Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the Constitution

Wednesday Links!

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* America’s Lawless, Unaccountable Shadow Government: Opinions Differ.

Q. and A. on the Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The latest.

* Ghostbusters and the New York Public Library.

* Huge, interactive map of objects police have mistaken for guns.

The Civil Rights Act Was Not as Important as You Think.

* The greatest trick the devil ever pulled.

How a seemingly simple message 
to students brought digital-age disaster for a Wisconsin professor.

Why Cosmos Can’t Save Public Support for Science.

* The Department of Education’s scoring system for ranking the financial health of universities makes no sense.

* College admissions as socio-economic sorting.

* The Great Cost Shift.

* MOOCtastic: Harvard students told: No questions, please, we’re filming.

Should you lose your job for failing to raise 80 percent of your salary in outside grants?

* Graduate Students at Cornell Push for Workers’ Compensation. The only question is: why don’t they already have this?

* Jacob Remes introduces the CLASSE Manifesto.

* Patrick Iber on life as a long-term adjunct.

* Dialectics of whether you should let your students call you by your first name.

* If the Founding Fathers were alive today, what do you think they would say?

* There’s ideology at its purest, and then there’s Barack Obama being interviewed by Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns.

Guantánamo forever, I guess.

* During the first month of recreational marijuana sales, Colorado’s licensed dispensaries generated a total of more than $14 million, putting about $2 million of tax revenue into state coffers in the process.

* Vulture profiles Benjamin Kunkel.

* Two sentence horror stories.

Public Transit Use In U.S. Is At a 57-Year High, Report Finds. Spraying Toxic Coal Ash Is A Cheap And Popular Way To De-Ice Roads. Bitcoin is Not a Currency.

* What’s making you so fat today: antibiotics.

“You can’t mourn for the little boy he once was. You can’t fool yourself.”

* Dan Harmon: The Rolling Stone Interview. Mystery project!

* A Game Is Being Beaten.

* Ten Years of Deadwood.

* Next year on SyFy: Man Calls 911 After “Hostile” 22-Pound Cat Traps Family in Bedroom.

* Space Opera on the TV.

BBC America gathers HUGE all-star cast for history of sci-fi documentary.

* That’s cheery: Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years.

* Study: Nuclear Reactors Are Toxic to Surrounding Areas, Especially With Age. No one could have predicted!

* Now human activity makes it rain on the weekends. God, we’re the worst.

* Gasp! Center For American Progress Takes Direction From Obama White House.

* The Supreme Court: as always, why we can’t have nice things.

Milwaukee homicides rose 15% last year.

The Almighty Star Trek Lit-verse Reading Order Flowchart.

The Exquisite Wistfulness of 19th-Century Vegetarian Personal Ads.

* And they say there’s never any good news, but Sbarro’s has filed for bankruptcy.

Monday Is Banality of Evil Day at gerrycanavan.wordpress.com

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Some funny replies to that bit on my timeline.

* Fourteen Caribbean countries prepare to sue Europe for slavery.

* An urban studies professor takes a job at a payday loan place.

* Oh, so now Napolitano loves undocumented immigrants.

The Constitution ought to play a prominent role in our politics. But I’d like to see McCarthy construct an argument for his favored policies without any mention of or recourse to the document. Perhaps that would make it clearer that suspending due process puts a country farther along the road to serfdom than old-age pensions.

* But the thing about the NSA revelations is that this isn’t exceptional illegality. It is routine, somehow justified by legal opinions written by John Yoo-style hacks. And worse, it is so routine that 29 y/o contractors have access to it. The issue isn’t so much that we’ve expanded the national security in response to perceived threats, but rather than doing so has become so unexceptional that it is routine, widely known, and the information widely (though not publicly) available. At the risk of Godwining the email, this is the essence of the “banality of evil” in the precise Arendtian sense of the term.

CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds.

Memo on the Use of Screenshots in Game Studies Scholarship.

Modernist art haul, ‘looted by Nazis’, recovered by German police.

* Today’s portmanteau: brocialism.

90 Year Old Legendary Speaker of the House Jim Wright Denied Texas Voter ID Card.

A brief dispatch from Boston’s Adjunct Action Symposium.

* And Inside Higher Ed has a piece on Cathy Davidson’s history-of-higher-ed MOOC, which I’ve just signed up for.

