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Profit!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.07.08

I'm surprised that no one has done this thing I suggested Three Full Years ago, which is to set up a blog that catalogs people's predictions (particularly those that specify a time-frame) and tracks various pundits' prescience. Atrios does something like it with the Friedman units and posts like this, but a blog devoted to predictions would have, I think, instant and massive readership.


 

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Ataraxia. It's real.

Posted by Ben
on 06.07.08

And available in convenient pill form, apparently.


 

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The "Whitey" Tape

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.07.08

John Cole's got it. I'm really not sure what to think.


 

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Do Filipinos love horses?

Posted by Ben
on 06.07.08

This is a serious question.


 

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Not Just Chris Matthews, Either

Posted by Ogged
on 06.06.08

Not watching cable news, and not reading any feminist blogs regularly, my appreciation of the misogyny Hillary Clinton faced was mostly abstract and I was a little surprised at the intensity of the anger some women were expressing over her treatment. I don't want to get into another argument about why she lost, etc. etc. Just watch the compilation below to get a better sense of where some people are coming from.


 

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Can We Take Five Months Of This?

Posted by Ogged
on 06.06.08

You have got to be kidding me.


 

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First! Fake!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.06.08

We can participate in an internet phenomenon!

This video has millions of views and lots of sites are discussing whether it's real or staged.

As lots of people have pointed out, the fact that the monitors don't seem to be connected to anything argues pretty strongly that it's fake. Turns out that there's now also a video from the cell cam of one of the bystanders, and I think this one makes the fakeness nearly indisputable; it seems much more clearly like fake-fighting and staged standing-around-looking-concerned.


 

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All Better Now

Posted by Ogged
on 06.06.08

Nice short post from Yglesias about the book he's reading, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.


 

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Works For Me!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.06.08

Dsquared writes about fad diets and evolutionary psychology. Worth a read, and it reminded me of this.



 

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A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings And The Poor Get Screwed

Posted by Becks
on 06.06.08

A university with which I am familiar has decided it wants to increase its standing in the US News and World Report rankings. Since it is a public university with a charter that requires it to admit all students, it is considering a new policy where students below a cutoff GPA/SAT score are admitted, but only as part-time students since part-time students' scores don't count towards the rankings. The SAT scores of the incoming students strongly correlate with family income, as many of the students with lower scores had to work to help their family during high school, had fewer educational opportunities, and/or have parents with, at most, a high school degree. By preventing these students from enrolling full-time, they have a higher cost per credit hour and fewer opportunities for financial aid. And if that weren't enough, without full-time status, these students are no longer eligible to be covered by their parents' health insurance plans. Alternatively, these students could enroll in the local community college instead of the public university but lenders are drastically reducing their loans for community college students.


 

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Hubba

Posted by Ogged
on 06.05.08

Oh, she looks so good. And the Sartorialist has smart things to say about having "a look."


 

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Obama And Jerusalem

Posted by Ogged
on 06.05.08

Obama clarifies his Jerusalem remarks. I doubt this will please anyone.

Related: I've been reading Tapper intermittently throughout the campaign, and although he's sometimes maddening, I really like the fact that he passes judgment on his own he-said/he-said reporting:

The record seems to back Wexler's argument that...

More like this, please.


 

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The Villainless Finals

Posted by Ogged
on 06.05.08

It's so hard to gin up a rooting interest without someone to hate. True, Kobe is probably a sociopath, but that makes him almost sympathetic; he has to work so hard to mimic human feeling. I guess I'll root for...good play and close games? I might as well go read a poem.


 

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Deal A Meal

Posted by Becks
on 06.05.08

Stipulating your hatred of McArdle, I'm going to link to her for the second time today, specifically her post asking what your recipe dealbreakers are. Hers:

1) Prep time over one day
2) Active prep time over four hours
3) Anything that calls for shaving garlic with a razor blade
4) Discussions of mortars and pestles, or a chinois
5) Excessive chopping of onions, which leaves me crying for hours
6) Olives. I hate olives. (though I love olive oil)
7) Cherry pitting
8) The words "serves 12" unless I am having a huge party
9) Hours of stirring
10) Deep frying. My apartment is just too small.

