Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Ron Paul

All the Sunday Links

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* Outrageous even by the bargain basement standards of the war on the terror: the United Kingdom held Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow (and seized all his electronics) purely for the purposes of harassment. More from Greenwald himself.

* “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.”

* Speaking of which, ugh.

Domestic violence victims in Milwaukee faced eviction for calling police, study finds.

 “Since 1998, 92% of white males who were considered for tenure got it.  During the same period of time only 55% percent of women and minority candidates were granted tenure.  Looking at ethnicity alone, USC granted tenure to 81% of its white candidates but only to 48% of its minority candidates.”

* The New York Times runs what amounts to an unpaid* ad for Georgia Tech’s new all-MOOC master’s degree. * At least I assume it’s unpaid.

As many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close within a decade, the former government adviser charged with bolstering foreign language uptake in higher education has warned, delivering a huge blow to the UK’s diplomatic and economic hopes.

Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society…It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

* Are liberals finally ready to oppose neoliberal education reform?

Vietnam and Historical Forgetting.

In general, the right seems committed to some mixture of denying the atrocities in Vietnam, claiming that everyone did it or the misdeeds were somehow justified by what the North Vietnamese did, and blaming the hippies. Latterday liberals acknowledge that bad things happened, but mostly don’t want to open up the can of worms, for fear that they’d be accused of being unpatriotic and hating the troops or something. The result is a strange form of historical forgetting, where there’s a general sense that bad things happened, but no understanding of how general these bad things were, nor desire to hold people accountable for them.

Can America face up to the terrible reality of slavery in the way that Germany has faced up to the Holocaust?

By comparison: can you imagine a monument to the genocide of Native Americans or the Middle Passage at the heart of the Washington Mall? Suppose you could walk down the street and step on a reminder that this building was constructed with slave labour, or that the site was the home of a Native American tribe before it was ethnically cleansed? What we have, instead, are national museums of Native American and African American culture, the latter scheduled to open in 2015. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian boasts exhibits showing superbly crafted Pueblo dolls, the influence of the horse in Native American culture, and Native American athletes who made it to the Olympics. The website of the Smithsonian’s anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture does show a shackle that was presumably used on a slave ship, but it is far more interested in collecting hats worn by Pullman porters or pews from the African Methodist Episcopal church. A fashion collection is in the making, as well as a collection of artefacts belonging to the African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman; 39 objects, including her lace shawl and her prayer book, are already available.

* The combination of drought and fracking are leaving Texas communities with no water.

* “Thornsbury is the county’s only judge.”

* Two from Buzzfeed (sorry): 25 Facts And Tidbits About The Muppets That Might Blow Your Mind. 21 “Breaking Bad” Easter Eggs That Will Blow Your Mind.

* At Reddit: What is a “dirty little (or big) secret” about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?

* History becomes more sensible when you imagine its participants as any other mammal.

Two Timelines of Slang for Genitalia, from 1250 Through Today.

A Map of the Lands Actually Discovered by European Explorers.

* And a damn good science fiction pitch from Tumblr. I’d love to see this optioned as a film.

Wednesday, Oh, Wednesday

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* There’s nothing inherently fascist in Žižek’s call for an elite cadre of benevolent dictators to rule us like kings. Why, it says so right there in black and white:

There is absolutely nothing inherently ”Fascist” in these lines – the supreme paradox of the political dynamics is that a Master is needed to pull individuals out of the quagmire of their inertia and motivate them towards self-transcending emancipatory struggle for freedom.

* Peter Frase on the perils of wonkery. And then there’s Kotsko’s take:

The NCAA’s Perfectly Fair Rules.

* Despite three generation of survivalist horror in mass media, “Sociologists have shown that people tend to behave very admirably under the pressure of a disaster; panic and anti-social behavior are fairly rare.”

* How student debt (and of course the larger economic collapse) is messing with the larger consumer economy.

“Public higher education, which educates 70 percent of students in the United States, is about to cross a historic threshold,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “For the first time ever, students will pay a higher percentage of the operating costs… than state governments.”

But the system of federal financial aid is constructed in such a way that putting together strict “maintenance of effort” requirements — requiring states to keep funding public higher education in order to receive federal dollars — is difficult because states receive relatively little money for higher education from the federal government. As a result, previous maintenance of effort requirements have been “nibbling at the edges,” Madzelan said.

* Who is promoting Alex Jones?

The Gold Collapse Is Personally Costing Ron Paul A Fortune.

* And the headline reads, “New Hampshire Lawmaker Calls All Women ‘Vaginas.’” I mean really.