Wednesday Links Have Been Deemed an Essential Service

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* MetaFilter has your shutdown megapost, including the list of all the “nonessential” government services that will be closed during the shutdown, including WIC, NIH, the CDC, and the EPA. Here (via Twitter) is the memo from 1995 by which OMB makes its determinations. But don’t worry; progress wealth transfer to rich people continues even in the face of this disaster. zunguzungu: “Essentially Vicious.”

* “Where the GOP Suicide Caucus Lives.” They will rule or ruin in all events. Blame the Constitution for this mess.

* Meanwhile, liberals have already been rolled on spending cuts with respect to the shutdown and it’s likely to only get worse.

* Recentering Science Fiction and the Fantastic: What would a non-Anglocentric understanding of science fiction and fantasy look like?

* Peter Frase takes up Graeber’s “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.”

* One in ten [student] borrowers across the country, 475,000 people, who entered repayment during the fiscal year ending in September 2011 had defaulted by the following September, the data showed. That’s up from 9.1 percent of a similar cohort of borrowers last year.

* Louisiana refuses to release former Black Panther despite court order.

Herman Wallace, who was held for more than 40 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana jails, is still being confined inside the prison although Judge Brian Jackson ordered on Tuesday that he be immediately released. Wallace, 71, is suffering from lung cancer and is believed to have just days to live.

* The charter school mistake.

We should do what works to strengthen our schools: Provide universal early childhood education (the U.S. ranks 24th among 45 nations, according to the Economist); make sure poor women get good prenatal care so their babies are healthy (we are 131st among 185 nations surveyed, according to the March of Dimes and the United Nations); reduce class size (to fewer than 20 students) in schools where students are struggling; insist that all schools have an excellent curriculum that includes the arts and daily physical education, as well as history, civics, science, mathematics and foreign languages; ensure that the schools attended by poor children have guidance counselors, libraries and librarians, social workers, psychologists, after-school programs and summer programs.

Schools should abandon the use of annual standardized tests; we are the only nation that spends billions testing every child every year. We need high standards for those who enter teaching, and we need to trust them as professionals and let them teach and write their own tests to determine what their students have learned and what extra help they need.

* The words men and women use on Facebook.

* American wages have declined 7% since 2007.

* DDoS attack on the health care exchanges? Or just a whole lot of people wanting to buy insurance?

* What The Monopoly Properties Look Like In Real Life.

* The Occupy Visa.

Stop and Just Stop, Really, You’re Violating the Constitution

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In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2013 at 8:42 am

‘It Sounds Like They Are Phonying Up Investigations’

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After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction.”

The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”

Today in the police state: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

It’s Why We Fought the Revolution

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm

President Constitutional Law Professor

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The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries. But don’t worry!

An expert in this aspect of the law said Wednesday night that the order appears to be a routine renewal of a similar order first issued by the same court in 2006. The expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that the order is reissued routinely every 90 days and that it is not related to any particular investigation by the FBI or any other agency.

More at MetaFilter.

And Yet More Friday Still

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* UC Academic Senate responds to the MOOC bill. Open letter.

There is no possibility that UC faculty will shirk its responsibility to our students by ceding authority over courses to any outside agency.

”Education,” said Mr. Chambers. ”The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error” in terms of the Internet capacity it will consume.

What will drive it will be the demands on companies, in an intensely competitive global economy, to keep improving productivity. E-learning, insists Mr. Chambers, if done right, can provide faster learning, at lower costs, with more accountability, thereby enabling both companies and schools to keep up with changes in the global economy that now occur at Net speed. Schools and countries that ignore this, he says, will suffer the same fate as big department stores that thought e-commerce was overrated. Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, November 17, 1999.

* Exciting stuff from UC Riverside: The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program is currently in the process of developing programs at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Google is about to learn a tough lesson.

A very common mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume that a feature is not necessary because it doesn’t have a lot of usage, thus it can be safely removed from the product. Sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes, not so much.

Google made a big mistake cancelling Google Reader that will have severe ripple effects to its empire. I know a lot has been written about it, but let me give you a different angle on it.

They have absolutely no idea what they threw away. But they’re going to make you use Google+ to get it back.

* America in Decline: Young People Are Much Worse Off Than Their Parents Were At That Age.

* Disenfranchisement, 2000s style: 49% of Michigan’s African American Population Is Under an Emergency Manager.

* Military contractor accidentally invents something that will make the world a much better place.

* And Attackerman on the court decision ruling National Security Letters unconstitutional.

Even More Friday!

