October 31, 2005

Drudge's accusations of racism in Alito criticism not going to fly

Drudge and some others are trying to paint critics of Alito's legal similarities with Scalia (encapsulated in the nickname "Scalito") as "ethnically insensitive."
Before Judge Samuel Alito was even officially announced as President Bush’s next Supreme Court nominee, he met a wave of racial discrimination from numerous corners of the mainstream media and the Democrat Party.
Well, being compared to Scalia should be insulting, but not because of his Italian heritage, and that's hardly what's going on here.

This impassioned DailyKos post (which is really hilarious if you enjoy reading rants occasionally) shows exactly why this is such a huge disconnect. His point: Italian-American is not equivalent to conservative wingnut. (Or if you prefer symbolic language: Italian-American != @$$hole).

Seriously guys, the more you try to play the race card where it simply doesn't fit the facts, the more insensitive you look.

Dartmouth Profs: Sex, Happiness Linked


"Money" quote:
In a recent preliminary and unpublished study, "Money, Sex, and Happiness," researchers from Dartmouth College and Warwick University (UK) found that people who consider themselves happiest are those who are having the most sex.
Does this guy look happy to you?

Dr. James Dobson, grim crusader for the Lord.

More Bayh

Evan Bayh gave a speech on Saturday for a Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Manchester. Clearly a Presidential hopeful, Bayh focused on his record as the governor of Indiana, highlighting his successes in improving Indiana's education system and his success in creating jobs.

He also (go figure) hammered away at Bush's record as President and applauded numerous New Hampshire political figures, including governonr John Lynch. Bayh also stressed the importance of energy independence but his principal criticism of Bush is that Bush has divided the country incredibly.

What does all this mean? Well, it doesn't take much more than common sense to know that Bayh is going to pound on his moderate status and successes as a governor of a red state throughout the primary. He's running the Most Electable campaign model it seems.

In-depth coverage here at Kentucky Democrat.

Trustee Voting Issues Flare Up Again

In today's D, Paul Heintz has an excellent defense of Instant Run-off Voting, citing his own experience as a loser of such a system as support for its reasonableness.

Julie Amstein Cillo, the Chair of the Alumni Council Trustee Nominating and Search Committee, writes in to explain the methodology of picking trustee candidates, refuting TJ Rodgers's implicit allegation that all trustee candidates that weren't petitioners were part of the [sinister] "establishment." Mr. Rodgers, you've been reading the Review too much.

Dartlog takes up the thread and lays into Cillo's explanation and ignores the substance of Heintz's argument entirely. They say, "But two-thirds of the Alumni Council's members are themselves part of the pro-College alumni establishment, being chosen by Dartmouth clubs, "official" minority organizations and by the Council itself. So representatives of the College need not be present to hold sway, as the Council is already solidly in the College's camp."

This knee-jerk hostility to anything that can be called "minority" is sickening. As if all the Asians at Goldman Sachs were part of the College "establishment." (I'm being stereotypical on purpose.)

I have just one question: If Review alumni were offered status as an "official" minority organization and a seat on the Council, would they turn it down because they would all of a sudden be a part of the establishment? O my gosh, would that make them a minority interest???


Malchow today references Maureen Dowd's fantastic fucking article and, unsurprisingly, gets it all wrong. Again, God bless him. Say what you will about him, he is unflappable.

He says:
"Maureen Dowd's much-discussed attempt to be heard from behind the pay wall, in which the New York Times columnist bemoans her spinsterhood, contains a fascinating bit of fact. Dismissing a gift of her mother's (A book about how to attract a husband, wherein one of the suggestions, I hear, was: Don't be the sort of woman who at middle age spends her time writing 10,000-word essays on how boys are mean.) Dowd writes: "After all, sometime in the 1960's flirting went out of fashion, as did ironing boards, makeup and the idea that men needed to be '"trapped" or "landed."'
This leaves the obvious and pressing question: How does Maureen Dowd straighten her clothes?"

1) That shit isn't funny.
2) Is it still okay to make fun of people for not being married if they want to be married? Don't be a dick.
3) Posits that the aim of the essay was in fact to point out how "boys are mean." Not really, Joe.

Joe, if you're going to make fun of articles you don't read, you might want to at least read the conclusions to those articles. Helpfully, Maureen put hers right at the end, where you can find it easily. It says this:

"What I didn't like at the start of the feminist movement was that young women were dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. They were supposed to be liberated, but it just seemed like stifling conformity.
What I don't like now is that the young women rejecting the feminist movement are dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. The plumage is more colorful, the shapes are more curvy, the look is more plastic, the message is diametrically opposite - before it was don't be a sex object; now it's be a sex object - but the conformity is just as stifling."

Wow, that doesn't say "boys are mean" at all, does it? It says something completely different from that! But again, we need to stop with these expectations predicated upon the assumption that Malchow can read and understand words.

Personally I don't always like Maureen Dowd, just like I don't always like George Will or Charles Krauthammer or Tom Friedman. Mostly, I disagree with them from time to time on questions of policy. But I like to think that if George or Charles wrote some deeply personal shit that has nothing to do with those questions, I wouldn't just dismiss it straight up without looking at it. I believe that I am more intelligent than that. For that matter, I believe that I am more intelligent than Malchow. But if he is profoundly lonely at fifty and has the cojones to tell people about it, I'm not going to write some snide shit making fun of him. Nobody deserves that.

Say Hello to My Alito Friend!!!

Samuel Alito nominated to replace O'Connor.

His nickname is "Scalito" as in little Scalia.

This should be interesting

October 30, 2005

When Nature Imitates Politics

The White House, via Huffington Post.

Fox News: Still Racist

Juan Williams

Juan Williams: You can try to minimize it, but the fact that you have Scooter Libby, so involved in justifying going to war, and in the posture of trying to smear a critic of that justification. I think is pretty revealing and pretty damaging to the Bush White House. I think they’re going to have to rebuild a sense of trust with the American People. And that’s why when Brit asked this question, why did he have to lie, he felt the need to lie if he did lie, but by all indications he’s going to say I didn’t remember it quite the way this person remembered and all the like. That’s not very strong in my book, and I think Fitzgerald did a terrific job on Friday. But the reason he felt the need was to make it clear that he was not involved in what really was a conspiracy to defame Joe Wilson.

BRIT HUME: Juan, somebody needs to hose you down.
[via ThinkProgress]

racist pigs

Maybe you have forgotten this kind of incident, Brit, but responsible people haven't.

I mean seriously, maybe Hume wasn't thinking of civil rights protestors being brutally harassed when he said this, but the phrase "somebody needs to hose you down," regardless of context or conversant, should not be something that one professional says to another. It's dismissive, paternal, and just fucking wrong.

Ig Nobel Awards Announced


The highlights:

  • MEDICINE: Gregg A. Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri, for inventing Neuticles -- artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness.
  • PEACE: Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University, in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie "Star Wars."
  • ECONOMICS: Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides, repeatedly, thus ensuring that people DO get out of bed, and thus theoretically adding many productive hours to the workday.
  • CHEMISTRY: Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, for conducting a careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water?

Bob Woodward--All the President's Man

Bob Woodward has puzzled a lot of people with his appearance on Larry King Live October 28th when he started supporting the Bush administration, Libby, the Iraq War, and Judith Miller fervently while casting aspersions on Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, Patrick Fitzgerald and the damage outing Plame may have caused.
First of all this began not as somebody launching a smear campaign that it actually -- when the story comes out I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter and that somebody learned that Joe Wilson's wife had worked at the CIA and helped him get this job going to Niger to see if there was an Iraq/Niger uranium deal. And, there's a lot of innocent actions in all of this but what has happened this prosecutor, [...] this is a junkyard dog prosecutor and he goes everywhere and asks every question and turns over rocks and rocks under rocks and so forth[...]there was no malice or criminal intent at the start of this. Some people kind of had convenient memories before the grand jury. Technically they might be able to be charged with perjury.
(transcript here)

But the crazy part is that Woodward professed to have all kinds of inside information that he simply shouldn't have--like a damage assessment report from the CIA regarding the fallout over Plame's outing. Woodward claimed that there was very little damage, contrary to what has been alleged by Joe Wilson and others, and claimed he had seen the report.

However, (via Atrios) "The CIA has not conducted a formal damage assessment, as is routinely done in cases of espionage and after any legal proceedings have been exhausted" says the Washington Post.

Hang on a sec. There's something funny going on here.

Follow-up to the first column I linked here.