That Wacky Kucinich

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”Wacky”, like its close cousin “crazy,” is a term of derision exclusively reserved for those who deviate from such conventions. And that’s the point worth making here: the real reason anyone with D.C. Seriousness, including many establishment liberals, relished mocking Kucinich is because he dissented from the orthodoxies of the two political parties. That, by definition, makes one wacky and weird, even when — as is true for the Obama assassination powers and so many other bipartisan pieties — the actual wacky and crazy beliefs are those orthodoxies themselves (we’ve seen this repeatedly with those who stray from two-party normalcy). In reality, the actual crazies are those who fit comfortably within that two-party mentality and rarely challenge or deviate from it, while those who are sane, by definition, dissent from it (just today, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, a prime co-sponsor of the indefinite detention bill passed late last year, called for a naval blockade of Iran).

Glenn Greenwald on the wackiness of Dennis Kucinich. This is a good piece, but I think Glenn overlooks here the extent to which Kucinich (like Ron Paul, whom Glenn also gives too much credit) was an unusually terrible spokesman for heterodoxy even by the standards of a mass media environment that seeks to destroy iconoclastic thinkers. You can distill Kucinich’s greatest hits into a single list in this way and he doesn’t sound that bad—but there are reasons no one took him seriously that go well beyond the fact he was saying things they didn’t want to hear.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thursday Night

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* Maryland votes in gay marriage! 42 to go.

* A new study finds academic dads abusing paternity league.

* How to predict a student’s SAT score: Look at the parents’ tax return.

* Map of the night: U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II.

* Regarding The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.

* Two terrible tastes that taste bad together: Rick Santorum and for-profit colleges.

* Mittpocalypse: Romney Drops Below 40 Percent Against Obama in Rasmussen Tracking Poll. Not that Obama’s doing so great either.

* Taibbi is loving it.

* Ron Paul, Peter Theil, and Palantir.

* USPSocalypse.

* Furious backpedaling in Virginia.

* Republic Windows and Doors has been re-occupied. Elsewhere in Occupied America: Rebecca Solnit rhapsodizes—but maybe also eulogizes—Occupy Oakland, while a group affiliated with Occupy Wall Street will host a national convention in July.

“We feel that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is the right way to go,” an organizer told the AP.

I propose we rethink that.

* Why do people make false confessions?

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has confirmed that scientists have found errors in a physics experiment that recorded particles traveling 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light in late 2011. But now, the agency says that one of the errors means the particles could have been traveling faster than that!

* And today’s chilling vision of things to come: “Mutated Trout Raise New Concerns Near Mine Sites.” Enjoy your weekend!

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.

NYE

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* EU copyright on Joyce works ends at midnight. Who weeps for Stephen Joyce?

* As a Fortune 500 company’s fracking activities in rural West Virginia leave a polluted and drastically altered landscape, locals are fighting back. Via @zunguzungu.

* The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views. Of course Greenwald has a point, but at the same time it’s difficult to argue with this:

But (you might say) if the result is the same–if, whatever the twisted origins of his position, Ron Paul takes is on the side of the angels on certain narrowly framed issues–does it really matter how he gets there?

Short answer: yes. Slightly less short answer: hell yes. Longer answer: of course, because his opposition to (Federal) government overreach is inseparable from his opposition to Roe v. Wade and equal protection enforcement and environmental regulation and…well, every single goddamn thing that matters to liberals except the tiny set of narrow issues on which, in stopped-clock fashion, Paul has arrived at the right position through the wrong process.

* The Era of the Ron Paul Newsletters Isn’t Even Past.

*  Every progressive movement in U.S. history was portrayed negatively by mainstream media at the time it was happening.

During the Montgomery bus boycott, mainstream media outlets interviewed black folks who were against it and talked about how the boycott was misguided and hurt the local economy. The day after the boycott started, the Montgomery Advertiser ran a story featuring the manager of the bus lines saying that bus drivers were being shot at and rocks were being thrown at them.

During the rest of the civil rights movement, protesters who were fire-hosed and otherwise brutalized were called “violent protesters” in the mainstream media, which again featured interviews with people saying that the protests were wrongheaded.

During the Anti-Vietnam War movement, the mainstream media portrayed protesters as out of touch, violent, and dirty. There was a picture in the San Francisco Chronicle of a guy who was throwing back a tear gas canister that had been shot at the peaceful crowd. This was shown as proof of protesters being wild, out of touch, and violent. The Black Panther Party had free breakfast programs and was beloved worldwide — but every mainstream media outlet that covered it, covered it negatively.

There has never been any strike, work stoppage, or union action that was supported by the mainstream media at the time that it was happening.

