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¡Pinche ley, cabrón!

Posted by Stanley
on 05.15.10

Going to lunch, I saw the campaign sign below. I have to admit, while his policy views are rather out-of-sync with mine, I can't help but applaud the guy. It's refreshing to see a politician self-identify with such forthrightness.

v.jpg


 

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My Very Own Personal Racist Relative

Posted by Stanley
on 05.14.10

I confess I've looked on with smugness at the complaints of crank uncles forwarding wildly ridiculous e-mails. I'm immune! Or so I thought.

My (union-pipe-fitter-lifelong-Dem) grandfather discovered the "Forward" button about six months ago, and it started with relative pablum about "throwing the bums out of Congress". It's since moved on to rather unsavory racist crap about the recent Arizona legislation.

I want it to stop, but I don't think I'm going to make him stop holding crank beliefs. So I've hesitated to respond. Also, while I find his views repugnant, I don't want to cut ties with someone I otherwise genuinely respect, and I'm worried that an overly harsh reply could have that effect. But I really do think a response is merited here.

How have other people handled this situation?


 

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What's for dinner tonight?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.14.10

What would be an easy, gluten-free dinner for me to throw together tonight? I usually reach for pastas when I'm entertaining, but getting gluten-free pasta seems possibly gross. I don't really love to cook meat, but chicken is pretty easy, if it were in something.


 

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She never lost her composure or impeccable manners, friends said.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.13.10

Alexandra Victoria Lammers comes from old money. Old old old old "I do not have a computer. I much prefer having a butler." money. That's how old, although that's her mother being quoted.

In this heartwarming vows piece from the Style section, Ms. Lammers learns that sometimes magical suffices, when perfect can't be achieved.

1. The achilles heel sounds really painful.
2. There's no way Ms. Lammers is as horrible as she's portrayed.
3. Surprisingly modest honeymoon.

Acknowledging those three points, have fun ripping the article to pieces.

Via Emmessily


 

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Type as furniture

Posted by Ben
on 05.13.10

In the midst, a few days ago, of an astonishingly long but not, given the participants, unusually urbane telephone conversation, the topic drifted (quite of its own) to the Biedermeier period, on which, or on matters related to which, one of the participants had recently written a master's thesis. (I sha'n't reveal who.) The claim was bruited, or mooted, or … made … that the focus on furniture and domesticity of the period (the sole association of the other conversant) was taken as an ikon of a blameworthy withdrawal from political engagement and a corresponding obsession with what one after all could still affect.

This made me think of the people jumping down Maria's throat for having had the temerity to suggest that “big” novels whose concerns exceed exquisitely rendered individual heartaches might be nice, too; also of the to me unexpected and sudden lionization of people who know a whole lot about typography. Dwell, Real Simple, etc.; all of these I slot in there as well. Of course I don't doubt that many subscribers to Real Simple might contend that they are doing something political in so doing.

Please imagine that this post has been expanded upon by someone who knows what s/he's talking about; alternately, if you are such a person, feel free to corroborate and expand upon (but not to criticize) it.


 

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Because Talking About Overpopulation Went So Well Last Time

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.13.10

Mother Jones has an article calling it "The Last Taboo"

My father read this in a dentist's office, and has been nagging me to find a copy and read it for the last month; I finally saw it online yesterday. This is an issue that worries me a great deal -- it seems impossible to me that a world population of nine billion or more is going to be environmentally sustainable, regardless of what we do about reducing consumption.

And I don't want to reduce per capita consumption worldwide. I could quite reasonably live a life consuming a great deal less than I do now, and so could all of you reading this, but lots of people out there should be able to consume much more than they do. I want to live in a world, or work toward a world, where the average person is much richer in terms of consumption than they are now. I can't see any way to do that, and leave the planet inhabitable, unless we have many fewer people than we do even now.

But on the other hand, concern about overpopulation has been associated with some very unsavory and unpleasant people and tactics. It's a hard subject to talk about.


 

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"The Truth About The Trust Fund"

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.13.10

Kevin Drum has a deft two-paragraph summary of what's wrong, logically and morally, with arguments that the Social Security trust fund is just an accounting fiction:

Back in 1983, we made a deal. The deal was this: for 30 years poor people would overpay their taxes, building up the trust fund and helping lower the taxes of the rich. For the next 30 years, rich people would overpay their taxes, drawing down the trust fund and helping lower the taxes of the poor.

