Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘“Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?”

Tuesday Shazbat

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* The world is awash in Robin Williams remembrances today, but for my money I’d recommend his recent appearances on WTF and Harmontown. Louie. Longreads has also collected four essays and his appearance on Charlie Rose. Robin Williams’s Best Bad Movie. Suicide contagion and social media. How to report a suicide. The MetaFilter thread.

* It’s primary day in Wisconsin. Endorsements from Shepherd-Express.

* Eyewitness to Michael Brown shooting recounts his friend’s death. Police Reportedly Refused Offer to Interview Man Who Was With Michael Brown During Shooting. Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas on Protesters Standing in Their Own Backyard. Ferguson Police Cite Safety Risk in Decision Not to Name Officer in Shooting. Ferguson, MO, is 67 percent black, and its police force is 94 percent white. The FBI steps in to investigate ultimately sign off on everything’s that happened. Dystopia as how-to manual.

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* Paramilitary Police Are Changing Law Enforcement in the Suburbs. Jon Burge, Torture, and the Militarization of the PoliceAmerican Gulag.

* Against civil forfeiture.

* Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be predicated on “peace, progress, and prosperity,” with “peace” defined as “forever war.”

ISIS Post PR Photos They Took With John McCain.

* CFP: Mean Girls.

* Nnedi Okorafor’s syllabus for ENGL 254: Science Fiction.

* On the greatness of Metroid.

* The NCAA Is a Wreck Now.

What’s less known, however, is that in the 2012 constitutional case, these same challengers filed briefs describing Obamacare to the court in precisely the way they now say the statute cannot possibly be read. Namely, they assumed that the subsidies were available on the federal exchanges and went so far as to argue that the entire statute could not function as written without the subsidies. That’s a far cry from their argument now that the statute makes crystal clear that Congress intended to deny subsidies on the federal exchanges.

* Ursula K. Le Guin: About Anger, Part I.

* The City and the City watch: a proposal that Israel and Palestine become grosstopic, overlapping states.

* Cary Nelson keeps digging: Zionist groups planned to lobby Univ. of Illinois trustees over Salaita appointment. Corey Robin has been coordinating some boycott campaigning for English and Political Science / Philosophy, though personally I think the English statement’s extension to tenure review cases is just too self-undermining to commit to.

* Announcing The Daily Show Podcast, without Jon Stewart.

* Marquette will give John Lewis an honorary degree at the new student convocation on August 20.

* California debates ‘yes means yes’ sex assault law.

Legislation passed by California’s state Senate in May and coming before the Assembly this month would require all schools that receive public funds for student financial assistance to set a so-called “affirmative consent standard” that could be used in investigating and adjudicating sexual assault allegations. That would be defined as “an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” by each party to engage in sexual activity.

Silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. The legislation says it’s also not consent if the person is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep.

For some reason that escapes me, this is hugely controversial.

* The time Bruce Wayne had an affair with Barbara Gordon while she was dating Dick Grayson, impregnated her, before prompting her to head out and have a miscarriage while crimefighting. You know, for kids.

* Uber vs. Lyft: whoever wins, we lose.

* Apple’s workforce after 30 years of operation is still 70% male. And that’s better than most of the tech sector.

* Hoarders are the new Luddites.

Help a hoarder consolidate and safe-keep their things today. Lend them money to rent a storage locker. Volunteer to help them keep their things at your place. Their stuff is the final shred of resistance to the destruction of all non-Apple-approved human endeavors.

* Activision is making a new King’s Quest. Space Quest and Quest for Glory next!

How American Universities Have Destroyed Scholarship in the U.S.

* And because everything is a bummer today: Ponzi Scheme Capitalism: An Interview with David Harvey.

My question would be: can we not foresee a continuation of that ridiculousness for the foreseeable future, where you have one fiction built on another fiction, one crisis to the next?

