Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Arlen Specter

Midday Monday Whatnot

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Scary Thought

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…from Kevin Drum:

Real heroes of HCR: Pat Toomey and Club for Growth. Without them, Specter stays in GOP and Dems only have 59 votes. Thanks, Pat!

Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm

‘As a Last, Last, Last, Resort’

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Nobody’s talking about it,, but at least the ambitious senior senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, hasn’t forgotten about reconciliation.

SPECTER: Well as I have said I would consider that as a last, last, last, resort. I think that the institutional safeguard of 60 votes is a very important one. … [M]oving away from that institutional 60 votes is something I think would be a last, last, last resort. You might have to fight fire with fire when there are so many filibusters. The number is now 81. And a lot of nominations are being blocked and action is being blocked. …

On the issue of fighting fire with fire, maybe so, but I think that we are not going to come to this. I think we can muster the 60 votes and not have to face the reconciliation.

Q: Senator if I have this correctly, as a last resort, you would not oppose using reconciliation…

SPECTER: As a last, last, last, resort I would consider it, yeah.

I guess I missed it, but apparently Reid called it an “option” at the big press conference on Monday as well. Glad to see it.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 29, 2009 at 3:05 am

Wednesday!

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Wednesday!

* I have a review in the Indy this week of Lucas Hilderbrand’s Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright. Keywords: copyright Constitution Buffy pornography Superstar Mystery Science Theater 3000.

* Cases for and against Buffy without Joss.

* Sarah Connor creator: I won’t be back.

* Some days I think Marvel just doesn’t get women. Via MeFi.

* theauteurs.com: Streaming video of Criterion Collection films. (via Vu)

* And the year of Senatorial madness shows no sign of ending: Joe Sestak intends to unseat Arlen and Burris’s scumbaggery is caught on tape.

Dump Harry Reid

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I would be heartened by these sinking Harry Reid poll numbers—perhaps finally the Democrats can get a real Majority Leader—if I had any confidence that the Dems wouldn’t go and put someone like Ben Nelson in charge. This is a no-brainer, folks: the Senate majority leader should be a dyed-in-the-wool, take-no-prisoners liberal from an incredibly safe seat in New England, not twist-in-the-wind compromisers from swing states with skin-of-your-teeth electoral margins. Mind-blowing, I know. You don’t see Republicans giving Snowe, Collins, or Specter positions in the leadership.

…Oh God. They’re going to make Specter Majority Leader, aren’t they.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm

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You Have to Earn It

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You have to earn it: ‘Senate Democrats Deny Specter Committee Seniority.’ Not sure if Specter’s latest flub had any role in this, but it’s safe to say that Arlen’s not impressing.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 6, 2009 at 3:00 am

Monday Tidbits

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Monday tidbits.

* Early polls out of the Senate race in Pennsylvania, post Specter-shuffle.

* An end to the Boston Globe? (UPDATE: No?)

* Bibles and scripts from your favorite TV shows: 1, 2. (Via Zack.)

* Condition your child the Darrow way. (Via Neil.)

Written by gerrycanavan

May 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Sunday!

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Sunday!

* Your attention please: Arlen Specter would like you to know he is not a loyal Democrat.

* ‘The Politics of Climate Hacking: What happens if one country decides to start geo-engineering on its own?’

“This is not at all hard to do,” Granger told the audience, declaring that “a single large nation”—especially a nuclear power, which might act with relative impunity—could easily exercise the option. A run of bad news from the climate scientists might convince a government that the breakup of the Greenland ice sheet was accelerating, and that Earth’s low-lying areas were facing an imminent rise of 3 feet or more in sea level. “If, say, a Huckabee administration suddenly woke up and started geoengineering the planet, what could anybody else do about it?” Morgan asked. (One could equally envision a left-leaning, low-lying European nation with the same inclination.) Geoengineering “turns the normal debate over climate change on its head,” he and some co-authors wrote recently in Foreign Affairs. Getting nations to agree to cut their greenhouse pollution has proved to be the ultimate free-rider problem, as the biggest nations must all cooperate or the planet will keep getting warmer. The Pinatubo option creates the opposite dilemma: As the discussions in Lisbon made clear, any of a dozen nations could change the global temperature all by itself.

