math and science dork-filled t-shirts.
No too long ago, I went clothing shopping for my summer trip to Asia. My pants had all gotten holes in (inappropriate) places. I don't know how it happened, but I needed to rectify the situation. I came back, dropping a whole lotta scrilla, and decided I needed new t-shirts to go along with my new hole-less pants. I decided to look online for the most dorky shirts known to mankind. I am a big dork. And I am amazing at internet sleuthing.
Interestingly, I could find online no compilation of cool dorky t-shirts so I decided to help all others like me out there, I would make the first list of amazing math, physics, and engineering t-shirts that don't suck
. There are a lot of them out there that DO suck. Here are some that don't. (The picture below does not include even 1/2 the shirts I found online. Some websites don't let you download pictures.) I decided not to buy any of them because I spent all my money on pants.
#1. Working black hole
and broken black hole
#2. "Then a miracle occurs"
#3. Quantum mechanics to car mechanics
#4. Love at first sight
#5. Lorenz attractor
. And yet another
#6. A good shirt if it wasn't for the back
#7. Math cheat sheet
#8. Universal map
#9. Pi a la mode
#10. A crisp 'pi' shirt
#11. "It's the law" shirt
#13. Engineers only
#14. A whole slew of mathematics shirts
#15. A whole slew of mathematician shirts
(especially see my favories: Euler, Fermat, Gauss, Lagrange, Riemann)
(I want to get this for all my friends at Berkeley)
#17. Dr. Suess meets the quantum world
#18. Wonderful dorky shirts
#19. Feynman is my Homeboy
#23. Let's conjugate
#24. Does this mean I failed?
#25. If I drank, it would be to Tesla
#26. h bar
#27. A super useful formula
#28. Me neither!
#29. Cat and dogs
#30. Good question. The answer: yes
#31. 2b or not 2b
#32. Gee, I'm a tree
#33. All we need is science, we got it
#35. I, too, was on mathteam
#36. Do you have ardor?
whistling through the graveyard
In the National Review
this week, Victor Davis Hanson dismisses
claims that the U.S. Army is facing a critical personnel shortage
. "Our current debate," he writes, "is not properly a military one, since the American armed forces are performing exceptionally well in Iraq and probably have enough aggregate strength to re-deploy to meet foreseeable crises elsewhere. Given our size, material wealth, and underutilized resources, we could easily expand or contract our military as we see fit."
Note from the real world: At the age of 37, I am currently inprocessing as an infantry soldier called back from the Individual Ready Reserve, the first line of the military's inactive reserve force. Joining me here are a captain who has been out of the Army for nine years, a retired lieutenant colonel who looks to be in his late fifties, and a large group of enlisted soldiers who have been living as civilians for several years and are in many instances significantly overweight and out-of-shape. Most of the enlisted, and all of the officers, are in the combat arms. We are being housed alongside a set of barracks being used as a holding facility for soldiers injured in Iraq who are convalescing, limping around the day room and the dining hall with titanium rods where tibias and fibulas used to be.
Note, as you read Hanson's essay (and it's worth reading the whole elusive thing), that he never mentions how
"we could easily expand or contract our military as we see fit." Note also that he seems not to have ever figured out that military expansion has a significant lead time due to training and infrastructure build-up.
So here we have a war hawk who insists that we can march on unproblematically, with plenty of bodies in uniform to do whatever job needs doing. But his diagnosis is obtuse, and his prescription somehow never makes it to the page. Shockingly, we yet again have an empty piece of chest-thumping vagueness from Victor Davis Hanson, who purports to be a historian of war but appears to know nothing at all about the military.
It is precisely because of this careful blindness to military realities that a bunch of too-old, too-fat guys are running around Fort Benning this week, trying to remember how to use weapons they haven't touched or seen for four or five (or nine) years. We'll do the job, however poorly conceived and executed in the layers above; American soldiers have a long history of overcoming their institution and the failures of national politics. But people like Hanson are the problem, even while they think that they're defending what we do.
I feel like I got run over by a truck. For the love of god makes this end.
houston, we have a problem
or, Some capsules burn up upon re-entry.
