Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘douchebags of liberty

Tuesday!

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* Today David Simon is a certified genius.

* More Obama v. Palin in the pages of Archie. Related: When the Tea Party takes over the comics page.

* Surprising no one, Pew has found that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than religious people.

* The “Kill Whitey” trolley problem. Via MetaFilter.

* With Fox News fully embracing anti-vaccine paranoia, will UFOs be the next conspiracy theory to go mainstream? CNN reports, you decide.

* Ben and Jerry have been lying to us. Could it be that their delicious ice cream is hardly healthy at all?

* And Jim DeMint has triggered the Senate’s doomsday device. The greatest democracy in the history of the world! The system works!

The Most Offensively Stupid Thing You’ll Read Today

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Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator declares Shirley Sherrod lied when she characterized a relative as a victim of lynching because the man was merely beaten to death on the steps of a courthouse while under arrest and in handcuffs—not hung. As you can see, Jeffrey Lord is today’s absolute worst person in the world. Yglesias delivers an appropriately righteous smackdown:

If you read the anti-lynching section of the Truman administration’s landmark report on civil rights, “To Secure These Rights,” you’ll see that at no time did anyone think the purpose of federal anti-lynching legislation was to ensure that lynching victims were shot or beaten rather than hanged.

Adam Serwer (“Finally, how many times are conservatives going to try and smear this woman before some sense of shame or decency kicks in?”) and Paul Campos (“It’s hard to understand how this kind of thing gets published in a world that includes editors, higher cognitive function, and/or common decency.”) are likewise aghast—and that’s before you get to the fawning comments at the Spectator.

Unbelievable.

On a lighter note, via Steve Benen, E.J. Dionne offers up the tantalizing possibility that the Sherrod moment could be be a turning point for American political journalism. God, I hope so.

Now I’m Just Procrastinating

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* Crooks & Liars finds Christopher Brownfield arguing what I’ve been suspecting—BP is only considering containment options that protect their investment. Perhaps this is a question for Obama’s new presidential commission to take up. Meanwhile it looks as if Deepwater Horizon oil has been caught by the loop current, which means it could wind up in the Atlantic soon.

* If we weren’t living in post-racial America, a statistic showing the wealth gap between blacks and whites increasing fourfold since 1984 would be pretty worrying.

* I don’t say this often, but damn, that’s cold.

* Anesthesia awareness: just say no.

* One of the better periodic chart memes I’ve seen: The Elements of a Superhero.

* And speaking of superheroes: Feminist Hulk is on Twitter.

Just Another Thursday Night Linkdump

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* Bad news, grad students: Lack of sleep linked to early death.

* Joe Lieberman thinks he’s found a loophole in that silly Constitution thing: revoking the citizenship of suspected terrorists. It’s a great idea that has no possible downside and could never be abused.

* Oh, and Lieberman’s take on the Gulf of Mexico disaster is “Accidents happen.” What could possibly go wrong, that hasn’t already gone wrong, to convince these people that offshore drilling isn’t worth it?

* Democrats demoralized. I wonder why.

* Supreme Court Upholds Freedom Of Speech In Obscenity-Filled Ruling.

* Facebook doing everything wrong.

* The flooding in Nashville has now been declared a national emergency. The Big Picture has pictures of what’s happening there.

* Genetically engineered crops lead to genetically engineered weeds. Via MetaFilter.

* The FCC will reclassify broadband in order to preserve its ability to protect net neutrality.

* Natural Catalogue (in Alphabetic Order). Photos from Agata Marzecova.

* Eric Cantor booed by Heritage Foundation audience for refusing to name Obama a “domestic enemy.” The lunatics are running the asylum.

* Matt Yglesias covers some important bipartisanship cooperation from the U.S. Senate.

* Oil disaster update: Less than a week after British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and unleashing what could be the worst industrial environmental disaster in U.S. history, the company announced more than $6 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2010, more than doubling profits from the same period the year before. Robert F. Kennedy explores the Cheney connection, while Nicole Allan blames Halliburton.

* Hope: The Tucson and Flagstaff city councils voted Tuesday to sue Arizona over its tough new immigration law, citing concerns about enforcement costs and negative effects on the state’s tourism industry.

* The Darjeeling Limited coming to the Criterion Collection.

* Horse names from The Wire.

* Tough but fair: Goran Tunjic carded for fatal heart attack during soccer game.

* And your feel-good/feel-terrible story of the day: Local boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day.

Tuesday Miscellany

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* Lots of talk today about Arizona and its new “papers, please” immigration law, which James Doty, Andrew Napolitano, Erwin Chemerinsky and Karl Manheim all agree is almost certainly unconstitutional. Even Tom Tancredo and Joe Scarborough thinks this goes too far—though douchebag of liberty Bill Kristol thinks it’s fine. The city of San Francisco will join a national boycott. Perhaps Major League Baseball will too. There’s more commentary on this from Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow, Seth Meyer, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

* Colbert’s segment on Sue Lowden’s chickens-for-medical-care scheme was pretty great too.

