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Category: General

This Just In

[ 120 ] September 25, 2014 |

This just in: #HeForShe and #GamerGate INSANITY currently going on in my twitter feed. Check it out if you dare.

It all started with this tweet:

Minus 995 words

[ 111 ] September 25, 2014 |

Chart from Piketty’s/Saez’s latest data:

piketty

How Far Up The NFL’s Rectum Can ESPN Get?

[ 76 ] September 24, 2014 |

Apparently, very far indeed.

I’ll also guarantee that if Simmons had used similar language to criticize a player who claimed not to use steroids or something, nobody at the Worldwide Leader would have considered suspending him for a second. (Which, of course, they shouldn’t, because really.)

“Mixed feelings, Buddy. Like seeing Derek Jeter going off a cliff…in my new Maserati.”

[ 68 ] September 24, 2014 |

It’s Yankee elimination day! And, yet, it is for me a highly sour and unpleasant one, given that the Mariners have somehow managed to get outscored 42-10 — by the Astros and Blue Jays! — in four games with the season on the line. I must note in particular one historic accomplishment. For all the talk of St. Jeter’s wretched final season, Kendrys Morales has somehow managed to accumulate the most negative value in the major leagues in a mere 381 plate appearances. It’s not easy to be nearly two wins worse than a shortstop with .610 OPS in a hitter’s park and atrocious defense in 2/3rds the at bats, but Morales has pulled it off. A stunning achievement. (Was he DHing and hitting cleanup last night? I think you know the answer to that!) I wonder whether the Mariners’ regular DH next year will be Yuniesky Betancourt or Jeff Francoeur.

Anyway, congrats again to fans of the A’s and Royals; if two other teams had to win the wildcards, that’s the two I’d pick at least.

With the loss, Most Valuable Commenter Howard has also officially lost our charity Planned Parenthood bet, but everyone can still donate anyway…

Brian Leiter’s slow-motion car crash accelerates

[ 337 ] September 24, 2014 |

Updated below

Most LGM readers are familiar with Leiter’s history of cyber-harassment and sock puppetry, so it should come as no surprise that lots of people in the world of academic philosophy are fed up* with his increasingly bizarre bullying.

*The statement of support for Carrie Jenkins (which has now been signed by 149 colleagues and counting) has been temporarily moved to another site, because someone (“no one knows who” — Hyman Roth) lodged a complaint with Google, claiming that the original site violated Google’s terms of service (which apparently include an agreement not to criticize Brian Leiter). Edit: The complaint against the original site has failed. It is now up again.

I’ll just add a few notes to a record that pretty much speaks for itself:

(1) A remarkable number of the targets of Leiter’s cyber-bulling in the world of academic philosophy are women, especially considering the extent to which the field continues to be dominated by men. These two facts are probably connected in some mysterious way, which perhaps the tools made available to us by analytical philosophy could help unpack.

(2) Leiter apparently loves to try to silence critics in the philosophy world with threats of defamation suits. Amusingly, this illustrates the extent to which he longs to play pretend lawyer, although it would be irresponsible not to speculate regarding whether he could even file a motion without professional assistance. He also seems remarkably sensitive (this is a rhetorical phrase; there’s nothing remarkable about it) to claims that he’s not really a philosopher, since he doesn’t have a joint appointment in a philosophy department. All this reminds me of somebody or the other’s remark to the effect that while formerly there were philosophers, today we must make do with professors of philosophy.

(3) Leiter’s current professional aspiration appears to be to end up as crazy as Nietzsche became, without the intermediate period of being an interesting thinker.

. . . if you have a strong stomach, check out the craven message Leiter sent to Carrie Jenkins, when he began to suspect that his latest vendetta wasn’t going to turn out well for him.

Update: The comment thread has dozens of excellent remarks; I wanted to highlight this one from Aimai, regarding why Leiter’s cyber-stalking of Carrie Jenkins is so invidious:

Her original post, which essentially celebrated her happy ascension to being a professor in a treasured field, was instantly stalked and trolled and attacked by a prominent professional in her field who put her on notice that nothing she wrote or published would happen without his eye falling on it, that whatever she wrote could be construed as legally actionable, that he would be watching her to make sure that she steered clear of the sin of ever impinging on his gaping wound of an ego. In other words: she’s minding her own business and an important, touchy, asshole turns out to be stalking her and turning her private and professional life into a legal cause of action.

