Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Read this.
The link is from Michael Froomkin who says:
David Howarth is an old friend, one of the smarter lawyers I know, and definitely one of the smartest politicians around (he's a Reader in Law at Cambridge and Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge). David is currently the campaign manager for one of the two leading candidates in the Liberal Democrat leadership election.

So please do not dismiss what follows as some weird backbench conspiracy stuff.
Who wants the Abolition of Parliament Bill?:
Last week all eyes were on the House of Commons as it debated identity cards, smoking and terrorism. The media reported both what MPs said and how they voted. For one week at least, the Commons mattered.
All the more peculiar then that the previous Thursday, in an almost deserted chamber, the Government proposed an extraordinary Bill that will drastically reduce parliamentary discussion of future laws, a Bill some constitutional experts are already calling “the Abolition of Parliament Bill”.

A couple of journalists noticed, including Daniel Finkelstein of The Times, and a couple more pricked up their ears last week when I highlighted some biting academic criticism of the Bill on the letters page of this paper. But beyond those rarefied circles, that we are sleepwalking into a new and sinister world of ministerial power seems barely to have registered.

The boring title of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill hides an astonishing proposal. It gives ministers power to alter any law passed by Parliament. The only limitations are that new crimes cannot be created if the penalty is greater than two years in prison and that it cannot increase taxation. But any other law can be changed, no matter how important. All ministers will have to do is propose an order, wait a few weeks and, voilà, the law is changed.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Good one by Jason Stanley at Leiter's World. At the bottom he links to a post by his brother (one I missed). Also good.
Here's my bit.
This began as a question about what kind of specialist is better equipped to handle a specific instance of a medical and moral dilemma. J. Stanley responds by arguing commonsensically if in unphilosophical terms that specialists are not often capable of being specific enough when dealing with real world issues.
Specialists are only specialists within the context of the wider pool of knowledge: they are by necessity generalists concerning their fields themselves. Doctors know diseases more than patients just as generals know warfare more than soldiers [enlisted or inductees]; though good doctors and good generals know both. Still, in our democracy we don't let generals decide when to go to war.

"The people I would turn to for aid in such a decision are those friends of mine whom I regard as having a certain kind of wisdom and insight about the human condition"

That begs a lot of questions.
A 'humanist' education, referring to M. Stanley's post, has less to do with knowledge per se -and less with teaching than with learning- than with the appreciation of these varieties of scale. Works of art are works of articulate hyper-specificity, mapping out not rules but exceptions. They refer to one instance of an act, or to one response: that's why literature is forever offering up strangely sympathetic murderers. It's also why artists' attempts at philosophical generalizations are generally laughed at, as much as philosophers' attempts at art. A humanist education is the learning not only of medicine but of a bedside manner. That's not as simple as learning how to be nice and it's something worthy of philosophical discussion. (Good lawyers have good bedside manners too )
But that discussion would not be one from specialization but merely concerning it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The unsmiling Russian who runs the freight in the afternoons turns back to us as he closes the door.
"Whites in the front, Niggers to the basement."
I'm in the elevator with the electricians: two Puerto Ricans and a Pole.
"So how do you get out?"
The Russian pauses.
"I'm Superman, I leave from the roof"
In the basement he shakes hands with each of us before we walk towards the steps up to the street.

The Nazi put in a good word for me with my boss. He knows that I know the easiest way to get out of there is to play an open hand, at least with him. The Gay Cowboy is gone, thrown off the job for the second time, and for good reason: everything he touched turned to shit. It got to the point that I would check with F. [the Nazi] before following his instructions, and today F. told my boss point blank that I'd done the right thing. As it is Cowboy cost my boss thousands of dollars in damaged woodwork so I didn't need the defense, but I appreciated it.
The older non-whites, the lead electrician and the carpenter W. don't like F. much, but they work with him. The kids just roll with it. He's a racist who makes an open secret of the fact that he's not trying to fight a lost cause. When his daughter grows up and brings home a black man, he'll laugh. [I think the kids get this] It may not be a happy laugh, he's not a happy man, but he'll laugh. In any event, he's fair and he makes no one miserable (unlike Cowboy).
No one hates him.

