Wednesday, January 30, 2013

VA GOP Gerrymandering Rejected by Senate Committee

Good guys win this round.

Some People Should Not Own Guns

So this SOB just comes out of his house and starts firing, apparently because he didn't recognize the car that had accidentally stopped in his driveway.

WHO DOES THIS?????????????????????????

Hanging's too good for this @#$%^&*+%$er

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"My Gender Workbook"


This is the kind of stuff I sometimes find in my departmental inbox.

It's like this stuff just gets goofier and goofier every year, and there's more and more of it.

It's not as if gender isn't a somewhat interesting topic. Yes, it is indeed somewhat interesting. But the ceaseless, breathless, and largely brainless obsession with it in the contemporary academy is annoying in the extreme. Its importance has been blown radically out of proportion and stuff of this kind basically has "protected species" status. You can basically write anything you want about the holy trinity (race, sex, class) and the penumbra of of topics surrounding them (e.g. gender) and, so long as what you write is sufficiently lefty and PC...well, you can basically say anything you want.

And I say this as a mostly-liberal.

And a workbook no less... Because academia is no longer about understanding, but it's now about vocational training (which the right pushes) and social transformation (which the left pushes). So, y'know, just studying the subject isn't enough. What's wanted is self-help...


And I'm kind of a hard guy to alienate on this point, incidentally...but this stuff has managed to do it.

I remember reading this collection of essays as an undergrad called Feminism and Philosophy, and was really struck by the observation, in one of the essays, that sex and gender aren't the same thing, and are separable, and can be mixed and matched, and that there's a tendency to move from generalizations to norms in this vicinity. That is, from the true generalization men tend to be more masculine than women, we, by the magic of social irrationality, move to the conclusion that men ought to be more masculine than women. And this kind of thing leads to not only discrimination against less-masculine males and less-feminine females, but it also leads to the lamentable tendency of some males to work hard to act hyper-masculine, and of some females to act hyper-feminine.

All, good, man. That's some stuff worth reflecting on, I say--or at least it was news to me at the time.

But lo, these many years later, and having had to hear the damndest, dumbest things said about gender...and having had to hear so many of them...well, it's hard not to view stuff like this "workbook" without a certain degree of cynicism.

These topics, the holy trinity and its penumbra, are, apparently, of endless fascination to certain academicians...but most of the sensible stuff got said about them long ago. But that didn't stop people from saying the non-sensible stuff... And, given its protected-species status, the dopier stuff doesn't get culled from the herd...and so it goes.

Ah, who knows? Maybe this publication is more reasonable than I'm guessing. Maybe it would surprise me...though, of course, I'd be surprised if it did. With a longer life and less to read, I might even check it out. But...probably not in the actual world...

(And thus do our preconceptions become self-reinforcing...  SMH)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

8 Points in 17 Seconds

Pre-3-point shot.

There's just nobody else like Dean.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Technician: A Prayer for Dean Smith

A surprisingly powerful and moving post at The Technician.

The Carolina-State rivalry--the real rivalry in the Triangle--has stagnated recently, and it's brought out the Crazy in many State fans...

But some of the good ones are still out there.

All due props to the mighty Technician for this rivalry-transcending piece.

Go Pack, we're looking forward to tomorrow. Just because we're on a roll doesn't mean we want to beat you any less...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

GOP 216 Election Heist, Continued

More skullduggery by the party that hates democracy.

The GOP's 2016 Election Heist

Already in full swing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inside Job

This is a must-see.

It's a documentary about the financial services industry and the financial collapse it wrought.

What a bunch of idiotic, evil assh*les.

Greenwald: Full of Shit on Mali?

Greenwald is a tedious ideologue.

He's a classic America-basher, of a kind that one rarely sees outside of academia.

It's not that he's never's that even a stopped clock is...well, you see where I'm going with this...

If this is right, then Greenwald is...well...talking out his ass, yet again. Greenwald wants to reduce everything to U.S. evil--colonialism, anti-Islamic motives, the quest for oil, nationalism, and so forth. He seems incapable of even considering the possibility that the U.S. might make an honest

Anyway. I can't tell what's going on. Who knows? Maybe Greenwald is right. But, if so, as usual, it'll be by accident...

