Dougist Notes

Quick posts from Douglas Barone
The piggy-back page to my main site, Dougist.com

February 23, 2014 at 11:59am
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If Buell and his American Studies colleagues have creatively transformed the mid-twentieth-century canon, they also write in ways that the Cold War liberal critics would never have chosen to write—and never would have tolerated in the writing of others. American Studies circa 2014 is an academic pursuit undone by its own prose style. The Dream of the Great American Novel is studded with unlovely locutions and neologisms taken from the lexicon of cultural studies, the child of theory: “bioregional embeddedness,” “minoritarian,” “a narratorial hatchet job,” “otherized,” “ecoutouristical,” “narratorial androcentrism,” and “cyberneticized.” Clichéd from the moment it is coined, this language is starkly un-literary, the inverse almost of the lyrical, mysterious, subjective, and beautiful writing of a Lionel Trilling or an Alfred Kazin or an Irving Howe. Although The Dream of the Great American Novel contains much cogent and enjoyable writing, it is weighted down by needlessly convoluted sentences, hypnotic in their stretching of uncomplicated ideas into theoretical pronouncements.

— Lawrence Buell’s The Dream of the Great American Novel Reviewed by Mic | New Republic

January 15, 2014 at 9:42am
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"Halloran writes that he logs 60-hour work weeks representing his district in northeastern Queens for his $112,000 salary, and bemoans that “our city’s absurd tax burden just about cuts that in half.”"

- August 2, 2010

— New York City Council Salaries — Are They Too Low? - Metropolis - WSJ

November 10, 2013 at 11:14am
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Before dawn on Sunday, from our bedroom window, Lynn and I saw the smoke and flames of a fire that could easily have taken all of the chapel, as other fires, at other times in our campus history, had once done. We heard cracking timbers as we raced out the back door and headed for the Quad, already sensing how much was at stake in those early moments. To our great relief, the Canton Fire Department, which had sounded the alarm only 20 minutes before we arrived, was already fully staged to fight the fire. The men and women of the volunteer fire department were completely absorbed and focused on a job that they had each trained hundreds of hours to do. Firefighters from Potsdam, Gouverneur, Rensselaer Falls, and Morley had joined the ranks in a totally integrated crisis operation. Among this corps, there were St. Lawrence students and the parents of current students engaged in this intense effort to win the day. Their total success speaks for itself, but we must all, nevertheless, speak our own deeply felt gratitude.

— Gunnison Memorial Chapel Fire Updates | St. Lawrence University

October 30, 2013 at 2:32pm
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Crafty Russian operatives gave goodie bags to world powers at the G-20 summit with USB drives and phone chargers — but they were “Trojan Horses” designed to download info and send it back to the motherland.

— Russia’s goodie bag gifts ‘bugged’ G-20 delegates | New York Post

12:47pm
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Hoarders with overflowing apartments in Penn South have caused an additional $40 million to be tacked on to the Chelsea complex’s $100 million price tag for a massive renovation — after staffers had to bring in a “hoarding consultant,” social worker and special helpers to help clear out the mess — DNAinfo New York has learned. The huge affordable housing co-op, which has 2,820 occupied units, has been upgrading its aging heating and cooling systems for the past two years, and needs to gain entry to each apartment in order to tear down walls and replace the pipes, management told DNAinfo. But dozens of hoarders — long-term, often elderly residents who have piled their belongings from floor to ceiling and wall to wall — have delayed the work by a year and set Penn South back an extra $40 million for a social worker, movers and rising construction costs, management said.

— Aging Hoarders Add $40M to Penn South Renovation Costs, Officials Say - Chelsea - DNAinfo.com New York

May 23, 2013 at 8:00am
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A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.

— This Is No Ordinary Scandal - WSJ.com

May 22, 2013 at 4:25pm
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Those who work for this president have a fetish for stage managing the news. They never simply trust the facts; or maybe a better way of saying it is that they don’t trust the American people to be able to handle the facts. Washington has been consumed in recent weeks about who, exactly, massaged the administration’s “talking points” on Benghazi. The underlying problem is that there were talking points at all.

— Richard Milhous Obama | RealClearPolitics

3:57pm
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But here’s why you should care — and why this case, along with the administration’s broad snooping into Associated Press phone records, is more serious than the other supposed Obama administration scandals regarding Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service. The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of. To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based. Guns? Privacy? Due process? Equal protection? If you can’t speak out, you can’t defend those rights, either. Beyond that, the administration’s actions shatter the president’s credibility and discourage allies who would otherwise defend the administration against bogus accusations such as those involving the Benghazi “talking points.” If the administration is spying on reporters and accusing them of criminality just for asking questions — well, who knows what else this crowd is capable of doing?