October 29, 2005

Game Arrested; 50 Smirking Somewhere


"Signing a little girl's autograph got me arrested."

Happy Halloween (early)

Check out some of these comics (from Campus Progress and other places)

Right-wingers favorite scary movies (Is Michelle Malkin really that big of a deal?)
How to Make Your Own Crony Costume
The Nihilist Pharmacist

and, from Salon and This Modern World

Random thought about Miers

I was talking with a friend about the reasons Miers was so violently opposed by the religious, anti-abortion right.

It really puzzled me--she wasn't that big of a question mark about abortion, and it's not like Souter regularly attended an actively anti-abortion megachurch, so that analogy really didn't work. It's really unlikely she might have moved from whatever position she already held on abortion while on the bench.

No, what i think it was is that she is a woman. I don't think most of the abortion-rights big shots (who are largely male) really trust a female to adjudicate an abortion case.

Think about it, the anti-abortion position is predicated on a position that women should not have a choice on the matter. I recognize that this position is itself based on the belief that the unborn child is fully human and shouldn't be decided for, but the decision does inevitably cut out the woman's input. And it's not like the culture behind the anti-abortion position typically sees women as clear-headed decision-makers.

I'm not saying this was the factor, but I think it may have been a built-in, subconscious prejudice against Miers from the get-go. "Father knows best" after all.

Official A

If you read the entire text of Libby's indictment, you might have noticed a person referred to as "Official A." From the AP, that mysterious Official A is none other than Karl Rove.

But why the pseudonym? Is it kind of like the "player to be named later" in a trade--i.e. maybe Fitzgerald is not positive it's Rove, and therefore cannot identify him as such, but it is clear that someone did these things ascribed to Official A. By using the variable, Fitzgerald's indictment will hold even if Karl Rove cannot be held to have done these things, I guess.

However, if it is Rove, he seems to be only tangentially involved with the Libby/Miller conversations and instead would be part of an entirely separate line of questioning--the Novak column. Here's what Official A did:
On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (“Official A”) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.
Neither Novak nor 'Official A' are mentioned again in the indictment.

Rotten Apples

A friend of mine has been keeping up with the breaking Appleton mess (commented on here and here) and has the following to say:
And it doesn't even concern me that students care only about their GPAs. I came to terms with the fact that many students care more about their grades than what they're learning a long time ago. What concerns me at this point is that 42 out of 76 students in a Dartmouth class are too stupid to realise that their grading scheme has changed and that by going to a couple of office hours they would be guaranteed an A in the class. These people are concerned enough about their GPAs to lodge complaints, but they're not concerned enough that they'll go to the two office hours necessary to get the professor to "like you" and get the grade that way? I don't understand how people can complain that they thought they were signing up for an easy class (even leaving aside the fact that reviews existed for the professor which said otherwise), but that the professor turned out to be arbitrary, and then lodge complaints about their grades. What is easier than going to two office hours?

If all that matters for a course is that the professor likes you, then just get him to like you and shut the fuck up. How much easier could an A possibly be? Just normal class hours, two office hours to convince him that you're trying, and a passable composition? What classes are these people taking that are easier than this? How did these people get GPAs high enough that this class could bring them down in the first place, if they can't figure out when a teacher is being arbitrary and how to work that to their advantage? I always thought that people who were concerned with GPA would be experts at this, but I guess they're not.

Even if Appleton were playing favorites, it doesn't seem like he was doing it subjectively, if that makes sense. He liked you, as Connor pointed out, if you busted your balls. As long as there weren't students who truly did go all out and still got bad grades, he's still grading on a relatively objective, albeit arbitrary, rubric. But it's scary to me that factoring in effort would be considered by anyone to be arbitrary.

October 28, 2005

More on Appleton

Some dude leaked an email from Carol Folt on the Dartmouth Review comments page.

It says: "The email concerned grading issues in Music 3 taught during the fall 2004 to 76 students (final enrollment). At the conclusion of the course, the Dean's Office received 42 student complaints -- an unprecedented number – from students who received grades from A- to D. As is standard procedure, the Associate Dean for the responsible division (in this case for Humanities) was in charge of the inquiry into complaints. The review was very thorough and took four months to complete. It included: interviews by the Assistant Dean with 28 complaining students who were on campus, review by the Associate Dean of grades on all assignments, review of course information distributed to students (including information about grading criteria) and a discussion between the Associate Dean and the Professor about grading practices. Our investigation concluded that unspecified extra credit had been given to students who came to speak with the instructor about the course and their compositions, regardless of whether they improved their work based on his feedback, and that students had never been told that they could raise their grades simply by meeting with the instructor."

This is bullshit. Of course he's not solely grading based on the actual quality of their compositions, because it's a non-major course, so these aren't going to be music people. But I know Appleton well enough to say this: he's a hardass Prof, but even if you suck at making music you can make up for that by going to see him all the time and making it clear that you're busting your balls. There was no unspecified extra credit. He gave higher marks to the kids he saw putting in more work.

Let's face it, kids, perceived effort makes up a large part of our grades in a bunch of departments (see my music grades, my Japanese grades all freshman year). These fuckers thought it'd be an easy A, and they didn't go to office hours, and they put their shit off till the last second, and he gave them Bs and Cs, and they weren't having that shit, not with mommy and Carol Folt to back 'em up.

Appleton is a Goddamned genius and this is an embarrassment to the college. Those kids should be ashamed of themselves. Fucking pussies.

I'm going to see if he's around later this weekend to go talk to. Seal, maybe I'll come up with something for that pinko paper of yours to run.

Libby--5 Counts

2 Perjury
2 Making false statements
1 Obstruction of Justice

Here's a pdf of the actual indictment, from Fitzgerald's website.

Why Bother?

Apparently, Harriet Miers turned in her revised questionnaire late Wednesday night--the night before she withdrew and supposedly at the very time she was telling Bush she wanted out.

Why? I can't really fathom the rationale--is it possible she was still planning to stick it out but Bush saw the writing on the wall and told her she needed to withdraw?

Anyway, it sums up the whole nomination pretty well--totally mismanaged.

Don't Mess With the Onion

I posted earlier about the White House attempting to prevent the Onion from using the White House seal in their publications.

Below is, well basically their response.

(via Atrios)

October 27, 2005

The Day the Music Died

Dartlog received a copy of the email music prof Jon Appleton sent out to the faculty, explaining why he felt impelled to resign from the faculty and seek employment elsewhere.

Appleton's departure is itself grim, but the reasons for his resignation are grimmer still:
Somehow it escaped me that the average grade at Dartmouth last year was a B+. Thus when I taught Music and Technology in the Fall term of 2004, I gave 30 As, 25 Bs, 15 Cs and 4 Ds (eleven students dropped the course for various reasons during the term). The students who earned less than an A were very upset. They wrote me angry notes such as "you nuked my GPA" and "how could I get a B in a music course?" and "my mother loved my composition."

The students complained to the chair of my department and to the Dean of Faculty Carol Folt. Their parents called to express outrage. I never saw these complaints but I got a message from the Dean of Faculty who asked what "metric" I used to grade these compositions? [...] I offered to show the papers and compositions to the Dean but she never wanted to see them. I thought if something had gone terribly wrong with my teaching that perhaps an outside committee of composers might tender a second opinion. Alas, no administrator ever attended the class nor reviewed any of the student work.

A week later the Dean of Faculty informed the students that anyone unhappy with their grade could have it erased and be given a "credit" for the course.
Wow. Well, we know who has the pull at Dartmouth. And it's not the profs. The pursestrings of the university are always the weakest link, but this is insanity.

This kind of behavior on the part of the Dean of Faculty shows rather definitively that it is not negligence or incompetence, but a serious disordering of priorities that is present in the Dean of Faculty's office.

It is entirely possible that Appleton was actually targeted by Folt, as he published an op-ed in the D questioning Folt's qualifications as far back as November 10, 2004 (and again on March 9, 2005). In that op-ed, Appleton criticized the "small-minded" professors who drove Professor Gazzaniga out of the Dean of Faculty's position. Appleton also partly led an effort to block Gazzaniga's removal. Not pulling any punches, he said, "People who are active and professionally involved in their own work don't have time to sit and bitch about the dean."

Appleton had earlier raised similar questions about the competency of new deans all the way back in late March, 1998, i.e. the turnover from Freedman's administration. Appleton was in fact a critic of Freedman, but was less than sanguine about the huge influx of brand new deans with little Dartmouth experience at that time.

The sum then? It seems Appleton has long been a man who holds his own opinions, and apparently, that doesn't sit well with Carol Folt.

