Wednesday, February 29, 2012

NDAA 1022, Indefinite Military Detention: Obama "Reads This Law Virtually Out Of Existence"


Oh, man. This was something I just couldn't figure out. This provision just didn't sit well with what I thought I knew about Obama. I--and many others--were pretty upset about this. Turns out he was on it.

Rather a blow to Glenn Greenwald, Ron Paul fanboys and the rest of the false equivalence crowd, I'm afraid...
Will Netanyahu Try To Torpedo Obama's Reelection?

Sully is concerned.

I've been having similar concerns.

I fear that an Israeli strike at Iran now hurts the Dems no matter what (not to mention the other harms that would result). If Obama goes along with it, then we do the wrong thing, further alienate the ME, and alienate the leftier liberals at home. If he doesn't go along, the wingnuts go ballistic and gain political yardage against him by ramping up their the-Kenyan-is-soft-on-terrorism-and-hates-democracy rhetoric.

Such an attack would also drive up gas prices and increase instability, thus harming the recovery.

I am very, very concerned, FWIW.
Tax Policy Should Encourage No More That Two Children

Well, here's something from the NRO.

First and foremost: tax policy should encourage no more than two children. It's astonishing to me that people can have a discussion like this without noting that having more than two children is, from the perspective of what is good for us collectively, not a good thing. It is absolutely astounding that one of the biggest threats facing human beings is not even being discussed, even in cases in which it should be one of the most salient points in the discussion.

On the other hand, it's the NRO, so they're probably just trying to figure out how to generate more consumers...(while trying not to offend certain religions that are hell-bent on promoting reproduction).

Oh and, incidentally, how is it that someone can write sentences like the following one with a straight face?:

"Some non-trivial share of the expenses associated with child-rearing can be understood as investments in human capital akin to investments in business enterprises."

I guess the same way he can  write: "...a well-designed child tax credit might actually be a sensible growth-enhancing measure."

Romney Wins Michigan (and Arizona)


I am disappoint.

I know this thing's already been bloodier than we had any right to hope for...  But I'm hoping that the tier-2 fruitcakes have a little more fight in them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Duke in Prime Position to Steal Another One Seed It Does Not Deserve"


This from a non-d00que-hater. He's got a unjustifiably high opinion of Coach Kay...but he's right about 2010 and the way things are stacking up this year. Unlikely that d00que will get a 1-seed or go very far in the tournament...but they got the "magic carpet ride" in 2010, and it's not out of the question...
Brooks: The Possum Republicans


Best lines:
Without real opposition, the wingers go from strength to strength. Under their influence, we’ve had a primary campaign that isn’t really an argument about issues. It’s a series of heresy trials in which each of the candidates accuse the others of tribal impurity.
The thing about the wingnuts is that they are mindlessly, relentlessly dragging the GOP in a crazy direction, and the GOP, in turn, is relentlessly (though not entirely mindlessly, but, in part, as an electoral tactic) dragging the country in a crazy direction.

Take just the example of war. Having the GOP around is like going out to a bar with a friend who is itching for a fight at every possible opportunity. Innocuous actions are construed as slights to honor, ambiguous actions are always interpreted in the worst possible way, any counsel of prudence is characterized as cowardice. Now, if you go out with a friend like that, here's what you know: (a) you are going to get in fights, (b) you are going to get in too many fights, and (c) you are going to be in the wrong much of the time. Being subject to the inclinations of a friend like that is no better than being subject to the inclinations of a particularly cowardly friend. Either way, you're going to end up doing the wrong thing, and it's just a matter of time.

Or how about this: it's like going hiking with a person who is passionately and irrationally devoted to going right. Even when the route is clear and left, he argues for going right. And in every case in which there is any ambiguity whatsoever, he shrieks and screams and threatens until you agree to go right. Even when you want to follow clear trail blazes to the left, he accuses you of maliciousness and stupidity: you are trying to impose your let's-go-leftism on me! You love Satan, and think the left way will take you to hell, and you're trying to drag me with you! Whatever.

Now here's the thing: the odds that you will get lost if you go hiking with that guy are 100%. (Well, 100% - e).

It's just a matter of time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Ethics of Zombie Killing

Seems about right.
NPR is After the Truth


Some pretty retrograde notions there, NPR. You guys'd get kicked out of lots of departments in the humanities and social sciences for that kind of talk...

I listen to NPR a lot, but their breathy, tweedy earnestness grates on me more than a bit. Still, they're on the side of the angels here. Big props to them.
The Duke 3-Flop

Flopping on the three is their signature move
Officiating in the Virginia Game

Some complaints about officiating in the Carolina-Virginia game are coming from the Virginia side. I thought we might have gotten a couple of breaks in the game, as I've said, though it didn't seem egregious to me. And I like Virginia, so I don't have a huge stake in beating them.

This, from Streaking the Lawn, states the case. It's pretty weak. In 2, for instance, Scott whacks Henson with his forearm/elbow, and StL pretends there's something illegitimate about the call. The Scott-Zeller call can't really be evaluated from the angle we get, so there are no grounds for complaint. As for 3, Henson did do some acting, but this ignores the context of the play. What StL doesn't show is Scott repeatedly shoving off of Henson's face earlier in the game, with no call. Scott got away with at least as many push-offs as he got called for, so I'm not sure there are grounds for complaint here. I'm against "selling" fouls, as I've said, except in extreme cases. I certainly understand Henson "selling" the foul given the earlier push-offs...but, again, I'm not fond of it. It does seem to balance out, FWIW, against earlier, uncalled Scott fouls.

What's irritating is that the announcers go on and on about e.g the Henson "selling" job, a much less egregiously bad call than any of the 3-4 terrible calls that handed the recent Carolina game to Duke. I wish the officials had made the right call there, and that it would not have counted against Scott. Too bad, though, that so much less attention was given to calls that were so much more consequential in the Duke game. But Fishsticks is none too wild about Carolina...but I digress...

This is not par for the course for Henson, and was pretty clearly in response to several earlier uncalled fouls by Scott--not shown in the StL video, but clear in the game. I'm partisan here, but I'm pretty sure that the 'Hoos are exaggerating the officiating errors. And, FWIW, it's not as if Scott was playing that well. Seemed to me that his inability to get his offense going might have been what led to all his push-offs, actually.

