Sunday, October 31, 2010

SO IT'S NOVEMBER: And it's National Novel Writing Month. Gonna give it the ol' incredibly expensive private university try. Follow my progress here. Posting will hopefully be light for awhile.
QUICK RALLY TO BE IRONIC RECAP: Like most gatherings of crowds of people, you definitely will have a better time following everything on television and the Internet. I don't think they were expected a couple hundred thousand people so we either needed more volume on the speakers or more speakers in general because it was really hard to follow near the back. Quite possibly they could have used some more jumbotrons near the back too, I got caught in this terrible crush between people watching the few jumbotrons they had and people trying to cross the street and it felt like the opening stage of good old fashioned panicky trampling. Luckily sanity triumphed over fear and that did not happen. Missed most of the funny signs. Saw a lady dressed like a pimp whose sign said "It's hard out here for a pimp" on one side and "Pimp my Government" on the other. Also saw GOD HATES TEA. Restaurants blocks away were completely full, I don't think they anticipated the business they got either. People were defiantly not angry, so I guess the Rally worked!

Friday, October 29, 2010


And a third thing:  I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve been at some of the cutting edge of ignoring, hand-waving and justifying away tail risk in a manner profitable to the top 0.1% of Americans and that maximized the social costs to everyone else.   So I’m also conscious of that move by elites as well.

So you see the dilemma.   Severe warming, impossible to reverse once it has happened, with serious tail risks.   But my natural reaction is to hate hippies.  What can I do?  And how can I think of myself?

And then Rortybomb linked to an article introducing climate hawks. And notes that if you have climate hawks, then you have climate doves, who are the Pollyanna-ish faith-in-human-progress types who think if we just keep investing in technology and stuff, things will work out on their own! But now that we have climate hawks they'll be taken seriously by the media because hawks are always serious people who get to go on tv and have the debate revolve around them. Yes, I'm sure this will totally work.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

OBAMA AND THE BLOGGERS: Atrios is big time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I've long said the Big East's highs and lows tend to be exacerbated by the league's small size. When West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers all rose into the top 10 in 2006 and stars like Ray Rice, Pat White, Steve Slaton and Brian Brohm were pushing for the Heisman, we in the media were rightfully trumpeting the conference's rise from the ashes; but if the 12-team SEC ever had three good teams and a bunch of also-rans, we'd be ripping it. Four years later, the entire league is struggling. No Big East team is currently ranked, and that might be the case the rest of the season. Obviously, that would never happen in the Big Ten.
(Mentions how easily Big East coaches are poached.)

It's hard to maintain success with such instability, which means the Big East will inevitably have to make some changes. Some of the schools may need to start investing more heavily in their programs (no small feat in the current economy) to make it enticing for good coaches to stay. But most likely, the league will need to expand. We know the Big East has been discussing just that, with TCU in particular. Even a 10-team league provides greater assurance of having at least a couple of bell cows in any given year to help avoid debacles like this season.

Highs and lows just look worse or better when you're an 8-team league. This is still my go-to board for pointless Internet Big East expansion talk.
WE CAN REBUILD YOU--SO WHY NOT ENLIST?: Darpa wants better, more responsive prosthetics. Danger Room's had a lot of cutting edge technology updates lately, so if you want to know what our absolutely uncuttable military budget is going towards, check them out. (Not that better prosthetics should be cut, obviously. But maybe we need not squander cash on Johnny 5's lil brudda. Well, actually that's kind of cool too. Since military spending is untouchable it's the easiest way for the government to fund science. Just make up some random military application and you got your grant! And then the military application fails but we still have the science done and it leaks into "private" (heh, indeed) industry and maybe we all get to retire with robot butlers.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE LIMITS OF "A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES" IN ONE PARAGRAPH: DougJ. If I had to pick one reason why I've gradually stopped paying attention to Reason as a whole (not including individual writers that I like), it would be their fidelity to the idea that both sides are just as bad. No no, I lived through the double-Os, I remember the double-Os, and there is definitely a more destructive party, which is halfheartedly opposed by an incompetent party.

