Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘defense spending

In a Democracy You Get the Empire You Deserve

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The U.S. defense budget is greater than the combined defense budgets of the next seventeen largest spenders….

$1 of every $5 the federal government spent in 2011 went to defense, and about 20 cents of that $1 was spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just some of the facts available in Salon’s big think piece on the national budget. Meanwhile, in the polls: A new poll shows deep support among liberals for the very Bush/Cheney policies they once pretended to despise.

Wednesday Night

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* Those communists at the ACLU are at it again; they say the president can’t just have people murdered any time he wants. Check your Constitution, hippie!

* Only the cameraman didn’t volunteer: Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb.

* Some refreshing honesty: Cheney, 71, said defense spending is “not a spigot you can turn on and turn off, that you need to keep money flowing in a predictable way so you can plan for the next war,” Graham said after the Senate Republicans’ weekly luncheon.

* Okay, points there: Director Christopher Nolan says he has a simple explanation for why he refused to shoot The Dark Knight Rises in 3D: He doesn’t know anyone who actually enjoys it.

* It’s just as good as real learningEven as traditional universities have embraced massive free courses, those institutions have drawn a line on the matter of offering credit. Some professors send a letter of recognition to students who succeed in the free, online versions of their courses, but the universities have refrained from offering those students course credits that count toward the completion of a traditional degree. So far the only way students might redeem their success in MOOCs for formal college credit is by seeking validation through prior-learning assessment apparatuses.

* When David Brin met Orson Scott Card at Comic-Con.

Bryan Fuller’s mystery Pushing Daisies project may be a musical.

* And will UNESCO protect Tranquility Base from nonexistent space tourists? Tune in tomorrow, Moon Rangers, for the exciting conclusion!

Thursday Links

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The State Department is infested with vegetarians. I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being vegetarians and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.

The Committee on Climate Change report, with the hairy-sounding title “Statutory Advice on Inclusion of International Aviation and Shipping,” says that in 2050, the UK’s emissions reductions across the whole economy will cost 1-2 percent of the total GDP. THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH LET THE PLANET BURN

* It’s come to this: raising taxes and cutting defense spending are so unthinkable that they literally don’t even count as policy proposals.

In reality, there is nothing in any U.S. statute, federal or state, that requires corporations to maximize their profits.

* This op-ed on the difficulty of a career in academia honestly only scratches the surface of how bad it can get. In the U.S. academy, for instance, the heteronormative perspective that is usually taken up as exemplary deeply obscures the costs of the job search on gay and lesbian academics, for whom movement between states and between institutions can mean radical shifts in their basic rights.

Kathleen Lynch, professor of equality studies at University College Dublin, has argued that the idealised academic has no ties or responsibilities to limit their capacity to work. “To be a successful academic is to be unencumbered by caring,” she says.

It’s a terrible way to force people to live.

* Lukas Neville, a doctoral student at Queen’s University in Ontario, reports in the latest issue of Psychological Science that there’s more evidence of academic dishonesty in U.S. states with bigger gaps between the rich and the poor. Those gaps, he speculates, erode trust among people—something that’s been found by other researchers—and less trust means more cheating.

* Some lovely anti-education agitprop in the Atlantic that, as is typical, bears absolutely no relationship to how the academic job market actually works:

After finishing their dissertations, PhDs are hired by a college, based on publication records, the reputations of their references, and the name of their graduate programs. If they happen to have picked up a little classroom experience through a temporary position, it is rarely considered by hiring committees.

Right, that’s totally how it goes.

* Detroit photography beyond ruin porn: Dennis Maitland.

* From the archives: Vice Visits the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Via Longform.org.

* 15 writers’ bedrooms. They’re just like us!

* And 45 to go: Connecticut may be latest state to repeal death penalty.

Three More

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 6, 2011 at 12:31 am

Traitor Watch

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Roger McShan and Kevin Drum argue we should SLASH the defense budget all the way down to… 2007 levels. America will be defenseless!

Written by gerrycanavan

December 2, 2011 at 10:54 am

No One Could Have Predicted

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 20, 2011 at 11:19 pm

No One Could Have Predicted

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Friday Wrapup

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Because we were forced to spend a miserable 60 hours in an airport this afternoon, I have acquired a ton of links:

* The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia — the first woman to be elected president in modern Africa — her compatriot, the peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.

* Ben and Jerry endorse Occupy Wall Street. I’m calling “Occupy Walnut” as the flavor, though “The 99% Moooo-vement” is my dark horse.

* Krugman, too.

* “Right Here All Over”: a short film on Occupy Wall Street by Alex Mallis.

