good will behind any of their mentions of race.

So here's a thread where I won't call you racist if you try to work this out, as long as you don't try to give Clinton a pass.


 

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You Cannot Do This V

Posted by Ogged
on 05.07.08


 

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Currency

Posted by Becks
on 05.07.08

Sifu sent me this link to the new badass British coins (although I think Blume gets credit for finding them) and, damn, they're awesome. They make the U.S. state quarters want to run home and cry themselves to sleep.

We need to step it up. If you could redesign the US paper money and coinage, who or what would you put on it?


 

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The Campaign

Posted by Ogged
on 05.07.08

A fabulously smart piece by Betsy Reed about gender, race, and the Democratic primary campaign. Definitely read the whole thing.

via yglesias


 

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On John Yoo

Posted by Ogged
on 05.07.08

DeLong writes to the administration, the administration writes back.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Howcome None Of You Asked This? Edition

Posted by Ogged
on 05.07.08

Ration Reality gets a letter.

Dear Internet,

I am a germophobe, but my boyfriend wants me to lick his butt. What should I do and is he gay?
Sincerely,
Hygienocide

 

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Liveblogging ScarJo's Tom Waits album

Posted by Ben
on 05.06.08

I probably won't be able to listen to the whole thing right now, because I need to run off to see the Stefano Scodanibbio of the tuba in Oakland (incidentally the Scodanibbio of the bass will be playing at the Old First Church on 5/18, the same day some group involving musical saw will be playing at the Make-Out Room), but that won't stop me from making the following observations:

1. Dave Sitek's presence as producer is fairly obvious by the second track ("Town with No Cheer"). It is not clear to me that the music suits the song—certainly not as well as the music on the original.
2. Three tracks in (and the first was an instrumental), the weakest point is SJ's vokills. In fact on the third track it sounds as if she's lisping.
3. It's not pronounced "tames"! It is actually kind of hard to describe what a mess this track is. What's with that percussion? that cinematic swelling, only slightly obscured by distortion? SJ continues to exhibit a vocal range most charitably called Lady Dayesque.
4. The fact that I have never heard Waits himself perform "Fannin Street" (though it is on John Hammond's excellent Waits cover album, Wicked Grin) might mean that I will have fewer preconceptions against which to judge it? But that doesn't change that it's still a pretty uninspiring affair: starts off with some atmospheric drums, then we hit the chorus and some background "bum bum bum"s and synth swells. BORING. Oh! But a little more vocal range, I guess.

Ok, I'm done with this. Verdict: the album is probably not good.


 

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Hate. Haaaaate.

Posted by Ogged
on 05.06.08

Your primary thread.


 

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A-Rod, As Tough As Anticipated

Posted by Ogged
on 05.06.08

Anti-A-Rod sign makers, pay attention.

Alex Rodriguez passed out during the birth of his first daughter.

"The one nurse had a cold cloth on his head. The other nurse had the blood pressure on his arm. And my mother was like rubbing his back. And he is passed out on a couch. And I am there, in the middle of labor,"

...

"And he is there moaning. In between pushing, I am going, `Honey, are you OK?' and `Are you breathing? Are you OK?' "

It gets better.

"As tough and big as he seems, he is real wimpy around doctors or any type of medical situation," Cynthia Rodriguez said, according to excerpts released Tuesday by YES. "I don't know why I thought the birth of our child would be different. In the middle of the night, I realized that I needed to go to the hospital. I wake him up. The first thing that comes out of his mouth, `Can we call your mother?' ... A few hours later, I said, `I think you can call my mom now.' Uh, and the color came back to his face when I told him he could call my mom."

And I'm trying to decide whether I believe his wife.

"I know he played baseball, because everybody in the gym said, `Do you know who that is? And he plays baseball' or whatever," she said. "I didn't grow up in a sports-oriented family. So, I wasn't aware that you could have an entire livelihood off of a sport. So when they would say, `Oh, he plays baseball,' I always think, `Oh, I wonder what else he does'--like `that's a nice hobby--but what does he really do?"


 

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The Aussie Influence

Posted by Ogged
on 05.06.08

I guess working out until you puke is part of the glamorous athlete lifestyle after all. The commenters sure love it. (WARNING! It's a swimming video.)


 

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Where The Got Get Gotten

Posted by Ogged
on 05.06.08

One of the strange things about looking at the San Francisco homicide map, especially for someone coming from Chicago, is how many of the murders happen in places I go regularly. Although I can't quite figure out how to read the Chicago homicide map, I'm pretty sure that my recollection is correct that it's pretty easy to avoid murder sites there with just a little background attention to skirting "bad" neighborhoods. My guess is that San Francisco's relative smallness and integration account for most of this difference, and the fact that Los Angeles seems to be more like Chicago is probably evidence for that.


 

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Reluctantly Swayed

Posted by Becks
on 05.06.08

While I hate to say it, this did guilt me into admitting that the arguments in favor of taxing online purchases are pretty valid, especially that exempting them makes state sales taxes even more regressive. But I don't have to like it.


