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2008 May Archive at Three Roads Blog
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Archive for May, 2008

This is fascinating:

Here’s one person’s neurotic corn-eating habit:

Corn on the cob
I have to eat my corn on the cob one row at a time, making sure to get the entire kernel off the cob. Interestingly, my best friend also does the same thing.

Read about other neuroses and share your own at www.iamneurotic.com.

Here’s one of my own: I often must verify that I locked the front door mere seconds after I have done so. And then, once I’m a few blocks from the house, I will start to wonder if I in fact locked the door.

CU-Boulder stumbles (again)

Stanley Fish, writing for the Times, takes aim at another “Colorado folly.” Perhaps seeking to clean up its image after the Ward Churchill mess, the University of Colorado recently announced it was raising money for a “Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.” The idea is to balance the left-leaning faculty and student body by hiring a conservative professor. (Sarcastic commentators have called it ‘affirmative action’ for conservatives.)

Citing a good many reasons, Fish says it’s a silly idea, but he also cheekily offers himself up for the position, listing a generous salary requirement. In offering himself for the job, he makes his point that while conservative thought is a worthwhile area of study, it need not be taught by an actual conservative, because academia is about providing dispassionate teaching, not balancing political viewpoints.

Chasing … cheese

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

A DOUBLE GLOUCESTER CHEESE, to be exact. As it rolls down a steep hill. The prize? Cheese. Further explanation here.

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Via

Sense from John McCain?

FINALLY, some sense from John McCain on foreign policy.

Although it’s a little bizarre coming from the same guy who would also boot Russia from the G8.

Methinks the Russians will become less and less excited about cooperating with us on nuclear proliferation if we’re also busy isolating them. Then again, I’ve stopped expecting coherent policy positions from McCain. Part of his maverick appeal, I guess, is being sort of schizophrenic.

Is Barack Obama Muslim?

ANSWER here.

On my way home from work last Friday, I heard a young woman (early 20s) on the train refer to Obama as Muslim.

It was odd: She was talking to her family (perhaps extended family. She seemed a little more formal and eager to impress than would be the case if it were her immediate family) about her job working for an affordable housing non-profit. She sounded intelligent and idealistic, as you might expect of someone in that position. She remarked about meeting Geraldine Ferraro at a work-related event and was clearly quite impressed. When the subject changed to presidential politics, she said she would like to see a woman become president, but not Hillary. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, she offered this clunker:

If the choice is between a woman and a Muslim, a Republican is going to win.

I couldn’t believe it.

Obama clearly has his work cut out for him. Not even the deranged Rev. Wright can convince people that Obama isn’t Muslim.

Mah-widge

IT LOOKS LIKE MARRIAGE is back in the spotlight, or hot seat, depending on your point of view. Expect a whole new round of “DOMA” (defense of marriage act) ballot initiatives this fall, and not just in California.

The irony is that those who purport to defend the institution of marriage seek to defend something that doesn’t exist anymore—and hasn’t for over 300 years. Or so says Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families and author of “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage.”

In January Coontz wrote a post—essentially a distilled version of her book—for the Cato Unbound, a blog of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank. In her post she outlines the evolution of marriage.

For most of it history, she says, marriage has been a way to put people in their place and distribute (read: concentrate) wealth and power. Coontz: “[For] millennia, marriage was much more about regulating economic, political, and gender hierarchies than nourishing the well-being of adults and their children. Until the late 18th century, parents took for granted their right to arrange their children’s marriages and even, in many regions, to dissolve a marriage made without their permission.”

Love, compatibility, equity and equality—the things we now associate with marriage—weren’t considered as a basis for matrimony until the Enlightenment, a short 300 years ago.

“These [Enlightenment] marital ideals appalled many social conservatives of the day,” she says. “’How will we get the right people to marry each other, if they can refuse on such trivial grounds as lack of love?’” they asked. “Just as important, how will we prevent the wrong ones, such as paupers and servants, from marrying? What would compel people to stay in marriages where love had died? What would prevent wives from challenging their husbands’ authority?”

Not much has changed. The idea that love is the only prerequisite for marriage, the principle that drives advocates for marriage equality, doesn’t sway conservatives today for the same reason it didn’t sway conservatives 300 years ago: Marriage is about proper societal organization and allegiance to Judeo-Christian morality, not merely the love between two people.

Some so-called defenders of marriage aren’t actually trying to save the institution of marriage as it exists today; it’s already too far gone to be saved. They’d have to turn back the clock to pre-Enlightenment times. Instead, they’re trying to save us from what they see is the socially and morally destructive aspects of homosexuality, and if they can no longer have an outright ban on same-sex relationships (not politically feasible or culturally acceptable anymore), they’ll settle for a ban on same-sex marriage (still politically feasible and culturally acceptable—though I suspect not for much monger, what with Millennials showing an exceptionally high level of tolerance for the untraditional).

Anyway, check out the Coontz’s post. Very illuminating.

‘Idol’ thoughts: A good omen for Obama?

A SILLY but appealing theory from Slate:

Well, here is my very unfounded theory: Cook is the Democrats, and Archuleta is the Republicans. More specifically, Cook is Barack Obama and Archuleta is, if not John McCain then some dependably modern Republican-type. Both come off as sweet, good guys, but Cook is older and decidedly cooler. He’s a baby-faced rocker from just outside Kansas City whose performances have been unreliable. One week he’s awesome and the next so-so. He’s mostly cheerful but sometimes moody and glum and seems to expect to lose.

Archuleta, meanwhile, is a 17-year-old fuddy-duddy from Utah who grew up singing show tunes and Elton John. His mother is from Honduras, and he has four siblings. He’s deeply humble and entitled at the same time. I’ve always imagined him as home-schooled but I have no evidence, outside his large family and unyouthful musical tastes. [...]

So come last night, I was sure Archuleta would win. Which is how a Democrat would think. Despite all evidence pointing to the Democrat’s superior charisma, vitality, momentum, relevance, and musical tastes, they still think the Republicans have some secret silent majority that will prevail in the end. And then, lo and behold, those extra votes showed up on the right side. Hallelujah.