Saturday, April 30, 2011

Awesome Hi-Def Photography


Couch Potato Chronicles: Sci Fi TV's Best Character Actor

It's the inimitable Mark Sheppard, of course!   He's appeared in some of my favorite sci fi series from "Firefly" to "Supernatural" to "Battlestar Galactica" and now "Doctor Who."

Schadenfreude Alert: Losing the "San Francisco Chronicle"


Movie Madness: New "Harry Potter" Trailer

Yes, please!

Nerd Journal: Well, There's No Cause to be RUDE

Sure, I laughed at the media hoopla over yesterday's royal wedding and I mocked stupid journalists, but I watched the wedding anyway because I wanted to see the pageantry, and I actually found the ceremony quite moving in ways that both did and did not have to do with the fact that two young people were getting married -- a thing that in itself is an act of hope and faith no matter who the bride and groom are.  There is also something deeply affecting about choral hymns sung in a place of history and splendor (and "Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer" is probably my favorite hymn ever for times both of joy and pain).  A few random thoughts:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Awesome: Unbridled Joy

KUDOS, SIR!  There is a time for decorum and solemn ceremony, and there is a time for freewheeling exuberance.  The wedding is over, so it's time for some fun -- like somersaults under the gorgeous spring foliage.  The TV news reader disapproves, but blogger Cranmer, a serious and thoughtful fellow, is plainly delighted.  There is something glorious in joy.  You forget yourself in it.  And it cannot help but share its pleasure.  We have enough po-faced finger-waggers, especially of the self-proclaimed religious sort.  I'm charmed to see an example to the contrary.  UPDATE:  The cartwheeling verger's name is Ben Sheward.

Ancient Site, Modern Perils: Excavating Jerusalem's Temple Mount

Here is a lengthy writeup in Smithsonian magazine.

Fugly or Fabulous? Mad Millinery

Here are some photos of astounding hats at the royal wedding!

Mini-Rant About Royalty

I thought the wedding was lovely, the bride radiant, and the groom handsome, but as soon as the ceremony ended and all the idiotic newscasters started gabbing, the spell was broken.  Rant below the fold.

The T-Mobile Royal Wedding

The media frenzy about today's royal wedding has some folks grumbling and other folks laughing and still other folks rolling their eyes.  I personally think this hilarious commercial by T-Mobile is delightful.  The royal lookalikes (and the lookalike of the Archbishop of Canterbury) are rather good, and the music even better.  (If I ever get hitched, this is probably what my wedding bash would look like.)  As for Wills and Kate -- I mean, the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge --congratulations and good luck, you crazy kids!

A Tree Blooms in Fukushima

A symbol of hope in Japan.  More here.  I think I have something in my eye.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornado in Tuscaloosa

Tornadoes have struck all over the southern US with a death toll now over 300, and this is one example of the twisters wreaking havoc.  YIKES.

Analyzing Obama: the Half-Measure of a Man

Here is a blurb:
The President looks like a man who is ridden by events; at just the moment when the nation craves a strong leader, the President looks weak, dodgy, uncertain.  The contrast with the inflated hopes that an untested and inexperienced Senator Obama did so much to build up is crippling.  Obama has fallen so far precisely because he and his supporters so hugely oversold him. 
...We are starting to get to know this President a little better, and his chief besetting fault is increasingly clear:  the President falls between stools.  He is a man of half measures, a man who spends so much money hedging his bets that he loses even when he wins. 
...This repeated lunge for the sour spot — the place where costs are high and benefits are low — now seems to be a trademark of the President’s decision-making style.  On the left it is earning him Carter comparisons from people like Eric Alterman; on the right it means that despite his compromises and yielding of significant ground he continues to feed the incandescent hostility of his bitterest foes.  Worst of all, it suggests to people abroad and at home that the way to manipulate this “split the difference”, consensus-seeking President is to raise your demands.  If you are going to get something like 50 percent of what you ask for, ask for twice as much as you really want.  And with this Presidential style, the squeaking wheel gets the grease.  Not surprisingly, all the wheels have begun to squeak. 
Here is the paradox we face:  The President is a consensus-seeker whose decision making style rewards polarization and a conciliator who loses friends without winning over enemies.
The President’s problem is not, I think, that he seeks compromise.  It is that the type of compromise he chooses is so ineffective.  
Read the whole thing.

Too Much Royal Wedding Hoopla

I don't know about you, but I think I've had about enough.  Don't get me wrong -- I wish Wills and Kate all the best as they get hitched; marriage, so married friends tell me, is hard work.  Still, the media frothing over the royal wedding is reaching ridiculous levels, and a certain level of American frenzy is just as ridiculous.  As the Cinema-Mad Sibling emailed me,  I rather like this hilariously piquant little quote of the day:
If George Washington knew you were Tweeting about the British royal wedding, he'd snatch the iPhone from your hand and kick your @$$.

Nerd News: Why Catholic Schools Still Matter

Still the best hope for poor, inner-city kids?

A Useful Idiot's Blog From North Korea

*Facepalm.*  Jimmy Carter strikes again.  I was going to quote you something from it, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  Read it for yourself if you have enough intestinal fortitude.  Ugh.  Wait 'til you get to the bit where he says that the US-South Korea alliance is "creating enormous anxiety" in North Korea!  So it's all OUR fault, apparently, that Kim Jong-Il is a blood-soaked tyrant of a murderous regime.  OK, OK, I'll stop before I fly into a rage.  MM's got to go to school!

The Fatah-Hamas Agreement

The end of the "peace process"?

On Honoring John Paul II

Here are a few thoughts on an extraordinary life.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taiwan Analysis: Disassembling Ted Galen Carpenter

It's like shooting fish in a barrel.  It's not even sporting.  But, of course, putting the beatdown on Ted Galen Carpenter still must be done.

The BiblioFiles: "Moral Combat" and WWII

Yet another interesting-looking book for the to-read list!

Nerd News: 42-Foot-Tall Pharaoh Statue Discovered in Egypt


Couch Potato Chronicles: Looking Forward to New Doctor Who Episode 2!

I Got Your Apocalypse Right Here: Coffee Prices Hit 34-Year High


"Now More Than Ever": Michael Oren on the US-Israeli Alliance

Israel's ambassador to the US Michael Oren argues that the realists are wrong and that the US needs Israel now more than ever.  By the way, Oren wasn't always an ambassador.  He's also a former paratrooper, a historian, and a Princeton PhD in Near Eastern Studies.  If you haven't read his (best-selling!) books Six Days of War (2002) and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: the United States in the Middle East 1776-2006 (2007), they're worth your time.

The BiblioFiles: "A Time to Betray"

Just published earlier this month, it's the story of a CIA agent in Iran's Revolutionary Guards.  This should be a darn good read.

Gangster Cute and Crochet Vandals

Oh, California.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

China: Christians Seized In Easter Raid

A grim reminder that not everyone has the freedom of religion that we take for granted here.

MM in the Kitchen: Lamb Chops with Cilantro-Mint Sauce

Because Easter means yummy lamb!  Here's a simple recipe for lamb chops.  Don't overcook them!  Lamb should always be just a tiny bit pink in the middle.  Here's a bonus recipe for roast rack of lamb. SO GOOD.

Easter Fun: the Annual Peeps Diorama Contest

The Washington Post gives us its fifth celebration of Peeps-inspired holiday fun.  Why not?  I mean, you're not actually going to eat those nasty marshmallow chicks and bunnies, are you?  One of these Easters I really want to enter the contest!  Can you imagine a Peep version of a Nerdmoot or a diorama of Peeps freaking out in the Library of Doom?

Christos Anesti -- Happy Easter!

Detail of Christ in glory from Michelangelo's Last Judgment (1537-41)
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Happy Easter to all my friends and gentle readers!  Alithos anesti.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Couch Potato Chronicles: "Doctor Who" Is Back!

There's so much to love (and be utterly freaked out by) in the season premiere that aired tonight on BBC America!  Oh, I've got high hopes for a great new season ahead!  Suffice it for now to say that I'm ecstatic to see Alex Kingston back as awesome nerd-babe River Song and to welcome Mark Sheppard as a guest star to the Whoniverse.  Sheppard's one of my favorite sci-fi character actors; from playing the rogue-ish Badger in "Firefly" to a slimy lawyer in "Battlestar Galactica" to a deliciously evil demon in "Supernatural," Sheppard has a gift for being memorable.

I'll do a full episode in a little bit.  Here's a cast photo for now, though.  I'm loving the Stetson hat on Eleven and River's rootin', tootin', latter-day Annie Oakley vibe.


Musical Marines in Afghanistan

Apparently even Britney approves.  Via Miss Cellania and the Daily What comes this video of some US Marines making the most of their off-duty time.  Is this the 2011 version of the old "warrior-poet" ethos?  It's hilarious, and I'll dedicate to it to a dear friend who shipped out to the sandbox today.

Celebrate the Bard's Birthday!

Happy 447th birthday to Shakespeare!  Let's celebrate by also making this "Talk Like Shakespeare Day"!  More here!

Couch Potato Chronicles: The New Season of "Doctor Who" Premieres

The new season (or "series," in TV Britspeak) premieres tonight on BBC America!  (Trailers here and here.)  Here's a 2-minute musical recap of the past season, or you can be amused by this 6-minute-long recap of all 47 years of the entire show's history.

Nerd News: The Suicide of a Princeton Instructor

Oh, no.  The vicious behavior of three other academics has been implicated.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

North Korea: The Murderous Regime

No surprise at all.  

Superfantastic: The Shoeblogger Versus Vogue

Who doesn't love The Manolo?  He's usually blogging up a cheerful storm about shoes and fashion, but this time he's got something serious to say.  Do see his piquant takedown of Vogue magazine's recent sycophantic, useful-idiot article about Assad's wife.  That vomit-inducing bit of supine bootlicking calls Mrs. Assad a "rose in the desert" and whips itself into a froth fawning all over her outfits.  Does her chic fashion sense really excuse the murderous oppression in Syria?  Vogue will probably give you the wrong answer.  Then again, Vogue's been in trouble before for its lack of judgment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LOL: Kids React to Rebecca Black's "Friday"

Almost everybody in America hates this song and is busy making fun of it, sometimes in spectacular fashion.  Now take a look at some kids responding to this execrable song!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nerd News: Adjuncts and University Teaching

Higher education's dirty little secret?  The existence of an entire nerd serf underclass?  Adjuncts and lecturers do a LOT of the actual teaching of undergrads in many institutions.  Here's something to think about:
... over the last three decades, the number of adjuncts employed across the country skyrocketed by 210 percent while tenure-track faculty hirings rose merely 7 percent.

MM in the Kitchen: Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings

I could eat these every day forever.

Jon Stewart on Obama's Deficit Speech

I already took my potshot here, but Jon is just hilarious as he disassembles the rhetorical nonsense.  You get bonus points, Jon, sweetie, for including a shout-out to Orwell. (Slight content warning at the end of the video, though.)

Quirky Euro Files: Liechtenstein for Rent

Apparently you can now rent the entire principality of Liechtenstein for "only" $70,000 a night.  The news story reports that for $70,000, you get customized street signs, your own temporary currency, and accommodations for 150 of your friends and minions.  I can't help noticing, though, that Liechtenstein's 35,000 residents remain ... So I guess they are part of the rental package ... So they're kind of like serfs?

On the Road Again: Voyages In Lit and History

Trace some of the most famous journeys in history and literature!  How I do love maps!  (I have to warn you that the hateful and hateable Kerouac is on the map too, but we'll just ignore that.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Taiwan Photoblogging: Beautiful Kenting

Michael Turton -- lucky guy indeed -- gets to go roaming all over the gorgeous scenery of Kenting while making me absolutely green with envy!  At least he's posted a massive amount of splendid photos.  Do take a look.

Nerd Journal: I Need a Fanfare

Imagine how much more fun it would be to go into the Library of Doom if I got a fanfare whenever I push through the doors!  Shoot, who couldn't use some fanfare and flower petals and a wee bit of adoration during the day?  (In case you're wondering -- yes, my Nerdpocalypse Now research project for my Nerd Lords is beginning to drive me mad.)  So, if I could choose a fanfare, I think Handel's "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" just might work, don't you?  Or perhaps you have another suggestion?  "The Imperial March" is just a bit too obvious ...

MM in the Kitchen: Stuffed Artichokes

Delicious as a springtime dinner with some friends!

Kitchen Notes: Cake Baked in Lemons

Cute ... but too much work?

Rhetoric By Rote

Haven't I said before that I can no longer stand to listen to Obama's speeches?  They're full of glittering generalities and straw-man pseudo-arguments, and in the end, they're all sound and fury, signifying nothing, because they're empty of actual substantive policy and often spiked with ungracious potshots at his opponents.  The shiny words end up being a gilt veil for some seriously profound, divisive, self-involved cynicism.  Someone else has noticed ... and come up with this devastatingly elegant analysis of Obama's rhetoric by using his most recent speech as a case study:
Not only was Obama’s speech on Wednesday political, it was completely rote, by-the-book Obama politics. He couldn’t even bring out an interesting twist to his stock partisan speech. Here’s how it always goes, with Wednesday being no exception: 
I. Introduction of some grand narrative of American history.
II. Introduction of the policy problem, making clear that Obama had nothing to do with it.
III. Argument that the proposal of Obama’s opponents is inconsistent with that grand narrative.
IV. Argument that Obama’s proposal is consistent with that grand narrative.
V. Conclusion that Obama’s proposal is the only “American” solution to the policy problem.

Nerd News: Exploding a Foolish Feminist Fantasy

I am ALL for exploding myths masquerading as history. I also love how it's a woman professor who blew the whistle on this pernicious and stupid fantasy.

A Grinch at the Royal Wedding?

An objection to the frenzy over Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Life Imitates Satire: China Bans Time Travel

I'm not making this up.

Cartoon Commentary: Slaying the Deficit Dragon

Check this out.  Click to enlarge.

Brave Sir Robin.

Nerd Notes: In Praise of Oxford

A venerable institution.

Nerd News: Academic Bloggers

The New York Times profiles several influential blogs by professors -- including a few that I do like to read often!

Quote of the Day on Government Spending, Debt, and the Innumeracy of Politicians

We rant a lot about the evils of illiteracy.  Yes, illiteracy is bad.  SO IS INNUMERACY.  Here is a suitable quote about the perils of innumeracy mingled with political silliness and general idiocy: 
Government can’t balance a checkbook. They’re idiots. I know finance math. I do it for a living. And when I look at the numbers involved here, (and the interest!) it makes my head swim . . . It doesn’t work. No matter how hard you wish, no matter how hard you hope, no matter how much compassion you can fit in your stupid compassionate heart, no matter how much you happen to like some program that helps somebody do something wonderful… math never lies and interest never sleeps. Caring don’t pay the bills.
The source of that quote is, by the way, also the best tax rant of Tax Day 2011. Read the whole thing.  (Slight language warning!)

Marshmallow Peeps in Art and Literature

Nobody I know (except Ladybird) actually eats marshmallow Peeps at Easter time.  Everybody just plays with these little candies.  Sometimes the results are brilliant, hilarious, or both!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

History: Firing on Fort Sumter 150 Years Ago

The Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, began at 4:30 AM on April 12, 1861 -- and so the American Civil War began in earnest. 

Nerd Journal: Tax Rant 2011

I just did my taxes.  I'm too tired to rant at length this year as in years past (here is the 2010 rant, the 2009 rant, and the 2008 version), but you know what I would say.  By the way, I am one of those people who figure out that they're supposed to get a tax rebate ... and feel no joy about it, because that money was mine to begin with, and a rebate means that the grubby-fingered government got an interest-free loan from me for all this time.  Pffffftttttt.  For some dark humor, I give you James Lileks' suggestion that we invent vindictive new forms of taxation for fun

LOL: Human Curling

Check out this hilarious spoof of the sport of curling:

China: Beijing Police Arrest Christians Holding Services in Public

Think about things like this and China's miserable record on human rights the next time some useful idiot *cough!*  Tom Friedman! *cough* sings the praises of Beijing's authoritarian political system.  Now you just think about how many ways the entire idea of "state-approved church" is wrong.

