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"The Immaculate Shade of Joyce Beatty"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.29.16

Joyce Beatty is a national treasure.

via you all, elsewhere


 

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But We Knew This

Posted by Ogged
on 07.29.16

American politicians should go ahead and shut up about the greatest country on earth.


 

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Bill Clinton, As Played By Harrison Ford

Posted by Ogged
on 07.29.16

Old Bill doesn't just look old these days; he seems like he had a stroke or is suffering from some other debilitating disease. They have lots of reasons to fail to acknowledge something like that (their foundation money would probably dry up; people would be concerned that Hillary wouldn't be focused, etc.) but it sure would be a classic Clintons with something to hide! narrative if word got out before the election.


 

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Advice And Consent

Posted by Ogged
on 07.29.16

The Dan Markel case is pretty weird. It's always the spouse, but in this case it seems plausible that it was done to benefit the spouse, but without her knowledge--which seems solidly in "thanks, but no thanks" territory.


 

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Place Your Bets

Posted by Ogged
on 07.28.16

Was Trump making a rookie mistake, or deliberately invoking McGreevy to call Kaine gay? We'll find out if he goes down this road again.


 

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Guest Post - Yglesias

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.28.16

Nick S. writes: He's writing some good stuff:

"Bill Clinton is still a star, but today's Democrats are dramatically more liberal than his party"

[I]n the years since he left office, the party has left him behind. In many ways, he's become as obsolete ideologically as Jimmy Carter was in 1992. The electoral base and ideology his wife has embraced signals a very different Democratic Party -- one that has changed profoundly in the past quarter-century.

...

To a striking extent, almost everything that was distinctive about Bill's approach to being a Democrat -- the lack of enthusiasm for unions, the opposition to marriage equality, the tough-on-crime and tough-on-defense postures, welfare reform -- became a millstone around Clinton's neck in the course of the 2016 primary campaign.

"The Real Reason Bernie Sanders delegates are so out of Control"

Activists, as Solomon tells it, have "the privilege or maybe the obligation" to simply tell the truth. But politicians play a more complicated game.
For instance, Solomon thinks it makes sense to vote for Clinton in November to beat Donald Trump. "I don't understand the rationale for Jill Stein campaigning in swing states," he said. "I find it abhorrent."
But he has basically nothing good to say about Clinton and thinks those on the left who do -- like Elizabeth Warren -- are knowingly whitewashing her real record. "Elizabeth Warren was, shall we say, a little bit excessively inclined to praise Hillary Clinton," he says. For example, he referred to a 2004 video in which Warren, then an activist on bankruptcy issues, slammed Hillary Clinton for flip-flopping on the issue.
Many of Bernie Sanders's delegates come out of this activist camp. They may want Hillary Clinton to win. But unlike Elizabeth Warren (or at least Solomon's conception of Warren), they're not willing to fake a rousing round of applause for her that they don't really mean.

Heebie's take: I would have actually tuned in to this convention after seeing how fired up everyone's getting, except I'm not at home and things here tend towards Law & Order: SVU and reality TV shows.

Fingers crossed that Clinton can deliver a great speech tonight!


 

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Cold Election

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.28.16

Trump and Putin: where exactly do you draw the line between possibly true and conspiracy theory?


 

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Guest Post - Upward Mobility Through Quitting

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.27.16

Nick S. writes: "The Magical Benefits of the 'Quitter's Mindset'"

An article about the power that comes from being psychologically willing to walk away from valuable situations (for a better one) and knowing when to say "no." The relentlessly chipper tone and exclusive focus on high-status/high-performing people pissed me off, but there is some useful advice. Surely the commentariat could do better with the topic.

When you start feeling unhappy in your work, you owe it to yourself to get specific about changes you could make for it to get better, and to develop your own innovative solutions and experiments to try. No matter how warm and fuzzy the culture, your co-workers and boss are not therapists, says Chisa. It's not their job to respond to your discomfort.
"You'll succeed if you get yourself to focus," she says. "Figure out and write down exactly what kind of work you want to do. Is that valuable to your current company? If not, keep looking. If so, what argument can you make to your boss to pivot in that direction? You'd be surprised how many mature professionals haven't really thought about this with any depth or rigor."

Heebie's take: if we want to have an interesting discussion on the topic, I probably shouldn't provide the link, because it's written so deliciously terribly.

"Leaving Kickstarter was so much harder than leaving Harvard," says Chisa, who was a leading product manager at the crowdfunding company. "When you love your co-workers and your office and the work you do every day, it's nearly impossible to leave. But working there became core to my identity, and realizing that is when I knew I had to let it go."

Oh yeah, that happened to me, too. SO REAL.

On the actual topic, I've never changed course on anything. I'm not ambitious at all. While this job has its pros and cons, I can't think of another job that I'd enjoy enough to justify giving up my summers.


 

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NYC Meetup, Saturday night.

