Commuting has been part of the human experience since the Industrial Revolution. Ever since the workplace and the home got firmly disentangled, people have been waking up and resignedly making their way to their place of employment. The amount of culture that has developed about the idea of commuting is enormous, including the “knocker-up” of 19th and early 20th century Britain who served, before the advent of universal alarm clocks, as a wake-up call for workers by tapping on their windows in the morning with a long pole.
It is probably safe to say that few have ever really enjoyed their commute , a feeling best exemplified by the opening scene of the movie Office Space, from which this excerpt comes (warning, very bad language):
Commuting has had a fair amount of academic analysis applied to it. The…
Charlaine Harris is the author of a massively successful series of novels with a southern heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. There have been 13 books, and a (ahem, so NSFW) HBO series. But now Harris is looking to be done with Stackhouse and the current novel is intended to be the last one:
But after more than a decade, Ms. Harris, a cheerful 61-year-old grandmother, grew tired of the characters, even as her hyper-dedicated followers lusted for more. She ran out of fresh story lines about her bubbly blond protagonist, Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress who tangles with an ever-expanding supernatural cast of vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, demons, goblins, elves, witches and fairies. She struggled to keep track of the convoluted mythology she’d invented. Things that used to excite her, like unveiling new supernatural creatures, started to feel stale.
The charge of homophobia is equally easy to refute. If I really were a “gay-basher”, as some headline writers so crassly suggested, why would I have asked Andrew Sullivan, of all people, to be the godfather of one of my sons, or to give one of the readings at my wedding?
The caveat here is that many of the Democrats were southern, and LBJ’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) alienated quite a few of them (Much honor to “Smilin’ Ralph” Yarborough, Democratic Senator of Texas, and the only Southern Democrat in the Senate to vote for the CRA). The flip side, of course, is there was still that rare and mythical beast, a liberal Republican, in those times. Six of those Republicans voted for the CRA, helping break the filibuster.
Now comes the hard part: Can movie studios, mired in a steep box-office slump, keep the momentum going?
Between the first weekend in May and Labor Day, a period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual movie ticket sales, Hollywood rapidly parades its biggest floats — loud, visual-effects-laden behemoths like the coming “Man of Steel” and “Lone Ranger” that cost $200 million (or more) to make and $150 million to market globally.
I note that May to September is a four-month stretch, i.e. roughly 33% of the year. Getting 40% of revenue in 33% of the year hardly strikes me as hugely disproportionate. Certainly, it’s substantial, but not really worthy of the “tent-pole” treatment that summer gets in the movie industry, yet the Times reports the figure breathlessly and with grave import.
The Cato Institute discovers that – during hard times – the government spends more.
Being the Cato Institute however, that’s not interesting, so they spin it around. More government spending leads to lower GDP:
Higher government spending growth in a year corresponds to reduced private GDP growth that year. For example, if real government spending growth was zero, private GDP would be expected to grow at 4.2 percent. If real government spending growth was 5 percent, private GDP growth would be expected to fall to 2.8 percent.
IT’S THE GOVERNMENT’S FAULT. BIG GOVERNMENT BAD, LITTLE GOVERNMENT GOOD. DROWN IT IN THE BATHTUB.
What’s really happening, of course, is that during recessions, government spending goes up because of unemployment insurance and welfare programs in general get more (unfortunately) customers. It’s not that government spending knocks down private GDP, it’s that …
The Ambassador of the Czech Republic is forced to issue statement clarifying that, no, his country is nowhere near Chechnya:
As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect. The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities – the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.
Indeed, while Jenny has never come out and publicly opposed Mark’s congressional candidacy — choosing to remain officially neutral — she’s waged a brutally effective passive-aggressive campaign against it. Whether it was revealing to me that Mark had shamelessly asked her to manage his election bid; or telling the Washington Post that, until the night Mark’s fiancée showed up onstage at his victory party in April, one of her sons had never met the woman; or just generally making it known that she is furious that he’s running, Jenny has done a masterful job of keeping her ex-husband’s past (and not-so-past) transgressions in the news. She has seeded the ground with political land mines, stood back, and waited for Mark to step on one.
