Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘general election 2012

More Monday Night Links

with 2 comments

* “Too few questions were asked, too many assumptions were allowed to go unchallenged, too many voices of doubt were muffled or rejected in a toxic atmosphere of patriotism, ignorance and political fear.” No, he’s not talking about the Obama administration’s current policy of ubiquitous drone-backed assassination! He’s talking about Iraq.

Slaughter critically reviews the history of the AAUP, and finds that since its inception in 1915, it has failed either to claim in theory, or to defend in practice, a concept of academic freedom sufficiently robust to ensure even the basic civil liberties of faculty in the “danger zone” of politically sensitive scholarship in the social sciences, let alone their ability to develop research in these fields without fear of politically motivated reprisals. Even one AAUP president, William Van Alstyne, has stated that the AAUP’s standards of professional accountability for public statements restrict faculty utterances in ways that would be unacceptable in the context of the constitutional law of civil liberties. Slaughter also argues that the AAUP has placed excessive emphasis on tenure, bargaining away other aspects of academic freedom to obtain job security, and that the tenure-review process itself is the principal mechanism by which conservative biases in the faculty are perpetuated, particularly in times of financial exigency when the refusal to grant tenure to young radical faculty can be rationalized as non-political.

* Former Running Back Brian Westbrook On Concussions, Football’s Rule Changes, And The Future Of The NFL.

“I think about it,” Westbrook said Friday. “I think everybody has their own personal battles, own personal demons. So I think Junior was not only dealing with concussions but he was also dealing with other things. But I often wonder the long-term effects of everything — playing with the bad knee, playing with the ankle, and of course the concussion situation. I think about it all the time, every time I wake up and can’t remember the name of someone I once knew. I always think about it.”

* Nate Silver has solved the NCAA tournament. You’re welcome. More here.

Marquette, meanwhile, is almost certainly the weakest No. 3 seed this year, and has about a 35 percent chance of being upset by No. 14-seeded Davidson in its opening game. Instead, a Round of 16 game against No. 4 Syracuse in Washington could be Indiana’s toughest test.

You bastard.

* Coming of Age, Slowly, in a Tough Economy.

* Idea for a movie in which aliens invade the Earth and fix the economy.

* World successfully hypnotized into thinking that Cyprus really is unique.

* Sometimes the most radical ideas are those which at first sound most banal. For example, when Detroit Emergency Manager (EM) Kevyn Orr and Michigan governor Rick Snyder describe the citizens of Detroit as “customers,” it barely registers as a platitude. At first glance, it’s just another example of how marketing-speak has encroached on the language of politics; similar to how a candidate for higher office might say that government ought to be run like a business, or compare the president to a CEO.

But the description of citizens as customers—an analogy repeatedly invoked by Snyder to justify suspending the powers of Detroit’s local government and putting the city under Emergency Management—is different. It refers not only to citizens, but to the fundamental character of the government’s relationship with its citizens.

* Steubenville, actually existing media bias, and the view from nowhere. The Egregious, Awful and Downright Wrong Reactions to the Steubenville Rape Trial Verdict. Steubenville and the misplaced sympathy for Jane Doe’s rapists. Steubenville Shows the Bond Between Jock Culture and Rape Culture. On Rape, Cages, and the Steubenville Verdict. Why Does Steubenville’s Football Coach Still Have His Job? What the hell is wrong with CNN?

Lawsuits Over Job-Placement Rates Threaten 20 More Law Schools.

* Gates McFadden’s Beverly Crusher Action Figure Tumblr. I can’t even begin. Via MetaFilter.

* You don’t know all the secrets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer yet.

The United States government totally collapsed during season 4. At least, that’s what a prop newspaper created for use during “Hush” claims — apparently the United States House and Senate both dissolved as governing bodies, replaced by a shadowy group known only as “The Surviving Members of Queen.” Even though Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon and “digitally enhanced voice samples of Freddie Mercury” might not actually have U.S. citizenship. Meanwhile, then-President Clinton faced another scandal after he tested positive for presidency-enhancing drug Crovan.

* Alyssa Rosenberg is doing a Veronica Mars viewing club.

* 12 Very Special ‘Very Special Episodes.’

* And the RNC autopsies what went wrong.

Friday Night

leave a comment »

* You will have to forgive a bit of political incorrectness, but I think it important. #### happens to be a beauty and enhances her fine looks with a careful attention to her grooming and clothes. What not to say in a letter of reference.

* Giving women in academia genuine equal opportunities.

How Washington Could Make College Tuition Free (Without Spending a Penny More on Education).

The Right Not to Work: Power and Disability.