The Way of the Cross: A Good Walk Spoiled

Do you ever feel inspired by God while playing miniature golf?


Well, you could go here, to Golgotha Biblical Mini-Golf, where golfers used to be able to get 18 holes in while sharing in Christ's Passion (that fucking windmill thing would have pissed Jesus off too).

Unfortunately, it's closed now, but you can still go here, to Lexington, where "there are 18 holes inspired by the Old Testament, 18 based on the New Testament and 18 based on biblical miracles. There used to be a tape loop of a woman singing "He's Alive!" as you tee off in Christ's Tomb, but now they just pipe in Christian rock music."

I just would like to point out that these are both located in Kentucky. That is all.

(via metafilter)

Mind control

Acting like it hasn't known about such a thing for years now, Fox News reports that we can be controlled by remote control:
We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was....

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced — mistakenly — that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

What a great bit of self-parody from Fox News! Oh, Fox News.

Miers -- Sunk

Well, I'm not shocked, exactly. Bush is likely looking to keep his own party busy thinking about the next candidate while the Dems celebrate.

But unlike most people, I don't think this is going to improve the next candidate's chances. Open dissension is a factor now in any decision, and that puts the blood firmly in the water. Also, who's got credibility left?

I'd at least like to think that the Religious Right has now somewhat discredited itself with its open hypocrisy--the litmus test(s) are clearly there, and they can't just hide them now. They can't argue for a judge who won't legislate from the bench because the saliva trail is still fresh from their drooling over thoughts of overturning Roe, Griswold, and anything smacking of a woman's right to choose.

The people who supported Miers (and thus will support anyone whom Bush picks) like PowerLiner Scott Johnson now are not really trusted by a large portion of their own party and look like fools to just about everyone else.

As for the "elitist" academics who opposed Miers--Bainbridge et al.--well, to be harsh, the only reason they were being listened to was because their legal opinions gave weight to the purely ideological reasons of the Religious Right. If they oppose a candidate the evangelicals favor or support a candidate the Jesuslanders loathe, their opinions will not factor into the voting of people like Brownback.

Ah yes, the voting. For a second, I was acting like the blogosphere confirms the nominee. Isn't it so that if Bush nominates basically anyone that most of the base supports, that person will go through now sheerly by the Republican majority?

Well, ideally, senators like Specter or even Chaffee might break ranks, but even if they don't, Harriet Miers has put the filibuster back into play. Democrats will have a much easier time filibustering an ideologue now, and the pressure will be ratcheted up on Republicans not to use the nuclear option. Then the strategy is clearly, hold on until the midterm elections. It could work.

And if Bush gets two candidates foiled...pandemonium among conservatives.


Finally. Now can I get a sexy supreme court justice? I mean, I'll settle for "qualified" as the main criteria, but as long as I'm going with wishful thinking...

On a side note, maybe this was intentional? I couldn't imagine why they'd (Bush administration) subject themselves to this, but on the other hand, now if they try to push one of their whacked out psycho crazy-ass right-wingers through, maybe the public will say, "at least she's qualified."

October 26, 2005

Evan Bayh--Insider Scoop

I had dinner tonight with an Evan Bayh staffer who is in town for a bit.

I couldn't ask her right out if the guy's running for it, but I asked her what Bayh's plans for New Hampshire are. She told me coyly that he's been there once already (I knew that) and that he'll be speaking in Manchester on Saturday. She said that this year is primarily one where he wants to see the country a bit and figure out if he has the "fire in his belly" that it takes to mount a Presidential campaign.

She was bullish about his chances if he did run, and she had some good points.

Unlike the many Senators who have failed in running for President in recent years, Bayh has something different--actual executive experience, and executive experience in a red state. He is a fiscal conservative, which will probably play even better in 2007/8 than it would play today. The extravagance of Bush's spending habits may start to hit home by then, and a Democratic fiscal conservative might be working from a unique and tactically advantageous position.

Also, he is charismatic. How charismatic is he? So much so that his lieutenant governor, the late Frank O'Bannon, possibly the least charismatic person of recent Indiana politics was able to effectively ride Bayh's coat-tails in to two terms as governor.

Evan Bayh, ladies and gentlemen. Evan Bayh.

Speaking of t3h Gayness

Anderson Cooper and Shepard Smith got outed yesterday as hot (young?) gay assfuckers. In case you are a thinking individual and thus avoid Fox News like the fucking plague, Shepard Smith is this bug-eyed dude who anchors a newscast or some shit, I don't really know. Here's a picture:


See, his eyes are too big. Look.

Setting aside the hilarious albeit obvious jokes about the hypocrisy inherent to simultaneously being gay and on Fox News (you know the drill: metaphorical cocksucking of Bush/Cheney/crony du jour on the air constrasted with the literal sucking of hot gay cocks), let's talk about the issue at stake here: is it okay to out closeted dudes just because they're Republican? That is to say, is it okay to out those homosexuals who actively strengthen a political party which marginalizes other homosexuals? Let me think about this for a minute and get back to you.

1) From a deontological perspective, Shepard shouldn't be outed- his sexuality techinically concerns nobody but himself, and outing him is a violation of his agency. But deontology is bullshit, so we should probably think about it

2) From within an ontological framework. If outing Shepard smith would advance the gay cause and lead to less people being marginalized, I guess it might be okay. It won't, though, because all it would do is prove hypocrisy, and in order to realize that hypocrisy is bad you have to be able to think logically. If you honestly believe the shit about the gays and the lobsters some asshead wrote in a book two thousand years ago, and you believe it to the point where you can actually HATE someone based solely on that, is it going to rattle your tiny, putrid little world when you learn that some dude you used to watch on the news actually fucks other dudes? No, it won't. With regards to homosexuality (and a lot of other shit, but homosexuality especially) you can point out hypocrisy from here until the Second Coming and it's not going to do shit.

So then the only reason to Shepard is that doing so entertains me personally, which, much as it pains me to say it, isn't good enough. Leave the smug asshole in his closet- if that's where he wants to be, he can fucking stay there. I'm not going to miss him.

Also coming out today: Sheryl Swoopes, reigning MVP of the WNBA, though of her own volition. Her own statement is here. More later. [Andrew]

Review Reviewed Part II

You want a good picture of how completely ridiculous the Review's readership is? Take a look at these comments on the post "Petition Slate Defeated."
Good, glad they went down. In the real world trustees are window dressing and bank accounts... not ideologues and bloggers. In terms of fundraising, what's the effect of letting on some bum law professor instead of an executive? The bum may think he's doing Dartmouth good by fighting his little trustee fights, but he's gotta send his kids to college, and he can't buy new stadium lights, buildings or professors.
Not to mention Zywicki is a horrible writer, as is obvious to anyone who read his petition statement. He's a total C-leaguer, fit for his podunk law school but not for an Ivy League institution.
I agree with his policies, but it's a scandal that a venerable institution like Dartmouth made a riff-raffian like him a trustee. I suppose this is the same logic that will put Miers on the Court over people like Luttig or McConnell. Good job guys.
I hardly need to defend Zywicki (just read his Volokh Conspiracy posts for that) but it needs to be said that this kind of elitism is just plain harmful for the school and self-consuming. I'd like to crack a joke, but the open plutocratic prejudice is absurd enough as it is.

But I had promised a post on Scott Glabe's coverage of the Harvey Mansfield manliness debate. Here it is:

It is clear from reading Glabe’s coverage of the manliness debate that he has never read any feminist theory, which is a problem if he intends to refute it.

Scott gets a little mixed up on what “gender is a socially constructed category” means-—he accuses Professor Travis of both talking about men as if they had an identifiable nature and denying that they have one (by asserting the constructed nature of gender). This would be a keen criticism if “socially constructed” meant “utterly non-existent” and “gender” was perfectly synonymous with “biological sex.” Unfortunately for Mr. Glabe, neither mean what he thinks they mean—“constructed” does not mean “illusory” or “non-existent,” it means “made.” If I say, “My, that building looks constructed,” I am not making a claim about my ability to observe it empirically. I am making a claim about the history of its manufacture. Gender is a manufactured category, but it is undeniably present. It is something you do, and is therefore completely observable and distinguishable from other elements of personality.

