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dr ngo
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I was pleasantly surprised by the wisdom in the comic strip "Frazz" http://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2012/12/22 "Why should I have to not have something to want it?" (Trust me - it's funnier in the strip.)
Toggle Commented Dec 24, 2012 on Holiday swag Friday open thread at Obsidian Wings
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Oh, and world peace (or at least gun control), and better health for all, starting with my wife and myself, and happy lives for children and grandchildren, and all that stuff. Does that count as swag?
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2012 on Holiday swag Friday open thread at Obsidian Wings
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I openly sighed for - and have already received - one of those hanging basket chairs, which currently overlooks our Christmas tree, but will in the spring move outside to overlook our pool. You may never pry me from it.
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2012 on Holiday swag Friday open thread at Obsidian Wings
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Cleek: would that be Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl ?
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2012 on Another neat invention at Obsidian Wings
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This is not new. William Cameron Forbes, as capitalist as they come, was Governor-General of the Philippines before World War I. In his 1929 book on the Islands, he had this to say: To some of the employers of labor who complained that the Filipino would not work, it was suggested that they add "unless paid."
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2012 on Worthy of Their Hire at Obsidian Wings
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It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. (Leslie Gore)
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The ULTIMATE Disaster: Current Federal Income Tax Law!! Coming soon to a cineplex near you
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2011 on talking with leo... at Obsidian Wings
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How about 1000 days - roughly the length of JFK's administration, or Anne Boleyn's reign as Queen of England? ;}
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2011 on Tactician, Plan Thyself at Obsidian Wings
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No one (here) is denying that there was a "brutally oppressive dictatorship" in post-revolutionary Russia. That does not make a dictatorship of the proletariat guided by a vanguard party the same "system of governance" as a hereditary constitutional monarchy backed by the Orthodox Church. So: fail. Nor would a single case, even if accepted, prove your (universal) contention that "violent overthrows never lead to a new system of governance." I have given you several other examples of where they did exactly that, and could provide more, if I could be bothered. So: FAIL And if you had submitted this kind of grand generalization in any of the university history courses I taught for thirty years on three continents, you would be "Failing" for real.
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2011 on Tactician, Plan Thyself at Obsidian Wings
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Ed Haines, are you seriously trying to teach me history?
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2011 on Tactician, Plan Thyself at Obsidian Wings
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violent overthrows never lead to a new system of governance Utter nonsense. History is full of violent overthrows that led to monarchies, for example, being replaced by completely different (non-monarchic) systems of government, e.g. the English Revolution of the 17th century and the Russian Revolution of 1917. If the claim is that subsequent "systems of governance" were essentially the same because they were not democracies, this is still wrong. See, e.g., the Mexican Revolution of 1911ff. or the Indonesian Revolution of 1945ff, both of which ended in constitutional democracies. Conversely, various democratically elected governments throughout the world have been subject to "violent overthrow" by complete (non-democratic) bastards, e.g., the Spanish Civil War. In other words, whatever way you slice it, this is arrant nonsense. A quite separate, much more interesting, but much more frustrating question is "What does it take to sustain fragile democratic institutions in the face of inevitable opposition to them (often from supporters of the Ancien Regime)?" It's not easy, and it's not surprising that upheavals that manage to create temporarily democratic institutions (e.g., the French Revolution) often lapse back into something more authoritarian. But claiming that all "violent overthrows" are effectively pointless is itself beyond pointless.
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2011 on Tactician, Plan Thyself at Obsidian Wings
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Debate topic: EITHER "Resolved: that everyone should be required to re-read [annually?] the books that influenced them when they were young." OR: "Resolved: that everyone should be prohibited from [ever] re-reading the books that influenced them when they were young." Show your work.
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2011 on On not reading V.S. Naipaul at Obsidian Wings
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Turb: Thanks for the clarification.
