Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Washington D.C.

Thursday Links

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* IQ ‘a myth,’ study says. You mean almost everybody who lived a hundred years ago wasn’t learning disabled by contemporary standards?

Among the study’s other findings:

• While aging has a detrimental effect on reasoning and short-term memory, it leaves verbal abilities “completely unimpaired.”

• Smoking has a negative impact on verbal abilities and short-term memory but does not affect reasoning skills.

• People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.

• Products that are advertised to improve brain function aren’t effective. “People who ‘brain-train’ are no better at any of these three aspects of intelligence than people who don’t,” Owen said.

* Big MetaFilter post on Chris Ware’s Building Stories.

* We need DNA tests before you can vote: Iowa’s GOP Election Official Has Found Only 6 Examples Of Voter Fraud Out Of 1.6 Million Votes Cast.

* Why Nate Silver is Not Just Wrong, but Maliciously Wrong.

* Joe Lieberman’s last act as a senator is surprisingly not all that malicious or destructive.

* Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.

* Dinosaur Comics creator’s Choose-your-own-adventure Hamlet beats all Kickstarter publishing records.

* And Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up.

Monday Night Infinite Jest (and More)

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* The MLK Memorial opened today on the Washington Mall. Pretty visually stunning.

* zunguzungu has your Libya links.

* The headline reads, “The Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins.”

* Kaufman, who has a lifelong passion for American folk music, has just written a biography of Guthrie. And, much more unusually for an academic, he is singing his way across the US to promote it. He is performing Guthrie’s songs, which he mixes with short lectures and projected images in what Kaufman calls a “live musical documentary.”

* Grant Morrison: The Rolling Stone interview. More here. Via Bleeding Cool.

* The New Yorker profiles Clarence Thomas. Via just about everybody.

* Also via literally everybody: The Decembrists’ new Infinite-Jest-themed music video.

* Don’t miss Brad DeLong’s brief history of the Obama administration. Via Digby.

* 2010: Detroit apocalypse porn. 2011: Detroit is the new Brooklyn.

* Inside the mind behind Feminist Hulk. If you’d bet the account was owned by a graduate student in English literature, pick up your money at the front desk.

* Inside the Tea Party: a UNC professor has polled Tea Party supporters to determine that the Tea Party’s core values are “authoritarianism, fear of change, libertarianism and nativism.” I can’t imagine anyone anywhere will find this study remotely controversial.

* Kevin Drum asks: Can we fix the economy? Sign me up for Krugman’s Lament (first comment); we can fix this, we just won’t.

* Wikileaks implodes.

* And a look inside how Scrabble warps your brain.

Competitive Scrabble players’ visual word recognition behavior differed significantly from non-experts’ for letter-prompted verbal fluency (coming up with words beginning with a specific letter) and anagramming accuracy, two Scrabble-specific skills. Competitive players were faster to judge whether or not a word was real. They also judged the validity of vertical words faster than non-experts and were quicker at picking up abstract words than non-competitive players. These findings indicate that Scrabble players are less reliant on the meaning of words to judge whether or not they are real, and more flexible at word recognition using orthographic information.

Biblical

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

Friday!

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* First, the big news: Casey Affleck has admitted I’m Still Here is a hoax. Shock! Terror!

* Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will hold “competing” rallies on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to restore sanity and keep fear alive respectively. I think this is a good idea and I’m glad they’re doing it, but it’s frustrating to once again see legitimate criticism of Bush equated with totally insane criticism of Obama in the name of “balance” and “moderation.”

* Our long national nightmare is finally over: Karl Rove has surrendered to Christine O’Donnell.

* Science has proved Facebook causes flu and little kids have been mocking us this whole time.

* Understanding the Tea Party, from Glenn Greenwald. A good pullquote: Given all that, I’d really like to hear what it is about Christine O’Donnell, or Sharron Angle, or any of these other candidates that sets them apart from decades of radical right-wing elected officials who came before them?  They seem far more similar to me than different.  When was this idealized era of GOP Adult Reasonableness?

