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Jim Garner, RIP

[ 117 ] July 20, 2014 |

When I was growing up, my Dad watched A LOT of Rockford Files, which means I watched a lot of Rockford Files since the TV was always on. James Garner died yesterday and it reminds me of what a pleasant actor he was to watch, in Rockford or the many other projects he was involved with. For me though, he’ll always be associated with Sunday afternoon reruns with my Dad (may not have been Sunday but that’s how I remember it).

It’s also by chance my father’s birthday so wish him a Happy Birthday! He turns 72 today. He’s also a reader of the site so remember that when you tell me how much you hate me, you are telling that to an old man about his son. Of course, mostly his response to that nonsense is like mine.

Here’s an entire episode from Season 2. Classic 70s theme song and opening credits.

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Belated Creature Freature: Erik Loomis Edition

[ 45 ] July 20, 2014 |

Lionfish are super-cool looking– finny, stripy, and spiky. But, blah blah blah…they’re an invasive species and they’re eating their way through the Atlantic ocean. Their effect on coral reefs (major oceanic eco-systems) is potentially devastating. It’s all fin and games until somebody eats the entire ocean.  CNN has more.

The Pam Grier of fish

Much like Pam Grier*, Lionfish are beautiful but dangerous–their spines are venomous. However, they’re still edible, so some people have adopted an “eat ‘em to beat ‘em” attitude. And chefs from Nassau to New Haven have put them on the menu.

In summation: Lionfish are really awesome, but we need to kill as many of them as possible.

*To be clear, Pam Grier does not have venomous spines. THAT WE KNOW OF. Also, please do not eat Pam Grier.

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“That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching factory, instead of in a sausage factory, makes no difference to the relation”

[ 112 ] July 20, 2014 |

Turning schools into profit-making enterprises has been a disaster, not only in the U.S., but also in Sweden. Applying Taylorism to schools makes perfect sense to the high modernist education reformer like Michelle Rhee or Arne Duncan, but does nothing positive to address the real complexities of the classroom.

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Tricksy Thucydides

[ 12 ] July 19, 2014 |

In this week’s Diplomat column I think a bit about how to approach Thucydides:

If we start by acknowledging that the parts we’re taking are all archetypes, then literal fidelity to the narrative record becomes less important. And from this starting point, we can take a few important lessons; the dangers of power transition, the potentially dire effects of war on a democratic polity, the folly of strategic escalation, and the critical role that the whims of fate and human frailty play in geopolitics.

However, this approach also opens the question of why we should rely on Thucydides, rather than other available narratives. For East Asia, we have ready-made accounts that can provide the same kind of archetypes, mostly coming from ancient Chinese history. The Records of the Grand Historian detail conflicts, betrayals, and power shifts every bit as legendary in their complexity as those Thucydides describes. And perhaps we could productively understand China’s emerging A2/AD system-of-systems in the context of Mohist concepts of defensive “just war.” Such an examination might, at the least, give us a better appreciation of how policymakers themselves approach these complexities.

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Passing as Indian

[ 73 ] July 19, 2014 |

This is a fascinating piece on African-Americans negotiating the Jim Crow South by putting a turban on their heads and claiming they were Indian. Which worked, as they avoided the racial laws. Also, you can read about who must be the only black Lutheran in history.

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The Future of Air Travel

[ 283 ] July 19, 2014 |

This has the potential to be great, if by great you mean questioning whether to ever fly again.

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The NFL’s Free Minor League

[ 23 ] July 19, 2014 |

The NFL constantly manages to show how little it cares about its players’ best-interest. When it comes to its relationship with college football, it also works hard to keep its free minor league system. Now the NFL has decided to cut back on the pre-draft evaluations it gives players, theoretically to protect them from making decisions about their own life declaring for the draft too early, but really from having to evaluate players earlier in their careers. Of course, some players are delusional about their prospects and declare too early (although a lot of these players are people already on their way out of their school for various reasons), but this has the effect of ensuring that the NFL has less of a chance of wasting resources while forcing a longer system of free labor that the NCAA relies upon.

