Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’
* The next Kim Stanley Robinson novel! Shaman: A Novel of the Ice Age.
* McSweeney’s: “I’m an English professor in a movie.”
* The University of British Columbia is striking a blow at gender inequity in professors’ pay, promising all tenure-stream female faculty a 2 per cent pay hike by the end of the month – a rare approach expected to cost the school about $2-million this year. I asked on Twitter and nobody answered — is this legal in Canada? I don’t think it would be here.
* Expelled Student Activist Wins $50K Court Judgment Against University President. The president is being held personally liable for his decisions.
An environmental activist expelled from Georgia’s Validosta State University (VSU) has won a $50,000 award in a lawsuit against the university president who kicked him out of school in 2007. In a dramatic rebuke to President Ronald Zaccari, the federal jury that heard the case found Zaccari personally liable for violating Hayden Barnes’ due process rights.
* Amy Bishop, a neurobiologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, sat down at the conference table just moments before the faculty meeting began. It was three o’clock on February 12, 2010, and thirteen professors and staff members in the biology department had crowded into a windowless conference room on the third floor of the Shelby Center for Science and Technology. The department chair, a plant biologist named Gopi Podila, distributed a printed agenda. Bishop was sitting next to him, in a spot by the door. Inside her handbag was a gun.
* School closings are a popular method of cost-cutting for big-city districts, but critics say the savings are exaggerated. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for up to 100 school closings this year. New York City just announced 26 planned closures.
But studies refute claims of savings. School buildings are difficult to sell. They cost money to maintain, and when vacant can become blights on their communities. Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee closed 23 schools in 2008, claiming she would save $23 million—and instead cost the district $40 million.
* Being touched against your will has become a twisted rite of passage for American females. It’s a reminder that you’re never safe anywhere. That your body is not really yours—but instead public property, there to be rubbed against by an old man or pinched and videotaped by a young one.
* It was a startling assertion that seemed an about-face from church doctrine: A Catholic hospital arguing in a Colorado court that twin fetuses that died in its care were not, under state law, human beings.
We believe that even the trickiest challenges confronting mankind can be diverted via human centrifugalization. Spinning people around at a sufficiently high G-Force will solve every problem.
* Canada ends the penny. This means the U.S. will start talking seriously about ending the penny in about fifty years or so.
* And so begins my biennial worrying about whether Wes Anderson’s next movie will (1) be good (2) be any different than the others. The Grand Budapest Hotel sounds like yet another intricate dollhouse, and I generally don’t care for Johnny Depp, so that’s two strikes. At least it isn’t family friendly.
* Harry Reid promises filibuster reform if Dems win the election. So he must think Democrats will lose the Senate…
* Breaking: The Newsroom Is Incredibly Hostile Toward Women.
Aaron Sorkin was on “Fresh Air” Monday afternoon, and he told Terry Gross that he “like[s] writing about heroes [who] don’t wear capes or disguises. You feel like, ‘Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can’t that be the real world?’” Yes, a fantasy land where male privilege goes unchallenged, forever, and bosses can spend meetings riffing on the attractiveness of their dates’ legs (as MacAvoy did in “Fix”), where the male gaze is the only gaze, where men have ideas and women are interrupting. Tell us more about this magical place.
* Penn State Plane Gives Warning: Take Down Paterno Statue “Or We Will.” This could get ugly. Uglier.
* How much Force power can Yoda output? ”At current electricity prices, Yoda would be worth about $2/hour.”
* Convinced that the son they know and love is still “in there,” Chris’s parents have spent the past three years searching for a way to bring him back out. So far, their best hope has come from an unlikely source: Ambien. A growing body of case reports suggests that the popular sleep aid can have a profound — and paradoxical — effect on patients like Chris. Rather than put them to sleep, both Ambien and its generic twin, zolpidem, appear to awaken at least some of them. The early reports were so pronounced that until recently, doctors had a hard time believing them. Only now, more than a decade after the initial discovery, are they taking a closer look.
* The bill authorizing indefinite detention without trial was co-sponsored by one of the two main 2008 presidential candidates. It will soon be signed by the other main candidate from that election. No matter which of them you supported in 2008, this is what you got.
* Lucylou is illustrating Harry Potter.
* Also at io9: An infographic explaining the Phantom Time Hypothesis. Is the idea really that complicated?
* TEPCO has confirmed what we already knew: Fukushima suffered a full meltdown.
