Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘birthers

‘When She Was 6, A Little White Boy Called Her Cousin a N*gger, and It Has Been War Ever Since’

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I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank. I am trying to a imagine a prominent white Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home, and coming up with nothing. I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli, and I find myself laughing in the dark. It is worth considering the messaging here. It says to black kids: “Don’t leave home. They don’t want you around.” It is messaging propagated by moral people. The Good, Racist People.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 8, 2013 at 8:30 am

Just a Few Tuesday Links

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Friday Night!

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* So Mark Zuckerberg made $20 billion dollars today. On Twitter I’ve proposed taxing this windfall at 99%, leaving him with a cool $200 million, more money than he or his children or grandchildren could ever need—but like any good liberal I’m open to negotiation. UPDATE: Man alive, the U.S. tax code is screwed up.

* Behold the glories of the free market: New Mexico gave Marvel Studios $22 million to make a movie that’s now grossed over a billion.

* Meanwhile, Curt Schilling rips off Rhode Island for a few million dollars. More.

What We Don’t Know About Student Debt. More from Slate. Why the Right Hates English. And today’s postacademic rant: The American Corp-University Complex.

* Vulture Magazine tells Wes Anderson that they made a movie out of Battleship. He is… nonplussed.

* Obama basically confirms to Jaden Pinkett Smith the aliens are real.

* Arizona Secretary of State is threatening to leave Obama’s name off the ballot on birther grounds. Meanwhile, Breitbart.com has invented afterbirthism. Six months till November.

* Where are the campaigns spending money? #1 with a bullet: Greensboro, NC.

* Engineer: Star Trek’s Enterprise ship could be built in 20 years at a cost of $1 trillion. Well, if that’s all it costs we definitely should.

Why Teaching Equality Hurts Men.

How, then, does any of this relate to the frankly incendiary notion that teaching equality hurts men?

Because of everyone, straight, white men are the least likely people to experience exclusion and inequality first-hand during their youth, and are therefore the most likely to disbelieve its existence later in life. Unless they seek out ‘feminine’ pastimes as children – and why would they, when so much of boy-culture tells them not to? – they will never be rebuked or excluded on the basis of gender. Unless someone actively takes the time to convince them otherwise, they will learn as teens that the world is an equal place – an assertion that gels absolutely with their personal experiences, such that even if women, LGBTQ individuals and/or POC  are rarely or never visible in their world, they are nonetheless unlikely to stop and question it. They will likely study white-male-dominated curricula, laugh ironically at sexist, racist and homophobic jokes, and participate actively in a popular culture saturated with successful, varied, complex and interesting versions of themselves – and this will feel right and arouse no suspicion whatever, because this is what equality should feel like. They will experience no sexual or racial discrimination when it comes to getting a job and will, on average, earn more money than the women and POC around them – and if they stop to reflect on either of these things, they’ll do so in the knowledge that, as the world is equal, any perceived hierarchical differences are simply reflective of the meritocracy at work.

They will not see how the system supports their success above that of others, because they have been told that equality stripped them of their privileges long ago. Many will therefore react with bafflement and displeasure to the idea of positive discrimination, hiring quotas or any other such deliberate attempts at encouraging diversity – because not only will it seem to genuinely disadvantage them, but it will look like an effort to undermine equality by granting new privileges to specific groups. Never having experienced inequality, therefore, the majority of straight white men will be absolutely oblivious to their own advantages – not because they must necessarily be insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic or unaware of the principles of equality; but because they have been told, over and over again, that there is no inequality left for them – or anyone else – to experience – and everything they have experienced up to that point will only have proved them right.

* Department of Actual Justice? DoJ has issued guidelines asserting the right of citizens to film police and for preventing prison rape.

* Theorizing bathrooms. Thanks, Melody!

* Today in science: The DNA of 10-year-olds who experienced violence in their young lives has been found to show wear and tear normally associated with aging, a Duke University study has found.

Today in unintentional metaphors.

Ultimately, all we can say at this point is that Capital One appears to be flagging donations to Friends of Scott Walker as potentially fraudulent.

* A Crackdown in Crayon: Bahrain’s Children Draw Their Country’s Crisis.

* A little bit cheerier: Scenes from Brazil.

* And a primer they’ll be using in Brazil very soon: How to rig a soccer match.

Out of Their Minds

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Moments like this point to a growing asymmetry in our politics. One party, the Democrats, suffers from the usual range of institutional blind spots, historical foibles, and constituency-driven evasions. The other, the Republicans, has moved to a mental Shangri-La, where unwanted problems (climate change, the need to pay the costs of running the government) can be wished away, prejudice trumps fact (Obama might just be Kenyan-born or a Muslim), expertise is evidence of error, and reality itself comes to be regarded as some kind of elitist plot.

Like the White Queen in her youth, the contemporary Republican politician must be capable of believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast…

Just Gimme Some Truth

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

Quick Links for Tuesday

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* Must-read post from my friend Aaron Bady on coal-mining in Appalachia.

* Intergenerational warfare watch: Student loan debt poised to top a trillion dollars.

* Although it has still only released about 10% as much radiation as Chernobyl, Fukushima is now the second-ever accident to reach level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

* Either President Obama is the world’s worst poker player, or he’s getting more or less the deals he wants. For what it’s worth my friend Steve Benen thinks reports that Obama will endorse Simpson/Bowles tomorrow are overblown; I suppose we’ll see.

* And Donald Trump’s birtherism has now catapulted him to the top of the GOP field. Astounding. Well done, sir.

A Few Sunday Links

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What Day Is It? Tuesday?

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* 10,000 protestors gather in Madison to protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union vendetta.

* Update: Computers really stink at Jeopardy. Or so I keep telling myself.

* In Yeskov’s retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science “destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!” He’s in cahoots with the elves, who aim to become “masters of the world,” and turn Middle-earth into a “bad copy” of their magical homeland across the sea. Barad-dur, also known as the Dark Tower and Sauron’s citadel, is, by contrast, described as “that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic.”

* Matt Yglesias is making sense:

Right now we have conservatives simultaneously calling for huge spending cuts and also getting the line’s share of old people’s votes even while the vast majority of non-security spending is on old people. In essence, by first separating the domestic budget into “discretionary” and “entitlement” portions and then dividing the entitlement programs up into “what today’s old people get” versus “what tomorrow’s old people will get” the political class has created a large and vociferously right-wing class of people who are completely immune from the impact of their own calls for fiscal austerity.

* Statistic of the day: 51% of Republicans claim they don’t believe Obama was born in the U.S.

* Curveball: How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam.

* But the only story anyone seems to care about is whether This American Life really has Coca-Cola’s secret formula.

Kidding on the Square

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Smart post from Greg Sargent Adam Serwer on how skillfully the GOP handles the more deranged fringes of its base:

But by making jokes about it, conservative political figures manage to avoid taking a position one way or the other. They mollify the birther elements of the Republican base who simply can’t accept the legitimacy of a black man in the White House by signaling agreement with them, while allowing Republicans averse to conspiracy theorizing to dismiss it all as a jest. If a liberal expresses outrage over it, all the better — they become the butt of the joke.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The Paranoid Style

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Tim Wise: …while Loughner would never have likely contemplated political assassination in a culture where the most pressing issue was, say, a simple philosophical disagreement over tax policy, or the proper balance between interest rates and full employment, or the percentage of GDP dedicated to debt service as opposed to long-term infrastructure investment, that is not the culture in which he (or any of us) lives. Rather, we live in a nation in which it is commonplace, and considered completely rational, for elected officials to believe the President is a foreign interloper. We live in a culture where the nation’s most powerful Republican, House Speaker John Boehner, cannot bring himself to condemn the maniacal derangement that is birtherism, but is reduced instead to a mere acknowledgement that since Hawaii says the President is a citizen, that’s “good enough for him.”

We live in a culture in which it is utterly normal, to a degree that has sadly made it nearly banal, to hear multi-million dollar, best-selling authors and talk show hosts suggest that the nation is on the verge of total fascism, death panels for the elderly, door-to-door gun confiscation, and the reconquest of the American southwest by Latinos bent on ethnic war. In short, in a society where paranoia is the daily currency of mainstream commentators, and pseudo-schizophrenic ramblings are elevated to the level of persuasive argument, we ought not be surprised that such a tragedy as occurred on Saturday might happen.

[…]

It is not necessary to show that Loughner is a follower of Glenn Beck, or Michael Savage, or any of a hundred or more local variants of the same. It is not, in the end, all that important whether he spent time on right-wing websites, or is (as a Department of Homeland Security memo seems to suggest) a follower of the white nationalist group, American Renaissance, or whether he believes (as some of his internet postings hint) that the Constitution is being usurped by the current government because of its reliance on paper money: a prominent meme among the far-right. What matters is that Loughner, like all of us, has been exposed day in and day out, for several years, to the unhinged and paranoiac ravings of persons who believe America is in its “end days,” and that the sky is falling, at least metaphorically — and not because of global warming, which is just one more piece of the left-wing conspiratorial plot to confiscate all wealth in the name of nature-worship — but because of the communist / socialist / fascist / Marxist / Nazi / Muslim / Kenyan / terrorist / anti-Christ who occupies the White House.

It is that daily stream of poisonous vitriol from which it is nearly impossible to escape.