The plasterers and painters are Mexican, Ecuadorian, Puerto Rican and Dominican. The one framer I met was Polish. The electricians are Puerto-Rican and Polish. The laborer is Trinidadian. [The building employees are Hispanic, Irish and Eastern European.] The Cabinet and Millwork crew I'm on is made up (at the moment) of me, one Granadian, two Puerto-Ricans, and one slacker-assistant. Also coming and going are two art school drop-outs from the old school, both in their 50's, and both very skilled. They're getting sloppy in their old age but what I'm learning I'm learning from them. And there's also something else. It took me a full day on the job before I caught D[2] out.
We're the college-boys.

I should add that having done a lot of skim and plaster I've picked up a few tricks from the crew on this job. They're very good. Three skim coats polished and sanded before applying a heavy vinyl fabric, followed by 3 more coats. Nice work. And this is only the second time I've seen thinned out compound applied with a heavy nap roller and then skimmed out with a broad knife. It makes sense; it's much less tiring and you have more control.
It's still basic wall repair, but it's nicely done.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More fun

I'm not going to ask my landlady why she's crying when I know her mother's just died.
I could of course say that since she's Catholic and goes to mass 4 or 5 days a week I'd have thought she would be happy, since her mother has certainly gone to heaven. If I were an android of the sort so many Star Trek watching technogeeks pretend to be, I would just stand if front of her impssively and tell her I was confused. Of course if I were human I'd probably be laughing to myself: passive aggresives enjoy that sort of cruelty.
I don't argue with the faithful because I know that at any given moment I might become one of them, by making an assumption based not on logic but my wishes. None of us can escape the tendency to believe, though I suppose autistics might come close.
Dennett's defense of the 'Brights' is predicated on the assumption that this is possible, and even, I gather, on the assumption that someone's already done it.
Who, Joe Stalin?
(see: 'rule of law' above)
R- "Yet, for the most part, science fans remain cheerful and uncomplaining..."

Scientists do tend to be optimists. But they also tend to use words like 'truth.' as in 'ultimate truth' but truth is a term of metaphysics, and science is not concerned with truth but FACTS; facts which are mundane until someone has the desire to discover them and then revert to it after the post coital glow of discovery has faded.
There's another comment I didn't bring over. It's wasn't worth it.
Today at work?
Gefilte Fish and Biggie Smalls.
The other electrician showed up today. Walter. A round little Polish man who yells at everyone, then smiles, then goes back to yelling. Last year I remember he showed us a picture of his wife on his cell phone: a round little polish woman with a warm lascivious grin on her face. He flashes it around and winks.

Monday, February 20, 2006

In order of appearance (but not in the order I found them, via Atrios):

Anne Lamott's OpEd in the LA Times, Mark Joseph's annoying three sentence response, and Jane Smiley's "Tolerance" or Social Control?
I said this below and it seemed obvious but it isn't, or at least it's not seen as obvious, though logically it should be [got it?]

The rule of law is not the rule of reason: our choice of the former is predicated on our acceptance that the latter is unattainable.

A nation of puritans and drunks.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A little fun with a high school science geek. It's rough but WTF (update: three comments for my records)
I wish Wieseltier had done a better job but Dennett's a purblind fucking idiot. With that in mind:
Why do you insist on arguing logic with priests? Priests begin from their definition of all meaning being social. They argue not only from tradition but from the moral imperatives of tradition: you arguing that blood cannot become wine is irrelevant. And yet you and Dennett wonder why you can't convince the faithful? That's simply illogical.

