Thursday Morning Various
- Dahlia Lithwick has an entertaining account of the oral argument in the medal of honor case– over whether it violates the First Amendment to make it a crime to say you won medals in the military. By her account, first the Solicitor General was pretty well beaten up during his argument but then the tide turned entirely as the respondent made concessions right and left.
- Cormac McCarthy is an enemy of semicolons and exclamation marks. According to the Chronicle of Higher Learning, McCarthy read Lawrence Krauss’s biography of Richard Feynman, Quantum Man, and liked it enough to write Krauss and say so, and then offer to edit it for the paperback edition, an effort that is acknowledged in the back cover of the book. Among the changes: “To start with,” Krauss writes, “he made me promise he could excise all exclamation points and semicolons, both of which he said have no place in literature.”
- Campbell Robertson visited East Tennessee to write about moonshiner “Popcorn” Sutton, whose fondly remembered local recipe is being revived through a legal microdistillery.
- If you have one or more Google accounts, You’ve got until February 29th to set privacy settings under which Google will at least partly anonymize your search history and limit itself to internal uses of that history. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has instructions about changing the settings.
- Here’s a tale of a fateful ship. Previously, I’d only known William D. Porter as the Union navy officer known for actions in the Vicksburg campaign. Turns out there was a WWII Fletcher class destroyer named after him, and the destroyer was doomed to mishap after mishap, peaking with the time it launched an armed torpedo in the direction of the battleship Iowa at a time the president happened to be riding on it. This lead to the arrest of the entire ships crew after they’d been sent away, an event that never happened to any other ship in the history of the navy. And that’s just one of a series of spectacular mishaps, starting with its first effort to leave port after its initial shakedown cruise. The blog post I linked was so over-the-top I checked the story out on Wikipedia, which has a quite similar account of the ship’s ill-fated history. h/t Brad DeLong’s twitter feed.
- William Saletan, a Slate writer I often find annoying (particularly in science writing), has a very long piece up about Romney’s evolving views about choice and related issues. The piece has links to video and audio and long quotes from contemporary articles and documents, and provides more than one ever would want to know about the subject while setting forth Saletan’s view about how Romney operates. Did I say the piece was really long? It does seem to really have the goods on this subject. Huffington Post, meanwhile, has a 1995 Philadelphia Magazine quote from Santorum, who said that he was pro-choice until he ran for Congress. He credits deciding to read up on the issue with his change of heart, a simpler account than was required for Romney’s longer record.
- Emptywheel observed that Sen. Grassley’s Twitter feed is truly strange. And it is.