I don't know if I'm really allowed to contribute as I haven't been cooking lately, what with "anything that involves spending time in the Flophouse kitchen" being atop my list, but when I did my big dealbreakers were too much time, too many pots, deep frying, grilling (never had one), and anything that involved cutting in butter.


 

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Doubters 1, Oggéd 0

Posted by Ogged
on 06.05.08

Via Stras in the comments, Barack Hussein Obama, who totally is too a Muslim, feels the fiercely urgent urge to sell out his people.

A mere 12 hours after claiming the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama appeared before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday -- and changed himself into an Israel hard-liner.

He promised $30 billion in military assistance for Israel. He declared that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force has "rightly been labeled a terrorist organization." He used terms such as "false prophets of extremism" and "corrupt" while discussing Palestinians. And he promised that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."
Vowing to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon, the newly minted nominee apparent added: "I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally, Israel. Do not be confused."
How could they be confused? As a pandering performance, it was the full Monty by a candidate who, during the primary, had positioned himself to Hillary Clinton's left on matters such as Iran. Yesterday, Obama, who has generally declined to wear an American-flag lapel pin, wore a joint U.S.-Israeli pin, and even tried a Hebrew phrase on the crowd.
Obama even outdid President Bush in his pro-Israel sentiments. On the very day that Obama vowed to protect Jerusalem as Israel's capital -- drawing a furious denunciation from the Palestinian Authority -- Bush announced that he was suspending a move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

 

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Bittersweet indeed

Posted by Ben
on 06.05.08

I seem to be listening to an electro* cover of "Puttin' on the Ritz".

I did not realize that the lyrics had been changed for popularity's sake—I think we can all agree that the original lines, as quoted on wikipedia, are better.

*Probably the wrong genre term, but I don't care.


 

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Peace be upon her

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.05.08

Via McArdle I see that disability-rights activist Harriet McBryde Johnson has died. I am embarrassed to say that I have just now read her article about her encounters with Peter Singer: Unspeakable Conversations.


 

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Capital

Posted by Ogged
on 06.05.08

Via Kaus, a pretty shocking story of the roots of the financial mess in something that McCain advisor and former Senator Phil Gramm managed to stuff into an omnibus bill. Even keeping in mind that there's corruption and the system is broken, this is surprisingly bad. One of Kaus' correspondents adds,

The non-regulation of the not banking system has been a team effort in Washington. Major financial services firms, hedge funds and private equity groups set out in the 1990s to own Washington and they have succeeded completely. 80% of banking activity used to be regulated. Today, 20% of "banking activity" falls under regulatory guidance. (See Charles Norris's "The Trillion Dollars Meltdown"). Capital networks own the Democratic and Republican parties. Barney Frank didn't even bother to try to get the tax on "carried interest" increased after the Ds recaptured control of Congress in 2006 ... the members understood that such a tax would make their fund-raising lives a LOT harder.

This is the part of Kevin Phillips' analysis of Washington that is exactly accurate. The power of private capital sources hasn't been as overwhelming since the days of JP Morgan.

 

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Let The Healing Begin

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.05.08

According to the Times, Clinton is just about to end her campaign and endorse Obama. Hopefully, all the recent hostility won't be damaging going forward, and honestly I don't think it's going to be.

On a related subject, I was thinking about the effects of racism and sexism on political candidates, and I have a theory, based on pretty much no evidence whatsoever: certainly nothing concrete I can point to from the primaries. Racism is likely to have a very powerful effect on a fairly small set of voters -- there are, say, 10% of the electorate (number pulled out of the air, probably varying regionally, and by regionally I mean small-scale, not just North-South) who simply aren't going to vote for a black candidate. For voters outside that group, while they probably have some racial stuff going on in their heads, most people do, it doesn't have a significant effect on their voting behavior. Sexism, on the other hand, isn't a deal-breaker for many people at all: there are very few voters who just aren't going to vote for a female candidate under any circumstances. But for a very large percentage of votes, men and women both, it's a significant factor in how they evaluate candidates, that tends to disadvantage female candidates in ways that appear individual to that candidate specifically. A female candidate who's strongly preferable in other regards is going to come out ahead, but women are generally going to look personally flawed and like weaker candidates next to similar male candidates. (This looks incompatible with the recent study linked here about how female candidates do just as well as male candidates when they run, but the same sort of forces could come into play at the candidate-selection level.)