It’s becoming increasingly clear, I think, that international political actors view geo-engineering as the option of first resort; there are still no serious coordinated efforts to reduce carbon emission, so radical a dereliction of duty as to amount to a suicide pact—unless they’ve convinced themselves they can jury-rig some ad hoc solution as the crisis escalates.

* See also: the world, 4 degrees warmer and An Introduction to Global Warming Impacts: Hell and High Water. All via MeFi.

* Alain Badiou on the communist hypothesis.

“But that reduces your communist adherence to nothing more than a faith! Rather than look at its practical impact upon the twentieth century, you just say, ‘Oh, well, that wasn’t pure, it wasn’t true to the idea, but I know the idea itself remains right.’ That’s a form of faith.”

“Maybe, but faith is a great thing sometimes.”

* Does DC own Superboy again? Via io9.

* Join Alex Greenberg on a trip to the retro-future.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Supreme Court Vacancy Roundup

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Supreme Court vacancy roundup.

* Unexpected procedural quicksand in the Senate Judiciary Committee could make it harder to get a nominee through now than if Arlen Specter hadn’t switched parties.

* Conservatives have had their eye on top contender Sonia Sotomayor for some time.

* Primary flashback: Obama on his ideal nominee.

* “White men need not apply.” Yeah! When will we get our turn?

Written by gerrycanavan

May 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Souter Steps Down

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MSNBC reporting now that David Souter is stepping down from the Supreme Court. Holy smokes. What a week.

UPDATE: Discussion threads at Daily Kos (1, 2), Talking Points Memo, MetaFilter, MyDD, Politco. My commentary is limited entirely to silly quips on Twitter at the moment, but I sincerely hope Obama recognizes that Supreme Court appointments are not a time to play it safe. 60 senators (hey Arlen), height of his popularity—time to go nuts.

More tomorrow.

UPDATE 2: Already seeing a lot of buzz around Sonia Sotomayor.

UPDATE 3: More names from SCOTUSblog: “The three obvious candidates are Elena Kagan (SG), Sonia Sotomayor (CA2), and Diane Wood (CA7). The sleeper candidate is Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.”

UPDATE 4: Wikipedia is on the case.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 1, 2009 at 1:57 am

Wednesday Is the Day I Historically Post Links

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Wednesday is the day I historically post links.

* It all finally makes sense; Michele Bachmann says the crazy things she says because she comes from an alternate universe where Jimmy Carter was president in 1976.

* Also in alternate-universe news: South Korean scientists claim to have cloned glowing dogs.

* Tough times in the mother country.

* They’re turning Margaret Atwood’s (very good) Payback into a full-length documentary about debt.

* “Crazy” Joe Biden was a key figure in the Arlen Specter party switch. Now who’s laughing?

* The headline reads: “Student, 11, steps up to lead school band when budget constraints leave PS 37 without band teacher.” Get this kid a scholarship anywhere he wants to go, and pour some real money into public schools already.

* The eleven most endangered historic places.

* Classic science fiction film on the Internet.

* The Bush-Obama position on state secrets takes a much-needed hit.

* The Fight Club Theory of Ferris Bueller.

* An entity passes the Hofstadter-Turing Test if it first creates a virtual reality, then creates a computer program within that reality which must finally recognise itself as an entity within this virtual environment by passing the Hofstadter-Turing Test. So now we just need to get Skynet self-aware.

More on Specter

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The netroots blogs are already talking about a primary challenge to Specter, despite apparent party-boss promises to the contrary. Right now most of the talk centers around the Employee Free Choice Act, which Specter recently decided he opposed back when he was still trying to protect his right flank from Pat Toomey. There’s been speculation that Specter’s reference to EFCA in his statement earlier today referred only to voting against the bill itself, and that he’d vote to invoke cloture—but it’s looking now as if he won’t vote for cloture either. In that case put money on the idea of a “miraculous compromise” on EFCA that modifies the language just enough to give Specter cover to flip-flop back. A Ned-Lamont-style primary challenge backed by Labor and the netroots would otherwise be almost inevitable, Rendell’s promises notwithstanding, and unlike Connecticut Pennsylvania has a “sore loser” law that would prevent a Liebermanesque run as an independent.

