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It took us 16 months to break the baby.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.21.10

Hawaiian Punch's arm is in a hawaiian cast for the next two weeks. Her wee elbow popped out of socket, and there may be a small fracture. She's a bit off balance with a gigantic cast on.

She didn't seem to be in pain, aside from when people were futzing with her arm, which made yesterday merely an adventure, and not horribly stressful. (Although we were to withhold food and liquids on the off chance of surgery, which made for a toddler who kept asking for food and got understandably cranky as the hours passed.)


 

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Lazyweb Request

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.21.10

Where would I go to look up statistics on US drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan? What I need, ideally, is something that would list attacks by date and with enough information to tell if it's a hit or a miss -- the idea is to be able to find trends in the accuracy of drone attacks over time. A friend of a friend is working on something, and data like that would be helpful, but neither he nor I knows where to look for it. (And of course it may not be available.)


 

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I'm guessing my tires are slashed by now.

Posted by Stanley
on 08.20.10

Leaving a note on someone else's car is probably always already a terrible idea, right? But if you're going to leave a note, make it cheery, you know? Something like:

Good afternoon!

I've noticed you seem to have experienced challenges in parking your vehicle. I've experienced challenges in the past, so I empathize. I thought it important to share: I believe you can do better, and I support you doing so moving forward.

Have a nice day!

This is the part of the post where you all tell me I'm just an asshole.


 

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The Eighteen Percenters

Posted by Stanley
on 08.19.10

Eighteen percent seemed a bit high (although I guess 27% is the magical crazy number, so maybe it'll go up yet), so I went looking for some perspective. From Google results for "eighteen percent of americans", I present to you some completely unverified figures for comparison:

  • Eighteen percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth.

  • Eighteen percent of Americans, 44 million people, have no medical insurance at all.

  • Eighteen percent of Americans identify as Tea Party supporters.

  • Eighteen percent of Americans do not speak English in their own homes.

  • [...] over eighteen percent of Americans do not profess belief in a God or a higher power.

  • Eighteen percent of Americans responded that they did not know or that it depends on the situation. [This one's my favorite so far.]

  • Eighteen percent of Americans say they carry Mace or pepper spray.

  • Eighteen percent of Americans are "Health People".

  • Eighteen percent of Americans surveyed list natural disaster recovery as the most important problem facing the country [...].

It's really quite a diverse grouping of unrelated information.


 

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No Time To Write, But Some Interesting Links

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.19.10

Rightwing blogger convicted of making death threats against judges in relation to a gun-control ruling. I have to say that he wasn't really hiding behind a cloak of plausible deniability here:

Authorities said he crossed the line by writing: "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges must die. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty."

Unfortunately, textual analysis reveals that the convicted blogger is a frequent commenter here, under the pseudonym of Mγtch.

Also, an article reporting on how few friends, or "non-family confidants" Americans have. We've talked about this in the past, but it's still interesting -- myself, a really large percentage of my non-family social chatter takes place in the comments here, which is a weird way to interact with people.


 

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And then I found five dollars listened to "Let the Eagle Soar" on repeat.

Posted by Stanley
on 08.17.10

The claim was put to me tonight that Eagle Scouts were at some point drafted ahead of other draftees. I can't turn up evidence of it (on rather minimal searching, I admit). It seems unlikely, or maybe the person doing the claiming meant that Eagle Scouts were favored or fast-tracked for officer school or something.

In sum: Scouts; how do they work?


 

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For your seeglobes and soundholes.

Posted by Stanley
on 08.17.10

This seems like something you guys will either really like or really hate. How exciting!


 

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The things I put up with.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.17.10

I'm annoyed with foods that are hard to put down, like burritos or sloppy joes, because I end up eating them too fast. The last third is the problem. I've been eating delicious breakfast tacos at the coffee shop. They're not served on a plate or anything, just wrapped in tinfoil. The first half of the taco is fine. But when it loses its structure, and it's all runny from the salsa, then all of a sudden I feel like I have to monitor it until it's gone, which ends up meaning that I don't pause between bites. And then I'm sad and uncomfortable and I miss when I had breakfast taco left to eat.

You see what blogging here has done to me? Originally this was a one-sentence post, and then I kept thinking of how I was going to have to defend myself against all of you with your phony solutions, so I kept providing more and more detail. And now it's boring.


 

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Bob Herbert Makes Sense

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.17.10

He brings up a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from last November, as reported in a recent book by Jonathan Alter:

[Obama and Biden] were on their way to a meeting in the Oval Office with members of the Pentagon brass who would be tasked with carrying out Mr. Obama's orders. Among those at the meeting was Gen. David Petraeus, then the chief of the United States Central Command, which included oversight of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Mr. Alter, the president said to General Petraeus:

"David, tell me now. I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in eighteen months?"

