Archive for » August, 2011 «

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 | Author: lawrence

Kurt and Jahn organized a popup show for some designers in Brooklyn. At the place were 2 men with a printing press from the 1870s, which they operated by hand. I paid them to create new business cards for me. It was fascinating to watch them pull together the lead slugs that make up words. I think the final product is simple, clean and elegant. I think it compares well to Kurt’s elegant business cards, which he had made in the nation of Columbia.




Thursday, August 11th, 2011 | Author: lawrence

This is at the place I work. Some old technology.





Thursday, August 11th, 2011 | Author: lawrence

I rented a car from Hertz. All of the cars in Manhattan were sold out. I suppose it is stupid to assume anything on a weekend in August, when everyone else is also going on vacation. I had to go all the way out to JFK, which wasted 2 hours.

In Virginia, I got few photos, save of me driving.









Tuesday, August 09th, 2011 | Author: lawrence


Later that night he e-mailed, asking if I would meet him for a drink. I ignored him as I already had plans. He e-mailed again, saying that he would love to take me out the next night. I ignored him further, as this was shattering my previously-held perception of a friendly encounter and my vision for a future liberal friend (I have a deficit of these, which I would like to remedy). Instead, he had other impulses which I did not share and I was now in the awkward position of having to let him down. I went for the “I am seeing someone” approach. This was not in fact not a lie, but when I emailed this staffer that information, apologizing for possibly being misleading but offering to be friends (while understanding if he did not want to), his response was that I should have told him that sooner instead of letting him make an idiot of himself. This struck me as ridiculous. Why on earth would the first thing I ever tell someone be that I am not exactly single? It is, first, not the kind of thing that comes up un-forced in casual conversation. More importantly, though, I do not think that it is safe to assume that every member of the opposite sex with whom I have a conversation is necessarily interested in seeing me naked. I feel that I have interesting things to say on occasion and am generally a nice person; it does not seem so silly to think that someone would simply want to be sociable with me. Evidently I am mistaken?

Several days later I ran into him in a bar and he pretended not to see me when I smiled and waved at him. It struck me that this was an unnecessary reaction. Even if he felt embarassed, which he had no real reason to, I firmly believe that civility and adherence to basic social norms should trump any personal hang-ups and it would not have killed him to smile back. So much for wanting to be friends though …

This week, what was just an awkward incident was exacerbated in a staff meeting. One of our clients needs help with this guy’s boss and it was just my luck that he handles the particular issue. Our partner explained what the issue was and what he thought the best approach to it would be. He then asked if any of us had any friends in that office. No one knew anyone, except me. I made the case that I sort of knew a guy, but was skeptical that he would take my call and did not think I could get very far with him. Unfazed, and feeling vindictive as I had made fun of his choice of seersucker earlier that morning, my boss decided that I should try my best with him anyway, very casually, in an effort to avoid having to put a fundraiser together as an alternate strategy. In my brain I convinced myself that this staffer is good at his job and will recognize the importance of the issues over whatever he thinks about me as a person. I left him a message saying “I would like to lobby you, please call me back.” Needless to say, our client and the partners in my firm are going to have to cough up a few checks …

I wonder about this:

I do not think that it is safe to assume that every member of the opposite sex with whom I have a conversation is necessarily interested in seeing me naked

I am not sure I can agree with that. Even if you think some men never think of you in a sexual way, is this a good default assumption for dealing with every man who you are meeting for the first time? Unless they have a marriage ring on their finger, why not default the other way? I mean, what is the cost of simply assuming that sexual issues are something to be negotiated in every context? If the argument that such an assumption would be exhausting, then what is the cost of not having that as your default assumption? Seems like the blog post answers that question. So which is the better option when meeting someone for the first time?

However, I should add, the Hill staffer acted very badly: defensive, arrogant, assuming, petulant, whining, accusatory, stupid. What a cry baby. You go after a woman and then she says no and so you act like a cry baby and accuse her of leading you on? How very attractive! I think we can guess why the staffer is single. Who would want to date a man who acts like that? He sounds pathetic. I think it’s fine for the staffer to go after the woman and think perhaps she was available, but once she explains the situation, the guy should go back to being professional, without indulging in self-pity.

Tuesday, August 09th, 2011 | Author: lawrence

Radley Balko writes of all that Osama bin Laden achieved, in terms of changing the USA:

We have also fundamentally altered who we are. A partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list of how we’ve changed since September 11 . . .

We’ve sent terrorist suspects to “black sites” to be detained without trial and tortured.

We’ve turned terrorist suspects over to other regimes, knowing that they’d be tortured.

In those cases when our government later learned it got the wrong guy, federal officials not only refused to apologize or compensate him, they went to court to argue he should be barred from using our courts to seek justice, and that the details of his abduction, torture, and detainment should be kept secret.

We’ve abducted and imprisoned dozens, perhaps hundreds of men in Guantanamo who turned out to have been innocent. Again, the government felt no obligation to do right by them.

The government launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign implying that people who smoke marijuana are complicit in the murder of nearly 3,000 of their fellow citizens.

The government illegally spied and eavesdropped on thousands of American citizens.

Presidents from both of the two major political parties have claimed the power to detain suspected terrorists and hold them indefinitely without trial, based solely on the president’s designation of them as an “enemy combatant,” essentially making the president prosecutor, judge, and jury. (I’d also argue that the treatment of someone like Bradley Manning wouldn’t have been tolerated before September 11.)

The current president has also claimed the power to execute U.S. citizens, off the battlefield, without a trial, and to prevent anyone from knowing about it after the fact.

The Congress approved, the president signed, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a broadly written law making it a crime to advocate for any organization the government deems sympathetic to terrorism. This includes challenging the “terrorist” designation in the first place.

Flying in America now means enduring a humiliating and hassling ritual that does little if anything to actually make flying any safer. Every time the government fails to catch an attempt at terrorism, it punishes the public for its failure by adding to the ritual.

American Muslims, a heartening story of success and assimilation, are now harassed and denigrated for merely trying to build houses of worship.

Without a warrant, the government can search and seize indefinitely the laptops and other personal electronic devices of anyone entering the country.

The Department of Homeland Security now gives terrorism-fighting grants for local police departments across the country to purchase military equipment, such as armored personnel carriers, which is then used against U.S. citizens, mostly to serve drug warrants.

I’m relieved that bin Laden is dead. And the Navy SEALs who carried out the harrowing raid that ended his life have my respect and admiration. And for all the massive waste and abuse our government has perpetrated in the name of fighting terrorism over the last decade, there’s something satisfying in knowing that he was killed in a limited, targeted operation based on specific intelligence.