In an instant she went from being a person celebrating and engaging with her field and her colleagues into, apparently, the enemy of a person with zero sense of proportionality and restraint–a person so narcissistic that they go out of their way to threaten legal action against a perfect stranger for a perfectly innocuous post that doesn’t reference Leiter at all.

Like all women she is instantly advised not to engage with her attacker/bully but to “ignore” him and to take actions (like filtering her emails) which might cause her to re-engage with him or provoke him. In other words she is to change her behavior in order to stop drawing his attention and if she finds that difficult to do–like “remembering to forget about the camel’s left knee” well, she’s no different than any other person who is told to continually steer around an obstacle while pretending the obstacle doesn’t exist.

And the proof that she needs to do that is in the second interaction when her innocuous tweet to a third party creates an opening that Leiter exploits to draw her back into an interaction and to imply that all her thoughts and writings and interactions exist only in reference to Leiter.

The guy is absolutely like a stalker and an ex–someone who forces an interaction onto you and then monitors you and your social media to make sure that he still matters to you.

. . . and a very nice summary from Nobdy:

Leiter appears to have lucked into power and influence just by doing something crass and simplistic that nobody thought to do before BECAUSE it was crass and simplistic but that gained an audience because even philosophers are apparently prone to wanting easy well-defined answers even if they are wrong.

At first blush he appears to be quite arrogant about this tiny accomplishment of being willing to oversimplify, but in reality it appears that he is aware of having accomplished nothing and is wracked by insecurity. His constant fretting about and threats re: his reputation reveal that he is terrified of being seen as the fraud he really is, and believes he must do everything in his power to control his image. It’s pathetic but one can’t be sympathetic because in his desperate increasingly unhinged scramble to hide the truth he does real damage to innocent parties.

Reverend DUMBledore

[ 207 ] September 24, 2014 |

I was going to put this in one of my linky posts, but, honestly, it’s just so insane I think it’s worthy of its own post.

Grace Ann is rewriting “Harry Potter” books because she doesn’t want her children turning into witches. Oh sure, laugh, but think about this: If parents had exercised similar diligence re: “Twilight” we wouldn’t be dealing all with sparkling vampires sabotaging our garlic crops.

Snark aside, I just wanted to say how I’m pretty much never surprised by wingnut mean-spiritedness, but I can still be surprised by how petty, stupid and childish they can be. I mean…

“So,” Harry began nervously; and he bit into a thick, juicy slice of perfectly fried bacon. “What Sorting Hat do you think you will choose?”

“Oh, I will definitely choose Slytherin,” Ronald declared confidently; and he began to eat his oatmeal with his hands. “My whole family is Slytherins.” He gestured to the countless redheads sitting at the table; and they all turned to Harry and smiled and waved. “You should become a Slytherin, too! We could do it together!”

“Hm,” Harry uttered ponderously; and he took a bite of eggs. “Why don’t you tell me about what Slytherins believe?”

“Sure!” Ronald replied ecstatically; and he kept eating his oatmeal. “Well, first of all, we believe in the Bible.”

“That is wonderful!” Harry reacted happily; and he took a sip of his orange juice. “I do as well. Perhaps I could be a Slytherin after all?”

“But wait-that is not all!” Ronald continued excitedly; and washed his oatmeal down with milk. “Gryffindor Hats believe in the Bible, too. But Slytherins have even more. We have a book full of guidelines on how to be a good person, and a whole panel of Slytherin Hats to tell us what to do.”

Harry furrowed his innocent, childish brow; and he took another bite of oatmeal; and he questioned confusedly, “Why do you need all that if you have the Bible?”

Ronald guffawed; and he shoveled more oatmeal into his mouth; and he replied, “Why only have the Bible when you can have more? Why, that would be like only praying to God!”

Harry gasped in horror as he bit into more bacon. “Of course I only pray to God! Who else would I pray to?”

“What about Mary?” Ronald posited angrily around a mouthful of oatmeal. “You have to at least worship to her!”

“You mean the mommy of Our Lord?” Harry demanded in scandal; and he chewed his bacon. “I don’t worship her?”

“Well, then, God hates you!” Ron stated simply; and pieces of bacon flew out of his mouth as he did so.

