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I Expect Fabulous New Bloggers

Posted by Ogged
on 10.30.15

I wouldn't have guessed this. I wouldn't have guessed anything close. Astounding.

Over all, drug overdoses now cause more deaths than car crashes, with opioids like OxyContin and heroin killing 44 people a day.

The article does a nice job of repeatedly noting that when it was a black problem, it became the basis of tough on crime laws, and now that it's a white problem, everyone is rethinking how they approach addiction. But this is still bullshit.

"Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered," said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation's drug czar. "They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation."

Plenty of black people know how to, and did, advocate. They weren't the problem.

In any case, holy shit, everyone is doing heroin these days? That's a bad idea!


 

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History's Greatest Monster

Posted by Ogged
on 10.30.15

Move over, Adolph.

I would have expected this to happen in Philly, but I guess Pittsburgh is close enough.


 

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If The Law Offends Thee

Posted by Ogged
on 10.29.15

A behind-the-scenes look at the secretive work of a group of administration lawyers to justify the Bin Laden raid. It's unsurprising, but still remarkable how much they were rationalizing rather than analyzing. You don't get anywhere near a committee like that if you don't understand what your job is once you're there.

Mr. Johnson wrote one on violating Pakistani sovereignty. When two countries are not at war, international law generally forbids one from using force on the other's soil without consent. That appeared to require that the United States ask the Pakistani government to arrest Bin Laden itself or to authorize an American raid. But the administration feared that the Pakistani intelligence service might have sanctioned Bin Laden's presence; if so, the reasoning went, asking for Pakistan's help might enable his escape.

The lawyers decided that a unilateral military incursion would be lawful because of a disputed exception to sovereignty for situations in which a government is "unwilling or unable" to suppress a threat to others emanating from its soil.
Invoking this exception was a legal stretch, for two reasons. Many countries have not accepted its legitimacy. And there was no precedent for applying it to a situation in which the United States did not first ask Pakistan, which had helped with or granted consent for other counterterrorism operations. But given fears of a tip-off, the lawyers signed off on invoking the exception.

 

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Walkability

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.29.15

Indianapolis is the new Pittsburgh. It's a very fawning portrait, but it sounds very nice.


 

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Nonnihil sub sole novum

Posted by Ben
on 10.28.15

Drought, my eye. (nsfw)


 

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Drought

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.28.15

Lately I'm feeling like we've talked about every topic already. That can't possibly be true, can it?


 

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Reflection

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.28.15

I had to watch a video of myself teaching, recently. Boy is that awful. (Actually, I had to analyze the video, and after awhile I adjusted to the sight of myself. But at first it was a rude awakening.)


 

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Among Us

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.28.15

The Rise and Fall of the Mushroom Empire:

"The ancient organism boasted trunks up to 24 feet (8 meters) high and as wide as three feet (one meter)," said National Geographic in 2007.

Not a whole lot else is known about them.


 

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La Petit Mort

Posted by Ogged
on 10.27.15

This article about the mayor of Atlanta blocking journalists from following him on Twitter is kind of hilarious. But it's this linked piece by Jelani Cobb that tells you what you need to know.

Reed's election as mayor was the culmination of a lifelong ambition. Twenty-six years ago, as a college freshman, Reed was given to introducing himself as the future mayor of Atlanta. (I lived one floor above him in a Howard University dorm and was the recipient of one such introduction.)

Have we all known people like this, or just those of us who did debate and model congress? It's one of the tragedies of the human condition that people like this so often succeed.


 

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Perfect

Posted by Ogged
on 10.27.15

 

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That's Not An Absolving "But"

Posted by Ogged
on 10.26.15

 

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Hot Hand Again

Posted by Ogged
on 10.26.15

So mathy types have decided that maybe there is such a thing as a hot hand, after all. I maintain, once again, that these studies are all deeply confused, because the hot hand is a feeling that correlates with success, not a measurement of success. You can even miss while you're hot (in basketball, probably because you feel hot, and take harder shots), and that would screw up these models all to hell. Anyway, plenty of math at the link to geek out on.


 

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What They Don't Know

Posted by Ogged
on 10.25.15

I really liked this reflection on California. I thought it was going to be annoying get-off-my-lawnism, and it is a bit, but then he pulls off the nice trick of putting his own nostalgia in the context of all the change and renewal California has seen.

For Gold Rush prospectors, of course, that dream was about shiny rocks in the creeks -- at least until 300,000 people from all over the world, in the space of 10 years, overran the state and snatched up every nugget. Insane asylums filled with failed argonauts and the dream was dead -- unless you were John Muir walking into Yosemite Valley in 1868. Ad hoc genocide, committed by miners, settlers and soldiers, had so devastated the ancient civilizations of the Sierra Nevada that Muir could see those mountains purely as an expression of God's glory.

Not too long; worth a read.


 

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Local Life

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.25.15

My friends and I debated whether or not this is a reasonable fundraiser for a school board. I get why it's reasonable, but I'm too jumpy on this subject, so ultimately I think it's crazy.

Also, far and away the most well-organized group in town is the group lobbying to get fluoride out of the water. (It's a civil rights issue.)


 

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Guest Post - Portraits of Auto Mechanics

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.25.15

NickS writes:

Photographer Freddy Fabris spent years wanting to pay homage to the legendary artworks of great Renaissance master painters, but figuring out how to do so with his camera was a challenge. Recently, he finally came up with an idea that blends the style of old with ideas that are new: it's a series of portraits of car mechanics in a repair shop, created with the look and feel of Renaissance paintings.

I'm not sure there's much to say, but very well done.

Heebie's take: The photos are very rich and dark and luxurious. Also he strikes a nice balance of being silly without mocking his subjects. In my opinion.


 

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