Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘places to invade next

‘This Is an Exciting Time’

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

All the Wednesday Links

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* The headline reads, “Student Loan Debt Delinquency Is Much Worse Than We Thought.”

We find that 27 percent of the borrowers have past due balances, while the adjusted proportion of outstanding student loan balances that is delinquent is 21 percent-much higher than the unadjusted rates of 14.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively

Meanwhile, college costs have sextupled since 1985.

* The Supreme Court looks prepared to rule that international law doesn’t apply internationally. Well done, sirs.

* Attorney General Eric Holder concludes no due process is a kind of due process. This whole “rule of law” thing is going great.

* Paul Pillar: We can live with a nuclear Iran. Of course we can.

The simple argument is that Iranian leaders supposedly don’t think like the rest of us: they are religious fanatics who value martyrdom more than life, cannot be counted on to act rationally, and therefore cannot be deterred. On the campaign trail Rick Santorum has been among the most vocal in propounding this notion, asserting that Iran is ruled by the “equivalent of al-Qaeda,” that its “theology teaches” that its objective is to “create a calamity,” that it believes “the afterlife is better than this life,” and that its “principal virtue” is martyrdom. Newt Gingrich speaks in a similar vein about how Iranian leaders are suicidal jihadists, and says “it’s impossible to deter them.”

The trouble with this image of Iran is that it does not reflect actual Iranian behavior. More than three decades of history demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s rulers, like most rulers elsewhere, are overwhelmingly concerned with preserving their regime and their power—in this life, not some future one. They are no more likely to let theological imperatives lead them into self-destructive behavior than other leaders whose religious faiths envision an afterlife. Iranian rulers may have a history of valorizing martyrdom—as they did when sending young militiamen to their deaths in near-hopeless attacks during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s—but they have never given any indication of wanting to become martyrs themselves. In fact, the Islamic Republic’s conduct beyond its borders has been characterized by caution. Even the most seemingly ruthless Iranian behavior has been motivated by specific, immediate concerns of regime survival. The government assassinated exiled Iranian dissidents in Europe in the 1980s and ’90s, for example, because it saw them as a counterrevolutionary threat. The assassinations ended when they started inflicting too much damage on Iran’s relations with European governments. Iran’s rulers are constantly balancing a very worldly set of strategic interests. The principles of deterrence are not invalid just because the party to be deterred wears a turban and a beard.

On the other side, of course, we have the not-at-all-fascistic-sounding slogan “peace through strength.” Occupy Everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?

* Football: It’s worse than you think! Via MetaFilter, with more from Ta-Nehisi Coates.

* Matt Zoller Seitz on what makes Mad Men great.

When Gabriel García Márquez interviewed Akira Kurosawa.

Marquez: Thank you very much. All things considered, I think that if I were Japanese I would be as unyielding as you on [the subject of the bomb]. And at any rate I understand you. No war is good for anybody.

Kurosawa: That is so. The trouble is that when the shooting starts, even Christ and the angels turn into military chiefs of staff.

* How Goldman Sachs does it: they’re on every side of every deal.

* Archie Comics continues to insist on its own relevance: now they’re giving Cheryl Blossom breast cancer.

* I give Colbert the edge over Stewart re: Rush.

* And exactly how long ago was a long time ago in a galaxy far away? io9 is there.

Great Unknown, Han and Chewbacca are forced to make a jump to hyperspace to flee Imperial attackers. (OK yes, we know it’s non-canonical, but this is a thought experiment so just bear with us.) The Millennium Falcon crash lands on Earth, where Han and Chewbacca are attacked by Native Americans. Han receives several arrow wounds in the process, and Chewbacca holds his partner as the last bit of life flees from him. The second half of the story leaps 126 years into the future, with Indiana Jones and Short Round searching for Sasquatch in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, only to find Chewbacca and the bones of Han Solo.

Blaspheme!