(Oh and LOOOOL at StL's "gutless John Henson." What pathetic pantywaist nonsense. That's just a temper tantrum, and kind of embarrassing for this Schwartz fellow...)
Because Eating Bugs Is Better Than Lowering The Population

To Fight World Hunger, Secret Ingredient Could Be Bugs

Next up, Soylent Brown...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Matt Taibi: The Wingnut Chickens Come Home To Roost


The crazy is like a drug, and you need more and more of it to get that hold wingnut high. Now they're questioning whether Santorum is crazy enough for them...
Obama, the Right and Apologies for U.S. Actions
Or: The Crazy Gets Crazier

As soon as I'd heard that Obama had apologized for U.S. soldiers burning Koran's, I knew the right would flip out, yet again.

This is one of the craziest aspects of wingnuttery.

There's little worse than a person who refuses to admit error. And all reasonable people admire those who do admit error (when they have, in fact, erred). The liberal conception of America is a conception of a country that admits when it's wrong--and, furthermore, a conception of a country that need not be hesitant to admit error; we are, after all, right often enough, strong enough, accomplished enough, and respected enough that there is no need to fear justified apologies. A country that will not admit error, like a person who will not, is not worthy of respect. To fear warranted apologies, as the right does, is to show weakness and self-doubt.

Conservatives, of course, having completely lost touch with reality, seem to think that America should never apologize for its errors. And, furthermore, they half believe (and half pretend to believe) that liberals and Obama apologize excessively--apparently because we and he...what? Hate America so much that we think that all its actions are wrong? Are wimps? God knows. Apologizing even relatively infrequently, even for uncontroversial errors, becomes some kind of excessive apologizing. (Of course, half of it is a put-on, since they'll say anything, no matter how crazy, to score points against Obama.) So, the group that refuses to apologize no matter how egregious the error accuses the group that apologizes judiciously of apologizing excessively, like the coward accuses the brave but prudent person of foolhardiness. That's like a little snapshot of contemporary American politics right there; the right is so out of touch with reality that reasonable actions by liberals and centrists count as some kind of off-the-scale crazy by their lights.

It's all the weirder given how much the right seems to hate America. Oh, they wave the flag and shriek about their love of the country at every opportunity...yet they seem to hate every actual thing about it. So it's weird that they're so touchy about admitting error--according to them, the U.S. is a big pile of fail, having been run into a ditch by...I dunno...Satan or Keynes or FDR or somebody.

I suppose it's because their views and values have become so distorted that the bad seems good to them and the good seems bad. Burning Korans is clearly an unnecessarily provocative action. Whatever you think about the Koran--and, of course, like the Bible it's really just another book--it's important to the folks who we are trying to make our allies. We burned it, that p!sses them off, the right thing to do is explain that it was inadvertent and apologize. I mean, it was inadvertent (from the perspective of the government, even if individuals may have intended to do it), and we do wish it hadn't happened, and we are sorry about it. What's the problem here? Apologizing is exactly the right thing to do. But in the topsy-turvy minds of the American right, that's all wrong. I suppose we can add prudence and common human decency to the things the wingnuts now hate. The natural hypothesis, of course, is that those folks are not sorry that the Korans were burned. That's actually a big part of what's going on here, I expect...

The problem with contemporary wingnuts, as I've said before, is that they are incapable of objectivity. They are immersed in a tribal mindset. Everything is a power struggle, everything is a matter of gaining dominance or showing your throat, of victory or loss of face for your tribe. Any sign of humanity or objectivity or rationality is a sign of weakness. They accept the orthodoxy on their side of the fence unquestioningly, and attribute malicious motives to anyone with the temerity to question their dogma. These are dangerous people, helping to refine and purify an ever-crazier and ever-more-dangerous mindset, and an ever-more-twisted view of the world. They are poisoning our public reasonings and discussions, and they will send echos of crazy down through the ages, echos that may take decades or centuries to die out. The alternative, of course, is worse--that these echoes do not die out, but finally strike some fatal note that allows them to resonate with a sufficiently large segment of the population. Perhaps they will find a spokesperson charismatic enough to help them capture enough of the public imagination to actually succeed politically... That, of course, is the truly frightening possibility. They think they are playing with fire just to get elected, and that after the election they can step back from the edge, and that the anger and insanity that they have fostered will subside. But there is no guarantee of that.
GOP Candidates / Debates:
Dangerously Crazy

Um...I just got around to watching that last Republican debate.

Is it just me, or is this just not funny anymore?

Whatever they may be like as individuals, put those four guys (though Paul is a weird outlier) together with an audience like that goading them ever rightward, and you get out a kind of collective insanity.

And Santorum and Gingrich are basically nuts to start that's not helping anything...
Tyler Zeller, Academic All-American of the Year

Love to see this.

Way more important than on-court Ws.
Carolina 54, UVa 51

Whew. The Heels are fortunate to have gotten out of JPJ with a 'W.' The 'Hoos' D is tough (4th in the nation, I do believe), and it showed. A very ugly game (a friend of mine from UVa used to say: Virginia plays gator ball: they drag you down to their level and try to beat you there). Carolina got some breaks--on the calls, that is...not fast breaks, of which there were few. Scott had an off game, and was in foul trouble most of the time--largely as a result of repeatedly pushing off of Henson's face, and Virginia went cold from 3 late. Carolina's offense was all about Z and Henson. PJ hit a 3. Marshall limped back to the locker room with a sore thigh. But an ugly W is still a W.

Things continue not to jell for the Heels...but UVa's defense makes everybody look that way. We still haven't recovered from losing Dex...and, for that matter, haven't recovered from losing L-Mac. With those two, this is a deep, fast team with a wicked threat from 3 and a super-fast penetration threat/back-up PG. Without's a struggle. Still, great guys, fun to watch. And a good win.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Carolina at Virgina

Woohoo...or Wahoo, as the case may be.

Time again for Heels vs. Hoos, my favorite game(s) of the year.

Carolina still has the advantage, but UVa will be tough at home. I do like Carolina's tempo better, though they didn't get to run much last time, and, in fact, are a little thin now to run as much as they'd like. I expect Carolina to us this as an opportunity to get its 3-point game headed in the right direction. Virginia will try to slow things down, of course, and try to minimize the damage from Carolina's front line.

This is pure hoops bliss right here...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Israel Is Going Postal Over a Situation the U.S. and Europe Lived with for 45 Years

This, by Fareed Zacharia, is damn good.

This "zone of immunity" nonsense is a translation of one of the principle premises in the madness that led us into Iraq--the idea of "preventive war."

I've harped on the distinction between "preventive war" and preemptive war. Just war theory clearly recognizes a right to preemption. That means: if country C is preparing to attack you, you are not obligated to wait for them to shoot first. There is, however, no right to "preventive" attacks. A preventive attack is an attack launched against country C because you think that it might attack you some day. That shit is right out.

So, Israel, AIPAC, and the American right seem to be gearing up to encourage the U.S. to attack Iran (a) on false pretenses, (b) on faulty principle, and (c) against our national interest.

I agonized over Iraq for months leading up to the war, torturing myself with worries that I was just not thinking clearly about the situation. After all, the administration was so sure...and Saddam was a genuinely evil SOB...what was I missing, I wondered?

Learned my lesson.

Not torturing myself this time.

This shit is insane.
U.S. Intelligence Does Believes That Iran Is Not Seeking To Build A Nuclear Bomb

L.A. Times

Well, of course, when the Bush administration wanted to attack Iraq, and U.S. intelligence refuted the uranium-from-Niger story, they just poked around until they found an intelligence service that did believe the story, then they reported on that as if it were the best intelligence available...  We won't see that from this administration, but we might see it from our friends across the aisle.

This needs to be repeated over and over: Israel and the American right are gearing up to push us into a war on grounds that our intelligence services believe to be false.

(Though in my current opinion, we shouldn't attack Iran even if they were building a nuke. We've exhausted ourselves on the Bush/Cheney/Neo-Con adventure--a counterproductive, incredibly expensive and bloody adventure--in Iraq. We'll have to pass even on sensible wars for awhile, not to mention madness like this Iran business.)
Right-Wing Culture Warriors
It's Really About the Sex

I realized this pretty early in life. What folks like Santorum really hate is sexual freedom. As one of my undergrad profs pointed out to me, when you hear somebody like Pat Robertson on television talking about morality, you immediately know that they're not talking about e.g. the avaricious nature of contemporary American capitalism, nor of churches, nor about the scandal of gratuitous wars like Iraq, nor about the fact that a billion people are malnourished, nor about discrimination, nor about any such thing.

They're talking about sex.

It's the sex they're obsessed with. Although questions about sexual morality are relatively peripheral compared to the big moral questions, folks like Santorum seem to do the vast majority of their frettin' about them. They're pathologically obsessed with sex, and with other people's sex lives.

Oh and, you might note, according to Mr. Santorum, liberals can't be Christians--liberals, according to him, are trying to re-write the Bible.

Well, he actually might have a point there. In response to provocation by The Mystic, I picked me up one-a them "Bibles," and lemme tell ya, it's pretty interesting. Jesus seems to be way, way, way left of liberal to me. "Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on they right cheek, turn to him the other also." That's pacifism, man, and there is really no denying it. Pacifism is not liberal...but it's farthest removed from the militarism and lust for violence on the right. Do we hear Santorum complaining about military action in Afghanistan and elsewhere? Do we hear him complaining about vast sums spent on the military? And "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon Earth"? Really? You can't really say it any clearer than that, and it is not consistent with the acquisitive consumerism so beloved by conservatives. "Take no thought for your life...Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns... Consider the lilies of the field" and so forth. "Take therefore no thought for the morrow..." Look, if Jesus were alive today, Santorum and the GOP would have nothing to do with him. He'd be a dirty hippie in their eyes. And "Judge not, that ye not be judged"? Such folk can't go two seconds without pulling a sour face at someone, somewhere, having fun. They're focused like a laser beam on imagined motes in the eyes of others while...well, you see where I'm going with this...

But they don't care about this stuff, nor about this Jesus fellow. They've got their obsessive, loony distaste for certain things and certain acts, and their festering resentment toward folks who are having fun, and they poke around trying to find some way to rationalize it in the Bible...while ignoring unignorable admonitions to not do some of the things they have built their entire worldview around.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Does Defense Affect 3-Point Shooting?

Amazing work by Pomeroy...signs point to no.

This analysis has been a hot topic on IC for a week or so now. Amazingly interesting--possibly revolutionary--stuff.
All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay

To: Mormons
Re: Baptism of the Dead


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Barnes on State Hate

At the Fayetteville Observer

“It different from Duke,” Barnes said. “It’s a hate. It’s a distaste. They don’t want to see us. They loathe the color blue. They just want to see all misfortune happen to us when we walk in here. As we come in here, it’s great. We love it, we kind of embrace it. It helps us play better. … At Duke it’s kind of a ‘Oh, we really dislike you.’ Here it’s like, ‘We hate you. Anything that befalls you, we applaud.’ It’s like, ‘Ok, that’s really how you feel.’”

Funny...but time to throttle back, wuffies...let's keep it in perspective.
4.0 Earthquake, New Madrid Fault


That's pronounced New MAD-rid for you non-Missourians...

My brother said he woke up at 4 a.m., though he didn't know why.
Is AIPAC Pushing the U.S. Towards War?


I am losing sleep over this. I simply cannot believe that we have allowed a small country with a human rights record that is questionable at best, and that's a strategic and financial liability to us, to have such influence on our foreign policy. I used to be quite a defender of Israel, but have become increasingly appalled at them and their U.S. lobbyists. Add in the weird adulation of the wingnuts...and, man, this is a scary situation.

My current worry is that they intend to force this war now, forcing Obama to either go along with them, or face the rabid, frothy backlash and charges of wimpdom.

Scary, IMHO.
Carolina 86, State 74

Wow. An interesting game, and a good, solid win for the Heels. State's fallen on hard times, of course, but they played well last night. They did what I've been waiting for someone to do all year: played zone and packed everybody down low, bottling up Z and Henson and daring Carolina to shoot from the perimeter. And that's where things started to get weird. Suddenly, everybody was hitting. Bullock hit two 3s, Barnes hit, even PJ hit one (he'll be a monster when he gets out of the slump)...and Marshall hit four of five 3s! In fact, he had 22 points, 13 assists, and 0 turnovers. Monster game. Dude is amazing. Without the Heels suddenly finding their touch from 3, State likely wins this game. To add to the weirdness, state won the offensive rebounding battle, too.

That makes twelve in a row for Carolina over State. I like beating 'em, but I feel bad they've had such an absolutely terrible couple (or more) of years. It was more fun when it was more competitive, obviously. And those guys also had Duke beat by 20 the other night and then just...well...basically disappeared, losing by like four. Very weird. Tough week for State.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On the Alien Lizard Implanted in Obama's Head

Wow. I didn't know half this stuff...
The Walking Dead

The t.v. show, not the comic.

Is it just me, or is it bad? I'll watch almost anything with zombies in it, and I was psyched when I heard about the series. And I thought the first episode was really good. But since then, it's just seemed almost uniformly terrible to me. It's like a soap opera with (very) occasional zombie attacks, few of which are very exciting. I'm stupid/ignorant about movies and suchlike, so I can't tell e.g. bad directing from bad something else...but something not good seems to pervade the show. I mean, the writing seems bad to me, too...but that's not the bad thing I'm gesturing at. It's something else. (Oh alleged Georgia accents of the two male leads...just literally painful to listen to IMHO. Where the heck are those guys from, anyway?)