* Alas, poor Durham: not one of America’s highest cities.

* Britain and China have your videos of the day.

* You can stop laughing, lawyers—now your degree is worthless too.

The Louisiana oil spill, as seen from space.

* And some breaking news: Ben Nelson is still really terrible.

Douchebags of Liberty – 2

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“We’re all in favor of the catastrophic care coverage and coverage for children,” [Sen. Scott] Brown told Good Morning America.

We are? Really? Gee, Scott, I wish you’d said something earlier! So much unpleasantness might have been avoided.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 26, 2010 at 8:54 am

Friday Friday

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* Orrin Hatch is today’s douchebag of liberty, with hypocrisy so brazen it offends even Mark Halprin.

* An interesting paper flagged at The Sexist reveals that young men hold shocking double standards in the way they imagine themselves rejecting sex and the way they imagine women must. There’s an almost total lack of self-reflexivity here, as characterized by one of the authors of the study:

“The gist of it is that these young men evidenced an understanding of and even a preference for nuances and diplomatic communication to refuse sex, but then when discussing rape, reversed course and began to argue that anything the least bit ambiguous was unintelligible,” Millar writes.

* Steve Benen and Kevin Drum spare a moment for student loan reform, the other Big Fucking Deal legislation passed this week. Ezra Klein, too, notes that behind the large-scale reform of health care includes a lot of medium-scale reforms that might have been big fights on their own, but which slipped by without comment—suggesting that perhaps Obama really has been playing 11-dimensional chess all this time.

* The New England Journal of Medicine warns that the war over health care has only just begun. While repeal does not seem to me to be an especially important concern—among other things I don’t think Republicans can win the presidency in 2012 or get 67 votes in the Senate when they don’t—the authors raise important points about some difficult areas of implementation that need to be handled carefully by the Administration.

* Nate Silver has your health-care post-mortem.

On balance, I think if you polled Republican strategists right now and they were being honest, they’d probably concede that Democrats are better off for having brought health care to completion after having invested so much energy in it before. The Democrats have a case they can make now — we’re making the tough decisions and getting things done — which may not be horribly persuasive to much of the electorate but is at least marginally better than the complete directionlessness they seemed to be exhibiting a few weeks ago.

On the other hand, I think if you polled Democratic strategists and they were being honest, they’d probably concede that — electorally-speaking — Democrats would have been better off if they’d found a different direction last year, focusing perhaps on financial reform and then only turning to health care if their numbers warranted it. One of the risks in undertaking health care in the first place, indeed, is that there was essentially no exit strategy: no matter how badly the electorate reacted to the policy — and they reacted quite badly — Democrats would probably have been even worse off if they’d abandoned it somewhere along the way.

* And prodigy, 13, claims age discrimination by UConn. I for one welcome our new adolescent overlords…

205,000

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Crazy Busy Links

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Today was busy and tomorrow’s very busy, but after that I get a breather. Here are some links.

* With the upcoming retirement of the space shuttle and Obama’s quiet cancelation of the planned return to the Moon, America essentially no longer has a manned space program. (Via MeFi.) For a nerd I’m actually pretty bearish on space and think there’s probably nothing up there for us—but all the same this makes me really sad.

* Where are all the aliens? Maybe they killed themselves through geoengineering.

* Related: the UFO that mined uranium in Argentina during the 1970s has returned.

* Hard times in academia: college endowments lost $58 billion dollars last year, about 19%.

* How to Report the News. This is perfect.

* Pelosi for president: “You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”

* How Obama will double exports in five years: the magic of inflation. When you put it that way it sounds a lot less impressive.

* And Republicans have voted 0-40 against another one of their own ideas.

Sunday Sunday

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* The bizarre part is that the only people being asked to Seriously Question Their Motives and Practices, or who are facing scrutiny for what they did, are the climate scientists who just got robbed, even though there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they have actually done anything clearly unethical. (The worst bit is the suggestion as to deleting emails, something that everyone concedes is pretty bad and nobody is defending, though there’s no proof anything was ever deleted.) More important, nothing in all this nonsense even approaches a challenge to the science that shows the reality of global climate change, at least to a reasonable person.

* The Gambler Who Blew $127 Million. (via Eric Barker)

* Also from Eric’s blog: The Rise and Fall of MySpace.

* Casino capitalism: the foolproof path to prosperity. Via Atrios.

* The mayor of Arlington, Tennessee, is today’s douchebag of liberty.

