March 31, 2005
Continuing with the FOX News theme of this week, here is another Bill O'Reilly classic:
Bill O'Reilly began a segment of Westwood One's The Radio Factor by saying that "Al Qaeda is not the most intense threat to your freedom -- it's the American Civil Liberties Union." From the March 30 edition of The Radio Factor:
O'REILLY: All right, this hour's devoted to the most intense threat to your freedom in the world. It's not Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is not the most intense threat to your freedom -- it's the American Civil Liberties Union. And I will back up what I say.
I actually think O'Reilly has been getting worse recently, if that's possible. On March 29 he implied that gay marriage would lead to marriage between people and goats, and that he needed bodyguards because of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and "the far left." These comments can all be found at the above link to Media Matters.
And here's the audio version -- highly recommended.
Subject: RE: It's "9-1-1", not "9/11"
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 08:35:34 -0500
Thread-Topic: It's "9-1-1", not "9/11"
From: "Asman, David"
To: "Christopher J. Bateman"
Thanks for pointing that out. I try never to say "9-11" unless referring to the 2001 attack. But it must have slipped out, and I thank you for keeping me straight on the point.
Many of the choices are right-on, and the rhetoric is pretty spiteful. Bill O'Reilly, Michael Bloomberg, and the Olsen twins all get what they deserve. But Carlos D from "bar-band-quality Joy Division retreads Interpol" in the top 20? I take offense.
Is Neel Shah available to comment?
March 30, 2005
Update: He just did it again. And here's some 4/11 on the accepted pronunciation and orthography of 9-1-1 and why it's used by responsible news organizations:
When the 9-1-1 system was originally introduced, it was advertised as the "nine-eleven" service. This was changed when some panicked individuals tried to find the "eleven" key on their telephones (this may seem bizarre and amusing, but it is important to remember that in emergencies people can easily become extremely confused and irrational). Therefore, all references to the telephone number 9-1-1 are now always made as nine-one-one — never as "nine-eleven" (See September 11, 2001 attacks). Some newspapers and other media require that references to the phone number be formatted as 9-1-1; 911 is still used occasionally but less so since the coining of 9/11 to refer to the September 11 attacks. (Wikipedia)
Fox News: inciting confusion and fear whenever possible.
Update 2: I just emailed David Asman about this matter. You should, too, if you've got nothing better to do. You might save a life. I'm pasting my email message to Mr. Asman as a comment to this post.
Oh and stay away from their Angus Steak Burger. Bennat and I tried it and it's disgusting. Gotta like those commercials with the guy waking up next to the creepy king, though.
March 29, 2005
Harriet Klausner is Amazon.com's most prolific reviewer. She reads four to five books a day, and she has 8,649 reviews as of mid-March.
The New York Times (have you heard of it?) is rapidly approaching the point at which some body, some state or non-state actor or organization, will demand that the paper resign from the industry of cultural commentary. They will have to turn in their gun and badge and probably won't get a pension. One very disturbing recent trend is all of these inane articles about how religion is the next big thing. Give me a fucking break. Best example yet: this article discusses the new trend of religiously branded clothing. I'm guessing that the savvy writer Ruth La Ferla is a total idiot because she treats the "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirt, popular among the Ashton Kutcher/psuedo-hipster set, and the "Left Behind" series of books, popular among the fundie/the-rapture-is-imminent set, as two examples of some singular phenomenon. All the while, I'm sitting on the sidelines waiting for journalists to STFU about "spirituality" and all of this other bullshit and finally rediscover and embrace their secularism. Thank "God" for Paul Krugman.
Photo courtesy of the New York Times and our shitty fucking popular culture.
The Official Pat Sajak Website
Everyone likes Pat Sajak, right? He's just so wholesome, so uncontroversial, that's why I like Pat. But check out the "Sajak Says..." section: you'll find a rather unexpected, whiny essay called "Arguing with Liberals, and Why I've Stopped."
What kind of Hollywood celebrity are you, Pat? Wait, does Pat Sajak count as Hollywood? Or as a celebrity?
Via the best humor blog around, Joe's Dartblog -- apparently, Malchow actually values Sajak's political commentary.
March 28, 2005
So, according to Kimball, art history and academic art criticism today is guilty of "hermeneutical hijinx"; it sets out to "taint, adulterate, besmirch," art; and it tries to "short-circuit the pleasure we take in art." There is a "grim, dour...pleasureless quality" to contemporary art history. Art historians "don't like art" and "dont wan't [people] to like art."
Revealing his elitism, Kimball equates the "sexualization" of discourse in academic humanities with the "vulgarization of polite society" that we see in pop culture. Oh dear!