Paul Ehrlich: "Nobody...Has the Right to 12 Children...or Even 3..."


This has put Ehrlich at odds with feminist reproductive rights advocates.

Nobody should have twelve children. Three is really pushing it. One is better...

Do people have a right to have, say, four children? I expect that it depends on how harmful that is. Clearly no one has the right to have a billion children, nor ten billion... But line-drawing problems are...problematic...

Ted Nugent Graduates from Making Shitty Music to Making Threats Against the U.S.

He seems to be suggesting that he and his buddies are up for an armed rebellion...

Not that we'd need it, but it makes me happy to be able to match this asshat's firepower...

Jesus these people are @#$%ing crazy.

And stupid.

Obama is not a Foreign Policy "Realist"

People really need to learn what that term means in the context of foreign policy. "Realism" in foreign policy is ethical egoism writ large; it is the view that actions are only right to the extent that they are in the interest of the nation--in this case, the United States. "Realism" in the foreign policy debated does not mean what it means in ordinary conversation about individuals. Urging someone to be a foreign policy realist is not the same thing as urging them to "be realistic."

Obama's actions in Libya alone show that he is not a "realist." A realist in the relevant sense would not have intervened in any way.

There's little he or the U.S. can do in, say Syria. The U.S. has expended its political and moral capital in the Middle East, and Bush/Cheney's insane Iraq adventure drained us of blood and treasure. And then there's Russia... So our options are limited.

Obama won't launch any crazed adventures like Iraq...but, then, only a lunatic would do so, especially now, in the aftermath of the Iraq debacle.

None of this, however, means that Obama is a "realist" in the strict sense of the term in the foreign policy debate. To have a sensible and modest foreign policy is not to be a foreign policy "realist." Foreign policy realism is immoral. It is the view that, no matter how easy it would be for us to save innocent lives by using military force, we should not do so unless there is enough in it for us.

Foreign policy realism is an insane view. It needs to be 100% off the table. No non-sociopathic nation has a "realist" foreign policy. A nation might have very conservative views about how much it should risk in humanitarian interventions; but to become a "realist" nation is to abandon many of the principles that make the United States a nation worth of respect, loyalty and commitment.

Richmond Times-Dispatch on the VA Senate Coup

Mali: WTF?

Bridges from Bamako on what's really up with the conflict in Mali.

Drum: Virginia Republicans Give Blacks the Finger On MLK Day

This sums it up pretty well.

VA Senate GOP Stages Coup, Gerrymanders While Dems at Inauguration

There are no words.

These motherf*ckers.

These are the sonsofbitches we are dealing with.

Every VA Democrat needs to commit RIGHT NOW to take these f*ckers down in the next election.

This is outrageous.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Daniel Larison on Jennifer Rubin on Chuck Hagel

"Everyone Expects the Neoconservative Inquisition"

Jennifer Rubin has no right to be taken seriously by anyone ever. But since she's got a megaphone, I'm glad that someone does take the time to ridicule her lunacy. Props to Larison, who often seems like the last sane conservative.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

UNC-Maryland: ACC-Big Ten Challenge

See ya!

Don't let the screen door bang you on the ass on the way out...

On the bright side, fan riots in the ACC will plummet without Maryland fans.

(I keed...I keed... y'know...mostly... Heck, I'd actually like it if Carolina were part of the Big Ten, now that the ACC isn't the ACC anymore.)

Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream

A PBS Video

If you haven't seen this, you really need to.

Not a lot you don't already know, but it states the problem of preposterous wealth concentration clearly, and pulls things together nicely.

Also: Chuck Schumer is going to hell.

Clinton to Dems: Don't Trivialize Gun Culture


The Big Dog is absolutely right on this.

