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Worth Reading 20060714

Worth reading, July 14, 2006:

alicublog: "Finally saw Brokeback Mountain.... Early on, I was convinced Brokeback's slow pace was a device to keep us from busting out laughing at the sharp deviation from traditional form -- you know, two cowboys bond on the open range, then, presto, ass-fucking. But like most slow-paced movies, Brokeback is very concerned with and serious about time. Ennis and Jack's early days are a cherished memory, so of course they are made long enough to stay in the mind through the rest of the film.... [F]or (I think) straight viewers at least, the gay angle actually illuminates rather than limits the love story, because the taboo on their love is so ingrained in us that we don't need to have it explained in artificial "two houses, both alike in dignity" terms -- terms we know are a writer's invention, and which our minds will automatically try to get around throughout the story, devising alternate, happier endings. Not that we won't root for Ennis and Jack -- of course we will -- but nobody goes into a love story between two men in 1963 rural America with any hope that things will work out..."

Environmental Economics: Doesn't it take longer than a day for oil to become gas?: "Doesn't it take longer than a day for oil to become gas? Oil jumped to $78 per barrel yesterday. My wife paid $3.30 for gas this morning. I'm pretty sure it takes more than 48 hours for Middle East oil to become Columbus, OH gas. So what's going on? In short, expectations matter. Prices are expected to go up in the future, so prices jump today. Is this greedy suppliers taking advantage? No just rationality at work..."

Armchair Generalist: Casual Fridays: "The Dog Whisperer starring Cesar Millan.... Cesar sees himself as a dog psychologist.... It's our American culture to treat our pets as children, but the dogs are thinking like pack animals and will take advantage of our failure to appreciate that. Not that we're not supposed to love and care for our pets as companion animals, but at the root, they still have animal instincts. Number one issue with most of the owners - they're not walking the dog enough, or not walking the dog with 'a calm, assertive manner'.... I've stopped using the 25-foot extendable leash in favor of a shorter leash that puts my dog right next to me when we walk.... New feature - Cesar's starting a blog! It's going to be inundated with comments..."

Ben Muse: Economic modeling and trade negotiations

Eschaton: "WHEEEEEEEEE: Bush approval at 36 in both AP and Fox polls. I'll leave it to the smart guys at the Note to explain how popular he is..."

Lawyers, Guns and Money: Mickey Kaus is a %%$%@ Moron, Part LXXIV: "Mickey Kaus is a %%$%@ Moron, Part LXXIV: Yes, I realize this is an unhealthy obsession. Mickey has responded: 'Numerous readers email to note Plano's very Republican voting record--Collins County, of which it's a part, went 71% for Bush in 2004, for example. It's certainly a Bush bastion. It's less clear to me that it's a "conservative" bastion if by that you mean social conservative (gay marriage, school prayer, abortion, etc.). Nor does it seem to be a "pickup" truck, chewin' tobacco bastion in the classic sense. More of a Bobo Boomburg....' Shorter Mickey: If we redefine conservative to mean what I want it to mean, then Plano is kind of not conservative. What an idiot. Conservatives should loathe Mickey even more then I do; for Mickey, it appears, conservatives are ignorant hicks who've never heard of sushi, shop every day down at the Wal*Mart, and who all drive aging pickup trucks with 'I Hate Queers' bumper stickers on the back..."

The Horse's Mouth: "MEDIA BADLY BOTCHES REPORTING ON BUSH-SPECTER WIRETAPPING BILL..."

Greg Mankiw's Blog: The Tradeoff Between Breadth and Depth: "My broad interests (short attention span) help to explain my diverse (incoherent) body of work.... breadth has its costs.... I sometimes fear that because I work in so many different areas, each line of work is more superficial than it otherwise would be.... I am always certain that whatever topic I am working on at that moment, someone else has spent many more hours thinking about it than I have. There is something to be said for devoting a lifetime to mastering a single subject. But it won’t be my lifetime. I just don't have the temperament for it..."

Think Progress: "Oil surged to record highs above $78 a barrel on Friday as intensifying violence in the Middle East raised concerns of possible supply disruptions..."

Big Bang Theory In Ruins: By E. J. Dionne Jr.: The most intellectually honest case for the war in Iraq was... that the Middle East was a mess. A nest of authoritarian regimes bred opposition movements rebelling against the conditions under which too many people lived and energized by a radical Islamist ideology. The situation's hopelessness argued for a hard shove from the United States to create a new dynamic. Installing a democratic government in Iraq would force a new dawn. Newly empowered Muslim democrats would reform their societies, negotiate peace with Israel and get on with the business of building prosperous, middle-class societies. It was a beautiful dream, and even when the administration was asserting things that turned out not to be true, it held the dream out there for all to contemplate.... But when the Big Bang happened, the wreckage left behind took the form of reduced American influence, American armed forces stretched to their limit and a Middle East more dangerously unstable than it was at the beginning of 2003. Whether one ascribes these troubles to the flawed implementation of the Big Bang Theory or to the theory itself, what matters now is how to limit and, if possible, undo some of the damage..."

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