This isn't a theory about which is worse -- play with the percentages and either pattern would be a bigger disadvantage. And I don't have any evidence for it, and am not even convinced myself, I'm throwing it out for discussion. But something about it sounds right to me.


 

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Counting Chickens

Posted by Becks
on 06.04.08

Here's my dream for how the next 12 months will play out:

* Home prices in D.C. drop sharply as a result of the mortgage crisis.
* Obama wins in November.
* All of Bush's political appointees are out of jobs with the change in administration and are forced to sell their homes despite the market downturn because there aren't enough lobbying and consulting jobs to absorb them.
* Profit! And enjoy it even more because it comes at the expense of Bush's cronies.


 

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Exquisite Suffering

Posted by Ogged
on 06.04.08

Stories about the deprivations of the poor leave us unaffected because the poor are, after all, used to being poor. But when the rich suffer, we suffer with them.

"A year ago, he would have only flown Gulfstreams," Mr. Sullivan said. "Now it's moving to the point where he's flying Beech jets and Learjets."

Read the whole thing, if you want a good cry.

via baa

(And does this mean the economy really is in the tank?)


 

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This Is Nifty

Posted by Ogged
on 06.04.08

The Aptera is a "car" (actually classified as a motorcycle) that comes in an all-electric model with a 120 mile range, and a hybrid model that gets up to 300 miles to the gallon. It has airbags and a safety cage and all that.

$30k at the moment, and only available in California, but maybe a sign of some cool things to come. There's a better look in this video by Popular Mechanics.


 

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Maybe You Had To Be There

Posted by Ogged
on 06.04.08

I was walking along with a friend the other day as we went by a swank spa storefront, in which everything was gleaming chrome and white, and my friend stopped, did a double-take, and burst out laughing when he saw that this picture was in the window. Maybe they were punked by some kid who replaced a picture of hot models in a fancy tub with a picture of his parents bathing at home. Hard to be sure.


 

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The Franchise

Posted by Ogged
on 06.04.08

Jane Dark, a Sasha Frere-Jones fan, disagrees with FJ about American Idol.

SFJ would perhaps back away from the phrase "the people have the power" as something meant lightly, in a flighty context -- and regret that it might be taken as an actual political claim. We would. The problem with the claim is that, however flippant, it just happens to partake exactly of The New Yorker's house ideology (a failing that SFJ has in large been at pains to avoid during his tenure). The equation in brief: active participation in the market = real freedom. The incredible corollary: intensifications of that market = even more freedom.

We aren't saying watching American Idol -- perhaps even rooting for a David, a Syesha, or rooting for Paula's spasmodic poetry (as we do) -- isn't a good time. We also prefer buying a Cokeā„¢ to being thirsty, but try not to misrecognize and this as people having the power. We do, however, recognize in The New Yorkera fairly clear (kneejerk, even) articulation of liberalism as nothing but capital's official ideology -- a logic and alibi for its drive to marketize more and more of human life.

I'm very sympathetic to this critique of liberalism, although I'm unclear on how we're supposed to overcome liberalism, and how the post-liberal regime will be sustained.


 

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Soft Jihad!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.04.08

A New Jersey imam known as a moderate is facing deportation based on what look, based on this article, like lies from government officials.

Many Muslim leaders view the deportation effort against Qatanani as evidence that even the champions of moderation in their community cannot shake the labels of extremism and terrorism.

Ya think? When people like Daniel Pipes explicitly argue that it's the "lawful islamists" that you have to watch out for, and the government goes after just those people that it says it values, yeah, people are going to have that view.

thanks for witt for the pointer


 

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"It Bends Towards Justice"

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.04.08

Ezra Klein has a post on the historical import of Obama's nomination that I found very affecting; Go take a look.

