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Not quite sure what to make of this

Posted by Ben
on 11.21.15


 

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Black Daesh, White Daesh

Posted by Ogged
on 11.20.15

This sure is a great op-ed. The pull quotes are going to be "Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it." and "Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex." But this was the fascinating part.

One has to live in the Muslim world to understand the immense transformative influence of religious television channels on society by accessing its weak links: households, women, rural areas. Islamist culture is widespread in many countries -- Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania. There are thousands of Islamist newspapers and clergies that impose a unitary vision of the world, tradition and clothing on the public space, on the wording of the government's laws and on the rituals of a society they deem to be contaminated.

Sounds bad! And there are many billions of oil dollars funding it.


 

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Guest Post - Another cause of Dread and Anger in today's fallen world

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.20.15

E. Messily writes: Where's that list of what order people get sent up against the wall in, after the revolution? Marriott is buying a luxury hotel company (Starwood) AND THEY'RE PROBABLY GOING TO RUIN IT.

Mr. Walters happens to like chocolate-raspberry mousse, and most Starwood hotels know to greet him with that dessert upon check-in. But it's not all about the frills; his ambassador has helped with complex booking needs for conferences and clients, and he's worried that service will deteriorate as Starwood gets folded into the much larger Marriott network.

and

"Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, if you don't put your book down on a beach chair at 8 a.m., you're in the fifth row back from the beach," Mr. Leff said. "They're not unique, special places." Speaking of unique, Mr. Leff noted he is looking forward to a planned stay at Al Maha, a Starwood Luxury Collection resort in Dubai, in part because it offers falconry.

and worst of all

"It was just a little bit annoying to find out about this in the news instead of some advance communication from them," Mr. Walters said of the merger. When I pointed out that an advance tip would have violated Securities and Exchange Commission rules, he said they should have at least reached out personally to top members soon after the announcement. "I haven't heard back from my ambassador, which is shocking because they usually get back to you within 24 hours," he said. "It's kind of this weird 'I don't know what's going on' phase, and I think a lot of people are feeling that, too."

They might have to switch to Hilton! or Hyatt loyalty programs! BUT THEY DON'T WANT TO!

Heebie's take: so right for a Friday afternoon. Also, I associate Starwood with conferences. Conferences are sometimes good but they also seem like a weird self-perpetuating waste of everything. At least when they become excessive.


 

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Self-induced abortions

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.20.15

How do you measure how many women have attempted self-induced abortions? I'm sure it has increased, but how accurate would this estimate - 100,000-240,00 in Texas in the past 5 years - be? Overestimate or underestimate? (They measured it by surveying women and asking about themselves and their friends. Is it that straightforward?)


 

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Check It Out: It's The Marketplace Of Ideas

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.20.15

Some bold iconoclasts at Harvard Law School have chosen to express themselves by placing black tape over the faces of black professors in photographs hanging in the school. While we may disagree with the content of their speech, we would certainly all agree that anyone attempting to discourage the speakers from communicating their ideas in this manner is childishly evading the cut and thrust of healthy debate.

Or not. Eh, I haven't got anything to say about this that isn't dripping with sarcasm. Other than man, people suck.


 

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Bacteria and anti-bacteria links

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.19.15

1. Witt says: Interesting map from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Clearly, the take-home message is that Moby's home state is prescribing too many. Boo Nebraska!

(No really, it's the South and Appalachia, right? Plus Nebraska.)

I have no informed commentary to add to this.

Heebie's take: maybe that's an artifact of the fact that poor places are sicker? Probably not entirely.

2. Oudemia, "Let's all have an anxiety attack together!"

Heebie: aaaaaaaugh!


 

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Hold Me, Big Daddy

Posted by Ogged
on 11.18.15

The other day, Obama said some sane things about the campus "free speech" vs. "political correctness" debates, and there was one thing in particular I was reminded of after his refugee speech. Emphasis mine.

And you know, the you don't have to be fearful of somebody spouting bad ideas. Just out-argue 'em, beat 'em. Make the case as to why they're wrong. Win over adherents. That's how-- that's how things work in-- in-- in a democracy ... You know, and yes, does that put more of a burden on minority students or gay students or Jewish students or others in a majority that may be blind to history and blind to their hurt? It may put a slightly higher burden on them. But you're not going to make the kinds of deep changes in society-- that those students want, without taking it on, in a full and clear and courageous way.

The bolded part is true, and Obama can say it because he's not "responsible" for the students in the same way that administrators, who can't say it, are. And in precisely the same way, Obama can't say "there's some small risk in admitting any refugee, and we take on that risk, because we want to live in a compassionate country." Because he's "responsible" for us and therefore can't explicitly ask us to assume a risk.

So this idea of responsibility is pretty powerful, and it's being embraced and understood in very similar ways by young minority students and xenophobic mouthbreathers. It's powerful and it's damaging (hello, surveillance state, we do love thee) and I wonder about its provenance. Is this a cold war relic given new life by 9/11, or is it older than that? I assume it waxes and wanes? In any case, let us all nut up put on our big boy pants show a little more fortitude.


 

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ATM: international student

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.18.15

X. Trapnel writes: So: an Eritrean refugee that I know from my German class in the summer (in Vienna, early 20s, trained as a radiology technician, fled
because Eritrea is fucking awful; possibly other person-specific reasons to flee that I didn't get into) wants to try to go to university in the USA. I know a lot about going to university in the USA, but only as a super-privileged American. I have no idea what the relevant considerations are for someone in this guy's situation.

But! I just realized that lots of Unfoggetarians work at American universities. Perhaps some of them would have advice!

His English is ... okay, not fantastic; I'd say "functional". He qualified to be a radiology technician in Eritrea, which speaks to something. He made it to Austria from Eritrea, which counts for quite a fucking lot, in my ignorant estimation ... any thoughts, Mineshaft?

Heebie's take: Have at it, 'shaft!


 

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Not Who We Are, He Hoped

Posted by Ogged
on 11.17.15

I think he was in the Philippines to promote TPP, so, you know, but it still matters to have a Democratic president instead of a Republican one. About seven minutes, starting at 15:15.


 

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London meet-up!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.17.15

Airedale is in London: I am in London this week (leaving Monday). Could you maybe put a post up to see if London crew might want to do a meet-up Saturday or Sunday? I am probably not much of a draw, but might be a good excuse for a meet-up anyway.

Heebie: Plan away!


 

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Math Subject Exam

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.17.15

I got all annoyed with the GRE math subject exam the other day. (This is the subject test that covers undergraduate math, not the math portion of the general GRE.) I may just be bitter because I performed amazingly bad on it - 14% percentile, baby! (which meant I only applied to PhD programs that didn't require it.) I have a student currently who is breezing through classes like Real Analysis, who did just about like I did on the exam, except now it seems like more programs expect it, and expect you to get above the median or higher. Above the median seems like a reasonable cut-off, so I'm searching desperately for explanations about gender bias and so on to explain why I couldn't pass the damn thing but coming up totally empty-handed. (Sample test here.)(Looking at the questions, I can see that I would have thought "66 questions in 150 minutes" and panicked because each question would have taken me 5-10 minutes to work through. I think that's exactly what happened - I answered maybe 20 questions. Maybe I just didn't do enough practice tests - I can't remember if I did any.)


 

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What We Don't Argue About

Posted by Ogged
on 11.17.15

This article on Carson's difficulty with foreign policy is mildly amusing, but something else got my attention.

Check out this video of Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, formerly CIA head in Latin America, talking about deposing Allende and Pinochet's death squads. It's worse than you imagine.

Now, if the Times, whose coverage I often value, wants to know why people call them a paper of the establishment--no matter how many investigative pieces they run--they might consider that they describe a man such as Clarridge, the very fucking face of the evils of the "deep state," as "a colorful, even legendary figure."


 

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Hey, America

Posted by Ogged
on 11.17.15

Why am I not in an internment camp yet?

I'd like historians to answer an important question (for once). Has there ever been a more tough-talking, bed-wetting nation than America?


 

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Guest Post - the saddest story

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.16.15

E. Messily writes: besides all the ones about terrorism and death and fear and hatred, I mean. This one's just pathetic.

Heebie's take: That is one serious sadsack. Heartbroken and strung out, he spent a whole lotta money on psychics.

Mr. Rice said he had just paid Christina $90,000 that she said was needed to build a bridge of gold in another dimension to trick an evil spirit that was haunting Michelle. He called her and told her Michelle was dead.
"Christina said, 'Don't believe it,' " he said. "'If you believe it, it's true.' "
She said she could help get Michelle back -- a reincarnated Michelle, a new Michelle.
Then things escalated.
"I slept with Christina," Mr. Rice said. "We slept together once. It was a massive mistake."

 

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Cegłowski conference livetweeting!

Posted by Ben
on 11.15.15

Maybe no one cares about this as I do, but here are the Pinboard dude's tweets from the Next Economy conference. Amusing!


 

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