Retroactive Table of Contents: March 2 to March 9

It was a somewhat tumultuous week here at the League of Ordinary Nerds. After this, let us never speak of it again.

Story of the Week: Limbaughpalooza 2012

Tod was shocked by Limbaugh’s apology and promptly donated to the RNC.

He mused some more on Limbaugh’s apology and the League wagon circling of late.

He also noted the GOPs declining support among women. All hell broke loose.

This led Patrick Calahan to muse on how trust is established in language.


Politics and Policy

Tim Kowal looked at Robert Kagan’s study of American military policy,

Elias Isquith pushed back a bit against the march to war with Iran,

Dennis Kucinich returned to his home planet,

and Jason Kuznicki asked what DNA tells us about our criminal justice system.



Erik played around with changing the site format and name,

and adding pictures to posts. All hell broke loose.

Ryan Bonneville suggested a League NCAA March Madness Basketball Pool.


Musical Culture

Erik talked about country music and openness. All hell broke loose.

Will Truman shared some good country music.

(Note: Studies suggest that 70% of all country & western songs have the theme, ‘Someone’s sleeping with my woman’, while 65% of all hip hop songs have the theme, ‘I’m sleeping with some guy’s woman’. Coincidence?)

Mark mused on country music, Gaslight Anthem, and songs about New Jersey and Texas.

David Ryan reminded us that Liz Phair writes good songs too.


Gaming and Other culture

Erik talked about the negative reaction to BioWare: Mass Effect 3, and Patrick asked what cocktail to have after playing the game.

Will (Will?!?!) shared a short story from nontroversial academic Derrick Bell.



David Ryan’s Proustian boating chronicles touched on the oneida commune, how the collapse of stability can change one’s plans, the holiday schedule for B&H Photo in New York City, a response to Freddie’s latest drive-by insult, the price of freedom, the Tiki 38 and how regulation affects boating.

Meanwhile, among the landlubbers, Mike Dwyer shared his church’s help for tornado victims,

Jason mentioned some stuff happening around the office,

Tom asked how much personal stuff should Facebook share,

And Burt shared his favorite cocktail recipes when they were most desperately needed. No hell broke loose.


Finally, I made this:


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75 thoughts on “Retroactive Table of Contents: March 2 to March 9

  1. It was a somewhat tumultuous week here at the League of Ordinary Nerds.

    Should the new name be “A Plague of Ordinary Gentlemen?” ;)


  2. Rufus, thanks for doing this.

    But, I am the formatting police. Please remember to not insert images at the top of posts. Instead: upload the image, copy the hyperlink, and paste it into the Post Image spot below the editor – all of which you can read about here.


  3. How’s about a monthly feature of retroactive table of bannings?
    I’ve missed a lot of the action.

    It’s like sitting through an hour-and-a-half of a Chuck Connors movie to watch the big gunfight at the end, only to have to sit on the can and miss the big shoot-out.
    I’m thinking that a retroactive table of bannings might be more manageable than a roster of current writers & commenters.


    • Don’t think of them as “bannings.” Erik doesn’t like that word. Think of them as “homogenizing the group and ensuring thoughtconsistency through creative doublethink by blackwhite revision.”

      Or look at it another way: I’m pretty sure Mark’s little claim that “all trolls were really just one person” was a method of instituting a stealth banning scheme. Now that the “proof” exists, anyone with any viewpoint that Erik or Mark don’t like can be banned without comment, Just Because. Kind of like how Obama can now order any American citizen whose speech he doesn’t like killed or indefinitely imprisoned on charges of “helping terrorism.”

      The League is growing. High profile posts are getting quoted around; Mark’s post about the lunch line nontroversy was all over Slashdot and of course the Batman Medical Writeup went all over. It seems that Erik and Mark’s goal is to prevent new discussion by new commenters at all costs.


        • I can see you believe you are being sarcastic, but I am serious.

          What, really, was the purpose of Erik and Mark’s statement claiming numerous people they called trolls were really all the same? Let’s look at what it accomplished:

          1. It set up the false claim they had “only banned” a tiny number of people.
          2. It set the stage for banning anyone in the future without adding to the ban list and without public comment as to why.
          3. It made it that much easier to run Robert off.

          That is now the standing policy at the League. Comment deletion, previously controversial, justified under “oh it’s just another ____.” Silent banning, on the table and valid.

          It allows Erik and Mark to publicly claim policy is one way, when the reality is completely opposite, because they now have a pretext cooked up.


