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Category: Miscellaneous

Monday Miscellany (and a small quiz)

HOME! Waking up in the tropics, then struggling home through a blinding snowstorm 26 hours later is not fair! Not fair at all! But thank heaven for heroically dedicated friends; I didn’t have to drive myself that last crazy six hours. Why is every mainstream media article about the census a propaganda piece that could have been written by flacks at the Census Bureau? And why does every one of them repeat the lie about “just 10 questions”? Sure, there are merely 10 questions for people who live alone, but there are seven additional questions for each other resident —…

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Stranded

I knew I hated to travel, even aside from (and even before) the TSA made things worse. I am stranded in the Miami airport. I arrived here with — so I thought — plenty of time to board my connecting flight to Parts Unknown. But no … the online company that ticketed me set me up with “only” an hour and 45 minutes between my arrival and my scheduled departure. Turns out that I must check in two hours before the flight or no go. I had tried to check in for the international flight both online yesterday and at…

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“I’m leaving on a jet plane …”

Whew. All that philosophizing I’ve done in the last week has worn me out. I need a vacation! Oh … wait. I’m already taking one. In fact, I’m leaving this afternoon for the Big City, then heading to Parts Unknown — Furrin’ Parts, even! — early tomorrow. Won’t be back for nearly a month. But I’ll be in touch. Sometimes, I’ll be in the wilds — those deep, dark places where they don’t even have modems, let alone wifi. But thanks to the magic of delayed post-scheduling, when I do land in (relative) civilization, I should be able to throw…

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Monday Miscellany

For anybody who’s been wondering, I expect to have the third (and probably final) post on “Comfort with Complexity” tomorrow. Been cogitating on it. Quote of the day: “One … of the chief differences between an adult and a juvenile is that the adult knows when he is an ass while the juvenile never does.” — Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American author, philosopher, and longshoreman Census: the good, the bad, and the ugly: Here’s a constitutionalist view of the census including its legal history and updated information on the potential penalties for refusing cooperation. OTOH, I’ve been trying to find an…

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The buzz on Google’s arrogant goof

I didn’t pay much attention earlier this week when Google announced Buzz. Didn’t get too flapped when the t00bz immediately started buzzing with complaints about privacy, either. Yawn, what else is new? Privacy horror stories are par for the course for social-networking sites, and aside from that, those sites are mostly boring as dirt. (Who wants to know about other people’s trivial daily activities?) But I’m thinking this new Google mess — even after the alleged fixes — is a different order of magnitude. The former “do no evil” people did four really evil things: They forced a Buzz account…

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Comfort with complexity, II: Labels

This is the second in a series on freedom and the ability to deal comfortably with complexity. Part one is here. In a couple of recent comment threads (here and here) Kevin Wilmeth lamented dependence on labels and the human craving to identify with groups. At the risk of misinterpreting him, I’ll paraphrase: Labels are limiting because they can never express all the variations that fall within their scope; and our need to identify as part of a group often means we give ourselves permission to stop thinking as soon as we’ve concluded, “I’m an X” or “So and so…

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Comfort with complexity

Being comfortable with complexity. It’s something that’s been on my mind for years. But I was reminded of it again after reading an otherwise-sneering Mother Jones profile of the New York Times’s “conservative” columnist, Ross Douthat. Now, Douthat isn’t “conservative” by any standard most folks would recognize around here (federal wage subsidies, anyone?). But what got Mother to ooohing and aaahing is that Douthat is apparently a thinker who is comfortable with nuance and complexity. The writer, Mark Oppenheimer, just could not wrap his head around the idea of a “conservative” who didn’t toe some O’Reillyesque party line. Of course,…

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My all-time favorite SuperBowl “spot” [vbg]

Okay, here’s one for the lighter side. The only thing I miss about not having TV is great commercials. But with YouTube, no problem. This is my absolute, all-time favorite SuperBowl spot (other than the incomparable “1984”, of course). From 2007, I believe. On the other hand, I never saw this one until this afternoon. But it could really be my second favorite. From SuperBowl 1999 …

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Monday Miscellany

The Constitution as an 18th-century Patriot Act. Hm. I’ve always thought of that applying more to the Alien and Sedition Acts. But it’s an interesting point. Anyhow, I’m definitely of the school that says, “The Constitution isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what we have now.” (Any idea who originated that quote?) Last week while looking for a link to the Whiskey Rebellion, I stumbled across this cool site dealing with booze, with some emphasis on the bootleg variety. I’m not a drinker myself. I fall asleep after one glass of wine. I think beer tastes like dish detergent and…

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James Otis, Jr., the unknown founding father

Today is the birthday of James Otis, Jr., according to my copy of The Liberty Calendar. Few people have heard of him. He’s the man who said, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” (Never mind that he should have just shortened that to, “Taxation is tyranny”; he made a good start.) He argued brilliantly against the writs of assistance that were so contentious in the years before the American Revolution. (We could use him again these days.) Otis unfortunately went crazy. And he died young — struck by lightning, exactly as he had hoped he would be — while others went…

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