The mainstream press didn’t support the Anti-Apartheid movement and doesn’t support the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions movement for Palestine.

The mainstream press is always on the wrong side of history because it’s always on the side of the status quo, which is capitalist exploitation and oppression.

* And just because it’s New Year’s Even: The 40 Best Memes of 2011.

Monday Morning

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* Nemesis watch: Professor claims NYU fired him after he gave James Franco a ‘D.’

José Angel Santana said he slapped the “127 Hours’’ star with the bad grade because he missed 12 of his 14 “Directing the Actor II” classes while pursuing a master’s in fine arts.

Santana said he then suffered all kinds of drama — first from Franco, who publicly ridiculed him, then from his department, which axed him over the “D.”

“The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,” Santana, 58, told The Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.”

It’s almost enough to make you doubt a person can be a successful professional actor while simultaneously attending four separate graduate programs and succeeding at all of them.

* Via Facebook: College bowl system loots universities. Today’s case study: the University of Minnesota.

The bloodbath began the moment the contract was signed. Minnesota was obligated to write a check for 10,000 tickets, which were supposed to be resold to fans. Never mind that even the best of teams struggle to unload such sums. For middling squads like the Gophers, it was nothing more than a way for the men in funny yellow blazers who ran the Insight to grab piles of money from a public university.

Minnesota managed to sell just 901 seats. After kicking another 900 to the band, administrators, and cherished hangers-on, the school was forced to eat $476,000 worth of useless tickets.

The contract also required the team to show up a week early, if only to burn as much school money as possible at the restaurants and retailers of greater Phoenix.

One would think school administrators would protest such gall. But one would be wrong. They were quick to see the advantages of a luxury vacation on the school’s dime. So they happily signed off.

The school’s traveling party was larded up with 722 people, including players, band members, and faculty. Airfare alone ran $542,000. Toss in hotels and meals, and the school had blown $1.3 million before the opening kickoff.

The ballsiest part of all: None of it was necessary. Minnesota and Iowa State sit less than 200 miles apart. Their teams were providing the game. Their bands supplied the halftime entertainment. In fact, the Insight offered nothing—save for warm weather—that the schools couldn’t have done better themselves.

Had the game been played in Minneapolis, the teams could have sold more tickets and put on a profitable game, since Big 10 matches typically generate $1 to $2 million—not knee-bending losses.

* Kim Jong-Un Privately Doubting He’s Crazy Enough To Run North Korea. At America’s Finest News Source.

* From the New Yorker archives: two letters from North Korea.

* Gerry Canavan Privately Doubting Iowa Republicans Are Really Crazy Enough to Take Ron Paul Seriously.

* And Akim Reinhardt asks: How will we know what Occupy meant once it’s over?

Occupy Wednesday

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* The Occupy Oakland general strike seems to have been really pretty amazingly successful.  The view from Twitter. Another. And here’s Matt’s picture again, having gone viral through me by way of @zunguzungu and @rortybomb. Half those pageviews are rightfully mine, Matt!

* General strikes in U.S. history.

* Arguments not taken seriously that should be: A federal court is being asked to grant constitutional rights to five killer whales who perform at marine parks — an unprecedented and perhaps quixotic legal action that is nonetheless likely to stoke an ongoing, intense debate at America’s law schools over expansion of animal rights.

* When advertising works too well: the strange case of Axe Body Spray.

Women hold slightly more than half (52.3 percent) of creative class jobs and their average level of education is almost the same as men. But the pay they receive is anything but equal. Creative class men earn an average of $82,009 versus $48,077 for creative class women. This $33,932 gap is a staggering 70 percent of the average female creative class salary. Even when we control for hours worked and education in a regression analysis, creative class men out-earn creative class women by a sizable $23,700, or 49.2 percent.

In a victory for the 99 Percent last night, the voters in Boulder, Colorado voted by a three-to-one margin to support Question 2H, which calls for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.

* Legal Pain Killers Killed 15,000 People In 2008, Marijuana Likely Killed Zero.

* New Report Finds Vermont Could Save As Much As $1.8 Billion By 2020 From Shifting To Single Payer.

* Legendary Glenn Beck sponsor Goldline charged with fraud.

* Jon Corzine’s new firm likely to soon be charged with fraud. My father reminded me today that one universe over Jon Corzine never got in a horrific car accident as a result of his state police driver texting on the highway—which means he’s still the governor of New Jersey, which means he’s cruising towards a run for the presidency in 2016. In this universe he’s probably going to go to jail. It’s hard to think of another public figure whose life has hinged so completely on such a fluke event.

* In thirty years, college tuition has tripled.