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* Another Buzzfeed list pings Marquette today: Are These The 32 Best College Campus Foods In America? Real Chili at #6.

The first Jesuit pope? Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. George Weigel at NRO doesn’t care for the Jesuit order:

Bergoglio is an old-school Jesuit, formed by classic Ignatian spirituality and deeply committed to an intelligent, sophisticated appropriation and proclamation of the full symphony of Catholic truth — qualities not notable for their prevalence among members of the Society of Jesus in the early 21st century. I suspect there were not all that many champagne corks flying last night in those Jesuit residences throughout the world where the Catholic Revolution That Never Was is still regarded as the ecclesiastical holy grail. For the shrewder of the new pope’s Jesuit brothers know full well that that dream was just dealt another severe blow. And they perhaps fear that this pope, knowing the Society of Jesus and its contemporary confusions and corruptions as he does, just might take in hand the reform of the Jesuits that was one of the signal failures of the pontificate of John Paul II.

A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror. More links below the dumb gif.

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* In Record-Setting ‘Match Day,’ 1,100 Medical Students Don’t Find Residencies. More from USA Today.

* Mathowie: Thoughts on Google Reader’s Demise. With reviews of possible alternatives.

* Profiles in courage: coming out in favor of marriage equality 2 years after your son comes out and 6 months after you know you won’t be VP. The truth of this, I suspect, is that he never really cared one way or the other, but now has no more reason to lie about it. What Rob Portman Learned.

People like Portman stridently work against other people’s interests until a crucial moment, both shaming and enlightening, when it becomes their interest too. It’s good that they ultimately come around on whatever the issue is — “Programs helping the poor are good because I lost all my money.” “My teenage daughter is pregnant and in no way prepared to have a baby.” — but does it erase the fact of their larger lack of compassion? I’m not sure it does.

See also Yglesias: Rob Portman and the Politics of Narcissism. Hero Sen. Rob Portman Courageously Endorses Equal Rights For His Family Members.

* Steubenville, Ohio, rape and India gang rape show India isn’t so ‘backward.’

Indian reaction to the New Delhi gang rape is in many ways more promising than American reactions to US rapes. Take the Steubenville, Ohio, case, which hasn’t generated the same public outrage as the case in India. Indian protesters’ calls for justice are a heartening sign of progress.

* North Dakota Poised To Enact Six-Week Abortion Ban, The Most Stringent Restriction In The Nation. Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant by six weeks. This is the sort of transparently unconstitutional law Republicans love to pass to raise money and nuture a sense of embattled outrage in their constituency. It’s written to be overturned.

* It never ends: Top 10 Senate races of 2014.

* Imagine there’s no deficit crisis.

* And Appeals Court Rejects CIA Secrecy on Drones.

“It is implausible that the CIA does not possess a single document on the subject of drone strikes.”

Late Night Monday

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* In a post-employment economy, many are working simply to earn the prospect of making money.

John Scalzi: 

So when a publisher comes to you and says “We like your book, can we buy it?” do not treat them like they are magnanimously offering you a lifetime boon, which if you refuse will never pass your way again. Treat them like what they are: A company who wants to do business with you regarding one specific project. Their job is to try to get that project on the best terms that they can. Your job is to sell it on terms that are most advantageous to you.

When People Write for Free, Who Pays?

* Kafka wept:

Oakland Police kept a man on its Most Wanted list for six months though he was not wanted for anything, the man claims in court.

And the most amazing part:

After “nearly a week of hiding in fear,” Van turned himself in on Feb. 13, “to resolve this devastating mistake,” the complaint states.

He was held for 72 hours, never charged with anything, then released, according to the complaint.

Yet on Feb. 14, the Oakland Police Department released a statement, “Most Wanted Turns Himself In,” which began: “One of Oakland’s four most wanted suspects has been taken off the streets. Last week, Oakland’s Police Chief Howard Jordan named Van Chau as one of the City’s four most wanted criminals. Today, the Oakland Police Department reports that Van Chau is off the streets of Oakland and is safely behind bars after turning himself in due to media pressure. Chief Howard Jordan said, ‘A week ago I stood with community members and asked the community to stand with me to fight crime and today we have one less criminal on our streets. Today a victim is one step closer to justice.’”

Via @zunguzungu.

The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem. Good conscience! Good conscience! Hilarious.

The Inevitable 2014 Headline: ‘Global CO2 Level Reaches 400 PPM For First Time In Human Existence.’ The melting of Canada’s glaciers is irreversible.