 

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Have they not hen-pecked you all?

Posted by Ben
on 05.05.08

Oudemia has supplied me with some dirty Latin verse, and I share one poem, of Martial's, with you, because it sounds a theme that is dear to our hearts 'round here:

Quaeris cur nolim te ducere, Galla? Diserta es.
saepe soloecismum mentula nostra facit.

She also supplied a translation—NOT BECAUSE I NEEDED IT THOUGH—to wit:

Why won't I marry you? You're a bluestocking.
And my cock's educated something shocking.

My intuition about being educated something shocking is that it should mean that the cock in question is quite highly educated, which is rather the opposite of what the second line actually says, namely that his cock is constantly committing solecisms—but such is life.

May a thousand grammar-themed cock jokes contend in the comments.


 

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It's Time, Ben

Posted by Ogged
on 05.05.08

Hey, W-lfs-n, I bought and enjoyously listen to Christopher Denny and Sam Amidon. What else you got? For me.


 

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Ain't It The Way

Posted by Ogged
on 05.05.08


 

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No, I'm Fine

Posted by Ogged
on 05.05.08

Over at Prolific Squalor, we get this reminiscence from high school.

I once pulled off the "dry 69." Pretty absurd, looking back.

Sweet. You can't beat high school for awkward sexual moments. I once tried to get busy while still wearing a suit jacket. You?


 

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Soothe A Brother's Mind

Posted by Ogged
on 05.05.08

I'm about to go swim, but maybe by the time I come back we can have a thread wherein you've all reassured me that Clinton still can't win, and that I can stop wishing that she'd just get hit by a bus already.


 

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Classing It Up

Posted by Ogged
on 05.05.08

I don't understand this post. Surely it's obvious that emasculating Obama is part of GW Clinton's strategy.


 

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Crunchy

Posted by Ogged
on 05.04.08

I'm trying to understand how I went thirty-five years, especially given where I've spent the last nine, without comprehending how yummy, filling, and nutritious* a bowl of granola with yogurt can be. I think it was because all the granola people tried to give me granola instead of my eggs and bacon, and obviously that's a doomed endeavor. But now that I realize that I can have granola and (soy) yogurt in addition to my regular food, I'm going wild. Turkey sandwich...with a side of granola! Thai food...with a side of granola! No more waking up hungry in the middle of the night! No more hoping I have some eggs left if I'm still hungry after dinner! A perfect quick snack! Seriously, you should try it. G-r-a-n-o-l-a.

*Although you have to be careful because most kinds of granola, at least in the bulk section of that well-known enemy of the proletariat, are very sugary. I got the kind called something-something Lite granola, and it's still plenty sweet.


 

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From The Sporting World

Posted by Ogged
on 05.04.08

1. I don't know how Nike has managed to keep making great ads for the last twenty years, but this latest one (a soccer ad, no less) is one of their very best.

2. Because people at the pool gossip like a bunch of housewives old men, my pre-meet hair removal is now a regular topic of conversation, such that random lifeguards are asking me out of the blue whether I'm going to shave or wax. One said that he waxed his chest; I asked him if he bled, he said he did, "just like in 40-Year-Old Virgin." I do think I'll shave, itching be damned. (I also have a feeling I'm going to eat that bravado.)

3. I swam a LCM 50 breast today for time. 43 seconds, from a push. Assuming a block start and adrenalin, I should be able, without further improvement, to do a 40 in the meet (that's what I put down as a seed time). Sadly, the winning time in my age group the last time this meet was held was 33. So I know that I'm going to be humiliated. My resigned goal now is to get down into the 30s, so at least the first digit of my time and the winning time will be the same.


 

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Elitists

Posted by Ogged
on 05.04.08

I'll say again that you should watch the lecture in the post two below. But moving on for now, I think we can solve the "how to refer to Hillary Rodham Clinton" problem by settling on GW Clinton.

This morning, George Stephanopoulos began his televised interview with Senator Hillary Clinton by asking if she could name a single economist who supports her plan for a gas tax suspension.

She did not. "I'm not going to put in my lot with economists," she said on ABC's "This Week" program. A few moments later, she added, "Elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantages the vast majority of Americans."

 

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Modern Love: Starting 'Em Young Edition

Posted by Becks
on 05.04.08

The results from the Modern Love college essay contest are in, with the first published this week. My takeaway? This guy should totally hang out with this dude:

He said that his disregard for monogamy wasn't a chauvinistic throwback, but quite the opposite: the ultimate nod to feminism.

Besides that, I'm just horrified sometimes when I read essays like this or hear stories from friends about how careless some people can be with others' emotions. Stop that!


 

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Screwed

Posted by Ogged
on 05.04.08

You've got an hour on a Sunday afternoon, right? Here's a lecture entitled "The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class" that's actually kind of riveting. (Lecture starts at about six minutes in.)

via eschaton


 

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