Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Eric Holder

Bask in the Warm Glow of Martin Luther King’s Dream with These Exciting Sunday Links

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* CFP: Modernism’s Child (Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex, April 20, 2015).

* CFP: Obsidian Call for Submissions: Speculating on the Future: Black Imagination & the Arts.

* Martin Luther King’s other dream: disarmament.

* Our most cherished MLK Day ritual: remembering there is no figure in recent American history whose memory is more distorted than Martin Luther King Jr.

* 13 Words of the Year from Other Countries. Another set of possible candidates.

5. DAGOBERTDUCKTAKS, NETHERLANDS

In the Netherlands, the Van Dale dictionary group chose dagobertducktaks, “Scrooge McDuck tax,” a tax on the super rich. The “youth language” category choice wasaanmodderfakker (someone with no ambition in life, from a blend of aanmodderen, “muddle,” and motherf***er). The “lifestyle” category choice was vergeetverzoek, “forget request,” a request to a search engine that sensitive information be removed.

* For-Profit College Investor Now Owns Controlling Share of Leading Education Trade Publication. IHE’s ownership statement says that editors retain full editorial independence.

* Aaron Bady told me “Trust Us Justice: 24, Popular Culture and the Law” was a great talk forever ago, but I didn’t have time to get to it until this week. But it was indeed great, and something that will be useful in my classroom to boot.

* Comics studies is not a busman’s holiday. Great rant. This goes for science fiction studies too! It’s hard and miserable work and you should leave it all to us!

Photomediations Machine: Exploring the Anthropocene.

* Lili Loofbourow in the New York Times: “TV’s New Girls’ Club.”

Above all, promiscuous protagonism is interested in truths that are collectively produced. Its greatness stems not from a single show runner’s bleak and brilliant outlook but from a collaborative vision of art that admits a spectrum of shades. The central question driving this movement forward is no longer “How did these mad men come to be?” but rather “How did these women get so good at staying sane?”

* If anything I think Matt Reed’s concerns about the inevitable cuts to #FreeCommunityCollege don’t go far enough.

* Behold, Phase 2! That was quick.

* Free Community College Is Nothing to Celebrate, or What Piketty Means for Education.

* And from the leading light of the anti-schooling left: The hidden costs of free community college.

One of the ways we talk about the value of education is in terms of a student’s future “competitiveness.” It sounds like it should correlate directly with wages, but they’re competing against other workers like them. And from a worker’s perspective, a rising educational tide keeps wages under control for all boats. More schooling doesn’t necessarily mean better jobs, it means more competition for the same set of jobs. The so-called “skills gap” is a myth; if employers needed educated labor so badly, they would pay like it. Instead, the costs of training more productive workers have been passed to the kids who want to be them, while the profits go to employers and shareholders. The state assuming some of those costs for some of those students doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. Rather, it’s another boon for the ownership class.

Philly’s adjuncts seek to rewrite their futures.

* New talk of splitting off Madison from the rest of the UW system.

Mikalsen said the most persistent rumbling of late is that the universities would operate as a public authority, with the state playing a much reduced role in overseeing hiring practices, construction bids and other internal matters that university officials have long said could be done more efficiently and cheaply with more autonomy. The trade-off would come in reduced state aid, Mikalsen said.

* Louisiana is going to gut its state university system so Bobby Jindal’s no-hope presidential campaign has something to talk about. Unreal.

* And it sounds like UNC is next.

1970s Film: Vintage Marquette University. More links below the video!

It’s a bit of a weird way to be selling the world’s biggest sporting event—and we’re gonna build a super-cool stadium and then tear it down again because everyone knows stadiums suck—but points for honesty, at least.

* The second interesting thing about the Packers, or football, I’ve ever heard. Here of course was the first. Go Pack, times two!

Nobody Expects the Facebook Inquisition. Also from Burke: An Ethic of Care.

Perhaps that means “check your privilege” is a phrase to retire because it invites that kind of ease, a lack of awareness about what that statement hopes for and requires. If it’s not an expression of an ethic of care, trying to radar-ping the world around it to find out who else shares or might share in that ethic, and not a threat with power behind it, then what it usually leads to is the moral evacuation of a conversation and the production of a sort of performative austerity, of everyone in a community pretending to virtue they do not authentically embrace and avoiding the positive or generative use of the forms of social power they might actually have genuinely privileged access to.