* The worst part of the catastrophic implosion of the Hermain Cain candidacy is that he was the only one with a chance of stopping China from getting the bomb. None of the other candidates are even talking about this issue.

* Run, Ron Paul, run.

* And J.K. reveals she wanted to kill off Hagrid, too. You fiend!

Friday Night Links

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Full Disk Image of Earth Captured August 26, 2011* At right: Hurricane Irene.

* The headline reads, “Nuclear plants in Hurricane Irene’s path.” North Carolina makes the list with Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant near Wilmington.

* Taking his anti-government ideology to its logical extreme, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told NBC News’ Jo Ling Kent today that there should be no national response to Hurricane Irene, and that government responses should revert back to how they were over 100 years ago.

* How Global Warming Is Making Hurricane Irene Worse.

* Could Louie be the best show on TV? No joke: Last night’s Afghanistan episode really was amazing.

* The difference between strategy and tactics: The Democrats’ sad, stupid, doomed campaign to keep the payroll tax cut.

“It’s completely hapless negotiating!” says Nancy Altman, the co-director of the defend-the-New-Deal-at-all-costs group Social Security Works. “You’re taking something the other side wants and then begging them to take it. I’d expect that Republicans would eventually take it, but in exchange for some other concession. What a perfect position to be in, when you’re begging me and offering me more if only I’ll vote for something I want already.”

* And somebody send these polls results to the White House. Fast.

Debt Ceiling Alignment Chart

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Earlier today @rortybomb asked for a D&D alignment chart on the debt ceiling fight. I thought this was a pretty great idea, and had some free time. Here goes:

Thursday! Wisconsin, Optical Illusions, the Death of the Public University, and More

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* Some genuinely breaking news: Wisconsin’s anti-union bill was just struck down for violating the state’s open meetings law.

* …the curious thing about this report is that it dances around policy questions, but doesn’t ask a single one directly, or name a single policy that has shaped the higher education landscape.  “The public” is asked to confine its thoughts to individual success; “college presidents” are asked to ruminate on the mission of college.  But the two are never articulated as part of the same system, or as having a mutual set of interests that are social and organically intertwined.  And this, I would argue, is because neoliberal government policies, and right-wing political demagoguery, have sold the ideology of “low taxes” and “small government” so successfully that the moral commitment of the state to nurture an educated citizenry has entirely evaporated from the equation.

Ohio hates John Kasich. But GOP voters love Herman Cain; he’s outpolling Pawlenty now, and nearly tied with Gingrich and Ron Paul.

* Steve Benen notes that Jon Huntsman is so liberal he could probably be a credible candidate in the Democratic primary in 2016. As I noted on Twitter the sad thing is that’s really as strong an argument against Democrats as it is for Huntsman.

* And just a little bit of awesome: your optical illusions of the year.

Monday Monday

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* The cushy administrative salaries and bonuses add up to an indictment of the Brodhead administration for allowing the burden of the fiscal crisis to fall unevenly: bonuses for the brass, a direct hit for cafeteria workers, groundskeepers, housekeepers, clerks and underpaid adjunct faculty who lost their jobs. Via literally every single person I know at Duke.

* Libertopia watch: The Lake County sheriff has stopped providing police protection for a northwestern Indiana town after it missed a deadline he set for it to pay the county $100,000. Via MetaFilter.

* How the climate bill went south. Via Shankar in the comments from a post from last week, where we’ve been talking about whether or not I’ve been fair to Obama. On the climate story, ThinkProgress highlights Lindsey Graham’s terror that Fox would find out what he was up to.

Hope for the Democrats this November? More false hope here.

* George Lucas’s Theory of the Novel.

* The ACLU vs. the future.

Stanley’s 2002 paper tries to do just that. In it, he carefully imagines what could happen when human reproductive cloning is perfected — “what enforcement action would be taken when, say, a sixth-grader is discovered to be an unauthorized clone of Jennifer Lopez?” Could genetic enhancement inspire a kind of neo-eugenicist society where social classes are determined by access to the kind of wealth one needs to take advantage of such technologies? If humans succeeded in splicing their own DNA with that of animals, where would the line of “personhood” be drawn? Citing a scenario out of the 1997 movie Gattaca, Stanley expresses concern that the growing ability to remove genetic defects prior to childbirth might lead to employers collecting hair or skin cells from prospective employees. (On this last point his concern was prescient: In 2008, Congress outlawed genetic discrimination nearly unanimously. In the House, Ron Paul was the only dissenting vote.)

Via Matt Yglesias.

* The Social Network vs. women. (UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Colbert asked Sorkin about this last Thursday on his show, and Sorkin didn’t respond very well at all.)