Yes. I raise that question a bit in the book by saying there are these fictitious forms of capital that can continue to circulate and feed off each other, and they’re all Ponzi schemes, which can sometimes go on for a long time. Yes, there may be some possibility we’re moving into this era of fictitious capital formation and circulation, which is then managed by the central banks because they can just add zeros to the money supply at the drop of a hat, and have been doing so. First off, it seems to me increasingly senseless, and I suspect that people will start to say, well what’s the point of all of this? Secondly, I think the internal contradictions of that are that there’s going to be crashes, but then there have been financial crashes popping off all over the place for the last 20 years and capital has survived. For instance, there’s one in Indonesia, one in Argentina and then there’s one somewhere else. Dubai World goes bankrupt, somebody else goes bankrupt, there are all these asset bubbles popping up all over the place, and maybe we can continue in that vein for a while. But at some point, I think the possibilities will run out.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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If You Want a Vision of the Future: Weekend Links

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* CFP: Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference.

* Dan Harmon’s advice for career happiness — imagine a job you could stand doing and then invent it — is more or less exactly how I describe what I do. I’m definitely getting away with something.

* Explains a lot: Long-Term Couples Develop Interconnected Memory Systems.

* Deafness and Hawkeye #19. How Hawkeye #19 Portrays The World Of A Deaf Superhero To A Hearing Audience, For Next Year’s Eisner Awards. I’m pretty sure this seals the deal on me using Fraction’s Hawkeye run the next time I do my comics class.

* An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene.

KSR: I think we can make it through this current, calamitous time period. I envision a two-part process. First, we need to learn what to do in ecological terms. That sounds tricky, but the biosphere is robust and we know a lot about it, so really it’s a matter of refining our parameters; i.e. deciding how many of us constitutes a carrying capacity given our consumption, and then figuring out the technologies and lifestyles that would allow for that carrying capacity while also allowing ecosystems to thrive. We have a rough sense of these parameters now.

The second step is the political question: It’s a matter of self-governance. We’d need to act globally, and that’s obviously problematic. But the challenge is not really one of intellect. It’s the ability to enforce a set of laws that the majority would have to agree on and live by, and those who don’t agree would have to follow.

So this isn’t a question of reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics, or perceiving the strings of string theory. Instead it involves other aspects of intelligence, like sociability, long-range planning, law, and politics. Maybe these kinds of intelligence are even more difficult to develop, but in any case, they are well within our adaptive powers.

* Everyone knows the mass extinction of Earth’s animal life is an almost unfathomable evil. What this blog post presupposes is… maybe it isn’t?

* Fiction and climate change.

* The Pre-History of Firefly.

* The Pre-History of Halbig. Senate documents and interviews undercut ‘bombshell’ lawsuit against Obamacare. Wheeeeeee!

* Same-sex marriage in the 19th century.

In 1807, Charity and Sylvia moved in together in Vermont. A historian uncovers their story.

* Show your support! Agamben and empty political gestures.

* Wisconsin Supreme Court bumming everyone out today.

* Adjuncts Would Qualify for Loan Forgiveness Under Proposed Bill.

Under the terms of the proposed legislation, whose exact language has not been made public, colleges that don’t comply with its rules could face fines of up to 1 percent of their operating budgets.

* Postdocs as glass ceiling.

The open data movement might address some of these challenges but its greatest success to date has been getting governments to release data that is mostly of economic and social utility. The thorny political data is still closely guarded. There’s no “social physics” for the likes of Goldman Sachs or HSBC: we don’t know the connections between their subsidiaries and shell companies registered in tax havens. Nobody is running RCTs to see what would happen if we had fewer lobbyists. Who will nudge the US military to spend less money on drones and donate the savings to the poor?

* God, Democrats can’t even make Republicans eat their own shit right.

The researchers concluded that there was a great advantage to having a white-sounding name, so much so that having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience.

* The Kids Who Beat Autism.

* The Long, Sad Fall of Richard Dawkins.

* John Oliver vs. America’s Nuclear Command.

* The Catholic Church Makes A Fortune In The German Porn Business.

* US’s Oldest Private Black University Is in Trouble.

* One Year of Prison Costs More Than One Year at Princeton.