* Eric Holder ends the scandal of civil asset forfeiture, at least for now.

Florida police use images of black men for target practice.

“Our policies were not violated. There is no discipline that’s forthcoming from the individuals regarding this,” Dennis said.

While the ire of environmental activists remains fixed on the Keystone XL pipeline, a potentially greater threat looms in the proposed expansion of Line 61, a pipeline running the length of Wisconsin carrying tar sands crude. The pipeline is owned by Enbridge, a $40 billion Canadian company, which has been responsible for several hundred spills in the past decade, including one in 2010 near Marshall, Mich., reportedly the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in American history.

The stark disparities of paid leave: The rich get to heal. The poor get fired.

Few New Parents Get Paid Time Off.

* “Carry bolt cutters everywhere”: life advice from Werner Herzog.

Last night “The Daily Show’s” Jessica Williams delved into a baffling Alabama law: HB 494. The law takes state funds — funds that are scarce in the Alabama justice system — to appoint lawyers for fetuses.

How Gothic Architecture Took Over the American College Campus.

Solar Is Adding Jobs 10 Times Faster Than the Overall Economy.

* “Zero Stroke Was A Mental Illness That Affected An Entire Country.”

* Love, marriage, and mental illness.

The $4 billion worth of subsidies represents a record high outlay at the very time Christie says budget shortfalls are preventing him from making actuarially required pension payments. What could explain it this incomprehensible paradox? It’s been thirty-five years and the media is simply incapable of admitting that when Republicans claim to care about deficits they are lying.

* Some bad news, y’all, overparenting doesn’t work either.

Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone.

I’ll never punish my daughter for saying no.

* Group projects and the secretary effect.

* Making the school day longer will definitely fix it. I suppose every generation feels this way but I really feel like the 1980s and 1990s were the last good time to be a kid.

* Teach the controversy: Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists. Meanwhile, everything in the ocean is dying.

* But it’s not all bad news: Ron Howard recording new narration for recut of Arrested Development season four.

* Ghost stores of Wal-Mart.

The biggest downside to a Walmart opening up in your community is that after all the protests, the negotiations, and, almost inevitably, the acceptance, the retail giant might just break its lease, pack up shop, and move a mile down the road. The process starts all over again, and Walmart’s giant, hard-won original behemoth of a structure sits abandoned, looming over its increasingly frustrated neighbours.

Duke University announced it would broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from its iconic chapel, then backed down after threats of violence.

Kepler has given many gifts to humanity, but we should be careful throwing around words like “habitable” when talking about worlds 1,000 light years away, about which we only know sizes and orbits. It’s not my intention to put a damper on things, or to take the wonder and imagination out of astronomy. Science requires both imagination and creativity, but also analytical thought and respect for observational evidence. And after only 20 years of exoplanet discoveries, the observational evidence is rich, beautiful, and stands on its own. We don’t know the odds that life will arise on other worlds, but we’ve got a few tens of billions of rolls of the cosmological dice.

“What Are the Children Who Grow Up to Become Police Officers Learning in School?”: Lessons from Philadelphia’s Mandatory African American History Classes.

* Kotsko shrugged: The perpetual adolescence of the right. Along the similar lines, but thinking of ethics instead of intellectualism, I always think of David Graeber’s “Army of Altruists” from Harper’s, almost a decade-old now, on the way elites have cordoned off all meaningful work for themselves and their children alone.

Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty. But wait! Let’s quibble about the numbers!

* Hidden laborers of the information age.

* The Cathedral of Consumption: We’re Not Living in an Algorithmic Culture So Much as a Computational Theocracy.

* Just this once, everybody lives: Netflix Renews Deal for ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Luther,’ More BBC Series.

* Around the mid 2000s it became popular in Sweden for teenage boys to wear rubber bands around their legs on top of their jeans. The more rubber bands you had and variety in colors the more alpha you became to the other teenage boys.

