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January 2011 Archives

January 29, 2011

What If Quentin Tarentino Rewrote Plato?

By Armed Liberal at 16:43
Socrates: There's this little passage I got memorized that I like to recite in situations like this. It is a tale of a brave man, Er, who once died in war. On the twelfth day, as he was already laid out on the funeral pyre, he revived, and told what he had seen yonder. He said that after his soul had left him it travelled with many others until they came to a marvellous place, where there were two openings upward into heaven, and between them sat judges. These, when they had given judgment, ordered the just to go upward through the heavens by the opening on the right. The unjust they ordered to travel downward by the opening on the left. For all the wrongs they had done to any person they paid a tenfold penalty. Savage men, all fiery to look at bound their feet, hands and heads, and threw them down and beat them, tortured them on thorny bushes.

Aristotle: What the f**k was that all about?

Socrates: So, motherf**ker, prepare to test the hypothesis! See, I've got it figured out, I'm the just man, and you're the unjust man, my gun is the thorny bushes, and Mr. dead pansy here is the judge. Now DIE MOTHERFUC --

Aristotle: But what if I'm the just man and you're the unjust man and this dead dipshit is the thorny bushes?

Socrates: Oh, uh ...

Aristotle: Or what if Alcibiades is the just man, and we're both unjust men. And the thorny bushes are the judge?

Socrates: S**t, well I guess that all depends on your definition of justice.

- Nathaniel Daw's "Republic Dogs" (h/t Michel Butler)
...there's more.
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January 25, 2011

'Restrepo' Nominated

By Armed Liberal at 17:19

'Restrepo' was just nominated by the Academy for Best Full-Length Documentary. I loved it; TG hasn't felt brave enbough to see it yet. I'll take her to a screening.

You can rent it or stream it from Netflix, and I'm sure other video rentals. See it, please.

It's certainly a hard watch for a military parent; and a hard watch for almost anyone. But it's amazing, and the men who it depicts (including MOH winner SSG Giunta) so honestly deserve no less.

Even though the Academy is one of my clients, I seriously didn't know until this morning when they made the announcements.
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  • alchemist: Thanks for reminding me that it was up, I thought read more
  • alchemist: I watched Frontline's "The wounded platoon" today, I'll try to read more
  • The Kitchen Dispatch: Yup, it's been a morning of lots of emails and read more

January 23, 2011

Iran, Reagan, Carter

By Armed Liberal at 19:41

Over at Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis comments (wisely) on Ted Koppel's column on Iran. He concludes:
Leaving the Reagan criticism aside, though, I think Koppel's overall point is largely correct. Thirty years after the hostages came home, we still haven't figured out how to deal with Iran.
One core issue is, I believe, that Iran was playing against us, and Carter was playing against the Republican Party.
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  • Glen Wishard: mark - There is no iota of a "direct call read more
  • mark: Glen, It's worth reading the whole thing Actually, I read read more
  • Glen Wishard: mark - The things a POTUS says do impact events, read more

January 22, 2011

A Two-Hanky Read

By Armed Liberal at 02:30

TG works with lawyers and judges and such, and with only one exception that I know of, the folks I've met through her are uniformly wonderful and delightful. (Note that this doesn't change my view that we're badly over-lawyering our society...)

Then today, she shared something with me that just made me stop. And tear up like I was making onion casserole.

Retired Marine Charles W. McCoy Jr. was the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Courts for the last two years (the Hon. Lee Edmon, who ...possibly jokingly... threatened me if I ever hurt TG's feelings and then stood with us and married us is his replacement) is the adoptive father to children he met and adopted through the foster care system.

He wrote them a poem, which TG just shared with me...

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read the rest! »

January 21, 2011

Smart Writing On Guns (And Some Not So Smart)

By Armed Liberal at 20:34

Dan Baum - who we've discussed here before - has a great post up at Huffington Post about guns (h/t Instapundit).

No, really.

He makes the following points (among others):
Arizona law was irrelevant to Jared Loughner's purchasing the gun. The background check is federal, and he passed it. Yes, his carrying concealed to the Safeway, without a permit, was legal under Arizona's new law, but if it hadn't been, would he have been dissuaded? He headed off to commit murder; he was already far over the line where a concealed-carry law would have made any difference to him.

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  • Roland Nikles: I think the observations here about the practicalities of gun read more

January 20, 2011

Another Amazingly Bad Article On The Economy In The Atlantic

By Armed Liberal at 18:59

I've drifted back to reading the Atlantic (thinks in large part to the great coverage of my son's platoon in Arghandab), and find it - OK. There's good stuff, and then there's Sully. I ought to feel kinship with him - neither one of us fits into a neat partisan slot - but mostly just shake my head when I read stuff by him (note - for a great counterpoint re Palin from a progressive feminist, read this).

But I digress. The point of this post is to share my - pretty hostile - reaction to a column by Derek Thompson on why we're having a jobless recovery.

Thompson suggest three reasons why companies are fast to fire and three why they are slow to hire.

