That’s right, the Cub Scouts–the junior 8 to 11 ages subset of the Boy Scouts of America–are adding a new “ability badge” to their arsenal of earnable merits for the Tiger, Cub, and Webelos troops. But here’s the catch: The awards aren’t for how many bonus lives you’ve earned, or stars you’ve collected–you have to do stuff like bone up on the ESRB’s rating system and be able to describe why it’s important.
I know what some of you are thinking. Just a trend-driven ploy to bolster recruitment, right? Maybe, but look at it this way: At least these kids get a look at the video games ratings system early on, and under the supervision of trained adults.
Add Mike Huckabee to the list of Republicans criticizing the Arizona law. As I keep saying, Huckabee is dangerous; he’s very conservative and not very well educated, but he’s smart and sane and has a conscience. Unlike Sarah Palin, he could wind up as President.
Certainly, if we were playing “death is not an option” I would much prefer Huckabee to Palin as president. The problem is, I’m not a Republican primary voter, and more to the point I’m not a major Republican businessman or fundraiser. It’s pretty clear from the 2008 primaries that the GOP’s money wing doesn’t want Huckabee, which ends his chances. While I see no reason why they would object to Palin, and hence if she chose to run in the primaries she could definitely win. And while she’s inept and unpopular enough to challenge political science evidence that candidates don’t really matter in presidential elections, any major party candidate can win under the right conditions. Be very afraid.
I’m certainly not saying that Ovechkin should be beyond criticism in the wake of his team blowing a 3-1 lead to a significantly superior team. On the other hand, it’s way too early to question whether his status within the game is justified, even leaving aside the fact that if you’re going to make anyone the goat it should be Green. It should also be remembered that at Ovechkin’s age Lemieux had played a grand total of 11 playoff games. (Orr did have two championships by age 23, although God knows he and his much greater supporting casts also lost a lot of series they should have won.) And while this loss was pretty bad, and despite the fact that Ovechkin doesn’t (to put it mildly) have any Messier, Kurri, Coffey, or Fuhr alongside him, he was never part of something like this:
And for reasons I can’t explain, this somehow seems less surprising seeing that the Canadiens are involved. While I suppose they’re the Yankees of hockey, while the Yankees are in the midst of yet another period of dominance comparable to the Ruth, McCarthy, and Stengel eras, the Habs haven’t had a great team since Dryden retired and Lafleur got prematurely old in 1980. For the next fifteen years or so, they were more like the 80s Dodgers — not every really that impressive, but somehow able to pull some pennants/deep playoff runs or championships out of their ass every once every few years. The ’88 Dodgers are probably the weakest World Champion of my lifetime, and the ’86 Canadiens and ’93 Canadiens are the weakest NHL champions of my time (and also, as far as I’m concerned, settle the question of who the greatest non-Hasek goaltender of the last generation was.) And since Ronald Corey decided that to go Adam Bellow — putting two guys in the charge of the team, despite a completel lack of qualifications, solely because they were part of the last great team — they’ve been just another organization. And yet…it’s somehow less surprising when the Habs do something like this. And using having someone do his best Roy imitation didn’t hurt…
The rationale for burying the video in the first place was that it violated YouTube’s standards against gratuitous violence. Did it? Judge for yourself – but only click if you’re willing to be disturbed:
It’s violent, to be sure. But does YouTube’s gratuitous violence policy apply to portrayals in film or only to actual violence against actual persons? (Not sure by the look of their Community Guidelines.)
But more broadly, this begs the question of what “gratuitous” actually means and what reasonable standards might be applied in such a case. Is it “gratuitous” to portray the horror of political violence as part of a critique of such violence? I have never thought so; comfortingly shielding ourselves from images of violence is in fact one of the things that leads to an acceptance of or denial of violence. In fact, considering the other kind of clips from R-rated films you can find on YouTube, my guess is it’s the political message of the video that YouTube – and many people – actually find uncomfortable.
However what constitutes “gratuitousness” is, I suspect, an “I know it when I see it” sort of question, so I’ll pass the buck to readers.