(Though I do worry that the beginning of this quote will be likened to Obama's "cling to guns or religion" quote:
“A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing,” he told the Democratic financiers. “Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.”)
Personally, I think this new gun control push is a mistake, though I don't necessarily disagree with the specific proposals. Gun violence is down, we have bigger problems, and guns are an incomparably hot hot button issue. I've basically thought that, as long as he left that one alone, Obama might be able to make a lot of progress. But, unfortunately, the die has been cast. I that that the belief that Democrats are anti-firearm (as some are, of course) has harmed the party inordinately. One might, of course, argue that a new AWB is good policy, and I am unlikely to argue against that claim. But I am very concerned that it is bad politics. And a little bad politics now can make for electoral losses in the future...and electoral losses mean more GOP power...and that almost inevitably means more bad policy in the future. A couple of crazy assholes with AR-15s might end up changing our political and policy future very much for the worse.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Big Brother Is Preparing to Watch You

Erm, let's not forget that the NSA seems to be recording all our electronic communications, thereby putting themselves in a position to finish the job of spying on us in the future, if it suits them, and when the technology for decoding it all is available to them.

I'm not exactly sure why there are not protests in the streets about this...

...but, as you can see, there are not. What Should We Be Worried About?, 2013

I assert that this is interesting.

There's a fair bit of bullshit in it--it's got that TED-y feel to it. That is, there's too much emphasis on celebrity, on glibness, on flashy pronouncements, and on blending the glitzy with the serious. It's more like entertainment with a serious edge than like something serious with an entertaining flair...

Still, I think there's a place for this kind of thing. It introduced me to some controversies I didn't know about...and it gave me some new things to worry about... So that's good...

Robert Smalls, American Hero

Now this guy, Robert Smalls, is the man.

Once a slave, Smalls captured a Confederate ship, used it to rescue his family, and turned the ship over to the Federals, along with important information like the disposition of mines in Charleston harbor. He ended up a Major General in the South Carolina militia.

After the war he went back and bought the home of his former "owners"--and, to top it all off, when one of them, a Mrs. McKee, returned to the house, so addled with dementia that she thought it was still hers, Smalls let her stay.

This guy...this guy... What can one even say about this story? Words fail me. This guy is my hero. As someone in the story mentions, it's astounding there's no movie about him. Actually, I'm thinkin' bigger...I'm thinkin' graphic novel...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

(Asymmetrical) Polarization

Neuhaus on Nihilism Masquerading as Intellectual Sophistication

You want to understand a big chunk of the contemporary, middle-brow intellectual landscape, I'd say that you couldn't do much better than to reflect on this:
"He simply breathed, as all of us do, the toxic cultural air of a disenchanted world in which the mark of sophistication is to reduce wonder to banality. Even more, the acids of intellectual urbanity turn sacrifice into delusion, generosity into greed, and love into self-aggrandizement. In academic circles, this is called 'the hermeneutics of suspicion,' meaning that things are interpreted to reveal that they are not in fact what they appear to be. At least things that seem to suggest the true, the beautiful and the good are not what they appear to be. They must be exposed and debunked if we are to get to 'the truth of the matter.' The false, the self-serving, the ugly and the evil, on the other hand, are permitted to stand as revealing 'the real world.'"
(from Death on a Friday Afternoon)

I haven't read the book, and I disagree with Abrahamic theism on innumerable points...but that passage is fantastic I say. It would be damn hard to capture the phenomenon more accurately than that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Infrastructure

NRA: Idiots

Kevin Drum: The NRA Just Doesn't Know When to Quit.


They're either really stupid, or rabidly cynical.

(Inclusive 'or.')

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don't Give this Teacher a Gun

I doubt that s/he and I have the same reasons for not wanting kmoore61 to be the last armed line of defense against psycho shooters...but we agree that s/he shouldn't be...

5 Gun Safety Laws Gun Owners Support

I'm one of the gun owners who's ok with these.

Amanda Marcotte Distorts Christina Hoff Summers's Position

I'm not getting into this.

I haven't read that (obviously stupid) book. I don't care about these (obviously stupid) people.

And I basically avoid anything written by Amanda Marcotte.

But, just for the record:

Christina Hoff Summers is not "anti-feminist."