* Prisoners are getting paid $2 a day to fight California wildfires.

* The youngest prisoner at Guantánamo.

* Why Bad New York Cops Can Get Away With Abuse.

* Green groups too white and too male compared to other sectors – report.

* Death threats for MedievalPOC at Tumblr because Reddit is a cesspool.

David Frum’s Apology for His Nutty Theory Links to More Nutty Theories. Of course his credibility is now shot forever and we’ll never hear anything from him again…

* CIA Pisses on Rule of Law, Separation of Powers, No One Cares.

* The Case Against Cards Against Humanity.

Scientists Have Measured 16-Foot Waves In The Arctic Ocean.

* The world risks an “insurmountable” water crisis by 2040 without an immediate and significant overhaul of energy consumption and demand, a research team reported on Wednesday.

How Much Energy Would You Need To Replicate Elsa’s Powers In Frozen?

* Marvel might be doing something with Squirrel Girl.

* South Korean Robots Stand In For Real Baseball Fans.

A Map Of The U.S., If There Had Never Been A Mexican-American War.

The six-hour miniseries just greenlit by HBO is based on the book by Lisa Belkin and will be co-scripted by writer-producer David Simon okay I’ll watch.

* Abolish the MPAA.

* Postmodernism is the only explanation for black licorice.

* Tumblr of the minute: Michelle Foucault.

* A rare bit of good news: researchers whose last names begin with A, B, or C who are listed first as authors in articles in a variety of science journals receive, on average, one to two more citations than their peers whose names start with X, Y, or Z.

Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia.”

* When parachutes fail.

* This kid gets it.

* And I don’t care how this goes down: I will always consider it Marnie starring as Peter Pan.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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These Are Monday Links; There Are Many Like Them, But These Are Mine

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* If you’ve been following Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, there’s a new chapter out.

* A One-Item List For Tenure-Track Faculty: Do the job you were hired to do.

* The next wave of Afrofuturism.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: Science Fiction and the Realism of Our Time.

* Bring on the Snowpiercer thinkpieces! 1, 2, 3, 4.

* When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?

* Even the liberal George Will: “We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,’” Will implored. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these eight-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.”

* Identifying the bodies of those who tried to cross the border illegally.

* Halbig, King, and the Limits of Reasonable Legal Disagreement.

* There is a lizard sex satellite floating in space and Russia no longer has it under control. UPDATE: Russia Regains Control of Gecko Zero-G Sex Satellite.

* If you want to know how I do it. More links below the image!

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* Iron Man Should Move to Cleveland, Not San Francisco.

* A friend said it best: Ricky Gervais is scripting Congress now.

* Star Fleet uniforms: not OSHA-compliant.

* The mask slips: Tax agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity.

* Slave Leia is a bummer.

* “Our bad!” It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All.

* Cupcake fascism.

* This is horrible: First case of ebola reported in Africa’s most populous city Lagos.

* When Tonga Was a Vast Empire.

* The Five Most Overrated Weapons of War.

* On “Bad Feminism.”

* Community colleges and the art of the hustle.

* A lawsuit may determine whether “Happy Birthday” is really still under copyright, which is a bananas notion to begin with.

* Scientists: Rich People, Poor People May Have Shared Common Ancestor.

* BuzzFeed Writer Resigns In Disgrace After Plagiarizing ‘10 Llamas Who Wish They Were Models.’

* Blastr teases Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.

* Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, says expert.

* If I major in philosophy, what are the career prospects?

* Ascension sounds… pretty good?

The deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history is happening right now. And now the Liberian government has confirmed that a senior doctor working to fight the disease, Samuel Brisbane, has died, the Associated Press reports. That makes him the first Liberian doctor to die of Ebola in the current outbreak.

In addition, an American doctor has been infected. Keith Brantly, a 33-year-old working for American aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, has been treated and is in stable condition, according to USA Today.

This news comes just days after an announcement that the top Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, had been infected.

* And before there was The State, there was You Wrote It, You Watch It.

