I just bought a shovel at Lowes. Of simple shovels, just a stick and a pointed shovel blade, they had seven different models ranging from $4.98 to $24.98. If you needed a short shovel with a handle grip, they had six models of those (not including the four models of large scoop shovels). And ten models of spades. I love this country.
Apollo posted this at 10:05 PM CDT on Friday, February 29th, 2008 as Amer-I-Can!
If you’re already familiar with The Pioneers of Tomorrow — now featuring Assud the Rabbit following the martyrdoms of Narhoul the Bee and Farfour the Mouse — you can skip the first 5 minutes of the segment below. But you should catch the rest of it:
Assud: Who will host this show if you are martyred? Will 100,000 Saraas take your place?
Saraa: Allah willing, Assud.
Assud: We’ll take them from among the Pioneers of Tomorrow, Allah willing.
Saraa: Allah willing, there are thousands of soldiers of the Pioneers of Tomorrow.
Assud: Martyrdom for the sake of Allah is what we hope for, right?
Saraa: Right, Assud.
Saraa: What do you have to say to the cartoonist who started all this and affronted the Prophet by drawing him?
Assud: He’s a criminal…
Saraa: Yes, a criminal.
[Tasnim, a caller to the show]: I say to him, and to all of them, that no matter how much they try to hide him, we will manage to kill him, to assassinate him.
Assud: Allah willing.
Saraa: I pray that Allah makes the earth swallow him up, so that he serves as a lesson to others like him, Tasnim.
As Geoff has said, what’s amazing about this show is that it manages to be fantastically evil while being fantastically lame at the same time. I mean, wow.
Tom posted this at 1:10 PM CDT on Friday, February 29th, 2008 as Arafatistan
While some have faulted the NYT for compromising the Bush Administration’s warrantless surveillance program (I am not among them), it has done humanity a great service by publishing this intelligence report about The Enemy and their efforts to develop cloaking technology:
Beyond documenting the varieties of [cuttlefish] camouflage, Dr. Hanlon also wants to understand how the animals produce them. At his lab, he studies the powerful visual system of cuttlefish. Cephalopods have huge eyes, and much of their brain is dedicated to processing visual information. They use this information to control their disguises through a dense network of nerves running from the brain to the skin.
The animals use a number of strategies to alter appearances. The skin layers can swell and contract, changing the reflected colors. At the same time, the cuttlefish can also control millions of pigment-filled organs, causing them to flatten like pancakes to add patterns to their skin.
“It’s smart skin,” Dr. Hanlon said. “It’s all wired up.”
Don’t believe it? Watch:
In another video in the report, Dr. Hanlon tells the harrowing tale of how a Humbolt Squid nearly wrestled a camera out of the hands of a member of his elite team.
Goddamn it, can we please go five minutes without a politician invoking the most jingoistic, red-meat, xenophobic, “they’re takin’ r jerbs!” kind of populism? How is it that legislators can justify any kind of new coersion so long as it has the word “Patriotism” in its title and is done for the sake of our “safety”?
NRO has published some of Buckley’s greatest hits; my favorite:
PLAYBOY: Don’t most dogmas, theological as well as ideological, crumble sooner or later?
BUCKLEY: Most, but not all.
PLAYBOY: How can you be so sure?
BUCKLEY: I know that my Redeemer liveth.
Only a false dogma constricts; because true dogma is the truth, it liberates. Buckley understood this.
I’ll have to root around online to find the rest of that Playboy interview. Not many people go searching for a Playboy looking for the interview (let alone the Buckley interview) but then, I’ve always done things differently.
This piece from Stephen Hayes features an extended bit from Obama on guns, from a speech he gave back in December:
“There’s a Supreme Court case that’s going to be decided fairly soon about what the Second Amendment means. I taught Constitutional Law for 10 years, so I’ve got my opinion. And my opinion is that the Second Amendment is probably — it is an individual right and not just a right of the militia. That’s what I expect the Supreme Court to rule. I think that’s a fair reading of the text of the Constitution. And so I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish, protect their families.”
“Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community . . . So when I look at Chicago and 34 Chicago public school students gunned down in a single school year, then I don’t think the Second Amendment prohibits us from taking action and making sure that, for example, ATF can share tracing information about illegal handguns that are used on the streets and track them to the gun dealers to find out — what are you doing?”
“There is a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected that is not mutually exclusive with making sure that we are shutting down gun traffic that is killing kids on our streets. The argument I have with the NRA is not whether people have the right to bear arms. The problem is they believe any constraint or regulation whatsoever is something that they have to beat back. And I don’t think that’s how most lawful firearms owners think.”
Generally, Obama’s done a good job of not making anybody truly POed. Which is why I can’t figure out why he’s taken a stand against gun rights. Try that last paragraph, changing guns to free speech, and the NRA for the ACLU, and then imagine any politician saying it. Either something is or isn’t an individually protected Constitutional right. If it is, then it gets protection. Either Obama has a pretty flimsy view of all rights, or he thinks some parts of the Constitution are sorta optional. And hasn’t the left wing been screaming for seven years now that Bush is shredding the Constitution or somesuch. He’s bragging about lecturing on the Constitution for a decade, yet his views on this subject are either ill-thought out, or frightening. It’s a sign of poor thinking that he brings up kids killed in Chicago, a place which already has a complete ban on handguns.
