Posts Tagged ‘the filibuster’
* National Louis, a private, nonprofit institution based in the greater Chicago metropolitan region, served about 10,000 students before the restructuring process in 2012. In addition to terminating 63 faculty members, among them 16 tenured professors, the institution eliminated four departments in its College of Arts and Sciences: English, fine arts, mathematics and natural sciences. Today, about 8,300 students attend the university — 9 in 10 on a part-time basis. What does this school teach if not English or math or arts or science? What’s left?
* The fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas on Wednesday night was fined by the Environmental Protection agency in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards, an EPA report shows.
* Yesterday’s Senate Gun Control Vote Was Even More Undemocratic Than It Appeared. Angus crunches the numbers.
In twenty-one of the nation’s 50 states, both Senators yesterday voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment. Although those 42 Senators represent less than half the body, they represent more than half the country — 157 million people out of 313 million. The 16 states whose Senators both voted against the amendment, in contrast, represent less than a quarter of the nation, but nearly a third of the senate. That’s the equivalent of dividing the country up into states of equal population, but giving the no-vote states three senators each, and the yes-vote states just two.
And what of the other states, the ones who split their votes yesterday? Well, if you allocate half of their population to each senator, and add up the totals, you find that senators representing 62.7% of the nation’s population voted for Manchin-Toomey yesterday.
Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss.
They lost their kids. What would Bob Davis have lost even if the bill passed?
* AMC passed on Red Mars, but then greenlights this? Those idiots.
The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.97 seconds, for $7.25 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money.
* What started out as a case about whether corporations could be held accountable in U.S. courts for human rights violations abroad now turned into a case about whether anyone can be held accountable. And on Wednesday, a five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that the answer is, mostly, no.
* Mellon Foundation awards grant to develop new careers for humanities Ph.D.s. At the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
* Disney Says New ‘Star Wars’ Films Will Open Every Summer Starting in 2015. The internet has spoken: put Patton Oswalt in charge.
* Also from Richard: What do asteroids, MOOCs, and medical records have in common? All are examples, currently in the news, of the way in which public policy in the US is driven not by the common good or professionals or expert knowledge, but by the generation of mediashock in the service of the entrepeneurial desire of cybercapitalism to monetize data.
All of us that use the internet are already practicing Drone Ethnography. Look at the features of drone technology: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Surveillance, Sousveillance. Networks of collected information, over land and in the sky. Now consider the “consumer” side of tech: mapping programs, location-aware pocket tech, public-sourced media databases, and the apps and algorithms by which we navigate these tools. We already study the world the way a drone sees it: from above, with a dozen unblinking eyes, recording everything with the cold indecision of algorithmic commands honed over time, affecting nothing—except, perhaps, a single, momentary touch, the momentary awareness and synchronicity of a piece of information discovered at precisely the right time. An arc connecting two points like the kiss from an air-to-surface missile. Our technological capacity for watching, recording, collecting, and archiving has never been wider, and has never been more automated. The way we look at the world—our basic ethnographic approach—is mimicking the technology of the drone.
* The ACLU on what Rand Paul achieved.
* “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.” She was unconscious at the time.
* The Herbalife war: Hedge-fund titan Bill Ackman has vowed to bring down Herbalife, the 33-year-old nutritional-supplement company, which he views as a pyramid scheme. With his massive shorting of Herbalife stock, the price plummeted, prompting two fellow billionaires—Ackman’s former friend Dan Loeb and activist investor Carl Icahn—to take the opposing bet on Herbalife. As the public brawl rivets Wall Street, William D. Cohan learns why, this time, it’s personal.
* The most influential songwriter of his time has become the first rock star voted into the elite, century-old American Academy of Arts and Letters, where artists range from Philip Roth to Jasper Johns and categories include music, literature and visual arts.
* Two bad tastes that taste good together: Rand Paul filibusters drones.
* Apocalypse now: The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.
* The entrapment defense rarely succeeds, both in terrorism cases and more quotidian (usually drug-related) prosecutions, largely because “entrapment” means something very different in a courtroom than it does in ordinary usage. For nearly a century, the federal courts have allowed a criminal defendant to dodge criminal liability by showing that the governmentinduced her to commit an unlawful act. Once the accused makes such a showing, however, the government still has the opportunity to prove that she was predisposed to commit the crime, even before government agents entered the picture. If a jury accepts the government’s characterization, other factors—the nature or size of the “bait,” the complexity of the government artifice, or the independent wherewithal of the defendant to commit the crime—basically don’t matter: the defendant is still guilty. This means that when entrapment is at issue, the personality, reputation, criminal history, and political or religious beliefs of the accused become the centerpiece of the trial. Post-9/11 juries have had little trouble concluding that the disaffected Muslims (and occasional anarchists) ensnared by the FBI have been sufficiently “predisposed” to engage in terrorism.