Harry was tentative; since he was new to this whole Christianity thing; but he did not think God would hate him for not worshipping His mommy. On the contrary: he had a hunch that God wanted people to only worship Him.

“Don’t listen to him,” commented a drowsy voice self-righteously from behind Harry.

Harry turned around; and he saw a girl about his own age. Her pale yellow hair was tied into braids; and she wore a tie-dye shirt and faded jeans and flowers in her hair. “Peace” signs and donkey patches were sewn all over her clothes.

“You should not become a Slytherin Hat,” the girl continued confidently; and she was eating what looked like it was supposed to be bacon; but it did not smell or taste like bacon. It missed that smokey, meaty taste that bacon is supposed to have. Instead, it tasted like vegetables blended together and died red. Yuck! Harry would take real bacon over that any day of the week. “They are far too strict.”

Harry hmmed skeptically. He was not sure about this whole Slytherin business; but the word “strict” was not what came to mind!

“You should become a Hufflepuff Hat,” the girl instructed arrogantly; and continued to nibble at her breakfast. “That’s what I’m going to do.”

“What do Hufflepuff Hats believe in?” Harry pondered aloud; and he took a bite of his real bacon. Oh, how he wanted to find the true Hat!

“Hufflepuff Hats believe in the Bible; but only some of it,” Luna explained casually; and she was still feeding on that stuff. “We don’t believe in the stuff against fornication and drinking and socialism; but we really like Matthew 7:1; and that’s about it. We’re really fun and we seem really nice and really tolerant as long as you agree with us!”

For reals? These people are certifiable.

UPDATE: A lot of you calling “parody” or “POE.” Sure. Could be. But the term “beyond parody” is a thing for a reason. As I said down thread, I figure either way it’s hilarious.

 

Chicken Thighs Au Vin

[ 24 ] September 24, 2014 |

 

 

So here’s my recipe for Chicken Thighs Au Vin. Word of warning: I don’t measure when I cook. As I do not follow recipes for dishes like this, it may deviate a bit from proper Coq Au Vin, so spare me any foodnerd pedantry.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs, most skin removed (I don’t mind if there are bits and pieces here and there), dredged in flour and salted and peppered
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 8 oz. container mushrooms, cleaned and halved
  • 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 medium onions, cut into big chunks
  • 5-7 carrots, cut into big chunks on the diagonal
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • a generous pinch of Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2-2 cups red wine (I know it’s customary to use considerably more wine…even a whole bottle, but I find drowning food in liquids makes for unsatisfactory sauces)
  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. Cut bacon into lardon and render fat in a dutch oven, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Brown chicken in bacon fat. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Brown mushrooms in pan. You may have to add some oil to the pan at this point. Put mushrooms in pan and LEAVE THEM ALONE. Just let them brown on one side, then stir them around and let them brown some more. DO NOT SALT THEM.
  5. Add the tomato paste, onions, carrots and the garlic last so you don’t burn it. Salt and pepper generously. Get the wine ready to deglaze.
  6. Stir in the wine, herbs and chicken stock; let this mixture come to a near-boil. Lower the heat and nestle the thighs in the veggies and sauce.
  7. Top with the lardon, cover the pot and put it in the oven for about 3 hours.

Serve chicken and veggies over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or with crusty bread.

“He’s sewage poured into a suit”

[ 31 ] September 24, 2014 |

Somehow, I missed Marchman’s epic assessment of Lanny Davis at the time. Fortunately, it’s still fresh!

If you detect a pattern in the two examples here, you’re not wrong. In his shitty book Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics, and Life, Davis brags about how he was able to help the NFLPA deal with claims that the famously impotent house union hadn’t done anything to help retired players suffering from mental illness. What did he do? He set up a website that depicted them as whiny leeches. At another point, during the fight over the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would have strengthened unions by making it easier for them to organize, he represented the CEOs of union-busting Whole Foods and Starbucks, who had conceived a compromise that would have gutted all the valuable machinery of the proposal while still allowing something bearing its name to pass. When George W. Bush had to make appointments to a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, Lanny Davis came right to mind.

Davis is everywhere. Wherever there’s a fight to turn government into a weapon against citizens, he’ll be there. Whenever an institution needs to assail the vulnerable, he’ll be there. He’ll be there in the way dogs eat shit. He’ll especially be there if it involves people in foreign countries.

