Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’
Science finally proves sleepiness, drunkenness, and brain damage are good for creativity.
* The latest Detroit atrocity: Detroit mayor shoots down idea for Robocop statue. When will that poor city finally get a leader with some vision?
* How “The Fridge” lost his way: Elegy for William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
* Football vs. labor: Will the NFL play next year?
* Dystopia watch: Disney Now Marketing To Newborns In The Delivery Room.
* David Cole plays “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?”—almost by name!—in the New York Review of Books.
As Judge Hudson sees it, the health care reform law poses an unprecedented question: Can Congress, under its power to regulate “commerce among the states,” regulate “inactivity” by compelling citizens who are not engaged in commerce to purchase insurance? If it is indeed a novel question, there may be plenty of room for political preconceptions to color legal analysis. And given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, that worries the law’s supporters.
But the concerns are overstated. In fact, defenders of the law have both the better argument and the force of history on their side. Judge Hudson’s decision reads as if it were written at the beginning of the twentieth rather than the twenty-first century. It rests on formalistic distinctions—between “activity” and “inactivity,” and between “taxing” and “regulating”—that recall jurisprudence the Supreme Court has long since abandoned, and abandoned for good reason. To uphold Judge Hudson’s decision would require the rewriting of several major and well-established tenets of constitutional law. Even this Supreme Court, as conservative a court as we have had in living memory, is unlikely to do that.
The objections to health care reform are ultimately founded not on a genuine concern about preserving state prerogative, but on a libertarian opposition to compelling individuals to act for the collective good, no matter who imposes the obligation. The Constitution recognizes no such right, however, so the opponents have opportunistically invoked “states’ rights.” But their arguments fail under either heading. With the help of the filibuster, the opponents of health care reform came close to defeating it politically. The legal case should not be a close call.
* Did Bush cancel a trip to Switzerland out of fear of criminal prosecution? Probably not—but isn’t it pretty to think so?
* The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party finds another RINO: godfather of neoconservatism Bill Kristol.
* Star Wars, with all those pointless words and images taken out. Note: falsely implies Chewbacca received a medal at the end of the film.
* Charles Simic: Where is Poetry Going?
“Poetry dwells in a perpetual utopia of its own,” William Hazlitt wrote. One hopes that a poem will eventually arise out of all that hemming and hawing, then go out into the world and convince a complete stranger that what it describes truly happened. If one is fortunate, it may even get into bed with them or be taken on a vacation to a tropical island. A poem is like a girl at a party who gets to kiss everybody. No, a poem is a secret shared by people who have never met each other. Compared to the other arts, poets spend most of their time scratching their heads in the dark. That’s why the travel they prefer is going to the kitchen to see if there is any baked ham and cold beer left in the fridge.
* An evening with J.D. Salinger. It ends pretty much exactly as you’d expect:
The three of us got into the cab. Joe gave the driver my address and when the cab began to move Salinger began walking, then running, alongside, still asking us to change our minds. He hit the cab—with his fist, I supposed—and the driver braked.
Joe said, “Drive on!” Salinger was looking in through the window beside me. “Stop. Please come back!” He was shouting now in the quiet street.
The cab moved and got through the intersection. Joe said angrily, “He’s absolutely crazy.”
* And the headline reads: Global food crisis driven by extreme weather fueled by climate change. Enjoy the century.
* Between the tax compromise and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, I think Obama did a tremendous amount to help his chances for reelection this week. Rachel Maddow rightly calls the DADT repeal the president’s victory:
Politically, the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President’s victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters. He continually insisted that this was possible that it would get done.
Guilty as charged. I confess I also love the sweet sound of right-wing screams, especially when their own caucus collapsed in the face of this “generational change.” Even Richard Burr voted the right way!
* It looks like Harvard and Yale will return ROTC to their campuses in light of the repeal. Frankly I’d prefer to see the trend going the other way—we need tighter restrictions on military recruiting, not loosening of the few restrictions that already exist—but I suppose this was unavoidable.
* Seen on Facebook: Obama wants to let gays vote. That’s why I’m voting Tea Party.
* Watch out Texas: bad news coming.
* Aside from the matter of actual violence, drugs, and squalor, there was the fact that in the 1970s New York City was not a part of the United States at all. It was an offshore interzone with no shopping malls, few major chains, very few born-again Christians who had not been sent there on a mission, no golf courses, no subdivisions…
* The message to Nicky Wishart and his generation is very clear: don’t get any fancy ideas about being an engaged citizen. Go back to your X-Box and X-Factor, and leave politics to the millionaires in charge. Via MeFi.
* And still more trouble for Britain: There are a growing number of grassroots organisations campaigning about the over-professionalisation of childhood football. Give Us Back Our Game launched four years ago. “The game has been taken away from children by over-competitive coaches and parents,” says founder Paul Cooper. It has several offshoots, including Football Football, an initiative to revive inner-city football. Then there’s the Children’s Football Alliance, which champions “mixed ability” football, and the Don’t X The Line campaign against over-the-top parental behaviour at children’s football matches. Also via MeFi.
* Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is evolutionarily novel, so the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to consume these substances.
* And Fringe announces its move to the Friday night death slot with style.
* The headline reads, “Cleverest women are the heaviest drinkers.”
* Chris Currey at FrumForum: “How the GOP purged me.”
I do not recognize myself in the Republican Party anymore. As someone said it before, I did not leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me. I have the same ideological positions on most of the issues that I had when I voted for Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush in 2000. However, I just cannot trust the reins of our government and nation, of this formidably complicated and complex gigantic machine that is the USA, to the amateurish leadership of the Republican Party.
We are living through tough times. We are being challenged like I have never seen America being challenged before. China is a formidable foe, and it is out there competing against us on every field and beating us on several fronts. While our education budgets are being slashed in every state across the nation, China is doubling and tripling theirs. These are the challenges and challengers that we are facing. And we need our best and brightest to lead us, not a half-term governor or radio/TV talking heads.
Maybe I am too old and too cynical, but I think the Republican party is in the last stages of agony. If nothing happens, we might win an election or even two, but in the long run we will lose America.
* Canadian researchers have uncovered a vast “Shadow Network” of online espionage based in China that used seemingly harmless means such as e-mail and Twitter to extract highly sensitive data from computers around the world.
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people. Via MeFi.
* Even odder than Durham being the 7th “least drunk” city in the country is Boston as #1. My stereotypes are completely out of whack.
* Think Progress has been doing good work on this winter’s entirely predictable snow-disproves-climate-change malarky. Not only was this last January the warmest on record, but more severe weather systems are a predicted consequence of climate change. Meanwhile, conservatives in California are trying to employ the state’s obscenely dysfunctional public referendum system to overturn its climate change law.
* Have reports of Obama for America’s death been greatly exaggerated? Let’s hope so.
* I suspect I will watch the upcoming DC Comics documentary. I feel very confident in this prediction.
* The Seychelles has one. So does Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Algeria, Malaysia and Hungary. And New Zealand has two. The United States? None. Zero. Zip. FIFA has named the World Cup referees.
Sneaking in a quick linkdump between light posting due to Christmas and light posting due to MLA…
* The Senate bill has, as you undoubtedly already know, passed. Ezra Klein, Kevin Drum, and even Jonathan Chait have this more or less right: winning ugly is still winning. There’ll be time to get started on demanding changes to the bill, but progressives shouldn’t forget the victory lap. Here’s Kevin:
So it doesn’t feel much like a victory yet. But it should. I’m 51 years old and this bill is, without question, the biggest progressive advance in my adult life. You have to go back to the great environmental acts of the early 70s to get close, and to the civil rights/Medicare era to beat it. That’s four decades, the last three of which have constituted an almost unbroken record of conservative ascendency. And now that ascendancy is just days away from being — finally, decisively — broken. Warts and all, we’re on the cusp of passing a bill that provides all of this:
• Insurers have to take all comers. They can’t turn you down for a preexisting condition or cut you off after you get sick.
• Community rating. Within a few broad classes, everyone gets charged the same amount for insurance.
• Individual mandate. (Remember how we all argued that this was a progressive feature back when John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were championing it during the primaries?)
• A significant expansion of Medicaid.
• Subsidies for low and middle income workers that keeps premium costs under 10% of income.
• Limits on ER charges to low-income uninsured emergency patients.
• Caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
• A broad range of cost-containment measures.
• A dedicated revenue stream to support all this.
* Likewise, from Al Giordano: “Health Care by the Numbers: What’s In It for You?”
* All the ways the Left has already destroyed America, prior to the health care victory.
* More change we can believe in: The Calm Act would direct the FCC to regulate TV commercial volume to be pegged to the volume of regular programming, so as not to be “excessively noisy or strident.”
* David Weigel: “Why I Don’t Write about Sarah Palin’s Facebook Posts.”
The problem is that Palin has put the political press in a submissive position, one in which the only information it prints about her comes from prepared statements or from Q&As with friendly interviewers. This isn’t something most politicians get away with, or would be allowed to get away with. But Palin has leveraged her celebrity — her ability to get ratings, the ardor of her fans and the bitterness of her critics — to win a truly unique relationship with the press. She is allowed to shape the public debate without actually engaging in it.
More on Palin from NYRoB.
* This week’s This American Life should be of interest to academics and abstainers alike: it describes a typical weekend in State College, Pennsylvania, at America’s #1 Party School.
* Disturbing escalation in the Mexican drug trade: More than a dozen hit men carrying AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles burst into a house in eastern Mexico around midnight Monday, gunning down several relatives of 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedet Angulo, the 30-year-old who was hailed as a national hero last week after being killed in a battle that left drug lord Arturo Beltrán Leyva dead. This violates the usual rules of engagement between police and criminals (which I know all about from television) and suggests bad things could be in store for Mexico.
* Whole Foods activism gets a scalp? John Mackey stepping down as CEO.
* A few days late, Sweden’s unusual Christmas tradition.
Kalle Anka, for short, has been airing without commercial interruption at the same time on Sweden’s main public-television channel, TV1, on Christmas Eve (when Swedes traditionally celebrate the holiday) since 1959. The show consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book.The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a host (who plays the role of Walt Disney from the originalWalt Disney Presents series) and the annual addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie, which TV1′s parent network, SVT, is contractually obligated by Disney to air.
Kalle Anka is typically one of the three most popular television events of the year, with between 40 and 50 percent of the country tuning in to watch. In 2008, the show had its lowest ratings in more than 15 years but was still taken in by 36 percent of the viewing public, some 3,213,000 people. Lines of dialogue from the cartoons have entered common Swedish parlance. Stockholm’s Nordic Museum has a display in honor of the show in an exhibit titled “Traditions.” Each time the network has attempted to cancel or alter the show, public backlash has been swift and fierce…
* The health care bill has now cleared the first of three filibuster hurdles. Would-be bill-killers like Howard Dean are dialing back, with the new line being that there was never any such thing as a bill-killer in the first place. The other current talking point is that the manager’s amendment magically fixes everything. Feingold still says Obama is to blame for the loss of the public option, and Webb’s not happy either. Republican obstructionism has somehow turned Evan Bayh into a diehard Democratic partisan. The father of the public option says it’s all all right. With final passage looking assured—Schumer, weirdly ominously, declares “the die is cast”—Kevin Drum has one last post about the late implementation date for many of these programs, while (via Vu) Kuttner and Taibbi discuss health care reform on Bill Moyers. The filibuster, of course, is still the biggest problem.
* This headline hit me unexpectedly hard: ‘Could ocean acidification deafen dolphins?’ Perhaps I’ve always had a soft spot for dolphins, but the idea that potentially sapient species might go collectively deaf as a side effect of human action strikes me as unbearably sad.
* Dale Beran, creator of the sorely missed A Lesson Is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible, has started a new web comic series, The Nerds of Paradise.
* And Jezebel has what could be the Internet’s only remotely thoughtful post about the death of Brittany Murphy.
My life as a teetotaller: It occurred to me this morning that if New Year’s Eve is me at my most alien (everyone is drunk except me), New Year’s Day is me at my most superhuman (everyone is hungover except me). Today I have intelligence and dexterity far exceeding those of ordinary men. Beware my cunning and speed.
Let the punishment fit the crime: The Vermont teenagers who broke into Robert Frost’s house and vandalized it during a raucous party have been sentenced to one day studying his poems.