Apparently what I missed last night, having fallen asleep with my iPod playing and a half a bottle of a decent Syrah in my body (yeah, yeah -- not very hooah
), was the sound of another guy called back from the Ready Reserve who expressed his displeasure by pulling a metal stake out of the ground and going to work on a government vehicle. Then he pulled cold charcoal out of a barbeque and started scrawling swastikas on the sidewalk.
Yes, the MPs were summoned.
It took me an hour this morning to find out why everybody looked so nervous
. And why the CO had come in on a Sunday...
dismissing the habit of dismissiveness
recommended that I read Spreading the News
for my research, and I must say that I have no idea how I missed this book. It is a well-written and fascinating account of the development of the Postal System as a fundamental technology for the development of America through the spread of information to the most remote of locales.
As I was reading this I was struck by his description (repeating something I already knew) of the degree of knowledge about politics common to the citizenry of the early republic. Combining that astute observer of American society Alexis de Tocqueville with statistics about the vast size of the Postal System in America in relation to Europe, Richard R. John makes a convincing case for the importance of paper transmission to American Democracy.
I wonder how the sophistication, involvement, and access to information of modern Americans compares both in relation to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and to modern societies around the world. To what degree are Americans still among the most politically involved worldwide? In what ways is modern journalism more sophisticated than before? How do different media (TV versus print versus the internet) effect how people engage with and understand the journalism presented?
My own personal opinion, based only on anecdotal evidence and not sufficient study, is that print is superior to TV in terms of its ability to engage with an active rather than a passive audience. However, I am very excited by the possibility of the internet to revive interest in written opinion and research.
(2 more blog posts to follow shortly in order to save my eternal soul from hellfire)
So I'm done with my qualifying exams. Chris Bray's opinion: underwhelming, expected. But I will take it as: the most surprising development ever
. Because otherwise it's nothing special. And I think that it must be something special, if only for the fact that I've been using this event to justify eating out almost every night in celebration.
However in my postprandial state, I have to think: "what's the next move?" Or as one of my esteemed professors has put it: "Now it's on to the next thing, but you are allowed to take a few days and be satisfied." I'm satisfied now. But what is the next thing?
I have nothing -- zero, zip, zilch. Hopefully this summer will give me perspective, but I have a sinking feeling it will confuse me more. So I'm here going to type a list of what I like, where I can go:
Complexity theories in the (hard, soft, and social) sciences
History of risk
Visualization in science (especially with complexity)
Practices involving uncertainty in the sciences (error analyses)
Traveling (and translating) information
Institutional history (libraries, universities, societies)
Rhetorics of science
Pedagogical practices (including reading)
Mythmaking in the sciences (such as the creation of 'genius')
Public perceptions of science (newspapers, museums, high school classrooms, magazines, "popularizations")
"Failures" in science
Is there a single topic that traverses these? I think perhaps a suitable framing of complexity theory could do this? I don't know. I'll keep you updated as things get refined and crystallized.
