Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth


with 12 comments

* 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.

12 Responses

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  1. I hate to be so humorless, but the Bush administration really did commit war crimes. It’s not crazy to say so.


    September 17, 2010 at 11:09 am

    • So has the Obama administration.


      September 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      • I agree.


        September 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

  2. i hate to criticize an article that urges boomers to die sooner, but i’d appreciate it if they could keep the oedipal self-loathing to a minimum on their way out — i haven’t read a single one of these episodes that didn’t fall back on right-wing cliches to belittle everything good that happened in the last 50 years.


    September 17, 2010 at 11:55 am

  3. Re: Bush/Obama equivalency, see Dave Weigel’s piece where he compares the “extreme” candidates of 06 to the “extreme” candidates of 10. The 06 folks just opposed the Iraq War, while the 10 ones are actually literally insane, but…


    September 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

  4. I’m really not going to get behind this “Tea Partiers are just poor Republicans” meme. Here’s a sample from the new Iowa Republican platform (which, given the current state of Republicanism, we can regard as a Tea Party-style platform):

    “The function of law is to protect the free exercise of a person’s God-given rights: life, liberty, and the right to property (pursuit of happiness)
    We call for the repeal of all mandatory minimum-wage laws.
    We call for reinstating, with proper safeguards, the death penalty for murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and drug dealers, with a firm limit of twenty-four months for appeals and no intrusion of federal authorities.
    We believe that claims of human-caused global warming are based on fraudulent, inaccurate information, and that legislation and policy based on this information are detrimental to the well-being of the United States.
    We believe all individuals and business owners have the freedom to choose the quality of air in their homes and establishments.
    We call for the elimination of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
    We support the elimination of the Iowa Department of Education and of the U.S. Department of Education.
    We support the abolition of the IRS.
    We call for the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act, eliminating the Federal Reserve, and we support returning to the gold and/or silver standard.
    We believe candidates running as Republicans for any local or state office should be required to complete and return to the Republican Party of Iowa a signed questionnaire indicating whether the candidate agrees, disagrees, or is undecided about each plank of the current party platform”

    How are you going to tell me there’s no significant ideological differences with that and the former Republican party? Can you imagine Reagan proposing the death penalty for kidnappers and drug dealers (at least, within the U.S.)? Yeah, there are Republicans who have always espoused all of these beliefs. But they’ve never (or at least not in a long time) been the core of the party. There was a time (three years ago) when liberals mocked Bill O’Reilly for saying, “Maybe global warming exists; maybe it doesn’t. But if there’s schmutz in the air, we should clean up the schmutz.” He’d be a heretic for the right if he said that today.

    Call it what you want: non-elite Republicanism (what the fuck does that even mean? a new power bloc is a new power bloc, and it’s always elite, even if it wants to burn books), Republican extremism, Fascism. And yeah, we all know that the former elite is willing to drop a megaton bomb on a civilian population or ship out the foreigners, and that they’ll try and do it with aristocratic charm (, but the moment we’re in is different than any other national moment, at least since McCarthyism, and we shouldn’t underestimate the differences – both of ideology and of style – that the Tea Party is bringing to the fore. Maybe it’s the final send-off to Reaganism: that would be a good thing; maybe it’s the inauguration of something worse. I don’t know. But it’s not simply more of the same.


    September 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    • Some of those things seem newly radical, but others of them have been the way Republicans have talked amongst themselves for decades. (Think of things like Reagan’s promises that Medicare would lead to the extinction of freedom itself.) All that’s new, really, is the mainstreaming of this discourse into the public sphere through outlets like Fox.

      We believe all individuals and business owners have the freedom to choose the quality of air in their homes and establishments.

      I’m surprised they’re afraid to use the word “smoking” here.


      September 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      • All that’s new, really, is the mainstreaming of this discourse into the public sphere through outlets like Fox

        And you don’t think that’s a significant shift, in itself? I’m with Zizek on this: if people are saying x in private because it’s taboo, it means something completely different than if they’re saying it in public because there’s no shame any longer. Bill O’Reilly used to be the fringe of the Republican Party, and people to the right of him were simply crackpots.


        September 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      • Is quality of air just about smoking? Or does it dovetail with their hatred of OSHA? Does it include things like liveable temperatures, air circulation guidelines, etc.?


        September 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    • Surprising: Other capital crimes include: the use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, espionage, terrorism, certain violations of the Geneva Conventions that result in the death of one or more persons, and treason at the federal level; aggravated rape in Louisiana, Florida,[41] and Oklahoma; extortionate kidnapping in Oklahoma; aggravated kidnapping in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and South Carolina; aircraft hijacking in Alabama; drug trafficking resulting in a person’s death in Connecticut and Florida;[42] train wrecking which leads to a person’s death, and perjury which leads to a person’s death in California.

      I can tell you that this is definitely working as a strong deterrent to my desire to cause train wrecks, though my need to commit perjury remains unchecked.


      September 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    • It must be code for anti-smoking laws, right? Is there some other “air quality” issue that’s politically useful?

      And you don’t think that’s a significant shift, in itself? I’m with Zizek on this: if people are saying x in private because it’s taboo, it means something completely different than if they’re saying it in public because there’s no shame any longer.

      Well, you’re shifting a bit from the original statement of “no significant ideological differences,” but I do agree that this is a significant shift that has a lot to do with new media technologies and a lot to do with increasing panic over visibly shifting demographics. I do think the Tea Party half of the GOP is emboldened and radicalized in ways that are pretty deeply disturbing whether they win in November or not — but I tend to think it’s more that the lunatics have taken over the asylum and the party establishment can’t control them anymore, and not that some new right-wing ideology has emerged. They were always talking like this; it’s just that their leaders used to be full of shit on most of it, and now they’re true believers.

      The terrain for protecting (middle-class) (white) (male) (Christian) (Boomer) privilege isn’t all that different now than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. They’re still mad at all the same people about all the same things.


      September 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      • The difference in ideology/difference in tenor amounts to the same thing: a far more vociferous group that’s likely to pass far more reactionary policy than their predecessors. And to me, all that counts about ideology is what it is likely to produce.


        September 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

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