* Like Uber, but for veillance. Of course the university is at the cutting edge:

We’ve got an early warning system [called Stoplight] in place on our campus that allows instructors to see what a student’s risk level is for completing a class. You don’t come in and start demonstrating what kind of a student you are. The instructor already knows that. The profile shows a red light, a green light, or a yellow light based on things like have you attempted to take the class before, what’s your overall level of performance, and do you fit any of the demographic categories related to risk. These profiles tend to follow students around, even after folks change how they approach school. The profile says they took three attempts to pass a basic math course and that suggests they’re going to be pretty shaky in advanced calculus.

* #FeministSexualPositions. (NSFW, obviously.)

* I guess I just don’t see why you’d bring your baby to work.

Top 10 Biggest Design Flaws In The U.S.S. Enterprise. I can’t believe “elevated warp nascelles perched on extended towers are super vulnerable to attack” didn’t even make the top ten.

Space, ze final frontière.

* Dave Goelz explains how to Gonzo.

* Apocalypse zen: photos of stairs in abandoned buildings.

* And I guess that settles it. Little Boy Who Claimed to Die and Visit Heaven Admits He Made It Up.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm

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I Guess That’s Why They Call It Jet Lag Links

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* “Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them.” NSFW, and probably deserves a trigger warning for imagery of sexual violence too.

Academics, Public Work, And Labor.

Kids Returned To Honduras, Killed.

* California drought: 17 communities could run out of water within 60 to 120 days, state says. More at MetaFilter.

* Recent Glacial Melt Mostly Caused By Man-Made Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Study Finds.

Mr. Holder and top Justice Department officials were weighing whether to open a broader civil rights investigation to look at Ferguson’s police practices at large, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal talks. The issue came up after news reports revealed a 2009 case in which a man said that four police officers beat him, then charged him with damaging government property — by getting blood on their uniforms.

Half of black men in the US have been arrested by age 23.

Who is an “Outside Agitator”? Unethical journalism can make Ferguson more dangerous. Police in Ferguson Are Firing Tear Gas Canisters Manufactured During the Cold War Era. Tear Gas Is an Abortifacient. Why Won’t the Anti-Abortion Movement Oppose It? Why hasn’t Darren Wilson been arrested yet? Police are operating with total impunity in Ferguson. A local public defender on the deeply dysfunctional Ferguson court system.

Nobody Knows How Many Americans The Police Kill Each Year.

* Saying the quiet part loud: Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.

* Another edition of Aaron Bady Movie Corner.

* I thought this @nerdist interview with Matthew Weiner was great.

* Trustees agree! Trustees need more power.

* Islamic militants execute journalist, MU grad James Foley. His letter to the alumni magazine from 2011.

* The Pressure to Breast-Feed Is Hurting New Moms With Postpartum Depression.

* It’s not all bad news: This Oxford professor thinks artificial intelligence will destroy us all.

* And the Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin says we should prioritize road work based on what would create the most jobs. My gosh. It’s like an Adam Kotsko rant come to life.

Thursday Night Links

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* Thank a Boomer: the North Pole is now a lake.

Three-Quarters Of Young, Independent Voters Describe Deniers As ‘Ignorant, Out Of Touch Or Crazy.’

* Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought.

* MOOCs enter the “Sure, they’re a complete disaster, but what if they weren’t?” phase of the hype cycle.

* College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years. Better hire some new assistant under-deans to tackle this problem.

* Why would CPS throw more money into recruiting recent college graduates with five weeks of training and no teaching certificates into the district when it lets go of highly-qualified, certified, veteran teachers? What’s the Difference Between Teach For America, and a Scab Temp Agency?

* What’s the Matter With North Carolina? Meanwhile, Eric Holder tries to reignite the preclearance provision of the VRA under Section 3.

* Scientists believe they have successfully implanted a false memory into a mouse.

* Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism.

* There’s no such thing as black-on-black crime.

* Ally-phobia: On the Trayvon Martin Ruling, White Feminism, and the Worst of Best Intentions. White People Fatigue Syndrome.

* “Summer Vacation Is Evil”: the ultimate #slatepitch.

* Today in coffee-is-good-for-you news: Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide.

* A unique defense: Lance Armstrong says it doesn’t count if everyone should have known you were lying.

* And tonight’s poem: “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood.