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.26.16

Anyone around? Walt Someguy is in NYC. Also, anyone have a clever idea for a bar, given that it's Saturday and I don't care if it's convenient for work?


 

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Welcome back to the Lucy Mangan fansite

Posted by Ben
on 07.26.16

She detests Seinfeld, which, I mean, kind of a gimme in this day and age, but it's good that she's still getting work, right?

(Context, since some might require it.)


 

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Guest Post: Back on the Veldt, bollocks.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.25.16

Nworb Werdna writes:
from a piece in the Sunday Telegraph about a new game show:

Every week, two contestants meet six potential suitors, each standing in a differently coloured opaque glass box. Gradually, the suitors are revealed in stages starting from the feet up to below the waist, then to the neck, and lastly revealing the shoulders and head, all completely bare. Throughout, Richardson quizzes the would-be dater on whether they like what they see, as well as their attitudes to sex, gender, body art, cosmetic surgery, love handles, gym bods, and personal grooming. This is romance stripped back. What you see is what you get. If, and this is the final twist, your choice of naked suitor likes the way you look in the nude, too. "It's dating in reverse," says Richardson. "Normally people meet fully clothed and make a judgement, before they see them naked. ... "Yet evolutionary psychologists tell us that our ancestors would have made their judgements by seeing us naked first, and acting on that raw animal magnetism. What we might think of as 'spark'. We are replicating that."

​Possibly the worst nightmare for everyone here, but I wonder if anyone could get a grant to find the nipple neurone: the master cell that decides if you're down to fuck a stranger -- god, pop science is easy to write -- all you have to do with that pitch is find a PhD to stand it up (IYKWIMAITYD)

Heebie's take: how on earth are you supposed to know if you'd fuck someone without knowing what kind of dresser they are???


 

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Deluge - Chapter 21

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.25.16

Chris Y writes:

A Conference in Washington

As we have become accustomed, Tooze introduces his discussion of the Washington Naval Conference by talking about something else: the Imperial Conference in London in 1922. This meeting served in part to find a way to return to normalcy (or normality, as the British would say) after the Irish settlement, and Tooze suggests that it was the forum in which the idea of the Empire as a Commonwealth emerged "fully fledged". I would challenge this more strongly if it actually affected his argument, because in fact most of the grunt work preparatory to the Statute of Westminster, 1931- essentially the founding document of the Commonwealth- was undertaken at subsequent conferences in 1925 and 1930. But Tooze is mainly interested in the question of naval power in the context of imperial defence.

The Admiralty line, which had been hawked around the Dominions before the conference by Adm. Jellicoe, commander of the Grand Fleet at Jutland, was for supplementing the Royal Navy with an Imperial Navy, which would itself include an Indian Navy. The Dominions and the Indian government were unimpressed: they wanted neither the costs nor the responsibility. Especially they wanted to avoid being dragged into a further imbroglio in Europe, whereas Britain itself had a self-evident interest in European security.

Of especial concern was Imperial influence in the Pacific. Britain had an existing alliance with Japan going back to 1902 which was central to its secure its interests in the Pacific. Canada, understandably, pressed for a reorientation towards the United States, but when British diplomats attempted to explain their dilemma to the incoming Secretary of State, Charles Hughes, Hughes threw a total wobbly, asserting that Britain owed its obligations entirely to the United States, because the United States had joined the war out of the goodness of its heart to rescue the Entente from imminent defeat. This was, of course arrant nonsense- Hughes knew perfectly well that the United States joined the war because German submarines were attacking its commercial shipping, and because British intelligence notified their American opposite numbers that Germany was trying to create a hostile alliance with Mexico. But if the State Department wanted to play it that way, there was little London could do about it, and Britain was left without a practical Pacific strategy.

A few months later, Hughes offered a solution. He summoned the wartime Entente to Washington to discuss disarmament and the Pacific question; also to try to resolve the position of China in the postwar world. The British government was so offended at being invited on the same terms as its allies that it almost refused to attend, until Foreign Office civil servants knocked some sense into Lloyd George, but as it turned out, the American proposal on Naval disarmament was broadly what Britain and Japan wanted anyway: Hughes opened the proceedings by presenting a very detailed plan whereby the naval tonnage of the US, Britain and Japan would be substantially reduced and the remainder would be left in a ratio of 5-5-3 (roughly in 100, 000 tons). Hughes provided a good deal of detail, which was subjected to rigorous discussion, but his outline was accepted informally almost on the spot and formally within 72 hours. (Tooze notes that Japanese acquiescence surprised the western powers which had not yet understood that the Japanese political class, despite not being white, held a variety of quite sophisticated opinions and that the plurality, notwithstanding the recent assassination of the Prime Minister, currently favoured economic competition over military.) Britain, racing to keep some share of the initiative, immediately cancelled four capital ships under construction on the Clyde, thereby saving enough money to pay its war debts to America for a year and also presumably putting thousands of people out of work.

Obviously this was too good to last. The fly in the ointment was that Hughes had ignored French claims to great power status, although France was never a predominantly naval power. In the unlikely event that the government would have agreed to sign away its right to build capital ships, public opinion would have prevented it. The Prime Minister, Briand, insisted that under those conditions he would accept no limitation on smaller ships, especially submarines. Japan and Britain responded by demanding similar exemptions, and the discussion became extremely negative and childish, although it is not clear from Tooze' account what was finalised in this area. What was decisive however, was Britain's admission that it could no longer exercise unilateral naval hegemony worldwide. British negotiator Balfour at the time regarded this as historic, and Tooze appears to agree with him, likening it to Gorbachev's concessions in ending the Cold War. But given the immense budgetary cuts that had already been made, and the failure of the Imperial Navy project, it would seem to have been a foregone conclusion. Tooze also speculates as to whether the outcome of the Washington Conference, by weakening Anglo-American naval power, set up the conditions for the Japanese and Italian aggression of the 1930s. Very possibly, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The other leg of the Pacific security discussion was an attempt to resolve the status of China. Once again, Tooze' decision to begin his analysis in the middle of the war makes this section a bit hard to follow, because the situation in China was extremely complicated for reasons which went back to the "Boxer" rising, if not the Opium Wars. To attempt a summary (somebody who knows Chinese history please correct me), during the extended decline of the Qing empire, Japan, Russia and the western powers helped themselves to various commercial privileges and territorial enclaves without either dismembering or taking over entire the nominal government of the country. When the empire was overthrown and various Chinese and Manchu factions started competing for control, the outside powers saw no reason to surrender these interests, while at the same time being anxious to see a stable government, or at a pinch governments, emerge to protect them. The idea that a legitimate Chinese government might in fact be reasonably hostile to foreign privilege doesn't seem to have occurred to anybody.

So matters stood in 1921. The Chinese delegation at Washington took the initiative by proposing ten articles for discussion which largely addressed these issues, and the Americans broadly supported them, with Britain running to catch up. Elihu Root, former Secretary for War and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was charged with drafting the preliminary resolutions based on his understanding of a consensus that China would be treated as a sovereign state; that foreign governments would encourage the stability of the Chinese government; that all nations should have equal opportunity to participate in Chinese development; and that the current instability of Chinese politics should not be used as a justification for outside countries to assert special rights. Britain meanwhile contrived to persuade Japan to evacuate the Shandong peninsula, which it had seized from Germany during the war, although Japanese concessions over Shandong were insufficient for Chinese public opinion.

Following the Russian revolution, China had negotiated from a position of strength with the new Soviet government and had asserted control over the Russian concessions in their country, notably the Chinese Eastern Railway. Western opinion now concluded that by revoking Russian privileges, the Chinese were influenced by the Russian government and getting too close to the Communists (No, I don't understand this either, can somebody please explain.) The western powers considered that the resolution of the former Russian concessions should be up to them; China insisted on its right to make bilateral treaties, but at this point the government fell again and the political situation in that country became genuinely chaotic once more, although the Japanese seem to have made a genuine effort to rein in their proxies in Manchuria.

In the outcome, the Conference adopted a treaty which reflected a watered down version of Root's principles, but which still imposed significant disabilities on China. All the powers agreed to maintain equality of access to Chinese markets, but China could only borrow through a consortium of the major powers; control over the Eastern Railway was supposed to revert to an international cartel; a bunch of countries demanded continuing repayments of indemnities from the "Boxer" rebellion, France specifying gold. The Chinese were united in rejecting all these out of hand, and the other powers had no way to enforce them. Nor was any progress made on the question of tariffs.

When a number of not-Chinese people were kidnapped in 1923, the powers, especially America and Britain, rattled their sabres as loudly as they could, but they understood that they were not in a position to intervene as they might have in the 19th century, and that China would call their bluff. The status of the Chinese state remained unresolved until the resumption of Japanese aggression in the early 1930s.


 

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An Elevated Being

Posted by Ogged
on 07.24.16

Man, to read about Paul Manafort's career is to look upon some real-ass nihilism. Sometimes you want to know how someone can sleep at night, but you know Paul Manafort sleeps like a baby.


 

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Psychology

Posted by Ogged
on 07.24.16

During bootcamp, I self-bribed by deciding to buy a fully tricked-out MacBook Pro if I became employed as a developer. Then I showed up on the first day of work and they just handed me one. Now when I walk by an Apple Store, my salient feeling is one of missed opportunity. Brains are weird, but in this case, in addition to all the little pleasure hits involved in research and clicking the Buy button, I think I was looking forward to affirming that I could again afford to buy nice things. Now I find myself casting about for cool things to buy, despite not really needing anything in particular. I've even been thinking about buying a very nice kitchen knife for my wife, despite having one that I love. A nice camera lens probably makes the most sense, but that's more than I want to spend at the moment. So let's either shop or talk about shopping. Do you have a strange relationship with shopping, and/or if you were in my place and wanted to spend around $300 on something nice, what would it be?


 

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