Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

What to make of Bill O’Reilly as an Immoral Masthead

by WIZ

This story is thick:

Last summer, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly came to believe that his wife was romantically involved with another man. Not just any man, but a police detective in the Long Island community they call home. So O’Reilly did what any concerned husband would do: He pulled strings to get the police department’s internal affairs unit to investigate one of their own for messing with the wrong man’s lady.

(…)

Roger Ailes—treating his local police department like a private security force and trying to damage one cop’s career for the sin of crossing Bill O’Reilly.

The article goes on with the details from the Nassau County Police Department. Just like Rush Limbaugh and his drug problem as well as Donald Trump and his spoiled treatment on the part of his dad (as he then goes on to question Barack Obama’s education credentials and if he is worthy to be out POTUS), we now have O’Reilly who talks big talk, calls people pin heads, and does his best to be the conservative champ in terms of moral righteousness. I wonder how he will spin this on his show. Victimization possibly?

August 31, 2011

Bubbles and Capillaries

by WIZ
August 31, 2011

Pronouns and Joint Authorship

by WIZ


An interesting perspective on the Federalist papers and the work of John Lennon/Paul McCartney:

The songs on which [John Lennon and Paul McCartney] collaborated closely produced linguistic patterns strikingly different from those of either songwriter individually. The 15 songs that were true John-Paul partnerships, Mr. Pennebaker says, were “much more positive” in emotional tone and used “more I-words, fewer we-words and much shorter words than either artist normally used on his own.” Mr. Pennebaker discerns that same synergy at work in a very different collection of texts: The Federalist Papers, three of which were written jointly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.

More here.

August 31, 2011

Match.com For College

by WIZ

Considering college and want the best fit for you? Here is ConnectEDU:

This won’t just help the brightest, most driven kids. Bad matching is a problem throughout higher education, from top to bottom. Among all students who enroll in college, most will either transfer or drop out. For African American students and those whose parents never went to college, the transfer/dropout rate is closer to two-thirds. Most students don’t live in the resource-rich, intensely college-focused environment that upper-middle-class students take for granted. So they often default to whatever college is cheapest and closest to home. Tools like ConnectEDU will give them a way to find something better.

August 31, 2011

Twin Tower Cameos

by WIZ

With the anniversary of 9/11 coming up, this should give you some movies to watch:

TDW:

The Twin Towers’ “all-too-short film career” is celebrated in Dan Meth‘s commemorative collection of World Trade Center cinematic cameos.

August 31, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“[W]omen in Congo have enough home-grown problems without importing irrelevant, Western controversies. While both the pill and condoms are generally available in larger cities such as Goma, access is limited in rural districts. … Contraceptives do not solve every problem. But women in Bweremana want access to voluntary family planning for the same reasons as women elsewhere: to avoid high-risk pregnancies, to deliver healthy children and to better care for the children they have. And this is a pro-life cause,” –Michael Gerson.

August 31, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by WIZ

August 31, 2011

What Kind of Nations Will Come From The Twitter Revolutions?

by WIZ

Looking back on the world’s history, I have a funny feeling that today’s revolutionaries may not turn their countries into such benign places as we’d like to think. How do we know they will be able to put everything together and democratically operate? Will a new despot emerge from the rubble? This is not to say that I prefer Mubarak or Ben Ali or Gadaffi, but it is too soon it some regards to sound the horn of cheer. The real work may still be before them. Countries like Tunisia have a lot of problems and a charismatic leader may emerge with a scapegoat strategy for rebuilding. Aaron Brady is more optimistic:

[I]nstead of the personality cult by which Presidents-for-life like Ben Ali and Mubarak have ruled for decades, the masses of nameless Cairenes and Tunisians—assembled on Facebook and in the street—represents a kind of anti-personality cult. When everyone is “Khaled Said” (or “Mohamed Bouazizi” in Tunisia), after all, the story being told is not only that the nation is united, but that it is united by the common experience of having suffered at the hands of the state. In this sense, instead of “leaderless revolutions,” perhaps we might think about how Facebook helped facilitate a “revolution of leaderlessness“?…

In other words, what Gladwell flags as a weakness of social media—the difficulty of producing strong commitment to a single idea or plan—might actually be what makes it uniquely valuable. By uniting around the crimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, the much more difficult political question of what kind of government was to succeed him could be deferred until later.

H/T: The Dish

August 31, 2011

In Limbo At Gitmo

by WIZ

If you are told that everyone in Guantanamo Bay’s U.S. prison is the same as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, read this story:

It is a strange population, the 171 men still left at Guantánamo. There is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another two dozen hardened militants, who will never be released. This class of prisoner represents a small minority of the population. Then there are the others — about a hundred men, mostly Yemeni, who have been cleared to leave but have no place to go, as no country will take them. And there are another thirty-five or so like Noor. They are nameless, low-level operatives, or hapless men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are the detritus of a decade-long war.

They can’t simply be released. That would be admitting that they aren’t as bad as the government once said they were. And most can’t be tried, either, because much of the evidence against them — if there is any — is too fraught, as it was gotten by torture, and would never have even been considered to be evidence in any American judicial proceeding before September 11, 2001. And no serious person would have ever argued for it as such.

August 31, 2011

How Do You Spell “Deposed Crazy Dictator?”

by WIZ


Have you ever seen numerous spellings for the name of the fading leader of Libya?

In Arabic, Qadhafi’s name is spelled القذافي which if you drop the article, means
ق – ذ – ا – ف – ي or q – dh – a – f – i. The “q” letter is almost unique to Arabic (sometimes called “the language of the qaf” — sorry, it’s the language of the dhad, not qaf!) and often transliterated as a “k”, since its pronounciation can be difficult for non-Arabic speakers.