          • Dennis

            1. How is it a false claim? Erik and Mark have been very upfront and open about the discussion of banning of sockpuppets and of why Bob was to be moderated NOT banned. they have the option of banning whomever they want WITHOUT having the open discussion that they have.

            2. How has this set the stage for what you claim? How can they ban with out adding to the ban list? If Bob or anyone else for that matter decides they do not want to abide by the comment policy here at the League they are free to take their ball and go play else where. Is this what you are counting as “banned”? No that is their choice. This IS Erik and Mark’s blog we are here at their invitation therefore out of respect most of us play by their rules. If they decide to ban or moderate people in the future (as is their right) without public discussion it will be because of not wanting to deal with the flack they are receiving by being open about it. I for one want to have the discussion public but realize they are under no obligation to do what I want, it is their blog.

            3 Bob is a big boy. He was not “run off” he made a choice

            It seems to me you are creating your own reality, and attributing false motives to Erik and Mark. When they have gone above and beyond (in my opinion) to be as transparent and above board as possible.

            my rambling two cents worth


            • I always knew it was going to just be a passing fling.  One of those moments taken for the sake of living, that makes life taste so sweet but from which we must then move on…  but I miss the Charlie in the box.

              Not that I don’t also like the llama, mind.


              • Actually it’s an Alpaca, a related South American camelid, smaller than a Llama and Guanaco but bigger than a Vicuna. Did I mention I am also a textile geek? All of the aforementioned cute critters’ hair is used in spinning and weaving so close to my heart. Plus the guy pictured spit on me so we have a bond. However, I shall follow the edicts of my TOD and Charlie can return


          • Well, Dennis is saying it’s happening secretly, which means you wouldn’t have caught it, North.

            So, Dennis, who is it that has been secretly banned so far under this system? Or, are you saying that it will happen in the future?


            • Perhaps you haven’t noticed how comments mysteriously “go missing” lately, but I have.

              Commenter “Gruntled” mysteriously stopped posting after a snark comment by Mark, in a very contentious topic re: Israel and Palestine. I don’t think that is a coincidence. I think Mark used exactly this justification to institute a stealth ban on someone willing to call out BlaiseP’s ridiculously one sided and borderline anti-semitic commentary.


            • Confirmed. Someone marked it so my first reply to you vanished. We’ll see if this one gets through.

              Specifically, I suspect the same to have happened to “Gruntled”, who got a snarky reply from Mark when he/she called out BlaiseP’s borderline anti-semitic remarks in the Israel/Palestine thread and then was never seen again.


            • You just watched it happen when someone deleted my first reply to you here.

              I also have watched three attempts to reply to you further vanish. Check your home blog, even left you a message there just in case.

              I suspect this is the same thing that happened to commenter “Gruntled”, who received a snarky comment from Mark after calling out BlaiseP’s borderline anti-semitism and then up and vanished.

              Of course, likely my reply to you will just be “disappeared” again, and someone will insist it’s proof I “ran away” from the conversation. That does seem to be the League MO.


              • This might possibly be because “Gruntled” was using the same anonymizer as the demonstrated sock puppet and exhibiting much of the same behavior. It might also be because “Gruntled ” appeared for the first time just a day or two after the sock puppet was discovered. It might also be because “Gruntled” was taking precisely the same peculiar set of positions as said demonstrated sock puppet.

                …unless somehow, magically, every single person who uses that anonymizing program and attempts to comment on this site holds precisely the same set of opinions (ie, a liberal who hates Muslims and accuses anyone who disagrees with him of racism and/or anti-semitism), I’m quite comfortable with including that account as another version of the sock puppet.


          • And that happened only after repeated discussion about antagonistic trollery and the expression of offensive views, a distinction that’s very relevant (at least from my pov). The central issue with Bob, I think, wasn’t the expression of views some people disagreed with or even found offensive. It was a) the lack of argumentation justifying those views coupled with b) the appearance that many (too many?) comments were an attempt to be deliberately antagonistic. This is a very gray area, I think, and you (North) were quite right when you said that EDK had a rather heavy burden on his shoulders in making a decision regarding what to do about it. I’m opposed to banning people generally, since I really do think offensive, false, insulting, trollish comments are best dealt with by a reasoned response (or even ignoring, as C Carr said). But there is a line there. At least, if you want to maintain some semblance of civility in the discourse.


            • Bob leaving reminds me of the Chico Marx line where he’s asked, “Do you love your brother?” and replies, “Ah, I’m used to him”. I was pretty used to Bob, so it’s hard to see him go.