Well, the first 30 years are about up. And now the rich are complaining about the deal that Alan Greenspan cut back in 1983. As it happens, I agree that it was a bad deal. If it were up to me, I'd fund Social Security out of current taxes and leave it at that. But it doesn't matter. Once the deal is made, you can't stop halfway through and toss it out. The rich got their subsidy for 30 years, and soon it's going to be time to raise their taxes and use it to subsidize the poor. Any other option would be an unconscionable fraud.

The thinking probably isn't news to anyone reading this, but it's well enough said that it's worth remembering for the next time you find yourself talking about Social Security with someone who's not on the same page.


 

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I'm not a very good business person.

Posted by Stanley
on 05.12.10

My (new!) roommate and I just had a mild disagreement. See, I fielded an inquiry offering to pay me $15/hour to play drums on some dude's track, which is due for a class on Thursday. I agreed to do it but declined the money, asking only for credit on anything that gets published and a copy of the track for my records.

Roommate McGoommate (whom I do really like, I should note) thinks I'm wrong to decline the money. I'm throwing away my services, in his opinion (he's been a studio musician before), whereas I see it as doing a solid for a fellow member of the local music community. Plus, I like the song anyway.

It's late, and I probably won't be around for comments, but it seemed a question up your alley, Mineshaft.


 

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At first I was afraid. I was petrified.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.12.10

Almost poetically from Di Kotimy, hating your ex may stave off depression.

I definitely buy this, for the immediate aftermath of a relationship. Ideally, when a relationship ends we'd all nod sagely about how the relationship ran its course, and now it's over. But generally you either wail tragically about how you wish you were back with the person, or get angry about what an asshole they are. Angry people have an easier time severing ties, I'd think.

In my own failed relationships, when they ended all this suppressed anger bubbled forth and I suddenly detested the other person. The anger certainly made the break up easier, although it didn't make my newfound single-ness any easier. (Then I worked with a therapist and looked at why I was accomodating all sorts of outrageous behavior during my relationships. Part of the reason the break-ups weren't too bad is that I didn't have a gigantic bond with the person, because I was in the habit of being in relationships to avoid being single.) Nevertheless! Separation is easier when you're furious than when you're gnashing teeth.

Eventually, though, it's probably best to nod sagely about the break-up.


 

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Daily annoyance

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.12.10

A parent asks about child-proofing her computer, and a bunch of sanctimonious blowhards explain to her about good parenting. Thanks!


 

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Lady Madonna

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.11.10

I'm probably more aware since having Hawaiian Punch, but the following class marker sticks out to me like a sore thumb: having your very small children with you at the grocery store at 9:00 or 10:00 at night. It seems especially sad, too. It means a) you have very little flexibility about when you go grocery shopping, either because you're on a very fixed income, or have very limited shelf space, or don't have the wherewithal to plan ahead, and b) there is no one you trust who is available to stay at your place while your kids sleep. No other parent, grandparent who lives nearby, or neighbor, or fellow parent that you pool responsibilities with: while these may exist, they're also on such tight schedules that they aren't readily available.

Last night I stepped out to the grocery store around 9:30, and saw three parents with one or more babies or toddlers in their cart. Hawaiian Punch was, of course, sound asleep, at home with Jammies. It indicates a stressful life, one lived close to the bone.


 

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Code Words

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.11.10

In the comment thread to the Kagan post, Apo was flummoxed by the White House's denial that Kagan is gay, given that it appears (not that I have any personal knowledge) that they're just lying (Update: And a day later, it appears that the rumors are untrue, which explains the WH denial. Sorry about that.) And a close analysis of what the White House actually said, on the record, attributable to a nameable individual, seems to show that they might not quite have actually lied, but instead picked their words carefully enough that what seemed like a statement addressing her orientation could literally have been read as not making any unequivocal statement at all.

There's a similar issue with the things that her friends are saying about her political views. Jeffrey Toobin was in her study group in law school, and has known her since then. He says about her:

She was a highly regarded member of the White House staff during the Clinton years, but her own views were and are something of a mystery. She has written relatively little, and nothing of great consequence.