Biological sex is different from gender in that it is something that is in most cases innate. While there are some cases where sex is from birth indeterminable or ambiguous, the whole guys’ and girls’ restroom division Glabe employs as a cheap rhetorical trick does work pretty well. And there are undeniably demands on a person for their gender performance to match their biological sex—that’s the situation feminist criticism highlights, not that it seeks to deny. But the point is, there is no single measuring stick for gender—-there are multiple ways of performing gender. Pink popped-collar shirts is one, as is acting like Woody Allen or emulating Sylvester Stallone. Gender performances are recognizable, but not deterministic.

Thus, the question Mansfield asked Travis, “If manliness doesn’t exist, how can it be bad?” is completely answerable. The property of being an ignorant asshole doesn’t exist as an innate factor, but it is identifiable and it is identifiably bad.

Glabe squeaks in delight in a few places where he recounts a showmanly trick or two that Mansfield employs, but the whole article reeks of uninformed obstinance as does the interview with Mansfield, which merely replays the same flaws in understanding Glabe shows us in his article. Well, and Mansfield's musings on education, affirmative action, and gayness, none of which are remotely surprising or interesting.

Stephen Colbert--Too Funny for Our Own Good

Ann Althouse has a post up that looks at Stephen Colbert's new show (which I still haven't seen given that I'm in Glasgow) as only a conservative could--with hope that out of Colbert's hilarious send-up of right-wing news, Americans will actually be drawn closer to the conservative jerks Colbert parodies.

She says:
He's making the right-wing jerk character ... awfully lovable... The self-assurance while wrong is hilarious. But I do think that with some of the political points he makes, the supposedly wrong position isn't all that obviously wrong, and spoken with assurance by a character the audience loves.... Well, who knows what a show like this might do to flexible young minds?
On behalf of concerned liberals everywhere, please, Mr. Colbert, stop being funny. You're hurting the country!

I think Althouse is wrong. The far more likely result of the lovability of Colbert's character is that kids and adults--particularly red state kids and adults--will watch this show, laugh insanely at it, and when they do watch Fox News, they'll subconsciously start comparing it and the anchors to Colbert. And the Foxers will come up short.

Bill O'Reilly will simply look like a loudmouth tool, Sean Hannity will look like a bully, Shep Smith will look so much less suave. Rather than Colbert being a parody of them, the Fox team will look like parodies of Colbert, and they won't look half so good doing it.

As with the Jon Stewart Crossfire appearance, it's the professionals who will end up looking second rate. The fact is, the funnymen are a whole lot better at their job than the newsmen are at theirs, and it will show.

Well, it worked for one person

George Bush's tactic of "any time anything bad is about to happen, has happened, or is happening, I'll just tell some soldiers how well we're doing on national tv" hasn't really been working for awhile now.

But don't tell that to PowerLine.
Tomorrow may bring indictments of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby on charges that can charitably be described as trivial. Tonight, one of our readers urged us to link to President Bush's great speech to the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' group rather than being distracted by the minutiae of the day. Good suggestion. President Bush gave another magnificent speech; here are a few highlights: [long block of text ensues]
What kills me is they actually titled the post "Meanwhile, in the Real World."

Well, we'll find out how real Mr. Fitzgerald's world is today, suckas.

October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks

The Campus Progress blog has this excellent post on the death of Rosa Parks.

Its point is that Rosa Parks is often remembered merely as a woman who had enough, a woman who one day was too tired to give in to the pressures of racism and prejudice and spontaneously resisted. Even if Rosa Parks was only that, she would be worth remembering as an American hero, an icon of courage and the initiator of the greatest American social movement of the past century.

But she is and was more. She was not just some woman who had enough, she was an activist who confidently, repeatedly and assertively resisted segregation and the evils of bigotry. Her resistance was not a momentary thing, it was her life's work.
[I]n the 1940s Mrs. Parks had refused several times to comply with segregation rules on the buses. In the early 1940s Mrs. Parks was ejected from a bus for failing to comply. The very same bus driver who ejected her that time was the one who had her arrested on December 1, 1955...She began serving as secretary for the local NAACP in 1943 and still held that post when arrested in 1955...In the early 1940s Mrs. Parks organized the local NAACP Youth Council...During the 1950s the youth in this organization attempted to borrow books from a white library. They also took rides and sat in the front seats of segregated buses, then returned to the Youth Council to discuss their acts of defiance with Mrs. Parks.(from Aldon Morris's The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement)
Even the Times obituary downplays the systematic and character-defining nature of Mrs. Parks' resistance, preferring to go with the random act of resistance myth:
That moment on the Cleveland Avenue bus also turned a very private woman into a reluctant symbol and torchbearer in the quest for racial equality and of a movement that became increasingly organized and sophisticated in making demands and getting results.
Why is this distinction important? Because Mrs. Parks is an inspiration to all those who fight for justice and her real story deserves to be told.

But even more, it is important to show that activism is not a process marked by rare and precipitous events; it is a constant struggle that must be carefully planned, diligently practiced, and faithfully committed to. Rosa Parks showed us not the value of the individual, but of the power of concentration, determination, and guts on a social level. That should not demean her legend, it should confirm it.

Review Reviewed Redux

The Review is clearly on a decline this year. Compared to the past two years (my only experience of the Review), the arguments are unsubtle, little researched, and underwritten. The issues they tackle are hot topics that seek to do little more than satisfy their geriatric donors.

They take on these controversial issues, but don't look past their own talking points. The only real research comes from their historical resurrections of Dartmouth traditions, which are to journalism what the Moody Blues are to music--tediously long and awkwardly dramatic.

In the latest issue, there are basically two topics worth mentioning besides the aforementioned "Dartmouth was so swell back when our grandfathers were here--please make donations to..." section and the Review sports section, which is the verbal equivalent of an attaboy ass-slap from the waterboy to the quarterback.

The first topic is ROTC, which is covered by Michael Ellis.

He says,
The administration’s error with regard to the ROTC is one of omission rather than commission. While undergraduates’ apathy might be the chief problem, the administration can and should do more to encourage students to join ROTC, especially in light of their staunchly pro-military rhetoric.
I agree wholeheartedly, but I don't agree with why he's saying it. It's a way to get at the Wright administration, an effort which I partly sympathize with, but not by using the ROTC program to do it and by posing as concerned, patriotic citizens who, unlike the administration, "make military service a priority."

Still your furious pen, Mr. Ellis. I haven't noticed the Reviewers taking a particular interest personally in military affairs of late or even of patriotic duty. I'm sorry, clerking for the Bush campaign or the Heritage Foundation is not patriotic, and that has nothing to do with my political differences. It is career advancement; the Review derides the administration for paying "lip-service" to military service when they do little more. This is just one more example of the arcadian "everything was better before Freedman" rhetoric, not an actual argument.

Oh, what? I’m not in the armed services either? Well, I’m not the one who’s using the ROTC program as simply another way to berate the Wright administration. I think ROTC should be supported with full scholarships because I think it would be a valuable way to diversify the student body and give some kids a chance to go to Dartmouth who otherwise couldn’t afford it, not because I’ll confute Jim Wright wherever and whenever I can.

Want proof that that’s what they’re really up to? In the editorial covering the topic, President Wright appears in the first sentence, but military service not until the fifth (and these are long, long sentences), and ROTC not until the 222nd word (of 857, or 26% of the way in).

In addition, Ellis plays fast and loose with vague statistics, obliquely accusing the administration of keeping Southern and Midwestern student numbers down to keep the ROTC program down.
“A culture of hostility to the military is also partly to blame for the lackluster size of the ROTC program. Less than a quarter of Dartmouth’s students hail from the South or the Midwest, regions that typically produce a disproportionate share of the nation’s armed forces. Over the past fifty years, the College has gone from a training ground to prepare the scions of the wealthy northeastern establishment for careers in national leadership to the finishing school for scions of wealthy suburbanites to prepare themselves for a few years of community service to ease their noblesse oblige-inspired guilt before they head off to their "real" career.”
Suburbanite scions—hmmm… know anybody like that, Mr. Ellis, of Silver Spring, Maryland?

The other major topic is the Harvey Mansfield/Peter Travis "debate" on manliness. I'll take that on in my next post.

US Death Toll in Iraq hits 2,000

The Iraqi Constitution was passed today, and I suppose that we should feel hopeful for the future. The draft constitution will not bring any stability to the country anytime soon, however. Despite the overall approval of the constitution, three heavily Sunni provinces rejected it, while the Kurds apparently voted 99% in favor. Meanwhile, a hell of a lot of people are dying.