And the fact that Marcotte and others label her anti-feminist actually proves the CHS is basically right. The core of her view, as I understand it--though I haven't read much of what she's written since Who Stole Feminism?--is that radicals have taken over (at least academic) feminism and pushed out the liberals. "Gender feminism" is her term for radical, leftist feminism; "equity feminism" is her term for old-style liberal feminism. CHS is an equity feminist--and so, incidentally, am I. CHS was vilified. I was in graduate school when WSF came out, and it was right on the money. In fact, the orthodox line among our deparmental feminists was that liberals cannot be feminists.

Furthermore, the reaction to it was exactly what you'd predict if what is written in the book were true. I remember being at a party and walking past one of the feminist professors and a grad student gleefully bashing CHS for being an evil anti-feminist. I stopped and pointed out that they were wrong and why, and the professor blew up at me. I explained that her reaction was exactly the kind of reaction that CHS describes, and that, thus, it proved the point. Boy, did she ever get pissed. The Chair of the department had to come over and declare our conversation over. Boy, did I ever win that argument.

Anyway, here's Marcotte, spewing the orthodox anti-CHS line, the lie that she is anti-feminist. Now, I'm in no way agreeing with what CHS says about this dumb book that I haven't read and won't...  But note Marcotte's radical distortion of CHS's words. Summers calls the dumb book (and I shudder at this, let me say):

"an irresistible, post-feminist Taming of the Shrew."

Marcotte writes:

"Christina Hoff Summers specifically singled out “taming” as exactly what uppity bitches need..."

That is just a lie, plain and simple. It is, I think, notable that Marcotte couldn't even just stick with the kind of lie that could preserve plausible deniability; rather, she had to push it beyond that point by writing that Summers "specifically singled out" taming as "exactly" what...etc. Perhaps she should get some kind of credit for lying with gusto...

Contemporary feminism of the kind that reigns in academia, the kind that Marcotte seems to be defending, brooks no disagreement. You are simply not allowed to criticize it; if you do, you're anti-feminist--or worse. I was publicly called "dangerous to women" in grad school for having the temerity to say that I didn't think that it was a big deal that the campus bookstore sold Playboy. Playboy, fer chrissake! It's practically anachronism...

In actual fact, feminism runs the gamut from (a) the totally innocuous, egalitarian variety that is basically indistinguishable from liberalism generally, all the way to completely insane, ultra-leftist, totalitarian, irrationalist varieties. The cutting edge, the loudest voices, are clearly left of liberal, and they believe things that no liberal ought to accept. Worse, they trade on a kind of equivocation by proclaiming that if you don't buy their radical brand of feminism, then you are anti-feminist...which they intend to illicitly carry the force of anti-liberal-feminist. Which would be bad...though they themselves do not think so. Being anti-radical-feminist is actually good, and we all should be that. But if you disagree with the radicals--even by being a liberal--they'll call you anti-feminist, hoping that will carry the old implication that you are sexist. But, of course, being anti-feminist in the newer sense--that is, anti-radical-feminist--does not make you a sexist. It might very well just make you a liberal. It makes you sensible.

Anyway. The Marcotte piece is crap. But that book looks like let all these folks tear each other up for all I care...

D-Kos Monday

I haz teh sad...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Feminist and the Asshole er..."Cowboy"

Oh fer chrissake.

So, here's the deal: if you date an asshole, he's going to be an asshole to you. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

How is it that ordinary women who date assholes are just idiots, but if you write a book about it it's somehow supposed to be something more like some kind of statement or radical lifestyle choice?

It's not that I don't feel sorry for this idiot. I do. I feel sorry for idiots in general. Idiocy is a terrible thing. But if you choose to go out with an asshole because you think he's hot...well, abuse is a foreseeable consequence of your decision. It's not ok that the dude was an asshole to this woman, and not ok that he assaulted her. But she can't act all surprised about it. She seems to have sought him out and valued him largely because he was an asshole.

Jesus. Idiots get together with other idiots and, I guess, have little idiots.