* #slatepitches: What SimCity Teaches Us About Real Cities of the Future.
* Ephemeral third ring of radiation makes appearance around Earth. If we lived in a comic book, I bet this story would be fifteen times as awesome.
* And the latest issue of The New Inquiry posits time is the fire in which we burn.
* Having a monetary value tied to human incarceration and justice creates a deeply perverse incentive that should not exist in the world of commerce. When the for-profit prison industry places the iron fist of criminal justice in the invisible hands of the market and sells it as a cost-cutting measure, it is hard not to interpret as anything but the predatory capitalism of a self-perpetuating slave state.
* Just end the filibuster. This is a no-brainer.
Following the events of last week, in which a crazed western lowland gorilla ruthlessly murdered 21 people in a local shopping plaza after escaping from the San Diego Zoo, sources across the country confirmed Thursday that national gorilla sales have since skyrocketed.
“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”
* 56 Up now playing in the US. I can’t wait.
* For the fiscal year, which for most schools ends this June, 18% of 165 private universities and 15% of 127 public universities project a decline in net tuition revenue. That is a sharp rise from the estimated declines among 10% of the 152 private schools and 4% of the 105 public schools in fiscal 2012.
* Google will now translate into Flanders. (Not really-a-doodly.)
* Horrifying: On zombie foreclosure.
* And on the science fiction beat: Joss Whedon Directing SHIELD Pilot Right Now, Already Working On Scripts For Later In The Series. Christopher Nolan’s next movie is called Interstellar. For the 50th anniversary, five Doctors and a cavalcade of Companions will reunite…on an audio special. Fan hopes science will prove tragic Firefly death never happened. And Y: The Last Man has a director: the unknown fan director of that Portal fan film.
* io9 Star Treks Into All the Clues and Easter Eggs from the Star Trek Into Darkness Teaser Trailer. Furious time-traveling Picard or nothing.
* 5 Charts About Climate Change That Should Have You Very, Very Worried. I was worried already!
* If every state of the USA declared war against each other, which would win? Hard to imagine anyone but California or Texas walking away from this thing in one piece.
* Obama makes an unexpected post-election bid for the Canavan bump: NASA May Unveil New Manned Moon Missions Soon.
* ORCA shrugged. More here, here, here, here. This is still, essentially, poll denialism, but it’s fascinating that the Romney campaign put so much stock in a system whose basic assumptions they’d never bothered to test.
* This image posits that the juridical distinction between slave and free is isomorphic with today’s cartographies of parliamentary politics; it implies that today’s Northern liberals have inherited, and protect, the precious freedom(s) denied to so many in the antebellum world. It implies that the rupture of the Civil War was not much of a rupture—continuity is the name of the game here. It thus elides the discontinuous rupture of black political subjectivity: the image would have us believe that today’s political cartography retains the form adjudicated 162 years ago by the desires and compromises of (mostly) white men, all of whom in some fashion profited from the political and juridical de-subjectification of blacks throughout the Americas.
* 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem.’ There’s a culture war and Democrats are winning. What The 2012 Election Would Have Looked Like Without Universal Suffrage. Colorado Establishment: Republicans must improve or die. I liked, and forgot to link, what Freddie said the other day:
It occurs to me: part of the problem with our political media and analysis is that they always define Republican victory in terms of political direction and Democratic victory in terms of extremity. That is, a Republican victory is seen as a repudiation of liberalism, while a Democratic victory is seen as a repudiation of extremism. One suggests a push towards the right is the mandate of an election; the other suggests a push towards the center is the mandate of an election. Just another way in which the media pursues a “heads conservatives win, tails liberals lose” narrative.
* But don’t get too excited: in times of Democratic strength their leaders just turn on them and enact the austerity measures the Republicans are too weak to enforce themselves. We saw it with Obama, and California’s about to see it with Jerry Brown.
