the politics of america

a compilation of poll results summarizing what attentive people already know: liberal values enjoy strong majority support in the united states; and many people who subscribe to these values describe themselves as "moderates" rather than "liberals." probably makes sense, because liberalism is basically a compromise approach between the semi-fascist views that pass as "conservative" in this country, and socialism, a sensible political position.


funny video of the month

this schoolhouse rock-style version of pirates and emperors is really well-done. i have just one complaint, and that's that they use "thug" too much.

R.I.P. raul hilberg

raul hilberg, who pioneered the academic study of the nazi holocaust, has died of lung cancer at 81.

hilberg, whose family fled vienna in advance of the nazis, was studying the holocaust before it became cool in the late '60's - before Holocaust studies became an ideology and an industry. hilberg always supported norman finkelstein, the best-known and hardest-hitting critic of the holocaust industry, against his extraordinarily nasty opposition.

hilberg was legit.


exceptives: the mystery deepens

larry horn points out a further problem for the hypothesis that exceptives are licensed by universals, from imperative sentences with free choice any.
pick any card from the deck, except the joker.
it is hard to see how this sentence can be paraphrased as a universal. the best that i can come up with is:

for every x, x a card, x is such that i give you the option of picking it, except for x = the joker.
this interpretation seems forced. it interprets the imperative as giving options rather than giving an order, and moreover it involves a quantifier (any, no less) taking wide scope over the imperative force, which is generally seen as a no-no.

the tentative conclusion: exceptives appear to be licenseable by any any, regardless of its universality.