Monday, October 25, 2010

OMAR KHADR'S PLEA DEAL: Daphne Eviatar points out that the former child soldier plead guilty to more crimes than he was charged with. So yay rule of law yet again. This is of course after the judge in the trial ruled his certainly-coerced testimony was admissible; the deck was obviously stacked against him from the beginning. At least he won't have to be in jail much longer, he gets transferred to Canada in a year where his illegal sentencing will be invalid. Seriously though, making an underage criminal confess to things he hasn't been charged with? Even Florida prosecutors wouldn't do that! Though they're probably taking notes, Florida is close to Guantanamo after all...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

JEEZ, JOHN YOO IS RIGHT THERE, THEY COULD HAVE JUST ASKED HIM: Dave Weigel is embedded in a conference in Berkeley hosted by the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, dedicated to understanding the Tea Party movement. Often I wonder if the Berkeley higher-ups understand how brand-destructive it is to keep Yoo around. I certainly think "Yoo" first when I think about the place, and the hypocrisy therein, and how ridiculously easy it must be to get tenure in law school provided you went to the right schools, and why didn't anyone tell me that was such an easy path in high school? Stupid guidance counselors, tellin' me I should learn metalwork...(not really.)

Article suggests, by the way, that Dave does quality work when reporting on partisan movements in general, not just rightwing movements. But he said mean things on Journolist once!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

THANK YOU, AUBURN TIGERS: For preventing the embarrassing spectacle of the 2010 incarnation of the LSU Tigers continuing to be a viable candidate for the fake national title game. The Hat even tried his patented "mass confusion after an LSU timeout to try and get the other team to do something stupid" at a 4th and 6 and it didn't work. Ordinarily I'm all for chaos in college football but it's the chaos of established powers going down, not chaos as embodied by Les Miles.

Friday, October 22, 2010

IT'S THE RATFUCKING, STUPID: Would it really surprise anyone that a Republican activist called Anita Hill a few weeks before the election just to get her name out there and get the usual suckers agitated about ancient culture war bullshit again? Katha Pollitt is just making that obvious point here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

YOU WOULD THINK NPR WOULD SUPPORT AN IRONIC RALLY: But no, NPR employees banned from the Million Moderate March/Rally To Keep Fear Alive. (Late to this, I know.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'M NOT EXACTLY A SOCCER IN AMERICA CONSPIRACY THEORIST BUT: Every time I see a couple of soccer highlights in those ESPN Top Tens I'm a little bit mystified, especially when they're from Euroleagues which, to my knowledge, ESPN barely covers. They can't even pronounce the team names correctly ("Ajax" does not sound how it looks) but there they are, big soccer shots in the best plays of the day or the week or whatever time period they're covering. Curious. Softening us up for the black helicopters, taking away our native football, making us care about the World Cup, et cetera.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BLOGISTAN IS BACK BABY: I may even have, like, links and stuff again! But nothing today. I think I may have slept twelve straight hours last night. Vacations really wear you out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

GONE FISHIN': Be back Tuesday maybe.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

THREE LINKS: No time for thinking:

Silly article arguing because there's no undefeated teams left in the NFL in a year with no salary cap, socialism always fails. Mmm-hmm.

People angry the latest Nobel laureate for literature isn't left-wing enough.

Illario Pantano, congressional candidate, fears Chinese radarmen from the moon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DEPT. OF MOVIES I HAVEN'T YET SEEN (YET FEEL COMPLETELY QUALIFIED TO POST ABOUT BECAUSE IT'S THE INTERNET): Here's a Pandagon thread where Amanda reacts to people who didn't like her positive review of The Social Network. Hearst didn't have a sled, biopics never tell the whole story, etc. As far as I can tell, though, the problem with The Social Network isn't just that it fictionalizes its subject, it's that it links Zuckerberg's success with his misogyny while omitting his long-time, present-at-the-founding-events-of-Facebook girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. This Priscilla Chan:

"Hey Priscilla, do you want a job at the facebook?" Zuckerberg asked a passing friend. "I'd love a job at facebook," Priscilla Chan '07 responded, offering him a Twizzler.

Look at that! That's adorable. That's a movie moment. Think of Wes Anderson doing this story (and yes, I am thinking of Rushmore here, since it's a similar sort of "young genius" story (not that I think Facebook is a work of genius) and of course because of the races of the couples in that movie.) Why exclude Chan? Why make a Zuckerberg movie about misogyny when--I mean--you can't even argue "well, okay, we left people out, but he was really super misogynist, we're getting the essence of the story correct"? Because he complained about a girl on his Livejournal once? That's absurd, and clearly the work of a person who said ""I've heard of Facebook, in the same way I've heard of a carburetor." This is not a person who understands the way people use the Internet. (This is a person who can't even use Google, apparently.) So this is where Sorkin fairly leaves himself open to criticism: he made a story about bad people and attached real names to those bad people that just isn't fictionalized, it's directly opposite to reality.