We reexamine prospects for constituency control in American politics with original data describing nearly 2,000 state legislative candidates’ perceptions of mass opinion in their districts and recent advances in public opinion estimation that allow us to determine actual district level opinion with precision. Actual district opinion explains only a modest share of the variation in politicians’ perceptions of their districts’ views. Moreover, there is a striking conservative bias in politicians’ perceptions, particularly among conservatives: conservative politicians systematically believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are by over 20 percentage points, while liberal politicians also typically overestimate their constituents’ conservatism by several percentage points. A follow-up survey demonstrates that politicians appear to learn nothing from democratic campaigns or elections that leads them to correct these shortcomings. Electoral selection has a limited impact on whether the chosen representative is congruent with the majority of her constituents. These findings suggest a substantial conservative bias in American political representation and bleak prospects for constituency control of politicians when voters’ collective preferences are less than unambiguous. Via @chrislhayes.

* How many people do you know who have been shot?

* Why ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Is A Major Step Back For Witches and Women. The Sad, Century-Long History of Terrible ‘Wizard of Oz’ Movies.

* If you want to know why we need to educate men not to be sexually aggressive, look no further than what happened when Zerlina Maxwell went on television to say that we need to educate men how not to be sexually aggressive.

Everything we write will be used against us. Every claim on or lament against society that we write will be received in the same way as accounts of rape — as lies. We don’t care anymore.

* At TNI: Here comes 56 Up.

* At n+1Sadomodernism (The Work of Michael Haneke).

* The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble.

Conservative Media Star James O’Keefe Pays $100,000 Settlement For ACORN Pimp Sting. ACORN reinstated and refunded, no harm done, right?

How Did Gallup Blow the Election?

* And today in symbolism: John Brennan Sworn in as CIA Director Using Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights.

Wednesday Morning Links

with 2 comments

* “Professor Furedi, how do you get around learning outcomes?” a young lecturer asks me in a breakout session. I have just spent 10 minutes explaining the corrosive influence of learning outcomes on education to my audience at the recent Think Festival in The Hague. Nevertheless, I am caught off guard by my blunt questioner. That is probably why my reply is a bit more candid than I had intended it to be. “I just make them up and ignore them,” I say.

The good folks on the most-excellent BBC Radio/Open University statistical literacy programme More or Less decided to answer a year-old Reddit argument about how many Lego bricks can be vertically stacked before the bottom one collapses.

_64534347_lego624x310.gif

Chris Hayes: ‘The Time For Choosing Sides On Climate Change Is Now.’ To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios.

* American Kafka: A former death row inmate with intellectual disabilities has languished in the Texas prison system for over 30 years despite having no valid criminal conviction.

The Sublime Sci-Fi Buildings That Communism Built.

* Teaser trailer for Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color.

* Dan Harmon vs. television.

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.

* And Bill O’Reilly explains how Christianity is not a religion. The War on Christmas is confusing, y’all.

Monday Night Links

leave a comment »

* The kids are all right: Last Friday night, the Harvard College Undergraduate Council announced that the student body had voted 72% in favor of Harvard University divesting its $30.7 billion endowment from fossil fuels.

* Barbarians at the Wormhole: On Anthony Burgess.

The trope of invasion is doubly brilliant, first because the invasion plot is a mainstay of SF and second because the trope captures quite neatly what it must feel like for some literary intellectuals to be forced to confront the increasing cultural cachet of SF, to face its meteoric rise over the last thirty years from lowbrow genre to literary respectability. The genre now comfortably occupies university syllabi, best-of lists, and handsome Library of America editions — though some hardened highbrows might suspect its popularity is more a function of marketing than of quality.

For all its brilliance, Clowes’s trope of invasion makes an important mistake, failing to note that the invasion is largely moving in the other direction. After all, one wouldn’t expect Asimov’s Science Fiction to run a special issue featuring “literary fiction,” but publications like the New Yorker apparently do feel the need for a science fiction issue, perhaps trying to freshen themselves up by tapping into the unruly energies of a disreputable genre. Indeed, the lure of the so-called low genres — and SF in particular — has long proven irresistible to those who otherwise fashion themselves as literary types, at least since Kingsley Amis’s classic 1960 study of the genre, New Maps of Hell.

Clowes’s New Yorker cover is, in fact, a perfect example in miniature of the subgenre Amis called the “comic inferno” — humorous dystopias such as those written by Frederick Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth, and Robert Sheckley. This subgenre, by Amis’s account, mocks ideas of progress in its humorous rendition of dystopian futures. What is dystopian about Clowes’s comic cover is very precisely that SF cannot be ignored, that it disrupts the bourgeois regularity and comfort that informs the imagination of hypothetical readers of The New Yorker. The genre — which always bears with it the threatening knowledge that the world might change inexorably, beyond human control, or at least beyond the control of those who are humanistically inclined — cannot be ignored, because the signs of our world’s deepening state of crisis (political, technological, environmental) cannot be ignored.

* Bonus: “Anthony Burgess Answers Two Questions” by Jonathan Lethem.

Not only are student loans not a burden on the federal government, they’re a good investment. In 2012 the DOW estimated its subsidy for student lending at -17 percent. In other words, the DOE “subsidies” actually represent money coming in. Including all expenses, from loses on defaults to debt collection to program administration, the DOE will pull in more than $25 billion in profit from student lending this year alone—billions more dollars than the IRS will assess in gift and estate taxes combined, and more than enough to pay NASA’s whole budget. The DOE explains the negative subsidy through a divergence between “the Government’s borrowing rate and the interest rate at which borrowers repay their loans.” After all, no one can borrow at lower rate than the U.S. Treasury, certainly not college students and their families. Bondholders aren’t the only ones who think student debtors—including defaulters—will pay back every cent they owe, with interest. The government is literally counting on it.

