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Lover, you should’ve come over

Jeff Buckley:

To make you feel my love

Adele covers one of Bob Dylan’s rare love songs:

Mitch is going down

Mitch McConnell

Good news, people! Click here to donate:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats are reversing course and putting campaign cash behind Alison Lundergan Grimes and her bid to oust Republican Mitch McConnell.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Wednesday said it has asked stations in Kentucky to set aside $650,000 in ad time to help Grimes. A committee official shared the plan with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss media strategy.

The move follows the committee’s decision last week to stop spending money on ads in the race. The official says that new internal polling shows that undecided voters are breaking Grimes’ way.

Sports build character

I’m only surprised that it’s that obvious. Fake classes? Really?

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A blistering report into an academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina released Wednesday found that for nearly two decades two employees in the African and Afro-American Studies department ran a “shadow curriculum” of hundreds of fake classes that never met but for which students, many of them Tar Heels athletes, routinely received A’s and B’s.

Nearly half the students in the classes were athletes, the report found, often deliberately steered there by academic counselors to bolster their worrisomely low grade-point averages and to allow them to continue playing on North Carolina’s teams. The existence of the classes — though not necessarily how blatantly nonexistent they were — was common knowledge among the academic counselors, and in some cases among coaches of the university’s sports teams, according to the report prepared by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former official at the United States Justice Department and now a partner of the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

A good book should bring pleasure

Library haul. #book #books #reading #instasize #library

It’s not the only thing it should do, but it’s an important part. That’s why I loved this essay:

I guess M.’s novel is trying to be that last kind of book. But the problem is, the language isn’t beautiful. Reading it is an experience that does not change the reader; it’s like being forced to eat a million meals of bland, laxative-laced food cooked in an institutional kitchen (like those in schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.): you can just barely choke it down and then it all goes right out the other end; it doesn’t taste good; you don’t get much nourishment from it; it doesn’t even make you feel full. It is a pleasureless experience. It doesn’t really matter where you start reading; pick any page at random, it’s all the same. It’s like a faucet that’s been left running all day. I think Nabokov described Finnegans Wake as “a persistent snore in the next room.” Well, that is how I feel about this book.

If reading something “dumb”—like, say, the Clive Cussler thriller the woman sitting behind me on this train is reading—is the literary equivalent of watching TV, then reading this book reminds me of being a kid watching TV with my grandmother, who lived in the middle of nowhere in the Ozarks and got very bad reception: squinting, paying very close attention, trying to watch a show we could just barely see through the static.

I’ve lately been feeling especially wary of this kind of writing since I’ve been teaching undergraduate writing workshops. My attitudes about literature have a way of evolving along with my teaching. As I said, all those postmodern dudes—Pynchon, Gaddis, etc.—were writers I read in college, when I was young, under-read, and hungrily, impatiently trying to improve myself. For me back then, the harder and weirder the book, the better. These are the “smart” books that “smart” guys (especially guys) in college have been forcing themselves to love since the 1970s, and I’m a little amazed (I shouldn’t be) to find that the students in my fiction classes (again, especially the guys) still read and enjoy these books. The same books, for at least the last thirty, nearly forty years. And undergrads in liberal arts schools are still trying to imitate them. I guess maybe it’s a phase one needs to go through or something.
M. has the obfuscatory impulses of Pynchon, the snideness of Gaddis, the meanness of Gass, and the hipster cred of Barthelme, but unlike those writers, he is not funny, beautiful, brilliant, or interesting.

But the fiction students in whom I see the most potential are the ones I admire, even envy a little, for reading without vanity and anxiety: those who genuinely read for pleasure. They don’t read to impress anyone (including themselves). They read for pleasure. This is not to say that they shy away from the difficult, “smart” books—it’s just that their reading is omnivorous, exploratory, widely varying. They don’t just zero in on the books everyone knows are “smart.” They derive pleasure from language and narrative, and want to learn to perform the magic tricks themselves. They don’t care about being the smartest, best-read person in the room.

Go read it all, it’s glorious.

Panhandle Slim… Art for Folk…


Panhandle Slim dropped off this painting off at Adalusia, Flannery O’Connor’s farm….

As is often the case with these stories, we don’t really know what happened. At the moment, it sounds like there were three separate shootings that appear to be coordinated, according to Twitter accounts. I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to amp up those terror alerts! Via CNN:

There were two soldiers standing guard at the war memorial in Ottawa, and a gunman shot one of them, a witness told CNN on Wednesday. Peter Henderson, a journalist, said other soldiers doing drills nearby ran to help the fallen soldier. Henderson said he knew the person shot was a soldier because of the ceremonial uniform the soldier was wearing.

[Previous news update, posted at 11:41 a.m. ET]There were “several shooting incidents in downtown Ottawa” on Wednesday morning, police said on Twitter. “Incidents occurred at National War Memorial, near the Rideau Centre and Parliament Hill.” All Ottawa police buildings remain on lockdown and are closed to the public, police also said on Twitter.

They have to cheat to win

Midterm Elections 2016

Well, there you have it: A prominent Republican admitting the GOP needs to control voting machines — er, “mechanisms” to win! Chris Christie spells out the consequences of putting Democrats in the governors’ mansions: Accurate vote counts.

Governor Christie pushed further into the contentious debate over voting rights than ever before, saying Tuesday that Republicans need to win gubernatorial races this year so that they’re the ones controlling “voting mechanisms” going into the next presidential election.

Republican governors are facing intense fights in the courts over laws they pushed that require specific identification in order to vote and that reduce early voting opportunities. Critics say those laws sharply curtail the numbers of poor and minority voters, who would likely vote for Democrats. Christie — who vetoed a bill to extend early voting in New Jersey — is campaigning for many of those governors now as he considers a run for president in 2016.

Christie stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states — and overseeing state-level voting regulations — ahead of the next presidential election. Christie made his push at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington, D.C., where he ran down a list of states he’s spent time in recently as chairman of the Republican Governors Association questioning whether a Republican presidential nominee would rather have the incumbent GOP governor in power or the Democratic challenger.

“Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?” he asked.

Christie’s remarks Tuesday came on another day of intense campaigning for Republican candidates and featured another attack on Democrats and President Obama, this time on raising the minimum wage, an issue, like stricter voting identification requirements, that appeals to conservative voters who hold sway in presidential primaries.

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