You're more interested in the world than in perception, but then perception is how we experience the world. Computers don't perceive, animals do, and you're an animal. Those of us who are observant animals- who do not therefore pretend to be machines- pay close attention to and question ourselves, our motives and intentions. We try to remind ourselves to doubt, lest we begin to respond only out of reflex or habit. Scientists are not science any more than policemen are the law. Dennett doesn't understand that simple fact and Wieseltier doesn't respond to that arrogant stupidity clearly enough. But he's right.

Science does not explain Brian Leiter's fixation on academic social status or his unwillingness to respond to the blatant contradictions between his semi-leftist politics and his dedication to the academic priesthood. He's a Nietzschean snob. His tastes and manner define him more than his 'philosophical ideas.'
Why is Brad DeLong so god damn phobic of anything that has to do with Noam Chomsky, when the have so much in common? Delong's responses are frankly irrational. He goes off like a loon. Science can't explain that. Or perhaps it can, but it's not a science that we have access to.

Try to explain out loud to yourself why we defend the rule of law and not of men. Laws are nothing but traditions written on parchment. Why not just have people like you or Dennett make decisions for us? Why go through all this absurd ritual? Since lawyers are nothing but amoral craftsmen (and con men) why not have scientists debate among themselves to resolve court cases?
Think about what the rule "of law" means and why we have it.
Then go back and take a high school literature class.
Philosophy is for adults son. Grow the fuck up,
and we can talk.
John C. Halasz "[Religion is] a socio-cultural phenomenon and it's not obvious that it requires or is amenible to natural-scientific explanation."

All functions of society are socio-cultural phenomena and one cannot simply use one such function to analyze another. Or rather one can argue for a scientific explanation of religious belief but that will never eliminate its roots in our animal tendency to pattern thought based on previous experience. My point about Leiter is that the tastes and manners that precondition his contradictory arguments are the equivalent of faith.

The laws of science are not socio-cultural phenomena, but the uses to which science is put are. What atheist humanists and religionists both are offended by in Dennett's form of secular anti-humanism is the putting forth of the tools od science as themselves answers to questions of morality. But his claims to observational clrity are belied by the fact that he can't realize that religion only concerns itself marginally with the study of the world: it's primary interest is in law and social order. To hear him lecturing the faithful is akin to listening to a mathematician lecture fans of literature for reading lies.
"What's with you people. Don't you know, stories aren't real!!?"

The defense of religion is the defense of social order. Dennett argues that science can displace that order- displacing an order of language with one of number- and be both moral and just. But the activity of scientists- as opposed to the "laws" of science- is a social activity and as much an order of language as is religion or a court of law. Human beings experience life as a function of a social reality. We do no experience the world as number and computers do not 'experience' the world at all.

Religion is not the problem, it is those who claim unmediated access to the 'real' world whether the world of numbers or of gods. Dennett makes Nino Scalia's arguments for clarity and order but bases them on science rather than Catholic doctrine.
The myth of a unipolar consciousness "I say what I mean and I mean what I say" is as American as Henry Ford and 'can-do' anti-intellectualism. And of course, the parallel to Dennett is not Scalia but Posner's Law and Economics. And Posner and Leiter are buddies of course.
But the rule of law is not the rule of reason; we choose the former because the latter is impossible. Dennett attacks not only religion but language itself; language which can not escape ambiguity.
Under the rule of reason, if it were possible, no one would ever get off on a technicality.

I looked up the Dr. Seuss reference just to make sure I was right, and look what I found: "A plea for the Humanities." by another Seth too!
I guess god must be smiling on me today.