And thus is the cycle of idiocy perpetuated...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Go Tar Heels

That is all.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Miami 68, Carolina 59

Tough year.

Firearm Facts: A Chart from FactCheck.Org


( maybe?)

The Looming Apocalypse of Slightly-Less-Gargantuan Population Growth

So, apparently there is some reason to believe that the Earth's population will reach merely astonishing levels rather than inevitably apocalyptic ones.

This, of course is a disaster.

It's amazing to me that any sign that the population explosion is abating to any degree is immediately met with panicky predictions of underpopulation to the point of extinction. If you insist on worrying about the extinction of humanity, it isn't underpopulation that ought to worry you...

In the Jeff Wise piece at Slate to which I link above, we find the following:
That might sound like an outrageous claim, but it comes down to simple math. According to a 2008 IIASA report, if the world stabilizes at a total fertility rate of 1.5—where Europe is today—then by 2200 the global population will fall to half of what it is today. By 2300, it’ll barely scratch 1 billion. (The authors of the report tell me that in the years since the initial publication, some details have changed—Europe’s population is falling faster than was previously anticipated, while Africa’s birthrate is declining more slowly—but the overall outlook is the same.) Extend the trend line, and within a few dozen generations you’re talking about a global population small enough to fit in a nursing home

So this is roughly like going to your friend who weighs 500 pounds, and who is putting on an extra pound every week, but who has recently begun putting on only half a pound per week, and encouraging him to fret that, at this rate, he will die of starvation in five years.

The population is too high. We need to bring it down. That means going through a period such that, were the population growth rates of that period sustained indefinitely, the population would become too small.

However, there is no intention of sustaining those rates indefinitely, and no very good reason to believe that they will be sustained.

Look, too much and too little are not the only two options. And worrying about a too-small population right now--or any time in the foreseeable future--is madness.

In amongst the other weirdness here, we find the following:
Most of our friends have just one or two kids, too, and like us they regard the prospect of having three or four kids the way most people look at ultramarathoning or transoceanic sailing—admirable pursuits, but only for the very committed.
That attitude could do for Homo sapiens what that giant asteroid did for the dinosaurs. If humanity is going to sustain itself, then the number of couples deciding to have three or four kids will consistently have to exceed the number opting to raise one or zero. The 2.0 that my wife and I have settled for is a decent effort, but we’re not quite pulling our weight. Are we being selfish? Or merely rational? Our decision is one that I’m sure future generations will judge us on. Assuming there are any.
I'm genuinely baffled by this. Is the author actually trying to say that his decision to have two children is morally praiseworthy? Because of the threat of underpopulation three hundred years hence? This really does seem like ridiculous stuff. American should save more...but if they start saving more, then, if the rate of increase is sustained, they would eventually save so much that the economy would collapse. So does that make my failure to save more praiseworthy? I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader...

Look. We have too many people currently. Don't panic. It's not a panic-worthy situation. It's probably best if you can keep your number of kids under three, but, hey, there are folks like JQ and myself who are having zero, and it's not exactly a moral crime to have more, though it's probably morally sub-optimal in many cases. (Of course, it's better for better parents to have more kids, and better for worse parents to have fewer...but you know how complicated all that is...)  But: we want to start building down sooner than later. Now, if we succeed in bringing down the population, then we will, ipso facto, attain, for at least awhile, negative population growth. No one is suggesting that we maintain negative population growth indefinitely. When your overweight friend slows his rate of weight gain, you do not try to panic him about starving to death. If I'm sedentary and start thinking about exercising, it is idiotic to say to me "If you exercise non-stop for days you will die." Nobody, you see, is talking about doing that, and it's freakishly dumb to even raise the issue.

So, some good news: if we can survive through peak population--and we probably can--trends seem to indicate that we'll start descending back toward a saner, more sustainable population.

Now: the very last thing we need to do at this point is, through shabby reasoning, try to convince everyone that the regression toward a saner population somehow constitutes the inevitable demise of the species.

KosWatch 1/10/13

Checked D-Kos front page to keep DA off my back...