Thursday!

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* First we must understand that though the humanities in general and literary studies in particular are poor and struggling, we are not naturally poor and struggling. We are not on a permanent austerity budget because we don’t have the intrinsic earning power of the science and engineering fields and aren’t fit enough to survive in the modern university. I suggest, on the basis of a case study, that the humanities fields are poor and struggling because they are being milked like cash cows by their university administrations. The money that departments generate through teaching enrollments that the humanists do not spend on their almost completely unfunded research is routinely skimmed and sent elsewhere in the university. As the current university funding model continues to unravel, the humanities’ survival as national fields will depend on changing it. Via MLA.

* No one could have predicted: Citing disappointing student outcomes, San Jose State pauses work with Udacity.

* Tomrorow’s outrageous acquittals today: Here’s Florida’s Next Trayvon Martin Case.

* Possible Homeland Security pick tainted by racial profiling accusations. It would be terrible if racial politics were somehow allowed to corrupt the mission of Homeland Security.

* Eric Holder: I Had To Tell My Son How To Protect Himself From The Police Because He Is Black.

* Wyoming is a place with two escalators; it probably shouldn’t get two senators.

* As western water leaders converged on Las Vegas in December 2001, Southern California’s inability to contain its voracious appetite seemed finally to be bumping up against reality – there is only so much water in the Colorado River.

* My friend Fran McDonald has a piece in the Atlantic about laughter without humor.

The glitch aesthetic of the GIF emphasizes the uncanny quality of laughter. At each moment of re-looping, Portman performs a miniature convulsion that registers as an inhuman twitch. If humor makes us human — an assumed correlation that is so deeply written into our culture that the two share a basic etymological root — then laughter without humor appears to render us mechanical, terrifying, monstrous. It is not a coincidence that laughter without humor has become the great cinematic signifier of madness: think of Colin Clive’s maniacal “it’s alive!” hysterics in the famous 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the crazed cackle of The Joker in the Batman comics.

* Today, surrogacies in the U.S. are managed by profitable “voluntary” clinic-agencies speaking the language of the “gift.” The labor (no pun intended) that commercial surrogates perform in the U.S. is not legally recognized as work but as volunteerism, though surrogacies cost at least four times the 1986 sum—whether they be traditional, in which the surrogate is impregnated with a client’s sperm, or, as is increasingly the case, gestational, in which an in-vitro-­fertilized embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s womb. Strict means-testing is used to assess a surrogate’s independent wealth, purporting to check for authentic “voluntariness.” This effectively bars working-class American women from entering surrogacy agreements. The U.S. surrogacy industry prefers to cast surrogacy as akin to basket-weaving or amateur pottery, not ­assembly-line factory work.

In India, the reverse is true. There are upwards of 3,500 so-called womb farms in the country, in which conscripted women offer the vital force of black flesh considered untouchable at home to incubate white children destined to be shipped back to Denmark, Israel, or the U.S. It’s a “purely economic arrangement” with a “mere vessel,” explains Dominic and Octavia Orchard of Oxfordshire, UK, a commissioning couple featured in the Daily Mail in 2012. To couples like these, surrogates are presented as transnational reproductive-service workers, their job description posted online and accompanied by detailed terms of service.

* And a Dan Harmon profile with more information on his firing and rehiring and plans for season five, for anyone who still hasn’t lost patience with either the series or him personally…

All the Wednesday Links

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* The headline reads, “Student Loan Debt Delinquency Is Much Worse Than We Thought.”

We find that 27 percent of the borrowers have past due balances, while the adjusted proportion of outstanding student loan balances that is delinquent is 21 percent-much higher than the unadjusted rates of 14.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively

Meanwhile, college costs have sextupled since 1985.

* The Supreme Court looks prepared to rule that international law doesn’t apply internationally. Well done, sirs.

* Attorney General Eric Holder concludes no due process is a kind of due process. This whole “rule of law” thing is going great.

* Paul Pillar: We can live with a nuclear Iran. Of course we can.