update: DeLong eliminates comments on this item.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"It's Adolf Hitler and his faithful West Indian companion!"
"I'm just flabbergasted by the antiquity of this shit"
"I want to talk to you for a minute. I just want to say that D. sent me up here as the site supervisor. D[2] is still here, he's not going anywhere, but that wasn't his job anyway. But I want you to know that I'm the one who's going to be running this job now, and I'm the one to talk to if you have any questions. It's down to the wire, but it's a job and we're all here for the same reason: to get this job done and get our money and get out. And that's what we're going to do. Now if... [this goes on for a bit]
...Any questions?"
" Yes I have one...
"Are you a faggot?"
Everyone's running for the door trying not to fall on their faces. No one can tell if W. is serious or not. His brow is furrowed and he's staring intently at our new foreman, who has become flustered. He was trying put the bridle on the horse and the horse is not so much resisting as responding with incredulity. He calls us back and no one goes, so after beginning "what do you want me to be?" he cops out and proclaims his heterosexuality in no uncertain terms, and continues to do so loudly for the next 5 minutes. After a while I see W. back on the ladder with his assistant, and he's laughing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Yella!... Yella!"
"Arabic? You're a spic!"
"Yo! my sister's Jordanian."
"I'm from Austria, motherfucker!. I'm from Graz! Arnold Schwarzenegger's hometown!"
"No wonder you sound like a Guinea."
"Yeah! We're right on the fuckin' border"
"A good Irish name."
"You're alright for a Jew!"
"What's the difference between a nigger and a pizza?"
"There's a black man in the room!"
"I don't care! What's the difference between a nigger and a fucking pizza?
"I don't know."
"A pizza can feed a family of four!"
[The black man looks at the ground shakes his head slowly and laughs]
"How many languages do you speak?"
"I can say "pussy" in 12 languages!"
Flipping open a cell phone to show a photograph.
"She's hot"
Where's she from?"
"Russia. Buying her first Range Rover next week!"
What's she do?"
"Real estate.
"Why d'you think I'm with the bitch!?"
"So why's she with you!?"
"How old is she?"
"23" [he's 27]
"I saw Maurice- we went to the same Church- and I asked him, which way are you taking us? People are worried. And he says, we are a small country, a poor country; all we have is agriculture, but we need to modernize. We need to build infrastructure and to expand trade. We need education. We can learn from both sides..."
[Maurice is Maurice Bishop.]

Every god damn day is like this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Stanley Fish is "The Stupidest Man Alive".
Read the list of questions in the Times and see if you agree.

I spent some time in Spain a few years ago. While I was there I stayed with some friends for a few weeks in a small town helping out in a woodshop. One hot day as I was working outside painting some shutters a German tourist came by and began photographing me. There was a sign on the side of the building in Spanish and German "no cameras" and we pointed to it and gestured for the man to stop. He looked out from the behind the camera for a moment, with a quizzical expression, then went back to taking picures.

"When the author of a children’s book about Mohammed, Kåre Bluitgen, sought illustrators for his book...".

[Twice in my life I've been photographed by Germans while yelling at them to stop. The first time the photographs ended up in an exhibition in Frankfurt. Kasper Koenig was a fan and a supporter of the photographer. She exhibited a series of prints of me avoiding the camera or trying to block it with my hand. I wasn't joking. I almost hit her,]

If you want to understand what is and isn't at stake in the Danish cartoon furor, just listen to the man who started it all, Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Mr. Rose told Time magazine that he asked 40 Danish cartoonists to "depict Muhammad as they see him," after he noticed that journalists, historians and even museum directors were wary of presenting the Muslim religion in an unfavorable light, or in any light at all.

"To me," he said, this "spoke to the problem of self-censorship and freedom of speech." The publication of the cartoons, he insisted, "was not directed at Muslims" at all. Rather, the intention was "to put the issue of self-censorship on the agenda and have a debate about it."
Fish is a troublemaker. He gives Flemming Rose the benefit of the doubt, and I doubt if mattered to him whether Rose deserved it or not.

So with that in mind, and with DeLong calling Fish's philosophy "antimoral" here are a few questions:

Were the photographers who took my picture being antimoral?
"When the author of a children’s book about Mohammed, Kåre Bluitgen, sought illustrators for his book...."
Was the man who wrote that bizarre sentence being antimoral?
What does DeLong believe in? His rationalism has a foundation in his assumptions. What are they?
Are lawyers antimoral for following a code of ethics that supercedes common morality?
Is craft antimoral?