* John Scalzi vs. Ayn Rand. Via SEK.

* And the Obama/Emanuel hug has sent the wrong message to our enemies. Please, not in front of the Klingons!

If Only It Ran on Time

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Ron Paul says Amtrak is fascist. It doesn’t even run on time!

Written by gerrycanavan

June 18, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Sunday Morning Politics Linkdump

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Sunday morning politics linkdump. Sorry for all these linkdumps, by the way—it was a busy week. Next week should see a return to a little bit more sustained commentary (including the exciting return of debate liveblogging!).

* There have been some interesting debates about poll biases lately. Ron Fournier (grumble) at the AP covers a study that argues Obama would be further ahead were it not for racial animus, by as many as six points. FiveThirtyEight throws cold water on this, as well as looking closely at the possibility of a “cellphone effect” in the polls. If Obama does 2.8% better in polls that include cellphones, that suggests a shifting map like the one below, turning Virginia light-blue and strengthening small Dem leads in Ohio and Colorado.

* A study from political scientist Alan Abramowitz argues that Obama will win, when all is said and done, with 54% of the popular vote. That he’s naively comparing historical models with this year’s unprecedentedly diverse tickets in both camps shows how seriously we should take this analysis.

* A new PPP poll shows North Carolina tied. Other recent polls show South Carolina within six, West Virginia within four, and MontanVoteRonPaula within two.

* There’s evidence of a “Palin effect” in Florida driving undecided voters to Obama.

* The Spine tries to get a handle on Obama’s early-voting advantage, beginning as early as this Friday in Virginia. The second link has some stats of interest for Dukies and Durham residents:

In addition, more early-voting centers are being located at colleges and universities, a change that significantly affects student turnout. Students at the University of North Carolina and N.C. State were able to vote on campus throughout the two weeks leading up to North Carolina’s primary contest in April. At Duke University, however, students had to make their way to voting sites in the city of Durham. While turnout for Durham County was 52% in the Democratic primary, only 11% of eligible Duke students voted. This fall, however, Duke will have its own early-voting center, open for business starting Oct. 16.

* The McCain camp has successfully demanded the VP debate rules be changed to protect Sarah Palin.

*Judge orders Cheney not to destroy his VP records.

* SNL mocked McCain this week. He also preemptively mocked himself with an article in Contingencies arguing (for reals) that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” Straight out of the Dept. of Bad Timing. Obama’s already taken aim at this.

* Will Obama raise my taxes? A helpful widget.

* And American Stranger has a long post on ideology that seems to take as one starting point my post on Slavoj Žižek, Obama Supporter. Essentially Ryan takes aim at the various binds the Left finds itself in with regard to political action, and I largely agree with what he says—though I certainly hope I wasn’t in mind as his example of sell-out “liberal ‘pragmatism’ a la The New Republic.” My point, both in the earlier post and now in this one, is simply that the U.S. President has a tremendous ability to make life better or worse for real people with real lives, all over the world, many of whom (believe it or not!) do not have cushy long-term contracts with elite universities. Naderite “Oh, they’re all the same!” negativity only makes sense to people who are inoculated by class and privilege from the consequences of that power.

The mere recognition that the perfect not be the enemy of the good doesn’t quite throw my lot in with TNR, I don’t think, and certainly not so long as we also keep in mind that the good not be the enemy of the better. Our discomfort with pragmatic compromises—and we should be discomforted by them, every time and in every case—isn’t by itself a reason not to be pragmatic.

Morning Newsbits

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Morning newsbits.

* The most recent McCain “ad”—I doubt it’s actually airing anywhere but on cable news—is truly stunningly dishonest. It could not, in fact, be more dishonest: it concerns a bill Obama neither wrote nor sponsored, that never passed, that didn’t do what the ad claims. It’s just amazing. John Neffinger is right: Obama should hit back on this, hard, fast, and viscerally. Don’t explain, attack.

* Is McCain finally hitting the wall on working the refs? Signs of life from the press.

* This Kos diary runs through the different swing-state permutations to figure out what Obama and McCain each need to win.

* Everyone is talking about this “emotional child abuse” line from the judge in Palin’s sister’s divorce, but the fact is Troopergate is a massively losing issue for the left. Taser a kid, you don’t get to be a cop anymore. You can’t put lipstick on that pig.

There are better things for us to talk about—ideally things that don’t involve Sarah Palin whatsoever.

* And Ron Paul will make a speech today in Washington, D.C., urging his followers to support third-party candidates. I wholeheartedly endorse that message: Ron Paul supporters should absolutely vote for third-party candidates, starting with Paul himself in Montana.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 10, 2008 at 11:38 am

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