UPDATE: I'm trying to catch up on some old reading, and came across a keynote address by James Secord, author of the best piece of scholarship I've encountered since coming to grad school
. I will spare you any gushing beyond that, but his address has compelled me to look for the "big picture" view of the discipline (of the history of science) -- a picture that I think I lost or perhaps never acquired. Since coming to graduate school, we get pieces here and there of the historiography of the history of science, but it never seemed to hang together. I've decided to, upon my return stateside, to construct my own historiography of the discipline. Not only will this help me to understand where the scholarship has gone, but it will inform me to where it could and should go. As has been made clear to me in the past 4 months: competing visions of the past reveal competing visions of the future. I want to find out where I need to go methodologically, and more importantly, why
Secord notes in his address:
"If labels are useful in identifying emerging schools, they can also encourage new approaches to harden into orthodoxies. In this regard, the diversity and empirical grounding of most historical work has been a saving grace, especially compared with literary and cultural studies. But there are difficulties everyone has had to grapple with in practicing, reading, or challenging this form of history. One is the tendency to see the localizing of a piece of scientific work as a worthwhile end in itself. The difficulties of dealing with science as an object of inquiry have required attention to epistemological and ontological issues—a necessary ground-clearing that has been easy to mistake for actual history. The process of situating knowledge ends up as a conclusion rather than a method: the same implicit epistemological lesson, that knowledge is ineluctably local and variable, is hammered home again and again. A second danger is that an emphasis on the local contexts of science can lead to parochial antiquarianism. We think we are making grand epistemological conquests, when in fact we are studying a few practitioners of a relatively esoteric activity, whose wider importance is assumed rather than demonstrated. The best work in our field is valued for its methodological sophistication and exploration of fresh topics, but it is often seen as being exceedingly narrow." (emphasis added)
The idea of simply situating knowledge just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. It is useful, but not as an end in itself. I had tricked myself into thinking perhaps it was. I read book upon book, article upon article, whose thesis could be reduced to "science is locally situated." Great. But so what? But the conclusion that knowledge is historically and culturally situated is no longer interesting but hackneyed. And Secord is right in saying that this conclusion is not enough anymore. Inclusion of more localities, and, in Secord's works, focusing on "knowledge in transit" does appear a logical and plausible direction to go. Instead of studying the nodes of a graph, perhaps what is more important are the lines that connect them. These solid lines provide the structure.
This structure, the infrastructure (however broadly or narrowly we want to construe it), is where the future of the discipline may be -- the next historiographic turn. It lies invisible in the narratives, but needs to be "inverted" -- brought to the forefront. Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Star do good work on this in Sorting Things Out
. Their notion of "infrastructural inversion" seems another way to achieve Secord's vision. Knolwedge treated as kinetic (dynamic) not potential (static). Transit not context.
 The citation is: James A. Secord, "Knowedge in Transit," Isis 95 (4): 654-672
 To be totally and completely dorky, nothing new, it is analogous to a shift from Lagrange's system of Newton's laws to Thomson's system of Newton's laws.
I'm alive and well. Fort Benning is disturbingly familiar -- it feels like I never left. And yes, the army is still impressively inefficient, arbitrary, and wasteful, in case anyone was wondering.
Congratulations to Sam on passing exams, which ranks as the least surprising development ever.
And it's done
So I have not only completed my qualifying exams, but I passed them!
The short email informing me of this news ended with this:
You should probably get in touch with the various professors in due course to hear more detailed comments, but there's no hurry on that.
I find this to be a horrific idea for two very important reasons:
(1) I don't ever want to revisit the horrific experience of these exams again. It would be like running over a squirrel, feeling terrible about it, and then running over it again for good measure.
(2) What good would talking with professors do with regards to the exam? With 2 hours to answer an essay question, I know my answers are bad. I don't need someone to tell me that.
I can now celebrate by going to a coffeeshop and doing work. Yes, I think it's time for my nose to return to the grind.
A fond farewell
I expect to see you back in LA in 500 odd days. You make us all proud. Care packages, once I'm back stateside, will be plentiful, as will department gossip.
and thanks for all the fish
Flying to Georgia tomorrow morning, and will be at Fort Benning by evening. No idea what will happen from there, or what kind of timeline it will happen on. Never end a sentence with a preposition.
So it may be while, or it may not be a while, before I post again. I expect the former, even though I can't really define what it means. But so long, for now, and thanks to both of our readers. I look forward to getting back to blogging, and everything else that goes with my regular old life. Good luck to Sam, Michael, and Linus, and all that jazz.
When going through my old journal, I found this great little paragraph that I thought I would put up for Chris. I don't know why but I'm getting all sentimental, all of a sudden. Damnit. I hate this. I'm usually so good at not having feelings.
Dated: 13 July 2004then to the getty with us, no time for dawdling. from 11am until 4pm we studied. pangs of consciousness hit chris for leaving the dogs of the people his was housesitting alone and we left. at this study session i did some outlining and read some of samuel p. hays' "the response to industrialism." i also learned that "TOWARDS" is NOT a word. i guess when typing i know that. (i would never write 'he walked towardS the wall'.) but i guess it never dawned upon me in speech. LIFE CHANGING i tell you. what would i do without chris? i dont know - he's sort of become my little cheerleader, telling me i can do american history and that i should stay in school. for that i am ever greatful. in return i tell him he's old and shouldnt have joined the army because sleeping in the woods sans tent and motel 6 is a bad idea. in return he tells me im not fat, no matter what ben and kristi say. in return i tell him he is fat. and the beat moves on, da da dum da da dum.