I never met William F. Buckley—and now I never will. But he lived a full life—and changed the nation he loved for the better.
It is fitting that his last column dealt with his two great passions, language and politics:
In the debate Thursday night, Hillary Clinton pronounced herself glad that Barack Obama had brought up the subject of foreign affairs. The technique is common. It says to the audience that Clinton is aware of a deficiency in Obama and intends to exploit it for all it is worth. The danger is that it gives Obama an opportunity to turn the score on Clinton by saying that he just happens to have made his living for three years by writing on foreign affairs for the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
These verbal traps are widely used and widely counter-used. The best collection of them appears in the last few pages of Fowler’s Modern English Usage, but of course that section is only a small part of his great work. It is worth acquainting the reader with the teeming harvest of Fowler’s analysis.
He offers us, for instance, a list of words owing their vogue to the joy of showing that one has acquired them: allergic, ambience, ambivalent, catalyst, complex, equate, global, idiosyncrasy, protagonist, repercussion, seminal, streamlined.
Buckley—a master of language who incidentally reshaped American politics. WFB, RIP.
It’s remarkable how college feminists will push for co-ed bathrooms (to smash the last bastions of patriarchy) while simultaneously coddling the delicate modesty of Muslim women by excluding men from the gym for hours at a time.
Harvard University has moved to make Muslim women more comfortable in the gym by instituting women-only access times six hours a week to accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.
Men have not been allowed to enter the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center during certain times since Jan. 28, after members of the Harvard Islamic Society and the Harvard Women’s Center petitioned the university for a more comfortable environment for women.
Harvard Islamic Society’s Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary, a junior, said the women-only hours are being tested on a trial basis. The special gym hours will be analyzed over Spring Break to determine if they will continue, she said.
Aljawhary said that she does not believe that the women-only gym hours discriminate against men.
Tom posted this at 1:04 PM CDT on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 as Veiled Threats
The way some people analyze Bible verses for deeper meanings and Straussians scour ancient texts, the One True Conservative™ searches Obama speeches. It’s an interesting twist: in saying that his followers were going to be the ones to save America, Obama was actually criticizing his followers for not saving America already. Though it’s much too clever. Was there anyone in that crowd, or in the self-congratulatory throngs who support Obama, who took the speech as an implied criticism? Or do you think most people in the crowd took it as an affirmation of how they see themselves and their Holy One, as an army of angels arriving from on high to solve all our problems (like fixing my soul)? Seems to me that if you’re leveling a criticism against someone, it’s not effective if they think it’s a compliment. So is Obama an ineffective speaker, or is Sullivan wildly off-base here?
And how on earth do you look at Obama’s proposals and say that it is a “self-help kind of liberalism”? In the modern Democrat party, I don’t think there’s any such thing, except in the following sense: “Big corporations are the source of all your problems, so help yourself and vote for me so that I can use the power of government to beat them back.” His entire pitch hinges on the notion that one can only have Hope and Change from collective action, that we need to be unified to achieve anything. Sullivan is confusing self-help with big government, while the two are actually, if not contradictory, lines pointing in significantly different directions. True self-help has nothing to do with unity, and everything to do with individualism.
But I think the Sullivan post is good as a data point for my empty vessel view of Obama. Obama is everything Sullivan wants him to be, no matter what Obama actually says or does. He praises his followers, Sullivan sees criticism. He proposes increased government regulation, Sullivan sees self-help. And the whole thing seems to reduce itself down to a grouse about the president.
So I’m studying for a class, and I come across this gem from Empire:
In the natural right school, from Grotius to Althusius and from Thomasius to Puffendorf, the transcendental ﬁgures of sovereignty were brought down to earth and grounded in the reality of the institutional and administrative processes.
Sovereignty was distributed by setting in motion a system of multiple contracts designed to intervene on every node of the administrative structure of power.
This process was not oriented toward the apex of the state and the mere title of sovereignty; rather, the problem of legitimation began to be addressed in terms of an administrative machine that functioned through the articulations of the exercise of power.
The circle of sovereignty and obedience closed in on itself, duplicating itself, multiplying, and extending across social reality.
Sovereignty came to be studied less from the perspective of the antagonists involved in the crisis of modernity and more as an administrative process that articulates these antagonisms and aims toward a unity in the dialectic of power, abstracting and reifying it through the historical dynamics.
An important segment of the natural right school thus developed the idea of distributing and articulating the transcendent sovereignty through the real forms of administration.
As a CMC grad, I’m not unfamiliar with the natural right school, but I have no clue what this even means.
Dorothy posted this at 10:25 PM CDT on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 as Grumblin Mumblins