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photos by Lara Shipley

Entries from July 2009

No Data, Please, We’re Americans

July 30th, 2009 · 8 Comments

In the middle of a group discussion of health care reform last week, an acquaintance expressed puzzlement that the current debate isn’t more heavily focused on international comparisons. Modulo all the important differences—cultural, institutional, demographic, and so on—between the United States and other developed countries, shouldn’t we be spending most of our time weighing the […]

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Tags: Economics · Sociology

Ahem

July 29th, 2009 · 3 Comments

My posting this cartoon should in no way be construed as an admission that I identify in any way with the character depicted. Because I am, in fact, a very serious grown-up writer person.  Who may possibly also dig Batman.

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Tags: Uncategorized

What You Know That Isn’t So

July 29th, 2009 · 19 Comments

They’re a sufficiently soft target that sometimes piling on seems unsporting, but Alex Massie Knapp’s circuitous philosophical “defense” of the Birthers reminds me that it’s not so much what they don’t know that marks them as loons—it’s what they know that ain’t so. Sure, it’s sort of cranky—skepticism beyond the bounds of the reasonable—to keep […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Sociology

I Think What?

July 29th, 2009 · 27 Comments

Look, I don’t expect Mark Krikorian to champion the moral worth of non-human animals—hell, getting him to evince some concern for non-Caucasians would be a miracle—but this is unusually silly: Just so you know, I think we do eat too much meat, and salt, sugar, and fat, because our species evolved to crave these once […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy

Mmmm, Pedantry

July 24th, 2009 · 8 Comments

Quick obnoxious quibble with this: Before I put forth new thoughts, let me clarify that while I do think it is deceptive to clean an always messy living room before a first date — that it is “apt to give a false impression of reality” — I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing […]

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Tags: Language and Literature

Lisa, I Want to Buy Your Rock

July 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Another prime example of the sort of talking point I find grating not so much because it’s specious as because it’s so shamelessly, disingenuously specious: So here’s a little test for our Republican friends to help them decide the status of the nation’s economy. I dare them to answer these questions truthfully, as Americans first, […]

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Tags: Economics

Do You Feel Especially Governmenty?

July 24th, 2009 · 6 Comments

You’ve probably read something like this before: I’d like to talk about government. The conservative/corporate propaganda machine has turned “government” into a bad word. Conservatives portray our government as some kind of enemy of the public. We have all heard the scare stories about the harm done by meddlesome regulations from intrusive big government programs […]

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Tags: Language and Literature

Weigel Birther Smackdown

July 22nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Privacy and Surveillance

Cringely Inducing

July 21st, 2009 · 7 Comments

Sometimes I swear the Times runs articles just to make my head hurt. Consider this op-ed by one Robert X. Cringely, who does actually appear to be a fictional character dreamt up by Arthur Sulzburger (or other, darker forces) to be the instrument of my torment: Microsoft makes most of its money from two products, […]

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Tags: Economics · Markets · Tech and Tech Policy

Chemically Assisted Music Appreciation

July 21st, 2009 · 6 Comments

A confession: Regular readers may be aware that these days I mostly listen to indie rock and modern classical music, but in my younger and more vulnerable years, when I had hair down past my shoulders and routinely sported tie-dyed shirts, I was a huge Phish fan. Over the course of my late teens and […]

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Tags: Art & Culture