Arizona’s Law Banning Mexican-American Studies Curriculum Is Constitutional, Judge Rules.

*  “It’s not for everyone”: working as a slavery re-enactor at Colonial Williamsburg.

Where banks really make money on IPOs. Via MeFi, which has more.

* Nation’s Millionaires Agree: We Must All Do More With Less.

* The world’s most useless governmental agency, the FEC, is still trying to figure out fines for crimes committed three elections ago.

* Anarchism: illegal in Oklahoma since 1919!

* Also from the Teens: Dateline 1912: The Salt Lake Tribune speculates about “vast thinking vegetable” on Mars.

Teacher Accidentally Emails Students Secret School Document Revealing What Faculty Members Really Thought About Them.

* Marvel declares war on the local comic shop, offers unlimited access to their comics for $10.

* Charlotte Perkins Gilman was right: New Experiment Suggests Mammals Could Reproduce Entirely By Cloning.

* Does the loneliest whale really exist?

* The Senate is the worst, and the New York Times is ON IT. Meanwhile, really, the Senate is the absolute worst.

* Neil Gaiman remembers Douglas Adams.

11 More Weird & Wonderful Wikipedia Lists. Don’t miss the list of fictional ducks and the list of films considered the worst.

CLEAR Project Issues Report on Impact of NYPD Surveillance on American Muslims.

* And let freedom ring: Judge strikes down NYC ban on supersized sodas.

In Which Antonin Scalia Sets Out to Completely Break My Spirit, and Succeeds

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Today’s hearing on the Voting Rights Act featured some of Scalia’s most breathtaking anti-textualist and ad-hoc reasoning ever. The argument is literally that the Supreme Court is tasked to strike down popular laws because otherwise they’ll be continually reauthorized in perpetuity because people want them. Like the Founders intended!

Just astounding.

More here and here. My sole consolation here is @studentactivism’s shocking discovery that Scalia’s entire term on the Supreme Court is null and void by the well-known Constitutional principle that it doesn’t count if it was unanimous. Article 1. Look it up.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 27, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Emory Reax (Updated)

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The already notorious In Praise of the Three-Fifths Compromise piece from Emory’s president has spawned a number of good “teaching moment” pieces from a number of young academic bloggers, as well as a quasi-retraction from Wagner himself. (Don’t call it a gaffe!) First, the retraction; I’m glad this is up so quickly, but it importantly misses the mark.

In retrospect we can fairly ask ourselves, would we have voted for the Constitution—for a new nation, for “a more perfect union”—if it meant including the three fifths compromise? Or would we have voted no—that is, voted not to undertake what I hope we see as a noble experiment, however flawed and imperfect it has been.

To locate this question in the agency of a privileged class—should we have voted for this?—replicates again the error of the original piece, in which the suffering of the disprivileged is bracketed in the name of the “higher purpose” of the elites. It’s a profoundly anti-democratic narrative, in which decision-makers take notice of the consequences of their actions only from 10,000 feet (if they deign to notice at all). This is the angle Natalia Cecire takes up in “Race and the Privilege of Innocence”:

Wagner apologizes for his “clumsiness and insensitivity,” framing his column as a bumbling, stumbling error, a sort of intellectual version of a lack of motor skills. He seems bewildered that anyone could take him to be suggesting that slavery was okay, because that wasn’t his point. But the fact that it wasn’t his point is the point. It only makes sense to view the 3/5 Compromise in a purely formal register—as an example of compromise rather than a famous historical instance of wealthy white men bartering with one another over the political value of black bodies—if you can only imagine yourself as one of the barterers and not as one of the bartered, if slave history is not your history. Wagner was thinking of “compromise” as such, from the point of view of the people in a position to compromise: the wealthy white male landowners who had a legal say in this country’s founding; he is, as it were, innocent of blackness. Circulating in a universe in which enfranchised whiteness is the norm and disenfranchised blackness is not on the radar except as an abstract concept to be bartered over, Wagner demonstrates a basic unawareness, compounded by his after-the-fact bewilderment that others don’t share it.

Tressie McMillan Cotton takes up the difficult task of pulling out the metaphor to the context of cuts to the liberal arts to which it is meant to apply:

What Wagner revealed with his slavery allusion, I believe rather unintentionally, is how ideologues in  higher education debates conceive of the spoils. If slaves were a means to an economic and hegemonic end, then education credentials are not conceptually altogether different to those with the authority to have the debate.  That distinction matters. As the 3/5ths compromise was for slaveholders an ideological debate as opposed to the material reality of the enslaved, this higher education debate a matter of something altogether more than just an ideological battle over who will control the means of production, whether that be cotton or sheepskins.