No luck. Nothing notably nutty.


Will check again tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Gun Nut Flips Out On Piers Morgan

Far be it from me to defend Piers Morgan...but this is just unbelievable.

This dude, one Alex Jones, completely loses his shit and starts spewing utter nonsense on Morgan's show. He didn't hit fluoride, black helicopters, nor the Rapture...but he manages to bring in antidepressants, the UN, hints of a revolution...and he basically challenges Morgan to a fight. (Folks on the right seem to have a penchant for challenging people to fight over politics. Funny, though, how none of them looks like they could last a minute in an actual fight...)

It's an astonishing display of idiocy.

This guy is off the scale crazy/stupid even by the standards of wingnuts. It's a really sickening display. This dipshit did the maximum amount of harm to his own position than anyone could possibly do in the allotted period of time. Seriously. I've seem pro-gun whack jobs and anti-gun whack jobs in my life, but this guy is, I'd say, the looniest I've ever seen.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Adventures at the Gun Shop: Bushmaster Edition

So, as I've noted before, my brother lost his real job on the leading edge of the recession, and ended up taking a part-time job at a gun shop. He knows a lot about firearms, and is--or was--very interested in them, so the job seemed like a good way to make ends meet. Four years later, he's still stuck there (southeast Missouri is not exactly packed with manufacturing jobs), he's a lot less pro-firearm than he used to be, and he's so fed up with the nonsense he has to hear every day that he's going to quit and move out here to stay with us and take some classes.

Anyway, in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass murder, the shop had a run on AR-15s. They all sold out in a week or two--it'd normally have taken months to turn over that inventory. The weirdest thing he had to report was that a guy had come in a few days after the shooting saying that he wanted to buy a Bushmaster (the brand of rifle used in the murders). Turned out that he had no earthly idea what "Bushmaster" meant. He thought it was a type of gun rather than a brand, but had no idea what type--didn't know whether it was a rifle, a shotgun, a earthly idea. Apparently all he knew was that one was used to kill a lot of people...

This is, incidentally, not the weirdest thing he's experienced there.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Kos Paranoia: The Spanish Sign Outrage!!!111


Basically the worst explanation of this is racism. Bad translation (by the Kossack, or by the folks who made the sign, or by the folks who posted it), some kind of mix-up with the English sign, a change of laws between the posting of the English and the Spanish signs...basically any hypothesis is more likely than racism here.

This is the kind of inanity that gives liberals a bad name.

(via Reddit...I don't slum around on DK...)

[Update: confirmation.]

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The House GOP: Idiotocracy

They're too dumb to even manage the political part.

And, of course, the political part is the easy part.

If you're too dumb to manage politics, then public policy is completely out of your league.

Strawser, The Morality of Drone Warfare Revisited


This guy, Strawser, is good, and his conclusions seem right on the money to me: if the cause is just, then, if drone strikes are (as they appear to be) more discriminating and safer than strikes by manned aircraft, then we should use drones instead of manned aircraft when possible.

There are a lot of bad arguments against Strawser's position...largely because there are a lot of bad arguments against everything...but the most important criticism I know of goes like this:

Using drones can seduce us into employing violence when we otherwise wouldn't have, because they don't put U.S. personnel at risk. Consider Pakistan. Without drones, we'd be striking less in the tribal areas. We might have risked a strike or two by manned aircraft...but certainly not the number of attacks we now see. Thus drones, though they can reduce civilian casualties by making strikes more discriminating, can also have the effect of increasing the number of strikes, thus potentially increasing the number of civilian casualties overall.

And, even putting civilian casualties aside, one can argue that any tendency to increase the number of airstrikes is bad. This criticism seems to assume that the additional strikes are unjustified or otherwise bad, which isn't necessarily true, especially if we're already operating under the assumption that the war in question is just (and that the additional strikes are strikes in that war)...but a more cautious version of this criticism might note that violence is generally bad, and that it generally shouldn't be undertaken lightly, and that when drones lower the risk to U.S. personnel, they encourage us to use violence with less reflection. And that is bad.