My cheerleader. Sigh. Damn.
(I guess I can
swear on the blog.)
mere description is now intolerable
A lot of criticism
online directed at Senator Rick Durbin, who read into the record an FBI agent's report describing detainees at Guantanamo who were chained in a fetal position, naked, in rooms that were heated or chilled to miserable temperatures. Durbin was impolite enough to describe this sort of prisoner abuse as something that would have happened in a Gestapo or KGB/NKVD facility, for which he is now apparently an America-hating left-winger. I would just suggest that anyone who bristles at Durbin's comparison consider reading the conservative historian Robert Conquest's book on purges in the Stalinist regime, The Great Terror
, which describes victims of the Soviet secret police being, well, chained naked in miserable temperatures. Apparently it's un-American to call a thing what it is.
For whatever it's worth, I am an American soldier, and I am headed to Iraq as an infantryman. If I act like a Gestapo agent while I'm there, I hope and expect that someone will call me a fucking Nazi.
Why are so many Americans so determined to become the very thing that we're fighting against?
Another one?Apparently so.
Where are you?
An open letter to the blogosphere:
Linus, where are you? Please blog. I'm blegging you. Blog.
the world is waiting...
...to hear how Sam Shah did on his qualifying exams.
I mean, don't TELL people or anything.
those little windows into the emerging reality
in this morning's USA Today
(it was delivered for free to the door of our hotel room, is why) reports on couples who are getting married in short, casual ceremonies, then later having big weddings with friends and family and the requisite white dress. Among the people taking that step are Melissa Park and Ryan Hambleton, who wanted to get hitched in a hurry before Captain Hambleton deploys to Iraq. Look at the picture of the happy couple, and sure enough -- he's wearing the blue cord and the crossed rifles of an infantry officer. "Out of the Army for 5 and a half years, Hambleton received a Western Union telegram in February calling him to active duty."
So, okay. I'm a little worried about being a rifleman again after four years as a civilian. But imagine trying to get up to speed as a company commander, in combat, after almost six years away from the military.
I love that the details of Captain Hambleton's little life-altering telegram show up on page 2 of the lifestyle section. Perhaps the folks who write the news pages could be convinced to notice the significance of the example, yeah?
dead animal, long tail
Michael Benson asks
, in a comment following a recent rant of mine about the recklessness of liberationist, bomb-'em-all-till-they're-free "conservatives," if I don't see parallels between the behavior of our putative conservatives and the behavior of conservatives during the Cold War.
The problem is that I see even more parallels than that. To make sense of a V.D. Hanson or a Michelle Malkovich and their Glorious Revolution in Global Values, we need to cast our little net pretty broadly indeed. I see, in these clowns, the echoes of Albert Beveridge and the March of the Flag
; of the failed British colonial project
in Iraq; of the idiocy that led to the efforts
of U.S. military leaders to assure that their institutions would never again be broken on the rocks of a reckless and ill-considered war like the one in Vietnam; and on and on. There are too many examples of failure behind the current project, too many historical reasons to object. And I'm not sure how to say it all in a blog post.
But I would at least like to suggest that someone swing by Hanson's house, and Malkin's, and Kristol's, and a few others (and maybe the White House) to read the Federalist Papers out loud to them. Shouldn't need to read the whole thing -- five and eight should do the job. People in the United States have been aware of the dangers of military adventurism and imperial overreach as long as there has been a United States.
We would all like to welcome Linus as the newest member to the vaunted Team Historiblogography. His sarcasm, verve, and wit ought to help propell us to world domination and international syndication.
