Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘dirty hippies

Jetlag Links

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* Before you stop admitting Ph.D. students, please, read Marc Bousquet. The typically annoying discussion about this can be found at MetaFilter.

* Nonissue watch: The new Siena Poll finds that New Yorkers (everyone in the state) oppose the mosque by a 63-27 margin; they defend the constitutional right to build it by a 64-28 margin. Very sad to see Howard Dean of all people joining the wrong side of history on this:

I believe that the people who are trying to build the mosque are trying to do something that’s good, but there’s no point in starting off and trying to do something that’s good if it’s going to meet with an enormous resistance from a lot of folks.

I want my country back! But not, you know, if it’s going to be a whole big thing.

* At least someone has finally identified the real terrorists: people with COEXIST bumper stickers on their cars.

* Mission accomplished: The last combat troops left Iraq today. But don’t get too excited; 50,000 noncombat troops remain.

* Deconstructing the Twinkie. At left: FD&C Yellow #5.

* Save the words.

* In the future, all teenagers are deaf.

* Change we can believe in: the Obama administration is quietly making it easier to visit Cuba.

* And not exactly the direction we were hoping things would go: Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the US as they are in India, according to the head of the country’s largest business process outsourcing company.

Six Reasons Gibbs’s Outburst Doesn’t Make Much Sense

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It’s a new day, so perhaps we’re all over it, but just in case we’re not: Here are six reasons Gibbs’ outburst doesn’t make much sense, not counting the fact that it will generate hundreds of articles like this. I especially endorse #1, #3, and #4.

Just Ridiculous

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Robert Gibbs has already inartfully walked back his Kinsley gaffe that left critics of the Obama administration “ought to be drug-tested,” but he ought to be drug-tested should probably resign / be fired anyway. He’s the press secretary; his whole freaking job is to stay on-message. Screwing up like this is not okay.

More importantly, this White House needs to remember who its friends are. By my count the Left has fallen into line every time it has been asked, often against its better judgment. It’s the Joe Liebermans and Ben Nelsons of the party who have repeatedly and gleefully betrayed the White House when it mattered, not the dirty hippies…

* Nate Silver: “I don’t know whether Gibbs was going “off-message” out of frustration, or whether the White House has become so jaded that they actually think this was a good strategy. Either way, it speaks to the need for some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in the White House. The famously unflappable Obama is losing his cool.”

* Glenn Greenwald: “The Democrats have been concerned about a lack of enthusiasm on the part of their base headed into the midterm elections. These sorts of rabid, caricatured, Fox-News-copying attacks on the Left will undoubtedly help generate more enthusiasm — more loud clapping — for the Democrats. I know I’m eager to go canvass and clap for Democrats after reading Gibbs’ noble, inspiring vision. If it were Gibbs’ goal to be as petulant and self-pitying as possible, what could he have done differently?”

* Chris Bowers: “Secondly, and more sadly, reaching out to the left by hating on it has a long, established tradition in Democratic politics. Many Democratic elected officials feel that reaching out to moderates and conservatives means bending over backward to show those voters that they share their views. However, many of those same elected officials consider left-wing outreach to be telling progressives to shut the fuck up and get in line. With outreach like that, it is probably no wonder that President Obama’s main problem with his approval rating right now is among self-identified liberals.”

* David Frum: “More proof of my longtime thesis, Repub pols fear the GOP base; Dem pols hate the Dem base.”

* John Cole: “Way to help the GOTV efforts, Gibbs. Asshole.”

Resembling That Remark

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Charlotte Hays at the Corner calls me out:

Was anybody else appalled by Barack Obama’s approving invocation last night of his mother’s having been on food stamps at one point in his childhood? Obama’s mother was not a poor, uneducated sharecropper in Mississippi, the sort of person for whom the food stamp program was designed. She was a hippie dippy grad student bumming around the world, reportedly discovering the superiority of other cultures (i.e., the ones that weren’t providing her with food stamps) to that of her native land. She did, in a way, foreshadow the perfect Obama voter: the callow grad student, critical of the U.S. but nevertheless unashamed to enjoy its beneficence.

You Mean the Hippies Were Right?

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The RAND Corporation has a new report out proving (once again) the dirty hippies were right all along: you don’t end terrorism through military action, you end terrorism through politics and police action.

In other words, Kerry was right about this one, too.

This was the first systematic look at how terrorist groups end. The authors compiled and analyzed a data set of all terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006, drawn from a terrorism-incident database that RAND and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism jointly oversee. The authors used that data to identify the primary reason for the end of groups and to statistically analyze how economic conditions, regime type, size, ideology, and group goals affected their survival. They then conducted comparative case studies of specific terrorist groups to understand how they ended.

