Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘11-dimensional chess

Sandy Politics

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GOP Congressman Warns Of Hurricane Sandy Relief Aid Going Towards ‘Gucci Bags.’ Kudos on waiting almost a whole day before starting in with this bullshit. I saw a woman driving through the flooded streets of New York in a Cadillac! Your tax dollars at work!

Chris Christie’s plays eleven-dimensional chess? #3 is hilarious—this is all just part of a desperate lifelong quest for Bruce Springsteen’s approval!—but I still think the real answer is that Christie knows New Jersey’s only real chance for federal relief is under an Obama administration (which is looking more and more inevitable, anyway). The 2016 thing might work in a novel, but the real Christie’s savvy enough to know he can’t win a GOP primary in either 2016 or 2020.

None of this is a criticism of Christie, by the way; I don’t think he’s a very good governor, but he’s doing a fine job on Sandy as far as I can tell.

…the denial that disasters have anything to do with politics is in itself a denial of reality.

“Three of the top 10 highest floods at the Battery since 1900 happened in the last two and a half years. If that’s not a wake-up call to take this seriously, I don’t know what is.”

* And just grab something: disaster relief, the Romney way...

Friday Links

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* Credit where it’s due: despite my fears, Obama’s contraception judo turned out to be a genuinely inspired solution that gives everyone what they want. As I and others have been saying on Twitter, this whole thing is a good reminder that for all his other faults there’s almost no one better than Obama at campaigning. I don’t know if the trap was planned or if he just played a bad hand well, but either way this now looks a rare case of actually existing eleven-dimensional chess.

* Esquire has some new maps of the United States in 2012. The tour-de-force is #4: “The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion.” Via MeFi.

* Police composite sketches of literary characters. Via Kottke. Below: Humbert Humbert.

* Disappointing Springsteen song to accompany disappointing president on the campaign trail.

* Judge rules penniless Ghost Rider creator owes Marvel Comics $17K.

* Obligatory Republican primary links: Even At CPAC, Conservatives Seem Despondent About 2012 Choices.

* And Nate Silver invades your dreams: The Bettor’s Case for Santorum.

Thursday Links

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* Today is our last day discussing John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up, and conveniently the headline at io9 right now reads “Gonorrhea is becoming untreatable.” The prophecy was true!

 In an 8-1 vote, the City Council of Greensboro, North Carolina approved a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Greensboro joins Raleigh and Chapel Hill all in opposition to Amendment 1, which comes to a vote on May 8. The Durham City Council opposes the measure too.

* 16 Things Super Bowl Ads Would Like You to Know About Women in 2012.

* Steve Jobs’s FBI file. Academic pro-tip: when beginning research on anyone who is deceased you should immediately request their FBI file.

* Bad news folks: Obama Has Put America On ‘The Path’ Of Executing Religious People By Decapitation.

* In an interesting piece at An und für sich, Adam Kotsko tries to dive beneath the politics and explain just why it is the Catholic hierarchy is so interested in birth control.

I propose that the answer can be found in a historic compromise set forth by one of the most influential thinkers you’ve never heard of: namely, Clement of Alexandria, a second-century Christian philosopher.

* From David Graeber—Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges.

Surely you must recognize, when it’s laid out in this fashion, that this is precisely the sort of language and argument that, historically, has been invoked by those encouraging one group of people to physically attack, ethnically cleanse, or exterminate another—in fact, the sort of language and argument that is almost never invoked in any other circumstance. After all, if a group is made up exclusively of violent fanatics who cannot be reasoned with, intent on our destruction, what else can we really do? This is the language of violence in its purest form. Far more than “fuck the police.” To see this kind of language employed by someone who claims to be speaking in the name of non-violence is genuinely extraordinary.

Facebook has found a way to make money from its new Timeline feature less than five months after launching it, repackaging what people “listen” to, “watch,” and “read” into ads and delivering them to their friends.

* Tomorrow’s TV Tropes today: my friend @drbluman finds another example of Sitcom Entropy, the inexorable law of nature that shows how sitcoms degrade in quality over time.

* Arizona Law SB 1467 Would Make It Illegal to Teach Law, History, or Literature, or for Teachers to Have Sex, or Pee.

* And James Fallows attempts to explain Obama.