FNL

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* My students last summer insisted Mass Effect was important science fiction. Now io9 is telling me the same thing.

* American University’s adjunct faculty have voted to unionize.

* How to design a movie poster.

* You can just feel it: many of the same newspapers and TV stations we saw leading the charge in the Bush years have gone back to the attic and are dusting off their war pom-poms. What could possibly go wrong?

* Gay marriage passes in New Jersey, only to be vetoed by Chris Christie. Meanwhile marriage equality looks likely to pass the Maryland state legislature. Meanwhile Obama announces it won’t defend laws that ban same-sex couples from receiving military benefits.

* WTFEverywhere: Sweden is only one of 17 countries that require transgender people to undergo sterilization.

* Apple still trying to find some way to make the Foxconn scandal go away.

* And Springsteen explains Wrecking Ball.

“Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous – a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community … In Easy Money the guy is going out to kill and rob, just like the robbery spree that has occurred at the top of the pyramid – he’s imitating the guys on Wall Street. An enormous fault line cracked the American system right open whose repercussion we are only starting to be feel.”

Monday Monday

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* I’ve been playing around with Tumblr the last few days and think I like it as a repository for quotes and silly images I encounter that don’t quite merit a blogpost. Here’s the Tumblr URL, and here’s the Tumblr RSS, and here’s the Feedburner RSS. Please enjoy!

* The great Aaron Bady reviews the great David Graeber’s Debt for his new gig blogging for the (new) New Inquiry. Incidentally, the new New Inquiry is now available for a two-dollar monthly subscription.

* It was dark and wet and dangerous in Zanesville, Ohio. Terry Thompson had let his scores of big animals out of their hard, grim cages, then shot himself in the head. The tigers and bears were loose. Night was falling. Everything was out of control.

* Josh Boldt is crowdsourcing data on adjunct life. Details at the Chronicle.

* Exiled Online argues Millennials are just better.

The Boomers grew up under a capitalism that had to be hammered and shaped into respectability over a thirty year period. But for us, we’re left staring at the monstrosity in its natural state. With a quarter-century’s worth of quasi social-democratic reforms either neutralized or withered away, and with no more credit to hose us down, we’re able to see the beast for what it truly is.

* Wired says self-driving cars are finally here. The law just needs to catch up.

As a RAND report observed, even as automakers create more semiautonomous technologies, they “will want to preserve the social norm that crashes are primarily the moral and legal responsibility of the driver, both to minimize their own liability and to ensure safety.” Consider what happened to the remote-parking assistant BMW developed a few years ago for getting into narrow spots. “You push a button and the car goes in and parks itself” while the driver waits outside, says Donald Norman, the Design of Future Things author. When he asked BMW executives why he didn’t see it on the market, Norman says he was told, “The legal team wouldn’t let them go forward.”

* Amazon’s success online means it can finally open all those brick-and-mortar stores it’s always longed for. What could possibly go wrong?

* The better Obama’s poll numbers get, the more empowered I feel to sit on my hands this cycle.

* Half of Americans are already ready to go to war with Iran—and they’ve barely cranked up the propaganda machine yet. Half. That’s the floor. Meanwhile, there are new horrors in Syria, which are also leading to saber-rattling.

* “The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia. What could possibly give anyone the impression the Constitution has flaws?

* The headline reads, “In 1995, New Mexico voted on a bill requiring psychologists to dress as wizards.”

* Amanda Marcotte asks: Are they ruining Leslie Knope?

* Rumors of New Star Trek on the teeve.

Yeah, Ron Paul is racist after all, sorry.

* RIP, Zombie #1.

* And everyone on every social media website loves this image. Please enjoy.

Wednesday Night Links

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‘Planet Habitability Index’

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

No One Could Have Predicted

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Monday!

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* ‘Democrats Gleeful at Prospect of Running Against Gingrich.’ That’s the first bit of Gingrich-related news that’s made me nervous.

* io9 has the trailer for Joss Whedon’s long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods.

