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From the monthly archives: October 2010

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Considering that the Bad Music phenomenon was originally set up as a reoccurring Friday thing, I bring you another example of the evils in music that Jesus wrought:

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Remember how Republicans got all excited about something called “YouCut” a while back?  That initiative to identify areas in which to cut spending?

So they did that and look at the genius results that The Joke That Is Eric Cantor came up with:

  • Terminate Taxpayer Funding of National Public Radio (Savings of Tens of Millions of Dollars)
  • Terminate Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners Program (Savings of $87.5 million over ten years) [ed. note – No, I am seriously not shitting you]
  • Terminate the Presidential Election Fund (Savings of $520 million over ten years.)

…  Seriously.  That’s what they came up with.

When pressed to come up with specifics, Eric Cantor can helpfully point to a whopping Half-Billion Dollars in savings!!!  OMG!  That’s like a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of total federal government spending!  Kill the Whaling Program!


Update: Here’s Ted Dehaven’s take:

America is at a “critical crossroads” and the GOP leadership is offering to cut whaling history subsidies? Congress is bankrupting the nation and the possible next Speaker of the House – “never a details man” – can’t even specify what he would cut in the budget.

It’s pathetic.


    Apparently there is all sorts of straight-dude-kissing going on in the UK:

    Forget homophobia. A new study finds that same-sex lip-locks among straight men are the norm in British universities and high schools.

    The trend reflects a move toward a “nicer, softer” ideal of masculinity, study researcher Eric Anderson told LiveScience. Anderson, a sociologist at Bath University in England, reported the findings online Oct. 22 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

    “The mean, gruff, homophobic macho man of the 1980s is dead,” Anderson said.[…]

    Even extended kisses weren’t viewed as sexual, the researchers found. One student recalled kissing his male friend in order to convince two girls to kiss each other, but most of the men interviewed kissed each other for fun.

    These longer kisses are often photographed and posted on Facebook and social-networking sites, Anderson said. While they often happen in the context of a night of drinking, the men aren’t ashamed of or questioning their sexuality. Nor are they mocking gay behavior, Anderson said. In fact, the practice has made it easier for gay men to display their affection publically.

    “It’s opened up the same space for gay men to kiss,” he said. “Sometimes you see two men kissing and you don’t know whether they’re straight or gay.”

    Ok, so as you might expect, this story definitely turns me on.  Nothing much hotter in my world than straight dudes making actual or apparent sexytime with other dudes.  However, this presents quite a dilemma.  I already have a woeful defect that causes me to only be attracted to straight dudes.  If straight dudes start going around kissing other dudes, I might start to think I have a chance (which I never do).  Woe!

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    Henry Farrell wrote up a fantastically detailed and methodical critique of Megan McArdle’s time blogging for the Atlantic:

    While I believe that there is an excellent case for intellectual charity when one is dealing with someone whom one does not know, or who usually seems straightforward, intelligent and honest, I also believe that it is positively harmful to intellectual life to extend such charity to people who engage in persistent obfuscation and shoddy argument over a period of years. There, far better to shoot the bow.

    And there is just such a pattern of lousy argument followed by obfuscation, denial, I’m-sure-I’ll-shortly-get-around-to-giving-you-my-devastating-comeback-argument-soons and No!-what-I-was-really saying-even-though-it-completely-contradicts-plain-language-readings-of-my-words in McArdle’s work, as can be seen if you read through some of the debates that she has been involved in over the years.

    His post includes several specific examples of classic McMeganism, including:

    The Great Tax Debate. Wherein, Ms. McArdle starts by telling us that “What most of us are really in favor of is higher taxes on other people. If we wanted higher taxes on ourselves, we’d give the money to charity,” and finishes by telling us that what she was actually saying was “people aren’t interested in increasing their own taxes; they’re willing to pay to increase other peoples’ taxes.” Even though this latter claim is nonsensical, it does allow her to reinterpret the apparent plain language meaning of her original post in argumentatively convenient ways. However, the really nice bit is when she responds to the fact that she has completely misunderstood collective action theory (she has claimed that it “generally applies” to situations where ” the outcome is binary” – this is flatly untrue in ways that are obvious to anyone who knows the basic literature in collective action theory), by acknowledging that ‘Binary was perhaps an inelegant choice of words.’ Such chutzpah is almost worthy of admiration. Almost.

    The best bit is the McMegan playbook at the end:

    Start with a stupid and/or offensive claim. Get attacked. Come up with qualifications, alternative arguments (from anecdote, preferably, since they can’t be disproven), claims that what you really meant was this, hyperbolic distortions and whatever else you want. Get upset and outraged that people don’t treat your obfuscations with the respect that they truly deserve. And then repeat as often as necessary.

    Please do go read the whole thing.  It is very satisfying that someone took the time to write it.

    (h/t DougJ)

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    One week before the midterm election, mindful of his disillusioned Democratic base, Obama holds a Q&A session at the White House with progressive bloggers. Transcript from AMERICAblog:

    Q I was glad to hear that you and your staff appreciate constructive feedback.

    THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that’s something we enjoy. (Laughter.)

    Q We’ve been more than willing to offer that. We’ve certainly been more than willing to offer that from AMERICAblog, particularly on issues related to the LGBT community, which, you know, there is a certain amount of disillusionment and disappointment in our community right now.

    And one of the things I’d like to ask you — and I think it’s a simple yes or no question too — is do you think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional?

    THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.

    I think that — but here’s what I can say. I think “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act. In theory, we should be able to get 60 votes out of the Senate. The House has already passed it. And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned — something that’s unprecedented.

    And so my hope and expectation is, is that we get this law passed. It is not just harmful to the brave men and women who are serving, and in some cases have been discharged unjustly, but it doesn’t serve our interests — and I speak as Commander-in-Chief on that issue.

    Let me go to the larger issue, though, Joe, about disillusionment and disappointment. I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any President in history. I’ve appointed more openly gay people to more positions in this government than any President in history. We have moved forward on a whole range of issues that were directly under my control, including, for example, hospital visitation.

    On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have been as systematic and methodical in trying to move that agenda forward as I could be given my legal constraints, given that Congress had explicitly passed a law designed to tie my hands on the issue.

    And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.

    Now, I say that as somebody who appreciates that the LGBT community very legitimately feels these issues in very personal terms. So it’s not my place to counsel patience. One of my favorite pieces of literature is “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Dr. King had to battle people counseling patience and time. And he rightly said that time is neutral. And things don’t automatically get better unless people push to try to get things better.

    So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing, but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.

    Continue reading »

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