* The first Earth-like planet orbiting another star will be announced in May next year, if the discovery of extrasolar planets continues at its present rate, say researchers Samuel Arbesman from Harvard Medical School in Boston and Gregory Laughlin at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

* The U.S. poverty rate is at its highest level since 1994. Matt Yglesias:

Melissa Boteach, my colleague who focuses on poverty issues, points out that congress has the opportunity to act before things get even worse:

In just two weeks a job-creation engine known as the TANF Emergency Fund will expire, forcing states to begin shutting down successful partnerships with the private sector that have already created nearly a quarter-million jobs for low-income families. Congress must act before September 30 to extend the TANF Emergency Fund for another year and allow this innovative jobs program to continue.

Unfortunately, congress is typically more interested in the tax burden of millionaires than in the welfare of the poor and near-poor.

* Self-absorbed, self-indulged, and self-loathing, the Baby Boom generation at last has the chance to step out of the so-called Greatest Generation’s historical shadow. Boomers may not have the opportunity to save the world, as their predecessors did, but they can still redeem themselves by saving the American economy from the fiscal mess that they, and their fathers and mothers, are leaving behind. Via the latest MetaFilter post on the ongoing Third-Worldization of America.

* Making puppets with Jim Henson. Also via MetaFilter.

* And All-Star Superman will be made into animated movie. I don’t know why it hasn’t been green-lit for the next live-action Superman yet. Jon Hamm could kill it.

Behold, the Mother of All Saturday Linkdumps!

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* Polish President Lech Kaczynski has apparently been killed in a plane crash in western Russia, alongside much of the leadership of the country. Updates at MeFi.

* Yesterday Stevens made it official. The timeline. A shortlist. The politics of shortlists. An offbeat shortlist. How about Cory Booker? Why Obama shouldn’t shy away from a confirmation fight. Why Glenn Greenwald is lukewarm on frontrunner Elena Kagan. Why the GOP may use the SCOTUS hearings as another excuse to freak out about health care. Or maybe just another excuse to flip out period. Still more at MeFi.

* Totally independent of anything anyone anywhere has said or done, threats against members of Congress have increased threefold in recent months. It’s a funny coincidence that means absolutely nothing.

* George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

* Everything old is new again: Gingrich says Republicans will shut down the government if they take over.

* Tony Judt on crisis, neoliberalism, greed, the end of history, and the need for a new New Left.

For thirty years students have been complaining to me that “it was easy for you”: your generation had ideals and ideas, you believed in something, you were able to change things. “We” (the children of the Eighties, the Nineties, the “Aughts”) have nothing. In many respects my students are right. It was easy for us—just as it was easy, at least in this sense, for the generations who came before us. The last time a cohort of young people expressed comparable frustration at the emptiness of their lives and the dispiriting purposelessness of their world was in the 1920s: it is not by chance that historians speak of a “lost generation.”

If young people today are at a loss, it is not for want of targets. Any conversation with students or schoolchildren will produce a startling checklist of anxieties. Indeed, the rising generation is acutely worried about the world it is to inherit. But accompanying these fears there is a general sentiment of frustration: “we” know something is wrong and there are many things we don’t like. But what can we believe in? What should we do?

* Full with polls: The IRS is more popular than the tea partiers.

* “Kind of a Glenn Beck approach”: On male studies. More at Salon.

* Another great segment from the Daily Show about blatant Fox News dishonesty, this one on the lies they’re telling about the START treaty. But the quote of the day on this comes from who else but Michele Bachmann, who calls for the U.S. to commit to nuclear retaliation in the event of a devastating cyber attack.

* Matt Yglesias on Treme‘s battle between realism and sentimentality.

* Comic book cartography. Their link to the principles of Kirbytech from my friends at Satisfactory Comics is pretty great too.

* Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe? I’m surprised there’s even debate about something that is so trivially true.

Negative Twenty Questions, John Wheeler’s analogy for quantum mechanics.

* Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Welcome to the elderly age.

* Multicellular life found that can live entirely without oxygen.

* xkcd’s version of hell is now fully playable.

* Chris Christie working overtime to destroy public universities in New Jersey.

Outsourcing TAs?

* In Washington, D.C., you’re not a rape victim unless police say so. Via Feministe.

* HIV-positive Michigan man to be tried as bioweapon.

* Are we still waiting for the other shoe to drop on Greece?

* The Texas miracle? Wind power in an oil state.

* Two from Krugman: Building a Green Economy and Al Gore Derangement Syndrome.

