Blogging is a luxury. Here’s the blogroll!

1)  There’s a push in Scandinavian countries to ban ‘non – therapeutic circumcision on boys.  “The Sweden Medical Association, which counts 85% of the country’s physicians as members, recommended setting twelve as the minimum age for the procedure and requiring a boy’s consent in a resolution which was unanimously passed by the ethics council, reported the Svenska Dagbladet.”   See also:

2)  Medieval rules for sex, this time in flowchart form! Sexgraph.

3)  Switching roles when talking about colonialism and imperialism, “However, Sheermaal’s comparison of Lairds and Rajahs is important more because it shows that, in Hamilton’s eyes, British Imperialism does not begin with the crossing of an ocean. Rather, Scotland itself is an example of a country overrun by a cultural hegemon with which it chose to engage. From Sheermaal’s account, it is clear that the Scottish class structure has been largely cast aside in favor of English practices, as evidenced by his example of the Scottish lady who was “a person of family”. This reflects British imperial practices in India that drained the Brahmin and ruling castes of power.”

4)  New Book!:  Gettysburg Religion:  Redefinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North, Steve Longenecker.  “In the borderland between freedom and slavery, Gettysburg remains among the most legendary Civil War landmarks. A century and a half after the great battle, Cemetery Hill, the Seminary and its ridge, and the Peach Orchard remain powerful memories for their embodiment of the small-town North and their ability to touch themes vital to nineteenth-century religion. During this period, three patterns became particularly prominent: refinement, diversity, and war. In Gettysburg Religion, author Steve Longenecker explores the religious history of antebellum and Civil War–era Gettysburg, shedding light on the remarkable diversity of American religion and the intricate ways it interacted with the broader culture. Longenecker argues that Gettysburg religion revealed much about larger American society and about how trends in the Border North mirrored national developments. In many ways, Gettysburg and its surrounding Border North religion belonged to the future and signaled a coming pattern for modern America.”

4)  Why it’s wrong for interstate conflict scholars not the engage with intrastate conflict work (Part One – Part Two)”Transnational non-state actors are also relevant. ‘Refugee Warriors’ – military organizations operating in their country of origin but sustained by settlements in exile – exemplify this. The effectiveness of refugee warriors depends both on the protection of the international refugee regime, on the support of the host state, and on existing forms of organization and leadership within the exile population (Harpviken 2009). The use of consultants and mercenaries for state repression as well as the subcontracting of torture to non-state actors represents yet another area where the simultaneous consideration of interstate and intrastate scholarship would also be a lucrative area for future exploration (Rejali 2007).

Networks of violent actors constitute a different type of non-state actor. For example, terrorism, as a tactic, serves as a substitute for other forms of armed struggle in situations when groups are unable to build armed forces (Butler and Gates 2009). Nevertheless, terrorism can also thrive in the context of civil war in conjunction with guerrilla tactics. Terrorist networks, when employed transnationally, such as the al-Qaeda attack on New York and Washington, also blur the distinction between the intra and inter aspects of conflict. For us to address such factors we need to change how we think about conflict.”

5) A brief history of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.  Interestingly, it had some reparations…for the slave-owners.  “The Act provided for compensation for slave-owners who would be losing their property. The amount of money to be spent on the compensation claims was set at “the Sum of Twenty Millions Pounds Sterling.” Under the terms of the Act, the British government raised £20 million to pay out in compensation for the loss of the slaves as business assets to the registered owners of the freed slaves. The names listed in the returns for slave compensation show that ownership was spread over many hundreds of British families, many of them of high social standing. For example, Henry Phillpotts (then the Bishop of Exeter), with three others (as trustees and executors of the will of John Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley), was paid £12,700 for 665 slaves in the West Indies, whilst Henry Lascelles, 2nd Earl of Harewood received £26,309 for 2,554 slaves on 6 plantations. The majority of men and women who were awarded compensation under the 1833 Abolition Act are listed in a Parliamentary Return, entitled Slavery Abolition Act, which is an account of all moneys awarded by the Commissioners of Slave Compensation in the Parliamentary Papers 1837–8 Vol. 48.”

6)  War as a Meteor.

7)  Conor Friedersdorf with smart commentary on Obama, and how Hope and Change has quietly faded away.  It’s something I’ve thought about recently.  Obama rode in a, mostly, ideologically driven and spiritual way about the way government works in Washington – not just how it works, but who it works for.  The Obama of 2007-2008 will only be different from a 2016 Rand Paul in message.  What Paul hopes to capture is something like Obama did.  A wave mentality that it’s time to shake things up in Washington, but this time with a little more limited government flare.

I doubt this works, and part of the reason is because of Obama’s failure to change the conversation.  Hope and Change has turned into a Robotic, Lifeless, and Technocratic Liberalism that is neither inspiring or a change agent – and voters, I think, will turn more towards a “get stuff done” type of candidate in 2016, for better or worse.

This person will likely be a Governor or ex-Governor, with a record of real reform in the political direction that they deem appropriate – and who will be just enough palatable for a large part of Americans.  And if a Republican can get through his primary, I think that this person will be the next President.

Paul, just like Obama before him, only has Senatorial experience.  Will the electorate go for another “change agent” type again?  I remain skeptical.

8)  Sarah Skwire at the Institute for Liberal Studies.  Watch it.  Now.



Tortillas don’t have Vitamin A?! Also, here’s your Evening Blogroll!

1)  Damon Linker provides useful and relevant commentary on what divides Americans.  I’m less concerned, but the point remains:  there are certain things that will never be resolved, so, maybe stop trying?

2)  Legal Vigilantes are now working to combat Mexican cartels.

3)  The CATO Institute has a video which responds to the SOTU address.  It’s 12 minutes long, but it’s chock full of smart, pointed responses.  Give it a watch here.  

4)  The war in Afghanistan continues to be a waste.  Jonathan Turley highlights, “The literacy program for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) was a valid objective but, like so many in these wars, it appears to have been managed with almost willful blindness. There was not even a basic record of actual soldiers who achieved literacy. While the goal of the program was to make 100 percent of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) able to read at a first grade level and 50 percent literate at a third grade level, those goals are not viewed after five years and $200 million as “unrealistic” and unattainable.”

5)  Michael Bay ruined Transformers, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look good!  Shredder is especially “bad-ass looking”

6)  Dr. Strangelove is 50 today, Mandrake.  Today is as good as any to monitor your precious bodily fluids.

7)  Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. “Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said Wednesday the public debate and policy changes “in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

8)  Is it immoral to watch the Superbowl?  I don’t think so, but I think, even with football at its zenith as of now, that it is its zenith, and the sport is about to suffer an inevitably slow death.  Mainly due to stuff like this, “medical research has confirmed that football can cause catastrophic brain injury — not as a rare and unintended consequence, but as a routine byproduct of how the game is played. That puts us fans in a morally queasy position. We not only tolerate this brutality. We sponsor it, just by watching at home. We’re the reason the N.F.L. will earn $5 billion in television revenue alone next year, three times as much as its runner-up, Major League Baseball.

Never is this sponsorship more overt than next Sunday, for the Super Bowl has become an event of such magnitude that it ranks as a secular holiday at this point, as much a celebration of the sport’s ability to draw multimillion-dollar ads as the contest itself. More than 100 million people will watch the game. Most of my friends will be parked in front of their TVs. For the first time in 35 years, I won’t be among them.

Date night tonight, boys and girls.  Behave yourselves.