During last night’s play-by-play, Vin Sculley (the legendary Dodgers’ announcer) invoked the Sword of Damoclesto talk about Chad Billingsley, the pitcher:
He pitches ‘with the Sword of Damocles over his head.’ That’s an old Greek legend. The ruler was Dionysus, and he had a guy in the courtier – in the court – who would always talk about how great the ruler had it. So finally, the ruler said, ‘Ok. I’ll tell you how great it is.’ – the pitch is high, ball two – and he had a big dinner for Damocles and there at the head of the table was the chair and the beautiful table set up. Damocles sat down and directly above his head was a huge sword and it was tied by one horse hair.
The perfection there, of course, is the momentary interjection: “high, ball two.”
It is only appropriate that the batter then hit a home run.
This is one of those “So I can point to it later” posts. The comment policy here at Edge is fairly loose in some ways and fairly tight in others. I think of Edge as as personal space and commenters as guests. They’re very welcome, welcome to come chat, come agree or disagree, come criticize or support, as long they’re polite and don’t overstay their welcome. I’ll usually warn folks if they’re not abiding by the policy. I may tell people to leave a thread if they’re not cooperating. I may ask folks to drop a particular discussion thread if it doesn’t fit with the post (or I don’t think it’s productive).
John Scalzi’s comment policy is well worth a read, especially this part:
You are welcome to comment. I like comment threads with a wide spread of thoughts and opinions, and I take what I feel is well-justified pride in the general high quality of the comment threads on the site. I …
On this day in history, I note, the South started the Civil War by shelling Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The war, which went on for four years, was over the “peculiar institution” of slavery, and ended with over 350,000 Americans dying (as did over 300,000 Confederates). It was the largest, most violent war in American history and saw the work of the greatest general in American history, Ulysses S. Grant.
Almost seven decades after the end of the war, residual explosives that were hardly taken seriously for a long time are now coming to light in the North and Baltic Seas. Experts estimate that there are 1.6 million metric tons of conventional and chemical ammunition in German territorial waters alone, unexploded time bombs lying in or on the sea floor. The unexploded ordnance (UXO) includes giant aerial bombs weighing hundreds of kilograms, 15-kilo shells, small high-explosive shells, hand grenades, detonators and ammunition rounds, for a total of more than 50 million individual items.
Nothing like a little mustard gas to spoil your fishing trip.
Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, said a host of details led to his decision, including that the victim turned down offers to be driven home from the party, didn’t accurately describe the house layout and gave a version of events that he did not find credible.
but it is for the defendant:
He acknowledged that Wilkerson didn’t pass a polygraph test and that there were some differences between the colonel’s version of events and his wife’s
Actually, it even means good things:
Wilkerson’s wife’s account of the events differed in some details from her husband’s, but Franklin said the conflicts suggested that the two didn’t collude on a manufactured story.
Good to know whose word counts, and whose doesn’t. This is, obviously, for values of…
The Chronicle Blog Network, a digital salon sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education, features leading bloggers from all corners of academe. Content is not edited, solicited, or necessarily endorsed by The Chronicle. More on the Network...
This blog is a blog about history, Yiddishkeit, and the Muppets, neither exclusively nor necessarily in that order. And as William Gibson said about this very blog (no, really), “History can save your ass.” Yiddishkeit and the Muppets are just extras.
is the associate director of the Cornell in Washington program and a senior lecturer at Cornell University. He teaches courses on European history, modern military history, guerrilla war, and the role of popular will in waging war.
is an associate professor of history at UC Davis. He is the author of A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans, which won the Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize in 2004, and his new book, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, will be published by Harvard University Press in fall 2012.
is a professor of history at UC Davis. She is the author of Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (Oxford, 2009); Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley (North Carolina, 2002); and Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI (North Carolina, 1996).