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Along the same line: who does Turbulence suppose "signed off" on the omission of Sunrise, and the other cities mentioned in that link? I genuinely don't get it. If they can lose entire cities of (white?) Americans without evil intent, why can't they lose Indian reservations? What's the difference?
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Let me propose an alternative approach to this dilemma. We (the ObWi commentariat) will promise to read something by Naipaul if Hilzoy will promise to return to blogging here. I for one would take that pledge.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2011 on On not reading V.S. Naipaul at Obsidian Wings
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The more one travels the world, the more the question arises. I spent most of four years in Australia, watching cricket, rugby (both league and union), and Australian Rules football, as well as tennis and track, and clearly some of the best athletes in these sports - in a sports-mad nation - might well have excelled in others, given an early shift in location. I remember hearing that Aussie cricket captain Alan Border - who at one time was among the all-time leaders in test runs scored - was, on a casual part-time basis, the best baseball player in the country. And entire Aussie Rules teams seemed to be made up of potential power forwards. One never knows, do one?
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Ugh: The answer to your question is simple - never. "Real" is as real does, and the rules of sport (any sport) are constantly changing, in terms of not just how many people are playing, but who is playing (Ruth never faced a black MLB player), what equipment is like, what drugs are legal (prior to the steroid era, many ballplayers were amped on amphetamines, I'm told), how much access to the highest levels of training/coaching matters, etc. One of my major gripes with all-time records (most hits, runs, victories, etc.) is that in nearly all sports the number of games/matches in a season is longer than it used to be, so contemporary players can run up more of whatever than "greats" of the past. (Look at Jim Brown's NFL records.) You name any sport, any record, and I'll give you a plausible reason why it, however remarkable, should not be considered any more "real" than the rest. All is flux. All of which, as you rightly point out, makes sports interesting. But never "real."
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Gee, Anarch, it's almost as if you hadn't read the thread to see whether someone else had previously made the same point!
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42. No.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2011 on Are We Reaping the Whirlwind? at Obsidian Wings
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WRT the margin of superiority Nicklaus had over all others, there was one substantially greater, if you're willing to accept cricket as a "major professional sport." (And if you're not, look up how many people play it - far more than baseball or US football - and how much the top players get paid. Then repent.) When Don Bradman retired in 1948, his "test" (= international) batting average was 99.94, and would have been over 100 if he hadn't scored a "duck" (zero) in his very last inning. The next highest lifetime average then was 60.73 (Sutcliffe), so Bradman was over 65% better than the second best ever. Over the last 63 years, the second best average, including those whose total number of innings is much lower (30-40, as against the 80+ of Bradman and Sutcliffe), has crept all the way up to 61.53. Bradman is still 62% better than the next best. Oh, and like Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and a few others, he lost what should have been his "prime" years to WWII.
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OK, but you have to understand the meaning of "root" to Australians.
Toggle Commented May 25, 2011 on Are We Reaping the Whirlwind? at Obsidian Wings
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Once again I sit corrected. Unlike some former Secretaries of State, I am capable of admitting my errors.
Toggle Commented May 16, 2011 on Your Friday Firebird open thread at Obsidian Wings
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Gary: Mozilla has Firefox, but no Firebird. Icons Matter!
Toggle Commented May 16, 2011 on Your Friday Firebird open thread at Obsidian Wings
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What Kissinger conveniently forgot to mention was that the bombing of Cambodia was never authorized by the US Congress, which is why it is referred to as the "secret bombing." It was no secret to the Cambodians: they knew they were being bombed, and they knew who was doing it. The secret was hiding this fact from the US Congress, because it was - though IANAL - illegal. In terms of US law, not just the larger geopolitical/humanitarian question of WTF were we doing anyway. Funny that he didn't mention that.
Toggle Commented May 16, 2011 on Your Friday Firebird open thread at Obsidian Wings
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What is the definition of a quarter-tone? Two oboes playing in unison. What is the definition of an oboe? An ill wind that nobody plays good.
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