And Aaron Bady twists the knife on the figure of the CEO university president:

James Wagner’s casual and apathetic ignorance about slavery is one thing, and his assault on the liberal arts is another. I want to be clear about that: I am not equating them with each other, even if there is a certain overlap (as Tressie McMillan Cottom argues). But the kind of thinking that allows a person to value “compromise,” as such, is the kind of mind that doesn’t care very much about what is being compromised. The kind of mind that can cut a university’s education studies division, physical education department, visual arts department, and journalism program—sacrificing core functions of the university in order to save money so the university can “continue”—is also the kind of mind that could see slavery as the unfortunate broken eggs that were needed to make the national omelette. There is nothing surprising about this, in other words. This is what we should expect when a university president is essentially a CEO. And the easiest response is simply to shrug our shoulders. Can we expect better? Should we be surprised?

UPDATE: Two more good ones. Chris Taylor:

Ultimately, antebellism gears us up for political war only to tell us that the battle has already been decided—there’s no longer any politics, no longer any open struggle through which the future will be decided. Instead, we’re invited to invest political meaning in the technologies of neoliberal governance, in what Wagner calls “the rich tools of compromise.” We need to read Wagner’s choice of example, then, as the end result of an attempt to derive a political feeling from the withdrawal of the political. Ultimately, that’s what all antebellism does: it allows us to feel political even as we abandon the political—or, rather, even as the political abandons us. “Compromise” both names this withdrawal of the political and invests our acquiescence to it with a pseudo-political affect. It does not so much describe a peaceful, pacifying working relationship between willful and opposed political subjects (Republicans and Democrats, say, or partisans of the humanities and the sciences) as it does the conformation of varied and antagonistic political wills to an exorbitant, apolitical logic (i.e., neoliberal capitalism). We don’t compromise so much as our possibility for political action has been compromised. It is our recognition of the compromised nature of any political action that is supposed to subtend all contemporary politics—indeed, it’s supposed to pass as politics.

and Noelle McAfee:

As shocking as Wagner’s invocation of the 3/5 compromise to make a point is, let’s not lose sight of what is so troubling about the point he was trying to make: that maybe the value of the liberal arts should be compromised. If there’s a debate on the value of the liberal arts, let’s have that debate.  But rather than do so, the Emory University administration has been unilaterally deciding the outcome of this question.  The vast majority of programs chosen for closure in the recent cuts at Emory have been in the arts and humanities. Rather than any open opportunity to come to a collective compromise, the process for the decisions (consulting a committee sworn to silence, which never kept minutes, and hugely underrepresented faculty in the humanities) compromised any chance that those targeted in the humanities could have their say.

Compromise, In Its Majestic Equality…

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Both sides found a way to temper ideology and continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union. They set their sights higher, not lower, in order to identify their common goal and keep moving toward it.

President of Emory (and former dean/provost/interim president of my beloved alma mater) really steps in it, authoring a column that praises the Three-Fifths Compromise in the name of draconian cuts to humanities programs. This was all any academics were talking about on Twitter this afternoon; a tiny sample from my corner of the web.

Wong Kim Ark

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At the heart of the coming battle over the constitutional right to U.S. citizenship for everyone born in this country is how the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, is interpreted. And at the heart of that interpretation is a 112-year-old Supreme Court decision, based on a lawsuit filed by a young man from San Francisco named Wong Kim Ark.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Monday Links

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* This weeks’s denunciation of the dissertation, yours at the Chronicle.

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. Esquire has been publishing some really interesting journalism lately.

“No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job,” Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”

But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

* marquette.edu is your source for Danny Pudi news.

Rick Nolan, Minnesota Democrat, Unveils Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United. Sold.

* Artist claims to create 3D facial renderings based on discarded cigarette butts. I am extremely skeptical!

DuckTales invented a new animated wonderland—that quickly disappeared.

Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is coming to Syfy.

* An Occurrence at the O.C. Bridge: “Arrested Development” is George Sr.’s death row fantasy.

Couple engrossed in their wireless devices ignore each other (1906).

* And Slate asks the unthinkable: what if not every show premise can sustain itself forever?

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