(Let's not get into poor Brenda Song doing the "crazy Asian chick" role. London Tipton apparently is more nuanced than her TSN character. And when your Disney channel role is more complex than your Fincher-Sorkin role...yeah.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

DEPT. OF THINGS AMERICANS ACTUALLY DON'T DO WELL: Toxic sludge versus Hungary: one executive arrested. Oil leak versus Gulf of Mexico: zero executives arrested. Compare and contrast!
DEPT. OF THINGS AMERICANS ACTUALLY DO WELL: Free speech. Or at least free speech as it relates to religion (qualifier added as I am sure there are some kinds of speech the Europeans are freer about than we are--pornography maybe? I mean, it's definitely not illegal here, but it's easy to legislate out of public spaces.) A veil ban would never be legal in this country. The closest we've come to that is--what was that lady's name who wanted to wear a veil for her driver's license? Ah yes, Sultaana Freeman. Apparently her case is still ongoing (what Wikipedia says, and I can't quite google up the final resolution to her case at the moment.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MANKIW'S NOT EVEN TRYING ANYMORE: I'll spare you his actual words and go straight to the K-Drum rebuttal:

Do you see the card he palmed? Basically, the effect of letting the Bush cuts expire is so tiny that the only way to make it noticeable is to compound it over 30 years, which reduces his eventual payout from $2,000 to $1,700. (And even that's probably overstated, since it assumes Mankiw pays all his taxes at their full statutory rate, which virtually no one does.) The rest of the reduction down to $1,000 comes solely from the estate tax. But even on the heroic assumption that you should take this year's zero rate as the baseline for comparison, the estate tax has an exemption of several million dollars. Unless Mankiw leaves his kids a helluva lot more than they need for a down payment on a house, they won't pay a dime of estate tax.

In general estate tax agitating is the most nakedly cynical Republican plank, as--given the income distributions in this country--it gets a whole lot of people to at least vote for something that doesn't affect them at all, if it doesn't get them to vote against their own economic interests.
ORDINARILY ALABAMA LOSING WOULD BE A FANTASTIC VICTORY FOR TEAM CHAOS: But now we have to deal with the far worse alternative of Ohio State--whose best victory is a win over an ACC team--as number one team in the country. Exhibit A in the "not only do AP voters not watch games, they also don't check if wins were quality wins either" thesis. You know who should be ahead of Ohio State? Nevada, whose best win is at least over a Pac-10 team. But no, Sweater Vest State won a title awhile back, and they have lots of fans, so...yeah, totally number one material.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

GOOFIEST CROSSOVER EVER?: Infestation! IDW's line-wide crossover. What's IDW's line? GI Joe, Transformers, Star Trek, and Ghostbusters. It's also the most instantly-dated crossover ever, as it has all those properties versus--yes--zombies. George Romero, what hath you wrought? At least Abnett and Lanning are writing it, so it'll at least be professional.

Friday, October 08, 2010

AND SOME DAYS YOU GOT NOTHING: So you go to the recipe box: Kimchi bacon fried rice. Bacon makes everything better! Kimchi makes everything better! So this should be doubly better. Two issues: 1. I have to go to the Korean supermarket miles out of my way to get good kimchi. 2. I'm not allowed to eat much bacon anymore, due to a questionable LDL number. Thus making this will require careful planning.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

ELIZABETH WARREN HAS A POSSE: And some days I like Obama again: Obama "not signing" HR 3808. Warren: "The President is exactly right. It’s important to think through the unintended consequences on consumer protection before we finalize a bill like this." Not that I completely clear on the effects of HR 3808, but nobody else seems to be, and then there's the whole thing of Congressmen staring at each other, saying "Did you vote for this? I didn't vote for this!" And I may be a simple man, but if Warren says it shouldn't be put into law, than dadgummit, it shouldn't be put into law, blast yer ornery hide.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

MOSS TO VIKINGS: Heard people theorize this is basically Belichick conceding that they can't win this season, so they might as well get something for Moss. But did you see that Dolphins game?? Belichick has basically concluded his special teams are unstoppable. Moss was thus superfluous.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I MEAN LOOK AT THESE GUYS: They probably have every scene from Heat memorized:

No wonder they're shooting people, running guns, and still getting big government contracts.

