can’t win by not losing

In shocking news, a conservative thinks that America’s political future is conservative. Honestly, sometimes I think that the best thing going for liberalism is that conservatives are so busy declaring victory that they’ll have no time to campaign or govern. Of all the reflexive reactions to various political stimuli that you see coming from the…

one casualty

Read this important and heartbreaking column from Nicholas Kristof. I have said before and continue to say that opponents of health care reform simply have nothing to say in the face of the real, persistent and growing pain of a vast number of Americans without adequate access to health care. You will find, in fact,…

Gawker media’s commenting system

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: this is untrammeled bullshit. Gawker media’s tiered commenting system, bannings and faux-exclusivity have nothing to do with maintaining decorum, or keeping the quality of the blogs high, or preserving a certain tone. (The idea that the tiered commenting system is designed to preserve spelling/grammar/punctuation is particularly laughable,…

quote for the day

“We combat uncompromising and irreducible philosophical oppositions presented by all kinds of absolutism: dualisms of reason and imagination, of knowledge and opinion, of irrefutable self-evidence and deceptive will, of a universally accepted objectivity and an incommunicable subjectivity, of a reality binding on everybody and values that are purely individual.” –Chaim Perelman and Lucie Obrechts-Tyteca, The…

Sunday Poem Series

The Twa Corbies (traditional folk song, originally anthologized by T. Ravenscroft) As I was walking all alane, I heard twa corbies making a mane; The tane unto the t’other say, ‘Where sall we gang and dine to-day, Where sall we gang and dine to-day?’ ‘In behint yon auld fail dyke, I wot there lies a…

my thoughts exactly

Commenter “SmartHippo” on the Sherdog.com mixed martial arts forum: My feelings towards MMA are kind of similar to my feelings toward metal. I love metal, and I respect it. I do, in one sense, take metal seriously, and have great respect towards the musicians involved. However, I don’t take it too seriously, and if it…

Ahem.

Defending Bill Belicheck’s indefensible decision to go for it last night on fourth and two seems to be becoming a movement and gathering steam. It’s driven, I think, by sports contrarianism, but never mind about that.  The general argument you hear is that they had to try to go for it because Peyton Manning is…

Sunday Poem Series

The Winter it is Past by Robert Burns The winter it is past, and the simmer comes at last, And the small birds sing on ev’ry tree: The hearts of these are glad, but mine is very sad, For my love is parted from me. The rose upon the brier by the waters running clear…

someday

So today someone I know from high school came out on Facebook, and from what I understand, this was the first situation where he’s really come out as gay at all. It was great to see someone make that kind of a difficult decision and express himself in a way that he felt was constructive…

Deadspin’s bind

Another embarrassing moment for Deadspin. It’s almost as if you shouldn’t run completely unsubstantiated, unverified stories from functionally anonymous emailers and then convince yourself that there’s some, like, totally deep and challenging thinking behind the process that led you to make the mistake in the first place, because you’re raging against the man and his…

Anti-Fascist Super Heroes

Like James, I find that almost everything that needs to be said about this Ron Rosenbaum hit piece has already been said by Steve Menashi. It”s a thorough and fine job by Menashi and one that I could hardly do as well as him, so you should really read it. There are a few things…

dangerous ideas

Emmanuel Faye wants to get Heidegger out of the canon because he was a Nazi. Hey, you know who were really good at getting books out of the canon? The Nazis! They just fucking threw the books they didn’t like on a fire and burn, burn, burn. I’m sure it was very efficient. Mr. Faye…

Sunday Poem Series

Sea Fever by John Masefield I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face,…

quote for the day

“If there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signalling through the flames.” –Antonin Artaud

things I don’t get

One thing that continues to surprise me is the continued application of the belief that libertarians are some sort of neutral party when it comes to partisan politics. See, for example Megan McArdle, who very frequently posts about these little analytic posts about partisan politics where she speaks as though we should expect some sort…

Free Douthat

Read Conor Friedersdorf. One thing I failed to point out in my initial post is that part of the problem with running a weekly column is that every one that comes out it is a real statement. It’s your vision of the world for that week. NYT columns generate a lot of buzz and a…

“50% of marriages end in divorce…”

You can chalk this up to the list of things that I complain about once a year. So feel free to skip this if you’ve heard it before. Here’s the deal: the divorce rate, as conventionally calculated, is a near-useless statistic. Perhaps totally useless. The divorce rate compares the total number of divorces in any…

interesting facts

Here are some facts that I find interesting! The New York Yankees payroll is about $65 million dollars higher than the next closest team. That is an interesting fact! That means that the gap between them and the next closest team is almost as much as or more than the payroll of nearly a third…

Sunday Poem Series

The Old Women of the Ocean by Pablo Neruda translated by Jodey Bateman To the solemn sea the old women come With their shawls knotted around their necks With their fragile feet cracking. They sit down alone on the shore Without moving their eyes or their hands Without changing the clouds or the silence. The…

more of the same

Part of what makes the Israel-Palestine debate so wearying is that so many fundamental broken arguments have a remarkable persistence. This is largely a result of the huge role that emotionalism, ad hominem and innuendo have in the conversation. Consider this email to Andrew: I’m sorry but that Yglesias “Quote For The Day” was utter…

nota bene

The recently-interviewed Conor Friedersdorf is starting a twitter feed where he aggregates what he feels is the best nonfiction writing. Check it out at http://twitter.com/JournoCurator .

Sunday Poem Series

Snarleyow by Rudyard Kipling This ‘appened in a battle to a batt’ry of the corps Which is first among the women an’ amazin’ first in war; An’ what the bloomin’ battle was I don’t remember now, But Two’s off-lead ‘e answered to the name o’ Snarleyow. Down in the Infantry, nobody cares; Down in the…

A- still does not imply Anti-

I suppose I could tie this post to this latest interview of Richard Dawkins in Salon.com, but I don’t really need. It’s just the same; it’s always the same. Honestly, I really wonder about Salon sometimes. You can find at fairly regular intervals, in their archives, near identical interviews with the usual suspects of aggressive…

Sunday Poem Series

the Beggar by Ogden Nash (After William Blake) Beggar, beggar, burning low In the city’s trodden snow, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy dread asymmetry? In what distant deep of lies Died the fire of thine eyes? What the mind that planned the shame? What the hand dare quench the flame? And what…