December 2004

2004 12 31

Posted by in: Anecdotal

Alrighty then. Why not post a resolution or two? Here are the two biggies:

1. I resolve my finish my dissertation by the end of 2005. I don’t mean it’ll be approved by my committee. But the sucker will be substantially done, or I’ll move on to some other, hopefully better, life than the life of stasis, stagnation, and stuckness that I’m currently leading. That means developing a schedule, sticking to it, integrating my teaching with my dissertation better, procrastinating less, making up my mind about key issues instead of dithering endlessly, etc. etc. etc.

2. I resolve to be in the best physical shape of my (31 year long, so far) life by the end of 2005. (I actually started this project in earnest over American Thanksgiving, but it was in anticipation of the resolution, so it still counts. ) That should be a lot of work, since I used to be in decent shape. But here are a few benchmarks that I’ll be satisfied if I can achieve (though obviously focusing on them alone would be stupid):

a) 75 consecutive push-ups. If I’m remembering correctly, that would beat or equal my life time record dating from the summer when I was 14 and locked in a spirited push-up competition with my Dad (who sent me a letter when I was at summer camp lying – or rather, obviously joking, but I didn’t get the joke – about the number of one-armed push-ups he could do, thereby pushing me into a competitive frenzy of push-up madness).

b) Aging tendons willing, I should be able to run at a reasonable speed to Prospect Park (quarter mile), around the perimeter of the park (4.5 miles, I think) and back without requiring medical treatment either during or (immediately) afterwards.

c) A six-(or four-)pack for my stomach. Alas, preliminary evidence suggests that I’m one of those mutant freaks who only has a four-pack. I’ll know for sure when I get the last layer of lard burned off my mid-section. But you go to studdom with the body you have, not the body you want to have, and if I’m a mutant freak, so be it.

These two resolutions are related, actually. You may not be surprised to learn that the better shape I’m in, the more energy I have, which allows me to work longer and generally feel better, which encourages me to be in better shape, etc. etc. etc.

That’s enough for one year, I think.

Howls of outrage (6)

2004 12 31
A year in blogging (or not)

I started this blog partly because I wanted a public record of my positions on issues that I could look back on later and embarrass myself with. The end of the year is a great time to look over the past year’s posts and see how much I can already recognize as embarrassing, ill-considered, stupid, or tactless. Alas, I’m too lazy to do that, and I would be lying if I said that I’ll try to be better next year. Although I intend to continue blogging, one of my resolutions this year is to spend less time blogging, and a year-end retrospective would hardly be a good way to kick that effort off.

Off the top of my head, I can only think of one post I wrote this year which consistently gives me a headache whenever I think about it, this graceless post about Norm Geras, who deserves more respect than I paid him in the post. So, sorry Norm.

I’m sure I could find other things to cringe about, but as I said, I’m too lazy. Feel free to nominate posts in the comments section.

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2004 12 28
Sri Lanka and Israel

Posted by in: Political issues

Oh dear, this is just pathetic.

Howls of outrage (3)

2004 12 28
Recent reading

Since the election, I’ve been reading more right wing blogs in an effort to figure those fellas out. Anyway, my favourite find so far is a blog called Power Line, which I think is giving me insights galore into the deep, dark psyches of right wingers in this country. Some choice posts: this fair and balanced comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or this insightful look at who is really to blame for the disputed Ukrainian electoral results.

It looks like I caught them at the peak of their game too. Time Magazine just named them blog of the year. They also got praised by Lynne Cheney on television not so long ago. Congrats, guys, and keep up the good work!

Howls of outrage (8)

2004 12 27
Right wing responses to torture

Matt Welch has a nice (though fairly limited) round up of a few right wing responses to torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

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2004 12 27
Cole Responds, again

A while ago I took two shots (1, 2) at Juan Cole over the whole Iraq The Model controversy (if you don’t know, don’t ask). Cole has now responded. I think it’s a pretty classy response. It apologizes for precisely the points that irked me, and holds his most strident critics’ feet to the fire over precisely the points where they made themselves most absurd. Worth a read, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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2004 12 26

Posted by in: Political issues

I’m horrified by the disaster now in South Asia, as I’m sure is everyone reading. What I don’t know is what the best, most reputable, charity is for this sort of thing. I imagine they need an awful lot of money, and they need it fast. Does anyone know? Please let me know in the comments section.

Update: The Head Heeb has a suggestion.

Howls of outrage (2)

2004 12 25
Comment spam on Christmas

Posted by in: Metablog, Odds and ends

A hearty FU-Q to whoever was responsible.

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2004 12 23
Prank email

Posted by in: Odds and ends

This is absolutely brutal.

Via Boing Boing.

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2004 12 23
Macy’s, Dec. 23rd

Posted by in: Anecdotal


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2004 12 23
“Terrorist attack” revisited

Eric the Unread is ticked off at me for raising the question of whether the attack in Mosul was appropriately called a “terrorist attack” (I’m too lazy to put the hyperlinks in):
Continue Reading »

Howls of outrage (2)

2004 12 23
Will on global warming

Gosh, this is hackish. It’s not worth actually responding to, but I will pause momentarily to note that it is a ripe, ripe work of hackish blather.

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2004 12 22
“Terrorist attack”

David Adesnik refers to the recent attack on American troops in Mosul as a “terrorist attack.”

Given the goals of the (fragmented) insurgency (insurgencies?), the availability of alternatives to violent resistance, and the nature of the group claiming responsibility for the attack, I would say that the attack was awful, immoral, pointless and unjustified. But was it a terrorist attack? It’s true that the soldiers were in a mess hall, not on the field of combat. But as a tactic, how does this compare to the U.S. practice at Fallujah of forcing all military age males fleeing a war zone back into the war zone and then killing anything that moves, armed or not?

Is Adesnik working with a consistent definition of terrorism? Or is this a slip of the tongue? If it’s a slip of the tongue, is it a revealing slip of the tongue?

Update: A response to Eric the Unread’s criticisms is here.

Howls of outrage (13)

2004 12 21
DeLong on Djerejian

Yes, dammit.

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2004 12 20
“He is doing a very fine job”

Bush on Rumsfeld:

George Bush defended his embattled Pentagon chief, Donald Rumsfeld, yesterday by praising his conduct during the war in Iraq and his compassion for US troops.

The display of support at the traditional end-of-year press conference comes at a time when Mr Rumsfeld is fending off calls for his resignation from Republicans as well as Democrats, after being accused of poor military planning and for a callous approach towards US forces.

But Mr Bush said that he was pleased to extend Mr Rumsfeld’s tenure. “He is doing a very fine job,” he said.

Glad to hear it. Keep up the good work!

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