I just felt an earthquake. I think this is the "biggest" earthquake I've felt since coming here. It's pretty exciting. A 5.6 magnitude earthquake. See here
for more information.
i wish i felt more comfortable swearing on this blog -- i really do
Have you ever portioned out your time before your super important qualifying exams, thinking you have given yourself enough time to achieve every task on your list, and then, at 10:07pm, you realize that you have only done 1/2 of your tasks for that day?
a conservative road to serfdom
As a Marxist, Eugene Genovese recognized the failure of the Soviet experiment as the decisive end of a road he had spent his life walking. But as he took in the disheartening failure in his own political neighborhood, he heard familiar sounds to his right. As he wrote in the curious The Southern Tradition
: "The socialist debacle has exposed the false premises on which the Left has proceeded, but it has done so at a time in which the Right is embracing many of those premises -- notably, personal liberation and radical egalitarianism."
Genovese first published those words in 1994, well before our current set of putative conservatives embarked on their global crusade for Western Civilization. But his premise has grown stronger with time. To return to a favorite and endlessly useful figure, look at this Victor Davis Hanson column
on the purportedly conservative National Review Online
. Writing in March, Hanson offered a triumphal catalog of those moments in which the U.S. government has "acted boldly" against the "unstable and corrupt...status quo" to achieve "a radical and systematic political solution...to the entire Arab cycle of failure."
In the alternative universe we currently call home, "conservative" writers now celebrate moments in which the state takes bold action against the status quo in the service of dramatic societal transformations; a "conservative" is someone who urges his neighbors to march to utopia behind the banner of the liberationist state. I have previously
described the application of this new ideal as the conservative Great Society program for the Middle East, a fevered embrace of the nearly unlimited application of state power. The United States government, possessing great human truths, will spread its system of freedom across the globe. So far, this is familiar stuff that I have said before (and will say again and again).
But the interesting development now underway is that putative conservatives, having abandoned moral modesty in global affairs in favor of an unyielding ideological certitude, are now compelled to take a distinctly Soviet attitude
toward the simplest realities. While people who follow the U.S. military closely are describing a "manpower meltdown"
-- especially in the army, and especially among soldiers in the combat arms
-- the emerging collapse of the very force needed to sustain the liberationist project is entirely absent from the neoconservative radar. Look at Michelle Malkin's blog
, or Victor Davis Hanson's website
. See any signs in there that American military power is reaching its limit on the ground? Any mention of the growing crisis in recruiting and retention?
Meanwhile, Hanson wonders publicly if it isn't maybe time -- you can't make this stuff up -- to "press on" and begin bombing Syria
. The war is going so well, in the alternative universe these folks have constructed for themselves, that it's time to think about extending the project
Our soldiers are Stakhanovites for global liberation! All are marching in unison behind the banner of glory!
Sing that anthem, brothers and sisters. Conservatism is no longer premised on limited power, cautious goals, and modest means. The law of unintended consequences is repealed, and there are no barriers to the global success of Our Glorious Way of Life
. (And you should really take a moment to click on that last link. Soon, all will bow down before us! Hail! All hail!
But here's the bottom line
, and it just doesn't fit the message. So they simply aren't going to notice it.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a dynamic that the world has seen before
. Fortunately, the available political forms are very different; the United States is nowhere near the model of the Soviet Union, and our own Stalinist faithful
are more pathetic than powerful. But the psychology is there, and worth watching very
Seriously: Read this.
Remember that you've read it. And keep your eyes on these folks.(Cross-posted on Cliopatria)
The next time I teach I am thinking of handing out a list of banned words and phrases that ought never to appear in my student’s papers. Here is a preliminary list:
Throughout all of history
Throughout all time
Any formulation that might reduce to “although technically my answer does not address the prompt”
As time progressed
As history progressed
We can see this today
Any sentence starting with the word “like”Updates:
(I'm going to add any suggestions I like here)
The White Man (when used to describe a group)
History shows us that
I feel that
Indians ... extinct
I know it's a great pain in the ass to have an A-minus student complain
is a must read -- definitely timely. I have been dealing with grade-grubbers recently and it gets tiring.It was the end of my first semester teaching journalism at American University. The students had left for winter break. As a rookie professor, I sat with trepidation in my office on a December day to electronically post my final grades.