* The headline reads, “Charges dropped against man arrested for wearing an elaborate wristwatch.”

* Elmo accuser wants to retract his retraction. Hostess may survive after all.

Hostess Bankruptcy Has Worked Out Well for CEO Brian Driskoll.

This is not identical to the story with the American Airlines bankruptcy, but there’s something similar about it. There the CEO gets a large payday if he can avoid a merger, regardless of the value for the enterprise.

The handwriting is on the wall. Until Republican candidates figure out how to perform better among non-white voters, especially Hispanics and Asians, Republican presidential contenders will have an extraordinarily difficult time winning presidential elections from this point forward.

JSTOR provides free access to Wikipedia editors via pilot program.

* Cory Booker to live on food stamps for a week.

My name is R______. I am six years old. I think it’s not fair to only have 5 girls in Guess Who and 19 boys. It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won’t give little girls much care.

* Remixed trailer of the moment: Gotham High.

* And a new game: impressions of Sean Connery as Gandalf. Oh, what might have been!

There Are No Red States and Blue States

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

November 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Links for the Weekend

with 3 comments

* Obama makes an unexpected post-election bid for the Canavan bump: NASA May Unveil New Manned Moon Missions Soon.

* Charlie Stross visits 2512.

* China Miéville offers a brief history of the recent filmic ideology of the necessity of walls against zombie hordes.

* ORCA shrugged. More here, here, here, here. This is still, essentially, poll denialism, but it’s fascinating that the Romney campaign put so much stock in a system whose basic assumptions they’d never bothered to test.

* MetaFilter tries to hash out America’s new marijuana laws. Mexico says legalization “changes the rules of the game.”

This image posits that the juridical distinction between slave and free is isomorphic with today’s cartographies of parliamentary politics; it implies that today’s Northern liberals have inherited, and protect, the precious freedom(s) denied to so many in the antebellum world. It implies that the rupture of the Civil War was not much of a rupture—continuity is the name of the game here. It thus elides the discontinuous rupture of black political subjectivity: the image would have us believe that today’s political cartography retains the form adjudicated 162 years ago by the desires and compromises of (mostly) white men, all of whom in some fashion profited from the political and juridical de-subjectification of blacks throughout the Americas.

* Reddit gets ready for Puerto Rico by designing some 51-state flags.

* Is everyone on the autism spectrum?

* 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem.’ There’s a culture war and Democrats are winning. What The 2012 Election Would Have Looked Like Without Universal Suffrage. Colorado Establishment: Republicans must improve or die. I liked, and forgot to link, what Freddie said the other day:

It occurs to me: part of the problem with our political media and analysis is that they always define Republican victory in terms of political direction and Democratic victory in terms of extremity. That is, a Republican victory is seen as a repudiation of liberalism, while a Democratic victory is seen as a repudiation of extremism. One suggests a push towards the right is the mandate of an election; the other suggests a push towards the center is the mandate of an election. Just another way in which the media pursues a “heads conservatives win, tails liberals lose” narrative.

* But don’t get too excited: in times of Democratic strength their leaders just turn on them and enact the austerity measures the Republicans are too weak to enforce themselves. We saw it with Obama, and California’s about to see it with Jerry Brown.

* Senators lining up behind filibuster reform.

* Ohio seeks to just rig the vote in the face of the Republican demographic implosion. Let’s Kill the Electoral College So We Never Have to Pay Attention to Ohio and Florida Again.

* And the Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. Prediction: pain… UPDATE: Supreme Court Appears Ready to Nuke the Voting Rights Act.

Thursday Night Links

with 3 comments

* Why did small business owner and gamer dad Mike Hoye spend the last few weeks hand-tweaking the text in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker so that the main character was referred to as a girl instead of a boy? As he put it, “I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero.”

Romney Adviser: Not a Single Person on the Campaign Thought He Would Lose.

* What You Can Get for $228,646,000. I could have lost them basically everything for half that.

* Nate Silver explains that malapportionment in the Electoral College may actually be flowing the Democrats’ way in the near-term:

The problem for Republicans is that in states like these, and others like Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, they are now winning by such large margins there that their vote is distributed inefficiently in terms of the Electoral College.

By contrast, a large number of electorally critical states – both traditional swing states like Iowa and Pennsylvania and newer ones like Colorado and Nevada – have been Democratic-leaning in the past two elections. If Democrats lose the election in a blowout, they would probably lose these states as well. But in a close election, they are favored in them.

* I really don’t understand why Rolling Jubilee is worth doing. Why would we give the banks free money for bad debt they’ve already written off?

The pros and cons of a Casablanca sequel. Spoiler alert: there is no possible pro.