Posts Tagged ‘places to invade next’
* ‘Democrats Gleeful at Prospect of Running Against Gingrich.’ That’s the first bit of Gingrich-related news that’s made me nervous.
* 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.
* 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 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.”
* 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.
* Gerards, unite! This cannot stand.
* The headline reads, “Prince Charles exercises a secret veto over a wide swath of UK legislation.” When do we send in troops to liberate England?
* The headline reads, “Keenen Ivory Wayans to Host In Living Color Reboot.”
* And scandal at Hogwarts: J.K. Rowling almost killed Ron Weasley. This goes a long way towards explaining why the 7th book is so badly plotted…
* 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.
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.
* And Polling Shows North Carolina Faces Uphill Battle To Defeat Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment. Honestly, how are we even still arguing about this?
* Who are the 99%? Rortybomb looks at the data.
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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…
* 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.
* 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.
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.
* 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.
Allow me to suggest that the most predictable failure in modern American military policy may in fact be the belief that these events represent “failures” at all. For the governmental and corporate institutions that rely on outsized military spending for their survival and growth, the inevitability of death, destruction, and destabilization in these regions and the continuing necessity of prolonged, open-ended commitment at greater and greater cost in money and lives is a feature, not a bug. The popular notion that the United States constantly propels itself into these “humanitarian interventions” with only the best of intentions, only to be undone time and time again by a tragic lack of foresight, is a self-protective fantasy calculated to short-circuit any real debate about the nation’s hundred-plus-year history of global empire. The narratives are always the same, from Spanish atrocities in Cuba to Vietnam to our twenty-first century parade of Hitlers-of-the-moment; only the details change.
The stated goals for these interventions are never achieved because they were not the true goals; the missions creep and swell because they are intended to. In this sense the persistence of these “failures” only represents the smooth operation of the machine.
See you in Iran—or Syria, or Bahrain, or the northern states of Mexico, or…—in 2013.
* All these worlds are yours, except Kepler 10-b. Attempt no landings there.
* Autonomous organization: In urban N.J. areas, few residents disrespect unwritten rule of reserving snow-cleared parking spots.
For my part, as a member of the political media, and a vitriol-spewing one at that, the Tucson shooting immediately made me ask myself the question: do I personally do anything to add to this obvious problem of a hypercharged, rhetorically overheated political atmosphere? And the unfortunate answer I came up with was, maybe. I’ve always told myself that what I do is different from what someone like Rush does, because I don’t target classes of people and try not to exempt anyone (even myself) from criticism, or favor either party.
I’ve also counted on the belief that anyone who’s willing to devote the mental energy to even follow whatever wild rhetoric I’m using is probably also smart enough to tell the difference between reality and hyperbole. I also hope that anyone reading my articles will get the underlying message that I’m pretty sure — I hope I’m sure, anyway — I’m conveying at all times, i.e. that violence is irresponsible, that we should use our brains instead of baseball bats to solve problems, etc.
But while I tell myself all these things, I also know that I would never talk to my wife or my mother the way I talk to Lloyd Blankfein. Is it ever right to just wind up and let someone have it with all you’ve got? That’s a question that I think has to be asked. It’s certainly possible that we’ve all become too used to unrestrained rhetoric as a form of entertainment, and people like me live right in the middle of the guilt parabola there. Most all of us are grownups and can handle extreme argument, but clearly some people are not, and obviously I’m not just talking about Jared Loughner.
To see that, all you have to do is attend almost any family gathering, where once-loving relationships have been completely lost because of the overheated right-left culture war. If real family relationships are being lost to this kind of political debate, if someone on TV can reach into your living room and break up your family without knowing anything about you or even knowing that you exist, that tells us that this mechanized mass-media rhetoric has been almost unimaginably successful at dehumanizing whole classes of people.
* The University of California Student Association responds to news of an additional half-billion dollars in cuts to education in California.
* Short film of the night: “Three Minutes.”
* Infographic of the night: Dexter’s victims.
* Fringe was right! Our cosmos was “bruised” in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background. We must destroy the other universe at once.
* “The strategic mistake of the decade”: Democrats should have let the filibuster die back in 2005.
* How the Bush administration destroyed the planet: honeybee edition.
* 13 awesome and awful pilots for sci-fi series we never got to see, including longtime sentimental favorite Heat Vision & Jack.
* The picture above is from Emily’s great and prolific Tumblr blog, which posts something awesome every five minutes.
* And the New Yorker profiles the architect of all my dreams and nightmares, Shigeru Miyamoto. They had a really solid piece on fundamental flaws in the scientific method recently, too, but unfortunately it’s subscription-only.