I'll give credit to Kimball for calling out a far-fetched psychoanalytic reading of John Singer Sargent's "Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" by the respected art historian David Lubin. (Lubin's argument hinged on the similarity between the name Boit and the French Boite 'box' and involved lots of phallic inferences.) Psychoanalytic interpretation does get carried away (I have never put much stock in it myself), and I believe Kimball is picking on the smallest fry here -- I would like to see him take on Foucault's reading of "Las Meninas."
But Kimball's next analysis, of Winslow Homer's "The Gulf Stream" and the racial interpretations it has received, struck me as unconvincing and plain narrow-minded. Kimball seems to believe that since Homer (according to him) could not possibly have intended to paint a picture with racial meaning, the picture thus not cannot be interpreted in terms of race. Kimball is apparently not attuned to the fact that a work of art is not just a source of "spiritual refreshment," but also a serious product of its historical and cultural moment, and that relations of meaning necessarily exist in a work of art beyond the artist's conscious intentions -- however those may be ascertained, to begin with.
It's not hard to sit back and enjoy a beautiful painting. It is hard to think critically about it in terms of the cultural relations surrounding it. Majoring in art history would be a waste of college tuition only if Kimball had his way with it.
March 27, 2005
The Passenger is the journal of a generation that doesn’t know whether it’s a generation at all. We’re here to reveal the underground river of commonality that unites us as the world’s first 24-hour, global generation.
We are not “Generation Y” or “The Millenials” or any other marketing epithet. We are the harbingers of a new era when a true global village, yet unborn, will take shape. We are the first to come of age fluent in the Internet, infused with connectivity, never alone. Technology has outpaced our parents, even our older siblings, but the only world we have ever known is the world of constant flux. We therefore have the potential to be the first generation never left in the dust.
This magazine is the first artifact of a multimedia collaboration of the writers, artists, thinkers and leaders of our emerging generation. The magazine and our Web site, iamthepassenger.com, are dedicated to home-grown discussion of our own lives and times. And we’re growing.
We want your stories, your art and your ideas. Answer the call. Write! Contribute! Open up a Passenger bureau on your campus. Together we will assert our mastery of the era of rapid change.
I’m proud to say that several of the guys/gals working on this magazine have the same journalistic roots as myself, which is to say we all worked together on the same high school newspaper, The Falconer. Anyway, The Passenger is certainly the snazziest college publication I've seen, and I recommend that everyone check it out. Props to Josh, Felipe, Jim, Oscar, and Dot for getting involved in a worthwhile project that will certainly enrich our lives. I urge you to also check out the layouts, because I swear this stuff is daring and challenging and artistic and most importantly, successful. Also, check out shurpa.net, where you can see more of their work (and maybe buy a t-shirt). The new Passenger is due out on 4/16. I'll be sure to secure a few copies for us Dartmouth folk, and if anyone wants a copy of Issue 0, send me an email and I'll see what I can do.
March 25, 2005
Artpad is just real neat and clever. It is what photoshop would be if it were significantly weaker, could only start with a blank canvas, and recorded all of your brush strokes and saved them on the internet so that your friends could play back their production at various speeds (see an appropriate sample here).
Beginning in August, the Atlantic Monthly, the legacy ship seeing an advertising turnaround of late, will no longer run fiction. Instead, the magazine plans to offer a newsstand only fiction issue.
The announcement will be made to readers in the editor's note in the upcoming May issue. (Folio)
I don't read The Atlantic Monthly as often as The New Yorker, but I must confess, the fiction section of the latter is the one part I consistently skip. Short stories are just the hardest thing for me to read, for some reason.
March 24, 2005
Just finished Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami's latest. Really enjoyed it until the last third or so. About halfway into the book, I was enthralled.
Critics have often blamed Murakami of ultimate "incoherence," but I treated them pretty skeptically in approaching and reading this novel; after all, this is probably the criticism most over-applied to ambitious, challenging books. For me, the problem with Kafka was not some failure by the author to "tie it all together," but an unraveling of each individual thread. Both of the novel's plots precipitously went from page-turner intensity to slight tedium as Murakami's endearing conversational style got a little indulgent and plain haphazard. If I may put on my own critic cap: Murakami takes unlikely materials and starts building a beautiful, Gaudi-like castle, full of fantasy and primal emotions, but then can't quite realize the dream. It kinda sucks, because I'm not used to being this let down by novels. I also have to agree with Janet Maslin of NYT that the translation bordered on "needlessly jive."
Still, I'd like to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, as I enjoyed Norwegian Wood and much of this novel. In fact, I still recommend Kafka, just read the first half and I'll tell you what happens after that. After all, any book that pulls off tasteful incest and the murder of a character named Johnnie Walker by an illiterate amnesiac who talks with cats is probably worth reading.
See if you had matched the right person to each name!!!
March 23, 2005
''We need to talk about values and not be afraid of them,'' he said, going on to make two biblical references.