Those criticisms obviously depend on some empirical claims that may or may not be true.

None of this, of course, addresses anything about the double-secret criteria that allow the President to kill people...  Strawser's argument isn't about that. But those issues do have to be resolved at some point.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Who Gerrymanders More, Dems or the GOP?



Is Being Overweight Less Bad Than We Think?


I'm blessed with a freakish metabolism, so I've never had to wrestle with weight, but my mom did, and that made me pretty sensitive to the pervasive bullshit that overweight people have to put up with.

So that's one reason I'm kinda interested in this piece.

Another reason is associated with the following passage:
"How did we get into this absurd situation? That is a long and complex story. Over the past century, Americans have become increasingly obsessed with the supposed desirability of thinness, as thinness has become both a marker for upper-class status and a reflection of beauty ideals that bring a kind of privilege."
Jeez, people should know better than to confirm my paranoid hypotheses...

As I've mentioned, I have long suspected that much of what passes for nutrition science is actually driven by middle-brow and upper-middle-brow aesthetic preferences. Hence the jihad against soda--soda, as you know, is gauche--supported by only the lamest evidence. Consider also how hard the red-wine-is-good-for-you hypothesis got pushed. Red wine, incidentally. Though I predict that some "researchers" wanted to add: a nice oaky chardonnay... Anyway, about the time NYT-readin' crowd decides that something is icky, I expect to hear that it's bad for us. If they like it, I expect to hear about its unexpected health benefits. isn't going to surprise me all that much if the dangers of being overweight turn out to have been overblown. Being overweight is associated, by the crowd aforementioned, with being, well, common. Y'know...poor, Midwestern or Southern, probably shopping at th' Wal-Mark's..

Anyway, I don't know anything about this, so nothing I say here is to be taken all that seriously...I'm just saying...I will be just about the least-surprised person in America if this turns out to be true.

The Search For the Death Valley Germans

Link (via Metafilter)

Interesting (long) tale of the search for the remains of four German tourists who got lost in Death Valley in the '90's.

The authors' hypothesis about the series of seemingly fairly reasonable decisions that doomed them is particularly interesting. Sounds like some shit I'd get myself into.

Immigration Reform 1/5/13

This all sounds good.

Though there's nothing here about the other half of the equation.

Seems to me what we need is to both:

1. Make it harder for illegals to get into the country


2. Treat those who stay and make law-abiding, meaningful lives here more humanely.

So: keep more out, find those who get in more quickly and send them home...but treat those who do get in and make lives here like the de facto Americans they are.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The GOP Didn't Steal the 2012 Election, But It Tried

At The National Memo

And, see, they tried in 2000 as well (and maybe succeeded).

And trying is what matters, morally speaking.

People need to get madder about this.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

PBS on The Immigrant Advantage

Wow. I wish the full version of this were online.

I need a reality check bad. It seemed to me to be lightweight in the extreme--both the author's arguments and Ray Suarez's interview.

From the authors use of the creepy-sounding "newcomers" to, it seemed, lump legal and illegal immigrants into the same category ('immigrants' is already a word that can do that job, incidentally...) to her blatant appeals to tradition, this seemed like ultra-lightweight journalism in the service of a really lefty pro-immigration-in-all-its-forms stance. It really just seemed godawful to me. JQ declared it unwatchable as well, and she's way more forgiving of this sort of thing than I am... But I wish I could run it past others to triple check it.

If I were to summarize the authors argument, it would go something like this: Actual anecdotes indicate that we have selfish reasons for bringing more immigrants into the country!


Seemed just inexcusably bad/biased to me.

On the bright side, I'm in the market for some really terrible stuff from the media on the left [for my CT class, that is]. Terrible stuff from the right is a dime a dozen.

Gerrymandering and the House

The Dems would have to win the House by a minimum of 7% to take a majority of seats. That's how effective/significant GOP Gerrymandering is.

This is an issue that makes me insane. How anyone with an iota of respect for democracy can condone the manipulation of voting districts is beyond me.

Yet another reason to think that the Dems are significantly less evil than the GOP.