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  • Patrick Walsh: Marc, I have to confess that it is possible I read more
  • Armed Liberal: Thorley, Treefrog - I need to spend some time doing read more
  • Armed Liberal: Patrick, the net marginal productivity issue is dealt with really read more

On Decline, Relative And Absolute

By Armed Liberal at 03:05

I read two things this week, and they - between them - nailed what I've believed for a long time.

They are about the change in role and position of the United States; one is purely historic, and one prescriptive (note that I'm dubious about the prescription)...

The issue, of course is the decline - certainly in relative and potentially in absolute degree - of the United States. Decline economically, which in turn leads to decline politically and militarily.

One is an instablog over at Seeking Alpha, the investment site, by some guy named Steven Graves. He makes, succinctly, a point that I deeply believe in:
Consider the circumstance of the US at the conclusion of the Second World War:

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  • J Aguilar: Even the very idea of three of the most prosperous read more
  • Treefrog: Because the latter category of folks... poor, desperate, and stupid, read more
  • Treefrog: Agree completely Alchemist. I'd like to add on to that read more

January 16, 2011

The Nub Of What Is Wrong With Modern Liberalism

By Armed Liberal at 00:37

Here's a Brad De Long comment about Mickey Kaus (from Mickey's site)
When Mickey stops trying to destroy the careers of twenty-something journalists, I'll talk to him...

Until then, I won't - and you shouldn't carry water for him either. He's not a good person. Yours,

Brad DeLong
Not - "he's deeply wrong because," Not even "He's deeply wrong."

"He's not a good person."

Public liberals need to believe they have a better model - not the only model - and that those who disagree are fellow citizens who have different policy positions (and in some cases different values).

And it's not uncommon. Last weekend I was at a party in Manhattan; a room full of nice people and I probably spoke with a dozen of them. Unifrmly liberal - although amusingly when I was critical of the bank bailouts and argued that Obama should have rescued homeowners and banks, not just banks and Wall Street, I was strongly and uniformly criticized. Not one of them was willing to believe that conservatives or Tea Partiers had anything to say, and the feeling was that polite society just didn't listen to anything they had to say.

Get the f**k over yourselves, people.
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  • alchemist: Sorry, don't watch Olbermann. Or any cable news. At some read more
  • Glen Wishard: I'm just saying the perception from people on the left read more
  • alchemist: Tim, You're right. I'm just saying the perception from people read more

January 9, 2011

Giffords Shooting

By Armed Liberal at 04:01

One reason I haven't written much of anything is that everything I read right now pretty much puts me into a funk; the quality of rhetoric I'm seeing from both sides doesn't bring me any kind of reassurance that our politics are going to be anything but a brawl - at a time when we're driving our nation along a mountain road with no guardrail. It's a bar fight where I just can't bring myself to choose sides.

The immediate news suggests that the shooter is a garden-variety nutjob - about which more in a moment.

But I'll bet the toxic politics of the moment help focus the rage of the deranged and disconnected and shake them out of the tracks of their daily lives into a path that's potentially far more destructive. It's absurd that either side claims that the other a monopoly on violent rhetoric - it's just not true. And it's more absurd to hear militant rhetoric from journalists and writers whose closest brush with violence was a shoving match at the frat house or sorority.

It's disgusting, and somewhere, somehow, someone needs to shame these assholes into changing their tone. Maybe - just possibly - this tragedy will serve as a bucket of ice dumped in their laps that may, just possibly have an impact.

Everything being brought forward (and let's admit that we have very little yet) about the shooter makes him out to be deranged. I'll point something out here that I've said before; somewhere someone saw someone with a gun whose behavior should have set off a yellow light. Someone who should have said or done something, because - again based on very preliminary and sketchy stories - I'm hard pressed to imagine that anyone who looked at this guy would have had serious second thoughts about his fitness to own a weapon.

Update - fixed embarrassing typo in post title
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  • alchemist: So Sarah Palin caused the shooting of a congresswoman and read more
  • Glen Wishard: alchemist - So Sarah Palin caused the shooting of a read more
  • alchemist: Liberals ought to pay attention to the way that leftist read more

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

By Armed Liberal at 20:39

I've been the Absent Blogger lately, and the Management is working to see what it can do about that for the coming year.

But I didn't want New Year's to pass without sharing a greeting, and expressing how happy and relieved I am that 2010 - a year of loss, risk, and fear for so many - that our family was truly lucky and blessed.

This picture - our Christmas card for the year - says it all.

XMas2010_edited-1.jpg The photographer, Stephanie Pullman, did a number of portraits of the boys when they were very young. I happened to run into her at a Long Beach Opera performance, and amazingly she recognized me.

It was that kind of year for us, and I hope that the luck we've had this year will continue into the next.

And I hope that each of you is as fortunate in the ways that matter to you.

Happy New Year, and lift a mug of coffee to absent companions.
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  • essays: Stephanie Pullman is a talented man. I never heard of read more
  • Armed Liberal: Sorry...fixed. A.L. read more
  • Phil Smith: Guys, come on. At least get rid of the spam. read more
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