The Homer Simpson Approach to Social Security


Nerd News: Peter Thiel on the Higher Ed Bubble

Oh boy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

MM in the Kitchen: Red Velvet Rose Cake

Almost too beautiful to eat.  ALMOST.

The BiblioFiles: "Toward the Gleam"

Here's a fascinating-looking new fantasy book written by a former professor of engineering.  But when will I ever get the chance to read something that isn't for the Nerdpocalypse Now research project?

Disgustingly Cute: Dolphins Playing with a Kitteh

Life Imitates Geico Commercial: The Gay Caveman

Really?  Well, it's a sensationalist headline at least.

2 Secretaries of State Ponder Grounds for US Military Intervention

Hmmmmm -- some thoughts from Henry Kissinger and James Baker.

Satire Alert: Iowahawk and Lindsey Graham

I had called Lindsey Graham a "dirtbag du jour" in this blog post, but that's nothing compared to what the inestimable Iowahawk does!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mark Steyn on Lindsey Graham and the First Amendment

Comment the first, comment the second.  Basically in this entire mess, just about everybody is a dirtbag (except, of course, Steyn as scathing commentator).  The nutty embarrassment of a "pastor" in Florida, the howling murderers over there, the mewling political twits over here.  Hasn't anybody ever heard of the old adage that the best remedy for bad speech is more speech?  Or Voltaire?   Here's a thought.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

HopeChange Chronicles: Obama & the Middle East

Utterly predictable, though not any less depressing and dangerous.


"Go Play In Traffic": P.J. O'Rourke on Bike Lanes

P.J. is back with his acerbic wit!

Japan Update: Order After Chaos

Here are some remarkable stories.  This is how you do it, people.

March Madness Ends Not With a Bang But a Whimper

Congratulations to the UConn Huskies for being top dog in college men's basketball after beating Butler, but it wasn't a great game.  In fact, it was a horrible, frustrating, repulsive, infuriating game of appallingly ugly basketball that had my buddies and me yelling at the TV -- and not because of excitement.  I've never seen such horrendous shooting (or lack of it, to be more accurately) in a championship game.  Butler was unspeakably dreadful.  UConn wasn't at its best either, but it won, and an underwhelming victory is still a victory. All the same, Butler's performance was so astoundingly miserable that it actually diminished the entire glory of the championship title.  There's not much glory in whipping a team that at one point missed 11 shots in a row.

Well, here's hoping that tomorrow night the ladies of Notre Dame and Texas A&M will play beautiful, enthralling basketball in their championship game.

UPDATE 1: One headline reads simply: "Ugly but sweet: UConn claims NCAA Crown."  Ugly but sweet?  Why not just go ahead and say that it has a nice personality too?  Sheesh.  Yes, I'm an angry hoops fan!

UPDATE 2: OK, OK, I wasn't pleased with how March Madness 2011 ended, but I can't deny that I do love March Madness itself.  Here is the 2011 "One Shining Moment."  I love this song.  Thank goodness this year we went back to the Vandross version.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Nerd Analysis: Professor Niall Ferguson on Why We're Currently Going to Hell In a Handbasket

Need I remind you, though, that "going" doesn't mean "have already arrived"?  Read this and this.

Forgotten History: Ancient Chinese Mariners?


Awesome: Canine Tsunami Survivor Now Home

First things first. 2-year-old Ban was swept out to sea during the March 11 quakenami and rescued after 3 weeks when he was discovered clinging to wreckage by the Japanese coast guard.  Now he's finally home.  Watch this.  I think I have something in my eye ...

Monday Therapy: Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert 1, Rebecca Black 0

After my heinously musical April Fool's prank, I think we can and should take a proper potshot at that hideous "song."  So sit back, relax, and watch what Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert do just that!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Steyn on Libya: "Impeccably Multilateralist"

Mark Steyn is as humorously pointed as ever (recall this?).  Here's how he starts this time around:
If I recall correctly, we went into Libya — or, at any rate, over Libya — to stop the brutal Qaddafi dictatorship killing the Libyan people. And thanks to our efforts a whole new mass movement of freedom-loving democrats now has the opportunity to kill the Libyan people. As the Los Angeles Times reported from Benghazi, these democrats are roaming the city “rousting Libyan blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa from their homes and holding them for interrogation as suspected mercenaries or government spies.” According to the New York Times, “Members of the NATO alliance have sternly warned the rebels in Libya not to attack civilians as they push against the regime of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.” We dropped bombs on Qaddafi’s crowd for attacking civilians, and we’re prepared to do the same to you! “The coalition has told the rebels that the fog of war will not shield them from possible bombardment by NATO planes and missiles, just as the regime’s forces have been punished.” 
So, having agreed to be the Libyan Liberation Movement Air Force, we’re also happy to serve as the Qaddafi Last-Stand Air Force. Say what you like about Barack Obama, but it’s rare to find a leader so impeccably multilateralist he’s willing to participate in both sides of a war. It doesn’t exactly do much for holding it under budget, but it does ensure that for once we’ve got a sporting chance of coming out on the winning side. If a coalition plane bombing Qaddafi’s forces runs into a coalition plane bombing the rebel forces, are they allowed to open fire on each other? Or would that exceed the U.N. resolution?
Melanie Phillips sums up the entire operation as "clueless."  I'm afraid that she's right.  RELATED POST: Libya and Liberal Way of War.

Puppy Love: Geek's Best Friend

Here are the top 10 pooches in geek culture!  I love Gromit best.

A Limerick for Libyan Kinetic Military Motion

Scaramouche delivers a beauty:
There was an old lady of malice
Who wanted to bomb a dude's palace.
Now the Arab League moans,
"She's the one with the stones
While Obama needs lots of Cialis."
The "old lady of malice," of course, is Hillary Clinton.  RELATED POST:  Libya: Most Snarktastic Operation in Recent Memory?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Nerd Fun: Bryn Mawr's April Fool's Prank

Well done!   Check out this part of it too, along with its spot-on potshot at grievance-obsessed professors.

It's International Pillow Fight Day!

Have at you, then!  Official website here.

Nerd Analysis: Professor Lewis on the Doomed Tyrannies of the Middle East

The undisputed master of Middle Eastern studies, Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton, takes another look at the ongoing instability in the Middle East.

Libya and the Liberal Way of War

Here's an interesting bit from a British paper:
By merely bolstering the weaker side, we are prolonging Libya's civil war: The interventionists lack the courage of their convictions. If they really want Gaddafi gone, they should just get on with it.
Welcome to 21st-century war, liberal style. You do not fix an objective and use main force to get it. You nuance words, bomb a little, half assassinate, scare, twist, spin and make it up as you go along. Nato's Libyan campaign is proving a field day for the new interventionism. Seemingly desperate to scratch another Muslim itch, Britain's laptop bombardiers and their tame lawyers go into a daily huddle to choreograph the latest visitation of death on some wretched foreigners.
Each day the tacticians tot up a gruesome calculus of wins and losses. Wednesday's defection of Libya's foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, somehow cancelled out two days of retreat by the rebels towards Benghazi. That retreat cancelled out a weekend of victory over Gaddafi's army along the northern highway. Nato bombing cancelled out rebel ineffectiveness. Everything is stalemate punctuated by surprise.
Also, are we indeed heading for a stalemate?  Well, that's just fantastic.  Ugh.

Japan Relief Update: Operation Tomodachi in the Japanese Media

Japan Probe has a nice write-up of a recent Japanese news report on Operation Tomodachi (which previously appeared here).

Nerd News: ROTC 1 Step Closer to Returning to Columbia

Via gentle reader Eric, some good news from Columbia University:
The University Senate took a major step towards inviting the ROTC back to Columbia Friday, voting to support the return of the military training program that has been absent from campus for more than 40 years. 
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps has been absent from Columbia since the late 1960s, when campus protests over the Vietnam War led to its ouster. 
Tao Tan, CC '07, Business '11 and the chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee, spoke in favor of ROTC's return at the Friday senate meeting. 
“This is a great day for Columbia. This is a great day for America,” Tan said after the vote. “We have put behind us a painful disagreement of our past and have taken a step forward toward our shared future.”