Fish isn't that smart and he likes to cause problems, but he likes to think. DeLong isn't that smart and likes to solve problems. Those he can't solve he ignores or ridicules.

The answer to Fish's problem -or question- is twofold: first is to say that craft precedes truth as a value (Fish would agree). Second is to say that if we must have a theological truth it would consist in curiosity itself, in inquiry and doubt. The critique of reaction and the critique of liberalism are therefore and thereby related. Fish doesn't go that far. He's too busy causing trouble.

I wrote a shorter version of the above on DeLong's post but it's was rejected. I've been banned.  "You are not allowed to post comments."

And I'm still amazed how few people complain about DeLong's habit of adding his own bracketed comments on readers' responses. He doesn't even acknowledge them in the text, which causes confusion. It's hard to tell who's writng what. I respond to arrogance in kind. DeLong is a technician who doesn't comprehend the difference between technics and philosophy.
And he's an asshole.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Brad DeLong thinks he's smarter than Stanley Fish. He's wrong.
I'll come back to this (maybe).

LR again.
And Glenn Greenwald is having a little fun.
The problem I think is that so many people have abrogated their responsibility to democracy for so long that they stick with their leader not because they trust him or believe him, but because they're to ashamed to admit they fucked up.
Americans don't like having their mistakes pointed out to them.

"Opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one." etc.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Iran is a terrorist nation"
"Should not be allowed under any circumstances to have nuclear arms"
"No option should be off the the table"

what fucking Idiots.
(Via L. Rozen)

Ran into "Uncle" John Cohen at The Photography Show yesterday. We chatted for a while.
He taught at Purchase for years. Go through the whole page.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Two from Laura Rozen

Liberals hold others up to the example of their own pretensions: they pretend they're as rational as we all want to be.

"Why are the muslims behaving like barbarians?"
We're all barbarians.

The evangelical right meets Opus Dei.
"Communists use cells as their basic structure," declares a confidential Fellowship document titled "Thoughts on a Core Group." "The mafia operates like this, and the basic unit of the Marine Corps is the four-man squad. Hitler, Lenin and many others understood the power of a small group of people." Under Reagan, Fellowship cells quietly arranged meetings between administration officials and leaders of Salvadoran death squads, and helped funnel military support to Siad Barre, the brutal dictator of Somalia, who belonged to a prayer cell of American senators and generals.

...They were striving, ultimately, for what Coe calls "Jesus plus nothing" -- a government led by Christ's will alone. In the future envisioned by Coe, everything -- sex and taxes, war and the price of oil -- will be decided upon not according to democracy or the church or even Scripture. The Bible itself is for the masses; in the Fellowship, Christ reveals a higher set of commands to the anointed few. It's a good old boy's club blessed by God. Brownback even lived with other cell members in a million-dollar, red-brick former convent at 133 C Street that was subsidized and operated by the Fellowship. Monthly rent was $600 per man -- enough of a deal by Hill standards that some said it bordered on an ethical violation, but no charges were ever brought.

...The most bluntly theocratic effort, however, is the Constitution Restoration Act, which Brownback co-sponsored with Jim DeMint, another former C Streeter who was then a congressman from South Carolina. If passed, it will strip the Supreme Court of the ability to even hear cases in which citizens protest faith-based abuses of power. Say the mayor of your town decides to declare Jesus lord and fire anyone who refuses to do so; or the principal of your local high school decides to read a fundamentalist prayer over the PA every morning; or the president declares the United States a Christian nation. Under the Constitution Restoration Act, that'll all be just fine.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just a note: I'm tired and still covered in dust.

I've been thinking about why I've been spending so much time with the crap in the last post- and one I just took from the 'drafts' pile- as opposed to recent events: I watched some of Abu Gonzalez' un-sworn testimony yesterday when I came home from work. The answer is so obvious I've never bothered to acknowledge it. At least that's my excuse.

Our President is saying nothing more than that he needs to be free to innovate, to create new templates that allow him to govern in this time of crisis. Defenders of the rule of law point to words on paper as if they were priests defending a sacred text. President Bush is a free thinker by comparison.

Law in it's formal rigor is a mediating force, but it's the mediating force of history and custom. As people have pointed out, even if FISA were unconstitutional, it wasn't the administration's decision to make. Odd as it may seem, only the courts make such decisions. That's how we do things around here.

The rule of science by comparison is the rule of scientists. As I think I made clear yesterday, Cosma Shalizi is intelligent but not very observant and not self-aware. Indeed he seems opposed to it. His enthusiasms and presumptions get the better of him. If he understood that this was so and why, he would have a better understanding of people and of culture and of politics.

As it is he and others while they may defend the concept of the rule of law- and I include DeLong in this- make arguments against our need for it.
It's the same for those who defend the goal of objective reporting. But the press is an advocate for the people, separate and apart from those advocates we elect, and advocates aren't supposed to be objective; just ask a lawyer.
The problem did not begin with bias but with attempt to eliminate it: institutionalized moralism is institutional hypocrisy.

The single greatest error of Modernism was the claim that those who could grasp the complexities of history would be able to transcend it. The people I piss on in this diary are those who continue that absurd romance with their own imaginations.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Continuing from here.
This [archive.org] is Cosma Shalizi's article on Franco Moretti. Here's the link to Shalizi's footnote on Elif Batuman's review. That review itself is here. I've said I find the whole thing revolting. Shalizi's piece reads as if it were written by a 14 year old prodigy and Star Wars fan, in which case I'd be impressed but unconvinced.
Read the footnote first.

Why is it that some people will argue against the notion of great art by referring to the work and ideas of those they consider great thinkers?
The most liberally construed canon of Victorian English novels, Moretti continues, runs to about two hundred titles: yet “there are thirty thousand 19th-century British novels out there, forty, fifty, sixty thousand—no one really knows.” Ars longa, vita brevis—and, even if we lived forever, it still wouldn’t be a good use of our time to closeread every book ever written, because literature isn’t “a sum of individual cases” but “a collective system,” and we can’t grasp it by simply doing more of the same thing.

How, then, are we to obtain, given our meager human life spans, a godly cognizance of every last, lost Victorian novel? Moretti calls upon comparativists to practice “distant reading,” elsewhere “the quantitative approach”: a form of collaborative scholarship relying on giant utopian repositories of shared information, such that the study of literature will eventually be conducted “without a single direct textual reading.” Instead of theology, we need “a little pact with the devil”; we surrender the reading of individual texts, and in return we will get: “concepts.”
What's the point of studying the reproductive life of mollusks? It's a rhetorical question; there are plenty of answers, the most basic of which is the mere fact of curiosity, and this has a lot do with the logic of those who actually do the work. Science at close quarters is a metaphysical exercise, otherwise Steven Weinberg might have become a lawyer. As I've said, a preoccupation with "the unending search for facts" seems rather odd. Replace "facts" with "truth" and it becomes something else (or at least it seems to).

But why treat literature or painting like clams and scallops? Why treat acts of human imagination, not entirely unlike the acts of scientists, as the equivalent of natural phenomena? And is there another way to learn from such activity and from the records of such activity than to treat them and therefore in a sense ourselves as so much rock and foliage?.

As I said, begin with the footnote.
Shalizi is the kind of man who doesn't know when he's being an asshole. He begins with faint praise: “Adventures of a Man of Science", Elif Batuman’s wonderfully-titled review of Graphs, Maps, Trees in n+1 magazine, is a quite nice essay..."
Then after a long quote from the review he continues:
"First of all, it seems bizarre to say that Britain was being conquered by “industry and rationalism” in the 1890s, long after the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and all its social consequences, utilitarianism, etc. (Indeed, Mr. Lecky might want to have a few words...)
The links—in the original—make for an unnecessary, and nasty, bit of piling on. He goes on about the her unscientific observations and closes: "But it doesn’t seem to worry Batuman that there is no support for this idea (yet). — Let me repeat that I like the essay." [italics in original]
The whole thing is an exercise in the badly veiled contempt of a confused schmuck.

