Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘don't ask don't tell

FNL

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* My students last summer insisted Mass Effect was important science fiction. Now io9 is telling me the same thing.

* American University’s adjunct faculty have voted to unionize.

* How to design a movie poster.

* You can just feel it: many of the same newspapers and TV stations we saw leading the charge in the Bush years have gone back to the attic and are dusting off their war pom-poms. What could possibly go wrong?

* Gay marriage passes in New Jersey, only to be vetoed by Chris Christie. Meanwhile marriage equality looks likely to pass the Maryland state legislature. Meanwhile Obama announces it won’t defend laws that ban same-sex couples from receiving military benefits.

* WTFEverywhere: Sweden is only one of 17 countries that require transgender people to undergo sterilization.

* Apple still trying to find some way to make the Foxconn scandal go away.

* And Springsteen explains Wrecking Ball.

“Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous – a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community … In Easy Money the guy is going out to kill and rob, just like the robbery spree that has occurred at the top of the pyramid – he’s imitating the guys on Wall Street. An enormous fault line cracked the American system right open whose repercussion we are only starting to be feel.”

Friday Night Links

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* The absolute craziest thing I’ve ever seen: Berkeley Researchers Turn Brain Waves Into YouTube Videos.

* Even news that the laws of physics have been overturned pales in comparison. I know, I know: Bad Astronomer, xkcd.

* Louis talks to the A.V. Club about Louie: 1, 2, 3, 4.

* Paul Campos: “The law’s absurd formalism was part of its strength as ideology.” Precisely. This insight applies to many more aspects of the legal system than the revolting spectacle of our contemporary system of capital punishment, which in a case such as Davis’s — which is not in this respect was not unusual — psychologically tortures the defendant, the defendant’s family, the victim’s family, and others connected to the case for literally decades before producing what the system then has the temerity to call “justice.” (The climax of this spectacle last night involved Davis being strapped to a gurney with a needle in his arm for nearly four hours, waiting for various legal personages to respond to the question of whether, all things considered, it was finally time to stop his heart with state-administered poison).

That we tolerate this kind of thing so readily helps explain, in its own way, why it sometimes seems impossible to do much of anything about the absurdities and dysfunctions of the system of legal education that legitimates it in the first instance. Or perhaps it’s the other way around: perhaps we tolerate the absurdity of something like the 22-year “process” that resulted in the horror of Davis’s final hours because we ‘re socialized from the beginning of our careers in this system to accept all kinds of absurdity and injustice as natural, inevitable, and therefore legitimate.

Reading this I was reminded of Duncan Kennedy’s excellent article “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy,” which Corinne linked the other day on Twitter.

* Ground Zero Mosque opens without controversy. It’s almost as if the objections to this were complete bullshit.

* I’m steadfastly not paying attention to the GOP primary, but this is pretty astounding, even by Republican standards.

* DOJ: Rick Perry’s Texas Redistricting Plan Purposefully Discriminated Against Minorities.

* Why Is TV Suddenly Overstuffed With Buxom Bunnies, Sexy Stewardesses, and Charlie’s Angels?

* How long—how long must we sing this song? Forty years, give or take.

* Genetic sequencing indicates Australian Aborigines may have been the world’s first explorers, leaving Africa more than 60,000 years ago.

* Taxpayers in the San Francisco area spend $2,762,295 each year in junk food subsidies, but only $41,950 each year on apple subsidies.

* Speaking at a Climate Week NYC event hosted by the Maldives, the TckTckTck campaign, and the U.N., Greenpeace International President Kumi Naidoo argued that the path to a sustainable future will involve peaceful, popular civil disobedience. “The struggle for climate justice is not a popularity contest,” he argued. He said the lesson of the Arab Spring, and the history of struggles from suffrage to civil rights to the end of apartheid, is that change only comes when decent men and women are willing to risk their lives and go to jail in peaceful protest.

The world’s rudest hand gestures.

Great Lost Pop Culture Treasures.

And Chris Ware on your iPad. Have a good weekend.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (and Several More)

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* Between the tax compromise and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, I think Obama did a tremendous amount to help his chances for reelection this week. Rachel Maddow rightly calls the DADT repeal the president’s victory:

Politically, the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President’s victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters. He continually insisted that this was possible that it would get done.

Guilty as charged. I confess I also love the sweet sound of right-wing screams, especially when their own caucus collapsed in the face of this “generational change.” Even Richard Burr voted the right way!

* It looks like Harvard and Yale will return ROTC to their campuses in light of the repeal. Frankly I’d prefer to see the trend going the other way—we need tighter restrictions on military recruiting, not loosening of the few restrictions that already exist—but I suppose this was unavoidable.

* Seen on Facebook: Obama wants to let gays vote. That’s why I’m voting Tea Party.

* Watch out Texas: bad news coming.

* Aside from the matter of actual violence, drugs, and squalor, there was the fact that in the 1970s New York City was not a part of the United States at all. It was an offshore interzone with no shopping malls, few major chains, very few born-again Christians who had not been sent there on a mission, no golf courses, no subdivisions…

* The message to Nicky Wishart and his generation is very clear: don’t get any fancy ideas about being an engaged citizen. Go back to your X-Box and X-Factor, and leave politics to the millionaires in charge. Via MeFi.

* And still more trouble for Britain: There are a growing number of grassroots organisations campaigning about the over-professionalisation of childhood football. Give Us Back Our Game launched four years ago. “The game has been taken away from children by over-competitive coaches and parents,” says founder Paul Cooper. It has several offshoots, including Football Football, an initiative to revive inner-city football. Then there’s the Children’s Football Alliance, which champions “mixed ability” football, and the Don’t X The Line campaign against over-the-top parental behaviour at children’s football matches. Also via MeFi.

* Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is evolutionarily novel, so the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to consume these substances.

* And Fringe announces its move to the Friday night death slot with style.

Kudos and Anti-Kudos

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I was very skeptical, but Obama got the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal done before the end of the session his way, as promised. Absolutely terrible news about the DREAM Act, though; Senator Hagan just made my list of Democrats I don’t lift a finger to support.

UPDATE: They died building the railroads, worked to bones and skin
They died in the fields and factories, names scattered in the wind
They died to get here a hundred years ago, they’re dyin’ now
The hands that built the country we’re always trying to keep down


World’s Greatest Trick Play Ever – Links

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* Olbermann lives. The Nation calls it a victory for “bold progressives.” Our first!

* pulparchive.com is a classic SF magazine cover a day.

* Breaking news: Democratic party leaders are completely worthless.

Look, if Democrats can’t repeal a policy more than two thirds of the American people, including a majority of conservatives want gone then they can’t expect people to vote for them.

* Climate scientists to get serious in opposing the nihilists who just took over the House.

* Hard to believe an obvious lie would gain traction in conservative circles.

* Alas, Ireland.

* The Supreme Court has turned down its first challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But don’t get too excited; it was on procedural grounds.

* Der Spiegel on the end of America.

The United States of 2010 is dysfunctional, but in new ways. The entire interplay of taxes and investments is out of joint because a 16,000-page tax code allows for far too many loopholes and because solidarity is no longer part of the way Americans think. The political system, plagued by lobbyism and stark hatred, is incapable of reaching consistent or even quick decisions.

The country is reacting strangely irrationally to the loss of its importance — it is a reaction characterized primarily by rage. Significant portions of America simply want to return to a supposedly idyllic past. They devote almost no effort to reflection, and they condemn cleverness and intellect as elitist and un-American, as if people who hunt bears could seriously be expected to lead a world power. Demagogues stir up hatred and rage on television stations like Fox News. These parts of America, majorities in many states, ignorant of globalization and the international labor market, can do nothing but shout. They hate everything that is new and foreign to them.

Sounds about right.

* World’s greatest trick play ever.

* And scientific proof that 30 Rock is funnier than S#*! My Dad Says. On this there can be no debate.

Strikes and Gutters, Ups and Downs

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Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you. It was obviously a tough night for Democrats but on some level it was always going to be—with unemployment at 9.6% and millions of people underwater on their mortgages the Democrats were doomed to lose and lose big. On this the stimulus really was the original sin—if it had been bigger and better-targeted the economic situation could have been better, but it wasn’t and here we are. Unlike 2000 and 2004 I think this election stings, but it doesn’t hurt; a big loss like this has been baked in the cake for a while.

Remember that as the pundits play bad political commentary bingo all month.

As I mentioned last night, overs beat the unders, which means my more optimistic predictions were 2/3 wrong: Republicans overshot the House predictions and Sestak and Giannoulias both lost their close races in PA and IL. But I was right that young people can’t be trusted to vote even when marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Cynicism wins again! I’ll remember that for next time.

I was on Twitter for most of the night last night and most of my observations about last night have already been made there. A few highlights from the night:

* Who could have predicted: Democrats are already playing down the notion that they’ll get much done in a lame duck session. They’d rather punt to January particularly the big issues, like tax cuts. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Don’t even bother. On taxes, the outline of a compromise is there, having been floated by Vice President Biden: the rates might stay in place for a larger number of wealthier Americans. The Estate Tax, which jumps up to 55% in January, will probably be restored at a lower rate. Capital gains taxes will also be higher, but not as high as they’re slated to be. Supporters of the START treaty are very worried. Gee, maybe Obama shouldn’t have appealed DADT after all.

* Last night’s big Dem winner: implausibly, Harry Reid. Second place (of a sort): Howard Dean, whose entire happy legacy as DNC chair was wiped out in one fell swoop last night—and then some. Fire Kaine, bring Dean back.

* Last night’s big Republican losers: the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin specifically. The crazies cost them the Senate.

* An upside: most of the losses last night were from bad Democrats, especially the Blue Dog caucus, which was nearly decimated. The progressive caucus only lost three seats and now constitutes 40% of the Democratic House caucus.

* Most of the progressive online left is saddest to see Feingold lose, I think.

* Personally happiest to see Tancredo lose in Colorado. That guy’s completely nuts.

* At least losing the House means we don’t have to deal with individual Senate egomaniacs anymore.

* Weird proposition watch: Denver votes down UFO commission. Missouri prevents a feared pupocalypse. Oklahoma bans Sharia law, thereby saving freedom forever.

* The most important proposition, and the most important victory for the left, was probably California’s Proposition 23 on climate change, which went down. Quoting the HuffPo article: “California is the world’s 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its global warming law, passed in 2006, mandates the largest legislated reductions in greenhouse gases in the world.” This was a big win.

* Sad statistic of the night: “Meg Whitman’s personal spending on her campaign: $163 mil. Natl Endowment for the Arts 2010 budget: $161.4 mil.”

* And Republican gains are bad news for higher education. This is probably especially true for state universities in North Carolina, where Republicans now control the state legislature for the first time in a century.

Anything I missed?

Thursday Night!

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* Why Arizona can’t have nice things: How the private prison industry crafted Arizona’s immigration law.

* More on Arundhati Roy and her Kashmir advocacy.

* Now Roger Sterling’s memoir can be yours.

* Last night on his moderately illuminating Daily Show appearance Barack Obama endorsed filibuster reform. I won’t hold my breath, but it’d be a good start.

* And Dylan Matthews criticizes the same useless gay marriage pander we’ve been complaining about in the comments.