Raymond Baxter is Dead

by Harry on September 15, 2006

BBC obit here.

Shiver Me Crooked Timbers

by Scott McLemee on September 15, 2006

Tuesday is, of course, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. There is by now a considerable body of pirate historiography. But is the field of piracy studies sufficiently well theorized?

Aye, often have I axed myself, only to be distracted by the plundering of booty.
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Via a “comment”:http://www.haloscan.com/comments/maxbsawicky/2521/#240907 by Michael McIntyre at MaxSpeak, this extraordinary _Telos_ article (translated rather too literally from the German, I suspect) on Condoleeza Rice.

In a bright turquoise suit and with her hair finally looking relaxed, she seems younger than two years ago in the White House, and the hemline of her skirt above the knee proves that as head of the State Department she has definitely not adopted the fashion styles of elderly ladies. Was it historical symbolism to have me wait in the Marshall Room, I ask, but evidently too softly for someone who has entered the realm of the Secretary: she takes me by the hand to lead me, with quick athletic steps, to the office of two colleagues concerned with public relations. The boss introduces me, notes with the pride of an engaged teacher that her former colleague has passed “the test,” and we set off in the opposite direction, passing the flag with fifty stars in the reception room, which any visitor would recognize from many press photographs, to her office. I sink into a yellow chair, opposite the couch of the Secretary, who crosses her lovely legs and urges me, in a friendly if somewhat impatient tone, to pose the first question.

Und so weiter

Defining moment

by Henry Farrell on September 15, 2006

As “Michael Froomkin”:http://www.discourse.net/archives/2006/09/will_the_us_legislate_torture.html says, the headline of this Washington Post “editorial”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/14/AR2006091401587.html is admirably blunt.

A Defining Moment for America: The president goes to Capitol Hill to lobby for torture

PRESIDENT BUSH rarely visits Congress. So it was a measure of his painfully skewed priorities that Mr. Bush made the unaccustomed trip yesterday to seek legislative permission for the CIA to make people disappear into secret prisons and have information extracted from them by means he dare not describe publicly.

Of course, Mr. Bush didn’t come out and say he’s lobbying for torture. Instead he refers to “an alternative set of procedures” for interrogation. But the administration no longer conceals what it wants. It wants authorization for the CIA to hide detainees in overseas prisons where even the International Committee of the Red Cross won’t have access. It wants permission to interrogate those detainees with abusive practices that in the past have included induced hypothermia and “waterboarding,” or simulated drowning. And it wants the right to try such detainees, and perhaps sentence them to death, on the basis of evidence that the defendants cannot see and that may have been extracted during those abusive interrogation sessions.

Both Michael and (as usual) “Marty Lederman”:http://balkin.blogspot.com/2006/09/at-last-issue-is-publicly-joined-and.html have more.

Little Green Lines

by Harry on September 15, 2006

Most of my students write in Word, as (like Daniel) I do. I’m not crazy about it, and used WordPerfect for years, before collaboration with other people who write in Word made me fall in line. But Word does have one feature that I love: the grammar and style warning constituted by the little green underlining of any string of words that Word doesn’t like. I find that eliminating the green lines almost always (19 times out of 20) improves the way that the text reads. It is especially valuable to me because my grammar has never been brilliant (though it is better than my spolling, and much better than my typinf). It is not perfect; some strings that it underlines are the best way of putting things, and many strings it doesn’t underline are not.

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Demonstrate for Darfur

by Chris Bertram on September 15, 2006

Over at Comment is Free, our very own Daniel “has joined”:http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/group_post/2006/09/post_389.html with other writers on that site to urge support for the Global Day for Darfur.