Mr. Petraeus replied: "Sir, I'm confident we can train and hand over to the A.N.A. [Afghan National Army] in that time frame."

The president went on: "If you can't do the things you say you can in eighteen months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?"

"Yes, sir, in agreement," said General Petraeus.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also at the meeting, and he added his own crisp, "Yes, sir."

Read the rest.

I don't have a lot of faith, or, really, any faith at all that the White House is going to smack Petraeus down for his bloodthirsty little PR offensive. But goddamit, we elected Obama on the understanding that we were done with endlessly prolonged, pointless wars. He was going to pull out of Iraq (which he did slowly, but he's doing it), and make a last, time-limited attempt to magically turn Afghanistan into Denmark -- an attempt which was doomed from the start, but at least it wasn't going to go on forever.

On an entirely different topic, I cannot believe the stupidness of Cordoba House being any kind of an issue. I work a block away from the WTC site, and it's not hallowed ground. You can't hallow ground in Manhattan, not and expect it to stay hallowed, there isn't room for it. Anyone who thinks that not just the site itself, but some radius around it is special somehow isn't trying to buy lunch there. (Even if it was hallowed ground, the people losing their shit would still be insane bigots, but I have a hard time believing there's anyone present in the neighborhood who doesn't find the whole thing absurd.)


 

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Uncarceration

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.16.10

Feel-good article about the prison system? The article looks at the advantages to tagging prisoners with ankle bracelets instead of incarcerating them. In short, it's more humane, effective, and cheap. What's not to love?

The best-case scenario is that this creeps through the country under the radar of politics. Under no circumstance should a Democrat ever propose such a system. Either let the criminal justice system implement it on its own, or wait until Republicans bring it up and then shriek about the briar patch.

One nice bit:

Over a turkey salad from Bob Evans, [the vice-president of the monitoring company] explained that the company's first "clients" (as the monitored are always called) were not human beings but Holsteins. In 1978, BI began selling systems that allowed dairy farmers to dispense feed to their cows automatically. The company fitted a radio-frequency tag on each cow's ear so that when the cow approached the feed dispenser, a sensor in the latter caused it to drop a ration of fodder. If the same cow returned, the sensor recognized the unique signal of the tag and prevented the cow from getting a second helping until after enough time had passed for her to digest the first. (The worlds of bovine and criminal management have in fact been oddly intertwined for many years. Just as modern abattoirs have studied the colors that can distract and agitate cows during their final moments--thus ruining their meat with adrenaline--prisons have painted their walls in soothing shades to minimize anxiety and aggression in their inmates.)


 

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Southwestern Northern-Virginia Meetup

Posted by Stanley
on 08.16.10

Allow me to be the first to suggest that we have a bunch of meetups this summer. For instance, in the coming days, Witt will be alighting on the fair city of Charlottesville. We've already done the heavy lifting and settled on a tentative place (Mas), date (Monday, August 23rd), and time (7pm), so all that's left for you to do is confirm that you're coming* and/or hijack the thread to talk about food restaurants that refuse to seat your party until all are present.

[Caveat: Monday seemed to work best, but Saturday the 21st could also work. So pipe up and push back on the selected date as needed.]

*This is mildly important, as Mas (no accent on the "a"; don't get me started on that one) won't seat your party until all are present. It being Monday, they'll be less strict about this policy, but it'd be nice to know if Lily and Lionel Lurker are showing up, so we can assume a spot for them. (Welcome, Lily and Lionel! Have some delicious tapas.)


 

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Can We Find A General Out There Who's Literally Phobic About Press Coverage? Like, Talking To Reporters Makes Him All Twitchy And Frightened?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.16.10

Because I'm really getting sick of this kind of thing. I don't want front page articles about what Petraeus thinks about staying in Afghanistan until we've either killed everyone or he can retire and blame our pullout on his successor. If he's got advice about the military situation, he can give it to the civilian leadership someplace else than on the front page of the NY Times.

"The president didn't send me over here to seek a graceful exit," General Petraeus said at his office at NATO headquarters in downtown Kabul. "My marching orders are to do all that is humanly possible to help us achieve our objectives."

How about you let the president make the public statements about what he sent you over there to do, dude? A graceful exit sounds pretty good from over here, if we could pull one off.


 

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History's greatest monster, runners-up.

Posted by Stanley
on 08.15.10

This guy is probably either a great parent or a terrible one or maybe a little bit of both. Let's argue about it!

Obama likes the First Amendment. How utterly awful.


 

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