* Ohio seeks to just rig the vote in the face of the Republican demographic implosion. Let’s Kill the Electoral College So We Never Have to Pay Attention to Ohio and Florida Again.
* And so begins my biennial worrying about whether Wes Anderson’s next movie will (1) be good (2) be any different than the others. The Grand Budapest Hotel sounds like yet another intricate dollhouse, and I generally don’t care for Johnny Depp, so that’s two strikes. At least it isn’t family friendly.
* Harry Reid promises filibuster reform if Dems win the election. So he must think Democrats will lose the Senate…
* Breaking: The Newsroom Is Incredibly Hostile Toward Women.
Aaron Sorkin was on “Fresh Air” Monday afternoon, and he told Terry Gross that he “like[s] writing about heroes [who] don’t wear capes or disguises. You feel like, ‘Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can’t that be the real world?’” Yes, a fantasy land where male privilege goes unchallenged, forever, and bosses can spend meetings riffing on the attractiveness of their dates’ legs (as MacAvoy did in “Fix”), where the male gaze is the only gaze, where men have ideas and women are interrupting. Tell us more about this magical place.
* Penn State Plane Gives Warning: Take Down Paterno Statue “Or We Will.” This could get ugly. Uglier.
* How much Force power can Yoda output? ”At current electricity prices, Yoda would be worth about $2/hour.”
* Grad student guide to interpreting advisor feedback. It’s supposedly keyed to the UK and Ireland, but it seems pretty universal to me.
Finally, what on earth happened with AMC’s Red Mars adaptation? I gather that some people are still working on it, but it’s no longer AMC – are you still involved in that?
Red Mars is not at AMC any more, but yes, there are people still working on it, led by my wonderful media agent Vince Gerardis, so eventually something may happen. I think it would be wise not to hold your breath on that one, unless you can hold your breath for years.
[DEEP BREATH IN]
“If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight,” Reid said on the floor. “These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame.”
* Rortybomb with three ways of looking at the student debt crisis.
* Inhofe on climate change: “‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost.” Sure, that’s how facts work.
* Rick Perlstein argues the problem isn’t that conservatives are crazier than they were fifty years ago; the problem is they’re exactly as crazy as they were fifty years ago. Via LGM.
* After less than three full days of deliberations, the five men and seven women of the jury found Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, guilty of invading the privacy of his 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his dorm-room date.
* So much intercepted information is now being collected from “enemies” at home and abroad that, in order to store it all, the agency last year began constructing the ultimate monument to eavesdropping. Rising in a remote corner of Utah, the agency’s gargantuan data storage center will be 1 million square feet, cost nearly $2 billion and likely be capable of eventually holding more than a yottabyte of data — equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.
* I miss Linsanity. Those were simpler times.
* Americans used public transformation twice as much in 1940. That’s per capita. That’s nuts.
* Louis C.K. Withdraws as Host of Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner. Who invited him in the first place? What a terrible choice for the gig.
* Obama comes out against Amendment One. Hey, me too!
* Al Gore endorses filibuster reform. Hey, me too!
* And today in Settlers of Catan news: A Dutch public broadcasting network last month offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank. Hours of fun for the entire family!
* If the Hill’s reporting is accurate, this is major news, demonstrating the depths of the Democrats’ desperation to win me back: Reid triggers nuclear option to change rules, prohibit filibusters. I can’t find anything else about this yet. I assume this is some sort of procedural bluff, but if not—or if the bluff is called—that’s huge. UPDATE: TPM says it’s big, but not titanic.
* Lev Grossman’s The Magicians is coming to TV. My guess is the whole series takes place at Brakebills; we’ll never hit the second half of the first novel.
* Steve Jobs was a good man who loved and was loved, and earned every accolade he’s garnered. But he doesn’t deserve a hagiography, and I doubt he would have wanted one. Apple wasn’t built by a saint. It was built by an iron-fisted visionary.
* Against Tranströmer: But most healthy of all, a decision like this, which we all understand would never have been taken by say, an American jury, or a Nigerian jury, or perhaps above all a Norwegian jury, reminds us of the essential silliness of the prize and our own foolishness at taking it seriously. Eighteen (or sixteen) Swedish nationals will have a certain credibility when weighing up works of Swedish literature, but what group could ever really get its mind round the infinitely varied work of scores of different traditions. And why should we ask them to do that?
* And the headline reads, “Body suit may soon enable the paralyzed to walk.”