It’s all that good.

“The Process Becomes Part of the Punishment”

[ 9 ] September 24, 2014 |

When the framers of the Sixth Amendment declared that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,” they knew what they were doing. But if nobody is willing to enforce it…

Caldwell Jones, RIP

[ 8 ] September 23, 2014 |

Caldwell Jones has died. Jones was not a great NBA player, but he was an excellent defensive and rebounding center on the 76ers and, more importantly to me, the Trail Blazers teams of the late 80s. For some reason, I still remember watching a Blazers game as a teenager and getting very excited as the offensively challenged Jones got a rebound and took it all the way down the court for a dunk. And while I could do without the “memorial violins Academy Awards death list” obituary music here, the NBA put together a nice highlight reel of this underrated player after his death.

Some thoughts on Gotham and its potential

[ 33 ] September 23, 2014 |

So, as noted yesterday, I went on Graphic Policy Radio and discussed the series of premier of Gotham, which you can listen to here:

The more serious discussion concerned how a show whose conclusion is foregone can actually survive — after all, even though Gotham is going to focus, somewhat Wire-like, on the internal conflicts of the police and various criminal organizations, in the end we all know that the situation’s going to deteriorate to the point at which the only answer is a wealthy orphan patrolling the night in a fetish bat outfit.

Still, that leaves room for a good 10 or so seasons of watching the city fall apart, and that could certainly be gratifying, but only if the series creators understand what they have and how to use it. Which brings me to the second David Simon reference in this post, because I think the show’s ceiling could be something like Homicide: Life on the Street.

Consider how that show began, with Tim Bayliss catching the Adena Watson case, and how it haunted him through all six-ish seasons. In a similar fashion, you know the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne are going to haunt Gordon, and you know that he — like Bayliss — is going to form an unhealthy attachment to both the case and those left in its wake. Do I think Gotham is going to reach these heights?

In all likelihood not. But do I think that it has a higher ceiling than most quasi-procedural cop dramas currently on television? I most certainly do.

On a side note, we also established the most appropriate possible context for one of those Internet traditions I started awhile back:

c-ws00036SO JUMP OFF THAT BUILDING YOUR THE GODDAMN BATMAN

You know — because he is.

Math And Its Well-Known Liberal Bias

[ 176 ] September 23, 2014 |

The very, very, very Serious Paul Ryan is still going on about the deficit. He’s also proposing massive upper-class tax cuts, and arguing that his budget will somehow the avoid savage cuts to programs to the poor the two policies would make inevitable if we’re supposed to take the initial premise seriously. How can he reconcile this? DYNAMIC SCORING!

Ryan has found himself caught between his career-long obsession with cutting taxes for the rich and the problem of what happens to the revenue that would be lost. During the 2012 campaign, he swept aside the problem by couching his plan as “tax reform,” promising not to cut taxes for the rich. Ryan’s new plan is just to go ahead and cut taxes.

He tells Klein, “Those of us who live in the tax system want to lower everybody’s tax rates.” If you lower everybody’s tax rates, then everybody will be paying less in taxes, and then the government will have less revenue, right? That’s where Ryan’s solution comes in: He plans to press the government budget agencies to adopt the optimistic assumption he prefers, which is that cutting tax rates for the rich creates faster economic growth. Ryan spent much of the Bush years assailing what he called “static scoring,” which is the standard budget practice of measuring the fiscal impact of tax cuts as if they do not contain magic pixie dust.

As Danny Vinick has noticed, Ryan has announced his intention to change the rules. Ryan reaffirmed that plan in his interview with Klein: “I’d like to improve our scorekeeping so it better reflects reality,” he said. “Reality” is Ryan’s description for a world in which Bill Clinton’s punishing tax hikes on the rich hindered the economy, which was restored to health when George W. Bush cut taxes.

If only there was a state that enacted massive upper-class tax cuts, only that because it’s a state it couldn’t just use the George W. Bush approach of just running massive deficits when tax revenues came in under expectations. Then we could see if tax cuts produced so much dynamic economic growth that they actually increased revenue. Sadly, we’ll never know.

In related news, the Republican health care is “nothing but the 2009 status quo ante.”

good Sunflower State roundup from DeLong.

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