While he talks generally of knowing her well, when he says her views are a mystery he ties it only to her public record, neither saying that she's enigmatic about her views in person nor that he knows non-public things about those views. What looks like information about her dissolves into nothing at all when you poke at it a bit.

I really hate this sort of non-communication communication, and I really don't see what the profit of it is. Is the White House really better off issuing a completely deceptive statement that can be carefully parsed as not technically false, than they would be just lying? It doesn't seem as if the media is going to give them credit for not-quite-lying when the truth comes out, nor does it seem as if there's any reason why anyone should.


 

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Bay Area meetup

Posted by Ben
on 05.10.10

It seems that fake accent can't make the 14th (neither can I so it's not as if I care) but perhaps you want to hold it then anyway, at 7pm at Jupiter. Or maybe you want to do it on the 15th: this would be a good place to decide that once and for fucking all.

Update: 2pm, Saturday, Jupiter.


 

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Stop! What happened? How about the ones we especially like?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.10.10

Kesha is clearly channeling L'Trimm. A lesser musicologist might have reached for near-misses like JJ Fad or MC Luscious, but it's definitely L'Trimm. (Frankly MC Luscious is probably too talented for this comparison. You need nice, slow, rhythmically repetitive rapping to qualify for the Kesha-off.) Clearly L'Trimm wins because they also have cartoony New York accents. For Mother's Day Jammies put up with me talking like Tigra and Bunny all day long. That is true love.


 

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Kagan

Posted by Stanley
on 05.09.10

Go ahead. Run wild.


 

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Everything is fine

Posted by Ben
on 05.09.10

MeTa discovered to me a comment on AskMe which contains within it perhaps 40–50% of all the conversations about dating and relationships to have occurred on this site.

This will probably help distract ari from the post below as well:

Attorney General Eric Holder said changes may be needed to allow law enforcement more time to question suspected terrorists before they are told about their Miranda rights to a lawyer and to remain silent under interrogation.

[…]

"And that's one of the things that I think we're going to be reaching out to Congress to do," Holder said, "to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our time and the threat that we now face."

It sure would be terrible if anyone exercised his rights! Dana at Unfogged 2.0 is on the case proleptically. Note that the article contains no indication that the current law is not relevant to our time and the threat we that we now face.


 

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Am I the only one who keeps singing the word "mudflap" to the tune of "Loveshack"? Okay, just checking.

Posted by Stanley
on 05.09.10

Well, I'm dumb. We had heavy winds all day yesterday, knocking trees into power lines all over town, and presumably, that was why our internet was out, too. That's the part about me being dumb: our landline worked, so, duh, the DSL connection was there; just had to power cycle the router. Oh, well. A day without internet for no reason at all.

On the continued theme of my simple-mindedness, I found Joel Achenbach's Deepwater Horizon piece in the WaPo to be among the clearest writing I've seen on the whole mess. From the opening:

The drilling of Mississippi Canyon Block 252 this spring looked like an unqualified success. The rig struck oil and gas beneath 5,000 feet of water and 13,000 feet of rock. Executives of BP planned to make a splashy announcement. The Macondo field, as they called it, held 50 million to 100 million barrels of crude.

To this strained analogy, which was still helpful in clearing my thinking on the matter:

There have been blowouts since the dawn of the oil drilling industry, but never a blowout like this. This one is the deepest on record, industry officials say. A blowout last August in the Timor Sea had some similarities, but it was in much shallower water. Capping the unsealed well, said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, is as tricky as getting the Apollo 13 astronauts home safely in their damaged spaceship.

"We have gone to a different planet in going to the deepwater. An alien environment," oil industry analyst Byron King said. "And what do you know from every science fiction movie? The aliens can kill us."

Although the end of it does get a bit melodramatic (possibly I'm just annoyed by the "X is the Y's Z" formulation in general):

Which raises the most ominous scenario for the industry: That there was no single, dramatic failure of technique or technology or human vigilance. Instead, the industry may simply have miscalculated the risks of drilling in the more highly pressurized deepwater reservoirs, said Nansen Saleri, president and chief executive of the technology firm Quantum Reservoir Impact.

"The frontiers of exploration have been pushed out to far more complicated and contentious environments," Saleri said. "There is a need to take a fresh look at the whole thing."

Said analyst Byron King, "This is the oil industry's Chernobyl."

Still! I learned stuff, and it was exceedingly clear. So I recommend it.


 

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