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Foreign Entanglements: Credibilitude

[ 3 ] July 19, 2014 |

On the latest episode of Foreign Entanglements, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and I dive deep on resolve and credibility:

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Wingnuttia Down Under

[ 20 ] July 19, 2014 |

For awhile back in the 2000s, it looked like Australia would become a world leader on progressive legislation, especially on environmental issues. Then Tony Abbott took over and decided modeling himself on George W. Bush would be quite a bit farther to the left than he was comfortable with. Evidently, enough Australians are cool with this that he keeps on trucking:

Conservative prime minister, climate change denier, and accused misogynist Tony Abbott was elected in September. He started working as the nation’s leader almost immediately, but he had to wait until this month for newly elected senators to take their seats. Abbott’s (conservative) Liberal party still doesn’t control the Senate, but it has found Senate allies in a powerful party that was founded just last year by kooky mining magnate Clive Palmer. Palmer held a press conference with Al Gore last month to announce that he opposed some of Abbott’s climate-wrecking policies, and that he wanted a carbon-trading program to replace the carbon tax. That now seems to have been smokestacks and mirrors. When it came to repealing Australia’s $US23.50 per metric ton carbon tax, the immodestly named Palmer United Party fell into line on Thursday, helping the repeal pass the Senate by a vote of 39 to 32, without demanding the establishment of any alternative.

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John C. Wright is giving sex tips and it’s exactly as disgusting as it sounds

[ 216 ] July 19, 2014 |

But let us not pause to denounce sad falsehoods when the glorious truth beckons with her fiery lamp. How can one experience the perfect sexual experience?

Jesus Christ, this guy…

 In order to understand the perfect sexual experience, we first must say what sex is: it is copulation, the process by which two halves of a sexual whole find complement and completion, and reproduce. The sex act is the act of sexual union in sexual reproduction. The sexes, however, are spiritual rather than physical: men are masculine in psychology and mind and soul, masculine in speech and deportment and nuance in all they do just as women are feminine. The sexual union is spiritual, ordered toward the end of reproduction.

In other words, no gay-pill-buttsex.

Since sex is ordered toward reproduction, anything that hinders it is an imperfection. Prudence, if nothing else, would warn potential mother and potential fathers not to do the act which makes you a mother or a father until you have a household and loving union ready to rear children.

I don’t know this Prudence person is, but she sounds like kind of an asshole and maybe she should keep her fucking mouth shut.

If you are artificially sterile, or using contraception, you are holding back, you are not passionate about the sex, you are trying to use the sex rather than surrender to the sex.

You are trying to have sex without really having sex, and this alters your soul and body in countless subtle ways, and the woman knows it, and senses the mistrust, the misgivings, indeed, the fear — the nagging thought that the contraception might fail hangs across the passion and prevents total surrender to passion. And if she is using the pill, her hormones, the ones directly related to fertility, sex, sexual passion, and love have been interfered with. But even if she is not using the pill, she is using you and you are using her, trying to get the union of sex without the physical sex act and the physical results.

Thank you, Dr. John C. Wright!

The only way to make the contraception infallible is to agree to hinder the sex act by killing the child once he is conceived but before he is born, an act so horrific and unthinkable — even the Spartans did not make the baby’s own mother toss the helpless baby into the pit of the Apothetae — that no more need be said of it. If you doubt me, I’d like you to imagine holding your beloved in your arms, and whispering tenderly in her ear as the erotic passion mounts, “I love you and adore you and after I make mad, passionate love to you, we will kill Junior. We will kill him together! The doctor will pierce his delicate skull with scissors, and vacuum up his wee little brains!” — I am guessing that will kill the mood.

Right. We know what gets John C. Wright in the mood, don’t we? Lots of spittle-producing talk about those wanton, pill-popping liberal women and buttsexing men, I bet.

For her part, she must vow to love and honor and obey.

And if you do not understand about that obey part, you do not understand women. She wants a leader, an alpha male, a chief, a Christ, and you must be willing to die for her as Christ was willing to die for you, or she will not feel secure in your love. If she does not swear to obey, you are not a couple, not a dyad, not a unit, but are still two sovereigns dealing with each other at arm’s length, not intimate, and she cannot trust you fully, cannot love you fully, not with a divine and self-sacrificing love. And she knows you don’t love her fully, not with a love that is more than madness, more than sense, more than the universe.

Let the record show John C. Wright wants someone to obey him. Kinky.

Sex is spiritual because sex is divine.

OMG, John C. Wright only has one act, doesn’t he?! Sex is divine. Pooping is divine! Thomas Kincade paintings are divine! This soup is divine! My ass itches–HOW DIVINE!

Jesus Christ, this guy is a freak.


You sir, are a modern Socrates! GREAT read!

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Play at Rumpscuttle and Clapperdepouch

[ 55 ] July 18, 2014 |

31 historical terms for sex going back to 1351. I am familiar with “getting my ashes hauled” because it comes up in old blues songs. The rest are far older and I was not familiar with.

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The Radio Raheem Award For Deadly Excessive Force

[ 68 ] July 18, 2014 |

Summary execution for suspected cigarette sale would seem to qualify.

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