It is standard in classical Arabic and places like Fes in northern Morocco, but northern Egyptians, urban Syrians and others often pronounce this letter as a glottal stop, while southern Egyptians and Bedouins most often pronounce as a “g”, as in “go”. (This is why in Syria upscale Damascenes call the regime “the government of the Qaf”, because pronouncing the letter is a country bumpkin thing to do, and Eastern Sunnis and Alawites — long dominant in the regime — often do it). Hence you see Qadhafi, Kadhafi or Gadhafi. The “dh” sound also has no equivalent in many languages as a standalone letter, and to top it off is made emphatic by a shedda — a kind of accent that indicates the letter should be doubled, which is why academics use the unwieldy “Qadhdhafi.” And the “dh” is often not pronounced as such — in most colloquial Arabics, it is pronounced “d”. I’m not sure why it might be pronounced “th”, but perhaps this was used in Qadhafi’s passport because it is close to the English sound in “the”, which sounds very much like “dh”.

H/T: The Dish

August 31, 2011

Islamophobia and Dieting on Paranoia

by WIZ

A study sums this up here. Money quote from Adam Serwer:

Until Republican leaders try to appeal to the better angels of their constituents’ nature — rather than feeding on and profiting from their paranoia — things are unlikely to change.

H/T: The Dish

August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“I’m very, very calm and pretty relaxed and laid-back – pretty much the opposite of a hurricane.  I guess that’s funny,” – Irene Tien, who has owned @Irene since 2006 and recently became inundated with tweets.

August 30, 2011

Judging Hurricane Irene and Our Hurricane-type Hysteria, Ctd.

by WIZ

Two more posts came across my desk here and here that are worth reading regarding this subject.

August 30, 2011

Irene in NYC

by WIZ
August 30, 2011

Pushing Buttons of Racial Resentment

by WIZ


While the left or those who enjoy attacking the right’s seemingly 1950’s esque “let’s take America back” style of reform, which if we were to go there, it would be horrendous, these quick labels of “racist!” hurt discourse and frankly are mostly inaccurate. The right is not stupid. Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump are big figures who use racial stereotypes to joke or make their points and then whine when they are picked on. The judgments made on them may be overdrawn but they could save the headaches by avoiding inaccurate racial stereotypes in the first place.

August 30, 2011

Undoing Institutional Racism with Personal Stories

by WIZ
August 30, 2011

Judging Hurricane Irene and Our Hurricane-type Hysteria

by WIZ

If you live on the east coast in the U.S., you most likely have heard about Hurricane Irene non-stop for the past week (at least). A few of the places you may have heard bits of news from would of been the Weather Channel (as well as other local or national news stations) as well as Facebook (as well as the World Wide Web). Both of these media outlets covered this hurricane quite extensively. The former was done by professionals while the latter was done by mostly normal joe’s. What both have in common is that they stirred up interesting reactions in all of us.

T.V., especially weather coverage, can go over board. The constant reporting and sometimes worst-case scenarios may really freak people out to the point of hysteria. Facebook seemed to have had similar effects. One friend of mine noticed an interesting trend that isn’t necessarily unique to Hurricane Irene but still interesting: while many people freaked out about Hurricane Irene, many people freaked out about people freaking out about Hurricane Irene. If you think about it, this irony surely does play out in many situations. I don’t have T.V. so I somewhat tried to avoid Facebook so that I could sit back and watch the rain come down and relax over a shut-in type weekend.

One final note: politics has to come into play somehow with this hurricane and the hysteria (doesn’t it?) Two pieces worth checking out: Rush Limbaugh’s usual comments regarding the hysteria:

It was a rainstorm and there was a lot of flooding and there were deaths associated with it,” Limbaugh said. “But they hype — folks, I’ll tell you what this was, was a lesson.

“If you pay any attention to this, they hype — the desire for chaos, I mean, literally — the media desire for chaos was a great learning tool. This is a great illustration of how all of the rest of the media in news, in sports, has templates and narratives and exaggerates beyond reality creating fear, so as to create interest.”

With at least 40 people dead (and rising) and millions in damage, the king of hype and hysteria has to chime in, doesn’t he? However, I partly am in agreement with Rush. Some members of the media, and I include Facebook in this, have a tendency to almost want drama, hype, and buckets of craziness, in not only national events but their own lives.

Second, Ezra Klein et al wonder if we didn’t hype the storm enough considering what it was capable of:

A lot of the commentary over whether the storm got too much attention has been based around the damage the storm did or did not do. NBC’s Al Roker, for instance, tweeted, “Since when is covering a storm that kills 16 people and counting, causes massive flooding and millions in damage hype?” Over at the New York Times, Nate Silver runs somenumbers and concludes that Irenes ranks as “the 8th-most destructive storm since 1980, adjusted for inflation and the growth in wealth and population.”

But the Irene hype occurred mostly before it made landfall, and so mostly before we knew how bad it really was, or wasn’t. Storms are unpredictable, both in their path and intensity, and though Irene mostly broke our way, it could easily have swung towards New York City and picked up speed before smacking into the city. If that had happened, we would be having a very different conversation right now. So the question isn’t whether the storm was overhyped given how things actually went, but whether it was overhyped given how they could have gone. I’m not enough of a meteorologist to render a verdict on that, but it’s the right question to be asking.

August 30, 2011

Flooding, Evacuations, and Delayed Snorkeling?

by WIZ

H/T: WW

August 30, 2011

Don’t try to make me feel guilty about being selfish!

by WIZ

H/T: White Whine

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August 30, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by WIZ