Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Archive for December 2007

This Man Is Insane; Meet Your Next President

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After a tornado tore through Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 1997, Mike Huckabee refused to sign a disaster insurance bill for over three weeks because it used standard language that referred to natural disasters as “acts of God.” I am not shitting you. He really did this.

“While I realize that to some this is a minor issue, it is a matter of deep conscience with me to attribute in law a destructive and deadly force as being an ‘act of God,’ ” he eventually wrote to the bill’s sponsors, Young and Sen. Wayne Dowd. While acknowledging that “acts of God” was the “appropriate” legal term, he suggested the legislature substitute “natural disaster.”

This man is insane. Meet your next president. Via Washington Monthly.

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December 31, 2007 at 5:43 pm

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Top Ten Archeological Discoveries of 2007

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The top ten archeological discoveries in 2007, including one that will undoubtedly be of crucial importance for culturemonkey in the new year: chimpanzee use of tools is several thousand years old and may predate the human species entirely. Also via MetaFilter.

(Don’t forget, culturemonkey returns with a new mission statement and a new blogger on Jan. 2…)

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December 31, 2007 at 5:27 pm

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Climate Porn

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Photos from the year in climate, in Le Monde. Via MetaFilter.

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December 31, 2007 at 5:22 pm

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Dumbest Bush administration legal arguments of the year

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Slate has a nice list of the dumbest Bush administration legal arguments of the year, via Washington Monthly. Here’s #4: Nine U.S. attorneys were fired by nobody, but for good reason. And #5: Everyone who has ever spoken to the president about anything is barred from congressional testimony by executive privilege. And the all-time winner: The vice president’s office is not a part of the executive branch. Fear 2008…

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December 30, 2007 at 10:55 pm

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Support Randolph’s Finest – Harold and Kumar 2

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When we last discussed the sequel to Harold and Kumar, the Guantánamo plotline was making people rather unhappy:

Someone at the end of the screening called out at the end, “Gitmo is a real place. People are tortured there. It’s not funny.”

But don’t let someone yelling out at the end of the screening tell you what’s funny and what isn’t; decide for yourself with the new trailer for the new movie from hometown heroes Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg:

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December 30, 2007 at 3:58 pm

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More Harry Potter

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Congratulations to J.K. Rowling, who lasted nearly six months before hinting that she’ll write an eighth Harry Potter book after all.

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December 30, 2007 at 3:34 am

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Airport Security

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Is the wind finally shifting on airport security? I feel as though I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately like this one at the Times‘s new “Jet Lagged” blog:

No matter that a deadly sharp can be fashioned from virtually anything found on a plane, be it a broken wine bottle or a snapped-off length of plastic, we are content wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and untold hours of labor in a delusional attempt to thwart an attack that has already happened, asked to queue for absurd lengths of time, subject to embarrassing pat-downs and loss of our belongings.

Read the whole thing. Also via M.Y.

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December 29, 2007 at 11:02 pm

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Of course they’re scams

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Are hedge funds scams? Dean P. Foster and H. Peyton Young report in the Washington Post. Via Matt Yglesias.

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December 29, 2007 at 10:53 pm

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Crimes Against the Future

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From that same MetaFilter thread, lodurr points to some interesting speculation I’d never seen before about the possibility of “climate trials” and “the tobaccofication of carbon.”

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December 29, 2007 at 10:43 pm

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Get Thee Behind Me, Satan

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The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism, reports the always 100% accurate Daily Mail. The Vatican has denied it, but of course they’d have to—the war with the forces of darkness must always be waged in secret

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December 29, 2007 at 6:46 pm

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Durham Drought Update

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2007 was a year of extreme weather across the board, not least of which was the ongoing southeastern drought, likely to reach crisis proportions in 2008. Both links via MeFi.

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December 29, 2007 at 6:35 pm

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News for a Saturday (UPDATED)

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*Here’s a list of 2008 genre movies to complement the wider list I linked to the other day.

* When Letterman returns next week, he’ll be the only late show on the air with writers—Worldwide Pants made a separate deal with the writers’ union that will allow him to return with union approval. I have to say, this doesn’t help my uneasiness with what John Stewart and Colbert are doing one bit. (UPDATE: The Deadline Hollywood blog has a comprehensive, well-thought-out post about what the Letterman side deal could mean for the WGA, the AMPTP, and for Leno and his writers. Check it out.)

* And in Massive Nerd news, Joe Quesada has finally done what he’s always wanted and eliminated Peter Parker’s marriage from continuity. (Even the story’s own writer thinks it’s stupid.) Now Peter Parker and Mary Jane were never married in the first place, and everyone in the Spider-Man comics has either been de-aged or else we’ve traveled back in time. As is common with these sorts of retcons and reboots, it’s pretty unclear what’s supposed to have happened in the past or what is actually going on now. In other words, Marvel continuity at last is as ugly and convoluted as DC’s. And the nerds are pissed about it.

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December 29, 2007 at 1:11 pm

O Brave New World!

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Slouching towards posthumanity: They’ve invented a drug to replace sleep.

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December 28, 2007 at 8:14 pm

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Fusing the Lovecraftian with the Kafkaesque

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Boing Boing links to Terminus, a short film from Canada’s Trevor Cawood about the oppressive, self-alienating quality of contemporary life that wonderfully fuses the Lovecraftian with the Kafkaesque.

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December 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm

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Apocalyplock

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This New York Times pan of Doomsday Men: The Real Dr. Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon winds up being a pretty interesting profile of Leo Szilard, the man who came up with the idea for the hypothetical cobalt bomb Kubrick used in Dr. Strangelove. Meanwhile, Posthuman Blues’s best of 2007 post has allowed me (and now you) to catch up on a very interesting blog I only just started reading, including (just for example) this YouTube clip on catastrophism in the fiction of J.G. Ballard.

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December 28, 2007 at 4:44 pm