“Why wasn’t the Obama Administration truthful about what happened? There may have been multiple reasons. Surely one of them was that they wanted to hide the fact that a supposed diplomatic facility was really rife with spies. Why was the compound attacked? It seems likely that the presence of more than 20 CIA agents had something to do with it. Why were bureaucrats at the State...
LBJ orders some pants →
LBJ orders pants, and needs a little more “stride in the crotch”. This is good. Like, really good.
On Bud Light Lime →
Vacation-Monday morning non-political read. “August [Busch] IV quickly descended into an abyss,” as Knoedelseder tells it: According to friends, family members, and court documents, when the police came for him in February 2010, America’s last king of beer was holed up in his mansion, grievously addicted to drugs, gripped by paranoia, beset by hallucinations, and armed with hundreds of...
IBM's Watson Memorized the Entire 'Urban... →
The Shocking Rise (and Even More Shocking Fall) of... →
“Professional sports is filled with lovable losers, from the Chicago Cubs to the Detroit Lions—and some fans even embrace rooting for a team that seems destined for annual futility. For 86 years, there was an understated honor that came with supporting the Boston Red Sox. But no such honor was ever associated with the Redskins, because there was nothing noble about the way Washington kept...
The Secret History of Guns →
In the 1920s and ’30s, the NRA was at the forefront of legislative efforts to enact gun control. The organization’s president at the time was Karl T. Frederick, a Princeton- and Harvard-educated lawyer known as “the best shot in America”—a title he earned by winning three gold medals in pistol-shooting at the 1920 Summer Olympic Games. As a special consultant to the National Conference of...
Compromise will require Congress to agree on more revenue – whether by...– These commonsense words are followed by 11 pages of signatures from CEOs of leading U.S. businesses representing more than $7.3 trillion in annual revenues. They think Congress should increase revenues and cut spending before we go over the fiscal cliff. Pretty much everyone agrees. Why again, are...
Mountains of Madness - Antarctic Horror (Real and... →
“Jemma Wadham, a researcher at the University of Bristol in Britain, has determined that a large reservoir of methane may sit under Antarctica’s ice sheets, produced by microbes that have gnawed in the darkness for eons on the organic matter of dead ecosystems that were plowed under by glaciers. As warming causes those glaciers to thin, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, could seep up through...
For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works...– Interesting, if not unexpected endorsement of Obama from The Economist.
Bob Schieffer rules.
Obama was great and had a few spot-on zingers. Romney sounded competent enough (even if he came off as a student who had just studied and was trying to prove he knew the material). BUT, the best moment of the night, in my opinion, definitely goes to Bob Schieffer with “I think we all love teachers. This is a foreign policy debate, what the hell are you talking about? Please move the fuck on...
“Even if preserving tradition[al marriage] were in itself an important goal, DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) is not a means to achieve it. As the district court found: “because the decision of whether same-sex couples can marry is left to the states, DOMA does not, strictly speaking, ‘preserve’ the institution of marriage as between one man and a woman.” …...
Charity president: Paul Ryan "did nothing" at soup... →
Any high-profile politician that spends time at a soup kitchen is obviously doing it for the optics. If they really cared, their influence and power affords them much more effective ways of helping poor people. That said, if you’re going to snap a photo washing dishes at a shelter, would it really be that difficult to find one that welcomes you? And would it really be that difficult to spend...
Calling all infographic nerds! →
$10k Economist - Nielson data visualization challenge, run by Innocentive. If only I had the time, and the skills …
Google wins. →
Apple may still be struggling to iron out the kinks in its new Google-free mapping service (failing to locate emergency rooms, directing people to parks that don’t exist, generally provoking nightmares), but Google is so relaxed that it’s started mapping things that don’t even need mapping, just for the fuck of it.
We are (geographically) exceptional! →
mrbren: Bravo, Mr. Kaplan. “Why are we the world’s pre-eminent power? Americans tend to think that it is because of who we are. I would suggest that it is also because of where we live: in the last resource-rich part of the temperate zone settled by Europeans at the time of the Enlightenment, with more miles of navigable, inland waterways than the rest of the world combined, and...
I’m a bit confused by this whole embassy attack statement/twitter bullshit controversy … but it seems like Mitt Romney is criticizing Obama because the Cairo embassy failed to condemn an attack on the Libyan embassy that hadn’t happened yet. And all on 9/11? Come on guys, WTF.
… an instance of a politician accidentally expressing his actual beliefs.
Sitting on the Peacock Throne
The mystic process of transferring monarchic authority, e.g., “The bitter example of their own family history would sooner or later have driven Dara and Shuja and Aurangzeb and Murad to contend for the Peacock Throne with desperate fury.” He’s feeling fat and sassy.
therealsaisai: “Forget everything you thought you knew about humans.” This is good. This is good. Via SFB. Goosebumps.
Hired Gun Fight →
“Contractors don’t like Shah’s new approach, but are nervous about too aggressively biting the hand that feeds them. USAID has committed to working with local institutions, but its spending totals in 2011 actually saw the proportion directed to American for-profits go up, not down. The agency has a huge amount of work to do if it still hopes to reach its target of 30 percent of...
Brilliant idea. Time to consider investing in... →
In late July a new kind of Target—prosaically named City—will open on South State Street, just down the block from a Macy’s and across the street from a Forever 21. City stores, which are two-thirds the size of typical Target big boxes and may shrink further, will also open this year in Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. The downsized outlets may be the key to unlocking the full value of...
Why the Higgs boson wasn’t discovered in America →
“The Higgs could have been discovered about a decade earlier — and in Texas rather than Switzerland. Back in the 1980s, American physicists were developing a particle accelerator three times as powerful as Europe’s Large Hadron Collider. But Congress eventually cut off funds and the project collapsed.” -Brad Plumer at Ezra Klein’s WONKBLOG Thanks, Smash Damn you, Congress.
Amid all the speculation about a hidden long-term agenda, clever schemes a la Marbury v. Madison, concerns about personal legacy etc., one scholar proposes that perhaps Chief Justice Roberts simply did what he thought was right in upholding the ACA. I’m choosing to buy it. “While this unquestionably burnishes Chief Justice Roberts’s legacy, I find it hard to believe that he would...
With a little more than twenty-four hours to go before the Supreme Court is scheduled to release its last rulings of this Term, it is very likely that the Justices and their staffs are still doing some final editing on the opinion — or opinions — that will tell the constitutional fate of President Obama’s most important domestic policy: the massive overhaul of the way Americans get and pay...
More evidence that Scalia’s constitutional “originialism” is more opportunistic and political than principled, here.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Big Gulp
“With so many loopholes, a law like this is no real threat to our liberty to guzzle flavored sugar water. Nevertheless, it sends a powerful message of social disapproval. So that’s good. On the other hand, it’s not a very persuasive argument to defend a restriction of liberty on the grounds that it won’t really work. So that’s bad.” -Michael Kinsley at Bloomberg This pretty...
Rare, poignant, praise for political "minimalism"
Mr Obama made his first statement on the Trayvon Martin case last Friday, and it was pretty darn careful. He said he thought it was crucial that the case be investigated at every level so we can get to the bottom of what happened. He also noted: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Ta-Nehisi Coates called this “Stunning. Pitch perfect…a stunning exercise in...
Google blowing my mind. Again.
This is just amazing. Google N-gram searches through over 5.2 million digitized books published from 1800-2000 to plot the frequency of whatever word(s) you want. My first thought was to see how popular Keynes vs. Hayek or Friedman have been over time. Apparently Friedman blows past Keynes in the late 60s - and Hayek barely even registers, despite being who I thought was Keynes’ most...