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Nicholas Weininger
Software engineer, composer, singer, aesthete, bon vivant.
Software engineer, composer, singer, aesthete, bon vivant.

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The Big Sort in one paragraph:
"In child custody determinations, the overarching standard is "the best interest of the child," a subjective decision based on the opinion of the one judge in the case, with all his or her own biases. When I represent a parent who is polyamorous or otherwise nontraditional, I can often predict the outcome of the case based on latitude and longitude as a proxy for the social values of an area. In New York City, I've won custody for a mom who was a polyamorous lesbian dominatrix, because the judge didn't think these aspects of her personal life implied that she lacked moral judgment or that they would impair her abilities as a mother. In more rural and conservative upstate New York, I had a Republican Christian police officer dad lose custody because he was living with a girlfriend before his divorce had been finalized. The judge found that behavior immoral to the point of questioning his ability to parent."
A family law attorney and family mediator who primarily serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other clients with nontraditional families explains many of the legal rights and protections that are bound up in legal definitions of marriage.

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In which border apartheid remains one of this country's great shames. Also, Sarah Stillman is on a Balkoesque roll: first her asset forfeiture piece, now this.

Here is how to make a very fancy yet simple weeknight bistro dinner: sliced duck breast with berry reduction on salad with roast potatoes. Came out extremely well just now. Makes enough for 2 hungry people with some leftovers.

2-3 duck breasts, 1 to 1.25 lb total
1 package prewashed salad greens (5 oz)
1.5 lb small/medium sized roasting/boiling potatoes

For the sauce:
3 oz berries (I used half a 6-oz package of raspberries)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup port wine
Whole warm spices to taste (I used a whole star anise and a few cloves)

For the dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder

Parboil the potatoes in their skins for 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Rub the skins of the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Score lines into them with a paring knife. Heat a large saute pan on medium-high heat and cook the duck breasts skin side down for about 5 minutes till the fat has rendered out and the skins are crisp and brown. Turn off the heat and turn over the duck breasts to let them cook on the other side for a couple of minutes in the residual heat. Remove the duck breasts to a plate and pour off the fat from the pan into a small bowl, then return the duck breasts to the saute pan.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the cooled parboiled potatoes and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Slather with 2/3 of the rendered duck fat and mix well to coat. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to loosen any potatoes that stick to the baking sheet.

While the potatoes are roasting, make the sauce. Puree the berries with the balsamic vinegar in a small food processor. In a small saucepan, bring the stock, port wine, and spices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce for about 10 minutes, then remove the spices, add the pureed berries, and cook on low heat another couple of minutes till the sauce congeals.

In the last 10 minutes of the potatoes roasting, put the skillet with the duck breasts in the oven to finish cooking them. Remove duck and potatoes from the oven. Let the duck rest a few minutes. While it rests, put the salad greens in a bowl and make a dressing in a separate small bowl with the remaining 1/3 of the rendered duck fat plus olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing.

Carve the duck breasts into thin slices. Put a portion of salad on each plate, top with slices of duck breast, spread those slices with sauce, and pile up roast potatoes on the side.

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One must of course apply copious salt here: a bit of cursory searching finds no corroboration from non-movement-conservative sources. Still, if any of the central factual claims are even close to the truth, it really is an outrage. There is no excuse for SWAT-raiding someone's home over a campaign finance issue, or for barring the targets of such a raid from telling others that they were raided.

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"I call these young people out for valuing illusory and subjective safety over liberty. I accuse them of accepting that speech is "harmful" without logic or proof. I mock them for not grasping that universities are supposed to be places of open inquiry. I condemn them for not being critical about the difference between nasty speech and nasty actions, and for thinking they have a right not to be offended. I belittle them for abandoning fundamental American values.

But recently a question occurred to me: where, exactly, do I think these young people should have learned the values that I expect them to uphold?"

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The police picked up the kids when they were outside AGAIN sometime this afternoon, and this time the cops TOOK THEM WITHOUT TELLING THE PARENTS.

The kids, ages 10 and 6, were supposed to come home at 6 from playing. At 6:30, Danielle says, she and her husband Sasha were pretty worried. By 8, they were frantic. Only THEN did someone from the CPS Crisis Center call the parents and say that the police had picked the children up.
Husband Sasha Meitiv, raised in the Soviet Union under complete state control, told his wife he was less surprised. “He said, ‘You don’t understand how cruel bureaucracy can be,'” said Danielle.

Reading Robert Alter's translation of the Book of Daniel, it occurs to me that the spiritual "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel" contains a rich double meaning. "And why not every man?" can be read as triumphant confidence in universal salvation-- or as despairing theodicy.

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Religious toleration in the Western world has generally been the product, not of moral enlightenment, but of military and political stalemate and the "corruptions" of material gain. The test of sincerity is not what one pleads for under duress, as Douthat does here, but what one extends to the marginalized when in power. We social liberals now in ascendant ought to be scrupulous in toleration, but also to remember it is only twenty years now that divorce has been legal in Ireland and only nineteen since the last Magdalen laundry closed.

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