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I don’t think the monocle smile is going to make up for “banning abortion coverage in a new insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions.”

Marie Claire tells us the story of “An American Honor Killing“– in which Noor Almaleki is murdered by her father, who runs her over with a Jeep because she…because…well, it’s complicated. Marie Claire calls it an honor killing, linking it with other examples. The Last Psychiatrist makes this interesting point:
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Kevin Drum gets it exactly right.

Here’s the good news: this record of progressive accomplishment officially makes Obama the most successful domestic Democratic president of the last 40 years. And here’s the bad news: this shoddy collection of centrist, watered down, corporatist sellout legislation was all it took to make Obama the most successful domestic Democratic president of the last 40 years. Take your pick.

You fools laughed at John Daly’s jacket…

But he pounded St Andrews like a case of PBR. Six under, three strokes off the lead. If you are not rooting for John Daly you are not on my team.

Tiger at five under, Rory McIlroy at nine under with a 63. Crazy.

It’s the Evangelical Rathergate! Ergun Caner is an evangelical apologist who rose to fame after 9-11 on the strength of his biographical narrative: raised as a devout Muslim, he spent his youth as a would-be jihadist until he accepted Christ. He parlayed that story, and his credentials as an authority on Islam, into a speaking and writing career before becoming Dean of Liberty University’s seminary. But an investigation reveals that a lot of the story is fictional.

What makes this story so interesting is that he’s terrible at playing a Muslim. Or, more accurately, that he got as far as he did while being so terrible. Check out these videos, posted by one of the bloggers who’s been on this for a while: he gets the Shahada wrong. He thinks there are 40 days in Ramadan. He confuses “insha’Allah” and “alhumdulillah.” The Christian equivalent would be like saying Jesus rose on Christmas– just a straight-up, WTF howler to anyone who’s even casually Muslim.**

And yet this is a guy who goes around telling people about Islam. The only reason it worked is that his audience is pretty self-selected: how are they supposed to know that he’s reciting the wrong Arabic or just making stuff up? They have no idea. The story he tells squares with what they want to hear, and there’s no reason for suspicion. But this phenomenon has a natural limit since, as he becomes more famous, he’ll bump into people who can see he’s full of crap, which is more or less what happened. Once the initial stray threads are pulled, the unravelling happens fast, because a lot of this stuff is online, from high school pictures to legal documents. Even without that, an actual in-the-community interlocutor laughing at the guy is pretty potent antidote.

*The Jewish equivalent would be…hmm, make your own anti-Semitic jokes, I’m too sincere.
** e.g., your bomb-belt doesn’t match your shoes.

Michael Bellesiles has a piece in the Chronicle on teaching military history with veterans in the classroom. It’s a very interesting pedagogical issue that he explores via a timely example:

On the first day of my military-history class, after a discussion of the concept of democratic warfare, I asked my usual question about veterans or National Guard members present, and if any students had family members serving in the military. Ernesto (I have changed names out of respect for this family’s privacy), a shy but exceedingly bright student, smiled with evident pride as he mentioned that his brother Javier had recently enlisted in the Army. We discussed his brother’s reasons for enlisting, which mostly focused on a sense of gratitude to a country that had given their family refuge.

But Jim Lindgren is suspicious…

I have now read through every DoD casualty report from last fall for both Iraq and Afghanistan and news obituaries for most of them, and I have found none that was even remotely possible as the case that Bellesiles wrote about in the Chronicle. This post discusses the serious questions this raises for the veracity of Bellesiles account.

It would be unfortunate if Bellesiles’ anecdote is fictional, since it undermines what could otherwise be a useful discussion about classroom content hitting too close to home. (In my case, it comes up with just war theory, abortion, end-of-life care, and the student who wondered if feminist arguments against pornography applied to her work as an exotic dancer. Never a dull moment.)


and also


Crispin Glover as Thomas Edison looks awfully like a swimmer I know.