I hate to harsh on something that so many people are clearly putting so much earnest work into...but, man, I just do not like it. JQ and I still record it and generally eventually watch the episodes, but spend much of the time fast-forwarding and groaning at the overwrought dialog. Anyway, not good. I mean, not Terra Nova bad...but not good.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Redistricting: The Shortest Splitline Method


Doesn't solve all relevant problems...but cool.
Brainstorming Doesn't Really Work


Yeah, I came to a similar conclusion on my own long ago. When I'm involved in such a group problem-solving project, I tend to ask people to think on their own ahead of time--while they still can--and then put their heads together after that. Once we're contaminated with each other's ideas, we've lost a unique opportunity to look at the problem with a relatively uncorrupted eye. The collective brainstorming phase isn't harmed by being preceded by individuals brainstorming on their own; so there's usually good reason to do the individual phase first. I kinda thought this was an obvious point.
LOL "Precarity and Affective Resistance"

Ugh. Lefty cultural studies gobbledygook. A sample, quoted by Sullivan:
The stubbornness of resistance can becomes [sic] constitutive of an identity outside of neoliberalist rationalization, which inculcates us with an individualistic and ultimately antihuman ideology of convenience that prompts us to neglect our inescapable, Levinas-ian 'infinite responsibility to the other.' Presumably we can never be truly happy on a personal level as long as we are operating as de facto deputies of neoliberalism, but it is impossible for us to will an alternative subjectivity to what it engenders, minus the crucible of precarity. Via precarity we can answer the 'call to life,'"
It's really hard to believe that anyone takes stuff like that seriously. It only survives because it's so easy to make it seem as if there's a kind of sense being made when there isn't. The reader can sort of surf along, feeling as if he's semi-understanding, as he might while reading a rather obscure poem. Throw in one or two ideas here or there that aren't patently false, and you can easily make nonsense sound kinda sorta like something with profound and deeply-buried sense. If there's anything there worth saying--and I doubt it--I can guarantee you that it can be said more clearly and simply. This is not quantum physics. A certain kind of person basically likes the sound of such words, and the thrilling sense that something profound is afoot, something that can only be hinted at with half-meaningful jargon. A little disappointing as entertaining BS goes, though. Needs more Other.
The Cult of Urban Density

I have to say, I get rather tired of hearing the gospel of urban density. (e.g. here, linked to by Sullivan). I have some tendency to think that the aesthetic preferences of the intelligentsia tend to get foisted off on us as if they were epistemic or moral imperatives, or well-supported conclusions. The intelligentsia tends to like big, dense cities. (Well, the intelligentsia tends to like New York...and, of course, European cities...) And what a coincidence...we ought to have denser cities! I know...there may still be good reasons for densification, and apparently there are. There are also reasons against it, which seem to get ignored, at least in the stuff that filters down to me. Life in a very dense city is a smelly, smoggy, unpleasant life, a life packed into crowded buildings, crowded streets, crowded buses, crowded everything. Don't agree? Well, reasonable people can disagree about this...and that's the point. Personally, I don't know how people can live that way. New York is really fun...for about 72 hours, if you're in the right part of it. And if you have a fair bit of money. After that...ugh. People really live there? And in the age of the internet? Jeez. Packed in like sardines. Packed in like rats. A grim, desolate concrete jungle, too full of people who are, one the whole, rather less friendly than I'm used to. I'd go batshit crazy if I had to live there, and I have to say, I'm a bit suspicious of what seems to me to be an insufficiently reflective push to squash more and more people into such conditions. Some folks like it, obviously...but the thing is: not everybody does.

The solution to the problems at issue is, as I've suggested before, not to force more people to live like ants, but to have fewer people. There's no need to push for a greater-than-ordinary degree of density if you've got a manageable number of people.

This is another aspect of a discussion that continues to baffle me. Instead of aiming at the one, obvious solution to a panoply of problems, we seem to be urged to ignore that solution and focus on radical and radically weird patches. We've got so many people that we've got to cut down the rain forests to keep 'em in beef. Solution? Stop eating beef! We've got so many people that we're running out of clean water. Solution? Recycle and drink our own pee! We've got so many people that we've worn out the soil. Solution? Pump it full of searing amounts of nitrogen! We've got so many people that there's no place left for the wildlife to go. Solution? Cram 'em all into superdense urban sardine cans.

Here's an idea: let's build down the population instead. We might still get good ideas from these other approaches. But it's just plain stupid to ignore the real problem that's driving all of this.

Well, there's my $0.02, at any rate, all stated with more certainty than is warranted.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Congrats to the Clemson Tigers on Hanging Tough

Clemson hung tough despite being outgunned, and going through a long cold streak. It's tough to keep your poise in a game like that, but the did so, and went up a notch in my estimation FWIW.

Good game by the Heels, too. Reggie hit a couple of 3s, but PJ apparently remains cold as ice. Dunno what we're going to do about that outside game. Barnes was hitting, but we need somebody other than him to heat up from out there.

I feel kind of bad for Clemson when I think about their oh-for-ever streak in Chapel Hill. 55 losses in a row there thus far, and all signs point to a 56th today. On years when we can afford to drop a game, part of me kinda roots for the Tigers. A streak like this one requires a good bit of luck, whatever else it requires, and it'd bring much happiness to Clemson for the luck to break their way on this one. This year, however, especially after a 1-point loss to Kentucky (pretty much deserved), a 33-point beatdown in Tallahassee, and a 1-point loss in the bizarro-world loss to the d00kies, I'm not feeling particularly benevolent...

I'd like to see Roy use this game to just totally unleash Reggie and PJ from 3-point land. If we don't get that part of the game going soon, the value of our awesome inside game is going to continue to degrade, as teams continue to pack the defense into the paint.

Anyway, good luck to the Tigers...but, uh...not too much luck...
Baptism for the Dead


It's always bugged me that the Mormons do this. I'm not a Mormon and I never will be, life or dead, and doing some postmortem mumbo-jumbo won't change that. I do realize that one might do this for benevolent reasons if one were so confused as to think that it would save someone's immortal soul, but to cut to the chase, in actual fact I find the practice disrespectful in the extreme. Like corpse desecration, but worse. Respect for persons requires that we respect their decisions and conclusions in matters of this kind. Posthumous "baptism" seems to me to be a kind of sophomoric attempt to get in the last word, and somehow to pretend that non-Mormons were really Mormons after all.

I don't want your religion in life, and I certainly am not going to want it in death. Keep the damned thing off me.

