Al Franken is a big fat senator

, June 30, 2009

After almost eight months of appeals and recounts, it’s official: Al Franken has won the hotly disputed 2008 Minnesota Senate race, following the concession of Republican opponent Norm Coleman. Coleman’s 215-vote lead on election night prompted a recount, which Franken won. Coleman appealed the decision, but today the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Franken’s […]

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Survival of the artsiest

, June 29, 2009

In the same issue of Newsweek that I cited in my last post, there’s a review of a recent book by one Denis Dutton called The Art Instinct. It’s a book about creativity and evolution, and it’s one of a number of recent works that tries to define the way we think and behave in […]

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What Obama apparently hasn’t done

, June 29, 2009

A little while back, I posted a look at an open letter from economist Paul Krugman to Barack Obama, which included his ideas on how to fix the American economy. That letter appeared in Rolling Stone in January. Three months later, Krugman declared that “Obama is Wrong” on the cover of Newsweek. I guess the […]

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A Michael Jackson link worth forwarding

, June 26, 2009

Unless you’ve been out on the Appalachian Trail for the past few days, you already know that Michael Jackson is dead. By now, you’ve probably read the obsessive news coverage, the hacky jokes, the celebrity tributes, the essays about Twitter and the future of journalism, and even the pathetic online feud between Perez Hilton and […]

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Sarkozy and a sign of debasement

, June 24, 2009

French president Nicolas Sarkozy made headlines this week by announcing that burkas, the full-body gowns worn by many conservative Muslim women, are a symbol of female subjugation and are not welcome in France. Sarkozy called the burka “a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement,” and argued that France “cannot accept that women be prisoners […]

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Violence can only breed more violence

, June 22, 2009

Peter Singer wrote a book called Animal Liberation in 1975. It has been updated and reissued a number of times since, and it’s widely considered a classic of the animal rights movement. The following excerpt is from the preface to the 1990 edition. It was written about the animal liberation movement, but you can obviously […]

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It starts with you on Father’s Day

, June 21, 2009

The White Ribbon Campaign has just launched a brand new website at Executive Director Todd Minerson explained in recent email that the site is designed to “celebrate, inspire, and mark the important role fathers (and other adult male role models) can play in promoting healthy and gender equitable relationships in our world.” The site […]

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The year of living angerously

, June 18, 2009

I just posted the final edition of “A Thousand Things That Piss Me Off” on Shplang. It’s the end of a list that I started compiling in the spring of last year, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure I’d actually finish it. But now I have, and I invite […]

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What Obama must do

, June 17, 2009

Paul Krugman is an economist and writer whose name seems to pop up frequently, often in some pretty surprising places. In January of 2009, for example, Rolling Stone published a piece of his called “What Obama Must Do: A Letter to the New President.” Never before, they said, had one of their writers used “I […]

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How’s the per diem thing going?

, June 15, 2009

Pretty well so far. Thanks for asking! It’s been two weeks since I started living on a per diem budget, and I’ve learned a lot from doing it. I’ve gotten a much better handle on what I spend and what my financial situation is like, but I’ve also learned that my budget could benefit from […]

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