This is something I dropped into a note in an exhange with Brian Leiter over the weekend
In the five lectures on psychoanalysis Freud says that as the result of a successful treatment repression is replaced by 'a condemning judgment'. He doesn't explain the difference between the two. What's the difference between "I don't want to kill my father and sleep with my mother" and "I don't want to kill my father and sleep with my mother?"
Is the first louder and more nervous? More declarative? More cocksure? I don't know but it's a question conceptualists can't answer. Concepts can't remove the need and the responsibility of individual judgment.In response briefly to the criticism itself: If Shalizi were more interested in culture and less in concepts he would know that the the final conquest of the world by “industry and rationalism” was a 20th century phenomenon. Ideologies are no more than the transformation of thoughts and ideas into the language of pure concept; and the 20th century was the first, hopefully the last, century of ideology.

Shalizi is not interested in people, in what they are, what they think, or how they desire. He clearly has no interest in himself, and yet because he is uninterested in himself he is unobservant of himself. As to whether cognition is computational—or whether that is simply an argument made by men with Asperger's syndrome—though I've done it before I'll do it again, some other time.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Stephen Bainbridge
(1) belief in a transcendent order and natural law; (2) rejection of egalitarianism and utilitarianism; (3) support for class and order; (4) belief in the linkage between freedom and private property; (5) faith in prescription and custom; and (6) recognition that change is not necessarily salutary reform.
I'd written another comment, but it's just not worth it.
"I am... interested in theorizing and rhetoric."
Yes you are.

An old friend of my father ran into T.J Clark on the way to an anti-war rally a year or so ago. Clark had made a little sign to take along.
"Reverse because Obverse: He tried to kill my daddy"
Tim's also on good terms with an old client of mine, an art collector and a member of one of the families Bush relies on for money and support. And Tim writes books and chats with Jeff Wall, someone whose politics and intellectual perversity rivals his own. But Clark and Wall are both brilliant men, and their perversity is as complex and fascinating as it is compromised.
And hey, Clark gave us the Mekons and the Gang of Four!

You fucking Jackasses. You'd never know Marx was a pamphleteer who actually spoke at working men's organizations.
You describe yourselves honestly not by choice but by default.
When does speech become incitement? It depends on where you live: Brooklyn, Portadown, or Quebec in 1970.
Do we live in a free society? I'd say in this country yes, at the moment, and even these days the occurrence of anything that could be called incitement is minimal. But America is not Europe, and muslim immigrants are not living here in isolated racial pockets to be mocked by condescending white boys with fountain pens. Freedom of speech is the result of a very specific sort of social contract. Does the European contract include the muslim population? I don't know.

Josh Marshall misses the point twice, the second time in a link at the bottom of the post. I'm not a fan of Hamas, but neither am I a fan of Israeli generals; and the former are more capable of pragmatism, or of being made to undertand it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq.

Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A reminder to myself in re: my little exchange here with Brian Leiter.
Also because I'm geting some hits from this (scroll down to trackback listings).
I have no problem with Brian. His ideas piss me off, but he doesn't. There are others who annoy me as much as their ideas do, in fact much more. I can say quite literally that I hate them.
Why is this?
I guess that's my next post.
From dust to dust, with a vacation in between.

Back on the job. Park Ave. Very modern and stark. Ebonized Walnut floors and Wenge molding and trim, also ebonized. I'll be there for 3 or 4 weeks. After that there's more work but I'm getting used to laziness (or to working on other things.)

I think I may have a little fun here; I haven't written any architecture criticism since my 'think piece' -as the editor called it- and an assigned book review were both rejected by the Architect's Newspaper.