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Happening Now: Thursday Links!

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* CFP: Resistance and Dissent in America.

* Another piece on Octavia Butler’s Unexpected Stories at LARoB: Noah Berlatsky on Octavia Butler’s “Unexpected Stories” and Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.”

Like a delinquent sibling, Mars is all we’ve got.

* An oral history of Galaxy Quest.

* Comedians in Cars Getting Cocaine.

* Rutgers Athletics: Robbing Academics to Fund Big Sports.  Libraries Receive Shrinking Share of University Expenditures. Historically Black Colleges and Universities Face Uncertain Future. Predictors of depression, stress, and anxiety among non-tenure track faculty.

The Tech Utopia Nobody Wants. The Banality of Dystopia. Soak the Rich: An exchange on capital, debt, and the future. Ancient Apocalypse films use the past to project a reactionary present into the future.

* ThinkProgress on the latest bad-faith nonsense ruling against Obamacare. Don’t worry, the ruling against heath care subsidies is going to be reversed. What the D.C. Circuit Got Wrong About Obamacare.

* BREAKING: Pay It Forward Plans Make Everything Worse.

* BREAKING: The death penalty is an obscene horror show.

Mass incarceration, perhaps the greatest social crisis in modern American history, is without parallel on a global scale.

* The way we live now: One out of every 21 New Yorkers is a millionaire.

* We turned the border into a war zone. Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion.

* Change we can believe in: The World Health Organization Wants to Legalize Sex Work and Drugs.

Three Out of Four Newark Police Stops Are Unconstitutional. Prosecutors Are Reading Emails From Inmates to Lawyers.

* Emotional labor and the third machine age.

* Water is a human right, but who is considered a human being?

* What could possibly go wrong? DARPA Wants Wants to Fund Research into “Predatory” Bacteria.

* Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: Women And People Of Color Get Punished For Hiring To Increase Diversity, White Men Get Rewarded.

The Borowitz Problem.

* They say time is the fire in which we burn: The Queen aging over time on bank-notes.

* The time the United States blew up a passenger plane—and tried to cover it up.

* ‘I withdraw’: A talk with climate defeatist Paul Kingsnorth. And it’s not all downside: Climate Change Could Threaten The Future Of Hockey.

* Fracking comes to Durham.

* Wrapping up all the loose ends: Aliens Will Go To Hell So Let’s Stop Looking For Them.

* And someone in Congress edited the ‘Lizard People’ Wikipedia article. I knew. I always knew.

A Few Sunday Night Links

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* Another great Muppet thing that never was: Douglas Adams and Jim Henson tried to develop a TV special about the Muppet Institute of Technology.

* Given Politco’s track record, I think we can expect Mitt to make a comeback in the next few days.

* I’ve been fascinated all week by the stories about Sean Smith, one of the U.S. foreign service workers killed in the consulate attacks this week, and his virtual life in EVE Online as “Vile Rat.”

* The Boy Scouts have a pedophile blacklist dating back to 1919. Of course, they never actually involved the cops, or, you know, did anything about it. Heavens no.

* Will Self, “The Trouble with My Blood.”

* Eugenics at Yale.

* When Roberts flipped.

* Unpaid internships in the New York Times.

* And just for laughs: A spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) is facing criticism after advocating violence against female Democratic senators in a Facebook post.

My question today… when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.

“Acid in Female Senators’ Faces: Opinions Differ.”

Monday Morning Links

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* …when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.

* …according to this New York Times piece, working conditions have gotten so bad that advertisers can now depict utopia as… taking a lunch break. But of course it’d never work in practice. Be realistic.

* In the sciences, Ph.D. ≠ job.

* America’s Billionaires: Are They Crazy Enough?

* Finding out Talking Points Memo pays bonuses for traffic is like finding out Santa Claus is as crooked as everybody else. Terrible.

* At least I can still trust SCOTUSblog, which explains how they got it right when everyone else blew the mission.

* South Korea may start hunting whales again, for ‘science’.

* NFL concussion update from MetaFilter.