The simple argument is that Iranian leaders supposedly don’t think like the rest of us: they are religious fanatics who value martyrdom more than life, cannot be counted on to act rationally, and therefore cannot be deterred. On the campaign trail Rick Santorum has been among the most vocal in propounding this notion, asserting that Iran is ruled by the “equivalent of al-Qaeda,” that its “theology teaches” that its objective is to “create a calamity,” that it believes “the afterlife is better than this life,” and that its “principal virtue” is martyrdom. Newt Gingrich speaks in a similar vein about how Iranian leaders are suicidal jihadists, and says “it’s impossible to deter them.”

The trouble with this image of Iran is that it does not reflect actual Iranian behavior. More than three decades of history demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s rulers, like most rulers elsewhere, are overwhelmingly concerned with preserving their regime and their power—in this life, not some future one. They are no more likely to let theological imperatives lead them into self-destructive behavior than other leaders whose religious faiths envision an afterlife. Iranian rulers may have a history of valorizing martyrdom—as they did when sending young militiamen to their deaths in near-hopeless attacks during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s—but they have never given any indication of wanting to become martyrs themselves. In fact, the Islamic Republic’s conduct beyond its borders has been characterized by caution. Even the most seemingly ruthless Iranian behavior has been motivated by specific, immediate concerns of regime survival. The government assassinated exiled Iranian dissidents in Europe in the 1980s and ’90s, for example, because it saw them as a counterrevolutionary threat. The assassinations ended when they started inflicting too much damage on Iran’s relations with European governments. Iran’s rulers are constantly balancing a very worldly set of strategic interests. The principles of deterrence are not invalid just because the party to be deterred wears a turban and a beard.

On the other side, of course, we have the not-at-all-fascistic-sounding slogan “peace through strength.” Occupy Everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?

* Football: It’s worse than you think! Via MetaFilter, with more from Ta-Nehisi Coates.

* Matt Zoller Seitz on what makes Mad Men great.

When Gabriel García Márquez interviewed Akira Kurosawa.

Marquez: Thank you very much. All things considered, I think that if I were Japanese I would be as unyielding as you on [the subject of the bomb]. And at any rate I understand you. No war is good for anybody.

Kurosawa: That is so. The trouble is that when the shooting starts, even Christ and the angels turn into military chiefs of staff.

* How Goldman Sachs does it: they’re on every side of every deal.

* Archie Comics continues to insist on its own relevance: now they’re giving Cheryl Blossom breast cancer.

* I give Colbert the edge over Stewart re: Rush.

* And exactly how long ago was a long time ago in a galaxy far away? io9 is there.

Great Unknown, Han and Chewbacca are forced to make a jump to hyperspace to flee Imperial attackers. (OK yes, we know it’s non-canonical, but this is a thought experiment so just bear with us.) The Millennium Falcon crash lands on Earth, where Han and Chewbacca are attacked by Native Americans. Han receives several arrow wounds in the process, and Chewbacca holds his partner as the last bit of life flees from him. The second half of the story leaps 126 years into the future, with Indiana Jones and Short Round searching for Sasquatch in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, only to find Chewbacca and the bones of Han Solo.

Blaspheme!

Well, If You Actually Want to *Solve* the Problem

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 14, 2011 at 11:26 pm

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.

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.

Friday Night Potpourri

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The Potheads Have Taken Over the Asylum

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As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.

The potheads have taken over the asylum: Attorney General Eric Holder has released new guidelines for federal prosecutors regarding medicinal marijuana. I admit I was initially lukewarm on Holder’s appointment, but he’s sure doing a lot of the heavy lifting on “change.”

Written by gerrycanavan

October 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Unhappy Monday Links

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I have it on good authority that my friend Traxus was totally making fun of someone else in this post on blogging styles. That said, some unhappy Monday links.

* As you’ve probably already heard, Michael Jackson’s death has now been ruled a homicide. Let the feeding frenzy resume.

* Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named a veteran federal prosecutor on Monday to examine abuse of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency, after the Justice Department released a long-secret report showing interrogators choked a prisoner repeatedly and threatened to kill another detainee’s children. A good day for America (and for the rule of law). Hopefully this is the beginning and not the end.

* NJ-Gov: Christie’s lead has all but disappeared in the face of weeks of bad press. More from TPM.

* Elsewhere in New Jersey news UPDATE: from 1970: Foster parents denied right to adopt because the father is an atheist.

