Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich

Some Monday Links

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* Tumblr has been perfected; you can all go home. Troy and Abed in Engineering.

* Hi, I’m Maria Bamford; ask me anything.

* Newt Gingrich thinks Republicans couldn’t beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. I agree! I also think there’s no one in the Democratic Party who could beat her for the nomination. As far as I can tell the presidency is hers if she wants it.

* It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. This is how people played “Zombie Apocalypse” before that was a thing.

Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, estimated that homelessness could be effectively eradicated in the United States at an annual cost of about $20 billion. The housing department’s budget for addressing homelessness is currently about $1.9 billion. But that’s an impossibly large sum we certainly can’t afford — the cost of almost three months in Iraq!

* It’s painful for Nicholas Kristoff as a liberal to admit, but the poor are wicked and deserve their lot. Even disabled kids? Especially disabled kids.

* Also on the are-there-no-workhouses beat: Are graduate students living cheaply enough? The Chronicle of Higher Education is on it!

‘Every Money Guy I Know Thinks Romney Can’t Win a General Election’

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If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”

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February 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Monday Break

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Some Sunday Links

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* Decadence watch: Please be advised we are between five and nine years away from President Tebow.

* The Non Sports Fan’s Guide to Maybe Enjoying the Super Bowl. A List of Things to Say to Sound as if You Understand the Super Bowl, Dummy. Go… Giants? I think I have that right.

* The set list from last night’s fantastic Mountain Goats show in Saxapahaw. And from Vu, an interesting New York Magazine read on Mountain Goats superfandom from 2009.

* The headline reads, “No kidney transplant for dying East Bay dad who is illegal immigrant.”

* Death, Debt and Climate Change.

There were 2900 temperature records set in the United States in January. Exxon Mobil reported yesterday that its quarterly profits had increased to $9.6 billion on revenues of over $70 billion. It’s 60 degrees on February 1 in New York City. These facts are connected. I continue to think that one reason Bloomberg evicted OWS was that he lost patience with waiting for it to get cold enough to drive the Occupiers out.

I have proposed that “debt is death.” It sounds a bit melodramatic. You can in fact map connections between the debt-financed globalized industries, direct violence caused by their expansion, and the indirect but nonetheless deadly violences of climate change.

* Ben Valentine considers statue porn. This and the last two via zunguuzungu’s always essential Sunday Reading.

* The strange case of Michael Swango, serial killing doctor. Via Neil.

* Then Republican governors saved the economy.

* SNL takes a visit to President Gingrinch’s Moon Utopia.

* And just for the Hunger Games fans: a speculative map of Panem. Via io9.

Tuesday Night Links

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Gerry-Built Monday Links

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Although their etymologies are obscure and their meanings overlap, these are two distinct expressions. Something poorly built is “jerry-built.” Something rigged up temporarily in a makeshift manner with materials at hand, often in an ingenious manner, is “jury-rigged.” “Jerry-built” always has a negative connotation, whereas one can be impressed by the cleverness of a jury-rigged solution. Many people cross-pollinate these two expressions and mistakenly say “jerry-rigged” or “jury-built.” It’s hard not to take this personally.

* Plaintiffs Challenging Affordable Care Act In The Supreme Court Admit That The Law Is Constitutional.

In Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others, Gilligan documents a striking statistical connection between changing rates of violent death in the United States over the past century and the party of the president. He concludes that Republican administrations are “risk factors for lethal violence,” and that the only reason they have not produced “disastrously high epidemic levels” of suicides and homicides is that Democrats have repeatedly undone their damage.

* Gingrich, true to form, takes right-wing attacks on the very idea of journalism itself all the way to the next level.

* Grover Norquist promises impeachment if Obama doesn’t extend the Bush tax cuts.

* Political religion: May you find the Ronald Reagan living inside each and everyone of you.

* The Muppets vs. Fox News.

* I think I’ve linked this one before, but it’s a classic: Jourdan Anderson’s 1865 letter “To My Old Master.”

A couple of years ago, Amanda Hocking needed to raise a few hundred dollars so, in desperation, made her unpublished novel available on the Kindle. She has since sold over 1.5m books and, in the process, changed publishing forever.

* Say goodbye to Captain Marvel.

* And today in fandom: #BelieveInSherlock. Big spoilers for the end of the second season, if you’re not current yet.

Wednesday Night Links

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Shameless Pandering to the Canavan Bloc

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 25, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Several for Tuesday

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* Mark your calendars: Today Springsteen announced his U.S. tour dates.

* I guess today we’re all pretending we didn’t already know Mitt Romney is obscenely super-rich—though I did like Steve Benen’s observation that Romney would be in the top 1% based on the income he makes for doing nothing in a single week. A comparison between Romney, Gingrich, and Obama that’s genuinely pretty stunning. Six Facts About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns.