— Dana Milbank: In AP, Rosen investigations, government makes criminals of reporters - The Washington Post

May 2, 2013 at 10:16am
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CrossFit Types

The “Oh Shit” Clique:
Mostly comprised of new members who are scared out of their minds the moment they walk in. They’ve heard too much about Crossfit to walk away… but since they have no idea of the “schedule”, they show up at a random time. They see 30 people sweating profusely, cursing, jumping or lunging around a spartan gym… while “All I Do Is Win” is pumping out at 110 db. There is but one thought… “WTF?” Luckily, they glom on to each other during Foundations class and relate to each other about their nervousness. Each one laughs self-consciously as the moves they are doing as part of the training hurt like a mother… and create an ungodly soreness the next day. The good ones come back and put themselves through the stress all over again… until they “graduate”!

Unfortunately, this leads to doing their first real Crossfit WOD. They are just like every other person in the class that is supposed to know what is going on… except they don’t. What was a clean again? How do I set up for that move? How much does the bar weigh? Except now they feel like they are IN THE WAY… of the LEET (geek speak for Elite) athletes…. and they are.

— 1 Armed Fit Guy: Crossfit Crazies

May 1, 2013 at 7:45pm
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There’s a very big difference between association and causation. Every person diagnosed with colon cancer used a signficant amount of toilet paper throughout his or her lifetime. Does this mean that toilet paper CAUSES colon cancer, or is just associated with colon cancer?

— “Broccoli has more protein than steak”—and other crap « Eathropology

March 22, 2013 at 8:33am
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The Wildlife Restoration Program, prescribed by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, distributes excise-tax revenues collected in the previous year to state wildlife agencies. The money goes toward programs for hunter training and wildlife conservation, paying for the upkeep of nature preserves, and providing capital to buy and protect new parcels of undeveloped land. Funds distributed by the program, which also draw on a tax on archery equipment, are expected to rise 38 percent this year to $534 million, up from $388 million in 2012, according to the report. That total, though, does not account for sequestration, which could shave $21 million from this year’s disbursements.
Much of the uptick in gun-buying appears motivated by long-simmering fears that the Obama administration will institute tough gun-control measures. Revenues from the 10 to 11 percent firearms tax jumped 45 percent in fiscal 2009, which began just before his election.

The money from the program has provided MacCallum’s agency with financial stability as revenues from hunting and fishing licenses have decreased dramatically. Young people in the state, he said, spend less time outside.

— Hunters, Guns, and Money: Firearms Boom Sparks a Boon for Wildlife - NationalJournal.com

March 19, 2013 at 11:38am
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The NYU faculty itself is less of a united front than a sprawling United Nations, ranging from the Tisch School of the Arts to the Stern School of Business to the College of Arts and Sciences. An issue that irritates the more classically left-leaning faculty of arts and sciences may not trouble the faculty of the business school or the medical school at all.

— As Growth Shifts Into Overdrive, NYU Faces a Rebellion From Within - - News - New York - Village Voice

March 18, 2013 at 11:30am
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Some novels are almost impossible to review, either because they’re deeply ambiguous or because they contain big surprises the reviewer doesn’t wish to give away. In the case of “The Accursed,” both strictures apply. What I wish I could say is simply this: “Joyce Carol Oates has written what may be the world’s first postmodern Gothic novel: E. L. Doctorow’s ‘Ragtime’ set in Dracula’s castle. It’s dense, challenging, problematic, horrifying, funny, prolix and full of crazy people. You should read it. I wish I could tell you more.”

— ‘The Accursed,’ by Joyce Carol Oates - NYTimes.com Review by Stephen Kink

March 16, 2013 at 4:00pm
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Even if you don’t use an RSS reader, you still use RSS. If you subscribe to any podcasts, you use RSS. Flipboard and Twitter are RSS readers, even if it’s not obvious and they do other things besides. Lots of apps on the various app stores use RSS in at least some way. They just don’t tell you — because why should they?

— inessential.com: Why I love RSS and You Do Too

8:00am
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Nearly every mobile and desktop RSS client syncs with Google Reader today, often as the only option. Getting widespread client support for any other service will be difficult since it’s probably going to be a while before there’s a clear “winner” to switch to. The last thing we need is a format war — with Reader’s shutdown in July, we don’t have time for one. An obvious idea that many have proposed (or already implemented) is to make a new service mirror the (never-officially-documented) Google Reader API.

— Baby steps toward replacing Google Reader – Marco.org