You might have seen that extraordinary Terry Savage column in which she berated kids for giving away lemonade instead of selling it. If you wanted to read a satisfyingly irritated response, Mobutu is your man.

In fact, the crux of the whole discussion has nothing to do with the children—and certainly not the lazy analogy to voters terrified of losing their homes: it’s to do with the parents. Terry seems to have adopted much of the economic and labor ideology of American conservatism without the responsibility aspect. She’s yelling at some telescoped abstraction of the electorate, when the object of her ire lives in that house.

Of course, it’s important for her to shift the terms of the discussion away from the house, because the parents represent the most pernicious argument against her “just work harder and value things” ethic. The fact is that these are well-off parents, which means that their kids will probably be well-off. If the parents were poor, the kids would likely be poor themselves.

This is the great turd in the conservative work-ethic punchbowl—that as much as we like to ignore class in this country, it works with a particularly effective determinism in the vast majority of cases. If you are born middle class, you will likely be middle class. If you are born in poverty, you will likely die there. If you are on a lawn giving away lemonade, in front of a big-ass house while a full-time nanny watches you, chances are you don’t need to learn the value of a dollar. Someone you are related to already has, and you get to reap the windfall. You can probably win just by showing up. Terry Savage can’t acknowledge this without destroying the weak foundation of her morally and ethically tendentious arguments.

(Demerits for the awful phrase “morally and ethically.”)

Mil-Dot Rangefinder (Warning: iTunes link!):

Mil-Dot Rangefinder for the iPhone takes the math out of ranging targets using a mil-dot scope. Real-time calculations provide instant range measurements in both yards and meters. The simple interface allows for one handed operation and eliminates any need to manually type any measurements to range a target.

Welcome to War 2.0.

Courtesy Kit-Up!

It’s long since become conventional wisdom that it took the Democratic Clinton administration to bring elements of the Reagan revolution to fruition, just as it would take the New Labour Blair government to bring elements of the Thatcher revolution to fruition. Will we someday be saying that it took the Democratic Obama administration to bring elements of the G. W. Bush revolution to fruition?

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I suspect it would be easier for Floridians and other Gulf Coasters to accept the permanent change in their lives if there were more widespread and public acknowledgment that it is indeed a permanent change in their lives.
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PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Christophe Lemaitre became the first white man to run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds when he clocked 9.98 on Friday, the French athletics federation said.

Lemaitre, 20, set his time during the French championships in Valence, southern France.

“He is the first white man to run the 100 meters in less than 10 seconds,” Jean-Philippe Manzelle, French athletics Federation press officer, told Reuters.

The former French record had been set by Ronald Pognon at 9.98secs in 2005.

Jamaican Usain Bolt is the world record holder with 9.58secs.

American Jim Hines became the first man to run the 100 meters in less than 10 seconds in 1968.

For what it’s worth, Jim Hines’ word record of 9.95 stood until 1983. But still.

We should always be so lucky as to have a new pithy Mark Twain essay to read. This week we are lucky. Twain gets interviews exactly right.

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Way late, but:

The impolitic comments that torpedoed Gen. Stan McChrystal’s career were “almost all” made by his most junior staff — men who “make tea, keep the principal on time and carry bags” — who had no reason to believe their words would end up in print, according to a staff member who was on the trip to Europe during which the comments were made.

But, boy, it’s not even all that effective as pushback. The smoking gun:

No matter who uttered the quotes, by using them, Hastings violated ground rules that public affairs personnel had established with him, said a senior military official familiar with the trip.

Aha! Excellent! I’m sure there’s evidence of this?
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medalLarge.jpgPreviously here and here. Both posts discussed the shifting standards for Medals of Honor, including the increasing percentage awarded posthumously. Now, there comes a report that a Medal of Honor recommendation has gone up to the White House for someone who survived their heroism:

The Pentagon has recommended that the White House consider awarding the Medal of Honor to a living soldier for the first time since the Vietnam War, according to U.S. officials.

The last Medal of Honor given to a live recipient was to Michael Edwin Thornton, for actions on 31 October 1972. Thornton’s MOH also seems to have been the last one given in the Vietnam conflict (I can’t find any for actions dated later).

The nomination comes after several years of complaints from lawmakers, military officers and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the Pentagon had become so cautious that only troops whose bravery resulted in death were being considered for the Medal of Honor. Gates “finds it impossible to believe that there is no one who has performed a valorous act deserving of the Medal of Honor who has lived to tell about it,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, who declined to comment on specific nominations.

Given Gates’ comments, I’d be surprised if the White House didn’t approve the Medal of Honor.

In keeping with the theme of the blog, would Tom Buchanan want a Germany-Netherlands final or a Spain-Netherlands final?

I’ve mostly ignored this over the past few months because I believe that examining pictures of a pregnant woman with an eye to figuring out whether her shape is appropriate to the gestation of the fetus is morally degrading to the examiner.  But I have to say that I’m with Amanda here, and I’m very surprised at the quarters whence the newest round of conspiracy theory comes.

Don’t get me wrong.  It strikes me as completely plausible that Palin, a woman whose public persona is constructed around a conservative fantasy, the tough woman who proves liberals wrong by having Christ, a career, children, and a perfect coiffure, exaggerated the extent to which she was in labor during the plane flight (here’s one account, where the doc says she induced labor upon landing)  This would not be surprising for any politician whose career depends more than most on personal charisma and narrative.   I have heard that male politicians have sometimes exaggerated their influence in important legislation or their status as a war hero.

What bothers me is the epistemic leap from Palin probably isn’t wholly truthful big friggin’ shocker to Therefore, we have a right to demand the birth certificate of her child to prove that she’s  the mother. As near as I can tell the only reason anyone considers the latter question seriously is due to Andrew Sullivan’s hissy fit that started way back before anyone knew that Bristol was pregnant (which makes it next to impossible that there’s another candidate for the role of Trig’s Mother besides Sarah Palin); otherwise it would be a complete non sequitur.  Settling the question that Palin is Trig’s mother wouldn’t prove her Wild Ride story to be true or false.

The obvious parallel with birtherism annoys people, but there’s more in common than the fact that in both cases people are demanding birth certificates and bemoaning the lack of MSM interest.  In both cases, the demand for the birth certificate came after a bunch of common-sense evidence was rejected as easily fabricated.  And I’d be willing to bet that if Palin released Trig’s birth certificate tomorrow, there will still be people pointing out that sometimes adoptive birth certificates show the adoptive parents as the parents with no indication that the child has been adopted, and somewhere down in the abyss of Amanda’s comments there will continue to be arguments that because Palin was photographed wearing kitten-heeled boots, she’s can’t really be the mother.

Town and Country is glamorous. You can tell because the August issue has Julianne Moore on the cover. And on p. 52 under “Arts & Culture – Summer reads” there is a picture of this handsome book.
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Our friends in the economics departments (except the economic historians, and only some of them) have a thing about free trade, but only when, via Thoma, I read this remark by Tim Duy, did I begin to understand how it works.

And every right minded economist and policymaker knows unequivocally that free trade is good, and to even question that assumption makes one an ignorant heretic who has never heard of Smoot-Hawley.

To the extent that this is an accurate representation of how “Smoot-Hawley” works among economists (except the economic historians, and only some of them) this is very similar to the neocon deployment of “Munich”; to wit, “Every tough-minded analysts knows unequivocally that appeasement is wrong, and to even question that assumption makes one an ignorant heretic who has never heard of Munich.” The obvious problem is that in fact not all tinpot dictators are wrose than Hilter!!!!1!!! Or at least, they generally don’t pose the same threat to world order as Hitler did. But if you want to look tough you say, “Munich!”
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This is officially an award-winning blog

HNN, Best group blog: "Witty and insightful, the Edge of the American West puts the group in group blog, with frequent contributions from an irreverent band.... Always entertaining, often enlightening, the blog features snazzy visuals—graphs, photos, videos—and zippy writing...."