Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Tuesday Night Wrapup

with 14 comments

* From the too-good-to-check file: Samuel Beckett Used to Drive André the Giant to School, All They Talked About Was Cricket.

* This scandal has everything! Jeb Bush caught up in LEGO-related corporate corruption.

* The new UC logo may be done with Aaron Bady, but Aaron Bady is not yet done with the UC logo.

* Today in how we are doomed.

* Today in Kirk/Spock slash: On “The Footnote.”

* Louis C.K. vs. Vanity Fair.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Not ever having to fill out this questionnaire.

Increasingly extreme weather is worsening food insecurity, displacement and other problems for rural families in Bangladesh, effectively robbing them of basic human rights, argues a report released on Monday.

Chicago Sets Record For Consecutive DaysWithout Snow.

* Study finds half of those shot by police are mentally ill.

To be a philistine, before we dismiss the possibility of major public support for the humanities, we need to picture ourselves with money.  Humanities faculty, I suggested in Austin, should then come together to design the proper infrastructure–staff research support, research-learning undergraduate courses, the copy writing, editing, and printing facilities, the relationships with institutional advancement, the distribution channels, travel and meetings, conference circulation and return invitations, the whole ensemble of people and activities that define healthy, modern, and socially valuable research divisions. We need to cost it out at each of our institutions. Then we need to enlist chairs, deans, and administrations to develop a multi-year plan to make this redevelopment happen.

Every day, offenders are sent out to perform high-risk police operations with few legal protections. Some are juveniles, occasionally as young as fourteen or fifteen. Some operate through the haze of addiction; others, like Hoffman, are enrolled in state-mandated treatment programs that prohibit their association with illegal drugs of any kind. Many have been given false assurances by the police, used without regard for their safety, and treated as disposable pawns of the criminal-justice system.

* Michigan is your next flashpoint for the war on labor.

* Things From Thomas More’s Utopia That Have Come True Today.

It’s not that I think liberals support torture. No, I think liberals want to be forced to support torture. What liberals want is ultimately to do what conservative hawks want to do, but only after experts and leaders assure them that they have no choice. They want extreme events to make the choice for them.

image-of-the-day-know-you* Hobbit Dwarves Cheat Sheet.

* Do we live in a computer simulation? UW researchers say idea can be tested.

* ‘The despair that I felt was overwhelming’: on teaching in a New Orleans charter school.

* SEK: Against (the late) Springsteen.

“A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be,” Tranter said with a laugh.

Is an education crisis good for business? As the Ed Week reporter cited above pointed out, “There are market trends that support that theory. The commercial education market grew significantly in the past four years, but no segment grew faster than instruction and services. Companies like the virtual learning providers K12 Inc. and Connections Academy, or the publishers-turned-service-providers Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, fit that bill.”

* Calvin v. Santa.

* Oh, there it is.

* Bill Clinton concedes the drug war hasn’t worked. Gasp!

* “Jedi” is the most popular alternative faith in England.

* And Man of Steel trailer releaZZZZzzzzzz…

14 Responses

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  1. “I think liberals want to be forced to support torture.”

    Call me dense, but I find myself wondering what political population this blogger considers him/herself to be a part of? Clearly not a conservative, and I would guess not one of those torture-curious liberals. I would have asked on the blog entry, but for some reason comments are disabled.

    By the way, there’s a good counterargument here:


    December 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    • I think he would describe himself as a leftist or a socialist, to the left of the liberals and with significantly different assumptions about the market and democracy than liberals tend to have.


      December 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      • I don’t find that to be much of a counterargument to deBoer — it’s exactly what he’s talking about. Lying to claim that torture was effective necessarily frames the question from a pro-torture perspective.


        December 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      • OK. I guess I think of the people this guy calls “liberals” as “Democrats”, and the people further to the left as progressives or socialists. Regardless, I am puzzled by his willingness to make assumptions about the political affiliations of those who disagree with him about the artistic merit of a film he hasn’t even seen. It seems like a bit of a stretch.


        December 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      • It is a counterargument because it explicitly challenges the claim that the film is “lying to claim that torture was effective”. There are three pieces to this: 1) it is not clear how the events of the film differ from reality, because all the details of what actually happened in the hunt for bin Laden are not publicly known; 2) if the events of the film are in contradiction to the facts, it’s not clear how intentional Boal & Bigelow were in straying from those facts (it takes intention to make something a lie rather than a mistake); 3) there appears to be quite a lot of room for opinion about whether the movie depicts that initial torture scene as crucial to the later success of the mission. People were, in fact, tortured as part of the hunt for bin Laden, and I would not be surprised if occasional pieces of real information surfaced as a result. But I agree with Carson that even if that is true, it is not a justification for committing such atrocities. And without seeing the film, I am not inclined to judge if it condones the torture or not, particularly when even people who’ve seen it don’t agree on this point.


        December 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      • With respect to one and two, that’s hardly a point in the film’s favor; given a choice between two narratives it chooses the “torture is effective” one. With respect to three, this again is Freddie’s point: liberals want to reluctantly agonize over a question that (from my perspective at least) has a clear, direct, and undeniable right answer.

        As a separate retort to three, the NY Times review indicates that the film frames the torture as payback irrespective of its effectiveness, which morally is even uglier.


        December 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

  2. I read DeBoer’s article, and I’m not clear on what his point is or how he reasons there. Liberals don’t support torture, but in reality, they want to support torture, and the proof of that is how uncomfortable they say they are with torture? What is he trying to say here? What would evidence that rebutted his thesis about the liberal mind look like?


    December 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    • Well, I think it’s certainly fair to say he’s framing the issue in a particular way, but the way he’s framed it I think the countervailing evidence would be “liberals stop acting like torture is some deeply fraught philosophical issue on which reasonable minds can disagree.” He views the existence of this wide (and widening) genre of popular torture fantasy as evidence that our politics are deeply broken.


      December 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      • As well as, of course, the fact that the US actually does torture people now and there’s essentially no opposition to it.


        December 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      • I don’t see a lot of evidence of that, and the only citation in the article is to a Spencer Ackerman post that doesn’t at all look like an argument that “reasonable minds can disagree” about torture. Even if it were otherwise, I don’t see how acknowledging that an issue is a difficult one or that someone might reasonably disagree with you means that you secretly or subconsciously want to be convinced of the position you don’t hold.


        December 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      • Well, that’s fine if you don’t agree with him — I disagree with him all the time. But I’m sympathetic to the claim here that something gone wrong with a political ideology that finds “no torture” is just another starting point for bipartisan negotiation. And if you shared his view of liberalism (as plainly you don’t) you’d agree that the inevitable consequence of a liberal declaring an issue up for debate is finding a middle ground for a reasonable compromise.

        It’s a polemical framing, not a fact-based study, so there’s no citations for how liberals think other than his assertion. You can find it persuasive or not…


        December 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

  3. It’s a polemical framing, not a fact-based study, so there’s no citations for how liberals think other than his assertion. You can find it persuasive or not…

    Yeah, I find it unpersuasive because it’s based on unsubstantiated assertions. But I understand that a lot of political commentary — leftist, liberal, conservative, libertarian, whatever — is just about preaching to your echo chamber, rather than trying to make an argument. There is some value in that, I suppose, though — da dum — it’s a matter on which reasonable people can disagree.


    December 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm

  4. Holy shit! New “A Lesson Is Learned!” Oh frabjous day!


    December 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

  5. […] * Freddie deBoer has a new post with a list of liberals who want to be forced to endorse torture if anyone is still interested in fighting about that. […]

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