Ahem. Sorry. But I find this practice odious on the extreme. People have gotten bent out of shape about the Mormons posthumously baptizing victims of the Holocaust, but, frankly, I don't see why it should be any more objectionable in that case. It's extremely disrespectful no matter who the target is and, in fact, if anything it's more disrespectful to atheists.

I'm probably rather too cranky about this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Plumlee's Shove Against Zeller

So, the announcers refused to comment on Plumlee's blatant shove of Zeller that lead to Z's tip-in own-goal that (among several other utterly indefensible calls) handed Duke the recent game in Chapel Hill. But now not only are we subjected to repeated re-plays of Austin "Travelocity" Rivers's final shot, with no mention of the fact that it only mattered because three terrible calls in a row had gone Duke's way...we're also being treated to replays of Z's tip-in...with Plumlee's shove clearly visible...still with no mention of the foul whatsoever.

Let me repeat: there's a reason everyone hates Duke.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heels 73, Hurricanes 64

Whew. Another tough game. Carolina's shooting woes continue, but they did heat up in the second half. Apparently during halftime Roy said: "I say, fellows, I don't want to be a worry-wart, not to mention a nag, but if ask me, we ought to try hitting more shots. Dag gum it." Or words to that effect. Seemed to work. TBF hit three of five from 3, and Reggie hit 2/4. This one could easily have gone the other way. I really like Reggie Johnson, and was worried about containing him, but Z did a great job, and the Heels escape with a win.

Clemson comes to town on Saturday. They're oh-for-ever in Chapel Hill. Let's keep that streak alive, guys!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paul Daugherty on the Twilight Zone Game

Daugherty references Duke's (scare quotes in original) "victory" over Carolina at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ron Paul Contra Contraceptives

At Mother Jones.

Some libertarian. He has some defense based on the interstate commerce clause.

The really important point to my mind is that he thinks there's no right to privacy. This is typical of the crypto-conservative rubbish that masquerades as libertarianism. The only type of freedom such folks care about is economic. More important types are treated as peripheral at best. Paul seems to be a bit better than most on this score...but not much it seems. That's why they are Republicans and not Democrats, IMHO.
Freedom Of Conscience And Providing Health Care
Consequences Of A Recent Conservative View

Yglesias puts this well.

The problem is that this approach allows anyone to enforce even their most crackpot views on others.

There are tough questions here, but Yglesias is clearly right. Conservatives do not endorse this principle, only its specific application in the Catholic/contraceptive case.
Mark Grist
Girls Who Read

With ya, bro.

(Slightly NSFW (4 naughty words))

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tar Heel Blog: One Last Look At The Final Three Minutes Of The Duke Game


Ugh. It's that dirty push by Plumlee that still pisses me off the most. It's a known dookie tactic, rather like their patented kick-out on 3s, but it's off-the-scale angrifying that it was, in this case, successful beyond their wildest dreams. Not only denying Z an easy rebound, but getting away with it and denying Carolina the two free throws they deserved, AND actually scoring two points on it. That's the most successful dirty play I think I've ever seen in my life. Without that blatant, yet uncalled, foul, the game is over.

Goddamn it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tar Heel Blog: One More Look At The Last Two And A Half Minutes Of The Duke Game

Just flat-out bizarre.

And I repeat: grumble.
Chen and Whorfian Economics 

Here's a follow-up on this.

Joshua directs us to this at Language Log.

A quote:

Another thing about the results worries me. When I engage in amateur reflection on how language might affect thought, I find that I might just as well be convinced that a language with grammatical future tense marking would have speakers who paid MORE attention to worrying about the future. After all, they use a linguistic device that explicitly picks it out. Chen's hypothesis is that instead they would naturally pay LESS attention to what the future might hold in store. Which hypothesis is right? Why is it Chen's favorite that is right? Why don't his results (if sound at all) predict the exact opposite of what he claims, so that only his prediction about the Pirahã is solidly correct?
 I also worry that it is too easy to find correlations of this kind, and we don't have any idea just how easy until a concerted effort has been made to show that the spurious ones are not supportable. For example, if we took "has (vs. does not have) pharyngeal consonants", or "uses (vs. does not use) close front rounded vowels", would we find correlations there too? I have some colleagues here at the University of Edinburgh, within Simon Kirby's research group, who have run some informal experiments on the data Chen uses to see if dredging up spurious correlations of this kind is easy or hard, and so far they have found it jaw-droppingly easy.
Yep. Exactly what I'd predict. We know that humans really really good at cooking up such explanations, and in such cases there are lots of ways to slice and dice the data.

This hypothesis just as the ring of bullshit. It's not that it's impossible for it to be's just that it isn't. Or, rather, it's that: grade-school-level language-determines-thought hypotheses like this are a dime a dozen...or more like: a dime a gross. Whorfianism in any interesting form just isn't true, and it's long past time to acknowledge this. What we invariably get is Rorschach-testy free-association with a scientific gloss.

I'm stating all of this more forcefully than I should, I'm sure. I'm just really ill-tempered about Whorfianism and related nonsense.
Sauropod Anatomy: The Necks for Sex Debate

A wee introduction.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Milbank; worth a read.

Funny how the shitstorm of the Bush administration was just dandy...but now EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.

An inability to be in any way objective is probably the main vice of contemporary American conservatism.
Does Our Language Make us Financially (Ir)Responsible?

No, it does not.

Despite this.

Your bullshit detector needs to peg at about 11 when you read something like this. I would be willing to bet money right now that this is not true. It's not that it's impossible. Rather, it's that this kind of lame, kindergarten-level linguistic hypothesis--Whorfianism, actually--is just way, way too tempting, and it's the kind of thing that it's way, way too easy to (unconsciously) Gerrymander evidence for. This is just too simplistic to be true. It has the ring of bullshit about it, and not just a little bit.

I'm not digging in my heels and refusing to look at evidence here; I'm just telling you that I am comfortable predicting right now that this is going to turn out to be bogus.
Tar Heels 70 Wahoos 52

Props to both teams for a good game; it was much closer than the score indicates. Carolina was behind most of the game, and only started pulling away rather late. As usual, Carolina's bigs were just too much.

I like what Bennett has done with the Hoos. They play a down-tempo style that's still interesting. I really hope he can keep that program competitive. The ACC has been down, and was supposed to be pretty embarrassing this year, but FSU and UVa have helped pull it back into respectability.

MacAdoo had an impressive game, too--perhaps his break-out game.

Lucky to get this win without PJ. Good job by the Heels, I'd say.
Blown Calls at the End of Carolina-Duke

I'm trying to put the Twilight Zone loss against d00que on Wednesday out of my head, but the freakish nature of the barrage of bad calls has gotten a bit of attention, e.g. on some sports call-in shows.

