Monday, January 24, 2011

So You Want To Be A History Professor?


(Courtesy of Cliopatria) This is entirely too true, and praise be that I do not follow these paradigms. (WARNING: some language NSFW)



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Friday, January 14, 2011

Urban Dictionary: Shatner commas


Urban Dictionary: Shatner commas:


December 20, 2010 Urban Word of the Day

Oddly placed commas that don't seem to serve any actual purpose in punctuation, but make it look like you should take odd pauses, as William Shatner does when delivering lines.

This what Shatner commas look like:

When, we get to, the restaurant, we should, order some, tasty, beverages.



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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Even "Extreme" Smack-Talk In Politics Is Okay, Despite Squeamish Objections


The Volokh Conspiracy » The First Amendment and Speech That Allegedly Threatens Public Officials: read all of it; partial summary as follows:



  • The Supreme Court has made clear that threats — including threats against the life of the President — can only be punished if they are “true threats."

  • U.S. v. Watts (1969), held that the Constitution protects even the statement "If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.," said at antiwar rally.

  • If the concern is not that the President will feel threatened, but that some readers might be moved by such statements to attack the President, the speech remains protected.


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Friday, January 7, 2011

On The Other Hand


Ph.D. Octopus: if this is what today's grad students in history are like, I should be glad I'm not among them. Insufferable dilettantes!

But how much harm can they really do? Nine-hundred-something history PhD's produced in the U.S. last year are competing (even now, at the AHA meeting) for fewer than five six hundred faculty spots. Hope all that debt was worth it, boys and girls!


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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Big City Reforms: What Works And What Doesn't


Restoring the Social Order by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 6 January 2011. This part is money:


Liberal urban policy was based on several core assumptions. Number One: multigenerational poverty was the result of structural forces—above all, of rapacious capitalism and racism. It could never be the result of bad decision-making or a deficit of personal responsibility. Number Two: though men were still, alas, required for conceiving a child, they were purely optional for raising one. (Corollary: the role of illegitimacy in creating and perpetuating poverty could never be acknowledged.) Number Three: low-wage work was demeaning and pointless. It was better to receive a monthly welfare check than to labor at an entry-level job. Number Four: crime was an understandable and inevitable reaction to economic injustice and discrimination. (Corollary: the police could not lower crime; only government social programs and wealth-redistribution schemes could.) Together, these four conceits composed the most dangerous idea of all: that the bourgeois values of order, self-discipline, and respect for the law were decorative afterthoughts to prosperity, rather than its very precondition.



In a nutshell, the utter failure of the Great Society Mentality is in its (presumably) unintended consequences. I say "presumaby" because there is some conservative postulation that the entire Cloward-Piven strategy was to break the system in order to build support for an even more radical version.


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