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    Let's Not Have a Revolution

    Dear Authorities:

    I would like very much not to have a revolution. I know that you don't want one either. I prefer my change peaceful and democratic. You, I suspect, prefer any changes to be strictly top-down, decided upon by the existing power structure. But neither of us want lawless, spasmodic change. So please take my advice: leave the protestors the hell alone.

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    The Cain Scrutiny

    Hello, GOP primary voters. I know you're feeling upset about the new and graphic charges against Herman Cain. And I know that many of you blame white liberals, like myself, for allegedly drumming up these allegations to keep Cain from winning your nomination. But let me say on behalf of my fellow honky pinkos that this one really, really wasn't us. Because, you see, we would love for Herman Cain to win your nomination. Oh please, please, please vote for him anyway. There's no one we'd rather see run against Barack Obama in the fall. We're willing to beg here.

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    Shakespeare, Oxford, and the 1%

    Last weekend, Hollywood released Anonymous, a costume drama whose promotional materials ask "Was Shakespeare a Fraud?" They're not really asking the question; the movie clearly promotes the argument that it was "really" Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who wrote the plays.

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    No Plan on Wall Street

    It's become disturbingly clear that the people occupying Wall Street, and the centers of several other major American cities, have no plan for the future. No vision. No coherent ideas. No sense at all of what to do next.

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    Farewell, Little Phone

    I recently changed cellphones, for only the second time in my life. I held onto my first cellphone for five dented, dinged and battered years, and did not replace it until it vanished on me entirely -- possibly because it had at long last dissolved into its constituent atoms -- while I was  traveling.

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    Taylor Branch and the Shame of College Sports (Pay the Kids, Already)

    After I suggested being honest about college sports on this blog page, Taylor Branch has made the same case, better, in The Atlantic. With, you know, actual reporting and everything.

    Here's a bit from Branch's lead, as a shoe-advertising king pin talks openly about "buying your schools" in order to increase his market share:

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    Forgetting September 11th

    It's strange to be cajoled, everywhere you turn, to "remember" September 11. It's not like we've forgotten it. Who needs a reminder of this? It's like being told "Remember gravity!"or "Remember oxygen!" I am reminded every day, thanks. It's all around us.

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    Comic-Con and the GOP Primaries

    I spent a lot of the summer driving U-Haul trucks instead of blogging, so I didn't keep up with the early Republican jostling. Tonight, I'm going to do something useful with my time, so watching the Republican debate is out of the question. But the New York Times published a great piece about the Republican's political situation three months back. It simply didn't use the words "republican" or politics. It was a piece about movie studios and Comic Con.

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    Fixing College Football: Pay the Kids, or Don't

    It's college football season, and that means corruption and scandal. (Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about that corruption.) We've actually gotten to the point where Sports Illustrated, not the Chronicle of Higher Education but Sports Illustrated, has called for a major university football team to be disbanded.

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    Palin's Goal: Looking for the DQ

    Although it's been crowded out by actual news, there's been another uptick of interest in whether or not Sarah Palin will attempt to run for president.

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    Libya: That Was Quick

    The Libyan revolution is coming to a rapid end, although there is fighting left to do. Twenty-seven weeks ago, Muammar Qadhafi's armed forces fired on peaceful protestors across Libya. Today, he's in hiding, and a rebel army that didn't exist six months ago, combined with NATO's air power, has managed to take control of most of the country.

    Let me point out a basic truth: that was really fast.

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    Dividing My Books

    This summer I've moved house three times. My job and my partner are in two different states, a common problem for my generation of college professors. I count myself lucky that our jobs are only a few hundred miles apart, which means the highway and not the airport. But keeping a one-person apartment in each place has stopped making sense, so we've bought a house in one city and rented a professional's bachelor pad, a short walk from my office, in the other. Voila!

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    The California Preview

    So, the Iowa Straw Poll went overwhelmingly to candidates who would have been considered fringe last time around, with Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul combining for something like 55% of the vote. Some Democrats are taking this as consolation, on the theory that even if Obama is vulnerable the Republicans will nominate someone too extreme to beat him.

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    What Tools Does Obama Have Left?

    I've thrown away the woe-unto-ye-Barack-Obama post that I started after the debt ceiling debacle, because lots of other people have written it, and truth be told I've written it already myself. Let's take for granted that Obama needs to put up more of a fight against the Republicans, and that compromise and sweet reason aren't working. Here's the question: what to do now?

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    God Bless the National Debt

    Let's get one thing straight: without a national debt, there is no national defense. This has always been true.

    We can all sputter righteously about the evils of borrowing and debt, but a United States government that did not borrow would either have to do without any military at all or else make do with a tiny, ill-equipped military with troops who almost never got their pay, which is what we had before the Washington Administration. Access to credit has always been central to effective government operations, and especially to effective military operations. Gimmicks like "debt ceilings" and "balanced budget amendments" not only threaten the effectiveness of basic, everyday governance but make the government completely incapable of responding to an emergency.

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    Capitalism for Customers

    At the moment I'm in Prague for a conference. It's my first time back in almost two decades, since just after the Wall fell and the Czechs broke up with the Slovaks. I used to walk around this place with old Czechoslovak bills, still in circulation, which had been stamped in one corner with a "C" (or an "S") to indicate whether these were now Czech or Slovak crowns.

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    Happy Fourth of July (Boston Iced Tea Edition)

    I'm enjoying the Glorious Fourth from my front porch, with Old Glory flying and a whole fridgeful of red and blue berries just waiting for some patriotic whipped cream to make them a virtuous Yankee dessert. Later today, my Red Sox will be taking on the British Commonwealth's only big-league baseball team, Toronto. I hope they do the Sons of Liberty proud.

    In honor of the day, a recipe and a bit of historical trivia. First, the recipe:

    Boston Harbor Iced Tea
    1. Brew Darjeeling tea and ice it.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Last White Gangster

    The FBI has caught Whitey Bulger, after a mere sixteen years. The arrest made national news because of the FBI's well-earned embarrassment and because of the mythology around Bulger. As a crime boss, Bulger was not nationally significant. He was a formidable gang leader with firm control over one slice of Boston's organized crime, but it was only a slice.

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    No Privacy. Just Privilege

    The media can't resist talking about Congressman Weiner's penis. That's no surprise. The American entertainment industry exists to talk about penises and the things various penises like. And our news media is only a minor subsidiary of that entertainment empire.

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    Revisiting LeBron (and Retaining Employees)

    So, last summer LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland, leading to a massive outburst of Clevesentment and a widespread belief that Cleveland had burned down among my friends and family who don't live there (and not just among them, judging from the search terms that old post collected). A year later, he's gotten himself to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career.

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