Russell Wiseman (R), the mayor of Arlington, Tenn., posted an item to his Facebook page with a theory about the timing. Wiseman wrote:

Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch “The Charlie Brown Christmas Special” and our muslim [sic] president is there, what a load…..try to convince me that wasn’t done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation [sic] about it….w…hen [sic] the answer should simply be “yes”

This guy seriously believes the White House could have picked any date for the speech, but officials picked Tuesday because of an animated Christmas program.

The mayor added that the United States is now a “Muslim country,” and then pined for the days of yore. “[Y]ou know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has [sic] stayed in there, things would be different,” Wiseman wrote.

Palin/Wiseman ’12?

* Another publication has realized that the problem is the Senate. Via Yglesias.

* The headline reads, “McG Announces Two More Terminator Movies, Reality May Have Other Plans.”

You Don’t Say

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From the you-don’t-say files: Tom Ridge admits in his new book to succumbing to political pressure to raise the terror alert level on the eve of George Bush’s re-election, claiming he was so angry he almost resigned over it. How almost brave of him.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm

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Wednesday Night Whoa!

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Early morning Wednesday.

* We finally saw Up! tonight. All I can say is if the first ten minutes don’t break your heart you have no soul.

* Blackwater founder Erik Prince has apparently been implicated in a huge swath of crimes by a former employee and a Marine working with the company, ranging from tax evasion and money laundering to weapons smuggling to obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence to crimes of war and even to the murder of federal informants. (See MetaFilter for more.) My now-incredibly-timely review of Master of War is getting bumped up accordingly and will probably be online (updated) at Independent Weekly in a day or so. This is all pretty shocking, even by Blackwater standards.

* In not-completely-frakked-up news, Bill Clinton did a good thing today, a win for just about everybody but infamous douchebag of liberty John Bolton.

* More on the Olbermann/O’Reilly saga from Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, and David Sirota. While I appreciate that he finds himself in a tough spot here, Olbermann is not doing himself any favors with his behavior; making one type of statement on-the-air and another off makes it very clear what is going on, and makes him look like a fool.

* The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies. Outraged to see Galaxy Quest only squeaking by at #95. And 12 Monkeys quietly buried in the 80s? Nonsense.

* “In Which I Ruin Rashomon For Everyone, Forever.”

* And your short pictorial history of robots.

Jughead’s Time Police and Several More

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Sunday!

* Great Archie comics experiments of 1989-1990.

* This ruling of Sotomayor’s, it must be said, was a little douchebaggy.

* “You almost get the sense guys like Thiessen are hoping for an attack so that they can blame Obama when it happens.” Almost?

* Republicans who happily sat through three-and-a-half years of Bush vacations are outraged! that Obama took a night off.

* Tough times at Harvard U.

* Non-Whedon directors for the Buffy reboot. Wes Anderson snubbed again, though I bet Tarantino could do a good job with it.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 31, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Racist!

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The casual viciousness with which the leading lights of the Republican Party (Limbaugh, Gingrich, Beck, Buchanan and Coulter, even second-stringers like Tom Tancredo) have declared Sonia Sotomayor a “racist” is startling and deeply disturbing, even putting aside the irony that these individuals of all people would wave this particular bloody shirt. I’m not really sure what their long-term goal is. Do they think this is a remotely plausible strategy for Senatorial opposition? Are they trying to make “racism” itself a toxic, he-said-she-said subject that is outside the bounds of reasoned discourse? Are they so narrow-minded and short-sighted as to somehow believe she really is a racist? I don’t get it.

This is all predicated on a single out-of-context quote from a 2001 speech she made to Berkeley law students:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Taken out-of-context this is a statement about which reasonable people might disagree, though it surely doesn’t rise to the level of racism outside right wing histrionics. She’s not, after all, making some empirical claim about the relative intrinsic qualities of various races; she’s claiming that her life experiences inform the decisions she makes and may sometimes lead to better judgments that “a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” That’s controversial, maybe, but it’s not racist. It doesn’t speak to race; it speaks to life experience, to empathy.

But when Ta-Nehisi Coates and Spencer Ackerman direct us to the full context, the controversy vanishes for anyone with reading comprehension and a basic understanding of rhetorical irony.

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

(1) She’s responding (quite humbly) to a quote attributed to Justice O’Connor that suggests that judicial reasoning is somehow universal and objective, “that a wise old man and wise old woman” will tend to reach the same conclusion on any given subject. There’s very good reason to think that isn’t so — precisely because there is no universal, objective definition of wise, however much we might wish there were — and I tend to agree with her.

In context, in any event, the correct hysterical accusation is plainly “She’s a sexist!”, not “She’s a racist!”

2) Even more importantly, in context her introduction of “a wise Latina woman” is plainly a sly, self-mocking reference to herself. It’s an ironic wink to her own position as exactly the sort of judge about which she is speaking—it’s not a truth claim about race, and no one listening to her that day would have thought it was.

Because King George Was a Socialist

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Sean Hannity, patriot, wants a revolution.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 6, 2009 at 9:10 pm