Monday, October 04, 2010

ONE MUSTACHE TO UNDERSTAND THEM ALL: Tom Friedman wants a party more responsive to Tom Friedman. Via. I mean, Friedman is fish-in-a-barrel obviously terrible, but I'm glad people are still making the effort with him. Involves phrases like "[t]he phenomenally wealthy New York Times columnist" and sentences like:

According to Friedman, "at least two serious groups"—presumably within his usual plutocrat/technocrat circles—are planning third-party challenges, because it is time for a "superconsensus to do the superhard stuff we must do now."
The smart people are always in charge! They just need a Mustache to be their mediator.

There was bad, bad news for the Broncos on Sunday. They were jumped in both polls by Oregon for No. 3 in the rankings despite having superior accomplishments and super schedule strength to this point. Oregon has played a I-AA (Portland State) and a team that might as well be I-AA (New Mexico). Boise has played two ranked teams, one in the top 10 on the "road" (Virginia Tech at FedEx Field).
For the previous two weeks Boise, at No. 3, had gained on No. 2 Ohio State and pulled away from the No. 4 team. After one week of WAC play -- against admittedly horrible New Mexico State -- the voters have fallen in love with Oregon and are already damning the Broncos for their schedule.
So even though this is the year Boise State was double pinky-swear promised that if they won out, they would get to play in the fake title game, voters are already voting an Oregon team with a lesser resume over them. Yep. Not that the AP Poll contributes to the BCS standings, but the polls that do are usually even more predictable than the AP, so--yeah. Boise gets screwed again.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

THE WEEKEND IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL MEDIA MEMBERS KINDA SORTA WATCHING COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Well they managed to bounce Texas out of the Top 25, so they at least watched that game. But there's no way Ohio State deserves to be ahead of Oregon, Boise and TCU after a cruddy performance against Illinois, other than, you know, the institutional inertia of CFB media types. I certainly hope they do not keep this "Bama and Team Sweater Vest on a collision course!" narrative for the whole season, because nobody wants to see tOSU lose that crystal football game again.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

BECAUSE WE NEED A LITTLE CORRECTIVE TO THE CONTINUING PORTRAYAL OF DHARUN RAVI AND MOLLY WEI AS HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTERS: This looks pretty good. A little biased obviously due to the poster's relationship with the accused, but still. People, please, there was no sex tape. And contra what I linked to, there's no evidence that anything was actually livestreamed on iChat.

There is (relatively) decent discussion at this Sepia Mutiny post and at this Gawker post. Approve of what Abhi said to razib here:

That is the central question Razib. If you think he is a sociopath then he becomes an isolated case and all we have to do to fix the problem is hang him. If you think he is not a sociopath, but a very average kid that made a stupid decision (and this is what I think), then that means that the problem will be a lot more difficult to fix and requires all of us to help. Sexting blackmail, Facebook bullying, casual homophobia, all of these things are rampant and many people are working to make progress in changing how kids view the acceptability of each of these problems. I feel "our" energy would be better utilized in education in these areas (especially as related to the South Asian American community) then in being shocked.
 But shock is so much easier! Let's git those no good cyberbullies!

Friday, October 01, 2010


2. Do not use pictures of Japanese people behaving normally, such as shopping at CostCo, walking around IKEA or eating a hamburger, as this will imply to potential readers that you don't know the real Japan. As everyone knows, the real Japan is only evident in pictures of geisha, sumo wrestlers and toothless grinning old men, or if 19 and a beddable girl, in cosplay gear, or French maid outfit pouting for the camera making peace signs with her other nubile friends. Bonus points if they are in high school uniforms. Other acceptable cover art include blurry shots of commuters, female fashion victims walking on zebra crossings in the rain, or robots/people in multicoloured motorbike helmets.

Print out the whole guide, memorize it, and you too can be a reporter for foreign media in Japan!
EVEN WITH ALL THE IRONY IN THE WORLD I COULD NOT BUY THIS: National Collector's Mint 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Collector's Coin:

Then, in two separate strikings, the skyline of the Twin Towers and the silhouette of the U.S.S. New York – clad in a total 14 mg .999 pure silver actually recovered from the vaults beneath the ashes of Ground Zero – are inset with a jeweler’s precision, rising up into a 3-dimensional sculpture. The obverse is double dated: 2001-2011. The special reverse features the United States Department of Justice – FBI insignia, along with the mottos: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” and “JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL.” This unique and unusual piece is minted under exclusive license, and will never be released for circulation.

I guess the FBI insignia is there so we never forget how bad our intelligence services are.