In the first he said Jesus' directive to ''love thy neighbor'' didn't mean one could choose which ones to love. He then remarked that Republicans never brought up the scriptural verse saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.
''We should never let anybody tell us we don't respect faith,'' he said.
I just hope he got his Bible references right this time.
March 22, 2005
Dean spoke in a news conference and asserted that Democrats can win in the South and will put up a fight here from now on. He railed at Republicans' fiscal irresponsibility, and then quipped in a fairly pusilanimous voice, "If that's what makes me a Northeastern liberal, then maybe we ought to have a Northeastern liberal in charge of this country."
This is what I love about Howard Dean. To be sure, that comment will piss off a few Southern voters who catch it. But I actually think Dean knows what he's doing here, and even if he doesn't, I think it's good. That welcoming ad by local Republicans plays on lingering Civil War indignation held by a minority of the population, and it also plays on the image a lot of Southerners have of Northeastern liberals as effete. I think Howard Dean's combative fire will not only inspire Democrats but also earn some respect in the South.
Dean will conduct a Town Hall Meeting at Tennessee State University tomorrow (Wednesday) from 11:30 am to 1:30pm, I might try to make it though it's early for me for spring break.
The rich, powerful, private school trustfunders aren't Republicans. It's almost funny to me, as I walk around Dartmouth. From so many angles, the Democrat Party isn't diverse. It is really the most homogenous, monolithic, establishmentarian political group currently extant.
I'd be interested to hear from exactly which angles the "Democrat Party" isn't diverse. 90 % of African Americans voted for Kerry, 10 % Bush. Kerry won the Hispanic vote 56 % to about 41 % [link]. But let's look more broadly at this constituency of trustfunders, or non-Republicans:
The demographer you can thank for this pseudo-scientific breakthrough is Michael Barone. According to him:
Where can you find trustfunders? Not scattered randomly around the country, but heavily concentrated in certain areas. Places with kicky restaurants, places tolerant of alternative lifestyles, places with lots of art galleries and organic food stores and Starbucks competitors. The heaviest concentration is in the San Francisco Bay area, which, [Joel] Kotkin says, has the largest percentage of trustfunders of any major metro area in the country.
Seriously, I hate those places. Barone sounds like a real blast -- you can tell from the tone in the rest of the article he's not down with this scene. I haven't read his Almanac of American Politics 2006 but I hope it's a little more revealing about the methodology and statistics behind its "revelation" than his article is. In the latter, Barone just observes that San Francisco and Manhattan voted predominantly for Kerry, and that they have some of the most trustfunders per capita of any metro area. Any info on how many Republicans in Manhattan have trust funds? In the South? In the country? Or what percentage of the trustfunders in Manhattan, in the South, and in the country, voted Republican, vs. the rest of the population in each case?
So we know where to find these trustfunders. Why are they so bad?
Aware that they have done nothing to earn their money, they feel a certain sense of guilt. At the elite private or public high schools they attend, and even more at their colleges and universities, they are propagandized about the evils of capitalism and globalization, and the virtues of environmentalism and pacifism. Patriotism is equated with Hiterlism.
I'll ignore, even excuse, the McCarthyist rhetoric here. Wouldn't want to use those university classes to actually examine critically what is arguably the most important social force in the world, would we?
I'm sick of the Republican argument that people who are wealthy, i.e. have some power, can't be Democrats, while the Republican Party, the party of even more and bigger special interests, makes the Democratic Party look poor.
As for the composition of the Dartmouth trustfunders... Joe Malchow, I'll make a bet with you. Let's say the loser owes the winner 1/10 of his and his family's assests -- fair and fitting. (I have a feeling it would profit me to take you up on these odds in a game of coin flip, too.) We'll do a poll the best we can, and if the percentage of Dartmouth Republicans with trust funds is less than the percentage of Dartmouth Democrats with trust funds, you win, and I'll also go make sure hell freezes over.
Edit: Took out some of my needless invective, I got a little carried away, I admit.
March 21, 2005
...as a blogger, I can't help but admire the sophisticated conversations going on in these student and recent-student blogs. Assuming similar things are going on at other schools, the implications of the blog revolution for alumni who want to keep track of the full story of what is really happening at their various institutions is really quite profound.
Of course, it seems like only Zywicki's right eye is working well: Joe's Dartblog, Dartlog, the Dartmouth Observer, and the beautifully named Voices in the Wilderness are the blogs he cites.
Partly, this is because there's no comparable network of liberal bloggers at Dartmouth. It's a shame, really. Let me know if I'm missing any, but, other than us, the only extant Dartmouth blog I know of with a consistent commitment to liberal ideas is Free Dartmouth (how about a permanent link to us, guys?), and it's in serious need of more posters.