In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes’ right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes’ “high moral and ethical standards,” he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.” Despite Eleanor Katherine’s tender years, he continued, “the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”

People who love to tell New Atheists to sit down and shut up, take note.

* ‘How to Kill a City’: from an episode of Mad Men yesterday to the pages of the New York Times today. Via @mrtalbot.

* The Coin Flip: A Fundamentally Unfair Proposition.

* 12 Greenest Colleges and Universities, at Sustainablog. Vermont once again takes high honors.

* ‘Runaway consumerism explains the Fermi Paradox.’ (Via Ze.) This is actually an important plot point (with some nice twists) in a novel I’ve touted a few times here, Accelerando.

* And Fimoculous has your Curb Your Enthusiasm preview.

Sunday Links 2

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Sunday links 2.

* For all you IJers out there, Infinite Summer has your David Foster Wallace humor minute.

* Hate crime protection for the homeless? Hate crimes are, in general, a very thorny legal issue, but in light of so much violence directed specifically at the homeless it makes sense to see them as a class in need of additional protection.

* Terminator 4 was so good they’re going to make Terminator 5.

* Polling headline of the week: ‘GOP’s Rating with Latinos Falls to Margin of Error.’

* Rachel Maddow on the success of astroturfed right-wing protests since the Brooks Brothers riot in 2000. Via Cyn-C.

* And Eric Holder is still inching towards prosecution of the Bush administration, though in terms of scale and scope the proposed investigation remains far too cautious.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 9, 2009 at 7:21 pm

No Hope for Justice?

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Glenn Greenwald brings us more on the rumors that Eric Holder will appoint a special prosecutor for the Bush administration, with varying and conflicting reports about the possible scope and scale of the investigation.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Hope Yet for Justice

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Newsweek: Alone among cabinet officers, attorneys general are partisan appointees expected to rise above partisanship. All struggle to find a happy medium between loyalty and independence. Few succeed. At one extreme looms Alberto Gonzales, who allowed the Justice Department to be run like Tammany Hall. At the other is Janet Reno, whose righteousness and folksy eccentricities marginalized her within the Clinton administration. Lean too far one way and you corrupt the office, too far the other way and you render yourself impotent. Mindful of history, Holder is trying to get the balance right. “You have the responsibility of enforcing the nation’s laws, and you have to be seen as neutral, detached, and nonpartisan in that effort,” Holder says. “But the reality of being A.G. is that I’m also part of the president’s team. I want the president to succeed; I campaigned for him. I share his world view and values.”

These are not just the philosophical musings of a new attorney general. Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell Newsweek that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama’s domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. “I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda,” he says. “But that can’t be a part of my decision.”

There’s some discussion of this claim and what it means at MetaFilter and Greenwald, as well as reports tonight that Cheney ordered the CIA to lie to Congress.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 12, 2009 at 4:19 am

Monday Morning

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Monday morning.

* Following up on this post from Sunday: Rahm Emanuel says there will be no Bush-era prosecutions. OpenLeft wants to know whether Eric Holder is “a Gonzales-like lackey” in light of his apparent willingness to allow political judgments to influence DoJ policy.

* And speaking of political judgments influencing DoJ policy, this Rep. Harman story is pretty unbelievable, even for the Bush administration.

There are a lot of hairy details on this one. But the gist is that an NSA wiretap recorded Harman in a conversation with a “suspected Israeli agent” in which Harman allegedly agreed to use her influence with the DOJ to get them to drop the AIPAC spy case in exchange for help lobbying then-Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi to make Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee — a position she ended up not getting.

The story suggests that the tapes show Harman crossed the line. And the gears were in motion to open a full blown investigation. But then Alberto Gonzales intervened and shutdown the whole thing.

Why? Here’s where it gets into the realm of bad novel writing: because Gonzales (and the White House) needed Harman to go to bat for them on the warrantless wiretaping story that the New York Times was then on the brink of publishing.

Find me one honest Congressperson.

* The Hollywood Reporter says the chances of a Dollhouse renewal are 50/50. That’s actually a lot better than I thought.

* Tuna projected to be wiped out by 2012.

* Maps from the recession.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm