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Women in the military

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.05.15

I hadn't thought of this - if all combat roles are open to women, should women be obligated to register for the draft? Logically, it seems like a natural consequence, but culturally it seems like an unnatural consequence.


 

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Knecht's courtship of Fleur

Posted by Ben
on 12.04.15

In six ten-minute chunks:


 

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Casting

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.04.15

White people! So deliciously hurt and upset that The Wiz features an all-black cast. They seem to feel really left out. (Most of the tweets at the link are of the form, "This all-black cast is really racist. If there was an all-white version of The Wiz, everyone would cry foul.")

In response:

Anyway, for all the trolls in the cheap seats, one enterprising guy by name "Leroy Jenkins" (aka the Blackest name ever) took to GoFundMe to raise a million dollars (ha!) to bring an all-white production of The Wiz to life.

It seems to be already taken down, but the link has some excerpts from the original GoFundMe site:

The all white version must have soul and what better person to give it soul than a black man!!!!! Adele can be dorthy, Justin Timberlake can be the scarecrow, Macklemore can be the tinman, Sam smith can be the lion, and Iggy can be toto. The wizard can be bill nye, it fits. I'm still working out all the details but I need the funds to make this happen.

E. Messily, who saw the original, said that Trump was slated to be the Wicked Witch.


 

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Meetup With Al Saturday Night in Fake D.C.!

Posted by Alameida
on 12.03.15

It's like real D.C., but across the city line. Wait, it's maybe even in D.C. lemme see here!!! Yep it is. Busboys and Poets is a short (like 3-block) walk from the Takoma Metro Station on the Red Line. They have food as well as drinks, but I don't know how crowded it's likely to get. Maybe like starting at 8? I'll come a little early and open like a $200 bar tab or something, so don't be strangers. I have blue hair right now because I am a fat SJW so I am easy to find, wait, no there will be four other chicks in the place with blue hair. I'll be the one with the cute 60s swing coat? Still no good. I'll be the one in the burnt orange mod dress, we have to be OK at that point.

SO CRUCE OF CRUCIAL UPDATE: I have decided to wear black harem pants instead even though they always look horrible because this is a magic pair of my sister's which are flattering. Probably a djinn was involved? (Ogged doesn't believe me.) Still got the "unfogged" knuckle-dusters on though. tbh I'm not dead certain there will be another woman there with blue hair. I put the odds at 50/50.


 

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Prudie

Posted by Ogged
on 12.03.15

It's early days, but thoughts on Ortberg in her new Prudie gig?


 

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Taxonomy, Again

Posted by Ogged
on 12.03.15

I suggested this a while back, but maybe didn't explain it very well: it would be very cool if some political science type did some polling/looked at polls to compare the attitudes and values of Americans to people in other countries with more explicitly fragmented political cultures. Who are the Tea Partiers most like? What about hardcore Trumpists? Sanders supporters?

I know you can look at Trump supporters and say, "Well, they're nationalistic, xenophobic, etc.," but I think it would be helpful and informative if you could also say, "The beliefs of Trump supporters overlap most with those of the Golden Dawn party in Greece," or The Swiss Peoples Party, or whatever it turns out to be. The two-party system obscures a lot of huge divisions, and a project like this would be a nice analysis.


 

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Also, listen to your parents

Posted by Ben
on 12.03.15

This seems like a good attitude toward martyrdom:

Prophetic Tradition relates that on the authority of Abu Musa AlAsh'ari, a man came to the Prophet and said: 'A man may fight out of zeal, out of bravery or out of pride. Which of these is in the path of God?' The Prophet replied: 'Whoever fights for the Word of God to be supreme is in the path of God.' The Prophet also said: 'The first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection is the man who died as a martyr. He will be brought forth and [God] will make His favours known to him, which he will recognize. He will be asked: "What did you do with them?" to which the man will reply: "I fought for your sake until I was killed." He [i.e. God] will say: "You have lied. You fought so that it would be said that you are bold, and so it was said." He will then be ordered to be dragged on his face and flung into the Fire ...


 

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Profiling Powers Activate

Posted by Ogged
on 12.03.15

A few days ago, Trump said this.

And the really greatest source is all of you, because you have all those eyes. And you see what's happening. People move into a house a block down the road -- you know who's going in. You can see. And you report them to the local police .... you know when somebody moves to an apartment near you, or to a house near you -- you're pretty smart, right? We know if there's something going on. Report them! Most likely you'll be wrong, and that's okay. But let the local police go in and check out, and you'll get rid of this stuff. That's the best way. Everybody's their own cop, in a way -- I mean, you gotta do it, you gotta do it.

From a report about yesterday's shooting:

A man who has been working in the area said he noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area in recent weeks, but decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.


 

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More Books

Posted by Ogged
on 12.03.15

The NY Times' ten best books of the year. How can I trust this list when there's only one white guy on it, and he's not Donald Trump?


 

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"Covering the Trump Bet"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.03.15

This is probably already in the comments, but it's delicious enough to post again - Republican secret memo on how to cope if Trump is the nominee.

"Trump has risen because voters see him as authentic, independent, direct, firm, -- and believe he can't be bought," Baker writes. "These are the same character traits our candidates should be advancing in 2016. That's Trump lesson #1."

and also

He writes that it is prudent for Senate candidates to craft their own political brands distinct from Trump's and to distance themselves by quickly condemning his more controversial comments, such as "wacky things about women."

I guess Boehner's crocodile tears are totally out of fashion. Things change.

via


 

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Fashionable Body Armor Inventor Makes A Billion Dollars

Posted by Ogged
on 12.02.15

This has been my view on gun control, so here's a question: how long does a gun last? A handgun might last 100 years with some maintenance, no? And a rifle even longer? And there are something like 300 million guns in America. Even if you banned the sale of all guns tomorrow, we'd get an instant black market and still be screwed.


 

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The Creep

Posted by Ogged
on 12.02.15

Hey, the august New Yorker saw fit to trash our very own Adam Kotsko's book. Congrats, Adam!

So, I haven't read the book (Creepiness), and the review author, Nathan Heller, seems like kind of a douchebag (defined upon request), and no one asked me, but creepiness is this: intimations of things unseen that would do to us things to which we might not consent. That's a very general formulation. It covers places, things, and and people that creep us out. More specifically, as pertains to people, creepiness is behavior that reveals too much of desire, such that we worry that the person doing the revealing isn't in full control of those desires.


 

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Geopoliticoclimatological Analysis

Posted by Ogged
on 12.02.15

You know how in cities the hottest days are typically the most violent days, because everyone is outside and cranky from the heat?

There you go, I just explained two millennia of Middle-Eastern history.

The good news is that before long the Mid-East will be too hot for people to go outside, so if we keep buying and burning their oil, and sending the money back as air-conditioners instead of weapons, the future looks like this: "Shmuley, Ali, I was so mad at you. Why was that again?" "Abu, don't sweat it, look! Dancing cats!"


 

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Non Mansplainier

Posted by Ogged
on 12.01.15

I love this. (If you want to be serious for a moment (why?) it's also a great example of people who know a religion only as a text, not a habitus, telling people what the religion really means.)


 

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Book Recs

Posted by Ogged
on 12.01.15

At this advanced age, I'm finally getting a sense of the kinds of books I like to read. I think the general category is "page turners," but I have caveats.

--Don't get literary on me. Characters must be interesting and believable, but their delineation should be only in the service of believability and advancing the story. Don't "examine" anything for the sake of examining it and sharing your insights, or whatever the fuck you're doing.

--Don't get literary on me. Don't tug at my heartstrings, don't tell me how the world works. Evoke only fear, anticipation, anger, laughter.

--Sexual frisson is good, but the women have to be smart, competent and not victims. A woman protagonist would also be good.

--Nothing bad happens to kids. No rapes.

--Be smart and interesting. A rote mystery isn't going to hold my interest, but if you invent a world or cool possible features of our world, it can't be guyish wish-fulfillment or in the service of a parable or moralizing of any kind.

Here are some books I've read recently and how they rate:

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Perfect. The very fucking model of what I want to read. Smart, quick, characters that were recognizable, and just enough mystery to keep up the suspense.

The Martian. Solid. The occasional geekout is fine, and this was well-turned, but Weir just isn't as deft a writer as Shafer.

Case Histories. No. I got about ten pages in, and it was all a description of family dynamics (bad!) and it seemed like the three-year-old was going to get it (bad!), so I bailed.

Gone Girl. Meh. Too much inside-the-head of the dude and his wife, a little too much knowingness about social scenes I don't care about, and maybe there was going to be a very great twist at the end, but I bailed about halfway through.

A Drink Before The War. Also Meh. I'm about 100 pages into this one. A smart, beautiful, funny, competent woman...who is smart and funny about being a battered spouse. Come the fuck on. A little too much description of ye olde neighborhood and local pols. But I paid for it, so maybe I'll finish it.

So, what do you have? And if you do make a recommendation, don't just mention a book (no one will look at it)--tell us what it's about and what makes it good.


 

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White Chocolate City

Posted by Alameida
on 11.30.15

Heyyyyyyy who's up to meet the mysterious Alameida in person at some bar or something in Washington, D.C. or Takoma Park/Silver Spring MD? I was thinking this coming Friday or Saturday, whichever gets more votes. I'm a little at a loss for where we should go and defer to current D.C. area residents. The cab fare to Fresh Salt is too expensive when you're staying in fucking Manhattan, so let me be the first to say Fresh Salt is not an option. Busboys and Poets moved to right by me and is next to the Takoma metro station, but I don't know what it's like.

If my mom weren't sick I would just have all the lurkers over to my house, but... However, she is doing amazingly well, considering! Her recovery from the brain surgery has been perfect, and not only has the normal chemo shrunk her lung tumors, the tumors shrank again during the last round, even though the medicine she was taking was not meant to have this effect at all! It's intended to forestall regress while letting her body take a break from the "let's just infuse you with poison, shall we?" meds. Her oncologist, whom we call "Dr. Doom" due to her predilection to say, essentially, "the icy, withered hand of Death clutches at your shoulder; who knows how soon his grip will tighten" was positively beaming. She gave my mom permission to push her appointments apart a little and fly to see me in Narnia in January! And because John Hopkins sequenced the DNA of her cancer and tailored the chemo to it, the she hasn't lost hair or even vomited more that two or three times through this whole year of 6-weekly chemotherapy. The treatment is radically different from what it would have been even ten years ago.

We went to stay in Wainscott for our first family Thanksgiving there since my grandfather died, which one of my wonderful cousins organized. And my mom's former step-brother/possibly actual brother since her dad was putting smooth moves on his third wife before the dissolution of her marriage let us use his plane-share thing to fly from the small local airport in Tipton to the East Hampton airport, and it was the best thing ever. (In a telenovela move, he asked for and received (from my mom) one of her father's hairbrushes, but was advised by his lawyer not to get DNA analysis done because...reasons? So we don't know. He very much wishes that my grandfather was his father.)

I've flown in a Piper Cub-type plane before, and been allowed to man the controls. Child the controls, rather, since it hasn't happened since I was maybe 17. But I've never flown in a private plane that size (room for six passengers and a crew of two, which was one person more than I thought would be required). My mom wouldn't have been able to make the trip otherwise so it was really lovely of my step-actual?-uncle to do. It was a Pilatus prop-jet and it was baller. My newfound desire to rightly denominate all the baller things in the world "baller" is inspired by the oldest son of one of my cousins, who is ten. My (undisputed, actual) uncle was showing us his shotgun collection, normally kept in glass-fronted, locked cabinets, and he allowed his grandson Alex to hold one of the guns BUT DONT LET THE BARREL TOUCH THE FLOOR, and even saunter around with it broken open on his arm as though he were hunting grouse. Alex and his first cousin Jack then borrowed checked hunting caps as well, and I overheard Alex say as they sat in the window-seat of the hunting room (everything is painted a creamy dark green, and it's filled with old buffle-head decoys and lacrosse sticks and paddle tennis rackets and deer antlers and 19th-century hunting prints to the point where I think actual wasps are inexorably attracted to it), "this is so baller, you should put it on Instagram."

To be scrupulously fair to Alex, it was totally baller. Those Belgian shotguns with the gorgeous engraving are insane, and some are very old--one was my grandmother's father's! He has black-powder rifles too, but they are decorative. And sixteen-gauge is a thing? Each of the best guns has a little brass sigil on the wooden stock with the initials of its owner. One old Parker sixteen-gauge double shotgun that was my cousin's when he was young is the prettiest slender deadliest gun I've ever seen. It should be a lady's gun, but I think my effort to point out that my sister is a beautiful young lady with a burning love of firearms was wasted. And my uncle keeps lots of his guns permanently at Long Point or in Scotland! He rich as hail, but he has been wonderfully generous to my mother throughout this, which I appreciate very, very much. Last year I thought it would be the last Christmas I ever spent with my mother, and she not even entirely with us, but recovering from surgery in the nursing home. I cried a week ago when she planted bulbs in the cold dirt. For when the spring comes.


 

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Tebowed!

Posted by Ogged
on 11.30.15

Tim Tebow is a ridiculous person, who loves only Jesus Christ as much as he loves Tim Tebow, but if it's true that he really won't put out because he's saving himself for marriage, then damn, credit for believing what he's preaching.

I know, I know, didn't Labs have a threesome with Tim Tebow and Dikembe Mutombo? Yeah, sure, but that doesn't count, for obvious reasons.


 

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Unclear Motives

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.30.15

(I'm sure you are discussing this in the comments already but) Why is everyone so obsessed with the motives of the Planned Parenthood terrorist being "unclear"? On what planet is this unclear? Not just the Republican presidential candidates, who are well-understood to be unhinged, but everyone seems to be considering the unclear motives a worthy angle.

It's weird that our gigantically long presidential nomination process and race is itself such a force for destruction (ie by the vile rhetoric with real world consequences, aside from the actual results. Ebola! Ebola! It's Muslims and mole!)


 

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