Archive for the ‘History’ category

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See also, WWII Chat


Fear the Boom and Bust


Via NPR’s Planet Money:

a story about a cable tv producer from New Jersey, a podcasting libertarian economist, an international pop superstar and the two dead economists who brought them all together.

The Planet Money podcast is highly recommended. Always interesting and never failing to inform or make you think about economics in new ways.

Hawaiʻi Five-0



Do the Right Thing


A Right to Marry? Same-sex Marriage and Constitutional Law by Martha Nussbaum in the summer issue of Dissent does an excellent job expressing my views on the subject. Or maybe I just regard it highly because I happen to agree with it. It’s perhaps a bit long by web drive-thru standards, but it is refreshing to see such a “nuanced, and sustained, analysis and critique of the various arguments against gay marriage“. I wish our politicians were required to read it and respond where they differed. As a friend said though, “Yeah, good luck with that“. The publication also provides online responses from Martha Ackelsberg, Stephanie Coontz, and Katha Pollitt also worth reading that address aspects of the essay.

The future of marriage looks, in one way, a lot like its past. People will continue to unite, form families, have children, and, sometimes, split up. What the Constitution dictates, however, is that whatever the state decides to do in this area will be done on a basis of equality. Government cannot exclude any group of citizens from the civil benefits or the expressive dignities of marriage without a compelling public interest. The full inclusion of same-sex couples is in one sense a large change, just as official recognition of interracial marriage was a large change, and just as the full inclusion of women and African Americans as voters and citizens was a large change. On the other hand, those changes are best seen as a true realization of the promise contained in our constitutional guarantees. We should view this change in the same way. The politics of humanity asks us to stop viewing same-sex marriage as a source of taint or defilement to traditional marriage but, instead, to understand the human purposes of those who seek marriage and the similarity of what they seek to that which straight people seek. When we think this way, the issue ought to look like the miscegenation issue: as an exclusion we can no longer tolerate in a society pursuing equal respect and justice for all.

See also: Your choice of lifestyle is an abomination.

Update: 2010.04.29

The Hawaiʻi State legislature unexpectedly revived and passed a civil unions bill on the last day of this year’s session. Interestingly, this matches FiveThirtyEight’s prediction for this sort of event here. There don’t seem to be enough votes to override a veto, so here’s hoping that Governor Linda Lingle will Do the Right Thing and sign this bill into law.

Update: 2010.07.06

Lingle vetoed the bill on July 6.

See also:
L.A. Times Interactive Gay Marriage Chronology
No Objections: what history tells us about gay marriage

Opponents of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples say that marriage has always been between a man and a woman and must remain so. They argue from “tradition.” Counter to their claims is an argument from history—a history of change over time.

[…] Most Americans are legally allowed to marry as they see fit. But same-sex couples remain excluded in most jurisdictions. This exclusion stands at odds with the direction of historical change toward gender equality and neutrality in the legal treatment of marital roles.


Stanislav Petrov


25 years ago, on September 26, 1983, nuclear war was narrowly averted when a Soviet Air Defenses lieutenant colonel named Stanislov Petrov deviated from standard Soviet Doctrine (and protocols he himself had written) by positively identifying a missile attack warning as a false alarm.

This decision, according to several sources, was a major factor in preventing a retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States.  Investigation of the satellite warning system, which had indicated the launch of five missiles from the U.S., later confirmed that the system had been malfunctioning

With merely 2-3 minutes to react, he later explained his reasoning, “When people start a war, they don’t start it with only five missiles. You can do little damage with just five missiles.”  Petrov retired (or was forced out) several months later and his actions remained secret until 1998. “I just did my job. At the right place. At the right time.”

Chillingly, not only was this neither the first nor last time retaliatory strikes in response to false missile warnings have been averted, but they occured on both sides of the iron curtain.

WWII chat


From If WWII was an RTS

If World War Two had been an online Real Time Strategy game, the chat room traffic would have gone something like this.

deGaulle: eisenhower ur worthless come help me quick
Eisenhower: i cant do **** til rosevelt gives me an army
paTTon: yah hurry the fock up
Churchill: d00d im gettin pounded
deGaulle: this is fockin weak u guys suck
*deGaulle has left the game.*
Roosevelt: im gonna attack the axis k?
benny-tow: with what? ur wheelchair?
benny-tow: lol did u mess up ur legs AND ur head?
Hitler[AoE]: ROFLMAO
T0J0: lol o no america im comin 4 u
Roosevelt: wtf! thats bullsh1t u fags im gunna kick ur asses
T0JO: not without ur harbors u wont! lol
Roosevelt: u little biotch ill get u
Hitler[AoE]: wtf
Hitler[AoE]: america hax, u had depression and now u got a huge fockin army
Hitler[AoE]: thats bullsh1t u hacker
Churchill: lol no more france for u hitler
Hitler[AoE]: tojo help me!
T0J0: wtf u want me to do, im on the other side of the world retard
Hitler[AoE]: fine ill clear you a path
Stalin: WTF u arsshoel! WE HAD A FoCKIN TRUCE
Hitler[AoE]: i changed my mind lol

Update: see also, OMG WWII on FACEBOOK