Here's a post at RoundBallChat.

On the bright (?) side, it looks to me like Henson fouls Kelly after Kelly's air ball. Even that helped Duke, unfortunately, as they hit a 3 a few seconds later. Had Kelly gone to the foul line and hit only 2, it's a different game.

That was a hard call, though, and I don't blame the refs for missing it. I'd have probably concluded that Henson touched it, given how much the shot missed by.

The other two calls, though...Jebus. It still astounds me that anyone could miss them. Especially Curry's walk, which was right out in the middle of the floor, in front of God and everybody, with nobody even close to him.


Against a different team, one might more easily shrug such things off...

Woohoo, one of my favorite games of the year, especially when the Hoos are playing well. I love me some Hoos, and love it when these teams get together, especially when UVa is playing well.

It's going to be rough with three (count 'em, three) of the Heels' two-guards out with that's a source of some apprehension. And after that d00k nonsense, there's more pressure to try to win that sucks. Still, ought to be a fun game.

I was looking forward to using this game as an opportunity to let PJ try to get his shot back and practice not going under screens for the love of the sweet baby Jebus... But that is not to be.

Woohoo! Tar Heels-Hoos...just doesn't get any better than that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Funny Serge Zwikker Story

Ok, this is probably only of interest to Tar Heels. Just recently posted on IC:
Completely unrelated, but reminds me of something that happened many, many moons ago in a history class I was in. Serge, Pat Sullivan, a few other b-ball players were in the class as well and I sat near them.

Anyway, one morning as students are making their way into class, this SMOKING HOT chick comes in, says Hi to Serge, and tries to sit down beside him.

He looked at her and said in his Andre the Giant voice: "this seat is reserved for Pat. This is where Pat sits. You cannot sit here."

The girl tried to "argue" with him that Pat wouldn't mind, that she wants to sit there, etc etc etc...Serge just kept on saying "this seat is reserved for Pat" like a robot programmed to only say one thing.

She eventually got up with a look of disbelief on her face. Rejected.

I'll never forget that even 20 years later. Serge was hilarious. He used to wear these carolina blue mittens when it was cold that were as big as frying pans...I asked him one time where he found mittens that big. "My mom made them for me, they are from the Netherlands where I am from." LOL

P.J. Hairston in a Boot; Out for UVa Game (at Least)


This season has been just awful. Injuries to L-Mac and Dex, and now who knows what's up with PJ...the inexplicable blow out by FSU, the weird paralysis at the end of the Kentucky game, the twilight zone loss to Duke... (Ugh...and also losing to three extremely unlovable teams...UNLV, UK, Duke...) Man. I wish I didn't like basketball. It brings me way more pain than pleasure.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Can't Turn, Can't Climb, Can't Run:
Gut-Wrenching Allegations About the F-35

I am speechless.

I've now read claims that these early charges have been refuted.

Here's a newer evaluation, claiming that the F-35's performance is extremely similar to that of the F-18.
Video of Plumlee Pushing Zeller on the Tip-In

Argh. Had watched the reply a couple of times this morning, and convinced myself that the evidence of Plumlee pushing Z was inconclusive. That made me feel a little better about the loss.

Then I saw this.

Added bonus: it also seems--as it did also did live--that Henson did not touch the Kelly air ball.

What an unbelievable confluence of events. In addition to d00que turning red hot and Carlina going ice cold, over the last three minutes we have:

1. An uncalled travel leading to a 3-pointer
2. An uncalled push leading to a 2-point own-goal
3. A bad call that turns an airball into another d00que possession.

Very, very frustrating and disappointing. 1 and 3 were pretty blatant bad calls. 2 is the most angrifying, of course, being vintage d00que.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Heels Collapse Against d00que

Wow. Just wow.

A serious collapse after a win looked inevitable. Ahead by 10 for most of the half, we just fell down in the last 4 minutes. Bad shot selection, didn't take care of the ball...argh.

But really, the collapse alone wasn't enough to do it.It sucks to complain about the officiating, but the refs just gave this one to d00k. Seth Curry obviously traveled just before he hit his last 3 around the :30 mark, and Zeller tipped a rebound into our goal when he was pushed by Plumlee. (d00k is known for pushing rebounders low in the back to push them off their mark--K obviously teaches this.) A Kelly airball that should have given the Heels the ball was ruled a tip/block by Henson, and d00k got it back. (That last one was questionable at least, whereas the other two were obvious.) Those first two plays alone counted for 5 points in the last minute of the game. If the refs had called either one, Carolina wins. Damn that sucks.

Austin Rivers beautifully represents everything that everyone hates about d00k, and it was really too bad that we left him open and let him make that final shot. It was yet another baffling lapse in 4 minutes of condensed fail. A 2 would have done them no good, but Zeller backed off of the line anyway. Heat of the moment and all that...but damn.

Losing to d00k, I always feel like we've basically let the universe down. Ugh.

I don't know what it is with the Heels this year, but they just cannot seem to get it together. They haven't even come close to living up to expectations, and, frankly, I don't think they've put together 40 minutes of good ball all year. Losing in this choketacular fashion isn't helping morale, either, I'm sure. I really love this team--they're a bunch of awesome guys...but they really just aren't playing well. The real problem is back-court scoring and 3-point shooting. As usual, d00k just hoisted 3 after 3, whereas we made only one 3 all game. A little less luck with the 3 ball, and, again, Carolina gets the 'W'...but it was not to be.

Damn annoying to lose that way, and to that team...but them's the breaks.
Annoying Buzzwords That Need To Be Banished From Our Collective Vocabulary

Hoopacalypse 2012
Episode 1

#5 Carolina takes on #10 d00que tonight, at the Dean Dome.

Before we lost Strickland to the ACL tear, I was extremely confident about this game. I was pretty sure that Dex would have shut down Austin "Travelocity" Rivers, even with all the foot-shuffling, walking, and palming. I'm less confident about Reggie, though think he'll still give him trouble.

Unsurprisingly, I like the Heels in this one.

Go Tar Heels!


as always:

Go to hell d00que
The Opposite of True:
Obama Didn't...Want?...To Kill OBL Edition
Sean Hannity Lives In A Reality Of His Own Choosing

From the same people who think that 9/11 means that Bush kept us safe, we get...


See, Bush--who didn't get bin Laden--actually got him, because mumble mumble Obama mumble Bush's policies. And Obama--who did get bin Laden--didn't really, because mumble mumble mumble GOD BLESS THE REPU...I MEAN AMERICA!!!