This is the central mystery of his performance as a candidate and a president. Has Obama in office been anything like the chess master he seemed in the campaign, whose placid veneer masked an ability to think 10 moves ahead, at which point his adversaries would belatedly recognize that they had lost long ago? Or has he been revealed as just a pawn—a guy who got lucky as a campaigner but is now pushed around by political opponents who outwit him and economic trends that overwhelm him?

What’s Wrong with the Post Office?

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But what has been lost in the political debate over the Post Office is why it is losing this money. Major media coverage points to the rise of email or Internet services and the inefficiency of the post model as the major culprits. While these factors may cause some fiscal pain, almost all of the postal service’s losses over the last four years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006.

At the very end of that year, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under PAEA, USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.”

As consumer advocate Ralph Nader noted, if PAEA was never enacted, USPS would actually be facing a $1.5 billion surplus today:

By June 2011, the USPS saw a total net deficit of $19.5 billion, $12.7 billion of which was borrowed money from Treasury (leaving just $2.3 billion left until the USPS hits its statutory borrowing limit of $15 billion). This $19.5 billion deficit almost exactly matches the $20.95 billion the USPS made in prepayments to the fund for future retiree health care benefits by June 2011. If the prepayments required under PAEA were never enacted into law, the USPS would not have a net deficiency of nearly $20 billion, but instead be in the black by at least $1.5 billion.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 29, 2011 at 11:20 am

‘What We’re Finding Out Is That Obama’s Pathologically Pro-Establishment and Conflict-Averse DNA Was Funded by Party Insiders and Embraced by Liberal Constituency Groups in 2008 for a Reason’

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Via the comments, it’s very hard to think a stronger warning sign for Democrats than a sentence like this one:

George W. Bush’s approval rating didn’t drop this low until Katrina hit.

The piece as a whole is the strong case for dumping Obama from the ticket:

Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you’d have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.

If would be one thing if Obama were failing because he was too close to party orthodoxy. Yet his failures have come precisely because Obama has not listened to Democratic Party voters. He continued idiotic wars, bailed out banks, ignored luminaries like Paul Krugman, and generally did whatever he could to repudiate the New Deal. The Democratic Party should be the party of pay raises and homes, but under Obama it has become the party of pay cuts and foreclosures. Getting rid of Obama as the head of the party is the first step in reverting to form.

Historically, primarying a sitting president is tantamount to just giving the presidency to whomever the other side nominates. But if it’s Romney, given the extent of the Obama disaster, that’s a tradeoff that could potentially be reasonable; Romney would likely just be a more effective version of Obama, putting forth generally the same sorts of policies without the scorched-earth opposition from the other side. Let Romney 45 govern like Bush 41 and regroup for 2016/2020.

If it’s Perry, Bachmann, or Palin, on the other hand, rolling over seems completely suicidal, no matter how bad Obama is and will continue to be.

Of course, on the third hand, even if he remains on the ticket it’s increasingly hard to see how Obama gets reelected under these circumstances at all. Recalling Rortybomb’s well-linked post about the difference between losing badly and losing well, defeat with dignity is better than defeat without it.

GOP Outmaneuvered, Raising the White Flag?

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The harsh words I had for Obama in the previous post may have to be revisited if this report from TPM is accurate: But Senate Minority Leader has just suggested the GOP will give President Obama his debt limit increase without any spending cuts with a legislative maneuver that in essence allows Republicans to say it’s all Obama’s fault.

UPDATE: Grassroots and activist conservatives are freaking out, but elites (Grover Norquist!) are on board.

UPDATE 2: David Kurtz: Time for Obama to declare victory.

The Republicans via Mitch McConnell just balked in an epic, paradigm-shifting way that could finally shift the long-moldering debate on fiscal policy. The debt ceiling negotiations have revealed one of the bedrock foundational elements of the GOP platform — spending cuts are the only way to balance the budget — to be built on the shifting sands of political expediency.

Obama needs to quickly move to declare victory in this thirty-year debate on taxes. Do it now, with the biggest, wickedest grin he can muster while Republicans are in disarray fighting amongst themselves.

The curtain has been pulled back. The wizard has been revealed as a small insecure man. But in Washington no one will acknowledge even a seminal moment unless you grab ahold of it and declare it as such.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm