— SpaghettiOs (@SpaghettiOs) December 7, 2013
Also see this great photo compendium from a couple years back.
— SpaghettiOs (@SpaghettiOs) December 7, 2013
Also see this great photo compendium from a couple years back.
The plans for a Union monument at the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park — about 46 miles west of Jacksonville, Fla. — began several years ago. The idea was to commemorate the Union regiments that fought at Olustee (pronounced oh-lusty), and to recognize the African American regiments that made up one third of the Union forces. The group members also hoped to correct a perceived imbalance — they say three Confederate monuments currently exist on the site — and to get the monument built in time for the battle’s sesquicentennial in February 2014. The Florida chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War intended to fully pay for the project, and to offer it as a gift to the people of Florida.
What they didn’t count on was a counter-offensive. Modern-day Confederate groups rallied opposition to the project and urged members to contact lawmakers in Florida to stop it.
“In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the battle that protected Florida’s capital from falling, the Sons of Union Veterans has obtained approval from the State of Florida Parks Department for a special monument to invading Federal forces,” Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the national Sons of Confederate Veterans, wrote in an message to his group’s members in October. “The plan calls for a large black Darth Vadar-esque shaft that will disrupt the hallowed grown [sic] where Southern blood was spilled in defense of Florida, protecting Tallahassee from capture. … Confederate Forces won the Battle in 1864 – but will we win the 2nd Battle of Olustee and prevent this menacing monument from disrupting this hallowed Southern soil?”
The issue came to a head on Monday, at a public hearing in Lake City to discuss the location of the monument. Dozens of opponents to the project turned out, compared to a handful of supporters, and the meeting at one point devolved into a rendition of “Dixie” led by H.K. Edgerton, a black “Confederate activist” who works to “reveal the truth of the War for Southern Independence.”
“The whole audience, with the exception of the six of us who were the Union, got up — because here if you’re singing ‘Dixie’ that’s kind of like ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ — and everybody got up and sang along, and they yelled and waved, and gave rebel yells, and all that,” Custer said. “I mean, it was real. It was a sight to see.”
Were these people to take up armed rebellion to defend white supremacy or low capital gains taxes or miscegenation with goats or whatever appeals to these people, it would suck mostly except for the joy of reviving the tactics of one W.T. Sherman.
Perhaps the judgment that there was insufficient evidence to charge Jameis Winston was correct. But like the lengthy delay in pursing the case (although obviously not as importantly), I can’t say this gives me much confidence in the prosecutor’s judgment.
It was with this endearing treatise on names I hate that I dethroned Sandra Bullock to become the new, better, sweeter, more American America’s Sweetheart. You all remember the entry. I know you do. I really, erm, let loose. And got what some people might call a bit of pushback.
If you don’t remember, here’s a quick refresher: I said I hated the name “Madison.” Guess what–I still hate it. I think it’s really stupid non-name that people started giving their daughters after watching “Splash.” I know some of you disagree with me and think I’m a big old meanie for saying so. Fine. I don’t really care. But here’s the thing: joke’s on me.
See, my son has recently started playing with some of the young kids who live on our street. Usually it’s a group of 3 to five kids, ranging in age from 2 to 6. Two of those kids are named “Madison.” Yes, there are not one, but two Madisons living on my cul de sac. Life is trolling me.
But, wait, there’s more. Here’s a funny story about a cute little tween who just wants to bootstrap her way to getting braces by selling mistletoe. The tale’s told by someone even sweeter than I am, and by that I mean by someone who is even more short-tempered and foul-mouthed than I am. But let me tell you the best part of the story right now. The name of our scrappy young heroine is…Madison.
The ignorant hayseeds at White American History Month — currently working their way through a bout of masturbatory frenzy over Nelson Mandela’s death — spent some time yesterday celebrating the work of the noted non-white supremacist Norman Rockwell. Since I have a tangential family connection to Rockwell, and since nostalgia is a suitable affliction for racists, I decided to have a bit of a piss at their expense.
I’m wondering which other artists’ fabricated versions of the national past have been systematically wrecked by Democrats and the progressive left. Which America do you want back?