One place where you’re particularly likely to see “but would he/she be fun to have a beer with?” standards applied is Supreme Court nomination hearings and the surrounding discourse. You may remember, for example, that Sam Alito’s baseball-watching and nice family were not only supposed to be relevant for reasons that remain unclear, but were supposed to be evidence that he couldn’t really be that conservative. In a rational world, such cases as Alito and that nice, moderate, beer drinkin’ brush clearin’ Bush/Cheney ticket would put the cocktail party and/or theater critic modes of analysis out of business, but…
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South Korea will report the results of an ongoing investigation into the sinking of the Navy ship Cheonan to China and Russia and consult with them on the possibility of referring the issue to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), a government source said Wednesday.
The move comes as investigators point to a North Korean torpedo attack as the likely cause of the deadly incident that claimed the lives of 46 sailors.
A funeral for the fallen seamen will be held at a naval base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, today, which has been designated a national day of mourning during which flags will be flown at half-mast.
In spite of North Korea’s isolation, there still are diplomatic options for punishing the North, including freezing or seizing North Korean financial assets and banning travel by North Korean officials. Focusing on Russia and China seems a very smart move by the South Koreans, both because of the influence that Moscow and Beijing might have over Pyongyang, and because the legitimacy of any multilateral action will be enhanced through coming from North Korea’s perceived supporters.
Those prosecutorial experiences helped shape his approach to the law. While he is known as a centrist or a moderate liberal in most areas, his rulings suggest that he could be more of a center-right justice in matters of criminal law. His record has helped make him the potential nominee to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens who would stand perhaps the best chance of avoiding a partisan confirmation fight.
Still, he can be somewhat more sympathetic to prosecutors than are other Democratic appointees, interviews with such lawyers and a preliminary analysis by The New York Times of split decisions in criminal cases suggest.
For example, in cases in 2003 and 2007, the court divided on whether to suppress certain evidence on the grounds that police officers had obtained it as a result of an allegedly unconstitutional search. In both cases, another Democratic appointee sided with the defendant, while Judge Garland voted to allow prosecutors to use the evidence.
Garland, in other words, would be an unacceptable nominee for a Democratic president in any circumstances, let alone in the context of an about-to-disappear 59 Senate seats under Democratic control. Kagan is essentially a blank slate with a few disturbing signs in her record; Garland has an actual record on civil liberties that should remove him from consideration.
Via Christopher Shea comes news that will surprise no one I’ve talked to since returning to the States:
Irish drinkers lead the EU in the proportion of those drinking that have 3-4 drinks (35%) or 5-6 drinks (19%). As 5 or more drinks as the threshold for binge drinking, the Irish Times hails our success in binge drinking. But wait. Binge drinking is 5 or more drinks. It’s true we lead Europe in the category of very precise binge drinking, i.e. 5 or 6.
But you have to look at all consumption over 5 drinks. For Ireland there’s another 5% who have 7-9, and 2% who have 10 or more. Total percentage of bingers: 19+5+2=26%. For the UK: 12% have 5-6, and 6% have 7-9, 6% have 10 or more. So 12+6+6=24% are binge drinkers.
I spent more than a few evenings in London stunned stupid by the prodigious quantities of alcohol everyone around me was consuming. I’m not simply talking about London toughs either, but professional men and women who stepped in the pub on their way home from work intent on crawling out of it seven hours later stained and debased. If their infamous reserve is roughly equivalent to the Freudian superego, I would say that it performs its role quite admirably until the moment it inexplicably abdicates its responsibilities and allows the id to do what it will.
And will it ever.
The abuse that streams from their formerly stiff upper lips is more foul than anything this side of Deadwood. That polite archeology student in the hipster sailor suit you were talking to ten minutes ago? He no longer remembers who you are, but is damn sure you gave him mortal offense and insists on taking it outside before disappearing down the bar. When he returns a moment later he promptly introduces himself.
Now I’m not unfamiliar with the levels of public intoxication and its attendant calls to violence I witnessed in England, but keep in mind that this is April and the Krewe of Bacchus is nowhere in sight. When your nightly ritual resembles nothing so much as Mardi Gras, it might be time to consider cutting back on your cups. Harsh criticism from a guest to be sure, but it’s not like I’m an evangelical teetotaler. I end my days with a vodka-something or two (depending on how stressful being awake has been) and am in no position to lecture other people about the manner or amount they drink, which is mostly my point: when someone like me marvels at the manner and amount of drink a given people consume, something is seriously wrong with the world.
Because when people in no position to criticize anyone are flabbergasted into embracing their own hypocrisy it means you have a problem.