Obama's speech tonight was powerful, but then, most all of his speeches are. This address stood out less than I expected. It took me an hour to realize how extraordinary that was. I had just watched an African-American capture the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America, and it felt...normal. Almost predictable. 50 years ago, African Americans often couldn't vote, and dozens died in the fight to ensure them the franchise. African-Americans couldn't use the same water fountains or rest rooms as white Americans. Black children often couldn't attend the same schools as white children. Employers could discriminate based on race. 50 years ago, African Americans occupied, in effect, a second, and lesser, country. Today, an African-American man may well become the president of the whole country, and it feels almost normal.


 

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A Concept Surely Better Than The Execution

Posted by Becks
on 06.03.08

"I Wanna Be Your Gina Gershon"


 

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Premature Elation

Posted by Becks
on 06.03.08

I swung by the grocery store on the way home to buy some champagne, just in case, and found the selection was almost sold out.


 

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Did you miss us?

Posted by Apostropher
on 06.03.08

So what did you spend your day doing today?


 

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Al Was Robbed

Posted by Becks
on 06.03.08

Did New York Magazine just waste a cover story on profiling an internet troll? And not even a good one?

Yes. Yes, they did.


 

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Oh My, The Second

Posted by Becks
on 06.02.08

The upside of the current.tv clip is that it makes this only the second most embarrassing video of KC posted to the internet this week.


 

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Things That Are Making Me Happy

Posted by LizardBreath
on 06.02.08

It's strawberry season, finally, and they're really good this year. I've been scorning the giant crunchy strawberries from California all winter, and the local ones are so worth the wait. We bought four pints at the farmers' market on Saturday, and I've eaten most of them already -- they're absurdly sweet and flavorful and delicious. The only problem is that I want to cook with them, but I can't bear to do anything but eat them out of hand -- I should have bought twice as many.

Also, the kids' piano teacher has them playing duets now, and even though they're not very good, the sight of them sitting down at the piano together to play is heartbreakingly adorable. (My apologies if the linked .wav file is in some way technically obnoxious -- I have very nearly no idea what I'm doing,) They squabble constantly, but when they're trying to do something together the sibling teamwork is wonderful.

(I'll be back to politics soon; I'm just having a sappy evening.)


 

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How does the syllaba anceps fit in this scheme?

Posted by Ben
on 06.02.08

A friend of mine who was a classics major as an undergrad worked on prosody, a pursuit that, until now, I assumed must have been quite boring. However, I have recently read a short essay, an introduction to prosody, which convinced me that there is at least potential in the subject, and that if I find it dry, that may owe more to the way I was introduced to the subject than to any lack of intrinsic interest; few, perhaps, can muster much enthusiasm to memorize the rules of elision in Latin when it is not at all apparent why they might be of lasting interest; I think this essay makes the case (not directly, but in effect) that such knowledge can repay itself outside the classroom and the musty stacks of a disused library.

I know we have some in our readership who must teach poetry, whether in modern or classical languages, so I've transcribed the essay (below the fold), in case any of their number should be interested. One good idea in the essay is the prescription to the reader of certain exercises designed to accustom him (sadly, it is assumed the reader is male) to the various meters; had Goethe undertaken such study early in his instruction, he would not have been in the embarrassing situation of needing to tap out dactyls with his fingers to remember the measure, and while I am no Goethe, I cannot help but feel that if, in high school (for prosody was not really taught any earlier than that), I had taken up similar exercises—for surely, had I shown interest and initiative, I could have found someone to assign them—I would now be a better and more fluent composer of verse.

If you consider yourself sufficiently amorous and fervent yet take delight in prosody and rhythm, do as the Ancient Greeks (and Romans likewise), who, being truly amorous and most musical, gave stress and rhythm to all their deeds and acts of coition, aware that by nature an ordinate movement is more congenial than an inordinate one.

The most rapid rhythm is the trochee, for which reason it is adjudged more improprietous than the rest. Wherefore, if you are mounted upon your lady (paramour or spouse) and are in haste, stoke her in trochee mode, viz. first long then short (— ∪). Once you have mastered the simple trochaic foot from the fore, reverse your Poetess and come at her from the rear with double trochees, viz. strike twice long and twice short simultaneously. When the double feet are smooth, form your verses longer still in trochaic tetrameter and hold the rhythm steady with no regard for hiatus or caesura.

