Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press

Even More Tuesday Links (Collect Them All!)

leave a comment »

Wisconsin, unfortunately, has become a case study in the failure of austerity economics at the state level.

* The NCAA wants you to know that its unpaid workers absolutely definitely have health insurance.

* Contingency Plan: Outsourcing Education.

As Maisto puts it: “The most vulnerable students tend to get taught by the least supported faculty. And if that doesn’t bother people, it should.”

Stick around for some eye-popping rationalizations from senior administrators.

The myth of the lecturer.

* Of those students who place into remedial math at CUNY, 20 percent have progressed to a for-credit course two years later. After six years, just one in four have managed to earn any degree. A national research report published last year called remediation a “bridge to nowhere.” System Failure: The Collapse of Public Education.

“If you start in remediation,” says Tom Sugar of Complete College America, the think tank that published the “bridge to nowhere” report, “there’s virtually no chance you’re going to end up with a college degree.”

* A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise.

“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”

* Tough times in the U.K.: the Queen got a mere $5 million dollar raise this year.

* The Associated Press announced today that it will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant.”

* New journal: The Journal of Popular Television, Volume 1, Number 1.

* And your Tumblr of the minute: Mean Girls + Mad Men = Mean Mad Men. So good I don’t even care if I’ve done this one before.

Sunday Morning Politics Linkdump

leave a comment »

Sunday morning politics linkdump. Sorry for all these linkdumps, by the way—it was a busy week. Next week should see a return to a little bit more sustained commentary (including the exciting return of debate liveblogging!).

* There have been some interesting debates about poll biases lately. Ron Fournier (grumble) at the AP covers a study that argues Obama would be further ahead were it not for racial animus, by as many as six points. FiveThirtyEight throws cold water on this, as well as looking closely at the possibility of a “cellphone effect” in the polls. If Obama does 2.8% better in polls that include cellphones, that suggests a shifting map like the one below, turning Virginia light-blue and strengthening small Dem leads in Ohio and Colorado.

* A study from political scientist Alan Abramowitz argues that Obama will win, when all is said and done, with 54% of the popular vote. That he’s naively comparing historical models with this year’s unprecedentedly diverse tickets in both camps shows how seriously we should take this analysis.

* A new PPP poll shows North Carolina tied. Other recent polls show South Carolina within six, West Virginia within four, and MontanVoteRonPaula within two.

* There’s evidence of a “Palin effect” in Florida driving undecided voters to Obama.

* The Spine tries to get a handle on Obama’s early-voting advantage, beginning as early as this Friday in Virginia. The second link has some stats of interest for Dukies and Durham residents:

In addition, more early-voting centers are being located at colleges and universities, a change that significantly affects student turnout. Students at the University of North Carolina and N.C. State were able to vote on campus throughout the two weeks leading up to North Carolina’s primary contest in April. At Duke University, however, students had to make their way to voting sites in the city of Durham. While turnout for Durham County was 52% in the Democratic primary, only 11% of eligible Duke students voted. This fall, however, Duke will have its own early-voting center, open for business starting Oct. 16.

* The McCain camp has successfully demanded the VP debate rules be changed to protect Sarah Palin.

*Judge orders Cheney not to destroy his VP records.

* SNL mocked McCain this week. He also preemptively mocked himself with an article in Contingencies arguing (for reals) that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” Straight out of the Dept. of Bad Timing. Obama’s already taken aim at this.

* Will Obama raise my taxes? A helpful widget.

* And American Stranger has a long post on ideology that seems to take as one starting point my post on Slavoj Žižek, Obama Supporter. Essentially Ryan takes aim at the various binds the Left finds itself in with regard to political action, and I largely agree with what he says—though I certainly hope I wasn’t in mind as his example of sell-out “liberal ‘pragmatism’ a la The New Republic.” My point, both in the earlier post and now in this one, is simply that the U.S. President has a tremendous ability to make life better or worse for real people with real lives, all over the world, many of whom (believe it or not!) do not have cushy long-term contracts with elite universities. Naderite “Oh, they’re all the same!” negativity only makes sense to people who are inoculated by class and privilege from the consequences of that power.

The mere recognition that the perfect not be the enemy of the good doesn’t quite throw my lot in with TNR, I don’t think, and certainly not so long as we also keep in mind that the good not be the enemy of the better. Our discomfort with pragmatic compromises—and we should be discomforted by them, every time and in every case—isn’t by itself a reason not to be pragmatic.

Obligatory McCain/Palin Posting: It’s the Lying, Stupid

leave a comment »

Obligatory McCain/Palin posting: Team Maverick™ has lost even the AP, whose Washington Bureau is famously staffed by a man MoveOn has been trying to get fired for bias and conflict of interest. It’s the lying, stupid:

The “Straight Talk Express” has detoured into doublespeak.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone’s taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.

Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain’s skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama’s campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

Krugman, too, is outraged, and Josh Marshall (to his credit) has basically been having a week-long freakout. Here’s Krugman:

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

They’re not the only ones. ThinkProgress has a growing list of McCain’s ever-shifting positions. (Steve Benen has another one.) Basically every post on the respected and independent factcheck.org from the last week has about McCain’s lies. And on The View, just today, he falsely claimed that Sarah Palin had never requested an earmark as governor—a flagrant, wild lie.

It’s a farcical situation that turns tragic with the media’s refusal to properly report any of it. The cost for lying must be public approbation—otherwise politicians will lie constantly. The failure of the news media since the Republican convention to substantively report on basic, easily provable distortions is as great a betrayal of the public trust as any other over the last ten years. And as we all know well, all too well, that is saying a lot.

Obama, too, hasn’t yet done enough. But that may soon change: a spokesperson today claimed that McCain “would rather lose his integrity than lose an election,” presumably the first salvo in their new aggressive approach. I’ve got a lot of faith in Obama and his team; as I’ve mentioned before, whenever I’ve disagreed with their decisions they’ve turned out to be (more or less) right. Obama is cautious, perhaps too cautious, when it comes to hitting back—but it’s gotten him this far.

I agree, that is to say, with Noam Scheiber: I really think Obama’s been playing rope-a-dope, letting McCain embarrass himself with nonsense 50-days-and-change out from November 4—and now that McCain has completely overreached, Obama’s free to hit back as hard as he wants. Let’s hope the gloves really are coming off, finally and at last.

Hire Ron Fournier?

leave a comment »

Has the liberal pushback against biased AP bureau chief Ron Fournier actually gotten results? The AP is out with a review of last night’s Republican National Convention that is essentially a catalog of its many lies and mistruths.

PALIN: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending … and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for that Bridge to Nowhere.”

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a “bridge to nowhere.”

PALIN: “There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform _ not even in the state senate.”

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama’s plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain’s plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest.

To be fair, that’s who she was talking to.

There’s still more lies at the link.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 4, 2008 at 2:46 pm

MoveOn and Jon Stewart

leave a comment »

MoveOn has been largely silenced by Obama’s decision to financially cut off the 527s, but they’re found a way to make themselves useful: getting AP Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier, who was nearly hired as a senior adviser to McCain in October 2006, fired.

In other media criticism news, it has once again fallen to Jon Stewart to tell reporters how to do their jobs.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 26, 2008 at 3:20 am