“When Online Gambling Is Legalized, Facebook Will Be A $100 Billion Company.”

For almost every diagnosis, women reported higher average pain scores than men. Women’s scores were, on average, 20 percent higher than men’s scores, according to the study.

* And the Economist asks: Where is everybody?

In a paper presented recently to the meeting of the Amercian Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, they reckon the odds are rather long. To arrive at their conclusion Dr Hair and Mr Hedman assumed that outer space is dotted with solar systems, about five light years apart. They then asked how quickly a single civilisation armed with the requisite technology would spread its tentacles, depending on the degree of colonising zeal, expressed as the probability that intelligent beings decide to hop from one planet to the next in 1,000 years (500 years for the trip, at a modest one-tenth of the speed of light, and another 500 years to prepare for the next hop).

All these numbers are necessarily moot. If the vast majority of planets is not suitable, for instance, the average distance for a successful expedition might be much more than five light years. And advanced beings might not need five Earth centuries to get up to speed before they redeploy. However, Dr Hair and Mr Hedman can tweak their probabilities to reflect a range of possible conditions. Using what they believe to be conservative assumptions (as low as one chance in four of embarking on a colonising mission in 1,000 years), they calculated that any galactic empire would have spread outwards from its home planet at about 0.25% of the speed of light. The result is that after 50m years it would extend over 130,000 light years, with zealous colonisers moving in a relatively uniform cloud and more reticent ones protruding from a central blob. Since the Milky Way is estimated to be 100,000-120,000 light years across, outposts would be sprinkled throughout the galaxy, even if the home planet were, like Earth, located on the periphery.

Crucially, even in slow-expansion scenario, the protrusions eventually coalesce. After 250,000 years, which the model has so far had the time to simulate, the biggest gaps are no larger than 30 light years across. Dr Hair thinks they should grow no bigger as his virtual colonisation progresses. That is easily small enough for man’s first sufficiently powerful radio transmissions (in the early 20th century) to have been detected and for a reply to have reached Earth (which has been actively listening out for such messages since the 1960s). And though 50m years may sound a lot, if intelligent life did evolve more than once, it could easily have done so billions of years before this happened on Earth. All this suggests, Dr Hair and Mr Hedman fear, that humans really do have the Milky Way to themselves. Either that or the neighbours are a particularly timid bunch.

‘Planet Habitability Index’

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Monday Reading™

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* Well, that’s one way to do it: Tennessee Tea Party ‘Demands’ That References To Slavery Be Removed From History Textbooks.

* Russian scientist claims to have evidence of life on Venus.

by the 1960s, the American Mariner probes and their Soviet Venera counterparts had revealed Venus was just about the most inhospitable place imaginable, an acidic world with surface temperatures of about 900 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures nearly 92 times that of Earth.

That’s why the new paper by Russian astronomer Leonid Ksanfomaliti, due to appear in the Russian publication Solar System Research, seems to sit slightly outside the scientific consensus. He says that photos taken in 1982 – presumably either by Venera 13 or Venera 14, both of which visited Venus in March of that year – depict a “disk”, a “black flap”, and, perhaps most boldly, “a scorpion.”

Well, it checks out.

* Why a white knight won’t save the GOP from the Mitt-Newt trainwreck.

* Speaking of which: Gingrichmentum!

* Brown and Warren agree to ban third-party ads in Massachusetts. What’s the force of this, if the ads are genuinely third-party?

* Gay rights victories in New Jersey and Washington State.

* Evidence of cooperative play between dolphins and whales.

* …it is now possible to recognize that there are four discrete corridors of cisnormative resistance toward trans people’s readiness to transition.

First corridor, pre-adolescence: “You don’t know any better. You’re too young to understand”;
Second corridor, during adolescence: “It’s a confusing time. Wait until after puberty’s done”;
Third corridor, late development: “You should wait until you’re totally sure. You’ll never pass”; and
Final corridor, maturation: “You’re having a mid-life crisis. What about your kids, spouse, and career?”

* Someone on Facebook just told me Object Lessons from Duke’s Own™ Robyn Wiegman is now out.

* How fluctuations in the academic job market affect time-to-degree.

* And some recent notes on mental health and the Ph.D., via here, via Twitter.

Go, Newt, Go

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Longtime readers know I’m a hopeless sucker for presidential horserace coverage—it’s what I get excited about instead of professional sports—but beyond that personal weakness there’s something about the possibility of my 2009 Newt prediction coming true after all that I find completely intoxicating. I’ll have been a genius all this time! Plus, as a bonus, it opens the door for some close-enough version of my Draft Jeb prediction to come true as well. Plus it means I don’t have to feel as conflicted about not knocking on doors for Obama this time around.