The iamb is most like to speech and commonplace. Wherefore, if you dispose of time and leisure, stoke your lady in iambic mode, viz. commence with a short and end with a long (∪ —), no matter whether your composition is metrical or stress-timed. Thus, when you have fashioned numerous iambs and your couch is ringing most musically, bring yourself to the accustomed metre of the dramatists and stress everything staccato in iambic trimeters. If your preference is for dialogic coitus, viz. opposite and face to face, keep your trimeters acatalectic. In cases of many actors, during a tragic contest, take pains neither to ignore the zeugmata or enjambments or the basic diaereses.

Know that the dactylic hexameter is the verse of epic, heroic and also didactic poetry. If therefore you wish to commence the teaching of verse, begin with the dactyl, viz. show your fair pupil a long syllable in the first beat and two short ones in the following (— ∪ ∪). Take not as your example the verse "Sing, goddess, of the wrath of Peleus' son Achilles", which presents difficulty on account of the shortened hiatus, but show her the verse "Tell me, Muse, of the man of many turns, who travelled many ways", which is more regular and reveals many things indeed. That the metre may be varied, do not overlook the diaereses, particularly the bucolic, and avoid wholly dactylic or spondaic verses.

If it pleases you to copulate in a standing position, the best metre by far is the anapest, which begins with two short feet and ends with a long one of equal duration (∪ ∪ —). Verses composed in anapests are lengthy and grave, yet soon cause fatigue. Hence, commence anapestic stoking during your entrance, holding your dancing partner by the buttocks, and on completion of two rounds, return to iambs or trochees.

For such as are fond of the rhythmic but not of full prosody, the most fitting rhythms are the paeon or else the Kretan melody. Yet as is remarked by those versed in such matters, this rhythm should be combined with the rest, else it becomes heavy and wanes. Thus, after having lubricated and attuned yourself thoroughly and unfailingly, commence your stoking with the first paeon, viz. with one long syllable and three successive short ones (— ∪ ∪ ∪). Thereafter, when you have had your fill of a variety of rhythms and metres, end by discharging your seed with the fourth paeon, viz. strike three successive short syllables and an extended long one (∪ ∪ ∪ —).


 

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Better Luck Next Lifetime, Kid

Posted by Ogged
on 06.02.08

This is the kind of decision that you hope is sensitive to bad publicity. Stupid.

The valedictorian at Fresno's Bullard High School won't be attending college in the United States this fall because he's scheduled to be deported.

Seventeen-year-old Arthur Mkoyan's 4.0 grade-point average qualified him to enter one of the state's top universities. But he and his mother have been ordered back to Armenia after their last appeal for asylum failed.

This makes it even more maddening.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement says they were given an extension until June 20 so Mkoyan could attend his graduation ceremony.

So there's some actual human thought behind this, just not...enough.

Oh: It turns out that his father was a cop in pre-independence Armenia. What was the line? Yahweh doesn't give a fuck about collateral damage.


 

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The Bad

Posted by Ogged
on 06.02.08

Kieran Healy's idea of a list of "101 films to not see before you die" seems great, but frankly I doubt that you, the hoi polloi, have the temperamental rigor to avoid naming movies, willy nilly, that you simply didn't like but nevertheless have some redeeming qualities, rather than movies that are unmitigatedly awful or even offensively bad. Healy's own first nomination of Chasing Amy is a great example of such going awry, since it's something of a touchstone for Generation Awesome, and even old man Gary Farber really liked it. Healy's second pick, Boxing Helena, is, however, exactly right.


 

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Al Gore Invented The Flophouse

Posted by Ogged
on 06.02.08


via catherine


 

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Pumphead

Posted by Ogged
on 06.02.08

Whatever the merits of this not-very-complimentary piece on Bill Clinton, I was intrigued by the suggestion that he's suffering from pumphead, as the mood changes and mental decline following being on a heart-lung machine are known. Particularly because the other day, as a correspondent and I were trying to figure out Dick Cheney's incompetence and paranoia, he suggested that Cheney might be suffering from pumphead. I realize that this is basically like the PMS explanation for middle-aged guys, but that's not to say that there's nothing to it, and I do wonder how extreme the effect can be, and whether we might elect one person, but effectively wind up with a significantly different one in office (not that either of these cases fits that description). I suspect this will come up more often, as the boomers have their operations. (There's also quite a bit of discussion about this with regard to chemotherapy, which does some cognitive damage, the extent of which often isn't acknowledged by doctors.)