So go join the distinguished Tim Waligore at Free Dartmouth, he started the damn Free Press after all, and writes for The Nation! Or start your own blog! We're doing our best here, but we're only one blog...
March 20, 2005
"Scenes From the Cultural Revolution"
Last spring I organized college students to investigate the voter-registration records of university professors at more than a dozen institutions of higher learning. I had them target the social sciences. The students used primary registration to determine party affiliation, although admittedly, it's not always an exact match.
Closed doors, closed minds
June 20, 2002
The "working groups" organized sessions to expose and to criticize teachers and divided all teachers into four categories: good, fair, those with serious errors, and anti-Party, anti-socialist rightists.
Student Attacks Against Teachers:
The Revolution of 1966
* * *
In Colorado and Indiana, a national conservative group publicized student allegations of left-wing bias by professors. Faculty . . . were pictured in mock "wanted" posters; at least one college said a teacher received a death threat.
Conservative Students Target Liberal Profs
December 25, 2004
During the Cultural Revolution, Red Guards turned to a more spontaneous medium to denounce alleged counterrevolutionaries. They wrote "big character posters" and posted them outside people's houses or schools to publicly expose their alleged crimes.
Writing and Technology in China
- PDF version of The Playbook
- Searchable HTML version of The Playbook
An increase in income tends to make someone happier, and a decrease to make someone less happy. Being higher in the income distribution is correlated with being happier. But over time, as whole countries get richer they don't get noticeably happier (once they're at a level above about half of current US GDP/capita), and the correlation between average income and average happiness across countries (again, omitting those who are actually poor) is close to zero.
Kleiman's post throws some interesting questions out there and is worth a look. I actually stumbled upon it reading Joe's Dartblog, where you can find a funny jingoistic nonsequitur response fitting right into the exact ratrace capitalist logic being questioned: We Americans work harder because we're "perennially hungry" to "stay on top."
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft will serve Regent University in its new Center for Law and Justice beginning July 1, 2005, as a Distinguished Professor of Law and Government. In his new role, Ashcroft will teach law and government courses for the nation's premier Christian graduate school.
March 19, 2005
I like to think I really get a good dose of the sights, sounds, and smells of America while tackling the interstates solo for days at a time, and driving from New England to the South is inevitably an amusing experience. This trip was not quite as entertaining as some in the past, like when I had no stereo and talked to myself aloud for the whole 20 hours or when I saw all of the following in the Ohio Valley region: 1) a dilapidated "Exotic Juice Bar" that looked a lot more like another kind of exotic bar; 2) a large sign, for what looked like a restaurant, displaying "GENTILE" (genteel?) in large letters; and 3) a single generic brown roadside attraction-info sign reading:
However, I did note the following this time around:
1) A freight truck from Liberal, Kansas. Maybe I'm just uncosmopolitan for not having heard of it before, but I had a good laugh at this one. At first I thought it might be the site of an internment camp run by the state of Kansas.
2) Tennessee's interstate roads. They're smooth as butter. Pennsylvania's suck.
3) Tennessee's education system. It's pretty abysmal. Pennsylvania's is pretty good. I guess it's a values thing.
4) A "Student Driver" decal on another eighteen-wheeler.
5) One Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker. The only one I saw after PA, I believe (other than mine). Even in the South, this is a pretty poor showing. Maybe the reminder is just too painful even for Southern Democrats.
6) One of
these stickers, which is not nearly as cool as
this one. Now I have been very tempted to stick the latter on my car just to piss off all the luxury SUVs (some driven by high-school friends) in Nashville on which they can be found, but I have realized of course that this is the kind of thing that loses a lot of votes for liberals. Plus I don't want my car bashed in.
I'm already looking forward to the drive back up.
March 17, 2005
New York Times film critic A.O. Scott not so subtly molds his review of Melinda and Melinda, Woody Allen's latest, into a polemic against the rising cost of living in Manhattan. I'll comment on a few selections:
"Lingering over dinner at Pastis...Two of the diners happen to be playwrights - perhaps the only two left in New York who could afford to eat at such a restaurant, but never mind..."
[Though Mr. Scott's copy of Zagat's is undeniably dog-eared to mark this pricey Village bistro, the bulk of the Times' national audience probably neither knows about nor cares about Pastis. This complaint about accessibility is itself quite inaccessible.]
"...Mr. Allen's Manhattan remains a fantasy world, which is both a serious limitation and a minor source of delight."
[True, but why not describe things more hyperbolically?]
"Which brings me to the real reason to appreciate Mr. Allen, which is as an unrivaled pornographer. I'm not talking about sex...These days, in any case, the kind of New Yorkers likely to see a Woody Allen movie reserve their true lust for real estate, and the long hallways, high ceilings and open kitchens on display in this movie are likely to keep local audiences sighing and moaning for the full 99 minutes."