When I say that a lot of people got spun about the similarity between the Affordable Are Act, I don’t mean it as a criticism; I got spun myself. What is striking, though, in both that thread and the follow-up, is how committed anti-ACA lefties are to the ridiculous argument that the ACA is a “Republican Plan” developed by the Heritage Foundation even after presented details that make the comparison unsustainable. Perhaps it would help to present the comparison in graph form. Here, first, is an exhaustive list of the similarities between the plans:
This is, to be sure, a real overlap. It might even be a fundamental similarity in a context where the plausible alternative was a single payer or nationalized model. But that’s obviously not the plausible alternative — a statute that eliminated the American health insurance industry while steeply cutting the compensation of most medical professionals would (with the exception-that-proves-the-rule of abolishing slavery) be unprecedented in American history, and would also have no precedent in any high-veto-point system. (Even in the highly centralized Westminster systems of Canada and the U.K., in a context where comprehensive health care reform was a lot cheaper, the doctor lobby very nearly derailed universal health care and had to be bought off.) And in 2009, the idea that single payer was a viable possibility to 60 votes in the Senate requires ingesting enough hallucinogenics that you’d better have good insurance already. So, in the relevant context, the presence of a mandate in the ACA doesn’t establish any kind of fundamental similarity with the Heritage Plan. It just means that it’s universal health care reform designed by a non-moron.
I should note here that some of the arguments about this point of comparison between the plans were advanced in contexts where they make more sense than “the ACA sucks because it’s a Republican Plan which proves that Barack Obama is the third and fourth term of George W. Bush nyuk nyuk nyuk.” Noting the mandate in the Heritage Plan in the context of demonstrating the ad hoc nature of the radical libertarian constitutional challengeto the ACA is fair game — the mandate was the focus of the constitutional argument, so nothing about that argument implies any substantive policy similarity between the Heritage Plan and the ACA. And even though the Heritage Plan was just a decoy, it’s still eminently fair to observe that nobody noticed that the mandate was the greatest threat to human freedom ever when it spent years as the nominal Republican alternative.
There’s another variant, made by various people up to and including Obama itself, that notes the mandate in the Heritage plan to rebut charges that the ACA was volume 2 of the Communist Manifesto. Which, OK I guess, but I don’t endorse this line of argument, among other things because it gives Republicans too much credit and because it does begin to imply a substantive similarity between the programs even if it isn’t intended.
Which brings us to the most important dissimilarities between the plans:
This really should settle the debate. The plans are radically dissimilar. To argue that the ACA is the “Heritage Plan” is simply absurd.
Perhaps recognizing how feeble the argument is, the commenters trying to maintain the lie generally move to a bait-and-switch — when they say the ACA and
Romneycare the plan passed by massive supermajorities of Masschusetts Democrats over Mitt Romney’s many vetoes are just the Republican Heritage Foundation plan, they also mean that it’s like the plan that John Chafee introduced in 1993 as a decoy alternative to Clinton’s health care reform proposal. While not as nearly progressive as the ACA — most importantly, it replaces the Medicaid expansion with medical malpractice “reform” — it is more like the ACA than the Heritage Plan. But the comparison remains transparently silly. First of all, it was of course never the “Republican alternative,” as no non-trivial number of Republicans have ever wanted to enact it (cf. every Republican-controlled house of Congress since 1994 passim.) And second, citing John Chafee — who was far to the left of the typical Republican in 1993 — as representing Republican health care policy preferences is an act of monumental bad faith, like citing David Souter as the typical Republican judicial appointment or George Wallace as having the typical civil rights policy preferences of a Great Society Democrat.
The final strategy is to just sort of throw up one’s hands at the prospect of reasoned debate. Whether the Heritage plan is meaningfully similar to the ACA is just a “subjective” matter, and if someone says that Paul Ryan’s plan to voucherize Medicare is a “variant” of the NHS because they’re both health care policies, who’s to say anyone’s bare assertion is worse than another’s? And, on some level, this is indeed a question that cannot be empirically proven to an absolute certainty. But I fully stand by my accusation of bad faith. Let’s consider a counterfactual. Let’s say the a liberal think tank developed a proposal identical to the ACA, and Bill Clinton used the power of the bully pulpit to ram in right down Congress’s throat in 1993. Barack Obama takes office in 2009 and proposes changing ClintonCare by making employee heath insurance benefits fully taxable, repealing the regulations requiring insurers to cover anything but catastrophic care, throwing many millions of people off Medicaid and devolving it further to the states, and enacting Paul Ryan’s proposal to end Medicare. Would any of the nominally left critics of the ACA be saying that Obama’s proposed changes were no big deal because they’re fundamentally just a minor variation on the Democratic, “Liberal Think Tank X” plan? Of course not — they would be leading riots against the greatest domestic betrayal by any Democratic president in at least a century, and they’d be right. Nobody really thinks that the Hertiage plan and the ACA are meaningfully similar. It’s just that some people refuse to compare the ACA to the status quo ante rather than a superior alternative that had no chance of passing, and saying that Obama just signed the “Heritage Plan” sounds a lot better than being open that your offer to the uninsured and working poor until Congress can pass the Magic Ponies and Unicorns Act of 4545 is the same as the Republican one: “nothing.”
Wow. More later; I’m not sure what I think yet. It’s obviously an overpay, and the last years of the contact will be ugly, but at least Cano is an elite player. If I thought the Mariners could compete in 2014 or 2015 I’d actually be OK with it, but since I don’t, it’s pretty dubious (although I do like the Yankee-screwing part of the equation.)
The World Cup draw takes place at 11:30 eastern on ESPN2 and Univision. A quick preview from the perspective of the US team:
Teams to avoid
Spain: Best team in the world over the past six years.
Germany: It’s Germany.
Argentina: Much more dangerous than in 2010 now that they have a real coach.
Brazil: I think the home team is actually the fourth worst option out of this pot. Brazil hasn’t been impressive in international play for a long time now, leaving aside the Confederations Cup, which is a glorified friendly tournament. Also the enormous pressure on the home team could cancel out much of the advantage of being the host.
Best draw for US: Easily Switzerland. Got a #1 seed because of strong play in qualifying, but was in the weakest European group, and has no history of success in high level international play.
Teams to avoid:
Chile: Will be a tough out in this tournament
Nigeria: Most talented African team
Cote d’ Ivoire: Also very talented and tends to play well in on big stages
Also a team from pot 4 is going to be randomly placed in this group to avoid having three European teams in any group. So a worst case scenario for the US would be something like Argentina, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Best draw: Algeria. Clearly the weakest team in this pot. Cameroon hasn’t been playing well recently but has talent
Pot 3: The US is clearly the toughest team in this pot, which is a sign of how far the USMNT has come. There’s about a 50/50 shot that whatever group includes the US will be considered the proverbial group of death.
Teams to avoid:
Italy: It’s Italy
The Netherlands: They’re going to win this thing one of these centuries
Best draw: One of the Balkans would be best, but there are no weak teams in this group.
Update: Very bad draw for the US, although it’s a close call whether they’re in the toughest group (B with Spain, the Netherlands and Chile is arguably tougher). The US also has the worst travel schedule, having to cover 9000 miles during group play. Also, very easy groups for Brazil and Argentina. Argentina in particular has an apparent cakewalk to the semis. Brazil will probably have to play the Netherlands or Spain in the round of 16.
“The HPV vaccine is considered a life-saving cancer preventer, but is it a potentially deadly dose for girls?” This was the promo for Wednesday’s episode of Katie, Katie Couric’s daytime talk show on ABC. Couric, whose husband passed away from colon cancer, is known for being a relatively responsible journalist when it comes to health care issues, so despite this needlessly alarmist advertising, I held out hope that her show would demonstrate that no matter how adamant a very small group of people are that their health problems are caused by the HPV vaccine, there is no evidence that the HPV vaccine is dangerous. Sadly, my hopes were dashed as Couric spent a half-hour of her show drumming up fears that the vaccine will make you very ill or even kill you.
For at least the ten thousandth time, it’s worth pointing out that “debating” the science on vaccine safety and efficacy is about as fruitful or necessary as debating the veracity of the moon landing. Perhaps next week, Couric will host a thoughtful discussion on children’s dental care. Yes, she encouraged her own children to brush their teeth several times a day, but some people have concerns that deserve a balanced hearing. Most young people who die unexpectedly, for example, have brushed their teeth with fluoride toothpaste [insert "precious bodily fluids" joke here] sometime in the previous 24 hours. That ominous correlation deserves a closer look. Indeed, perhaps other correlations will emerge when we do. There’s no way to know for sure. We’re simply asking questions.
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