 

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Aspirations

Posted by Alameida
on 06.02.08

This sounds like a cool blog, has anybody ever read it?

The blogosphere is full of faulty logic, dubious facts, poor argumentation, strident ideology, rampant falsehoods, characters of ill repute and many other things harmful to one's mental well being. Unfogged.com aims to cut through that fog and provide clarity and sweet reason to all who read it.

Unf and Ogged are interested in, and thus likely to blog about, the following: law, philosophy, technology, movies, music, books, politics, travel, corporate finance, golf, beer, wine, restaurants, the stock market, other blogs, life, love and everything else.


 

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"Whitey"

Posted by Ogged
on 06.02.08

Booman says she doesn't say "whitey," but "why'd he."

Why'd he cut folks off medicaid?
Why'd he let New Orleans drown?
Why'd he do nothing about Jena?
Why'd he put us in Iraq for no reason?

That's certainly more plausible than "whitey," especially in the sentence about Jena. Larry Johnson's follow-up is that he hasn't seen the tape, but she says these things while on a panel with Louis Farrakhan. Obviously, he wants to drag this out as long as possible, but even if she doesn't say "whitey," being their there with Farrakhan isn't going to help.


 

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No Luka Bloom

Posted by Ben
on 06.01.08

While scrolling through a list of all the songs in my library beginning with the word* "No"**, I came across this little track, which I'm not sure I took note of the first time I listened to it.

* Or, more accurately, whose titles match the case-insenstive regular expression "^no "; since not all of the titles are in English, "the word 'No'" doesn't seem the best way to get at what's going on, even though that was my intent. Maybe 'beginning with a word "No"'?

** A completely normal thing to do of a Sunday night, I adamantly maintain; prompted by Fred Frith's "No Birds" coming on and the memory of Smog's "No Dancing", both of which are better titles than, for instance, Hangedup's "No More Bad Future" or Gongzilla's "No Pennies Please".


 

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Uh Oh

Posted by Ogged
on 06.01.08

This can't be good. via otb

But the real reason for Obama's extraordinary freakout is that he fears the release of the videotape, reported here, of Michelle Obama in the pulpit of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church railing against "whitey." And we don't mean Whitey Ford. Four Republican sources have told me that the tape exists. I've also been informed that Karl Rove and his allies have a copy of it and are using it to raise funds for independent expenditure groups. The tape, I'm told, will be disclosed as the GOP October Surprise. It's a ticking time bomb.

That, by itself, leaves me a little skeptical, given that it's hard to believe something wouldn't have leaked already, but in a follow-up post:

New and dramatic developments. This is a heads up. I'll post the news Monday morning by 0900 hours. Now I know why people who have seen the videotape say it is stunning. Barack's headaches are only starting.

Fuckity.

And: I should have kept poking around. A later follow-up says one network has the tape.

Actually: Fox isn't reporting it; some dude said it on Fox.


 

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Greetings, Comrades

Posted by Becks
on 06.01.08

This post came through my RSS reader via Technorati and, while I don't really understand all of it, it somehow tries to prove that Unfogged is a soviet blog and includes both mathematical functions and the phrase "Cervix Couch" so I couldn't resist linking to it.


 

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Manufacturing Dissent

Posted by Ogged
on 06.01.08

This isn't about the candidates or campaigns generally, but the manipulability of people: there seem to be Clinton supporters who are genuinely outraged by "disenfranchisement" when the disenfranchisement argument is a transparent sham that I assume even the people who introduced it don't believe. When Republican supporters say things that sound like they're coming from an alternate reality, I figure that we have different priors and priorities, but when I hear it from Democrats, I realize again, holy shit, you can control people's minds.


 

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