Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Constitutional Convention

Wednesday Night Links

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* The Utopia symposium in the new issue of Science Fiction Film and Television is especially good, if I do say so myself. Featuring Raffaella Baccolini, Troy Bordun, Catherine Constable, L. Timmel Duchamp, Carl Freedman, Lisa Garforth, Dan Hassler-Forest, Veronica Hollinger, Alexis Lothian, Roger Buckhurst, Tom Moylan, Sharon Sharp, Steven Shaviro, Debra Benita Shaw, Rebekah Sheldon, Imre Szeman, Phillip E. Wegner, and Rhys Williams…

Afrofuturism Reloaded: 15 Theses in 15 Minutes.

Fear of an Ill Planet: On the Importance of Sickness and the Demands of Otherness.

* I think maybe every literally academic I know has been talking about this story.


* The Scalia obituaries keep coming: 1, 2, 3.

* Huge cuts to ethnic studies at SFSU.

The Troubled Academic Job Market for History.

* Never in my worst dreams about the future of the university could I have imagined such a thing was possible: Chicago State University Cancels Spring Break.

David Milch, the storied mind also behind ‘Deadwood,’ changed television. Now, according to a lawsuit, the racetrack regular has lost his homes, owes the IRS $17 million and is on a $40-a-week allowance. Still, his supporters stay close: “He’s brilliant.”

* Yay, Bernie Sanders’s radical past. Booooooo, Bernie Sanders’s radical past. In any event.

* Drip, drip, drip…

Hillary Clinton Made More in 12 Speeches to Big Banks Than Most of Us Earn in a Lifetime.

* “There no longer are any rules in the Supreme Court nomination process.” I’ll do you one better!

* Usually this sort of mythologizing isn’t caught fast enough to be traced: The Evolution of the Myth of the Sanders “English Only” Chant.

* Social media, the new mind control.

* Polls and Trump’s Supporters. My word.

* Elsewhere in dystopian backstory: The Virginia Senate has passed legislation that would transform all law enforcement agencies in the commonwealth into secret police, quite literally, a dangerous step in the direction of unaccountable and non-transparent government. No other state has gone as far as the Senate bill would take Virginia into the realm of secrecy where it concerns state and local police.

When the Public Defender Says, ‘I Can’t Help.’

* Nobody, but nobody, can trip over their own feet like Obama.

* The Huntington Tumblr has a few pictures up from one of Octavia Butler’s horse stories.

* The contested legacy of Stan Lee.

* A People’s History of #CancelColbert.

* Nice work if you can get it: Rutgers president gets a $97,000 bonus.

The Oscars Forgot to Nominate The Force Awakens For Best Picture.

Why Professor Indiana Jones Never Published His Research.

* Ok, sold: Margaret Atwood’s Next Book Is a Prison-Bound Take on The Tempest.

* Well, that doesn’t sound so bad… Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries.

Humans will be extinct in 100 years says eminent scientist.

* On the plus side, we are living through a golden age of theme parks.

Rosemary G. Feal will step down as executive director of the Modern Language Association next year after 15 years in that job, the group announced on Wednesday.

* Fermi Paradox watch: maybe life is that rare.

But mostly Fuller House evokes a smut-free porn parody, with sexualized adult versions of characters who, in the collective psyche, are frozen in amber as children. Elsewhere on the Onion‘s Full House porn parody beat.

“Dogs and Certain Primates May Be Able To See Magnetic Fields.” Tell no one my secret.

* Breastfeeding is probably really not that big a deal.

* Winning the lottery can also bankrupt your neighbors.

* Twilight of saying “Aycock” at Duke and UNCG.

* KSR coverage in American Literature: “Forms of Duration: Preparedness, theMars Trilogy, and the Management of Climate Change.”

Why Is Inver Hills Banning Union Activist From Campus?

The Problematic, Sexist Subtext of Laughing at Hitler’s Alleged Micropenis.

* Debt and subjectivity.

* Lev Grossman on Narnia and grief.

* The best news I’ve gotten all year: Milwaukee’s Air and Water Show postponed until 2017.

* 888-NEED-SCI.

* Blade Runner 2 is an abomination that should never have been made, but I am interested to see how they deal (or don’t) with the Deckard/replicant issue.

* Like Uber, but for…

* And Philip K. Dick is just straight-up writing our reality now.

Sunday Won’t Procrastinate Itself: Links!

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A City Where Everyone Works, There Is No Police, And The Salary Is 1200 Euros.

This piece and the comments (read both) constitute one of the only serious or substantive discussions of Laura Kipnis’s CHE pieces I’ve seen. I just finished a long and frustrating but possibly ultimately consensus-building Facebook debate about the minutiae of this thing, so I’m basically an expert on the case now.

* “With its new flavor, Save Our Swirled, Ben & Jerry’s is urging fans to dig their spoons into climate change activism.” That’s solve it!

California’s Snowpack Is Now Zero Percent of Normal.

* It’s so hot in India the roads are melting.

For those who want to build a stronger left in the US, there is no substitute for the work — however slow and painstaking it might be — of building social movements and struggles at the grassroots and of organizing a political alternative independent of the Democratic Party.

‘American Universities Are Addicted to Chinese Students.’

Black dolls and American culture.

* Jessica Springsteen, born to jump.

How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals.

PROFS Statement on Joint Finance Committee Action on UW System Budget. UW Struggle: Final Update. An Idiot’s Guide to the Tenure Process. Don’t mourn, organize. In all its glory.

* And then there’s Texas.

* Can academics really “have it all”?

* The fall of Rome.

To understand why and how often these shootings occur, The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody.