              That said, I find some of this amusing. Bob noticed that Erik is trying to make the site more welcoming to women and argued that women are boring and mentally confused and not really worth listening to, and so Erik came down on him for that and started putting his comments in moderation, which led Bob to leave. What’s so funny to me is that this is the critical conservative perspective that is apparently censored at the League: that women are mentally inferior to men. This is what outrages the conservatives here- we’re too left-wing to acknowledge female inferiority and, thus, one of the central ideas of modern conservatism can’t be spoken here, and the very freedom of conservatives is in question. Whether that’s the case or not, were’re going to be hearing for months to come about how Bob was “banned” and it was because “the conservative viewpoint is not welcome here”. You’d think they’d want to find a better hill to die on.


  4. There’ve been some configuration changes to WordPress that lead to sometimes-confusing changes in the way the commenting box works.    Nothing more than that.


  5. <i>Did someone put all replies on this thread in lockdown now?</i>

    I’ll take tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists for $1000, Alex.


    • Hey, I’m glad you’re here.  I always get a kick out of this type of nuttiness.  Do you by any chance know who shot JFK, or where Obama’s original birth certificate really is?

      [Back to kitchen for more beer and popcorn.]



  6. Sigh. Okay, well for the record, I’ve been off-line for the last hour reading a book. So, if someone removed your comments, or held them up for some reason, I’ve heard nothing about it. Usually, comments that are held up as potential spam and approved show up in the ‘site admin’ section as “un-spammed by ____” after someone approves them and yours are not marked as so. I find it pretty unlikely that Mark or Erik held up your comments and then approved them for no clear reason, but it looks to me like they’re all here now and that “Gruntled” is a word that can be spoken here. So, maybe someone else can explain the delay.


        • Every now and again, I see a comment that says “comment was flagged as spam by name” and I’m not approving them (at least, I think I haven’t approved any of those).

          20 at a time.

          The ones that really bug me are the ones that honestly look like responses to a real comment but then have names like “FREE BLACK AND WHITE TELEVISION TUNER”.


          • Has this got something to do with IP addresses? I looked at the comments currently in the trash file and there’s all sorts of weirdness going on there. Also, why does Dennis have so many IP addresses? How does that happen? One of them is the same as “Gruntled”, which isn’t a real surprise, but does that mean “Gruntled” did get yanked? Or is it just that certain IP addresses are on lockdown? I’m curious about this now. Maybe it’s my fault that I don’t know what’s going on, but I really can’t make heads or tails out of it.


            • So it looks like your ordinary table of contents has taken the semblance of an ordinary vast left-wing conspiracy.
              It’s like Bob used to always say about “the gummint.”
              I’ll bet it’s part of “Barry’s” plan to take over.
              First, hide the birth certificate. Then take out his critics over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen.


              • That’s exactly right. And I really shouldn’t say it outloud so’s not tip off the scam, so keep this between us … but lefties of all stripes have agree to ‘silence’ the right. It’s for the best for everyone – them, others, us. It’ll be oh-so-much better when the dust clears, you’ll see. The little secret we haven’t tipped off yet – until you exposed it – is that the libertarian-inclined people who run this site aren’t even in on the ruse. It’s us commie-dems who are really pulling the strings here, and Erik and Mark are unwittingly going along for the ride (and Rufus, Tod, Mike Dwyer, Burt, etc.). We’ll let them know about our plans soon enough, but for now, it’s enough to say that resistance is futile (of course it is!). The collectivist will to destroy any last vestiges of individuality or personal freedom cannot be overcome. We’ve collectively agreed that we are of one mind on this and that there is no autonomy.

                Your lives are in our hands. Dennis is the only one who really understands.


            • Yeah, the whole “long time reader, first time commenter here and I’d like to say that I find the way you’ve banned that other guy who happened to use the same web anonymizer that I use to be distasteful” is a hair transparent.


              • “I’m a long time reader, but this is my second comment here. My first has been held up for the last 45 seconds, which leads me to the inescapable and immediate conclusion that Mark is a lying fraud who hates free speech, as we saw with the banning two days ago of that other guy who uses the same web anonymizer.”


                • Yeah, I’m seeing a whole mess of “Kenneth” comments caught by the filter and they appear to have the same language… I don’t know what the word would be… tics? Patterns? as the other folks being caught by the filter.

                  Maybe moral outrage over other people being caught by the spam filter makes everybody sound the same.


    • You’re talking about two different people. I’m the one who doesn’t understand how TOR works. Also, I’ve never banned anyone; nor would I know how to ban anyone, if I actually wanted to. Ask Mark why he banned people, or, better yet, decide for yourself why he banned people and attribute those motivations to him.


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