In a culture where Glenn Beck plays “Six Degrees of Chairman Mao” every night on his chalkboard, uncannily managing to convince his flock that even the most moderate of Democrats likely hums the Internationale to his or her children rather than regaling them with bedtime stories, we can truly say that paranoia has become not only the prelude to something deadly, but sadly a form of pedantry so everyday in its appearance that we write it off as entertainment, rather than the poison it truly is.

In a culture where political rallies attended by thousands feature prominent speakers who suggest the President might well be Satan in the flesh, and marchers who carry signs suggesting “Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s Ovens,” or that the President intends to put whites into slavery, nothing should surprise us anymore.

In a media environment where highly paid commentators can keep their jobs even as they insist that those who call for the shooting of government agents so as to stop a world government takeover are “beginning to have a case,” or that a national service initiative is just a run-up to the implementation of a literal stormtrooper corps like the Nazi SS, or that “multicultural people” are “destroying the culture of this country,” or that Latino migrants are an “invasive species,” that seeks to undermine the nation, or that the President is intentionally “destroying the economy” so as to pay white people back for slavery, or that, worse, he and other Democrats are vampires, the only solution for which is a “stake through the heart,” to feign shock at the acts of a Jared Loughner is a precious and naive conceit that we can no longer afford.

Via Pandagon, which notes succinctly, “Keeping people in a permanent state of fantasy is an excellent way to push them towards violence.”

A few related links:

* The solution to gun violence is always more guns.

* Some rules for debating debate.

* Gun control for me, but not for thee.

* Nate Silver tries to get empirical.

* And these “You Lie!” bullets could be intended for anyone. It’s not a call for violence. Stop whining.

Postbirtherism

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Why won’t Barack Obama submit to a DNA test to prove he is his parents’ child? Via Cynical-C.

A certificate that a child was born to Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu on 4 August 1961 might be true; but, assuming it’s true, it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Obama is that child. Whether he is or not requires genetic analysis. 

Double bonus points for trotting out the classic Malcolm-X-is-Obama’s-father theory.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Just Another Friday Night in Jersey

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Since we got back I’ve been pretty busy playing catchup, and the blog as usual has suffered—but here are a few links for Friday night.

* Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results.

* Possible Futures #2: When David Lynch Turned Down Return of the Jedi.

* “Higher education is an interest group like any other, and what it wants is a lot of money from the taxpayer and no oversight of how that money is spent,” said Kevin Carey of the think tank Education Sector. “And they’ve been very successful getting it for a long time.”

* An Open Letter to New Graduate Students.

* Howard Dean wants to explain why he backs a mosque “compromise.” When you’re in a hole…

* Superpatriotic Blackwater founder Erik Prince “needs a break from America”—in a nonextradition country.

* Ten Questions Nobody Ever Asked About George W. Bush.

* Sarah Silverman on her life as a chronic bedwetter.

* Jason Sanford thinks the next trend in science fiction is SciFi Strange. Via io9.

* io9 celebrates the postal stamps of progress.

His heartbroken parents were told he would only live six weeks. But Liam Derbyshire has defied all the odds to make it to 11—despite stopping breathing every time he falls asleep.

* “Jazz” is the best word to use in Hangman. Or it was. Via MetaFilter.

* And you had me at “the CIA’s obsession with LSD in the water supply.”

Wednesday Morning Papers Didn’t Come

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* And now they’ve taken away the Big Bang, too.

* The Internets have gone crazy with the happy news that Prop 8 has been overturned. Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gays and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.

* The president would have you believe that today is his birthday. Don’t be fooled! Wake up, sheeple!

* Arrested Development movie “half-done.” I half-believe it!

* Wyclef Jean to run for president of Haiti.

* A Very Harold and Kumar Inception.

* And Edge of the American West has your tragic political dare of the day:

Modern Republicans can’t possibly oppose both the Dred Scott decision and the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, which reverses it.

[quiet weeping]

SOS

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Orly Taitz could actually win the Republican primary for Secretary of State in California tomorrow.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Wednesday Night

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* This remix of Super Mario Brothers with characters from Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, and Contra, and Castlevania is the greatest achievement of our culture. Via literally everyone.

* Related: Cub Scouts now offer video game badge.

* The great purge continues: Charlie Crist will run as an independent.

* The EFF’s Facebook timeline shows how your privacy has disappeared. Via @drbluman.

* Scott Lemieux makes the case against Merrick Garland, who he thinks is even worse than Elena Kagan for SCOTUS.

* Arizona is the new normal: Duncan Hunter calls for deportation of U.S. citizens whose parents are undocumented immigrants. Related: Arizona State Legislature continues to troll the nation by officially endorsing birtherism.

* And thankfully I’m not the only one who sees through Lindsey Graham.