Go, Newt, go!

Sunday Night

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* Understanding fracking.

* Fewer than half the leases require companies to compensate landowners for water contamination after drilling begins. And only about half the documents have language that lawyers suggest should be included to require payment for damages to livestock or crops.

* Most leases grant gas companies broad rights to decide where they can cut down trees, store chemicals, build roads and drill. Companies are also permitted to operate generators and spotlights through the night near homes during drilling.

* In the leases, drilling companies rarely describe to landowners the potential environmental and other risks that federal laws require them to disclose in filings to investors.

* Most leases are for three or five years, but at least two-thirds of those reviewed by The Times allow extensions without additional approval from landowners. If landowners have second thoughts about drilling on their land or want to negotiate for more money, they may be out of luck.

* There is not a single new manned combat aircraft under research and development at any major Western aerospace company, and the Air Force is training more operators of unmanned aerial systems than fighter and bomber pilots combined. The drones of war.

* The New York Times on the new student activism.

* Germany as postwar America.

* And Mitt Romney, struggling to break out of his tailspin in Florida, tests out his dog whistle. I’m genuinely curious if people see some non-racist interpretation of this claim. What does it mean to assert, in the face of all available evidence, that Barack Obama has never had a job? What would motivate Mitt Romney say such a trivially untrue thing, and what would motivate a crowd to respond approvingly? If this is racism, it is easy to understand; if it isn’t racism, it’s almost impossible. I think Amanda Marcotte probably had the best line on all this a few days ago, when it was Gingrich with basically the same line on Juan Williams: “Gingrich is so committed to ‘black people don’t work,’ he claims it of a man he knows in a professional capacity.” That’s Romney tonight.

Sunday Reading™

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* Babies born this year are the best babies. Fact.

* Gingrichmania! Republicans in disarray! How he did it. Nate Silver:

But South Carolina’s seeming rejection of Mr. Romney goes beyond cultural or demographic idiosyncrasies. Mr. Rtaxomney was resoundingly defeated by Mr. Gingrich, losing badly among his worst demographic groups and barely beating Mr. Gingrich among his best ones. Had you extrapolated the exit poll cross-tabulations from South Carolina to the other 49 states, Mr. Romney might have lost 47 of them. Moreover, the decline of Mr. Romney was almost as significant in national polls as it was in South Carolina.

Now poor Romney has to release his tax returns. Onward to Florida!

* Great moments in Fox News: Newt Gingrich’s repeated betrayals of the people closest to him suggest he’ll make a trustworthy president.

11 Lesser-Known 2012 Presidential Candidates.

* “One of the gravest threats the FBI saw in the Black Panther movement was their Free Children’s Breakfast Program.” Via zunguzungu.

* When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president. But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke,President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

* Steve Shaviro reviews Carl Freedman’s The Age of Nixon. I actually bought this one just on the strength of the author and title.

* Another absolute must-have: Alison Bechdel’s followup to Fun Home, Are You My Mother?

* David Graeber: The Political Metaphysics of Stupidity.

* Michael Greenberg: What Future for Occupy Wall Street? Also on the OWS tip: diluting the 99% brand.

* They’re still trying to make a movie out of Jeff Smith’s Bone.

* And the Chronicle of Higher Education has an obituary for Dean Jo Rae Wright. I only knew her over email, but I was very sad to hear this. She was a very generous supporter of graduate projects at Duke.

Thursday Morning Links

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Sneaking in a linkdump before the conference begins…

* We will never forget the day Wikipedia went dark. More here and here.

* Mediocre new Springsteen track released! Really, this one’s just not great.

* Letters to Children from Cultural Icons on the Love of Libraries.

* Stunning pictures from the Costa Concordia disaster. And here’s some stunning audio.

A year into his first full-time teaching job, Newt Gingrich applied to be college president, submitting with his application a paper titled “Some Projections on West Georgia College’s Next Thirty Years.” Gingrich’s College Records Show a Professor Hatching Big Plans. I know it’s all Romney! Romney! Romney! these days, but Rick Perry and I still believe in Gingritchmentum.

* You’ve probably already seen it, but Wisconsin Democrats have collected a million signatures to recall Scott Walker. Given that’s 50% of the votes cast in the last election and 20% of the total number of the people in the state, they could make some history here.

* Obama officially rejects Keystone XL, for now at least.

* Another TPM piece on “the new swing states.”

* In traveling around I wasn’t able to post on the latest James O’Keefe follies. Well done sir. I wonder if this violates his probation from the last time he pulled a pointless, self-refuting stunt.

* And today’s speculative physics: What if every electron in the universe was all the same exact particle, dreaming it was a butterfly, dreaming it was a man?

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