P.S.: Don’t miss Steele’s response to all this invoking the ugly specter of Arlen Specter’s mama.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 28, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Line of the Day

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Line of the day goes to Josh Marshall, writing about the Arlen Specter switch:

Late Update: Needless to say, this is quite a coup for the GOP, likely engineered by Michael Steele as a way to smoke out enemies.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm

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Arlen Specter, Holy Smokes!

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The implosion of the Republican Party continues apace: CNN is reporting that Arlen Specter is switching to the Democratic Party. Crazy! Never thought the little guy would do it.

UPDATE: Lots of “Holy Shits!” being dropped in Left Blogistan today over this—glad I went with “smokes” instead. Also, it occurs to me that now Neil and Srinivas have to vote for Arlen Specter. Tough luck, fellas.

UPDATE: But let’s not lose our heads.

The Warren Commission thought they had an open-and-shut case. Three bullets, one assassin. But two unpredictable things happened that day that made it virtually impossible. One, the eight-millimeter home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder while standing by the grassy knoll. Two, the third wounded man, James Tague, who was knicked by a fragment, standing near the triple underpass. The time frame, five point six seconds, determined by the Zapruder film, left no possibility of a fourth shot. So the shot or fragment that left a superficial wound on Tague’s cheek had to come from the three shots fired from the sixth floor depository. That leaves just two bullets. And we know one of them was the fatal head shot that killed Kennedy. So now a single bullet remains. A single bullet now has to account for the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and Connelly. But rather than admit to a conspiracy or investigate further, the Warren Commission chose to endorse the theory put forth by an ambitious junior counselor, Arlen Specter, one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people. We’ve come to know it as the “Magic Bullet Theory.” This single-bullet explanation is the foundation of the Warren Commission’s claim of a lone assassin. Once you conclude the magic bullet could not create all seven of those wounds, you’d have to conclude that there was a fourth shot and a second rifle. And if there was a second rifleman, then by definition, there had to be a conspiracy.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

V-Day Links!

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V-Day links.

* I feel stimulated, and I bet you do too. Here’s Arlen Specter with your partisan post-mortem.

“When I came back to the cloak room after coming to the agreement a week ago today,” said Specter, “one of my colleagues said, ‘Arlen, I’m proud of you.’ My Republican colleague said, ‘Arlen, I’m proud of you.’ I said, ‘Are you going to vote with me?’ And he said, ‘No, I might have a primary.’ And I said, ‘Well, you know very well I’m going to have a primary.'” […]

“I think there are a lot of people in the Republican caucus who are glad to see this action taken without their fingerprints, without their participation,” he said.

Your modern Republican party.

* The headline reads, “Large Banks Are on the Brink of Insolvency.” You heard it from Brad Miller first.

* Heath Ledger fans want the Joker retired in honor of Ledger’s turn in the makeup.

“When Michael Jordan retired, they withdrew the number 23 jersey as an honor. It’s the same thing with Heath.”

Yes, it’s exactly the same.

* Space debris. Via Cynical-C.

* Images from Watchmen. Clock’s at 11:59…

* Paul Auster, science fiction writer.

* Joss Whedon, cultural humanist.

* And Henry David Thoreau, vegetarian.

Vegetarian ideas figured prominently in 19th-century intellectual circles. Though practicing vegetarians remained outside the mainstream, as they do today, vegetarianism itself was intriguing, its arguments compelling. Thoreau, for instance, was not a strict vegetarian, but he did believe that the vegetarian diet was “the destiny of the human race.” Not because animals were cute and fuzzy and therefore ought to be saved from brutality, but because they were dirty and difficult and expensive. “The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness,” he wrote in Walden, “and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.” You can stand around in the forest, waiting to spear, skin, and roast a bunny for your next meal, but…why?