Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Deepwater Horizon

Weekend Links!

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* Big fair use decision: specific commentary on the original work is not required for a fair use defense.

* Finding common ground with Senator Coburn: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude major professional sports leagues from qualifying as tax-exempt organizations.

* Gasp! Many students stay away from online courses in subjects they deem especially difficult or interesting, according to a study released this month by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The finding comes just as many highly selective colleges are embracing online learning and as massive open online courses are gaining popularity and standing.

“What we’re saying is that bargain-basement (clothing) is automatically leading towards these types of disasters,” John Hilary, executive director at British charity War on Want, told Reuters.

* Bad Robot will adapt 11/22/63.

* Canada gets it right: “The legal test for a true volunteer arrangement looks at several factors, but merely agreeing to work without pay does not in itself make you a volunteer,” Ministry of Labour spokesperson Jonathon Rose wrote in an email. See also Natalia Cecire:

Like the hypothetical minimum-wage high schooler whose income serves as pocket money, non-essential and destined for “fun,” the youthful volunteer, who may very well intrinsically enjoy the work, authorizes a category of labor exploitation that is not only okay but also okay to take as the norm for the labor of cultural preservation. “I can get you a twenty-year-old!” is, in that sense, not a labor solution but its opposite: a commitment to the norm that this work will be unpaid.

* Whitewashing and manwashing cinema.

* Mother Jones profiles the great Tig Notaro.

What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill.

* And 66 behind-the-scenes photos from the filming of The Empire Strikes Back.

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Midweek Links

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* Erik Loomis is being targeted by prominent figures on the right in what has to be the most ludicriously unfair, bad-faith attack I have ever seen.

Walker declares state of emergency in Wisconsin due to snowstorm.

Guide to Answering Academic Job Interview Questions.

Argument Over Sandy Hook Shooting Ends in Gunfire. Why Won’t We Talk About Violence and Masculinity in America? Gun Violence In American Schools Is Nothing New. Top Conservative Publication: Shooting Occurred Because Women Ran The School. Weaponize the husky twelve-year-olds. Virginia Republican Legislator Actually Wants To Require Concealed Weapons In Schools. The Arms Race of Stupid.

I can’t help wondering if the bullets of Sandy Hook Elementary will be for Obama what the snarling dogs and high-pressure fire hoses of Birmingham, Alabama, were for John F. Kennedy in 1963: the human tragedy that will force him to take a political risk, simply because it is right.

Conservative Historian Warns Obama and Democrats are ‘Much More Radical’ than Marxists. So much more radical. So much more.

Best Astronomy Images of 2012. (Keep scrolling past the image for more links.)

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Wayne State faculty gives OK to union leadership to call strike if necessary.

* Terrible person to teach terrible class at terrible university.

* News from Nerdistan: What Frodo would have looked like as Gollum. Joss Whedon wanted the Wasp and an extra villain in The Avengers. Tolkien vs. technology. Someone at Disney is already trying to lay the groundwork for a second sequel trilogy after Star Wars 7-9. Nearby Tau Ceti may host two planets suited to life. Netflix Instant Adds a Bunch of Fake ‘Arrested Development’ Shows and MoviesLEGOs run the world now.

It’s time to start asking serious questions about the safety of lube.

Here: an exercise in choice. Your choice. One of these tales is true.

* Petraeus Scandal 2.0. Nothing about sex, so no one will care.

* Matt Yglesias has the most logical incoherent “think piece” you’ll read on Society Security today. Money doesn’t magically become not-money when it’s spent by retirees.

* Plans to avoid the fiscal cliff cut government more than the fiscal cliff. Why, it’s almost as if this whole debate is total bullshit!

Shale Oil Might Be Less Awesome Than We Think. From a personal perspective, I doubt that’s possible.

Top 20 most valuable college football programs all made at least $24 million in profit last year, according to Forbes. $200K Average Salary for Asst. Football Coaches in Major Programs. Bill Introduced for IRS to Collect Student Loan Payments.

Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said he supported the bill, arguing it could “nearly eliminate student loan default.”

But the reinvention conversation has not produced the panacea that people seem to yearn for. “The whole MOOC thing is mass psychosis,” a case of people “just throwing spaghetti against the wall” to see what sticks, says Peter J. Stokes, executive director for postsecondary innovation at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. His job is to study the effectiveness of ideas that are emerging or already in practice.

The Wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon is Emitting a Mysterious Substance Into the Gulf of Mexico.

Quentin Tarantino Says Drug War, Justice System Are Modern Day Slavery.

Apocalypse and Revelation Are the Same Word.

* And life’s not all an endless series of miserable atrocities: Found: Whale Thought Extinct for 2 Million Years.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

Four for Thursday

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* Study estimates that illegal immigrants paid $11.2B in taxes last year, unlike GE, which paid zero.

* Wis. Dems To File Recall Signatures Against A Fifth Republican State Senator.

* Major hydrofracking spill in Pennsylvania.

* Related: BP Ready To Resume Oil Spilling.

LONDON—A year after the tragic explosion and oil spill that caused petroleum giant BP to cease operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Wednesday that it was once again ready to begin oil spilling. “People said this company might never rebound from last year, but we’re here and ready to do what we do best,” said BP chief executive Robert Dudley, who confirmed that the company had already successfully conducted small test spills and that full-scale spilling operations could resume as early as July. “We’ve reorganized and regrouped, and now we’re ready to put the faulty blowout preventers on the wellheads and watch them pump raw crude petroleum right into the environment.” BP stock jumped $14 a share following the announcement.

Tuesday!

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* Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 336.

Aside from the question of whether the crisis would have been so acute in the first place, a labor-oriented Democratic Party almost certainly would have demanded a bigger stimulus in 2009. It would have fought hard for “cramdown” legislation to help distressed homeowners, instead of caving in to the banks that wanted it killed. It would have resisted the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman. These and other choices would have helped the economic recovery and produced a surge of electoral energy far beyond Obama’s first few months. And since elections are won and lost on economic performance, voter turnout, and legislative accomplishments, Democrats probably would have lost something like 10 or 20 seats last November, not 63. Instead of petering out after 18 months, the Obama era might still have several years to run.

* Duke is number 9 of the 10 Greenest Colleges in America.

* Another Detroit obituary.

* Sarah Palin’s sockpuppet Facebook account.

* Syllogism watch: “If Dick Lugar,” Danforth said, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

* Have I done this one before? Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator. I clicked on it enough times to get a few he’s actually said.

* Headline of the day (category: airy whimsy): What happens when you stick your head in a particle accelerator.

* Headline of the day (category: existential horror): Dead Baby Dolphins Washing Up Along Gulf Coast at 10 Times Normal Rates.

Thursday Night!

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* Lost roles of Bill Murray. And here I thought he was already in everything.

* It’s bad enough that the “make the workers suffer” push is misguided (any budgetary pain should be shared, not dumped on a single target group). According to David Cay Johnson of Tax.com, the average Wisconsin pension is $24,500 a year, which is hardly lavish. But what is stunning is that 15% of the money contributed to the fund each year is going to Wall Street in fees. Thus the blame for any shortfall should go in very large measure to probable kickbacks rank incompetence in the state’s dealing with the financial services industry and the impact of the financial crisis on state revenues.

* Obama rediscovers labor? Building on the momentum in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands of protesters have turned out to oppose Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to strip collective-bargaining rights from the state’s public-employee unions, President Barack Obama’s campaign organization is mobilizing its followers in Ohio and Indiana, where similar measures are being considered.

* News you just want to pretend you never read: Are Girl Scout cookies killing orangutans?

* White House Commission: BP Oil Spill Was “Entirely Preventable.”

* And building on last week’s instant classic, Waiting for Godot: The Game.

Obama Gets It Right

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

A Crisis of Cataclysmic Proportions

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Four for Tuesday Night

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It Isn’t Over Just Because You’ve Stopped the Leak

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When the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, BP was presented with a stark choice: Let the oil float to the surface, reach the shore, and allow the world to see the full scope of the damage; or hit as much of the oil as possible with toxic substances called dispersants to break it up into trillions of tiny droplets, keeping some of it from reaching the surface and making landfall—but also potentially killing more sea life than the oil might have destroyed by itself. The company chose the latter.

Mother Jones has a huge report this month focusing on both the long-term effects of the BP spill (including the overuse of dispersant primarily for PR reasons) as well as the company’s attempts to cover these unhappy facts up.

Rocking Thursday Night

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But I Haven’t Left Yet

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* Lebron has hurt everyone, but especially the weak heart of my beloved Cleveland. Nate Silver tries to put a number on the damage he’s done to his reputation playing Hamlet.

* A federal judge has unexpectedly struck down the parts of the Defense of Marriage Act that define marriage as being between a man and a woman. There’s more at MeFi, including a link to a post from Jack Balkin that suggests this could actually be a kind of right-wing Trojan Horse designed to undermine the juridical basis for New Deal government.

* Worst lemon-to-lemonade analogy ever.

* Science proves I was right all along when I said my high school started too early in the morning.

* Žižek blogs about BP. You know what’s coming.

The lesson is simply that, while market mechanisms may work up to a certain level to contain ecological damage, serious large-scale ecological catastrophies are simply out of their reach – any pseudo-scientific statistic talk about “sustainable risks” is ridiculous here. More than two decades ago, a paparazzo caught Senator Ted Kennedy (well known for his opposition to the off-shore drilling in search of oil) in the midst of the sexual act on a lone boat off Louisiana shore; during a Senate debate a couple of days later, a Republican Senator dryly remarked: “It seems that Senator Kennedy now changed his position on off-shore drilling…” So maybe, we should return to Senator Kennedy’s position: the only acceptable off-shore drilling is the one he was engaged in.

More Žižek here.

* Of all sad words of mouth or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been”: 55% Of Likely Voters Think Obama’s A Socialist.

Busy Summer Links

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* Do kids make you unhappy? Science says yes. But parenting’s not so bad in social democracies with a proper safety net. Reserve your freezer space now.

* In the 77 days since oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon began to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has skimmed or burned about 60 percent of the amount it promised regulators it could remove in a single day. Steve Benen does the math: “If my math is right*, that means BP’s skimming and removal efforts are operating at less than 0.2% of the promised capacity. The oil giant only exaggerated its abilities by a factor of 500.”

* Why democracy doesn’t work: incumbents get a bump when the local college football team wins.

* Daily Kos still hasn’t given up hope for Democratic Senate gains in November.

* When I grow up, I want to go to Glenn Beck University.

* And Glenn Greenwald wants to repeal Godwin’s Law.

Links

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Late Night Monday

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* While my cousin was visiting last weekend we saw both Toy Story 3 and Exit Through the Gift Shop, both of which I endorse for entirely different reasons. What I find most interesting about Exit is the possibility that large swaths of the documentary, perhaps even the whole thing, are a high-concept Banksy prank; what I like best about Toy Story 3 is how bravely it faces down the themes of mortality and obsolescence that have always been the subtext of the series. That the toys (spoiler alert) receive their inevitable reprieve is ultimately a small consolation; in the end, we must admit Lotso had it right.

* This short but intriguing post from Crooked Timber compares the Toy Story franchise to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, concluding (as we must) that Stinky Pete is the existential hero of the series, the only character who is genuinely free.

* World Cup supervillain Koman Coulibaly apparently fired.

* Steve Benen and Ezra Klein look at how a utilities-only compromise on cap and trade might work. Here too is Brad Plumer on what EPA regulation can and cannot accomplish.

* If I’m reading this correctly, Matt Yglesias wants to turn Detroit into District 9. More on Detroit and this week’s U.S. Social Forum here and here.

* Speaking of District 9: Will Neill Blomkamp direct The Hobbit?

* There’s something about this piece on spiked anti-rape protection in South Africa that gets people talking. I can’t count how many times it’s shown up in my Facebook feed.

* One day late for Father’s Day: “Daddy, could we have our planet back now?”

* Pandagon highlights a study linking sexual aggression and heavy porn use.

* Why the Right is fantasizing about a 2012 primary challenge.

It’s easy to see why conservatives would be salivating at the thought of a Hillary primary challenge. Presidents who face serious primary challenges—Ford, Carter, Bush I—almost always lose. The last president who lost re-election without a serious primary challenge, by contrast, was Herbert Hoover. But in truth, the chances that Obama will face a primary challenge are vanishingly slim, and the chances that he will lose re-election only slightly higher. No wonder conservatives are fantasizing about Hillary Clinton taking down Barack Obama. If she doesn’t, it’s unlikely they will.

* And so it’s come to this.

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