Of the 648 groups that were active at some point between 1968 and 2006, a total of 268 ended during that period. Another 136 groups splintered, and 244 remained active. As depicted in the figure, the authors found that most ended for one of two reasons: They were penetrated and eliminated by local police and intelligence agencies (40 percent), or they reached a peaceful political accommodation with their government (43 percent). Most terrorist groups that ended because of politics sought narrow policy goals. The narrower the goals, the more likely the group was to achieve them through political accommodation — and thus the more likely the government and terrorists were to reach a negotiated settlement.

In 10 percent of cases, terrorist groups ended because they achieved victory. Military force led to the end of terrorist groups in 7 percent of cases. The authors found that militaries tended to be most effective when used against terrorist groups engaged in insurgencies in which the groups were large, well armed, and well organized. But against most terrorist groups, military force was usually too blunt an instrument.

The analysis also found that

* religiously motivated terrorist groups took longer to eliminate than other groups but rarely achieved their objectives; no religiously motivated group achieved victory during the period studied.
* size significantly determined a group’s fate. Groups exceeding 10,000 members were victorious more than 25 percent of the time, while victory was rare for groups below 1,000 members.
* terrorist groups from upper-income countries are much more likely to be left-wing or nationalist and much less likely to be motivated by religion.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

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In the News

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In the news:

* In response to public outrage—and who thought that could still accomplish anything?—the Bureau of Land Management has reversed the absurd two-year moratorium on public-land solar projects that got me so riled up a few days ago.

* Is Bush about to close Guantánamo? I imagine extralegal prisons are a whole lot less fun lately, though knowing the Bush administration they’d probably only plan to close it in preparation for Guantánamo II on the Moon.

* Utah responds to the high price of energy by moving to a four-day workweek for state employees. Meanwhile, Sal Cinquemani at Slant Magazine takes aim at the central contradiction that has crippled the Democrats’ ability to properly respond to the high price of gasoline: so long as we are unable to think the crisis outside a capitalist, market-oriented framework, $140 a barrel still isn’t high enough.

* Jesse Helms died today, one day after Bozo the Clown, and everyone else has already made the joke.

* Despite the latest denialist meme, volcanoes are not melting Arctic ice.

* Christopher Hitchens now agrees waterboarding is torture. Why? He let himself be waterboarded. (Here’s video.) I really hate to kick a guy just when he’s finally starting to see the light, but it’s worth saying that there are still plenty of people whose moral sense is not so deformed by eight years of Bushism that we knew better than to torture people without an object lesson in basic human decency—and it’d be nice if, you know, we were maybe listened to occasionally. Via MeFi.

* And, at NPR, the strange odyssey of Napoleon’s penis.

Good Ecology and Bad: Wired Magazine on Ecology

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Two from Ryan: ‘Nukes not so clean or green’ and Wired Magazine’s hippies-suck special on ecology. The latter actually dovetails fairly nicely with the ecology post I put up on culturemonkey last night, both as a striking example of the sorts of myopic conclusions you’re driven towards when you only think inside capitalist markets and as a nice lead-in to the (forthcoming) second half of the series, which will deal with ecology as a program for the conservation of nature vs. ecology as a program for the regulation of nature.

But mostly the Wired issue stands as a noteworthy testament to what happens when you allow an unholy trinity of technopositivity, kneejerk know-it-all contrarianism, and fierce resentment of hippies to drive your coverage: even your good insights get drowned in smarm.

Given the above priorities, Wired is forced down a peculiar chain of reasoning:

1. There are multiple environmental crises in progress.
2. Climate change is the most immediate of these.
3. Therefore in all matters we should ignore any and all considerations but the most short-term carbon calculus, no matter what the consequences will be with regard to the other crises.

This probably makes a lot of sense if you’re marketing a magazine to nerds who like being right and who hate any criticism of technocapitalism, especially when it comes from dirty hippies—but it doesn’t make any sense as a basis for environmental policy.

* Priuses are stupid because used cars still exist!
* Nuclear power has no relevant drawbacks whatsoever!
* Same with Frankenfoods!
* If you define the scope of the environmental crisis incredibly specifically you can conclude old-growth forests harm the environment!
* Same with organic agriculture!
* We’re screwed no matter what we do, and anyway, don’t people like it a little hotter?

Color me unimpressed.

This from the last link will probably serve as the intro for the zizecology 2 post:

In his 1992 best seller, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore derided adaptation as “a kind of laziness, an arrogant faith in our ability to react in time to save our own skin.” Better to take Stewart Brand’s advice from the opening page of the original Whole Earth Catalog: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” We’re in charge here. Let’s get to work.