Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth


with 5 comments

* Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 336.

Aside from the question of whether the crisis would have been so acute in the first place, a labor-oriented Democratic Party almost certainly would have demanded a bigger stimulus in 2009. It would have fought hard for “cramdown” legislation to help distressed homeowners, instead of caving in to the banks that wanted it killed. It would have resisted the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman. These and other choices would have helped the economic recovery and produced a surge of electoral energy far beyond Obama’s first few months. And since elections are won and lost on economic performance, voter turnout, and legislative accomplishments, Democrats probably would have lost something like 10 or 20 seats last November, not 63. Instead of petering out after 18 months, the Obama era might still have several years to run.

* Duke is number 9 of the 10 Greenest Colleges in America.

* Another Detroit obituary.

* Sarah Palin’s sockpuppet Facebook account.

* Syllogism watch: “If Dick Lugar,” Danforth said, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

* Have I done this one before? Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator. I clicked on it enough times to get a few he’s actually said.

* Headline of the day (category: airy whimsy): What happens when you stick your head in a particle accelerator.

* Headline of the day (category: existential horror): Dead Baby Dolphins Washing Up Along Gulf Coast at 10 Times Normal Rates.

5 Responses

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  1. that kevin drum article is really annoying – he basically makes union decline the new left’s fault, with token reference to “stagflation, globalization, and the decay of manufacturing” which…somehow…correlate with the decline of unions all over the world, not just the US. it’s a perfect example of why liberal pragmatism is incapable of comprehending conflict — he creates a kind of tunnel vision. first there’s more token references to history, to how the unions were anti-feminist, anti-communist, pro-US imperialism, didn’t care about the environment, and were seriously mixed on civil rights, then under the guise of value-neutrality he reduces all of that to the domino-like cause of the unions’ ‘weakness.’ if they were only more ‘muscular’ — if all the left had just chilled out and submitted to union leadership — things would have been less bad for everyone.

    yes the left needs unity, but he totally misses that in wisconsin there IS already a great deal of unity. in fact the main internal drag is caused not by black enviro-anarcho-feminazi militants but by the unions themselves, who opened by conceding benefit cuts (which didn’t work) and now the biggest one (the teacher’s union) ended walkouts.


    February 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    • It seemed more mutual to me than that — his version of history is that the New Left and the unions never formed a strong coalition, and were instead divided along fault lines the GOP could easily exploit. This in turn makes the Democrats more dependent on business money, which in turn accelerates the rise of neoliberalism in the U.S. I don’t think he blames either party, really, he just points to the bad results.

      It’s not the whole story, but the narrative he’s describing is basically correct, isn’t it?


      February 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  2. though for the most part, the unions are kicking ass:

    The strike could affect schools, governments and private businesses, but crucial life-and-death services would not be interrupted, Aniel said Tuesday morning.
    “It doesn’t mean that everyone is going to stop working on a particular moment or day,” Aniel said. “It means that we are preparing so that the decisions are made in a very significantly different way so that it protects the people of Wisconsin.”
    But some services would be shut down, he said. The labor group would still have to determine which services would be shut down, he added.
    “If it was decided the governor’s mansion really wasn’t that important and it wasn’t that important to heat it or give it electricity or to guard it, then those things wouldn’t happen,” Aniel said.


    February 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm

  3. he blames them because they brought it up. the story is this thing happened to the unions that they were not sensitive to. mixed into the whole article is an apology for that un-pc insensitivity — the new left issues are introduced as privileged concerns, defanged, and interspersed with left-baiting clichés of campus frivolity (“shaggy kids, newly assertive women, and goo-goo academics,” “bred in at least modest comfort,” “used drugs,” into the “sexual revolution”). then at the end of the article he lumps white male labor’s resistance to the new left and its resistance to big business together into a general hard-headedness that “America needs”:

    “The heart and soul of liberalism is economic egalitarianism. Without it, Wall Street will continue to extract ever vaster sums from the American economy, the middle class will continue to stagnate, and the left will continue to lack the powerful political and cultural energy necessary for a sustained period of liberal reform. For this to change, America needs a countervailing power as big, crude, and uncompromising as organized labor used to be.”

    yes the victories and critiques of the new left groups are mentioned vaguely and euphemistically but their significance is glossed over in favor of “economic populism,” as if the former were just epiphenomenal to the latter, like women and blacks only wanted to express themselves and had no economic demands. i guess it’s crude to say he’s defending this image of a white male industrial labor left against an earth mother hippy left, but he kind of is.


    February 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    • and no, the narrative is not correct because he doesn’t put anywhere near enough emphasis on the things “stagflation, globalization, and the decay of manufacturing” are euphemisms for. the labor unions didn’t fall apart primarily because of this u.s.-centric narrative of infighting. they were always a compromise solution between labor and capital and their days were always numbered.


      February 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

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