Duke University trustee Bruce Karsh and his wife Martha have donated $50 million to Duke for a permanent endowment to support need-based financial aid for undergraduate students from the United States and other countries, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Monday.

* Randy Balko vs. paramilitary creep.

* Aaron Bady on the Oakland Commune.

* How Doctors Die.

* Henry Aaron: So… here is my prediction. The Supreme Court will sustain the individual mandate, and it will do so not by the narrow 5 to 4 split that has become so familiar, but by a vote of 7 to 2. Or 8 to 1. Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sottamayor, and Kagan are virtually certain to find the mandate constitutional. But also voting to sustain it, I believe, will be Justices Scalia and Kennedy, based on reasoning similar to that of Silberman and Sutton. Justices Roberts and Kennedy are in play and I am assuming that either or both will vote to affirm the mandate. Justice Thomas, who has staked out a far-reaching opposition to federal regulation in many currently accepted forms, will say that the mandate exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority.

* Apocalypse now: Radioactive water from Fukushima might have found its way into the Pacific ocean and experts believe it could contain strontium.

* Apocalypse tomorrow: In fact, according to the latest science, says Anderson, “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

* “If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving.”

* And today from America’s finest news source: Global Warming May Be Irreversible by 2006.

* But it’s okay that we’ve ruined this planet; after all, there’s always Keppler 22b.

Links from Monday

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Wednesday Night Links

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* Breaking Bad aficionados will enjoy Bryan Cranston’s recent appearances on the Nerdist and WTF with Marc Meron, the latter of which has the (new-to-me) tidbit that Jesse was slotted to be killed off in the first few episodes; he was saved from death by the awesomeness of Aaron Paul.

* Wisconsin wants to mess with the Electoral College, too. You’ll be shocked to learn the Koch brothers are involved.

* So the U.S. government doesn’t actually have “hard evidence” Iran tried to murder the Saudi ambassador. I feel like I’ve seen this movie before.

* TPM and @fivethirtyeight (1, 2, 3) have been talking today about the fact that Romney (while unquestionably “inevitable”) has clearly hit his support ceiling in the Republican primary. The Anti-Romney has shifted through several alternatives, but the support never settles on Romney; it just keeps casting about for some new savior, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, and currently Herman Cain. It’s just more fodder for my “Draft Jeb” conspiracy theory…

* Beka Economopolis on Occupy Wall Street: We must draw a line, disavow the Democrats explicitly, make our messaging a little uncomfortable. Yes, perhaps, split the support, lest we not be co-opted. This will be painful, internally, as it won’t always achieve comfortable consensus. But to hold this space and expand the realm of possibility, we have to go farther than others are ready to go.

* Matt Taibbi on Occupy Wall Street.

* The Big Picture blog on Occupy Everywhere.

* Kevin Drum and Paul Waldman on the GOP’s astounding Medicare reality distortion field.

1. Health care in general, and Medicare in particular, are bankrupting our country.
2. But government should never try to figure out which treatments are effective.
3. Medicare should pay for any treatment anyone wants, regardless of whether it works or what it costs.
4. If an insurance company refuses to pay for a procedure, that’s their right as actors in the free market; if Medicare refuses to pay for a procedure, that’s Washington bureaucrats trying to kill you.
5. We need to cut Medicare benefits, because don’t forget it’s bankrupting our country.

* The fiends! In an effort to promote healthful eating and, it has been suggested, to protect traditional Gallic cuisine, the French government has banned school and college cafeterias nationwide from offering ketchup with any food but — of all things — French fries.

* Australia has passed a carbon tax.

* Imagine there’s no peanut butter.

* And Polling Shows North Carolina Faces Uphill Battle To Defeat Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment. Honestly, how are we even still arguing about this?

Tuesday Night Links

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* They’re Occupying Raleigh next Saturday.

* They’re recalling Scott Walker next year.