* SMBC presents a superhero for our times: the Iron Sociopath.

* Larry Tye’s brief history of Superman.

* Fraggle Rock‘s Dozers will get their own TV show. Yes, please.

* And RIP, Sir Ernest Borgnine.

What to a Blogger Is the 5th of July?

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* By request, I made a Storify (my first!) of our conversation about Louie 3.1.

* Next up in the “definitive takedown” series that has made An und für sich so rightly famous and so terribly feared: the ontology of Aaron Sorkin.

One could criticize Sorkin’s ontology for lacking depth and nuance and view the family structure as artificial and forced, but that is not a flaw so much as the entire point. Every Aaron Sorkin show starts from the same radical subtraction and carries the same basic axioms to the same absolutely rigorous conclusion. Sorkin’s universe is one in which a repeated reassertion of a rudimentary structure is the sole alternative to absolute chaos. Given the absolute lack of inherent “character traits” or “motivations,” their stereotyped relationships are the only thing keeping the “characters” from descending into a total — albeit clever — glossolalia.

Pennsylvania looks to disfranchise 10% of its population to prevent voting fraud it can’t prove has ever happened. Why not just have the military install Romney as king and get this over with? It’d be quicker and more honest.

* I’m an academic, I don’t do it for the money: In Defence of Unpaid Academic Positions. Note: not actually a defense!

What this means is that in graduate school we get used to working for nothing, even as we’re expected to invest heavily in expensive professional development activities. By attending conferences, we pay for the opportunity to present our work to our (future) peers, who are the primary “gatekeepers” to academe. This system helps to perpetuate privilege because only “those who have afforded to work for free will get jobs. The vicious circle is maddening” (Ernesto Priego, July 2, 2011, Twitter).

* Of course, there are perks: Drunk professor forces students to sit through 23-hour-long science exam.

* Another study shows for-profit university students earn less, default more.

San Diego accidentally sets off all its fireworks at the same time, creating a wormhole and/or the Eye of Sauron.

* This time our New Four Horsemen–who claim to be market-oriented Republican justices–struck at an approach supported by the market-oriented Republican presidents who appointed them, thought up by market-oriented Republican ideologues to be the market-oriented Republican approach to keeping the market-oriented health insurance system from collapse. Fred Rodell understood that supreme court justices are for the most part moral and political actors first and text- and precedent-oriented legal technicians second. 

Fred Rodell would have been astonished by judges who are for the most part neither precedent- and text-oriented legal technicians nor moral and political actors, but mere partisan weathervanes.

* Here come the new Obamacare challenges.

* Inconceivable! States Bucking ‘Obamacare’ Are Among Those With Highest Rates Of Uninsured.

* And on the actually-existing-media-bias beat: just don’t mention the science.

One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts

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Not only did John Roberts apparently switch votes, he apparently wrote the bulk of both decisions.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Links from the Week

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* I definitely picked the wrong week to stay off the Internet: SCOTUS plays the best and biggest game of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional” of all time. It is! “The decision was 4-1-4.” Why Did Roberts Do It? How and Why Did Justice Roberts Do It? The right goes bonkers, claims Roberts is mentally ill. Did Roberts change his vote at the last minute? Did he? Did he? The long, sad twilight of Anthony Kennedy. Antonin Scalia, ranting old man. Did Scalia Scare Off Roberts? Ilya Shapiro: We Won Everything but the Case. And Ginsberg kills it. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, hero. More (oh, so much more) from SCOTUSblog.

Should we be surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate and most of the Affordable Care Act? From the perspective of constitutional doctrine, the Supreme Court’s decision follows from 75 years of unbroken precedents.

* The Arizona SB-1070 decision was kind of a big deal, too.

* The important questions: Two-Thirds of Americans Think Barack Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion Than Mitt Romney.

* The important questions: Did Nick Fury break the law when he refused to nuke New York?

* Jimmy Carter: The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Abandoning? Champion? Human rights? Let’s start over.

* Wes Anderson Explains How to Make a Wes Anderson Film.

* The National Labor Relations Board announced Friday that it will reconsider a 2004 ruling by the board that took away the right of graduate students at private universities to unionize.

* College students are facing a roughly $20 billion increase in the cost of their federal loans, despite a much-heralded deal in Washington to contain the expense of higher education.

Starting Sunday, students hoping to earn the graduate degrees that have become mandatory for many white-collar jobs will become responsible for paying the interest on their federal loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate. That means they’ll have to pay an extra $18 billion out of pocket over the next decade.

Meanwhile, the government will no longer cover the interest on undergraduate loans during the six months after students finish school. That’s expected to cost them more than $2 billion.

* Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal. Chicago decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana.

* Watch out: here comes the Big Rip.

* How Many LEGOs Would It Take to Build Your House? Kiss goodbye to your productivity: Google just brought 8 trillion LEGO blocks to Chrome.

*  Jesus wept: “We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive,” the platform says, adding that it supports teaching “common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.” In Arizona, where Republicans banned multicultural programs, students in those programs actually out-performed their peers. Texas Republicans also believe “controversial theories” such evolution and climate change — which aren’t controversial at all — “should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.” There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” because they “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

* When Roddenberry met Asimov.

* How 100-million year old geology affects modern presidential elections.

* And Smithsonian Magazine says it’s time to get your ass to Mars.

‘If Someone Like Scalia Can … Decide That Wickard Isn’t a Binding Precedent, Then the Idea of Binding Precedent Is Essentially Empty’

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Nineteen of twenty-one Constitutional scholars think the mandate is Constitutional, but only eight are confident SCOTUS will uphold the law. Paul Campos gets his denunciation of Scalia in early:

Justice Scalia spent his career as a lawyer, law professor and judge in that legal world – a world in which Wickard was no more eligible for serious reconsideration than Brown v. Board of Education or Marbury v. Madison are today. It ought to be obvious that if someone like Scalia can, at this point in a half-century-long career, decide that Wickard isn’t a binding precedent, then the idea of binding precedent is essentially empty, which in turn highlights the inevitable emptiness of the idea of any useful distinction between law and politics.

But this is not obvious, least of all to Justice Scalia, who I have no real doubt actually believes the things he says and writes, no matter how many times his public acts contradict his avowed beliefs. Scalia believes in a version of the rule of law whose existence is refuted by nothing so well as his own career. And that ultimately is more disturbing than a career dedicated to the most self-consciously manipulative Machiavellianism.

Last Night Wednesday

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* David Simon unjukes a stat.

* We move more earth and stone than all the world’s rivers. We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere all life breathes. We are on pace to eat to death half of the other life currently sharing the planet with us. There is nothing on Earth untouched by man — whether it be the soot from fossil fuels darkening polar snows or the very molecules incorporated into a tree trunk. Humanity has become a global force whose exploits will be written in rock for millennia. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

* Via @zunguzungu, who has been all over the UVA story: Wendy Brown on online education.

High quality liberal arts on-line education is not cheap: where it has been modestly successful in providing a decent education, as at the UK’s Open University, it does not break even–far from it. Why? Open University courses are built by teams of researchers, are annually refreshed, and are intensively staffed by high-level academics. OU is an expensive tax-supported operation, designed from the beginning for workers and other students unable to leave homes or jobs to obtain a college education.

* “Julian Assange” is a bit, right? It’s got to be a bit. He wouldn’t be the first person to live for decades in an embassy.

* Why is spam so terrible? A new paper argues it’s a way of weeding out people too smart to fall for spam.

* Poll: Former Supreme Court clerks think the mandate is done for.

* LEGO anatomy. Via Kottke.

* Infinite Jest! Live! On Stage! One Entire Day Only!

* And I must admit, I’m a little verklempt: Life in Hell has finished.