[There we are!]
Not to discount Mr. Scott's somewhat justified concern about an increasingly yuppified NYC, but those concerns would be better reserved for the Real Estate section of the Times (which, ironically, was advertised above the film review in a banner ad). At some point, Mr. Scott crossed over from an observation in line with the conventional wisdom about the way in which Mr. Allen aestheticizes Manhattan and into the realm of bitter rant. David Denby's review of the same film in The New Yorker makes mention of said aesthetic and then carefully weaves this into an intricate and global survey of the film. It also refrains from name dropping Pastis.
March 16, 2005
"In addition to Wolfowitz's strong support for the Iraq war, Steve Radelet, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a former undersecretary at the Treasury, said last week the Europeans were nervous that Wolfowitz would prove similar to former World Bank head and Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Radelet said McNamara was accused of channeling aid to nations based not on need but on their support of U.S. policy."
March 15, 2005
March 14, 2005
March 13, 2005
It seems clear that the chained position was a means of extracting information, or at least of making the terrorists uncomfortable as some sort of punitive measure. However, as a result of blood clots and repeated battery, both of the terrorists died while chained. Though the intention was not to kill the men, this does indeed seem to be abuse, and it is a shame.
But as always, to put this in context means to realize that the enemy has done- and would do- far worse to Americans. To realize that war is hell; that none of us know that we wouldn't do the exact same thing in that situation.
I emailed Joe Malchow about his unabashed use of the word "terrorist" to describe the two prisoners who died. The AP article does not apply the term to the two men, nor does it describe their backgrounds beyond stating their ages and the fact that one of them was a taxi driver with a 2-year-old daughter.
Malchow has posted my comment on his blog and replies that "As for my use of the word 'terrorist', I feel comfortable in the assumption that anyone our men in Afghanistan arrest as part of the War on Terror is indeed a terrorist or somehow supports terrorism. It's just a certain level of trust that I am comfortable with." Malchow does not provide any further justification, such as any based on the histories of the torture victims, for using the label "terrorist."
Jane Mayer's landmark article "Outsourcing Torture: The secret history of Americas 'extraordinary rendition' program" alone is enough to demonstrate that this kind of blind faith in "The War on Terror" is terribly wrong. The facts are overwhelming. No, it's not a pleasant thing to acknowledge about your country, but face it, and stop perpetuating the kind of doublethink that allows it to continue: the Unites States is guilty of torture -- not "abuse"; we are killing prisoners here without trial -- on a massive scale, and among those tortured have been, and almost certainly continue to be, innocent people.
There's even a fun poll where you can decide "What's more 'extremist': Chaining yourself to a 500 year old redwood tree to save it, Or clearcutting 90% of our country's forrest in a single century"? Clearcutting seems to be losing pretty badly at this point.
Dartlog now links to some interesting information about how there were complicated issues involving museum ethics and financing that (at least ostensibly) were the primary cause for the cancellation of the original Brooklyn exhbition and, in turn, the Australia one planned by Kennedy. Though I'm a little hesitant to accept that the questionable self-financing of the show was the only factor behind the Brooklyn cancellation, and that other political pressures weren't at work, I just want to make it clear that extenuating circumstances, and a legitimate ethical dilemma, led Kennedy to make the decision to cancel that show. In fact it's obvious he really wanted to bring "Sensation" to Australia.
Dr. Kennedy -- so far, so good, after all.
March 12, 2005
Little did I know when I posted below about The Review's insights into art that the aesthetes at 44 South Main would humor me with an entire issue devoted to architecture at Dartmouth.
The articles aren't online yet so I can't link to them, and I don't think I'll bother when they are online. Suffice to say that if Joe Rago (who writes half the publication these days; rumor has it he has turned a few potential Reviewers off...) and Roger Kimball (managing editor of the quaint New Criterion, whose interview with TDR in 1996 is pleonastically reprinted) had their way with campus architecture, this would be one dreary campus.
Sure, the Shower Towers were an expensive misfire, but we got money to blow, and how many students really think the Hopkins Center is unequivocally "not a success," as Kimball says? Kimball's criteria for great architecture smack of elitism -- more or less just a more archaic, "classically" grounded elitism than the kind he accuses Robert Venturi (Berry, Rockefeller, Cummings) of. Has he never noticed the droves of Dartmouth students heading straight for the the Courtyard Cafe after checking their mail, spending hours there, athletes and artists coexisting and all checking out the diverse exhbitions around them as they wait in line?