* DoJ seems to want us to invade Iran and Mexico simultaneously.

* Who are the 99%? Rortybomb looks at the data.

* Four weeks on Wall Street.

* Freddie de Boer has an important #OWS reality check.

If the message is “I went to college and I don’t have the job and the car and the lifestyle I was promised,” then none of this means anything. These complaints, I’m sorry to say, are ultimately a way of saying “I didn’t get mine.” That’s not a rejection of our failing order. It is an embrace of it in the most cynical terms.

* Yes, Virginia, Republicans are deliberately tanking the economy.

* And I wouldn’t exactly recommend listening to the whole thing, but the first few minutes of the Ira Glass Sex Tape TAL parody are really something. Spot on.

Saturday Night Police Blotter & Arrest Report

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*  In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested about 400 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon. The reporting on this is pretty astounding; apparently NYPD actually tricked protestors into leaving the designated route, and then arrested them for it.

* Hmm.

* Some more New York Times reporting about life on occupied Wall Street.

* Five Things That #OccupyWallStreet Has Done Right.

* Rick Perry says it’s time to invade Mexico. I’ve thought for a while this would happen in the next presidential term no matter who is elected, for precisely the reason Steven Taylor says it’s a terrible idea:

Not only that, the suggestion suggests a naive belief that all that is needed to fix the drug problem is finding the right level of force.

There is no major candidate from either party who doesn’t think that is needed to fix the drug problem is finding the right level of force.

* And the gang that can’t shoot straight suddenly found its mojo when it came time to bash Ron Suskind’s book. It’s almost as if they believe Republicans are still potential allies, but left and liberal critics are enemies…

Tuesday Morning

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10 Films You Should See at the Raindance Film Festival 2011. My cousin Chris’s brilliant Afghanistan documentary Where My Heart Beats clocks in at #9.

* Europocalpyse now: Greek Default Almost Assured. More here.

* And speaking of money: David Graeber vs. the Austrians.

* In these two books, we have two versions of school reform. One is devised by Wall Street financiers and politicians who believe in rigidly defined numerical goals and return on investment; they blame lazy teachers and self-interested unions when test scores are low. The other draws on the deep experience of a compassionate teacher who finds fault not with teachers, unions, or students, but with a society that refuses to take responsibility for the conditions in which its children live and learn—and who has demonstrated through her own efforts how one dedicated teacher has improved the education of poor young people.

Bringing the number of planets discovered outside our solar system to 645, the 50-planet haul includes 16 super-Earths (planets with a mass between one and ten times that of Earth), including one that orbits at the edge of the habitable zone of its star). Sounds like it’s time to bring freedom to the HD85512bians.

* PKD Watch: The police department in Santa Cruz, California, has begun an experiment that uses a mathematical algorithm to predict when and where certain crimes will be committed, and puts police on the scene before they happen.

* And North Carolina really is going to try to ban gay marriage. Again.

State law already bans same-sex marriage, and opponents of a constitutional amendment contend that it is unnecessary. North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such a provision in its constitution.

We cannot allow a discrimination gap. Rally in Raleigh this afternoon. Unfortunately I have a commitment on campus at noon or I’d go myself.

Places to Invade Next

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Blood and Treasure

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* Putting together the conservative numbers of war dead, in uniform and out, brings the total to 225,000.

* Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions. The current number of war refugees and displaced persons — 7,800,000 — is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Kentucky fleeing their homes.

* The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties at home and human rights violations abroad.

* The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century. Many of the wars’ costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed. For example, while most people think the Pentagon war appropriations are equivalent to the wars’ budgetary costs, the true numbers are twice that, and the full economic cost of the wars much larger yet. Conservatively estimated, the war bills already paid and obligated to be paid are $3.2 trillion in constant dollars. A more reasonable estimate puts the number at nearly $4 trillion.

costsofwar.org attempts to calculate the costs of the last decade’s wars. Via MSNBC.

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