* Boing Boing covers Rashida Jones’s “amateur porn” documentary Hot Girls Wanted.

* Science proves music really was better back then.

* It also proves nothing likes being eaten.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Philosophy: 1, 2.

* The Wire, but for Israel/Palestine.

* And the arc of history is long, but production on TRON 3 has been shut down.


Let’s Just Start Over; Abolish the Constitution

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I went off on a bit of a tear this morning on Twitter and wanted to put it into a slightly more coherent form before I went about my day: my suggestion is that liberals, progressives, and liberal-leftists should look at the results of the last six years and conclude that there is simply no hope for significant reform within the existing constitutional order.

I’ve been saying this for years now, but here it is again: Obama swept into office at the head of a mass movement with a congressional supermajority during the worst crisis in 70 years, with the opposition party totally and absolutely discredited. That was the chance, the only chance, that the existing system had to reform, and he either blew it or betrayed it, however you come down on him. There’s no reason to think there will ever be another 2008 for the liberal-left. It’s over. The only hope now is a radical shift in the constitutional order, which can be achieved by calling for a new constitutional convention as prescribed within the existing constitution. It’s a legal move; it’s just never been tried.

Now, we know that the existing order is on course to destroy civilization within our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children; we have to weigh any possible outcomes against that. But even bracketing climate change entirely, we have to understand that progressive and leftist economic policy can’t win within the existing order because it’s rigged for paralysis. A constitutional order with this level of malapportionment and this many chokepoints inevitably favors the political right. Even the best-case, most generous reading of Obama’s colossal failures demonstrates this to be true.

A new constitution would be a gamble, but it’s a gamble we take against a certainty of failure; recall that Clinton ’16, Clinton ’20, ClintonVP ’24 is the mainline Democrats’ most optimistic scenario, the one where they hit gold every time and never miss. And there’s good reason to think a new constitution literally couldn’t be worse than what we have now. A new constitution couldn’t get away with shortchanging CA and NY 14 senators, just for starters, much less any of the other crazy stuff that seems normal to us now; there’d be no way to justify it. Even a new constitutional convention that failed and saw the country break up into a loose confederation or into smaller states would be, on balance, an improvement for the world. With the experience of 2008-2014 — not to mention every other thing that’s happened in American politics on either the state or federal level for as long as I’ve been alive — it’s hard to see how a new system could possibly be worse for progressive hopes that the current system, which at this point we have to accept is guaranteed to always steamroll us.

A movement for a new constitution that took ten years to get off the ground would be catching fire at the end of Clinton’s second term, maybe; one that took fifteen years to get off the ground would hit just as whoever follows Clinton was taking office post-reelection. Do you honestly think politics in fifteen years will be better than it is now? Will the system be more just, more peaceful, more ecologically sustainable? Do you think we’ll be glad then that we stuck with the existing system, so Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Jay Nixon can save us?

In short my recommendation to the liberal-left and to progressives is to simply stop caring so much about whether Democrats win or lose and to devote themselves instead to advocating that we just start over, aligning with whatever savory and unsavory characters on the right we can get to sign on to the plan so that the convention happens and things at least have some chance to improve things before capitalism has fully and finally destroyed all hope for the future. At this point it’s not even really a gamble; there’s nothing left to lose, we’ve all already lost.

#teachthecontroversy #readyforHillary #despair #nihilism #breadsticks

Thursday Night Links

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* 2016! Bernie’s threatening to run. As always, you should take every drop of energy you’d put into a quixotic 3rd-party run for president and put it towards a new Constitution instead.

* Have Kids, Ruin Your Career, Ask Me How.

Why Frank Underwood hates children.

* Duke Energy Must Immediately Stop Polluting Groundwater In North Carolina, Judge Rules. The arc of history is long but oops everything is already polluted, bye.

* Huge Coal Company To Pay Largest-Ever Fine After 6,000 Clean Water Violations In 7 Years. In terms of the company’s valuation and the damage done the fine might as well have been $1.

* As Mary Sue Coleman, the university’s president, called for increased enrollment of students “paying the full freight,” enrollment from outside Michigan reached 46 percent last fall. The result is that the university not only reflects the race and class inequities inherent in our society, it actually reinforces and aggravates them.

* After three years in which private college and university administrators led their public counterparts in salary gains, the publics are on top in 2013-14. I can’t wait for next year!

* Let Them Eat Dignity.

Psychiatry, all along, knew that the evidence wasn’t really there to support the chemical imbalance notion, that it was a hypothesis that hadn’t panned out, and yet psychiatry failed to inform the public of that crucial fact.

* Do white men abuse their colleagues when they let their students call them by their first name?

* I Opted My Kids Out of Standardized Tests.

* And the headline reads: “Your porn is not Canadian enough, CRTC warns erotica channels.” I wrote a little one-act.


Tuesday Night Links

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* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.

46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday. Via MeFi.

* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.

* “How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries.”

* A literary history of erasure.

* When Jon Hamm met Miss Piggy.

* Cory Doctorow reviews Lawrence Lessig’s Constitutional-conventionalist One Way Forward.

* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.

* Canadians: They’re Just as Bad as Us!

* And of course you had me at 1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue. Via Kottke.

FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.

COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.


TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.

Occupy Lessig

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

Hardt and Negri on Occupy Wall Street

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At CNN: If the forces of wealth and finance have come to dominate supposedly democratic constitutions, including the U.S. Constitution, is it not possible and even necessary today to propose and construct new constitutional figures that can open avenues to again take up the project of the pursuit of collective happiness? 

Written by gerrycanavan

October 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm