Doctor Cleveland's picture

    An Armed Society Is a Bloody Society

    Gun-rights advocates love to quote Robert Heinlein's line that "An armed society is a polite society." Heinlein argued that in a culture where many are packing lethal weapons, people are more careful with their manners because they're afraid of being killed over a minor lapse of etiquette. Heinlein is wrong on his facts; history makes it very clear that real armed societies don't work that way. But what's really ghastly is that Heinlein and his fans imagine his fantasy as a good thing.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Gay Athletes to the Rescue

    Michael Sam's brave decision to come out as gay before the NFL draft has been exactly the story that the NFL desperately needs. 

    Ramona's picture

    Why Self-Help Almost Never Is

    Here’s the thing about self-help:  If you’re reading a book or an article about how to fix your current miserable existence, or listening to a self-described “expert” tell you and hordes of others how to fix it, it’s not even close to being self-help.

    It’s not that these folks don’t want to help you.  They do!  They really, really do!  The goal is to help you to let go and try their tactics on your own. (But not to such a degree that you won’t be buying their next book or watching their next program.)

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Work Is Not Essential To Dignity

    The notion that work is dignity sure seems convenient for those whose fortunes depend on other people's willing labor.  Or, hey, I don't want to make my own sandwich, so grab yourself some dignity and a block of swiss, my friend.

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    Ramona's picture

    Ugly Politics: When the Meme is "The President Must Die" We Have To Pay Attention

     

    At a Town Hall meeting held last week in Oklahoma, an audience member raised her hand and said to Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from the First District,  “Obama is not president as far as I’m concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant.”

    Read that again:  "Obama is not president as far as I'm concerned.  He should be executed as an enemy combatant."  (Video here.)

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Woody Allen's Movies, Career and Me

    I'd love it if we could keep discussions of, um, current events to the other thread.  This one is about the movies...

    You can condition your tastes.  I believe that.  But what I love most about art, high and low, is that it gives us an opportunity to be honest about our reactions to things without the stakes getting too high.  What I love most about comedy is that as an audience member, you can't fake it.  Watching comedy is like having sex.  You can try to be polite but if the other person is paying attention they know whether or not they got a laugh.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    J. K. Rowling Is Wrong About Her Own Books

    So, J. K. Rowling has told an interviewer (the actress Emma Watson), that she paired off the wrong characters at the end of her Harry Potter series. Instead of marrying Harry's right-hand girl Hermione off to his left-hand boy Ron, Rowling has decided that she should have married Hermione to Harry himself. So, Rowling concludes, she was wrong when she wrote the books. In fact, she's wrong now.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Yes, You Can Still Watch Woody Allen Movies and Ignore Nick Kristof

    Nick Kristof is, by his own admission, friends with Mia and Ronan Farrow, two people who have been pursuing their vendetta against Woody Allen for years.  If you follow any of the coverage at all, that much is clear.  Mia and Ronan hate Woody Allen and say so in public, at every opportunity.  For his part, Allen says nothing about them.  Now, Kristof sees fit to publish Dylan Farrow's allegations of childhood sexual abuse by the filmmaker.  Laughably, Kristof covers himself by saying that Allen refused to give him an on the record interview.  He then references Allen's previous denials but

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Economy, Ecology, Efficiency, Catastrophe

    Flying during the winter months has become an increasingly dicey proposition in 21st-century America. I make a handful of work-related plane trips a year, but the ones I do make tend to be for things that can't be rescheduled easily and often can't be rescheduled at all. I'm sure this is true for travelers in other kinds of business, but it's certainly true for academics: if you don't get there on the right day, the thing you were traveling to do may simply never happen.

    Ramona's picture

    Farewell, Pete Seeger. Peace Be With You.

     
    I woke up this morning to the sad news that Pete Seeger, America's folk singer and man of peace, has died.

    He was 94 years old, so we should be grateful that we had him with us for so long.  He was a man whose presence was timeless and inspiring, and the truth is, we needed him.  We need him still.
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Rich, Insecure and Victimized

    It would be lovely to never worry about money and to work only for the love of it rather than the need to care for ourselves and others that drives most of us out of our warm houses and apartments on frigid days where, all things being equal, we would just rather not.  I imagine that if more of us had real choices about how to spend our days that it would be tougher to find somebody to pay to make you a sandwich but that we'd all be happier for it.

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    Ramona's picture

    Ted Nugent: Obama is Still President. I've Let The Country Down

     

    Let's face it, there is no shaming that bad boy, Teddy "The Nuge" Nugent, the "Motor City Madman",  proud

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    The Story of Mike & Christine

    With some focusing recently on the Grantland story of Anne Vanderbilt, I wanted to run this story which I originally wrote in 2010, about the tragic tale of sportswriter Christine Daniels.

    -------

    “I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words. … When you reach the point when one gender causes heartache and unbearable discomfort, and the other brings more joy and fulfillment than you ever imagined possible, it shouldn’t take two tons of bricks to fall in order to know what to do.”

    – Christine Daniels, April 26, 2007

    Ramona's picture

    On Drunks and Skunks And Why It’s Good That Mickey Spillane Isn’t Here To See This

    by 

    You may or may not have heard about the new show on CMT called “Party Down South”(originally called “The Dirty South”, or so the rumors go), a purposely stupid, sexy, boozy 10-week series about a group of 20-something southern rednecks, strangers to one another, thrown together in a house near Myrtle Beach for a month just to see what happens.  The booze, provided by the production company, flows freely with no danger of running out, and the participants are encouraged (I hope that’s it) to out-dumb each other. The program is produced by the same folks who gave us the equally stupid, sexy, boozy–but popular– “Jersey Shore”.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Marriage Is Not An Anti-Poverty Program

    Over at The New York Times Ross Douthat wants to argue that Republicans can fight poverty by fighting single parenthood, which means promoting marriage on the argument that two parent families are more economically and socially successful.  Matt Yglesias at Slate wants to know how small-government Douthat is going to accomplish using the government, of all things, to get people to marry and stay marry. Douthat's plan involves:

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    Ramona's picture

    It's the Ego, Stupid

     

    Yesterday New Jersey governor Chris Christie took 108 minutes out of his busy schedule to do something so unprecedented there wasn't a pundit anywhere in the country who wasn't on top of it, who didn't have an opinion about it, and who, almost to a person, saw it as the beginning of the end of that lovable bully.  No White House for you, big guy!

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Writing Prompts For 2014

    When the political news of the day is about whether or not the governor of New Jersey caused a traffic jam to punish a political rival, I can finally tune out and think about the important stuff like art.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Your Top Ten Anti-Christian Acts of 2013

    The title of this post comes from the subject line of an email that I received from Dr. Gary L. Cass, head of the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission." If you read on, you'll notice that none of the "top ten anti-Christian acts of 2013" represent actual discrimination against Christians. Most of them are about Christians' "right" to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Your New Year's Public Domain Report, 2014

    It's January 1 again, the day when works enter the public domain because their copyright expired at last year's end. And yet again, because of repeated extensions to the length of copyright, nothing at all entered the public domain in the United States. Almost nothing has since January 1, 1979.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Inflation and the Dragon

    One of the hardest things for many people to grasp during the Great Recession has been the idea that inflation is too low. We generally talk about inflation as pure economic evil, something that could never possibly be too low. But it is.

    If you say inflation is too low, some people will bring up the high inflation of the 1970s or, more hysterically, the hyper-inflation in Weimar Germany during the rise of the Nazis as proof that Inflation Is Bad. But that doesn't really make sense. Inflation is bad when it gets too high, but that doesn't make a modest amount of inflation bad. The sun is bad in Death Valley when it's 130 degrees, but that doesn't make sunshine a universal menace. 15% inflation would be a very bad thing, but that doesn't mean 1.5% inflation is a good thing. 130 degrees Fahrenheit is murderous, but so 13 degrees is also a killer. A lot of our public debate about inflation is like trying to treat a case of frostbite while people keep shouting that heat is a terrible thing and then angrily tell you a long story about forest fires.

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