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The Deputy Who Didn't Shoot

People, including the President of the United States, are heaping scorn and shame on the Broward County Deputy who was assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, but who did not go into the building to confront the Parkland shooter. He has lost his job. He will probably never live this down, and may never get over his guilt. I don't particularly admire him, but we should not pretend for a second that he is the reason that lives were lost. I might hope and wish he'd gone into that building, but his behavior was completely normal.

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For Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was my hero. Urusla K. Le Guin is my hero still. She is gone from this world, and only her words are left to us. Those words are marvels.

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The Art of No Deal

As everyone has already noticed, a president who boasts about his deal-making skills, author of The Art of the Deal, has been unable to strike a deal to keep his own government funded. Worse, he actually blew up a deal in the making, and now negotiations from the White House side seem to have all but stopped. This is because the word "deal" doesn't mean what Donald Trump thinks it means. He doesn't want a deal. He wants a "win," which he defines as the other side losing. And that makes deal-making impossible.

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Doctor Cleveland's picture

Your Public Domain Report for 2018

Hey gang! It's time for Public Domain Day again, where we list all of the music, film, books, and other pieces of art leaving copyright today. And here's that list again, just like last year:

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Happy New Year.

Although the Framers of the Constitution only gave Congress power to grant copyrights and patents "for a limited time," repeated extensions have made sure that nothing has entered the public domain in the United States since January 1, 1979. Today makes nearly forty years since that happened.

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Never Trust an Action Hero: Star Wars' Lost Politics

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has hit the cineplex and begun raking in the customary astronomical profits. But the film has some angry detractors among hard-core Star Wars fans (a minority, I think, but a loud one) who complain bitterly that The Last Jedi is unfaithful to the Star Wars tradition. I'm not going to talk about the new movie here, and I'm going to do my best to delete discussion of it in comments (no spoilers!) for at least the next week. But I'd like to talk about the old Star Wars movies, the originals and the prequels, and the ambiguity that George Lucas tried, but failed, to give them.

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The New York Times Wants You to Know How Normal Everyone Is Here at the Applebee's

Here in bucolic Fairfield, California, amidst rolling vineyards and struggling big-box stores, unassuming souls like Norman Bates go largely unremarked. While most Americans would instinctively recoil from his habit of brutal murder and the uses to which he puts his victims’ bodies, here in Middle America he is Norman Next Door, a soft-spoken young man whose manners nearly any mother would applaud, working to keep open a family motel that serves both as symptom and as symbol of the economic anxieties roiling the heartland. Norman has heard murmurs advocating radical change, from Wal-Mart’s gun aisle to the local church’s pork-and-beans supper, and seems guardedly optimistic. Perhaps it will become easier for him to date. “Most girls don’t want to hear about being violently stabbed to death and having selected portions of their remains repurposed,” he says, browsing the knives at the dollar store. Now, he feels, things may be about to go his way.

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What Is Praying?

I have been too angry to write about the mass murder in Las Vegas, and too angry to write about the empty and reflexive offerings of "thoughts and prayers" that now follow every murder like it. But let me take this opportunity to talk about the question of what prayers are, and how they might be different from thoughts. America's general enthusiasm for religion masks deep, sometimes nearly bottomless religious differences, and so many, many people talk about praying, but use that word to mean very different things: sometimes contradictory things. What is praying, anyway?

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Some People Are Not Duelable

I'm not a big proponent of bringing back customs and manners from hundreds of years back. The centuries I study were much worse to live in than this one. But there is one concept from Ye Olden Days that (suitably retooled), I have always found pretty useful. That is the concept of people being "not duelable." I use it in my academic writing. I use it in my daily life. I occasionally teach it to graduate students. And it turns out to be a concept that both the Age of Twitter and the Age of Trump badly need.

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Trump Does Not Care If People Get Hurt

President Trump's impromptu press conference today was a shocking display of his moral depravity and his allegiance to bigotry. There are so many things wrong with it, in so many stunning ways, that everyone is trying to digest it and focusing on different parts. But one particularly scary thing has not yet gotten much attention: Trump shows a nearly complete lack of interest in preventing more bloodshed like this. That is unprecedented, and extremely dangerous.

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The Three Myths of Reverse Racism in College Admissions

Twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in the tiny teacher's room of the little parochial school where I taught, talking to a few other people about the news. The principal's administrative assistant said something about affirmative action letting unqualified black students into Harvard, and I asked her if she thought that was a real worry. She actually gasped. "Don't you?" she asked, in shocked disbelief that I could not be concerned, nay scandalized, about such a well-known social problem.

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Pages

TypeTitleAuthorRepliesLast updated
Blog entryTrump Does Not Care If People Get Hurt Doctor Cleveland141 year 11 months ago
Blog entryThe Three Myths of Reverse Racism in College Admissions Doctor Cleveland541 year 11 months ago
Blog entryThe Gravity of the Office Cannot Change Character Michael Maiello31 year 11 months ago
Blog entryWar and Words and Words and War Michael Maiello111 year 11 months ago
Blog entrySex, Lies and Hate Danny Cardwell41 year 11 months ago
Blog entryWho Hijacked Yahoo Mail? Michael Wolraich3131 year 11 months ago
Blog entryDonald Trump Jr. Really Is Patrick Bateman Michael Maiello52 years 1 day ago
Blog entryPresidential Pardons and Obstruction of Justice Doctor Cleveland62 years 1 week ago
Reader blogSnobs vs. The Ivy League (or, The Question of Bill Deresiewicz's Character) Doctor Cleveland132 years 2 weeks ago
Blog entryAsk the Blue States about Terrorism Doctor Cleveland42 years 4 weeks ago
Blog entryAbout Julius Caesar Doctor Cleveland142 years 1 month ago
Blog entryThe Moral Necessity of the Civil War Doctor Cleveland132 years 1 month ago
Blog entryHow This White House Lies Doctor Cleveland122 years 1 month ago
Blog entryToday in Jedi Studies (Self-Promotion Edition) Doctor Cleveland72 years 2 months ago
Reader blogA Plea to my Fellow Progressives HSG402 years 2 months ago
Blog entryNo Negotiations Without Preconditions Danny Cardwell62 years 3 months ago
Blog entryBrexit vs Breakfast: Food and Free Trade Doctor Cleveland22 years 3 months ago
Blog entryThe Social Silences SHHH! Danny Cardwell372 years 4 months ago
Reader blogFellow Americans: Please Freeze the Cold War Rhetoric Natasha Gural282 years 4 months ago
Blog entryThe War On Public Radio Danny Cardwell152 years 4 months ago
Blog entryDC Spy Novel Roundup: March 4 Edition Doctor Cleveland112 years 4 months ago
Blog entryTake Action on the Muslim Ban: Stop Sessions Doctor Cleveland192 years 5 months ago
LinkTrump: Bannon IN Joint Chiefs OUT on National Security NCD242 years 5 months ago
Blog entryBarack Obama, American Stoic Doctor Cleveland172 years 6 months ago
Blog entryYour Public Domain Update for 2017 Doctor Cleveland42 years 6 months ago

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