This kind of insanity is just rampant on the American right these days. They are simply immune to the facts. Bush, who probably got a little help avoiding service in Vietnam, was...well...not exactly a war hero, but not exactly not one. Gore, who did serve, was a wimp. Kerry, who was an actual war hero, was a French pacifist. They've got some axioms over across the Republicans are always tougher than Democrats. If the facts seem to contradict those axioms, well, the facts are to be ignored.

Note, however, that it actually goes beyond merely ignoring the facts. Wingnuts like Hannity are actually willing to basically to argue for the exact opposite of what is indicated by the facts--that is, not just ignore the truth, or misdirect to some irrelevant conclusion. No, they're willing to believe and argue for the very opposite of the truth. Hence we get, for example, "Bush kept us safe," which is vague enough to be merely laughably false, but also "There were no domestic terrorist attacks under Bush," which is precise enough to be...well, the exact opposite of true. We also get Hannity trying to argue that...what? WTF is he trying to say, anyway? That Bush's policies were so awesome that they drug Obama kicking and screaming into the situation room and made him send in Seal Team 6? The bottom line is: mumble mumble Obama gets no credit.

Hannity, you inveterate jackass.
Syria (and Iran)

Holy crap: U.S. looking at military options in Syria.

I haven't posted must about the democratic revolts in the ME, mostly because I just watch them unfold on the news, wide-eyed, ignorant, astonished. I didn't think I'd see such things in my life.

However, I don't see how we can intervene in Syria in our current situation...weakened and depleted by Iraq, a GOP opposition that is willing to use human rights only as a stalking horse, but actually opposes any genuine humanitarian interventions...not to mention the fact that they're trying to gear up for another Iraq, this time against Iran, and prefer that to another Libya. If Obama intervenes, they'll use it against him in the election. Thus intervention in Syria would help put a Republican in the White House, thus (let's be honest) likely doing long-term damage to the country and the world

I'm a liberal hawk, and think we should use our great military power judiciously to promote human rights, as we did in Libya. Our greatest recent successes, in fact, have been the Balkans and Libya--both Democratic interventions, incidentally. The GOP is not merely wrong about where and how we should intervene, they basically get it exactly backwards. The prediction here is easy, though: they'll oppose humanitarian intervention in Syria, and continue to push for action against Iran. Virtually any other time, I'd favor intervention in Syria. I won't be unhappy if we do intervene...but I just don't see how we can.
R-Money Loses Big

Wow. Well, that was pretty embarrassing for Mittens. Looks like he's also on track to lose Colorado. He couldn't even put on a chipper face during his concession speech. His magic panties were clearly in a wad. It was actually kinda painful to watch--and not in the way that Mittens's speeches are usually painful to watch.

Hell, I actually kinda feel sorry for the guy. People obviously don't like him...and about 15% of his news coverage consists of stories about how people don't like him...and now we get a new poll reporting that the more people find out about him, the less they like's got to have an effect on the guy. The Obama-haters are largely nuts and partisan hacks. R-Money's own party can't stand him. They don't like him so much that they won't even vote for him when he is their only hope to beat Obama, whom they hate with a fiery, rabid, spittle-flecked passion. Dang, that kind of thing's got to get to you at least a little bit...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Is It Almost Time For Another Stimulus?

As usual, I agree with Drum--it's still a little early for folks like Jeff Sessions...but I, too, suspect that there's a fair chance that they'll come around...oh, y' the Fall or so. Once, that is, it's clear that it will no longer help Obama in November.

Jebus. I have tried over and over not to let myself slip into mistaking incompetence for maliciousness...but this batch of Republicans really does seem to be willing to sacrifice the good of the country in order to achieve their political goals.

Somebody please tell me that I'm wrong...
JSF/F-35 "Acquisition Malpractice"?
“Putting the F-35 into production years before the first test flight was acquisition malpractice,” said acting Pentagon procurement chief Frank Kendall, speaking at a Monday event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It should not have been done.”


Now problems (like the one tehr0x0r mentioned here) with all models may force modifications to all the F-35s now being cranked out.

Last Surviving WWI Veteran Dies


RIP Mrs. Florence Green.

And behold, a nickname is born...
Feaver Swamp

So this fellow, Peter Feaver, was mentioned by Sully's temp Zach Beauchamp as an "Yglesias Award" nominee. That award is for someone who acknowledges good points made by his political opponent or admits error by his own side or some such thing--that is, it's basically for intellectual honesty.

Thing is, Feaver is not really acknowledging error by conservatives, except tactically speaking. He's really just urging them to reject their transparent sophistries in favor of slightly more sophisticated sophistries.

Republicans must come to terms with the fact that this will be the strongest Democrat incumbent on national security and foreign policy they have faced in decades. This has more than a whiff of damnation with faint praise, since both President Clinton and especially President Carter were hobbled with substantial national security baggage during their reelection campaign. But for precisely that reason, I think Republicans have sometimes settled for an intellectually lazy critique because, given how weak the opposing party's record is, that seems to have sufficed.
Ah, yes. The Dems have a "weak record" on foreign policy. The Dems who shepherded us successfully through two world wars. The Dems who are routinely the anchors of sanity in our foreign policy. They have a weak foreign policy record.

The GOP, however...they have a stronger record? The GOP that has never met a pro-America dictator that it didn't like? The GOP that gave totalitarian communism basically its only PR advantage by routinely backing said evil dictators? The GOP that then, for inscrutable reasons, is wont to then demand pseudo-humanitarian wars to remove the dictators that it installed?

But let's cut to the comparative chase.

Obama's record is weak compared to who's? This is obviously a comparative judgment at bottom, and it's the GOP that is supposed to have the better record. The lack of contact with reality on this point by the GOP is astonishing. Republicans have been a foreign policy disaster basically my entire life. And the last Republican president was a catastrophe...yet still they somehow maintain their fantastical belief that they are the foreign policy grownups, and the Dems are...what? Naive n00bs? George W. Bush, who managed to turn the unprecedented outpouring of intense pro-U.S. sentiment after 9/11 into intensely anti-U.S. sentiment, by launching a $3 trillion, counter-productive war at an unrelated target, while letting Osama bin Laden get away? That's successful foreign policy?

One common conservative error is to confuse heard-heartedness with tough-mindedness. They think that the Dems concessions to reason and fairness is some kind of weakness, and that John Boltonesque contempt for such things is somehow equivalent to intelligence. And that's absurd.

Feaver's suggestions for better anti-Obama sophistries? Hope you're sitting down for this...
1. Obama's foreign policy successes have come when he has followed Bush policies; his failures have come when he has struck out on his own.