My concern was more about completing the process correctly than anything else. It took an hour to compute and type in the grades for three classes, and then I hit "enter." That's when the trouble started.
In less than an hour, two students challenged me. Mind you, there had been no preset posting time. They had just been religiously checking the electronic bulletin board that many colleges now use.
"Why was I given a B as my final grade?" demanded a reporting student via e-mail. "Please respond ASAP, as I have never received a B during my career here at AU and it will surely lower my GPA."
I must say I was floored. Where did this kid get the audacity to so boldly challenge a professor? And why did he care so much? Did he really think a prospective employer was going to ask for his GPA?
I checked the grades I'd meticulously kept on the electronic blackboard. He'd missed three quizzes and gotten an 85 on two of the three main writing assignments. There was no way he was A material. I let the grade mar his GPA because he hadn't done the required work.
What I do now is what the article's author has decided to do:I had the numbers to back me up, and I wouldn't budge on her grade. No more Professor Softie.
You do the work, you do fine. You don't do the work, you don't. Done.
Away to Asia
Today I found out that I will be able to spend a month in Japan
after my month in China
I am awfully thrilled. I wish I had more (any) time to celebrate, but my qualifying exams are still looming and I feel like I'm having a one-week continuous heart-attack. Well, after Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, well, I don't think I've gotten to the point where I can think of an existence past Wednesday. Time has bounded itself around the action of turning in my last exam, and to think that it might come undone, to think there is a life after exams, to think that it will be possible to think at all ex post facto, well, it's certainly something to think about. But not now.
(And yes, I've now officially become delirious. And I know it's deleterious. But no, no time to sleep!)
priorities illuminate values
The United States spent
$455 billion on its military last year. Four. Hundred. And fifty-five. Billion
. Fucking dollars.
I discovered this fascinating fact the very day after I received a big plastic shopping bag full of basic infantry gear from a recently-returned Iraq veteran now enrolled at UCLA, who indicates that I will need such items as the M-16 cleaning kit he gave me because the army will not provide those items
while I am in Iraq.
Because there isn't enough money
in the army budget to equip soldiers on the ground with all of the basic gear that they need.
At least they're honest
At least they
tell it like it is.
They really get in the minds of the college students:Initial Thought: Man, another term paper!
Reactions of hip college students:
1. Damn! I'll have to cancel my Saturday night date to finish my term paper before the Monday deadline.
2. Dad's gonna take away my car if I fail again this term.
3. How can I attend my ballet rehersal? I'm two days short of my deadline.
Not the date! Not the car! NOT BALLET REHERSAL? OH THE HUMANITY!
Take care to note the image of hip college students sighing their lives away.
Compare that with this much more professional and honest site. Scroll down a bit and see the picture-perfect graduation photo of a happy college student. The slogan:
As if a job and social life are not enough to drive you insane while you try to pass college! Add to this the burden to term papers, which are sometimes designed to make you tear your hair out in frustration.
I can't do the whole college thing alongside my job and active social life, so I better give up on classes! I mean, if the teachers DESIGN things merely to make me buy Rogaine, well, they really must be sacrificed for the greater good. I mean, I'm going for bildung here.
And how about my favorite -- something which I'm sure any and every graduate student has clamored for... A person to write a "customized, original and non-plagiarized" thesis! Who, my dear friends, can whip up a customized, original, and non-plagiaraized thesis?
I am a retired professor with a PhD and years of teaching experience. During my tenure as the senior faculty member at Rochville University, I became well-aware of the pains and frustrations that students go through during thesis research. I know how they feel when their professors keep rejecting their theses due to insufficient data, inadequate research, ineffective writing style, or incorrect formatting and compilation.
Ah yes, he thinks while making a slight nod of recognition. Yes, Rochville. I thought of applying there, but realized perhaps it might be a bit difficult to get in.
politics by other means
At the terrific blog Arms and Influence
, you can read a smart and steady stream of military analysis from a (barely) pseudonymous UC Irvine political science Ph.D.
who wrote his dissertation on the tendency of the United States to misunderstand the shape and significance of so-called "little wars." Start here
, and keep going. Particularly useful are the old posts, such as this one
, linked under the "Exploding Myths" heading in the left column.