* Republican follies! Jon Huntsman pulls a Pawlenty, pretends he doesn’t believe in climate change anymore. The John Ensign case has been referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution. John McCain hates torture again. The Wall Street Journal hates Mitt Romney. And so does Mitt Romney.
* White House talking points on the “immediate impact” of the bill.
* I am a self-employed single mother. I cannot afford health care for myself and my children. I made $38,000 last year and I expect to make less than $35,000 this year.What does this health care reform mean for me? Will I be able to get coverage for my children and myself in this first year?
This is mind-bogglingly convoluted. It means that anything that ever had even the smallest and most roundabout effect on wages would be ineligible for reconciliation. Using logic like this, I doubt that any budget bill ever passed has met reconciliation rules.
* As noted in the comments, McCain has vowed obstruction today, obstruction tomorrow, obstruction forever.
* With repealing health reform the right-wing fetish point of the day, it’s worth observing that it’s literally not possible for Republicans to win enough Senate seats in 2010 to pass anything over Barack Obama’s veto.
And let’s also note that while health care reform was the biggest lift, Pelosi has also passed an economic recovery package, a Wall Street reform bill, student loan reform (twice), and cap-and-trade. All, by the way, in 14 months.
They tend to name buildings after leaders with records like these.
* From Ezra Klein: The Five Most Promising Cost Controls in the Health-Care Bill.
UPDATE: Leaving aside some room for hope that this is more gimmick than policy, Krugman’s headline says it all: “Obama Liquidates Himself.” Biden’s economic advisor tried to justify the announcement on Maddow last night; video here.
Obama is trying to pivot out of the Scott Brown disaster by embracing Hoovernomics: a three-year aggregate spending freeze that is arguably worse than the across-the-board freeze McCain supported, and Obama campaigned against, in 2008. At least McCain’s version would have frozen the military budget too; this version only cuts the federal spending people actually need. As I tweeted, the only way promising a spending freeze makes sense is if it’s what the House Blue Dogs need to pass health care—and really only then if they all know it’s a lie. If this is intended to be real policy, it’s moronic, and potentially disastrous. 1937 already happened once. The only upside is that the promise barely means anything.
What the hell are these people thinking?
Merkley: There’s no question that the Senate has become dysfunctional, and it’s not good for democracy. I think there are a lot of reasons for that. First, not a lot of folks know each other. We’re here three days a week and then back in our districts. Sometimes you need personal bonds to overcome that partisanship. I got to know people at the state legislature level just by sitting next to them in committees. And we could work together on issues and move things forward. There’s a lot of isolation in the Senate. I think there are a lot of reinforcing factors to the partisanship as well.
But there’s no question that the procedure itself is dysfunctional. I’m working with a colleague to come up with some ideas to improve that. It’s going to be a long-term project, because to change the rules around here takes 67 votes. But we’ve come up with some ideas.
Ridiculous, petty, and meaningless as it is, Matt seems to be right that Al Franken’s snub to Joe Lieberman on the Senate floor today is rapidly healing all the blogosphere’s wounds. Dave Weigel has your added dose of minor irony. I’d rather have the Medicare buy-in.
McCain advisor Steve Schmidt: Nominating Sarah Palin in 2012 would be “catastrophic.” You betcha.
* The buzzword at the heart of my dissertation got a bump today.
* ‘Good Night and Tough Luck’: a short web comic about the misery of insomnia.
* Corzine takes his first polling lead over Chris Christie in the New Jersey governor’s race.
* The House passed a resolution of disapproval against Congressman Joe Wilson along strict party lines? You lie!
* When will the MSM break its silence on Obama’s secret rat love?
(The anti-government activist Grover Norquist has told a similar story from childhood, in which his father would steal bites of his ice cream cone, labelling each bite “sales tax” or “income tax.” The psychological link between a certain form of childhood deprivation and extreme libertarianism awaits serious study.)
* Conservative bloggers have truly outdone themselves in their efforts to hype the 9/12 rally; Steve Benen and Media Matters have the details on “the largest event held in Washington, D.C., ever.” It’s the greatest propaganda FAIL since they tried to pass off a picture of the Promise Keepers rally as being from last weekend.
* And this interview from one of Bush’s last speechwriters has been linked by nearly every mainstream political blog I read: Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Steve Benen, Kevin Drum, Atrios, Ben Smith, Think Progress, MetaFilter, and Crooks and Liars, each with their own favorite moment from the piece. The Palin line is sort of inescapable:
“I’m trying to remember if I’ve met her before. I’m sure I must have.” His eyes twinkled, then he asked, “What is she, the governor of Guam?”
Everyone in the room seemed to look at him in horror, their mouths agape. When Ed told him that conservatives were greeting the choice enthusiastically, he replied, “Look, I’m a team player, I’m on board.” He thought about it for a minute. “She’s interesting,” he said again. “You know, just wait a few days until the bloom is off the rose.” Then he made a very smart assessment.
“This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for,” he said. “She hasn’t spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let’s wait and see how she looks five days out.”
As Palin has piled misstep on top of misstep, the senior members of McCain’s campaign team have undergone a painful odyssey of their own. In recent rounds of long conversations, most made it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: they can’t quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be. They quietly ponder the nightmare they lived through. Do they ever ask, What were we thinking? “Oh, yeah, oh, yeah,” one longtime McCain friend told me with a rueful chuckle. “You nailed it.” Another key McCain aide summed up his attitude this way: “I guess it’s sort of shifted,” he said. “I always wanted to tell myself the best-case story about her.” Even now, he said, “I don’t want to get too negative.” Then he added, “I think, as I’ve evaluated it, I think some of my worst fears … the after-election events have confirmed that her more negative aspects may have been there … ” His voice trailed off. “I saw her as a raw talent. Raw, but a talent. I hoped she could become better.”
Lots of attention being paid today to Vanity Fair‘s gossipy anti-Palin hit piece, in which the same McCain staffers who insisted she was the second-best possible person for the presidency now (anonymously) admit she was a “Little Shop of Horrors” and alternatively call her a “diva,” egomaniac, and “whackjob”. Here’s Bill Kristol with some pushback, and it’s worth noting that this sort of negative media attention doesn’t exactly hurt the martyr complex that fuels Palinmania on the right.
Who among us can wait for 2012?
Friday links 3. [UPDATE:
Comments closed on this post due to harassment from a banned commenter. Looking into solutions. Reopened.]
* How long will the MSM cover up the heroics of time-traveling Ronald Reagan?
* Another take on Mark McGurl’s The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing, this time from the Valve, about transnationalism and the American university.
* More on yesterday’s unjust Supreme Court decision on the right to DNA evidence from Matt Yglesias, including a link to this striking observation from Jeffrey Toobin on John Roberts’s governing judicial philosophy:
The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.
* Freakonomics considers vegetarianism-sharing.
* People power prevails. After some period of extended protest, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is shown to be a fraud, his re-election rigged, and Mir Hossein Mousavi and his forces of moderation win a runoff. A long process of changing Iran’s system in which real power lies in the hands of clerics operating behind the scenes begins, and the voices demanding an end to Iran’s international isolation move to the fore. Such a simple and straightforward outcome seems unlikely, but that’s what happened in Ukraine.
* Mr. Ahmadinejad survives, but only by moderating his position in order to steal the thunder of the reformers and beat them at their own game. U.S. officials think it’s at least possible the erratic leader decides to survive by showing his critics that he actually is capable of what they claim he isn’t, which is reducing Iran’s isolation. He stays in power and regains his standing with internal critics by, among other things, showing new openness to discuss Iran’s nuclear program with the rest of the world.
* The forces of repression win within Iran, but international disdain compounds, deepening world resolve to stop Iran’s nuclear program and its sponsorship of extremists. In other words, Iran doesn’t change, but the rest of the world does.
* The protests are simply crushed by security forces operating under the control of spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, the election results stand untouched, and Iran’s veneer of democracy ultimately is shown to be totally fraudulent. That makes it clear that the only power that matters at all is the one the U.S. can’t reach or reason with, the clerical establishment. There is no recount, no runoff, and the idea that “moderates” and “reformers” can change Iran from within dies forever.
* There is some legitimate recount or runoff, but Iran emerges with Mr. Ahmadinejad nominally in charge anyway. He emerges beleaguered, tense and defensive, knowing he sits atop a society with deep internal divides and knowing the whole world knows as well. His control is in constant doubt. What’s the classic resort of such embattled leaders? Distract attention from internal problems with foreign mischief, and use a military buildup (in this case, a nuclear one) to create a kind of legitimacy that’s been shown to be missing on the domestic front.
* Mr. Mousavi somehow prevails, perhaps through a runoff, and becomes president, but he operates as a ruler deeply at odds with the clerical establishment that controls the military and security forces, and deeply mistrusted by it. As a result, he’s only partly in charge, and in no position to take chances with a real opening to the West. He has always supported Iran’s nuclear program anyway and now has to do so with a vengeance to show that, while a reformer, he isn’t a front for the West.