2. Obama has made relatively effective use of the tools and instruments of power that he inherited from his predecessor -- it raises the question, what new tools and instruments of power is Obama bequeathing to his successor?
Yep. Bush's masterful foreign policy puissance is what has enabled Obama's successes. By following in the footsteps of the biggest foreign policy flop of the last century or so, Obama has somehow been successful. The policies didn't work for Bush, but, hey, as we know, Republican failures cannot be judged to be failures in less-than-infinite time frames.

How anyone can say this stuff with a straight face is beyond me. Feaver deserves no praise here, and he in particular deserves no praise for any kind of intellectual honesty.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Fox And Friends:
Economic Data Is Only Accurate When It's Bad For Obama

If somebody asked you to make up a gaggle of jackasses to parody wingnut propagandists, and you made up these folks, you'd be told that they were too over the top, even for a parody.
Bombing Iran
The Public is Primed; Will Israel and the Right Light the Fire?

Sometimes everything seems so stupid one hardly knows what to do.


1. Apparently the American public is largely fine with another ME war.

2. The wingnuts are beating the war drums.

3. Israel is making rumbling noises.

I was very pro-Israel for most of my life. The horror of the Holocaust and the barbarous terrorism routinely directed at them drove me to be far more sympathetic to them than I probably should have been. Only in the last ten years or so have I basically become fairly critical of the country. Currently--and perhaps this is just my mental pendulum swinging too far the other way--I'm not what you'd call at all happy with them. The bizarre, disproportionate influence Israel seems to have over American politics, and the strange allegiance the American right seems to have to them have not helped endear them to me...

My concern is that they are going to attack Iran, and do so before November, thus whipping up the right and tilting the election rightward. I fear it would force Obama to render assistance or alienate the Israel lobby. Thus, from Israel's perspective, they either force Obama to help them, or, if not, they increase the odds that the U.S. ends up with a Republican president...which is something to which they, apparently, would not exactly be averse.

Uh, and...can anyone explain to me how it is that a small foreign country...a country with a less-than-stellar human rights record, a country that, prudentially speaking, does us more harm than good as an ally...has gained such influence with us? WTF is going on here? Hell, the even the Brits, our oldest and bestest buds, don't seem to have this much influence over us. It's downright bizarre.

And finally: even if military action against Iran were not the veriest some point the right is going to have to acknowledge that their $3 trillion recreational war in Iraq has opportunity costs. One of them was: it made victory in Afghanistan more difficult or impossible. Another is: it rules out any sane possibility of another ME war for quite some time.

It's not that I'm wild about a bomb-wielding Iran. But we simply can't afford another war in the ME now, either financially or in terms of world opinion. Even if military action were a good idea intrinsically, it just can't seriously be on the table right now.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Superbowl Edition

Guess I'm unAmerican...I just now found out that the Superbowl is today, and just found out who's playing.

Also, I don't care.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Russia and China Still Pr!cks

Veto resolution condemning Syria.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Heels Goin' to College Park Tomorrow

Gonna take their brownies.

But Black Falcon is questionable...damn!
Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI) Rules

Check this out.

The Peters Amendment would include some, ya know, facts in H.R. 3582, showing up the Republican bill for the economic fantasy that it is.

This is exactly the right approach.  We need to show this guy some love.
Buffoon Endorses Romulan

LOL so is Captain Comb-Over still smarting from Obama's smackdown at the Correspondents' Dinner?

He sure acts like he is...
Play That Funky Music, Red Boy

North Korean People's Army Funky Get Down Juche Party

A dangerous funk gap seems to have opened up between the U.S. armed forces and the KPA...

(via Mefi)
Krugman: Destructive Austerity


In a couple of years, when we can no longer ignore our overcrowded highways and collapsing bridges, we'll all look back on 2011, when we could have been fixing them on the cheap and thereby also fixing the economy, and we'll be tempted to tear our hair out.

A golden, missed opportunity, brought to you by the letters G, O, and P.

Now that's a jobs report.

Aside from the intrinsic goodness of this news, it also makes it a little more likely that November will be a happy time.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Should Catholic Organizations Be Exempt From Rules Requiring Insurance To Pay for Contraception?

Related link.

Tough one, but I'd guess no.

If religion R believes that women should be kept illiterate, and it also funds a hospital, should it be permitted to refuse to hire female doctors? If religion R2 holds that seizures are mystical experiences of God that should be welcomed, should it be able to refuse to buy Imitrex for its employees who don't share this view? Seems to me that this is similar to restaurants denying service to people of African descent. It's your restaurant alright...but there are considerations that trump your privacy rights here. Such folks are asking to be allowed to swing their fists past the point where the rest of our collective nose begins. Though I do think that the case is kind of a tough one.

It's complicated because the Catholic stance on abortion [contraception] is so obviously wrong. Complicated, I mean, as a case on which to determine a general principle. Our views would probably swing the other way if an organization were refusing to fund insurance that covered, say, female genital mutilation. I can tell you right now that I'd be on the other side of the debate in such a case.

It's especially complicated given the overpopulation disaster we're headed for. In general, there ought to be lots more contraceptive use, not, again, that makes it a bit tough to be dispassionate about this case.
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying


(Via MeFi)
New In Scholarly Literature:
Duke [sic] Sucks

Ah, the long-awaited release of this no doubt soon-or-perhaps-eventually-to-be-classic...

Oh, does d00k suck? Really, I hadn't given it much thought...but, now that you mention it...why, yes, I suppose they do suck, don't they?

Let me say that I do not condone rabid dooque hatred. I think that relatively good-natured acknowledgement of their objective suckitude is a good thing, but it can easily be taken too far. I mean, coach Kay is not a good guy--basically Bobby Knight with a better PR apparatus--and they certainly have more than their share of Christian Laettners and Austin Riverses. But they also have their Shane Battiers and Reggie Loves. And some of my best friends are dooque fans. And I'm sure there are other things to be said in favor of the program, but what am I, D00kie V? You want to read nice things about dooque, you're in the wrong place, bucko. Look...ahem. but I digress...

Do I love their flopping, floor-slapping antics? Their boutique gym? The over-privileged Cameron fans playing to to cameras on DSPN? No, I do not. Do I like a style of play that consists primarily of hoisting up 3s on every possession? No. Do I think it's ok to scream at and berate the refs in pursuit of every illicit advantage? Negative. I do not like University of New Jersey at Durham basketball, and I never will. But I do advocate keeping it in perspective. They're like our annoying, over-privileged cousins from down the road; kids born on third base who think they hit a triple. It's not so much their fault. Privilege spoils you, on average. It's not all their fault.

But, heck, they're the second-best basketball program in the Triangle area, and it's good to have the competition.

(If you're reading this, Chip, let me apologize.     I'm sorry......that your team sucks BWAHAHAHAHA)