Gonzales v. Raich
The medical marijuana case has been decided
by the supreme court. (Orin Kerr blogs on it
at Volokh. Maybe -- surely -- Randy Barnett will also post on it.) It was a 6-3 decision, and interesting in the split:The legal question presented a dilemma for the court's conservatives, who have pushed to broaden states' rights in recent years, invalidating federal laws dealing with gun possession near schools and violence against women on the grounds the activity was too local to justify federal intrusion.
Here is a website
which can get you up to date on the case and the issues involved. And here
is a transcript of the oral argument. There seems to be a lot of laughter in this transcript. Hmm. Marijuana case... laughter...
Example:JUSTICE STEVENS: Well, that would reduce demand and increase price, it seems to me. It's the other way around.
MR. BARNETT: Well, it would reduce demand and reduce prices, I think. But
JUSTICE STEVENS: If you reduce demand, you reduce prices? Are you sure?
MR. BARNETT: Yes. [Laughter.]
JUSTICE STEVENS: Oh, you're right. You're right. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.
And you can get the opinion (Stevens), concurrence (Scalia), and two dissents (O'Conner and Thomas) at the Legal Information Institute
I fell asleep mid-day yesterday -- and guess what my dream was about? Yes, the supreme court, and more specifically, Justice Stevens. Strangeness. Unmitigated strangeness. I wonder if that dream presaged this case being handed down. I mean, Stevens did
write the opinion.
On an unrelated note, see here
for a simplistic, early chart representing the interest in deep throat in the blogosphere.
You just want to post something new in order to see a days-old post slip down the page a bit.
things i never said
I didn't... I didn't... Uh, actually, that's not what I... Uh...
So a couple of weeks ago, I talked to a reporter at the Soldiers for the Truth/DefenseWatch website
about active duty call-ups for infantrymen in the Individual Ready Reserve. In passing, we discussed my last stretch of (peacetime) active duty, and I described it as having been uniquely uneventful. So little happened during those two years, I said, that the high point was the formal commendation I received for a two-week driving detail in which I carted a load of visiting colonels around Fort Benning in a van; one night I drove them to the officers club so they could have a beer or two without worrying about getting back to guest quarters on their own. In the Defense Watch story
, the colonels became "inebriated"; the story was still largely the one I told, but the shading had changed a bit.
And so now the World Socialist Web Site reports
that the U.S. army is so corrupt an organization that its enlisted soldiers mostly just function as servants to a decadent officer class:
Soldiers for The Truth (www.sftt.org) reported on May 17 that now, as well as specialists, hundreds of IRR infantry are being called up.
SFTT spoke with one of them, 37-year-old Chris Bray, who had joined the Army in 1999 to get money for college*. He left in late 2001, describing his most important responsibility as being the designated driver to transport drunken officers back to their quarters at Fort Benning, Georgia.
It took a grand total of two steps. This minor event, mentioned in passing as part of a sideline story, is now my most important responsibility
as a soldier. I spent two years driving drunken officers
back to their quarters.
Speaking for the record is a little like building your own Frankenstein -- you just can't believe that your little creation is out there in the world, doing things that you didn't imagine it could do.
(*Also not true, by the way.)
My friends, this
is all I want for Christmas.
We All Have Feelings
Eric Muller just posted
a letter from someone who “feels” that cross burnings are not racist, but rather are attacks upon Christianity.
I want to start a petition to ban the phrase “I feel that…” or (in this case) “I personally feel that…” from all arguments. The point of the term seems to be to make an opinion appear more valid because it is a “feeling.” Who can argue with someone else’s feelings?
As a replacement I think about ninety percent of the time “I would argue that…” or “I think that…” is a more appropriate phrase. Particularly because it leads one to justify one’s opinions, and it separates oneself from them in a useful way. Our opinions and arguments need to be things outside ourselves that we can reflect on rationally, not simply feelings too close to our hearts to be examined.
With that said, there is certainly a time and place for discussing feelings. Next week I will show part of Shoah
to my class. I have no idea how to begin a discussion on that film without dealing with our feelings first.