The death toll of both U.S. Troops and Iraqi civilians has been climbing, and there is no end in sight. Neocon dreams of a cakewalk and quick "mission accomplished" are dashed, and the most optimistic news out of the Pentagon is dead silence. Meanwhile, the case for going to war has completely crumbled, and indictments loom in the near future for members of the Bush administration who tried to cover up their lies.
On Sunday, according to CNN's count of the death toll, there were 1993 troops killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yesterday, 1998. Today, 2000. Of these 2000 casualties, over 25% have been college-age men and women, 18-21 years old. The total death toll for Coalition troops is 2194, including 98 British troops. 15, 220 troops have been significantly wounded in action.

The Army does not publish an updated list, however the most recently listed fatalities by the DoD are Staff Sgt. Richard T. Pummill, 27, of Cincinnati, Ohio, Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Russoli, 21, of Greensboro, N.C, and Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek, 20, of Warfordsburg, Pa. These three men were all Marines, and are listed as killed on October 20th.

The Pentagon has also taken up limited use of the body count again, rattling off numbers of killed insurgents in order to show progress, as if this were a war of attrition. However, eyewitness reports conflict with these statements, saying that many of the so-called insurgents that lay dead after an attack are in fact civilians. While the controversial Lancet Report estimated 98,000 civilian casualties almost exactly a year ago, Iraqbodycount has been able to confirm approximately 30,000 civilian casualties. The true number may go unknown for a long time.

This would be an excellent time to reflect on why exactly we went to war, and more importantly, for Congress and the Pentagon to determine how we can extricate ourselves from this situation in a way that will not further destabilize Iraq.

First Snowfall

The forecast has been wavering over the last few days, and while we were expected to get only rain today, for several hours, the weather changed over to wet, heavy, snow. There's still a decent coating on the grass around campus. I'm sure this will melt off pretty quickly, but some of the local mountains have gotten completely blanketed. Killington has over a foot, and Jay Peak in northern Vermont is expecting up to 20".

Mount Washington has broken its record for October snowfall with 43", and at least a foot more expected before the month is out. (The above photo is from a week ago). I'd just like to say, I'm pretty damn psyched for some powder this winter, and this early storm bodes well for a good ski season.

Starbucks: Jesus is our homeboy

Starbucks to include a Christian quote on their cups.

The quote is, "You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense."

Well, it's pretty generic, but the author of the quote is a Christian minister.

I'm not saying this is bad--I supposes it balances out the Armistead Maupin quote they ran awhile back, "My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long"--but I do hope this doesn't show a new tendency for corporations to start bowing to the Christian Right.

The funny thing is, The NYT seems to think that those who wear the "Jesus is my homeboy" shirts are doing it non-ironically.

I wonder if this quote will show up on the cups at Collis.

Also: Check out the NYT review of Wendy Wasserstein's play "Third," which she worked on while a Montgomerey fellow at Dartmouth.

At least someone in the White House reads a paper

White House orders The Onion to stop using Presidential Seal.

Don't they have more important things to be worrying about?

October 24, 2005

DFP 6.3 up


And since I'm a little vain, I'd like to make this one disclaimer about my article (about the conservative blogosphere's lionizing of Riner): the following sentence in my article is incomprehensible, even to me: "He is like civilizing Daniel Webster, Saint Stephen, and William Jennings Bryan all rolled up into one." I have no idea where the word 'civilizing' comes in. I checked my word document and it's there, inexplicably. All I can say is, I'm not sure why it's there or what I was thinking. Decide for yourselves.

Here We Go Again...

Joe Malchow's been getting a bit of a beating on this blog lately, but honestly, sometimes he asks for it. I'd like to think its a lure to get me posting again.
Here, Malchow posts an email from an alum, saying that the only damper on the events of Sunday was a student collecting petition signatures for divestment from Sudan.

"I opined that the UN should get troops in there. He said that that would be problematic because of cease-fire arrangements between the north and south. I said that it appeared to me that nothing resembling a cease-fire was being observed, and the student said, "Well, it's complicated." And then I almost didn't sign his petition, just because he was a dumb-ass."

The student that this alum talked to maybe wasn't as well informed as he should be, or the alum didn't quite listen to the student. The bigger problem is that when Malchow opines that this is an issue of stopping mass-murderers, as opposed to divesting minor holdings, he's being incredibly disingenuous. Between prior blog posts and personal conversation, Malchow knows better, but he's choosing to spout the mindless, dismissive, reactionary lines that his readers expect.

Regarding the UN, destabilizing the North-South cease fire isn't actually that valid of a concern, for reasons I won't get into. The larger obstacles to UN Security Council action are the oil interests of China and other corporate interests of France that would ensure a veto. As for the cease-fire itself, it actually is being observed. Darfur is in the west - it is an entirely seperate conflict.
Now clearly, the main issue here is the ongoing mass-murder and rape, and the ensuing refugee crisis in Darfur. Nobody expects that divestment by Dartmouth will stop this, and if Dartmouth divests, we're not going to pat ourselves on the back for stopping genocide. However, when certain corporations knowingly and directly enable a genocide to take place, it is Dartmouth policy that we not maintain stock in these corporations. Furthermore, divestment is part of a larger strategy - the divestment of Dartmouth will enable similar actions by other universities. (Harvard and Stanford have, and soon Amherst I hear). More importantly, we have been lobbying and supporting state pension fund divestment movements, which have been passed in 4 states and are likely to go through in nearly a dozen more. Already, the bills passed by Illinois and New Jersey will withdraw approximately $12 billion of funds invested in corporations active in Sudan. This, accompanied by seperate awareness-raising and non-divestment lobbying efforts at the federal level, will hopefully spur governmental action here and abroad, and maybe even independently generate financial pressure on Khartoum.

But I really shouldn't be that annoyed. Disingenuous and oversimplified posts are what Malchow does, and besides, the alumnus in question said he almost didn't sign the petition.

Miers under Fiers

Okay, lame attempt at a pun, but I wanted to highlight these two opinion pieces about the Miers nomination. They are nearly polar opposites in their arguments.

John Hinderaker of PowerLine writes in the WeaklyWeekly Standard that there are basically three reasons to get behind Miers: a) the President nominated her, b) demanding the best possible candidate now will let Democrats demand the best possible candidate later, and c) the fact that Miers has little experience with constitutional law or expertise should count for her, not against her because, for goodness' sake, we don't want all incomparably brilliant people who know the Constitution inside out and devote their lives to studying it actually ruling on it! We want some people that will look at it like a regular person and not a, you know, judge. Me? I want a mechanic looking at my car, not some average joe. When it counts, expertise matters.

A much, much better analysis of Miers is Bill Stuntz's piece in The New Republic, "Harriet Miers and Dan Quayle." His point is that, like Dan Quayle, Miers is not a terrifically bad choice measured historically. But our expectations have risen, and justifiably so. Read the whole thing--it's great.

The point is not that there aren't many people, even outside the world of law, who could make great Justices. The point is, this is a huge decision, and being sure this person will be a valuable addition to the Court and not a (at best) non-factor is important. There is a screening process for determining fitness for the Court--your record doing what you'll be doing for the rest of your life--constitutional law.

It's not the only determiner of fitness, but it is the best one. Barring some demonstrably outstanding attribute (and we have no evidence that Miers has any), senators should judge on the best rubric they have. Miers simply does not clear that bar.

More: Professor Bainbridge offers a thorough thrashing of Hinderaker's column on purely constitutional grounds, which is more than I can do.

Overheard at Dartmouth

I'm not sure if it's funny or just kinda amusing, but there is (and has been for sometime, apparently) a blog devoted to collecting quotes overheard at Dartmouth. Most recent update:
(hitting on an 08)
'97 tuck grad/business lawyer: can you smile for me baby? you have a beautiful smile. you must get losers dumped on you all the time....so is this gonna happen tonight or not?

Also, disturbing news here: The Village Voice has been bought out by New Times, which is a sort of Murdoch lite of alternative weeklies.

Hopefully, all that means is that the rest of the nation's alt weeklies will begin getting content from the Voice (and not the other way around).

Plame update

It's been conjectured (I can't find the link but I think it was Josh Marshall) that the reason Fitzgerald has been pursuing the Plame investigation this confidently must have been that he had gotten a definitive account of the leak very early on from a single source, one that contradicted the early testimonies of Rove, Libby, et al. I think most people agree that, at least early on, it didn't look like there had been a real crime committed, so it now stands to reason that Fitzgerald may have been pursuing perjury or conspiracy charges all along.