* Somewhat related: Tim Morton on hyperobjects.

Hyperobjects are phenomena such as radioactive materials and global warming. Hyperobjects stretch our ideas of time and space, since they far outlast most human time scales, or they’re massively distributed in terrestrial space and so are unavailable to immediate experience. In this sense, hyperobjects are like those tubes of toothpaste that say they contain 10% extra: there’s more to hyperobjects than ordinary objects.

* The Illinois Poison Control Center has a blog. MetaFilter has highlights.

* And Gizmodo has your periodic table of imaginary elements.

More for Wednesday

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* The Catholic Church cancels all spousal health benefits within Washington, D.C., in order to avoid giving gay married people benefits. This is the same organization that already threatened to stop all charity in the city if marriage equality became law and which really did shut down its orphanages rather than let gay people adopt. This is what loving your neighbor is all about. Via MeFi.

* I’ve said many times before that health care passes in a vote or dies in silence. If Democrats didn’t think they had the numbers, they wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor. Instead, they’d swear their fealty to the project but turn their attention to other priorities and schedule their speeches on other subjects. But that’s not happening. Democrats are setting up their process, giving speeches and interviews, adding Republican ideas, and setting new deadlines. They’re bringing this to a vote. And that means they’re confident that they’ll win the vote. My inclination is to say not even the Democrats can screw this up, but of course they’ll just take that as a challenge. Here’s more from Jonathan Chait.

* Whales, it turns out, are carbon sinks.

* Mitt Romney is an all-time gold-medalist flip-flopper. Or, more directly, a liar.

* Bottled water sales fall for the first time in five years. Great!

* Judge Confirmed 99-0 After 124 Day Delay. Ladies and gentlemen, your U.S. Senate.

* And Sarah Palin makes another run at making my brain explode. Keep at it, Madame Governor, you’re almost there…

Wednesday Afternoon Legitimate Complaints

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* NASA reports that the Chilean earthquake has shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds and moved the figure axis of the Earth about 8 centimeters. Google has set up a donation tool for earthquake relief; my Chilean friend Ignacio also recommends a donation to Cruz Roja Chilena. The country is still suffering dramatically; while writing this post I received a news alert about a tsunami warning just issued for the coast, following a huge aftershock.

* DCist profiles the first few couples to file for same-sex marriage licenses in DC. Congratulations, folks!

* Bunning’s temper tantrum had consequences.

* Related: Nineteen senators I would sincerely like to see become unemployed.

* Obama calls for an up-or-down vote on health care: “At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem.” Mr. President, I have some bad news…

* Rachel Maddow, national treasure.

You are not making serious arguments, and you do not believe what you’re saying. It’s disproven by your record. In the case of Orrin Hatch, you are flat-out lying about the history of the tactic that Democrats are going to use to pass health reform. Doing that, lying about what’s been done, lying about the record, lying about this tactic is not actually a substitute for making an honest argument against health reform.

For the Washington Post to print something like this is bizarre. For these established, supposedly mainstream senators to try to get away with this is an insult to everyone they’re addressing, and to the media, in particular. And for us all to just let this slide and call it ‘politics,’ is to surrender to cynicism profoundly.

* Attackerman: Jewish Narnia Is Called Marvel Comics. More in this at MeFi.

* ABC, let Jon Stewart host This Week.

* Finally, a profile of Rahm Emmanuel sourced by someone other than Rahm Emmanuel:

…Emanuel is not the would-be savior of this presidency. For one thing, there really isn’t that much daylight between him and his boss, or between him and his top White House colleagues. Had things gone even more his way, it’s possible that he would have squelched a few more of what few bursts of idealism and principle survived Inauguration. But people looking for the reasons why the Obama presidency has not lived up to its promise won’t find the answer amid the minor rifts between key players. Nor will they find the answer in how well or poorly this White House has played the game of politics. The fact is that after a campaign that appealed so successfully to idealism, Obama hired a bunch of saboteurs of hope and change.

Rahm was simply their chief of staff. And now, this hypercompetitive bantam rooster is attempting to blame others for what went wrong. That’s evidently so important to him that he’s trying to take a victory lap around the wreckage of what was once such a promising presidency.

Emanuel’s greatest “victory” before this one, of course, was the one upon which he earned his reputation: Getting a bunch of conserva-Dems elected in purple states in 2006, winning the party control of the House while at the same time crippling its progressive agenda. This is what Emanuel is all about. For him, victory is everything — even if you have to give up your core values to win, and even if you could have won while sticking to them.

* OK, I think I finally see the source of all our problems: Americans are totally indifferent to the suffering of others and think nothing bad will ever happen to them. Consider a survey by Yale climate change research scientist Anthony Leiserowitz. The survey asked Americans, “Who will be most harmed by climate change?” Respondents said that climate change would mostly affect:

• Plant and animal species: 45 percent
• Future generations of people: 44 percent
• People in developing countries: 31 percent
• People in other industrialized nations: 22 percent
• People in the United States: 21 percent
• Your local community: 13 percent
• Your family: 11 percent
• You personally: 10 percent

* And Roger Ailes: Judas!

AILES: Well, I don’t think they’re whining over nothing and I think they have — look, there’s legitimate complaints that they could have. And I’ve had this dialogue with David Axelrod, who I like very much and, there are legitimate areas. I mean, Chris [Wallace] said that, that’s his words, that’s what he believes, and he had reason to believe that. But I don’t think its helpful to say that.

Closing! All! My! Tabs!

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* Al Gore is coming to Duke this April.

* Arbitrarily defined political, social, and religious positionalities correlate with a measurement that doesn’t mean anything to prove people like me are smarter than everybody else. Science!

* For the doctors in the audience: A transit map of the human body.

* John Roberts, radical. Via MeFi.

For the past few years, I’ve been giving Roberts the benefit of the doubt, hoping that he meant it when he talked about the importance of putting the bipartisan legitimacy of the Court above his own ideological agenda. But, while Roberts talked persuasively about conciliation, it now appears that he is unwilling to cede an inch to liberals in the most polarizing cases. If Roberts continues this approach, the Supreme Court may find itself on a collision course with the Obama administration–precipitating the first full-throttle confrontation between an economically progressive president and a narrow majority of conservative judicial activists since the New Deal.

* This note shows that the aggregate fiscal expenditure stimulus in the United States, properly adjusted for the declining fiscal expenditure of the fifty states, was close to zero in 2009. While the Federal government stimulus prevented a net decline in aggregate fiscal expenditure, it did not stimulate the aggregate expenditure above its predicted mean. In other words, the federal stimulus primarily covered shortfalls in state budgets; it wasn’t new spending.

* Congratulations, Senate Republicans, on another historic benchmark.

* Another day, another set of outrageous lies from Fox News.

* Another academic career ruined by Facebook?

* Health care, they say, by Easter. Thirty-six Senators now support the reinserting the public option through reconciliation; here’s how they can bring it to a vote. Meanwhile, in the House, Pelosi only needs 216 votes. It’s still being reported that the House will act first.

* Steve Benen has a list of the additional Republican ideas that Obama now wants in the health care bill. I’m certain they now hate these ideas too. Quick, call a summit!

* On Nicole Kidman’s pre-existing conditions.

* When Sartre wrote for Hollywood.

* What Smith and [Stanley] Fish are doing is asking a stupid question — where are the Orders of the Cosmic Dictator? — and failing to note that there seems to be no evidence of a cosmic dictator, and his orders are merely pretenses put up by institutionalized frauds. And then they run about in circles, flailing their arms and screaming at the people who point out that there are no orders.

* How to resign from the Catholic Church.

* Lost landscapes of Detroit.

* A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things.

* Globalization, as seen through your taco.

* Rejoice: marriage equality in DC tomorrow.

* And please, leave Indy alone.

Tuesday Miscellany

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* Howard Dean: Kill the Senate bill. Markos Moulitsas: Insurance companies win. Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate. It falls to poor Matt Yglesias to declare victory. As I suggested earlier, my pragmatist streak will probably push me to support reform no matter how much Lieberman extracts, and Ezra Klein (still under fire for his rude reminder that policy has consequences) and Steve Benen make that pragmatist case here and here. Still, this rankles. I wouldn’t want anyone who matters (quiet, Ezra) to commit the unpardonable sin of being honest, but I’ll personally send Harry Reid a hundred dollars for his reelection if he turns around and uses reconciliation to pass the public option anyway just as soon as the current insurance reforms are passed.

* Much-needed good news: The DC City Council has endorsed marriage equality.

* Bad Astronomer tackles transporter metaphysics.

* More than 65 million years ago, a cataclysmic event drove a majority of the Earth’s species into extinction, and tragically, wiped out the last of the dinosaurs long before bazookas could be invented and used on them. (Thanks Russ!)

* io9 has the series bible for Batman: The Animated Series.

* And dueling reviews of Avatar insist it does and does not suck. (Thanks to Dan for the “suck” version. “Avatar is the corniest movie ever made about the white man’s need to lose his identity and assuage racial, political, sexual and historical guilt.” This I have to see.)

Late Night

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Late night.

* What is the jobless rate for people like you? Post-racial America is awesome. (via)

* Salman Rushdie totally doesn’t know his kryptonite.

* DC caught mishandling its recycling. (via)

D.C. law requires recycling at all city buildings, though the law appears to stop at the threshold of all alleys. There, behind businesses and apartment complexes all across the city, this sloppy ritual goes down with striking regularity: In a blur of asses and elbows, workers throw stuff from green containers, black containers, and blue containers in the same truck, creating a jumble of trash and recycling that can never be de-mingled.

* Behind The Men Who State at Goats. (via)

* Alan, who looks much younger than his 72 years, speaks in a meandering monotone, while Sylvia makes tea. “Sylvia is going to put arsenic in our tea.” It’s an ongoing joke, and one that gets to the nub of their problem. The cryonicists are not dying quickly enough, so the opportunity to hone their skills is limited. (via)

Written by gerrycanavan

November 10, 2009 at 5:14 am

Tuesday Night

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Tuesday night.

* I’ve had to remove the Amazon ads from the sidebar due to Amazon Associates now being taxed in North Carolina. I don’t know yet if I’ll bother replacing them with anything—they weren’t bringing in that much money. Direct donations still of course accepted.

* After something of a slow start with too many hi-I’m-reading-because posts, Infinite Summer is finally starting to heat up with good posts today on IJ and the Kenyon Commencement at Infinite Summer and Infinite Zombies.

* Promo for Dollhouse episode 13. Remember how I said Fred was now positioned to be either the show’s new lead or else next season’s Big Bad?

* Did the failed Watchmen adaptation hurt book sales? Occasional Fish has gathered some links suggesting it might have.

* Letterman couldn’t resist some jokes at Palin’s expense last night.

* New B-movie, coming this fall: They Saved Jackson’s Brain!

* Things you may not have known about the late Robert McNamara: he was the one who told the world about the hydrogen bomb buried in the swamp outside Goldsboro, NC. (Via Dave F.)

* The New Organizing Institute is having a mock election running superheroes for DC mayor. Of course I’ll be voting for Superman, but the Green Lantern‘s wholesale ripoff of the Obama aesthetic gives me pause.

* Also in superhero news: You’re a fun-loving, high-maintenance girl that grew up in a New Jersey suburb. You live close enough to New York City to want the clothes and the cosmopolitan lifestyle, but you’re not brave enough to move away from you over protective parents. What’s a girl to do? If you’re Zoe, you marry the first God of War that crash lands in town during a life or death struggle with his evil adversary! But, what happens when even an all-powerful God can’t exactly measure up to your elevated expectations? Jersey Gods.

* ASCII Portal.

Playing Catchup – 1

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Playing catchup with the day’s news.

* With Caroline Kennedy officially out of the Senate race in New York, WPIX is reporting that Kirsten Gillibrand will be Paterson’s pick. If that’s true, I’m shocked—I would have bet anything that Paterson would pick Andrew Cuomo to neutralize his chief potential rival.

* The Dark Knight: Snubbed!

* At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying powerful ICBMs (nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles). In the control room of the sub, the Daily Mail reports, “there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister. In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career … and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided.”

The decision? Whether or not to fire the sub’s missiles, capable of causing genocidal devastation in retaliation for an attack that would—should the safe and the letter need to be opened—have already visited nuclear destruction on Great Britain. The letter containing the prime minister’s posthumous decision (assuming he would have been vaporized by the initial attack on the homeland) is known as the Last Resort Letter. Via MeFi.

* Related: Did the Soviets really build a doomsday device?

* Having seen Frost/Nixon, I can confirm the film has serious factual problems.

* I can also confirm that the Phillips Collection is a great (and surprisingly large) collection near Dupont Circle.

* That Guardian list of 1000 novels has some siblings: 1000 films, 1000 artworks, 1000 albums.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 23, 2009 at 2:01 am

Photos from the Inauguration

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I’ll have a short piece in the Indy tomorrow about my experience in the crowd at the Mall, so for now I’ll limit myself to a few comments and some photos. We left Arlington a little later than we’d hoped—around 8:30—and so there was really not much chance to get into the Huge Crowd by the reflecting pool. (You can see in one of the photos just about as close as we got—past the Washington Monument there was just no going.) We settled in instead on 17th St NW right at the edge of the road, which turned out to be the perfect spot: not only was it right in front of a screen, but the cops were trying to keep 17th St clear and so no one was able to crowd in front of us.

There was a lot of waiting involved, but it was an amazing experience, if only to see Aretha Franklin belt out the best version of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” ever (land where my father died—she, too, sings America); to hear the loose live mic going out over the Mall for nearly the entire event; to see hilarious closed-captioning typos like “[CHEESE AND APPLAUSE]” and “♫ Threat ring”; trying to get an “underrated!” chant started after Jimmy Carter’s first appearance; and to hear Rev. Lowry’s show-stopping benediction:

‘Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around… when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen’…

And, you know, Obama. And Obamaniacs. I say this in the article, but it felt like liberation.

Now, of course, the real work begins.

Some of my best photos are of some nearby protesters, which I’ll have a separate post about. But for now, here’s a picture of our basic view:

A few of the people we shared the moment with:

Canadians! Who let them in?

Written by gerrycanavan

January 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Monday Midday

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Monday midday.

* Followup on the Google-search climate crisis: Google says it’s just not so. (via)

* The top 11 compounds in your drinking water.

• Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease

• Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union, but still used in the US, which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour

• Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, amongst other things

• Estrone, an oestrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish

• Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug

• Meprobamate, a tranquiliser widely used in psychiatric treatment

• Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence

• Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant that has been used to treat epilepsy

• Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used against the Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for tonsillitis and other diseases

• TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology

• Trimethoprim, another antibiotic

So gross. (Via Boing Boing.)

* Johann Hari in Slate considers environmentalism’s great divide: the romantics vs. the rationalists.

* Bruce Springsteen is playing a free concert in DC one day before I get there for the inauguration. There is no justice.

* And Hendrick Herztberg notes in The New Yorker that the Bush years offer, for the first time, a precise measurement of the number of people who can be fooled all of the time: 27%.

The President-elect’s performance can’t fully explain the public’s welcoming view of him. Part of it, surely, reflects an eagerness to be rid of the incumbent. A gangly Illinois politician whom “the base” would today label a RINo—a Republican in Name Only—once pointed out that you can fool some of the people all of the time. We now know how many “some” is: twenty-seven per cent. That’s the proportion of Americans who, according to CNN, cling to the belief that George W. Bush has done a good job. The wonder is that this number is still in the double digits, given his comprehensively disastrous record. During the eight years of the second President Bush, the unemployment rate went from 4.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent and climbing; consumer confidence dropped to an all-time low; a budget surplus of two hundred billion dollars became a deficit of that plus a trillion; more than a million families fell into poverty; the ranks of those without health insurance rose by six million; and the fruits of the nation’s economic growth went almost entirely to the rich, while family incomes in the middle and below declined. What role the Bush Administration’s downgrading of terrorism as a foreign-policy priority played in the success of the 9/11 attacks cannot be known, but there is no doubting its responsibility for the launching and mismanagement of the unprovoked war in Iraq, with all its attendant suffering; for allowing the justified war in Afghanistan to slide to the edge of defeat; and for the vertiginous worldwide decline of America’s influence, prestige, power, and moral standing.

(Via Matt Yglesias.)

National Mall as Metaphor

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The National Mall serves as a tragic metaphor for our nation, whose own infrastructure has been left to crumble. The irony is that the way that the National Mall has been allowed to crumble literally in front of the government is like how our nation has slowly crumbled while the government grows in size and power.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2008 at 4:03 am

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