More ACA

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Ezra Klein, fresh from arguing that political leaders’ utterances don’t matter, explains how political leaders’ utterances moved anti-mandate legal arguments from the fringe to the mainstream. Meanwhile, here’s Kevin Drum:

If the court does overturn the mandate, it’s going to be hard to know how to react. It’s been more than 75 years since the Supreme Court overturned a piece of legislation as big as ACA, and I can’t think of any example of the court overturning landmark legislation this big based on a principle as flimsy and manufactured as activity vs. inactivity. When the court overturned the NRA in 1935, it was a shock — but it was also a unanimous decision and, despite FDR’s pique, not really a surprising ruling given existing precedent. Overturning ACA would be a whole different kind of game changer. It would mean that the Supreme Court had officially entered an era where they were frankly willing to overturn liberal legislation just because they don’t like it. Pile that on top of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United and you have a Supreme Court that’s pretty explicitly chosen up sides in American electoral politics. This would be, in no uncertain terms, no longer business as usual.

Sunday Night!

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* Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Arrests 6-Year-Old Undocumented Immigrant. Five years too late if you ask me! Freedom! Etc!

I know that this is exactly the reverse of what everyone expects, so let me repeat it. The business-school types on the Board favor a system that cuts funds from profitable departments and funnels that money to less profitable ones.

* In a move union officials immediately branded as unethical, Duquesne University on Friday filed a motion with the National Labor Relations Board challenging its jurisdiction over the university and its labor affairs, saying Duquesne is a religious institution and therefore exempt from NLRB oversight. Yeah, that checks out.

* Everybody knows Mitt Romney went to law school. What this stump speech presupposes is… maybe he didn’t? Updated story says he was misquoted. Cheerfully withdrawn!

* And Ruth Bader Ginsberg wants to tease you. Is tomorrow the day?

Thursday!

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* An inspiring New York Times op-ed argues we should just let go ahead and let the banks own students outright.

* Grantland overthinks the Alien franchise.

* Let’s admit it: The US is at war in Yemen, too.

* Western cultural imperialism Bingo.

“I have some grudging admiration for them,” said Akhil Amar, a professor of law and political science at Yale and author of a book on the Constitution. “All the more so because it’s such a bad argument. They have been politically brilliant. They needed a simplistic metaphor, and in broccoli they got it.”

A USA TODAY investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun.

Still, the Justice Department has not attempted to identify the men, has made no effort to notify them, and, in a few cases in which the men have come forward on their own, has argued in court that they should not be released.

* Interview with a john. What’s most striking, I think, is the extent to which specific knowledge of these women’s sometimes brutal exploitation has no apparent effect upon his behavior  at all.

* Is there any limit to SuperPAC spending?

* The Believer interviews WTF’s Marc Maron.

* #OccupyGaddis starts tomorrow.

* We are all MacGyver now.

* Thirteen ways of looking at a Catwoman cover.

* And today’s quiz: Which of these drugs are medications you can find in the real world, and which are just comic book drugs?

Even More

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* Chilling fact of the night: “Texas uses fourth grade reading scores to project the number of prison cells they’re going to need 10 years later.”

* LGM has your Wisconsin pre-postmortem.

* Robert Reich is teasing an imminent Obamacare ruling, claiming Roberts wants to uphold the law.

* Even Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Won’t Say The Affordable Care Act Is Unconstitutional.

How Wes Anderson Soundtracks His Movies. Another Wes Anderson interview.

* And tonight’s dystopia: Behold the London Olympics’ Creepy ‘Brand Exclusion Zone.’

The most carefully policed Brand Exclusion Zone will be around the Olympic Park, and extend up to 1km beyond its perimeter, for up to 35 days. Within this area, officially called an Advertising and Street Trade Restrictions venue restriction zone, no advertising for brands designated as competing with those of the official Olympic sponsors will be allowed. (Originally, as detailed here, only official sponsors were allowed to advertise, but leftover sites are now available). This will be supported by preventing spectators from wearing clothing prominently displaying competing brands, or from entering the exclusion zone with unofficial snack and beverage choices. Within the Zone, the world’s biggest McDonald’s will be the only branded food outlet, and Visa will be the only payment card accepted.

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