That "definitive" source may have been Robert Novak. WaPo gives only a paragraph to it, but here it is:
A critical early success for Fitzgerald was winning the cooperation of Robert D. Novak, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist who named Plame in a July 2003 story and attributed key information to "two senior administration officials." Legal sources said Novak avoided a fight and quietly helped the special counsel's inquiry, although neither the columnist nor his attorney have said so publicly.
(via atrios)

Also, this, from Josh Marshall sounds like Libby is getting sent to sleep with the fishes, though interestingly enough not from a legal standpoint, but a public relations one.

October 23, 2005

Alumni Voting Results--Petition Candidates Fail to Convince Enough Old Men

(via Malchow)
To roughly put it, the results were 250-150 against the petition slate...

In the 2005 trustee election, which is all-media (voting via internet, snail mail, etc.) 24.3% of alums voted—that's 15,334 people—and since multiple votes could be cast, there were 35,107 votes...

[Today there were] between 400 and 500 alums voting. That's 3% of the group who cast ballots in the trustee election...Assuming 450 voters today, that is roughly 0.73% of the 62,000 living alums.
This doesn't settle much of anything given the extremely limited number of voters. It is clearly difficult to project how the voting would have gone had it been extended to people who were not able to come to Hanover this weekend, which seems like a more than reasonable accomodation. Joe believes that this is no real sign of support for the administration's policies.

I tend to agree, but with this caveat--wouldn't the people who were physically present at a Dartmouth Homecoming Weekend usually be the most diehard Dartmouth traditionalists, or at least disproportionately so? Unless we find that the nominated slate found their strongest supporters and flew them all to Hanover, it does seem as if at least a solid portion of Dartmouth's diehards support the administration.

Good Times

You guys have heard about Prussian Blue, right? The little racist girls who sing little guitar-violin odes to White Supremacy and stuff? A couple of things about this band I haven't read so far:

1)Their music is really fucking terrible. Reporters, to go for the ooh-isn't-this-so-scary angle, always talk about how appealing it is. Kids raised on Hilary Duff and Aaron Carter and other glossy shit produced by people who actually know what they are doing and what a compressor is and stuff aren't going to touch this garbage. This is what I am talking about. No es bueno.

Of course, it kind of sucks to be them from a musical standpoint, because you're pretty much unable to use anything that black people invented in your music, and as everyone knows (except Malchow), black people invented everything that is musically good.

2) Their mom, as well as being racist, is dumb. Quoth moms: "Sometimes it is difficult for children who are being raised in our modern multicultural society to comprehend what it was like just a few decades ago, when our towns and schools were almost all White. This is where older books published in the 1950s and earlier can come in handy. I usually find these in thrift stores and yard sales as well as in used bookstores. I remember the time that Lynx and Lamb read about Vasco de Balboa: 'He was the first White man to see the Pacific Ocean from American soil.' So it says in their Pictorial Encyclopedia of American History. They were so excited to actually read a positive reference to their race and its accomplishments that I felt that I had to find more books for them to read just like that."

Yeah, plenty of blond, blue-eyed, Dirndl-wearin' white dudes are named Vasco de Balboa. He wasn't Hispanic or nothin', Jesus no. He was as white as Hispanic guys can be.

April Caede, congratulations: that sounds like something a stupid bitch would say!

Joe Malchow: Can He Read Words?

So Malchow has a little human-interest throwaway post the other day. The headline is "Tests of Archimedes' Solar Death Ray Fail." Text says "The excellent television show Mythbusters has busted Archimedes of Syracuse's infamous sun-channeling death ray."

Now, if you click on that link that is in his text, and I did, you get to a page that says the following:

"More than 2,000 years later, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona set out to recreate Archimedes' fabled death ray Saturday in an experiment sponsored by the Discovery Channel program 'MythBusters. Their attempts to set fire to an 80-year-old fishing boat using their own versions of the device, however, failed to either prove or dispel the myth of the solar death ray."

The headline, being the only part of the post which is factually correct or even at all corcordant with the article, he just copied and pasted.

Look, I know this isn't a big deal, and he didn't spend much time on it, or whatever, but honestly is it that much trouble to read and summarize accurately the articles you cite? Why should we believe this guy is accurately quoting anything he sources? There was no reason for him to even spin this, and he still fucked it up.

In fairness, the article say this:

"Peter Rees, executive producer of 'MythBusters,' said the experiment showed Archimedes' death ray was most likely a myth. 'We're not saying it can't be done,' Rees said. 'We're just saying it's extremely impractical as a weapon of war.'"

And also:

"'MythBusters' also tried to recreate the ray last year, and after failing, declared the story a myth."

But then it says:

"The experiment showed it may be technically possible, but didn't answer whether Archimedes used it to destroy enemy ships, MIT professor David Wallace said 'Who can say whether Archimedes did it or not?" he said. "He's one of the great mathematical minds in history. I wouldn't want to underestimate his intelligence or ability.'"

So what the fuck are you trying to say, here, Connor? This all seems pretty convoluted, and Joe was just putting it up because it's kind of funny, and who cares if he didn't get the facts straight about something this silly anyway? Because it demonstrates the same willingness to oversimplify out of laziness and/or desire to distort that has DEFINED the right-wing media for the last decade or so. Malchow had no reason to distort this, so he got it wrong because he just didn't fucking care about writing down what was true. Too involved! Go for the sound bite! Sum that shit up in a sentence! Make it a foppish, inelegant sentence (this is Malchow)!

Depending on how you cut those citations, you could make it sound like the article made a convincing case for either position on this admittedly irrelevant issue. Malchow is down to pull that shit, and I am not. That's the difference between me and him. That and about four inches of penis.

That blood doesn't look healthy

I've noticed something strange here in Scotland about the wine used at Catholic Masses for the Eucharist.

It's white.

I've been to about three different churches and they've all used white wine.

Normally, churches use red wine so that calling it the "Blood of Christ" doesn't induce a huge cognitive disconnect.

I mean does this look like the "blood" of Christ?

Can anyone offer any explanations for this phenomenon?

World's Top 200 Universities

According to the (UK) Times Higher Education Supplement, Harvard comes in at #1, followed by Berkeley, MIT and CalTech.

Dartmouth (which is a College, not a University) is #138 after such notable competitors as Penn State, Michigan State, UNC, Brandeis, University of Glasgow (where I'm currently studying), Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Alabama, and Tufts.

The data is clearly skewed toward research--a large number of points are awarded for faculty citations (i.e. the number of times a paper is cited in other works). Another questionable emphasis is counting international students and faculty (defined simply as someone teaching or attending outside of their home country)--which skews again toward big universities (as it seems to be a straight count, not per capita), especially non-US schools. Weighting a category that helps the rest of the world disproportionately, though, is not surprising given that this is a British paper, and their mission is likely to make UK universities appear to be on an almost even footing with American institutions.

We are the last of the Ivies, but the first American institution labelled a "college" on the list. But Dartmouth really has no excuse--its peer review score was an 18.

You have to register to see the list here or a (very ugly) copy of them is here.

Vatican Rules Out Married Priests

A face only God could love?

Story here.

As a Catholic, I basically understand the reasons for clerical celibacy--the historical examples of Christ, Paul, and the apostles (many of whom actually had wives, but left them) and the commitment principle--as a priest, your primary and almost only commitment is to God and His Church, but there are equally good arguments why those reasons are insufficient for today's status--the success of married clergy in Protestant and Jewish churches and synagogues and the desperate need for more priests.

Benedict XVI has said he believes the Church needs to grow smaller to become more pure. Perhaps denying many people Communion and the other sacraments because there aren't enough priests to go around is one way to do that. Jerk.

More Catholic news: Texas diocese looks up Miers's baptism & first Communion records--and can't find them. The Archdiocese of Dallas would like to inform you, "Harriet Miers was never a Catholic." She apparently worshipped at Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches. Which means, I think, that her "conversion" was not so sudden after all--she had been searching for religion for awhile and found it in evangelicalism.

In other news, congrats to Notre Dame, the White Sox, and Northwestern. Go Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Fuck you Texas.

October 22, 2005

Harvey Mansfield Gets No Respect (and Deserves None)

Harvey Mansfield, a Harvard prof who recently graced Dartmouth with his quaint arcadianized Victorian notions of gender, has been spilling the same swill on his home turf. (The Harvard Crimson has the coverage here. Oddly enough, when citing Simone de Beauvoir as a primary source of what Mansfield calls "radical feminism," they give her a sex change--> "Simon de Beauvoir." No comment necessary.)

Some feminist blogs have lit up about it--mediagirl, feministing, and Echidne of the Snakes to name a few, and Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online has fired back, saying they went "nuts over [a] sensible talk." [sigh--those hysterical women are at it, again, right? don't they have sensible shoes to be putting on? ]

A Harvard student who actually went to the talk, Cambridge Common [which looks like an excellent blog] said this:
What the Crimson story today failed to note (among many things too long to list in this post), was the fact that most of the audience spent most of his talk holding back laughter and looking at each other with amazed bemusement.
However, this comment on feministing just plain kills:
Manliness... huh? Those who can't do... teach.

What's Right with Kansas

Kansas Court rules that underage sex laws cannot be harsher on gays.

Also, Hit and Run compares Harriet Miers and Fidel Castro. Seriously.

One last thing: I'm really looking forward to the new The Darkness release, which comes out November 29th. This is the description from Rolling Stone:
"The album's first single, 'One Way Ticket,' features a pan-flute intro immediately followed by the distinct sound of someone cutting up and snorting a line of cocaine. 'It's a song of redemption, really,' says singer Justin Hawkins, who spent part of last year in rehab. 'It talks about drugs, the inevitable downward slide into hell, and how it's never too late to turn back.'"

Marriage "in Crisis"

Over at Volokh Conspiracy, there has been a lively debate going on over the entries of a new guest-blogger, Maggie Gallagher, a major opponent of same sex marriage.

Without going into her arguments too much, I'd just like to make a point about the idea of "preserving" marriage, and of marriage being "in crisis." Basically, my point is, if we wanted to "preserve" marriage, we'd actually be preserving a constant state of "crisis." Marriage has always been in crisis, insofar as it has never been completely nailed down in all of its particulars--its purpose, its use, its nature, its reality--much like another major part of life--government, or governance.

Marriage has always been adapting and evolving. Current issues like same-sex marriage, new reproductive technologies, and new lifestyles may put a certain (orthodox Christian) concept of marriage more in crisis than it's been in for some time, but marriage has never been static, just as governance has never been static. "Preserving marriage" as a general and unspecific notion is as ludicrous as "preserving government"--which government do you want to preserve? One that has a long history of oppression, inequality, and injustice? Ok, let's talk...(just kidding--I'll save that conversation for later)

The comparison between marriage and governance has been made repeatedly--John Milton specialized in it, the epistles of Paul and Peter use the metaphor pointedly, it features in novels like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Lolita, Madame Bovary, and The Scarlet Letter (and in a qualified way, The Quiet American), it becomes rather obvious in many of Shakespeare's plays (Macbeth, Richard III, and especially Taming of the Shrew), it's a subtext in many movies (High Noon, Shane, Giant, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Straw Dogs, and The American President come to mind), and it's probably the dominant metaphor in Greek tragedy and (obviously) Lysistrata. Christ's relationship to the church is even described as a marriage. (Leave a comment for any explanations)

And it's a good comparison--nearly every question you can put to the notion of governance applies equally well to marriage--contract vs. covenant? fairness vs. welfare? partnership or leader/led? based on negative or positive rights? how shall property be held? rights vs. obligations? when should it be dissolved? etc.

The point I want to make is simple. It is ludicrous to talk about governance as something with only one purpose and as something that has been perfected, even if only in writing. There has been no perfect image created of governance, and there never will be. Likewise, there has never been a single understanding of what government is for (in practice or in theory), and there never will be.

Marriage, like governance, accomplishes many tasks, and it works best when it is not constrained by fulfilling any one task. It works best when the relationship between the governors and the governed is not static and unidirectional. And it works best the fewer restraints are placed on who can take part in the union.

And like marriage, governance is constantly "in crisis"--and it should be. Marriage, like governance, is a craft, not a science. It is not based on a recipe; it is based on experience and logic. The experience of humanity does not point to a single purpose for marriage, and logic should carry us to a conclusion that we should not give it an imaginary one.

Crisis--yes, please!

[note: I crossposted this at Vox in Sox with another bit that tackles her concluding arguments. Read it here.]

Also, if you haven't read it yet (unlikely as that may be), the Leon Kass/Crooked Timber exchange is amazing. Leon Kass here, Crooked Timber here.
And I'm not sure if this is completely fair to Maggie, but it does make a solid point--the opposition to same-sex marriage is self-interested in the same narrow, non-societal sense that they believe defenses of it to be.

October 21, 2005

Did Riner Just Tell the 09s to Rush the Field?

His op-ed in the D today:
That day, nearly a dozen students ran across the field -- some upperclassmen, some freshmen. As the pack of runners reached the middle of the field, the crowd exploded in admiration. In an absurd way, those students were saluting the Dartmouth community and the community loved them for it. They were proud that day. They felt the support of every student there, as they ran for and after the Dartmouth spirit. The group rushed the field not out of rebellion or hate for the administration or even disdain for the opposing team -- they rushed because of their love for this college
Also, he ends with a paraphrase of the quote Janos ended his Convocation Speech in 2003 (or 2004) with--"I wouldn't recommend rushing the field for everyone, but to paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, it has worked for some." Hunter S. Thompson, apparently, is the new Jesus--"as your attorney, I advise you to streak the field."

What the hell has gotten into this 'man of character?' Advocating "certain incarceration?" Tsk tsk. Someone please tell me if they find Noah pissing on Wright's lawn this weekend.

O Gawd...

Karen Hughes to replace Rove if he is indicted.

I mean, I'd rather have an inarticulate, utterly inconsiderate moron helping Bush think than a shrewd, cruel, and calculating mastermind, but I'd also not like the entire government to collapse due to (further) incompetence.

US News & World Report describes her as "a longtime Bush aide now in charge of Arab outreach at the State Department." If by Arab outreach, you mean the entire Arab world would like to reach out and slap her.

Is there a wordplay on "Plame" left?

Things are starting to come to a boil, it seems. Besides the rumor floating around that Bateman posted about just now, ThinkProgress reports that Bill Kristol told Fox News "there will be one or more indictments in the next three weeks of senior administration officials." (ThinkProgress also has a terrific cribsheet of all the players and their possible involvement with the leak which will help you catch up if you don't know all the details.)

However, Slate thinks it could be pretty easy for Democrats to blow this, or at least get less bang for the buck by shoehorning the indictments into the larger story of how Bush/Cheney fucked up the Iraq War. Here's the relevant quote:
Democrats can refight Iraq anytime, and they should... But the indictments won't be indictments for waging an imprudent war, or slanting intelligence. They'll be indictments for improper leaks. Democrats should be able to pocket the winnings that come from these leak-related criminal charges, and then separately make the case about Iraq based on what's happened in Iraq. If the latter isn't enough to make the anti-Bush argument, pumping Fitzgerald's case up into something it is not isn't going to make up the difference.

Also, it's possible that the email Chris got was a fake. Checkt the whole story here.


Email I received through a grapevine of older, semi-important, well-connected people:

Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 10:01 AM
Subject: FW: Re the war in Iraq

Probably you already know this.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 5:23 PM
Subject: Re the war in Iraq

Not only is the Internet ablaze with that speech of Powell's aide, but it was on the front page of the FT this morning.  Also, a very plugged-in friend of mine in DC sent me this e-mail last night:

At least 8 indictments have been prepared and 10 more are possible. Those whose lawyers have been told letters are coming include Libby, Fred Flights(SP?) Special assistant to John Bolton, and Steve Hadley. A plea bargaining process has begun on Dick Cheney himself. A Rove indictment seems highly probable. A parade of senior republicans senators is pressing McCain to go for VP when Cheney goes, Lindsey Graham is viewed as an alternative. This should hit the fan in next days--sooner rather than later given the way rumors are flying."

I thought Cons Liked Family Guy

The Parents Television Council just released their top ten lists for best and worst prime-time shows for a family audience.

1. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
2. Three Wishes
3. American Idol
4. The Ghost Whisperer
5. Everybody Hates Chris
6. Reba
7. Bernie Mac
8. Dancing with the Stars
9. 7th Heaven
10. Not available.

1. The War at Home
2. The Family Guy
3. American Dad
4. The O.C.
5. C.S.I. (Crime Scene Investigation)
6. Desperate Housewives
7. Two and a Half Men
8. That ‘70s Show
9. Arrested Development
10. Cold Case
This is what the Parents' Council had to say about Family Guy:
This unbelievably foul animated series made a strong come back after being off the air for two years, thanks to the success of DVD sales among young males. The raunchy series follows the Griffins, a blue-collar New England family which includes a martini-swilling, talking dog and a matricidal baby bent on world domination. The show bases its humor on scatological and sexual references (including masturbation, incest, bestiality, necrophilia), and spoofs on popular culture. Institutions such as the church and family are held up to ridicule on a near-weekly basis. One episode this season featured Meg being deflowered by Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live. Parents of young children should be especially concerned because Family Guy's animated format is sure to attract young viewers. Shockingly, since its return in May, Family Guy is the highest ranked show among 12-17 year olds, and the fifth highest ranked show among children ages 2 to 11.

Once again proving why cons have less fun.

Democrats shake up structure of Primary Season

Some members of the DNC Primary Calendar Commission plan to circulate a formal proposal guarding IA and NH's first-in-the-nation stati and add two-to-four caucuses eight days after Iowa, according to commission members...One draft of the plan calls for IA to hold its precinct caucuses on Jan. 14 and for NH to hold its primary on Jan. 29. On Jan. 22, eight days after Iowa, several states would hold caucuses. The plan would also keep the seven days after NH free of events.
Likely candidates for the added caucuses are South Carolina, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Delaware.

(via Hotline)

Also, there is now a New Hampshire Primary Blog. The blog is, so far, pretty moronic and juvenile ("The purple theme in the borders of this blog design is my way of saying that New Hampshire can't ever be colored all red or all blue. And you might also notice that I use purplie text to set off anything that is clearly my opinion, not fact"), but it'll probably collect some decent sources.

However, I am a little worried--the author says s/he'll be using The D as their primary source for candidates' Hanover stops. Umm, that's probably not a good idea.

October 20, 2005

The Trials of Juelz Santana

Capital letters added by popular request. I do it for the lay-deez.

It kind of got overshadowed by Kanye's "George Bush does not care about Black people" comment, and it may be old news to some, but Juelz Santana said something equally rockin' about Barbara B a couple of weeks back that deserves noting.

This was of course after Barb got everyone atwitter by asserting that those people in the Astrodome may actually have been made better off, holistically, given that they were economically disadvantaged and all.

Anyway, this angered Juelz so much that he momentarily stopped working on that album he almost lost cause his jump drive crashed and descended from his roost in Harlem to spit the following at whoever was listening:

"No disrespect and I really don't mean that, but that sounds like something a stupid bitch would say to me," Juelz offered. "For that to come out of somebody's mouth at a situation like this, the first thing to come out of my mouth would be 'Which stupid bitch said that?' I don't have no personal vendetta against her, so for anybody to say that at a time like this, I would reply with that answer like what type of bitch said that?"
from sohh

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Needless to say, a sixteen-year-old potty mouth such as myself can't reasonably be expected to refrain from using "What type of stupid bitch said that?" and "That sounds like something a stupid bitch would say" as catchphrases. And you know I needed some of those.

Semi-relatedly, there must be a 2-for-1 on Haterade down at Foodstop or some shit; I don't see how else you people could stay supplied. I'll tell you what; you keep chuggin' that shit, and I'll keep pimpin' futuristic, and we'll call that a fucking day.

O'Reilly--Now Part of a No Spine Zone

Bill O'Reilly

Accurate labels are always good things.

(This image has not been altered)

(via Think Progress)

Creepy Grinning Elf

In the annals of infamous celebrity mugshots, DeLay's doesn't rank up there with Michael Jackson or anything. I mean, that was a picture that gave us all nightmares. But, to watch the mighty fall so far, well, this one has a special place in my heart. Mustering up all the cheeriness he can, DeLay's I've-got-confidence-in-me mughshot doesn't give him the bad press that it could have, and in some sense, it fits all this "I'm not guilty" spin his office has been giving out.

But seriously, its a mugshot. Tom DeLay is done.

Falcons are badass

Falcon Manuel Presti

This picture of a peregrine falcon scattering a flock of starlings recently won Manuel Presti the 2005 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which is given by BBC Wildlife Magazine and London's Natural History Museum.


(Article--with the other winners)

Libby: Now the Whipping Boy?

"Rove Told Jury Libby May Have Been His Source In Leak Case"

Is it me, or does this seem to be turning into a giant game of Telephone?

Mary Matalin is one of the many Cheney staffers that have been questioned by Fitzgerald--I wonder how James Carville feels about that.

October 19, 2005

yeah i know

three my first day, i'm a fucking diva
not quite a CONSERVAdiva, but i'm hoping

anyway check this for some much-needed truth about the miers nomination and abortion as a distraction.

an excerpt:
"'My fear is that if [the religious right] get their main issues settled, they'll go home. The Christian Coalition represents a lot of white Southerners who used to be quasi-socialists. They used to buy into the whole Democratic Party's class warfare arguments. With a lot of those constituencies, we've brought them along so that they're as good on the tax issue as anyone else.'"- grover norquist, asshole

this should tell you a couple of things: firstly, grover norquist is an evil fucker. second, the evil fucker is telling is in print that the forces of economic conservatism are using lower-class people with strong religious affiliation to vote through economic packages that remove the safety nets from capitalism. there's a lot more at stake here than abortion, although of course abortion is important

read the article it's fucking imperative that you do so

tha beacon

i don't know if this is old news to you people, or what, but does anybody else think it's hysterical that they routinely publish an entire magazine with like five articles in it? on glossy-ass expensive paper?

i don't know if this is on purpose or what, but it's such a performance of their entire worldview- "fuck yeah, we waste space. today i filled up half a page with a pull quote. why not? i can afford it. and the paper? this gloss is the finest gloss in all italy. we thought about newsprint, but it's so, you know, plebian. this is a fucking Magazine. we're fucking Professionals."

cause i'm a h-u-s-t-l-e hustla.
you'll never find a dime that ain't mine, mothafuckaaaa

malchow and teh gheyz

malchow has some new shit up about how the damn liberal media is discriminating against some chastity group at princeton for being homophobic. i shouldn't have to tell you that his headline, "Promoting chastity is homophobic," is meant sarcastically, as if to say that liberals percieve any sex-negative activity to be homophobic, or something. you can't really tell.

you're not going to be surprised that this group is fucking homophobic. it takes all of two clicks on their website to find the following preface to a big ol' heap of religious/pseudoscientific pile of bullshit bibliography: "We have not shied away from religious based arguments - or arguments advanced by religious leaders - as we are open to a good pluralism in which arguments from all vantage points that buttress familial and sexual life and ethics are welcomed."

let's go over the "religious based" (sic, motherfuckers, come on. i thought you went to princeton) argument against homosexuality: in leviticus 18, the bible gets to talking about whose nakedness to uncover and not to uncover, etc, and then drops a bomb in verse 22: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." now, that sounds like a pretty serious indictment. but rewind 7 books back to leviticus 11. in verse 10 he says: "And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: they shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination."

now, essentially, we have a normative position taken by leviticus, or God, or whoever, against "abomination." what constitutes abomination? for one thing, hot, gay assfucking. wait, i mean assfucking AND/OR the consumption of mussels, clams or other oceanic bivalves. at this point it should be pretty clear that the "religious based" arguments against homosexuality are really fucking stupid, and we should move on. perhaps i am betraying my identity as a left-wing cultural elitist when i say that it's okay to go ahead and define any group or individual who gives the slightest bit of credence to the "religious based" arguments against homosexuality to be homophobic, as well as a gibbering fucking moron.

this wouldn't be such a big deal, except there really AREN'T any other arguments against homosexuality. malchow likes to trip on its "biological abberance," but first of all, being biologically aberrant/engaging in "aberrant" behavior should not carry any kind of normative weight as far as whether society should confer rights on an individual. i could go on and state that we're seeing more and more results of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, etc., but i shouldn't have to.

is he really talking about people "hoisting" (or foisting) homosexuality on other people? what the fuck kind of bullshit is that? homosexuality is about a man or woman wanting to fuck an individual of the same gender. the only way that could be "foisted" on me is if a dude tried to rape me. going up to me and screaming "I THINK IT'S OKAY THAT I WANT TO FUCK OTHER DUDES IN THE ASS" isn't foisting shit, except for what should be an obvious statement of fact.

jesus, malchow, stick to writing about foreign policy and shit, where at least your arguments are sort of factually rooted. don't point at some mangled, diluted, politicized ancient text that tells you not to do teh butts3x right after it tells you never, never to eat mussels. from "this modern world" (this is a paraphrase, i'm too lazy to dig up the comics)man: you know what your problem is? you're out of touch with millions of americans who believe that gay sex and abortion are sinful acts which will cause the sinner to burn in hell.penguin: you say that like it's a bad thing.