What about the sight of the Hop at night, the colors in the Top all aglow for pedestrians outside to see, providing a refreshingly transparent contrast to the spotlit ramparts of Baker across the Green? And how about the view from inside the Top? The Hop might be a little haphazard in its layout (part of its spontaneous charm?) and its curving concrete forms might look a little retro and overdue for a whitewash, but I happen to like this building very much, and I personally don't know one student who feels otherwise. Maybe it's the fact that I have eaten about 900 sausage breakfasts there, but it's the one building at Dartmouth I actually get a little sentimental about. Kimball calls Wallace Harrison, the designer of the Hop, the "Venturi of his day." Well, judging just by the buildings representing the two architects on this campus, I would call this ridiculous. The Hop strikes me as almost childlike for all its sincere revelry in colors and shapes.
I won't get into Berry here right now, but I swear, again, at some point, I'll write that defense of it. It's by no means a "perfect" or even "great" building (and not as good as the Hop, IMO), but it's not as insidious as some of these supposed classicists will have you believe. I mean, Kimball makes it sound like, for all practical ideological purposes, Berry's a cross between a gulag and Disneyland,* or something.
Enough for now. I get worked up about architecture. Too bad the "program" at this school, which I dabbled in, was a disappointment and a half.
Oh yeah, and I'm glad I could provide TDR with their latest ad campaign (p. 18). Seriously -- because I'll admit it: I kinda like The Review. And, architecture aside, Joe Rago puts on a pretty good one-man show.
* As you might know, it's been argued (like in my Urban Geography class reading, by those wacky postmodern theorists) that Disney and gulags share some design traits, incidentally. Cf. Fun Facts of Magic Kingdom's Underground Complex.
March 11, 2005
With that in mind, we began this forum in the hope that it can be a place where all views on the subject are discussed, weighed and valued in a true marketplace of ideas. There are already many sites where debate has been joined, but this one is singular in purpose and devoid of the baggage that comes with other causes. We welcome any and all thoughts regarding Dartmouth, and hope that better understanding of all positions will result.
Slight problem: you can't make comments, and you can't reach the two authors by email, either. So far all the posts concern the trustee election and just circuitously applaud the petition candidates in a completely bland and vapid way.
Don't even bother visiting, actually.
Stewart: "this weekend debuts the new SAT test. It tells whether you'll be a success or a Dartmouth grad."
And I thought producing 500 i-bankers a year would make us cool...
THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you something about the Thrift Savings Plan. This is a Thrift Savings Plan that has a mix of stocks and bonds?
MS. WEBSTER: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, how hard was that to learn how to do that?
MS. WEBSTER: And I chose the safe plan, government bonds. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's all right. Well, not so safe, unless we fix the deficit. But other than that -- (laughter). We're fixing the deficit. (Applause.)
The United States has provided over $100 million in humanitarian support for Cetnral African countries this year, and we have provided $14 million in emergency supprt for humanitarian assistance activities in eastern Chad and the Darfur region of western Sudan. This assistance is part of an allocation announced by the President on June 24, 2004, from the Emergency Refugee and Migrtion Assitance Fund.
$14 million? Holy Shit! That's 0.00065 % of what the federal government spent in 2003. It's $41.42 per person killed in the genocide so far (c. 338,000).
This is piss poor. Again, if you think what the U.S. is doing to stop this is inadequate, go here and here to send more letters to your congressmen, the president, Kofi Annan, etc.
March 9, 2005
I have some background in film. I took several film classes at Louisiana State University and appeared as an extra in one of the dumbest films in the history of mankind (Practical Magic). Better yet, I've watched literally thousands (my best estimate is about 10,000) of films, so I know what I like and I know what to look for.
Not only that, but he's trying to sell his ambiguous number of reviews as a book. Mr. Trapp would not be a first time author, he's also published a novel and, from the looks of it, at least one review on amazon.com. He published the novel through PublishAmerica, which, according to this well elaborated argument, treads "on very thin ice between vanity press and scam." Apparently they are a printer (not a publisher) who prays on inexperienced writers, doesn't feel any need to edit their books, and sends their friends mailings to try to pressure them to buy copies. Sign me up!
The moral is this: never try.
Last week's New Yorker featured a disturbing article ("Blowing Up the Senate") about the "nuclear option" Republicans are seriously considering in order to end all Democratic filibusters on Bush's most right-wing judicial nominees. I'll let Hertzberg describe:
Now it turns out that the filibuster is not the ultimate weapon after all. It’s merely the penultimate one. As Jeffrey Toobin reported in these pages last week (“Blowing Up the Senate”), the real ultimate weapon is—shades of Joe McCarthy!—the point of order. Here’s how it would work. Normally, under the Senate’s famous Rule XXII, it takes sixty senators, three-fifths of the full membership, to cut off debate and proceed to a vote. However, during a debate on a judicial nominee, a Republican senator would ask the Presiding Officer to rule that further debate is out of order. The Presiding Officer—Vice-President Cheney—would so rule. The ruling would be challenged, of course. But because such a challenge can be tabled by the vote of a simple majority, and because there are fifty-five Republican senators, the ruling would be upheld. And, boom, that would be that—a piece of procedural ordnance so devastating in its effects and its aftermath that it has been nicknamed “the nuclear option.”
The filibuster has always been controversial, and as Hertzberg points out, it has been used historically for some pretty atrocious purposes, but doing away with it thus, for the judicial nomination process, would be unprecedented and plain undemocratic. Hertzberg observes that, after all, the current Senate's 55 Republicans represent 131 million people, while its 44 Democrats represent 161 million.
It's no secret that Republicans would use the nuclear option to ram through nominees like Antonin Scalia. Hertzberg excellently calls attention to perhaps the tidbit of news from last week I found most incredible: Scalia, in addition to blasting his fellow Supreme Court Justices for ruling that the execution of minors is unconstitutional and morally indefensible (Only the likes of Iran and China still sanction it), called the Ten Commandments "a symbol of the fact that government derives its authority from God," during the recent case involving two Kentucky courthouses displaying the Commandments.
Somewhat reassuringly, Hertzberg reports that Democrats vow to raise hell if Republicans try the nuclear option. I think those of us not in the Senate should, too.
Edit: Just got an e-mail from MoveOn about this very issue. I'll post it as a comment.
March 8, 2005
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I then, however, read a bit closer and realized that this is a "hipster/culture mag for Dartmouth." Oh, FOR DARTMOUTH! Shit, I need bifocals!
FULL DISCLOSURE: I got many of those links I used to make fun of them by browsing my history. See: It's cool; I'm making fun of myself too.
March 7, 2005
I read this article today in the NYT and found it rather interesting. Take a look at why so many novels with 9/11 as a major plot point will be published this year. Also, take note that Nick McDonell, author of best-seller Twelve, will be publishing his 2nd book, at age 21. Way to go Nick! Even better, Jonathan Saffran Foer, the newest sweetheart of contemporary American critics, following directly in the giant footsteps of David Foster Wallace, will be publishing a book with lots of blank pages and illustrations in it. Seems like he's really pushing the envelope; the only problem is, I’m not sure if the envelope can get any bigger. Didn't Pynchon blow the envelope up 40 years ago? Anyway, before I go any further with my skepticism, I better read the book. Having read Foer's first book, I will say that he and Foster Wallace have one very obvious trait in common (as do many postmodern authors); they both use humor as a defense mechanism against their own, personal nihilistic tendencies (the treatise on this follow in the next few years).
Back to ol' McDonell (no pun intended). Let me reiterate how proud I am that a 21-year-old is having such success in the literary world. As a writer myself, I must that if any 21-year-old should be expected to make such leaps and bounds, it should certainly be McDonell, after all, it’s in the kid's blood. His godfather is the President of Grove Press, and his father is a head honcho at Sports Illustrated. McDonell is such an incendiary author that both Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson (RIP) have blurbs on the back of his first book, praising his virtuosic take on the lives of New York City's elite. Or is this in fact nepotism at its worst? According to one Amazon reviewer that’s exactly what it may be:
As a college student, I felt embarrassed for my generation when I read this miserable book. There are better writers on every block of
Joan Didion came to my school a few months ago and gave a talk. At one point, during questions afterward, I asked her point blank why she gave blurbs to books that it seems hard to imagine she could have had any respect for whatsoever. (I didn't mention Twelve by name, but I haven't noticed her name on many other books, and certainly none as wretched as this garbage.) There was a pause and then she sighed and said, "You get trapped into it. Old friends ask, and you don't want to put a sour note in decades of friendship because you wouldn't write a sentence or two."
Joan Didion is old friends with Nick McDonell's father.
I think this reviewer is on to something.
March 6, 2005
Take a look and have a laugh, though neither the irony nor the validity of China's critique ultimately are funny.
The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004, as stated by the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, March 3, 2005, according to the English People's Daily Online.
"In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community."
I would give credit to the notorious Dartmouth publication where I learned of this document but a) I have reason to believe they've been stealing from us and 2) they didn't milk it for all its humor, so screw them.
We reasoned that the best way to make the most important personal life decisions -- those that don't really affect other people directly -- is to flip a coin.
I just did it for a relatively minor but not insignificant choice I had to make and I'm pretty happy with my decision.
This program will take care of the icons, windows style, background, screensaver, and some more in a matter of minutes. It's shareware.
ObjectDock will give you a cool dock just like OS X's. I find them quite useful and nice to use. Also shareware.
AquaXP.com is a site all about turning Windows into OS X.
Of course, your PC will still crash and get viruses like a PC should.
March 4, 2005
Mayor Oscar Goodman said he was just being himself when he told elementary school students that drinking was one of his hobbies and that the one thing he would want if stranded on an island is a bottle of gin.
Asked by a reporter if he had a drinking problem, Goodman answered, "Oh, absolutely not. I love to drink."
Apparently this fellow's gin swilling, honest-to-kid ways have invited alot of FUZZ from all the NARCS (AKA the press). Just search google news for the following phrases: Vegas mayor love gin alcoholic Bible teddy bear "lie to children" field trip. On second thought, you probably don't need that whole search string. Apparently it doesn't even come up with any results...except for LAUGHS! Yeah so just search: Vegas mayor love gin.
March 3, 2005
March 2, 2005
establishing a chapter of the national organization of Democracy For America (Burlington, VT) for Dartmouth students, in order to pursue a range of projects focused on activist training, candidate recruitment, and sponsorship of progressive academic causes and speakers on campus.
Though it will focus on advancing the causes of social progressivism and fiscal responsibility, and will endorse political candidates who embody these ideals, DFA Dartmouth, or "Dartmouth For Democracy," will be oriented not so much around political parties but around issues and activism, like the greater DFA itself, which was an offshoot of Howard Dean's presidential primary campaign, and somewhat like America Coming Together and MoveOn.org.
I know this because I was at the COSO meeting speaking for DFA Dartmouth.
Sarah Ayres '06 is the founder of DFA Dartmouth.
March 1, 2005
Yesterday I turned 21. It has been a long 21 years. Or has it? I can't really remember my first memory at all, not with any surety... so I really have no way of proving to myself how long I've actually been alive. What a mindfuck eh? With those kinds of annoying thoughts in my head I had good reason to go out and get drunk last night.
Ramunto's was my first stop on this guided drinking tour. Had the 22oz of Long Trail. Pretty good deal! Pretty decent beer! I thought about working at Ramuntos earlier this term. I really needed some cash.
For some reason my companions and I decided to have like three rounds at Molly's. The crowd wasn't so much for me, a lot of suits hanging out after work (it was around 8pm). The lighting, too, was a little cheesy. The "Time to Eat" clock just made me want to vomit in anger. Margaritas were decent. Had a couple of those. Sapphire Martini... well, lets just say I don't really like Martinis. Still trying to figure out why I hung out here so long. I suppose cuz someone else was buyin' the drinks.
Now here was a pleasant suprise. I never "got" Murphy's. The food has always been terrible, the accomodations cramped, and the guy who owns it had the gall to open up that horrible "mexican" restaurant a few doors down. BUT the BAR! My god, it was like heaven. Or London, or something. The dude spoke with this great Irish accent, said I looked 16, and slapped down a gift certificate to come back whenever. Normally that last item would've been a little too TGI Friday's for my taste, but it was totally redeemed by the fact that it looked hand made and was soaked in beer. My companion and I had a pitcher of Heffevisen. Their Jalapeno Poppers are pretty insane. I really can't recommend them to anyone, unless, like, you are a Dragon.
5 Olde was just as disgusting as I expected it to be. SIGN ME UP! Had a Long Island Iced Tea, very palatable. The tender was sweet, too. Of course by this point I had gotten all grand with my planning and was in a hurry to catch a free milk shake at Ben and Jerry's before it closed. I vaguely remember having a conversation with the guy next to us about something Indie or other... some band...?
Ben and Jerry's-
Taking Aurelia's advice, I headed next to India Queen. There was a private party going on. Eight drunk people singing Karaoke. I was not impressed. Frankly I don't like Indian food. And the owner, as "cool" as he might be, still creeps me the fuck out. SO yeah, I was in and out in like two minutes.
Well, that concluded my drinkin' tour. Headed off to play Pong. Its the Dartmouth way. Note that I did not stop at Mai Thai (for I've been drinking there for the past three years, thanks to their "ID Card?" policy), or The Canoe Club (because my shoes click rather than crunch).
I think Murphy's is going to become my spot.
Looks like some alumni are finally stepping up to stop the petition-candidate madness of the vocal conservative minority and dispel the idea that all Dartmouth alumni feel angry and estranged from today's Dartmouth. Way to go.
Thanks to Dartlog for pointing out this promising development.
"Leading financial services firm UBS Investment Bank donated $1 million to the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration for use in the school's admissions office, Tuck officials announced on Friday. Tuck's admissions office will now be named the UBS MBA Admissions Suite in recognition of the grant."
Ha. Apparently this is a widespread phenomenon in business schools, and Tuck already has a lot of rooms named after corporations? I wouldn't know because I've never stepped foot in Tuck (and don't plan to any time soon).
However, I'd love to see this practice extended to the rest of Dartmouth's campus. How about we talk to that Dartmouth alum now president of Vivid Entertainment about renaming Loew Auditorium?