* Naomi Klein on the scene: We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite — fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful — the financial resources to build the kind of society we need. The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society – while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take. 

* 10 Things to Know About Wall Street’s Rapacious Attack on America.

* Tweet of the week: Romney: I will reverse Obama’s massive defense cuts. Def spending, 2011, $739 b; 2010 $721b; 2009 $698b; 2008 $696b; 2007 $626b; 2005, $506b

* Obama and Holder are still messing with marijuana dispensaries. Mayor Curley in the MeFi thread on this has a chilling vision of the future:

I hope that the 2012 presidential contest is between Obama and Mitt Romney. I wouldn’t vote for either of them, but it would be hilarious. Both of them take whatever position their staff believes to be most salable at the moment, even if it’s in direct, obvious conflict with their stated position of a week ago.

By the end of the campaign, their positions would be absolutely indistinguishable, because between the two of them they would have taken every possible mainstream stance on every issue. But partisans would still be bitterly insisting that one was superior to the other purely by nature of the political brand attached. It would be the ultimate “Coke v. Pepsi” political race.

* Speaking of chilling visions of things to come: The Amazon Dieback Scenario.

* Speaking of Coca-Cola: The purpose of this communication is to remind you that the hot weather is here and that Coca Cola is one of the best drinks to fight the Hot Weather with and we Soldiers dislike to admit defeat, but to win our struggles we must have the material to work with, the things to contest our enemy with, must be at hand, and unless we have Coca Cola we will have to admit defeat at the hands of Enemy Heat & Thirst. 

* And the headline reads, “DHS Launches ‘Minority Report’ Pre-Crime Detection Program.” Philip K. Dick could not be reached for comment.

Monday Night Links

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* It’s been a few hours, so that must mean it’s time for some debt ceiling revisionism. Hooray! I feel so much better.

* At least the maniacs at Red State hate it.

* Congress to the unemployed: drop dead.

* Congress to grad students: drop dead.

* Every schoolchild knows that big cuts to defense are the trigger that will bring the GOP to its knees when the Super Congress brings its recommendations in a few months, so it’s no surprise that the Pentagon actually gained money in this round of negotiations.

Rather than cutting $400 billion in defense spending through 2023, as President Barack Obama had proposed in April, the current debt proposal trims $350 billion through 2024, effectively giving the Pentagon $50 billion more than it had been expecting over the next decade.

Wait, what? Let me start over.

* Today Biden told House Democrats that Obama would eventually have done the thing he obviously should have done from the start if he had literally no other option left. What a comfort.

* The White House: “…members of Congress would likely recoil at the gamesmanship involved in shelving the committee’s recommendations and therefore feel compelled to place well-intentioned lawmakers on the committee.” Reid: “This absurd mess shows the system works.” McConnell: “That was awesome! Let’s do it all again!”

* I’ve been informed it’s forbidden to be cynical about Gabriel Giffords’ return to the House no matter how transparent and manipulative it seems. Please be advised.

* Taibbi: The Democrats Take a Dive.

* And Europe’s still in even worse shape. Ugh.

Some Obama Grumbling

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* About those unforced errors: NBC says it’s definitely Kagan. Too bad.

* Secretary of Energy Steven Chu confirms literally nothing could ever happen that would make our illustrious leaders rethink the wisdom of offshore drilling. Via Therem in the comments.

* The only thing worse than surrendering preemptively is surrendering immediately after you draw a line in the sand: for no reason I can see, the Obama administration has capitulated to the mindless Miranda-haters on the right.

* Pentagon still building its plan to create a task force devoted to writing a memo that will authorize a team to propose the elimination of don’t ask don’t tell.

* Let’s find one bright spot: Robert Gates has made a major speech promising cuts in defense spending. More here and here. We’ll see.

Monday Night Links

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* It’s been fifty years since the Greensboro Sit-Ins. Appropriate the city’s Civil Rights Museum, long vaporware, finally opened today.

* Bill Watterson has given his first interview since 1989. The grown-up Calvin & Hobbes post is still, by a good bit, my most popular post ever; there are, of course, many others.

* At right: The Ultimate Graphic Novel. Via SEK.

* Arrested Development with a laugh track. Bad, bad. Via that notorious AD fan, @drbluman.

* Defense as percent of GDP. Related: Visualizing Obama’s 2011 budget.

* Polling proves there are only five Republican states. Five too many, naturally.

* More Obama counternarrative: John Judis on rebuilding the federal bureaucracy. Kim Stanley Robinson hit this note more than once during his campus visit last week. (more on this in a bit).

* Counter-counternarrative: Obama’s new nuke push is a bad idea.